This set of trivets. They are about 5" high and made entirely of cast iron and have a big 'TAIWAN' stamped on the back. They belonged to my great-grandmother and my mom acquired them at some point when we were living in (or had just moved into) our apartment in the late '90s. I love these little things! I think they are adorable...and they make we want to cook something small just so that I could use a tiny serving dish and place it on top of one of them. (Don't you love how I hang things at my house?? Thumb tacks, classy!)
My autoharp. I got a crazy notion in my head to start playing autoharp around Christmas this last year. Two of our new Norman friends said that they could teach me too! To date I have only had two lessons, but I hope to rock out again with my fantastic music teachers. I do practice on my own, and so far I can play five songs! And no, I don't just strum...I am really trying to learn to use my finger picks. My autoharp is a reissue of a 1930's Oscar Schmidt model. It is solid black and has sharp angles which helps me hold it better. Her name is Jetta. I like to think that she is a dirty mouthed old lady who drinks too much, but also makes homemade cards for all of her friends and family for Christmas. I imagine that when I mess up a chord or I drop my pick into the hole (which happens when I am strumming), that she just smiles and tells me to just get my shit together and that everything will be okay.
A book of Art Nouveau tiles. I love Art Nouveau. Yeah, I know. I am supposed to be a "serious" art history grad student, but you know what (?!?) I have a soft sport in my heart for Art Nouveau and Edwardian illustrative art which no amount of academia is going to mess with! I found this great book at the library one day when I was purposefully looking for a distraction. I had recently spent some thought on making tin-can lanterns/candle holders for the balcony, and was sketching a few pattern ideas early in the day...and then I found this book! I cannot wait until I get some free time later this summer when I can translate a few of these designs onto tin candle holders.
National Public Radio. I cannot tell you how often I get to a point in the early mornings, when I have been up all night typing or reading for class, when the coffee stops working and I have already cleaned everything in the house...and I still have to stay up, that I turn on my radio to NPR and I get a new jolt of energy. Thank you NPR for being so awesome. If you like NPR as much as I do you should give them some money! It is public radio after all! Just click on the link and help keep fellow grad students like me going!