Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We love Cup of Jo!

Hi everyone!  We're super excited to be working with one of our most favorite blogs today:  Cup of Jo!  Joanna is perhaps one of the sweetest people in the universe and have you seen her dear little baby!  Not to mention her impeccable taste - she's our go-to source for anything stylish.  Click on over to see what's going on….and good luck!

p.s. the above photo is our newest bag, The Very Useful Tote!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Viewing art and baking bread

Parker and I went to The Mattress Factory this afternoon.  I've been wanting to take her to see the James Turrell pieces since we moved to Pittsburgh but every time we bring her to the museum it seems to be for a party or an opening or during that free museum day where there is no less than a thousand people waiting to cram themselves into the room where if they wait a reeeaaally long time they might see something.  So, today we went.  There were people there, not too many to deter us from waiting our turn to see Pleiades.  We waited in line.  Only two people can be in the room at a time to view it so we began with the other two pieces while we waited (Catso & Danae).  It was mostly anxiety inducing for Parker.  She could not orient herself within the space and she did not know what she was going in to see (a situation that could cause anyone anxiety)….once completely in each room she settled a bit and was interested in what she was seeing, but I could tell she still felt strange standing in a mostly dark she was skeptical.  All of this led to our turn in Pleiades which, requires at least 15 minutes sitting quietly in the dark in order to allow your eyes to adjust enough to see the spectrum that is displayed.  It's really pretty amazing, but we did not make it in the dark long enough to see the final result.  Parker felt too claustrophobic or perhaps she did not trust that her eyes would adjust...either way, we'll try again one day.  It was still a good experience.  Kids are funny.

image from Joy the Baker

So, now we are home and we're going to bake bread.  Specifically this Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread that I found on Joy the Baker - my new favorite blog.  She's darling and her recipes are irresistible.  I'm not a bread baker - I know nothing about it.  This should be a fun experiment with hopefully tasty results.  We're starting it now and I know we will not be able to wait until tomorrow to bake it so we'll surely be eating it for dinner. 

..we really shouldn't eat only sweet bread for dinner.
..but we might.

..and we might, as Joy suggests, eat it all.

*UPDATE* we made it to through the first rising last night but it was 8:30pm and we still needed a second 45 min. rise and a 45 min. bake so we opted to wrap it up and finish it in the morning. Let me tell you:

GREAT success was had.

We used two smaller bread pans and brought one to Jeremy's parents...which is why I feel *fine* saying Parker and I have eaten just about all of our loaf...if you make this, you will eat it all, too. Sunday morning perfection.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Triangle Shirt Waist Factory

Today marks the 100 year anniversary of the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory fire in New York City.  As I listened to Democracy Now this morning (you can listen/watch here) - an episode they dedicated to the tragedy, labor history and labor rights - I was reminded of the very things that led me to begin Moop.  When I was a young single mother and my daughter was a toddler, I started researching the textile industry, labor practices globally and the egregious disregard for individual human rights that were taking place rampantly in the world of textile production.  At the time, I was a full time student, worked several part time jobs and was raising a daughter by myself.  It was then that I started experimenting with a sewing machine.  I began to stitch up little a-line skirts for my daughter and then as I got better, for myself.  I do not know how to make clothing, but I learned a lot about construction by playing around with things that I then used on a daily basis and as part of my artistic practice/education.  My impetuous to sew came from a desire to not support industries that used sweatshop labor…I could not afford a lot at that time, but I could make the choice to change how I interacted as a consumer (I chose a few ways I felt I could act on this tiny personal protest, one way was through food and clothing when possible).  This led me down the path of more research.  All of my years working on my BFA & MFA were focused on labor histories, labor uprisings and how I, as a consumer and an individual, could be more responsible.  Eight years later it led to Moop, which began as an extension of my studio practice and was solely the labor of one (me!).  As Moop continues to grow I am continually committed to keeping our production in house.  This means I am on the road to small manufacturing (really, that's what we are already, the 4 of us working at Moop every day).  As I continue to receive your support, design new bags, create more jobs and grow into a larger company, the work environment I get to create is very exciting to me.  We're still very tiny but, I work hard to ensure that everyone who works with me feels like they get to work in a comfortable, safe, healthy, flexible and fun environment.  And I will continue to maintain this as we grow.

I'm feeling particularly grateful to the people in my life over the last few years who have helped to educate, support and encourage me to do what I feel so lucky to be doing…I only hope I can pass that on to those I encounter.  And feeling thankful to all of the powerful men and women who throughout history have taken a stance against labor injustices and fought for workers rights...such bravery and legacy! And, most especially, thanks to all of you who have supported us through your orders, your kind words, your encouraging messages and the wonderful work that you all do!  Such wonderful people you all are and such an example you are to me!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hearts and Hands for Japan

If you are anything like us you have felt helpless and gripped by the devastation of the March 11th tsunami, earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster in Japan.  We have been keeping up with the news in hopes of learning as much as we can about the futures of everyone affected by the disaster…and feeling like there is so little we can do but stand by and watch.  Our friend Lynn has turned all of those feelings into action and has organized an amazing group of artists to donate work to raise money for Japan.  Her goal is to raise an amount of money that collectively has the ability to create a sincere and substantial donation to Save The Children and Shelter Box.  Moop has donated a $200 gift certificate to the effort in hopes that we can, through our small amount, contribute to those on the ground providing immediate aid to those directly affected by the disaster.  You can read more about the initiative here:

Another collective effort to raise money for Japan is Handmade for Japan who has set up an ebay auction of artwork from 60+ artists.  The auction begins tonight at 8pm and goes through Sunday, March 27th.  The auction items will be visible beginning at 8pm tonight.  Check the ebay shop here and the facebook page or website for all of the details.

It's so encouraging to me to see the handmade community come together is such a meaningful way to try and help in times of need.  There are such great people in the world.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


If you have not heard about Take Part then you should head on over to their website to read about the projects they are invested in, the issues they cover, the actions they promote and the films they've helped to produce.  Impressive to say the least.  And as an added bonus, you can enter the Moop / Take Part giveaway featured for today only on their website.  Click {{{{ here }}}} to find out how to enter.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011


from American Cars

My brother had a Jevelin, later a 1970-something Spider, later than that another Javelin and even later than that a Shelby Mustang. Another brother had a Dodge Dart.  My first car was a 1982 Datsun 200SX, that I bought in 1995. It cost $500.  I have 7 siblings. My parents had a ridiculous maxi van with a fiberglass top so you could stand up straight inside - my Dad is tall and he did not like to be inconvenienced.  He had converted the whole thing so there were pull out bunkbeds inside, a pump sink, a porta potty, no seat belts, cabinets, under seat storage and a baby "crib" above the drivers & passengers seat.  It looked a bit like this, only it was bright blue and white:

from AmericanCars

If I ever make another piece of art again, it will be to re-create this vehicle with my Dad.  We went everywhere in this..the whole fam.  So, when I saw this Etsy shop I couldn't help but feel a bit of nostalgia for a nicely photographed American car and my youth.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Moop just had a birthday!

We  are so excited to celebrate another year with Moop!  We feel very fortunate that each and every one of you has helped us build this business from the practice of one (me) to an exciting and sustainable business model that provides a few great jobs to a few great women.   It's been 4 years of steady learning curves and exciting happenings and I'm looking forward to the many more!  Thanks for being so supportive and all send us the best thank you letters and it always makes me so happy to know our bags are being carried by such awesome people.  So, in honor of our birthday we're celebrating with a few new bags!

We've taken one of our most popular bags and made it with our newest most popular fabric, Waxed Canvas.  We just can't get enough of this stuff - it's perfect for Moop bags and I couldn't be happier to see all of our designs translated into such a great material.  You all have been requesting the small messenger in waxed canvas and well…here it is!  I've taken a few elements from the non-waxed canvas full size messenger bag and a few elements from the Small Messenger, added a few details and viola - the perfect bag!  Jeremy says it's his favorite bag yet.  It's sizing is just right…not too big, not too small…the same dimensions as the non-waxed small messenger.  The detailing is useful, tried and reliable.  It's very water resistant.  And, I've added d-rings to the bottom sides for those of you who ride bikes with our bags.  I'll be making a few adjustable straps upon request for use as a stabilizing strap to keep your bag from sliding down in front of you while riding your bike across town. 

We're initially offering this in our favorite dark brown waxed canvas and an heirloom tomato red which is in limited supply…so once the red is gone…that's it!  I just want to add:  I've never seen a red fabric I liked more than this red waxed canvas.  It's so so so nice.

You can find the new bags here and here.

And, I've made a few Paperbacks in the new heirloom tomato red as well (gah! they're so great!). 

I also want you all to know that we're offering free U.S. shipping on all orders from now until Monday, March  14th.  No code needed...just place your order and if you're having it shipped to the United States then you'll see zero dollars under shipping charges. :)

Thanks again for being so awesome!!

p.s. the free shipping offer is only valid on

Monday, March 7, 2011


Late last summer Jeremy began a new job at CREATE lab, within the robotics institute at Carnegie Mellon University.  He's officially the Artist in Residence and works on some exciting projects (artists and roboticists make a good team).  One especially interesting project that the lab has going is the Gigapan, a gigapixel camera.  You read that correctly...GIGApixel!  Here is the most recent Gigapan from Tahrir Square in Cairo.  All I can say is incredible. 

Here's how it works:
Click on the image within the Gigapan browser (go here first).
Then, click on one of the thumbnails below the image and watch amazing happen.
Click on "view all" on the left hand side to zoom back out. 
Click on another thumbnail and watch amazing happen all over again.


Friday, March 4, 2011


We've planned a little cocktail party for tomorrow night and I'm so excited to finally have people over!  We have not done this since we moved to Pittsburgh (you know..the house being under construction and generally in a "not fit for visitors, let alone boozed visitors, state" really hampers the whole cocktail party experience).  I love to mix cocktails...champagne cocktails and anything with bourbon or gin are my favorite...we'll definitely be using the juicer and making these blood orange martinis and perhaps this porch swing recipe.

Hope you all are heading into a fun weekend!

Cheers (quite literally),

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Vintage Map Pillows

 I love these vintage map pillows!  I just saw them on Etsy's front page and was instantly enamored.  They're available for purchase here.  I want this one and this one.  They're made by My Bearded Pigeon and they're so great!