Since spending the weekend in Honeoye New York in the Finger Lakes, I’ve been doodling and sketching the woods whenever I get a chance. Everything from my work notebook to my watercolor pads are covered in fern abstractions.
Living in Brooklyn, it’s easy to forgot how much I used to love just exploring the woods when I was a kid. Where we visit in the Finger Lakes there are thirty two acres of land up a hill, with walks over streams, stretches of bright florescent ferns, and tiny frogs waiting for you on the path. Just the past weekend there was a bear that wandered into the property.
Sketching the woods has also turned out to be a perfect time to start teaching myself pattern making based on my sketchbook. I found a glorious tutorial on Oh My! about pattern making in photoshop that I adopted to my hand drawings.
These above are my first tries—I’m sure I have so much more to go to improve this design process–but I’m in love with the idea of making fabric and paper prints based on a pattern I’ve drawn.
I’m going to start cataloging my designs on Spoonflower too, if you’re interested. Not sure I’m ready to sell fabric, but still interested in arranging everything as I get better.
During a long weekend last summer a group of friends and I discovered Elephant’s Trunk in New Milford Connecticut. We definitely found a holy grail of thrift only an hour from New York City.
In the previously unknown to me Northwest Connecticut–that is also home to a giant man-made lake rumored to have a ghost town at the bottom–Elephant’s Trunk has been operating every year since 1976. What makes it especially awesome is it’s a flea market of “pickers” who sell to dealers. The pickers are awesome people from across New England, running the gamut of eccentrics who love vintage pyrex to your Red Sox capped dad who likes going to garage and estate sales. That means a lot of the higher priced items in curated vintage stores like those populating in my home of Brooklyn might very well originate here.
One of the benefits to trekking out to New Milford CT, only an hour and so out of New York City though you’ll need a car to make it, is the ability to buy from these sellers, many of whom have just picked up fresh vintage wares the days before. All the prices are especially reasonable and naturally, flexible. If you’re an actual vintage dealer you can pay extra to arrive at the crack of dawn to buy. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of worthy items left after the dealers come.
I’ve found the two times I’ve visited the flea that closing is an especially good time. Right before closing a few I found up a vintage globe from between the world wars and a mid century modern magazine rack all right before for much lower than I was expecting to pay.
Tips: Make sure to bring cash! Sellers using a mobile payment card reader are almost non-existent. There are food vendors (and coffee) in trucks and stands on the 55-acre grounds, too. If you’re hungry after thrifting, there is a giant diner not too far down the road.
Elephant’s Trunk 490 Danbury Road
New Milford, CT
April to Dec on Sundays from 5:30 to 1:00pm.
Parking is free, no dogs, $2 to enter
Albertine is a French & English bookstore with a exquisite reading room in the French Embassy. It opened last fall with the design firm Pentagram creating the branding.
The bookstore is tucked inside the French Embassy on 5th Ave overlooking Central Park. The building itself is famous: the Payne Whitney, one of the few Guilded-Age architectural buildings left in the city and built by Stanford and White.
Albertine is full of large fabric-covered lamps making you feel you’ve entered someone’s private home library meets Parisian salon. The best part is the upstairs reading room that has one of the best ceilings to lounge under on comfy leather couches.
The store was conceived by “Cultural Services of the French Embassy” to offer “the largest selection of French literature in the United States, with (get ready to swoon) more than 14,000 titles from 30 French-speaking countries.” (TimeOut)
English and french books are peppered throughout. The reading room upstairs has an extensive collection of French children’s books and graphic novels which peak the illustration lovers attention. There are cookbooks, art books, and even daily french periodicals, too.