Monthly Archives: April 2010

Interior Sense | David Coggins

Not really familiar with this guy, but I dig his space.

Handmade | Hunting Vest Made From Repurposed Materials

Hunting vest made from 100% recycled and salvaged materials (minus the thread).

I found some old military laundry bags at a local army navy surplus store and decided I could repurpose and use the fabric to make something.  The obvious choice would be a bag of some sort, but I’ve been scoping various hunting/outdoor vests (e.g. Filson’s Mackinaw wool vest, Barbour vests, etc) and thought the bag would provide me enough fabric and be a good springboard for something like that.  The leather was some more of the scrap piece i picked up at the flea market a few months back.

I love things made of recycled/repurposed materials because of the unique character in the fabric.  There are stains, faded spots (bleach stains?), holes, writing, and of course the worn-in and aged character from years of actual use.  I kept the side seams, as I didn’t want to lose the character they presented, plus they had the metal eyelets with the cinch straps which I wanted to keep (they actually still function to cinch the bottom up). Two slanted lower slit pockets lined with ticking fabric with reinforced corners via leather patches.  One chest pocket with leather tab, vertical slit chest pocket on other side and one inner pocket.  Various stitch detailing throughout (although my sewing machine doesn’t do a substantial enough stitch for it to stand out too much).

Like all my other homemade projects, don’t look too closely lest you find really goofy imperfections everywhere. Quite pleased with this one though, and despite the questionable execution, am pretty happy with how the design panned out.

Tokyo Bay Watches

My boy Sangsouvanh and I stumbled across these watches in a store front in New Orleans.  I’d certainly never heard of these, but they’re super affordable and look pretty sweet.  I’d definitely consider picking one of these up if my trusty $1 Field Ranger watch (flea market find) ever craps out.  Shop.

Destination | Café Du Monde/Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, New Olreans


Sitting down and enjoying a post-show café au lait and beignet from the legendary Café Du Monde (est. 1862) is probably one of my favorite things about visiting New Orleans, and has become somewhat of a tradition for us.  Beignets (roughly pronounced ben-neeay) are a French pastry made from deep fried dough…basically a French doughnut.  They come absolutely doused in powdered sugar and make a heavenly combo when paired with Café Du Monde’s café au lait with chicory.  Dipping the beignets in the coffee has double benefits — sweetening your coffee with the sugar on the beignet, and soaking your beignet in coffee goodness.  I didn’t realize this till our last visit, but the coffee is half chicory, which accounts for it’s unique and recognizable taste.  Anyhow, all that to say, YUM.

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At the tail end of Bourbon St. (yuck) lies a rickety looking shack built between 1722 and 1732.  Once owned by pirate Jean Lafitte and supposedly the oldest continually running bar in America.  ‘Nuff said.

For good measure, some random shots I took with my phone on this visit:

Destination | Sid Mashburn

I did end up making it over there, and yes, it was awesome. Super friendly staff (who instead of telling us to leave our drinks outside, asked us if we wanted a coke…multiple times) great selection, in-house tailoring, the whole nine. I didn’t plan on purchasing anything, but low and behold, I walked away with a simple Amish-made leather belt and a really sweet Caran d’Ache mechanical pencil.

The belt is nice and sturdy, should last for years and years, and will only continue to look better with age. I don’t really know much about it other than it’s Amish-made in Pennsylvania, but that’s the great thing about shopping at a place like Sid Mashburn — you can have 100% confidence that what you’re getting is top quality and has already been handpicked and sorted through by some very keen eyes before it’s even presented to you.  I picked the lighter color as I’m hoping the color will really sweeten up with age.  We’ll see.

I’m really excited about the pencil as well. I don’t like normal mechanical pencils, but this has a thick 2 mm lead (as thick as the lead in a regular pencil) that feeds out, and is sharpened by taking the cap off the end (where an eraser would normally be) and using the inside of the cap to sharpen.  They had some ball point pens in the same casing, and despite there being an incredible pencil-yellow color, I opted out of the pen, as I’m awkwardly picky about how my pens write (this one felt a little too slippery).  The salesman and I both agreed that the pencil-yellow color was the best, and I sort of wish they had my mechanical pencil in that color.  Nonetheless, stoked to have a nice pencil that once again, I can get years of use out of, unlike a cheap Bic or something of the nature.

Despite there being an incredible selection of nice suits, dress shirts, etc., the thing that stuck out to me most was a striped chambray popover by Levi’s Vintage (LVC).  I’m always drawn more to the work wear-ey things as I don’t ever have a need to be dressy.  More blue collar wear than white collar, I suppose.

Anyhow, I enjoyed browsing and chatting with the salesmen and definitely recommend a visit if you’re ever in the area.

Above is the Levis Vintage popover I really liked.  Based on a single pocket carpenter shirt from the ’20s with all the original specs.  Available online at Oi Polloi.

Hitting The Road/Destinations?

I’m leaving for tour tomorrow morning.  The dates/cities are listed below.  If you’ve got any good suggestions for some must-visit destinations, drop a line in the comments.  Anything really…museums, shops, good eats, sight-seeing, etc.  It’s somewhat of a B market tour, so there’s a lot of more obscure cities, but I’m sure there’s lots of great things/places to visit.  I’ve been around the country and back countless times but I know there’s still so much to be seen.

The tour kicks off with two days in Atlanta, so I’m definitely going to try and make it to Sid Mashburn.  I think it’s going to be a bit dressy for my taste, but I’ve heard an earful from more than one person about how amazing the shop is.

Dates/Cities:
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Nerdery | Buttons

Always fun to poke around jars filled with buttons at flea markets.

All pictures except last two from the amazing site, Riveted — probably one of my favorite blogs out there.  Click over to check out some incredibly informed and in-depth posts on vintage clothing.  Last two pictures courtesy of Secret Forts.

From The Vinyl Vault: Miles Davis, Kind of Blue

Miles Davis‘ 1959 album Kind Of Blue is the ultimate chill-out record. Every once in a while, I’ll have a sudden urge to listen to this, and when you’re in the right mood for it, you’ll swear it’s the best record ever made. All-star lineup of Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly on piano, Jimmy Cobb on drums, Paul Chambers on bass and John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderly on sax. I framed my original copy on vinyl, and it’s one of my more treasured music-related possessions.

“He wanted to capture the sound of discovery in the music” – Herbie Hancock

“The first complete performance of each thing is what you’re hearing” – Bill Evans

Get inspired:

Progress Report | APC New Standards, First Wash

My New Standards had seen six months of fairly consistent wearing and I decided it was time for a wash…well, not technically a wash I suppose, a cold soak.  It wasn’t the smell that dictated the decision (they seriously didn’t smell that bad at all), nor even the magical six month mark.  I more or less just got sick of the stiffness — they still could practically stand up on their own.  I of course would not have even started to consider this had I not felt all the wear marks were well-established and I wasn’t 100% satisfied with where they were at.

This was the first time these guys hit any water whatsoever, and so I thought I’d document the before and after effects of cold soaking raw denim.

Process:

I did a quick rinse with them on in the shower with luke warm water to let some running water over them.  Then, I turned them inside out, laid them flat out in my tub, and filled the tub up enough to make sure everything was submerged.  I let them soak for a couple hours, rolled them up in some towels (that I didn’t care if they got indigo on them) to soak up some water, then hung them up outside in the sun to dry.

Effects:

They tightened up a tad, but not a lot at all.  Most noticeable were the taming of the knee bulges, which I was happy about.  The color didn’t change much, maybe some very slight overall lightening of the color, as one would expect.  The most notable difference to me though, was the softening of the fabric.  After a couple hours of wear, the fabric softened up pretty nicely and that incredible stiffness they had before was gone.  The hand is much more pleasant now, but don’t get me wrong, they still feel nice and rugged.  It also lost it’s slight patina that it had developed (noticeable upon close inspection, it almost seemed waxed), but I feel like that might come back after some more months of non-washed wearing.  The after pictures below were taken after about an hour of wearing post-wash.  It’s been about a week now, and the color/fading has really taken on a new life and is starting look really really nice.  The best way I can describe it is that the color seems to have been getting sweeter ever since the soak.  I feel like I washed them right at the perfect time.  I’ll post some pics sometime.

BEFORE:

The above picture is probably the most accurate representation of the color the were before.

Notice the saggy knees.  A quick note about the knees — Having two kids means that I’m constantly on my knees so they were pretty quick to fade.  One thing I’m a bit bummed on is that when these were newer, they’d ride up quite a bit when I bent my knees, making the knee wear really low, pretty much at the top of my shins when I’m standing straight.  Ever since I washed them, they ride less and I’m practically starting a new knee spot above the older one.  It’d be a good idea to make sure when you’re breaking in your new jeans, that you train them not to ride up a lot when you bend your knees.

Wallet obviously in the left pocket.  Right pocket worn from keys/mini flashlight/key hook that I hang off my back loop.

Some great honeycombing.  Wouldn’t have been so defined had it not been for the initial stiffness.

Dirty ass cuffs/selvage.  This cleaned up pretty nice after the soak.  I did rub the selvage against itself to clean it a bit.

Close up of the twill pattern in the denim and how the indigo warp threads fade.

You could tell how stiff and crunchy they still were.

This is a closeup of a canvas belt I got a couple months ago.  You can see how much indigo was still bleeding even after several months.

AFTER

Notice how the knees tightened up compared to before.

Nice honeycombs minus the ultra-crunched look of before.


Handmade | Rollup Dopp Kit

- Hand-waxed cotton duck cloth w/leather strap

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Destination | Rest of Japan

- Pictures 1-16 are all from Yoron Island.  Yoron is a tiny island and is part of a small strain of islands off the southern tip of Japan called the Ryukyu islands (Okinawa is the most well-known).  I believe the circumference is approx. 14.5 miles, with a population of around 6,000.  In other words, it’s very small.  The place is special to me because my mom spent her early years there and she was incredibly fond of it.  It’s not hard to imagine why — the first picture was taken at the spot where her house once stood.  The island is absolutely beautiful, and landscape-wise, seems to be somewhere between Japan and Hawaii.  The main export from the island is sugarcane, and the place is full of sugarcane farms. The whole island is surrounded by coral reef, which results in shallow beaches and extremely clear and blue waters.  It’s also interesting to note that the Ryukyu islands andit’s people have a pretty distinct history and character because of it’s separation from Japan (geographically, and at times, politically).  My grandparents were both originally from the neighboring island of Amamioshima, making my mother 100% Ryukyuan, and myself at least 50% Ryukuan (I believe my father’s side has some Ainu in it, which is sort of the northern equivalent and who look even more radically different than mainland Japanese, but anyway…) Another big reason why it was a big trip for me.

- The 6th picture down shows a shoreline with some special seaweed/algae growing on it which is unique to the island.  If you look close, you can see some old ladies harvesting it.  Turns out I had it the night before with some Tofu and soup and it was delicious.

- Pictures 9-11 show some old hand looms on the island used to make fabric from banana plant fibers, and the next two pictures show some of the fabric it made.  Beautiful stuff.  I was tempted to buy some but it was pretty pricey, as it should be.

- The clothing shots were some Uniqlo pickups in Tokyo.  It’s so cheap, I couldn’t resist.  I got a nice pair of raw selvage jeans in black denim for something like 60 bucks.  The gray chambray on the left has some nice selvage details on the inside of the placket and at the gusset.  The gray chambray on the right was 1900 yen — approx 20 bucks.  How could I not?  Then a pair of sweats for some straight illin’.

- Also pickuped a Kelty teardrop backpack and my big splurge — a suede pair of Yuketen Ranger Moccs.  I know I have a pair of them already, but I found them at the United Arrows outlet store and I couldn’t say no at a discounted price.  I’ve been a sucker for suede lately and it’s got some neat details that make it different from my other pair, namely, a chunkier welt with ridge details and piping.  Pretty sweet.

- Next few pictures are from Iwakuni, including it’s most well-known piece of architecture, the wavy Kintai bridge.  Been going there since I was a little kid.

- I just missed cherry blossom season by a week or so (it’s probably starting now or very soon), but I did catch some blossoms of a different variety that bloom earlier.  My dad claimed that the other, more prominent blossoms are much more delicate in color and impressive in sheer number.  Oh well.

Can’t wait to go back.

Destination | Tokyo

Outside The Rugged Museum

Danner Japan Mountain Light II’s were everywhere…ugh.

Sweet Red Wing Wabashas in tan suede.

I’ll be heading home tomorrow but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being here.  It’d been too long.  I split my time between Tokyo, Yoron Island (Okinawa), Iwakuni (Hiroshima), and Yokohama.  Far too much traveling for my 2 1/2 year old son, but they were all necessary stops.  He’s been an incredible sport, but lugging around a little kid all on your own who’s away from his mom for the first time, in a foreign country for the first time, and doing a crap load of traveling is not easy work.  Anyhow, here’s how I spent my time in Tokyo:

Spent some time with family in Kokubunji, and took a day to wander around Tokyo window shopping all the sweet product I can’t/shouldn’t be buying.  We stopped by Free & Easy’s Rugged Museum and it was everything I’d imagined it to be.  They had some really incredible vintage pieces which were the highlight in my opinion.  It was truly an exercise in self-control that I only walked out of there with a couple issues of the magazine.

After that, we strolled in and around the Harajuku area where the Danner Japan Mountain Light II’s (tan suede/red laces/white vibram sole!) were screaming my name practically everywhere I went.  My reckless side tried to find every excuse in the book to convince my frugal side that I could justify the expense.  Luckily, my frugal side won.  I meant to take more pictures but it sorta slipped my mind in the midst of it all.  I definitely could have used another day or two in Tokyo.

Inspired | The Band

One of my all-time favorite band of musicians, appropriately monikered, The Band.  They’ve been the inspiration behind many a great musician, myself and my band included*.  There’s really not much that I can say that hasn’t been said before, but luckily, I can share a personal story about The Band and the little town that nurtured their music.

My band had the absolute pleasure and privilege of recording two records in the legendaryBearsville studios in Bearsville, NY.  Bearsville (for all intents and purposes, Woodstock) is a little town nestled in the beautiful Catskill mountains in upstate New York.  Bearsville studios was opened and owned by Albert Grossman, who managed Bob Dylan and The Band, among many others, and was originally responsible for pulling Dylan into Woodstock, and subsequently, The Band.  The main building housed a couple rooms — a small B room, and a gigantic main room where we got to track drums.  There was also a barn at the bottom of the property next to the houses where we stayed, again, appropriately named, “The Barn”, where we recorded an entire record.  The main studio had sadly been shut down our second time ‘round, and it was rumored that we were the last ones to be recording at The Barn as well (although I think another record or two was made there).  My experiences there is something I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life — Being marooned out in the middle of the woods for weeks or months and recording records in a place so rich in history.

The real Band tie-in:  One day, Sally Grossman, widow of Albert Grossman (and also lady on the cover of Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home) who now owned the studio told us that the property needed a new well, and that she had a friend coming over to divine for wateron the property.  Soon after, an old man in overalls and a big scraggly beard comes driving up in a pickup truck.  He comes up to us and asks us if there are any wire hangers in the houses.  My buddy Dustin obliges and runs up stairs to get him a couple hangers.  He thanks us, disassembles the hangers, and starts looking for water.  A week or so later, Sally takes us out to a ridiculously amazing dinner at the local gourmet house, Bear Cafe,and besides telling us lots of incredible stories about Albert, Dylan, The Band, and the 60’s/70’s in general, she casually mentions something about her friend Garth that came by the other day.  And then it clicked.  It was Garth freaking Hudson.  Whoa.  Should’ve figured it out, but I don’t think any of us were expecting a member of The Band to come casually up to the studio and divine for water.  Looking back though, he pretty much looks exactly the same, only old and scraggly, which I think is how he’s wanted to look his entire life anyway.

Most of them have passed away now, but I know Garth Hudson is still kicking, and Levon is still ruling, putting out records, acting in movies, and hosting a weekly hootenanny called the Midnight Ramble (which is a life goal of Dustin and mine to go see someday…we need to do it soon, he’s gettin old).  What a guy.  Anyhow, I love this band…err, The Band.

* Included in the former (inspiration) and not the latter (great musician).

The Band doing a photo shoot in the main tracking room during the construction of Bearsville Studios

Bearsville Studios, main building

Bearsville Studios, The Barn

Inside the massive Studio A tracking room

Kills me everytime.  Mavis Staples just kills it.

Nerdery | Knobs

Small and insignificant, maybe, but someone designed these and put at least some thought into them…someone’s gotta appreciate them.  I tend to find appreciation for the small details in life; Nerdery.  Most of these from here.

Album Art | Josef Albers

A collection of record covers by Bauhaus artist, Josef Albers.  Really cool stuff.  I especially dig the Enoch Light record above.

Via.

“Visual album” brought to you by Animal Collective and director Danny Perez.  Select dateshere.  I got my tickets.  Should make for an interesting night.

Vintage Canvas Bean Boots

Vintage Maine Hunting Shoe in Green Canvas

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From The Vinyl Vault | Neil Young, Decade

I’ve got all my vinyls stored in a built-in bench seat, aka the vinyl vault.  I figured I’d pull one out every-so-often and talk about it.  First up is one that’s not actually in the vault since it’s up on my wall, but since I just posted that Neil Young video:

This record (this actual, physical record) might be one of the most nostalgic records for me.  My father was/is a Neil Young fanatic and this was constantly spinning.  I can picture it’s sleeve always laying around.  It’s pretty evident, per the layers of masking tape holding it together.  As somewhat of a dedication to my childhood, my parents, and Neil Young, it’s been hung up over our mantle.  It’s probably because of this record, which as the title implies, spans 10 years of his work (from ‘66 to ‘76), that he is till this day, one of my favorite artists.  Check the video below for an amazing performance of Old Man.