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

The fall and winter holidays are not the same without incredible homemade food. Whether you are hosting this year or plan to be a guest, our excellent values will help you prepare your kitchen, take a favorite dish with you, or give a fun hostess gift. Here are our Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.

A Slow Cooker Carrier is a must-have for holidays, family gatherings and social events.

A Slow Cooker Carrier is a must-have for holidays, family gatherings and social events.

The Cut and Serve Spatula is an all-in-one utensil that lets you work smarter!

The Cut and Serve Spatula is an all-in-one utensil that lets you work smarter!

 

Wash dishes or clean up your home with a 10-Pc. Terry Kitchen Towel Set.

Wash dishes or clean up your home with a 10-Pc. Terry Kitchen Towel Set.

Metal Monogram Wine Cork Holder looks distinctive empty or when filled with tokens from your favorite wines.

Metal Monogram Wine Cork Holder looks distinctive empty or when filled with tokens from your favorite wines.

 

Simple Halloween Decor Ideas

Ghost-Yard-StakesYour house doesn’t have to be a haunted mansion for Halloween — but it’s fun to show Halloween spirit when kids come trick-or-treating. Here are some simple Halloween decor ideas to use without having to go all out.

Yard Even if you don’t have a knack for Halloween decorating, you want your home to be welcoming to trick-or-treaters. Light the walkway to your porch — luminarias are beautiful yet spooky, but if you want the decor without the fire hazard, solar garden stakes work well, too. They don’t have to be Halloween themed — if you use simple lights, you can keep them up through the holidays to give your outdoor decor Christmas cheer.

If putting up headless horsemen or elaborate mummies is intimidating for you, or you don’t want to put in that much effort, consider putting in Halloween-themed yard stakes — they’re all of the Halloween fun and none-of the work.

pumpkin-planterPorch Pumpkins are the quintessential symbol of fall and Halloween, but you don’t have to go through the ritual of carving a pumpkin every Halloween to have a pumpkin on your porch for display. A seasonal display of ceramic pumpkin planters with your favorite fall plants and flowers dresses up your porch without all the seeds and goo that go along with jack-o-lanterns. Ghost bunting or even a Halloween flag or banner draped across the posts of your porch also add a simple and festive Halloween accent.

halloween-door-decorDoor On Halloween night, you’re going to be opening and closing the front door more than any other time of the year. You want it to be approachable for trick-or-treaters, but putting together a scary display is a lot of work for people who aren’t crafty. But you don’t have to be crafty for your door to look nice and festive. A fall wreath or a festive door greeter sends the message your house has Halloween spirit. If you don’t want to put anything directly on your door, holiday porch light covers illuminate your door to give it a festive touch.

pillar-candleIndoor Inside, give your home Halloween accents without transforming the decor by putting out few candles to give it a slightly haunting glow. If you light enough of them, it will look slightly spooky from the outside as well as the inside. If having open flames is a concern, you can get the same effect from LED candles. If candles don’t have quite enough Halloween flair for you, kick it up a notch — Halloween-themed table settings dress up the dining room while lighted Halloween canvas art bedazzles the wall.

It’s easy to make your house Halloween-ready with a few additions here and there without making the decor overwhelming. If you’re planning something more elaborate for a party we have more ideas to create a Halloween experience with food and decor. Whichever route you choose to fill your house with Halloween spirit, LTD Commodities has ideas and products to pull anything off.

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

We have reached the point in autumn where we can both look forward to Halloween and start planning for Christmas. Our values help you get ready for holiday entertaining and decorating, and they make sure your young superhero is properly dressed for a round of trick-or-treating. Here are our Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.

He can be 2 heroes in 1 with the Reversible Superman™/Batman™ Cape.

He can be 2 heroes in 1 with the Reversible Superman™/Batman™ Cape.

 

Take a room from simple to sophisticated by adding this 3-D Rosette Sherpa Throw.

Take a room from simple to sophisticated by adding this 3-D Rosette Sherpa Throw.

 

Light up the holidays with or without snow with The Light Flurries™ Outdoor Light Show.

Light up the holidays with or without snow with The Light Flurries™ Outdoor Light Show.

Each 88-Pc. Stainless Steel Flatware Set has service for 12!

Each 88-Pc. Stainless Steel Flatware Set has service for 12!

 

5 Ideas to Celebrate Frugal Fun Day

animal-coin-purseInternational Frugal Fun Day is October 4th! It is a day to remind us that the most entertaining things in life do not come with big price tags. The idea is simple: seek out activities that cost $5 or less. The first Saturday in October is a perfect day for a free stroll to see the fall leaves, a bike ride on a wooded trail, or a walk with your favorite furry friend. It also is a good time to shop for inexpensive gifts. Something small and cute is a wonderful way to let a person know you are thinking of them. Here are some of the best items from LTD Commodities to celebrate Frugal Fun Day.

Animal Coin Purses Coin purses are charming reminders of days before big, bulky wallets. These adorable versions feature animal faces. Each Animal Coin Purse has a kiss-lock closure that even young hands can manage.

Wine Cork Lamp Kit The best frugal gifts are the ones you make yourself. You can transform less than $5 worth of materials into something they will love for years to come. Take a favorite wine bottle and turn it into a lamp. Beads and string can be turned into a bracelet in less than an hour. Giving a little of your time and creativity is what International Frugal Fun Day is all about!

massage-ballPlantar Fasciitis Massage Balls A foot massage is an inexpensive delight that is easy to give. Our massage balls help soothe aching feet anytime and anywhere. Just roll a foot over the knobby ball, and the textured surface stretches and kneads its muscles and tendons. It is an easy way to get relief from plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and everyday foot pain.

Occupational Double-Walled Tumbler Sometimes, just saying “Thank you” is not enough. You want to give a professional in your life a small token of your gratitude. A double-walled tumbler is a fun gift that they can use every day. The bright graphics and thoughtful message make them even better.

star-candleholdersHanging Star Candleholders The best frugal finds are the ones that look expensive. These beautiful, 3-D star candleholders have the appearance of something from an upscale boutique. Since you can display it on the patio or indoors, it is a versatile piece of home décor. Add a tea light candle, or just let the colored glass glow in the natural light.

Whether it is International Frugal Fun Day or just time to start your holiday shopping, LTD Commodities has a wide variety of gifts that will not bust your budget. From bedding to pet toys, LTD has what you want at the price you need.

Pinteresting Picks for September

Autumn is finally here in full force, and our Pinterest followers already are in the Halloween spirit. They are sharing pins of some of LTD Commodities most popular harvest decor, as well as some fun ideas to make the indoors cozy and fun. Here are the Pinteresting Picks for September.

Bring your seasonal decor to the bathroom with this Halloween Witch Bath Ensemble.

Bring your seasonal decor to the bathroom with this Halloween Witch Bath Ensemble.

 

Admit your weakness for your four-legged friend with a Quilted Pet Throw or Shaped Pillow.

Admit your weakness for your four-legged friend with a Quilted Pet Throw or Shaped Pillow.

Make your bedroom or living space look crisp and delicious with a Bacon & Eggs Novelty Throw and Pillow.

Make your bedroom or living space look crisp and delicious with a Bacon & Eggs Novelty Throw and Pillow.

 

Make food preparation fun with these kitchen gadgets.

Make food preparation entertaining with these Fun Kitchen Gadgets.

Behind the Scenes: LTD’s Food Stylist

JasonAs LTD Commodities customers, you know we have a wide variety of products – from garden tools to Superman Socks – but you wouldn’t know what we have without great pictures. To make those pictures great, we have different stylists for different products and we have one stylist – Jason — who devotes his days to food. We stopped in behind the scenes at the photo studio to ask Jason a few questions about his work while he put together some Halloween-themed dishes.

LTD: How did you get into food styling?

Jason: I was a visual merchandiser for a retailer for many years where I was responsible for setting up scenes in my store to make shoppers want to buy items. I like to cook, so I used my visual background to take pictures of the food I make and it turned into a career.

LTD: What do you use to inspire you?

Jason: I use my favorite magazines to inspire me. There’s an Australian food magazine that I look at where the food photos are absolutely amazing. I strive to be as precise and creative as their stylists.

LTD: What is the most difficult part of food styling?

Jason:  Working with food that’s not camera-friendly is difficult. I have to make ingredients do what they’re not supposed to do. For example, I have to make whipped cream stay perfectly fluffy for the entire shoot when normally it would melt into the mug of hot chocolate it is sitting on top of.

JasonLTD: What are the three most important things to remember when styling?

Jason: 1. If it doesn’t work the first time, try again.

2. What I’m looking at is not what the camera sees. I have to style from the camera’s point of view, not mine.

3. Be open to other people’s suggestions; sometimes great ideas come from others’ input.

LTD:  Do you have a favorite product you styled for?

Jason:  I love styling for cookbooks because I can make the dishes in the book and that’s what I love doing at home.

JasonLTD: What is the most satisfying part of food styling?

Jason:   Those shots where after I see the finished product, I can say “wow, that makes me hungry.” That and seeing the smiles on coworkers faces when I get to serve them the food I just worked on.

We’re excited to be on Jason’s team — he makes great food look even better. Keep your eye out for his work — with the holidays coming up, he’s staying busy to show you our favorite holiday gifts.

5 Ideas for Easy Tailgating

It’s football season! That means the party is headed to the parking lot. Here are 5 ideas for easy tailgating.

tailgating

Image source: slgckgc via Flickr

Fan Frills Proper tailgating etiquette suggests you get to the designated parking lot early enough to find a parking spot. If you find a spot, that means you have several hours of time to eat, drink and play before the big game. Since you have a lot of time to kill before the game, make sure you are comfortable. Bring plenty of collapsible chairs for you and guests – both invited and for guests passing through the lot.  For dedicated fans, a tent or canopy is a luxury for when the sun is bright or the rain and snow aren’t accommodating outdoor entertaining. Blankets, sweatshirts, ponchos, umbrellas, and stadium seats are also must-haves in case the weather is not on your side for game day.

Fan Fun If you do it right, your party will last all day and because it’s a party, you need entertainment. Tailgaters are always up for a good parking lot game. “Bags” and a ring toss game are a must for younger tailgaters while older tailgaters might prefer card games or bocce ball.

tailgating

Image source: transplanted mountaineer via Flickr

Fan Fizz For drinks, keep it simple. Bring beer, limit the liquor and wine and keep the soda selection to a minimum. You can bring a lot, but you don’t have to bring everything. Label the coolers according to beverages so your guests don’t have to dig into a bin of ice packed with the wrong drinks. As a devoted fan, get in the spirit with spirits. Consider making a team themed drink to mix in a sealable container the night before the big game to make setup and dispensing easy.

Fan Fare Be aware of how much food you are bringing and how much table space you have. When you’re thinking of what you’re going to bring, consider exactly how you plan on serving it. If you’re having burgers and brats with chips from the grill you might only need cooking utensils not forks and spoons, but if you’re having pie for dessert, don’t let your guests eat it with their hands. A mini-grill is a must have for your meats, but don’t be afraid to get creative. Break out the cookbooks and come up with appetizers or side dish ideas that are a local tradition for your team – or even the opposing team. It’ll mix things up and make your tailgate party that much more fun. And, of course, do everything you can the night before – pack a condiment caddy, put together a container for burger toppings, marinate and skewer kebabs – so when you get up in the morning, all you have to do is put the coolers together and pack the car.

tailgating

Image Source: Illinoisstatehomecoming.com via Flickr

Fan Fundamentals There are bound to be mishaps at any party and a tailgate party is no different. Be prepared for anything – plenty of napkins, toilet paper, water, ice, fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit. There are likely emergency services at the stadium, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Tailgating is the sport to celebrate sports, but the season only comes around once a year; do it right and you’ll do your team proud.

Football Season Begins: 4 Man Cave Essentials

mancaveEveryone needs a place to call their own, and that includes the man of the house. The man cave creates a space where he can relax and do as he pleases without fear of interference from the ladies. It is a place where he can enjoy an adult beverage, yell at the TV, play games, and hang out with the guys. It can be the basement, attic, a rehabilitated office, or a shed. A man cave does not need to be fancy, but here are a few things a fully functional “mantuary” needs. Here are 4 man cave essentials.

mancaveSeating The main point of a man cave is to create a comfortable place to relax. That requires plenty of seating. No man cave is complete without at least one recliner. Nothing makes a guy feel like the master of his domain like putting his feet up. Take the recliner one step further with a reclining sofa or sectional that provides seating for visitors. If your man cave has a bar, stools are mandatory. Beanbag chairs are classics, and you can opt for sofa-sized ones or special designs that convert to guest beds.

Refrigeration Since no one wants to constantly run back and forth to the kitchen for drinks and snacks, the man cave needs a place to keep them chilled. It can be as simple as an old refrigerator or mini fridge appropriated for the room. If beer is your beverage of choice, try a fridge with a built-in tap . There even are appliances specifically designed to hold and cool a keg, as well as dispense beer. DIY kits help you convert a fridge to a drink dispenser. Keep your drinks and food even closer at hand with a coffee table with a built-in cooler.

Entertainment The crown jewel of any man cave is its entertainment system. Often, the entire point of establishing a man cave is to have a place to host game day parties or to watch favorite movies and TV shows. A flat screen TV, as large as you can afford and the room can hold, and a DVD player are absolute musts. Include a game console for days when nothing is on. Don’t forget tables and equipment for other pastimes, like pool, foosball, darts, and poker.

mancaveDécor The thing that really sets the man cave apart from the rest of the house is its décor. It is a spot where a man can escape from the pastels, floral prints, and matching furniture that fills most homes. A sign on or near the door should make it clear visitors are entering a male sanctuary. Look for one with the logo of your favorite team, or get a personalized one with your name. Beer-themed decorations are very popular, but do not limit yourself to that. Show off your sports memorabilia, or transform the space into a tribute to your favorite pop culture icons. Do not forget posters from your favorite movie. A man cave with an attached bathroom is the ultimate in luxury. If you are so blessed, make sure to extend the décor into the bath.

 

Cheese Pizza Day: 6 Tips for Homemade Pizza

cheese-pizzaMark your calendars: National Cheese Pizza Day is September 5th. There are few foods that can instantly put your smile on a face the way pizza does. It’s the food for all ages – young and old enjoy pizza in all shapes, temperatures and texture. Frozen, delivery or homemade, even when pizza is bad, it’s still pretty good. But, of course, when you’re making homemade pizza, you want it to be better than pretty good, so here are 6 tips for great homemade pizza.

Weigh it Baking is a science. All professional bakers measure ingredients by weight using a digital kitchen scale. Using a scale makes measuring more accurate and, in turn, more tasty. It’s not a must for making great pizza, but it certainly makes a difference. Besides, learning to measure opens up a new world of professional recipes you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

Plan Ahead Just about every pizza dough recipe you find requires it to be refrigerated overnight. When you’ve mixed together the yeast, water, salt, and flour, kneaded it and let it rise, it’s very tempting to skip the refrigeration step – don’t! Pizza dough ferments while it’s in the refrigerator. One night of fermentation is great, but three nights makes it super. This is how they do it in New Haven. If you’ve ever had New Haven apizza (that’s not a typo – that’s what they call it in New Haven), you’ve had some of the best pizza in the world.

cheese-pizzaRoll it Out In movies and TV shows you see people spinning and tossing pizza dough out over their heads to make a perfectly circular pie; what you don’t see is that it takes years of practice to make it look that easy. Tossing pizza dough is really hard. Don’t be ashamed of using a pin. It’ll make nice circles and it won’t take you years to do it.

Keep it Loose Professionals and serious pizza makers toss the dough, top it and slide it into the oven with the help of a pizza peel (like a big paddle) and a lot of semolina or cornmeal to make it loose so it doesn’t stick to the peel. To do that without everything falling off into your oven in one big lump also takes a lot of practice. But you can skip the practice and the equipment (unless you’re aiming for authentic). Parchment paper or bake mat work just fine to replace the cornmeal and the pizza peel. Roll your dough out on the paper, top it, carry it to the oven and lower it onto the pizza stone. Easy-peasy, pizza-cheesy.

cheese-pizzaKeep it Flat The best homemade pizzas are made with pizza stones, but you don’t have to have one to make a pizza good. Flip over a cookie sheet and use the bottom for your flat surface. Make sure you preheat the oven with the pan inside (as you would with a pizza stone) so it’s hot when you slide your pizza in. Alternatively, you can assemble it all in a cast iron skillet and bake it just like Pizza Hut.

Get it Hot! Turn your oven up as high as the temperature can go – most ovens won’t go much higher than 500°F. The dough has to be baked all the way through without burning the cheese on top. The high temperature for a short amount of time (10-15 minutes) allows the pizza crust to get crispy and the cheese just hot enough to bubble and melt.

Pizza is hard to make – which is why there are so many alternatives to making it at home. But eating a pizza you created yourself is way more satisfying than anything you can buy. Happy Cheese Pizza Day!

Pinteresting Picks for August

While the weather still is warm, there is no doubt that autumn is creeping into the air. Fall is a time of change, and our fans on Pinterest definitely have the transition from warm days outside to cool evenings indoors on their minds. They are thinking of cozy lounge wear, treasured artwork and more. Here are our Pinteresting Picks for August.

Stylish Women's Camo Cargo Sweatpants are cute and fun! They're great for everyday wear or a casual night out.

Stylish Women’s Camo Cargo Sweatpants are cute and fun! They’re great for everyday wear or a casual night out.

Forget magnets on the refrigerator and use Easy Change Artwork Frames to give your child's artwork the attention it deserves.

Forget magnets on the refrigerator and use Easy Change Artwork Frames to give your child’s artwork the attention it deserves.

Protect outdoor electrical connections for a holiday display or at a job site with a Set of 2 Extension Cord Safety Seals.

Protect outdoor electrical connections for a holiday display or at a job site with a Set of 2 Extension Cord Safety Seals.

Enjoy pleasant accent lighting with the timeless look of an Enduring Candle Jar.

Enjoy pleasant accent lighting with the timeless look of an Enduring Candle Jar.