We’re back.  It was a short trip, but fun.  We caught our plane at 7 am this morning, so nothing exciting happened today.  Yesterday, though, I went to the Mission area of SF to browse about.  It’s very funky and I wish I’d gone earlier so that I could have gone back again.  It started to rain while I was there and I didn’t stay as long as I might’ve.  My friend Karen told me about a discount fabric place and I spent a lot of time in there.  They had a HUGE selection of fun fur, but it was all $49 and $59 a yard.  That would make for a rather large price increase in the ol’ Nom Nom bags.  When I’m famous.  Then I’ll get all that fabulous fur.  They also had oil cloth for 2 bucks a yard cheaper than Britex.  Boo.  I did get some upholstery cloth samples that were only 99 cents each and are a bit bigger than fat quarter size, good for bags.

But I bore you.  I had pretty food at a Japanese restaurant.  I was about 3/4 through it when I thought “crap, that rice probably had some soy sauce on it.”  But it wasn’t much and it didn’t bring pain, so yay.  But look:

the carrots are flowers!  The gourd strips are tied into a knot!  Taro root loveliness!  Each veg was cooked perfectly, the rice was perfect and well seasoned.  AND they had the same rice cooker I do b/c I heard it singing in the kitchen.  So much good food to eat.  So few days.

Then I stumbled upon the coolest store.  It’s called Paxton Gate and it’s just…bonkers.  On one of their cards it has a quote from “Time Out London” that says “Martha Stewart meets David Lynch” and that is a perfect summation.   Apparently, it started as an eccentric gardening and landscape store and gradually branched into natural sciences and then home decor.  My first impression when I first went in was of an 16th Century artist’s cabinet of curiosities.  It was just little bits of lots of things, but arranged well so that they flowed from one thing to the next.  There was a table of things mushroom-related–a book about mushrooms, mushroom jewelry, dried decorative mushrooms, etc.  Then insects–mounted insects under glass, brass insects, books about insects, woodprints of insects.  It was all beautifully arranged and displayed.  There was also a lot of taxidermy, but it really fit.  Some were your standard mouted head, but also jackalope.  And mice wearing costumes.  There were signs everywhere that said “no photographs” and I tend to be a hopeless rule-follower in those situations, but luckily I found some rebels on Flickr and I’ve posted their photos.  most are from curiousexpeditions whom I wish I’d found earlier b/c there’s some other cool stuff in SF I’d like to see, now.

This is the counter in the front.  Each of those wee drawers has stuff in it–taxidermy eyes, cork bottle stoppers, dried insects–it was a delight for my nook and cubby-loving self.

This is just as you come in, on your left.  See how the first table there is mushroomy things and then flasks and bottles, then jewelry?

Flasks and bottles, looking cool.  I love these things. We use an ehrlenmeyer flask as a wine decanter.

I love how displaying things as art makes them beautiful.  Or maybe that’s just me.  Tell me, vat do you see?  Intriguing display or big pile of dead gophers?

To your left as you enter.  Taxidermied unicorn and antique wheelchair.

View of the store from the front.

Big piles of ephiphytes.  There were SUCH cool plants. I don’t usually go in for weird-ass plants, I’m not a fan of orchids, really.  I find them interesting, but I don’t want to be bothered with them.  But they had all sorts of bizarre succulents and things that I found super cool.  I wished I could have taken them home.

And then…my favorite thing.  Equally horrifying and utterly charming was a display case of taxidermied mice in costumes.

Seriously, who WOULDN’T want dead mice on their wedding cake?  Name one person.

Check out wee Hamlet, with his little skull.  so. cute.   And, equally, creepy.  I couldn’t find any photos of the little mouse angels with their feathery wings and outstretched legs, hovering over the rest of the scene.  Seriously, I just gaped at these.

They also had a kids’ store a few shops up that had fake taxidermy that was aMAZing.  Birds made of paper that look like real birds until you’re right on them.  Soooo cool.  If you’re ever in SF, go to the Mission, go to Valencia street, 824, and enjoy!