Category Archives: Vintage Inspiration

Hooray for the Year of the Dog!

mixed media collage by Amy Gorrek

Today marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Dog. I was born in the year of the dog, so this is super exciting for me!

Chinese astrologer, Laura Lau sums it up on Refinery 29:
Lau says: “The Dog does his best to protect high-integrity people and support their cause.” In other words, this year of the Dog may see people fighting for the causes they believe in. This influence could manifest itself as large-scale political movements or something as simple as local community work and small acts of kindness.

Do you know your lunar symbol? How does it interact with your zodiac sign?
I’m a Leo born in the Year of the Dog.. I did a quick google search and found a pretty accurate description of the Leo/Dog combination. I guess this explains why I’ve always considered myself a dog AND cat person!

The collage above was created on chipboard with mixed media paper ephemera from my treasure trove(!) and gouache paints. To see more of my collage work, check out my instagram. ♥

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Rough Draft Bar & Books

A few weeks ago, on my instagram feed, I stumbled upon a post from a café in the Hudson Valley. I looked further and saw photos of books and coffee and beer — all snuggled under one roof with a very poetic name.. Rough Draft Bar & Books. This café/bar/bookstore caught my eye and tugged at my heart strings. In the comments section, I tagged my dear friend/former college roommate, Tracey, who lives in Troy, NY — and said “Hey, we should meet for coffee here soon!”.

Tracey agreed, and a couple of weeks later we did just that! She drove an hour South, and I drove two hours North — We met around noon and enjoyed great coffee, conversation and a bite to eat. Rough Draft was just as adorable as I had expected — quaint, cozy with great energy. It’s located in historic “Uptown” on John Street in Kingston, New York. Rough Draft has only been open a few months and seems to be a bustling hub for the community.

From there, we walked up John Street toward Front Street and meandered in and out of antique stores and shops of Uptown Kingston. Then we drove a few miles to “Downtown” which is near the river — and wandered in/out of more cute shops, chatting it up with their friendly owners.

What I loved about this day was seeing an old friend, face-to-face, in a new place and exploring it together as we caught up on each other’s lives. Technology introduced us a great new spot, then we followed it up with some old fashioned friend time.

Making the time to get together with friends in person is worth the effort 1000 times over. Reserving a day to break away from the usual routine is also completely refreshing. Especially in the middle of winter. MORE day trips please!

We wound down our visit at a great restaurant called Kovo and enjoyed a late lunch of chickpea fritters and Greek Caesar salads. Super yum.

I realize as I am writing this post that I should have taken notes at all the places we stopped into!! Oh well — I was caught up in the moment of the day — and wasn’t thinking about much! Which is a good thing I guess. 😉

Alas, a very thorough blogpost has already been written about Kingston! To learn more about this “city in the middle of the country”, click here. Or just get yourself over there and wander around yourself! ♥

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Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you much love and peace this Thanksgiving.

Along with cooking yummy recipes and spending time with family, I plan to take some time to nurture my inner artist by making more collages this weekend. I have a boxes of vintage ephemera I’ve collected over the years — waiting to be repurposed into new art. The above “Acorns” is one I created last Fall. ♥

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How to Know the Wildflowers

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Tonight as I was thumbing through one of my coveted antique books for typography inspiration, I found the most amazing little treasures within its pages.

Notes of wildflower sightings from the summer of 1902 & 3. AND an actual columbine flower that had been carefully pressed between the pages of its correct spread. This flower was picked, recorded, and placed in this book over 100 years ago. Such a treasure. (Gulp)

Lois Ehlert



Over the past few months, Silvie and I have been spending our mornings in the toddler’s section of the
Westport Library. It’s an amazing place; they host free programs for kids of all ages, and they also have really great toddler play areas. While my daughter entertains herself and discovers new-found friends; I sit aside and thumb through some of the artful, inspiring books that surround us.

Recently I discovered the work of Lois Ehlert, a wonderful artist, author and illustrator. I find her books to be witty and wise, and wonderfully associated with nature.

Basement Finds

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I accidentally caused a smallish (harmless) flood in our basement last week. While mopping up, I noticed a handful of little packaging treasures on the shelf. Old items left behind by the different generations that have inhabited our house since it was built in 1940. Simple type + graphics + illustration. Pre-computer, pre-photoshop. Stuff like this makes me happy.