Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fenton Art Glass Back From the Brink

There was wailing among glass collectors when Fenton Art Glass announced last fall that it would soon be forced to close because of economic hard times. Far from the glory days of West Virginia glassmaking, there are now only a handful of companies keeping the tradition alive. As the word spread, apparently many fans of Fenton glass began placing orders, so much so that the company reconsidered its options and has managed to stay open for business after all.

There is a “good news, bad news” aspect to the story, however. According to an April 7 article in the Charleston Daily Mail, the company will make some changes in how it does business, including development of a new division (Fenton International) that will sell glass products made in China. Still, the West Virginia factory will continue to turn out beautiful art glass, hopefully for many years to come. It will be up to consumers to determine whether this story is one of a fabled company surviving by importing product, or surviving because of a loyal customer base that appreciates the beauty of Fenton art glass.

Although I always associated Fenton with those candy dishes that grandmothers have on their coffee tables, in fact the company has a rather astonishing range of designs and glass styles. Enjoy the renewed option to own something beautiful, made in West Virginia.

Stephanie, Webmaster

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"Buy American" Feels Good, Looks Good

My sister commented that the new “Why Care” page of my website was just bad news, followed by more bad news! It made me sit back and think. I’ve always wanted to be a nonpartisan, positive, upbeat place to buy American-made products. My site is not about “naming names” and chastising companies that outsource, much as I might be tempted. (That’s why I usually apply the rule, “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.”)

I think the “buy American” sites that focus on doing battle, doing without, or doing it to other countries (!) are tapping into our self-doubts rather than our self-confidence.

Buy American is more than tee shirts and jeans, and grim-faced guys in union halls! It is a joyous endeavor that celebrates American creativity, quality and style. The layoffs and plant closures are real, and not just a statistical oddity, but we will solve nothing by giving in to despair.

We still make some great products, so let’s get our chin off our chest, unwring our hands, and go shopping. (On the Internet, of course!).

Here are a few of my recent favorites.

Stephanie (aka, Pollyanna), Webmaster
Cape Cod Weathervane

Thorndike Mills


Yvonne Totes
Collars and More
Melia Luxury Pet
Thomas and Friends Bed

Hoy Saltwater Sandals

Little Colorado

 Tough Traveler Luggage

Kitchen Cart - Marble

Hartstone Pottery

Hartstone Pottery

Lodge Cast Iron Cookware
 Seasoned Cast Iron Serving Griddle LOS3  LODLOS3

Friday, April 11, 2008

Kid-Friendly Sheets Made in USA

Today’s topic is bedsheets. I know, I know…”Boring!” you say. But wait, there’s more. You also get…

As a parent I have observed the following: soccer-kicking, Halo-playing, skateboard-riding, Harry Potter-reading teens and tweens don’t have TIME to make their beds! Or so they say. (In fact, some days they seem hardly to have time to go to school. Hmm.)

Last night I was “googling” for American-made sheets (scarce as hen’s teeth) and I came across a company that makes sheets for RVs, campers, bunk beds and other special situations. Humboldt Specialty, in Omaha, NE has come up with a great kid-friendly feature. Their sheet sets have the top sheet attached to the bottom sheet at the foot. They discuss the benefits of this for making beds in tight corners and keeping the sheets on the bed where they belong. I immediately saw the application to kids who can’t/won’t make their beds.

Most mornings when I go to wake the kids, their top sheet is wadded in a ball at the base of the bed or totally off and on the floor. When they “make” their beds, they just pull the quilt over the sheets, wads and all. No “hospital corners” in our house! For all of us who are getting our kids ready to go off to boarding school or college in the fall, the Humboldt sheets seem like a godsend.

I am ordering some to try out. Give it a look and let me know what you think!

Stephanie, Webmaster