Sunday, November 19, 2023

A Tribute to a Kind Man, LQ Jones

 Last month we were given 30 days to vacate our office of 24 years. I knew the day was coming because our landlord had passed away in 2022 and his kids had put the building up for sale. If any of you know me well, you know I'm a machine. I worked 24/7 to close up the Dunitz & Company and get us moved out of our space at 2142 N.Cahuenga Blvd.





Most of you probably don't know that our office landlord was LQ Jones. He was a very well known character actor, and later director, who seemed to have been in every cowboy movie and television show in the 50s, 60s and 70s. He lived downstairs, and the office we occupied at street level was zoned commercial. He was a prince of a man, a true gentleman and we miss him a lot. To us he was "McQueen" which was his birth (last) name. When I first met him, he told me I was too young to know his first name. I'm guessing that was an inside joke of sorts. His name was Justice as was his father before him. And you know what? He was very just. He was always kind to people that walked by in front, including homeless. And if someone recognized him, he was always gracious. I witnessed all of this many many times. He insisted that he do all the "dirty work" around the outside of the house. He'd get annoyed if I ever took out the garbage bins. Seriously.


A couple of weeks ago, his son brought me an old coat rack I thought I could refinish (next post), and a few photos of his dad, which I'm sharing here.  This framed photo hung in McQueen's home. He had lots of photos and posters hanging in his home from his years of acting. Whenever I entered his home, it felt like "Old Hollywood." This photo was snapped when McQueen was filming Sam Peckinpah's "Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid."  LQ is sitting in the chair wearing sunglasses. The dark haired man looking upward is Kris Kristofferson.  I was told the man "with that familiar hat" with his back to us is most likely Bob Dylan. Dylan had a bit part in the movie.


What a smile McQueen had. Clearly this photo was snapped long before I met him. His son told me of all the photos of his dad, this was his and his sister's favorite. Cowboys were always smoking cigarettes back then. I don't think he smoked in real life. At least all those years I'd known McQueen, I never saw him with a cigarette.






I knew that McQueen's health was failing during Covid times. He was locked up inside his home and I think I only caught a glimpse of him once or twice, maybe 3 times. Crazy right? For years, we'd sit on the stoop and chat. A few weeks before he passed, I drew this portrait of him, for him. Even in his 90's he was a very good looking man. Did I say I miss him? We were blessed to have known him and have the Dunitz & Company office for so many years "just upstairs." -ND

LQ Jones - Pin

Thursday, November 2, 2023

My Favorite Fall Finds; Fair Trade, Supporting Small Businesses & A Good Read

You know I'm all about fair trade. I've been collaborating with artisans in Guatemala for a really long time to bring you fantastic Dunitz & Company jewelry. When making personal purchases, I always look to support other fair traders and small businesses whenever I can. In July, I shared my favorite summer finds.  Now it's fall and I have a few more discoveries to share with you.


I recently returned home from the western region Museum Store Association meeting that took place in Las Vegas. My intent was to mingle with museum store buyers. And as it turns out, one of the most fun things at this get together was meeting other vendors. I met Gila, the proprietor of Dar Chocolate Art Bars. They make the most fantastic chocolate bars in Denver from cacao they import from small farmers in many countries. Gila is an amazing graphic illustrator too. Not only can you see her fantastic drawing featured on their website, but on their chocolate bars. You can purchase direct, or if you're really lucky, you'll find some of Dar's bars at your favorite museum store.


Yes Yes. I love to eat. And I do love honey. I was randomly searching on ETSY, and stumbled upon Honey Run Farm, a small family owned business out of Ohio. I was fascinated that the honey they collect varies each season based on what the bees "eat." I was hooked. I wanted to know the difference between honey produced in Summer, Spring and Fall. Their website explains it all so well. And their customer service is absolutely fantastic.  They also make handmade soaps. If you know me at all, you know I'm also crazy for handmade soap. What's not to love? A small business that offers honey and soap. Ya gotta check them out!

I've been taking more time to read lately.  Admittedly, I do watch a few too many Netflix series. But by joining the NYU Alumni Voracious Violets Book Club, I've dug into some fantastic books that have been recommended. If you're reading my blog, I think you'll be fascinated by The Monk of Mokha. "A heart-pounding true story, The Monk of Mokha weaves together the history of coffee, the ongoing Yemeni civil war, and the courageous journey of a young man--a Muslim and a US citizen--following the most American of dreams." If you started and operate a small fair trade business, you will absolutely relate to Mokhtar Alkhanshal's story. When you build a small business, things don't always go to plan or how you set out in your business plan. That assumes you had a business plan.

A follow up to my July Favorite Finds post, I have to sing the praises of Sevya Fair Trade again. After loving my first summer top from them, I had to order others. The pink & white cotton top shown here is my new favorite.  And since it seems to NOT be cooling off here in Los Angeles, I've had lots of opportunity to wear it. The weather will cool down, and I know I'll have to order some long sleeve blouses from their catalog. Check them out. And like Dunitz, Sevya is a verified member of Fair Trade Federation. You'll look good and feel good wearing their designs.


Many of you know I'm a new and enthusiastic gardener. My yard is small, but it's mighty. I'm monkeying around in it and cleaning up every day. I can't stop. My latest "fun" has been discovering bulbs I can plant that will provide me beautiful flowers. I often search for suppliers in California where I live because there are so many agricultural regulations when it comes to our state.  My newest discovery is Easy to Grow Bulbs, a small business with fantastic customer service. They have been so friendly and prompt answering my endless questions. And their website is also replete with lots of info. Their office seems to be based in Oceanside, CA, but my order shipped from Wisconsin. (I guess that means it's okay to ship bulbs from elsewhere into California. I had no idea on that.) I'll be planting various types of paperwhites soon. Stand by for my garden photos when I can show them off. 

So, there you have it.  A few of my favorite Fall finds. Perhaps one of them will become a favorite of yours. In the meantime, don't forget to check out Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry. Check out our store locator to find a brick & mortar in your area selling our designs. Or peruse our website. My hope is that my designs will become one of your favorite finds :). -ND