We promise to become obsessed with something else soon, but on a recent errand to the University of Washington's bookstore, we hit unlikely-object-as-vase payload. These hollow, polished bamboo sections were languishing in the basement with the art supplies, to be sold as paint-brush rinsing containers for $4-$5 apiece, depending on size.
Sections of various lengths and thicknesses were cut so that the joint in the bamboo (if "joint" is what it's called, it seems apt to us anyway) forms a natural container bottom. Arranged randomly but artfully on the dingy, fluorescent lit counter, we couldn't help but feel proud of our discovery. Metropolitan Market being currently stuffed with fresh lavender as it is, we divided a big bunch of the fragrant stuff between two of the containers, making sure to cut the bunch going in the small one shorter. The inside of the container isn't polished like the outside is, so we'll be watching to make sure rot doesn't happen with the sitting water and flora.
Upstairs, the recently expanded gift shop yielded more hidden treasures: amongst a brightly-colored Buddha-themed display that we might have sniffed at on another day, we found these brass, flame-shaped votives. And then realized that the molded candles, bight lanterns and parasols were making us pretty happy too. With a café and products by Knock Knock, Kikkerland, and Vera Bradley, the newly-remodeled bookstore is showing some early promise for being more than a textbook and school supply warehouse, modest bookstore and hawker of Husky gear. -danielle