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Mar 16 15

Kusak Crystal Vintage Sale

by Karen



Pieces from Kusak Vintage Crystal Sale

Pieces from Kusak’s Vintage Crystal Sale


I love to shop estate sales and set a gorgeous table affordably.  For me the best part of this kind of shopping is the hunt.

Treasure is often found at a fraction of the cost and the quality of each piece brings years of enjoyment.  A HUGE estate-style vintage sale of crystal begins March 19th right here in Seattle.

a matched set

or mix up patterns for an eclectic look at your event

Years ago when I was just starting out in business I began working with Chuck Kusak of Kusak Cut Glass. Chuck is the 3rd generation to run this family business that offers high quality gorgeous crystal and genuine customer service.  After 100 years in business they are now offering some of their truly vintage pieces in a huge estate-style sale.
(For more about their 100 + year history, see end of post).

As I photographed these pictures, I marveled at how wonderful real hand-cut, hand-blown crystal wine glasses feel in your hand.

You feel grown up holding a crystal glass……….finally able to enjoy the finer things in life.

……..But you don’t have to spend the big bucks to get it…….

As I walked around the showroom this week I was amazed to see champagne and wine glasses normally $55.00+ now priced in the range of $12.00-$25.00 per glass–yes that’s for hand-blown, hand-cut crystal in the vintage styles you want with gold trim or hand engraving…UNBELIEVEABLE pricing for gorgeous vintage crystal.

You can toast your special event with real crystal in true vintage style.

Gold Rim Stemware, tons of it in the vintage sale, a great mid-century modern style

Gold Rim Stemware, tons of it in the vintage sale, a great mid-century modern style

Large quantities of these champagne and wine glasses were tucked away in the warehouse–so whether you need 6 glasses for a dinner party, 60 glasses for a rehearsal dinner, or 450 glasses for a larger event you need to stop by between March 19-28th.

mix and match, many choices

mix and match, many choices

The agates in the photo are some unique stones my mother in law found and tumbled. Each one is a rare find, and so is Kusak’s. A jewel in our Emerald City. Their attention to detail is evident in the perfect engraving and gorgeous sparkle.

When you see the Kusak showroom and meet the warm, friendly people you will agree it is a jewel that you will be glad to find.

For those of us who remember Frederick & Nelson department store it is interesting to note that owner Donald Frederick offered Kusak crystal to his customers in the early 1900s and continued to do so for over 70 years.  Many of the pieces in the sale were once sold in stores across the country and have been stashed away in the Kusak warehouse for decades.  (Current owner Chuck Kusak expanded the business into crystal corporate awards and recognitions.)

Kusak’s Vintage Sale is the place to be beginning March 19th at 9:00am, be sure you are in line early.

In addition to handcrafted crystal glasses you will find many gift items: bowls, vases, art glass, and even chandeliers.  With Kusak crystal on the table, your event will have a warm vintage glow.

bowls, vases in many patterns

bowls, vases in many patterns


Photos from Kusak’s Huge Vintage Sale showroom:

Hand Cut Overlay Crystal Vases

Hand Cut Overlay Crystal Vases

more gold rimmed mid-century modern glasses

more gold rimmed mid-century modern glasses


Don't you love seeing the bubbles up through the stem? Kusak's Hollow Stem Champagne

Don’t you love seeing the bubbles up through the stem? Kusak’s Hollow Stem Champagne

Hand blown and hand cut lead crystal hi balls in the Pineapple and Button design (that's either a vase or a pitcher)

Hand blown and hand cut lead crystal hi balls in the Pineapple and Button design (that’s either a vase or a pitcher) They are in the process of getting everything polished and ready for you, I was there a bit before all the polishing.


another hand cut overlay crystal vase--Aida

another hand cut overlay crystal vase–Aida

I think I want Pink

I think I want Pink

an absolutely stunning vase

an absolutely stunning vase

I love these little toothpick holders.  Lots of great gifts.

I love these little toothpick holders. Lots of great gifts.

detail of several designs available

detail of just a few of the many designs available

Kusak Logo BW

located south of I-90 on Rainier Ave South at 22nd
1911 22nd Ave. S., Seattle 98144

Some Kusak History

anton kusak history

A lovely book was put together a few years ago recounting the incredible history of the Kusak family business and how a resourceful and determined thirteen year old young man from a small village in Czechoslovakia managed to gain marketable skills as an engraver of crystal and ultimately became a successful businessman.
Copies of the book are available at Kusak’s but here is a little snippet:

In 1900 Anton Kusak knew that his parents did not have the ability to help him any further than connecting him to folks at a prominent crystal factory where he would perform menial labor. If Anton was going to make it in the world he had to make the most of this position. He did everything he could to learn how to use the copper wheels to engrave his own designs by practicing during the off hours on old discarded glass.  One day, one of Europe’s leading glass designers arrived early to find the thirteen year old at an engraving wheel which inspired the designer to secretly give Anton private instruction in the early hours of each day for two years until Anton was accepted into the factory’s apprenticeship program.


From these humble beginnings he moved on to work in France and several other European countries, and then to the United States to work at the Fostoria Glass Company in West Virginia.  He married Marie in 1910 and the young couple decided to move to Seattle to live with Marie’s brother, also a glass engraver. They opened Washington Cut Glass Works which eventually became Kusak Cut Glass Works.


In 1914, Frederick & Nelson department store began selling Kusak Crystal and Anton began travelling to other West coast cities to market crystal to jewelers and other merchants.


There is plenty more to this story but the thing that strikes me is how such a young man was able to work hard against all odds to develop skills that would allow him to survive.  He was resourceful, confident, creative, determined and took a few risks along the way.  I am sure most families have similar history from this era.

There is so much value in these stories that our children often do not understand, especially if they have grown up in households where life is much easier.  I would love for our kids and grandchildren to learn how hard work –truly hard work–can lead them to success despite the odds.  I guess the only way that happens is through experiencing the hard work and the rewards that come with the effort!

Three generations of Kusaks have each translated their unique skills to make Kusak’s a success for over 100 years.  Anton’s story is above. Anton’s son Tony worked with Anton to get the company through the Great Depression and WWII  to 1969 when new college graduate Chuck joined the business.  Each year of business brought new challenges where that resourcefulness of thirteen year old Anton shines through each of his successors!  Chuck is still keeping the dream alive and very much involved in paying it forward by giving back to the community that sustains the business.  Stop by for a visit!


Disclaimer:  I occasionally handle media buying for Kusak’s and am paid an agency commission for that work.  This post is a little tribute to a business that I have worked for on a free lance basis for all of my adult life !

I got to visit the sale early for some lovely pieces… husband was very impressed….and that says a lot…..he rarely notices my purchases……. I am going back for more……

Mar 14 15

Mark your Calendar–Vintage Sale

by Karen
 gold rimmed mid-century modern glasses

gold rimmed mid-century modern glasses


I have a long-time friend hosting an incredible vintage crystal sale soon.

The place is full of gorgeous wine glasses and champagne glasses starting at $12 each (a steal, usually $60+) fancier ones are around $20. The sparkle of real crystal vs. glass amazed me.

Mark your calendar, sale starts March 19 at 9am, and the best selection will be in the early days.  I will post more photos in a few days and Seattle location.

Lots of vintage gifts too vases, bowls, colored glass, even chandeliers.

Many of these items have been packed away for decades!


Mar 6 15


by Karen


artwork and agates

artwork and agates


There are so many memories all over our house:

Every estate sale “find” that we discovered together

Her artwork

Her agates

The chair she sat in everyday fighting the ravages of cancer



But she is not here.

We worked through a lot over the past 16 months of cancer treatment and all the challenges that go with it. As we prepare to honor my mother in law at a celebration of her life we look forward to hosting her family from back East and visiting with her friends. Her home in the San Juan Islands reflects her in every way, we had fun taking some pictures there in September and bringing some important items here to Seattle to adorn her in-city bedroom.

Over the years we did some silly things like make huge footed pajamas for her 6′ 4″ son complete with drop seat—-laughing hysterically throughout the process. read more…

Feb 12 15

Wine Selections for Valentine’s Day

by Karen

We usually dine-in for Valentine’s Day together with anyone that happens to be living with us at the time.
This past year we have had three generations in our household and that will be the case for at least a few more years.

Often dinner involves a gorgeous steak and roasted vegetables so our wine selections skew to red wine but I have a few favorites here for wine that pairs with pasta or seafood as well.
Availability was a criteria for each of the wines below–providing your merchant carries popular Washington wines and a good selection of Old World wines. read more…

Jan 23 15

Meatballs w/Prosciutto Parmesan & Lemon

by Karen



You can imagine how excited our city is for another Super Bowl!
I have been saving this recipe for you–it’s a great Game Day appetizer.

Meatballs are quite versatile—they can be the main course or served as a favorite appetizer. This recipe is also an easy ‘go-to’ dinner solution.

As an entrée, serve with a big salad on the side or with winter vegetables. For a game day appetizer, triple the recipe and serve with your favorite dipping sauce or try our Tamari Honey Mustard sauce or Fresh Horseradish.

Meatballs with Prosciutto, Parmesan, and Lemon–gluten free

serves 8 as an appetizer or 4 as an entrée

1 pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork or Italian hot sausage
¼ pound prosciutto, finely chopped
½ cup finely ground, gluten free breadcrumbs or cornmeal*
½ cup Parmesan-Reggiano, grated
½ teaspoon onion powder, or to taste
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 eggs
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice from one lemon

In a large bowl combine ground beef, pork, prosciutto, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, onion powder, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and eggs. (Easiest to use hands to mix all ingredients)

Shape meat mixture into 1-inch balls, place them on a plate and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy saucepan (a cast-iron skillet is perfect). Add the meatballs in several batches and brown completely.  Return all meatballs to the pan and sprinkle lemon juice over meatballs. Serve.
*Breadcrumb tip:

A mini Cuisinart is the fastest way to make breadcrumbs.  Save the heels from your loaves of bread in the freezer, toast the frozen bread then pulverize in the Cuisinart.


Dipping Sauces—combine ingredients and serve.

Tamari Honey Mustard

3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon tamari or gluten free soy sauce

Fresh Horseradish Sauce

2-3–inch piece of horseradish root, finely grated
1 tablespoon white vinegar
¾ cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste


For more favorite recipes and go-to meals:  Cooking Gluten Free! A Food Lover’s Collection of Chef and Family Recipes 4th edition ebook is now available for instant download here.

Thank you—your ebook purchase makes it possible for us to keep cooking and posting!





Jan 11 15

Lentil Soup in a Flash

by Karen

Gluten Free Lentil Soup



Don’t you just wish someone would have dinner waiting for you at home every night?

What’s for Dinner is always lurking in the back of my mind and with so many other considerations and limitations of the three generations in our household, I need a go-to list of easy, make-ahead meals.

This Lentil Soup recipe scores high marks all around. read more…

Dec 28 14

Potato Leek Soup and Popovers

by Karen



gluten free potato leek soup

Cold days are best when sitting by the fire with a bowl of soup and some good bread. read more…

Dec 23 14

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

by Karen
Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake


Plan on this for a mid-morning holiday break read more…

Dec 11 14

Discount codes and Deals are everywhere!

by Karen

We have been teaching, consulting, and developing gluten free recipes for celiacs since 1997 with happy results!

Here are a few of the recipes in the holiday book….

gluten free buttermilk biscuits

gluten free nanaimo bars

super easy brisket, our favorite!

latest brisket horz super easy brisket, our favorite!

I did some online shopping yesterday, it is amazing how many deals are out there! read more…

Dec 5 14

Salted Chocolate Chewy Brownies w/Ganache

by Karen


salted gluten free chewy brownie with ganache

For years I have had requests to be active again in the gluten free world. When we sold our first edition book, it was in the top three gluten free cookbooks on Amazon and available in most libraries across the country.

Life intervened and I had to pull back for awhile but now we are bringing it back with … read more…