24 October 2016. The darker it gets, the more we feel like holing up with friends, some bites, and a good beer. For some reason, going out feels less appealing when the sun sets at 4:30pm. Under the guise of being generous, we announce we'll host, but we know it's actually selfish. We quietly greet guests at the door, not wanting the neighbors to know that there will be some boozy Bananagrams taking place. We lead our friends into the living room, where the pillows have been propped up and refluffed. Throws are folded and stacked, at the ready for any guest's momentary chill.
At a low table nearby, we have a selection of bites ready. Small, tasty snacks that don't require a lot of preparation, but that will keep everyone sated. Salty, buttery crackers are spread with a smooth, mellow cheese, while a bowl of crunchy grapes sits nearby. Frozen pigs-in-a-blanket debut fresh from the oven. Nuts and some cut-up vegetables round out the table. Nothing takes much effort, and no one feels underfed.
These little gatherings are our bread and butter through the colder months. They keep us going, keep the laughter and tears flowing, make us hearty enough to brave the outdoors, the moments when we step outside and the insides of our nose freeze. With zippers biting at the underside of the chin, we stomp through the snowy dusk, keeping that feeling of warmth alive and just under the surface, ready to spill forth at a moment's notice.
18 October 2016. Have you ever spoken to the person sharing your Uber pool? Yeah, we haven't either.
We're always going, aiming for a fast pace with seamless transitions between one activity and the next. 100% fulfillment, 100% of the time. Reality, though? It ain't that way. Tired, overwhelmed, and depleted, we turn to gadgets to make life easier, but that lock us into habits and routines that further alienate us.
We're not sure there's an answer to this. We can't say that sniffing lavender oil will make a difference or that taking three, mindful breaths every hour will change that feeling of overwhelm. The one remedy that comes to mind is this: just try to be human. Be aware of what's going on around you so that the day doesn't pass without knowing what the weather is. Entertain the idea of making eye contact with that person in the Uber pool. In the few moments of wakefulness between your alarm and when your brain clocks in for duty, feel the weight of your comforter against you.
It's not a miracle cure, but it's a way to notice that despite the madness, you're still you. Not perfect, not tireless, but a decent human making your way, one moment at a time.
*image by jenny hallengren
11 October 2016. I have a set of measuring spoons that is an unglamorous as they come. They're not ceramic or substantial (they might top out at 2 ounces), they're not the world's most accurate spoons, nor are they narrow enough to slip in and out of spice jars. They're not brand name. If I think hard, there's not a single thing notable about them, except that I grew up with them. They are the spoons that measured salt for my first pie crust (it sucked), and they were used by my parents long before I got my hands on them. Using them brings a sense of ease and connection to family members and foods past. Objects can have this power and presence, sometimes good, sometimes bad.
On the other hand, a new thing gives you the chance to start over with no memories or associations attached. You get to create them. If you crave comfort, choose a scarf that settles gently against your neck to bring warmth and peace with each wear. If you want to cook more, a wooden spatula that fits perfectly in your hand might lure you to the kitchen just to feel its smooth edge glide through scrambled eggs. Even though they're just things, these things add meaning to the everyday. So I'll take that spatula and bring it into the fold, nestling it in with my spoons to take on the next soup or stew or stoup. The dish doesn't matter so much. I'll be glad simply to have the tools I like by my side.
04 October 2016. We start the week with the best intentions to carry only what we need. Snacks, tech, sunglasses, a notebook, maybe a charger. Throughout the week, though, our bags seem to grow heavier. Is it us or the lingering apple and unreturned library book? We find ourselves wondering, would it feel magical to walk around with less the way bestselling books espouse?
This brings us to an idea: approaching the packing of a tote like we do a recipe. A recipe gives a list of ingredients in specific amounts - and we follow it to a T. So how about this recipe?:
- One charger, coiled up in a small pouch.
- Two pairs of glasses, for sun and for reading.
- A wallet and a phone, minced (just kidding).
- Half of yesterday's leftover chicken and two pieces of fruit.
- Writing utensils tucked into a pocket.
- Four ginger candies, also tucked in pocket.
Combine all ingredients in one empty tote. Resist the urge to add loose papers. Let rest on doorknob between uses. Suitable 365 days of the year.
*pictured above: johann tote in black and brass safety pin
27 September 2016. Every year, a box arrives at the shop that looks perfectly normal, cardboard and scuffed from travel. But this box is different from all other boxes. It's full of calendar cloths, the once-yearly, limited edition cloths that arrive to a waiting list and our collective bated breath. Though the kitchen cloth is the workhorse of the kitchen, the calendar cloth can live as a casual wall hanging, clipped to a piece of twine or pinned to the wall throughout the year. Each cloth features an artist's unique design that conjures a mood or sentiment to usher in the new year. On one cloth, an artist (Japanese architect Wataru Ohashi) breaks down the steps of baking through playful drawings and captions (Baking). On another, Scandinavian printmaker and textile artist Lotta Jansdotter's flowing branches quietly frame the calendar's months. Each cloth offers a snapshot into the simplicity of day to day life, reminding us to live well and mind the passing of each day. At the end of the year, the calendar cloth can continue to hang on the wall or it can have a Cinderella moment, changing back to a workaday cloth.
*Cat and yarn calendar cloth by Wataru Ohashi.
20 September 2016. People coming into our brick and mortar shop will often find something they like and ask, "What's it for?" It could be a napkin or a throw, but whatever it is, it certainly has multiple lives and uses. Take a kitchen cloth. We can't tell you how many gifts we've hidden in the folds of a linen kitchen cloth, securing it with a piece of ribbon or washi tape. Aside from being reusable gift wrap, it's a lovely add-on for your giftee. A kitchen cloth also subs in nicely as a napkin if you want just a little more lap coverage. At the shop, we use kitchen cloths as placemats during lunch break and keep them in the bathroom as light hand towels. Such a simple thing, but it really gets around! Live with linen everyday, and be surprised by how much life you can get out of your linen.
*image: kitchen cloth in Peter plaid by jenny hallengren
09 September 2016. 92 degrees, 44% humidity. Those numbers don't suggest the approach of Fall, but we've been thinking about Fall for months. Though we try to move with the seasons (read: consuming lots of ice cream over the last few months), we're also thinking ahead about the colors and textures that we'll want in the shop as the weather gets colder. The arrival of Fog Linen's fall collection convinces us that colder times are approaching - and maybe that's ok. Soon, we'll be tugging on thick socks to cushion our feet inside winter boots and layering soft under warm. We often marvel as the light changes and the sun sets earlier. It might be cold outside, but the pinks and oranges in the sky remind us hat color is everywhere, if not growing on trees or popping out of the ground. We like the plaids coming out of Fog's fall collection - the inky blue crossed with olive of the Scott plaid and the smaller squares of navy and oatmeal in the Bobby plaid. On the knee length Aneri skirt, the plaids add life to the fabric in the ways that the sky's shifting shades bring life to a Fall afternoon.
*image: full apron in Scott plaid by jenny hallengren
19 February 2016. Often people will ask, what's the difference between the Fog Linen Work and FLW label. It's pretty simple, Fog Linen Work is design solely by its founder Yumiko Sekine, while FLW is a line designed for Fog by Rieko Ohashi--a stylist, designer, and overall talented spirit in her own right. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to direct a photoshoot for this season's FLW line and would love to share the highlights here. We are only hopeful they live up to Rieko's standards. A huge thank you goes out to our team: Sadie Dayton on photography, wardrobe styling by Joji Goto, hair/makeup by Mariolga Nido Pantazopoulos, and Andrea our model. Ohhh, cannot forget the shoe loans! Thank you to Bon and to Laura Schoorl for loaning some awesome footwear--you're the best.
11 February 2016. It's an arctic mid-February here at the shop. We'll be taking a bit of a winter break and will close our bricks and mortar February 14th-23rd. BUT, it will be business as usual online and all orders will be filled during this timeframe. There are lots of new spring items arriving like this amazing linen tray collaboration between Fog and Coral & Tusk. We'll be updating you all with regular emails so if you're not on our list, please be sure to let us know and we will hook you up straight away. Stay warm and happy sledding.
19 December 2015. We've extended our hours and have broken down the Open and Closed days below.
December 20th: Noon-5p
December 21-23: 11a-6p
December 24: 11a-4p
Closed: December 25-28
December 29-30: 11a-6p
December 31: 11a-3p
Closed: January 1-5
*Orders placed by December 21st at 1pm will arrive by December 24th-USA Domestic
**No shipments will be made December 25-28
We will resume our Winter Hours on January 6th: Wednesday - Saturday 11a -6p
Above all, we want to wish you all a very safe and happy and peaceful holiday and new year. Thank you so much for all of your support, smiles, and high-fives. It truly never gets old.
Oh, and one more thing. We couldn't end our holiday season without thanking Gemma Hart Ingalls for allowing us to use her wonderful snowy image for our gift wrap. Please be sure to check out more of Gemma's work here. Thank you, Gemma. You have calmed and smiled more than you know. XOX