Friday, February 26, 2010

The Silver Spoon for Children

Parker and I love to cook. Parker especially. She thinks about food all the time. At breakfast she asks what we will be having for dinner. She plans our Friday night meal before the previous Friday night's meal is over. She's very gourmet, too. She's not planning to have chicken fingers and french fries (though she enjoys that diet), she plans much more interesting meals: cuban chorizo with black beans, baby peppers, tomatillo's, quinoa and warm corn tortillas (delicious, by the way)

Her constant and ongoing conversation about food can sometimes be exhausting…especially when you're completely wiped out and you really want to just throw some tater tots in the oven and dinner be done. Our home in Massachusetts was comfortable, not under construction and Parker had become pretty self sufficient in the kitchen. She would prepare a meal on her own one night a week and it was easy to let her do so. Our house now (which is not a home yet) looks like this. It is not easy to cook in. Construction aside, the kitchen layout is disjointed and does not have a good flow to it. The stove is out in the open while the sink, drawers and counters are tucked away in a tiny nook. A small kitchen is fine by me, but a disjointed mess does not make me want to cook. period. But, Parker still wants us to eat with style... so we cook. She spends a lot of time on and enjoys reading cookbooks. Our most recent addition to our cookbook collection is, The Silver Spoon for Children, published by Phaidon. We tend to avoid many of the cookbooks for kids because the recipes are often bland or too toddler-esque. But this book clearly understands the blossoming chef - kids don't need boring recipes, they need simple, easy to follow instructions with recipes that are not crammed onto the pages and filled up with screaming bad graphics making it impossible to sort through the extra blurgh some editor threw onto the page because they thought that's what kids would like to see. Instead, each recipe has two pages to itself with charming illustrations detailing every step and a photo of each finished product. The recipes are full of flavor without too many ingredients. I'm super impressed with how well Phaidon adapted the original Silver Spoon. We bought it from Amazon, but you might find it at your local bookstore, too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sometimes we're all geeks.

I am a geek about a lot of things. For instance, I am always thinking about the intricate ways in which we build our bags - where stress points fall versus how the top stitching looks next to the overlap of seams - I obsess over where those seams join together and (as anyone who as worked for me will tell you) I will not let a crooked seam leave the studio.

I am a little bit geeky about basketball, too. I can't talk stats and junk, I just love the "teamness" (um…hello Celtics, why on earth would you go a trade part of the heart and soul of the team and send Eddie House to the Knicks??!!!), the rivalries, the announcers, the history, the overall fabric of the sport. I just finished listening to a book by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson..I know, geek is written on my forehead.

Right this second, I am geeking out over Public Radio. There is now an iPhone app for This American Life. It has all of the search capabilities of the website and it streams everything right to your phone.
Go get it.
You neeeeed this in your life.
I'm serious. The $2.99 spent on this app will make your life slightly better - you will burn extra calories from laughing more, you'll be a better conversationalist, you'll be more empathetic, you'll have 400 hours of airtime literally in your pocket.

I love technology.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Messenger in brushed brown

Many of you remember the vintage brushed brown canvas we used a while back. It was great of our favorites. But, sadly, it went the way of our famous brushed sage canvas and was all used up. We have been looking for something comparable ever since. We tend to take our time introducing new materials because we're particular and want them to be *just* right. I'm happy to report, we have finally found a new brushed brown - and because we held out for that perfect fabric we found something even better than the old brown - a heavy weight brushed canvas in brown with undertones of's soft and durable. It made it into the shop yesterday and has been the best seller all weekend. You can find it here: Messenger in brushed brown

Friday, February 19, 2010


Thanks to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review for including us in your round up of great "man bags." And, boys, if you've been curious to see what our bags look like on someone other than me (as I am always the one modeling the bags) - check out the above image taken by Joe Appel. Thanks Joe!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

collections of collections

I have never thought of myself as a collector...but, with certain things I am. Our cabinets are bursting with a large collection of handmade bowls and mugs. Many of which are made by Jeremy's mom and our friend Naomi. This morning, while browsing Etsy (I do that while I'm eating my breakfast) I saw the work of Jason Russell and impulsively bought one of these enticing blue egg cups. Aren't they lovely! I would also like the utensil holder please (blue might be my fav. color).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Actuators and such

When Jeremy joined me full time at Moop, he took on multiple jobs. He learned to sew immediately (I'm certain he's better than I am, now), he took over managing the cutting room & parts preparations and he handles a large portion of the bookkeeping. Jeremy's background, as many of you know, is in music, art, electronics and teaching. He left a tenure track teaching position to join me and share partnership of Moop - while I know he has no regrets on making that major career change, I am always worried if it is challenging enough for him. Moop is all consuming but it's not mechanical engineering, arduino or computer programming conversation (instead, we're all audio books about bank robbers, sewing and customer questions via email). I mean, our machines, while they are super duper industrial workhorses…they're not that complicated to use. They don't have electronic buttons and actuators and all that stuff that goes into much of the art and music based work that Jeremy does….until now, that is!

As a Happy Valentines Day present to my beloved partner (really, it was purely coincidence that the machine was delivered on the last workday before VDay..but, that is beside the point - it makes my story better) we just purchased a new machine. It has a COMPUTER on it! There are solenoids and actuators and stitch counters and automatic thread trimmers and hands free reverse stitching (I am jealous of this feature) and a parts manual that rivals the McMaster Carr Catalog (his typical bedside reading).

The acquisition of this new machine was in preparation for our new studio assistant (she starts today..we'll introduce her soon). We are so so excited to have Emily working with us. She will be Jeremy's direct assistant and will ease our workload immensely. Our studio is now jam packed with machines, tables, fabric, bags, computers and us. We have not had a single moment to work on the upstairs part of the studio which, once finished, will move the office out of the downstairs and allow the production space to spread out a bit. Ack! Writing all of this is stressing me out all over again..we have so much to do! ….breathe in, breathe out.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Be the boss

Parker has been out of school all week long - the snow has shut down everything. She has been playing in the snow and hanging out on the studio couch watching (and loving) all of the original Pink Panther movies.

For me, this has been one of the hardest weeks to be my own boss. I want to be 12 again and veg out at home when school is canceled, with nothing to do but jump on the trampoline, bake cookies and flip through contraband issues of Tiger Beat smuggled from my friend's houses (there are no contraband magazines in our house..but in the house I grew up in, everything was contraband except church magazines..yes, I was raised by the right wing conservative set…which explains my rejection of all of that…*le sigh*..stories for another day). I have made it to the studio most of this week…missing Saturday, Sunday and Monday set us back a lot…but, we resumed production on Tuesday…regardless of my internal 12 year old begging me to build an igloo instead of going to work. It is great to be the one in charge..but, sometimes the difficult part is being the one in charge! I could just say, "Wendy, today is a snow day. You do not have to go to work." But, because I am the one in charge, I know if I take snow days, the number of bags I have to sew compounds daily, meaning I will not be able to take another day off for several weeks. And, our good friend from Massachusetts is coming for a visit at the end of the month - I want to be able to take him out on the town and show him why Pittsburgh is so f&%@ing awesome. So, as the boss, I will say, "Wendy, get to work." And as the boss, I will respond, "OK, boss."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Delays

Today is the first day since Friday we will attempt to venture to the studio. The snow has been unbelievable! 20 inches (though, from all the shoveling we've been doing my back would say it was 40 inches). I know, I know, you live in Minnesota or the North Pole and you're thinking, "20 inches! Wuss." Pittsburgh, however, does not get 20 inches of snow…ever. And, we live on a hill…a hill that seemed insignificant until it snowed 20 inches and we could not get to our house via automobile.

I just wanted to let you all know, orders will be delayed (just like school and mail delivery in Pittsburgh). We have not been able to sew for 3 straight days and it will take us a bit to get caught up. We shipped out a large batch of orders on Friday afternoon - just before the snow started. I can't say for certain if they will arrive within their usual 2-3 days but they are on their way. Please be patient with us as we get things back up and running. We are still just a few people trying to make every Moop bag.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The View From Here

We can't even open our back door - there is SO MUCH SNOW! My car got stuck while I was driving home last's stranded a few blocks away from our house and we're officially snowed in. I think we'll bake some cookies. Stay warm!

**UPDATE, several hours later** Being snowed in is alright with me.