Archive for August, 2014

ukeI love the slogan use by Providence, RI-based artist Ape & Bird:

“We make things.”

More than that, I like what they make. What particularly caught my eye at last weekend’s Portland Picnic were Ape & Bird’s folk art ukuleles – made out of found objects like cigar boxes.

About the ukuleles made by Ape & Bird: “Ukuleles made by hand from cigar boxes and broken skateboards. One of a kind functional piece of playable art. Made to order, contact us for current build times.”

See the ukulele collection of Ape & Bird here.

Shop the ukuleles of Ape & Bird here.

Learn more about Ape & Bird here.

oldfNot really a “find” but a “rediscovered”… the great classic bourbon, Old Fitzgerald Bourbon.

About Old Fitzgerald Bourbon: “An historic brand, which dates back over 120 years, Old Fitzgerald Bourbon enjoys a nationally recognized reputation as an award winning whiskey with a tradition of extra-aging. Made with a “whisper of wheat” instead of the more traditional rye grain, Old Fitzgerald offers a unique and well-loved taste profile.

oftToday, Master Distillers Parker and Craig Beam have preserved the traditional formula and techniques, while adding the benefits of seven generations of Bourbon distilling expertise.”

There are many fine bourbons out there – many much more fancy brands – but for my money you can’t go wrong with kicking it old school with Old Fitzgerald.

Old Fitzgerald Bourbon is part of the Heaven Hill Distilleries family of brands.

Learn more about Old Fitzgerald Bourbon here.

FF: The photo stickers and decals from Paper Culture

FF2There is no shortage of options for printing your pictures these days – but I have to say I am really digging the photo stickers and decals you can order from Paper Culture.

About the photo stickers and decals from Paper Culture: “The last thing your newly–painted walls or your new home needs are tiny little holes everywhere, so why not brighten up your rooms with photo wall decals from Paper Culture? None of our photo wall decals contain harmful vinyl or VOC content, so you can design your room with ease, knowing that they are made from recycled materials. Whether you are looking for designs for your nursery, for your toddler’s room, or even the living room, we have a set of modern designs for you. From colorful personalized wall decals to classic black and white custom wall decals, you can decorate your house any way you want! And never fear – our decals are repositionable and removable, so you do not have to worry about crooked decorations. We make things easy for you, and all you have to do is choose the design of your choice and personalize it with a name, a phrase, or a photo.”

See all the photo printing options of Paper Culture here.

FF: The Desktop To Do Board – Chalkboard from ThreebyThree

FF1I have loved my succession of laptops and tablets, but I have to say that most of the time a simple old school slate would do the trick – something very much like the Desktop To Do Board – Chalkboard I found from ThreebyThree.

About the Desktop To Do Board – Chalkboard from ThreebyThree: “Make paperless, re-writable to-do lists on this 5.5 x 9 inch (14 x 23 cm) chalk memo board. With an attractive chalkboard surface on the front and black fabric on the back, the to•do board is an ideal part of a stylish home, office, or kitchen desktop solution that will help keep you organized and reduce paper clutter. The chalk to•do board features a removable stand, which also allows the board to be carried alone, and is made with sustainably harvested engineered wood from New Zealand. Chalk piece included.”

See all the cool products of ThreebyThree here.

FF: Carla’s Sweet Corn and Tomato Relish

ff3It is late summer and the farmers’ markets are chock full of fresh corn and tomatoes – which makes it perfect timing for this recipe I found in Good Housekeeping: Carla’s Sweet Corn and Tomato Relish.

About the recipe for Carla’s Sweet Corn and Tomato Relish:

“Carla Hall grew up on Southern preparations of corn-and-tomato relish that kept the kernels crunchy.”

Find the recipe for Carla’s Sweet Corn and Tomato Relish from Good Housekeeping here.

Check out all the other great recipes and tips from Good Housekeeping here.

WFTI just came across a place called White Faux Taxidermy. Seriously. They had me at “White Faux Taxidermy.”

The fine folks at White Faux Taxidermy do what you think they do… they make fake taxidermy products – like their resin animal mounts, like this cool moose.

About the Resin Animal Mounts of White Faux Taxidermy: “These refer to animal mounts that have been crafted, not stuffed. Bear in mind that in the art of taxidermy, often times the finished animal involves removing interior animal parts and preserving skin, antlers and other parts. The piece may also be made with glass, clay, epoxy and wax—especially for parts like the eyes, nose and mouth. However, resin heads do not actually contain any animal parts, interior, exterior or otherwise. All of the pieces are created using manmade materials. Life-size moose resin heads can be sculpted and crafted into a perfect head or bust using only a photo and precise animal measurements. Whereas some taxidermy products are made from actual antlers, resin products are made from polyurethane resin.”

See all the great products of White Faux Taxidermy here.

You’ve got to love the moose!

TCIRCIt is not a revelation to me that Dave Eggers is a gifted writer. So it was with high expectations that I approached his latest novel, The Circle. My expectations were met as Mr. Eggers has crafted a tight, relevant modern novel that is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining.

About The Circle by Dave Eggers: “When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.”

Like many good novels, The Circle is one that is appealing due to its closeness to reality – or at least close to believability. Add the prose of a talent like Mr. Eggers and you have a great read.

The Circle by Dave Eggers is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.

Indulging my penchant for snapping pictures of bicycles everywhere I go… Here are a few shots I took whilst touring around Portland, ME this past weekend:

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GWBThere is no shortage of water bottle out there, but you will have a hard time finding one cooler than the REAL water bottles of Blenko Glass Company… “Handcrafted in America since 1893.”

About Blenko Glass: “Located in Milton, WV Blenko Glass is an American institution and has been in business since 1893. For over 100 years Blenko has maintained and will carry on the tradition of hand making glassware in America. We offer a wide range of products which include functional glassware, art glass, mouth blown sheet glass, dalle de verre and other quality products.”

I like Blenko’s Diamond Optic Water Bottle.

But the Blenko Fire and Ice collection is pretty cool too.

See all the fine products of Blenko Glass Company handcrafted in America since 1893 here.

It’s been a long summer as I’ve traded in my beloved mountains of New Hampshire for the rolling mounds of the Kansas prairie.  But I was able to sneak back this weekend to check in on Mount and Lake Chocorua as seen from Tamworth, NH.  Even in the clouds standing in this spot soothed my soul.

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emThis may or may not come as a surprise to you, but I am not one to have manicures or really fuss at all over my nail care. However, were I ever to start taking better care of my nails’ appearance I would totally use the Sedgwick Emery Boards I found from Parkside Paper & Gift.

About the Sedgwick Emery Boards from Parkside Paper & Gift: “About Lovely artwork meets everyday function in this cute emery board set. Packaged in a protective vinyl sleeve with flap closure, the pack of three can be taken anywhere for a quick manicure. This set contains one each of a navy dot pattern, a purple flourish pattern, and a purple ikat pattern.”

The Sedgwick Emery Boards are part of the Wooster & Prince collection from Parkside Paper & Gift: “The beautifully coordinated Wooster & Prince product line features the rich, luxurious colors of the season. Designer Amy Ormond has a unique way of reinterpreting classic looks and patterns with a modern touch. Always stylish and elegant, these products make thoughtful and much appreciated gifts.”

See all the great designs and products of Parkside Paper & Gift here.

This weekend I am headed back to Portland, ME to attend two art festivals. I am also marking my calendar for next month when Kansas City hosts one of the biggest art festival in the country. …all events I highly recommend.

FF: WCSH 6 Sidewalk Art Festival in Portland, ME

cshOne of my favorite events of the season is the great WCSH 6 Sidewalk Art Festival in Portland, ME. After nearly 50 years, this grand dame of New England summer art festivals is still going strong and I can’t wait.

About the WCSH 6 Sidewalk Art Festival in Portland, ME: “This year’s WCSH 6 Sidewalk Art Festival will be August 23. From 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Downtown Portland will be a sea of artists and art lovers. Nearing its 50th year, the Festival takes place in Portland’s Arts District (on both sides of Congress Street from Congress Square to Monument Square). Streets are closed, providing a safe and truly festive atmosphere for shoppers and artists alike. The Festival is professionally-judged show with cash prizes. Artists have the option to participate in the judging.”

WCSH 6 Sidewalk Art Festival will be tomorrow, August 23, 2014 on Congress St. in Portland, ME.

FF: Portland Picnic

FFPMeanwhile, a few blocks away from the WCSH 6 Sidewalk Art Festival, the 7th Annual Picnic Music+Arts Festival will be taking place. The Picnic is the hipster version of the Art Festival and a ton of fun.

About Portland’s Picnic Music+Arts Festival: “The 7th Annual Picnic Music+Arts Festival will take place on Saturday, August 23, 2014. The Picnic is an indie craft fair and music festival held in Portland, Maine. The event began in 2008 as a means to showcase local artists from the DIY craft scene, while bringing together some of the best indie musical acts from the area.”

The Picnic Music+Arts Festival takes over Lincoln Park on Congress and Franklin Streets, in the great city of Portland ME tomorrow, August 23, 2014.

FF: Kansas City, MO’s Plaza Art Fair

PKCNext month, I will be headed to Kansas City’s venerable Country Club Plaza district for the annual Plaza Art Fair, something I have been looking forward to since coming to Kansas.

About The 2014 Plaza Art Fair: “After celebrating its 83rd year in 2013 with 240 artists from across the country, the Plaza Art Fair has impressively become a top-ranked, national art event. But, perhaps even more impressively, it continues to be a weekend of people simply celebrating art and each other, as well as Kansas City’s unofficial welcome to the fall season.”

The 2014 Plaza Art Fair will be held Friday, September 19, 2014 – Sunday, September 21, 2014 in Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza District.