American Spoon has been in the business of making artisinal fruit preserves for nearly three decades. While many commercial manufacturers pump their jellies and jams full of sweeteners, American Spoon makes every effort to use as little sugar as necessary to create a fruit-forward product while preserving the natural flavors that often get lost in big batch production. Based in Petosky, Michigan, American Spoon is ideally positioned to tap into a wealth of locally harvested fruits. Despite its picturesque locale—a quaint Main Street American town on the northern shores of Lake Michigan—the region can feel rather remote. Company co-founder Justin Rashid comments about his home, “There are two things you need to bring with you when you move to Petosky—a job and a wife.†Having left New York City in the late 70s with the aim of harvesting the region’s bountiful produce, Justin fulfilled the first prerequisite quite readily by supplying foraged foods to New York Chef Larry Forgione. With Larry’s brunch business in full swing, it wasn’t long before Justin found himself making preserves from Michigan fruits. What sets American Spoon apart is their ethos. “We’re in the business of selling authenticity,†Justin declared. Authenticity means not only making natural preserves, but preserving varietals through strategic partnerships with regional farmers. While national distribution dictates the need for more hardy (read: less flavorful) fruits, American Spoon works with farmers to save heirloom varieties like its Red Haven Peach Preserves ($8 / 9.5 oz.) that might otherwise be lost from cultivation. American Spoon is one of the last companies to hand-peel this fragile fruit, known as a “melting flesh†peach variety. Despite the intensive labor, it yields an extremely succulent preserve loaded with large fleshy chunks. The Wild Thimbleberry Jam ($17 / 9 oz.) is another delicious and rare product. Found only in some of the most remote regions of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the thimbleberry is similar in resemblance to a raspberry, however it bruises far more easily, making it unsuitable for mass cultivation. If the fruit falls to the ground, it's all but lost from the damage. Foragers can only pick a couple pounds in twice as many hours but the rewards are an incredibly aromatic jam, punctuated by the thimbleberry's miniscule, nutty seeds. For breakfast, we'd recommend using this jam in a crèpe. Every American Spoon store—there are six in Michigan—features a tasting counter where customers are encouraged to both sample every product available and learn about its history. Look for our inclusion of American Spoon gift boxes in this year's upcoming holiday gift guide. American Spoon can be purchased online, through mail order or at gourmet retailers such as Dean & Deluca in New York or Surfas in Culver City.

Baxter “Flammable” Candles

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Baxter of California, a premium men's grooming line, are heating things up just in time for Father's Day. "Flammable" is a new series of scented candles and Baxter's first foray into the realm of home fragrance. For Baxter's president, Jean-Pierre Mastey, this was a perfectly logical step. He explains, "our sophisticated consumers perceive Baxter as a lifestyle brand that already goes beyond basic grooming". We love "Flammable" because it represents a striking olfactory take on how men should represent themselves in their environment. "Flammable" appeals to Baxter's targeted male consumer but its scents are anything but limited to their olfactory palette. The first three scents in the series are described as "dark and mysterious floral scents paired with bright citrus". My personal favorite is "Jasmin Noir." With notes of grapefruit and white jasmine blossom it is the lightest and cleanest smelling candle of the series. Each nine-ounce luxury candle (burn time roughly 70 hours) will be sold individually with a custom designed matchbox for $45 at Baxter starting this weekend. Also on Cool Hunting: Baxter of California.

Cube Alarm Clock

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Get a mental kick start from the moment you open your eyes in the morning with this alarm clock inspired by the classic puzzler. After it wakes you up, the cube clock becomes a treasure trove of knowledge—a bodhisattva of data, if you will. By twisting the cube you will gain access to boundless jewels of wisdom including the time, the date or even the current temperature. The '80s cube clock is three x three inches, so it's small enough to throw into your drawer while cold lampin' with your homies so they don't call you McFly for having a Rubik's cube. But then again, it's big enough to be conveniently displayed on your bedside table to impress the betties with a subtle yet bodacious sign of your trippendicular intellect. Twist it the right way and it might just show you the meaning of life. It's $22 from Fled Flare.

Capitalist Pig Chalkboard Piggy Bank

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by Mat Lyon Had too much of the collapsing world economy? Fear not, the Capitalist Pig will help you aim for brighter days. Floundering savers can stay focused by listing or drawing object(s) of desire on the blackboard surface of the bank. Don’t think this is a one-off investment, this little piggy will encourage saving time and time again as it features a removable stopper so you can put the hammer down and gorge on the fruits of your savings without mindless piggy-based destruction. Value for money doesn’t stop there, this piece of wonder comes with four sticks of chalk. It's £13 from Giftlab.

Penhaligon’s Luxury Crackers

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For a truly fabulous way to ring in the New Year, Penhaligon's crackers feature a surprise that far outdoes the usual plastic tchotchke fare. The esteemed British purveyor of grooming products hides a small leather notebook, keychain or other gift (as well as a New Year's resolution) inside a package tied with sumptuous red velvet bows. A set of six is £90 from Penhaligon's or $180 from London's Bathecary. Also on Cool Hunting: Angry Christmas Crackers

2007 Gift Guide: Last-Minute Gifts

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With precious few shopping days left before Christmas, holiday panic is almost palpable. We've highlighted several selections from our 2007 Gift Guide that are still available for delivery by 24 December 2007. Giftable For those with an insatiable curiosity, plug the EyeClops Bionic Eye into your TV to see objects blown up to 200x their size. It's available through Wednesday, 19 December 2007. The Mix Tape USB Drive is perfect for music lovers who have nostalgia for mix tapes but would rather create them using today's technology. Edible These delicious chocolates from John & Kira's can be ordered through 3pm EST Wednesday, 19 December 2007 (free upgrade to two-day express shipping). The lovely Hand-Pressed Chocolate Ornaments from Garnet Hill are available for next day and two-day shipping. As a gift that keeps on giving, the Cheese of the Month Club subscription sort of lets you off the hook if you don't have an actual wrapped bundle at gift-swapping time. An appropriate card notifying the recipient of the their forthcoming fromage should make quite an impression. Dean and Deluca's test-tube Spice Rack is available for next-day delivery. Readable Books make great gifts for everyone. For non-readers, consider it a charitable act in increasing literacy (even if they only end up appreciating its decorative qualities). Our 2007 Gift Guide has a great selection of books that are still available for one-day shipping. Great for technology-lovers, Core Memory profiles 35 vintage computers including the Eniac, Crays 1 3, Apple I and II. Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds comes packaged in a handsome briefcase with a velvet lining and a combination lock. For both dandies and the sartorially-challenged, theABC of Men's Fashion features information all aspects of men's fashion. Designer Mike Perry's Hand Job: A Catalog of Type makes a great resource for designers and typographers. For the kids on your list, The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Daring Book for Girls offer advice and activities to keep modern kids busy and creative and both are getting rave reviews. Wearable

Ige Design

Bird Cage Mobile

$65

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$65 width=”100″ height=”100″ /> $65 Bird Cage Mobile Adding Victorian flair, these Birdcage Mobiles are like having “a pet without the mess.” They’re laser cut from museum board so they’ll last longer than a pet too. The birdcage is $65 from Ige Design. The stand (sold separately) is $65. width=”300″ height=”300″ /> Bird Cage Mobile Adding Victorian flair, these Birdcage Mobiles are like having “a pet without the mess.” They’re laser cut from museum board so they’ll last longer than a pet too. The birdcage is $65 from Ige Design. The stand (sold separately) is $65. Adding Victorian flair, these Birdcage Mobiles are like having “a pet without the mess.” They’re laser cut from museum board so they’ll last longer than a pet too.

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Petrossian

Hot Chocolate-on-a-Stick

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$18 width=”100″ height=”100″ /> $18 Hot Chocolate-on-a-Stick Besting Swiss Miss by a long shot, Petrossian’s hot chocolate-on-a-stick is a cube of premium dark Belgian chocolate that makes for a delicious winter treat when stirred into a cup of hot milk (or, for the truly decadent, cream). Available in dark or hazelnut, a box of six run $18 from Petrossian. width=”300″ height=”300″ /> Hot Chocolate-on-a-Stick Besting Swiss Miss by a long shot, Petrossian’s hot chocolate-on-a-stick is a cube of premium dark Belgian chocolate that makes for a delicious winter treat when stirred into a cup of hot milk (or, for the truly decadent, cream). Available in dark or hazelnut, a box of six run $18 from Petrossian. Besting Swiss Miss by a long shot, Petrossian’s hot chocolate-on-a-stick is a cube of premium dark Belgian chocolate that makes for a delicious winter treat when stirred into a cup of hot milk (or, for the truly decadent, cream).

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2007 Gift Guide: CH Exclusive Discounts

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There is no doubt that holiday shopping is taxing on the wallet. Luckily, a few Cool Hunting friends offered up a few discounts in our Gift Guide. Every little bit helps, no? 429429 Life makes the softest t-shirts around and recently they've started a more comprehensive line including sweaters, henleys and hoodies. Featuring nice cuts with small details, they are always imminently wearable. Order strategically as the sizes run a bit small. Enter CH07 at checkout to get a 30% discount. BehanceBehance Action Pads are a must-have for any creative professional. Strategically designed to maximize organization resulting in increased productivity, they are the perfect stocking stuffer for OCD types or anyone that likes to make a list. Watchismo Watches Our long time friend Watchismo has quite the watch collection. From the oldest vintage pieces to new and futuristic models, he probably has it. If he doesn't I bet he could find it for you and the re-released LIP line will wow any mod out there. For the first time, he's giving readers a special discount from his own collection. Just mention Cool Hunting at checkout for a 10% discount

Action Journal

Action Journal

$17

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$6+ width=”100″ height=”100″ /> $6+ Behance Notebooks The Behance Action line of products helps productivity by strategically spacing out and separating aspects of the creative thought process on paper. Featuring suede like covers which add durability and comfort, they are the perfect notebook for any creative professional. Available from Behance starting at $6. width=”300″ height=”300″ /> Behance Notebooks The Behance Action line of products helps productivity by strategically spacing out and separating aspects of the creative thought process on paper. Featuring suede like covers which add durability and comfort, they are the perfect notebook for any creative professional. Available from Behance starting at $6. The Behance Action line of products helps productivity by strategically spacing out and separating aspects of the creative thought process on paper. Featuring suede like covers which add durability and comfort, they are the perfect notebook for any creative professional.

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Angry Christmas Crackers

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The Ireland-based design company Angry have created their own take on the traditional Christmas cracker. Each cracker contains materials to create a felt hat, which come in several colors can be customized using the included scissors. Also included within the crackers are jokes written by Angry's own Mike Ahern and one inch pins that say phrases like " Turkey Please" "One More Sprout" and "Pass the Pepper" intended to ease the flow of conversation while your mouth is full. Available in a set of six for €25 plus shipping from Angry. Also on Cool Hunting: Angry Celebrity Weighing Scales

Arbor Day Foundation

Gift Trees

$3

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$3 width=”100″ height=”100″ /> $3 Gift Trees From the Arbor Day Foundation are gift trees, a plantable bestowal that can be enjoyed for generations to come. Packaged in a recyclable tube that doubles as a bird feeder, gift trees are available in Redwood, Pine and Spruce. Available from the Arbor Day Foundation for $3. width=”300″ height=”300″ /> Gift Trees From the Arbor Day Foundation are gift trees, a plantable bestowal that can be enjoyed for generations to come. Packaged in a recyclable tube that doubles as a bird feeder, gift trees are available in Redwood, Pine and Spruce. Available from the Arbor Day Foundation for $3. From the Arbor Day Foundation are gift trees, a plantable bestowal that can be enjoyed for generations to come. Packaged in a recyclable tube that doubles as a bird feeder, gift trees are available in Redwood, Pine and Spruce.

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John Alderman

Core Memory: A Visual Survey of Vintage Computers

$23

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$23 width=”100″ height=”100″ /> $23 Core Memory: A Visual Survey of Vintage Computers 100 striking photographs chronicle 35 vintage computers housed at the Computer History Museum in the Silicon Valley for a book that’s as visually compelling as it is informative. Core Memory by Dag Spicer profiles 35 vintage computers including the Eniac, Crays 1 3, Apple I and II. The book features over 100 color photographs by John Alderman. Available from Amazon for $23. width=”300″ height=”300″ /> Core Memory: A Visual Survey of Vintage Computers 100 striking photographs chronicle 35 vintage computers housed at the Computer History Museum in the Silicon Valley for a book that’s as visually compelling as it is informative. Core Memory by Dag Spicer profiles 35 vintage computers including the Eniac, Crays 1 3, Apple I and II. The book features over 100 color photographs by John Alderman. Available from Amazon for $23. 100 striking photographs chronicle 35 vintage computers housed at the Computer History Museum in the Silicon Valley for a book that’s as visually compelling as it is informative.

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Agelio Batle

Graphite Writing Sculptures

$48

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$36+ width=”100″ height=”100″ /> $36+ Graphite Writing Sculptures These diligently carved graphite writing sculptures are created by San Francisco artist Agelio Batle. Inspired by woodland beauty, the sculptures can be used like a pencil without rubbing off on your hands. Available from Shop Handmade, the olive branch is $40 and the twisting leaf is $48. width=”300″ height=”300″ /> Graphite Writing Sculptures These diligently carved graphite writing sculptures are created by San Francisco artist Agelio Batle. Inspired by woodland beauty, the sculptures can be used like a pencil without rubbing off on your hands. Available from Shop Handmade, the olive branch is $40 and the twisting leaf is $48. These diligently carved graphite writing sculptures are created by San Francisco artist Agelio Batle. Inspired by woodland beauty, the sculptures can be used like a pencil without rubbing off on your hands.

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2007 Gift Guide: The Lush List

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With shopping crowds, dysfunctional families and Seasonal Affective Disorder (not to mention joy, etc.), there are plenty of reasons to drink during the holiday season. Reward your favorite drunk with a gift related to the age-old pastime. From robots (for those too lazy to pour their own beer) to a surrealist bottle of champagne, there's something for every kind of alcoholic. Below are four of our favorites. (Like our gift guide as a whole, we'll be updating The Lush List daily, so be sure to check back.) Asahi Beerbot Westerners train dogs to do things for them, Easterners would rather make robots. If you're too lazy to get off the couch, the Asahi beerbot is a must. Not only does it refrigerate a six-pack, it also pours them for you at the touch of a button. You can even program a custom voice. Your new best friend. Viktor & Rolf x Piper-Heidsieck Upside Down ChampagneWe really want to try and pull out that huge cork in the Upside down Champagne by Victor & Rolf x Piper-Heidsieck. We're also wondering how well it balances on that narrow base. Oh, and we hope the champagne tastes good too, that is, if you open the bottle. Daiginjyou Sake GlassThe beautifully designed Daiginjyou Sake Glass adds a modern twist to a Japanese classic, adding what looks like an inverted water droplet into the bottom of the glass. The simple touch lends modern elegance that makes this glass literally good to the last drop. Twist Cocktail ShakerNot only is the helix-inspired Twist easier to grip than your average shaker, it's also a lot more easy on the eyes. With thermal-retentive metal designed to chill your drinks and a built in strainer, the Twist Cocktail Shaker might just be the best looking thing at the bar.

SuckUK

Mix Tape USB Drive

$32

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$13 width=”100″ height=”100″ /> $13 Mix Tape USB Drive Nostalgic packaging and today’s technology. Make your special someone a mix tape without any of the hassle but with all the love. Available from Insound for $13. width=”300″ height=”300″ /> Mix Tape USB Drive Nostalgic packaging and today’s technology. Make your special someone a mix tape without any of the hassle but with all the love. Available from Insound for $13. Nostalgic packaging and today’s technology. Make your special someone a mix tape without any of the hassle but with all the love.

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