Archive for September, 2017

I found the fine folks from Autumn Harvest Farm at a farmers’ market and was pleased to learn that they have a shop at their Grafton, NH home – which in addition to a selection of their fresh and canned goods – includes a café (the Harvest Time Café) and a quilt shop (the Maple Leaf Quilt Shop).

About Autumn Harvest Farm:

“We are glad you have decided to see the wonderful selection of canned and fresh goods out of the abundance of Autumn Harvest Farm in Grafton, New Hampshire. You can be sure that the products you buy online are the same fresh quality items you find at our farm.”

I can’t think of a better seasonal day trip than to drive up to Grafton in the stunning fall foliage to visit the aptly named Autumn Harvest Farm.

Lucky for those of us who live too far for a simple drive, Autumn Harvest Farm sells a large number of their farm products in their online store.


Autumn Harvest Farm and Quilt Studio is located at 77 Johnson Lane in lovely Grafton, NH.

I once had a black cat, Bear-Bear, who was adorable and not really black. She looked black, but when you saw her in direct sunlight you could see that she was really an extremely dark brown – and had spots! But I digress. I thought of Bear-Bear recently when I picked up the book All Black Cats Are Not Alike by Amy Goldwasser (writer) and Peter Arkle (illustrator). This book is just a ton of fun for cat lovers and the rest you alike. We are introduced to 50 or so black cats with very different personalities and the result is funny, charming and a total delight.

About All Black Cats Are Not Alike by Amy Goldwasser and Peter Arkle: “Every cat owner knows that no two cats are alike. This pitch-perfect illustrated book proves this simple fact by diving whiskers first into the unique personality, charisma, and character of 50 real all-black cats. From Alfie, who ‘has no tolerance for wet humans or being ignored,’ to Sashi, who ‘enjoys freeze-dried chicken by candlelight and full-on body rubs,’ each cat comes to life through a lovingly hand-drawn portrait and quick-witted profile. Delightfully quirky and utterly charming, this motley crew of black cats will win over anyone with a dry sense of humor.”

After reading through these quirky cat profiles you will never look at your cat – or any cat – the same way again. You will always be thinking “what’s going on in that little cat head of theirs?”

All Black Cats Are Not Alike by Amy Goldwasser and Peter Arkle is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.


It looks like I may be setting up a new household soon, so I am looking for design inspiration wherever I can find it. While surfing around the online store from the fine folks at Finest Wallpaper, I stumbled upon this ‘Cykel’ wallpaper by Scion, which I am mad about.

About the ‘Cykel’ Wallpaper from Finest Wallpaper:

“’Cykel’ by Scion is a charmingly interpreted, old-fashioned push-bike.”

I love the model room Finest Wallpaper shows with the Cykel paper in use – complete with matching curtains. I need this look in my new house!

Find the ‘Cykel’ wallpaper from Finest Wallpaper here.

See all the great looks from Finest Wallpaper and find your own design inspiration here.

The other day when I posted about my visit to Cigar Shenanigans Cigar and Cocktail Lounge in North Conway, NH, I mentioned that they used cigar boxes in unique ways to enhance their décor. This reminded me of the fine folks at AxBox Guitars – makers of amazing guitars from, well from cigar boxes. Seriously, each finished product from AxBox is a masterpiece.

About AxBox Guitars:

“All of our guitars are handcrafted from found objects and the highest quality custom materials. We have a rotating selection of already built guitars at our shop, as well as an expanding collection of vintage cigar boxes and unique containers you can select from for the guitar of your choice. Custom consultation for a guitar crafted from your own found object is also available.”

I first spotted AxBox Guitars at the great Gold Coast Art Fair this past June in Chicago and fell in love with the craftsmanship and high quality. These are not just a novelty. I was most intrigued by listening to actual musicians from the crowd walking up, picking up one of the cigar box guitars and playing it – and sounding as good as any “real” guitar you can find.

Making something like a cool guitar from a “found” object? How could I not love it?

Learn more about AxBox Guitars here.

Visit AxBox Guitars’ Etsy shop here.



OK, I know, many of us are still clinging on to the last hint of summer and it is way too early to throw in the towel and acknowledge that the autumn chill is in the air and winter in not far behind. I get it. BUT! I love soup and have already started collecting recipes for the season – like this one for Sweet Potato Soup from the fine folks at Southern Living magazine.

About the recipe for Sweet Potato Soup from Southern Living:

“Sweet potatoes, buttery Yukon Gold potatoes, healthy carrots, and warm spices all combine to create a flavorful and savory comforting soup, perfect for cold winter evenings. In less than an hour you can have a pot of delicious creamy soup ready for your family. Round out the meal with a loaf of warm bread. This recipe calls for toasted pecans, a favorite addition to soups and salads. Go ahead and toast more than the required amount, and freeze the extra pecans in a freezer safe container, or zip-top bag. This way, you will have toasted pecans on hand whenever you need them. This is a handy tip for toasted coconut, as well. This creamy soup makes excellent leftovers, to take to work or anywhere on the go.”

Find the recipe for Sweet Potato Soup from Southern Living here.

Check out all the recipes and other great finds from Southern Living here.

One of my favorite places here in the Kansas City metro area is The Rio Theatre in Old Overland Park. I love movies and I love quaint vintage theaters and that is just what the Rio is. I use any excuse to see a movie at Rio and have been there many times in the past few years. One challenge is that the Rio tends to have long runs for the films shown on her single screen – which limits the opportunities to visit. However, once a year I get a chance to go more often – and to see films I would ordinarily not get a chance to see – as the Rio hosts the Latin American Cinema Festival of Kansas City.

About the Latin American Cinema Festival of Kansas City:

“This will be our twenty-sixth annual film festival, and will take place on consecutive Saturdays in September and October: September 2, 9, 16, 30 and October 7. Main funding for this program is provided by the Kansas Humanities Council, a nonprofit cultural organization that connects communities with history, traditions, and ideas to strengthen civic life.”

The Latin American Cinema Festival of Kansas City runs Saturdays through October 7 at the Rio Theatre – 7204 W. 80th St. in Overland Park, Kansas.

Learn more about the Latin American Cinema Festival of Kansas City and see trailers of this year’s films here.

Visit the home of The Rio Theatre online here.



Today I finish my review of just a few of the fine dining establishments I enjoyed while on my recent vacation to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

FF: Deacon Street Restaurant / Martini & Whiskey Bar in North Conway, NH

The fine folks at Deacon Street Restaurant / Martini & Whiskey Bar are my new favorite people on the dining scene in Mount Washington Valley – not just because they came to my aid with planning a last minute family dinner for 20 people recently – but also because the food and staff are awesome.

Try the new pork chop entrée and say hi to Roberta the hostess.

About Deacon Street Restaurant / Martini & Whiskey Bar:

“Welcome to Deacon Street Restaurant / Martini & Whiskey Bar. Located in the heart of the Village in beautiful downtown North Conway, NH, Deacon Street offers hand-picked American whiskey selections, world class martinis, great food prepared by Chef Stan Shafer and multiple televisions for watching any sort of sports event.”

Deacon Street Restaurant / Martini & Whiskey Bar is located at 32 Seavey Street, just off Main Street in the heart of North Conway Village, NH.

FF: Hobbs Tavern and Brewing Co. in West Ossipee, NH

Just south of Mount Washington Valley, in West Ossipee, NH is Hobbs Tavern and Brewing Co., the perfect place to stop on your way to – or home from – your visit to the White Mountains.

Try just about anything – as it is all good.

About Hobbs Tavern and Brewing Co. in West Ossipee, NH:

“An idyllic countryside tavern and brew house offering warmth, history, classic comfort food, and handcrafted beer at the foot of the New Hampshire White Mountains.”

Hobbs Tavern and Brewing Co. is located at 2415 NH Route 16 in West Ossipee, NH.

While on vacation in New Hampshire last week, we stopped in at Funspot just outside of Weirs Beach in Laconia. Funspot is reportedly the largest arcade in the world and it is awesome. It is an old school arcade with all the classic arcade game you remember as a kid (no matter your generation) including skiball, indoor mini-golf, bingo, bowling, and a slew of video and pinball machines. A large part of the multi-floor building houses vintage machines – including things like Pong and early Pac Man games.

About Funspot in Laconia, NH:

“Funspot is the largest arcade in the world, founded in 1952 by Bob Lawton who still works here every day. Funspot provides quality entertainment in an atmosphere right for the whole family and its array of fun is continually growing. Funspot offers over 600 games, including 300 classic arcade games, a 20 lane ten pin & candlepin bowling center, cash bingo, indoor mini-golf, a restaurant, a tavern and more!”

A visit to Funspot was nostalgic for me as when I was a kid we used to go to arcades as part of our family vacations to places like nearby Weirs Beach on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee and Hampton Beach on New Hampshire’s seacoast. Also nostalgic for me was the classic pinball machine Comet – which I played endlessly in my college days. I spent much of my time playing Comet on this visit to Funspot and I can’t wait to go back.

Funspot is open 364 days a year at 579 Endicott Street North, just outside Weirs Beach in Laconia, NH.

I really like the scene this photo evokes – taken last night at the U2 concert at Arrowhead Stadium in the great city of Kansas City, MO.

U2 continues their 30th anniversary Joshua Tree tour in the Americas through October.


As a movie lover I also love reading about cinema. This fact is well known by my friends which is why while on vacation last week I was given a copy of Opening Wednesday at a Theater Or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ’70s by Charles Taylor – a love letter of sorts to a particular genre of film from our not too distant past which is often overlooked. As a film critic, and obvious fan of the genre, Mr. Taylor brings us a history of 70’s era B movies – looking at them individually as well as collectively to highlight a culturally significant movement.

About Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You by Charles Taylor: “When we think of ’70s cinema, we think of classics like The Godfather, Taxi Driver, and The Wild Bunch… but the riches found in the overlooked B movies of the time, rolled out wherever they might find an audience, unexpectedly tell an eye-opening story about post-Watergate, post-Vietnam America. Revisiting the films that don’t make the Academy Award montages, Charles Taylor finds a treasury many of us have forgotten, movies that in fact ‘unlock the secrets of the times.’ Celebrated film critic Taylor pays homage to the trucker vigilantes, meat magnate pimps, blaxploitation ‘angel avengers,’ and taciturn factory workers of grungy, unartful B films such as Prime Cut, Foxy Brown, and Eyes of Laura Mars. He creates a compelling argument for what matters in moviemaking and brings a pivotal American era vividly to life in all its gritty, melancholy complexity.”

The B movies of the 1970s are a little before my time, but I loved reading about these films and their significance and it helped me think about the second features I spent hours watching in my own youth at the drive-in in the 1980s (mostly low budget team romps). Not all film is fine art, but 40 years on the throwaway films of the 70s are now relics worth exploring, and that is what Mr. Taylor gives us in his fine book.

Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ’70s by Charles Taylor is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.