Archive for February, 2012

freedom to perceive


The abstract is the search for freedom,   freedom to perceive,   without
obsessions,   all that’s humanly possible.

Juan Matus

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Some snapshots from the week…

+ This past week was highly productive. A lot of orders got finished up and shipped off.

+ Some relaxing thrifting to make our errands day a bit more fun.

+ Morning coffee. A time to sit and talk, and get ready for the day ahead.

+ A long walk where we discovered rhodies in bloom. Rhodies! In February!

+ Some picks from the winter garden.

+ Raspberry, blueberry, pomegranate, garden kale smoothie.

It feels like it’s been a great week. The week ended with some frustrating challenges though. I have been dealing with a wacky set of ongoing problems in the sewing machine department. It seems there has been something or another going on for months. So, in keeping with the trend I guess, tonight I broke the throat plate on my new main production machine !! If you follow my instagram you might have seen a photo. I have never had the likes of this happen before.

I have my old trusty backup machine that should get me by, but it’s one of those kinds of things upon things upon things, that makes you sit back and say… what in the heck??

A certain awesome someone helped turned my doomsday mood around with some silly flirting, fun music and a glass of red wine.

Hope you all had a great weekend. xo


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from the archives


While looking for something in the archives today I was inspired seeing some earlier things I made. I enjoy making clothing and remember, with an interesting clarity, the state I was in at the time of making some of the pieces I found (from 2008 and 2009). I know that I would proceed so differently now, with a certain assurance that was lacking then. It’s interesting thinking about “experience” with a given task or type of activity, and what a difference that really does make. It’s hard to describe the feeling. Maybe you know what I mean.

It’s also quite a trip to look back and see how my work has evolved since I started sewing. It creates an interesting mix of laughable discomfort for what was, and satisfaction for how far I have come.

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small details

Are you a details kind of person? I tend to notice little details. When we got this duvet cover (during our virgin Ikea voyage last October), the blue, fabric-covered, metal buttons were a detail that bugged me. I don’t know why. They seemed chintzy. A few days ago I had this sudden, unstoppable urge to finally change those buttons out. I love the simple change. Plus, I am just crazy about wood. It is so warm and approachable.

It’s fun to make something your own by adding your own personal touch. Do you do little things like this?

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how to resize a box

Resizing a box…. This is not a fancy skill, but it’s a useful one, and one that I have made use of thousands of times over the years. Even for those of you who only do occasional shipping, this technique of sizing down a box can come in quite handy. It allows you to use the shipping method of your choice (with no Priority Mail box restrictions), to reuse a box that might otherwise be discarded, to make use of resources that are plentiful and free, and to ship more affordably – as your box will weigh less and you won’t have to fill it with fluff to keep things from banging around in transit. Sometimes shipping costs also depend on size, particularly when shipping overseas.

Find a box that the item will fit in, lengthwise and widthwise. This box happened to be a perfect fit in those directions, but was twice the height I needed.

You will also need a yard stick, or ruler that is long enough to span your box’s longest edge, and a pair of scissors.

Snip one corner of the box, down to just above the level of the top of the item.

Empty the box, and with a straight edge, hold a level line across the side, using the bottom of your snip as your guide. If you don’t have a ruler with width, such as this one – or if the distance to be shortened is longer than your ruler width, measure the distance between the bottom of the box and the bottom of the snip, and make a mark on each edge. These marks will act as a guide, which will allow you to get a truly level line.

Score a line with the smooth side of your scissors. You don’t want to cut into the box at all, just dent it.

Now measure and score on the remaining three sides, being sure to keep the distance from the bottom the same all the way around so you don’t end up with a wonky box. Snip the remaining three corners down to your score line.

Bend the now longer flaps outward on your score lines. I usually bend outward first, as there is less resistance when bent toward the scored side. Once you do this, your flaps should easily bend inward.

Put the item back inside, and try out your new box.

Now you can snip the excess from the flaps.

Make sure to leave enough on the top flaps, so that there is full coverage.

Now you can seal your shipment and feel satisfied with your resourcefulness!

I remember my first few attempts at this resulting in some slightly odd looking (though still useful) boxes. With a little practice, and precision with your measuring, it is pretty simple and doesn’t have to take long.

I hope you’ll find this useful!

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This morning I stumbled on these photos I took recently, which show a couple small projects I did for a friend and for my brother. Seeing them reminded me how important it is for me to work on a variety of things and to explore new ideas.

On an unrelated (hmm, but maybe totally related) note, the shop will be closed for a bit – maybe just for a few days, maybe for a little longer, not sure yet – but it is to allow me to focus fully on the long list of orders I currently have in. I think it is pretty safe to say that I haven’t had a true day off since November, and that I have the most patient and understanding customers I could ask for. I am so grateful for you! Also, I have a lot of momentum building toward bringing some new ideas to life, and hope to create the space for that as well. Some days it is hard not to just break out the sketch pad, map out those ideas, and let the day unfold as it does.

But today! The next segment of this day will probably unfold something like this –

+ swig the last gulp of my latte

+ vacuum the house (I actually love to vacuum, which is fortunate because this could happen near daily with my fuzz factory of a sewing studio)

+ decide if I should take the time to wash my hair or not? Oh such monumental decisions… I am on the fence at this point.

+ get dressed

+ make some food (probably the “meal in a cup”) to bring up to work with me

+ have a brief stretchy yoga session

+ check instagram (mildly addictive)

+ get to work!


How’s your day looking? I hope it is creative and productive!



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current favorites

Just a quick stop to share a few current favorite songs, for this productive, rainy Monday:

Fireflies by Owl City

Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (thanks Amber and Ruben)

We Got Soul by Quantic


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Having a pocket sized camera (in this particular case, an iPhone) is the best for spontaneous picture taking. I don’t know about you, but I love taking (and viewing) pictures. Rather than hoard them all in the phone – ’cause what is the fun of that –  I am going to try to share some here sometimes.These were all taken in the last few days.

In the last few days, not necessarily in this order,

+ We explored the riverfront, and a tide lower than we had ever seen

+ I worked a lot (and organized a little) in the studio

+ We walked through Old Town, where there are big trees and moss covered cobblestone

+ Steven made soup and pesto, I baked bread, and we ate it with feta on top. Everything with feta!

+ We went on a double date (and I borrowed my sister’s cute shoes)

+ We dodged rain showers while eating ice cream cones and watching incredible cloud formations

>< I hope you all enjoyed your weekend ><







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a pair of chairs


I have a bit of a thing for chairs, especially of Danish and/or mid century modern design. I spotted a pair of these chairs at the thrift store last week that remind me of a chair Steven’s parents have, which I love (theirs is teak and of better quality). To find a matching pair was the icing on the cake! These are made of a hardwood I’m not familiar with, and are quite lightweight. I love their simple style.


So far I have re-covered one of them with unbleached organic cotton canvas. I ultimately plan to sand them down and finish them with tung oil, and replace the cushion material with something natural. I find these kinds of projects super satisfying – making something old new again, and doing functional things for our home .


Any fun projects you’re working on?

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sharing some love

Happy Valentine’s Day! I wanted to share a little love today, with a giveaway… To enter for a chance to win a small stash tote, please leave a comment on this post before midnight on Friday, Feb 17. I will choose a winner, at random, on the weekend.

Lots of love,

xx Abby


Update – The lucky winner is Mirjam! Thanks so much for participating, everyone.

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