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Made in New England

May 7, 2015

We’ve all had this happen. You’ve had some veggies in your refrigerator for just a couple of days, and you open the crisper drawer to get your salad fixings. Then you look inside the plastic produce bags—only to discover that your lettuce leaves are limp, peppers are pathetic, and cucumbers are composting. Not very appetizing.

November 14, 2014

“Ohhh, it smells so good in here.” This is what just about everyone says when they come into my store. The subtle fragrances from soaps, candles, and lavender pillows provide a nice complement to the prevailing forest-fresh scent of balsam fir. Few people can resist the urge to pick up one of the dozens of balsam-filled pillows on display and inhale that pleasing, invigorating, evergreen aroma.

August 21, 2014

Visitors often ask what the best-selling item in my store is. I invite them to look around and take a guess. Many think it’s food or soap or candles – things that people use every day; however, it’s none of those categories. The #1 product is Vermont Hot Glass Works’ stamped glass coins.

May 31, 2014

I still remember when some of our good friends came to dinner with a incredible apple-cranberry crisp that was baked in a very handsome pie plate. Not only did we enjoy the dessert, but our gracious guests gave the pie plate to my wife and me as a gift—along with the recipe (see below).

April 16, 2014

My wife and I are big fans of artisan stoneware and pottery, and our collection of pieces has grown over the past 30 years. We have everything from basic bowls and mugs to unusual and unique items such as cutting pots. If you’re not familiar with cutting pots, this signature handcraft created by potter Lorraine Dilmore is worthy of a little explanation . . .

April 11, 2014

Glass making is one of America’s oldest crafts—and art fused with history. Let’s go back in time for a minute . . .

One of America’s oldest towns, on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, is called “Sandwich”—incorporated back in 1637, Sandwich is well known for many things, especially its long-standing tradition of glass making.

February 22, 2014

There’s something magical about blown glass objects that captivates people. Over the past few years, there’s been an increase in interest in this art form, as well as in studios that not only sell unique glass creations such as rondels and sun catchers, but also offer a wide variety glassblowing classes.

Novices quickly discover that it can take years to master this craft. For some, it’s an interesting hobby, but for an artist like Luke Adams, glassblowing is a way of life.

November 16, 2013

I’m always amazed by how many tree ornaments are sold throughout the year in my store. A single evergreen is on display year-round, loaded with an assortment of wooden, clay, and glass decorations. In addition, there’s a large antique jewelry case that houses a dazzling selection of Danforth pewter ornaments and jewelry.

October 12, 2013

For many New Englanders (myself included) Halloween is a favorite holiday. Although we can’t claim Halloween was invented in this part of the country, there are spooky connections between October 31 and New England folklore.

October 3, 2013

The foothills of the western Maine mountains overlooking the Kennebec River offer the ideal conditions for raising superior quality apples. This is where two generations of the Dimock family cultivate over 30 acres of trees on their farm named North Star Orchards. Using the ecologically sustainable techniques of integrated crop management, the Dimocks grow some of the finest apples in New England.

September 21, 2012

I heard on the news recently that a medical study revealed that men have a higher tolerance for pain than women do. (This could be a macho thing, or maybe we men are just too numb to know what we’re feeling.)

Regardless of the validity of this study, it’s safe to say that neither gender enjoys being in pain. With an aging population, is it any wonder that sales of over-the-counter pain relievers are booming? Fortunately, I have discovered a better, natural way to soothe those everyday aches and pains: Maine Warmers.

August 31, 2012

With the daylight hours waning and the nights getting cooler, my favorite season is approaching. There’s nothing quite like autumn in New England. The air is refreshing, the sky is deep blue, and Mother Nature puts on a breath-taking spectacle of vibrant foliage. I think the best thing about the season is the wonderful smell of fresh-picked apples, pumpkins, and the aromas of baked goods made from the harvest.

May 25, 2012

For many years, my wife and I owned and operated a full-service “sit and fit” family shoe store in our town of Peterborough, NH. When we sold that business a few years ago, many people asked us, “Why did you sell the shoe store? Were you tired of smelling stinky feet all day?” That wasn’t our top reason for bowing out, but occasionally it was a rather unpleasant aspect that went with the territory.

April 25, 2012

Nearly all of the products in my store have an interesting story behind them, and I’m always eager to share these details with customers. Favorite items of mine to talk about are the doormats made from reclaimed fishing rope.

These colorful, brawny mats don’t need to be imprinted or embossed with a “Welcome” message to make the entrance to your home or business inviting. But there’s much more to these virtually indestructible, utilitarian mats . . .

April 6, 2012

A year ago, my wife and I attended a local craft show. It wasn’t long before she spotted what she called a “must see, must have” product: Lorna’s Wool Needle Felting Kits. Having been judged the best new product of the previous year’s show, this item had an exhibit that was buzzing with activity.

I was bewildered. Why were these craft kits getting so much attention? I had never heard of needle felting and didn’t see the attraction of it. But what do I know? Obviously, not much about needle felting!

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