Archive for January, 2012

mw1We may be in New Hampshire, but we are right near the Maine border, so we have an affinity for things made in Maine – especially if they can help keep us toasty this winter.  That is why we have been eyeing the blankets and related products of MaineWOOLENS

MaineWOOLENS has a great line of wool blankets that are so much better than the Snuggies or Slankets your nephew gave you for Christmas.

About MaineWOOLENS: “MaineWOOLENS is the pre-eminent fancy weave blanket maker in the United States, offering more styles and yarn dyed choices for bedding than other companies. Our 100% wool blankets are made of premium grade American wool and support the American Wool consortium and the US economy. Our wool blends combine fine grade wool with other natural fibers, such as cotton or bamboo, a natural anti-bacterial fiber… clean and green. We also offer specialty fibers and blends, including a blanket made from recycled sweater yarn.”

You can certainly find less expensive blankets out there, but the blankets made by MaineWOOLENS are very high quality, and made right here in the U.S.  So you can stay warm and support a local business all at the same time.

See all the fine products of MaineWOOLENS here.

MM1I just bought myself a little gift to raise my winter spirits – quite literally.  I purchased a really cool flask embossed with the Union Jack – the perfect combination for a couple of my favorite pursuits – bourbon and the UK.

The flask is made by Metal Morphosis, a purveyor of fine made in the USA metal products.  I looked up their website and found it to be a wholesaler site, but it was fun to look at the products they make like the fine collection of flasks and other bar-related items, as well at kitchenware and specialty items.

About Metal Morphosis“All of our products are made entirely in the USA. Everything is casted in the US and hand finished in our facility in Atlanta. Nothing is outsourced, not even the packaging. Everything is made of either 100% lead-free pewter or sterling silver. The unique way we finish the pewter and the fact that the pewter actually has a percentage of sterling silver really gives it that exceptional shine. All of our materials are FDA approved. They can easily be polished with a pewter polish found in your local hardware stores.”

I can’t wait to get my Union Jack flask and fill it with fine Kentucky bourbon – which seems just a little odd, but precisely what I plan to do.

Although the Metal Morphosis company website is for wholesalers, their products can be found for sale at many retail sites.  I purchased my Union Jack flask on Amazon.

Visit the Metal Morphosis website here.

See Metal Morphosis available from Amazon here. 

41v3ioTDjlL__SS500_OK, I’ll admit it…  I have the winter blues, cabin fever, or caught in a post-holiday funk.  Which may explain why my thoughts are going to travel these days.  When I get the travel bug, I often think of going to one of my favorite destinations, London.

Sure it is winter there too, and London is not exactly the place to go to get sun in January – or any time – but there is so many diversions there I have always had a great time not matter what time of year it is.

Alas, a trip abroad is not in the cards right now, so I have been taking a virtual trip to London by looking at the pictures I took on my last trip there in November.  I was also going through my notes and came across a few things I found in London on that trip that I did not mention here before. 

So in the spirit of my past Friday “Postscript” posts – here are a few of my London “Finds” from my most recent trip…

Trebor Mints

I discovered the gums and mints of Trebor when I was in London and they were awesome.  Now I am looking for a place in the US where I can get them. 

Check out Trebor here.

Wren Press

Also “found“ while rummaging around London‘s Mayfair district, was Wren Press, a fine purveyor of stationary products.  All Lost Cowboy fans know how I love fine stationary, and this stuff is the real deal.

Check out Wren Press here.

SCP London

Also found in London was the contemporary home designs of SCP London.  I loved this place.  Think of a kind of higher grade IKEA, as in cool design that you know will last a long time.  Great furniture and other items for the home that you know you won’t see anywhere else.

Find the cool furnishings of SCP London here.

Now I am off to look at my travel books and dream away the chilly New Hampshire afternoon.

From my April 2011 trip to London – the rear of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square:

London.1.2011

ASC.TEAI have posted about the wonderful Atlantic Spice Company before, but today I am compelled to mention them yet again.  I visit the Atlantic Spice Company store in Truro, Massachusetts every summer as part of my Cape Cod vacation to pick up bulk spices, salts and teas.  However, thankfully, the Atlantic Spice Company has a website where you can order the same great products and have them delivered to your door wherever you are whenever you want.

This weekend, while entertaining a friend who braved the below zero temperatures to visit me in the New Hampshire North County, I served one of the teas I picked up at Atlantic Spice Company this past summer. 

The tea of the moment was Atlantic Spice Company’s Licorice Mint Tea, which despite buying a large bag of it, I had not yet tried.  So I pulled out the bag of loose leaves and loaded up my favorite tea ball and made a nice big pot, which we enjoyed by the raging fire in the wood stove.  The tea was delicious and I have made myself a pot of it every day since – which has sent me back to the Atlantic Spice Company’s website to order more.

About Atlantic Spice Company’s Licorice Mint Tea“This herbal tea is a blend of peppermint leaves, spearmint leaves and licorice root. The combination of these ingredients forms a unique blend of mints and licorice, especially easy to enjoy knowing that it is caffeine-free.”

Needless to say I am big fan of tea and love brewing loose-leaf teas by the pot to enjoy on a winter’s day.  Now with the large bags of teas available on line from Atlantic Spice Company – at very reasonable prices I might add – I am assured of having tea all winter long.  I even have a plan for when my well and pipes freeze: melt snow on the wood stove and brew the tea.  Nothing is going to come between me and my tea.

Visit the Atlantic Spice Company’s tea store here.

FOOLOver the holidays I read The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror a short novel by Christopher Moore and laughed myself silly.  I was drawn to this book for a couple of reasons:  First, I was looking for a more contemporary Christmas story that included a little bit of ghost activity; and second, I have read and loved other works by Christopher Moore in the past.

Mr. Moore’s book Fool – A Novel, first released in 2009, was one of the most delightful books I have ever read.  After reading, The Stupidest Angel, I was reminded just how much I liked Mr. Moore’s other work and re-read Fool and enjoyed it all over again.

About Fool – A Novel by Christopher Moore: “Verily speaks Christopher Moore, much-beloved scrivener and peerless literary jester, who hath writteneth much that is of grand wit and belly-busting mirth, including such laureled bestsellers of the Times of Olde Newe Yorke as Lamb, A Dirty Job, and You Suck: A Love Story. Now he takes on no less than the legendary Bard himself (with the utmost humility and respect) in a twisted and insanely funny tale of a moronic monarch and his deceitful daughters—a rousing story of plots, subplots, counterplots, betrayals, war, revenge, bared bosoms, unbridled lust . . . and a ghost (there’s always a bloody ghost), as seen through the eyes of a man wearing a codpiece and bells on his head.”

OK, so that official description of the book may be a little hard to understand, but at its essence, Fool is a send-up of the works of William Shakespeare with much owed to King Lear in particular.  The idea of a Shakespeare parody may seem overdone and/or uninteresting to many, but trust me when I say the clever wit and sharp writing of Mr. Moore will win you over on the first page.

Fool is a delight from the very beginning and had me laughing out loud much more than any other book I have ever read – seriously.  There are so many clever turns-of-phrase that I found myself re-reading and appreciating many of them.  Fool turned out to be the perfect antidote from the heavier non-fiction books I have been reading lately.

By the way, I loved Mr. Moore’s The Stupidest Angel and recommend that as well.  Even though the story centers around Christmas, it is certainly something you can enjoy any time.  Especially if you like an extremely funny story that includes a little zombie action.  That’s all I am saying.

Fool by Christopher Moore is available from Amazon and other booksellers.

The Stupidest Angel is also available from Amazon and other booksellers.

mal1While preparing my recent post on my desire to return to Buenos Aires, I was reminded of two “finds” that can help me enjoy a little bit of Argentina at home any time: Malbec wines and Dulce de leche.

My friend Lynda is a wine lover and turned me on to Malbec wines before my last trip to Argentina.  As a result, I made it my mission to track down some local Malbecs while I was in Buenos Aires to bring back for Lynda, as a gift for watching after my cats while I was away.

One of the wines I brought back (complete with a hassle clearing customs while changing planes at JFK) was Don Miguel Gascon Malbec.  Lynda was thrilled and reported that is was a very nice wine.  The good news is that Don Miguel Gascon is available for sale in the United States.  However, I have to believe the bottle I brought back with me from Argentina was at least a little better.

Meanwhile, another fine Malbec from Argentina readily available in the U.S. for a reasonable price is Layer Cake Malbec.  I have often purchased Layer Cake wines in various varieties for host/hostess gifts and they have always been well received.

The other treat from Argentina is Dulce de Leche, a “sweet milk” spread or sauce that is a staple in the region and can be enjoyed as is or used on bread like peanut butter or used to spice up recipes, like a Dulce de Leche cheesecake.

On my last trip I brought back several jars of Dulce de Leche from Havanna, a Argentine purveyor of sweets.  I gave many jars as gifts and kept a few – I have one jar left which I plan on breaking out soon.  Perhaps I will make my now famous Dulce de Leche brownies.  Just use your favorite brownie recipe or mix as directed and just before baking, swirl in a few spoons of Dulce de Leche. The result is a delicious moist treat.

Dulce de Leche can be purchased in the U.S. in various forms, and I am told can be made from scratch.  But again, I have to believe the stuff I bought locally in Argentina is special.

In any case, for a little taste of Argentina any time, I endorse malbec wines and Dulce de Leche.

Here’s my latest picture of the ever-changing landscape that is Mount Chocorua across the frozen Lake Chocorua in Tamworth, NH.

This was taken yesterday when it was about 5 degrees out and the wind sweeping off the lake from the north was a killer.  However, once again, the scenery doesn’t disappoint.   I love the low winter’s morning sunlight that casts the long shadows of the pine trees across the frozen lake.

The beauty of winter in northern New England.

Chocorua.01.16.2012

DT1I can tell you how often I tear through the house looking for a piece of string or twine to help tie up a bundle of paper or wrap a birthday present and I can’t find anything.  This is where the good people at Whisker Graphics come in.  The have a great line of baker’s twine that is perfect for any possible situation where twine could be used.

About Whisker Graphics: “Whisker Graphics is the creative out-pouring of Whitney Beard. Founded in June of 2008, Whisker Graphics was a long time in the making. Whitney’s love of design and paper goods started when, as a child, she would save her allowance to buy sales receipt booklets and bookkeeping journals (oh, those grids made her little heart skip a beat!) and progressed over the years to include a degree in Graphic Design and the appreciation of all things paper and crafty.”

The Whisker Graphics product I like is the “Divine Twine” which is just great.  Divine Twine is described as: “made from 100% cotton so it’s soft to the touch, bio-degradable and earth-friendly. Plus the 4-ply construction makes it nice and strong. It’s produced in the USA in mouth-watering colors that look good enough to eat. Each spool contains 240 yards, enough to last a long time, yet easy to store”

Check out Whisker Graphics here.

See their line of “Divine Twine” here.

SC2I am looking for a stool.  The studio space I am creating will have high counters.  I like to be able to stand at my work surfaces without bending or leaning over.  However, I also like to sit at the same surface when needed.  This means I need a fairly high stool – so the search is on.

My search introduced me to the home furnishings of Sylvester & Co., a Sag Harbor, NY merchants self-described as “a contemporary general store.”

About Sylvester & Co. : “Sylvester & Co. is a contemporary general store which opened its doors on Main Street in Sag Harbor in 1989. We sell furniture, lighting, accessories, gifts and a seasonally changing selection of supplies for life. We have a reputation for throwing a good party and often have book signings and host exhibits for artists and photographers. The front of the store welcomes visitors with our legendary coffee bar, serving up Dreamy iced coffee in the summer and Dreamy hot chocolate in the winter.”

I love the Mr. Magoo stool – “Powder Coated Iron Stool, With Mango Wood Seat” Sylvester & Co. offers.  Sadly, these stools (even with the cool name and look) are not high enough, so the serach continues.  I will have to make do with my IKEA stools for a little longer.

bbc1If you have spent any time on Lost Cowboy, you know how much I love watches, but I also love clocks.

I especially like alarm clocks – old and new.  So the Big Ben Alarm Clock from L.L. Bean could quite possibly be the perfect clock for me – a new clock with modern technology based on an old design.

The Big Ben Alarm Clock from L.L. Bean is inspired by an original 1931 design but has been updated with a multi-level alarm with volume control and a snooze function.

This is the perfect clock to add a little bit of charm to a guest room or to use as a travel alarm clock as it will easily fit into your luggage.

Find the Big Ben Alarm Clock from L.L. Bean here.