I admit it, I’m a scaredy cat!

For the last few years, I thought I should open a shop in Seattle that would sell nothing but consumer goods made in America.  I would sell tools, boots, clothing, cookware, dog toys, you name it, all made by members of our extended American family.  But I didn’t do it for a variety of reasons I won’t bore you with.  Mostly I was afraid I wasn’t up to the task of running a store.  Luckily, there are a few people in Seattle with more nerve than me.  Three of them recently opened The General Store Seattle and they are bound and determined to succeed selling goods only produced in the U.S. and more particularly in the Pacific Northwest.

The General Store Seattle is owned by Claire Jones, her father Mark Jones, and Claire’s friend from college Morgan Dolan.  Mark Jones was a City Development Officer who focused on small business and inner-city neighborhood development.  They chose to open their store in the hipster neighborhood of West Seattle. If you want to buy what they have on offer, you can do it both in person and online.  You can get your paws on your online purchases by picking em up at the store in West Seattle or getting them in the mail.

Since Claire lives in Seattle year round, she is the day-to-day steward of the Store.  Claire has always been interested in buying local.  Once she moved to Seattle, she kept up that practice.  She soon realized that it was relatively easy and relatively inexpensive to buy primarily local items for everything in her life, it only took the effort and time to commit. Realizing that not everyone had the time or inclination to follow in her footsteps, she and her partners decided that they would make it simple for us.  Thus, The General Store Seattle was born.

The General Store Seattle Triumvirate want their store to be more than a store.  To quote Claire, “we want to become a go-to resource – a one-stop shop if you will – for all things local. Part of this plan is creating a sort of collective or club, something akin to the Seattle Good Business Network’s “Think Local” program (a three-year campaign started in 2011 that educated the public about the personal, economic and community benefits of thinking local first). Our program can envelop existing collectives such as Food Hubs and CSAs in the region as well as co-ops, local craft shows, etc. We could then develop and organize our own trade shows or conventions to highlight local producers, businesses, and companies.”  Sounds exciting to me.

Some of the goods on offer at Claire’s general store that grabbed my attention were the Out of the Woods in Oregon cutting board in the shape of the Evergreen State,

West Seattle Tea Towels,

and Vegan Herbal Bliss Bath Salt Blend.

God knows I never use bath salts that aren’t vegan!

The General Store Seattle has a nice supplier page that lists whose goods they are selling and links to the supplier’s website.

So if you live in Seattle, I urge you to stop by the store for a visit and purchase some great products made by members of our extended American family living in these parts.  And even if you don’t live in Seattle, you can buy products made by residents of Cascadia by shopping the General Store Seattle’s website.

Now get shopping!


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No heavy lifting required!

I love hunting for products made by members of our extended American family.  Clothing, shoes, appliances, furniture, you name it.  Over the last three years I have written hundreds of posts on this blog about products I have found.  But hunting for American products may not hold the same allure for you.  Sure, you want to support your American brothers and sisters by purchasing the products they make, but you have better things to do than scouring the internet for American products.  So I want to make it easy for you.  If you want to buy American furniture, but you don’t want to phone every furniture store in town, just go to Room&Board

Room&Board was founded in 1980 and more than 90% of what they sell is made by members of our extended American family. Room&Board works with over 50 American companies located in a slew of states.  Companies like Shell Lake Woodcrafters who have been building furniture in the north woods of Wisconsin since 1991.  This is the Shell Lake Woodcrafters Linear Cabinet with steel base sold by Room&Board.

I actually met Gat Caperton at the Grand Opening of the Room&Board store in Seattle. Gat and local craftsmen in the Shenandoah Valley in West Virginia hand build all sorts of beautiful furniture.  His firm makes some simply beautiful pieces, such as the Hale Bed, that you can buy at Room&Board.

A firm featured at Room&Board that I can personally recommend is Wood Castle, which hails from Albany, Oregon.  We bought two Wood Castle chest of drawers and a side table.

I think that Wood Castle’s Calvin Armoire, available on the Room&Board website, is a work of art.

So if you want to buy furniture made for Americans by Americans, just go to Room&Board.  And now is a great time to shop Room&Board since they have their 2014 Clearance going on!  You can order your American furniture online at Room&Board, set up a time to have it delivered, then use the time you saved to pay attention to other classic American concerns.

Can you say Super Bowl repeat?

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American pens for the New Year

Writing implements have changed greatly over the centuries.  The first “pens” were made from reed straw or bamboo.  The Ancient Egyptians were writing with ink on papyrus as long ago as the 4th century BC.  It is thought that the New Testament of the Bible was written with reed pens.

Reed pens were replaced by Quill pens in about the 7th Century and were the pen of choice for the next thousand years.  Starting with a Goose wing feather, a Quill pen was created by carving the barrel or shaft of the feather.  Only the sharpest knife, a “penknife”, could do a competent job of carving wing feathers. Our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence with Quill pens.  Their signatures on that document surely proves the validity of the quote attributed to Lord Byron:  “One drop of ink makes thousands, perhaps millions think.”

Most of us don’t have a ready supply of reeds or Goose wing feathers handy, so we rely on modern-day ball point pens or their equivalent to write our shopping lists, reminder notes and Holiday cards.  Finding pens made by members of our extended American family can be a bit tricky, but I recently came across two firms still making pens in America.


Garland Writing Instruments, formerly Lew Manufacturing Co., was founded in 1927 by Louis Lanoie. At first the company manufactured pen parts that were used by many of the major pen and pencil manufacturers throughout the United States and Europe. In the 60’s, Lew Manufacturing started making complete pens and pencils and changed its name to Garland Industries. Garland products are out of this world.  No really!  Garland pens were essential tools that have flown on both the Apollo moon missions and many of the Space Shuttle missions.

Garland Writing Instruments still designs and manufactures its pens at its 45,000 square foot historic mill located on the Pawtuxet River in Coventry RI. All of their USA-made products are designed and manufactured in their 45,000 square-ft facility. Garland manufactures six pen collections in the U.S.; Colour, Revere, Monogram, Tuscany, Signature and Founder’s.  All of the pens in these collections allow you to design your own unique look and message through Garland’s customization processes.  Garland pens can be recognized by their unique flared top design; the design is so unique that it is a registered trademark of Garland Writing Instruments!  I have to say my favorite Garland collections are Revere,


and Signature.



National Pen

Another firm making pens on our shores is National Pen.  In 1966, Tom Liguori and Paul Stabile founded National Pen as a producer of personalized writing instruments.  In 1976, the operation was moved to San Diego, CA.  In 1982, National Pen purchased its largest competitor, U.S. Pencil and Stationery Company, located in Shelbyville, TN. If you are looking for promotional pens made by members of our extended American family, National Pen can deliver.  They make promotional pens that celebrate last year’s Superbowl champs.

And this year’s soon to be Superbowl champs.

Oh sorry, that’s the same team.

National Pen’s best sellers are the Contour pen,

Contour Pen

the Colorama pen,

Colorama Pen

and the Superball pen.


No matter what National Pen or Garland pen you buy, you will be getting a twofer.  You will get a great pen and your order will ensure that members of our extended American family working at National Pen or Garland will keep taking home a paycheck.

Now get shopping!

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I might branch out and buy this stuff

I recently found out about a cool American company making toys and furniture for kids. The firm is Twig Creative, and the camera pictured above allows budding photographers to shoot pictures to their heart’s content, though the images will be captured in their mind rather than on film.  Twig’s cameras come in a wide range of styles.

Twig also makes some very nice children’s furniture.

I urge you to visit Twig’s website for lots of nice videos and blog posts.

Way to go Twig!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Plans for the New Year

I have been rather light on the posts of late, but expect regular posts now that the Holidays and vacations are behind us.  In 2015, I will be blogging on this blog at least once a week and guest blogging on other blogs as well.  I will put up links to my guest posts on this blog.

My big project for the first two quarters of this year is rolling out a website specifically designed for Americans who want to build a new house or remodel their old house using American made building materials, appliances, fixtures, furniture and furnishings.  A very bright student at the University of Western Washington in Bellingham, the same school the son and heir Benjamin attends, is creating the website as we speak.  I hope it will be a useful resource for homeowners, architects and builders building their American homes.  It will include links to all sorts of American firms whose great products are being made by members of our extended American family.   And it will have its own blog as well.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year and look forward to a productive year promoting American made products!

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Lost in Paradise

Sorry for the two-week radio silence, but I had the enviable task of spending ten days on the beach at Kaanapali, most of the time reclining at the Maui Sheraton pictured above.  While I mostly swam, snorkeled, ate and slept, I did have an opportunity to discover two brands that make their products in the Aloha State.

Lahaina Town Surf Company

One day on Maui I wandered down to a craft show and that is where I met Alfy Basurto of Lahaina Town Surf Company.  I had been perusing their very cool t-shirts and noticed they were U.S. made American Apparel shirts to which Lahaina Town applied their unique designs.  Alfy was incredibly gracious and Ben and I soon had purchased two of his stylish t-shirts.


I urge you to visit Alfy’s website and snap up some great surf wear!


On Monday, we wandered around Whaler’s Village purchasing gifts for friends who couldn’t go on the trip.  Ben wanted to purchase a classic Hawaiian shirt, and we found them at Kahala.  Kahala has been making shirts in Hawaii since 1939.  I will be doing a longer post on Kahala and their sister firm Tori Richard in the near future.  Kahala‘s shirts are really classics.  How about the Ocean Man Avi?

Or the new Kohola shirt?

I went old school, purchasing a Duke’s Pareo.

I can’t wait to provide you with stories regarding the history of Kahala and Tori Richard in the near future.  So look forward to learning about the Hawaiian members of our extended American family making Kahala and Tori Richard’s great shirts in the 50th state in the union.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years!




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Lots of lists and other things

It’s getting down to the wire in terms of Christmas shopping, so I wanted to alert you to some of the “Made in America” shopping lists I have happened upon over the last few weeks.

ABC News

Consumer Reports

Made in USA Forever

Made in USA Challenge

Room & Board

Indy Plush American Made Stuffed Animals

Most stuffed animals are made either in the Middle Kingdom or in some other dingy foreign locale.  Not so the stuffed animals made by Indy Plush.  Indy Plush is the creation of the Franceil Masi, who makes her whimsical animals in the city of my birth, Los Angeles.  I can’t really say which is my favorite Indy Plush stuffed animal since I love them all, but my top three are the Indy Plush Elephant,

the Indy Plush Javan Rhino,

and the Indy Plush Spiny.

The Best Dog Ever

I did a post on our dog Buddy almost three years ago.  Buddy was a simply amazingly loving, gentle and sweet Lab.  I am very sad to report that we had to put Buddy down last night because he had gotten to the point where he could barely walk and had trouble standing up on his own.  For those of you who have owned dogs and that is probably most of us, saying goodbye to your loyal friend is amazingly sad.  I miss Buddy very much this morning and will continue to grieve for him over the coming days.  Any prayers you could send our and Buddy’s way would be greatly appreciated.


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