Archive for March, 2014

DBFI love companies that are so dedicated to what they do their whole identity revolves around it – like the fine folks at the Doorbell Factory. The Doorbell factory has an amazing array of…

Wait for it…

Doorbells!

Seriously, they have a ton of doorbell designs… who knew?

I like the Bronze Plated Bear Doorbell.

Despite what I said above and their name, the Doorbell Factory also has a full line of amazing door knockers in addition to doorbells. I like the bronze Yorkshire Terrier “DogKnocker” they offer.

DBF2About the Yorkshire Terrier DogKnocker: “The Yorkie DogKnocker was cast in solid bronze using the age-old art of sand casting. The sand mold for the casting process is used only once, giving each DogKnocker its individual character. The Yorkie DogKnocker was treated with a dark patina, then hand polished and coated with a clear lacquer to protect its original finish. In order to confirm authenticity and quality craftsmanship, your DogKnocker carries the signature of artist Michael Healy.”

Come to think of it my friend Lynda has a Yorkie doorbell that goes off even before you get to the door… but it is much cuter and furrier than anything the Doorbell Factory has to offer.

See all the great doorbells, and other door-related products, from the Doorbell Factory here.

gccI have found the perfect recipe for the transition from soup season to grilling season, this recipe for Grilled Corn Chowder I found in Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

Sure it is technically spring, but it is still chilly in much of the country so it is ideal for grilling outside and bringing your fare inside to finish off a great meal. This recipe for Grilled Corn Chowder is the best of both words.

A tip from Better Homes & Garden’s recipe for Grilled Corn Chowder: “To easily remove corn kernels from the cob, place an ear of corn in the center opening of a fluted tube pan. Starting at the top of the cob, cut downward with a sawing motion so the kernels fall into the pan while the cob is firmly secured.”

Find the recipe for Grilled Corn Chowder from Better Homes & Gardens magazine here.

Check all the cool features of Better Homes & Gardens here.

ccbCole & Son is one of the foremost purveyors of fine wall coverings in the world. One look at their website to see their full collection of wallpaper designs will let you know why they are considered one of the best.

About Cole & Son: “Today, the Cole & Son archive consists of approximately 1,800 block print designs, 350 screen print designs and a huge quantity of original drawings and wallpapers, representing all the styles from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Amongst these are some of the most important historic wallpaper designs in the world. Cole & Son has provided wallpapers for many historic houses including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. Our magnificent archive is on occasion the source of new designs within our collections. Designs are carefully selected, adapted and coloured by our designers and printed by craftsmen to produce wallpapers faithful to the character of the original document, yet contemporary in feel. Cole & Son continues to produce innovative and beautiful designs; our current collections reflect our long and distinguished history as well as our continuing passion for new and exciting wallpapers.”

Although there are plenty of designs to love, I am drawn to Cole & Son’s Fornasetti Collection: “The Fornasetti collection consists of 14 designs selected from fine drawings in the archive of Piero Fornasetti (1913-1988). These wallpapers incorporate elements from the Fornasetti archives used to make stunning large scale designs in a palette of useable colours ranging from reds and golds, to neutrals and blacks.”

CCaIn particular, I Iove the Ex Libris wallpaper design: “The now iconic Ex Libris wallpaper design features a detail taken from a 1953 screen, speaks volumes with a faux library of books bound in pigskin and buff on black shelves; pale sepia on silver books with dark stone shelves; parchment on black and white books with pale taupe shelves and for lovers of purple prose, magenta and gold books on black shelves. Colours shown on-screen may vary from the original wallpaper, we therefore recommend ordering a sample to view the true colours. We recommend that you use Cole & Son Tub Paste.”

See The Fornasetti Collection from Cole & Son here.

Check out all of Cole & Son’s collections here.

FF: Braswell’s Carafe Salad Dressings

ff1I love the salad dressings from Braswell’s Carafe Salad Dressings line – especially Braswell’s Balsamic Herb Vinaigrette.

About Braswell’s Carafe Salad Dressings: “Braswell’s Carafe Dressings are a collection of distinctive recipes that are the perfect finishing touch for your favorite salad. Six bold flavors, including Vidalia® Onion Summer Tomato, Balsamic Herb Vinaigrette, Peach Vanilla, Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette and Vidalia® Onion Peppercorn. Each dressing is made with premium, all-natural gluten free ingredients and can also be used as a marinade for almost any meat, seafood or vegetable. The dressings are packaged in beautiful reusable glass serving carafes – very earth friendly!”

Check out the full line of Braswell’s Carafe Salad Dressings here.

FF: HalfPops

FF2You know those half-popped popcorn kernels that you love to find at the bottom of the bowl? They are always a nice crunchy treat after eating all the fluffy fully popped kind. Well the fine folks at HalfPops have mastered the art of, well, half popped popcorn and have a full line of flavored half-popped popcorn treats. Try the butter and sea salt kind for a new twist on the old school classic.

About HalfPops: “Partially popped. And fully delicious. Savor the crunchy heart of air-popped kernels. Revel in flavor that’s positively packed in – not lost in the fluff of ordinary popcorn. Great things do come in very small packages. Join our popcorn revolution!”

Learn more about HalfPops here.

FF: The Grown Up Chocolate Company

FF3Let’s face it, most candy bars are made for kids or for adults to indulge in while remembering their favorite candy from childhood. Well, the fine folks at The Grown Up Chocolate Company have created a whole line of candy bars aimed at, well, exactly what their name implies – grownups!

About the candy bars of The Grown Up Chocolate Company: “All of the bars are made by hand in the North of London. Created in small batches using high quality ingredients; Grown Up Chocolate Company makes bars that resemble the chocolate bars you ate as a child but it comes with an adult twist. This six pack contains 2 Salted Peanut Caramel Cracker; 2 Crunchy Praline Wonder Bar; 1 Fruit and Nut Hunky Dory; 1 Glorious Coconut Hocus Pocus Bars.”

I like the Salted Peanut Caramel Cracker: “Sumptuous salted caramel enveloping, a row of peanuts on a bed of peanut praline encased in luxury milk chocolate.”

Learn more about the Grown Up Chocolate Company here.

Grown Up Chocolate Company products can be purchased in the US from fine retailers like Chelsea Market Basket.

FF: QUIN – candy makers

FF4Meanwhile, the fine folks at QUIN, candy makers in the lovely city of Portland, OR, have updated confections for grown-ups and kids alike.

About Portland, OR’s QUIN: “QUIN is candy. Reimagined, updated, modernized. We make candy for today that has the uncanny ability to tug at the heartstrings of yesterday. QUIN candy has one simple focus: to make the best candy we possibly can with the best ingredients we can get our hands on. All of QUIN’s recipes start with one person: owner and chief candy maker Jami Curl. From gumdrops to caramels, marshmallows to lollipops, fruit chews to sour hard candies the QUIN candy kitchen is busy churning out Curl’s creations both for our shoppe in Portland, Oregon and for nationwide delivery.”

Try QUIN’s Jacobsen Sea Salt Caramels: “QUIN’s caramels are made with fresh cream, European butter and Oregon sea salt. Handmade in small batches, we cook sugar until it is perfectly bronzed, resulting in an unmistakable caramel finish. Flavor Profile: Rich, buttery caramel; Sparks of flaked sea salt. Who Will Love This Caramel: Every person on earth!”

QUIN’s modern candy can be found at fine retailers throughout the US.

But lucky for us, QUIN has an online shop and will ship right to your door.

Lamp3There is a lot for me to love about the fine folks at Lamp-In-A-Box. First, they have a great line of lamps featuring iconic and evocative images like vintage postcards and famous works of art. The lamps are stylish and with hundreds of art options – including some funky designs by modern artists – there is bound to be something that you’ll love for your home or office.

About Lamp-In-A-Box: “Lamp-In-A-Box was founded in 2007 by Daniel Cytrynowicz with the idea of redefining people’s experience with table lamps. The vision from the beginning was to create a fun, relevant and affordable lamp, challenging the age-old image of the sober, virtually invisible lighting object in everybody’s home. Lamp-In-A-Box’s lamps have become “objects of desire”, being sold in furniture, gift and museum stores, boutiques, catalogs, websites and even record stores, as well as being used as gifts for the promotional market.

LAMPWith its ever-growing library of images (approaching 1000 at this site’s launch) Lamp-In-A-Box takes its customers’ feedback very seriously, quickly creating new designs as requested. Most notable is the ‘build-your-own’ lamp, which has become a prized heirloom in homes across the US. Lamp-In-A-Box lamps will not be ignored and are sure to put a smile on peoples’ faces!”

I love many of the art options Lamp-In-A-Box offers, but there is something really special about the Schwinn bicycle images.

Oh yeah, and if you can’t find anything that suits your interest (unlikely) you can create your own lampshade using your own images.

Check out Lamp-In-A-Box here.

PTBI have been a big fan of artist Ralph Steadman since I first “discovered” him when I was a student back in the day. I was drawn to his work before I knew who the artist was, as in I liked several images I had seen before realizing it was the same artist – a sure sign that you really like someone’s talent.

Mr. Steadman’s work is sometimes messy, often controversial and always weird – and I love it. Mr. Steadman, maybe best known for his collaborations with Hunter S. Thompson and countless editorial illustrations, has totally embraced his weirdness, as he titled his book, Proud Too Be Weirrd and it is one crazy trip.

About Ralph Steadman: Proud Too Be Weirrd by Ralph Steadman: “Iconoclastic British artist Ralph Steadman has been creating editorial and political illustrations for more than five decades. Steadman is revered for his ink-splattered, anarchic, and often shocking drawings. His well-known illustrations alongside the work of literary legend Hunter S. Thompson have long been celebrated and have achieved a cult-like following. Together, Steadman and Thompson’s iconic work has come to be known as Gonzo journalism. Ralph and Hunter first met in 1970 on an assignment from Scanlan’s Monthly magazine to cover the Kentucky Derby. Their 40-year friendship included collaborations on seminal books such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Curse of Lono, as well as numerous articles for Jann Wenner’s Rolling Stone, including the George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali fight and coverage of the Watergate scandal.”

Ralph Steadman: Proud Too Be Weirrd is chock full of Mr. Steadman’s artwork of course, but it also a wonderful literary narrative full of wit and keen observations from an artist who transcends his medium.

Ralph Steadman: Proud Too Be Weirrd by Ralph Steadman is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.

CAMI love the work the fine folks at Images of the Past Gallery are doing. The Dover, NH-based photography preservationists specialize in restoring and curating collections of vintage photographs.

Their Dover location includes a gallery of their current collections on exhibition – a taste of which can be found on Images of the Past Gallery’s website.

I love the vintage photos of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Images of the Past Gallery online here is located at 35 Atkinson Street in Dover, NH.

rspWell, it is still soup season, one thing that made the long cold winter we endured survivable. Soon it will be too warm to stay in with a nice bowl of soup and I will be longing for these days – but until then, I will be trying all sorts of new soup recipes.

I found this recipe for Roasted Sweet Potato and Garlic Soup from O, The Oprah Magazine, and it sounds tasty.

About the Roasted Sweet Potato and Garlic Soup recipe from O, The Oprah Magazine: “This warming soup can be whipped up easily. Just bake all the vegetables on a sheet pan, then toss them into a blender to puree. Bonus: Sweet potatoes are rich in soluble fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar.”

I love the part about this soup being “whipped up easily” – just my type of recipe.

Find the Roasted Sweet Potato and Garlic Soup recipe from O, The Oprah Magazine here.

Visit the homepage for O, The Oprah Magazine here.

nkcMusic education is one of those things that we know every kid should have, but it is often the first thing that gets cut when budgets are tightened or worse, it was never an option. That is why I like to support organizations that are dedicated to providing arts education to children, like the Nat King Cole Generation Hope.

About Nat King Cole Generation Hope: “We believe that every child should be exposed to music education. Studies have proven that participation in school music has a positive impact on areas considered outside the realm of music including dexterity, coordination, self-discipline, self-esteem, thinking skills, listening skills, creative abilities and personal expression. Through the efforts of Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Inc., and the community as a whole, we envision a day when music will be a central part of all children’s lives.”

The Nat King Cole Generation Hope organization is not only helping support music education for children, it is keeping the legacy of its namesake alive – the great Nat King Cole.

Learn more about – and support – Nat King Cole Generation Hope here.

OF1I am a man and I love men’s accessories, like handkerchiefs, belts, watches, cufflinks and all those other things that are usually relegated to the men’s “gift” table at your local department store.

But alas there are others out there that honor these classic goods for men, like the fine folks at Owen & Fred, who offer a wonderful selection of men’s accessories made in the USA. Owen & Fred is the perfect place to shop for a gift for the man in your life… like me!

About Owen & Fred: “It shouldn’t be hard to find durable, high-quality men’s goods made in the United States. We aim to make that statement true by working with designers and manufactures to create our own line of men’s goods made great, made in America. A simple wallet inspired us. One that moved beyond an ordinary good. A wallet that made us realize men deserve more than cheaply made, high-marked, department store products made in countries we’ve never traveled to. We wanted to provide superior men’s goods made in the United States. This proved harder than it sounds. We discovered if we wanted high-quality, long lasting, and inspiring goods that fit our standards, we would have to make them ourselves. So that’s what we decided to do. Men’s Goods Made Great- everything a man needs to feel complete in his day. Goods that motivate men to reach their highest potential as well as put a smile on their face.”

A couple of Owen & Fred’s products that caught my eye…

I love the Owen & Fred Bottoms Up shot glass (above, right):

“Made in Brooklyn exclusively for Owen & Fred, meet our Bottoms Up shot glasses. This stainless steel shot glass is stamped by hand in Brooklyn, degreased and packaged up for you and consumption of copious amounts of tequila.”

OF2Meanwhile, Owen & Fred offers a great line of neat cufflinks like the New York City Subway token cufflinks made with vintage subway tokens:

“Hand-crafted using real NYC subway tokens from the 50s and 60s, these cufflinks will turn heads and put you in a New York state of mind. While subway tokens are long gone (having disappeared from NYC subways in the mid-80s), you have to admit these will turn an otherwise boring French cuff dress shirt into something quite classy. These beautiful NYC subway cufflinks are secured to gold plated cufflink posts.”

OF3Last but not least I want one of Owen & Fred’s signature bags like the Army Green “Work Hard, Play Hard” Duffel:

“Introducing our Army Green “Work Hard, Play Hard” Duffel, by Owen & Fred. We designed this duffel to outlast the competition with a price tag you’ll love. Made from #8 18 oz Duck Canvas, 1000 Denier Nylon on the exterior and 420 Denier Nylon interior, you have durable, water repellent quality that looks as good as it protects. Approximately 9.75 inches high and 19.5 inches wide with a 9.75 inch interior diameter it’s the perfect size for a weekend away or to carry your gear to the gym. The interior provides one large zipper pocket for bigger personal items and two small non-zipper pockets to fit your phone or wallet. The bags zips open and closed with ease, and feature nickel hardware, leather grip and accents, and an attachable shoulder strap. Best of all, it comes with a message on the inside to motivate you throughout the day.”

See all the “Men’s Goods. Made Great.” products of Owen & Fred here.