James Fox spent his early life shuttling between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the rolling hills of the Scotland Borders. From that upbringing came an appreciation for thrift-store American workwear, as well as John Buchan and tweed. He worked for London’s first Wagamama, then in full tuxedo for a French chef on the island of Nantucket off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. High/low style sums up the tone of his family/food/literary/vintage blog, 10engines.
Everyone has a go-to present — or at least we have go-to Etsy shops. I have to admit my shopping on Etsy doesn’t fall too far from the tree, but when you find a crafter you like, they will often tweak your purchase in some way for you. I really like that. Here are a few favorites.
[Clockwise from top: Harris Tweed Cafetiere Cosy from fieldytweed; Maple Leaf tartan bow tie by rufflentuck; Vintage Nantucket postcard by NantucketCards; Vintage FanMaster fan from TheTreasuredBarn.]
Harris Tweed cafetiere cozies and hotwater bottle covers — bingo! Inexpensive bow ties made in all the colors of Canadian regiments — bam.
You know how there is a site for everything? Well, there is probably a seller for everything, too. I recently toured a WWII battleship and started digging for old electric fans. Then I went looking for old Nantucket cards …
[Clockwise from top: Vermont tee by NewDuds; Gallon of 100% Pure Vermont maple syrup by VermontMaple; Ring made from a Vermont state quarter by gulfdog, Blacksmith penny end hook rack by Furnacebrook; 1960s Johnson Woolen Mills plaid jacket from secretlake (I have this one already, too! – James) ]
For my money, Johnson Woolen Mill makes some of the longest lasting and undersold jackets and woolen pants around; I keep a bookmarked search on Etsy to do the looking for me.
The most economical way to buy maple syrup is a) by the gallon and b) direct from the sugar-maker (reminder: they call maple syrup production “sugaring”). Maple sugar predated cane sugar and as the only source of sweetener in colonial times, everything reeked of maple. If you could afford it, you bought “Fancy” graded syrup so you could have a non-maple tasting cake/donut/whatever. Fancy maple has very little maple taste, so if you want maple flavor on your pancakes, I suggest buying Grade A-Dark or B (even darker and more maple-y). Fancy/Grade A is the lightest and sold to out-of-staters.
These vintage picks are stone cold classics. I have versions of them all already, but you can lurk on Etsy and pick up your own: a trapper-type backpack/basket in the Adirondack style representing New England; a blanket-lined denim jacket to hold your western paperback; and a old duck-hunting camo coat from Carhartt. Could you wear them all at once?
Thanks for the great finds, James. Time to stock up on Grade B Maple Syrup!