Archive for October, 2011

I have posted many pictures of the glorious Mount Chocorua, a lovely little mountain just around the corner from where I sit here in Carroll County New Hampshire.  Most of the pictures have been from the same spot – a little bridge that offers a great view of the mountain across the lake that shares its name.

I keep a camera in my car so I can take a picture of Mount Chocorua every time I drive by this spot.  I am amazed how different it looks each time – depending on the weather, time of day, and so on.

The other day I was snapping pictures of Chocorua reflecting on the perfectly still Lake Chocorua.  It wasn‘t until I got home and looked at the pictures on my computer did I realize just how perfect the reflection was.  Without anything in the foreground it is hard to get perspective, but I am struck how the reflection on the lake makes for a sort of kaleidoscope of autumnal beauty.


HAL1We have highlighted the great vintage-inspired creations of Shandell’s in the past, but we keep going back and falling in love with new items all the time.

Shandell’s Susan Schneider (“a longtime collector of things vintage with a passion for recycling them into things that make you smile”) has created a great line of matchboxes that make great gifts or just something cool to keep on your mantle.

Just in time for Halloween, we spotted this awesome matchbox featuring Three Witches from a vintage post card.

The Three Witches matchbox from Shandell’s makes a great gift for that Halloween party host or the perfect source for lighting your Jack-o-Lanterns.

Well, it is quite early here (just after 4AM) but we are all packed and ready to hit the road to be at Todd Farm for our last sale of the season.  It is in the 30s here in New Hampshire, but is warmer down on the farm and we expect temperatures to rise into the low 60s as the day unfolds.  It sounds like the perfect autumn day here in New England – a great opportunity to visit us at Todd Farm in Rowley, MA before we pack everything away for the winter.

We should be onsite by 6AM and ready to sell soon after – look for our white tent behind the barn.

We will have tons of buttons and other sewing collectibles as well as all of the “smalls“ we have become known for – so stop by to see us.

[Todd Farm is an antique and collectibles market in Rowley, MA – open Sundays, April-November.]

GJ1As resident of rural New England, I am very familiar with some of the general rules to follow when it comes to dining in the north country.  For example, here in New Hampshire we say that one needs to be wary of Chinese food north of Concord.  You just need to trust me on that one.

Similarly, Mexican food can be dicey outside of the major cities.  However, if you find yourself in Manchester, VT you can’t go wrong with Gringo Jack’s – by far the best Mexican food you can find for hundreds of miles in any direction.  Even better, if you do not find yourself in Vermont any time soon, you can still enjoy Gringo Jack’s great products from their online store.

About Gringo Jack’s: “About six years ago, we gave in to repeated requests by our patrons to bottle our sauces, and have been bottling like crazy ever since! Our gourmet line of sauces, soups, salsas and chips are selling in some of the finest stores on the east coast, including Whole Foods chain markets.  Our line of products includes all natural and fun BBQ sauces, salsas and our fabulous chips. All of our products are all natural and small batch crafted for quality and flavor.”

I recommend the salsas.  Jack’s salsas are all made “in small batches using no shortcuts, preservatives, fillers or anything else yucky.”  We say they are all just yummy!

Check out the products of Gringo Jack’s here.

tf7It looks like this Sunday is going to be another beautiful autumn day here in New England – sunshine and in the 60s.  It sounds like a perfect day for one final sale at Todd Farm in Rowley, MA before we pack everything away for the winter.

We plan to set up our tent at Todd Farm this Sunday – October 23, 2011 to display our vast collection of vintage items -mostly “smalls” including more from my mother’s vast button and sewing item collections.  New this week will be hundreds of vintage marbles from an unpicked collection – last week we brought a few marbles and sold them all to eager collectors.

We also have some nice vintage camera items and plenty of old tools and license plates – all of which have been popular items in the past.

But most of our fans come to see us for the buttons – and we will have many new to market this weeks – as well as a bargain bucket of newly marked down bags of previously picked buttons.  So stop by early and often – look for our white tent behind the barn.

This will definitely be our last visit to sell at Todd Farm this year as it is off to Europe next week for some R&R  and then we into the holidays.  So join us this Sunday!

[Todd Farm is an antique and collectibles market in Rowley, MA – open Sundays, April-November.]

PANDLI am still trying to recover from not visiting Chicago this past summer as I had for the previous ten years or so.  This means that when I do make it back there I will be even more excited than usual to take in all the arts, culture and coolness the Great American City has to offer.

One Chicago shop I am definitely making a note to visit is P&L, a little boutique that appears to be high on the hip and cool scale, even if I am not.

About P&L“P+L is located in the lakeview east neighborhood in Chicago on a slightly off the beaten path strip of Clark street. you could say we’re a local boutique with global offerings. family owned and operated, we like to think of our place as an extension of ourselves, so we take things personally for better or for worse. step inside and you’ll find a unique space that’s both modern, yet warm and handmade. it’s the backdrop for the unique items we carry, hailing from around the world, but of course from right  here in Chicago as well. our aim is to present a uniquely edited  collection of men’s, women’s and most recently children’s apparel and accessories that meet our standards of quality and design and hopefully go on to become a part of your personal style.”

I like the Skunkfunk CB627 men’s messenger bag: “durable polyurethane outer shell with100% cotton printed lining, snap button closures, multiple exterior and interior pockets, nice low-key bag but definitely not the run of the mill.”  Carrying this bag around the city is bound to raise my coolness factor at least a little bit, right?

Find the Happywear” from Chicago’s P&L here.

MofFFor some reason I am still in a non-fiction phase and more interestingly, I’ve been rereading old favorites.  Recently I picked up my copy of The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston, which I read for the first time a couple of years ago.  I remembered being absorbed by the story and thought it would be good to read again. I was also interested in reading the background details about Florence and the Tuscan region, a place I will be visiting on my trip to Italy.

The Monster of Florence is the amazing true story of a serial killer who has haunted the Italian city for decades. A series of crimes unsolved for years with theories and bungled investigations galore, The book starts out as a forensic true crime story and soon becomes a firsthand memoir as the author becomes part of the story.

About The Monster of Florence: “Douglas Preston fulfilled a lifelong dream when he moved with his family to a villa in Florence. Upon meeting celebrated journalist Mario Spezi, Preston was stunned to learn that the olive grove next to his home had been the scene of a horrific double murder committed by one of the most infamous figures in Italian history. A serial killer who ritually murdered fourteen young lovers, he has never been caught. He is known as the Monster of Florence. Fascinated by the tale, Preston began to work with Spezi on the case. Here is the true story of their search to uncover and confront the man they believe is the Monster. In an ironic twist of fate that echoes the dark traditions of the city’s bloody history, Preston and Spezi themselves became targets of a bizarre police investigation.”

The Monster of Florence is as compelling as any fictional account of serial killers, including Hannibal Lector, a character whose creator based in part on the details surround the Monster.

In The Monster of Florence, Mr. Preston presents a well researched story with interesting people and background that makes the Jack the Ripper industry seem quaint. Once again, and example of true stories being stranger (and more interesting) than fiction.

The Monster of Florence is available from Amazon and other booksellers.

LP1I love traveling in the fall.  For the past several years, I have taken a trip in November.  It all started when I changed jobs in November a few years back and I decided to take a trip to London in between gigs.  The next thing I knew, I was several years older and I had taken a vacation in November every year – sometimes back to London and as in the past two years – to Buenos Aires.

This year, I am off to Italy for a week, followed by a week in London.  The former is a trip with my sister to visit my niece who is studying abroad, and the latter is just for the heck of it – I never pass up a chance to visit London and is technically kinda sorta on the way home.

In any case, one of the common denominators on all of my travels are the guidebooks of Lonely Planet.  Whenever I am planning a trip to a new place, one of the first things I do is search out the appropriate guide from Lonely Planet.  There are many choices for guide books out there, but for me the Lonely Planet books are the best.

I have quite a collection of Lonely Planet guides now, including London and Buenos Aires as mentioned, but also Sweden, Prague, Amsterdam, and a few other places I have been fortunate enough to visit in recent years.  I keep these books, and other travel books I have collected through the years, in the main bathroom in the New Hampshire house.  This has become quite the topic of conversation with visitors, who often come out of the bathroom saying they went in planning a trip to satisfy nature and came out feeling like they have visited a somewhat more exotic locale than is Carroll County New Hampshire.

I have purchased the Lonely Planet guides for Italy as a whole, and for Tuscany and Umbria, the regions of Italy where we will be spending most of the trip.  I have been flipping through the books for weeks now and every time I open them up I get excited about the pending trip.

I am also looking forward to taking you along with me on the trip and plan to make frequent post about all the cool things I “find” along the way.  In the meantime, you can read about places you always dreamed about through the great guides of Lonely Planet.

See what Lonely Planet is all about here.

Read about Lonely Planet’s Tuscany & Umbria travel guide here.

Read about Lonely Planet’s Italy travel guide here.

Thanks to everyone who came out to see us at Todd Farm yesterday.  It was a great day, despite a few gusts that threatened the tent, and it was nice to see everyone.

We enjoyed meeting new customers and sharing with some of our regulars.  I was reminded of how much fun it is to meet people who are interested in the things my mother has collected through the years.  My friend Lynda also reminded me that with the days growing shorter and winter on its way, we should try to squeeze in as many days at the Farm as possible.  Which brings me to the next point…

So here’s the deal: we think we may be able to do one more show at Todd Farm this year  next Sunday, October 23, weather permitting.  We will make the final call on Friday and post it here.

This will/would definitely be the last sale of the year at Todd Farm – as the following few Sundays I will be on a (much deserved) vacation to Italy and London, and by the time I return it will be Thanksgiving.

So, if you think I may have something of interest that you would like me to bring on Sunday – please send me a note and I will see what I can do:

tf5Well, it looks like we WILL be back at Todd Farm on Sunday (Oct. 16) for another great sale of vintage buttons and sewing collectibles from my mother’s vast collection, as well as some cool new vintage finds we picked up over the summer.  There will be a ton of new items freshly curated from the barn – including some really nice buckles and tons of new to the sale buttons and related notions.  I also have some nice old tools and a few surprises.

Look for us set up behind the barn with our white tent if the wind allows.  If it is crowded like last week – keep looking around – we will be there somewhere.

As always, we will post early Sunday morning (we need to be out by 4:00am to make the trip) to confirm our plans – something may come up or the weather could change, so stay tuned.

If you are looking for something in particular you think we may have in our collection – send me a note and I will see if I can find something of interest to bring on Sunday:

[Todd Farm is an antique and collectibles market in Rowley, MA – open Sundays, April-November.]