Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday Ride

I've been shifting my priorities a lot in the last year and as a result have not been making bags or aprons or doing very much sewing at all. EmmalineDesigns as a business has been on hiatus for quite sometime. I am getting more and more clear about how I want to spend my time so that I'm enjoying every moment. If you look up at the heading for this blog you'll see one of my mantras, "Whatever you are doing is the most beautiful thing." This not only reminds me to enjoy life, it also guides me in deciding what I'll be doing on any given day.

In the last few months I've really taken up my passion for cycling. It is hard to help loving this sport since my father, an avid rider, has immersed me in the culture. Dad raised me to appreciate the honesty and hard work of cycling. It can often be a meditative and individual activity. We Cherry bikers are endurance riders, choosing to set a moderate pace and keep it up for hours on end. And we believe in wearing wool at all times and temperatures since it's the original cycling fabric. I was decked out in a purple turtleneck and, of course, Blue Bear merino tights

Yesterday, in homage to my father, I went on the first epic ride of my adult life, 26 miles round trip from Providence to Warren, a quaint seaside town along Narragansett Bay. I rode on the East Bay Bike Path, which largely follows old train tracks that stay close to the shore line. Suffice to say the road was flat and the scenery was mesmerizing.

I started late in the afternoon, about 3:30, so on the way I home I was racing against the sun. That's another thing about Dad and I, we like to push the limits a little, it makes us feel alive. I battled a chilly headwind back into town, with Providence's skyline beckoning me home and the red sun sinking behind the hills across the bay.

Emmaline Designs as a blog may be morphing into a commentary about how I am designing my life. Because that's really the greatest and most significant project of all. I thank you for sharing this journey with me and I hope you're as lit up by the adventure of life as I am.

Namaste & Happy Designing

Friday, January 22, 2010

Going Local

I made a huge decision in September to live life without a car. One of the scariest prospects I faced was finding a way to shop for groceries. In the fall I found it relatively easy to ride my bike to Whole Foods across town, but as the winter chill and snowstorms set in I found myself wanting to stick closer to home. This caused me to really explore the local options near my house and what I found is a charming and comprehensive set of resources!

Around the corner from my house and four blocks down is a kosher deli where I can buy sour cream, hummus, crackers, and even lox. They also carry kosher beef, chicken, and deli meats which are all delicious and fresh. A little closer to the house is a Russian market where I get kielbasa sausage and salami for soups and sandwiches. When I’m feeling naughty I buy European Kinder chocolate there, too. And around the corner is Seven Stars Bakery, my home away from home. I lived near their Broadway location when I first moved to Providence and I’m pretty sure that I’ll always make my real estate decision based on the proximity to their bakery! I’ve developed a new breakfast routine of eating their raisin bread with almond butter and life has looked sunnier since. I also make sure to visit the Farmers Market every weekend where I can get all my produce for the week as well as eggs, cheese, and even corn tortillas.

My way of life has become totally gratifying. There is an old-world simplicity to walking to work and supporting the local farmers and business owners. It’s a huge savings environmentally and financially not being responsible for an oil-fed combustion engine (a.k.a. Car). I think that these small-town alternatives to large-scale commerce and important and I encourage everyone to spend at least some of their grocery budget in their own neighborhoods. I know you’ll be surprised by how good it feels!

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Hi to everyone who looks at my blog! After months of being a delinquent poster, I'm taking a few extra minutes this morning to do a very, VERY brief update!

This summer has been rainy, busy, inspiring and tiring. I'm sure it's a similar story for all y'all out there. For emmalinedesigns, the biggest adventure has been my first two showings at the Boston South End Open Market. Yes, I finally set up my wares and sold straight to the public. It's quite a lot of logistical planning to essentially build a boutique in an hour and then break it down 6 hours later! It has been a success in that I'm learning a lot about what people want to buy (things that are pink. aprons. cookies) and how they like to shop. Great experiences!

However, my total sales have not met my goals so that is a bummer. But practice makes perfect so I have to get back up on that horse and try again! I know I will for sure be showing at a 2 day event in September, but more on that later. In the meantime, a few photos to sate your curiosity!

And, as always, thank you for your love & support of my little venture.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Crazy Blogger

Hi friends! Inspired by a wonderful Monday evening in which I was given a chance to teach a yoga class I have started another little blog! I have had the idea for quite some time to integrate my love of yoga with my love of knitting. I'm not yet sure how it will all pan out, but I know that I want to generate something with the name YogaKnits. And I could hardly believe that the email account, Etsy shop and blogspot address were all available! Talk about kismet. The moment I got home from yoga tonight I snagged all three entities and it feels awesome.

I also have fiber happenings to report, of course. Last weekend, on May 9th, I went to the Hudson River Valley for a sheep shearing! The Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm is a wonderful venture that offers knitters a chance to participate in the fiber fun by purchasing a share of wool in the form of roving or spun yarn. I honestly don't know as much about this as some of my friends, but I do know that the idea is to follow the tenets of Community Supported Agriculture, the types of food collectives that have sprung up around the country to help connect people to the farms that supply our sustenance. I have long been a huge fan of gardening, organics, and the Slow Food movement. This awesome fiber farm fits right in to the bigger picture of building a healthy and satisfying relationship with our precious natural environment.

But it's not just all philosophy, it is downright fun! I loved the pastoral setting of the farm and thoroughly enjoyed the potluck, live entertainment, wool dying demonstration, sheep nursery, drop spindle spinnning, and all-around friendly, fibery vibe of the day.

Hopefully you can tell from the photos and smiling faces that this is one fantastic way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Can't wait to see everyone join the fun next year!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Spring is Here & Dalai Lama!

I can't believe it's been nearly four weeks since my last post! I've been busy as a bee and enjoying life, spurts of great weather, time with friends, and readying myself for my upcoming trip to Arizona.

The blossoms are out on all the trees and I'm loving the New England foliage that we just don't have in California. I don't think I've ever seen a dogwood tree and it has quickly become my favorite flower. I love the shades of cream and pink lining the streets wherever I go.

Another recent spring highlight for me was the chance to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Foxboro Stadium. I have been interested in the philosophies of Tibetan Buddhism for many years and was very moved to hear them delivered by such a great man and thinker. The sound of the Dalai Lama's laughter was absolutely heartwarming and inspiring. I was taken with an incredible sense of calm and presence that seemed to emanate from him even across hundreds of yards and 16,000 other beings.

The event benefitted the Tibetan Association of Boston and their efforts to build a new Tibetan Cultural Association. The Dalai Lama seemed to enjoy himself as well...he seemed to relish putting on a New England Patriots cap as he started his keynote speech on the Path to Peace and Happiness. The wish of Buddhists is to find an end to their suffering and the suffering of all other sentient beings. So I leave you with my own wish for your happiness, joy, and fulfillment in life!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fresh Designs

I'm really excited about the new designs that I'm working on here in the studio as I get ready for the Boston South End Open Market and all the other craft shows that I hope to participate in this year.

All the aspects of my process are delightful to me: designing graphics, screenprinting, sewing, and choosing colors for inks and bags and linings. The hard part, as a one woman show, is to be as efficient and effective as possible. I have to thank my friend Christina for recommending a great shortcut - making a digital mock up for new screen designs! As I'm working on the graphics, I import my image into photoshop and place the new design on an existing bag. It's pretty awesome.

These samples are incredibly rough drafts, but it's a sneak peek into what I'm working on! And I'm open to suggestions about what you might like to see on the bags. My friend Alison thought a pterodactyl is a good idea and I agree.

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Birthday Already?

I turn 29 today! It's a young age, I know, but it's also a very real feeling that my twenties are, in fact, coming to an end. In preparation for today I made a list of my accomplishments since last year. I think it's a good way to appreciate where I am and to be grateful for all that I have and have done. Here are a few highlights:

Got accepted into a Masters program at ASU (though I didn't enroll)
Moved from Phoenix to Providence without having a job lined up
Bought my first bed frame
Opened my Etsy shop
Learned how to drive in the snow
Gave myself permission to relax!
Learned how to screenprint
Got a really cute new phone
Started writing my business plan

My philosophy in life is that there is no place to arrive, no real finish line to cross. It's not what you have, it's what you do and how you act in any circumstance that defines your self and your character. 29 is just another number and another opportunity to create an exciting and fulfilling year!

And above all, I am so grateful for all the amazing family and friends I have in my life. I love you all and appreciate you more than you could ever know.