Thursday, December 31, 2015

Season's Greetings and Happy New Year!

Cheers to a great 2015, and here's to an even better 2016!

(Also, I made this holiday wreath to decorate at home! I've never made a wreath before... and this is definitely the Charlie Brown version of one. But I think he's so cute! Too bad he was so dry after being on the wall for a while and so many of his needles fell off when I took him down to take this picture... whoops...)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays everyone! Hug all of the people you love, eat lots of delicious food, and enjoy that snuggly holiday feeling today!

Photography by Scott Rounds.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Arminho Studio Visit

Unfortunately the light was pretty flat the day I visited the Arminho studio in Porto, and the photos show it (sorry!), but I couldn't not post about these two super inspiring Portuguese makers.

João and Raquel are the ultimate DIY couple. I have been following their gorgeous paper goods line Arminho for some time now. They rescued some classic machinery (including a letter press), spruced it up, and put it to modern use. Notebooks in proprietary patterns and original illustrated wall hangings are the core offerings. During my visit I got a tour of the studio and basic process of production and also a sneak peek at their recently launched knitwear brand Camelotia. Machine knit in house by them, they're making sweaters, beanies, and very cute throw pillow covers. They are also experimenting with ceramics as a possible new line or extension of one of the existing ones. (Of which Joáo offered me a piece as a gift and I FORGOT it! Sadness...) And oh, in their spare time they completely renovated the interior of a VW van themselves which they take on camping trips. And they've got a sweet little backyard garden.

Their energy and seeming endless motivation to further their skills, find new challenges, and make things with their hands was so inspiring. Before I knew it, a quick pop in turned into a 2 hour conversation. I left feeling so uplifted by their attitudes and talents. Thanks to João and Raquel for such a welcoming visit!


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Family Ties

All of the pictures in this post were taken in Foz do Arelho. My great grandfather was born there and emigrated to the US almost a hundred years ago. Seeing the town was a surreal moment, a bucket list item I had always dreamed of and finally checked off. It's small, doesn't even have a proper grocery store (that I could find). It's likely that they take care of most errands in the small nearby city of Caldas da Rainha, about a 10 minute drive. Most architecture seemed pretty modern and there was a lot of construction happening. A small town growing into a small beach getaway resort or weekend retreat destination perhaps? It made me wonder... what was even there a hundred years ago? They didn't even have cars yet. Things have no doubt changed so much in that place over these years since my ancestor left, but the things that can't have changed, are those views and that water. One hundred years is so long, and so short.

There is rumor that someone in my family (which is big) still has the deed to an old piece of land there, an asset that my great grandfather brought with him. But I don't know who, or if it's even true. I've heard other rumors of eminent domain taking it away from us. No one seems to know what the deal is. And we don't have family there either. It felt, being there, like anything that would have tied me to that place in a more physical way had been washed away or built over in more recent years. But when I went to the Municipal Archives in Leiria to retrieve his, and my great grandmother's, birth certificates the attendant found them in about 5 minutes. I thought they might be lost in time but it was that quick and easy. And it was a tremendous feeling. We move on from the past and our connection to it diminishes. But this was truth. Real connection. Real history. That place is in my blood. It was thrilling.