Archive for October, 2012

grimmI believe that every house should have a nice bound volume of The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, whether or not there are kids around.  The original text of these stories is still wonderful to read as an adult and you will find many of the stories much darker and nuanced than the Disney-fied versions we are most familiar with.

The awesome publishing house, Taschen, has produced a wonderful bicentennial edition of brothers Jacob and Wilhelm’s enduring tales. In Taschen’s volume, many of the Brothers Grimm stories have been compiled along with an incredible collection of the artwork that has been created to adorn these stories over the centuries.

About Taschen’s collection of The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm edited by Noel Daniel: “In honor of their 200th anniversary, The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm brings to life twenty-seven of the most beloved Grimm stories, including classics such as Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Hansel and Gretel, in a vibrant and meticulous new translation commissioned for this publication.  Containing a selection of charming vintage illustrations from the 1820s to the 1950s by true masters of pictorial invention-—the legendary Kay Nielsen, bestselling children’s books author Gustaf Tenggren, British artists Walter Crane and Arthur Rackham, and giants of nineteenth century German illustration Gustav Süs, Heinrich Leutemann, and Viktor Paul Mohn, as well as many new discoveries—this compilation also features historic and contemporary silhouettes that dance across the pages like delicate black paper lace.”

The new translation and the classic artwork make the Taschen version of The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm a nice way to bring these stories into your home.  Or, if you like the hunt, look for a nice vintage version as you go about your picking rounds. But beware, not all Grimm books are the same.  With the tales long in the public domain there are many versions out there with little provenance to the original text.  This being one reason Taschen’s book is so great.

This book may also help me fill in some of the blanks I have watching NBC’s hit series Grimm – which I love.

Taschen also offers a wonderful The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm calendar featuring some of the great vintage artwork from their compilation book.

Taschen’s The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm is also available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

Happy.Halloween.2012

Were Count Dracula a super hero or a comic book characters, I am pretty sure this is what his logo would look like.  I saw this on a t-shirt recently and thought it was cool so I searched for it on the internet.  In the spirit of Halloween I present it to you today…

DRAC2

smencBack in another life when I was constantly making presentations in front of a white board, I developed a reputation as a marker sniffer.  Every time I took the cap off a marker I would sniff it.  I am not exactly sure why I did this, but I think it had something to do with early childhood memories of the marker smell.

Then, one day in the mid-90’s I took a sniff and was moving to write something when I realized something was different.  I smelt cherries, not chemicals.  I had been given a box of scented markers and I was in heaven.

This explains a lot of things, such as, how I managed to lose so many brain cells, and why I am in love the folks at Smencils – makers of “Gourmet Scented Pencils.”

About the Gourmet Scented Pencils of Smencils:  “We roll sheets of newspaper tightly around the #2 graphite writing cores until pencils of typical thickness are formed. Then they’re hardened – allowing them to be sharpened just like wood pencils. Next, we soak them with our gourmet liquid scents (made by an award winning fragrance company). Once they’re dry, we attach the erasers and apply the stickers around them that identify which scent was infused into each Smencil. Lastly, we put each Original Smencil into its own corn-based biodegradable Freshness Tube.”

Smencils makes hay out of the fact that they are made from recycled products which makes them good for the earth.  They also market their products as a good way to raise funds by selling the delightful pens and pencils.  I just like sniffing the cherry vanilla Smencil.

Visit the Smencils (and Smens) online shop here.

chocolatWhen I was a kid, I knew the neighbors who gave the best treats on Halloween and would make sure they were the first to be hit. Usually the “best” meant the people that gave away full-sized candy or the coveted Peanut Butter Cups.

So it makes sense that every Halloween I find myself thinking about fine candy and there is no better purveyor of candy around these days than Hotel Chocolat. Give the kids that come to your door Hotel Chocolat’s Boo Box of Halloween-themed dark chocolates and you can be sure your house will have the longest lines in the neighborhood.

About Hotel Chocolat’s Boo Box: “Scarily smooth Halloween figures cast in broodingly dark chocolate – don’t be scared of the dark! Each shape is individually wrapped so they are perfect for marauding trick or treaters and for sharing at Halloween parties.”

Find Hotel Chocolat’s Boo Box here.

Find Hotel Chocolat’s entire Halloween collection here.

scarfI think I told the story before about my search for a scarf while traveling around the streets of Florence last fall.  Egged on by my travel companion niece we looked in every shop and on every vendor cart, and just could not find the right one. 

Then. while walking by a shop we saw in the window the most amazing scarf adorning a display with an ensemble I could picture myself wearing.  We went into the store to check it out and to our great shock, it was a fancy one-of-a-kind hand painted thing that cost over 400 euro, a little over my budget.

I ended up settling for a much more modest scarf late from a street vendor in the 12 euro price range and all was good.  Until recently when the weather took a turn and my mind went back to fantasizing about that scarf in the shop in Florence and, well, any scarf.  Which led me to finding the Hacienda Montaecristo Rebozo Scarf, which I love.

About the Hacienda Montaecristo Rebozo Scarf“Designer Francesca Bonato’s Mexico-based accessories line, Hacienda Montaecristo, fuses tradition with contemporary design, as in this handmade Tan Rebozo Scarf. An important aspect of the Mexican culture, women have historically worn them in a variety of ways, from veils to headscarves. Make it your own and wear yours draped over a printed dress.”

Although made for women, I think the tan Rebozo Scarf would be fine for a man. But, on further inspection, I discovered that this lovely scarf is over $500!  Back to the drawing board.  Or maybe I should take up weaving or knitting.

The Hacienda Montaecristo Rebozo Scarf is available from ShopLatitude.

From the archives: The Infamous Scarf in the Florence Shop Window:

 Scarf.Florence

skullI featured a zombie head decanter the other day. Today, I found the best way to serve my Halloween bourbon  – these Doomed Crystal Skull Shot Glasses from Kegworks.

About the Doomed Crystal Skull Shot Glass from Kegworks: “Mayan legend claims the Skull of Doom has the power of life and death, the power to heal or smite and the power to create miracles – we kind of feel the same way about shots. For added affect combine the two and use this crystal skull glass to throw back your favorite spirits. It’s the ideal novelty shot glass for Halloween, séances, exorcisms, witch hunts and other festive events!”

Find the Doomed Crystal Skull Shot Glass and all the great products of Kegworks here.

PROSCPIEYou may have noticed that many of the recipes I post here are similar.  I like what I like, I can’t help it.  I love the idea of one dish entrees.  This is probably a holdover from my childhood when my mother would serve some of the best casseroles you could ever hope for.

The is no better one-dish meal than a good old meat pie, like the Individual Prosciutto-and-Spinach Pies I found in a recent edition of Coastal Living magazine.  Yes, I read Coastal Living magazine.

This recipe is yummy and relatively easy and a nice addition to a nice brinch on a fall Sunday.  I made it pretty much as stated here, but I will admit I used frozen chopped spinach – which I thawed and drained thoroughly before using.

Individual Prosciutto-and-Spinach Pies (from Coastal Living Magazine)

Ingredients:

  • 12 thin slices prosciutto, halved crosswise (about 1/2 pound)
  • 10 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup loosely packed spinach, stems trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan or 12 ramekins. Place prosciutto slices into bottoms and up sides of cups, overlapping in a crisscross pattern.
  2. Combine eggs, salt, and pepper. Divide spinach and cheese among muffin cups. Pour egg mixture evenly into muffin cups.
  3. Bake pies 14 to 16 minutes or until just set. Let stand about 5 minutes. Loosen pies by running a knife around the edges of each cup, and then lift out of pan with a small spatula. Serve immediately.

See the Individual Prosciutto-and-Spinach Pies recipe and other great finds on the Coastal Living magazine website.

spiderThe folks at Tag2u have curated a great collection of Halloween items – all of which are pretty cool.

But I really like the Halloween Spider Large Pumpkin Stand they offer, which really puts a new spin on how to display one of the season’s greatest joys. 

About the Halloween Spider Large Pumpkin Stand from Tag2u:  “Add some personality to your pumpkins with this large pumpkin stand. The wrought-iron spider with large, crossed eyes is a charming way to create a touch of Halloween fun on your lawn or in your garden. Pumpkin not included.”

See Tag2u’s Halloween shop here.

Find all the other great products of  Tag2u here.

GIRAFGiraffes are the new monkeys.

There!  You heard it here first.

My love of monkeys (preferably wearing little fezzes) as a motif in art, sculpture and really anything, is well documented.  However, these days I find myself being attracted to things featuring giraffes at an alarmingly increasing frequency.  Things like the wonderful Ikat Giraffe Plate from C. Wonder.

About the Ikat Giraffe Plate: “For our series of Rajasthan-inspired decorative plates we commissioned original artwork befitting of these sartorially gifted beasts! Now with bold new borders, the plates are a charming way to brighten up any corner of your life, from desk to bedside, bathroom, and beyond.”

Find the Ikat Giraffe Plate and all the great products available from C. Wonder here.