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Archive for the ‘Shopping Experiences’ Category

Reversible Pocket Watch Necklace by EDM Designs

Wife of Mr. MadeinUSAblog here.  Having now fully caught the buy Made in USA bug too, I was faced with the dilemma of what to get my main man for his anniversary.  I went to my go-to website for gifts that are original and (mostly) Made in the USA, Etsy.com.  On Etsy, I found EDM Designs, an amazing jewelry designer who hand makes steampunk fashion jewelry (my husband’s latest interest).  EDM designs features re-purposed styles of fine watch pieces from the mid to late 1800’s and into the early 1940’s. The result is a stunning line of cufflinks, necklaces, pocket watches and more that are sure to be a conversation piece for anyone who wears one.  I chose the Reversible Pocket Watch Vintage Optical Lens necklace, recently photographed on Howie Mandel (although Howie had no bearing on my selection, I just really liked this one).

The search for an original, quality Made in USA gift was a success!  My husband loved the necklace.  I loved the personal communication I got from the seller and supporting an American artisan who is obviously very talented.

Here is a little more information about EDM Designs, as written by the artist/designer herself, Ricky Wolbrom:

You will find designs and jewelry pieces that touch the spirit of those with an appreciation for the lifestyle and old world adornments of the vintage eras. Influenced by my utmost respect for the brilliant and skilled craftmanship of vintage watch movements, master artisans of yesteryear hand created these intricate and fascinating little worlds of synchronicity and artistic beauty. To be able to repurpose them and allow these mini landscapes of art find new life in today’s times gives me tremendous pleasure.

I work hard to ensure the visual integrity of the vintage pieces being used. In many cases, such as many of our cufflinks, rings and necklaces, etc., our products are professionally soldered for pieces that are of the highest quality…. resulting in a finished product that is both hand made and visually stunning.

Check out all of the incredible, original creations of EDM designs, found on her Etsy shop here.

Reversible Pocket Watch Necklace in Action

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For my birthday, I just got the Allan Edmonds McTavish oxford wing tip pair of shoes in black with reddish accents.  I have gone without new dress shoes in a few years, owing to the scarcity of American-made dress shoes.  Allan Edmonds is the only large-scale maker of shoes that still manufactures their shoes in the US, that I am aware of (please comment if you know of others).  I had been saving up for this pair and my wife got them for me for my birthday on Zappos.com.

I am thrilled with the shoes.  They are not cheap ($295 on Zappos) but they are within the typical price range for quality Italian dress shoes.  There are certainly more expensive ones.  I really like the feel and thickness of the leather and the reddish accents.  These are very handsome shoes that go with either casual or business dress.  These are the sort of shoes you’ll keep for probably decades, as they can be refurbished by the manufacturer if you send them to Allan Edmonds.

I read about the shoes on AllanEdmonds.com.  They are made in Port Washington, Wisconsin, and it seems that they get at least some of their leather domestically from a factory in Chicago.  Below is a pic of my new shoes!

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I just got back from a trip to Yellowstone National Park.  It was amazing and my family couldn’t get enough of geysers, hot springs, buffalo, forests, and meadows.  How this relates to the blog, is that I frequented the gift shops at the inns (run by Xanterra, which also operates the parks’ hotels and restaurants) as well as the general stores (run by Delaware North).  I bought a made in USA Stetson American Buffalo Collection cowboy hat (see pics below) for $69.  Looking around in these stores, I noticed that there were whole sections devoted to made in USA goods, with prominent signs displayed.  Even so, probably 70-80% of the goods in the stores were imported, but it was nice to see an effort made to promote and set apart domestically produced goods.

This makes sense from a business standpoint for the shops.  There were gaggles of foreign tourists in Yellowstone, including a large measure of Chinese.  What Chinese tourist would want to bring back gifts from the US with the made in China sticker on them??  If you go to a foreign country, you want to bring back souvenirs and gifts that are peculiar to and produced in that country. I spoke with one of the salesladies at the Canyon Village general store and she told me that this trend was mainly in response to consumer demand.  Yes, that’s right – businesses listened to what we wanted and provided it.

So seize your economic power – demand American made goods from your retailers and wholesalers.  Vote with your pocketbook, like the Germans do!  Buy American and this country will be great once more!

By the way, I bought one of the travel mugs at the bottom, by whirleydrinkworks.com.  It was only $4.99 and appears to be quality-made! By the way, from a recent contact, here’s americanmugandstein.com, which is a domestic maker of coffee mugs and now supplies to Starbucks and was submitted by a reader.

Made in USA Products at Yellowstone National Park gift shop

Made in USA souvenir clothes in Yellowstone

Made in USA travel mugs!

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It’s getting close to that time of year again, when the fire works explode in the air and gatherings will be in someone’s backyard with ample Bar-B-Qued hamburgers and hot dogs.

I remember a long time ago there was one party that was the best.  We had our entire church group over to our house because it wasn’t illegal to shoot off the fire works and we had a big piece of land where we could have volley ball and games for the kids.  Of course the fun was to play volley ball with water balloons.  It was quite a tradition for a while.  We had people come from all around.  I had to just cross my fingers and toes while the guys managed the fireworks display.  I remember well my old boss, Jim, retired fire chief, shooting off something that goes straight up in the air.  Well, it went straight up alright, right up his front and skimming his nose as it went.  He looked a little awe struck and amazed.  I laughed until I almost fell on the ground.  I will never forget that one.  Many brought that desert that lit up our taste buds with “Ahs” and “M-m-m-m-m-ms”.  It was a party I will always remember and do every 4th.

At some hometown high there would be a fireworks display, put on by the fire department that astounded the imagination, but somehow, it wasn’t as much fun as we were having.  Someone would sing the Star-Spangled Banner at the beginning of the event or possibly the game that day and we would sing along and salute the flag.

My favorite thing to listen to this time of year is a recording of Red Skelton as he recited the Pledge of allegiance and then recounted his school teacher’s inspiring words, with bit of interpretation of its meaning for the kids.  It has almost become a tradition for us to listen to it every year.  Go here if you would like to listen to it, just copy and paste to the address:

See the following for my favorite Patriotic Hymn – America the Beautiful

I am just a plain ol’ American gal, but I can tell you that my hope for this great land is not plain, but higher than the highest mountain. I have my favorite politicians and speakers and great doers that leave great examples for us to follow but up ’til now I haven’t been out there much with my opinions.  You can take them or leave them but, at least for a while, I am going to try to show support to my fellow Americans who have been needing a hand to get back in the action of doing what they do best.

It has been a real education for me to go to various sites and see the successes that are happening with the Made In America spirit.  I’ve also seen a little  we-don’t-have-the-ability-to-produce-that-here attitude.  My history with this wonderful country tells me that I have seen and read about too many people who have said, “They told me I couldn’t do it, but I showed ’em I could.”  I’m looking for that kind of tenacity.  I know it’s there.  If we don’t have a plant or a factory that does what we need to do, than make the equipment that needs to be there.  There is nothing like when the underdog wins the game, or the unknown guy steps into the part and slays the audience.

I know with what ever knowledge is needed, it can be done.  For now I’ve started up a site that is all about Made in America clothing. It may be a small part but I know that if anyone makes American made apparel and hires out of work Americans for the shop or factory, they need for us to support them by shopping their sites and companies for our products.   If I can, I will have more sites that show everything made in America.  You can find me at heywhatsupamerica.com or e-mail me at sherry.heywhatsupamerica@gmail.com.

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Established in 1883, Lucchese Boots is an American company dedicated to quality, fit, and style. Every single Lucchese Classics, Lucchese 2000, and Lucchese 1883 boots are made 100% in the USA, from start to finish. There are over 120 steps in the boot making process at Lucchese and over 120 sets of hands touch each boot before it leaves the factory, which is located in El Paso, Texas. The boots are made from the finest grade leathers and constructed by human hands at virtually every step of their construction. In using the highest quality materials to craft each boot, Lucchese offers a comfort that is unmatched by lesser quality boots made off shore by machine. The cording is done by hand in over two dozen designs and they offer more than 100 stitching designs, some that are over 75 years old. Lucchese is a company that has been dedicated to employing Americans on American soil, and has done so since its beginning. In the words of Sam Lucchese, Jr., “The final truth is that throughout the whole boot factory, the quality chain is no stronger than its weakest link.” There is nothing more American than a cowboy boot and it is this commitment to quality that has kept Lucchese’s manufacturing process domestic since their inception in 1883.

Lucchese is also a proud supporter of the Military Warriors Support Foundation. MWSF provides funds for homes, counseling, jobs, and education for wounded veterans.

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I am lucky enough to live a quarter mile away from Aqua-Flo.  They’re a Southern California seller of irrigation equipment, drainage pipes, pond equipment, outdoor lighting, tools, and other supplies for landscaping.  I had always bought outdoor goods from Home Depot and was frequently dissatisfied both with the quality and the dearth of made in USA products there.  I had bought a drip irrigation kit at Home Depot and ended up throwing most of it out.  It was also not made in USA.

So one day, I was driving by Aqua-Flo and decided to check it out.  I thought it was a hydroponics supplier for marijuana shops, but I was wrong. There were aisles and aisles of pipes, hoses, valves, and drip irrigation gadgets of all sorts.  There were all sorts of made in USA landscape lights that I drooled over.  I had been recently converting most of my yard to drip irrigation from sprinklers, which is quite easy.  All you have to do is unscrew the riser and add a new 1/2 inch pipe with an octopus-like top from which 6 nozzles exit.  Onto these, 1/4 inch drip irrigation lines can be connected which end in whatever nozzle you choose.  I’ve been doing this gradually and it’s been quite fun but it also lets me take better care of my fruit trees with less work in the long run.  Practically all the supplies I’ve bought for this at Aqua-Flo are made in USA (I think all) and I’ve saved money over what I would have spent at Home Depot, since I would have had far fewer choices. I also enjoy being recognized when I go there.  They always ask me if I have an “account” with them, which I don’t, but they say, not to worry, since they see me a lot and give me their contractor pricing anyway.

I don’t know if Aqua-Flo does online sales.  I don’t see an online store on their website.  However, they may be a good resource for finding made in USA landscaping supplies.  Most of the stuff I see online when I do google searches is imported and cheap quality.  This is the kind of store – geared to professionals but willing to sell to the public, putting quality ahead of price but ending up with prices comparable to Chinese-made Home Depot crap.  I’m sure there are stores like this in your neck of the woods.

Here is their link: http://www.aquaflo.com/

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I recently had some success (I think) with buying American-made socks.  A recent google search for “made in usa mens dress socks” yielded the following ebay listing: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260977595759, offering “Foot First Made in USA” black socks.  I ordered this incredibly inexpensive set of socks (by any measure) and was pleased with the look, feel, and quality.  It seemed too good to be true, so I messaged the seller about it.  I had not been able to find anything about the Foot First company online.  The seller replied with, “Yes, they are made in the USA. They are made in Hickory, North Carolina. Thank you and have a good day.”  I have searched for this company again with the above information but still cannot find any listings on google or whitepages.com.  So I am still not sure of whether to believe the information.  If anyone has more information about this company, I would love to add it in the comments section.

Update 5/1/12:

Just had a chance to try on Ecosox, a made in USA sock from Ohio (Ecosox.com).  The unusual thing with these is that these are the first socks made from bamboo viscose.  They have a great smooth/silky feel and feel cooler on the feet than standard cotton athletic socks.  At an $4-6 per pair, these are quite inexpensive and compare favorably with similar socks made in China and sold in places like Target.  Highly recommend.  See photos below:

made in USA sport socksmade in usa athletic socks

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