Companies I love: Sackcloth and Ashes

Companies I love, Favourite Things

Sackcloth&Ashes: Night Sky Wool

About a month ago I came across Sackcloth & Ashes on Instagram and their short bio was enough to make me want to find out more: “With every blanket you purchase, we will give a blanket to your local homeless shelter”.  I tend to be drawn to companies who are working to help their community, so this struck a note with me.

I headed over to their website and was really impressed by their story and ‘let’s do something about this’ attitude.  After a series of events Bob Dalton’s mum (Bob’s the guy that started the company) found herself living on the streets.  This is an educated woman, with two degrees non the less, she even had a family yet she ended up homeless.  Not everybody chooses to be homeless and everybody most certainly deserves a second chance.

About ten years ago I volunteered at Crisis, a charity for single homeless people, helping with their monthly newsletter which was composed of stories and articles written by the people at the shelter.  The contributors were far smarter than me, and most had not ended up homeless by choice. This totally changed the way I viewed homelessness and realised how easily and quickly it can happen.

After Bob’s mum’s experience, he called shelters and found out that what they needed the most was blankets. After all, winter comes round every year and even summer eves can get pretty cool in some parts of the country. So he started making blankets right here in the Pacific Northwest and selling them, and the same blanket that you buy is also given to a homeless shelter near you.

I looked through their shop and fell in love with their Night Sky Wool (80% wool and 20% polyester) blanket, and since my birthday was coming up I figured I’d give my sister a ‘hint’ about what to get me. She didn’t get it for me. But my mother-in-law surprised me with it.  I think I may have actually squealed when I opened the box, and was genuinely taken back by the quality of the blanket and how cozy it is.  This will be something we’ll treasure for a long time and take with us wherever we go… especially as winter begins to set in begging for nights spent on the sofa, bundled up in my new blanket.

To find out more information about what Sackcloth & Ashes is doing visit their Shelters page, and while you’re there have a look at their blankets – they have a fab selection!


Boxing Day 2013

Favourite Things, Photography, The Outdoors, Travel, Uncategorized

Boxing Day has become more and more of a special day in my life, maybe it’s the fact that it isn’t celebrated in the States that makes me miss it the most.  This is my third Christmas Stateside and each year has been unique. And while Seth & I do not have traditions of our own yet, he has allowed me to continue the “let’s go for a walk on Boxing Day” Espinosa tradition in one way or another.  This year our ‘walking’ was more like ‘driving’ as  we drove home post Christmas celebrations, and a beautiful drive it was. Gorgeous blue skies and green forests, Oregon never disappoints.

Boxing day, being so close to the end of the year, also requests that we do some reflecting. And so we did.  Looking back over the past year, we have been extremely blessed with and amazing family, friends, health, great business and work opportunities….  However, as we talked about it more and more the word BUSY kept coming up, I couldn’t remember half of Summer, let alone late Winter because although this year was full of blessings it was BUSY.  And while being busy is great, it can also become an excuse; an excuse to not see friends, not visit grandparents or even call those close to you, or an excuse to stop going for walks and letting daily, unexpected adventures happen.


So on our drive home, as we were talking about it we decided to not let busy get in the way of adventure and spontaneity.  On the way to Christmas we had noticed the Detroit Dam had been opened (is that the right expression?!) and the river was extremely, eerily low – which just made it even more beautiful. We couldn’t stop because we were running late (we were ‘busy’), so on the way back we just had no excuse, and Seth was able to capture these beautiful shots.



Don’t let busy get in the way of life and adventure.

Photos take by Seth Thienes

A Collection of Bits and Bobs

Exhibitions, Favourite Things, Stationery

Ever since I was a child I remember collecting what I like to call bits and bobs of paper; my dad would would call it rubbish and I would still call it treasures! When I went home last month my parents kindly asked me to take care of my ‘treasures’ and my dad even volunteered to take all the ‘rubbish’ out  – apparently  they wanted needed the space to store their new children bikes and my five boxes needed to go out.

heylenthienes - paper obsesion one

I was dreading going through this because I knew I was going to have to fight the urge to keep everything and want to bring it all home – and my suitcase was already full with all my new clothes!

Nevertheless, I knew it had to be done and I tried to be as ruthless as I could. It was like taking a trip down memory lane, exhibitions at the Tate Modern, that Jimi Hendrix project I got an A for, that London bus project I never want to see again… and quickly I knew what I wanted to keep and what I no longer valued.  Then I found my treasure wallet. One I was actually mad I’d forgotten to pack when I first moved over here…  In this wallet I have postcards from trips to Barcelona, Granada, the British Museum, the Hayward Gallery, Concert tickets, real Football match tickets and a bunch of other pretties I’ve found along the way. As you can see it’s busting at the seams, and needless to say it came home with me!

heylenthienes - paper obsession

Along with new additions from exhibitions, restaurants and shops I visited this time. I also brought home receipts, menus, library cards and notebooks (I couldn’t fit them all into one picture). I tried not to go crazy, after all we live in a small house and my studio space is a lot more limited than my parents new bike storage.

It’s a good thing my husband understands my obsession… or this could quickly become a problem….



Coat label from Twenty8twelve, Que Beleza postcard from the Mira Schendel exhibition, Hut by Lizzy Stewart, Byron Hamburgers Menu, and a little notebook from my favorite stationery shop Present & Correct

October: Favourite Things

Design, Exhibitions, Favourite Things, Networking, Vacation

This past month has been incredible.  So much has gone on, that it’s almost impossible to sum it up in just one post, nevertheless I thought I’d share a glimpse of what’s been going on…

I’ve been in London for the past few weeks and it has been incredible catching up with friends and family over tea and burgers and milkshakes (apparently this is the thing to do right now).

Since moving away, there’s a been a few things that I realized I’d wished I’d done more of, one of them being going to London’s markets, so a visit to Columbia Road Market (the flower market) with this fashionista was a must!


Another favourite thing I’ve done this month is going to some amazing art events and exhibitions including the Mira Schendel exhibition at the Tate Modern and the  Club to Catwalk London Fashion in the 1980s exhibition at the V&A


Left: Mira Schendel Graphic Object 1967 Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros © Mira Schedel Estate, Right: Courtesy V&A

On things closer to home, last month I shared about meeting the oh so lovely Becky Murphy and her book I’d Rather be Short, well this week it was published by Plume Books (imprint of Penguin Random House) and I couldn’t be more excited about it coming in the mail!  Being 5”4 I’ve been (lovingly) teased about my height ever since I stopped growing (so about 10 years)… I can relate to this book in more ways than I care to admit, which is what makes it so awesome, which obviously makes it a favourite for this month … Also Becky is super awesome in person and you should check out her blog!


I’d Rather be Short – Images Courtesy Becky Murphy – click to see more pics

Lastly, I got to meet up with the awesome Erin Annacker for Design Week Portland and listen to amazing women speak about our role in the Design industry, why it’s so important to tell a story and not just make things look pretty.  Also got to go Creative Morning PDX and listen to Drew Endy, which completely opened my eyes at how important design and communication is, and how for the past two years I’ve put it in a very small box! Time to change perspectives….


Have a great weekend!