You know how sometimes you’re just doing your thing online, jumping from one site to the next, following a link suggested on a blog you like or checking on what folks you’re following on Instagram have liked and then, boom. Out of nowhere, you find a website or blog that really, really resonates with you. Maybe it’s the writing, or perhaps it’s the way the shop is curated that speaks to you. That’s just what happened to me with Otherwild.
In their own words: OTHERWILD GOODS & SERVICES is a hybrid retail store and graphic design studio in Los Angeles, CA dedicated to design in its many facets. As graphic designers, we are inspired by the multidisciplinary talent that surrounds us, and are interested in a synthesis which merges the fine and applied arts. OTHERWILD’s design vision is distinctly cross-disciplinary. As graphic designers, we incorporate our passion and respect for the handmade into our design work. Our studio is filled with beautifully designed objects of all incarnations, many of which are handmade and one-of-a-kind. Within our retail space we offer a curated selection of goods from jewelers, ceramicists, perfumers, artists, designers, herbalists, quilters, fabricators, musicians, witches, picklers, woodworkers, curators, photographers, dancers and publishers. This carefully curated selection expresses our aesthetic sensibility as designers. We are absolutely dedicated to showcasing goods made with care by individual artists + designers rather than products that are mass produced.
What specifically caught my eye was a gorgeously rendered lunar cycle calendar for 2013. I liked it so much I included it in a “What I’m Digging” round-up. Shortly after my mention, Rachel from Otherwild wrote me directly, thanking me for the love and offering a version of the 2014 once it was ready.
That time has come! Not only has Rachel generously offered to give me a complimentary calendar, she’s offering the same to one lucky small measure reader! The calendar was designed by Alma Reyes Evans for Holy Sponge. It’s 8.5″ x 11″ and shows what phase the moon is in every day of 2014. For those unfamiliar with lunar cycles and why one might want a calendar of them (aside from the sheer beauty factor), Rachel provided this information:
Anyone can use a lunar calendar to learn and pay attention to the cycles of life, death and rebirth. The new moon, or the dark moon, is symbolic of new soil- a time to plant seeds and intentions for the 28 day cycle ahead, and as the moon grows (waxes), the seeds grow and our intentions begin to manifest in some way. The full moon represents the fullness or completion of whatever was planted during the new moon- a time to celebrate or notice what has peaked. As the moon wanes and her light diminishes, the cycle comes to a close and we let go of the current cycle to prepare for the next. Our ancestors have used the moon as a guide in this way for thousands of years.
Cool, right? And beautiful, too. Win, win! To enter the giveaway, simply click on this link. It’ll take you to a space for signing up for Otherwild’s newsletter, which in turn enters you in the giveaway. Trust me, you want to be included in that newsletter! We’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Wednesday, December 11th, midnight EST.
Even if you don’t win, do be sure to visit Otherwild. They’ve got an expert selection of items in a wide range of prices. Thanks, Rachel, and best of luck to you all!
My buddy Karie Reinertson is some kind of wonderful. She was here for Huxley’s birthday and my mom met her and her partner/fiance Rob Maddox, the duo behind Shelter (I wrote this piece about Karie and Shelter for Madesmith). When I was chatting the next day with mom, she spoke about Karie, saying “She’s so humble.” I realized recently the older I get that one characteristic (along with niceness) is the one trait I look for most in people. Humility is golden, friends. Truly.
If you live in the Asheville area, you’re one lucky individual, as Karie and Rob are putting on what promises to be one epic holiday Pop-Up shop, entitled Hearth. Details are in the image above. I know many of the purveyors personally, and know of the others. Owing to that, I can guarantee there will be some creative, gorgeous, quality items to be had at this event. Don’t miss out!
It’s the season of feasting, isn’t it? Even before this past Thursday’s Thanksgiving here in the States, folks have been swilling eggnog (I know I have!), sipping hot chocolate (it’s the most wonderful time of the year, after all), and otherwise nibbling and noshing and sipping and imbibing. Something about these shorter, colder days seems to invoke a seemingly unconscious desire to store up calories for the harsher weather to come. We tend to move a bit less, and eat a bit more.
I’m certainly not immune to this, and have begun my December tradition of starting the mornings off with a little sweet something, in the form of scones, stollen, or panettone. A little chunk of one of that holy trinity and a mug of hot coffee (typically laced with freshly ground cardamom seeds) gives me the added pep to great the dawn with a breath of fresh air. And when there’s a bit of snow kissing the cove out here, as was the case last Wednesday, I get an extra kick in my step.
Many folks look at winter with either outright contempt or irksome annoyance. I couldn’t feel more differently. When the mercury dips, I thrive. Give me some plaid flannel p.j.s and plaid flannel sheets (it’s like a plaid Tuxedo, for your bed!), or a plaid flannel shirt and a cardigan and I’m golden (those that know me well know my abiding love of all things plaid-I think my memoir will be called “Wrap Me In Plaid Flannel And Tell Me That You Love Me”, or something akin….).
Accordingly, this past weekend was all about feasting. From a buffet of splendor at Deerpark on Thanksgiving Day (after authoring two cookbooks this past year, Glenn and I decided it was time to treat ourselves-”Treat Yo’Self!”- and let someone else do all the cooking and cleanup-big shout out to Marissa Jamison for hooking us up with a reservation when the restaurant was completely booked solid!), to a truly stellar meal at the newly opened Rhubarb downtown, to seeing my Triple Berry Lattice Top Pie grace this cover of this past week’s Mountain Xpress, it was all food, all weekend.
I also had the exquisite pleasure of getting to hang out with Sara Bercholz, founder of Roost Books (who is publishing my two books coming up in 2014), last week. She and her partner Dave and little guy Milo were visiting Dave’s folks, who live about 1 1/2 hours north. We only just met in September, but we connected on what I feel was a “heart” level, and having her around was like having a missing piece in place. She treated us to Thanksgiving dessert (yes, we drove north after one feast to enjoy another!) and to lunch at Rhubarb. Love that lady and am grateful beyond words to have met her and her sweet family. Now, if I can only convince her to relocate Roost and its parent company Shambhala to Asheville (a lady can dream, right?)…..
It’s still all food, really, as I shift gears to planning the menu for my 6th annual Ladies Cookie Exchange this coming Saturday. Myself and around 30 other ladies will spread their tastiest dozens of cookies across my dining room table while we swap and snack on savory appetizers and punch. If there’s interest and, well, room (30 ladies plus kids in my petite house makes for cozy socializing!), I’ve got a mind to initiate a game of holiday-themed charades (can YOU act out “The Nutcracker” with, um, “grace”?). Should be a good time.
I’m also crafting my holiday gifting list. Local friends will be getting something for their kitchens, while family members far away will receive boxes filled with edibles, both homemade and locally obtained. Huxley is pretty pumped about these darker, cooler days, too, as he’s now savvy to their parallel association with the presence of chocolate and treats and other sweet goodness (the concession, of course, is that his teeth are getting brushed a lot!).
What about you? What’s brewing in your kitchen? Or where are you hoping to dine in your neck of the woods? ‘Tis the season of feasting, and I want to know what you’ve got simmering!
Here’s wishing you a week filled with health, happiness, and love, from my home to yours!
*That title is not a typo. I’m totally owning “Feastivus!”
Happiest of days to you, friends! My heart is absolutely overwhelmed with happiness (or, as the locals say, “full to burstin’”!) for all of the goodness that has come my way this year. I am thankful beyond measure for you, for this place, for this life.
From we three Englishes to you, Happy Thanksgiving!
I keep a running mental list at all times of skills I’ve not yet mastered but fully intend to one day do. Highest on this list are the textile arts. In high school, I took a “Life Skills” class. Everyone did, actually, as it was required. Along with learning how to balance a checkbook and perform CPR on a dummy (“Annie, are you o-kay?”), we learned how to sew a sweatshirt. Later in college, while taking a costume design class, I added a bit more to my sewing tool belt, and made a satin sleeveless dress (slipperyest fabric of all time!). But that’s about it.
Either last winter or the year before, I signed up for a knitting class at the local technical college. I was so lost, though, in my attempts at casting on, that when the instructor had completed helping the other 12 students out and finally made her way back around to me, class was nearing completion. I threw up my needles in frustration and haven’t attempted to cast on since. The thing is, I really, really, REALLY want to know how to knit. And sew. And crochet. And quilt. And all of the domestic textile arts. It’ll happen, I’m sure. I think I just need to a one-on-one mentor.
In the meantime, there are others much further along the textile arts arch then myself. Jackie Vleck is one such person. Owner of Luna Grey Fiber Arts, a one-woman hand dyed yarn company based in sunny, western Colorado, Jackie knows her way around a skein of yarn, and then some. She started the company in 2012 after years of teaching knitting classes at her local yarn shop. Jackie wanted to create a place for knitters/crocheters to find one-of-a-kind, high quality, natural fiber art yarns, and Luna Grey Fiber Arts was born.
When it comes to knitting, Jackie is full of wit and wisdom on the topic. Here are some of her bits of insight, both when it comes to knitting and where running Luna Grey Fiber Arts is concerned:
*Knitting with hand dyed yarn is so fun! It allows knitters/crocheters to express their creativity through their yarn choice. No two skeins of hand dyed yarn are exactly alike. So, the end project will truly be one of a kind.
*Many knitters will attest that the craft is necessary for their sanity! It allows for a creative outlet as well as something to do with their hands (nothing better for staving off those late night munchies). Most importantly for me, after a particularly stressful day, a few minutes with some soft wool and two knitting needles and my troubles seem to melt away.
*I have recently added undyed/bare yarn to my shop. I wanted to make it easy for my customers to find their inner fiber artist by trying their hand and dyeing yarn at home.
*As an at-home mother of two young boys (pictured above!), I love the flexibility that my shop allows me. I can drop the boys off at school in the morning. Volunteer in the classroom for a bit. Then work in my studio until the end of the school day.
*Our shop is a family business in every sense of the word. My husband, Brian (shown in the last image with Jackie and her boys), designed and built my studio space using mostly reclaimed materials – vintage school house cubbies for yarn storage, an unused Home Economics class stove for heating dye pots and work tables made from oak pallets. The boys love helping to name the colorways. While most of their suggestions are wonderfully fitting, not all of their ideas find their way into the shop (such as Toad and Baby Poo).
*I welcome custom orders and truly enjoy working together with my customers to design exactly what they have in mind. Some of my favorite colorways come from customer collaborations.
In addition to lovely skeins of yarn for purchase, Jackie has also recently added knitting project kits to her shop. These kits include a pattern and the yarn needed to complete the project. I can’t think of a more wonderful gift for the knitters in your lives! Here’s a bit of information on the two kits:
Jackie, in addition to being a lovely small measure sponsor, has offered to generously give away a skein of her gorgeous yarn. The giveaway includes one skein of Titan Thick & Thin Merino Wool Yarn in the Sanctuary colorway. Titan is one of Jackie’s most popular yarns as it is super duper soft and knits up quickly. One skein will make a gorgeous cowl or cozy hat.
To be entered in the giveaway, simply leave a comment below listing what you’d most like to be able to knit. For me, it’s scarves. I adore them and could never have enough. In your comment, be sure to leave a means of contacting you should you be the winner, via either a link back to your blog or website, or by leaving your email in the contact form (this is visible only to me). I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding November 27th, 2013, midnight EST. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents open (sorry, international buddies!).
Even if you don’t win, you still do, as Jackie is additionally offering a discount to small measure readers. To receive 15% off your entire order, use coupon code: SmallMeasure at checkout. The discount offer is good through 11/30/13.
Happy knitting friends! And here’s to my resolve to one day be clicking needles with the best of ‘em!