Archive for February, 2016

franSo I am doing what I always do in the dead of winter – dreaming about how I am going to design my garden in the spring. Although my gardens have always been humble, my dream garden has elegant furnishings, like the kind you can find from the fine folks at Charleston Garden Works.

About Charleston Garden Works: “Sprouted out of a passion for gardens and curating quality objects and furnishings. Charleston Garden Works is the place to search for a broad array of decorative garden essentials. Recognizing the need from clients and having collected pieces for years, co-owners Patrick Bradley and Glen Gardner began Charleston Garden Works in autumn of 2014. Scouting the finest antique dealers, markets and historic estates around the world, the pair brings luxurious style to your garden collection. Currently working on their first outdoor product line, Charleston Garden Works specializes in providing a collection ranging from regal urns and grand planters to ironwork, fountains, benches and intricate sundials and sculptures to private buyers as well as the decorative trade.”

Charleston Garden Works has some great items, like…

…the Rococo Cast Iron Bench: “An American Rococo cast iron settee in the “Renaissance Scroll” pattern. This circa 1900 settee depicts rococo and Renaissance motifs. Old repair to front right leg and seat. New repair to both back legs. Overall very stable.”

…or this lead statue of St. Francis (above right): “A lead statue of a robed Saint Francis on a roped pedestal, from a Philadelphia estate. Two pieces.”

Because you can never have too many works of art featuring St. Francis, right?

Check out Charleston Garden Works online here.


waywOK, if you make your charitable donations based on name alone then get your checkbook out to support Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats. However, if you also want to help defenseless kittens left to die, then give them double.

About Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats: “Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats socializes feral kittens, taking hissy little babies and turning them into purring little lap cats. We believe in force love and provide a cage free environment and one-on-one attention to each feral kitten through physical exercises to earn trust and delicious food bribes to earn their love. With our teaching staff of over 30 weekly volunteers, we bring these scared kittens to the understanding that there is a wonderful human home waiting to give them the love and security they deserve. Upon graduation, these kittens continue to blossom in their new homes growing into the most wonderful house cats a family could desire.”

Learn more about Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats and how you can support their efforts here.

wagWe all know, or have known, a dog or cat that deserved to be the subject of a great work of art. The fine folks at Wagging Tail Portraits have taken this concept to a new level with their Custom Painted Pet Portraits – including traditional portraits, but also your furry friend on greeting cards, beer mugs, teacups (perfect for a teacup Yorkie), and even a custom ornament.

About the Custom Painted Pet Portraits from Wagging Tail Portraits: “Sherry Kendall is the founding artist of Wagging Tail Portraits. A graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York City, she has worked as an illustrator and portrait artist for the last 33 years. Sherry’s ornaments and paintings, which started out as gifts for friends, have launched into a full time career. She has been delighting pet owners with her custom paintings for 10 years now. Sherry has two golden retrievers, a chocolate lab and three cats. She loves watching her dogs frolic in the backyard. Sherry gets inspiration from her pets and those special moments watching them interacting. Each year Sherry donates a percentage of her proceeds to animal rescue groups and non-profits through her fun-raisers and requests from area volunteers. Check out her Outreach page to find out more about these groups.”

Learn more about the Custom Painted Pet Portraits from Wagging Tail Portraits here.

Learn more about the Custom Painted Pet Portraits here.

FF: Trufa Seca from Charlito’s Cocina

ff1My life’s quest to try all the fine cured meats in the world before I die (perhaps as a result from eating so many cured meats) continues with the awesome Trufa Seca Dry Cured Black Truffle Sausage) from the fine folks at Charlito’s Cocina.

About the Trufa Seca from Charlito’s Cocina: “This deliciously sensual incarnation of cured goodness will surely arouse your senses. Made with pasture raised, heritage breed pork and Seasoned with black truffles and mineral rich sea salt, this is a striking example of how minimal ingredients can produce a world unto itself of complexity. Dry-Cured for up to two months. Not heat treated or smoked. Enjoy with leisure!”

Find the Trufa Seca from Charlito’s Cocina here.

See all the fine product of Charlito’s Cocina here.

FF: Harvest Song Artisanal Preserves

ff2I love all kinds of preserves, especially in the dead of winter when a little hint of summer can make you day. Which is why I was attracted to the fine folks at Harvest Song Artisanal Preserves.

About Harvest Song Artisanal Preserves: “Harvest Song preserves are carefully made using time-honored methods in small batches. We process our jams in an HACCP certified cannery which not only meets all International Hygiene Standards but is also certified Orthodox Union Kosher. Our preserves are simmered slowly and allowed to thicken without use of any pectin. This technique allows us to conserve more natural sugar from the fruits, resulting in a product with fewer calories than ordinary jams and preserves, perfect for those who prefer a less sweet jam.”

Learn more about Harvest Song Artisanal Preserves here.

vogWhen I finally finish the “great American novel” I have been working on for 20 years, I am going to insist it is printed and bound using the high quality process of books of old. My first stop will be the fine folks at Vogel Bindery who have preserved the fine art of book binding and produce only the highest quality results.

About the Fine Bindings of Vogel Bindery:

“For over 20 years, the Vogel Bindery has been crafting books entirely by hand using traditional techniques virtually unchanged for 300 years. Approximately forty steps go into the making of a book. Starting with 100% cotton rag paper that is cut, folded and sewn together by hand to become the text block. Ending with the final step of hand-tooling a design in 24 K gold onto the leather cover. Each step is carefully considered and meticulously executed.”

See examples of the Fine Bindings of Vogel Bindery here.

Learn more about Fine Bindings of Vogel Bindery here.

goldI love modern true life adventures of people who do extraordinary things that were more commonplace in days gone by. Take the gold rushes of the 19th century. Thousands of fortune seekers headed west and changed American history forever. Fast forward to recent history and you have author Steve Boggan who hit the trail to find treasure and relive the adventures of our forefathers. Mr. Boggan’s compelling and entertaining tale is documented in his book Gold Fever: One Man’s Adventures on the Trail of the Gold Rush.

About Gold Fever: One Man’s Adventures on the Trail of the Gold Rush by Steve Boggan: “After the Financial Crisis, the price of gold reached peaks never before seen in history. All over the world, particularly in the US, people with no experience of prospecting began shopping for shovels, pickaxes, gold pans, tents, generators, and all manner of equipment they had no idea how to use. And off they went mining. In 2013, Steve Boggan decided he wanted a piece of the action, flying to San Francisco to join the 21st century’s gold rush in a quest to understand the allure of the metal — and maybe find a bit for himself, too. The result is Gold Fever, a travelogue like no other. Boggan also takes readers back in time to the original San Franciscan gold rush, two centuries ago, and gets a crash course in the science and economics of gold. Written with Boggan’s characteristic wit and self-effacing charm, Gold Fever is a hugely entertaining travelogue.”

Mr. Boggan takes us on an adventure that so few of us even dream about these days. Of course it is something I would never do myself, but I am glad that there are people out there that take on these challenges and write about it for the rest of us to enjoy.

Gold Fever: One Man’s Adventures on the Trail of the Gold Rush by Steve Boggan is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

bt1I’ve spent a fair part of my life trying to keep dogs off the furniture. Now I have found a dog that I want to keep on the furniture – the Salvor Fauna Boston Terrier Mini Pillow I found from the folks at Green Grass Design.

The pillow, featuring a vintage image of a Boston Terrier was designed by Ross Menuez and would be most welcome on any couch.

About the Boston Terrier Mini Pillow from Green Grass Design:

“Cushions or dolls, inspired by Victorian shaped pillows. Graphics based on the first mass produced images from 19th century illustrations.”

There is also a version with a Yorkie (not as cute at Boo, but what dog is?):

And if you are really brave… A tiger!

See the entire Salvor Fauna pillow collection from Green Grass Design here.

See all the great products available from Green Grass Design here.

stonesI have posted in the past about my love of the work of artist Greg Stones. I love his work so much that I think I posted about it multiple times and I have a dozen or so pieces of his work, including an original painting that is one of my most prized pieces in my collection.

Now I am beside myself with the knowledge that Mr. Stones, who is best known for his quirky depictions of zombies, aliens and sock monkeys, is open to painting custom works. Wow!

From artist Greg Stones’ website: “You want me to paint you something? I WILL PAINT YOU SOMETHING! I will gladly paint your house or your pet, or anything involving penguins, zombies, sock monkeys, rabbits, cats, dogs, robots, ninjas, garden gnomes, or Bigfoot. The only things I will not paint? Humans portraits and cars. Not my thing. Thanks!”

I am going to have to think about exactly what I would like painted by this extremely talented dude. A zombie on the roof of my house?

Learn more about artist Greg Stones here.

See how Mr. Stones may create a custom painting for you here.

See my past posts about Greg Stones here.

Well, we have success – my recent paper white project has led to some lovely flowers.


UPDATE: My Paper Whites

Well, we have success – my recent paper white project has led to some lovely flowers.

UPDATE: My Paper Whites

Well, we have success – my recent paper white project has led to some lovely flowers.

PROJECT: Winter Paper Whites