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A Jade Green Moon

Like a giant, dappled jade green moon, hanging in the sky, this English late Arts & Crafts globular vase will make a statement in your interior space. Made in the Twenties or Thirties by Pilkington Royal Lancastrian, it will anchor your larger collection of ceramics—or stand alone with confidence as a single feature. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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...

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Bearing with the Cold

Brrrr, it's cold outside! And I always find January weather most un-redeeming. A crisp (even cold) December adds to the Christmas joviality. But, come 1 January, I'm ready for the warmth. Alas, we still have months to go... This little teddy bear is well-prepared for the weather! Over his (faux mohair) fur, he wears a little knitted sweater and woolly twill pants. He has poseable limbs and an adorably helpless expression. Click on the photo above to learn more about him.   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...

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Getting Sorted

It's the New Year and one of my resolutions is to get my desk organized! If you're like me, this Victorian English implement will make a small dent in that task. It was designed as a toast rack—a very nice version of the ordinary morning utensil. It was intended to hold three slices of toast (each piece cut in half) and placed upon the breakfast table.  As a good American, I don't use a toast rack. First, no one is serving me at table. Second, I've always thought that toast racks were too-efficient at cooling toast—and I prefer to butter mine piping hot, right out of the toaster. But I do love toast racks as a sorting device on my desk!...

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A Clean Start

This time of year is naturally the darkest.  Yet we crave the light—physically, emotionally and, for many of us, spiritually. Both Hanukkah and Christmas employ lights in symbolic, cheerful and satisfying ways. The New Year is also a time for "clean starts."  We "turn the page," we make resolutions, and we (attempt to) pare-down to the simplest essentials.  This pair of candlesticks, just acquired, are classic, handsome, simple and clean. They will also help us to light-up the darkness. They were made sometime in the Thirties through the Fifties. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store...

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Epiphany

An "epiphany" is a life-changing realization—one which has the power to alter the course of one's future. An epiphany usually strikes suddenly and dramatically but it also can evolve over time with thought. These bronze-clad "Thinker" bookends, modeled after Rodin's "Le Penseur" (1902), seem well on their way to an epiphany. Click on the photo above to learn more about them. In Western Christianity, "The Feast of The Epiphany" is celebrated on (or about) the 6th of January. It represents the manifestation of the Christ Child to the Gentiles—usually symbolized by the Three Magi (the Gentiles) recognizing Jesus as God Incarnate and prostrating themselves before him.  The Twelve Days of Christmas end the night before (5 January, sometimes called "Twelfth...

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Clean & White - part IV

Perhaps you've given-up smoking for the New Year.  If so, good for you!  If you haven't (or can't or won't), perhaps you can continue your habit in higher style with this English Art Deco ceramic ashtray by Wedgwood. It was designed by Art Deco architect and designer Keith Murray in the 1930's. Keith Day Pierce Murray was born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1892. His family moved to England while he was a boy and he served in the British Royal Air Force during World War I. After the war, he studied architecture but, finding it difficult to land a job, he took work as a commercial illustrator. In 1932, Murray was hired by Wedgwood (Staffordshire, England) to design products...

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Clean & White - part III

What looks like ivory is actually sculpted and polished cow bone—fitted upon a stainless steel pocketknife by Laguiole. Laguiole is the traditional French village where the best Gallic knives are made. They were originally used by shepherds; the classic "Laguiole fly" at the hinge references the dirty and smelly world of stock-keeping. Inset pins form a stylized cross on the side of the knife. Shepherds who could not make it into town for Sunday Mass would stick their knives into the earth, thus creating a makeshift altar. This elegant and sophisticated knife is perfect for the gentleman farmer or urban man-about-the-house. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now...

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Clean & White - part II

Ol' Jack Frost could not have conjured a more wint'ry wonder than this artglass sculpture made in Sweden in the Seventies. A swirl of bubbles and a snowy white flurry twists skyward in this piece, made by Färe-Marcolin in idyllic Ronneby (in Southern Sweden, not far from the Baltic Sea). It would look good in either a traditional, period or Modernist interior—and it will always remind you those crisp, clean and cold days of early January. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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...

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Clean & White - part I

When blankets of snow greet the New Year, we cannot help but feel the excitement of a fresh, new start. But not every New Year brings drifts of fluffy precipitation. Therefore, over the next few days, we'll share some of our favorite "crisp and clean" items—all with simple silhouettes, all in some shade of white. A vase does not get more classic than the one shown above. Made by Roseville (in Ohio) in the 1930's, they have taken the classic, ancient two-handled urn form and given it an updated Art Deco crispness. A deep, satin white glaze makes for a stately and handsome addition to your interior decor. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though...

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A New Year and a Time For Resolve

New Year's Day is often replete with resolutions—sincere resolve to work hard and make oneself better in the months to come.  2020 provides Americans the opportunity to make our country a better place, thereby making the World a better place, too.  Click on the photo above to learn more about this cap, designed here at LEO Design.  Most of all, we wish you a happy, productive and satisfying year ahead!   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...

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New Year's Clarity

New Year's Eve will sometimes conjure wistful memories: happy pasts, loves lost or the recognition of passing time. One's resulting mood might be happy or sad—or both at the same time. And it sometimes effects a clarity which allows self-reflection and the resolve to initiate change. Personally, I like the New Year because it inaugurates a fresh start. And who cannot use a fresh start every now and then? Start the year with a different type of clarity: the clarity of these crystal cocktail glasses from the 1950's. A sculpted stem resides between platinum-banded top and footer rims. The platinum gives the design a crisp punctuation, yes.  But that's not all. The metal also protects the crystal rims from excessive...

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Hanukkah: Night Eight

Tonight's the last night of Hanukkah—so let's end with an extra-special piece. This compressed spherical vase is dressed in a rich, dappled cobalt blue glaze. It's a regal piece of English Arts & Crafts pottery, made by Pilkington Royal Lancastrian. It would look great alongside a larger collection of pottery or it would stand well on its own. Click upon the photo above to learn more about it.   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)....

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Hanukkah: Night Seven

Two shades of blue enameling give graphic punch to this pair of English Art Deco cufflinks from the 1930's. Learn more about them by clicking on the photo above. And please see many more blue cufflinks in our on-line store.   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 appointment only).  917-446-4248

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Hanukkah: Night Six

Air bubbles are forever-suspended in this English blue glass bowl by Whitefriars, London. It would be handsome and useful for paperclips on a desk, keys by the door or even sea salt on a buffet table. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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 appointment only).  917-446-4248

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Hanukkah: Night Five

Reminiscent of Native American jewelry, this brooch and earrings suite is actually English from the Forties. Polished blue marble cabochons are fixed into late Art Deco settings. Click on the photo above to learn more about them.   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 appointment only).  917-446-4248

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Boxing Day

Boxing Day—the day following Christmas—is a holiday celebrated mostly in England and the Commonwealth countries. Traditionally, it was the day when servants were given their gifts (or boxes) from their employers—in addition to a day off (since they were, of course, required to work serving their masters on Christmas Day). Although the days of Downton-style servants are (mostly) a relic of the past, the holiday lives on as a "bank holiday." The Ukrainian "treen" wooden dresser box, shown above, was handsomely and finely-carved in the Carpathian Mountains. It is inset with glass beads and dated 1937. It would make a handsome bedside accessory for storing collar stays, cufflinks or other small precious objects. It truly adds great style and elegance...

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, one and all! Thank you to the many customers who have patronized LEO Design this Holiday Season—including those who have just discovered us and those who have been supporting us for years. Shown here, a painting of "The Virgin and The Child" painted by the Medieval Venetian master, Paolo Veneziano (who lived approximately 1324-1358). During his life, he was the premier painter of the Venetian Republic and, with his sons, painted the "Weekday Altarpiece" in Venice's Basilica of San Marco. He is considered the founder of the Venetian School of Painting and, though he is influenced by the earlier Byzantine style, he points the way toward the Gothic style, yet to be fully developed. This painting hangs in...

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Another Christmas Eve

In 1494, nineteen year old Florentine sculptor Michelangelo Buonarotti contributed the male angel (and candlebearer) to the tomb of Saint Dominic in Bologna, Italy. The female partner had been carved by the late Niccolo dell'Arca, who had intended to complete the pair. Michelangelo was hired to finish the male half of the couple. By now, the tomb—inside the Basilica of San Domenico—was already in its 230th year of construction. Many artists contributed to the work which took 500 years to complete. The angels above are a late Twentieth Century recreation based on the Michelangelo (and Niccolo dell'Arca) originals. In 1995, during my first Holiday season at LEO Design, I purchased this pair of Italian painted terra-cotta angels. I received them the week before...

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The First Day of Hanukkah

Today is the first full day of Hanukkah, a celebration of merriment, good food and gift-giving. Over the next week, as the holiday unfolds, we will periodically share some nice gift ideas—in the traditional Hanukkah color of blue. The colors blue and white (sometimes replaced by silver) are associated with Hanukkah. These are also the colors of the Israeli flag (designed in 1891) and the traditional prayer shawl (called a Tallitot). Blue and white provide a nice, clean contrast to the traditional Christmas colors of red and green. This vase really celebrates the color blue—or, more specifically, multiple shades of blue. The handsome vase form is dressed in a highly-textured glaze, reminiscent of the craters of the moon. A real...

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Bright Hanukkah Wishes!

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...

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Reddy for Christmas - part III

We end our trio of handsome red Christmas vases with this beauty by Carstens, West Germany. The form is classic—a basic oil jar—but the dripping red glaze (over black) gives the piece a lot of movement and (somewhat eerie) style. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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 appointment only).  917-446-4248

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Reddy for Christmas - part II

Both color and form hit a home run on this West German Modernist vase by Otto Gerharz for Ruscha. A sophisticated "Double Gourd" vase—a classic, Ancient Chinese design form—is dressed in a crusty, matte red glazing. Two small handles give the piece a functional, flask-like attitude. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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 appointment...

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Reddy for Christmas - part I

Christmas is right around the corner! It's my favorite time of the year for bold red accessories. Over the next few days, I'll be sharing some of my favorite pieces of red ceramic art pottery. The West German Modernist piece above was made by Hoy Hey.  It's a heavy jug, fashioned in a dark grey clay, and dressed in a thick, cherry red glaze. It makes a perfect Christmas accent, seated upon your mantelpiece, windowsill or bookshelf. Click on the photo above to learn more about this handsome piece of art pottery.   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). ...

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A Kinder Cut

The earliest modern plastics were commercially developed in the late Nineteenth Century. Celluloid—originally called "Parkesine" in the 1850's—was invented in England and played an important role in the growing world of photography and (later) motion pictures. Until the 1950's, celluloid was the base material of most film stock. But inventors admired its light weight and stiff nature and soon began using it as a replacement for ivory and tortoiseshell. Celluloid could be colored and finished to resemble both materials. Decorative household objects were soon made and the "faux ivory" version was used to make component parts for musical instruments (like tuning knobs, finials or picks). The "faux tortoiseshell" celluloid letterknife, shown above, was made in England around 1920. It would...

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It's the Homestretch. Keep On Truckin'!

Back in the old days—that is, well before 1995—public schools used to offer something called "shop class" (okay, Boomer). It was here that awkward teens and pre-teens had a chance to play with dangerous craft equipment like drills, welding torches and bandsaws. And it was here that kids would create (mostly unwanted) gifts for moms and dads—presents like plant stands, napkin holders and trident spears. This little handtruck, made in a shop class in Fifties England, has all the hand-crafted charm one would expect of a green "soldering novice." Copper and brass were joined to form the little wagon—then fitted with four British coins as wheels (dated 1904, 1919 and two from the 1950's). It makes a charming and stylish...

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Brassy Bells?

Silver Bells cannot hold a candle to this: a substantial (and authoritative) bronze teacher's school bell. Made in the Aesthetic Movement style in Victorian England (c. 1880's - 1890's), it has nicely-ribbed features, including a turned ebonywood finial knob. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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 appointment only).  917-446-4248

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Something for the Stocking - part X

How does one know that this little bronze lion is brave? He has the word "courage" impressed into his full little belly. Give your favorite LEO (perhaps yourself) a little extra encouragement. Click on the photo above to learn more about him.   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 appointment only).  917-446-4248

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Something for the Stocking - part IX

Most bottle openers are kept hidden away—discretely secreted in a jumbled drawer. This cast iron beauty—made in Japan—may find itself being kept out in the open, on the coffee table or bar cart. Inspired by Arts & Crafts metal strapwork (by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright), it provides a handsome alternative to anything hanging on a keychain. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More stocking stuffers in days to come.   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...

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Something for the Stocking - part VIII

This highly-polished pig is made of hand-shaped brass in Japan. He makes a stylish paperweight, a handsome companion, or a satisfying object to jiggle in the hand. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More stocking stuffers in days to come.   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 appointment only).  917-446-4248

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Something for the Stocking - part VII

Erik Magnussen (1940-2014) was a Danish Modernist designer who designed contemporary ceramics, furniture, lighting and metalware—like the desktop notepad holder shown above. Some of his designs were even translated into best-selling plastic versions. This piece, designed for Royal Selangor, is made of polished cast pewter. You can learn more about it by clicking on the photo above.  More stocking stuffers in days to come.   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...

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Something for the Stocking - part VI

Give your favorite Francophile—or French New Wave Cineaste—one of these bold French corkscrews from the 1950's. Breaking with the iconic "horn" or "turned-wood" handled versions, these playful pulls will make a statement at the next picnic or lawn party. Choose from yellow or green. Please click on one of the photos above to learn more about these fun stocking-stuffers.  More stocking stuffers in days to come.   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...

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Something for the Stocking - part V

In the Northern reaches of Northern Europe—where complete winter darkness might last 20 hours a day—every ray of light is precious. This explains the Scandinavian affection for blonde woods, white walls and lots of colorful home furnishings. It also helps explain the allure of this Swedish Pine Christmas Tree glass sculpture by Kosta Boda. Let it bring a little extra light into your home this Holiday. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More stocking stuffers in days to come.   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"...

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Something for the Stocking - part IV

Following closely on the trail of her little cub (yesterday's Journal entry), this Mama Bear ceramic ornament is also handmade in Russia.  It can hang or stand as shown. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More stocking stuffers in days to come.   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 appointment only).  917-446-4248

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Something for the Stocking - part III

Having spent a week in Moscow last month, this little Russian handmade ceramic bear is even more precious to me. Meant to hang on a tree, he can also stand on a flat surface, keeping you company in the kitchen, office or living room. Watch for his mother, who is bound to show-up tomorrow. Click on the photo above to learn more about this sculpture. More stocking stuffers in days to come.   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...

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Something for the Stocking - part II

From Portugal's oldest soap and fragrance company—founded in 1887—comes this classic Musgo Real ("Royal Moss") aftershave.  We've been selling it at LEO Design for 25 years and it continues to be a favorite. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. Fragrance designations (like "Eau de Toilette," "Cologne" or "Aftershave") distinguish the percentage of fragrance within the product (from highest to lowest). Furthermore, "Aftershave" usually has an astringent and moisturizing base which closes the pores, moisturizes the skin (a little) and helps prevent small nicks from becoming infected. Aftershave has the lowest concentration of fragrance, meaning that it won't smell as strongly (or last as long) as Eau de Toilette or Cologne. That being said, the fragrance concentration...

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Something for the Stocking - part I

Over the next several days, we'll be sharing some of our favorite "little gifts"—perfect stuffers for the stocking. We start with this cast pewter ornament. Though you may hang it from the tree, it would look good sitting on a windowsill or could be used as a holiday candle snuffer. This bit of folk craft will help ensure a Merry Merry Christmas. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. More stocking stuffers in days to come.   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 &...

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More Pewter Frames In-Stock - part IV

Our last newly-received photo frame is this handsome style, cast in pewter with a handsome lion's claw motif. Made in New York City, it can be used for both vertical and horizontal photos. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. And visit our on-line "frame department" to see more frames for your precious images.   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 appointment...

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More Pewter Frames In-Stock - part III

This frame style—a classic, twisted "rope" design—was the first frame I purchased for the shop.  Photo frame design does not get more classic than this. It is made of cast pewter in New York City.  A swiveling hinged back allows the frame to be positioned either horizontally or vertically. Click on the frame above to learn more about the 5" x 7" version, shown here. We also have a few hinged "double" rope frames, like the one shown here. We offer it in 4" x 6" (shown here), 5" x 7" or 8" x 10". Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. More pewter frames tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO...

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More Pewter Frames In-Stock - part II

This frame's profile—heavy, strong and bold—imparts a "clubby" look upon any photo it presents. Its heavily ribbed (spring-like) design, draws the eye inwards, toward your precious photo. We currently have the frames in 4" x 6" or 5" x 7" or 1.75" x 2.25" sizes. Click on any photo to learn more about that particular frame. And, if you ever see a photo frame style that you like—but want to know if we can procure it in a different size—please reach out to us on the "Contact Us" link on the website. More frame offerings tomorrow.   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...

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More Pewter Frames In-Stock - part I

Over the next few days, we'll be sharing a handful of newly-stocked pewter photo frames, now available in our on-line shop.  They are made in a small foundry in New York City. Pewter is an alloy of tin (about 95%) with antimony, copper and bismuth added for strength. Additionally, these frames have been manufactured with a small amount of sterling added, to give the metal a little more "pop." This style of frame, which has a "Double Beaded" perimeter, may be the most adaptable of all our frames.  Not only will it sit well in a Traditional, Art Deco or Modernist interior, it also gives every photo a subtle "lift"—a very light punctuation—without calling attention to itself.  It is shown...

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Welcome, December

The icy chill is here—and with it the final month of 2019. Welcome, December, and your birthstone, the turquoise. Turquoise has been mined for over 5,000 years—in Persia, the Sinai Peninsula, Mexico and the American Southwest.  Egyptians buried their dead with carved turquoise talismans carefully inserted within the deceased's body wraps. The Book of Exodus refers to the High Priest's turquoise encrusted breastplate.  And, in the New World, archeologists have found ancient turquoise artifacts of the Zuni, Pueblo, Aztec and Mayans. To this day, Native Americans from the American Southwest use turquoise in their exquisite silver jewelry. Worldwide, turquoise has long been believed to be a holy or lucky stone. The cufflinks shown here are not turquoise, but enameled with turquoise (and white) colored...

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Tailgate Dandy

Boola! Boola! Bring high style to the bleachers—and imagine the looks as you pull-out and take a swig from this handsome English flask! Made in the Twenties, its swirling glass bottle is fitted with silver-plated mounts. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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 appointment only).  917-446-4248

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Serving in Style

The Holidays are coming and many of us—wanting to host our loved ones in style—will be pressing into use our nicest serving pieces. This American Arts & Crafts cake plate is hand-hammered and silver-plated. It's perfect for serving a cake, tart or cookies, chocolates, aperitifs or tasty hors d'oeuvres. It's also nice for elevating items at the back of the table, giving a varied landscape to your holiday spread. It was made by Derby in Meriden, Connecticut, and you can learn more about it by clicking on the photo above.   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...

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Thanksgiving Wishes

  Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving and blessed abundance in the year to come.   -Kimo & the Team at LEO Design        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 appointment only).  917-446-4248

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Nine

"Cathedral Square," within the Kremlin walls, is a cluster of several Russian Orthodox churches from the 14th, 15th and 16th Centuries. Though similarly whitewashed and topped with gold-leafed domes, each has a unique history and purpose. The Cathedral of the Assumption (1479) is the traditional site for royal coronations and the burial of church metropolitans and patriarchs. The Cathedral of the Archangel (1508) is the traditional burial place for Russia's princes and tsars, including Tsarevich Ivan Ivanovitch who was killed at 27 by his father, Tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible). The royal remains are enclosed in stone sarcophagi which are placed within bronze and glass receptacles—right on the main floor of the church. The Cathedral of the Annunciation (1489) includes a "porch...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Eight

Amongst the most elegant of Moscow buildings is the Great Kremlin Palace,  built within the Kremlin's walls and completed in 1849. It was commissioned by Tsar Nicholas I in 1837 as the new Moscow residence for the royal family (when visiting from the capital, Saint Petersburg). His instructions to architect Konstantin Thon was "to emphasize the greatness of Russian autocracy."  The handsome marigold and white building conjoins and expands-upon the earlier royal residences—the Terem Palace (1637) and the Faceted Palace (1491)—and is attached to some of the nine cathedrals in the Kremlin. It has five sumptuously-appointed ball rooms, two of which were conjoined to form a large council chamber for the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. In recent years, the two...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Seven

I am a sucker for Late Nineteenth Century "Gothic Revival" terra-cotta buildings like Saint Pancras Station in London or the Potter Building in downtown Manhattan. Their aesthetics please me, yes; but, what really excites me, is the idea of using mass production methods to crank-out tasteful, well-designed and beautifully made component parts which could be assembled to create a handsome whole. As long as one starts with a beautifully-crafted prototype (and insists upon quality manufacturing), mass production can be a wonderful way of bringing good taste to the public in an affordable manner. So it's not surprising that I spent more than a few minutes inspecting, photographing and appreciating this building in Revolution Square, which now houses the "Museum of the Patriotic...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Six

Russia's love of classical music is well known, both the music they made and the music they played. Chopin was very popular—revered even—in Russia after the 1830's. Tchaikovsky, for one, was quite familiar with the Polish composer and Chopin may have influenced the Russian's work yet to come. It is no surprise, then, that the Polish maestro would be commemorated at the Muzeon Park of Arts, an attractive sculpture garden sited along the Moskva River's Southbank. Chopin, on the other hand, had a more complicated feeling about the Russians (or "Moskali" as they were known in Poland). The Invasion of Warsaw (sometimes called "The Uprising") ended the Polish-Russian War of 1830 - 1831. During the two day siege, Poland collapsed and evacuated...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Five

My travels in Moscow have been confined to the central area—including long walking distances from The Hotel Metropol and Bolshoi Theatre area. Today I took an extended walk to Gorky Park which I couldn't resist visiting, so famous was the novel and film of that name in my teen years. There wasn't much to the park—at least in the winter, when many of the flower beds and decorative trees had already been wrapped-up in plastic sheeting. But I did see many interesting sights (modest and grand) along the way. And I purposely took different routes in both directions. Moscow, or the limited part that I saw, was a blend of handsome buildings from the 16th Century through the present. Nineteenth...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Four

Reigning over the Moskva River, at the Northern foot of the Patriarshiy Bridge (and not far from the Kremlin), stands the regal white marble Cathedral of Christ the Savior. It looks like it's stood here for a century—but has it? Actually, no.  The Cathedral was commissioned in 1812 by Tsar Alexander I to commemorate Napoleon's empty-handed retreat from Moscow.  It was to be an expression of "our gratitude to Divine Providence for protecting Russia" and a memorial to those who died in the war. After a change of site, change of architect, change of design and a change of tsar (to Nicholas I), construction finally began in 1839.  Interestingly, in 1882, Tchaikovsky premiered his brand new 1812 Overture at the...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Three

My biggest reason for visiting Moscow was to attend the premiere of the Bolshoi Ballet's new Giselle which opened tonight. My partner, Robert Perdziola, designed the evening's sets and costumes, inspired by multiple earlier Giselle productions by the Russian designer-artist Alexandre Benois (1870 -1960). Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky re-created the steps of an earlier production by Marius Petipa (1818 - 1910)—embellishing the dance with long-lost gestures and other conventions that have been abandoned over the past century. The project aimed to revive and present (to a modern ballet audience) the look and sensibility of the ground-breaking ballet master, Petipa, 200 years after his birth. Giselle is based on a German folk tale about a young peasant girl who is pursued by...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part Two

Let's start with a bang: Saint Basil's Cathedral at the South end of Red Square. Standing like an illustrated children's fairytale—or any fanciful stage production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker—this Sixteenth Century cathedral is the undisputed star of Moscow's rectangular Red Square. It was commissioned by Tsar Ivan IV (known as "Ivan the Terrible") in 1552 to commemorate his capture of the city of Kazan, a Mongol territory 500 miles east of Moscow. Despite Ivan's deservedly ruthless reputation (he massacred much of the Kazan population, destroyed the mosques and forcibly Christianized the populace), 8,000 Russian slaves were freed after the invasion, bringing an end to slavery within Ivan's empire (70 years before African slavery began in America). The cathedral, finished in 1561,...

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A Gentleman in Moscow - Part One

While checking-in to The Hotel Metropol in Moscow, I could not help but think of the protagonist, The Count, in Amor Towles's best-selling novel, A Gentleman in Moscow. I had locked-up my home door behind me some 26 hours earlier—and I was more than a little fried from the very long journey (on three cramped airplanes, through four bustling airports). Nevertheless, I was invigorated by the historic hotel's warm Art Nouveau interior—and fell in love with the original period brass chandeliers which hovered over the storied lobby. In my mind's eye, I could picture The Count, seated in the corner of that very lobby (partially hidden by a potted palm), silently observing the object of his desire, the film star Anna Urbanova, as...

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Russian Off

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...

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Once a Year Day!

After I closed the LEO Design shop in Greenwich Village, I moved to Pittsburgh, re-vamped the on-lline store (and website), opened a modest showroom (by private appointment only) and set-up small spaces in two local antique centers.  One of these antique centers, in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District," is called Mahla & Company—and today is their once-a-year Open House Celebration. Not only is the antique center open on a Sunday (which it is otherwise not), but everything in-store is 20% off! The date was carefully chosen: there is no Steelers football game today (which, I'm told, is an important consideration in these parts). If you are in Western Pennsylvania, please come down to Mahla!  You may put a dent in your Holiday shopping...

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Resting-in-Style - part V

We've just added an interesting collection of Victorian English knife rests to our on-line shop. Before the 1950's, doing the laundry was a tedious, difficult and time-consuming task—and people developed strategies to extend a linen's usefulness between launderings. One such tactic was the use of a knife rest to keep a dirty knife off the tablecloth. Today they can be used for knives, chopsticks or to display-in-style any number of precious possessions. For a few days this week, we'll share some of these new additions. We end our parade of Victorian English knife rests right where we started—with a design in the manner of Dr. Christopher Dresser. Dresser was born in Glasgow Scotland (1834) to English parents. His boldly inventive—indeed...

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Resting-in-Style - part IV

We've just added an interesting collection of Victorian English knife rests to our on-line shop. Before the 1950's, doing the laundry was a tedious, difficult and time-consuming task—and people developed strategies to extend a linen's usefulness between launderings. One such tactic was the use of a knife rest to keep a dirty knife off the tablecloth. Today they can be used for knives, chopsticks or to display-in-style any number of precious possessions. For a few days this week, we'll share some of these new additions. Long before Fernando Botero (or Jeff Koons) was born, an anonymous Victorian English designer conceived these striking knife rests. A "rusticated" horn shaft is suspended between (somberly whimsical) "cluster ball" supports, turgid and silver-plated. They have a...

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Resting-in-Style - part III

We've just added an interesting collection of Victorian English knife rests to our on-line shop. Before the 1950's, doing the laundry was a tedious, difficult and time-consuming task—and people developed strategies to extend a linen's usefulness between launderings. One such tactic was the use of a knife rest to keep a dirty knife off the tablecloth. Today they can be used for knives, chopsticks or to display-in-style any number of precious possessions. For a few days this week, we'll share some of these new additions. X marks the spot with this trio of Victorian silver-plated knife rests, made in the 1880's. X-form struts support a heavily-ribbed shaft. Ball feet complete the Early Modernist look. Please click on the photo above...

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Resting-in-Style - part II

We've just added an interesting collection of Victorian English knife rests to our on-line shop. Before the 1950's, doing the laundry was a tedious, difficult and time-consuming task—and people developed strategies to extend a linen's usefulness between launderings. One such tactic was the use of a knife rest to keep a dirty knife off the tablecloth. Today they can be used for knives, chopsticks or to display-in-style any number of precious possessions. For a few days this week, we'll share some of these new additions. With just a touch of Jules Verne Industrialism, this pair of Victorian English silver-plated knife rests will add a bit of crisp punctuation to your dining table. Stepped bases support a "spooled" shaft—with each piece...

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Resting-in-Style - part I

We've just added an interesting collection of Victorian English knife rests to our on-line shop. Before the 1950's, doing the laundry was a tedious, difficult and time-consuming task—and people developed strategies to extend a linen's usefulness between launderings. One such tactic was the use of a knife rest to keep a dirty knife off the tablecloth. Today they can be used for knives, chopsticks or to display-in-style any number of precious possessions. For a few days this week, we'll share some of these new additions. In the late Nineteenth Century, the Western World was enchanted with Asian culture—or, at least, their romanticized conception of it. Asian-inspired themes and motifs would be incorporated into both precious and everyday objects, like the...

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Eleventh Hour, Day & Month

Several years ago, I found myself on a November buying trip to London. I was in the Safeway supermarket in Bloomsbury, of all places, probably hunting for exotic and delicious biscuits to take back to my nearby hotel room.  Unexpectedly, the voice of the shop's assistant manager came over the loudspeaker: "We will now observe a two-minute silence."  I was not familiar with the custom, but stood patiently, imitating the (mostly) homemakers standing at their carts, their heads bent in remembrance.  It was the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month—celebrated in England as "Remembrance Day." Before it was renamed Remembrance Day, it was known as Armistice Day. On 11 November 1918, at 11:00 am, a signed...

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Shopping in Style

(Medium) At the Turn-of-the-Century, Country Stores were filled with canisters such as these. Heavy use and careless customers have ensured that not many of them still exist, some 120 years later. But we have two of them, one which I call "Medium" (above) and one which I call "Large" (below). They may have sat on shelves behind the counter—holding loose tea, spices or some other commodity—or they may have sat on the counter itself, holding candy for eager little hands. Today, they look right at home in a country-style kitchen or in a sophisticated urban loft. They could also be used for supplies in the bathroom or cookies and candy on an office desk. Please click on the photo above...

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Pop the Cork - part VI

Just listed to our on-line store: a collection of handsome French and English Corkscrews. Over several days, we'll share some of them with you. Any of them would make a wonderful Holiday gift or stocking-stuffer. To end our procession of corkscrews, here's something from Mid-Century Post War England. The very tip of a white stag antler is fashioned into the textured handle of the wine pull. An ombré brown adds another visual dimension. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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...

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Pop the Cork - part V

Just listed to our on-line store: a collection of handsome French and English Corkscrews. Over several days, we'll share some of them with you. Any of them would make a wonderful Holiday gift or stocking-stuffer. Another rustic choice, here a French steel corkscrew with a dark stag's horn handle. Made in the 1930's, it has a masculine, natural aesthetic. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. Another handsome corkscrew tomorrow.   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...

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Pop the Cork - part IV

Just listed to our on-line store: a collection of handsome French and English Corkscrews. Over several days, we'll share some of them with you. Any of them would make a wonderful Holiday gift or stocking-stuffer. Here's something a little different.  It's a French "Shepherd's" corkscrew made of brass and steel. Meant to fit in a pocket, this little necessity (for a shepherd, I guess) has a decidedly rustic industrial sensibility. Click on the photo above to learn more about it. Another handsome corkscrew tomorrow.   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...

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Pop the Cork - part III

Just listed to our on-line store: a collection of handsome French and English Corkscrews. Over several days, we'll share some of them with you. Any of them would make a wonderful Holiday gift or stocking-stuffer. Here's a nice example of "rustic elegance": a French steel corkscrew with a nicely-turned blond wood handle. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.  Another handsome corkscrew tomorrow.   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...

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Pop the Cork - part II

Just listed to our on-line store: a collection of handsome French and English Corkscrews. Over several days, we'll share some of them with you. Any of them would make a wonderful Holiday gift or stocking-stuffer. This English Mid-Century Modernist corkscrew is topped with a hefty chunk of chamfered and polished bakelite—its substantial handle. Swirls of rich amber and rust give the bakelite a sophisticated and organic appearance and you can learn more about it by clicking on the photo above. Another handsome corkscrew tomorrow.   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...

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Pop the Cork - part I

Just listed to our on-line store: a collection of handsome French and English Corkscrews. Over several days, we'll share some of them with you. Any of them would make a wonderful Holiday gift or stocking-stuffer. This corkscrew, made in the 1940's in France, uses a white "stag's horn tip" as its handle.  It is at once handsome and rustic—and would make a nice addition to your country cabin or Manhattan bar cart. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. Another handsome corkscrew tomorrow.   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...

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Greek Key

In my opinion, the "Greek Key" is the handsomest of decorative motifs. It is sometimes called a "Meander" (from "Maiandros") or a "Greek Fret," and it's formed by a continuous line formed into a repeating "wave" of right angles. Its unending line has come to symbolize eternity or infinity—as well as everlasting love, friendship and devotion. It was commonly used in Greek and Roman art (starting in the Greek "Geometric Period" around 900-700 BC), including architectural friezes (especially in temples), painted ceramics, stone sidewalks and tile or mosaic work in private villa interiors. It can also be found in Chinese design much earlier, during the Shang Dynasty (2000-1000 BC). The Maiandros or Meander River was in the Ancient Greek city...

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Pearls

At one time pearls, which represent purity, innocence and humility, were the most precious of jewels.  Egyptian aristocrats were buried with their pearls.  The Greeks thought pearls were the tears of the gods. The Bible tells of the wise merchant who would sell all his stock to buy one perfect pearl and “pearls before swine” is the classic metaphor for wasting something wonderful on someone who cannot understand or appreciate it.  Even the gates of heaven are described as being pearls—”The Pearly Gates.”  The famous American gemologist, George Frederick Kunz called the pearl “a gift of nature on which man cannot improve.” The Cartier Building, at 651 Fifth Avenue, has an interesting history involving a beautiful double-strand of natural pearls....

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Welcome, November!

Welcome, November, and your birthstone the Citrine. The Citrine is a pale yellow variety of quartz. Its sunny color is thanks to the iron content within the chemical structure of the gemstone. And Citrine's sunniness was not lost on Greeks—who first used the stone around 300 BC—who believed that the gemstone could help alleviate depression. At the time, Citrine was very rare, thus expensive, opulent and luxurious. As larger deposits were later discovered and mined (notably in Brazil), the gemstone became more common and fell within reach of more and more admirers.  New Age practitioners believe that Citrines will clean the blood and detoxify the body. Besides counteracting depression, Citrines are believed to have a healthful effect on the kidneys...

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Boo!

Wishing you a spooky eve—and lots of chocolate in your candy basket.  Happy Halloween!   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 appointment only).  917-446-4248

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Rustic Manhattan - part III

Let's end our tour of "Rustic Manhattan" with this streamlined beauty—perfect for a Saturday night out in jeans. Two side pockets sandwich a central slot, giving you plenty of room for a license, credit card or two and, maybe, a couple of Twenties. You'll have everything you need for a fun night out and, yet, it's not so bulky in your front pocket. It is hand-stitched (and edge waxed) of vegetable-dyed leather from Chicago, although it was crafted in NYC. The orange-ish color will darken—turn browner—and develop a soft lustre with use and handling. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!...

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Rustic Manhattan - part II

Here's a versatile and interesting piece: a small leather portfolio (perfect for notes, receipts or travel documents) which will also accommodate a mini iPad. It is hand-stitched in NYC of vegetable-dyed leather and the seams are finished with hand-waxing. A brass stud closure keeps everything secure. Click on the photo to learn more about it.   This piece, just a little larger, is a sleeve for a full-sized iPad. Like the case above, it is made of hand-stitched and waxed vegetable-dyed leather, crafted in NYC. Please click on the picture to learn more about it. More "Rustic Manhattan" tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store...

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Rustic Manhattan - part I

New York never ceases to amaze me. Some time ago, a professional thirty-something came into the shop. He seemed to be at a career turning-point and asked if I'd look at his new line of leather goods—which he was handcrafting in his Upper West Side apartment. He explained that the leather was all vegetable-dyed in Chicago and that the pieces would develop a rich lustre with use and handling.  He showed me the neatness of his hand-stitching, and how he waxed the raw edges (by hand) to give a finished appearance to the seams. His designs had an urban take on rustic practicality. Of course, I placed an order!  Over the next couple of days, I'll share a few of...

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If You Must - part IV

While I have never smoked—and would never encourage smoking—I must admit that I have befriended many a smoker. And I really like the accoutrements of lighting-up. So, if you must, please do it in style (until you quit, that is).  For a few days, I will share some of our Spanish smoking accessories—all now on-line at LEO Design. We end our parade of smoking accoutrements with this large Spanish humidor, made to accommodate between 50 and 70 cigars. It is wrapped in black calfskin and lined with Spanish Cedar. It also includes a Credo Humidity Regulator and and Electronic Thermo Hygrometer. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design...

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If You Must - part III

While I have never smoked—and would never encourage smoking—I must admit that I have befriended many a smoker. And I really like the accoutrements of lighting-up. So, if you must, please do it in style (until you quit, that is).  For a few days, I will share some of our Spanish smoking accessories—all now on-line at LEO Design. For those who really want to take-along that coveted stogie, maybe this handsome Spanish cigar case will prove practical and stylish. Made of hand-stitched black calfskin, it telescopes to hold a cigar of varying lengths (and is the right diameter for a Corona). Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design...

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If You Must - part II

While I have never smoked—and would never encourage smoking—I must admit that I have befriended many a smoker. And I really like the accoutrements of lighting-up. So, if you must, please do it in style (until you quit, that is).  For a few days, I will share some of our Spanish smoking accessories—all now on-line at LEO Design. This handsome telescoping leather "case" is intended to dress-up a pack of cigarettes with élan. Made in Spain, of textured black calfskin, it can also be used as a unique business card case or wallet of sorts—holding credit cards, licenses and a collection of business cards kept safe for reference. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store...

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If You Must - part I

While I have never smoked—and would never encourage smoking—I must admit that I have befriended many a smoker. And I really like the accoutrements of lighting-up. So, if you must, please do it in style (until you quit, that is).  For a few days, I will share some of our Spanish smoking accessories—all now on-line at LEO Design. Shown here is a Spanish calfskin cigar humidor, lined in Spanish Cedar.  It will hold 12 to 18 cigars (depending on their sizes) and is fitted with handsome chrome hinges. It also includes a Credo Humidity Regulator. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!...

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A Little More Cheer

Here's a nice gift for your favorite gentleman sportsman or the groomsmen in your Autumn wedding party: a six ounce hip flask by CC Filson.  Made in the US, the stainless steel flask is wrapped in stitched bridal leather and is fitted with an attached screw-down cap. And the vessel has a gentle curve to it, making it a nice fit in a breast or hip pocket. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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....

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Cheers, Mate!

Autumn is nigh, and there's a foreboding snap in the air. Why let the chill keep you from your favorite outdoor sport (or sporting event)? Take along a little warming nip—in this stylish Art Deco inspired stainless steel hip flask.  It has a gentle curved surface, ideal for a ride in your hip or breast pocket. It holds six ounces which remain well contained beneath the effective screw-down cap. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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...

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Key to Style - II

Here's another Japanese key wallet, this time wrapped in a bold red and navy blue repp stripe. It's lined in leather and fitted with brass rings and a closure snap. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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 appointment only).  917-446-4248

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Key to Style - I

  Key wallets, such as the example shown above, are popular in Japan, where this one was made. They've wrapped it in a Royal Blue repp stripe, lined it in leather, and added brass key rings and a closure snap. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.   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 appointment only).  917-446-4248

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Shaving in Style - part VI

Another classic (and long carried) vendor at LEO Design is D.R. Harris from London. Founded in 1790—when barbering and medicine were nearly one and the same—D.R. Harris has been serving stylish Londoners for over two centuries. For the next few days we will show a sampling of our D.R. Harris range. Let's end this little parade of shaving accoutrements with this clever "Travel Shave Brush" by D.R. Harris.  Made of "Best Badger" hair set into an Ivorine handle, it also comes with a heavy plastic tube for travel. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where...

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Shaving in Style - part V

Another classic (and long carried) vendor at LEO Design is D.R. Harris from London. Founded in 1790—when barbering and medicine were nearly one and the same—D.R. Harris has been serving stylish Londoners for over two centuries. For the next few days we will show a sampling of our D.R. Harris range. As previously noted, a good badger shave brush should last a man most of his shaving lifetime—as long as the instrument is stored bristles down (for proper drainage). This modest Ivorine shave brush holder will store and protect your shaving brush.  It will stand on a flat surface or can be attached to the wall with foam tape. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it....

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Shaving in Style - part IV

Another classic (and long carried) vendor at LEO Design is D.R. Harris from London. Founded in 1790—when barbering and medicine were nearly one and the same—D.R. Harris has been serving stylish Londoners for over two centuries. For the next few days we will show a sampling of our D.R. Harris range. A good badger shave brush should last a man most of his shaving lifetime. But it's essential that the brush be properly stored—which means bristles down. When stored this way, any liquid within the handle will drain out, thus protecting the hand-knotted badger hairs from rotting. Shown above, a handsome solution to this storage requirement. Made of chrome and Ivorine, it will keep your sink area tidy and your...

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Shaving in Style - part III

Another classic (and long carried) vendor at LEO Design is D.R. Harris from London. Founded in 1790—when barbering and medicine were nearly one and the same—D.R. Harris has been serving stylish Londoners for over two centuries. For the next few days we will show a sampling of our D.R. Harris range. Like yesterday's journal entry, today we feature a chrome and Ivorine shaver—this time for Gillette "Mach 3" blades. Please click on the photo above to learn more about it. More D.R. Harris products tomorrow.   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...

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Shaving in Style - part II

Another classic (and long carried) vendor at LEO Design is D.R. Harris from London. Founded in 1790—when barbering and medicine were nearly one and the same—D.R. Harris has been serving stylish Londoners for over two centuries. For the next few days we will show a sampling of our D.R. Harris range. Bring a bit of the Old Time Barbershop to your bath with this chrome and Ivorine shaver, designed for Gillette "Sensor" blades. It can be used alone or with the handsome matching Shave Stand, sold separately in the LEO Design on-line store. Click on the photo to learn more about it. More D.R. Harris products tomorrow.   Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still...

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Shaving in Style - part I

Another classic (and long carried) vendor at LEO Design is D.R. Harris from London. Founded in 1790—when barbering and medicine were nearly one and the same—D.R. Harris has been serving stylish Londoners for over two centuries. For the next few days we will show a sampling of our D.R. Harris range. This English shave brush is made of select badger hairs which are hand-knotted and set into an Ivorine plastic brush handle. The hairs fluff-up the shaving lather, whether in a shaving bowl, cup or in the hand. And, while applying the froth, one's beard is lifted for a closer, easier shave. D.R. Harris sources its non-endangered badger hair from sustainable farms and they monitor the animal welfare practices of...

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Saint John Cardinal Newman

This morning, 13 October in Rome, Pope Francis canonized Saint John Cardinal Newman—Oxford educator, Anglican priest, writer, philosopher, and towering intellectual.  As a clergyman in the Church of England, he developed and lead “The Oxford Movement” which encouraged the return of his church to the Latin rites and theology used by the Roman church.  In 1845, Newman converted to Roman Catholicism and, eventually, was elevated to cardinal. In 2010, he was beatified (at which point he was called “blessed”) which was the final step before canonization to full sainthood.  In 1888, the first Newman Club was established at Oxford, inspired by the writings of Cardinal Newman.  Today there are Newman Centers found around the world—Catholic student centers at otherwise secular universities.  Newman...

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English Leather - part IX

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. Even if all night raves are well in your past, a little flash of "The Clash" might give you a frisson of those glory days. Bill Amberg's black bridal leather wallet is secured with a silvery zip—exuding just the right balance of tailored elegance and countercultural remembrance. It definitely projects a sophisticated urban simplicity—all while providing good storage for your credit cards, coins and cash. Click on...

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English Leather - part VIII

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. If it's Saturday night and you're heading-out on the town, sometimes this modest credit card sleeve is the perfect companion for your jeans. It has three pockets and will accommodate a license, a credit card and maybe a Twenty or two. And its slim profile means it will fit into your front pocket or shirt pocket with ease. Click on the photo above to learn more...

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English Leather - part VII

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. Like the other Bill Amberg items shown this week, this Zippered Wallet is vegetable-dyed—but it is not bridal leather. It is stitched of "pebbled" leather. Pebbled leather is mechanically wrinkled (usually in a tumbler) or imprinted with a pattern (through rollers). It allows the tanner to utilize mature hides—perhaps with light scarring or marks—which are otherwise of high quality. The pebbling also creates a finished skin...

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English Leather - part VI

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. Like yesterday's Journal entry, this Bill Amberg wallet can be used as either a Dress Wallet or a Checkbook Wallet.  This option, shown here in black, holds only seven credit cards, however, making for a slightly slimmer profile (a consideration if you plan to insert a checkbook and a register booklet). The black vegetable-dyed bridal leather will develop an elegant lustre with use.  Click on the...

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English Leather - part V

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. A "Dress Wallet" hearkens back to the days of Double-Breasted Suits and Homburgs. Imagine Paul Henreid stepping-up to the reception desk of an elegant, tropical hotel lobby. Meant to ride in a suit breast pocket, it could also be carried in a handbag or attaché case. This model holds 14 credit cards and has multiple slots for currency bills—or it can hold a standard checkbook. (See...

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English Leather - part IV

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. "British Tan" is a wonderful, classic leather color.  But (with the best leather goods) the color "evolves" with use and wear—it is not fully-realized on Day One. Bill Amberg uses vegetable dyes which develop a rich patina when handled over time. The change is most dramatic in the British Tan color—which loses its orange tone and becomes tanner (browner) with age. The leather surface will also...

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English Leather - part III

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. Here's something you don't see much anymore: an elegant leather "Travel Wallet." It's longer than a traditional checkbook and was designed to hold documents and cards for one's journey.  There are slots for eight credit (or identification) cards, three pockets for different currencies, and a slot for conveniently accessing a ticket or boarding pass. Keep it in your briefcase, handbag or breast pocket—and set-off in organized...

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English Leather - part II

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. Looking for something a little less bulky than a traditional wallet?  This bi-fold credit card wallet is slim, and has four slots to hold a couple of credit cards and a driver's license.  You might also fold a couple of Twenties into one sleeve, just in case. The vegetable-dyed British Tan leather will darken handsomely with use, becoming browner, less orange. Click on the photo above...

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English Leather - part I

For several days we are sharing selections from our collection of Bill Amberg leather goods from London. We've been selling Bill's designs for over twenty years—and still admire the quality of his craftsmanship and materials. Most of the items are stitched in vegetable-dyed English bridal leather and will develop a rich patina with use. The zip wallet, shown above, is our most popular Bill Amberg offering. The zippered closure helps keep things neat, tidy and secure. And the interior coin pocket—a concession to British Pound coins—is a handy place to keep-safe a small, precious possession. This chocolate brown leather is especially nice with use—developing a rich lustre with years of use. Click on the photo above to learn more about...

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National Best Boyfriends Awards

According to the fine people at Wikipedia, today is National Best Boyfriends Awards Day. So how about a fun prize for your fun guy?  (A fun prize other than you, of course).  Perhaps a pair of enameled cufflinks proclaiming "Guinness is good for you."  Made in England the 1930’s, they’ll remind your special guy that he is a special guy, indeed. You might also remind him that the beer is made in Ireland!  Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.

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