Category Archives: objects of desire


When I was a little girl, my father used to take my sisters and I to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut once a year on vacation. I think we probably stayed for a few days at a time, but I feel like I spent a large part of my childhood there. So much comes back to me from those trips in the form of fleeting feelings of deja-vu, when the temperature is just a touch chilly and a slightly warm breeze begins to blow and the sky is that exact blue and there is salt in the air, and I am once again walking down the street towards the old rusted drawbridge that my father would always remark was perfectly timed. I grew up by the ocean, but somehow it was a very different ocean from the one in Mystic.

Many passions were born at Mystic. Whaling ships. Handmade baskets. Needlework. Ships’ primitive masthead carvings. Knots. The terrors of the giant squid. Good, home-brewed root beer. But most of all (or, at least, most accessibly at the time), scrimshaw.

My dad would get us the little souvenirs we would pick out–key chains with our names on them (or at least some approximation of our names) and shell-encrusted boxes, a glass jewel for refracting sunlight. The most coveted souvenir of all, though, for us girls raised as Hardy boys, was a scrimshaw pocketknife. I know now that the blade was always too dull to cut, that the ivory is really resin and that the pattern was imprinted by a machine. But I still have that $10 knife, and I probably always will. I consider it the first piece in my scrimshaw collection, my collection that has yet to grow into more than one piece, but which will one day conjure Mystic wherever my home turns out to be. Maybe it will be Mystic.

{Watch a short from the Canada Vignette series}

{Learn how to make your own scrimshaw}


i won something!

I entered an online contest and WON! This has never happened to me. I never win anything. I’m not just talking about the lottery, either. I don’t win in games of chance in any form, be it boardwalk wheel-of-fortunes or 50-50 raffles. And yet, I enter them all the time. Ask Nick. I’ve entered more contests for KitchenAid stand mixers than the number of dollars it would cost me to buy one. I enter Nick, too, but he doesn’t win either. I enter online giveaways for things I don’t even want.

But all that has changed! I won something! Something I actually want!

Go over to Craftzine. That’s MY name on there! I’m Julie in Brooklyn! I’m so proud of myself.

conspicuous consumer

I want stuff.

I want this: Leica M9 Rangefinder Digital Camera ($6,995 – body only).

And this: Chrishabana Hook Necklace ($87).

And these: Postcards from Penguin ($16.50).

And this: Fusionwood Paring Knife ($49).

And this: Carousel Engraved Stationary ($35).

And these: Stainless Steel Drinking Straws ($18).

And this: In Motion Clock ($88).

And this: Staub Tea Pot ($119).

And these: Wave Earrings ($160).

And this: Timex Camper ($34.90).

And this: Deluxe Backgammon Set ($70).

Hello, my name is Julie, and I have a coveting problem.


I am ordering you all to take up a collection to buy me this right now.

You think I’m kidding.

I’m not.

I have been searching for years–yes, years–for a raincoat. But not just any raincoat; it has to be the raincoat. To give you an idea of just how picky I am about raincoats, I spent an entire year in Vancouver without one because I couldn’t find any I liked. Vancouver. A year. Really.

I actually did find a raincoat I wanted a few months ago, back when it was actually raining. It was a cute Calvin Klein anorak. I bought it online. They shipped it. A few weeks later, I called to find out why I hadn’t gotten it. They told me it was destroyed in shipping. Destroyed. And there were no more to replace it.

And so I remain raincoatless. Until now. Until you all find the $378 + shipping to buy me this one. I know I’m bossy, but trust me, it’s preferable to listening to me complain about my lack of raincoat for another year.

(In XS. Better hurry. They’re almost sold out.)

caution: estrogen-fest ahead

I love weddings. I admit it. I’m not ashamed. I love eating fancy food and free wine and dancing to ridiculous 90s songs and even buying stuff off people’s registries. I love examining the invitations to try to guess at just what the event will be like. I love traveling and making small talk with old ladies I’ve never met and I will never see again. But most of all, I love dressing up. I don’t have that many other opportunities, you see, besides weddings. I love imagining what the perfect look for the occasion would be. Usually, that look is not hanging in my closet, so a little shopping is in order.

At the end of the summer a friend of mine is getting married, on a farm on San Juan Island. It’s going to be beautiful and warm and earthy. Here’s what I wish I could wear:

summerweddingFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

(Click for larger)

macha jewelry + bosquez

But unless my secret sugar daddy is reading out there, I’ll probably buy one of these:




Now I need more of my friends to get married. Hear that, friends? Get on that. Love, Julie.

P.S. My sincerest apologies to any males I know who might have read this post. This about is as girly as I get. Weddings do that to people. Just wait until someone I know has a baby. Oh, lord.

christine gray

I really don’t want to like this painting. It’s so very not my style. And yet, something about it feels so right to me. The softness, instability, the impermanence, the colorful yarns. Maybe it’s the memories of selling ojos de dios to my schoolmates in fifth grade for a dollar apiece. Either way, I want this painting–but as a guilty pleasure, to hang in my imaginary boudoir, where no one else can see.

Christine Gray via Free People.

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