Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

Next week is June and with the official kickoff to summer behind us, we’re busy planning every free moment we have for sunshine and weekend getaways. Here are LTD’s product picks for the week that we need this summer.

Durable Waterproof Cases for Smartphones or Tablets safeguard your valuable devices. The Smartphone Case (6"L x 4"W) fits most smartphones, including iPhone® 4/4S/5, as well as certain Droid®, Blackberry®, and other MP3 and media players. For both the Smartphone and Tablet Cases, the devices are fully functional while in the protective case, including access to the camera, phone, web, and texts and emails. The iPad® & Tablet Case fits the most popular tablets (up to 10") on the market. The tablet case includes a dual-sided waterproof earphone jack that allows for privacy and use of the earphones.

Durable Waterproof Cases for Smartphones or Tablets safeguard your valuable devices. The Smartphone Case fits most smartphones, including iPhone® 4/4S/5, as well as certain Droid®, Blackberry®, and other MP3 and media players. For both the Smartphone and Tablet Cases, the devices are fully functional while in the protective case, including access to the camera, phone, web, and texts and emails. The iPad® & Tablet Case fits the most popular tablets (up to 10″) on the market. The tablet case includes a dual-sided waterproof earphone jack that allows for privacy and use of the earphones.

A Fashion Car Seat Cover protects your vehicle's backseat and gives it a great new look. The waterproof Oxford fabric cover attaches easily with fabric-magic straps. It's an easy way to keep pet hair, claw marks, kids' messes and other dirt and stains from ruining your car's upholstery. Polyacrylate coating allows for easy, wipe-clean care. 55" x 39-1/4". Imported.

A Fashion Car Seat Cover protects your vehicle’s backseat and gives it a great new look. The waterproof Oxford fabric cover attaches easily with fabric-magic straps. It’s an easy way to keep pet hair, claw marks, kids’ messes and other dirt and stains from ruining your car’s upholstery.

Wedding Essentials ensure your special day will be full of romance and fun. Share your dreams on the cute Pillowcase Set, which reads “You & Me” when you place your 2 pillows together. Cotton and polyester. Machine care. Imported. Let guests greet you with a celebratory Set of 30 Bubbles. Each .13-oz. bottle of bubble solution is capped with a blowing wand with a cute heart accent. The Slippers and Travel Bag Set includes comfy slippers and a handy cosmetics bag  labeled with your new married title and red hearts. Polyester. Machine care. Imported. The metal Invitation/Photo Frame elegantly displays your invitation and a favorite photo, or 2 photos under protective glass. Easel back has flocked black fabric. Mark the months and days until your celebration with the Wedding Countdown display. Its wooden blocks have a distressed finish and turn to show new numbers in an elegant black font. You can count down for up to 99 months and 55 days for those really long engagements! 

Set of 6 Shoe Hangers keeps your flip-flops, flats and other shoes organized in your closet. Innovative hangers have a trendy design in the center and keep your shoes in sight and easily accessible. 11" x 7", each. Metal.

Set of 6 Shoe Hangers keeps your flip-flops, flats and other shoes organized in your closet. Innovative hangers have a trendy design in the center and keep your shoes in sight and easily accessible.

Plus-Size Knit Short Pajama Set is perfect for lounging and sleeping during the warmer months. Decorated with all-over dots, the set has a flattering and comfortable fit. The top has an elastic gathered neckline and sleeves with a peasant-style look, in addition to an empire waist with elastic and a mock drawstring. Shorts feature an elastic drawstring waistband and piping trim at the hems. Cotton and polyester. Machine care. Imported.

Plus-Size Knit Short Pajama Set is perfect for lounging and sleeping during the warmer months. Decorated with all-over dots, the set has a flattering and comfortable fit. The top has an elastic gathered neckline and sleeves with a peasant-style look, in addition to an empire waist with elastic and a mock drawstring. Shorts feature an elastic drawstring waistband and piping trim at the hems.

Behind the Scenes: LTD’s Set Stylist

Raymond.christmas.treeThere are a lot of steps to putting together a catalog. From finding the right product to taking the photo, there are many people hard at work to make it all happen. One person who has a strong hand in putting our catalog is our set stylist, Raymond. Here’s a look behind the scenes with Raymond.

At LTD Commodities, we do almost all of our own catalog photography at our studio here in Bannockburn, IL outside of Chicago – that’s where Raymond works. He works mostly with garden products – string lights for a patio, a garden gnome or a stepping stone — but he works in a pet product every once in a while. Today, they’re taking photos of cat products.

Basically, when you see a product in the catalog, it’s Raymond’s job to dress up the scene so a photographer can take a picture. His scenes are based on the ideas of the buyer – the person who found the product to sell through the catalog – and he makes the ideas a reality. Raymond has a background in painting so he’s very visual and can see how things work for a photograph other people can’t see.

raymondiwthcats5The photographer sets up a product at the right angle; Raymond then puts together a scene around the product to “create a narrative.” He says one of the keys to making his job fun is having the right chemistry with his photographer. “Sometimes we don’t even need to talk,” Raymond explains.

“Every page has to tell a story,” he says as he puts a cat tower in the middle of a square of carpet next to a beige couch and a window. He creates the illusion that the cats are playing in a living room even though we’re in the middle of a big, airy studio.

“I have to set up a balance,” he illustrates, adding teal pillows to the couch and a plant in the corner to add contrast and make the picture “pop off the page”.

Then, they bring in the cats; kittens, to be more precise. It’s beyond the call of duty, but Raymond helps the cats look like they’re playing. They’re semi-professionals, so they’re used to being cute, but sometimes they need coaxing out of their corners with a few feathers. As an animal lover, when the cats come in, it’s one of Raymond’s more enjoyable days.

Sweet Couple Garden Statue

Sweet Couple Garden Statue

On other days, Raymond might be found putting together a scene in a tiny garden – which is one of his favorites. “I get to make a little fantasy world,” he confesses. He’s responsible for the scene of the sweet frog couple garden statue in our catalog right now.

From fairy gardens to cat towers, there’s certainly a lot of diversity in Raymond’s work. “I can’t say it’s ever boring.”

Raymond playing with an arctic fox in LTD's photography studio.

Raymond playing with an arctic fox in LTD’s photography studio.

The Unofficial Duck Dynasty Guide to Enjoying Memorial Day Weekend

Tomorrow is get away day! Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to spend in the country. And who knows better about country living than the Robertsons? No one. So here’s the unofficial Duck Dynasty Guide to enjoying Memorial Day weekend.

Keep it spontaneous…

“When you don’t know what you’re doing it’s best to do it quickly.” – Jase Robertson

“Here we gooooo!!!!” — Jep Robertson

“Time for some motivation. Hold on to your hat.” – Jase Robertson

Keep it interesting…

“Is this turning into a near death experience…possibly. Does this add to the adventure…absolutely!” –Jase Robertson

“You can talk any redneck into a challenge. That’s why so many rednecks die in strange ways.” — Jase  Robertson

Make your meals memorable…

“Squirrel brains make you smart.” – Kay Robertson

“I am the MacGyver of cooking. If you bring me a piece of bread, cabbage, coconut, mustard greens, pigs feet, pine cones…and a woodpecker, I’ll make you a good chicken pot pie.” — Si Robertson

“Crawfish Pie.” – Willie Robertson

Keep it country…

“You can put camouflage on anything and it automatically becomes cool.” – Si Robertson

“Camo does make everything look better!!” – Jep Robertson

“Faith, family, facial hair, and #4 feathered fowl.” – Jase Robertson

Keep it DIY

“Redneck rule number one, most things can be fixed with duct tape and extension cords.”-Jase Robertson

“Work hard for your own crap.” – Willie Robertson

“I figure everyone living in a city starting with Fort appreciates the gesture. Let’s build a fort and live with confidence.” – Jase Robertson

Keep it real…

“That’s right….I got smoke coming outta my duck call, that’s cool I don’t care who u are!!” – Jep Robertson

“I like a bunch of books, problem is, I read first 4 chaps, get fired up, forget to finish.” – Willie Robertson

“Gotta go quack some skulls in the duck call room.”– Willie Robertson

“’Hey’ can mean anything. It can mean yes, it can mean maybe, it could mean no, it could mean next week. Hey, the bottom line is you have to understand me to understand hey.” –Si Robertson

Whatever you do this Memorial Day weekend, if you have a Duck Dynasty frame of mind, your weekend will certainly be entertaining.

Happy Memorial Day!

4 Creative Ideas to Use a Curtain to Simplify Your Home

curtain-ltdCurtains are unsung accessories for the home. They cover up the windows to keep outsiders from looking in, but they can do so much more. Here are 4 creative ideas to use a curtain to simplify your home.

Room Divider

Whether you’re making one bedroom into two for your kids or you want to separate your office space from your living space, a carefully thought out curtain is a great do-it-yourself option.

For the kids’ room: It’s functional decoration – not only will the curtain provide privacy to each child, but it also provides an opportunity to add colors or shapes to reflect each child’s personality and taste.

For the office: While it doesn’t drown out the noise, an appropriate curtain room divider gives the illusion of an office and adds a wall to cut off chaos. A curtain can create a separation of your personal life and your work life even when you’re doing it all at home.

Shelf Concealer

If you’re looking to cover up clutter or you just want to create more visual order to your living space, consider using curtains as shelf concealers. For small spaces, this a great idea – especially if you have a lot of papers and bills as necessary clutter. But even for large spaces, to be able to close a curtain on disheveled shelves is a cleanup time-saver.

Closet Door

Much like hiding a shelf, a curtain hides entire closets. In small spaces, opening and closing doors takes up space a curtain conveniently avoids. The other benefit to a curtain closet door — in addition to hiding clutter and unmentionables – is it’s much cheaper and far less work to install a curtain rather than a door.

canopyBed Canopy

One of the most elegant additions to make to a bed is a canopy. Not everyone has a four-poster bed to hang a canopy from, but it’s just as easy to hang a canopy without the four-poster; all you need is a sheer curtain and a couple of curtain rods and you’ll be sleeping like a princess. The beauty of this particular canopy is it’s classy enough for an adult room and frilly enough for a girl’s room. While it doesn’t actually simplify your life, this curtain may just add a little charm to it.

Curtains are a cure-all to DIY home improvement and design. While it’s an inexpensive solution to many problem areas around the house, it also adds a layer of design options. Curtains come in all sorts of colors and patterns – putting up a curtain is like being able to wallpaper or paint without all the work and mess – the functional part is just a bonus. DIY + Simplify = Curtains.

Ideas on How PVC Pipe Can Simplify Your Life

PVC-PipePVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride. It’s a polymer commonly used for pipes in construction because it’s strong, lightweight and inexpensive. But it’s not just for piping your bathroom or kitchen; there are many ways the creative layperson can use PVC pipe – it’s the DIY material of the moment. Some might say PVC is the new wood. Here are some ideas on how PVC pipe can simplify your home.

Kitchen

Make space in your kitchen by pulling pans out of the cupboard and hanging them on the wall. This PVC pipe was cut short enough to fit a pan handle and then mounted on the wall for easy storage.  Develop this idea into other simplifying methods around the house – this idea would work as a wall mount to sort cords behind an entertainment or computer console or to keep hair dryer and curling iron cords in the bathroom.

Bathroom

This caddy keeps your cotton balls, q-tips and toothpaste tidy on the bathroom vanity. It’s brilliant with simplicity. Use this idea and expand it into the play room where it’s used as an art station organizer or keep pens and pencils neat in your home office. The possibilities with this idea practically come up with themselves.

Living Room

How great is this coffee table? It may not simplify the living room, but it looks really cool. You can get so many PVC furniture ideas you can come up with from this table: an end table, a kitchen table, bedside table. You can make just about any kind of table using the exact same idea.

Bedroom

This is probably the most useful idea for PVC pipe. The bunk bed is a complicated piece of furniture to put together with wood, hammer and nails, but it’s a fairly simple structure using PVC pipe and glue. Shrink the plans down and you can construct a bed closer to the ground or even make a dog bed. Anyway you spin it, a basic bed for children to grow out of for little money = simplified gold.

Backyard

The backyard sprinkler doesn’t need to be simplified, but it can be amplified. This one is built for fun, but the idea can certainly be manipulated to make a practical garden watering system. What’s so useful about making a sprinkler with PVC pipe is you can design it to fit any garden of any shape.

Entry Way

PVC pipe as a shoe rack, but it screams to be so much more. It can bring order to the bathroom for towel storage. It can easily work in a child’s bedroom to sort t-shirts, socks and underwear. As a shelf in the office it can keep bills and mail straight.  If there’s stacking to be done, this storage idea can be the receptacle.

There are so many clever ways to use a PVC pipe it’s hard to believe it’s not more common. Though Polyvinyl Chloride isn’t a simple word or a simple polymer, simplify is what it does best.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

Just a few more hours to go and we’re free for the weekend! It’s May but in some parts of the country, they’re still getting snow, so this weekend we’re not thinking about weather, we’re only thinking about the things we like. Here is our list of Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.

bug-zapper

The Solar Mosquito-Zapper Stake Light provides modern accent lighting while it protects you from those pesky flying bugs. A sleek, stainless steel stake supports the mosquito zapper, which converts from zapper to lights-only at the touch of a button. Environmentally friendly, it charges in sunlight to automatically turn on at night and runs for up to 8 continuous hours. The zapper is surrounded by an enclosure so it’s safe to use with pets in the yard. Not just for mosquitoes, it also eliminates other varieties of flying insects.

TV-shirts

Whether you’re a fan of science fiction, reality shows, or dramas, you can show off your favorite when you wear a Popular TV Show T-Shirt. The front of the shirt features a screen-print with a reference to your viewing pick.

MagneHealth Stretch Hematite Ring offers all kinds of potential benefits along with a fashionable addition to your jewelry. This magnetic ring may help with everything from increased energy and focus to an easing of various aches and pains, appetite suppression, and greater overall emotional balance. The elastic inner portion of the ring allows for a comfortable fit, even on swollen fingers or arthritic knuckles. The coated hematite gem has a pearl-like look, and the crystal rondelle accents and silver-plated beads add to its elegant style.

MagneHealth Stretch Hematite Ring offers all kinds of potential benefits along with a fashionable addition to your jewelry. This magnetic ring may help with everything from increased energy and focus to an easing of various aches and pains, appetite suppression, and greater overall emotional balance. The elastic inner portion of the ring allows for a comfortable fit, even on swollen fingers or arthritic knuckles. The coated hematite gem has a pearl-like look, and the crystal rondelle accents and silver-plated beads add to its elegant style.

dog sheets

Cats or Dogs Embroidered Sheet Sets are perfect for any pet lover! The Dogs choice is tan, and it has a variety of dog breeds with bones across the top of the flat sheet and along the hem of the pillowcases. The Cats choice is white, and it features a row of cats with balls of yarn on the flat sheet and pillowcases. Soft, comfortable bedding features microfiber construction, making it wrinkle resistant.

safari-shelf-sitters

Safari Shelf Sitter gives any room the call of the wild. The realistic, highly detailed creature cranes its neck over the edge of the shelf to take a peek at what’s below. Place it on a mantel, shelf, or bookcase that provides a good lookout point for this curious animal.

Pack Rat Day: Mrs. Cunningham’s Guide to Dealing with Clutter

 May 17th is Pack Rat Day– no one wants to throw out our sentimental baubles, so how do we de-clutter to keep a home as neat as Mrs. Cunningham’s?  With teenagers at home it couldn’t have been easy to keep everything so tidy. Though it’s been 30 years since we’ve seen Happy Days, we can apply Mrs. C’s wisdom to unburden ourselves with junk.

Mrs. Cunningham: Trying is a part of failing. If you are afraid to fail then you’re afraid to try.

Throwing out our mementos is difficult. But if hanging on to things is causing clutter it could be indirectly causing stress. Don’t be afraid to let go. Use the following ideas to help you.

  • Throw out one useless item a day.
  • When you walk into a room, throw out the first useless thing you see.
  • Make use of your useless items.
  • When you pick up a useless item, weigh the joy it brings you vs. the joy a clean home brings you. Then throw it out.

Try to de-clutter and you will certainly succeed.

Mrs. Cunningham: I hope you weren’t offended when I got a little peeved at you the other day. 

It was rare to see Mrs. C upset because her house was always so neat – and mess sometimes leads to stress. In a survey taken by The Huffington Post, a home not being organized or clean was one of the top five stressors among those who were surveyed. If there are too many items around the house you don’t need any more it can be visually stimulating your brain in negatives ways. If you find yourself needlessly stressed out, it may be time to take inventory of your home and de-clutter. How else would Mrs. Cunningham stay so jovial all the time?

Mrs. Cunningham: Howard, we’ve been married twenty-one years. You can stop apologizing now.

Don’t apologize for your treasured trinkets. Not being able to get rid of useless items is fairly common. According to a study published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, about 20% of the US population has trouble throwing away things we don’t need. Mr. Cunningham doesn’t have to apologize for his mess, and neither do you.

Mrs. Cunningham: Don’t you think we should move the bathroom somewhere else so that, when people drop in, it won’t be the first thing they see?

Don’t keep your mess in a place where everyone can see it. Put it away. Even when it doesn’t seem like you have enough space, there’s always a way to create storage. There are plenty of hidden areas under the sink and in drawers to use as a depository.

Mrs. Cunningham: We can survive with good taste.

Nothing is trash if it’s well coordinated. All those old photos in your desk drawers become a wall gallery. Old credit cards become guitar picks. An old ladder becomes a bookshelf. There are millions of ways to turn the things you don’t need any more into things you need. Just do it tastefully.

4 Things Frogs Teach Us About Slimming Down

May 13th is Frog Jumping Day. As the name of the date states, frogs jump, but they have many other ways of moving around. If we humans applied these methods to our daily routine, we might lose weight. Here are 4 things frogs teach us about slimming down.

frog-1Mix Up Your Routine

Frogs jump, run, walk, climb, glide, and swim to get around. Doing a variety of workouts gives your body a chance to heal. Working a set of muscle groups one day and working a different set the next day allows your muscles to recuperate and recharge. This can reduce the risk of injury. Varying the routine also helps you get the most out of your routines. Bodies tend to plateau if you only have one method of exercise.

Breathe

We need oxygen to produce energy – every move we make requires oxygen. Frogs breathe constantly. They have lungs, but they also take in oxygen through their skin when they’re under water. While frogs breathe involuntarily, it can be voluntary or involuntary for humans. When we put in a hard workout, it’s sometimes hard to breathe enough involuntarily, so we have to remember to breathe voluntarily to maximize our energy and workout.

frog.1Eat with Your Eyes

Unlike humans, frogs use their tongues and teeth to grab prey rather than to chew and swallow their food. Frogs use their eyes to swallow food. The eyes retract into their heads to help push the food down their throat. This is why it looks like frogs are blinking when they eat. Human eyes don’t have the capability to sink low enough to help us swallow, but eating with our eyes can help us stay trim. A study published in the journal Appetite shows people will likely enjoy food more if looks appealing. So if you make your chicken and broccoli beautiful and make your pizza look unappetizing, you’ll likely make the healthier choice.

frog-3Stay Hydrated

Frogs need water to keep their skin slick which protects them from everything – as a guard against bacteria to making them too slippery for predators to hold on to. It’s not a surprise frogs use a lot of energy to stay hydrated. Some frogs are nocturnal to avoid water loss; others secrete a waxy coating to prevent water loss; some even have a special stance that slows down evaporation. While humans need water to keep organs functioning and to stay alive, we don’t have the same sort of defense mechanisms on auto-pilot to keep us from losing water. A day in the life of a frog may be the reminder we need to have another glass of water.

Frogs are amazing little creatures. They might not be wise, we can learn a lot from them.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

The countdown to the weekend is on! Plenty of outdoor fun is in store for the weekend. We’ve picked out our favorite products for the week and we hope they’ll inspire fun weekend activities. Here are this weeks Items We Adore.

nfl-chair

Coleman NFL Chair makes a sensational seat for the pro football fan. This is the perfect portable chair to bring to school games, picnics and other outdoor events. It’s made of strong 600-denier polyester fabric on a sturdy steel frame. It folds down for carrying ease in the included bag, which also sports the team’s logo. There’s a built-in drink holder on one of the arms to keep your beverage handy.

cowl-neck-top

Instantly update your wardrobe with a Women’s Cowl-Neck Duet Top. This lightweight, short-sleeved shirt comes with an attached camisole to provide full coverage and a flattering fit. Bright stripes make it perfect for summer.

glass-stake

Keep your drinks secure with a Set of 6 Outdoor Beverage Holders. Perfect for picnics, outdoor parties, afternoons at the beach and any warm-weather gathering, these sturdy steel holders stake easily into the ground. The ring opening holds your can or glass, while the raised stake makes it clearly visible to prevent kicking, tripping and spilling. The Can Holders (12-3/4″ x 2-3/4″ dia., each) are made to hold standard 12 oz. cans. Glass Holders (10″ x 1-3/4″ dia., each) will hold most stemmed wine glasses.

parachute

Our 10-Foot Outdoor Activity Parachute is a must-have for birthday parties and picnics. There are over 100 great games children can play with these parachutes–including bouncing balls on top or lifting it and running underneath. Promotes cooperation, builds muscles and develops perceptual, cognitive, motor and academic skills. Features 12 evenly spaced handles and a carry bag.

fiber-optic-flag

Add a festive radiance as the stars and stripes wave in the wind with a Fiber-Optic Flag. 242 Fiber optics create solid or blinking lights on this large flag, making it the perfect accent for Memorial Day, July 4th, or any day you want to show off your American pride. Slides easily onto your own flagpole for hanging.

4 Ways to Spend Mother’s Day Outside

Mom’s special day is Sunday — and now that the flowers are blooming and the sun is shining why not celebrate your mother and mother nature? Here are 4 ways to spend Mother’s Day outside.

Mothers-Day-HikeAdventure

Go on a family hike. Getting close to Mother Nature with your mother gives the family the opportunity to interact in a way that’s more social than celebrating in a crowded restaurant. You learn new things about the earth and about each other when you replace the noise of cars and cell phone with chirping birds and babbling brooks. Nature surrounds just about every community and there are options for adventure on your own, but you can also go the guided route. Not too far from the urban landscape of Detroit, in Ann Arbor, MI, a guided wildflower hike is offered in Black Pond Woods. Moms get to go free of charge.

Historical

In just about every community there is an historical society ready to celebrate Mother’s Day. At Old World Wisconsin outside of Milwaukee, they hold a Mother’s Day brunch 1890’s style every year. After experiencing a 19th century meal in a barn mothers and families stroll through the village and discover what it was like to live on a farmstead in the 1800s. The bonus is admission is free for moms on Mother’s Day, but you don’t have to go all the way to Wisconsin to have an old fashioned outing; there are many similar historical experiences around the country and like Old World Wisconsin you can try.

Mothers-Day-ConcertArts & Culture

All around the country concerts are being held in parks and in gardens on Mother’s Day. Even if your mom isn’t a music enthusiast, an outdoor concert can be a relaxing way for mom to spend a day with the whole family. In Richmond, VA, the Richmond Concert Band entertains guests on the lawn of Agecroft Hall where people are welcome to bring chairs, relax on blankets and bring food for a picnic. It can also be an inexpensive celebration – like the one in Richmond, a lot of outdoor concerts are free.

Agricultural

You don’t have to give mom flowers to celebrate Mother’s Day with flowers – a trip to the botanic garden is a gift and an activity mom will appreciate. Almost every city has a botanic garden or an arboretum where you can celebrate a beautiful spring day with Mom. Some botanic gardens have special events for Mom’s special day. At the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, FL, they hold a Mother’s Day Tea every year so Mom can spend the afternoon enjoying scones, music and flowers outside. If nature is something your mother treasures, there are birds, butterflies and orchids you can adopt in her name.Mothers-Day-Botanic-Gardens

There are many ways to celebrate your mother, but with May weather and summer sun on its way, a Mother’s Day outside may be the way to make it a day to remember.