Category Archives: Very Very Exciting

Rock On, Art Carpenter!

Espenet RockerThe Perfect Rocker, crafted by Espenet aka Arthur Carpenter. Walnut, 1970. Oh Yeah.

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Two Skulls Are Better Than One

Jimmy's SkullsIt takes a special someone to go for two of these puppies on the same hand and Jimmy Carton is that one. On his middle finger is the real deal—a silver pirate’s ring from the 1800’s. Ruby eyes, of course. On the pointer finger, a 24K gold cast of the same ring. The baby blues are star sapphires.

The original was procured by a Czech refugee by the name of Steve who brought it to his home in Negril, Jamaica. Steve had a gold cast made by Canadian jeweler friend, Yan, and gifted the genuine silver skull to his pal and mine, Jimmy. All this went down back in the late 1970’s in a castle on the cliffs of Negril that looks like this:106_0649_r1

Years later the gold ring made its way back to the side of the silver original. Does Jimmy choose to wear just one at a time? NO. Does he rock them one to each hand? NO. A finger’s space apart? NOT EVEN. This was meant to be.

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Feast Your Eyes Here

Two scorskies from the on your honor sliding scale bookshop in town—$1 for a good book, up to $5 for a self-determined really, really good book.

randThe Well Wrought Urn is a terrific book of poetic criticism by Cleanth Brooks with a terrific cover to live up to, designed by Paul Rand. My particular copy also features an additional design element from the previous owner on the lower right hand side that obscures Mr. Rand’s signature, but in an adoring fashion.

sitwellWith the dawning of this new year, I’ve been having a lot of conversations about the longing for mentorship and good models. And here she is—maybe? The little I know of Dame Edith is that she was a poet, a salon mistress, constant turban wearer and jewelry stacker, never married, 6 feet tall….and I can’t wait to learn more! Plus, Taken Care Of boasts another cover with a big pedigree, featuring quite a photograph by Cecil Beaton—who could resist this level of all-knowing bling? What a pleasure!

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Some Friends Are Poets

We’re having a POETRY READING! Come on over to the shop this Monday the 29th for some oh so lovely post-holiday-poetry from Lily Brown & Joshua Marie Wilkinson. The duo’s passin through town for a conference, and we at G&G are thrilled to hear their work with a little post read wine and hang. We’ll get going around 7pm at 18th and Treat Street of course!

One of my favorites from Lily:

Smaller Gulls Before

I want the tree a mile up to shakeMade by Sarajo Friden
its blond leaves to the pavement.

From my spot I think it odd that birds
don’t shit on us more often.
We’re right here ruining the sand.

I too further the obesity of gulls.
For years I’ve let them steal
my sandwiches and sealing wax.

That with which we stamp our selves
we stamp with our selves.
Sink of emblem in hot wax.
Lies that swap stories with heart.

Lily Brown is the author of two chapbooks, The Renaissance Sheet, published by Octopus Books in 2007, and Old with You, forthcoming from Kitchen Press very soon.  Her poems have appeared in Fence, Pleiades, Tarpaulin Sky, Handsome, and Coconut, among other journals.  She lives in Chicago.
Joshua Marie Wilkinson is the author of four books, most recently The Book of Whispering in the Projection Booth due out from Tupelo Press very soon. With Solan Jensen, he is the co-director of a tour film about the band Califone, also due out next year.  Born and raised in Seattle, he now lives in Chicago.

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Your Own Slice of Leif Pie

In this final lead up to Thanksgiving, I’ve been making an apple pie a day in an effort to perfect the craft. And while the pies have been delicious, they’re woefully far off from the perfection Leif routinely achieves with the same recipe. And, since I know practice and minuscule innovations make perfect in cases like these, I would like to extend Leif’s father-recipe to the lot of you in hopes that you might chime in with your findings about proper slice girth, proportion of flour to fat, and alternative filling ideas. Of course, your own entirely different recipes are welcome as well! All in the good name of a thunder-stealing Thanksgiving contribution.


There are aspects to this recipe, if you know what I’m saying, so I’ll give it to you straight from the man himself. Take it away Leif:

Important things first! Pie crust :
3 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 t salt
1 C butter
1/2 C cold water
1 egg
1 T white vinegar

Mix together flour and salt in a large bowl. I try to put as much
whole wheat flour in my crust as possible, but it depends on your
taste and the flour itself.* Slice the butter into 1 t pieces and cut
them into the flour with a pastry blender or two butter knives. You
want to make sure the fat smears into the flour without melting until
you have little crumbly bits the size of blueberries. Blend together
the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl, and then pour into a well in
the flour/butter mixture. Combine with a fork until everything’s
clumped up together. Divide into three equal volumes and roll out ;
each dough ball makes a single 9″ pie crust. Keep extras in the fridge
up to a few days.

* The crusts I made in SF this summer were all whole wheat pastry
flour, but when i got here i got some much grainier wheat flour, so
I’ve been cutting it half-and-half with white pastry flour.

Then filling for apple pie:
6-7 C peeled, chopped apples, preferably mixed types (apples direct
from trees would be delicious !!)
3/4 C sugar, more for sour apples
lemon juice for sweet apples
1 T flour
cinnamon and nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425. Peel the apples, quarter them and remove the
seeds. For each quarter, slice the apple lengthwise at 1/4″ intervals,
and then cut the slices in half cross-ways.* Mix the dry ingredients
together in a bowl and then pour over your pile of apples, stirring
just enough to coat them. For the spices, basically you want just a
tad of nutmeg (maybe a couple taps on the side of the angled spice
jar) and enough cinnamon that you’re fairly uncomfortable with it.
Heap the mixture into a 9″ pie plate lined with a bottom crust (it
will probably make a small-ish mountain), add 3-5 t of butter on the
top of the mountain, and drape another pie crust over it all. Cut
cutesy things in the top, or use a pie bird from the world’s best
stuff store. Flute the crust edges between your thumb+index finger on
one hand and your pinky on the other. Bake at 425 for 30m, and then at
375 or so for another 20-30m, or until thick juice bubbles out from
the pie. You might need to cover the edges of the crust during backing
to prevent burning. Cool a bit before eating.

* I’m still experimenting with chopping techniques. I think long thin
lengthwise slices tend to make a pie that’s too dense, while small
chunks make a pie that’s too crumbly. Let me know what you discover

Also, Leif would like to add that he got the crust from the Raleigh News & Observer, and the apple filling is from his mom. Also, the carvings in the top crust are crucial. Now, let’s all get to baking!

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Blow Blow Blow Your Phone

I have never wanted an iPhone until now. Tonight during an incredible evening of music from Avocet, Fertile Crescent and Lucky Dragons, the endlessly clever Tim O’Reilly was kind enough to play a melody of his own for me, on his mobile. I was stoked. In the context of a night of crazy electronically generated music Tim’s wee phone making ocarina sounds as he gently blew into its top “mouthpiece” was right in tune with the vibe.

Tim's iOcarina

Tim could charm any snake.

Yep. You can do it too.

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Filed under Lisa Foti-Straus, Toys, Very Very Exciting

Midnight Becomes Us


The Ladies of Gravel & Gold are beyond honored to begin purveying the fine magical goods of our resident ordained interfaith minister, intuitive counselor, and trusted witch Dori Midnight. From her kitchen sanctum on Guerrero Street, Dori presides over an enchanted domain of healing herbs, potions for the good, and a wee dog named Rainbow. In the shop, we are offering three pots of her charmed honey pots: for Abundance, for Love, and for Fertility. The honey base for each comes from local hives and is guaranteed to be as delicious as it is potent.


And a fair warning to you, ladies: Avoid all casual finger licking of the Fertility varietal. By all accounts, that potion knows just what it’s here to do.

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