Archive for August, 2013

STUFFSeriously? Were there ever a book that fits the Lost Cowboy aesthetic it is: Stuff: The M(Group) Interactive Guide to Collecting, Decorating With, and Learning About, Wonderful and Unusual Things by Carey Maloney.

In this wonderfully dense book, full of evocative photographs and inspirational artwork, Mr. Maloney presents a treasure trove of ideas for anyone, like me, who loves “stuff.”

About Stuff: The M(Group) Interactive Guide to Collecting, Decorating With, and Learning About, Wonderful and Unusual Things by Carey Maloney: Stuff invites the reader inside the homes of impassioned collectors, detailing the wide variety of art and objects that go into the creation of M(Group)’s complex, richly layered, and beautifully orchestrated interiors. A unique interactive digital recognition technology allows readers to delve deep into 40 captivating topics, expanding the scope of the book to include cyberlinks to the world’s great museum collections, the most important dealers, and the most illuminating research resources. Enter M(Group)’s world of wonderfully diverse spaces and learn about an array of esoteric and varied subjects, from anatomical models to Australian aboriginal art, pre-Columbian pottery to Coromandel screens, and taxidermy to Tiffany lamps, all accompanied by personal anecdotes as witty and insightful as the homes M(Group) designs.”

Stuff is the type of book you will keep around and find yourself referring to all the time for inspiration and validation. Validation for all those “treasures” you have accumulated over the years that you didn’t know what to with so they ended up in boxes in the barn (#hoarder). OK, enough about me.

As the late great George Carlin once said in a classic routine: life is about finding “a place for my stuff.” With a guide like Stuff, you will find more ways than you can imagine to turn your stuff into fabulous interior design.

Stuff: The M(Group) Interactive Guide to Collecting, Decorating With, and Learning About, Wonderful and Unusual Things by Carey Maloney is available from Amazon and other fine retailers.

Bonus: see a bit of George Carlin’s A Place for my Stuff routine on YouTube here.

SAM_0416 (480x640)Next up in my “Summer Finds” series of things I have found while touring around church fairs, flea markets, arts festival, and country auctions over the past few month is the artwork of Left of the Moon.

I have been wanting to post about Left of the Moon since I first spotted them at an art fair in Wolfeboro, NH in July. However, I hesitated as there is no solid contact information or website for the artist, which makes me sad as I love the work and am interested in purchasing a piece.

Left of the Moon is the work of a local New Hampshire artist who makes amazing mixed media assemblages out of discarded vintage guitars. The artist, a woman with whom I chatted, is very talented and has created her works centered on music – mostly classic rock acts of the last century like The Grateful Dead (below right) and The Beatles.

SAM_0421 (480x640)In speaking with the artist, it seems as though she was just returning to showing her work after taking several years off. When asked for contact information, she referred me to her fledgling Left of the Moon Facebook page.

The Left of the Moon Facebook page is sparse and included this brief description:

“Original Art Work for home, office, yard, I make it you decide what to do with it, I will help you with that if you need me. I use recycled material and have for years, Reverse art, 3-d, multimedia, painted clothing and shoes, embroidery, and much more.”

I am keeping my eye out to see if the artist adds more to the page and information about her delightful work – like The Beatles work (below):

SAM_0419 (480x640)

More Summer Finds to come!

SAM_1482 (480x640)It has been a busy summer for me – with many things going on and many commitments. Thankfully I have been able to balance my responsibilities with visits to the events I love in the summer: church fairs, flea markets, arts festival, country auctions, etc.

In the coming days I will be presenting some of the great things I have “found” while traveling my summer circuit in New England.

The Revisioned Originals” of Keller-MacLeod

First up is the truly wonderful husband and wife team of Keller-MacLeod I found at an art festival in North Conway, NH earlier this month.

Joe Keller and Heather MacLeod – both extremely talented artists in multiple media – present their collective oeuvre as “ReVISIONed ORIGINALS – ART from pARTs” – and it is all absolutely fantastic.

SAM_1475 (604x640)Joe Keller, from Brownfield, ME is an accomplished airbrush artist and owns and operates South Wind Airbrush where he creates amazing works of art on things like motorcycles. However, he applies his considerable talents to other media as well – the pure expanse of his work can be seen on the gallery of his work on his website.

At the fair I attended, Mr. Keller showcased works he classified as “Steampunk” which included great sculptures and useable art created from old parts of other things.

Among the works was this great telephone lamp (above right) – with which I fell in love and purchased. A very simple concept – a vintage telephone refitted with as a lamp. I love it! I will be swapping out the light for a smaller LED and intend to use this on my nightstand.

CampMeanwhile, Mr. Keller’s wife Heather MacLeod is an amazing artist in her own right. Again, I am just amazed at the breadth of her talent in multiple media which can all be seen on her website. However, as an assemblage artist myself, I am particularly attracted to her assemblage works.

At the show I attended, Ms. MacLeod had a nice selection of her metal sculptures on display. Following the show I visited her website and was very impressed by Ms. MacLeod’s paintings. Her eclectic acrylic paintings include this chilling work titled “Camp(right) which I covet.

See the art of Joe Keller here.

See the art of Heather MacLeod here.

SSBBI am more of a salty snack person than a sweets person. However, every now and then I crave a combination of the two – salt and sweet together. One of my favorite combinations is a sugary popcorn mixed with a traditional salt popcorn.

On the candy side, you have to love the mix of caramel and seas salt, like the Caramel Sea Salt Truffles from Knipschildt Chocolatier.

See all the great chocolate treats of Knipschildt Chocolatier here.

Of course Knipschildt Chocolatier is on the artisanal high end of the sweet and salty spectrum. On the other end is the traditional saltwater taffy that is ubiquitous at seaside resorts. The best taffies I’ve had in recent times come from The Salty Road, as I have mentioned here before.

SWTThe Salty Road makes a Sea Salt Caramel taffy: “We were blown away the first time we tested this recipe. It was super cool to see how such a simple recipe (only 5 ingredients) could create such a complex tasting taffy. To flavor the candy we caramelize sugar till it’s nice and dark and just starting to smoke then we add it to our base. This amazing concoction adds notes of dark coffee & hints of burnt sugar. The candy is a balance of bitter, sweet, salty and chewy with pops of crunch from the sea salt! You will be addicted!”

See all the great taffy products of The Salty Road here.

WBSIt has been a while since I have posted about my love of cured meats. I don’t indulge in Prosciutto, Salami, Capicola or other traditional Italian cold meats too often, but when I do I only want the best, like the fine meats of Creminelli.

About Creminelli Fine Meats: “From the outset, the goal of Creminelli Fine Meats has been to provide Americans with traditional Italian meat specialties some of which weren’t otherwise available in the U.S. and many of which are available only on a regional basis in Italy. We hope to improve the selection of fine meats in the U.S. and in so doing provide exciting new culinary experiences for Americans.”

I’ve ordered Creminelli’s Wild Boar salami: “Wild Boar salami is a mixture of wild boar and pork, seasoned with cloves and juniper berries for a robust yet sweet flavor. Creminelli’s Wild Boar Salami is a national food award finalist.”

I think a platter of cold meats, cheeses and grilled vegetables makes for a perfect late summer dinner.

BMDMeanwhile, the fine folks at Boccalone, another purveyor of fine meats, offer an alternative to a more traditional summer meal with their Mortadella Hot Dogs.

About Boccalone’s Mortadella Hot Dogs: “Ready for grilling! Mortadella is the original bologna, a delicate balance of fat, meat and spice, with a hint of pistachios and black peppercorns. Traditional Mortadella is made in a large casing and then sliced thin. We decided to see what would happen if we put it in a small casing and made a “hot dog.” We think you’ll agree that the result is delicious! The Mortadella Hot Dogs are fully cooked and can be heated up in your favorite manner. We like to grill them and serve on a bun with our Whole Grain Mustard and some house-made pickles. Incudes: Three 8-ounce packages of Mortadella Dogs.”

Find Creminelli Fine Meats online here.

Read more about all the products of Creminelli here.

See more about the products of Boccalone here.

FF: Cape Grim Water

GRIMI love a good spring water and none comes better recommended that that of Cape Grim Water from Tasmania of all places.

About Cape Grim Water: “Rain is nature’s main way of cleaning the air. The air purity at Cape Grim (N. West Tasmania) is recognized by both governments and scientists as being the cleanest /purest air on Earth. Cape Grim is located North of Antarctica and receives air that has travelled 16,000 kilometers across nothing but the freezing Antarctic Ocean only to reach the warmer land and turn into rain. On average it rains 187 days per year. You wouldn’t want to live at Cape Grim, but the rain water is worth bottling.”

Learn more about Cape Grim Water here.

See all the products of Cape Grim Water here.

FF: The BINK media table

binkI am constantly looking for a surface to rest my laptop and other devices on. I am inevitably balancing things awkwardly which leads to many an accident. I think I have found the perfect solution to this problem: the BINK media table.

About the BINK media table: “A convenient mobile media table, BINK is the perfect companion anywhere you work or this convenient table goes anywhere you want. With a soft, contoured shape, BINK creates a comfortable workspace for a laptop or tablet or is an attractive resting spot for your favorite libation. Constructed of aluminum and steel, BINK is perfectly at home inside or out and is available in an array of tasty colors.”

Learn more about the BINK media table here.

FF: The wood bicycles of Masterworks

DEFENDERI have often gone on and on about the art of the bicycle. Although I think all bikes are amazing works of art and design, I think the wood bicycles of Masterworks are truly masterpieces. I like the Defender model.

About the Defender wood bicycle from Masterworks: “The Defender is Masterworks’ first wood bike, and shows the true depth of the artisans’ passion for woodworking. The contrast in woods allows for the subtle curves of the bike to give it its timeless look.”

See all the wood bicycles of Masterworks here.

The wood bicycles of Masterworks are available exclusively from Bespoke Global.

FF: The designer home furnishings of Milan’s Spazio Rossana Orlandi

SUITCCOK, queue the critics, my high-end tastes are about to be displayed again with this find: The designer home furnishings of Milan’s Spazio Rossana Orlandi.

About Spazio Rossana Orlandi of Milan: “Spazio Rossana Orlandi opened in 2002 in a former tie factory in the Magenta neighborhood. The spaces wind around a green courtyard and they are divided between the 2-floor store, where you can find contemporary and vintage furniture and the gallery, established in 2008 , a space dedicated to limited editions and unique pieces. Since from the start the aim was to forecast and promote young and upcoming designers, discovered all around the world.”

Spazio Rossana Orlandi is loaded with gorgeous design pieces like the amazing suitcase chest of drawers from designer James Plumb.

Check out the products and designers offered through Spazio Rossana Orlandi here.

TWDJust up the street from where I am in New Hampshire, work is underway to build a distillery in the charming village of Tamworth. Yes, a distillery, where they make things like whiskey. This is very exciting news for the small batch fanboy that is me.

Opening in early 2014, The Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile will bring the growing trend of small rural distilleries to the foothills of the White Mountains and I for one can’t wait.

About Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile: “Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile will be built on the site of the historic Tamworth Inn, located in the center of Tamworth Village. A section of the Inn will be preserved to ensure the history of the town lives on, while the remaining space will be devoted to a carefully constructed micro-distillery. Our enterprise will be a small-scale test distillery where we’ll create farm-to-bottle spirits in a range of categories, from whiskies to gins and vodkas to historical spirits like applejack. Most everything will be made from New Hampshire crops. In addition, we will further distinguish ourselves from other distilleries, through a line of farm-to-bottle botanical extracts, essential oils, perfumes and edibles.”

wprMeanwhile, the folks over in neighboring Vermont have a head start with Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey.

About Whistle Pig: “Whistle Pig produces a 100-proof, straight rye whiskey, aged for at least ten years through a unique double-barrel process. Whistle Pig was released in the summer of 2010 to great critical acclaim, earning 96 points from Wine Enthusiast, their highest rating ever for a rye whiskey, a ‘highest recommendation’ from Spirits Journal, as well as accolades from The Wall Street Journal, GQ, Forbes, Maxim, Imbibe Magazine, and many others. These extraordinary honors “humble and set a high bar” for Master Distiller Dave Pickerell. Whistle Pig embodies the perfect combination of proof, purity, and age — hitting “the sweet spot” in all three categories. In short: more rye, all the proof, and the perfect age. All in. Full stop.”

Read more about Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile here.

Learn more about Whistle Pig here.

woodsOK, back to reading popular fiction in the summer… I just finished The Woods by Harlan Coben. This novel is an improbable and implausible legal thriller… the perfect read for lazy summer days.

Mr. Coben is a very popular author these days and I have read a couple of his other books and have found them to be very entertaining. The Woods, which is several years old now (it seems all my summer novels are “vintage” these days), is probably not his best work, but it is a compelling story full of the twists and turns one likes in a pulpy summer escapist read. Enough qualifiers for you?

About The Woods by Harlan Coben: “Twenty years ago, four teenagers at summer camp walked into the woods at night. Two were found murdered, and the others were never seen again. Four families had their lives changed forever. Now, two decades later, they are about to change again. For Paul Copeland, the county prosecutor of Essex, New Jersey, mourning the loss of his sister has only recently begun to subside. Cope, as he is known, is now dealing with raising his six- year-old daughter as a single father after his wife has died of cancer. Balancing family life and a rapidly ascending career as a prosecutor distracts him from his past traumas, but only for so long. When a homicide victim is found with evidence linking him to Cope, the well-buried secrets of the prosecutor’s family are threatened.”

The pacing in The Woods is perfect for picking it up and reading a chapter or two between summer activities. If you like the legal thriller genre, ala Scott Turow or John Grisham, then you will most likely enjoy The Woods or any of Mr. Coben’s novels.

The Woods by Harlan Coben is available from Amazon and other fine retailers.

It has been a few weeks since I featured a picture of my favorite sight – the view of Mount Chocorua across the lake that shares its name from Tamworth, NH.

SAM_1456 (600x800)

I realized that most of the pictures I have featured of this view in the past have been taken from a bridge that crosses the small creek that connects the lake to another pond.  The bridge itself is very photogenic and I thought made a nice frame for the stunning view (above).

The railing of the Lake Chocorua bridge in full view:

SAM_1467 (800x600)

It has been a banner year for my container garden.  The weather conditions have been perfect for my selection of tomatoes and I have a ton of them ripening on the vine every day.

Here is a recent day’s yield:

SAM_1404 (800x600)

Meanwhile, the grass in the back yard (an area my mother used to call “the back forty”) has never looked better.  After a few rough years (a new septic system and erosion from Hurricane Irene) the grass is finally growing well and thick.  Of course, the relatively wet summer has helped keep things very healthy and worthy of a PGA green.

SAM_1406 (600x800)

Meanwhile, my mother’s dream of a front garden full of wildflowers that pop up every summer lives on.  The orange daylilies have given way to dozens of Black Eyed Susans which add a nice bit of contrasting color to the fields of green.

SAM_1437 (800x600)

Ah! The joys of August in New Hampshire.