Maine Lobster Rope Doormats – My Favorite Product So Far!

2010 July 9
by Karen

Hard to decide which color I like best!

Hard to decide which color I like best!

As the leading online retailer for doormats made out of recycled Maine float rope, a lot of people want to know which color combination is our favorite.  And, we have a really hard time answering. We’re the lucky folks who get to see all of the lobster rope doormats together in an array of bright and muted colors. Pardon the pun, but our warehouse is a sea of colors – blues, greens, yellows, purples, pinks, oranges, reds…all woven together in many different color combinations.


So, I usually don’t answer the question because it’s important for buyers to pick a color combination that will work for their home.

But, I will say that I’ve developed quite a leaning toward the blue/green combinations – especially Ocean Blue/Sea Glass Green.  Vibrant and attractive, some have more weathering than others, but they all just simply remind me of the Atlantic Ocean. Of the Maine seacoast. Blue. Green. Makes sense, right?

It’s our most popular color sold, so I know I’m in good company.

The other question I always hear is “Do the lobster rope doormats smell like the ocean?” And, the answer is that many do have a very subtle sea breeze scent – not overpowering or fishy at all. Rather, they smell like a warm summer day on the coast. They certainly jump start my scent memory – and I’m a child again back in Ogunquit, Maine or York Beach enjoying a hot, sandy, beachy, and totally relaxing time with my family. They make me crave for fried clams, lobsters, and steamers – even though most of the time I really don’t like seafood (shhh!)

I guess you can tell that I love this product. I do. Made from 100% recycled Maine float rope, the lobster rope doormat is a wonderful addition to the product mix for The New England Trading Company and we’ll keep selling them until the rope runs out!

2010 July 8
by Karen
Travel Mug Made From Maine Lobster Shell

Travel Mug Made From Maine Lobster Shell

Wow – we just keep getting more orders for these incredibly unique Lobster Shell Travel Mugs. They’re stainless steel mugs with an outer layer of crushed, pressed, and smoothed seashells  found in Maine. We offer them in 4 shell choices – Maine lobster, Mussel, Lobster/Mussel, and Mussel/Clam. We’re definitely having a hard time keeping them in stock and the artisans are finding it difficult to keep up with their demand. I guess everyone wants to bring a piece of their summer vacation back into the office. It’s certainly relaxing to take time out from the daily grind to remember hot sand, salt air, and crashing waves from your last New England vacation. Sipping from a shell travel mug certainly helps.

Anyways, we’ll keep working to get more of these shell travel mugs back in stock. In the meantime, we do have some other great products from the shell collection – check out the links below:

Maine Shell Salad Serving Set

Bamboo and Shell Serving Tray

Lobster Shell Lobster Crackers

Lobster Shell Lobster Pick

Bamboo and Shell Round Cheese Board

Adding Coastal & Seaside Decor Influences to Your Home

2010 January 29
by Karen

We’ve all been to the ocean, enjoyed the warm sands of the beach, and inevitably wished that we could take a little piece of it home with us. The calm and relaxation felt when visiting the coast is often quickly lost once you rejoin the hustle and bustle of modern life.

But does it have to be that way? The answer is “No!” Bring the beach to your home. There are a vast number of design ideas that can make you feel like you’re on permanent holiday at the beach. Check out some of these tips for incorporating coastal décor into your everyday life:


If you want to add a touch of cottage decor to your house then stick to some of these basic colors:

·         Soft, light shades of blue, sea greens, and white washes. Try to avoid choosing colors that are too deep or saturated – you’re going for a light & airy feel, not heavy.

·         Golden colors reminiscent of a warm sunset (copper, yellow, gold, or even rusted metal can add a seaside feel to your home).

·         Faded and used wood colors (authentic driftwood is the way to go – especially when used for picture frames or pieces of art)

·         Pastel shell-tone accents (beige, white or coral)

·         Airy window treatments –avoid distracting designs and heavy fabrics. Think light, linen, and breezy.

Shapes & Textures – a few coastal decor tricks…

·         You can easily buy bags of real shells to add to a glass bowl or vase. Mix and match sizes along with authentic white beach sands (many sources are available online) and pieces of coral.

·         Star shapes (an actual starfish or weathered star shapes) look great as coasters, or small accent pieces on a bookshelf.

·         Maritime objects (e.g. anchor shapes, ship’s wheels and ropes can all create the right effect if used appropriately and sparingly).

What Rooms to Choose?

You can add a touch of seaside glam to any room in the house, but here are a few tips to get started:

 Bathroom: Choose a soothing wall color shade.  We like using a nice soft blue or green, paired with white, wispy curtains.  Then, add a few shells and starfish in a clear glass vase on a windowsill or a shelf that isn’t already storing bathroom necessities. For a sure-fire way to add pieces without the clutter consider a Driftwood and Seashell Mirror – made from actual seaside treasures, it brings just the right nautical touch to the room.

Den or Living Room: We love utilizing a stunning focal piece for one wall – consider the Copper Compass Rose Wall Piece – set against any wall color this piece looks terrific. Then, add in a few pieces of related coastal decor like starfish copper tile or seashell copper tiles. And for a finishing touch, a hand blown glass sailboat sculpture or handblown glass fish sculpture is perfect.

Kitchen – Want to spruce up those cabinets? Swap out your current knobs with these authentic sea stone cabinet knobs. And, freshen your guests’ drinks with the hand blown Glass Wave Pitcher – crafted in stunning cobalt blue.

Avoid overdoing it – you want your room to be relaxed, spacious, and open. Adding too many themed pieces will look too “staged” – instead start with a few key pieces you like and build up slowly. Before long you will strike the right balance.

PEPPER: Over a Millennium Later And More Versatile Than Ever

2009 September 15
by Karen

The rage these days with pepper is trying out every color you can find that isn’t boring old black.

Set of 4 peppercorn blends in stylish, curvy jars.

Set of 4 peppercorn blends in stylish, curvy jars.

Lately the trends have even pushed past white to get positively exotic. Different types and colors, of long pepper, and Sichuan pepper. The huge popularity of this last pepper has even overshadowed the fact that technically it’s more of a berry than a pepper, but pepper lovers are still positively obsessed.

Besides, who has time to quibble over names when you’re too busy trying all the new kinds of pepper popping up all over the place? Spices in general have a very long history, one that often and surprisingly takes turns towards the violent and intensely interesting.

Some Pepper History

Pepper has been highly valued and widely distributed since traders brought it out of India over two millennia ago. Traders brought it from India to the Romans and then the Romans fell in love almost instantly. The love affair with pepper goes on and on, as much as popular interest has waxed and waned, pepper comes back.

I Know What Ground Pepper Looks Like But…

How did the pepper get wherever it got from to be sprinkled upon your favorite dishes?

Technically, pepper starts out as the dried fruit of the Piper Nigrum climbing pepper tree. These trees are best grown in tropical regions, and tend to be found on plantations. Black pepper is gathered as unripe fruit and left to dry in the sun, fermented.

White pepper is from the same fruit, except it is first allowed to ripen, unlike with black pepper, and then it is soaked. After also being peeled, the white pepper is then artificially dried instead of left to dry in the sun. These important differences in each step of the process take the same fruit yet produce opposite colors of the spice. Though similar in some ways, each is highly prized for singular traits. For example critics and consumers generally agree that black pepper is the more robust of the two.

As For Pepper Trends?
The more spice lovers become obsessed with pepper, the better they learn to care for their pepper. Now spice lovers are more knowledgeable about proper pepper storage, and how to distinguish levels of pepper freshness. Many people are proud to say they’ve come a long way from the diner and dollar store flakes.

There are so many new ideas and new ways of thinking about spices. An old favorite French sauce known as the mignonette is also getting a new twist. New fusions of mignonette with a variety of exciting new (to us) spices combine to create the tastiest and most innovative pepper-infused creations out there. Experiment and learn what you like.

If history has anything to prove, which it almost invariably does, pepper isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. After enjoying this huge renaissance, perhaps pepper will decide to take another small vacation to await its next exotic makeover.

© 2009

Trend Alert – Patinated Copper Popular In New Kitchen and Bath Designs

2009 May 1
Comments Off on Trend Alert – Patinated Copper Popular In New Kitchen and Bath Designs
by Karen

Step aside plain bronze copper tiles and accents – the newest trend to sweep kitchen and bath design is the introduction of stunning, one-of-a-kind patinated copper pieces to the palette.

That’s right – trendy homeowners can now stop fighting the fight against oxidation – that seemingly unavoidable process that takes your gleaming copper pots and pans from bronze beauties to dark brown or green duds. Instead, homeowners are embracing daring new copper creations that have been borne from a process known as applied patination – a special multi-step metalsmithing process practiced by skilled artisans. Various chemicals are applied to the copper, as well as some heat processes, resulting in some of the most gorgeous colors you can see on copper. The effects of this patination process on metals can vary greatly, resulting in each piece being a one-on-a kind. Carefully applied to the artisan’s original design, patination naturally brings each piece to life. These skilled practitioners spend hours carefully guiding the oxidation process to result in swirls and curls, patterns and designs, all in rich hues that range from greens and blues to browns, reds, and gold.  Then, once their design has been perfected, they permanently seal it with resin – shutting off the continued oxidation process and making the pieces entirely usable in the home.

Since blues and greens are often the outcome of applied patination, many copper piece designs are inspired by the treasures of the sea. New copper tiles, in a variety of small to large sizes, are emerging with stunning green and blue starfish designs patinated onto a rich traditional copper tone background. You can also find blue, green, and even brown nautilus shells, sand dollars, and scallop shells. Mixed and matched together, these seascape tiles create a truly unique kitchen backsplash or bathroom tile pattern. Or, some designers opt for one large, stunning focal wall piece, building their seaside cottage look around that gem.

Applied patination is also finding its way into trendy new furniture designs. Copper has always been a popular choice for table tops – whether it is traditionally smooth or hammered copper. But now, designers hoping to bring a little New England charm into a room are opting for patinated pieces. New bronze pieces with swirls of greens and blues are taking center stage. These works of art are painstakingly created over the course of many weeks to achieve just the right color tones, and once perfected – introduce character into any living space. Cleaning of these pieces is quite simple – you should always avoid using a copper or brass cleaner as they can permanently harm the patinated finish. Often pieces have been waxed as part of the process to preserve their design and very little care is needed to maintain the look. Every so often a fine steel wool will work to brighten it up. Remember, these pieces are works of art to be enjoyed for many, many years.

Next time you are in the mood for a little home décor pick-me-up, be sure to search online for patinated copper pieces – truly unique, they add just the right amount of color and design to any room.

168,000 Pounds of Multi-Colored Lobster Float-Rope Finds a New, Green Purpose

2009 April 30
Comments Off on 168,000 Pounds of Multi-Colored Lobster Float-Rope Finds a New, Green Purpose
by Karen

What do you do with hundreds or thousands of pounds of useless rope? New federal regulations are making lobster float-rope – the multi-colored ropes used by Mine lobstermen to tie underwater traps together – illegal. According to activists, the rope endangers whales by snagging and hurting them.

Float-rope, which floats just a bit above the ground to prevent snags, must be replaced with sink rope by April. And hundreds – perhaps millions – of pounds of float-rope will become obsolete.

According to Laura Ludwig of the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation, a lot of would be melted and then molded into very cheap plastic plant pots and trays.

Beyond that demand, one can assume that plenty of rope would end up in landfills.

Until now. A new company based in Waldoboro, Maine, is weaving recycled float-rope into a truly unique, environmentally friendly home product everyone needs – doormats.

Ludwig is the coordinator of a government-funded exchange program that offers lobstermen vouchers of for each pound of float rope tuned in. Exchanges are held along the Maine coast. The lobstermen can use the vouchers as cash when buying new sink rope.

What happens next?

The Maine Float-Rope Company collects and recycles the rope turning it into bright and vibrant – as well as virtually undestructible doormats. According to the company’s website “It’s a win-win – a safer habitat for whales, some financial relief for the lobstermen, and a cleaner environment.”

So, why would anyone buy a float-rope doormat?

First of all, they’re authentic. Each one consists of real lobster float-rope collected from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a completely unique way to add character to any home – especially those lake or ocean cottages inspired by nautical décor.

Secondly, they’re colorful and pleasing to the eye. Float-rope comes in a variety of bright to muted tones and, woven together, make a warm and cheerful entryway.

And lastly, they work. They trap dirt, sand, snow, and mud from your feet and paws – just as you’d expect from a durable doormat. It goes without saying that they’ll withstand all kinds of weather, are resistant to mold and mildew, and avoid absorbing water – after all,  the rope was originally designed to hold lobster traps together for long periods of time in the ocean.

Handcrafted in Maine, they also provide the local economy with jobs and revenue.  It’s a great idea, a great company, and a great way to recycle.  If you’d like to check out these cool doormats, click here.