Just Whipped Up

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Otherwise ordinary notes just may appear more beautiful when taken in our latest handmade Upcycled Mini Journal.  At the turn of a page, original photography of urban beauty salons will keep your prose stylin’.

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Striking Field Notes

Just knocked out a new Bowling Mini Journal. Each one of our handmade upcycled pocket notebooks is a bit different, and that’s a good thing! This one has plenty retro bowling alley pix ready to inspire at the turn of a page.

Daytripping through the Mountains

A desktop-daytrip through the mountains. Don’t you love that fresh air? Here’s a closer peek at the peaks of our upcycled Mountaintop + Skyscraper Pocket Cards. They suit either the city mouse or the country mouse!

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A Spin Through the Stripey City

It’s Friday, so we took a colorful day trip, without even leaving the workspace. Our upcycled City Pocket Cards provided the backdrop to this micro adventure. Bon voyage!

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So Nice We Got it Twice…

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No, you’re not seeing double– turns out we have a couple of a couple of things, especially album covers.

These bold graphic LP Covers (churned out largely in the 60’s) practically  jump right outta the bargain record bin. And who can resist a polka dot party?

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Here’s a look back at some Upcycled CD Cases inspired and handmade from said bold geometric album covers.

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Usually, the album cover inspires the inside pockets.

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It’s CD storage with groovy analogue charm. Check out our latest upcycled CD/DVD Holder Books here.

 

 

¡Adios Pastrami Burrito!

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The Kosher Burrito once stood on 1st Street between Los Angeles City Hall and Little Tokyo. (Yep, that’s the New Otani in the background.) I snapped this shot with my old 2 1/4 Spartus in the 90’s before it was gone for good in 2002.

Picture a simple lunch counter/ burger stand with a few stools that offered up a cross between Mexican and deli food such as the famed Kosher Burrito which was filled with pastrami, mustard, chili, pickles and onions. Word has it they had pretty good burgers too.

All in the backdrop of Little Tokyo. Only in Los Angeles. Just archive it in the ever expanding file of terrific things that aren’t here anymore.

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We are still left with a few “Mexicatessens” around town– joints that serve Mexican food and hamburger style grub. While amusing and promising in name, the reality is a far cry from the Kosher Burrito.

Share the Love

We are sharin’ the love with free domestic shipping on some hearty handmade goods just in time for Valentine’s Day. Hop on over to the shop to get in on the deal while it lasts ❤️

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Something to Wine About

This week BonAppetit.com featured our Boho Wine Glass Holders in their holiday Wine Gift Guide!

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A little wine at the holidays will make things merry and bright– or at least take the edge off. Any one of these gifts might just make a mensch out of a grinch.

We’ve been cranking out our handmade Boho Wine Glass Holders for years now. It was an idea born from our love of wine AND the great outdoors. If we’re not working, it’s likely we’re grilling out back or porch sitting out front with a glass of wine or a cold beer.

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These Bohos and Hobos make outdoor drinking a cinch. Stick the drink holder in soil, sand, or sturdy potted plant and just add wine or beer. There’s even personalized options if your pal is grabby about their bevy.

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If your stumped about a gift for a grump this season make sure to check out our beer and wine holders and have yourself a merry little Christmas.

AMF – From Bowling Balls to Bicycles?

StampBowlWheels4 copySpent part of the weekend tuning up an old yellow bicycle given to me over a decade ago. It was a thrift score, a 5-speed Roadmaster cruiser named Nimble.

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It was as cute as a button. When I first got it, I strapped a camera mount on it and used it as my photo excursion touring vehicle.

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Turns out, it wasn’t so nimble. Over time, I couldn’t ignore the clumsy proportions of the frame and the oversized seat which made for an awkward uncomfortable ride. So it ended up taking a back seat to more user friendly cruisers on hand. Alas, the Nimble sat neglected out on the roof I used to call home, braving the Southern California elements.

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Last weekend, I decided to get the little feller into working order again. It looked pretty sad– dusty and rusty with two flat tires. While cleaning her up, I noticed the familiar AMF branding on the bicycle frame. AMF? Of bowling alley fame?

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Yep! Brooklyn based American Machine and Foundry dabbled in a bit of everything. AMF got its start in 1900 by making equipment for the tobacco industry. By the 1940’s, it had diversified into all sorts of automatic manufacturing gear– from mechanical bread packagers to necktie stitchers to pretzel twisting machines.

It seems either a head scratcher or a logical progression that in the 40’s AMF would introduce the first automatic bowling pin setting machine. (Remember, humans used to do that job.) The so called Pinspotter was a hit! Because of it, AMF both helped create and profited from a countrywide “bowling boom”. This is why AMF would come to be synonymous with bowling. Lanes, balls, pins, and bowling alley operations would follow.

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In the 50’s AMF got into the bicycle racket. (Later, they also got into the tennis racket racket, but that’s another story.) The AMF Wheel Goods Division produced Roadmaster bicycles in a super automated factory in Little Rock, Arkansas. Thanks to the baby boom, they sold a lot of bicycles and soon moved operations to a bigger new factory in Illinois.

It’s there that AMF Wheel Goods started going downhill fast along with the quality of their bicycle line. It’s said that some bicycle shops even declined repairing Roadmasters, cause there’s no polishing a turd I guess.

The Roadmaster Nimble I have dates back to the 1970s and that’s just about when things started to go wheely bad over at AMF Wheel Goods. So it seems like I have a lemon on my hands. But that’s okay. Like a Cutter, I’ll pedal through the rough patches and make lemonade.

 

 

Century Records Update– The Hits Keep Coming

Maybe our quest for Century Records wasn’t all for naught. A reader, Audrey wrote in to tell us that her dad, Sam Rice, was a recording tech there. Her memories begin to flush out the black and white sketch on the back of the record and what went on within.

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“I remember visiting the factory only a few times. I think I remember the processing room, but very dimly. I remember the smell of the records being made. I remember the red blue and gold records, I think. I mostly remember desert-like landscaping, the crunch of rocks instead of glass, and a water dispenser with cold water in the waiting room.”

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She even shared a peek of some of her pop’s Century Records paperwork– recording schedules and contracts. Looks like you could get a school record in the works for six bucks per unit back in ’65. Of course, this includes some whistles and bells like “special editing, anti static vinyl, and custom album cover”.  Wonder if color vinyl was extra?

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Turns out Audrey’s dad was a big of a big shot over at Century, at least in 1965 when he got a gold medal for a top 10 record.

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Unfortunately, her father has passed, but his name lives on– showing up on many of the Century Records in those thrift store bins.

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So we continue to scour those thrift shops while keeping our ears out for more Century Records stories… If you have any, drop us a line.