It's beginning to look a lot like . . . Spring. But Christmas is a short nine months away. Start your shopping now! Here's a pewter Christmas Tree, made in Los Angeles, which could be hung upon the tree or in a window. It can also be used as a holiday candle snuffer. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.
There is an old story in my family about attending any holiday party: invitations were always issued with the reminder, "Ring the doorbell with your elbow!" It was (supposedly) an exhortation to never show-up empty handed. Now, I myself never heard any family member make this stipulation; the account has always been fourth-person hearsay. And, from what I know of my elders, it seems out of character for them to have suggested such a requirement. I'm guessing that one person said it one time—after which, like so many family tales, the story gathered momentum and embellishment. It is a good story! This ceramic bear, made and hand-painted in Russia, is a lovely "hostess gift" (should one be required or desired). He has a little...
Christmas is two weeks away! There is still time to order and receive your gifts by Christmas. But please act quickly! We always try to ship purchases on the day of receipt—if they arrive by Noon (Eastern). Orders received on the weekends (when the Post Office is closed) are posted Monday. This sweet pewter Christmas ornament was hand-cast in California. It also makes a useful (and festive) candle snuffer.
Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, one of the great solemnities of the Roman Catholic Church. But there is significant popular misunderstanding of the theology. Many people—even some Catholics—don't understand that it refers to the immaculate conception of Mary, not Jesus. Christian theology includes the concept of "Original Sin," which is basically the "fall from grace" that all humans experienced as a result of Adam & Eve's decision to break with God (in Genesis). It is an inherited state which, Christians believe, can be rectified with baptism. Roman Catholics believe that baptism is the essential, redeeming sacrament through which people are "born again" into a life with Christ.
Tonight is the eighth and final night of Hanukkah, the annual Jewish "Festival of Lights." The celebration commemorates the Maccabees victory over the Greeks and the miracle of the oil lamp. In the Second Century BC, the Jews found themselves under the thumb of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. The Greeks insisted that the Jews worship their god, Zeus, and they desecrated the Jewish Temple (the "Second Temple") by slaughtering pigs within it. Many Jews rebelled. But the Maccabees rose-up and took-on the Greek Army. Despite a small number of warriors, the Maccabees defeated the Greeks and reclaimed their temple. While cleaning-up their house of worship, they were disappointed that they only had enough lamp oil to last through one night of...
Here's a more elegant glassware offering: a classic Double Old Fashioned rocks glass, decorated with 22 karat gold swags, stars and a holly tree. Atop it all, a gold rim—which is handsome and useful: it helps protect the rim against chipping. The set of four glasses hold 12 ounces each.
Sixties swank will add a little punch to your punch. These two sets of highballs—one with six glasses, the other with eight—are decorated with a jaunty array of wreaths, bows, bells, trees and poinsettias. Not really elegant, certainly not tacky—these 10 ounce tumblers capture a certain Sixties style, full of innocence and promise and simple Holiday cheer.
The Holidays—and the Holiday guests—are on their way! Get ready now with this set of six Mid-Century highball glasses. They are festooned with swags of green pine, red bows and candles, and a 22 karat gold lantern. Perfect for egg nog or even something a bit harder.
It was 1995. And, during my little shop's First Christmas on Bleecker Street, I refused to decorate the store before Thanksgiving. I would defend The Tradition! I was adamant not to hang one pine needle until Thanksgiving Day! So I crept into the shop on Thanksgiving morning around 6:00 am. I turned on NPR; Bob Edwards was interviewing celebrity chefs on their favorite Thanksgiving offerings. (Paul Prudhomme was making a "Turducken.") The store would be closed for the holiday. I was working alone but had nothing but time to relax and decorate: window, garlands, holiday merchandise, and a 10 foot tall Christmas tree, loaded with Christopher Radko ornaments (which would be for sale, of course). As I took my first sip of...
In recent decades, Hallowe'en has become perceived as a pagan celebration—a day of witches, gnomes, Kim Kardashian, and the Devil himself. I've heard a number of people proclaiming the day "my favorite holiday," further explaining that they liked it because it was a big celebration devoid of religious associations. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since the year 800, the date has had religious importance. Hallowe'en—All Hallows' Eve—is the vigil night before the important Christian celebration, The Feast of All Saints (celebrated 1 November) also known as All Saints' Day or All Hallows' Day or Hallowmas. And the following day (2 November) is also special—All Souls's Day, a day dedicated to honoring all the dead (sainted or not).
Three months 'til Christmas. (But who's counting?) It seems like it was only just Summer, yet, before you know it, Christmas will be here! Get ready for the season with this set of four (plus one) jolly rocks glasses from the Seventies—decorated with a "stained glass" Season's Greetings" wrap. A light rim of gold helps protect the edges and provide an extra touch of subtle sparkle. Whether serving eggnog for the kids or something a little harder for the grown-ups, these Double Old Fashioned tumblers will have you hoisting with style for the Holidays.
Although our Holiday gatherings will be smaller this year, need they be less jolly? This set of eight rocks glasses, made in the Seventies, will bring a seasonal flair to your gathering—no matter how small. Whether used for milk (and cookies), eggnog, or something a bit stronger, the bold red and green "stained glass" lettering will remind you exactly which season you're celebrating.
With Christmas but three weeks away, perhaps a little "hostess gift" would help make your season bright. This set of six highball tumblers are decorated with a handsomely illustrated Victorian Christmas tree. A gold band rims the top of each glass—which is not purely decorative, it also helps to protect the glass from chipping. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.
Today is Black Friday, the so-called "Biggest Shopping Day of the Holiday Season" (more about this later). My first "professional" Black Friday was in 1985 as a 22 year old, brand new department manager at G. Fox Department Store in Hartford, Connecticut. The tables on my "pad" (retail speak for the carpeted area that defines the boundaries of a department) were piled-high with sweaters and poly-knit turtlenecks—all marked down from $28 to "the magic price point" of $19.99. It was a whirlwind season for this recent college graduate. I spent my time just getting through the day: helping old ladies find their sizes, filling-in new merchandise, keeping the cash registers humming, and marking-down new items as panicked buyers (in the...
Oy! Exactly one more month to go! On 3 November, the voting will have ended and the counting will have begun. Within a week or two of that, most of the ballots should have been counted and The American Will should be known. Until then, we must bear things as best we can. I received my Pennsylvania ballot today, Saturday, and will mail-it-back on Monday. I plan to drop it into the interior lobby slot of my local post office. If you haven't yet, VOTE! Whether you vote by mail, vote early in-person, or vote at the polls on Election Day, your voice is critical. It's true, one lone voice can appear powerless. But, when combined with the voices of...
In the darkest time of the year we celebrate the Jewish "Festival of Lights." The Talmud tells of a miracle whereby a single jar of oil—which should have lasted one night—continued to burn for eight days. Thus, the holiday lasts eight nights. Our bronze Modernist Hanukkah Menorah has eight candles (one for each night) plus the shammash ("helper" or "attendant"), which is used to light the other candles and which is placed just a little higher than the other candles. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. And a Happy Hanukkah to all! Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we...
As you read this, I will be landing at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport for a weeklong holiday. My partner, a stage designer, has designed the new Giselle for the Bolshoi Ballet, and it premiers this week. I am not sure if I will find many appropriate (or affordable) antiques while in Russia—and I am not even certain if I am allowed to remove them from the country. I will be taking plenty of pictures, however, and I will share them with you in the coming days. Keep checking this Journal and monitor my visit. By the way, the Bolshoi will be broadcasting worldwide a performance of this Giselle on 26 January 2020. Click this link to find-out if this broadcast will be shown...
Summer—at least in 2019—is chock-a-block with campaigning and candidates, all hoping to Make America Good Again. And tonight, we witness the start of Round Two of the Democratic Presidential Debates. Get into the Summer Blue spirit with this all cotton cap, embroidered with contrasting stitched lettering. Please click on the photo above to learn more about this cap. Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com). Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private...
A new year. A fresh start. And a resolution to be a patriot—to help my country more in 2019. Let's start with something that's been on my mind: it's time to Make America Good Again. You see, for me, it's more important to be Good than Great. And maybe this vintage-style baseball cap will be a little reminder. A hopeful, royal blue cap is embroidered with antique orange—an optimistic combination in anticipation of better days ahead. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed. While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on...
Today I give thanks for the loyal customers who have supported LEO Design—in word and deed—during the Holiday season and throughout 2017. Merry Christmas! LEO Design's Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed. While we contemplate our next shop location, please visit our on-line store which continues to operate (www.LEOdesignNYC.com). Follow us on Instagram: "leodesignhandsomegifts" Follow us on Facebook: "LEO Design - Handsome Gifts"
Another Christmas is here—and there’s a new year waiting right around the corner! This has been our 22nd Holiday Season in the neighborhood. Where has the time gone? We are grateful for the support of our many wonderful customers. Wishing all a joyful and restful Christmas. May 2017 be a year of unexpected happiness. Today […]
Prepare for The Season of Lights with this cast bronze Modernist Menorah. Sculpted in the American Midwest, it will see you through the eight days of Hanukkah in style. Please come into the shop to see it in-person or click on the photo above to learn more about it. Happy Holidays! Today—and daily […]
Every year, in preparation for the Holiday season, I select and order a single stuffed bear to sell in the shop through the autumn and Holiday seasons. I’ve done this for twenty-one years—with a slight modification last year when I found a stuffed lion to commemorate our twentieth anniversary. Shown above, this year’s Holiday teammate—who […]
An old favorite at LEO Design—back for another Christmas season. Peruvian fair trade craftsmen collect the gourds, dry them, then decorate them with paint, carving and a hot stylus. Cheery and bright and every one just a little different from his branch mates. Please come into the shop to see them in person or click on […]
Glass-making, as far as we can tell, started in Mesopotamia around 2,500 BC. About 1,500 BC, the Egyptians began making glass—mostly small amulets, beads, and tiles for decorative inlay. As the Egyptians expanded into (and conquered portions of) the Middle East, they captured and brought back to Egypt various skilled artisans, including glassmakers. At this […]
Like yesterday’s angel ornaments, this hummingbird is also made of carved tagua nuts—also known as “palm ivory” or “vegetable ivory.” He’ll happily hover amongst the branches of your Christmas tree or levitate year ’round in your kitchen window. Made in a fair trade workshop in Ecuador ($28). For the Holiday season, LEO […]
With Christmas three weeks away, perhaps it’s time to think about trimming the tree. Over the next few days I’ll share with you some of my in-store ornaments—new finds and old favorites. Shown above, little angels carved of tagua nuts. Also called “vegetable ivory,” tagua nuts grow on a variety of palm tree found in […]
Wishing a Happy Hanukkah to all—and a joyful Holiday Season! As we rush-about our ever-busy lives, let’s endeavor to enjoy a few quiet, focused moments with those we love. Hanukkah begins tonight—at sundown—and ends Monday evening, eight days from now. The Cypress Tree Menorah, pictured above, is cast of solid bronze in Canada. Please click […]
A Merry Christmas to all—and a happy, healthy New Year, too. I’d like to thank all of my LEO Design customers for supporting the shop, especially during this—our twentieth!—Christmas season. Without wonderful and loyal customers like you, we would not have made it this far. Here’s to the next twenty Christmases! LEO Design is closed […]
Wishing you a Happy Hanukkah—and a wonderful Holiday Season. Thank you for letting LEO Design play a role in your Holiday celebration. Shown above, a finely-cast bronze menorah. Please come see it in the shop or click on the photo above to learn more about it. For the Holidays, LEO Design is now open from […]
I always feel a bit like Santa Claus when I get back to the shop from an overseas buying trip. Laden with too many, heavy bags, it’s always a comfort to put them down on my familiar shop floor. The staff enjoys unpacking and inspecting what I’ve found—often making note of which LEO Design customer […]
While I refuse to decorate before Thanksgiving Week, I have begun putting-out a few of the early-arriving Holiday items as they have come in. Discreetly, of course. Last week it was the Holiday cards; now it’s a collection of hand-made, mouth-blown art glass ornaments. Beautiful enough to display year ’round, these lovingly-crafted little treasures come […]
Christmas . . . in June? A bit off-season, I know, but I have to buy these cool antiques when I find them—they may not be around later. Shown above, a wooden Christmas ornament box, from the 1940’s or 1950’s, with a printed greeting on the cover. A bit beat-up—well-loved, perhaps—but still up to the […]
A flock of little, red Holiday owls has landed at LEO Design, here to remind us: “Only one month ’till Christmas Eve!” Another reminder, this time from our ornithologist friends: a group of owls is called “a parliament.” Click on the photo, above, to learn more about these Peruvian, hand-made ornaments.
We’ve just received another beautiful menorah—this one finely-cast in bronze. The exceptional detail is rendered using the “lost wax method” whereby molten bronze is poured into a mold formed around a detailed wax version of the same menorah. It is then finished by hand and patinated. The lost wax method is the traditional means of […]
While in Brighton, England last week, I met an enterprising, young artist selling her hand-decorated berets on an outdoor stall. I thought them jolly without being flamboyant—just perfect for a Holiday party or a “Stocking Stuffer” gift . I bought-up an assortment, some of them shown above. Come into the store and see the complete […]
. . .to Hanukkah, that is. We’ve just received our Holiday shipment of Bronze Cypress Tree Menorahs. Crafted of solid bronze in Canada, they are a casually beautiful accompaniment to The Festival of Lights. And so handsome, I think, it can sit out year ’round. Place it on a high shelf and one won’t […]