We have a new contender in my ongoing search for a new bar cart – the Delesha Bar Cart I found from the fine folks at Joss & Main.

About Delesha Bar Cart from Joss & Main:

“An industrial-chic addition to your living room or den, this distinctive end table features a poplar wood table top, metal frame and mesh display shelf.”

Seriously, I could have planted a tree, harvested the wood from it, and built my own bar cart in the time I have been searching for the perfect one. But I will know it when I see it – and this one is pretty darn close.

Find the Delesha Bar Cart from Joss & Main here.

See all the great things for you home from Joss & Main here.

FF: The Valentine’s Day Sprinkle Pretzels from Fatty Sundays

About the Valentine’s Day Sprinkle Pretzels from Fatty Sundays:

“Tell your Valentine how you really feel with a custom box of Valentine’s Day Sprinkle pretzels. Your messaging will be handwritten right on the label, making this delicious chocolate covered pretzel treat super personal and special! Each box comes with 5 Valentine’s Day Sprinkles pretzels. They are drenched in creamy milk chocolate and perfectly decorated with pretty pink and red sprinkles!”

Find the Valentine’s Day Sprinkle Pretzels from Fatty Sundays here.

See all the treats – Valentine’s Day and otherwise – from Fatty Sundays here.

FF: Jolie Le Coeur from Olive & Cocoa

About Jolie Le Coeur from Olive & Cocoa:

“Intricately gathered in the shape of a heart, velvet red, dusty pink and fucshia shaded blooms burst with tranquil beauty. Surrounded by vibrant green moss and arranged in a dark stained hand crafted wood box.”

Find Jolie Le Coeur from Olive & Cocoa here.

See all the great products from Olive & Cocoa here.

I am really digging the Melamine Whale Platter by Twine I found from the fine folks at True Brands.

About the Melamine Whale Platter by Twine:

“Even when you can’t be on the cape, get a taste of the ocean with this nautical serving tray. Its watercolor whale design in cool blue tones provides a soothing backdrop for appetizers and snacks.”

This would look great on my bar cart, if and when I ever find the perfect one.

Find the Melamine Whale Platter by Twine from True Brands here.

See all the great products offered by True Brands here.

Next week, on February 12, we mark the birthday of one of the most iconic of American figures, Abraham Lincoln. I can think of no better way to honor and remember the great man than by diving into The Speeches & Writings of Abraham Lincoln: The Library of America Collection – a new anthology edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher.

About The Speeches & Writings of Abraham Lincoln edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher:

“The definitive Library of America edition of Lincoln’s essential writings, now in a deluxe two-volume boxed set Abraham Lincoln, America’s heroic Civil War president, was also the greatest writer ever to occupy the White House. His addresses at Gettysburg and at his inaugurals, his presidential messages and public lectures, are an essential record of the war and have forever shaped the nation’s memories of it. This deluxe two-volume boxed set gathers Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings 1832-1858 and Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings 1859-1865, first published in 1990, which together have been hailed as ‘the best selection of Lincoln’s writings available today, perhaps the best ever’ (Christian Science Monitor). Edited by the late historian Don E. Fehrenbacher, these two books include all Lincoln’s significant works from the entirety of his public life, including both sides of the complete Lincoln-Douglas debates, dozens of speeches, hundreds of personal and political letters, communications to the generals in the field, presidential messages and proclamations, poems, and private reflections on democracy, slavery, and the meaning of the Civil War’s immense suffering.”

Here is the public life of Abraham Lincoln in his own words unfiltered by historians and popular culture. Pick any page and you will come to understand the man, his times, and why he remains the most revered of American presidents.

The Speeches & Writings of Abraham Lincoln: The Library of America Collection is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.

 

 

I fancy myself a bit of an artist. I delve in various media – including painting. I am a self-taught painter and usually create from my own imagination. However, I do like the satisfaction that comes from completing someone else’s masterpiece by way of paint by number.

The fine folks at Easy 123 Art have a whole collection of great ready-to-paint kits perfect for spending a few hours feeling like a true artist. I like the kits based on classic works of art, like Easy 123 Art’s mini art kit of Vincent van Gogh’s Three Sunflowers.

About Easy 123 Art’s mini art kit of Vincent van Gogh’s Three Sunflowers:

“Power up! Soak up the fun with this mini art kit of Vincent van Gogh’s “Three Sunflowers” with his irresistible contrasting color choices creating a ‘symphony of blues and yellows’. Sure to brighten any space. Kit measures 8×8″ with oak floating frame. The original “Three Sunflowers” is a highlight in the series of four radiant masterpieces famously painted by Vincent van Gogh in 1888, yet curiously hidden away in a private collection since 1948.”

See all Easy 123 Art’s ready-to-paint kits here.

Learn more about Easy 123 Art here.

Is there anything more quintessentially British than a bowler hat? OK, so there are many things that fit that bill (pun intended), but for anglophile hat lovers like me – the bowler is the most British thing you can put on your head if you can’t get one of those iconic bearskin hats from the Queen’s guard. Lucky for us, the fine folks at Lock & Co. Hatters of London – the oldest hatters in the world – still sell the classic bowler.

About the Bowler Hats from Lock & Co. Hatters of London:

“Commissioned by Edward Coke to craft a hat hardy enough to protect his gamekeepers, Lock & Co created the iconic Coke (otherwise known as the Bowler) in 1849. One of our most enduring styles, the Coke’s timelessness is owed to its distinctive domed crown and curled brim. Made from stiffened rabbit felt, the hat is fully lined, with a leather inner headband.”

Find the Bowler Hats from Lock & Co. Hatters of London here.

Visit’s London’s Lock & Co. Hatters online here.

Well, I don’t watch the Food Network very often, but somehow, I have found myself on the mailing list for their Food Network Magazine. I am not complaining, the magazine has a ton of great recipes and tips and I am really enjoying it.

While perusing the latest edition of the magazine I stumbled across this recipe for Lemon-Poppy Seed Zucchini Muffins. My favorite muffin is lemon poppy seed (the ones from the Wellfleet Market in Wellfleet, MA and the ones from Hen House here in the KC metro are my favorites) and the addition of zucchini intrigued me.

I am pleased to report that this recipe is not only easy – but yummy!

Find the recipe for Lemon-Poppy Seed Zucchini Muffins from Food Network Magazine here.

See all the treats from Food Network Magazine here.

 

FF: The Cat Corkscrew Opener from Cameo Nouveau

There is no shortage of devices to open your favorite wine, but few are as sleek as the Cat Corkscrew Opener I found from the fine folks at Cameo Nouveau.

About the Cat Corkscrew Opener from Cameo Nouveau:

“Cat’s Meow! Open your bottle of wine in style with this adorable cat- shaped waiters corkscrew. This will look so good on your newly styled bar cart.”

Find the Cat Corkscrew Opener from Cameo Nouveau here.

See all the offerings of from Cameo Nouveau here.

FF: The Romeo & Juliet Shakespeare Rocks Glass from Uncommon Green

Once you have your beverage open you need to pour it in the something. The fine folks at Uncommon Green have all manner of glassware to help you out.

I love their Romeo & Juliet Shakespeare Rocks Glass.

About the Romeo & Juliet Shakespeare Rocks Glass from Uncommon Green:

“One 11 oz rocks glass showcasing artwork from the 1597 first printing of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, and the famous scene from the garden. O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”

Find the Romeo & Juliet Shakespeare Rocks Glass from The Uncommon Green here.

See all the fine bar- and glassware from The Uncommon Green here.

I hope my buddy Groundie is able to get out to check his shadow today – but somehow I think not – the old New Hampshire homestead is covered with snow and he probably can’t make his way out quite yet.

In any case, I wish all a Happy Groundhog Day – and whatever the shadow tells – I hope you have a great rest of your winter.  Spring will come soon enough. Cheers!

GROUNDIE1

One of the biggest and most expensive pieces of art in my collection is a framed mixed media (acrylic and collage) portrait of St. Francis of Assisi (right) by an unknown folk artist.

This work came into my possession from an auction several years ago. I had previewed the work online before the auction and from the pictures was intrigued by the medium as I myself had dabbled in collage. However, I arrived at the auction with my friend lifelong Lynda after the preview hours and was unable to get an up close look at the item before it went on the block.

When the item did come up for sale, I got caught up in the bidding and was goaded by Lynda to keep raising my card. In the end, I won – at a price point MUCH higher than I was comfortable spending on an uninspected work of art by an unknown artist.

Upon closer inspection, we realized just how big the masterpiece was (3’x5’) and how heavy it was – the work was mounted on wood and has a thick frame. We also noticed the collage pieces were all pictures of animals (St. Francis is the patron saint of animals) sourced from magazines and the painted parts were amateurish at best. It was not, at first blush, the amazing piece of folk art we thought it was. We joked about how we were fooled into thinking it was a fine work of pop art that could be flipped for much more cash in a New York gallery.

However, in the intervening years, my St. Francis has taken on a prime position in my house and I have grown to love it as a true work of folk art that took the artist a lot of time and patience to complete. And I am convinced were I ever to sell it, I could easily recoup what I spent on it – but that will never happen.

I have tried to research the little I know about the provenance of the work but have come up dry. However, as St. Francis has been a very popular subject for art over the centuries, there is a lot out there about all the works inspired by him. Recently I came across an image of a painting by 13th century Italian master Cimabue which I am convinced was the inspiration if not the model for my treasured work. St. Francis was a popular subject for Cimabue and this work (right) could very well be what inspired my mystery artist to create my most prized possession.

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