Archive for March, 2010

When I was a kid I love my Lego building blocks. I had a ton of them and enjoyed building little cities out of them. Well, until the one night my older brother stayed up all night and built an inter-locking cube out of all of my Lego blocks. It took me weeks to un-do it. What I didn’t realize at the time was it was demonstration of how brilliant his mind was (he went on to earn two degrees from MIT) but to the 10 year that I was, I was just plumb angry.

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I haven’t “played” with Lego much in the intervening years. However, I am seriously thinking about jumping back in after seeing this really cool model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum made from Lego.

From ShopWright: “The first release in the Frank Lloyd Wright Collection(R) LEGO(R) Architectural set. Builders of all ages can construct the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, New York, 1956) in a LEGO replica. Set contains 208 LEGO bricks, building instructions and exclusive historic archival material and photographs of the iconic building.”

This and other cool FLW products can be found on ShopWright, the web store of the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.

Those of you who have been fans of Lost Cowboy know how much we love stationary. We love not cards, paper, envelopes and just about everything related to the art of writing.

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Of course in modern times it is easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family through other means, but there is still something special about sending and receiving good old fashioned letters.

I send cards all the time and the folks who receive them are always so touched and pleased. The arrival of a card – especially when it is not a birthday or Christmas – is a nice surprise for most people these days.

Anyway, I am always looking for new ways to make an impact (even though the simplest card does it these days) and was thrilled to find the Message in a Bottle kit from CS Post and Co.

The Message in a Bottle kit is described: “Who said writing letters had to be boring? With this quirky writing kit, both young and old can send a letter using the age-old method of sending it in a bottle. Whether land-locked or a coastal dweller, you can send this cute bottle snail mail for a fun surprise for your recipient.”

I love it! Next time I want to send a message with a little something extra I am sending one of these things.

Someone should tell Sting about these things.

I love water bottles. I have for years. I had a collection of water bottles that filled a couple of kitchen cabinets. They were great. Some had long bendy straws built in and all had some colorful design on them – mostly because they were used for advertising. The fact is I had never paid for a single one of them – they were all premiums given away at work or at an event.

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Then things changed when we learned that the vast majority of the plastic bottles had something called BPA which apparently is very bad for you. Who knew?

Anyway, now all the fuss is over water bottles that at BPA-free. I am all for it, of course. I figure I have enough BPA in me to last a lifetime so I have moved on to the new kind. But my problem has been that most of the bottles – usually made from stainless (and BPA-less) steel – are boring.

Not anymore! I have found the water bottle at Blue Q. These bottles are cool and fun:

There is a classic Dutch windmill design with a modern twist.

A classic Dick and Jane water bottle.

And my favorite, the Let’s Drink The Drops Water Bottle.

Find all the fun water bottles and other products Blue Q offers here.

We have talked about Retro Redheads in the past – a site with some cool stuff. While looking back at some of our postings we re-visited the Retro Redhead site and found more cool things than we saw before.

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Case in point, the “Howdy Pardner Little Tots Wall Clock” which would have really looked good in my bedroom circa 1972. This was at a time I shared a room with my brother. He liked astronauts and I like cowboys. Our room was decked out in a western moon theme. My side of the room had cowboy curtains and bed linens. His side had the same stuff with spaceships and astronauts. Somehow it all seemed to work.

About the Howdy Pardner Little Tots Wall Clock: “Howdy partners! Our wild west clock for boys features great retro cowboy imagery. Retro boys western imagery features cowboys, Indians and the Lone Ranger. Using a process called Giclée, which is commonly used for fine art reproduction, our unique imagery is printed directly onto cotton cloth. This printing process yields unparalleled color vibrancy and detail.”

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We have featured products touting the WWII era British slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” in the past. Ever since then, we have seen it popping up all over, most likely due to the fact that the slogan and the image are in the public domain. However, as many have said, it is the perfect message for our own troubled times.

 

From a recent BBC story on the slogan asking the rhetorical question “The greatest motivational poster ever?”: “Millions of copies of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster were printed on the eve of World War II, but never displayed. Now the message has taken on a new lease of life in our troubled peacetime.”

Read the complete BBC news story here.

Recently, while we were researching an upcoming post we found The Conran Shop.  While we were browsing around the site for what we were looking for – we found some other cool items. We love the whole groove of The Conran Shop.

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But we really loved this Mini World Globe, which is apparently made for kids but I want one for my office.

About the Mini World Globe: “This mini version of our best-selling giant world globe has 20 Velcro-attachable felt motifs, including animals, figures in national costume and place names. Fun and educational, the globe has a plastic interior that is inflated with a standard pump. It can be hung from the ceiling or the string can be detached so that the globe can be used as a ball.”

Find this and all the cool things The Conran Shop offers here.

Sophie and I often have the same argument with mutual friends. We believe that form is as important as function. Said friends think if it does what it supposed to do then it is fine. We say HA!

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We think we may have found the ultimate example of form triumphing over utility with the USB tulip hub we found on Fred Flare.com.

Seriously, if you are going to have a USB hub on your desk, you might as well make it a pretty one.

USB tulip hub: “Turn your desk into a blooming garden with this pretty tulip USB hub! Four USB high-speed ports are included, with one colorful red flower for each. Compatible with most USB plugs, for both Mac and Windows systems.”

If you like this, wait until you see what else Fred Flare has to offer.

You know what my Nana used to say… “You gotta love a company that sells a vegetable peelers shaped like a monkey.” Nana was right then, and she is right now. Which means I love Boston Warehouse – where you can indeed find a monkey shaped peeler – orange not less.

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You will be channeling old friend Dr. Zaius when you use this thing. “There’s no monkey business in the kitchen with this ergonomically designed peeler,” Boston Warehouse says. “With a stainless steel blade, high-density plastic and textured grip, veggies are peeled with comfort and ease.”

The monkey peeler is just one of many interesting products Boston Warehouse sells. Judging from its website, it is hard to pin down exactly what Boston Warehouse niche is, but it is safe to say they are geared towards the kitchen and tableware crowd.

How Boston Warehouse describes themselves: “Pursuing his dream of starting his own business, Peter Jenkins founded Boston Warehouse in 1974. Initially the company distributed distinctive European imports to retailers in the US . Peter, who was originally from Manchester , England , selected Boston for his warehouse because of its accessibility to shipments from Europe . Then, Peter decided to try creating product in-house. The first Boston Warehouse original was a stoneware garlic cellar in 1980. It was a huge best seller and was quickly followed by a line of innovative Mexican and Chinese cooking collections that put Boston Warehouse on the map with slogans such as ‘Dining in on Chinese Takeout.’”

It’s worth taking a look at the products Boston Warehouse offers, you may find something that you didn’t know you needed.

A few years ago while I was recovering from a bicycle accident that left me with a fractured elbow and one side of my face sporting “road pizza” – I stumbled upon Jean Harlow month on Turner Classic Movies.

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Long a fan of old movies, I realized that I never knew much about Harlow or had seen her movies. I knew the legend (“hair was Harlow gold”) and that she died young, but not much more. Well, I fell in love with Harlow as I watched just about every film she made in her unfortunately brief career.

Even 70 plus years later, Harlow ’s performances are fresh, maybe because she did not live to become a shadow of herself.  Whatever the case, she is great and deserves to be continually rediscovered by new generations.

My favorite Harlow film is “Dinner at Eight” from 1933.  Not so much a star vehicle for her, but an ensemble film where she shines.  Also great is “Bombshell” which allows Harlow to shine and play off her public personae.  But really, every film Harlow made is a treasure.  It just makes you wonder what would have become of this great star had she lived.  Or, would we pay much attention to her had we watched her grow old over the years.  Who knows.  Who cares.  She’s great!

Find a Harlow film to rent on NetFlix.

Check out Turner Classic Movies for upcoming showings of Jean Harlow films.

I wouldn’t consider myself particularly “green” – although I don’t like waste and I am addicted to finding new uses for old things. I also think that whether you believe in “climate change” or “global warming” or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days – the whole idea of “consume and dispose” is probably not the best thing for us all.

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That said, I do admire folks who are committed to being “eco-friendly” and building a business around it. Such are the folks at Chicago ’s Green Genes, a business the sells green/sustainable products for babies and children.

How Green Genes describes what they sell: “We strive to provide clothing and products that have been produced in an eco-friendly manner. By sourcing organic and natural products through fair trade and sustainable production, we’ll all breathe a little easier knowing that we’re doing our part to reduce pesticides and chemicals in the products we use. Subsequently, our surrounding environment will be cleaner.”

I love the toys Green Genes sells, of course, especially this “Spinny Speller” which will help the little ones hone their Scrabble skills. (Have I mentioned that I am addicted to Words with Friends on the iPod Touch?).

Check out what Green Genes has to offer here.