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Naturally Dyed Eggs

Ben Ashby

Ever wanted to dye your easter eggs with all natural dyes? Learn how! Gorgeous indigo blue eggs have never been so easy to create! The aesthetic is naturally authentic. 

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Hands Dyed Blue

Zachary Kilgas

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“Having an indigo vat is like babysitting a sleeping baby who sleeps through almost anything, but when you do wake it up you have to keep it warm, fed, and any movement you make could agitate it. Oh, did I mention that baby reeks of ammonia?” Alyx Jacobs said.

Alyx, in the simplest terms, has a kind face. The curves of her cheeks are soft and her dimples give the impression that she’s the type of person who’s always smiling. (I’ve had the pleasure of knowing her for years and know this to be the case.) Her arms and legs are decorated with all sorts of tattoos — from a rendition of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” that sits tucked away on her inner bicep to a large mum that descends intricately down her thigh and calf.

Since I’ve known her, I’ve marked Alyx in my mind as one of those people who seems to ooze a creative sense of self. After almost a year without seeing each other, we reconnected over coffee and she told me about a new obsession — indigo dyeing and quilting.

When I first met her she was still a student at the Kansas City Art Institute. She’s since graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design major + in Fiber.

“In the graphic design department, I was creating simple, yet intricate designs. Then I went down a path of taking sustainable clothing classes, which led to the natural dyeing. Kim-Eichler Messmer, my quilting teacher, is the one who introduced me to natural dyeing and quilting. I was lucky enough to show my quilts with her after I graduated,” she said.

Over time, Alyx explained she was drawn to the tactile nature of quilting.

“I always found a way to integrate thread and yarn into my paintings,” Alyx said. “My mom was so surprised when I chose graphic design as my major because she assumed I would always be working in the computer. Which wasn't completely true, but I did need more variation in my education. I signed up for a quilting elective somewhat randomly.”

Quilting, and natural dyeing lead Alyx to Athens, Georgia to study with an indigo farmer.

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“I wasn't sure what to expect. Donna picked me up in her little Mazda 3, with her indigo tattoo proudly displayed on her wrist. Her house was simple and tucked back into the woods off of this road about two hours away from the airport.”

All week long, indigo was the core of all activities.

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“Every day, we would wake up early to get the vats ready, whether it was making concentrated indigo to start a new vat or heating up the vats so that we could use them later in the day, indigo was always our first priority.”

Her experience in Georgia exposed her to more than just dyeing.

“The whole experience was an introduction into this beautiful, simple, wholesome life. Donna had a garden where she grows medicinal herbs for homemade tinctures and veggies. I fell in love with the lifestyle.”

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Indigo dyeing is something Alyx spoke about fondly.

“Indigo dyeing is definitely a labor of love,” she said. “It really forces you to take a moment to stop and think — to be mindful of the process and how much time and effort you're putting into one piece of fabric. It is really easy to take advantage of going to a fabric store and buying any color of fabric that you desire without even batting an eyelash, but when you have to dip, wait, let oxidize, dip, wait, let oxidize, fully dry, wait more, etc. to build up color, you really appreciate the colors that you're getting because you've spent the time with each dip.”

When I look at Alyx’s quilts, I see modernity, but her hand-stitch shows a more delicate nature. Alyx’s choice of hand stitching is a tribute to the slow nature of indigo dyeing, and the long history of indigo. The traditional style of Japanese quilting she practices is called Sashiko. Sashiko is a traditional way Japanese farmers would mend their work jackets. Indigo is also traditionally used to overdye fabrics throughout time in the Japanese culture. Her deliberate use of these small white stitches takes time and love to hold the layers of indigo-dyed linen fabric together.

Alyx does add a touch of modern to her quilts. During her time with Donna, she explored a new idea: screen-printing with indigo dye — an art that hasn’t been fully explored.

I asked her what was next; what were her long term plans? With her dimples showing in full force, she smiled about a recent wedding proposal and a new last name, telling me not to worry that he fully supports her blue-dyed hands. Beyond that, she was happy not to have an answer.

“This is always an interesting question,” she said. “I didn't know the answer to it when I was a lost high schooler going into art school, and now that I've graduated from college, I still don't necessarily know. People have responded very well to my quilts and it makes me so happy to just have people interested in them. I am currently working as an admissions counselor for KCAI. In this position, I get to travel the country and talk to young artists about their future in art, and that is what I love to be doing. Luckily, quilts are very easy projects to travel with!”

See more of Alyx's work at here.

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Gum Tree / Hermosa Beach

Emily Im

GUM TREE

A LOOK INSIDE SOUTH BAY'S HIDDEN GEM + THE ORIGIN STORY

 


 

Nestled in between the calming beach and the busy streets of Pacific Coast Highway, Gum Tree is a hidden gem of a restaurant-shop hybrid that offers more than what is on the outside. Southern California and its long extension of the summer season continues to invite people to this quaint beach cottage.

We spoke with Lori Ford, the owner and boss lady of Gum Tree, to tell us more about the amazing ventures of creating a cafe-shop in South Bay.

 


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We understand that you and your husband created Gum Tree together (so lovely!). What prompted the two of you to start a cafe + shop hybrid specializing in Australian goods?

We were living in New York City, my husband had an Aussie restaurant and bar there, I was working on product development for an accessories company, and our lifestyle was intense and wonderful and everything NY should be when you’re young, and then we got married and had a baby!  Everything changed of course, and we decided to come home to the South Bay and settle down.  The shop was a long time dream of mine, and my husband was supposed to get to take a break from the restaurant biz and help me achieve it.  But then we found the house!

 

How did you guys come across this location?

I grew up in Manhattan Beach, and always wanted this little house in Hermosa on Pier Ave.  The dream was a home store in an old house, with each room filled with things you’d have in that room, a cozy couch full of pillows in the living room, cookbooks and serving pieces in the dining room, etc.  We were still in New York hatching our moving plans when a girlfriend of mine called to let me know my dream house was up for sale.  I flew in to take a look the next day.  The space felt too big to be only a shop, but with the garden out front and the natural division of space, it lent itself perfectly to a little cafe/shop combo.  And since my husband had the restaurant know how, and I had the desire on the shop side, that’s what we decided to do.  May I just say that my husband is a saint for agreeing to my never ending stream of ideas.

 

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What was the origin of the name Gum Tree? 

I was trying to come up with a name that worked for both a restaurant and shop, something that sounded natural, evoked a feeling of calm and community.  I hit a wall and asked my husband to give me some good old Aussie slang, and after at least a dozen ridiculous Aussie words, (wally, sheila, wanker) out popped Gum Tree and right away we knew.  I saw the logo in my head and the rest is history.  

 

How did you manage to keep Gum Tree so successful? 

A lot of hard work!  We both spent every day in there for the first couple of years at least.  We met everyone in town, got involved in our community, went to every networking event there ever was…  It’s our family business, there is no other hidden income, so we had to make it work.  Will is the driving force behind the cafe, and he’s always coming up with delicious and healthy new menu ideas.  I’m obsessive about always finding something new for the shops, and I think that keeps them fresh and our customers coming in to discover new things all the time.  We know that people have so many options, so we do our best to hire the friendliest staff, and create the most welcoming environment we can.  

 

Your favorite dish from Gum Tree!

I eat the avocado toast with chili flakes, a side of berries and an iced latte almost every morning.  But, I also love a good old fashioned meat pie once in a while!  Our lentil soup is made from scratch daily and is out of this world.

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What was the biggest struggle that you guys have come across?

As a small business owner the work never stops, I feel like I could always be doing more to grow the business, keep it relevant, and bring in new customers.  On the positive side, it can be very rewarding, especially when you get feedback that people love what you do, it’s just the best feeling.  And we love to be part of the community, watch the local kids grow, really know our customers, that’s the best part.

 

What do you hope to accomplish with Gum Tree in the future?

 For us it’s not about opening X number of stores in the next 5 years, it’s finding the work/life balance.  We hope that Gum Tree continues to thrive so that we can support our family and raise happy healthy kids!  We want to be happy in our work life, we want to travel, learn, give our kids the very best opportunities, engage with our community.  So as long as we continue to love what we do, we have accomplished everything. 

 

 

Could you name some of your favorite brands and items that you carry in your shop? (If you could provide photos, that would be great!)

Oh gosh, I love everything we carry, that’s the criteria I use for buying every single thing.  Do I love it, is it pretty, is it useful, funny, great quality, does it make me happy, would I give it as a gift? I love buying cookbooks, and pillows, and jewelry!  The kids shop is so easy to buy for because there are just so many adorable things out there.  Some stand out brands we have carried forever are Bla Bla, Chan Luu, Zoe Chicco, House of Cindy, Hat Attack, Rifle Paper.  But I love to constantly change things up, and I love to discover new up and coming designers.

 

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If you find yourself in sunny Southern California, check out Gum Tree in Hermosa Beach! Or check out their Instagram (@gumtree_la) to take a peek at their California Lifestyle. 

The Farmhouse New Paltz

Ben Ashby

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THE FARM HOUSE NEW PALTZ

A VISIT TO A QUAINT FARMHOUSE IN THE HUDSON VALLEY

 

We recently made a trip up the Hudson Valley to see a taste of autumn. During our visit we stopped by a delightful farmhouse rental property outside the college town of New Paltz. We sat down with the owners to learn a bit more about the town, the Hudson Valley, and this charming rural escape. 


Why did you settle in New Paltz? We went to college here, moved to Brooklyn and just kept dreaming of moving back.  We have the Wallkill River go through town.  There is a local adage that says, once you visit a North flowing river; you will always return.  

 

Why did you decide to open the farmhouse? We opened the Farmhouse because we wanted to make a space where people could come with their pets and relax.  When we did live in Brooklyn, we traveled a lot upstate.  We would always search for a place where we could cook and bring our dogs.  Now its a lot easier with Airbnb, but back then, there were no options.  So the Farmhouse and Cottage are spaces where you can rest, relax and bring the whole family, even the four-legged members.

 

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Why did you pick this specific farmhouse? We picked this beauty from the 1890s because the energy spoke to us.  When you go inside the house it is sort of like having an energetic massage.  Most guests and visitors comment on this!  The house sort of hugs you.  And the floors.  The floors were made locally from nearby pine trees in the 1890s.  They have so much character and warmth, they are simply irresistible .  

 

Where are you originally from? It's a popular New Paltz song: "We are from Long Island".  Many people who move to this town are originally from Long Island, it is usually the University that brings them here, as it did us.

 

 

How long have you been in New Paltz? We have been upstate for two and 1/2 years now.

 

How long have you had the farmhouse? We are coming up to our one year anniversary with The Farmhouse this September.  We are now looking to expand our design projects.  We are interested in designing and constructing homes locally.  Our goal will be to make fully curated living spaces for people in and around New Paltz.  We love looking for pieces of furniture from local antique shops, Sweetpea in Stone Ridge NY and Ron Sharkey's Black Barn in High Falls are among some of our favorites.  You really can't go wrong visiting the two antique stores in Water Street Market in New Paltz.  We are excited about finding new gems like The Farmhouse, and reviving them so others can cherish them for many years to come.  So stay tuned to our Instagram for updates!

 

 

 

What are your favorite spots to visit in the area? For hiking we love The Railtrail and Minnewaska State Park.  For dining we adore Rosendale Cafe and Huckleberry.  For drinks, Jar'd is a must see in New Paltz and Brooklyn Cider House (New Paltz apples y'all!) honestly has the best cider around.  

 

Why is Fall so magical in the Hudson Valley? Okay, so good question.  Remember that one time really great you went apple picking with your family, epic Halloween, or that one really great Thanksgiving? If you roll all of those feelings into one and then put yourself in a leaf changing paradise; you'll get it.  There is really nothing like it.  Even though there are so many activities and festivals to go to, I would say the overall vibe cannot be escaped.  The Fall is nothing short of magical in the Hudson Valley!

 

A Garlic Primer: Smell the "Stinking Rose"

Ben Ashby

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A GARLIC PRIMER


GROW YOUR OWN GARLIC

 

 

This small bulb has been used throughout history for medicinal use as well as consumption dating back as far as early Egyptian civilizations, and though its Syrian cousins have stolen the limelight, garlic is still a particularly powerful crop in Egypt. Tracing written connections through the Indus River Valley civilizations of modern Pakistan and India to a new home in China where it was praised as an aphrodisiac with life-lengthening qualities. Then to Portugal, France, and Spain where the crop once snubbed by ancient upper echelons became the ingredient a la mode for flavoring bland dishes, it then crossed the Atlantic to be a part of The New World.

 

What was once criticized as too volatile a food for consumption because of its alleged stimulant properties, the small bulbs have helped many races and generations ward of vampires, smallpox, and heart disease alike. Though the culinary use hasn't always invaded every cultures dinner plates, it has been used in a widespread fashion for medicinal purposes. Today, garlic is still a food recommended to patients with high risk associations for certain types of cancer for its richness in antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic vitamins in its raw form, and is also a great supplement for people suffering from heart disease and hypertension.

 

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Garlic by classification is an allium, meaning it belongs to a family of flowering onion and leek plants. Though the history of garlic's medicinal us is long, following America's founding pilgrims back to their homelands, the use of garlic as a fairly mainstream ingredient in American food is relatively new. Spreading from traditionally ethnic neighborhoods like Brooklyn, New York, garlic found its way into American food most prevalently during early 1940s in an organic and slow osmosis. Today Americans alone consume around 250 million pounds of garlic annually. 

 

This spring, we encourage our readers to become a part of this historically and nutritiously rich herb and plant garlic of their own. If you can't plant it yourself, check in your local farmer's market for fresh, dried garlic for use in your own recipes. With colder weather lingering on, who doesn't want to curl up to a warm bowl of homemade minestrone and garlic bread?

 

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HEATH'S GARLIC PLANTING TIPS

 

1) Plant garlic near the end of winter, after the fear of the ground freezing has ended. Garlic cloves will grow and lie dormant during the remainder of winter and mature in time for harvest in late summer. 
 

2) When planting, wait until just before planting to break apart bulbs. Cloves should cleanly remove from the basal plate. Plant very small cloves in a small group, but large bulbs singly. 
 

3) It's common practice to stop watering garlic plants upwards of three weeks before harvesting. 
 

4) To test the maturity of bulbs, scrape away the dirt from a few bulbs. Mature bulbs have cloves which can be felt through the skin. 
 

5) Garlic's flavor can be changed by overexposure to the sun after harvest, a process a lot like sunburn. It's best to store harvested baskets of garlic in a garden shed or barn. 
 

6) The top of garlic bulbs is called the scape. It has a lighter garlic flavor than cloves and can be prepared in sautéed dishes when chopped like green onion or served whole like asparagus.

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Flower Power: Toby Kassoy + Lilla Bello

Ben Ashby

Recently, we made a trip out west to the golden coast with the sun shining and the windows down. We asked that along the way makers reach out to us to meet and shoot what it is that they do. Each and every business was unique, but when Toby of Lilla Bello reached out and asked us to shoot her floral design studio we knew we had to go. Making our way past the superbloom of poppies in California we traveled to Lilla Bello to meet Toby, who has been following us for years. We were lucky enough to stop in and shoot her creating in her space while getting to know her better. Meet Toby Kassoy of Lilla Bello, a bespoke floral design studio in Los Angeles, and watch as she pulls together several beautiful arrangements in her lifestyle shop and studio.

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A Stay at Hudson Woods

Ben Ashby

Our friends at Brick & Wonder recently invited us to spend a weekend at one of their featured properties; Hudson Woods. Brick & Wonder is a curated platform of the highest quality homes for sale worldwide. Launched by Lang Architecture in 2016, brick & wonder provides access to homes in the marketplace with design integrity that have the capacity to improve how we feel, think, interact and ultimately live our daily lives.

They set us up with a stay at Hudson Woods which is a set of dwellings nestled amidst forests and meadows with sweeping mountain views, in New York's Hudson Valley. Hudson Woods homes take queue from mid-century and Scandinavian architectural principals, Japanese craftsmanship heritage and local vernacular history. They worked with a number of local craftspeople, artisans and designers to outfit the home with handmade and heirloom furniture and accessories. 

The photos were all taken by Paige and Corey of Going Home Productions...a photography and video team based in New York City. 

At Home with Miss Molly Vintage

Ben Ashby

Emily Riddle LOVES vintage. 

STORY: GINA YOUNG | PHOTOGRAPHY: EMILY RIDDLE

Together with her mother, Missy Schmidt, this young entrepreneur has made vintage clothing and housewares her business. Their company, Miss Molly Vintage, named after their beloved family dog, features vintage apparel and housewares, which they sell at a booth in a local store. Gina sat down with Emily to learn more about the art of vintage...and to peek inside Emily's home.

Her interest in vintage has been going strong for nearly two decades. Emily fondly recalls going to garage sales with her mother from the young age of a kindergartener and becoming completely hooked. She grew up going to thrift stores and antique stores, which really gave her an appreciation for vintage items. 

According to Emily, the best places to find vintage are Estate Sales. These are the best place to find good deals for vintage clothes, accessories, home accessories, and furniture. She also recommends thrift stores, because they are cheaper than actual vintage stores. 

You can find vintage items at garage sales, Goodwills, thrift stores, actual vintage stores, antique malls, antique shops, peddler’s malls. Etsy, and Ebay.

Keep some important things in mind when buying vintage. Emily suggests checking the item very thoroughly for holes or stains. They can be difficult to see while in the store, but often are more visible once you get the item home. Also, always try on the item. Even if they are marked with the size, vintage sizes tend to be MUCH smaller than modern day sizes, so always go the measurements and fit, rather than sizing. Finally, research prices for the item to keep from overpaying. Sometimes you can get a very similar item for a much better price if you do some price comparisons. Don’t let the excitement of an amazing vintage find cause you to forget these essential tips…this will prevent you from major shopper’s remorse later! 

Emily’s favorite vintage find is, surprisingly, not her stunning lace wedding dress, but, rather, a kitchen appliance. She proudly tells the story of her refrigerator, bargain buy of a lifetime. While (going to garage sales with her mother), she found a young couple selling old items left at their newly purchased home. “They didn’t know what they had,” says Riddle of the pre-World War II-era fridge. It was in near-perfect condition, and the couple offered to sell it for $25. Emily accepted immediately. (She has seen a similar fridge being sold at a thrift store for $450.)

Emily has made vintage her job. She says, “I love to show people how they can actually use the items by refurbishing them to be more modern, and educating people about how they can use vintage pieces in their own homes. I give them examples by how I do displays.” 

How to make a vintage outfit more modern? Emily suggests wearing more modern shoes, given the difficulty of find vintage shoes, since they tend to only be available in very small sizes. She also suggests hemming dresses and skirts to make them shorter, which makes the fit and style slightly more modern. 

For more information about Miss Molly Vintage, visit her instagram: @missmollyvintage