Monday, December 12, 2011

Gone to the Dogs

It is no secret that we here at Traditions Home are dog lovers.

Currently, we are at three and holding. There are the Queen's dog, Lizzie, a Welsh Corgie; Sammy, the loyal German Shephard; and Toby, the Wonder Dog, as in, "I wonder what kind of dog he is?" dog. Actually, he is part Jack Russell Terrier, part Australian Shepherd, and a little Mountain Cur, which all adds up to a bundle of energy and a load of fun.

Dogs, what's not to love about them?

Our store reflects our love of animals and especially dogs.

In addition to the occasional canine visitor who comes in for a bowl of water and a dog treat, there are many wonderful decorative items that give into the love that most of us possess for our pets. These include art work, whimsical plaques, pillows to throw at your pet, when he or she is bad, and a porcelain dog or two to set around and guard the place. And if you are a cat lover, then there is also a place here for you.

What is our favorite item? Well, that's like asking me what is my favorite dog. To that I refuse to give an answer, for each dog has its own special attributes.

Dog Wisdom

As for dog wisdom, I like Dave Barry's remark:

"You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, `My God, you're RIGHT! I NEVER would've thought of that!'"

True thoughts, Dave might continue, are best expressed in devotion, not words.

Last Sunday I went for a walk in the country with my dogs. Through field and stream, I walked, they ran. For the very first time we came across an Armadillo. If you have never seen an Armadillo - nature's little tank. The dogs were as confused as the Armadillo by this first meeting. But, eventually, after a sniff here and there and even a bark by the dogs, the Armadillo slowly scampered down his hole. The fun was over.

We were gone for four hours and nary a cross word was said between us. Try that with a spouse or a relative.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Santa's got a Secret

Thanksgiving may be over, and there's a mad to get the best buys.

Well, Santa's got a little secret. The best in home furnishings and holiday decorations comes from Traditions Home at Douglas in Hillside in College Hill.

Traditions carries Stickley, Century, Hancock and Moore, Vanguard, Sherrill, Paul Roberts, Highland House - the best American manufacturers of case-goods and upholstery.

But did you know? Traditions also has the area's largest selection of fine art, lamps, home furnishings, and accessories. Looking for Santa? At Traditions you'll find Santas galore and Frosty too. There are reindeer and angels, in colors of red, green, and gold.

Oh, and one last little secret. Traditions is now on Facebook. Join us today and get all the latest updates on what is new and exciting at Traditions Home, in Wichita and Overland Park.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fancam - We are Likeable

We are all likeable, aren't we?

Come into Traditions Home this week during our Holiday Open House and register with our new Fancam to get a chance to win a $300 gift certificate.

It is simple. Find one of your favorite things in the store. Find the camera. Take your picture, and if you are the most likeable, then Traditions Home will give you a $300 gift certificate.

Sorry, you have to be on Facebook to participate. Don't want to Facebook, don't blame you, but you can still sign up to receive Traditions Home's occasional emails that will keep you up to date with what is happening.

Fancam Santa
Pictures will be posted to Traditions Home on Facebook. There you will have the opportunity to see your friends and their favorite things. And be sure and vote for those you like best.

As for Traditions, we like our friends best.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kick Off Party

Oh, the weather outside is a little frightful, but inside Traditions Home it's delightful. And there is really no place else to go.

Join us Thursday evening for fun and food. We've saved the decorations for you to see. It's an extravaganza that you don't dare miss.

Parking in the rear next to Santa's sleigh.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall Open House

This week and though October 15th come into Traditions Home to see the newest in decorating ideas for the fall. While you are at it, enjoy 25% off any one accessory.

Traditions has the area's largest assortment of fine art, lamps, florals, and even items that will scare the "beejeebers" out of you.

If all this is a little too scary, then you will enjoy the Stickley Fall in Love Sale going on thru the month of October. Enjoy savings of 40% off all Stickley and discover $100 of select items.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Kings of Leon

At least 20 of the kings of Spain are buried here in the Bascilica of Leon in the heart of the province Castile-Leon. Yes, once they were two separate kingdoms, but such was the significance of the two kingdoms as a power base, that by the 13th century, they were combined into one governing unit. Think Ferdinand of Ferdinand and Isabel and you will underestand. Today, the city of Madrid overshadows the ancient capital of Leon.

Leon's cathedral is better known for its dramatic stain glass windows. In scope and size they rival those of the cathedral of Chartres in France.

The church is one of the stops for the pilgrims of St. James.

Here is a teaser of the interior with more to come.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Falling Behind

The End of the World

Since my last article, Ozzie has traveled to the end of the world. Well, not literally, but figuratively. Figuratively because the Spanish have chosen to name this rock Finistere, which means End of Land. One can imagine Christopher Columbus in 1492 sailing away to an unknown world and wondering if the trip was one way.

Ozzie and his friend are staying in the small fishing village of Portosin on Spain's western coast. The road along the coast winds up and down through the hills that provide a bulwark against the Atlantic storms that rage in the winter. Fortunately, it is summer. The sky is blue and the air is clean with a scent of fish and salt. In Portosin, each and everyday, excepting weekends and holidays, in Portosin, the fishermen bring in their catch from the sea. They work on boats that are perhaps 30 to 40 feet in length with crews of five or six. The catch is often anchovies. It is a fish perhaps five or six inches in length. The anchovies are quickly put on ice and loaded onto trucks for the market. These salty fish make a great dinner or snack.

Ozzie prefers the quiet of the villages to the bustling action of the cities. In Portosin, one can walk along the beaches and watch the seagulls pick among the debris left on the sand for their morning meal. Occasionally, one meets a Spaniard out for a walk, but it is not often. Here the water is cold and the currents dangerous.

Two days of relaxing in Portosin and Ozzie is on the road again. This time headed back to Santiago de Compostela, then east along the Camino Santiago, or Way of St. James. This is an historically significant route that since the Middle Ages has been a pilgrimage for the devoted. Pilgrims would walk from all over Europe to pay homage to the shrine of St. James in Santiago de Compostela's cathedral. During the Middle Ages, it is estimated that a half million devoted Christians made the journey each year. The number today is not quite as high, but it is still remarkable in this day and age to see the young and old walking along the old route.

Next, our journey took us to the northern Atlantic and along the coast to Luarca. For awhile, we strayed from the highway to join the dvout on sideways on their journey to Santiago. This was the first time that I have heard English spoken, when chance brought us together with two ladies from South Africa. Their husbands stayed home; they were making the jaunt together, a trip they said covered 20 to 26 kilometers a day.

From the seaport of Luarca in Cantabria, we travelled to the province of Astruria. Ozzie drove up into the Picos de Europa and onto the town of Covadunga. Here in 722, Pelagius (Pelayo) defeated an army of Moors and kept a Christian kingdom in northern Spain from which the Reconquista would eventually be launched. The drive through these mountains is spectacular, all the more so as they rise steeply only a few miles from the coast line. The steep hillsides have, like Switzerland, small farms where cattle and sheep graze on the hillsides.

Asturia, is that where John Jacob Astor gets his name from?

A week passes by...

Sometimes, I have internet, sometimes I don't. Traveling on the road is not always conducive to good writing habits.


We leave Pots and Pans behind for a trip across the top of the Picos de Europa.The route takes up to Riano through winding roads and deep valleys. Ranchers let their cattle feed on the hill side grass giving the impression of Switzerland. Finally, I understand what the triangular road sign is with the cow means. A Spaniard, his wife and dog are driving the cattle down the mountain road.

There is little traffic to mar the view, but the trip is slow. After 30 minutes, the beauty is worn thin by the need to pay attention to the cutbacks on the road.

A night in Leon - the cathedral is spectacular. Its stain glass windows rival those of Chartres. Stayed at the Hotel Eurostar, near the El Cortes Ingles.


A short drive to Benavente is about all we can take after the harrowing drive through the mountains. The drive is only 90 kilometers so we arrive early and take a break. Staying at the Hostal Universal, just off the main square. For that reason, as we will discover later that night, the party goers keep up their revelry til midnight and the trucks roll by at all hours of the night.

The city is quintessentially Spanish to me. By that I mean that the shops shut tight from 2 until 4 in the afternoon, dinner is not served until 8, and Spaniards come out in the evening to walk about. Ozzie wonders when is prime time tv in Spain?


A trip to Zamora is worth it just for the visit to the cathedral of Zamora. There one finds one of Europe's greatest collections of tapestries. My camera is full of pictures from the tapestries alone. The cathedral itself has a beautiful tiled dome. The interior is rich in art work and paintings.

By the end of the day, Ozzie finds himself in Tordesillas. It is a hot dusty town, a way station on the path to larger cities. Staying at the Hostel El Pardo.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Traveling in Portugal

Just a note to remind myself where I have been for the last week. Starting off in Toledo, it was west to Caceres and Merida. From Merida, it was into Portugal, staying first at Coimbra, site of one of Portugal's most important univerisites. Then, on to Aveiro for a little "R & R" on the beach. Aveiro is a pretty town with canals that the Portuguese liken to Venice. The canals are not as extensive as Venice's, but they are a nice centerpiece to the ancient downtown. Aveiro also hosts many beautiful churches, including the Catedral Se and Miseriacordia. The Miseriacordia especially uses tiles in both its exterior and interior decorations.

By Wednesday, we were ready to drive north through Porto and onto Braga, a religious center for all of Portugal. The Portuguese say that they play in Lisabon, work in Porto, and pray in Braga. The disrepair of many of the buildings in Braga suggests to me that the Bragans should pray a little less and work a little mor. Still, a visit to the Dom do Jesu with its beautiful view of Braga from the top of a hillside and the stariway that leads up to the church is inspiring.

Eventually, we stayed the night in Guimaraes, birthplace to the nation of Portugal. The massive castle inside the city is where, in the 12th century, Porutgal's first king, Alfonso Henriques rose to power. Again, there are many beautiful churches to view and a historic city center to wander.

Next it is onto Santiago in Spain's remote northern province of Galatia.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Put a Cork in It

The next time you think about pulling a cork out of a bottle of wine, think about this.

1. Half of all corks used come from Portugal - some 70 million corks a day.
2. Dom Perignon, the champagne making monk, started the trend of using the odorless cork as a stopper in the 17th century.
3. Cork is peeled off an oak tree, called Quercus suber.
4. After it has been stripped from the tree, cork takes ten years to grow back.
5. The tree grows naturally in the wild, but is cultivated in large tracts on rugged hillsides.

The cork is environmentally friendly. Trees planted are carbon neutral, labor employed keeps the Portuguese happy, and then, there is nothing like pulling a cork and hearing the pop.

Can't put the cork back in the bottle? Solution - drink the entire bottle.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Top Ten Things to Remember in Having a Good Time in Spain

1. Speak Spanish - hablas Espanol. The Spanish do, so should you.
2. Stay out late - after 8 is when the tourists go to bed and the Spaniards come out.
3. Try the menu del dia. For 10 euros each, we had a three course meal with a full bottle of wine. Try doing  that at Yia Yias.
4. Look for out of the way places. You will be surprised to find quaint but beautiful cities everywhere in Spain. Sure, the big cities are famous, but the small cities have their own flavor - like the flavors of a gelato store.
5. Get out of the car and walk, or better yet, go for a run.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day One - Toledo

Holy Toledo.

Toledo is capital of the province of Castille-La Mancha. It is a short 45 minute drive from the airport at Madrid and along the route one sees the outline of a large steel bull, symbol of the province. With a little effort, one can also find the windmills that Don Quixote famously tilted at.

The city of Toledo is a World Heritage site, a must stop for any visitor to Spain. A short list of things to see and do must include the narrow winding streets of the city, its many cathedrals and churches which are home to paintings by el Greco, the Alcazar, and the view of the River Tagus. Just as engaging are the visits to the local shops which specialize in anything steel, which is what Toledo was famous for. While swords and steel suits are not necessarily the primary means of defense today, they still adorn many homes.

Since my last trip to Toledo, I had forgotten the sweet flavor of Marzapan, which is a specialty of the many pastry shops. But by far the favorite pastime of the hard working citizens of Toledo is to sit in a local cafe and sip a beer or a glass of the local wine.

Plan to stay in the city and be a part of the night life. You can drive, but remember the streets are tortuously narrow, but exciting. Be careful and retract your rear view mirrors or risk a scrape. Park in a garage and pay the 15 euros a day. Bring a Garmin to find your way or plan to get lost a lot.

My choice of hotels is the Hotel Eurico, a stones throw from the main cathedral in the city center. It is also convienient to the church of St. Tome, home of el Greco's famous painting, the Burial of Count Orgaz. The hotel is small and I consider this a plus as the service is friendly. The decor is a blend of the medieval and the modern. The rooms are cool, a must after a day in the hot Castillian sun. The beds are short, but firm and comfortable.

The city can be walked in a day, but you really need to stay for two or three to experience it all. And remember that the social life in Spain does not begin until after eight.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


What is a Doppelgänger?

In common parlance, doppelganger has come to mean a "look alike" or "double". In German, the word literally means twice happening.

So, why is Traditions having a doppelganger sale this Labor Day Weekend? It is because our Overland Park location still has the Stickley Truckload Sale going on at 7911 Metcalf; and, because Stickley is offering a special Labor Day Sale of 45% off any special order in store.

What is not to like? Twice the opportunity to save. There are still some great buys on our Truckload items at last year's prices, but if you were waiting for that special piece, whether it is a Stickley sofa or chair, or whatever, buy it now and save big.

The Labor Day Sale ends Tuesday, so come in now and enjoy. Closed Sunday, open Monday, Labor Day.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Morris Bow Arm Recliner

The Morris Bow Arm Recliner

William Morris (1834 - 1896) was one of the leading architects of the English Arts and Crafts Movement. Gustav Stickley (1858 -1942), the father of American Arts and Crafts acknowledged his indebtedness to Morris' ideals and concepts.

It was William Morris who deserves credit as the father of all reclining chairs by inserting pegs into a chair frame allowing the back to recline.

But it was Gustav Stickley who redesigned the chair making it both functional and beautiful. Gracefully curve the arm of the chair to conform to the contour of the body. Utilize quarter-sawn oak with its natural flaking pattern. Apply varnish and lacquer to highlight the unique grain pattern. Employ mortise and tenon joinery that strengthens the construction and demonstrates the talent of the craftsman who built the chair.

Gustav Stickley first produced the Morris chair in 1904. Over the years there have been many imitators, but none have surpassed the quality and beauty of the Stickley Morris chair. Today, that tradition of craftsmanship and attention to detail continues in the company still called Stickley Furniture, located in Manlius, upstate New York.

Tsuba Chair

Over the years, Stickley Furniture has continued to innovate and refine both its style and method of production to improve on quality and design. One innovation has been the adaption of the Bow Arm Recliner to the style of Stickley's Pasadena Bungalow Collection.

Let's talk value.

Here is one of Gustav Stickley’s most famous designs - the Bow Arm Morris Chair,  made by Gustav Stickley from 1901 to 1916 and still made today by the L. & J.G. STICKLEY of Manlius , New, York. The arched arms, pluralized by the arch along the seat apron gave this chair a little more sensitivity than Stickley’s straight lined recliners. How do you put a price on comfort and styling?

Discover what Sotheby's sold an original Bow Arm Morris Recliner for in 2010 by visiting Stickley's Antique of the Week Archive.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Strolling in Montpellier


Montpellier is perhaps better known to American school children as the capital of the state of Vermont. French children would beg to differ, and I would say, "Vive la différence!"

Montpellier is capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, located along the southern coast of France and facing the Mediterranean with its blue waters. Montpellier has a long tradition as a university city a distant relative to two medieval universities. Montpellier University. More than a quarter of Montpellier's 260.000 inhabitants are students.

We say, "Summer in France" - the French, "été en France". Either way, it is a time for vacation for students and others. Strolling in Montpellier by Hovely, evokes the sultry air of southern France and the quaint streets of Montpellior, even if it sizzles. 

And, if you can't get there for now, you can imagine the charm of the city and its cafes by purchasing this beautiful print at Traditions Furniture. C'est tres jolie.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Life is a balancing act between work and family, between family and friends, between self and others. If we lean one way too far then we loose our balance, our way in the world.

The only way to keep from falling is to focus, to put one step in front of the other, eyes straight ahead. No worrying about kids when you are working, no worrying about work when you are with your kids. Spend time with the kids doing what they like to do, but relax with friends making adult conversation and sharing thoughts that matter. And sometimes, it is necessary to get away from it all and work on self improvement. Read a book, exercise, take a trip, whatever recharges the mental batteries and keeps the motor running.

When we choose the name Traditions for the store, we had in mind the musical Fiddler on the Roof. At the heart of Fiddler on the Roof is the theme that life is a balancing act like that of a fiddler on the roof. The opening song Tradition itself refers to the precariousness of life against which tradition is our guide. But the story is also about new traditions, new ways of doing things, and our attitude toward this process can be deceptively tricky to pin down. So, take a deep breath and place the next foot in front of the other.

And how do we keep our balance? Traditions.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It takes Someone Special to be a Dad

Older now, I reflect back on my time with Dad.

From birth to the age of ten, I really needed him. Whether it was baseball and biking or books and homework, Dad was there to teach and show me the way. From 10 to 20 years, I would occasionally check in with him. My friends suddenly became a bigger part of my life and time spent with Dad was a second here and there.  From 20 to 30 years, I thought I knew everything and Dad was a phone call on weekends or a card on birthdays and holidays. From 30 to 40 years, I too became a Father. Then again, I saw my Father as a friend whose advice and wisdom I needed again. Maybe, I have finally grown up!

There are many quotes about fatherhood, but the one I like best is by Australian born photographer, Anne Geddes.

"Any man can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a Dad."

 Although my Dad is no longer with me, I can still see him sitting in his chair at the end of a long day at work. I hear his voice when I speak to my own son and try to be the father my father was to me. I feel his spirit when from the closet I take out the hat he used to wear and put it on my own head. I know that he is not far away.

Father's Day celebrates all that Dad has done. So, for all those caring Dads out there who dedicate their time, give love beyond measure, and sacrifice endlessly in the hope of creating happiness for someone else – Relax and Happy Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tent Sale Through This Saturday, June 10th

Seeming far far far away, all the noise in my ear gets louder as if quite near; now sitting, thinking thoughts that mingle with dreams, of hills far away and their cool, cool, cool streams.

Sometimes, one needs to clear out the cob webs. And by cob webs, I mean the clutter that crowds in and confuses the mind with thoughts that really don't matter. So, it is nice to get a fresh start and wake up to something new and exciting.

Traditions Home is finishing its Tent Sale this week. We are clearing out the cob webs. No not old and dusty, but items that are slightly damaged, or items that have been around a little too long. And our wish to bring in the new is your advantage as we are selling all Yellow Tag items at great discounts.

Find us on Facebook.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1971 Congress, with the passage of the National Holiday Act, established a three day weekend by making Memorial Day the last Monday in May.

While Memorial Day is dedicated to remembering those who have died serving the nation in war, it is only fitting that this weekend serve to remind us that tragedy makes all of us Americans.A shared sacrifice is an American value.

The tornado in Joplin last week devastated an area six miles long and up to three-fourths of a mile across. There are over 120 dead and hundreds still missing. The tornado was indiscriminate in its destruction. Along with hundreds of homes and dozens of businesses, it struck a hospital and three churches. The tragic stories of love ones pulled out of cars or from the arms of a mother fill us with heartache. Missouri Governor Nixon said: "You almost felt like you were walking on the hallowed ground of a battlefield. ... We are going to battle back."

On Sunday President Obama plans to visit Joplin. No doubt he will remind us of the many natural tragedies that have occurred recently.  These include other tornadoes in Reading, Kansas and in Oklahoma, along with the masive flood waters of the Mississippi. In a memorial service on Sunday, the President will recognize the significance of the loss in Joplin but also make plans to move forward. We are a resilient nation. Memorial Day reminds us of that.

This Memorial Day many Americans are spending the weekend helping out fellow Americans. You too can honor Memorial Day and help.

CNN - How to help Joplin, tornado victims.

KAKE - Find out how you can help Reading, Kansas.

Memorial Day has many other traditions - flying the flag, visiting the cemetery, simply remembering loved ones, wearing a poppy flower as a buttoneer, and yes, even the Memorial Day cook-out are all symbols that as a people we honor our traditions. Be American, take time off, come together, honor others on Memorial Day.

Monday, May 16, 2011

42nd Symphony Designers' Showhouse

The 2011, 42nd Symphony Designers' Showhouse in Kansas City viewing ends May 22nd.

This 1912 English-style limestone home is located at 1000 Westover Road, just off  Ward Parkway, north of the famous Kansas City Plaza. The house features an Italian-tiled roof, large veranda and sun room, along with its 6 bedrooms. In additions to its noticeable English style, one sees a colonnaded front porch reminiscent of Greek architecture, Gothic influences in the three front gables, and the influence of the English and American Arts and Crafts Movement its straight forward construction and attention to landscape.

More than 30 designers and the volunteer staff of the Kansas City Symphony Alliance are involved in making the 2011 showhouse truly beautiful. Traditions Furniture is proud to be a part of this effort having done the Formal Entry and Library.

Stickley Furniture's 18th century Hepplewhite Collection greets the guest in the entry. This mahogany sideboard is the epitome of the Hepplewhite style, a design that is slender, curvilinear and rich in detail. This includes the serpentine bow front drawers in crotch mahogany and serpentine cupboard doors also in crotch mahogany. Drawers and doors both have double maple inlay that provide balance and contrast.

Facing the sideboard is an arrangement of Sid Dickens Memory Blocks. The arrangement represent the several motifs of the house, that includes music and the appreciation of nature through landscaping and design. Sid Dickens Memory Blocks are hand crafted, made with attentions to detail, and truly unique.

From the entry one enters the piano room, and then into the library. The placement of the room to the east of the home gives an impression of  light and airiness. French doors and over-scaled windows along all of the exterior walls add light to the room and allow the visitor to enjoy the beauty of the garden to the outside.

The library is long and narrow, but within the room are multiple study areas. Near to the entry is a Stickley writing desk in quarter-sawn oak. Quarter-sawn oak was used by Gustav Stickley in his furniture because of the beauty of its pattern as well as the durability of the native American oak. Decorating the desk are Stickley accessories and pottery by Door Pottery. Adjacent to the desk is the Leopold Leather Chair designed by Leopold Stickley, brother of Gustav. The lighting includes Tiffany style lamps by Quoizel. To the right of the desk is a Stickley Mica Newel Post.

The far end of the room features a built in cabinet with decorative accessories that befit a library, books, Door Pottery, and picture frames to record the moments of our lives. An upholstered sofa and chair by Stickley provide a sitting area where the affairs of the day can be discussed.

There are of course many other beautiful rooms in the showhouse. And the many great designers have added their own unique perspective on style. Like the flowers of Spring, creativity is blooming at the 42nd Symphony Designers' Showhouse.

Tickets are $15 at the door. Come and support a good cause, the Kansas City Symphony.