Archive for April, 2013

s1As we continued down Cape Cod’s Route 6A last weekend, Lynda and I stumbled upon signs for an estate sale and decided to check it out. We had no idea exactly what we were walking into, but we were so happy we stopped.

Lynda found a gorgeous 1930’s lampshade, which she scooped up as soon as she saw it. We were surprised no one else had grabbed it, since it was obvious the sale had been underway for a while. However, it sort of blended in so it was still available. It was one of those things – once we were walking around with it, everybody commented on what a great find it was. By the way, I am trying to convince Lynda to be a guest blogger here on Lost Cowboy so she can talk about her amazing finds and the creative ways she uses them.

Meanwhile, estate sales are not usually good for the “smalls” that catch my eye. However, on our way out I spotted this little ceramic plate with a fun graphic and words “Off to Widecombe Fair” depicting the story told in an old English folk song.

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As an anglophile I snapped the plate right up and was thrilled to have found a little something for myself at the estate sale.

The song Widecombe Fair is a traditional English country folk song about a poor horse who dies after carrying everyone in town to the fair.

The chorus goes:

Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare

All along, down along, out along lee.

For I want to go down to Widecombe Fair

Wi’ Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,

Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawk,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all

See the full lyrics of Widecombe Fair here.

Learn more about the actual Widecombe Fair here.

The estate sale was held by local Cape Cod firm Stem to Stern. We were impressed with everything about the sale and in particular the Stem to Stern staff who were knowledgeable, engaging and just plain nice.

Learn more about the estate sales of Stem to Stern here.

ARCHgI just love the sensibility of Archie Grand, a fine purveyor of notebooks, scrapbooks and other cool stationary and gift items.

About Archie Grand: “The notorious Scandinavian producer of sketchbooks, notebooks, cards, candles and tea towels. At Archie Grand we produce high quality and ingenious designed products for shopaholics, artists, royal´s and 55 other breeds of charlatans, scoundrels and luminaries. Archie Grand stationery products: cool notebooks, bespoke journals, witty tea towels and greeting cards… Candles for intellectuals. And art, fashion, design paper planes.”

Known mostly for their notebooks with their cheeky tagline “Notebooks for Friend or Foe” – Archie Grand makes personalized notebooks with titles like Brits I’ve Met and Liked: “A journal for your favorite British proper person or any other scoundrel or charlatan in your life, for them this is the notebook. The personal journal for Ascot and Henley Royal Regatta living.”

Or how about the red-covered Communists I’ve Met and Liked notebook: “The great blank notebook from Archie Grand. Our personalized notebook / journal / scrapbook for all walks of life, is a modern classic of design and quality. And with color and wit.”

You get the idea.

Find the “Notebooks for Friend or Foe” and all the products of Archie Grand here.

s3As I mentioned the other day, my weekend of hunting vintage finds with my friend Lynda started last Saturday with a day trip to Cape Cod. We started our tour in Sandwich, MA on scenic Route 6A which is loaded with all sorts of shops and galleries as it winds its way through cranberry bogs and charming villages.

Our first stop of the day was at the St. John’s Thrift Shop in Sandwich. St. John’s Thrift Shop was a pure delight – beautifully curated with a wonderful mix of items and staffed by charming ladies.

I picked up a few items here, including this Asparagus plate which will fit in well with my asparagus art collection. Yes, sadly, I have such a collection.

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The plate, which is hard to date, was made by the Shenango China of New Castle, PA – a producer of fine china for most of the last century.

Read more about the history of Shenango China here.

See more about the St. John’s Thrift Shop in Sandwich, MA here.

FF: The “Wood Dressing” of F.A. Seeds’ Co.

FFxWhen it comes to furniture polishes you have all manner of choices in the home cleaning aisle. However, if you have furniture that you love and want to protect, you may want to go with something that has been around for a while, like the classic “Wood Dressing” of F.A. Seeds’ Co.

About F.A. Seeds’ Co.: “Established in 1883 by Frank A. Seeds in Covington, Kentucky, F. A. Seeds’ Co. produces the oldest trademarked furniture polish in the United States. Mr. Seeds was a nineteenth-century cabinetmaker who formulated a hand-mixed dressing to preserve his fine furniture. It became so popular that in 1883, he and his son formed a company to sell the wood dressing. Mr. Seeds’ Wood Dressing has been used in the finest homes for more than 125 years and also has the distinction of having been used in the White House since William Howard Taft’s presidency.”

About the “Wood Dressing” of F.A. Seeds’ Co.: “Our signature product developed by our founder in 1851 and patented in 1883. Excellent for all antiques; cleans, nurtures and beautifies wood of all kinds. Apply with a cheese-cloth dampened in water and well wrung out. Let stand as long as convenient for maximum cleaning and nourishing. Buff lightly with grain of wood – leaves a satin luster finish dry to the touch.”

Check out all the products of F.A. Seeds’ Co. here.

FF: Fat & Juicy Bloody Mary Mix

FFyI don’t care for Bloody Marys, but I like the look of them, the culture of them and making them for guests. That’s why I like Fat & Juicy Bloody Mary Mix – which never fails to make me look like I know what I’m doing.

About Fat & Juicy Bloody Mary Mix: “What happens in the back of the van usually stays in the back of the van, so we’re lucky that this spicy story got out! The Fat & Juicy brand was born on a band road trip from Atlanta back to Charleston the “morning after the night before”. It was bandmates Joe Good and John Glenn’s desire to have a bloody mary with a homemade taste that drove them to create what would soon become the country’s fastest growing bloody mary mix!”

Learn more about Fat & Juicy Bloody Mary Mix here.

FF: Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena

FFzHave you ever had a really fine balsamic? No, not the most expensive one you can find at your local grocery store – not even Whole Foods. The type of balsamic that is made and aged in the old world style, and frankly, costs a ton of money? Well I have, and it is Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, and it is worth its weight in gold.

About Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena: “This is the real deal in the world of balsamics. Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena made in the ancient tradition of cooking grape must and allowing it to age in wooden barrels for at least 12 years. This balsamic is made by the Biancardi family just outside of the city of Modena. They use the must of their own grapes to create the beautiful balance of this balsamic with a deep agro-dolce (sour sweet) flavor with complex, rounded notes that can only be developed over years of aging in mulberry, cherry, juniper and chestnut barrels.”

Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena is available from the fine folks at Formaggio Kitchen.

See all the fine products of Formaggio Kitchen here.

FF: Dragunara Spice Bazaar

ffbbI love spices! Well, I love salt, and yeah, salt is a spice, right? I have written about spices (salts) and herbs in the past and have found some great purveyors of unique blends.

Today, I present another wonderful spice vendor I found recently: L.A.-based Dragunara Spice Bazaar.

Dragunara offers a large line of spices and herbs in unique blends. Of course I am drawn to the Thai Ginger Salt, the Bonfire Smoked Sea Salt and the supremely elegant White Truffle Salt.

Check out all the great products of Dragunara Spice Bazaar here.

Here is one of my Favorite Finds from my weekend of scouring thrift shops, antique stores and flea markets: this vintage alarm clock with a nice patina…

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The clock is clearly marked “Fashion” on the faceplate and it is “made in the USA” but there is no other identifying marks on it other than an obscure maker’s mark (sadly not the bourbon) that I could not identify. I tried doing a little research but could not find anything like it online and searching for “vintage” and “alarm clock” and “fashion” came up dry.

Meanwhile, I just love the look of it and best of all… It works!

Let me know if you have any information on this clock.

Alternate views:

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AOGI just love the idea behind today’s Find: the wonderful decoupaged vintage globes of ImagineNations from artist Wendy Gold.

About ImagineNations: “All ImagineNations™ are handmade to order on vintage globes. Remember, they’ve all had prior lives, so expect to see some “character”. Also, because of their age, many of the globes are no longer geographically accurate. Artwork is hand-cut, decoupaged on, and then finished. Most designs can be recreated in different sizes and using different color palletes upon request. Custom commissions are also welcomed and are the best way to bring your own ImagineNations™ to life.”

Take a look at the globes and maps of ImagineNations and I am sure you will be as charmed as I was when I first saw them.

I particularly like “To the Rescue” which features vintage superheroes saving the world.

About the artist behind ImagineNations: “Wendy Gold is an artist inspired by unique and unusual canvases. She first gained notoriety when she began decoupaging one-of-a-kind toilet seats and bathroom scales. Her work was instantly recognized for its originality and she quickly garnered a clientele including many A-list celebrities, along with a who’s who of retailers, restaurants, hotels, interior designers, and home décor enthusiasts. Always looking for new inspiration, she stumbled across a beautiful antique globe at a flea market and immediately recognized her next canvas. In early 2010, she launched ImagineNations™ and brought her unique brand of design to the canvas of world globes. By using recycled materials and vintage globes, she creates beautiful works of art, and brings a new touch of earthly responsibility to her work.”

 Learn more about ImagineNations here.

This past Sunday I made my way (with my lifelong friend Lynda) to Todd Farm to officially kick-off another great flea market Season. Todd Farm, a seasonal antique and collectibles market north of Boston, is one of our favorite places to browse and pick up some great finds and hidden gems.

The weather was dry, although still a little brisk, but it did not keep us or the dealers away. Our visit to Todd Farm capped off a weekend of treasure hunting. On Saturday Lynda and I trolled the shops lining scenic Route 6A on Cape Cod and had a great time.

In the coming days I will be presenting a few of my “Favorite Finds” from this great weekend. In the meantime, this sign spotted at Todd Farm this past Sunday says it all:

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Here are a few more shots of some of the items on display this past Sunday down at Todd Farm (click on thumbnail to see larger image):

Learn more about Todd Farm in Rowley, MA here.

VOTThis past Monday marked 101 years since the sinking of the Titanic and the story of the doomed voyage and its passengers still enthralls us. I enjoyed the James Cameron film version of the Titanic story as much as anyone, but I have always been more interested in the stories of the real life stories of the people on board – with all due respect to Kate and Leo, er Jack and Rose.

The stories of the people whose lives were attached to the Titanic is some way – passengers, builders, etc. are all featured in this wonderful book: Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From by Richard Davenport-Hines.

About Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From by Richard Davenport-Hines: “It has been one hundred years since the sinking of the passenger liner Titanic in the North Atlantic, yet worldwide fascination with the epic tragedy remains as strong as ever. With Voyagers of the Titanic, Richard Davenport-Hines gives us a magnificent history of the people intimately connected with the infamous ship—from deal-makers and industry giants, like J.P. Morgan, who built and operated it; to Molly Brown, John Jacob Astor IV, and other glittering aristocrats who occupied its first class cabins; to the men and women traveling below decks hoping to find a better life in America. Commemorating the centennial anniversary of the great disaster, Voyagers of the Titanic offers a fascinating, uniquely original view of one of the most momentous catastrophes of the 20th century.”

Instead of a forensic accounting of what may or may not have happened to the ship on that fateful night like many of the books about Titanic in recent years focus on, Mr. Davenport-Hines profiles the people who put a human face on the disaster. In Voyagers of the Titanic we realize more clearly than ever that the loss of the Titanic was a human tragedy not just an engineering failure.

Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From by Richard Davenport-Hines is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

MG_2482-Edit_largeOver the past few days I have beeen starting my garden plants from seeds. I hauled out my trays and mixed my soil. I have done this for the past several years and as much as I love the end results – I keep saying to myself “there must be a better way.”

Apparently, others have asked this question, and unlike me, actually answered it and figured out a better way. The good folks at Click & Grow have taken the hit or miss challenge of growing plants and applied technology. The result, “smart pots” that allow you to grow healthy plants without the guess work.

About Click & Grow: “Click & Grow is an easy-to-use electronic smart pot that grows plants without watering and fertilizing. You don’t have to have any knowledge about gardening; instead everything will be taken care by the smart technology. Click & Grow measures all the necessary parameters and doses an exact amount of water, fertilizer and air, according to the plant’s needs. No more constant watering, guesswork and worrying whether your plant is getting exactly what it needs – the smart technology takes care of all of that for you.”

Basically you have your hardware (the pot) and your software (a plant “cartridge) and when working together you can grow plants like tomatoes, basil, flowers, or most anything.

The process begins with a Click and Grow starter kit: “A Click & Grow starter kit contains everything you need to become an instant gardener: a smart pot and a plant cartridge.”

If you are one of those people that feel they don’t have a green thumb but would like to grow plants, then Click & Grow may be just the thing for you.

I love Click & Grow, kind of like a high tech Chia pet.

Check out the Click & Grow shop here.

Learn more about Click & Grow here.

CHOCcoin2OK folks, I’ve been waiting to blog about this for a few weeks now. It seems as though my most favorite scene in the world – the view of New Hampshire’s Mount Chocorua across the lake that shares its name in beautiful Tamworth, NH, has been immortalized on a new quarter from the US Mint.

Representing the White Mountain National Forest, Mount Chocorua appears on the 16th 25-cent piece issued as part of the Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters Program.

About The White Mountain National Forest quarter: “White Mountain National Forest, located in both New Hampshire and Maine, provides unique and strikingly beautiful landscapes and is one of America’s most visited national forests for its wide array of recreational opportunities and rich natural resources. The White Mountain National Forest includes unique features such as Mt. Washington, the highest peak north of the Smokey Mountains and east of the Mississippi. It was first established as a national site on May 16, 1918. The reverse design depicts Mt. Chocorua, the easternmost peak of the Sandwich Range, framed by birch trees. It is an iconic view of the White Mountain National Forest system lands.”

Seriously, this is very cool. As you know form my many “Checking in on Chocorua” posts over the years I love that mountain and that view and it is such an honor to see it recognized and honored as part of a program like the America the Beautiful quarters. I have yet to get my hands on one of the quarters, but you can bet when I do you won’t see it leave my hands.

White-Mountain-National-Forest-Quarter

Read more about the White Mountain National Forest quarter here.

Read more about the US Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters Program here.