Archive for January, 2013

lugtagIt’s still only January, but I have been planning out the whole year already. I hope to take a few trips – including a trip to Buenos Aires postponed from last fall; London in March, and Chicago in July. I have a lot of other travel ideas, so we shall see.

With London first up in March, I think I may have found the perfect luggage tag to help my bag stand out on the crowded arrival carousels at Heathrow: this British Guardsman Luggage Tag from R. Nichols.

The British Guardsman Luggage Tag is just one of many cool luggage tag designs from R. Nichols featuring iconic image from world cities – all of which are very cool.

See from R. Nichols’ great collection of luggage tags here.

See all the great gifts and stationary of R. Nichols here.

CRAFT360This Sunday is an unofficial holiday I look forward to every year. Sure it is Super Bowl Sunday, but I am referring to Craft Bowl Sunday. For many years back in the day, my friend Lynda and I (along with various hangers-oners) would gather to watch the big game and make crafts.

We did decoupage, we painted, we made our own Valentine’s card, and even used glitter. In general we had a great time and the Craft Bowl was always better than the game. In honor of this tradition, today’s Weekly Read is all about crafting and making it a daily exercise: Craft-a-Day – 365 Simple Handmade Projects by Sarah Goldschadt.

About Craft-a-Day – 365 Simple Handmade Projects by Sarah Goldschadt: “Make something new every day of the year! Craft-a-Day offers daily inspiration along with weekly themes to kick-start your imagination. January brings Snowflake Week, February features Groundhog Week, March offers Hexagon Week—there’s truly something for everyone. Author Sarah Goldschadt provides whimsical ideas for basic crafts that require no advanced skills or crazy crafting tools; these projects are as fun and easy to make as they are to admire. Complete with patterns, templates, and more than 400 photographs, Craft-a-Day challenges you to make something special, each and every day.”

One of the reasons I like this book is that it celebrates the idea that we are all capable of making something special whenever we want. I also love that it is full of fun ideas for crafts that you may otherwise never really thought about. The book features easy to follow directions and some great photographs.

Now, let’s make something special today!

Craft-a-Day – 365 Simple Handmade Projects by Sarah Goldschadt is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

TWEESome of my favorite finds are things that bring together two or more of my interests. For example, today’s find, the Pewter Hipflask from Tweed Run, is an awesome flask for my bourbon of choice decorated with a bicycle motif.

About the Pewter Hipflask from Tweed Run: “A 4 oz pewter hipflask, handmade in Sheffield by a traditional pewter company that’s been in the same family for many generations. The Tweed Run bicycle pattern is etched into the surface both front and back and the flask is polished to a brilliant mirror shine. The flask comes in a nice presentation box, making them great gift items. Handmade in England.”

I can picture tossing this thing into my bike’s saddle bag and having a little treat after a long ride.

By the way, the Tweed Run is group of people that organize bicycle rides in cities like London where ever rider dressed in classic Harris Tweed. Very cool.

Check out the Tweed Run here.

secretaryI just love today’s find, the Mayfair Steamer Secretary Trunk in Vintage Cigar Leather from Restoration Hardware. Although this Trunk is a reproduction, it brings together all the great things I love about vintage design with modern updates.

About The Mayfair Steamer Secretary Trunk from Restoration Hardware: “Crafted by antiques dealer and furniture maker Timothy Oulton of London, our oversized steamer trunk armoire is configured as an ingeniously designed secretary. Reproduction antique steamer trunk; Handmade of distressed Vintage Cigar leather over a solid wood frame; Aniline-dyed leather has an antiqued, vintage look; Accented with over 3,000 hand-hammered brass nailheads; Features a pull-down desktop and multiple drawers, cubbies, wire management and bookshelves; Lined in leather-edged canvas; Stands on wheels for mobility and closes for storage and privacy; Leather-bound corner brackets, leather-wrapped handles, oak slats with a tobacco finish and cast-metal antiqued hardware.”

I would use the trunk as the set piece for my everyday office and maybe close it up on special occasion when I need extra room. I just love it. The $3,300 price point on this Trunk may be a little high. But one can compromise with a much more modest office armoire like this one from Biz Chai.com.

The last light of the day casts an interesting hue across the frozen scape of Mount and Lake Chocorua from Tamworth, NH.

 CHOCORUA.01.27.2013

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

 

F Paris  snow

jpcricketI always thought I would turn into a Thurston Howell III type of man in my old age. You know, speaking with an affected accent wearing a yachting blazer by day and sipping my scotch in the evening while wearing a velvet smoking jacket. On my feet I would be wearing something very much like the velvet lounge slippers of JP Crickets. Specifically JP Crickets’ University line, and in the case of Mr. Howell, the Harvard slippers.

About JP Crickets: “JP Crickets is the go-to his and her shoe that combines an Italian-made loafer with the comfort of a classic velvet slipper. The relaxed-style shoe boast an embroidered University logo on suede, velvet, or linen with an all leather sole. The company also has collections featuring tassels, monogrammed logos and custom designs. JP Crickets manufactures our shoes in Southern Italy. The setting is amongst the beauty of Olive trees, near the Adriatic Sea, in a small village. It is here  where for generations families have worked together to produce beautiful shoes. JP Crickets shoes are made by skilled craftsmen and women. Each shoe is lovingly made by hand just for you and many are touched by the owner himself assuring the finest standards and quality.”

There is nothing better than a pair of Italian shoes and the slippers of JP Crickets are certainly top quality. But alas, I do not have the trust fund of the Howells to fall back on so the $300 price tag – and the fact that I did not go to an Ivy League University put these slippers on the fantasy wish list.

I’ll settle for a much more humble pair of slippers, like the Virginia Tech Hokies Slippers on sale now for $12.50 from Khols.

See all the fine footwear of JP Crickets here.

See the entire University collection of JP Crickets here.

showerIt may be the middle of winter, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking about one of the great treats of my summer vacation: taking an outdoor shower. There are few greater joys in life than taking a shower outside in the warmth of a summer’s day.

I have always wanted my own outdoor shower, but I have not managed to make that happen yet. So I will settle for the outdoor shower at our annual summer rental (in the wonderful Cape Cod community of Wellfleet, MA) and dreaming about having my own, like the ones available from OboRain.

About OboRain: “If you’ve ever showered outdoors or dreamed of showering under the open sky, you know what an exquisite pleasure it can be… warm water, sunlight, a gentle breeze. What if you could take your morning shower outdoors – every day? Start your day bathing in sunlight. To these ends, we’ve designed the first modern pre-fab outdoor shower. A clean contemporary design, sustainable materials that will withstand the test of time and weather, quick and simple assembly, and an incredible shower fixture all create an unparalleled shower experience.”

A boy can dream!

See the various awesome outdoor shower models of OboRain here.

necbOne of the great things about old cookbooks is that they tend to contain much more than recipes; they are snapshots of history and our culture. I love paging through vintage cookbooks to see trends and things that have changed over the years – and to see what hasn’t changed.

One of my favorite cookbooks is a reproduction of a 1905 book called The New England Cook Book The Latest and the Best Methods for Economy and Luxury at Home. I love this book so much I keep a copy in the reading rack of restroom off of the kitchen to entertain my guests.

About The New England Cook Book The Latest and the Best Methods for Economy and Luxury at Home: “This cookbook is an entertaining collection of recipes (which quickly become stories in themselves) and a fascinating slice of life from a century ago. Egg yolks are ‘yelks’, some recipes require a whole calf’s head (don’t ask about the tongue) and everything is cooked over fire — live, wood-burning fire. With a new foreword by Annie B. Copps.”

The New England Cook Book is a real treat. The book features just about every food and every method possible. Although many of the dishes are old school and require way more prep than the modern cook requires (as in we really don’t need to know how to skin a rabbit) there are many tips and recipes that can be used today. More than anything, The New England Cook Book is an entertaining walk into the kitchens of the past.

The New England Cook Book The Latest and the Best Methods for Economy and Luxury at Home is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

cashThe world of peanut butter and other related products is full of options (Nutella anyone?).

However, it is relatively hard to find a product that relies on the natural goodness of the ingredients without unnecessary additions. Thankfully, I found the good folks at Reginald’s Homemade, who make a wonderful line of peanut and other butters, like their Cashew Nilla Cashew Butter.

About Reginald’s Homemade’s Cashew Nilla Cashew Butter: “For the true health nuts! Finally, a cashew butter that pleases the palate. Ingredients: Roasted Unsalted Cashews, Peanut Oil, Vanilla Beans, Natural Vanilla Extract.”

That’s right, just four ingredients which results in a product with no sodium, no cholesterol, and no trans fats. It also results in a great taste.

Meanwhile, I would be remiss if I did not mention Reginald’s Homemade’s Bourbon Pecan Peanut Butter: “Heaven in a jar. All the classic ingredients in a bourbon pecan pie made into a peanut butter. A hint of brown sugar, touch of molasses, pinch of vanilla and a sniff of bourbon. Oh, and don’t forget the crunch of dry roasted pecan chunks!”

See all the great products of Reginald’s Homemade here.