Archive for September, 2014

geoI know it is not PC these days, but I sort of like tobacco. Well, not like cigarettes per se, but the whole idea of the old crop that helped build this nation. I like the look of it. I like the smell of it. And dare I say that I even like to smoke a fine cigar now and then.

So yeah, it is the nostalgic romance around tobacco that I like (as in the smell of a cigar reminds me of my grandfather) and I like old school tobacco shops – like the one run by the fine folks at Georgetown Tobacco in our Nation’s Capital.

About Georgetown Tobacco: “In 1964, David Berkebile established Georgetown Tobacco in Washington D.C.’s historic hub of commerce. Today, it is still a place to enjoy the camaraderie of those who enjoy the gentle art of smoking and other of life’s pleasures. In addition to the finest cigars, pipes and smoking accessories, we strive to stock interesting and unusual items for home and personal use. As you can see from this page, Venetian Carnival masks are immensely popular and have become a prominent feature in our store. We also feature writing instruments from Rebecca Moss, Limoges figurines, Czech crystal, chess sets and many other treasures.”

In addition to keeping the tobacco tradition alive, Georgetown Tobacco carries a full line of other fine good for the perfect gentleman like walking sticks and Cufflinks.

Check out Georgetown Tobacco here.

retroOK, every now and then I find a merchant that just screams awesomeness. Such is the case with Retro Metal Chairs – their very name is just the coolest thing ever.

The fine folks at Retro Metal Chairs, the retail face of Torrans Manufacturing Company, are dedicated to preserving the fine art of the vintage style metal chairs we all love.

About Torrans Manufacturing Company, LLC: “Today, Skip and Kathy Torrans produce vintage correct stamped steel furniture to the same and in most instances better standards than many of the past manufacturers. Their furniture is not simple retro knockoffs made to look like the antique originals but are instead faithful continuations with only minor superficial changes. Parts used on their chairs and gliders directly exchange with many vintage examples. So much so that providing hardware, frames and other parts to people restoring antique pieces is now a growing part of their business. Torrans Manufacturing Company, LLC services traditional furniture retailers, hardware stores, garden and nursery centers, specialty merchants and a select list of online retailers. They take great pride in offering their customers only the best in vintage style lawn furniture meant to continue the tradition of informal backyard and front porch seating.”

There are many awesome designs to choose from at Retro Metal Chairs, but if I had my choice I would go with the Bellaire Double Glider from Retro Metal Chairs.

About the Bellaire Double Glider from Retro Metal Chairs: “Originally designed about 1946 by the late Ed Warmack of Fort Smith, Arkansas. These Art Deco inspired stamped steel chairs were purchased by the tens of thousands during the booming years of the Post-War Atomic Era. Ed’s colorful steel lawn furniture could be found on porches, in backyards, fronts of motels and around pools all across America. Their popularity extends today! Ed sold his company in 1955. Production continued until 1970 when again the factory was traded. New owners, Flanders Industries which later became Lloyd Flanders maintained prolific production until 1996. In 2001, Torrans Manufacturing Co., LLC began making its line of this traditional lawn furniture to the same specifications used by previous manufacturers. Heavy duty frames, stainless steel fasteners and high gloss UV resistant powder coat all add up to traditional value your grandparents would be proud of!”

Check out all the awesomeness that is Retro Metal Chairs here.

daneI love the work of multimedia artist Dane Carder, who draws inspiration from the ghostly images of the American Civil War. His paintings, which take on the look of the tintypes of the era, seem to reach into the past to bring the spirit – or ghosts – of the war alive again.

About artist Dane Carder: “Dane Carder was born (1972), raised, and still lives in Nashville, in the deep end of the pool of our nation’s history. After several attempts at attaining an art degree, he opted for a long course of self-taught study in a studio at Chestnut Square. For nearly twenty years, he has been steadfast in his pursuit to create meaningful Work. Dane has exhibited in a variety of art spaces and galleries, and for five years he has curated other artists’ shows at threesquared, a gallery within his studio. For the last seven years, he has utilized Civil War images in a universal, symbolic expression of life’s ironic combination of tragedy and beauty, of despair and hope.”

Check out the paintings of Dane Carder here.

pretzI have mentioned before that I really do not have a sweet tooth and don’t enjoy chocolate in particular but love the whole confectionary culture.

But I really like old school candy shops, like the fine folks at Philadelphia’s Shane Candy Co. where candy has been made going back 150 years.

About the Shane Candy Co. of Philadelphia: “Since 1863 the floorboards of 110 Market Street have absorbed the hurried footfall of confectioners hard at work. The walls have drunk in the mingled aromas of boiling fruit essences, of chocolates cooling on thick marble slabs, of the slowly-turning churn of cooking butter-cream fondant. The aging lumber of the building has housed the efforts of furrow-browed confectioners to bring a familiar sweetness or the exoticism of distant lands to the palettes of their loyal clientele. This space has held the stances of dreamers who carry on the craft of culinary romantics that has crumbled into mediocrity, parody, or forgery outside of its walls.”

I do think that I could be tempted to try Shane Candy’s Chocolate Covered Pretzel Assortment: “A large box of 16 of our hand-dipped chocolate covered pretzels in both Milk & Dark Chocolate.”

See all the hand-dipped chocolate covered pretzels of Shane Candy Co. here.

Shane Candy Co. is located at No.110 Market St in the great city of Philadelphia PA.

FF: Scout and Whistle

f1I can go on and on about the fine products of Portland, OR-based Scout and Whistle

…but it will suffice to just say that any merchant that has a product section labeled “Prizes” is ok by me.

Learn more about Scout and Whistle here.

Check out Scout and Whistle’s collection of “Prizes” here.

Check out Scout and Whistle’s Etsy store here.

FF: The Fig Seasonal Candle from Produce Candles

f2I have only three things to say about The Fig Seasonal Candle from Produce Candles: Fig; Seasonal; and Candle. ‘Nuff said.

About The Fig Seasonal Candle from Produce Candles: “Part of our seasonal collection, Fig is available only in the Fall, for a limited time. Lusciously sweet, figs feature a complex texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin and the crunchiness of their seeds. Our 9oz natural soy wax candles have an approximate burn time of 50-70 hours. Sweet, earthy, spicy, crisp… each element will be seasonally represented in hand-cultivated candles made with natural soy wax and premium cotton wicks. These clean, fresh scents bring the best of the farm stand into the home.”

Check out all the fine candles (fig, seasonal and otherwise) from Produce Candles

FF: StacheTATS – The original temporary mustache tattoo

f3The mustache trend continues and it really never gets old, which is why I love StacheTATS, “The original temporary mustache tattoo.”

About StacheTATS: “StacheTATS LLC is a temporary tattoo company based in Denver, Colorado and Tempe, Arizona. We make the best fake mustache money can buy. And we’ve converted that into that love for fake mustaches into awesome NHL temporary tattoos, and ridiculous NCAA temporary tattoos. All temporary mustache tattoos are proudly manufactured in the United States.”

StacheTATS come in all many of themes – from sports teams to holidays – but I love the classic series.

See more about StacheTATS – including where to buy them – here.

CaoI don’t really care for chocolate.

There, I said it.

This has caused a lot of controversy over the years. “What’s wrong with you? Everybody likes chocolate,” is what I have heard many times over the years. I just don’t care for it. But, I love that people love the stuff and love the culture surrounding the best chocolates. Case in point, the fine folks at Red Hook, Brooklyn’s Cacao Prieto – their chocolates and packaging are truly works of art.

About Cacao Prieto: “Cacao Prieto’s Beans-to-Bar chocolate is made fresh daily from the finest organic, single origin Dominican Cacao and beans-to-bottle spirits distilled into a line of small batch, cacao-based liqueurs and rums. Look closer and it becomes clear that Cacao Prieto is a crucial meeting place of ideas, of traditions, of dreams and technology. It is a place, finally, where the creation of delicious chocolate and liquor resonates with an idealistic sense of purpose stating that making one thing the right way might just makes the world a better place.”

Visit Cacao Prieto online here.

Shop Cacao Prieto here.

GAPIt is that time of year. Either you have a garden overgrown with more tomatoes, zucchinis and other produce than you can handle or you over-shopped at the farmers’ market again. In any case it is the time to think about canning and preserving the bounty of summer so you can enjoy it all winter long.

There are many references and resources for what is an ancient art, but few are as charming and comprehensive as the recently released book: The Gentle Art of Preserving: Pickling, Smoking, Freezing, Drying, Curing, Fermenting, Bottling, Canning, and Making Jams, Jellies and Cordials by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi.

About The Gentle Art of Preserving by Katie Caldesi and Giancarlo Caldesi: “Katie and Giancarlo embarked on a two year-long journey to discover the different methods of conserving food, from smoking fish in Scotland to drying chillies in Sri Lanka, and this book collects their favourite recipes and invaluable advice on equipment, timings and ingredients. Covering Italian cured charcuterie inspired by Giancarlo’s family recipes, jams and chutneys evoking Katie’s memories of cooking with her mother to pickling, fermenting, freezing and pressure canning they combine traditional tried-and-tested methods with a thoroughly modern perspective.”

The Caldesis cover all the usual methods of preservation, and a few that you may not have thought about before. The result is a satisfying look at food preservation whether you are up for trying any of the methods or not. It’s one of those things that just makes you happy knowing there are people out there that do it.

The Gentle Art of Preserving by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.

lewI have mentioned many times before that I love the home furnishings retailer CB2. In addition to the fine furniture and home accessories they offer, CB2 has consistently presented some wonderful artwork. Not just mass produced art, but limited edition works by up-and-coming artists at affordable prices.

As part of their current collection, CB2 is showing this Colonel Deer acrylic framed print by artist Matthew Lew.

About the Colonel Deer acrylic framed print from CB2: “Colonel Deer suits up to rally the troops in a wild take on Victorian portraiture by artist Matthew Lew. Stag is humorously stoic, outfitted in an authentic double-breasted uniform with brass buttons. Originally created as an engraved etching layered with hand-drawn pen-and-ink illustration and digital design, Lew’s modern historical tale is replicated here on a clear acrylic panel with precise detail and rich grayscale dimension. Floats clean in a solid walnut frame.”

About artist Matthew Lew: “Chicago-based artist Matthew Lew creates original artwork marked by bold individuality. A painter, photographer and mixed-media artist, Lew plays with humor, references to urban life and reclaimed materials in his diverse body of work, which expresses his belief that art is life itself and ultimately contributes to one’s place in the world.”

See all the artwork currently available from CB2 here.

Check out all the fine offerings of CB2 here.

The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease.
– William Shakespeare – Sonnet 97, 6-8


Today is the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. Although I am lamenting the fact that this summer seemed to fly by much faster than it should have, I love fall and look forward to all it has to offer.


I kick off the season with a quote from The Bard, William Shakespeare, inspired by two pieces I spotted earlier this month at Jules Besch Stationers in Wellfleet, MA. In addition to an unmatched collection of fine cards and stationery, Jules Besch features a quality collection of related antique objects – things like inkwells, fountain pens, desk sets and bookends. I fell in love with these Shakespeare bookends (above) and this absolutely amazing set of mini volumes of his work:


Jules Besch Stationers is located at 15 Bank St in historic Wellfleet, MA.

CASPTomorrow is the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and nothing quite says fall like a good old apple pie.

However, not all apple pies are the same. Sure there is the classic apple pie with the crust on top and bottom, but that is not as cool as the recipe for Caramel Apple Skillet Pie I found in the current issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.

About the recipe for Caramel Apple Skillet Pie from Good Housekeeping magazine: “Psst! It’s a classic French tarte tatin, but we’ve made it over with our favorite shortcut — store-bought pastry. Irresistible!”

Find the recipe for Caramel Apple Skillet Pie from Good Housekeeping magazine here.

Find all the great recipes and other feature of Good Housekeeping magazine here.