Encyclopedia of the Exquisite
Source Miss Onion
Discovering the Encyclopedia of the Exquisite, by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins, about two or three years ago was a deciding step towards fancying and finally creating the universe of Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds. Now I finally own a copy of this delicious book, a gift to remember, from my best friend.
I love every word I’ve read so far – I am making myself enjoy only a few entries every day – but then that’s not surprising because I absolutely feasted on her blog (check the archive!)
The dust jacket description of An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights perfectly summarizes what it is all about – Taking a cue from the exotic encyclopedias of the sixteenth century, Jessica Kerwin Jenkins catalogs enduring sources of beauty, focused on the elegant, the rare, the commonplace, and the delightful, from champagne to the art of lounging on a divan or dining alfresco.
As expected, she puts it exquisitely saying that this book is a homage to frivolity, with a far-flung, extravagant, and maybe a little eccentric scope – these carefully compiled tales of folly are the treasures that make it all worthwhile.
This book is worth reading for the rich use of rare words alone. It makes the perfect gift too!
That I love books is no surprise by now, but something you might not know about me is that I created my own brand of Couture Bookmarks, to enrich the exquisite pleasure and ritual of reading. These were limited edition handmade bookmarks as precious as a piece of jewelry, made using the finest materials and techniques.
The first collection – Pardon my French (All Black Edition) featured hand-sewn silk ribbon embroidery on oriental pure silk velvet, authentic Italian Saffiano leather (invented by Prada), gold plated metal accessories and a handmade silk tassel. Each bookmark was numbered and came with a Certificate of Authenticity, beautifully packaged in a velvet jewelry box.
I traveled around the world (virtually), to 7 countries on 3 continents, to source all the above, and now I am restless to do it again. Maybe the next few months will bring a new Couture Bookmarks collection…
‘Playing’ with Beads
As this letter marks a special anniversary for me, my finds this week seem to revolve a lot around the things that made me who I am today. And one of these things was ‘playing’ with beads. When I was younger, for many years I had a treasure chest of beads and sequins, strings, elastics and other tidbits, that I would spend hours experimenting with, inventing techniques (no Pinterest!), bringing the images in my mind to reality. I even sold some of these creations back in middle school.
I was heartbroken to find out a few years ago that my mom donated my treasure chest after I went to Uni and that might be part of the reason why I haven’t renewed my passion until now. But lately, I started thinking about it again.
Some research I did for Couture Bookmarks a while back revealed these Czech 24Kt gold-lined beads that I’ve been thinking about ever since. I am minded to order these and some others now and try my hand at some new designs – I saved plenty of inspiration here.
My Personalised Bank Card
An old version of my card
The last of my very personal archival exquisite finds for today’s letter is something really frivolous – borderline silly, I did about ten years ago, that still brings me immense delight, although I seldom get the chance to use it nowadays. When I opened my first bank account I had the option to pay for a personalised debit card and provide my own image for it. I went with a fashion illustration that I still love today and I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked about my unique card!
If you like the sound of this, research your local banks, as some still do it. For example, in the UK this option is available at Barclays, and in Romania, you can still request it at BRD Groupe Société Générale
On Turning 30
What 20 something years old fantasizes about being old(er)? None, right? Wrong! I do. Well, I guess I should say I used to, since I just turned 30, so I am technically not 20 something years old anymore. But the fantasy is still the same.
I have always been old at heart and I am a passionate romantic when it comes to the future! There is so much possibility and as I strive to better myself every day, I’m finding that my life is taking the same course.
Here’s to the next 30, clink-clink!
Live Virtual City Tours
A dear colleague (thank you, Catherine!) told me this week about an exquisite find just in time to help me celebrate my birthday in Italy, visiting both Venice and Florence! I suppose it’s nothing new, a plethora of such ideas has been going around for the past year, but after I tried a few virtual museum tours and even quick virtual drive-throughs I decided online ‘touristing’ is not for me.
That is until I learned about these live city tours with a professional guide. Well, this is a different experience altogether, first because an expert curates the content, so you don’t have to find your way, quite literally, and second because it allows for interaction with the guide and the others on the tour. The two guides I’ve seen so far were both locals, so you get a very authentic and insightful flavour to the storytelling. Plus, some of the other ‘tourists’ were also quite knowledgeable and asked many interesting questions.
Quotes of the Week (Plath, Woolf, Bukowski)
I knew I wanted to share a quote on this week’s letter, one that crystalizes my view of life at this point in time. I struggled to choose between three different ones and I think that’s because all three authors speak of the same thing – wanting more from life.
Still, I love the nuances, from Plath’s fear and Woolf’s secret wish to Bukowski’s bitter-sweet, slightly disappointing, but equally hopeful realization. If you share this view of the world, you’re bound to go through all these different moods. For me, the point is to understand that in the end, it’s in my power to do all I can to get what I long for.
Amen to that!
If this letter has offered you a moment of inspiration, kindly forward it to others who might enjoy it too. And if you have been forwarded it, indulge in all previous Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds and subscribe to the weekly letter.