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Friday Favorite: Handmade

March 30th, 2012

Over the years I have discovered the joy in honoring those whose work I will never match – and learning to love that I don’t have to. When I find them, I buy mosaics made my artists with a better eye for design and color than I have. I serve potatoes in an exquisite purple bowl thrown by a potter from my hometown in Iowa. I keep flowers on the kitchen table in an indestructible water jug made by a main I met is Asheville, NC, fired in a kiln powered by methane gas from a landfill. I brew tea in a mustard yellow pot that I picked up dring one of my best days I spent in Japan. I’m drawn to all of these things for their beauty and utility of course, but it’s also the people who made them – and the stories behind them – that make the difference to me.

Robyn Griggs Lawrence (The Wabi-Sabi House: The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty)

Whenever possible, I like to purchase items made by hand by someone here in the USA. Being a small business owner myself, I see this as important. I know the care and detail that goes into each item, though we don’t make something tangible, we still put our heart and soul into our product. Handmade items just have something about them, a soul of sorts. Just this week I bought this beautiful hand coffee mill made by the Red Rooster Trading Company.

Mr Chiots and I are coffee lovers and freshly ground coffee is so much better. When we travel we have always ground coffee beforehand to take with us. Now we can take this beauty along for the ride. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this mill, for only $60 it’s a bargain since it’s handmade. When we ground a small batch of coffee we were pleasantly surprised, it can grind the coffee finer and more evenly than our pricey burr grinder. We’re espresso drinkers, so the fineness and evenness of the grind is very important to brew the perfect shot of espresso.

It’s so nice that it may even trump our other mill. Happily I add this to my list of growing items in the house that are made with love by someone with a name, including my salt & pepper mills from Tea & Gold, and a few lovely wooden kitchen utensils that rest in my lovely handmade crock from the local Moorefield Pottery.

Any great handmade items in your house? Any great small businesses to recommend?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.