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November 10, 2012 |

Archive for » November 10th, 2012«

Pick a pretty pillow at this website

Zara Home’s e-commerce site is up and running for U.S. shoppers.

The site is full of pretty pillows, bedding, dinnerware and small furnishings to make your home a haven.

This colorful Kids Margarita Pillow — it’s in the kids department, but it works for an adult — is crochet magic. It really takes you back.

A paisley pillow is the same size, has a cool design and is made from linen.

Detroit Free Press

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BLOG-A Place for Potatoes

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My husband and I got married in our late thirties. Marrying late meant we had two reasonably well fit households to merge. We kept his television and my stereo, his cooking pots and my skillets. Jeremy also brought legacy pieces from his mother: the electric and hand mixers, a slotted chef’s spatula, and vintage tupperware. Her cake saver has been put into service many times, but a beautiful set of nested harvest yellow canisters had yet to find their purpose until recently.

These canisters inspire confidence. From the servalier line, the canisters are thick and sturdy, their lids are beautifully grooved, and they seal with authority. Two weeks ago, I was rummaging through cabinets searching through food storage options. When I surfaced with Grandma Rita’s tupperware, it almost was like meeting a lost love on a soul searching night…pure destiny.

Really, what I wanted was simple: to store potatoes. What made the canisters perfect was their lids’ resilient seal and the overall opaque design. What made them special was their retro look. I had three bags of beautiful potatoes to store, part of our summer farm share from Smaller Footprint Farm. Our family doesn’t eat potatoes in the summer so it’s important to keep them as fresh as possible for as long as possible. At Beth Bridgeman’s workshop on root cellars last winter, she offered an simple solution—a sealed food safe bucket. Storing potatoes requires a container that doesn’t let in light. Light will encourage the potatoes to develop eyes and sprout. Keeping stored food in the dark also keeps bugs at bay.

I have got a few leads on where to find a food safe bucket but, having yet to look in earnest, I haven’t yet tripped across one with a lid. How fun it was to find an alternative solution both suitable and a sentimental favorite within our own cabinets. The tupperware is so fun that I’m tempted to keep the sealed potatoes stored on the kitchen counter. Keeping them at room temperature should work out. Potatoes don’t need cold storage; too much cold in fact will cause them to sugar. Two weeks in, the stored potatoes look great—firm and smooth—but the real test will be their common state come February.

The three bags of potatoes fit snuggly in the tupperware save for one large specimen. This one I made plans for: Potato pancakes. I peeked through a few cookbooks for a recipe, but nothing inspired. Then, listening to WYSO on the car radio, I heard an interview with food blogger Deb Perelman in her new publication The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. In her tiny New York kitchen, Ms Perelman cooked a potato pancake for NPR corespondent Lynn Neary, and Ms Neary sounded smitten indeed. They talked about how to cook a super crispy pancake, and, tummy rumbling, I knew this recipe was the one I had to try.

Though Ms Perelman’s kitchen is small, her idea of a large potato is gigantic. My grapefruit sized potato was only half the recommended weight, so I halved the recipe. Ms Perelman’s ‘secret’ for crispiness is to squeeze moisture out of the shredded potato and onion. In trying her recipe I didn’t bother straining the vegetables with the cheese cloth. Setting the potato in a tight ball within a slightly oversized bowl for several minutes proved sufficient to separate the wet. When I combined the flour, egg, salt, and baking powder, I was treated to a bright yellow bloom just the color of the tupperware harvest yellow. After tossing the vegetables and the egg mixture together, I grabbed my 6 inch skillet—a favorite in my bachelor days—and attempted my first round. My mistake here was to press the pancake mix into the pan and wait for it to crisp. The mixture stuck to the skillet and, though I got it out with nominal resistance, it didn’t come out in one piece. Oh, well. That first one I split between the kids.

On my second and third attempt, I was much more successful. I placed a ball of the potato mix in the center of the pan and gave the pan a vigorous horizontal shake—front to back—as I slowly flatten the ball. With this, I kept the food moving while I formed the pancake…allowing it to crisp up without sticking to the pan. If you’ve watched a chef sauté, this technique is similar but without the toss. I don’t want the potato ball to jump, just to keep it moving on the surface so it doesn’t stick. For a good demonstration, watch Julia Child cooking an omelet. The six inch skillet is an excellent tool to practice this skill. It’s a good weight—not too heavy—and yet substantial enough to transfer momentum to the food.

With practice, I might be able to flip the pancake in the air, but my goal was to get the latke out in one piece so maybe next time. In the NPR story, Deb Perelman placed a fried egg on top of her pancake. For my plate, I add an omelet, fresh lettuce greens from Flying Mouse Farms, goat cheese from Blue Jacket Dairy, and radish greens from my countertop garden. The meal is pretty as a picture, and the recipe yields just the potato pancake that I often yearned for.

Yes, it’s marvelous when a plan comes together…or at least when events conspire to bring a satisfying meal to the table. So much thanks to the Smitten Kitchen for this keeper recipe… and a special thank you to Grandma Rita. Your legacy will help us preserve the makings of many a wonderful meal.

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Bay Area home decor sales

This week will challenge the most intrepid bargain hunters. Clear your schedules for all the sales that are scheduled for this Friday through Sunday. Take a look at websites to prioritize the sales that interest you, and then start your engines. Unless otherwise noted, assume credit cards, cash and checks are accepted.

Bel Marin Keys Warehouse Sale

Go to the event website for the rundown on the 13 manufacturers, importers and artists that are linking their sales to the same day and times for the convenience of shoppers. You’ll find stops like Via Gra-ceffo, importer of Italian art glass and ceramics; Circa Asia, tableware, home accents and furniture; Kuhn Rikon, quality cookware, kitchen gadgets and knives; Paper Products Design, giftware and paper party items; Bella Notte, designer bed linens, comforters and lingerie; and Judi Bomberger, whimsical art, ornaments and garden sculpture.

Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 15-17. Maps available at John Jill’s Cheesecake, 4 Commercial Blvd., Suite 2, Novato, or online at (415) 883-5815. Cash preferred. Check and credit card acceptance varies by vendor.

Heath Ceramics

Heath Ceramics creates wonderful products of good and enduring design. The iconic and enduring tableware and tile are still made by a team of craftspeople at the original Sausalito factory, as they have been since 1948. During its November sale, the company is opening the doors for factory tours (this Saturday and Sunday) and offering extra markdowns on first- and second-quality products.

Highlights: All in-store purchases are 20 percent off. (Seconds will be 30 percent off, plus a further 20 percent reduction during the November sale period.) Real collectors will want to zero in on the one-day sample sale Nov. 24, where a special selection of one-of-a-kind and early-production pieces will be for sale.

Details: Nov. 16-25. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. 400 Gate Five Road, Sausalito; (415) 332-3732, Ext. 13.

Mimi the Sardine/Mimi Home

Since 1989, Mimi the Sardine has been locally producing spill-resistant textile products for kids and home with an ecologically sound acrylic finish and modern Swedish designs. Everything will be priced from 10 to 75 percent off original retail price, with sale inventory classified as past season, discontinued and seconds priced at 75 percent off.

Highlights: Spill-resistant reversible place mats $9-$15; table runners $18-$38; tablecloths $40-$110; lunch clutches $14-$24; large shopping totes with zipper closures $22-$30.

Details: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 16 and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 17. 305-A Montecito Ave., Corte Madera; (415) 924-9222.

For Your Dogs Only

Locally produced dog products are made with machine-washable covers, large zippers and sliders, heavy-duty thread and furniture-grade fabrics in 100 percent cotton as well as velvety microfibers.

Highlights: Durable dog beds and crate pads will be 40 to 70 percent off original retail prices of $60-$120. In the selection you’ll find Bagel beds (XXSM to X-Large), plus crate beds, rectangular pads and other dog-related accessories. These are all samples, seconds and discontinued inventory.

Details: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 17, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov 18. 1395 Ninth St., Berkeley; (510) 527-6512. www.foryourdogsonly .com. No checks.

Pacific Connections

The company produces a fine-quality home accessory line as well as occasional tables featuring a unique, high-quality lacquer finish. In addition to its own line, Pacific Connections also provides products under private label for Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior-Paris, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and many other well-known retailers.

Highlights: Occasional tables with slight imperfections $40-$450 (retail $475-$1,500); a special selection of discontinued lamps $40-$125 ($275-$575); serving trays $20 to $80 ($90-$300); decorative boxes $15 to $60 ($60-$150); and bath accessories $10-$45 ($50-$200). Nice touch: the black drawstring bag encasing for each item.

Details: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Nov. 16; 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 17. 220 Newhall St., San Francisco; (415) 285-2873.

Tina Frey Designs

Frey’s modern resin designs are hand-sculpted into shapes inspired by organic forms in nature and objects found in travels around the world. The colors are inspired by delicious translucent popsicles, candies and jelly beans. Check her website and you’ll see why stores like Bergdorf Goodman and museum stores around the country sell the wares. At the sale, prices on everything will be 40 to 70 percent off retail on first-quality overruns, discontinued colors and some seconds.

Highlights: Tableware, vases and furniture $5-$175 and jewelry $10-$200.

Details: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 16; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 17. 1278 Minnesota St. (at 24th), San Francisco; (415) 223-4710. No checks.

Cavallini Annual Warehouse Sale

We may live in a world of instant communication, but Cavallini, a wholesaler of high-end stationery and paper products, is still relevant. Cavallini’s collection of detailed vintage designs also includes maps, engravings and hand-colored prints. Savings of 40 to 70 percent will be offered on all the Cavallini line.

Highlights: Folder sets $5; stickers and post card sets and notebooks $3 to $5 each. Check out rubber stamps at $8 or wrapping paper at five sheets for $1. These are seconds, samples and discontinued inventory.

Details: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 17. 401 Forbes Blvd., South San Francisco; (650) 616-4500. Cash or check only.

Peking Handicraft

Samples and overruns of home textiles, decorative accessories and giftware will be on sale Saturday in South San Francisco – just in time for holiday shoppers getting ready for guests. Peking Handicraft Inc. is an international manufacturer and wholesaler selling its collections to stores around the country. Prices will be below wholesale.

Highlights: All comforters start at $25 (retail $100 and up); quilts start at $10 each (retail $50 and up); sheet sets and duvets $10-$15 (retail $50 to $100). There will be tablecloths at $8 and $15 (retail $50-$150) and kitchen accessories, functional and decorative, including cutting boards and decorative plates from $1.50-$7. Tree skirts will be $5; ornaments will be 50 cents to $1.

Details: 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 17. 1388 San Mateo Ave., South San Francisco; (650) 871-3751.

La Bouquetiere

Everything at this warehouse sale is fragrant, beautifully packaged and displayed. It’s a resource for all the elements of gracious living and personal indulgence – with high-quality French products including body and bath care, laundry and cleaning products, decorative pillows, picture frames, ribbons and more – at 40 percent off retail.

Highlights: Rice body powders, hydrating body mists and natural body washes will be $8 to $15; scented body lotions $12 to $24; French scented pillows, products from the Herbal Home Cleaning collection, and soy wax candle balms $5-$19. The favorites of many – French laundry products with detergents, softeners and linen waters (for ironing) – will be $5-$17.

Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 17-18. 539 Railroad Ave., South San Francisco. (800) 884-4833. www.labouquetiere .com. No checks.

The Cat’s Pajamas

Attention home sewers and quilters: The Cat’s Pajamas will be selling signature fabrics at $5 per yard. These are 100 percent cotton woven fabrics, cotton flannel and non-flannel fabrics in a variety of prints including dogs, cats, polka dots and damasks. Everything will be priced from 50 to 75 percent off original retail on first-quality overstock and deeply discounted seconds. The flannel, non-flannel and knit sleepwear priced at $10 to $40 makes great gifts. Note: The company has moved to a new location.

Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 17, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 18. 2829 Seventh St., Berkeley; (510) 649-1800. No checks.

Kiss That Frog

Kiss That Frog manufactures and imports European-themed tabletop and home decor that it sells to national specialty stores, gift stores and department stores. The company is known for its whimsical designs and for products that bring back familiar themes from classic designs of the past. Markdowns of 50 to 80 percent off retail prices on first-quality tableware and home linens imported especially for this sale, as well as glassware and ceramics from current and prior seasons, keep the regulars coming back every year.

Highlights: For nifty gifts from its first-quality overruns, consider the Campagne Red Polka Dot mugs in a boxed set of six for $15; or jumbo mugs for cocoa at $7 each in striped, plaid and polka dots, along with a striped pitcher for $12. Other options: latte bowls at $4.50; boxed sets of four porcelain dinner plates and sets of four cheese plates in an authentic wooden cheese boxes will be $18 each. Select stemware sold in sealed boxes only from the company’s most popular styles will be $25 for a set of six. Iconic French knives and cutlery will be available.

Details: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 17-18. 2310 Fourth St. (at Bancroft Ave.), Berkeley; (510) 524-7611. No checks.

Pizzichillo-Gordon Art Glass

Bruce Pizzichillo and Dari Gordon create unique glass artwork in their Oakland studio, including decorative vases, bowls, tumblers and lighting. Their work has been exhibited nationwide and abroad, and is featured in numerous collections, galleries and museums. Their studio is open to the public just twice a year, with substantial markdowns for the holidays on a variety of blown glass artworks: samples, prototypes for new designs, discontinued works, studio seconds, sculptural lighting and jewelry. Everything will be 25 to 75 percent off retail, with first-quality discontinued works at 50 percent off.

Highlights: Small vases, bowls and tumblers $30-$90; jewelry $10-$90; large vases and bowls $150-$400. A limited quantity of new, one-of-a-kind, gallery-quality work will also be shown from $600-$950.

Details: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 23-25 and Dec. 1, 8 and 15. 2680 Union St., Oakland; (510) 832-8380.

Holiday Sample Sale at the Concourse Exhibition Center

Come wearing comfy shoes, bring your gift list and large totes, and prepare to make the rounds of the 120-plus vendors from all sectors of the marketplace – importers, distributors, manufacturers’ reps, etc. – that rent booths at the Concourse to sell their overruns and samples at well below retail. Shoppers line up early to capture bargains on apparel, leather and paper products, health and beauty, housewares, decorative accessories, arts and crafts, and gift items.

Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 25. Concourse Exhibition Center. Entrances are located at 635 Eighth St. between Eighth and Brannan streets; (415) 490-5800. Admission $6.

– Sally Socolich,

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Demarle Changes Company Name to Sasa Demarle

2011 Cookware Series, Part I

When the going gets tough, Americans reach for their frying pans. In the last few years, concern about the economy has driven consumers out of restaurants and back to their kitchens. But while this was potentially good news for specialty kitchenware retailers, many consumers were reticent to invest in new cookware … until now

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‘Arrogant’ Kirchner turns a deaf ear as Argentina goes to pot

A cacophony of reverberating cookware has swept across Argentina, signalling a
wave of anger with the Government of President Kirchner.

Hundreds of thousands of Argentinians held at least 184 co-ordinated protests
all over the country. The cacerolazo — casserole dish protests — involve the
raucous banging of pots and pans, a traditional Argentine demonstration that
has historically ushered in political change.

Since she was re-elected in a landslide last year, the President’s approval
ratings have plummeted. Widespread disillusion erupted into protest after an
online campaign took the place of a united political opposition.

Banners held aloft by protesters demonstrated the sheer breadth

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Cook and serve turkey in style

No-cry fry: If frying a turkey is something you’d like to try, but you’re not willing to entrust the star of the meal to a less-than-safe backyard cooker – or invest in five-plus gallons of oil (not to mention disposing of it) – try an oil-less fryer. These handy devices, running between $119 and $149, can handle turkeys up to 18 pounds, depending on the model, and can put a burn on the bird without creating a fire or risk of injury (

Cooks often worry whether the turkey is done. Sure, those little white pop-up thermometers work, but how fun is that? Instead, check out the Norpro reusable turkey timer ( It’s less than $10. You insert this festive orange turkey into your bird before cooking. The turkey’s legs point down when the bird goes in the oven, and when it’s done, the legs stick up in the air. This simple tool is good for a laugh – and offers a bit of insurance against salmonella.

Served in style: Although the Thanksgiving table takes center stage, there’s no reason the cook can’t look good, too. A Heritage turkey apron ($25) will keep you looking festive. To wipe up spatters, an Italian Turkey tea towel ($15) will do the job in style. Both are available at

Harvest- or turkey-themed place settings will make family and guests smile. Spode’s Woodland dinnerware features glorious, elegant toms (, or for a more informal setting, check out dinnerware, table linens, aprons and decorative items in the Estate Turkey pattern (


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2012 Black Friday Sale at Mrs. G TV & Appliances

Mrs. G's set

Mrs. G’s set

Mrs. G's washer

Mrs. G’s washer

Mrs. G's range

Mrs. G’s range

Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012 3:33 pm

Updated: 3:43 pm, Fri Nov 9, 2012.

2012 Black Friday Sale at Mrs. G TV Appliances

Mrs. G TV Appliances


November is Black Friday month at Mrs. G’s. That means you can start saving now with the Mrs. G TV Appliances 2012 Black Friday Sale! The Black Friday Sale is going on now, with some deals beginning as early as November 8th, and most ending November 26th, 2012. Why wait until the day after Thanksgiving to begin your shopping and have to fight the big crowds to get the big savings? Mrs. G’s manufacturers like Whirlpool, GE, Bosch, KitchenAid, LG, Frigidaire, and more are all part of the sale, providing some of the best pricing and rebates you will find this season. The starting and ending dates vary for different deals, so be sure to view the Black Friday Circular for full details.

Mrs. G’s 2012 Black Friday Sale features the best appliance and electronics deals you will find. Our circular is filled with 8 pages of amazing sales. Whether you are looking for a new television, a new kitchen appliance or package, or a new washer dryer set, you will find unbeatable deals. And the best part is you don’t have to wait until Black Friday. You get early access to all the savings.

Plus, to better help you fulfill your holiday wish list, we will also be offering 12 month interest free financing from November 23rd through November 26th. See store for details.

Here are just some of the deals will you find as part of our Black Friday Sale:

If you’re looking for both a new washer and dryer this Black Friday, then we have the perfect deal for you. The brand new Frigidaire Affinity set is now available for the amazing pair price of $1199! This is the Frigidaire Affinity 3.4 Cu. Ft. Top Load Washer and 7.0 Cu. Ft. Electric Dryer. The pair has some excellent features that will make doing laundry easier and more efficient. Mrs. G’s was chosen to be in an exclusive group of retailers authorized to sell Frigidaire’s New Top Load Laundry, so you won’t be able to find this amazing deal everywhere.

For those who have a new dishwasher on their holiday wish list, you are in luck, as we have a great selection as part of our sale. One stainless steel option we are featuring is the KitchenAid Fully Integrated Dishwasher. Regularly priced at $849, this dishwasher is only $649 after savings from November 18 – 26, 2012! So come in between those dates to save $200 and take home a new dishwasher in time for the holidays.

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season approaching, there is no better time to have a new range for all your cooking needs. Our Black Friday sale features a nice stainless steel range from Frigidaire with an amazing rebate for a limited time. Now through November 26th, you can get the Frigidaire 5.3 Cu. Ft. Electric Range or the 5.0 Cu. Ft. Gas Range  for just $499 after rebate! The range is also eligible for an additional delivery and installation rebate. See store for full details.

These are just some of the incredible deals that can be found at our 2012 Black Friday Sale. You can also find more appliances from brands like GE, LG, Bosch, and more. So start browsing the circular for more details and to see more of deals you will find. Then come in this month to enjoy the big savings. Have a happy Thanksgiving and thanks for supporting local, independent business this Black Friday.

© 2012 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Friday, November 9, 2012 3:33 pm.

Updated: 3:43 pm.

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