Metatalktail Hour: What's on your favorite shelf? June 6, 2021 10:56 PM   Subscribe

Frimble thought of this question, and I didn't even know I had a favorite shelf until they asked! Do you have a fun shelf share? Is it because of the physical properties of the shelf, or its location, or what's on the shelf, or a combo? Is it a coincidence that "shelf" rhymes with "self"??? 🤯Yes! Yes, it is! Never mind, tell us a little about yourshelf anyway!

Or just let us know what's happening in your life, what's been on your mind, or anything you feel like chatting about (except politics, yaknow), and if you have ideas for future Metatalktail Hour topics, please send us a wire.
posted by taz (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 10:56 PM (25 comments total)

My favorite shelf is a cute little ... um, I'll call it a "tea rail." My husband made it for me because there's not enough storage space in my kitchen, and I have a lot of teas! It's a lovely, narrow strip of light colored wood sized to fit just under my cabinets on one wall, and he rounded the corners on it, and it's just super cute and sweet. And I have all my tea tins on it, just above my counter with the electric kettle. (it doesn't actually hold ALL my tea -- I have a whole other big box full, but I keep my faves on the shelf). I have many teas from Lupicia, in their adorable tea tins (one example), plus tins from other tea specialty shops, and some general colorful tea tins, plus my special tea measuring spoon, and my infuser. Tea Shelf! Highly recommended! :D
posted by taz (staff) at 11:17 PM on June 6, 2021 [3 favorites]

I've got a shelf made out of the sculpture I made for my final project in my fourth year studying sculpture. It wasn't a very good sculpture, but cutting it up and recycling the wood it was made from, it makes a pretty good shelf! Carved wooden sides with glass shelves. We use it to display a range of things we like, some of which are small objects we've picked up in the street. Porcupine quills, (yes, I live in a place where porcupines occasionally roam) bits of toys, dice, seed pods, shells.
I don't really have a good picture of it but this one is OK
I'm feeling very mixed up today as I have spent 3 weeks wrestling with the rather bad news my doctor gave me about my health, Only to discover last week that she made a mistake and completely misread an x ray. As in, misread the extremely plain written diagnosis the x ray tech added to the x ray. So she was just plain completely wrong, and all my angst about the diagnosis was unnecessary. I'm relieved that the serious diagnosis is incorrect, but feeling very mixed up about it all. So today I am feeling a bit fragile.
posted by Zumbador at 11:59 PM on June 6, 2021 [14 favorites]

Ack! I'm sorry you had to go through that ... but really happy it was in error. Yeeesh.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:58 AM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

At my boyfriend's house, my side of the bed is flush up against the wall. I used to tease him about how hard it is to not have a bedside table, so he built me a little shelf! It has a wider end on one side for soda pop or snax, and some heavyweight hooks underneath for a water bottle and phone charger. He also used industrial strength Velcro to add spots for a remote control to the reading lights and my Kindle. It's adorable and I love it!
posted by kinsey at 3:46 AM on June 7, 2021 [9 favorites]

Claiming the "tell us what's going on with you" right -

So mid-May my building was bought by a new landlord, and just before Memorial Day Weekend he delivered official notice to all 4 tenants in the building that he would not be renewing our current leases when they expired. He would be more than happy, however, to start all over with a new lease at "current market value". Some innocent questioning on my part yielded that "current market value" is about a 50% increase on what I'm paying now. Which is, as you can imagine, some serious bullshit, and no one in the building would be able to afford it.

However, one of the other tenants is a lawyer - not a housing lawyer, but she has friends who are. And we had a bit of a war council, where we came to the conclusion that:

* There are a ton of capital repairs that should be done on this building, and he gave no indication he was doing any of them in return for the rent increase;
* Tenant law in New York City seriously protects tenants;
* Eviction courts are so backed up right now with Covid-related evictions that it might take an entire YEAR for any eviction case to come to the court, and we could all stay put right where we are while it does;
* I could potentially claim a disability hardship, which would delay the trial even further;
* Our new landlord doesn't have a super for us, so no one has been taking out our trash for 3 weeks which is a massive city violation; and
* the last time we had an empty unit, it was 2 years before Covid and the old landlord tried selling it at current market value and it sat empty for that whole year, and the old landlord had to drop it down again.

So we're in a pretty damn good negotiating place for "either you renew our current leases at the rate we demand, or you buy us all out for a whole lot o' money, and by the way fuck you." A couple of us might make anonymous complaints about the trash building up as well so he gets some fines.

Just in case I've also looked at Zillow and Craigslist and such for this neighborhood (i want to stay in this particular neighborhood, so I can still be very close to work) and there's about 20 apartments in my budget on the market, about half of which are ones I'd seriously consider looking at. And if we get bought out, I could raise the budget a little even (as well as springing for the REALLY good moving services and replace a couple furniture pieces).

So this is more "serious pain in the ass" rather than "oh god I'm going to be homeless".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:22 AM on June 7, 2021 [20 favorites]

When my mother died I used the little bit of money I got from her estate to have my bathroom remodeled. The new vanity was smaller than the old one, so the guy built out the bottom half of the wall about 4 inches and created a small shelf to the right of the sink. It is the handiest thing ever. I keep a jar of Nivea Hand Cream on it -- it came from my mother's house. She used Nivea ever since I can remember, and I always associate the fragrance with her. I don't like to use it myself, too greasy, but when I'm feeling down I open it and take a big sniff. Proust had petites madeleines, I have Nivea.
posted by JanetLand at 5:48 AM on June 7, 2021 [13 favorites]

I have a shrine on the mantle. And I have a smaller shrine situation on top of the chest of drawers in my bedroom.
posted by thivaia at 8:56 AM on June 7, 2021 [6 favorites]

I have an extensive collection of beautiful rocks that were packed in various boxes and I couldn't see them very often. While I was thinking about how I could display and see them, I saw a great big mission style china cabinet with lights and glass shelves and glass doors that would keep the dust out. Only problem, $2400.

So I took to haunting Craigslist and found one for $1200. Still out of my price range. Continued to lurk and look and finally found one for $225. Kind friends helped me move it into my computer room and it is now loaded up with my favorite most sparkly and colorful rocks.

Not only can I see my pretties, the cabinet has drawers where I can keep and easily leaf through my slabs collection. Plus there are three wooden-doored cabinets that I can store my little boxes of little rockses in. I placed mirror tiles at the back of the glass shelves so I can see the backs of the rocks and bounce more light around. Gives a museum feel to my computer lair.

My computers are arranged in a U shape so I can spin around to use them. The middle of the U is inhabited by the scanner, printer and external drives. Just lately I put a shelf in front of that area and plonked in a music keyboard. I happily spend about 14 hours a day in my rock 'n' roll playhouse.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:38 AM on June 7, 2021 [7 favorites]

Of course my favorite shelf is in my bathroom.

It's a spindly wooden number with three shelves and it hangs right above the toilet. The bottom shelf is occupied by a copy of How to Shit in the Woods, a bottle of Humpty Dumpty Shat on the Wall lavatory mist, and an old photo booth photo of my husband and I from our young and wild party people days. The middle shelf sports a little spritzer of poo-pourri and an ancient matchbook. The top shelf contains this helpful hand sanitizer.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 11:54 AM on June 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

My favorite shelf is the top of a fencepost on the edge of my yard. It's just the right size to set a tiny lantern on it, and it makes a dark yard pretty cozy on moonless nights.
posted by mochapickle at 12:10 PM on June 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

hmmm....I don't have a favorite shelf per se, but I suppose the ones with the books on them are the best.
posted by supermedusa at 12:27 PM on June 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

What's on your favorite shelf?

Beer, if the fridge counts.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:15 PM on June 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

Okay, now that the literal/figurative fridge door has been opened... I keep all my out-of-season perfumes on the top shelf of my fridge door, where most people would keep 17 varieties of mustard, or perhaps soda cans?

My favorite shelf, structurally, is the little built-in under my bathroom medicine cabinet, not dissimilar to this example.
posted by All hands bury the dead at 2:42 PM on June 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

I bought some overpriced electric blue wicker shelves at a garage sale because they were skinny enough to put in the hallway near doors so that if you have both hands full of snacks and drinks you can put stuff down on the shelf for a second to free up a hand to open the door.

Everybody's birthday is in the spring, so I make a bunch of cakes for birthdays plus mother's day and valentine's day. Cake season ends at the end of May, so I packed up all the piping bags and tips and food coloring and ruby chocolate and white chocolate and regular chocolate and special flours and cake boards and so on and I crammed it all on the third shelf down of one of the blue wicker shelves in the hallway. So that's my new favorite shelf: cake limbo. All the little souls of future cake ideas assemble there to wait for next cake season.

Second favorite is a shelf in a closet in the bathroom called Batteries + Bulbs. I put all batteries and all bulbs on this shelf.
posted by Don Pepino at 6:21 PM on June 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

I have a serious lack of shelves in my new (year-old) place; they ran out of room on the truck, I had to leave most of my old bookcases behind, and I haven’t been able to afford new ones yet. Most of the stuff that used to be on shelves is still in boxes.

I was just thinking the other day about the teardrop book rack I made in Grade 7 wood shop. It was this little thing with a piece shaped like a teardrop at one end, with two dowels running at a slant on the bottom to a small rounded rectangular piece at the other end, so the stack of books would lean against the teardrop. Cute.

Once I’d made mine and it was proudly set up on a shelf in the living room, I started noticing that there was at least one in every single house in town, in every conceivable color of varnish. Everyone who’d been through Grade 7 at our school in the previous thirty or so years had made one. There were houses with two generations of teardrop bookracks. Mr. Costello had literally never felt the need to shake things up even a tiny bit.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:17 PM on June 7, 2021 [6 favorites]

Oh.....10 shelves excluding bookcases, except two. The two. First is a Grand Rapids circa 1928 bookcase atop that are photos of my ancestors and friend departed. 5 generations of photos. The 2nd is my 19th-20th century books like Rip Foster, Goethe, Leathered HG Wells, Ibsen, alot of grans small books atop my curio case.
On my second landing up I have one with only Russia stuff. Postcard, the doll, pack of Gorbachev smokes, a Lap Harp and tin for Soviet wartch.
Another, 'Portrait of Cardinal' by Raphel. Small Don Quixote statute. Brick sculpture from Belize and a small clear frame of "Man in the Open Air" by Elie Nadelman.
small shelf with a 1960s Jelcob 16mm camera and one of those scope things you put the double picture in. with buddy Jesus.
Narrow shelf of my own making with 2 elephants, a Korean bowl, a can of water from Flint water crisis, photo of solder handing it out omitted. a 1930s Champion Park plug box. A tin for a 1971 Dustfoe Mouth respirator.
in a odd corner shelf my Ahkanaten and Horemheb box's, clock, 1960s barometer and a cheap bust of Nefertiti.

curio cabinet. two Belleek pieces. Empty bottle of mercury (safe) gold and silver flakes in oily water from Nevada. Dads rare Naval Aviation and Gunnery Mug. A box from Syria. Hamburglar drinking glass. Dads Zippo. Strohs glass from Germany. Crystal salt shakers and an autograph from Jack Dempsy to my Dad.
posted by clavdivs at 7:48 PM on June 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

All of my shelves have books on them, but I'm not sure I could pick a favorite of my Jane Austen shelf vs. my Bill Bryson shelf vs. my Ellen Raskin shelf. I have a few small non-shelf shelves (windowsills, the tops of giant 80's-era speakers) that I use for bits of decor because people are supposed to have decor and I have zero skill at decorating. Perhaps I need to get a shelf/create a shelf for treasures? (Maybe my shelf is metaphorical and it's actually everything that lives in my Mac?)

My personal life has been confusing lately. Something that I feared was sad/bad for much of the past year turns out to be just...uncertain. Nothing big like Zumbador's thing. (Zumbador, I'm sending you a hug.)

But tonight had a bright spot, I just did something I never do. I went out to Krispy Kreme because they keep sending me emails about their new lemonade glaze doughnuts. There was a kerfuffle because every time I'd start placing my order, a firetruck would go by with a siren, so it took quite a few minutes.

When I mentioned to the drive-through microphone that I had my vaccination card (because you get one Krispy Kreme free if you show your vax card, all through 2021!!!) but that I'd be wearing my mask when I drove though, the guy seemed super-delighted and was giving me all sorts of praise for that. And when I got to the window, three workers were at the drive-through window, ready to hand me the box of a few doughnuts before I even got out my wallet, and they said, "We'd like to give you these at no charge, ma'am." I was so delighted, I didn't even mind getting ma'amed.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 9:48 PM on June 7, 2021 [11 favorites]

To bridge the gap between my cri-du-coeur and the actual topic of the thread:

If I do have to move, one thing I will be sure to be losing is the metric assload of closet space that is in my current apartment. There are five closets in my current apartment, and two of them are walk-ins. One of my neighbors uses the hall walk-in closet as a playroom for her kids instead, it's that big.

However, another of my neighbors introduced me to the whole world of "Hacking Ikea stuff to create huge storage walls that look all designer-y and built-in for cheap", and I've started thinking that if we are all bought out, I could really get into designing something. (I could create a shelf that's a shrine to Anthony Bourdain! A cabinet that's just for my yarn! A shelf with the complete set of the Cerebus graphic novels! Build a kitchen island with a bookcase underneath that's just for cookbooks! Open-concept storage for the dishes! By God, people, I could actually create a dedicated coffee station!)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:13 AM on June 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

As I've mentioned previously, our house (designed by Mr. Carmicha) features many hidden elements, possibly including a secret room partway up a staircase and behind a fireplace, hidden by a sliding bookcase. This bookcase--if it existed, which of course it does not-- would slide into the room itself, such that when it was in secret mode, it looks like a built-in. Its shelves would hold rocks and shells and fossils and antlers and bones and other cool stuff we've found around the world. So those shelves would be my favorites. If they existed.
posted by carmicha at 10:03 AM on June 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

Absolutely nobody on Earth cares about this, including me, but my Virgo brain won’t let me go without correcting myself. My Grade 7 shop teacher was Mr. Ray, not Mr. Costello. Mr. Costello taught auto shop next door, and he and Mr. Ray looked and dressed like long-lost brothers.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:08 AM on June 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

(Mr. Costello’s students probably rebuilt the same Edsel motor every year.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:12 AM on June 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

My favourite shelf!? But the other shelves will be offended... wait maybe it's the shelf I live on. LOL just kidding I am a natural hermit.
posted by Coaticass at 2:42 PM on June 8, 2021

We have a "crazy box" that an old housemate found on the side of the road, that was some sort of religious shrine we assume (large greek population around here). It now has googly eyes on either side of the cross at the top, and is filled with a variety of odd toys/figurines including stitch with nipple clamps on his ears. Also fairy lights.

It's been there for so long I don't even notice it anymore, but it does confuse the occasional visitor.
posted by kjs4 at 9:15 PM on June 10, 2021

I set up a Toast Shelf in the kitchen, with a turntable that holds the butter dish, Vegemite, jam, and a shaker of cinnamon and sugar. We are Very Devoted to Toast in our house, so it is a source of much happiness.

Right above it is my Caffeine Shelf, and that has a turntable that holds my little manual coffee grinder, my Aeropress and its accoutrements, filters, etc., and tea filters.

So, basically, one-stop breakfast.
posted by BrashTech at 8:49 AM on June 24, 2021

My two current favourite shelves are both a fungus: Ganoderma applanatum, the artists' conk, and Laetiporus sulphureus, the sulphur shelf or chicken-of-the-woods. Along with all the more substantial bracket fungi (that for some reason warrant little attention among the notoriously mycophilic Italians) I've been on a kick to find these two, and had luck with the first, so far. I like their staying power (as opposed to most fungi's fleetingness), and that they have tried-and-true uses (G. applanatum, as a traditional spontaneous "canvas", and L. sulphureus as a tasty wild food). Further ahead in the year I'll be adding two more shelves to this favourites watchlist, both for their culinary potential: Fistulina hepatica (which I've been gifted a Roman recipe for) and Ischnoderma resinosum, tricky ingredient though it may be ;-)
posted by progosk at 1:51 AM on June 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

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