Monday, June 14, 2010

A Day's Travels.

What a day today was. Where do I begin? After the bounty of posts on topics of interest to the masses, I'll tone things down and give you one of those fun "here's what I did today, and here's the loot I gathered" kind of posts. So, if you enjoy those kind of things, read on!

Tuvia and I headed out today to "Celebrate West Hartford," a type of fair, craft-show kind of thing. On the way we stopped in at Burlington Hat Coat Factory, where I picked up FOUR, yes, FOUR beautifully spacious heads for my oversized noggin'. You'll see them via photo throughout the coming years, I'm sure. We parked near the Starbucks in West Hartford Center, which runs up next to Blue Back Square, where the big fair was. Not one booth into the fair and we were ooing and awing at the awesome goods up for sale.

Among five million jewelry vendors and booths with cheesy paintings of still-life objects were a few booths worth mentioning. The first belonged to Stefanie Marco and was this cool booth of lacquered works with kitschy sayings on them, including a line of coffee-bean inspired objects and this really cool mojito drink mix piece (see up top), and if it weren't for the price (ouch), we would have picked up some of the coffee goods. If you're interested in checking out some of these cool pieces, visit

The next booth that rocked our socks belonged to Jim Leach, a wood-working genius. We've seen plenty of our friends with those nifty baskets that lay flat for storage and serve as a trivet, but that with a quick motion swing up and turn all baskety, but we'd never seen anyone selling them. So we were super stoked to pick one of these up! He does take custom orders, and if you're interested, I can pass along his email address to you.

Our most favorite booth belonged to Toby Rosenberg and rara avis designs, distinctive pottery & judaica. We were really taken by the goods offered by this Portland, Maine, artist, including her tzedakah boxes, menorot, and her washing cups.

The tzedakah boxes and menorot have this beautiful village-esque kind of whimsy about them, which I love. The menorot have 360-degree artwork, so no matter what angle you're approaching from, you're getting a village scene. Toby can even place your family name on one of the village houses on the tzedakah box! I was just really taken by Toby's attention to detail and her love of Judaica. Of the village tzedakah box she says, "imagine the community we build when we give tzedakah." That, folks, is a beautiful sentiment.

So if you're looking for something new to add to your collection, I suggest going to her website and looking at what she has to offer. If you're interested, she can probably make you something personal. One-of-a-kind Judaica is rare these days, so take advantage. We're looking into a pomegranate-inspired washing cup!

My thoughts are that if you have the opportunity to buy things from local, independent artists, just do it, folks. Just do it.

After walking around a bit more, Tuvia buying some kosher nosh from Yosi's Catering, and experiencing a bit of rainy drizzle, we headed into Barnes and Noble to take a gander at this new fangled Nook thing people have been talking about. I've been contemplating an e-reader for a while now, mostly because of the upcoming move and its subsequent result of a lengthy commute several days of the week. The backbreaking work of schlepping around books and a laptop, not to mention a few meals, will break me, so the fewer things I can carry, the better. Thus, enter the Nook. I did some online comparisons between the Kindle and the Nook, and in my mind, the Nook was a better deal. So we went in, let the salesman swing his pitch, I spent about a half-hour coveting all the Judaica books, and then, well, we bought one. Here's the little fella getting charged up (yes, that's a caricature of Kurt Vonnegut you see).

And now? Well, we're at home. Chilling. Chillaxing. Watching Toy Story, of all things. There are half-packed boxes, empty boxes, and two exhausted people who aren't really up to packing any of them at this point. We've really got about a week to get them done (less than, really, because Tuvia starts his gig in Newark on the 21st of June!). So, baruch haShem, things will get done.

Happy e-traversing, friends!