would you buy the ‘murder house’?


The murders are fictional, but if you’re watching American Horror Story, the fact that the series’ ill-historied house is for sale in real life might give you pause. According to this Hollywood Reporter article, the house’s magnificent (Tiffany glass, multiple tiled fireplaces) and creepy (a very questionable basement) features are the real deal: the pilot was shot on location and the house painstakingly replicated for the rest of the season. I’m not even going to ask if the place comes with a maid. — Mary T.

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cataloguing the holidays: retro renovation helps us buy american


Well, I think my holiday shopping may finally be drawing to a close: if I can’t find something worth buying from the more than EIGHT THOUSAND made-in-America holiday gifts that Retro Renovation’s Pam has hunted down, I think I’ll have to officially give up this year! Okay, Pam concedes that she hasn’t literally listed more than 8,000 gifts, but she has provided enough links to American-made goods that readers could find that many if they really try. So think locally (as far as the planet goes) and check out the enlightening list here. — Mary T.

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our favorite no-fail hostess gifts: part 1

We asked Shelterrific’s amazing contributors to tell us the one hostess gift they always go to during the holidays. Here’s their picks!

Sarah Lyons: Doggie treats

Holidays can be stressful for our canine friends, with all the hustle and bustle and new people in the house. While I never forgo a bottle of wine for human hosts, for the canines in the home, I love to pick up gourmet doggie treats. As an added bonus, it keeps guests from feeding Fido party food. Always a good thing. — Sarah L.

Sarah Christensen: Slate cheese board

It may be having the best year ever as far as hostess gifts go, but even mainstream popularity doesn’t dissuade me from reaching for a slate cheese board every night the clock strikes party time. Available in red or black, the natural slate slabs are a chic way to display cheese and other nibbles on the holiday table. Each comes packaged in a cute burlap bag equipped with chalk for labeling by the savviest of hostesses. $28 for the 10” x 14” at Brooklynslate.com.

Mary Sheely: Tea infuser

I love getting a small tin of tea from Tuscan Tea Room, a local West Seattle shop. They aren’t selling online yet (but plan to), so think local and visit your nearby tea shop for tiny, colorful tins of yummy flavors. (I love Tuscan Tea Room’s creme brulee.) I usually sweeten the deal with a tea infuser as well, so my hostess has no excuse to not try the tea! I like this one by Tovolo a lot (and it comes with a built-in stand).

From our partners

cataloguing the holidays: fred flare, garnet hill, fishs eddy


Okay, the holiday stress is getting to me, so I’m spending even more time online wondering, “Would my mom like that? Would my father-in-law use this?” I am a subscriber to “It’s the thought that counts,” so I try to get gifts that really fit a personality or are things that I remember that person talking about liking. Fred Flare has some fun stuff that isn’t bank-breaking, great for small gifts or to round out a mail-home package — most of these are listed as top sellers for good reason.

A log pillow is a perennial favorite that looks cute at Christmas or year-round, depending on how woodsy or how hip your gift recipient may be. If you know someone with a fireplace that’s inoperable, how cool would two log pillows look in there? Just $18.

My sister-in-law received Wreck This Journal from her family one year, and it was a huge hit. We helped her “wreck it” with some scribbles and comments on certain pages, so it became both a fun party game and a souvenir of the night. Fun gift from kids to parents or vice versa!

Now on to Garnet Hill, where I scored big points one year by purchasing oh-so-soft flannel sheets, $30-120, for my mom who is always cold! She still loves them.

For some useful charm, I love the shape and colors of this Bauer pottery, $13-88.

And that pottery got me thinking about Fishs Eddy, where the first thing to catch my eye was this four-glass “In Crowd” set of glasses, $16, with illustrations by cartoonist Roz Chast. If you have a friend with a New Yorker subscription, she would recognize these dopey folks in a heartbeat. And looky here: there’s an entire section devoted to Roz Chast’s work!

For the colorful modernist, how about some glassware with fish illustrations by Charley Harper? This Little Fish bowl is awfully cute, and just under $9.


Really stumped? How about something small, odd, and memorable from the Tchotchkes? Come on, this Chrysler Building lantern is amazing — but also pricey at $65. So how about a whole array of Lady Figurines, about $5 each? Instant collection that would look pretty on a bathroom windowsill. — Mary T.

Journal image via Destructive Therapy.

From our partners

cataloguing the holidays: uncommon goods


So first it seems like the holiday advertising is all too early, and then we go straight to “It’s right around the corner!!!” I haven’t exactly been shopping like mad, but I sure have been browsing online for presents. My most recent stop was Uncommon Goods, where there’s always a colorful array of super-affordable gifts. This year, the delightfully sleek-looking iPhone Alarm Dock, $40, caught my eye. With a simple, modern design that doubles as a docking station, this is just a tiny bit brilliant, no? Could be great for a certain husband who finally broke down and bought an iPhone that is now attached to him night and day.

Funny thing is, the husband himself pointed out this Face Mug, $18, to me. With that built-in cookie hole, it’s also pretty clever. Think I’m being gently nagged to provide more treats?

And now, of course, for the person who has (or is that wants?) everything: me. First, these crocheted headphones,$38, look comfy for those work days I need to block out the office chatter.

This Open Sesame! Password Reminder Book, $13, would also come in handy — I probably have 2,000 emails in my archives from different websites where I have had to reset my password.

Finally, the both of us in my house could use these luggage tags, $10, for our frequent travels to visit family. If only we could get a whole set that read “Nothing worth stealing in here.” — Mary T.

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