Missing In Action

I haven’t posted anything in quite a while. And by quite awhile, I mean
over five months
. I am so bad at this.

The last time I posted, I was wearing flip flops…

the Phillies still had a month left in their season…

and the roses in our back alley were more than just a memory.

Tonight it’s going down to 14ºF. Sigh.

Anyway, I actually have a few potential post ideas up my sleeves, so hopefully they’ll come to fruition soon. I’m also thinking about shaking things up by changing my page theme/layout.

Stay tuned, folks. Exciting things to come. Exciting things, indeed.

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iPhone? iPhilly.


Corner of 12th & Filbert Streets

I’ve been hearing some negativity lately regarding iPhone photography. I will admit, the quality/resolution is lacking (although, with every new version, that is improving). But my desire here is not to debate. Rather, I’d like to share the title of Chase Jarvis’ book of iPhone photography:

“The Best Camera is The One
You Have With You.”

I’d been having my own bout of internal conflict regarding the artistic integrity of iPhonography (as some have coined it), but after seeing the above phrase, I started to feel released from the shame. Yes, shame.

Not every photo needs to be a work of art — Sometimes you just want to capture a moment; And sometimes it’s just plain fun.

And think about this — Is it better to take a picture, even one with (gasp!) your phone? Or no picture at all???

My phone is my constant companion (I can’t say the same for my DSLR). This allows me to shoot from the hip, whenever the subject arises — street musicians on my jury duty lunch break, a dead bird on my walk with Moxie, the bridge we cross on the drive to my parents, the magic of an ice cream stand in the summer — These are all images that I’m darn glad I captured — with my phone.

I asked Tim to choose ten of my recent iPhone shots to share here. If you’re interested, I’ll likely be uploading more to my Flickr in the near future.

Nifty Fifty’s, Grant Ave.


Girard Point Bridge, 95 South


Simpson Gymnasium, Northwood


Filming of Friday Night Lights series finale, Frankford Stadium


Oakland Street


Coca-Cola Truck passing Jim’s Automotive, Oxford Ave.


H&S Hardware, Castor Ave.


Twistee Treat, Mayfair.

Feel free to comment. Just be nice. :)

PTA On The Road: New Items

There’s something that I love about vintage maps…and with summer arriving, and thoughts drifting to traveling, I present a couple of new PTA projects that I’ve had in the works…

Going Places magnet set:

Cartographic symbols are overprinted on the actual pages of a 1969 Hungarian historical atlas, so each set is unique!

And a new series of greeting cards I’ve been calling Earthly Sentiments:

Red text overprinted on images of late nineteenth-century vintage world maps.

Each card comes with a red A7 (approx. 5 x 7) envelope by French Paper Co.


I’ve corrected the grammar since I took this picture

The new cards and magnets will make their debut at the Olivet Flea Market this Saturday (22nd & Mt. Vernon Sts., in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philly). I will also have my other magnet & pin sets, letter magnets & pins, and the remainder of my natural candles and other greeting cards…oh, yes, and my yummy granola, too! (Phew!)

And mark your calendars, I will be at the OCCCDA Flea Market on June 19th, as well!

Please come out and say hi!

Pressure Cooking in Philly

We live a half-block down from our neighborhood’s public high school. About a month ago, when walking Moxie, I noticed there was an unusual number of white vans and work trucks parked alongside of the school. I mentioned my observation on Facebook and a friend directed me to an Inquirer article about Rachael Ray remodeling the school’s culinary arts classroom. Whuh? Come again? Rachael Ray at little ol’ Frankford High??? And wait — Frankford High has a culinary arts program??? Mind you, previous to this, I’d only heard negative comments about the school. So, it was nice for me to hear something redemptive was happening there.

Rachael Ray invited Bobby Flay to share a recipe with the class.
Photo by David M. Russell (Rachael Ray Show)

To my surprise, after further web-searching, I found that the story gets even better. Not only does Frankford High have a culinary arts class, but that it has a 100% graduation rate (as opposed to 60% school-wide). Not only that, but Frankford’s culinary students have dominated the city-wide Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) cooking competitions for over a decade. And much of their success can be attributed to the dedication and toughness of their teacher, Wilma Stephenson, who has been at it for over forty years. The success of her students caught the attention of Jennifer Grausman (the daughter of C-CAP’s founder), who decided to produce a documentary following the story of her classroom and students over the course of a school year. Named Best Documentary at the 2009 Philadelphia Film Festival, Pressure Cooker just came out on DVD and is next up in my Netflix queue.

Pressure Cooker DVD, and images from the filming

So, a month after noticing the work trucks, I got to see the much-awaited classroom makeover episode of Rachael Ray on Monday morning. And lemme tell you, the tears were flowing during every segment. But, hey, I’m a crier (really, ya don’t say…). But seriously, I dare you to visit Ms. Ray’s site and watch all the segments of the show (in order). If your eyes stay dry throughout the whole thing, please see a doctor immediately, for you must have a lead soul.

Using my keen sense of observation, I figured out that Christian, one of the current seniors in Ms. Stephenson’s class, lives right up my street! (Screen captures from the Rachael Ray Show)

On a side (but very related) note, if you watch the final segment of the show, you will hear Ms. Ray mention that the C-CAP program is ending. That is not technically true. Rather, C-CAP’s relationship with the School District of Philadelphia is in danger. In order to get more state funding, the school district has made a decision to transfer the focus of their culinary arts curriculum from “back of the house” (read: kitchen) jobs, and more towards “higher paying, front of the room” jobs. Because this emphasis is not within the scope of C-CAP’s mission, after 2012, they may no longer be sponsoring contests and scholarships in Philly. And that would be a shame, because the chance to compete for scholarships is one of the main goals that Ms. Stephenson’s students strive towards all year. Those scholarships give them hope for a better future, one that they’ve worked hard for and deserve. I really hope that whatever decisions are finalized, are made with the best interests of the students in mind. Because I want want to continue to hear about great things coming out of Frankford High in the days and years to come!

Nifty Thrifty

I enjoy an occasional trip to the thrift store. Usually with my friend, who shall remain anonymous (she is a self-admitted addict). My first stop is always the housewares/knick-knacks section (this could be because it starts right as you walk in the door). There’s always a ton of stuff, but not much that catches my eye. Not to mention, their prices are weird. 66¢? $1.91? What happened to the 10¢ glasses and mugs I used to get at the Goodwill back at college? Seriously, though, $1.91? Is that normal? Anyway, I digress…

On my last trip into thriftdom, I was surprised to find several items that I was glad to take home (after paying, of course):

At first, I wasn’t sure about this vintage scale…I like it; it goes with my collection of vintage green kitchen tools, and it seems to function accurately, but the price seemed a bit high…more like an antique shop price, than a thrift shop price. But I emailed Tim a picture of it, and he said I should get it, so I can’t blame it on him. :)

For quite some time, I have been hoping to find some nice dessert or parfait dishes, and I finally came upon this set of four. I like the etched lines and their simplicity (for the most part). I’m not too crazy about the bases – they seem a bit incongruous with the tops. But, good enough.

I grabbed this vintage Phillies logo/1210AM thermos for Tim. So what it says, “Milk: The Fresher Refresher” on the back? There’s no rule that says he can’t use it for coffee. And just in time for baseball season.

Lastly, I just had to get these two Bicentennial glasses. Philly memorabilia + 1976 (our birth year) = home run!

If you’re an active thrifter, I’d love to hear about some of your recent finds!

Be a Part of Lovetown PA

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal…”

I am back from the dead, to share an intriguing project in connection with Tim’s co-op gallery Tiger Strikes Asteroid.

A few years ago, artist, Gene Schmidt did an expansive project he called “Manhattan Measure“, during which he measured the length and width of the island of Manhattan by placing red yards stick end-to-end. The project was documented by photographer Alicia Hansen and filmmakers Johnny Gerhart and Philip Armand. At the end of the project, Schmidt formed a giant cross-shaped sculpture out of the 30,000 yard sticks, and the film was shown at various festivals across the country.

Canal Street, St. Nicholas Street, and Central Park (photos by Alicia Hansen)

map of the measured path and their final destination

Now, TSA has invited him to do a new project here in Philly. Of this project, which will use the text of 1 Corinthians chapter 13, Schmidt says,LOVETOWN, PA will involve a similar movement through Philadelphia. This time I will be lining up square panels of reclaimed scrap wood, each with a letter cut out like a stencil, spelling out the text quoted above. In some places the entire text will be visible, stretching 1267 feet. In other places, passers-by will only see a word, a phrase, or a sentence or two. I will keep repeating the text along an approximately eight-mile journey starting in North Philadelphia and ending on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.”

a grab from Gene's Kickstarter promo video

Visit the Lovetown PA Kickstarter page for more info and to support the project. Supporters will receive gifts ranging from a DVD of the resulting film, to all the letter panels used in the project!. Personally, I’d like to have a set of the 12″ x 12″ L-O-V-E squares. Wouldn’t they look so cool hanging on the wall?

Don’t dawdle folks, he only has two weeks left to raise support!

Update (03.22.10): Gene did not raise reach his full amount for the project through KickStarter, but plans to start over by raising funds the old-school way – by accepting checks through the mail. Generously, he will still honor snail-mail donations with the thank you gifts he offered on KickStarter. Read his update here, check out the gift levels, and consider contributing. The show must go on!

Phinally!!! (I’m back and Ork Philly Poster)

I was so excited about getting an email today, that I have been awakened (at least momentarily) from my blog-less slumber.

Said email, was from Ork Posters. Designer, Jenny Beorkrem, first designed herself a poster of the neighborhoods of Chicago several years ago, after she was unable to find a suitable one to hang in her home. From there, she branched out to other U.S. cities (Brooklyn was an instant classic), and now even has a “map” of the human heart. But…

My current excitement is focused on the long-awaited completion of her PHILADELPHIA posters!!! And not only that, but our little ‘hood of Northwood has finally made it big-time (we have escaped the confines of Frankford)!

(Zooming in on Northwood)

There are phour Philly posters to choose from (all 18″ x 24″) – two that are hand-pulled silk-screened versions, and two that are professionally press-printed. And if you know anything about me, you know that I can’t make a decision…especially not a tough one like this!

I love the idea of Eagles teal on Packing Brown Wrap paper…but “Street Grey” on Berrylicious blue paper? And the pop of white ink on Gumdrop Green? But then, who can resist the classic appeal of Black and White?

Hmm…maybe I should get one of each, and hang them throughout the house…What do youse guys think?