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the new pack

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Good morning! Just wanted to stop in to share the new backpack that’s just become available. This bag has been my go-to day pack for a couple years now, and I have loved using it. After a few adjustments, I’m excited to finally make it available for purchase.

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Below are a couple photos of the original prototype, which has shown up here on the blog a few times. In the latest version, the shoulder straps are now leather, which makes them more stable. The pocket on the outside is now divided. I often felt like it was too easy for it to become a deep jumble of stuff with it full width. I also made some changes that aren’t apparent at a glance, but allow for greater ease of use (such as easy to grab snap tabs, and a different configuration of the interior pockets). There are also greater rivet reinforcements in all the stress areas.

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I’ll have more color options soon. Here is the listing if you’d like to learn more.

Looking around for past photos of my bag made me so excited for summer! It’s been on a lot of adventures with me, to some amazing places.

early spring shop update

 

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Hi folks! I have just updated the shop with some new items. There is more to come, but I couldn’t wait any longer with what’s already set to go.

I’ve been really drawn toward lighter colors these days, and it seems my recent work reflects that; clean and refreshing, soft and light, just like spring.

Most of the items just posted are one of a kind or limited edition. I will have some new shop staples to share soon as well. Shown below are a few of my particular favorites right now.

 

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Have a look in the shop to see more if you’d like.

 

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For the past couple months – since Christmas, really – I’ve been allowing myself time to freely play around in the studio with whatever my focus naturally gravitates toward. I have really cherished this time, and I feel like a part of me that had become stifled and restrained is coming back to colorful life. I had gotten to feeling like I didn’t know why I was making the things I was offering anymore, and needed to come back around and find my own creative initiative again. It’s been the longest period ever since I’ve had a true change of work in the shop, which also means a true change of work for me. I am a creative, sentient being. I am not a catalog, nor am I a machine.

Some of the things that I’ve been especially enjoying is exploring different kinds of leather work, digging into my stash of collected textiles, and getting immersed in a variety of wood carving projects. Sometimes I’ll go upstairs thinking I’ll just carve for a few minutes, and a few hours will easily pass. I love that kind of focus, where you are effortlessly, fully present in what you’re doing. That’s where it’s at! I’ve also been making an effort to let go of unneeded habits that have formed, and ideas about what I should be making. Free it up!

There will be a shop update pretty soon. Once I know the date, I will be sure to announce it here. I’ve been editing photos the last few nights and I have a few more bags I want to finish up. I’m excited!

Outside of the studio, we’ve been readying the garden and working out the details of a pretty big garden expansion. Not sure how much of the new garden we’ll get done this year with all the other things we are hoping to accomplish, but we’ll be making some first steps soon. In the existing garden I’ve sown the first round of peas, which are already popping through the soil, and I recently planted tomatoes, hot peppers, sunflowers and various greens in starter pots. We replaced the plastic sheeting on the hoop house recently and Steven’s been working on setting up irrigation in there, which is very exciting! I can easily spend an hour a day in there hand watering, so to have it automated with timers will be a huge help. There are a bajillion other ways I could think to spend those hours. Oh and my beautiful kale I was recently talking about? Well folks, the aphids have landed! They sure do love that stuff, dangit.

What are you all excited about these days? What gets your creative spark glowing?

the winter that never was

It looks and feels a lot like spring here, and it has for a while now.

feb_greens_0Self sown and self maintained greens and flowers. After a tough go with kale this past summer, it has beautifully transformed with the cooler, moister weather.

apricot_blossoms_0aFlowering apricot. This year marks the biggest show yet for this little tree. Fruit? Apparently that is another matter…

hoophouse_febHoop house carrots, planted in the summer. It was too hot back then and they didn’t take well, but over the late fall and winter they have taken care of themselves. I haven’t watered in here for months, so was really surprised to find them! And they have been so sweet and delicious. Over the course of a week or 2 I’ve picked a handful at a time. We are finishing the last of them now and I am making a mental note to do this again, with a little bit more effort on my part.

hoophouse_feb_1I finally started cleaning out the hoophouse. This year we need to replace the end walls, which were set up with plastic sheeting we had lying around, and wasn’t really suited for so much sun exposure. We have all the materials on hand now, and the plan is that we get it done this week.

crocus_diptychCrocus. Fresh, tiny, beauties.

gunneraSome of our Gunnera babies. Steven has been raising (SO MANY OF) these Dinosaur plants from seed. This year they should put on a huge amount of growth. We’re wondering what we’ll do with them all…

sunset_february_1Most every evening lately we are lulled by spring peepers, one of my favorite, most comforting sounds at this home. I think this year marks the earliest appearance they have made yet.

 

I know it’s bitter cold and snowy on the east coast, which has been so hard to imagine here. I try to keep in mind that nothing will necessarily be as I’ve known it to be. There could be another ice age. We could dry up and this land will turn to desert. Everything is changing. And we are changing, too.

 

 

 

marmalade

This weekend I got to check something off my long running list of things I want to make.

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I’m still new enough at hot water bath canning that I don’t feel a real ease and rhythm with it, and the preparation for marmalade is fairly tedious, so I kind of understand now why it took me so long. But now that I have done it once, I will definitely do it again!

 

I used Marisa McClellan of Food In Jars recipe for Three-Citrus Marmalade, but since I didn’t have grapefruit I used the lemons and oranges I had on hand, which happened to be exactly the amount of fruit called for. I also ran out of sugar right away, so I substituted some honey which worked out great. I cut the sweetener down by a fair bit – using a total of about 3 cups instead of the 6 called for (I used about 1.5 cups of honey, 1.5 cups sugar). It is plenty sweet – not too sweet, and maybe could do with even a little bit less. I love the bitter of the peel, but the right balance of sweet is important.

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It seemed like it took forever to cook, and I didn’t reach a steady 220 until later in the cook time. I ended up with quite a thick jam though, and 1/2 pint less than the recipe estimated, so maybe I cooked a bit longer than necessary.

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The result is the best marmalade I’ve ever had. This is the first time I’ve ever had home made marmalade though, so not to toot my own horn too much ;) Tonight we had biscuits with brie and marmalade and Steven busted out with some crazy analogy to quality speakers… like how the specs on a speaker are conveyed in a range… Tweeters cover a certain upper range, midrange covers a certain range in the middle, bass a certain part of the low range…  and so with a nice 20hz/20khz speaker it would cover a range from low to high that goes beyond human hearing, making it sound spectacular. By this point I was looking at him like, “huh?” And then he finished up by saying, well this marmalade goes outside of the range of normal human taste. Uhhh, yeah!

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On my list for tomorrow is a loaf of bread, so we can butter some marmalade toast. Mmmm.

 

a new year

Happy New Year, friendly folks.

This year I’ve been letting the concept of “New Year’s Resolutions” stir quietly, without mental inputs or particular expectations, and it’s been refreshing to see what has been coming to me. I appreciate opportunities to check in and consider how to do things better – improve on myself, on my life, on my relationships – and Steven and I tend to do this together a few times a year, usually on birthdays and sometimes at the new year. Checking in with ones self, with honesty and humility, is important for maintaining a healthy, balanced life.

This year feels clean and quiet, with a few areas that create a subtle rise of my heart rate. Those are the areas that require the real honesty and humility :)

A few of the things that have been naturally coming together –

Morning meditation. We go in and out of the habit of making time to be still and tune in, and it’s been quite a while since I have felt so naturally, wholly and peacefully interested in making time for this again. I wake up looking forward to it each day, and have had some excellent realizations, inner adjustments, and heart opening changes taking place.

Cooking dinner with intent and creativity. I love to cook, and dinner is our main meal where we always sit down and eat together, but usually it’s prepared as simply as possible, with as little hands-on time as possible because we are both wrapped up in work or projects. I have been making a point to set my projects aside each evening, gather a few seeds of inspiration and decide on a meal I think we would love. I find I’m going out in the garden more for ingredients, clipping more fresh herbs, and the house ends up filled with the incredible smells of a slow cooked meal. It is so much more satisfying, and our simple diet is becoming slightly more diverse.

Reading; good old fashioned reading, from books written with purpose. My first read this year was “Kinship With All Life,” by J. Allen Boone. This was actually a gift to Steven from my mom (thanks, mom!). I picked it up not knowing what to expect and was a little unsure at first. But then I couldn’t put it down, and I only wish it had been longer! I want to read it again. It honestly has changed the way I go about my day, particularly when out in the world amongst others. One of the things that has stuck with me most is the importance of living, moving and perceiving with pure intent and pure motives, and to see the best in the life forms around me. I feel I already live with pure motives and intent, and I love all life, but really, it can sometimes be hard to see the best in people… and in dogs, which I have become afraid of after being bit a few times in recent years. With people, I have sometimes become cynical, wary and unsure. Maybe dogs are suffering the same plight as their people. It’s important to be alert and discerning in this crazy world, but wariness and cynicism is not what I want the foundation of my perception of others to be built on. A couple days ago, I actually had the best experience I can recall in a long time with a pretty big dog, and I couldn’t help but feel like that wise animal was having fun with me for my own benefit.

Expressing kindness (to strangers): This is something I started trying to do more of a few months ago. It is easy (for me) to go about my way, and not engage the strangers I pass. I easily tend to keep to myself. However, I have been practicing looking out more, seeing all there is to see around me with a clear, open view (rather than the tunnel vision that often happens when you are on a mission, just getting things done), and the result has been that I am pretty much in a whole new world. A simple act, but try it with intent and I bet it will be interesting, at least. In doing this, I tend to look at people’s faces more and longer than I would otherwise, and then I might share a smile, and often a smile comes back. In those moments, it feels almost old fashioned, to see eye to eye and share a smile, and it stirs a feeling that all could be right in the world. I have had some interesting, unusual conversations come about from this as well. Does this sound crazy? Can you relate? I feel things have changed so much in the world, and some of what were once the most basic behaviors that we all took for granted, are now hard and feel ‘unnatural’ for people.

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I’d love to hear any thoughts you guys have, things you are working on for yourself, ways you can relate or not, anything you want to share. Would also love to simply know you’re out there. Stats tell me a number of someones are there! Blogging seems to be losing it’s place in the realm of social networking, or at least the place it once had, with all the faster paced, more visual outlets there are. Maybe we are getting quieter as readers. Or maybe the remaining readers are the quiet ones. I am also pondering how to blog this year. All business? All personal? Keep on as usual? … Is there even a need to segment one’s life between business and personal? So many questions : )

Love to all,

Abby

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snapshots

plant_shelf_setup_editLooking down, on the set-up for the latest studio enhancement.

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A new plant shelf, which is now home to a small dragon tree! I love having plants around me. They elevate a space so much. And I love that guy. He elevates my life, exponentially.

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An incredible slice of bright light right before sunset. These days I am in, more than out, and I felt lucky to have been out during these few extra beautiful moments.

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Recent crazy rain and wind storm. Thinking strong thoughts for our northern California neighbors.

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My new best friend at work, this power burnisher Steven built for me,

burnishing_0helping to create beautiful, burnished edges.

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Bevelling leather.

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Straight-shot view from the comfy chair in the studio. I like to sit here first thing in the day, while I collect my thoughts.

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i n f u s i o n  is in the final days of holiday order making and shipping. It’s an intense time, which is both super fun and extremely difficult. Fun as a business and difficult, at times, as a person who is a business. Most of all though, I am incredibly grateful. I am also amazed at my capacity for discipline, the love I have in my life, and the mixed up crazy that seems to be pure human-ness. Wow!

So much Love to you all! xo

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