Archive for September, 2015

woodsThere is nothing like genuine old school pure maple syrup from Vermont. The fine folks at Wood’s Pure Maple Syrup Co. makes some of the best – including one that is aged in a bourbon barrel –which is right up my filthy little alley.

About Wood’s Pure Maple Syrup Co.: “Since our establishment in 1920, our family has been mastering the art of maple sugaring. Since 2009, we have started a new mission. Our focus is now on specialty syrups that bring a sense of community and innovation to the table, literally. We want to provide the best maple syrup for everyone and to get people thinking about all, new and old, uses for maple syrup. It is our hope that this creates a sense of community and opens up doors for collaboration among family, friends, and co-workers.”

Of course I love Wood’s Pure Maple Syrup Co.’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Syrup: “We age our traditional maple syrup in a bourbon barrel for 4 to 6 months. During this time, the syrup soaks in the flavor of the barrel, char, and left over bourbon. This was our first specialty syrup and we’re excited to share it with you! Oh, and it’s kid friendly!”

Learn more about Wood’s Pure Maple Syrup Co. here.

lostI been to London a dozen times over the past several years and I amazed that every time I go there is more to see and discover. I have also read many books about the city and its history and there are still stories to be told. Combining my interest in traveling to London and the city’s history, Christopher Winn’s book I Never Knew That About London is a perfect addition to my library.

About I Never Knew That About London by Christopher Winn: “Discover hundreds of fascinating facts about London in this enthralling miscellany Travelling through the villages and districts that make up the world’s most dynamic metropolis, Christopher Winn takes us on a captivating journey around London to unearth the hidden gems of legends, firsts, inventions, adventures and birthplaces that shape the city’s compelling and at times turbulent past. See the Chelsea river views that inspired Turner and find out where London’s first nude statue is. Explore London’s finest country house in Charlton and unearth the secrets of the Mother of Parliaments. Discover which church steeple gave us the design of the traditional wedding cake, where the sandwich was invented and where in Bond Street you can see London’s oldest artifact. Visit the house where Handel and Jimi Hendrix both lived. Climb the famous 311 steps of the Monument and fly the world’s biggest Ferris wheel. Brimming with stories and snippets providing spellbinding insight into what has shaped the city, I Never Knew That About London is a beautifully illustrated gem of a book that informs and amuses in equal measure.”

In I Never Knew That About London, we are treated to more amazing tidbits (with charming illustrations) of arguably the greatest city in the world. I can’t wait to get back to London to check out some of the great things I learned about in Mr. Winn’s book and find even more gems of my own.

I Never Knew That About London by Christopher Winn is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.

helf1I could turn this whole blog into posts about Wellfleet, MA, but alas I have been back from my vacation there for a week now and I need to get back to the real world. Although I a lot more to talk about, this will be my last formal post about my recent trip.

One of the great traditions my friend Lynda and I have on our annual trip to Wellfleet, is taking the scenic drive along Route 6A on our way down the length of Cape Cod. This road is much more charming than busy Route 6 – the main highway that runs from the start of the Cape all the way to Provincetown – and it is always a great way to start our vacation.

On the ride, we like to take in the scenery, which includes charming villages and iconic Cape Cod cranberry bogs. We also like to stop at many of the shops and galleries along the way – and, if we are lucky, an art fair or two.

This year we were lucky to run across an art fair in Sandwich, MA, hosted by Sandwich Artisans: “Sandwich Artisans, formerly the Sandwich Arts and Crafts Association, is one of the oldest artisan organizations on Cape Cod and holds eight juried outdoor shows on the lawn of the Sandwich Public Library during the summer months, May – October.”

We have stopped at this fair and the past and were thrilled to find local artist Michael Helfen, from whom Lynda has made several purchases. Mr. Helfen’s work is rather primitive and unrefined (in a good way), but it is unique and compelling and I love what he does.

About artist Michael Helfen: “I am a self-taught artist who started painting 16 years ago at my wife’s suggestion. I sold my first painting, (small, 5×7) and have been painting ever since. I am a juried member of the Cape Cod Art Association, Yarmouth Art Guild, and Chatham Creative Arts. I do many summer outdoor shows up and down the Cape and have won several awards for my work in Cape Cod juried shows… Several times, I have painted with the Monday Night Painters of Eastham, a well know group of established artists. I am represented by Picture This Gallery in Sandwich, Mass. and The Grove in Manchester-by-the-Sea and Lynnfield, Mass. Many people who see my work tell me they wish they saw things the way I see them. I do not know how they see them, but I view my world through passionate eyes. I do believe that what I see is not as important as what you see which is why I call my business ‘Eye of the Beholder.’ Your eyes are the gateway to your own soul that resonates where the beauty and the connection truly is.”

I purchased a small painting (below) of a young man skipping stones at the beach which I just love. I think this will fit well into my growing collection of artwork picked up on vacations – the perfect memento of good times past.


Learn more about artist Michael Helfen and see his work here.

pin1I have been meaning to post about today’s find – The Civil War 150 Pinhole Project – for some time now because it is so great.

The passion of New York-based photographer Michael Falco, the Civil War 150 Pinhole Project is the result of several years of recreating the American Civil War with the traditional camera from the period. Starting in 2011 as the 150th anniversary of the war began its four year arc, Mr. Falco and his pinhole cameras traveled around to capture old battlegrounds, reenactments and the landscape as it appears today, all evoking the history of the past. And it is amazing.

About the Civil War 150 Pinhole Project: “The American Civil War has been described as our country’s truly epic struggle, America’s Iliad. 150 years on, the echoes of this time can still be felt and seen on its battlefields. Our deep, familial connection to these landscapes are also echoed the country’s reenactment community. The past is present. Join photographer Michael Falco as he chronicles and visualizes the Civil War from the 19th century soldiers’ point of view and highlights the haunting beauty of the war’s battlefields with the poetry of the pinhole camera.”

pin2Civil War reenactors get a bad rap in popular culture. But I love that there are people out there that are so into our nation’s history that they keep it alive. The reenactments of battles honoring the 150th anniversary of the war provided the perfect opportunity for the Civil War 150 Pinhole Project. Now with the Pinhole Project now mostly completed, we have a treasure-trove of images that tell the story of our past in a new and exciting way.

Learn more about the Civil War 150 Pinhole Project here.

Check out the slide shows of the Civil War 150 Pinhole Project here.

Learn more about photographer Michael Falco and his pinhole cameras here.

Well, we’ve had a nice stretch of late summer weather here in Kansas City, but the is no doubt the seasons are changing as the days are growing short and the shadows are long. However, my container garden is still producing.

I’ve have a banner year for basil and it keep growing. The tomatoes were not overly productive this year, but I had a few here and there, enough to feel successful. The most productive plant’s I have right now are three kinds of peppers that keep sprouting out.

Here’s what my yield looked like today:


wlaThere is no shortage of photography apps for your smartphone. Heck, even the basic standard photo apps these days have all sorts of options for you to turn you pics into little works of art. That said, the find folks who have brought us the Waterlogue app for iPhone (and iPad and iTouch) have really made a better mousetrap.

About the Waterlogue app for iPhone: “Waterlogue for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch transforms photos into spontaneous, unique, and brilliant watercolor sketches that look like real paintings. The result is an app that can turn the most on-the-fly snapshot into a luminous, lively watercolor sketch. And it’s highly accessible: with a variety of presets based on painting styles and materials, and several easy-to-use settings, there are a variety of ways to customize a Waterlogue image without getting lost in too many options. The user experience is fun, fast, and yields astounding results.”

If you are like me – a fan of watercolors and someone who snaps a ton of pictures – the Waterlogue app is a great tool to take your love of art and your photos to a whole new level.

Check out the Waterlogue app for iPhone here.


burd2One of the great pleasures of a trip to Wellfleet (the charming Cape Cod seaside port where I just completed my traditional late-summer vacation) is browsing the many art galleries around town. I have posted about a few of the galleries in the past and on this trip I discovered one that I had never poked my nose into before – The Burdick Art Gallery.

About The Burdick Art Gallery: “The Burdick Art Gallery represents three generations of award winning artists: parents Charles and Joanne, daughters Kate and Margaret and grandchildren Anna and Ben, exhibiting landscape, figure and still life in acrylic, watercolor, oil, ceramic, and pastel.”

So much talent in one family – all on display in the charming gallery. I was particularly attracted to the small scale watercolors of Margaret Burdick: “Margaret Burdick is the daughter of artists Charles and Joanne. She studied with Henry Hensche and Phillip Malicoat in Provincetown and attended The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Her work is in private collections around the world, has been exhibited in New England, New York and Florida, and is frequently shown at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.”

I love Ms. Burdick’s work, like this painting, evocative of the great Edward Hopper who painted many scenes inspired by the same landscape:


The Burdick Art Gallery is located at 25 Bank Street in the charming harbor town of Wellfleet, MA.