Custom-made pendants for the bathroom

Vermont Art Sinks has added pendant lights to complement its custom bathroom sink line. The company introduced the lights at the autumn furniture market in High Point. The pendants are available by custom order. Each is made of 33% recycled stoneware clay. Vermont Art Sinks also makes bathroom sinks, lotion pumps, soap dishes and wall tiles in the USA with recycled content.

Colonial-style furnishings with modern touches

The new Reede’s Landing collection of traditional 18th century Colonial-style furniture from Aspen Home includes special “ahhh-factors.” The self-closing drawers on the bedroom Chest and Dresser help keep things tidy during a mad morning dash.

In the family room, keeping the video game accessories in order is a snap with the Gamer Cocktail Table. It has storage areas for video game accessories like guitars, controllers and extra games. The Reede’s Landing entertainment consoles are tall and skinny, only 22” deep, and will hold a flat screen TV, video components and gaming gear while saving on precious floor space. Add the Chair Side Recycler Table with storage area and a magazine/newspaper-recycling bin along with a Console Table that opens up to be a writing desk perfect for laptops and other office accessories.

The new Desk Chest not only has convenient clothing storage drawers but it’s also TV adaptable and has “ahhh-some” pull-out desk compartments for working. More handy storage can be found in the two roomy full-extension footboard drawers in the collection’s Sleigh and Panel Beds.

The new Reede’s Landing Home Office workstations have the “ahhh-factors” designed for working with today’s high-tech gadgets. The work surfaces are ergonomically correct 26” high for comfortably working with laptops, keyboards and the latest iPads. They have raised back and side panels to visually manage your desktop and completely hide all of those ugly charging “bricks.” Plus, it has a StoreCharge area for storing and charging up to six electronic devices, three utility storage drawers for organizing office accessories along with locking file drawers and an all-in-one printer drawer.

Aspenhome is distributed by Furniture Values International and headquartered in Phoenix.

Sunday special: upholstery fabric color trends

Press release

As the first buds appear on the trees and gray skies give way to blue in 2011, Spring fever will flourish in colors and fabrics that suggest escape and relaxation. Look for new combinations of color, pattern and texture that are both inherently comfortable and refreshingly fashion forward.

“All of our color themes evoke places and spaces where we can get away,” says Reyna Moore, director of marketing for Norwalk Furniture. “Even if we don’t have time to take an actual vacation, we can recreate that wonderful feeling of retreat in our homes.”

Fresh colors and interesting textures are especially important, as fabrics rely less on decoration and more on intrinsic appeal.

“There’s a focus on textiles with a handspun, artisanal, slubby and nubby feel,” Moore says. “They complement the trend toward ‘up-cycled’ furniture, found pieces that have been recreated in a lovely and special way.”

Colors range from an upscale take on bolds to sophisticated muted hues in pleasing combinations that reflect current trends as well as give us a peak at what’s ahead. Norwalk introduces 110 new fabrics in four color themes for spring:

• Coconut Grove: Undoubtedly tropical, but with a sophisticated twist that would make it appropriate in almost any environment, Coconut Grove is anchored by colorful prints and bold stripes. Palm frond greens abound, as do summery yellows, medium chocolates and splashes of coral red. Upscale and relaxed, Coconut Grove works wonderfully in a beachfront home, in a lakeside cottage or in the sunroom of a more traditional home
• Brittany Cottage: Conjuring memories of simpler times, Brittany Cottage has a casual, carefree ambience. Natural weaves and grayed-down base colors are paired with sky blues, charcoals and deep reds. Old script patterns, fine-line stripes, embroidery and fabrics reminiscent of French grain sack designs add appeal to this quiet palette inspired by stone cottages in Belgium and northern France.
• Highlands Manor: As comfortable and inviting as a glass of port in front of a cozy fire at the end of the day, Highlands Manor is inspired by the warm hues of the Scottish highlands. Look for a lively mix of traditional menswear and glen plaids, timeworn leathers and rich velvets, as well as stripes, feathers, paisleys and houndstooth. Rich layers of texture and color juxtapose elegant with casual to create a certain tattered luxury that suggests world travel and quiet retreat.
• City Lights: Imagine broad city vistas from a penthouse apartment. The blue-gray clouds, or “vapor,” as Candice Olson calls it. City Lights is a soft, see-through color palette sparked with luster that provides subtle light reflection. Dove gray is warmed by shades of cognac, topaz and green-cast gold. Rich velvets, soft wools and highly textured foundation cloths in nutty tones provide plenty of tactile appeal to this sophisticated collection.

“Our color themes allow you to design a home that is uniquely yours with fabrics that are easily coordinated on sofas, chairs, ottomans and pillows,” Moore says. “If you can dream it, you can create it.”

Norwalk Furniture offers something other companies don’t that the consumer and interior designers want: great design, customizable options, high quality, competitive pricing and quick delivery. Three upholstery programs offer 850 fabrics and leathers for a licensed collection by Candice Olson; Variations which consists of five basic styles and dozens of design options; and The Best of Norwalk, longtime best selling designs. The privately-held Norwalk, Ohio company manufactures upholstered seating in its 440,000 sq. ft. facility, delivered consistently in 35 days. For more information, visit

Saturday special: emails

Here are examples of four Thanksgiving- and holiday-themed emails from home furnishings retailers.
Williams Company Store

Crescent Moon

local home + gifts

Serveware for the outdoors

Green garden metal serveware from tag ltd. is galvanized metal with a powder-coated finish. The wooden handles have a distressed finish. The collection consists of an oval travel, and oval tub and an ice bucket with an aluminum scoop.

Floral arrangements, holiday wreaths

New Growth Designs introduced orchid plants with lifelike movement and texture at the October furniture market in High Point. The flowers are planted in NGD’s signature natural, hand-built terra cotta pots with their trademark artificial Durt, which looks like real soil. A variety of container options continues to be available for potted plants and flowers.

Bouquet arrangements in custom, mouth-blown glass vases with clear, permanent acrylic “water” are offered in striking color palettes, as well as more neutral shades.

Holiday 2010 items include the Pine & Fir wreath, built on the company’s patented Wreath with a Vase frame, which can hold a live bouquet or plant, or be removed to display an artificial bouquet.

Desktop personal heater

Vornado has added three new colors to its VH101 Personal Vortex Heater, a desktop product. In addition to the original black, the colors are an airy grayish-white called “Birch,” a complex red called “Cinnamon” and a medium-purple hue named “Fig”  (see photos, below).

The VH101 is designed to circulate heat specifically around one's personal space – making it suitable for desktop, tabletop or under desk heating applications. The heater has two heat settings-375 and 750 Watts. The cool-touch case that doesn’t get hot even after extended operation; a tip-over switch immediately cuts the heat and fan if the heater tips.

The VH101 is backed by a three-year limited warranty. 


Fresh, pretty home decor

This diamond cotton rug is new from tag ltd. The rug, measuring 24 inches by 36 inches, is available in teal, black, gray and blue. It can be machine-washed on the gentle cycle and line dried.

The Easter egg glass vases are 3 inches tall. Note the fused-glass details. Other new glassware from the company includes tulip-green votives, cheese domes and vintage glass jar drink dispenser.

Home decor for 2011 Easter

The Chick and Bunny candle assortment from tag ltd. is  hand-painted. They come packed as an assortment of 12 (six each of two designs). The burn time is two hours.

The new Chick ceramic collection includes dip bowls, spreaders and salt and pepper shakers. The earthenware is hand-painted with embossed details.

Outdoor furniture in teak, manmade materials

Gloster Furniture Inc. calls itself the world’s largest producer of quality teak outdoor furniture. It offers more than 300 product lines in sling, teak and all-weather woven materials. Here are three lines introduced at the High Point furniture market in October 2010.

Azore is designed by Povl Eskildsen of Denmark. The furniture’s stylishly angled, oval frame is powder-coated in a gloss Tungsten finish.

Bloc, by designer Mark Gabbertas of London, uses a basic 35.5” dimension for all pieces. The upholstered cushions are available in Mercury or Ivory. Two coffee tables at seat or frame height with durable HPL tops complete the collection.

Gabbertas is also the designer of the  Cloud collection.  This fully outdoor upholstery system requires minimum maintenance.

Plush animals made from textile scraps

The Stuffed Animals collection from Kevin O'Brien Studio includes Bunny, Duck, Elephant, Owl, Squirrel and Turtle. Because they are handmade, sizes vary slightly. Generally, the Bunny is 10 inches x 5 inches and the Elephant is 12 inches x 6 inches.
The company says "Our one-of-a-kind furry friends are the result of a magical collaboration between textile designer Kevin O'Brien, and a plush animal designer in New Jersey. Fabric scraps, many hand-painted and hand-printed and left over from other production, are cut and pieced into stuffed animals. Each of these unique creatures comes to life through the use of recycled materials, including woven jacquard patterns, printed cotton velvets, silk velvets, printed linens, and antique buttons."
The animals are not recommended for children under 3; the company offers a baby-safe option with no buttons.

Contemporary mirrors in round, square shapes


At the October High Point furniture market, Kichler Lamps and Accessories introduced 15 decorative mirrors that add an inspiring focal point to any room in the home. Whether hung in the hallway, bathroom or bedroom, the line takes inspiration from popular color palettes, beach-inspired natural materials and even childhood favorites, resulting in attractive, eye-catching designs, the company states.









Low-voltage glass pendant

WAC Lighting's YU Quick Connect glass pendant is made of hand-blown glass. When illuminated, YU delivers a warm glow of white with a yellow/green tint that reveals a subtle optic twist. After minutes of charging the pendant with the light on, the glass takes on a whole new appearance in the dark. The glass transforms into a glowing rich Blue Green color, with the light off for up to four hours.

The pendant is 5.75 inches tall and 4.5 inches wide. It operates on a 12-volt lighting system with a 50-watt Xenon bi-pin lamp.

How e-tailers hurt local stores

This column by Chicago Tribune writer Eric Zorn, "Internet sales-tax dodge darkens the future of bricks-and-mortar businesses," looks at the damage caused to local brick-and-mortar retailers when shoppers take their purchases online to avoid paying sales tax.

A reader named "Blahedo" left this comment: "We're effectively charging the local retailers a penalty for contributing directly to the local economy, and rewarding Amazon and other Internet retailers for having no local presence," Blahedo wrote. "Aside from being unfair, it's unwise; as any economist will tell you, people (and companies) respond to incentives, and here the incentive rewards closing up (physical) shop and stopping paying rent or property tax and stopping being around to donate to local charities and events and stopping contributing to a vibrant local economy."

Click the link above to read the entire column.

Furniture in classic Swedish style

Concave Gustavian Console
Modern History introduced dozens of furnishings for the living room, dining room, bedroom and home office at the October 2010 High Point Furniture Market. The company added to its selection of weathered and driftwood inspired furnishings. An ornately carved Tuscan-style bed debuts in this popular finish, which was first introduced a year ago. The driftwood look is achieved by bleaching and sandblasting each piece before applying a wash that highlights the heavily textured finish.
Following on the introduction last market of its Drapers table, the company came out with a smaller version of the console (below). The table, which is modeled after a French farmhouse antique, is crafted from weathered solids. A new breakfront, inspired by an Italian antique, and a curvy drawerless commode copied from a 19th century Italian piece, have similar finishes and appeal.

Drapers table

Chest of drawers

Gustavian Pedestal

Trumeau mirror

Greeting Card Industry “Oscars” Undergo Makeover

Press release

New York, NY (October 2010) – The Greeting Card Association is pleased to announce the planned changes to the LOUIE AWARDS program undertaken as part of a Strategic Initiative within the association to modernize the awards program and accurately reflect the role ofgreeting cards in today’s society.

Earlier this year a committee of industry veterans began meeting to review the purpose of the Awards and shape a new vision for the future. Led by Strategic Chair Andy Meehan and supported by Patti Stracher, Chip Owen and John Mavrakis, prominent members of the greeting card industry, the group carefully reviewed the past LOUIE program. Knowing that the Awards celebrate a category of consumer products that that carries with it over 100 years of history, and that cards are used by almost every American household, (around 7 billion cards per year) the Committee evaluated the original purpose of the LOUIE Awards, the changing landscape of communication and the incredible artistry and creativity that is involved in the production of greeting cards, to arrive at a new vision and mission statement for the LOUIE Awards: "The LOUIES celebrate the art, editorial and design of greeting cards and reinforce the relevance of creating, sending and receiving greeting cards."

Key changes in the LOUIE Awards Program for the coming years include the greater involvement of retailer judges, a streamlining of the awards categories, consumer outreach and greater PR attention (both trade and consumer press), all culminating at the National Stationery Show in New York City (May 15-18 2011) with a new prominent display of LOUIE nominee’s at the show, and at the prestigious LOUIE Awards ceremony on May 16th where the winners are celebrated and recognized.

Subsequent to the presentation of the LOUIE Awards, it is anticipated that LOUIE Award winners will receive additional publicity, as well as increased sales from our outreach to Greeting Card fans via press and social media tools.

Based on the refined vision for the Awards the committee has selected the theme for the 2011 Awards as CONNECTION – it’s in the Cards. This theme highlights the history of greeting card use, and also corresponds to today’s ‘connected’ society where, despite the prominence of the digital age, the category is vibrant and strong. With all the new electronic means of connecting, people still send cards when they want to “friend someone for real” because paper greeting cards stand out in the mailbox and in the mind, becoming treasured memories of important events and relationships in our lives.

The submission process for the 2011 LOUIE Awards will begin with a “call for Entries” on November 1, 2010, where any commercially manufactured card in the current calendar year can be entered for consideration in approximately 50 different categories. Further details and entry forms will be posted on 11/1/10 at

Judging will take place in New York at a time to be decided, between Jan 29- Feb 4 and corresponding to the timing of the New York Int’l Gift Fair, where key industry executives (retailers and creative and marketing professionals) rank each card independently on a 10 point system across the LOUIE Judging criteria of Imagination, Impact, Artistry, Harmony, Sendability and Value. After the scores are tabulated, the three nominees for each category are made public, with the actual scores and the winning entry for each category announced at the presentation ceremony at the National Stationery Show May 16, 2011.

For over 20 years the LOUIES have celebrated creativity in greeting cards, and the new vision for the LOUIE’s builds on the history with a renewed passion to remind us all that CONNECTION – It’s In The Cards!

About the Greeting Card Association
The Greeting Card Association (GCA) is the industry trade organization representing publishers of greeting cards and other stationery products, as well as suppliers to the industry. Founded in 1941, GCA serves as the industry’s collective voice in promoting the tradition and value of exchanging greetings cards. GCA also represents the industry before key governmental and regulatory bodies, and monitors trends and developments of interest. GCA-member publishers account for approximately 95 percent of the greeting cards sold in the U.S.

About Andy Meehan, LOUIE Awards “Strategic Chair”
A past judge at several LOUIE Awards programs and a 25+ year veteran of the greeting card industry Andy’s company sells cards and stationery under the Christian Inspirations and Studio Q Creations brands.

About Patti Stracher
For 20 years Patti has managed the National Stationery Show the central business event and exposition for the greeting card and social stationery industry.

About Chip Owen
As Executive VP Chip has been with Avanti Press for over 18 years and they have
been a consistent leader and innovator of upbeat and offbeat greeting cards.

About John Mavrakis
John has been involved in retail, selling and manufacturing within greeting card
industry for over 20 years, serving the past 4 ½ years as President/COO of Kathy Davis Studios. John has also served as a past judge and Chair for the LOUIE awards.

Trade Association Announces Health Insurance for Members

Press release


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The Gift and Home Trade Association (GHTA), the industry's leading non-profit trade association, has partnered with Association Health Programs (AHP) to offer its members a wide range of savings on health insurance, long-term care, disability income, critical illness, dental, vision and life insurance. This new membership benefit is a result of an exhaustive search to find the best company to provide health insurance to the GHTA membership.

"Over the past few years, during various trade shows and industry events, our members have continually expressed their concern regarding health benefits," says Beth Lang, president of the GHTA. "Health insurance has been, and continues to be, a tension issue for all industry members --- regardless of company type or size or income. We hope that this partnership will ease that tension by providing substantial savings to our members."

Through AHP, a niche player in association and employee health programs, GHTA members provide their current company or individual health insurance plan along with their health history for review. AHP then advises the company as to whether or not they're adequately insured and works to get the company the best possible insurance with an "A" rated carrier.

"Finally, the independent rep, small vendor, and small retailer who are GHTA members have the same health insurance buying power as a big company, thanks to our partnership with AHP," says Denny King, an ex-officio board member who has worked on acquiring health insurance for GHTA for the last two years. "With our partnership with AHP, we now offer health insurance to our members but maybe even more important, we offer them a Health Care Advocate."

For more information about this new partnership or to receive a health insurance quote for GHTA members, please visit or call AHP direct at 888.450.3040.

For more information about the GHTA, please visit or email

About the GIFT AND HOME Trade Association

GHTA is the gift and home industry's non-profit professional trade association formed to help vendors, sales agencies and industry affiliates work together to improve relationships. GHTA's mission is to lead and transform the gift and home industry to ensure its long-term health and viability. GHTA has four major initiatives: to educate sales professionals; to understand and educate the industry on opportunities for technological efficiencies; to support and cultivate the industry's independent retailers; and to understand and educate the industry on showroom/trade show costs, statistics, schedules, opportunities and preferences. GHTA can be reached by email at For more information on the GIFT AND HOME Trade Association visit

Moderately priced furniture from Habersham

High-end furniture maker Habersham launched a moderately priced line called American Treasures at the October 2010 High Point Furniture Market. The new collection features case goods and occasional designs at moderate price points. The initial American Treasures launch includes 20 pieces ranging from curios, bookcases, armoires and occasional tables to sideboards, chests, media cabinets, dining and bedroom designs. Made in America, the new pieces take their inspiration from classic styles that have been updated and simplified.

Transitional style furniture for bedroom, home office

Universal Furniture carries several furniture groupings in the Better Homes and Gardens American Routes collection. Shown here is Hilltop Terrace. It was introduced at the autumn furniture market in High Point, N.C., in October. The company describes the collection as "characterized by clean, architectural lines, warm wood tones, sophisticated inlay and a neutral color palette."