August 25, 2015

Shop Spotlight: Pygmy Hippo Shoppe

When today's shopkeeper first contacted me to order cards for her less-than-100-square-feet shop, my home studio was an overflowing room of similar size and couldn't imagine trying to turn it into a store. Since then I have been constantly impressed and delighted by all the treasures to be found alongside a few of my cards at this tiny, magical place in L.A.! Please welcome this kindred appreciator of snacks, doggies, and Danny Trejo.

For starters, please tell me your name, what shop you represent, and where you are located:
I'm Emi, owner and renaissance woman at Pygmy Hippo, located in my hometown of Los Angeles, CA!
Are there any specialties your shop is known for?
The off-beat, the cute and the curious! Our stapes over the last 4 years have definitely been a tight selection of indie greeting cards, hand painted nesting dolls (done as everything from Broad City to The Ramones), locally made perfumes, art zines, vintage kitsch and statement jewelry.
What are five things I'd be sure to see if I wandered the neighborhood where your shop is located?
Restaurants, rappers, chabadniks, skaters and lots of cute dogs.

Are you an artist or craftsperson yourself?  If so, please tell me a little bit about what you create:
Yes ma'am! I owned and designed a natural history inspired jewelry line from 2005-2010, where I made most of my pieces ouf of scarab and jewel beetles, and I still like to dabble in that arena when I have the time. Being raised in a very DIY or DIE household has allowed me to dabble in varying mediums, and I like to make the standard crafty staples, like terrariums, candles, soaps, but at the moment I'm most excited about the line of Pygmy pillows and paper goods we're working for the shop!
Does your shop have any resident pets or mascots?
The magical and glorious Pygmy Hippo is our mascot of course, but we think all of the dogs that visit us on a daily basis are honorary mascots, too!
Describe the most exciting or weird customer you have ever had.
Maybe it has to do with the type of people who go out of their way to seek out a tiny whimsical store, but seriously, all of our customers are interesting and smart and always share the best stories with us!

If your shop had a coat of arms, what images would be on it, and what would your motto be?
Ooooo okay, the coat of arms would incorporate a silhouette of the state of California done in gold glitter, a pink Pygmy Hippo, party poppers spraying confetti, plus a mix of marijuana, puppies, and japanese candy. And while ultimately I hope to encourage and inspire people to march to the beat of their own drum, we don't really have a shop motto! A couple of quotes come to mind, I think it was Judy Garland who said to “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else,” which is forever relevant, and of course, the late great Frank Zappa also brilliantly said, “If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it."
And lastly, because I'm Betty Turbo, I must ask: What is your favorite dessert?
Bameih and zoolbia! Bameih are basically little donuts (even shaped sort of donut hole-ish) made from a yogurt and starch-based dough that gets fried before being dipped into saffron rosewater syrup. Zoolbia is made the same way with the same flavors, but it looks more like a funnel cake than a donut hole, and they are usually served together with piping hot black coffee and one cube of sugar!  

Enjoy the magic of Pygmy Hippo and shop online! And follow their super fun Instagram feed!

August 21, 2015

Shop Spotlight: Homebody Boutique

I love it when friends and customers refer me to their favorite shops and shopkeepers!  I connected with today's proprietress through my hair stylist in Portland.  "You should get in touch with my friend in Brooklyn!" she suggested while cutting my hair one day.  A few fun emails later and some cards were traveling across the country to this fine shop!

For starters, please tell me your name, what shop you represent, and where you are located:

Kate Silver, Homebody Boutique, Brooklyn, NY, specifically, South Park Slope.

Are there any specialties your shop is known for?

We carry kind of quirky handmade & indie designer goods. Some on the dark side, some on the cute side. We have a good selection of homewares, gifts, jewelry, and of course cards. Ii think the cards are what most people come in for, with jewelry running a close second.

What are five things I'd be sure to see if I wandered the neighborhood where your shop is located.

Restaurants, dogs, strollers, dogs, hair salons. 

What occasions do you think are most underrepresented in the world of greeting cards?

Break up cards!

Are you an artist or craftsperson yourself?  If so, please tell me a little bit about what you create:

I decorate and sell toilet seats. I create an image using hand cut papers with different textures and finishes, and then seal them in with a waterproof, shatterproof finish. Also occasionally furniture, mostly tables, with the same technique.


Does your shop have any resident pets or mascots?

My pit bull, Piglet, is a part time employee.  She has bad work habits, but a welcoming personality.

Describe the most exciting or weird customer you have ever had.

I feel like EVERYBODY is weird. So, in my opinion, there’s at least one weirdo a day. Some in a great way, some in a less than great ways...but for that reason, no one in particular stands out. As far as exciting, John Hodgman has been a customer a few times, and for me, thats always a thrill.

If your shop had a coat of arms, what images would be on it, and what would your motto be.

There would most likely be a skull involved, or maybe I'd go with a picture of Piglet's face. My motto was thought up by my brilliant friend Shannon Bell Price : "Gifts and accessories for the anti-social."

Rings by Susan Ritter, sweet Piglet, and ceramics by Noelle Horsfield
And lastly, because I'm Betty Turbo, I must ask: What is your favorite dessert?

Dessert is my favorite food group. As long as there are no walnuts involved, it's probably been my favorite at least once. However, if I keep thinking about it, I lean towards cake-y items... mmmmmm. Now that I am thinking about it, I'm off to get a donut.

Photos in this post courtesy of Homebody Boutique's Instagram feed! Follow along!

August 19, 2015

Astoria Adventures

Camp Corndog's latest expedition to Astoria was a delightful adventure full of tasty treats, but did anyone really expect any less??  Of the notable ice cream flavors concocted by the wizards of Frite and Scoop, my wowiest wow moment was the Moroccan Brown Butter with a raspberry swirl and delicious Ras El Hanout spices.  


I ventured up early with Chris of Corvidopolis and his wife Philadelphia, poncho queen of the Pacific Northwest, in their newly acquired pop-up camper van.  I would have buckled the stack of posters into their own safety belt, but they were too sassy and oversized to be contained in any mere box, so I just had to be very, very careful.  Previously in these poor posters' history, we had come home to find the power washing of our (100 year old and definitely not air/watertight) house had soaked a stack of posters for this show in muddy water.  I tearily said goodbye to an unredeemable percentage of them and spent a few hours ironing the rest back out with a heat press.  So you can imagine my anxiety when the humid coastal air started to induce ripply wrinkles!  We contemplated the best ways to MacGyver the shit out of supplies we could acquire at Safeway, attempting to wrap them in garbage bags with an open bag of rice, before being rescued by Lisa from Frite and Scoop and tucking them safely away inside overnight.


After waking up to the squawking of seagulls, we enjoyed some delicious parking spot breakfast tacos in the camper van! We surveyed many of Astoria's fine junk shops and vintage clothing shops, and after a festive night of Art Walk socializing, we played some fierce skee ball and air hockey in the local arcade.

Glad we made an stop to do a funny dance in front of the Goonies house on our previous visit in May, as I've just heard the thousands of visitors have finally driven the owners to refuse all photo ops and curious wanderers by covering their house up in blue tarps.  Since young Taco Tornado can cross this stop off his Cool Childhood Checklist we moved on to spending more time with the ridiculously comical sea lions and checking out the barnacled remains of the shipwreck in Warrenton.

The gears in our brains are already creaking along to come up with the next fun reason to take a trip to Astoria!  Our posters will be up at Frite and Scoop for the rest of this month and you can also purchase them online if you can't visit in person!  (Visit my Etsy shop, Corvidopolis's Etsy shop, or contact Mr. Hairy McSpecies!)  Though if you are remotely maybe close enough to check it out, I promise you that you NEED these frites and ice creams in your life.