Monday, October 31, 2011

More Maine Beauties

From our research, I have come to know that Maine is the heart of beautiful blanket making in the US. I love that America still has regional specialties, we haven't all been flattened and "chain-stored" into being the same everywhere.  Joining the ranks of some of the most lovely handwoven textiles I've ever seen, are the ones made by Swans Island. In the early 1990’s John and Carolyn Grace moved to Swans Island off the coast of Acadia National Park and commenced a small weaving operation using local wool. Leaving a life of being lawyers in Boston, they came to live out their dreams: creating wool blankets by hand using time-honored and still-remembered traditions. Their products are timeless, handsome, and classic. Price-wise, they are definitely on the, ahem, high end. But these are truly an investment in something that will bring you joy and warmth for many, many years.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

For the Cowboy in All of Us

Even though Cowboy Cauldron founder Mike Bertelsen grew up in the high desert of the American West, where campfires were a part of life, it took a move to the DC area for him to fully understand his calling. When he began spending time in Virginia, Bertelsen became fascinated by colonial crafts and cooking, as well as the art of the blacksmith. This is where the first Cowboy Cauldron was born. Mike’s goal was to develop a fire pit that would not only function as a fire feature, but could be used as a portable cooking device, as well. The cauldron he made was a huge hit with friends and family both in DC and Utah, where he moved to raise his family. So much so that Bertelsen decided to start producing them in 2008. Now, there are three sizes available, each is handcrafted the old fashioned way, and totally made in America.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Better Belts

These lovely belts come from Wiley Brothers, a small company in Virginia founded in 1999 started by brothers Marcus and Peter Wiley. The vision was (and is) to "create artisanal leather goods, applying the aesthetic and craftsmanship of fine equestrian tack and harness to our own belt designs." Their clever buckles are cast locally using the lost-wax investment casting method. Their belts are truly the essence of elegance, quality and utilitarianism.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Top Priority

A lot of us know we should buy US made products to help support American manufacturing and to get a well-made product. We don't always do it. Just like we know we should protect our bodies and eat organically grown foods, but we don't always make that choice either. But when I had my son, suddenly I found myself buying only organic produce and hormone-free meat. It became clear to me that it is my responsibility to keep him as safe and healthy as I can. Well, the same goes for baby products. While we might not spring for a couch made in the US, we can certainly take the time to make sure that the teething ring we let our precious tots chew on is free from lead or mercury or other unknown dangers. Here are a couple companies in Southern California making great products you can trust for your little ones, all 100% made in the USA!

Phthalate-free, BPA-free, Lead-free, PVC-free teethers and Duckis from Dano Toys, Carlsbad, CA

Stuffed animals and lovees Moncalin, hand-stitched in Los Angeles

Friday, October 21, 2011

Eye on the Future, Nod to the Past

Five years ago, about 30 miles north of Philadelphia, in Doylestown, PA a small furniture company was founded. Every piece uses mortise and tenon joinery, hand-finishing, no assembly line, just hand-crafted goodness made from sustainably harvested domestic hardwoods. The company is Wren & Cooper, named for its founders, husband and wife team Mariah Wren and Mark Cooper. Wren graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2004, with a BFA in furniture design and her schooling shows in the stunning retro-yet-modern pieces they turn out.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Darn Good Jeans Made in Downtown LA

Los Angeles is having a true manufacturing resurgence, especially when it comes to apparel. This is a town that highly values fashion, after all. One shining example is Rogue Territory, a company dedicated to "preserving the trade of handcrafted goods and supporting the skilled artisans who employ creativity and manual dexterity to produce truly unique, one-of-a-kind pieces." Their artisanal take on jeans recalls the workmanship of American manufacturers of the early 20th century and they are hand-making their jeans and pants in that tradition. Great cuts, high quality denim, built to last, all manufactured in downtown Los Angeles.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Manned by Americans

Mannington is a fourth generation family-owned business headquartered in New Jersey. They are the only U.S. manufacturer of residential and commercial flooring that offers a full range of flooring solutions: resilient flooring manufactured at HQ in Jersey, hardwood and laminate made in North Carolina and Alabama, carpet made in Georgia, you get the idea. A truly ALL American company.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Future Family Heirlooms

In a small rural shop in Minnesota, Eastvold Furniture builds finely crafted furniture from sustainable materials. They are timeless and beautiful, at home in either a loft or a farmhouse. They are built to last in the hopes that they will be past down to future generations. I wish I was inheriting some!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cultivating Creativity Across the Country

eco-kids started the way a lot of companies making kids' products do. Someone becomes a parent, sees a hole in the market for something they wish they could find for their child, and decides to make it. In 2008, Cammie and Kip (Jack and Maggie's parents) began making handmade art supplies to sell at farmers' markets around Southern California. Now eco-kids is a line of art supplies that gives children the "tools to create using non-toxic, natural ingredients and environmentally friendly packaging." All made in the US!

Durable, Simple, Functional

My friend Heather tipped me off BaileyWorks Bags, a company out of New Hampshire, where we both used to live, that makes industrial strength, deceptively simple, good looking bags. As they write on their site, they are so durable, they "had to design new bags just so you would have to buy another one." Started in Portsmouth in 1993, (recently moved to Newmarket) after hearing a call for tough messenger bags for bike messengers, BaileyWorks decided to answer that call. Every bag is made by hand in America, no breakable parts, no fancy patterns. Just good solid American craftsmanship.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall Plaid Round-up

Here in LA we like to pretend we have seasons. Yeah, it might have been nearly 100 degrees yesterday, but it will probably get slightly cooler. And making believe it is autumn gives us a chance to wear something a little cozier, something that goes with pumpkins and cider. For everyone else, there may actually be a nip in the air and these choice American-made styles work even better for that.

Available from Mr. Porter or at these stores
Woolrich, Pennsylvania

Bemidji, Minnesota

Portland, Oregon

 Ironwood, MI

Seattle, Washington (Not everything is made in the US)

Ely, Minnesota

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Illuminating Design

Sometimes a simple household item can be so beautifully designed that it borders on becoming art. The Cerno Group has elevated modern lighting and furniture to that level. Started in 2009 in Southern California, Cerno aims to "fuse quality, performance and resource efficiency with modern design," while keeping their manufacturing here. They blend form and function into sustainably-made, usable sculpture for your home.