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.

5 Back to School Organizing Tips

Back-to-schoolThe first week back at school is here and it’s hectic. No one is ever prepared for the chaos that comes with that first week. Take it easy and go with the flow with these back to school organizing tips.

Review Think back to the last school year and how mornings were carried out. Remember what worked and what didn’t work. Eliminate practices that slowed mornings down and improve the ones that helped move mornings along. Tailor new routines to fit personalities and habits of your growing children. They’re evolving, so their routines should evolve with them.

Back-to-schoolVisualize It Make a list of things for each person to do in the morning and a list for the evening. Most tasks will be repeated daily, so you don’t have to recreate lists every day, but you may have to add to them. Do it on a chalkboard or dry erase board so everyone can see what they’re responsible for. When you and your family follow what’s written on the agenda, it will be harder to miss something.

In Box, Out Box Next to your daily schedule, set aside a basket or box for school papers going to you – report cards, permission slips, etc. Look at it before you sit down to breakfast and make sure to sign or read everything before the day starts. It will save you the time and energy of looking for papers at the last minute when you’re rushing to get out the door.

Plan Ahead If there’s anything you and your children can do the night before, do it. Put cookies and chips in lunch bags, lay out clothes for the next day or set aside breakfast food and dishes for the morning. Set up everything so the only thing you have to do in the morning is execute the task. It will shave time off the morning routine and you’ll walk out the door a little less frazzled.

Back-to-schoolSchedule Schedules are the key for a smooth morning. For shared bathrooms, mornings can feel frantic. Allot each person a certain time when they can be in the bathroom for their morning mirror time. With set times, the risk of conflict is greatly reduced. Set a time for everyone to be at the breakfast table to eat and get lunches sorted. With everyone operating the morning machine, getting out the door and to school and work on time will become a habit.

Starting the day never feels as good as we want it to, but it doesn’t have to be crazy. Getting things sorted ahead of time with plenty of communication helps develop positive patterns to begin the school day and leads to a great school year.

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

Summer is almost done, but there still is time left to plan one last trip before the leaves fall.  Close up the house and grab the family for a weekend road trip, or head to the woods to bond over flickering electric candles and a crackling fire. Pack up and head out with our Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.

Aunty Acid is that grumpy old lady inside us all! This humorous travel mug says what you're thinking so you don't have to.

Aunty Acid is that grumpy old lady inside us all! This humorous travel mug says what you’re thinking so you don’t have to.

This Set of 6 LED Candles creates a realistic glow that's safe around kids and pets.

This Set of 6 LED Candles creates a realistic glow that’s safe around kids and pets

Air conditioners are expensive...do not let fall and winter conditions destroy them! These covers, designed to fit most window or central air units, prevent snow, ice and dirt from collecting and causing the compressor housing to rust.

Air conditioners are expensive…do not let fall and winter conditions destroy them! These covers, designed to fit most window or central air units, prevent snow, ice and dirt from collecting and causing the compressor housing to rust.

 

This comfortable fleece jacket will keep you warm on all your outdoor adventures. His and Hers Highland Timber Jackets feature woodsy camouflage detailing around the shoulder and collar that adds a fashionable touch to a basic fleece zip-up jacket.

This comfortable fleece jacket will keep you warm on all your outdoor adventures. His and Hers Highland Timber Jackets feature woodsy camouflage detailing around the shoulder and collar that adds a fashionable touch to a basic fleece zip-up jacket.

Set of 4 Wrap It Heavy-Duty Storage Straps is great for holding pipes, tubes, extension cords and more.

Set of 4 Wrap It Heavy-Duty Storage Straps is great for holding pipes, tubes, extension cords and more.

 

Vintage LTD: Office Essentials Replaced by the Smartphone

day-planner-2

Executive Organizer

 

At LTD Commodities, we try to bring you products to make your life easier for the best prices. But every gadget has to make way for something better and faster. Going through vintage LTD catalogs, we found some office essentials that have been replaced by the smartphone.

Brief-case

Expandable Attaché Case

Executive Organizer Remember when the “practical and stylish assistant” could only hold a notebook and addresses with color-coded tabs rather than a library of books, a music collection and access to newspapers around the world? I don’t want to remember that either. A smartphone can’t hold a pen, but it can hold dozens of apps promising to simplify your life.

Portfolio

Tapestry Attaché Case and Portfolio

Expandable Attaché Case Before passwords unlocked the start screens to secure the information on our laptops, we used combination locks (you had to spin them with your fingers!) to secure the contents of our briefcases. For the important executive, the handsome and indispensable Expandable Attaché Case adjusted its size according to how much work you carried to and from the office. If you had top secret documents, the dual locks kept your work extra safe. For the ladies, the tapestry attaché and portfolio allowed you to combine business with pleasure!

picture-cube

Magic Photo Cube

Magic Photo Cube In 1989, the Magic Photo Cube was the modern way to display family photos in the office. Six of your most cherished snapshots floated in the cube, gently rotating by the force of hidden magnets. But we’ve traded in the photo cube for the more modern personalized screensavers and wallpaper for your computer or smartphone.

Photo-library

Photo Bookcase

Photo Bookcase If you were someone who liked to keep your photos cataloged and filed, there was the photo bookcase. The four volume photo album and bookcase allowed you to keep 224 photos neatly tucked away in leather-like bound books on your office shelf rather than the 2,000,000 photos you have floating in your cloud storage.

Solar-calculator

Desk Top Calculator

Desk-Top Calculator The dual-powered Desk-Top Calculator has all the functions you needed in 1989 – addition, subtraction, multiplication, division – PLUS two desk stand pen holders with the option to use battery or solar power to run it!  For those with eye-sight challenges, the pop-up display and over-sized buttons made accounting easy on the eyes! It was a practical gift for the home, office or dorm. But now the calculator is a standard feature we take for granted on our smartphones.

Dictionary

Reference Library

Deluxe Desk Reference Library Before the modern convenience of dictionary.com, we had actual, tangible books to tell us the meaning of words, how to use them and what words have similar meanings. The New Webster’s Deluxe Desk Reference Library takes us back to a time when “at your fingertips” meant thumbing through pages rather than having all the information in the world returned to you with a simple query on a touch-screen.

Franklin-speller

Spellmaster

Spellmaster However, the Reference Library, paired with the Spellmaster could turn you into wordsmith. After all, the Spellmaster had all the power of a 128K computer. In that 6 ¼” machine (batteries included), you could learn how to spell words and play number and word games. Take that, iPhone 5s with your fancy camera, fingerprint identity sensor and access to the world all inside your 4 ¾”!

All of our products occupy a perfect corner in our history and we love to see how far we’ve come in the last 50 years. We continue our dedication to bring you great products at the best prices in the present and future.

 

Pinteresting Picks for July

July was a busy month here at LTD and, judging from our Pinterest boards, our pinners were busy, too! Here are our most Pinteresting Picks for July.

Protect your phone as it charges with this Deluxe Smartphone Charging Station. Designed for versatility, it has 3 standard outlets, so you can keep other appliances plugged in along with your charger, or charge up to 3 additional devices at once. Plus, there are 2 USB ports built into the station for phones and devices that require a USB adapter. The sides of the station pull out to cradle 2 phones or devices charging at the same time. Surge-protected charger means your phones and devices won't be damaged by sudden power surges or outages.

Protect your phone as it charges with this Deluxe Smartphone Charging Station. Designed for versatility, it has 3 standard outlets, so you can keep other appliances plugged in along with your charger, or charge up to 3 additional devices at once. Plus, there are 2 USB ports built into the station for phones and devices that require a USB adapter. The sides of the station pull out to cradle 2 phones or devices charging at the same time. Surge-protected charger means your phones and devices won’t be damaged by sudden power surges or outages.

easy-change-artwork-frames

Forget magnets on the refrigerator and use Easy Change Artwork Frames to give your child’s artwork the attention it deserves. These frames are specially sized to hold the standard sizes of artwork created at school or home. Each polystyrene-covered wooden frame also includes a 3/4″ deep compartment behind the picture to store approx. 50 more pictures.

USB-Chargers

Power up 2 devices at once with an XTREME® Dual Port USB Charger! It will charge any device that uses a USB cable (just provide your own cable). Recharge cell phones, smartphones, music players, e-readers and tablets–two at a time. The lightweight Car Charger creates 2 USB ports in any vehicle, and it connects to any standard car plug. Also, it’s safe to use your devices while they charge, making this ideal for a GPS. Has LED indicator light. The Home Charger plugs into any standard wall outlet. Its versatile connector rotates up to 180 degrees for easy use. Plastic and metal.

 

Redneck-Plunger

Turn an unpleasant task into comedy with The Redneck Plunger. Not only does it actually do the job, but it also makes realistic shotgun sounds when you pull the trigger. It stands on end like any other plunger. As they say, “if it’s brown, it’s down.” Makes a great gag gift!