Archive for the ‘Gifts’ Category

Service of Fleeting Impressions: Eye-Popping Displays, a Dash of Vintage and Middle Eastern Vibes at NY Now

Monday, August 27th, 2018

MT masking tape, Japan

In a quick visit to NY Now, the former New York International Gift Fair, I saw striking, contemporary displays by companies with decades under their belts as well as vintage-inspired products and some Middle Eastern accents.

MT, a Japanese masking tape manufacturer, had a most outstanding display [photo above and below right].

MT masking tape, Japan

At first I thought I was looking at long plastic straws in wonderful colors suspended from above and only on closer inspection did I realize that I was looking at unrolled spools of masking tape meticulously installed! MT’s tape is made of Washi paper. Its website claims that the paper is strong and “extremely thin compared with those made in other countries.” The company—its factory launched in 1923–stands by its adhesive which it claims leaves no trace when removed. Its color range may be more extensive than most. For sure its booth designer is visionary and the installers extremely patient.

Meloria by Graziani, Italy

My photo doesn’t do justice to the striking Meloria by Graziani booth. Like MT, its fresh look belies the age of the manufacturer: The candle company was founded in Tuscany in 1805 and Meloria is one of its brands. Ball-shaped candles, some, in saturated colors, joined pastel hues and naturals reminiscent of lush hedges, cherries, cabbages and oranges as well as a shiny black 8-ball. Unlike many booths crowded with choices, this one focused on only two shapes, the ball and tapers with a twist.

Alexander Girard wooden dolls

You couldn’t miss the giant replicas of Alexander Girard’s family of wooden dolls in the Vitra booth. The original human and animal characters designed by Girard in 1953 to decorate his home in Santa Fe are in the Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany. According to the website, the dolls are made and painted by hand today and precisely replicate the originals.

Filt string bags

Mahogany

Booths with a vintage spirit included Mahogany’s flannel nightwear in patterns inspired by the 40s and 50s and Filt’s string bags colored brightly to distinguish them from the natural originals that for decades European shoppers brought to the market to fill with comestibles.

I noticed a Middle Eastern vibe in some of the booths such as Zenza Home, Selamat Designs and jazzy tablemats in the back wall of Kim Sebert’s booth. I also thought the crystal fireplace in Kathryn McCoy’s booth would fit well in a Middle Eastern style manor house.

Have you noticed retailers with remarkable displays, seen or received any great gifts recently or noted striking trends in your forays online or about town? Are you surprised that some venerable brands–a candle manufacturer over 200 years old and a maker of masking tape almost 100–excel at projecting a hip, trendy image?

Kathryn McCoy

Selamat Designs

Zenza Home

Service of Fair Wealth Distribution

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

A homeless man hangs out in a post office satellite the size of a small room that is unattended but has a self-service mail kiosk that I use frequently to weigh and mail packages. I’m afraid to be alone with him so I walk by with package in hand. He’s there on my way to and from work.

A few blocks away I found myself in a Godiva chocolate store earlier this week with a friend who was making a purchase. I noticed the handsome Swarovski luxury box [photo above], priced at $125 or $2.08/per chocolate. There are millions in the city who would relish such a gift to share with family and friends but I don’t think that they will be the recipients. I envision the executives and business owners who will receive it who may wince at the calories or put the box out at the reception area or not even bother to take it out of its gift bag.

All the talk about the one percent got me thinking of something that has always been true: The people who don’t need and often could care less about expensive gifts receive them. This goes for taxes, benefits and holiday presents.

Photo: amazon.com

Which led me to think: I wish that there was a City Harvest for holiday business gifts. City Harvest rescues food from restaurants and other venues with leftovers in NYC and distributes it to the hungry. This hypothetical organization would scoop up unwanted or unneeded executive gifts and redistribute them to those who would appreciate them.

However, the concept wouldn’t work because corporations send notes to vendors asking them to restrict gift-giving to a modest sum, maybe $25, or they forbid gifts altogether. Executives receive their gifts at home. And they can’t admit to receiving expensive gifts as they aren’t supposed to get them so how could they volunteer to give away something they shouldn’t own in the first place?

Some businesses send electronic holiday wishes noting that they donate to charity the money normally spent on cards and postage. I hope they really do.

I don’t mean to pick on Godiva or other purveyors of luxury treats and manufacturers of gifts like chef’s knives, drones and wireless headphones. It just seems that giving fancy business gifts to the wealthy is like bringing diamonds to Amsterdam.

Similarly, does it make sense for the wealthiest to benefit from the tax plan that’s about to be voted on in Washington, causing a deficit for the poorest and middle class to shoulder via paltry tax reductions and reduced Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits?

If you were giving a gift to a wealthy client, what would it be?

Photo: metro.us

Service of Self Restraint

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Photo: jbsa.mil

Many stretch their money to give a little or big something to family and friends at this time of year. If you don’t put self restraint to work, you literally pay the price. I had a great idea for a gift for 2 good friends but to implement it meant spending a ridiculous sum. It’s not every day you think of the perfect gift for people who have everything but common sense said “move on.” I did so far.

Photo: foodiesnyc.com

There’s a new bakery that also sells sandwiches and salads near my office. I’ve been in twice to reconnoiter and I’ve left empty handed. One small beautiful pastry, that may or may not be tasty, costs what a scrumptious, though not as glam, cake does at Trader Joe’s. The price of an éclair, gone in two bites–far smaller than standard size–is $4.95.

Photo: yelp.com

I love flowers but daily pass by the many delis that sell tempting sunflowers and roses in peach, yellow and magenta. It makes no sense to buy them for myself. In summer, our apartment gets too hot when we’re not home so they don’t last long and in winter, the shock of the overheated apartment, when they come in from the cold, kills them pronto. And anyway, I have a collection of orchids, many of which, as I write, show signs of blossoms to come. When they bloom in winter I’m enchanted. In spring I cut daffodils, lilacs, peonies and daisies.

Self restraint isn’t any easier if faced with dietary restrictions. It rarely fails: people are forced to give up things they most love to eat. Was anyone advised to avoid grouse or liver ? [the two foods I most dislike].

Are you good at self-restraint? What are your tricks for avoiding temptation?

Photo: cartoonmovement.com

The Gift of Giving Back: Handmade Global Design at NY Now

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

 

Aid Through Trade “Coral Reef”

Charity isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think of NY Now, the former NY Gift Show. This August I visited a different section than in previous seasons: Handmade Global Design. Giving back was a recurring theme for many of these exhibitors. In some cases they donate money to charities; in others, through their efforts, lives of poverty and hopelessness are transformed by work, education and access to global markets.

Some were members of the Fair Trade Federation. It describes itself as “part of the global fair trade movement, building equitable and sustainable trading partnerships and creating opportunities to alleviate poverty…by continually and significantly expanding the practice of trade that values the labor and dignity of all people.”

Meyelo’s Fynn Rucksack

I call out two of its some 50 members listed in the directory: Aid Through Trade, one of the Federation’s founding members, and Meyelo.

The original creator of the Roll-On® Bracelet made with glass beads, Aid Through Trade employs 200+ women from Nepal. Founded in 1993 by former Peace Corps volunteer Damian Jones, he recognized that women’s lives changed dramatically when they have an income.

As I passed by Meyelo’s booth, I heard one of the sales staff say to a customer, “Our for profit gives back to our nonprofit.” Eighty women from Kenya make bags, earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, scarves and sandals sold through Meyelo. On its website: “Every purchase provides our artisans with a source of fair trade income, support for their community, and a global platform for their work.….We work in community development with Maasai villages and provide access to education, water, farming co-ops and medical needs. We empower women, girls and their communities with sustainable programs.”

Bella Tunno’s Giraffe Pacifier Lovie

A striking poster caught my eye in the Bella Tunno booth filled with collections of children’s accessories. It touted: “You buy one product, we give one child a meal.” Founded by Michelle Tunno Buelow, the website reports that “A portion of every Bella Tunno product sold is donated to the Matt Tunno Make a Difference Memorial Fund.” To honor her brother Matt, Michelle Buelow’s fund supports drug and alcohol abuse education, prevention and rehabilitation and programs for at-risk children and teenagers.

Aid to Artisans

Aid to Artisans creates opportunities for low-income craftspeople and designers in East Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Central and South Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and North and Sub-Saharan Africa “to build profitable businesses inspired by handmade traditions.” According to its website, it offers “access to new markets, business training, eco-effective processes and design innovation through a network of partners to promote sustainable growth and community well-being.” The artisans make a range of products from decorative pillows and children’s accessories to desk accessories, ceramic vases, shawls, jewelry, home furnishings and decorative pieces, glassware and ornaments.

“Comfort for a Cause,” is The Elephant Pants Company’s slogan. Founded in 2014, it donates 10 percent of its net profits to save elephants. “Thanks to you, $145,615 has been donated to charitable organizations dedicated to saving elephants,” it declares on its website, as a result of selling over 400,000 pairs of what it says are “The most comfortable pants that anybody had ever worn.”

For a company to combine help for impoverished foreign artisans or to donate a percentage of profits to charity is nothing new but it appears to be a successful approach given the numbers of companies doing it. Do you favor such products when you buy gifts and decorative pieces for your home?

The Elephant Pants Company’s harem pants

Service of Mood Change: NYNow and Then

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Witloft leather apron

Witloft leather apron

 

What a difference a market—or six months—makes. It’s as though a shade came down over the gift show—called NYNow—my overall impression of exhibited products was such a dramatic gear shift last week from last August.

I’d characterize what I just saw as visually quiet, matte in texture, mostly natural colors—lots of gray–and booths filled with linen, cotton, wood, ceramics, straw or products made to imitate them. Patterns were tribal-inspired. The few vibrant colors, flamboyant patterns and sparkles jarred.

Last week we were at the farm; last summer we prepared for an elegant party.

Walter GWhen I wrote about my last visit in “Service of What You Might Get For Your Birthday,” I was taken by the abundance of shiny things–highly polished stainless steel, aluminum, copper, platinum and some gold and silver tableware.

The reason for the shift could be timing. In August exhibitors/manufacturers are thinking of winter and holiday decor while a winter market dresses stores with summer goods. But glorious hot days can also call for all things sunny, crisp, clean and bright—they weren’t.

As always I warn that my impressions are made from largely visiting the Home section which represents relatively few exhibitors vs the whole, though I cover the same area year after year.

A few examples.

Fog Linen Work’s aprons, table linens and clothing, designed by Yumiko Sekine Farmhouse potteryfrom Lithuanian linen, epitomize the simple, natural style I described above as do Witloft saddle leather aprons from Amsterdam [Photo above] and pieces of Farmhouse Pottery from Vermont [Photo right].

One company, Couleur Nature Paris, true to its name, offered more than earth colors. It looks to the garden for inspiration but there was nothing glossy about its tea towels, tablecloths, market baskets and glassware.

I’ve previously written about washable, resilient, stretched and tanned paper totes and sacks. This market there were several in this category. The ones that caught my eye were by Bsimple Creations [Photo below, center]. An Italian brand, Essent’ial, featured paper slipcovers, an introduction for ecoitalystore.com.

hapticlab-sailing-ship-kite-white_d246919f-094e-4480-abb4-a4bd3ef17de1_grandeI was charmed by the handmade sailing ship kites in the Hapticlab booth [Photo left]. They were made, according to the website, “in collaboration with Balinese artisans exclusively for Haptic Lab from locally-sourced bamboo and nylon.” You can also display them as a mobile.

Some of Middle Kingdom’s porcelain vases at the show appeared to be a departure from the spring colors on their website. Oversized pieces with a tribal, ikat motif—especially the ones in a curry color—commanded the booth. Walter G’s hand block printed indigo and white textiles, cushions and napkins are designed by owners Genevieve Hewson and Lauren Emerson in Australia and made in collaboration with artisans from Rajasthan. [Photo above, left.]

Honest wood bowls, boards and accessories filled much of the Javits real estate. Peterman’s Boards and Bowls was just one.

The exhibitors hail from around the world. To what do you attribute such a change in mood to inspire this drastic shift in style or am I overdramatizing standard seasonal fashion tweaks and trends?

Bsimple CreationsBsimple Creations’ tote in treated paper

 

Service of the Comfort of Vintage

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

La la Land movie poster

Whatever “vintage” means to you—if you’re 20, 1980s films, fashion and décor might describe it while if you’re 50, it could be all things 1950. For some there’s comfort and perhaps a soothing visual to live with a grandparent’s furnishings; for others, reminiscences shared with an uncle while watching Audrey Hepburn on Turner Classic Movies brings smiles.

I thought of this after seeing “La La Land,” a movie I enjoyed. The writer/director Damien Chazelle is 31 yet he picked the 1940s/1950s romantic musical genre for the setting of his story. He added zero pyrotechnics, violence or gore and none were missed. The film set a record at the Golden Globe Awards winning seven including recognition for best motion picture—musical or comedy—performance by an actor and actress, director, screenplay, original score and original song.

Elle.com ran a article about what’s in or out in fashion. Nikkitight jeans Ogunnaike reported we should “anticipate a shift toward contrast denim styles in vintage silhouettes.” [This look is in contrast to skin- tight jeans popular today.]

I’d saved a December, 2016 section of The Wall Street Journal‘s “Off Duty,” because of its cover story, “Presents with a Past,” that featured 50 nostalgic gifts “whose origins date back decades and beyond.” The subhead continued that the gifts will “conjure a simpler time when the holidays were lower-voltage, but just as bright.”

Sidney Garber bracelet

Sidney Garber bracelet

Speaking of voltage, most of the suggestions would burn a hole in most wallets. There was a gold bracelet by Sidney Garber reminiscent of flexible metal coils first popular in the 1930s for $12,200; a 3-day slumber party at a historic English country estate @ $15,600/night for 16; Prada’s jewel encrusted mules for $1,150; a $685 pair of retro headphones; a mink stole for $5,500 and a chauffer to drive you from Paris to Versailles in a period Citroen starting at $370.

I don’t spend that kind of money for the loved ones on my list. The Wall Street Journal editors chose a few things under $100 too. There was a box of Turkish delight [$35]; a rubber band-propelled toy car [$25]; an apron [$47]; a ‘70s popular fondue pot [$95]; traditional Belgian speculoos cookies [$20]; a Mickey Mouse wall clock featuring a 1930s style rodent [$65], and an Italian knit necktie [[$90].

The J. Peterman Company catalog seems to be going strong with its focus on vintage-inspired men and women’s fashion.

Have you noticed vintage influences creeping back more now than in recent years? Do you welcome them or consider them old fashioned and therefore not worthy of your attention? Do you think that in turbulent times people look back to what they recall or think may have been a calmer period?

 Belgian Speculoos cookies

Service of Gizmos You’ll Never Use

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Gifts wrapped

Tis holiday gift giving time again so what are you giving the person who has everything? Here are some frivolous things to avoid for folks who like to cook.

Gizmos and gadgetsI’ve written about my pasta maker bought years ago and never used. I had high hopes which never materialized. Who has time, anyway, when a box of excellent spaghetti from Italy costs so little?

I thought of the pasta maker when reading “Don’t Be Such a Tool,” in The Wall Street Journal in which Keith Blanchard writes about “questionable and highly specialized culinary tools.” [The online title: “Why Hipster Cooking Gizmos Are Killing Cooking.”]

The article’s subhead in the print version is: “A humble home chef bemoans the rise of sauerkraut-making kits, mini-donut machines and other dubious cooking gadgets.”

macaronsIn addition to the donut machine he identified a pen to draw a design on cappuccino foam with a spice; a mat to “perfectly size 48 macarons;” an ice cream cone maker [at this time of year?] and a tube you stuff “with rice and blowfish, then wrap with nori” to create your own sushi.

Are you tempted by gadgets for the kitchen or anywhere else in your home or office? Are there any you can’t live without? Are you the first to own the newest and latest? Do you have a robot or drone? Are you planning to give a specialized gizmo to someone this Christmas or Hanukkah?

ice cream cone

Service of What You Might Get For Your Birthday

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

 

POLaRT furniture

POLaRT furniture

I visited NY Now recently—formerly the NY International Gift Fair—to report on the kind of present you might receive on your next birthday or anniversary, especially if you like to entertain. As always I caution that my observations are impacted by the fact that I saw only a fraction of the summer market at the Javits Center.

I hope you like shiny things because I saw a lot of highly polished stainless steel, copper, platinum and some gold and silver tableware. In fact sparkling aluminum was prominent. In addition, there were plenty of nods to the past.

Arthur Court Designs

Arthur Court Designs

Here are a few examples that reflect the show-stopping SHINY TREND:

Aluminum

  • Arthur Court Designs exhibited gleaming sand-cast aluminum platters, serving trays, bowls and beverage servers.
  • Beatriz Ball

    Beatriz Ball

    Julia Knight’s website explains that her collections are “handmade of sand cast aluminum with a signature blend of enamel infused with crushed mother of pearl.”

  • No wonder Beatriz Ball’s bowls and ice buckets, platters and spreaders, wine coasters, frames pitchers and trays shine as they do: They undergo four levels of polishing. The pieces are handmade in Mexico of “molten aluminum poured into sand molds.”

Stainless Steel

  • Mary Jurek Designs

    Mary Jurek Designs

    It was hard to identify the medium just by looking at the exquisite tableware and serveware in Mary Jurek Design’s booth. Could it be silver? Turns out to be hand-hammered stainless steel.

Touch of Gold

  • Yedi HousewaresSome of Yedi Houseware’s porcelain coffee cups—in shapes reminiscent of the 1940s—were dressed in contemporary colors and dipped in gold like a hallmark Dairy Queen is immersed in chocolate [photo left]. Yedi’s traditional silhouettes featured gold rims.
  • Annie Glass enhanced the edges of some pieces in gold.

Precious metals

  • Cannes Fayet

    Cannes Fayet

    Shining silver handles on the canes of Cannes Fayet from France winked at passersby.

  • Also from the République Française I saw Design Sophie Villepique Paris’s decorative elements with dashes of silver, gold, platinum as well as gemstones and Swarovski crystals.

Some of you are going to say about the items that were UNUSUAL AND NEW TO ME, “Why that’s been around forever….” I’m not shy in revealing my ignorance: I call out below the glass ginger jars filled with fruit in brilliant colors that fooled me—I didn’t know they were candles—and they’ve been made in the USA for 22 years!

  • Lifetime Candles by White River Designs

    Lifetime Candles by White River Designs

    If I hadn’t overheard another visitor exclaim, “These are candles?!” I wouldn’t have known this about Lifetime Candles by White River Designs’ cylindrical and ginger shaped glass jars and perfume bottles filled with everything from brightly colored fruit and branches to pinecones, butterflies and flowers suspended artfully in clear lamp oil. Headquartered in Harrison, Ark. the company has been around since 1994. [At the booth, the candles weren’t lit yet the magnificent jars nevertheless caught my eye.]

  • Tote & Able

    Tote & Able

    Tote & Able canvas flasks in the shape of foil juice pouches were unusual and curious–useful too.

  • Uashmama [pronounced wash mama] washable, resilient, stretched and tanned paper that looks/feels like leather is transformed into lunch bags, traditional looking paper bags,  purses wallets, trays and such.
  • I loved watching steam dance out of the Cado Japanese air purifier, which itself was handsomely designed and a far cry from the ugly look of cheap, plastic boxy humidifiers of yore. The steam hitting the air was almost as mesmerizing as staring at a waterfall.

    Uashmama

    Uashmama

  • Sarut’s rubber chicken handbag made me smile. I wonder if it was designed for those who attend countless $250+ per person industry lunches where the menu consists of…rubber chicken?
  • Martone Cycling Co.

    Martone Cycling Co.

    I was surprised to see a bicycle at this show. Martone Cycling Co. stood out both for this reason and for the featured bikes’ clean, vintage design and creative–for a bicycle–colors.

  • Furniture in primary hues at the POLaRT booth [photo at top] made me stop to touch the polymer pieces in Victorian and other historic shapes. The faux button tufting was especially clever.

Do you like adding shiny accents to a dining table or to your décor? Can you point to evidence that some manufacturers, in addition to those I identified, are reaching back for design inspiration not only in decorative elements but also in fashion?

CadoCado humidifier

Sarut

Sarut

 
Julia Knight Collection

Julia Knight Collection

 
 
 

Service of Entertaining: Industry Guru Shares Tops in Table Décor

Monday, June 13th, 2016

F & P kitchen

 

I love to entertain though time and life get in the way so I don’t do it as often as I once did.  One of the most fun parts is to dress my table. Boy am I off trend!

Allison Zisko, tabletop editor at the business magazine HFN, told International Furnishings and Design Association members and guests how folks are entertaining these days and what products they are using to do it. We met in a perfect spot: The month-old Fisher & Paykel Experience Center [photo above] in the Architect’s and Designer’s Building in NYC. 

The venue set the stage. We were surrounded by sleek, high end induction cooktops, convection wall ovens, refrigerators and DishDrawers in a creatively architected space designed to show off the products and welcome visitors. And there was a bonus: We were greeted by Fisher & Paykel’s Paula Cecere Smith who is more than the showroom’s design and architecture manager; she’s also a pro when it comes to entertaining. Her sidekick, executive chef Tagere Southwell, always surprises with imaginative and scrumptious treats–miniature mouthfuls of perfect size made on the spot. She didn’t disappoint.

Paula Smith, Fisher & Paykel design & architect manager

Paula Smith, Fisher & Paykel design & architect manager

If you’re looking for a hostess or wedding gift or to throw your own party and want to add something new to your table, read on. 

We clearly entertain as we dress–informally.

OUT: cups and saucers and tables set with fine porcelain and silver.

IN

  • Of all categories, beverage and barware sell best i.e. decanters and glasses for specialty drinks. Zisko showed us a whisky glass with a hole to hold a cigar! Cutware, if any, is minimal; glassware is clear and contemporary, dishwasher safe, chip and shatter resistant.
  • Melamine [high end plastic] that sports formal patterns for both in and outdoors: You may grill  or order out but you want to serve a hot dog or pizza on something pretty that’s not paper.
  • As beer styles trend so do different shapes and sizes of glasses to hold ale, stout, larger etc; the same with whiskey.
  • Single bowl meals are big, hence, bowls to house them.
  • Mugs generate huge business.
  • White dishes represent the bulk of sales.
  • Gold finish has outpaced platinum for borders and rim decoration as well as flatware. Copper–warm and rustic–is popular.
  • Gray pops up everywhere in homes including on the table.
  • Farm-to-table influence appears in rustic, artisanal style products.
  • Pieces feature mixed materials such as glass or metal with wood and metal with concrete.
  • Customized tableware—monograms are popular.
  • Manufacturers now pre-mix patterns and sell them in boxes because customers aren’t comfortable doing the coordinating.
  • The number one bridal registry gift is a KitchenAid mixer, as much a status symbol to display on a counter as an appliance for bakers and ice cream makers. Zisko says when not in use the mixer often serves double duty to hold fruit and even mail.

On Zisko’s radar:

  • Products made of cork.
  • Mugs decorated with recipes.
  • Glasses with “Mr.” and “Mrs.” on them.IFDA Fisher Paykel event screen turned

She reported the big news at tabletop market this year was trend-setting 81-year old Michael Fina’s decision to close its 5th Avenue store. There it sold china, glassware, cutlery and jewelry. It is now an online-only retailer partnering with Amazon for distribution.

If you own formal dinnerware, do you use it? Do you like to dress a table or consider it a waste of time? Have you changed the way and place you entertain? Is it easy or difficult these days to find perfect gifts for people who still throw dinners and parties?

 Easter table 2016

Service of Eye-Catching Gifts

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

 

Qlocktwo wall clock

Qlocktwo wall clock

 

I’ve highlighted some of the products that caught my eye at NY Now that ended this week. I’ve covered this tradeshow since well before the International Gift Show changed its name. I’d need more than a day to see everything and I was there only four hours hence the warning: This list is imperfect.

QLocktwo wall clocks by Biegert & Funk  [photo above] were showstoppers. The handsome clocks tell time in words: “It is ten to eight,” for example. The sales rep said they are made in Germany and Switzerland. The exhibit was clearly so popular that the staff had run out of marketing materials. I noticed that there were plenty of other timepieces at the show both to wear and display, a curious trend given the universality of smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets, automobiles and televisions all of which also display the time.

A French company, Cookut, introduced Creazy, a cup that you shake to make whippedRenova toilet paper cream in less than a minute. The secret: Three multi-faceted silicone beads. I stopped to admire myrenova’s toilet paper in juicy colors such as Marigold, magenta and lime. At the Ameico booth grownups had fun coloring a 71 x 39-inch coloring wall by OMY Design & Play.

Richard Upchurch founded and runs a two year old Brooklyn-based company, Brandnewnoise. He hand makes voice recorders and sound gadgets in his Red Hook studio.

sagegreenlife Edelwhite hydroponic gardenAt another booth I inspected the hanging indoor hydroponic garden, Edelwhite, made possible by sagegreenlife, [photo left], and had to touch Craft Advisory’s bubble wrap-like glass bowl [photo below] to confirm it wasn’t the real thing.

In the category of familiar if mislaid brands—I’ve not seen Louis Sherry chocolates in stores for years—I was glad that the 135 year old brand continues to sell its sweets in its traditional purple boxes [as well as boxes in other designs/colors]. My mother kept knickknacks in a kitchen drawer in a Louis Sherry tin box.

Whether or not you like to go shopping for gifts what catches your eye: Color, function, pattern, originality, or something else? With time evident from countless devices around us, to what do you attribute the burst of timepieces offered to the marketplace?

 Craft Advisory glassware

Craft Advisory glassware

 

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