Tools: useful and beautiful

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” – William Morris

I like to use beautiful things, which means I’ve broken a few of them. The first item in the photo gallery was broken when I got it, though: a watch that belonged to a family member (by marriage), supposedly army issue, Tsarist Russia (look! Cossacks!) escaping through Finland…we have so many family stories that can’t withstand interrogation. In any case, I think the little hands on the front are unexpectedly sweet, and I like opening up the back and looking at all the gears. I consider it useful because I fully intend to find a watchmaker someday, if such people still exist, and have it repaired.

The second item is my grandfather’s folding carpenter’s rule from Ukraine/Poland/the Czech Republic (pick one). My grandfather staggered off after they got to the U.S. and forgot to take it with him. I love that you can see where it’s been broken and carefully repaired, and I use it when I’ve misplaced both of my tape measures.

Up next, my mother’s hammer. If you never met her, you have no idea how funny that sounds. I am a steroid-swilling giantess compared to her; my mother’s forehead would crease while she was struggling to push in a thumbtack. I guess that’s why she needed her own hammer. Anyway, the head is brass, with a wonderful sheen, and it’s the perfect size for small hands, as my daughter can tell you. It’s actually quite a wicked little tool.

Finally, my favorite wooden knitting needles, a present from Shanan. They’re so fabulous, they practically knit by themselves. There’s an explanation for how they’re made here, although I’m not sure it’s the same brand.


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