The Kickstarter Blog

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  1. Birch Books Conservation's Library of Philip Johnson

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    You know how when a date invites you back to their apartment, said date attempts to cop a feel as you simultaneously attempt to review the spines of every book atop the coffee table? Well. We've heard this is something some people do. Point being: personal libraries can be deeply personal things. They offer tangible windows into someone's passions and curiosities. They present a unique sense of history and can paint a pretty spectacular portrait of their owner's mind and heart. Though sometimes a fat stack of lit demonstrates little more than how aforementioned date hopes to present aforementioned self,  when it comes to the Great Minds of American History, rest assured, their libraries were for more than a game of show-and-smooch. 

    Birch Cooper is a man who understands the value of the book. He began buying and selling rare books as a college student in the 1990s and moved to New York in 2001, where he developed and curated libraries for homeowners and commercial clients. (Ok, so this Cooper fellow might know a thing or two about lady-slaying libs. Not gonna hold that against him.) His latest literary endeavor, Birch Books Conservation, is a non-profit organization devoted to the researching, recording, and protection of books found at historic sites. Cooper is using Kickstarter to raise funds for the organization's first project, the library of world-famous architect Philip Johnson

    Preserving the "professional libraries of artists, architects, authors, and important public figures through publishing, photographic and written research," Birch Books Conservation shares the library collections of "distinguished people and places" of the United States. Johnson created his landmark Glass House in New Canaan, CT, in 1949, and that house is now the site of his professional library. After 3 years of researching, photographing, and summarizing its contents, The Library of Philip Johnson: Selections for the Glass House will be ready for printing this fall. 

    The 250-page volume contains over 350 photographic illustrations and brief textual analyses of 100 selected volumes from Johnson's study. Each selected title includes a photograph of the cover, highlights from the interior, and a synopsis of the contents. (You can preview the book here.) A few notable selections include Rem Koolhaas' Delirious New York, Pratt Professor (and wife of Laszlo) Sibyl Moholy-Nagy's Matrix of Man: An Ullustration History of Urban Environment, Hans M. Wingler's Bauhaus, Anatole Kopp's Constructivist Architecture in the USSR, Martin Greif's Depression Modern: The Thirties Style in America, and Helen M. Fox's study of Versaille's landscape architect, Andre Le Notre: Garden Architect to Kings. Featuring a forward by Glass House Executive Director Robert A.M. Stern, Selections from The Glass House contains a diverse combination of works that influenced Johnson's iconic brand of American modernism.

    As a non-profit, all proceeds from the sale of Birch Books' publications go toward the conservation of historic US sites' libraries — in this case, Johnson's Glass House. As we become increasingly nostalgic for the rich histories and physicality of books, their importance grows stronger every day, and Cooper's Kickstarter project seems like a wonderful way to explore and preserve our intellectual and cultural heritage for years to come.

  2. "Creme de Kickstarter" — Phin & Phebes Make Us S'Cream

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    Phin & Phebes is a two person ice-cream company based out of Brooklyn, New York who have embarked on a noble, albeit quite simple, mission: to make delicious ice-cream that you want to eat! I don't know about you, but it's not terribly difficult to make me want to eat anything creamy and loaded with sugar. Case in point, the duo's signature flavor "Fluffnut," which packs the astronomical pow of peanut-butter-and-Fluff filled Ritz cracker sandwiches covered in a double layer of chocolate and caramel, ensconced in a sweet cream base. 

    A bowl of Fluffnut, just waiting patiently for you to eat it.
    A bowl of Fluffnut, just waiting patiently for you to eat it.

     And while the final product is unquestionably gorgeous to behold, there is a surprising amount of elbow grease, scientific research, and plain ol' trial and error that goes into creating a new flavor of ice-cream. Before Fluffnut looked like the Perfect 10 that it does, above, it looked like this:

    It was just your average creative brainstorm, scribbled on paper, then (as we like to imagine it) mused over during countless sleepless nights. Which got us thinking: What kind of ice-cream would we make if the only limit was our imagination? Would we dream of caramel or chocolate or fresh, icy berries? Would we choose a mint base? Sweet cream? Cheesecake? Then we thought, why not ask the experts? We dropped Phin & Phebes a friendly line to ask what kind of ice-cream they would envision as "Kickstarter." 

    Their response: 

    When we first thought about an ice cream flavor for Kickstarter, we focused on the colors of the Kickstarter logo: green and black. We then tried to think of things that have these colors, that we could turn into an ice cream flavor. The flavor we came up with is called "Creme de Kickstarter." This flavor is inspired by Grasshopper Pie, which is traditionally a chilled minty green pie with some sort of dark cookie crust. This ice cream has a minty base, made with creme de menthe (for the booze hounds on your staff) and is filled with broken up pieces of chocolate peppermint cookies and peppermint patties.

    Only one descriptive possibly could suffice: Drool. Read on for our very own, patented Kickstarter ice-cream recipe, care of Phin & Phebes. And be sure to drop us a line if you end up making any! We want to hear all about it. 

    Creme de Kickstarter
    makes about 1.5 pints (900 ml)


    • 1 pint (600 ml) milk
    • 6 egg yolks
    • 4 oz (100 g) sugar
    • 5 fl oz (150 ml) heavy cream cream, whipped
    • 1/2 Cup of Peppermint Patties pieces
    • 1/2 Cup of Chocolate Peppermint Cookie pieces (Newman-O's Hint 'O Mint)
    • 3 tbsp creme de menthe

    1. Scald the milk and leave to cool for 15 minutes.
    2. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and thick. Gradually stir in the strained milk. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 to 4 minutes until the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow to boil, otherwise the eggs will curdle.
    3. Transfer hot contents to container and cover with plastic until mixture has cooled completely in refrigerator.
    4. After cooling fold in the heavy cream and creme de menthe.
    5. Pour ice cream base into freezer bowl let the ice cream machine run for around 40 minutes or until the mixture seems completely frozen and smooth. Towards the end of the freezing process and before the mixture is too think pour in both the cookie pieces and the peppermint pattie pieces and allow to mix thoroughly into the ice cream.
    6. Transfer finished ice cream into container and freeze overnight.
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