19 December 2010

( cd's place: rock and roll's delicious rumble with breakfast, lunch, & dinner )

cd's place: rock and roll's delicious rumble with breakfast, lunch, & dinner
by amy strauss

nearly everyone resembles regulars at boyertown's cd's place—whether you casually waltz in for brunch, or if you are embracing your obsession with above-par diner food displays. the small town café, peeking from a corner of north reading avenue, comfortingly resides in one of three once-notorious “cup” ice cream stops assembled in berks and montgomery counties in the early 1940s. however, if you speed indoors, the illusion of a soda, milk-heavy spot is shattered—but only for something better.

chris dietz, owner & chef of cd's place, unleashed his breakfast, lunch, and dinner café to the local dining scene eight years ago, come february, offering closeby empty stomachs simple, comfort cuisine that doesn't cut corners to affect the integrity of his food. from slapping fresh, never frozen slabs of beef and scrapple on his flat-top, to preparing his own 20-ingredient rub for his jerk chicken, dietz tackles all the eatery's tasty concoctions himself, all while socializing and talking shop in an always-booming dining room.

confessing that he knows over 90 percent of his everyday clientele, the local haunt also celebrates other small businesses doing simple stints, including supporting bally-based butter valley harvest, which provides the owner with fresh produce, even through winter. while he regularly trots specials that do include locally-produced goods, the standard cd's place menu marvels in some of the area's best brunch bites, including the generously-sized jamaican omelet that packs the new hanover-native's jerk chicken cozily aside sautéed onions and the dutch-inspired three-egg beauty, the country-style potato, and onion roundup.

the jamaican – a jerk chicken omelet with fried onions
photographs by amy strauss ) 

of course, dietz would be amiss to omit appropriate accompaniments for your morning platters, including his crinkled cottage fries, homefries, all necessary meats (bacon, scrapple, etc.), toasts and, if you live in hungry man's delight, short flapjack stacks, and even full stacks, done in regular, blueberry, or chocolate chip. his endless array of fresh, from-scratch soups, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and baskets will please all variations of personal taste preferences, and we hear that his “slaw dog,” made with mustard, onion, and the namesake, is a favorite amongst many.

just an eye-scoop of the interior of cd’s place 
photographs by amy strauss )

( owner & chef chris dietz socializes with one of his regulars, kevin house
photograph by amy strauss ) 

the mouth-watering, guilty pleasured lineup is what keep patrons repetitively revisiting, but the dining room flooded with memorabilia from dietz's other obsession—music—is what keeps cd's cushioned on being named one of the best decorated hub's in town. with black-and-white photograph-lined tabletops sourced from his own album collection, ticket stubs, concert posters, musical instruments situated on the walls, and even, a rock-and-roll mural painted by his daughter, aleah dietz, the whole eye-catching package of the past “cup” shop is successful in being a necessary, must-visit addition to the borough of boyertown.

find cd's place at 237 north reading avenue or online at www.cdsplace.com (he does catering, too).

hours of operation are as follows—tuesday & wednesday, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.; thursday & friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.; saturday,  7 a.m. – 2 p.m.; sunday, 8 a.m. – noon.

( freebie alert ! comment below to enter for a chance to win a $20.00 gift certificate from cd’s place. please include your e-mail address in the comment. this contest ends sunday, the 26th of december. good luck !)

13 December 2010

( fair trade is made with bamboula )

( fair trade is made with bamboula )
by jennifer hetrick

a fair trade treasure tucked along the one-way strip of west walnut street in kutztown, bamboula limited became a part of the berks county community a decade ago.

proprietor jasperdean kobes relocated bamboula from new york city in 2000, buying it from the previous owner in 1989.

bamboula's name has many links of possible meanings by definition, but one worth giving attention is that it is a bantu word for celebration, which fittingly describes the feel of the shop’s space and supply.

the wide variety of home furnishings kobes houses in her storefront originate from ghana, kenya, mali, tanzania, and uganda.

kobes initially gravitated toward learning about the cultures of african countries when she was a young girl, later teaching in ethiopia with the peace corps after graduating from high school.

since taking over bamboula, kobes has traveled throughout africa several times a year to meet the artisans whose handmade goods she buys, having the inventory then shipped to pennsylvania.

a large number of the artisans kobes visits have virtually little to no income to support themselves and their families, so her fair trade purchases make a huge impact on their livelihood.

while kobes specializes in mostly wholesale distribution, she also keeps the storefront open for retail sales during the week.

with her bringing one-of-a-kind, handcrafted creations back to the united states and selling them to shops throughout nearby counties and in her kutztown location, the final sales of course mean that people millions of miles away from africa are helping to boost quality of living for individuals they've never met, hearkening to humanistic endeavors.

kobes carries sustainably made baskets and bags boasting function-first, a wide variety of home décor, and luckily for the little ones, plenty of toys.

from oversized replica spiders made out of pinched bottle lids, to animals and buses made out of recycled flip flops that find their way along the kenyan coast in gratitude of whipping waves, the toys bamboula sells not only merry many a mood with each eventual retail purchase but are in part supporting incomes of talented artisans who are limited in resources in their home countries.

recycling glass from bottles to make beads for bracelets and necklaces is becoming popular and has been for a while in ghana, kobes said. but some glassmakers have also recently rechanneled their skills by coming up with a line of home accessories fashioned out of recycled glass, with metal.

kobes said she noticed a trend taking hold of less and less wood products, now with much of what she buys crafted from sustainable materials, exposing parallelism with the healthily green hype of today.

bamboula's next open house for the month is thursday, december 16 from 4 - 8 p.m., including refreshments.

to find out more about bamboula's hand-across-the-globe efforts, visit them online at www.bamboulaltd.com.

( freebie alert ! comment below to enter for a chance to win a set of three sisal fiber angel ornaments from bamboula limited. see them below ! please include your e-mail address in the comment. this contest ends sunday, december 19th. good luck !)

12 December 2010

news, not blues donated a book of pennsylvania dutch translations of poetry by writers in our area to the boyertown community library !

as promised in news, not blues volume nine, we donated a book of pennsylvania dutch translations of poetry, by local poets, to the boyertown community library. this book came together with clay on main's poetry mural in oley.

check out this book in the library to get a taste of the flavors of minds of the writers whose poems are in this book. its theme is home.

our next donated poetry book will be given to the library in january of the math of next year !

01 December 2010

( notable neighbors -- james levengood )

( notable neighbors -- james levengood )
by jennifer hetrick

boyertown borough resident james levengood easily titles himself a collector of antique toys, as he has a handful of rooms dedicated to the mood-perking artifacts of past childhood playtimes.

his pursuit in quest of toys from decades and sometimes a century away from this one began 30 years ago, starting with an interest in train sets. in the early 1980s, levengood shifted into appreciation for other kinds of old toys besides the ones meant for following the way of their wheels out on pieces of track.

with his collection continually growing, levengood finally sold a few dozen train sets and individual pieces at an auction hosted a few years ago at ridge fire company in spring city because he wanted to make room for more antique toys in his home. the masses of train pieces sold within just a few hours.

as a regular auction-goer, levengood travels to lancaster county most sundays to check out what’s up for bid at morphy’s auctions.

“they all had their niche,” levengood said about toymakers from the early part of the 20th century.

many of the pieces decorating one full room of toys in levengood’s home are cast-iron carriages and wagons of police and fire patrols, and circus trailers, most with horses at the reins. 

one ornamental figure in this relic of a room reaches close to the ceiling—a studio size steiff giraffe. steiff plush toys originate from germany, and levengood suspects his tall african-inspired creature dates back to the 1930s or 1940s.

levengood also has an assortment of steiff plush animals of ordinary size, fitting easily into tiny or adult grips and palms.

in the tune of mingling education and play, levengood has a laura mae play school and also a crandall school play set, the latter complete with even a dunce student among his fellow wooden classmates.

noah’s ark, aged boats, an erector airship, fabric children’s books, and an oversized store display pencil hanging from a wooden beam in his main floor toy room are just a hint of the samplings of reminders of childhood nostalgia from when toy making happened largely in the u.s. and at the hands of people more often than just machines.

in the past, levengood’s home has been on the boyertown open house tour in winter, as his wide range of antique toys are a sight all their own worth a tiny museum status.

to keep in line with the healthily filled upstairs room of toystoystoys, levengood’s basement is tucked to the brim with a whole other mishmash of games and play sets.

the space includes a humpty dumpty circus, cast-iron doorstops in the shape of dogs in a range of breeds, a miniature washing machine, replica shops and homes, with quite a few gas station platforms, an of course red-painted coke bottle machine, vehicles of all shapes, sizes, and purposes, posters, and catchy-themed advertisements.

a small collection of powdered grey-blue cast-iron hubley motorcycles showcasing the slogan say it with flowers, with a clockwork mechanism per vehicle, sits close to the steps to the upstairs. the motorcycles were made between 1925 and 1935.

as a member of the antique toy collectors of america, levengood often travels to conventions to eye-scoop toys he’s never seen.

“the search” to try to find specific toys is what levengood said he finds most gravitating about collecting the persuasion of his favorite type of antiques.


do you know of notable neighbors where you live 
and think they’d be quite worthy of an introduction 
to the community through 
news, not blues ? e-mail us soon ! 

28 November 2010

tara honey just won a baby boulder !

congratulations to tara honey ! she just won a baby boulder kindly donated for this contest by scott hetrick of hetrick gardens.

it's nice to win a rock sometimes !

our next contest will be up tomorrow, monday. stay tuned ! it's another good one-- another worthy of winning kind of freebie.

21 November 2010

win a baby boulder !

up for grabs this week in our latest contest is a miniature boulder donated as a prize from scott hetrick of hetrick gardens.

comment below to enter for a chance to win this sweet little rock ! please include your e-mail address in the comment. this contest ends sunday, the 28th of november. good luck !

sue hughes won clay time at clayote !

congratulations to sue hughes who just won a free raku clay session at clayote

boyertown's own clayote kindly donated this freebie of the week. 

stay tuned for the next contest ! 

17 November 2010

( teacher brings art professionals into her classroom )

teacher brings art professionals into her classroom
by jennifer hetrick

during art class time slots at boyertown junior high west, students in stephanie stamm's classes are often lucky enough for the opportunity to meet local professional artists, as their teacher presses on the importance of exploring career options shortly following elementary school days.

stamm has taught art at the junior high for a decade now. early in her history, the counseling department sponsored a career week in which varying types of professionals from the community were brought in to help students survey some of their own potential future occupations.   

when this tradition died out, stamm made sure to keep it going by bringing into her classroom between five and 10 working artists of differing fields per year from the surrounding community.

her students beam of enthusiasm when the speakers tell them about the details of what they do, which leads stamm to continually search for new breeds of artists to introduce to her classes.

this past september, stamm invited freelance cartoonist alan macbain into her advanced two dimensional art classes, which consisted of approximately 30 students.

( photograph courtesy of stephanie stamm 
with credits to aaron jenkins )

macbain freelances his cartoon sketches to different newspapers in the area and lives in collegeville. 

among many other figures, he draws superheroes, animals, musicians, and other famous people.

stamm’s students asked macbain a good handful of questions including how he comes up with ideas for his final cartoons and how he started into his artistic pursuit many years ago.

in october, she had taste buds going happily haywire with cake cravings when she introduced mary dice of dice's creative cakes to her students. they gawked over a 30 pound tub of icing and excitedly tested out shaping their own roses on the cake of the hour.

( photographs by stephanie stamm )

dice explained how when she first delved into pastry arts and cake decorating, one task might take her a full 60 minutes, and now with her skills well practiced, she could do the same work in just 10 minutes. 

stamm said dice makes about 70 cakes per week and also manages to prep sticky buns for sale.

“she demonstrated how you combine colors and color theory,” stamm said about dice who kindly let the students have their cake and eat it too.

“it's neat when they come in to show their work and explain what they do,” stamm said about the visiting artists. “the kids really love that.”

former art teacher at the junior high, arlene christ, recently visited stamm's classes and talked about her involvement with the pottstown carousel and local art goes to school programs.

in the past, stamm has introduced danielle fisher of boyertown's clayote to her students, along with painter of local farms, joyce floreen, many other area painters, and students’ parents who are skilled in various crafts.

“he likes it when we bring people in from the outside,” stamm said about her school’s principal, gregory galtere. “he’s very supportive.”

stamm said she enjoys bringing in these art professionals to let her students see what is possible for them in careers they might not otherwise know about while still in junior high, with limited exposure to the work world at their age.

in fact, stamm is always looking for new artists to speak to her students, especially since they are so ecstatic to meet professionals living out the expression of their creativity locally.

(freebie alert ! comment below to enter for a chance to win one raku clay session at clayote in boyertown. this contest ends sunday, november 21st. good luck !)

16 November 2010

news, not blues volume nine is outtt !

news, not blues volume nine is out ! grab it up !

this round involves a freebie from clayote. details soon !