Happy New Year: Out With the Old, In With the Older

Thanks for coming back to Dagger & Dill. We hope our fall issue warmed you up like a dash of cayenne in a molasses flapjack, and that your holidays were 100% bah humbug (where “bah” stands for bespoke artisanal holidays). Here in our winter edition, it’s all about keeping spirits up — illuminating this dark season with glimmers of light like sparks popping from a fragrant applewood bonfire.

We love few things so much as the sophisticated silhouette of a rosemary topiary, the dazzling diversity of mismatched antique glassware, and the unexpected undernote of soil in a fresh slab of cornbread. The winter of our discontent? We think not. This is the winter of our timeworn, salt-cured, hand-carved splendor.



Why, Thank You

Could Dagger & Dill’s fall issue (left) have inspired the last page of Vogue’s November issue (right)? Do these statements even need question marks? Of course we don’t mind the imitation. Color us flattered, Anna Wintour.


Speaking of things that feel familiar . . .

hipsters everywhereDoes AdWeek’s “Hipster Business Name Generator” have a crush?
We blush!

Pickle Me This

There’s not much coming up from the ground right now, so it’s time to head to your canning pantry to enjoy the fruits of your fall labor. A cold, gray day presents the perfect opportunity to open up those jars of tart, vinegary goodness. Winter is pickle season. What better time to host a party celebrating longevity?


Invite every craftsperson you know who’s in the sunset of their lives — your grandfather’s barber; the butcher at the farmer’s market whose lined face tells the story of the South; the calligrapher who wrote the envelopes for your first birthday all those years ago; Rhonda the basketweaver. This holiday supper is for anyone who might enjoy attending a dinner party while they still can.

On the Menu 

pickled cranberry mini-burgers
pickled butternut squash fritters
pickled rabbit ravioli
pickled sweet potato cupcakes
pickled beef doughnuts
hand-churned pickle & waffle ice cream
topped with a warm molten pickle bomb
to drink: hot pickle cider in copper mugs,
pickle moonshine spritzers in paint buckets

Make your guests comfortable as they tell you how they honed their crafts. Learn from them. Offer them neck pillows made from lavender stuffed muslin, warmed over the fire. Appreciate their ink-stained fingernails and the way the veins on their hands form a map of your very own heritage.


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Pine cones are nature’s disco balls. Multifaceted and attractive from every angle, these spiky little barkbombs say “party” without speaking a word. Lucky for us, Mother Nature made them hardy and longlasting, so they’re ready to be put to work all winter long.

Use pinecones in your Nativity scene. It's a pinecone baby Jesus!
Wait! Don’t discard those prickly little characters when you dismantle your tabletop Nativity. Carefully un-swaddle pinecone baby Jesus.


Add a few pinecones to your year-round arrangements of antique industrial parts.
Take those pinecones and arrange them throughout your home, mixed whimsically with antique industrial parts. The look is part warehouse chic, part rustic natural, and part Antebellum prison.

At D&D, we recommend the cedar scent of naturally harvested, organic pine cones gathered from the grounds of old mills that have been turned into recording studios. Hold one in your gloved hand, close your eyes, and you’ll swear you can hear a gospel choir.


Just In CASE

Got a case of the winter blues? Never fear. We’ve cased the joint to come up with the most tasteful and functional ways to give your home a fresh look. Case in point: repurposing beautiful antique cases. Sometimes, the oldest items have the newest appeal. In this case, we think you’ll agree.

Your great-aunt’s opera glasses may not have much purpose these days, but any modern man could use a stylish case for his prescription medications and homeopathic remedies. Dust it off and place it on his weathered oak stand-up desk.


Simmering root vegetables for a cassoulet? This vintage leather bar case can help. Simply remove the rusted metal drinking cups, and it’s a caddy for your collection of hand-whittled wooden spoons!


For the linen enthusiast, there’s no such thing as too many places to keep plush handtowels and lace-edged bathmats. That’s why your authentic Civil War era doctors’ bag with original metal clasps and leather handles will never go out of style. Every time you dry your face, you’ll remember that someone 150 years ago bit down on a hand-forged iron nail while having his foot amputated. America.


Readers Ask 

D&D Answers

Q: Help! We’ve invited some indie shop-owners and fly fishing guides over for gumbo and poetry this weekend, but the forecast calls for snow, and there’s a possibility our power could go out during the party. Should we preemptively cancel?

A: Take a deep breath. Your panic is understandable but unnecessary. So you don’t have electricity? No problem. Remember, this is why you built the wood-burning stove and/or stone fire pit out back by the old barn you turned into a greenhouse. String up your tiny lanterns, light each one individually, and you’ll be just fine. And if the white stuff is really coming down, why not make the most of it? Gather fresh snow in jars, add the ingredients below, and serve an assortment of seasonal snow-cocktails:

The Gritty Gritty Bang Bang: snow + shrimp, grits, Tabasco, and vodka 

The Deer Stand: snow + venison drippings and Scotch whiskey, with a gunpowder rim

The Pancake: snow + freshly-tapped maple syrup* and bourbon, garnished with preserved crumbs from your griddle

(* If possible, try to serve this in Vermont.)

Got wolves? If unexpected wild guests show up, invite them in. Ask them about their hobbies.
Got wolves? If unexpected wild guests show up, invite them in. Ask them about their talents.

And remember, you’ll need to dress for the weather. For your feet, nestle mohair socks inside knee-high boots with pewter buckles and a thick layer of goose grease on the outside to keep them watertight. For the rest of you, alternate layers of tweed, cashmere, and waxed canvas, and you’ll be perfectly toasty. Winter weather is full of surprises. Have fun with it!


 Up to Date

What people of style know and have.

image via PublicDomainArchive.comEdison lightbulbs: A deliciously old-fashioned way to illuminate your home or studio office on the second floor of an old movie theater downtown, these bulbs delight the eye with their wacky zigzag filaments.

Personalized shirting: Not just monogrammed or made-to-measure, but woven with real strands of your DNA mixed into the organic cotton fibers. Because it’s your shirt.

Custom ice: Mixologists know certain ice shapes melt better with particular types of whiskey, which is why ice cubes have evolved into oversized ice spheres, ice pyramids, ice trapezoids, and ice spirals. Try drizzling a smoky single malt over a delicate ice bonsai “tree” at the bottom of a glass, toss in a single butterbean, and marvel at how the flavors harmonize.


Now let’s all be nice.






Dagger & Dill is an offshoot of I Miss You When I Blink. Please enjoy responsibly.

Falling All Over Fall

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Dagger & Dill. We hope you’ll slip on a pair of cashmere socks, wrap your hands around a hot toddy in a pottery mug made by an old man in overalls, and stay awhile.

If it’s local, we love it. If it’s handmade, we fetishize it. If it’s old, we worship it. If it’s baked in a wood-burning oven, painted on a salvaged farmhouse door, or hand-engraved on a pewter cup, we dig it.

In our first issue, we’ll toss ideas for tasteful living around like an armful of so many fall leaves. Plus, we’ll answer reader questions and help you plan for what’s coming up on the calendar. Summer may be on the wane, but fall has a harvest of natural riches in store.

We believe in subtle flavor, quirky doorknobs, fresh peonies, and a rich patina. Details matter. Beauty is everywhere.

Life is for living.

“F” is for Fall, Foliage, and Friends:

The Seasonal Dinner Party

Fall is the perfect time to entertain at your home or in an abandoned barn. Obviously, you’ll hand-deliver the invitations. You can’t go wrong with these darling letterpress cards on acid-free paper:


Your fall supper will be an intimate gathering of your own personal illuminati — local cloth artisans, butter sculptors, and those orthopedic surgeon brothers who play in a bluegrass band. Choose a few friends who have a theatrical side, too, because everyone will be expected to chime in when you start playing folk favorites.

Pulling this party together is as simple as making a meal for dear friends. Simply break the process down into steps:

photo via UnsplashThe morning of: Finish canning the last of summer’s berry crop.

Seven hours before: Prep your veranda by misting the underside of the columns with calendula essence. By creating a scented reception area, you set the tone for cordial conversation and the exchange of ideas.

Six hours before: Kill the chickens for a pot pie. (You’ll achieve best results if you start with a shovel, then finish the job with a pearl-handled boning knife.)

Four hours before: Set the scene for after-dinner lounging by tossing an array of velvet, wool tweed, and crewel embroidery pillows around the room. Stack your family’s collection of quilts by the fire.

Three hours before: Write out name cards for each jam at the jam-tasting station. Roast the vegetables, roll out the crust, and assemble the pot pie lovingly in a heavy cast iron pan. It must be cast iron.

IMG_8683Two hours before: Muddle the pumpkin seeds, rutabega shavings, and apple skins in a cup of oak-cask bourbon with a sterling silver muddler. Stir in some corn syrup. Allow the mixture to sit by an open window to breathe.

One hour before: If you are a woman, stack 7 gold bangles on your arm. Jingle them. If you are a man, strap on your great-uncle’s watch.

10 minutes before: Light the candles.

5 minutes before: Mix and pour your signature Harvest Hammer cocktails into 9 gold-rimmed glasses and place on a tray for arriving guests.

Enjoy the party, and don’t sweat the surprises. If the chicken burns, use it as charcoal for a bonfire. If someone spills gravy, rub it into the floorboards for a delicate yet meaty shine. Before everyone departs, treat the group to your annual autumn tradition, the reading aloud of Colin Nissan’s It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers:

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal.

Then hand everyone a brown paper bag tied with grosgrain ribbon (surprise! it’s full of delicious beet-crumb muffins!) and bid them adieu.

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Hay bales are the jack-of-all-trades for autumn. Whimsically stacked, they can serve as seating for impromptu gatherings, decorative yard accents, or simply a spot to relax and whittle a little whistle shaped like a hedgehog. For the finest hay, gather it on the warmest evening after the fall equinox and before Thanksgiving, under a gibbous moon. At D&D, we’re partial to our local hay-grower’s bounty, which is not only organically grown and humanely harvested — it also comes hand-tied with lengths of Civil War-era twine, and it smells of history and courage.

Kale, anyone? We know *we* want some! Especially when it’s served on a bale of beautiful dried hay.

Tip: Use hay bales to accessorize antique farm equipment. Place one along your front walkway, and stab an old pitchfork into it at a jaunty angle. Put a piece of reclaimed wood from a stable door on top of another, and turn it into a table. Park an ancient wheelbarrow in your garden, and fill it with mounds and mounds of hay. The possibilities are as endless and unique as your collection of groundskeeping accoutrements.

This yellow Lab pup wants to hear some pickin'!
A young hunting dog frolics musically.

Readers Ask 

D&D Answers

Q: The worst thing has happened: My favorite pair of wellies has finally begun to disintegrate from years of wear. What should I do?

IMG_8656A: First, accept our condolences. A well-loved pair of mud boots is like a member of the family, and we’re so sorry for your loss. Second, don’t despair. While a worn-out boot may no longer protect your toes from puddles, it makes a perfect home for an herb garden. Fill each boot with a mix of soil and compost, and transfer some of your heirloom sage and rosemary into it. You’ll be reunited with your favorite former footwear every time you gather ingredients for the famous herbed cheese straws you learned to make from Lola, the owner of the shrimp shack where you spent so many afternoons as a child. Savor the memories!



Play cornhole with real corn!

 Loving Life, All Fall Long

Music Fall brings an end to festival season, as concerts move indoors. Check your local listings for news of shows playing in cozy spots such as pop-up flower shops, saloons, and post office lobbies.

photo via UNSPLASHFood Don’t stop browsing your farmer’s market just because summer’s over. Some of the most wonderful root vegetables and fall fruits are now hitting the stands. Organically grown turnips make a warm and soothing dish when mashed with fingerling potatoes and served in hand-painted ceramic bowl at a rough-hewn pine table. Coffee beans are ripe for the grinding, and if you save a few leftovers, you can tuck piles of them into tiny cheesecloth purses, which can be stuffed into your shoes to keep them fresh when you’re not wearing them.

Culture Read that memoir about denim. Go to a gallery crawl. Experience the quail-and-pancakes tasting menu at the new restaurant in the industrial district. Try welding.

Outdoors While the nip in the air may have you packing up your paddleboards, it’s still warm enough to enjoy many outside excursions such as leaf peeping, chipmunk peeping, and neighbor peeping. Rollerblading is a deliciously retro way to enjoy the paved areas in your local park — even better if you pack a tiny picnic, wear it on your back, and treat yourself to a gourmet mini-feast when you arrive at your favorite large, flat rock. An unhemmed burlap square or mid-century dishrag would make a nice napkin.

Giving Back We’re all tired of fundraising galas and auction brunches. Rejuvenate your generous spirit by reaching out in ways that are personal and meaningful. Send a pot of vibrant mums to someone who could use a pick-me-up. Bake a parsnip loaf for a senior citizen, and when you deliver it, ask if you can record them telling stories about their youth. Listen. Give a one-of-a-kind quilt to a panhandler. Touch someone.

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The holiday season will be here before we know it, and there’s no time like the present to start making your wrapping paper, monogramming your stockings with vegetable-dyed thread, and searching out the most delicate hand-blown glass ornaments to give as gifts to children.

No joke — want to do something nice?


Dagger & Dill is an offshoot of I Miss You When I Blink. Please enjoy responsibly.