Tag Archives: Outdoor Fireplaces

What George Washington Didn’t Know About 21st Century Civility

George Washington

George Washington.  The founder of our country, first president, and man whom we admire even today for his bravery and courage was also a stickler for polite manners.  In his Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation, he instructed readers not to sleep while someone is talking to you, touch yourself in public, or blow your nose at the dinner table.  All good rules of civility that still apply today.  Some of George’s ideas about behaviors to avoid are thankfully out of date, though.  Here are just a few:

  • George wrote: “Spit not in the Fire, nor Stoop low before it neither Put your Hands into the Flames to warm them, nor Set your Feet upon the Fire especially if there be meat before it.” 

I agree that spitting in the fire is gross, and you shouldn’t prop your feet up near a fire where people’s food is cooking, but thank goodness he’s wrong about putting your hands near the flames to warm them.  What else would one do on a cool evening when gathered with friends or family around the Outdoor Fireplace?  When hands are cold, and there is a deliciously warm fire nearby, the natural instinct is to put the two together.  Warm your hands, George!  No one will think less of you for doing so.

  • George wrote: “When you Sit down, Keep your Feet firm and Even, without putting one on the other or Crossing them.” 

Clearly, George did not own an ottoman or a lounge chair of any kind on which he could prop up his feet after a busy day running the country.  In fact, keeping one’s feet firm and even doesn’t even sound comfortable.  Perhaps a rule of this sort still survives in fancy living rooms and sitting rooms.  In outdoor living areas, though, kicking back and lounging around on comfortable Patio Furniture is the only acceptable behavior, even in company.

  • George wrote: “Make no Shew of taking great Delight in your Victuals.” 

Sorry, George.  Food is one of the greatest pleasures we have, which is why cooking shows and food channels are so popular.  To not delight in one’s food, especially when that food has been carefully and lovingly prepared by friends or family, would be rude.   When we can enjoy our meals cooked outdoors on a Gas or Charcoal Grill, the delicious food combined with the fresh air makes for an even more pleasurable eating experience.  If he could experience it himself, even George would agree that a few oohs, ahhs, and yums would be acceptable.

Sure, times change, and so do ideas about appropriate behavior.  It’s fun to read George’s long list of 17th century manners and discover what is still relevant.  Not surprisingly, much of what he has to say about personal comfort and how to behave with friends has changed dramatically.  Perhaps he’d be appalled if he could see us today.  Or, perhaps he would feel a renewed sense of freedom.  Go ahead, George, kick back, enjoy your meal, and be sure to warm your tootsies by the fire.

Outdoor Fireplace / Firehouse Cosabella 3 pc. Club Chair Chat Group Electric Grills and Smokers

One Hot Solution for Summer Staycations

Thanks to record-high fuel prices, many families are choosing to vacation at home this summer rather than spend hard-earned cash filling up the gas tank.  One of the most popular additions homeowners are bringing to their backyards to create an at-home vacation experience is a fire ring.

Fire RingFire rings are generally constructed of durable cast iron, and the most appealing ones come apart panel by panel so they can be stored away easily or transported from backyard to campsite.  A fire ring brings warmth to any outdoor setting, and it invites gatherings of friends and family to cozy up for marshmallow roasting, song singing, and story telling.  Some fire rings even come equipped with a cooking grate on which you can roast campfire fare like hot dogs, burgers, and potatoes.

Vacations at home don’t require much work or preparation, and they go a long way toward saving homeowners money.  Fire rings offer one solution for creating a summer “staycation” that’s affordable and memorable.

Unconventional Wedding Gifts for Royals and the Rest of Us!

Wedding Bands
Do you have royal wedding fever? Unless you are living under a rock, you know that England’s Prince William married his long time girlfriend Catherine Middleton today. The world was mesmerized by the magical event, focusing on everything from the vows to bridal fashion to the guests’ hats, which were pretty impressive. If you had been able to score an exclusive invite to the prestigious and historic event, what could you possible get a royal couple that has everything? Royalty often receives priceless jewels, shares of stock worth millions, generous donations to their favorite charities, and even a race horse (from the Aga Khan to Elizabeth II on her wedding day in 1947). Choosing a gift for the couple that has everything can be tough, even if they aren’t royals! Below is a list of nontraditional wedding gift ideas any bride and groom on their big day.

  • Charitable Donations: Follow Kate and Williams lead! Ask the couple which causes they support and make a donation in their honor. This gift will be sure to please the couple and help other people and organizations in need. Everyone wins!
  • Museum or Local Attraction Memberships: Does the couple enjoy art and culture? Do they attend concert or plays often? Consider getting them a year long membership to an organization that they will love. Animal lovers might love a year round pass to the local zoo. Theater buffs will certainly enjoy a season of tickets at the local playhouse. Art lovers? The local museum. The options here are limitless. If you know the couple’s hobbies, you can certainly find a membership in their area to fit.
  • Patio Furniture and other outdoor living items: Many guests will bring plates, silverware, and household items. Maybe you should shift gears and look for something for the outside of their home. Patio furniture is something that most couples will enjoy, but might not think about when registering. They will certainly be able to enjoy your gift for many years to come, when cash and gift cards have long been used. Outdoor fireplaces are both luxurious and practical. They are a great addition to any new home. Outdoor grills will give the couple a fun alternative to indoor cooking and will surely get you invited over for future cookouts! Fountains, statues, and water features might also be perfect for your friends or family getting married.
  • Anything Personalized: Anything personalized, including a custom painting from portrait of the couple, monogrammed bath robes, and framed photo collages will show the couple that you avoided the traditional generic gifts. If you pick something especially for them, they will recognize the love and thought that went into choosing a gift for their special day.

Did you receive any unusual or unique wedding gifts on your big day? Have you given a wedding gift that was different, but wonderful?

Wedding Gifts

Fire Pits a Popular Trend for 2011

Fire Pits

Fire pits are expected to be one of the most popular landscape additions this year, according to the 2011 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Residential Trends Survey.  Fire pits are functional and versatile, offering warmth, ambiance, and elegant good looks.  Homeowners who wish to update their outdoor spaces should consider this not-so-obvious option.

Fire pits can be custom-built, but the high cost of custom can be prohibitive for many homeowners.  Instead, a portable fire pit that serves as the focal point for an outdoor seating area offers just as much impact.  Portable fire pits come in a variety of styles and materials, so finding one that suits a particular taste shouldn’t be difficult.  Whether winter or summer, fire pits make an attractive and useful addition to any outdoor living space.

Create Your Own Spring Warm Up with Outdoor Fireplaces

Outdoor Fireplaces

Waiting for spring to arrive seems especially difficult at this late point in winter.  The longing to spend well-deserved time relaxing and enjoying fresh spring air on the backyard patio or deck makes the wait even more unbearable.  While you can’t make warmer weather come any faster, you can get outside sooner and begin to take advantage of the comforts of your outdoor spaces.  One way to make this happen is with an outdoor fireplace.

Outdoor fireplaces allow homeowners to get outside when the weather is still quite cool.  Many models offer 360 degree heat so that family members and friends can sit on any side of the fireplace and still feel the comfortable warmth.  Outdoor fireplaces burn wood and pressed wood logs, adding that cozy feel of a campfire to patios and decks.  When spring finally does arrive bringing warmer days, the outdoor fireplace comes in handy when cooler night time temperatures still threaten to force you back indoors.

Enjoying the fresh air and your outdoor living spaces is possible even now when the cold seems unlikely to break anytime soon.  Outdoor fireplaces offer one easy solution to the problem of staying adequately warm outdoors, and they can dramatically reduce the cabin fever that intensifies as winter progresses.