cup of tea
It has been very, very busy around here, therefore, no blogging. Getting ready for the UniqueSF show was a lot-lot-lot of work. But, I did it. And I had a great time. It was, I would have to say, a success. One of my bags was even featured in the Unique ad they ran in the SF Weekly. So that felt pretty good. I have enjoyed a couple weeks off with the wee ones playing in the beautiful California sun shine and now...back to work. Starting on the 20th of this month you will be able to find my bags and some home furnishings at Loft1513 in Noe Valley, San Francisco. And the new site with online shop will be up and running in a couple of weeks. The online shop will be filled with lots of new designs and some brand new products which I am very happy with. But, today, I am going to share some snap shots from around our home. Enjoy the sunshine, wherever you are.
A new chair I have been working on for a while and a large stack of beautiful, over-sized floor pillows with leather handles - one of the new items that will be available in the shop.
another market bag - this one with a large leather fold over fringe to keep your goodies safe
and some big, free-form floor pillows made with naturally hand dyed fabric and kapok stuffing
For the past couple weeks I have been keeping busy out in the garden - which is looking especially pretty this year, I must say. But now it is time to come in and start sewing again. I have some new materials to play with - virgin wool for stuffing, lots of different hemp fabrics and even some raw linen - as in, not even washed linen. Hours of fun! I have a whole list of goodies I will be offering towards the end of June including lots of naturally hand dyed linen napkins, linen floor pillows, linen and woolen bags, tea towels and some other surprises. I am also opening a new on-line shop, so keep your eyes open for that. But for now, back outside because it is so very beautiful today. Be well. xoxo
I made this bag today out of the natural linen I had on hand. It is a bit smaller than the others but with all the same details - ticking lining, big double pocket and key holder. And, of course, the same leather fringe which I am absolutely in love with. I am going to keep this one as a tester. It may need to be wider. We shall see. I like everything I make to be really functional and strong, because even though things should look good, they really should be incredibly well made and stand up to use. Otherwise...what's the point? Next, I am onto lots of linen napkins and tea towels - who couldn't use more of those - and some naturally dyed produce bags in lovely indigo shades. I use them all the time for the market, but also for lunches and just general carryalls. They are sturdy and super cute!
So, now that I am done with my sewing for the day, I am out to plant bush and fava beans, winter and summer squash, onions and strawberries. My little one will be planting his yearly watermelon. Hopefully with more luck than we had last year when the field rats and gophers ate them. Bad, bad field rats. Bad, bad gophers. I hope you are all enjoying your day - wherever you are - as much as I am enjoying mine. xoxo
tie it closed to keep your goodies safe and sound
two nice big inside pockets with pen holder and a leather key ring on the side - to keep you organized...and sane
I love these leather strap details
lovely plates by Just Pottery. you can find them here.
A sneak peak of new bags that will be available soon here. They will be available in beautiful natural linens and naturally hand dyed hemp canvas and hemp summer cloth. I am having a lot of fun making them - which is probably why I love them so much. Be well. xoxo
A sneak peek at the new line of market bags. I am calling this line "English Hunt." (More on that to be revealed later. Trust me, it will make sense.) The outside is a lovely wool tartan from Cotswold Woolen Weavers - hand carried from jolly old England. The inside is naturally hand dyed hemp canvas with two generous linen pockets. Straps are oil rubbed leather from our own Maverick Leather here in Penngrove. The closure is held with a vintage cadet button - not sure what I will do when I finally run out of these handy buttons. The lovely Simone - owner of the ever so fabulous Zenbelly Catering - tested the prototype for me. I figured she was the perfect person to test a market tote since she is a regular at the local farmer's markets. And the result is...a glowing two thumbs up review!! "...it's perfect for the market, and also as a city bag/big purse- If I were running errands on foot, I would totally use it to throw my purchases in." Which means, not only is it good-looking, it is - more importantly - well made and functional. So, you can carry it out with you to town and throw in all the goodies you find - go ahead, load it up! - and comfortably carry it home. She tested the longer strap version which will be available. Some versions will also now have an outside pocket for your keys and wallet - Simone's suggestion. And a good one at that. Back to Zenbelly for a minute, if you haven't checked out her blog, you absolutely should. Don't wait. Do it now. It is filled with the most delicious recipes. As in, "the best chicken ever" type of recipes. And they are easy to follow. Which, as we all know, is very much appreciated. Thanks, Simone, for testing my market bag, and thanks for more than a couple excellent family meals! Your the tops!
Objects of Use No. 6 Lincoln House Market Street Oxford OX1 3EQ United Kindgom
Telephone: ++44 (0)1865 241705
Wandering around Oxford – some may call it lost, we like to call it exploring – we stumbled upon THE most amazing shop. And I do not say that lightly. Objects of Use is quite simply the loveliest shop I have ever stepped foot inside. Filled with a vast array of usable items of the most exquisite workmanship and quality. The time the proprietor must have spent in choosing each piece is impressive, to say the least. What was most refreshing and touching, really, was the lack of slick brand goods. This is not a design store. Although it is, in my opinion, exquisitely designed. It is a store filled with Objects for Use. Simple in its function. Stunning in its execution. Again, the loveliest shop. My heart leapt when I spotted a selection scissors lovingly hung from wooden pegs along the wall. I may have to take a trip back for the little gold stork handled embroidery ones. At only 15 pounds, I would be a fool to pass them up.
the lovely lady of the shop
the very gracious owner - a supremely brilliant human being who is - in his own words - 'against throwawayism'
Some of the lovely woolen fabrics I found at Cotswold Woollen Weavers in Filkins. They weave wool grown in the area. Very sustainable - which makes me feel good about using it. They will make fantastic big market bags. The plain brown is speckled with very delicate flecks of almost pastel colors - so faint you can just see it. And it is so soft to the touch it feels like cashmere. I will be turning that into really big, squishy pillows. Perfect for cuddling up with on the couch - or on a nice sheepskin rug in front of the fire!
I have also reserved my booth for the upcoming Fall Urban Air Market in Hayes Valley. You can check out a list of other designers on their website. There are some beautiful goodies! Hope I don't shop too much.
Thank you to all my wonderful friends and family for the birthday wishes. Such a special day. It always feels good to feel loved. I do. I hope you do, too. Because you are.
Off to explore Woodstock some more - and hopefully keeps the kiddos out of trouble. xoxo
Strolling through the countryside near my Mum's house in the Cotswolds.
I love washing hanging on the line. This was taken in a little town in Wales. I think when I get home I will put up some washing lines in our field. It would be a nice way to dry all the dyed fabric.
We play "would you rather" in the car which usually goes something like "would you rather eat rotten scallops or rotten clams?" Every once in a while I try to get it on a more pleasant track - would you rather stroll through the English countryside or the California country side? My husband says, "no question...California." I say, "no question...English." Hmmm...wonder where that will lead?
So...what have we been up to? Mostly walking. And going to really, really old pubs which you have to bend down to enter - because the doorways are so little. Seeing the baby - which is the main reason we are here. It is amazingly warm and sunny so we packed all wrong. Rain coats and heavy sweaters. But, as you can see from the photos, we don't really need any. Next week we are going to Filkin's fabrics to look at remnants of some super beautiful woolen fabric. I am hoping to purchase enough to make an entire line of pillow covers and hopefully some smaller patchwork throws. At home, I have been busy making a stash of larger, plain pillows as an accompaniment to the modern rustic ones. They look great together. I felt the more detailed pieces needed to be balanced out. Otherwise it feels too cramped and messy. I will put some in the shop when I get home.
My daughter's busy work. She has been keeping herself occupied by picking flowers from the neighbor's yards and then selling them back for 1P. Budding young capitalist.
Off for another walk! Enjoy your days. xoxo
A little collection of new goodies I have been working on. I am especially fond of the shams. Everything has lots of hand stitching on it and, as always, everything is naturally hand dyed. I am trying to move away from the straight blue/gray...which I have been obsessed with but now am a little weary of. I am not sure if I will put any of these in the shop, or just amass a large pile in the hopes that I will get into one of the craft shows I have applied to. Gulp! Juried. Scary.
We are off to England in a couple of weeks to spend some time with the family. My sister is having her first baby. So I will get to spend three weeks holding my little niece or nephew. Yeah!! I can't wait! I am giddy. My daughter is excited about the plane flight - gack - and my son and husband are excited about the pubs and the food. Mum lives in a tiny - and I mean tiny, tiny, tiny - town in Gloucestershire and my sis lives just outside Oxford in another tiny town called Woodstock. Both come with their own older-than-anything-we-have-in-this-country houses and pubs. My sister's home looks like it belongs in the Shire from The Hobbit. Really. I kid you not. Complete with tiny front door that you would absolutely miss if you did not know it was there. I am hoping to visit some fabric shops. Mum brought over some gorgeous French linen last time she visited. So hopefully I can sneak out of the house for a while and pick up some lovely fabrics to bring home. So...that leaves me two weeks to bust out as much stuff as I can.
Until next time...be well. Enjoy the sun if you have it. Or the rain. Or your warm home. Or... xoxo
A new pillow for the shop today. You can find it here. My new goal is to get at least 4 new items in the shop per week. Hopefully more. Including some nice naturally dyed linen napkin sets - because everyone deserves nice cloth napkins - and a great new bag I have a sketch for.
This is the new packaging I came up with for some of the goodies sold in the shop. Cute muslin bag with a small blue antler hand painted on wool felt. It has a nice drawstring and can be reused for whatever your little hearts desire. I like it.
And finally, a new batch of natural dye for a napkin order. The color came out really pretty. In the left over soup I added some minerals and got a soft grey-pink. Still deciding what I should make with the left over fabric.
On to other news...we went bird watching this weekend, which we are always doing to some extent. But this time we took binoculars and our Western Bird Book. Wow. Nerd alert! We identified 19 species of birds in our neighborhood. Which was completely addicting once we started. And we ignored all our other chores. Next year we want to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, a joint project of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, The Audubon Society, and Canadian Partner, Bird Studies Canada. But for now we are obsessed with naming all the little black, brown and grey birds in our backyard. What is it about grouping and naming things that we are so driven to do? Mystery.
Have a lovely week. Treat yourself well.
find out more here.
A friend sent me the link for this bag today with the subject "thought of you." Which is a very big complement. Thank you a million times over. I would love to apprentice in Kapital's workshop for a day or two.
So today is the big day...the day I have been mulling over in my head for months - perhaps years would be more accurate. It may have even been a lifetime. Today is the day I begin to stitch together the fabric for a the Victorian Parlor chair which has been sitting in my garage, ever so patiently, waiting for me to get my confidence together to tackle the project. I know this will be a long process. I am resigned to the fact that for a stretch of time I will hate my work. I will feel incredibly uncomfortable and I will want to quit. I am also resigned to the fact that I will keep sewing. And eventually, I will reach the point where I look down and smile and know I have created something good. It always works like that. The same predictable evolution. The difficult part is remembering that I have been there before. Remembering that the discomfort is a natural part of my creative process. And after getting a bolster of confidence from the Kapital tote above, I have to say, I am quite excited to begin the journey again.
A small peek into my mind/work space. As you can see, it is a little cluttered today. I spent the day digging through fabric, dying some, cutting more, making piles all over the sitting room. I am preparing to cover a beautiful, old, Victorian parlor chair. It will be my first cover with my own fabric - hand dyed, hand stitched in my own rustic industrial fiber art design. A tad intimidating. Hence...the work space and clutter in the brain. All will be well. Just have to push on. Tomorrow is a new day. Bright and new. And clean. xoxo