I am constantly amazed at the useful and stylish stuff that is available on Amazon—way beyond books, music, and electronics. There are obvious design treasures like the fine bone china pitcher by Jasper Conran (a perfect wedding gift) or a cowhide rug (below) seen in so many chic interiors these days. But what we love most is to see what we can find on the unexpected sectors of the site, like "Scientific and Industrial," where we find all sorts of things that we use in ways they weren't intended for...

...like oddly-shaped glass laboratory vessels that we uses as flower vases. These Pyrex long-neck flasks come in sizes ranging from a tiny 50 milliliters to 1000 milliliters and higher:

I use glass beakers for flowers, mixing drinks, and storing food. This starter set is a steal at $26.37:

When I worked in restaurants, I made big batches of aioli by hand in a big porcelain "labware" mortar and pestle like this one, that holds 1000 milliliters, about four cups. (The inside is rough to help the process of crushing and pureeing.)

The "Metals" section of "Scientific and Industrial" always gets my imagination going (check out the Metal Finder at the top of the page to get an idea of possibilities).

I wonder how four-by-four-inch squares of aluminum or copper (left beautifully tarnished) would work as coasters....

...or what I could do with a roll of stainless steel foil that can be "cut, folded, and crease-sealed with ease":

I discovered that there's such a thing as a 10 X 8 X 6 Open Angle Plate (used by machinists and auto hobbyists) that would make a wonderful modern bookend or doorstop, or could work as vertical struts for make shift bookshelves. (They could probably be found second-hand.)

And then there's that rug, which you can buy here.

More Stuff of Life:

Images: Amazon