A Melange of Topics Including Melange!


I needed cinnamon.  My favorite spice store, The Spice Corner,  had closed.   I didn’t feel like running up to Reading Terminal and pre packaged spices from the grocery store were out of the question.  That left Melange, a tea and spice store at 11th and Pine Streets in Philadelphia.  Melange has been open for a couple of years but I had never shopped there before I stepped in that November afternoon.  When I asked if they carried cinnamon, proprietor Boris Ginsburgs  steered me to a shelf that held Saigon cinnamon, Sri Lankan cinnamon and Indonesian cinnamon.

“Could you explain the difference between the three of them?”

Boris launched into an explanation that was concise, lucid, and which branded him as a tea and spice nerd. Maven would be a better description.  I ended up buying small onamounts of all three varieties intending to try them in different dishes.    And I will go back to Melange when I need more spices because they have such a big, reasonably priced assortment.

Boris Ginsburgs knows his tea and spices.  Just read through the Melange web site if you want a tea and spice education.  Better yet, go to Melange and buy some new spices to try.



In other news,  I raised a little money for the Fleisher Art Memorial  by running a make and take bracelet table at their annual Holiday Craft Fair.   I also contributed a piece to Fleisher’s semi-annual fundraiser, Dear Fleisher, 4 x 6  inches of  Art.


   More than 300 artists contributed work to the fundraiser.   All the work  is  priced at $50.00 and  the artists remain anonymous until the work is  sold. The polymer  piece I donated  went home with a buyer.

Where Satellite Dishes Go to Die


A Walk Down Pine Street

The area of Pine Street in Philadelphia  that stretches from about 13th to 9th Streets  is still known as  Antiques Row even though most of the antique stores have moved out.   The good news is that after a dry spell and the recession (which has not ended for everyone)  new businesses are moving in and what’s more, they are changing the character of the street.   And between you and me, while I appreciate antiques I would rather troll house sales and out-of-the-way flea markets than go into antique shops.

I never bought a thing on Antiques Row.  But surprisingly (to me)  I find myself patronizing the new stores on Pine Street, particularly  the block between 11th and 10th Street.  If I want a nice gift,  that’s where I go.  My husband and I  were looking for a piece of furniture to replace an old entertainment center and ended up buying a mid-century console at Hello Home-and paid less than we would have for a mid-century knock off   at a mass market place like Crate and Barrel or West Elm.

Plus I have  enjoyed walking down Pine Street from the time I was in high school in South Jersey  and ditched classes to come to Philadelphia and play.

Here are some pictures and links to the web sites from some  of the stores.   You can get a complete list here.  Come and see for yourself the next time you are in the mood for something a little different and cannot endure another shopping mall.






Happily Ever After


Show of Hands Craft Gallery


Hello Home








Spirit of the Artist


Addiction  Studios

12 11










Puss in Window

Read about Pine Street in Transition