Archive for January, 2013

mlkToday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Federal holiday in the U.S. where we stop to recognize the contributions of Dr. King and all those who have fought and sacrificed for our Civil Rights.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s iconic “I Have a Dream Speech” and listening to the historic remarks from August 1963 is still stirring today.

You can find the speech all over the internet, but there are some really nicely produced commemorative pieces that would be a nice addition to any collection – like the recently published book and CD collection of the I Have a Dream speech with the words of Dr. King illustrated by the wonderful artist Kadir Nelson.

About I Have a Dream illustrated book and CD collection: “From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s daughter, Dr. Bernice A. King: ‘My father’s dream continues to live on from generation to generation, and this beautiful and powerful illustrated edition of his world-changing I Have a Dream speech brings his inspiring message of freedom, equality, and peace to the youngest among us—those who will one day carry his dream forward for everyone.’ On August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Martin Luther King gave one of the most powerful and memorable speeches in our nation’s history. His words, paired with Caldecott Honor winner Kadir Nelson’s magnificent paintings, make for a picture book certain to be treasured by children and adults alike. The themes of equality and freedom for all are not only relevant today, 50 years later, but also provide young readers with an important introduction to our nation’s past. Included with the book is an audio CD of the speech.”

The I Have a Dream illustrated book and CD collection is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

ultimateToday is Inauguration Day in the United States, the day when every four years our President takes the oath of office for the next four year term.

This year with Inauguration Day, January 20th, falling on a Sunday, the festivities have been held off until tomorrow, which happens to be the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, which works out well as it is already a Federal holiday.

With the Inauguration on the agenda, The History Channel has been running a wonderful series over the past few days – a four part series called The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents.

About The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents: “America’s unique form of democracy separates power among three branches of government: the legislative, judicial and executive. As the head of the executive branch, the president of the United States is the country’s most visible and important leader, both at home and abroad. Join HISTORY for a fresh perspective on how the Oval Office has evolved over the past 200 years through stories about the 43 men who have served as commander-in-chief. This eight-hour miniseries concentrates on the ebbs and flows of presidential power and responsibilities as each of America’s leaders deal with the events, expectations and challenges of his time.”

I have caught a couple of the shows and it is a nice primer to the history of the Presidency and the men who have occupied the office. I thought of this to post today, as many of the presidential profiles begin with their inaugurations, of course, and none more trivia-baiting than that of William Henry Harrison.

Harrison, our ninth president, famously gave the longest Inauguration Day speech on record (trivia point one) on a cold rainy day refusing to wear a hat or coat. He ended up contracting pneumonia and died within a month of taking office – the first president to die in office (trivia point tow).

Anyway, The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents is a well packaged overview of our Presidents and our history and is a nice way to spark your interest in learning more about our past leaders and history.

See the schedule for The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents and all of the great programming of The History Channel here.

matchpewtI love fine serving and dining accessories made from pewter.

I think pewter looks great on a table and I love the old-world look of it and the long tradition of craftsmanship that goes into making fine pewter objects – ala Paul Revere himself.

I also love Italian artisans – which makes the amazing line of pewter items from Match perfect for me – as all of Match’s pewter line is handmade in Italy.

I love many of the great pewter items from Match, including a wonderful salt cellar and traditional salt and pepper shakers. But how lovely are their candlesticks?

See all of the fine products of Match here.

See Match’s full line of pewter handmade in Italy here.

jembala_noneWait, isn’t Clarence House the official residence of the Prince of Wales in London? I think it is, or at least was, so that’s cool. What is also cool is the textile firm that shares its name – Clarence House.

Clarence House is not a retail concern, they curate and market their amazing collection of fabrics and related products to the interior design industry. But the rest of us can look and be inspired by their extensive collection of designer offerings by browsing around the Clarence House website.

About Clarence House: “Clarence House is considered the foremost style-setter in the decorative fabric industry and is the first choice of many of the world’s top interior designers. Through the years, Clarence House has supplied the furnishing fabrics for pre-eminent museums and countless historic houses and has been consistently featured in every important design and architectural magazine. Famous for its hand screen printing of fabrics and wallpapers, high-style textures and hand-loomed brocades, Clarence House also offers the highest quality velvets, damasks, silks, cottons, linens, sheers, trimmings and leathers.”

Browsing around the collections of Clarence House is fun and there are all sorts of colors and prints that will stir your creative juices for sure. For example, you have to love their leopard velvet print and great tapestries like this modern jungle print, Jembala.

Check out the colorful “fabrics, trimmings and wall coverings” of Clarence House here.

LunchtoteI love today’s find, the Artifact Bag Company. The Artifact Bag Company is the quintessential type of place I like to feature. It’s a relatively new company started by a guy who had a vision and desire to make things the old fashioned way. Add to it a cool name and products right up my alley and well, it is the perfect find.

About the Artifact Bag Company: “Artifact Bag Co. began February 2010 in my ((founder Chris Hughes’) basement with a vintage commercial sewing machine I found on Craigslist. In December 2010, I left my job to run Artifact full-time. It may be the best decision I’ve ever made. All Artifact products are handmade in Omaha, NE using the finest waxed canvas and leather. Lifetime Guarantee – We stand behind our materials and workmanship.”

I love all of the products of Artifact Bag Co. – especially this really cool waxed canvas lunch tote.

Find the Artifact Bag Company here.

sledThat beautiful mountain scene you have seen me post every so often here is soon to be the place to be. In just a couple of weeks, the New England Sled Dog Club will be hosting a race that begins and ends in the middle of frozen Lake Chocorua at the foot of the majestic Mount Chocorua. This annual race is a lot of fun to watch and is the social event of the season in the region.

To prepare myself to attend this year’s race, I just finished reading A History of Dog Sledding in New England by Bruce D. Heald, PhD, the perfect primer for the event.

About A History of Dog Sledding in New England by Bruce D. Heald, PhD: “Sled dogs trot through expanses of sparkling white snow, pulling a musher and energetically surging with the command, ‘Let’s go!’ From puppies to seasoned competitors, sled dogs partner with mushers in a passionate pursuit of a great racing tradition. The renowned and formidable Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby, the New England Sled Dog Club and famous drivers like Dr. Charles Belford—who came in fifth place at Laconia at the age of seventeen—helped solidify the fame of New England sled dog trails. Historian Bruce D. Heald celebrates the best of the sport in the region, from the feats of legendary Arthur Walden and his famous Chinook dogs to the Siberian huskies’ contribution to the World War II effort. Join Heald as he charts the legacy of this remarkable sport.”

One does not think of New Hampshire first when considering the romance of dog sledding. However, there is quite a lot of local history of the sport including the breeding of the dogs and plenty of colorful personalities. I love reading books about local history and the interesting people who lived in times gone by, and this book was just the perfect winter’s read.

Having read A History of Dog Sledding in New England I will have a much better appreciation for the legacy sled dogs in the region when I attend the races. Let the games begin!

A History of Dog Sledding in New England by Bruce D. Heald, PhD is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

teapotAmong my favorite gifts I received this past holiday season were two of these Le Creuset small teapots – and they are very cool.

About the Small Teapot with Infuser from Le Creuset: “For a truly memorable cup of tea, whole-leaf loose varieties offer a full spectrum of flavors and infusions. The graceful, classic styling this small teapot fits into any kitchen, while its specially designed infuser insert makes it easy to add loose leaves to hot water for steeping and pouring the perfect cup. Its convenient 22-ounce capacity is the perfect size for tea for two.”

I have used one the two Le Creuset teapots I received at least once every day since I received them. These pots are the perfect size for a nice tea break and the infuser helps make a perfectly brewed cup from my favorite loose leaf teas. The cherry and cobalt colors of my two teapots also look great displayed on the kitchen shelf.

Find The Small Teapot with Infuser and all the great products from Le Creuset here.

foldvalMark your calendars:

Valentine’s Day, February 14th, is just a month away.

There is plenty of time to plan the perfect day for your sweetheart.

But if you want to do something special for all the “other” Valentines on your list, you may want to plan ahead and get something special – like a set of personalized photo Valentines from Folded Words.

See all the Valentine options and all the cards and stationary availabel from Folded Words here.

letcal2It is not too late to get a 2013 calendar. Heck, I was once “Happy New Year’ed” in March!

Not being too late is the excuse I am using to buy this awesome Letterpress calendar from 1canoe2.

About The 2013 Letter press calendar from 1canoe2 letterpress: “2013 will be a stellar year with this calendar gracing your desk! We drew out each design, month, and number by hand just for you! 6 cards with a month printed on each side; Super heavy letterpress card stock in bright white; 6 color printing process; Includes charming little wood stump that can be used next year for photos or a recipe!”

I love the whimsy and color of the images that adorn each month. And the stump card holder? Well that is just awesome.


See all the great letterpress products of 1canoe2 here.


“We turn not older with years, but newer every day.”

– Emily Dickinson


PW.12.1You may recall my obsession with paper whites – the flower – which was well documented here this time last year. I remember that my paper whites bloomed for the first time on New Year’s Day and vowed that I would start the bulbs earlier in hopes that the would bloom in time for the following Christmas.

The “following Christmas” referred to the Christmas just passed, and I did as I planned. I purchased paper white bulbs, held them in a paper bag in a cool dark place until I was ready. Right before Thanksgiving, I took the bulbs and placed them in jars with stones and cranberries (the same method I used the year before).

The bulbs sprouted right away and I had good growth right up until Christmas, but no blooms. But wouldn’t you know, they bloomed for the first time last week… On New Year’s Day! Oh well.

I think that the paper whites may be a New Year’s tradtion for me now. Of course next time if I try to time them for New Year’s Day they will bloom on Valentines Day.

My paper whites in my kitchen window of a snowy New Year’s Day 2013: