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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cornerstone promotes locally produced gifts

Published March 13, 2010 10:39 pm - Kristen Hardman expands her business venues by opening the Cornerstone Gallery gift shop in Elizabethtown.

Staff Writer

ELIZABETHTOWN — With an emphasis on locally produced artwork and culinary specialties, Kristen Hardman has opened a sister emporium to her Cornerstone Gallery in Willsboro.

"I feel I'm filling in a niche in Elizabethtown and providing a venue for local products while helping build the community," Hardman said of her rationale for the enterprise.

Subtitled "Handmade Luxuries for Every Day," the Cornerstone offers a plethora of items including gourmet foods, yarn, jewelry, paintings, ceramics and gadgets that are not only utilitarian but enhance the home's décor as well.

"Nothing here is too precious," Kristen joked. While there are antiques, modern creations line some of the shelves. One does not have to be concerned about lead glazes from foreign pottery on the locally made mugs, serving dishes and vases. Then there's the ingenuity of using nature to create perpetual rock candles, which are hollowed out to hold an oil reservoir.

Among the gourmet delights is A Taste of the Adirondacks' Puttanesca Pasta Sauce made in Morrisonville by Cindy Bates and New York produced Growling Grizzly BBQ sauce. There's a variety of granola mixtures concocted in Tupper Lake that are perfect for hikers and those who work in the woods; it's also a healthy snack.

Unique quilts created by JoAnne Denton of Lewis are ready to be taken home to provide comfort as well as decoration. Baby hats knitted by 15-year-old Jessica Lynn from Peru show youngsters can be creative as well.

"There are so many intriguing women around here, women of advanced age who have lived here all of their lives, and then some in their 20s. It's a diverse group, but they have a lot in common. It's a cross section of Adirondack women," Hardman says of her clientele.

Hardman added that men do find items of interest and, of course, gifts for others. "I want to create a general-store atmosphere where men can come and hang out and have a cup of coffee while the women shop," Hardman said.

The informal knitting assemblage that meets at the Elizabethtown Cornerstone has woven helmet liners for soldiers in Afghanistan. Unlike most of their creations, which are colorful, these have to be of drab wool. However, the scarves they have made for cancer patients are of "yummy" colors, she said.

Although it costs her more, Hardman has made a concerted effort to have all packaging materials made of recycled materials, which in turn can be recycled and/or are biodegradable.

A vast used-book collection contains mostly recent publications, but if one wishes to compliment antiquated volumes in his or her home, a 19th-century edition of Don Quixote can be found.

Hardman also functions as an interior designer and will visualize a project through color, texture, furniture, fixtures and light to achieve the desired effect. She specializes in preparing homes and other real estate for sale by bringing out the facets that will intrigue prospective buyers.

To take a break from the kids and housework, one can partake in the next informal pot-luck brunch/lunch, knitting/crocheting/quilting circle, held from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 20. Call 873-9130 for details. The circles are a way to make friends, learn from one another and, in one instance at a recent gathering, one participant looking for work found employment with another.

The versatile Hardman also operates the Cornerstone in Willsboro during the summer. She and husband, Jim, also run the Woodruff House Bed and Breakfast (thewoodruffhouse.com), which features a gourmet country breakfast. Amid the splendor of a completely refurbished 19th-century home are modern amenities such as Wi-Fi. Visitors are welcomed by three friendly cats.

Hardman may be reached at 873-6788 or kbhardman@charter.net. The Cornerstone Gallery is located at 219 Water St., just west of Route 9 at the blinking light.


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