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!

Sneaky Peak: Personal Passion Project

Mood Board, Weddings

Heylen Thienes - Gearing up for a side project

2014 Wedding season is wrapping up… wait who are we kidding, we’re right in the swing of it (or at least for us it is.  It seems that all our single friends have gotten engaged and are starting a whole adventure of their own with a new partner in crime.  And I love weddings, I love attending them, decorating for them, and wait for it… even designing for them.  I’ve just wrapped up the second invitation for the season and I’m starting to work on the third one. This mood board is a little sneaky peak of a personal, wedding related, side project I’m working on.  So fun and colorful!! Thank you Krista for inspiring this one…

SOURCES From L-R

The Little Gsp, The Girl Creative, Jefferson Cheng, Source not found :(, Wedding Cake from Style Me Pretty, Chelsea Fullerton Jones, Bridesmaid’s Gifts from Bridal Musings, Bespoke Bride

Eli + Jana: An Engagement Shoot

Passion Project, Personal, Photography

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I am not a professional photographer. Nor do I claim to be one. But I don’t think it’s a secret that I love taking pictures.  Over the last two years I’ve stopped taking so many because the idea of spending hours editing all of them just became overwhelming. But when my brother-in-law and his fiancee asked me to take theirs, I just couldn’t say no. And it was SO much fun! We got there a little late for the ‘golden hour’, but we got some pretty good shots.

I shared their story of how they got engaged last month and posted their wedding mood board, so it would be just rude to not share their engagement pics… how happy do they look?!

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Turning Twenty Eight

Personal

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Yesterday I turned twenty eight.  And unlike last year, this year I was (am) excited to be turning a year older.  To be planning for the future and realising that entering the end of my twenties isn’t at all as scary as I thought it would be, and that I am exactly where I need to be.

I think sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in wanting to overachieve by an early age.  When I look at girls like Becky Murphy, Jessica Comingore, and Promise Tangeman, it’s hard to not feel like a failure because I didn’t bloom in my early/mid 20s.  One of the most important lessons this past year has taught me, was that we all bloom at different times: did you know that Lebanese Cedars produce seed cones every two years and it takes them twelve months to mature from their pollination? Success – personal or professional – does not happen overnight, but over time. And comparison doesn’t get you anywhere. I take my hat off to these amazing ladies because they are super sweet, and super talented and figured out what they were crazy passionate about early on.

 I was always the youngest everywhere I went, and it was tiring. I felt like I needed to keep up, didn’t know enough or just lost.  Now I’m beginning to enjoy being just me, the right age at the right time.  The last twelve months have been incredible and challenging (incredibly challenging too actually).  I have met so many amazing people and learnt things about myself (in my personal and professional life) that I couldn’t have dreamt of.

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I have deemed twenty seven the year of the rock foundation, setting things up for the future.  In the midst of everything, including the highs and the lows and I can see how the challenges of last year are preparing me for the future: beginning to think about a family, starting to work on our home, growing the business. Thus I’m calling twenty eight the year of building… we’ll see how it goes.

I’m ecstatic to see how this year goes, what surprises God has in store and I’ll need to remember that the challenges will continue to come, but if I put don’t wood in the fire, it’ll go out (Prov: 26:20).

Some of this past year’s highlights:

+ Going back to London in October

+ Watching my sister get married at sunset in Costa Rica

+ Driving from Southern California with my best friend aka my husband

+ Working under my own name

+ Going to Vegas & LA with one of my best friends

+ Getting my own studio space

+ Backpacking with my brother-in-law and his fiancee

+ Finding out my parents are coming to visit me

+ Spending my birthday with my husband in the woods, camping (yes – it’s possible even if you’re a whole30 diet), driving, floating and listening to Cherry Bombe’s podcasts!

What are some of the things you’ve learnt as you’ve gotten older?

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New Studio Space

Design, Studio

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If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that Friday was studio move day!  A few weeks ago I decided that it was time to step it up a little and get a studio space.  While I I’ve loved working from home for the past two years, I’ve also realized that I need some separation that a 600sf home just doesn’t allow.  My new space located at Armature Bend (by the Old Iron Works District) in Bend, Oregon lets me spread, hang client work on the wall for critiquing and just gives me room to grow.  I’m excited for this new stage and just seeing where it goes.

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For the time being I have my desk, shelf and Helmut Newton poster up (that has been with for the last five years and to three different countries), but I once I get it closer to what I want it to look like I’ll be posting more pics!

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The studio is open Thursday to Saturday and theres’a little shop where my fellow creatives sell their artwork, so if you’re in town come and see me.  We’re also right next to Sparrow Bakery so come and grab an Ocean Roll and say hello!

And if you’re interested in seeing what I do when not on instagram or blogging you can see my portfolio here

Middle picture by Tambi Lane 

Mood Board: Jana + Elisha

Design, Mood Board, Stationery, Weddings

Jana & Elisha: Designed by Heylen Thienes

In case it hadn’t been pretty obvious from this post, there’s a wedding happening.  & I’m so excited! Not only because I love the two people that are getting married, but because I love weddings and every little detail that goes into making weddings beautiful.  Of course, it’s a lot easier when it’s not your own and you’ve already been through the process.  It’s easier to make decisions and experience has taught you what’s really important, what you’ll remember and what you won’t, what you should delegate and to whom.

As a bridesmaid and graphic designer it’s my pleasure to have been entrusted with the wedding invitations, I mean, look at that mood board.  I seriously cannot wait to see what these babies end up looking like. Stay tuned for the after effects.

An Adventure + An Engagement

Adventure, Personal, The Outdoors, Travel

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Just over a year ago my brother in law started hanging out with this pretty awesome girl called Jana. Pretty soon we all knew she was the ‘one’.  Not just the ‘one’ he was going to date, but the ‘one’ he was going to be with… like, forever. But sometimes when we’re the midst of things it’s so easy to not realize that the other person feels the same way about us as we do about them and as he figured things out, as a family we started to panic that the moment may go by and he’d miss out on being with this amazing girl!

A few months of playing what we’ve now come to call the ‘boyfriend and girlfriend game’ they finally got together and we all not so secretly cheered them on. Fast forward a year later he invited us to go backpacking with them, they’d head out a few days earlier and we’d meet them halfway and bring them home.  At first I kind of panicked because, well, I’d never been backpacking before and the thought of carrying a backpack for 10 miles was a little daunting; but I also had an idea of what was going to happen during that trip, so the obvious answer was yes!

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So Seth & I packed our sleeping bags, camping food, lightest cloths and set out on the trail to Obsidian Falls.  About 4 miles in, once I’d gotten used to the 30+lb backpack and managed to get a rhythm so I could keep up with my husband, we find ourselves in 4 ft of snow and struggling to find the trail, and just as panic was beginning to creep in, as if on cue, we heard screams and shouts and saw the happy couple sliding down hill on the snow!

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Being a girl the first thing I did was grab Jana’s left hand and look at her finger and realized that yes, after all the games and 12 months of dating, he’d put a ring on it! I really thought we’d do some screaming and jumping, but I’m pretty sure that the 4-mile hike in and their encounter with mosquitoes had something to do with the calmer yet excited hugs and embraces!  Nevertheless we went up the hill and found the campsite, set out a blanket, pulled out the cheese, crackers, summer sausage and wine and listened to how he asked her if ‘he could make her last name sound a little more like his’.  We then celebrated by jumping into 32f water (or at least it felt that cold) and watching the sun set

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The views were absolutely stunning and included The Three Sisters, The Husband, Mt Washington & Mt Jefferson and more on the horizon.  If you ever get a chance to do at least part of the Pacific Crest Trail, this is a beautiful spot to go on it.

Seth & I had planned to sleep under the stars, but we didn’t realize how many mosquitoes there would be so we jumped in with Eli & Jana into their two-man tent and slept like sardines. Next time I’m taking a sleeping pill… or bringing my own tent. But what would any trip be without a good tent story!

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All in all I absolutely loved backpacking, more than I thought I would – it may have had something to do with the views and the company though 😉

Saying Goodbye

Personal

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Four weeks ago, as we pulled out of the driveway at a ridiculous hour in the morning to be dropped off at the airport, Seth got a call.  It was his mum telling him that grandma had just passed. Though we knew it was coming, it was still a shock.  And in Seth’s words: “trust grandma to choose to go on friday the 13th, and on the day you’re leaving!”. He was dropping Olivia and I at the airport because we were going on trip that had been planned for over six months.

It was hard to get on the plane and leave him behind because I knew he would be sad even if he was pretending to be ok with it.  But sometimes life throws things at us and we have to deal with them.  I was able to make it back just in time for the memorial service and what a great service it was.

Family came from all over and it was a celebration of Grandma Prociw’s life.  At 97 she saw a lot of things, from the first cars driving along the McKenzie Hwy and alcohol prohibition to the first TV, phone and video calling. She had seen plenty, and though she put up a fight, she was ready to go. And thus we celebrated her with pierogies, rum cake and other delicious Ukranian treats – all her favourites of course.

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Most of us are scared of saying goodbye to a loved one. Especially when it’s a final goodbye, but what we have to think about, is that those loved ones need to be celebrated and honored with joy, the joy they brought to our lives, the lessons they taught us, the heritage they’ve give un and the legacy they’ve left us. And then there’s the memories that were made.  I’ll never forget her excitement at finding out we shared a birthday, how happy she got every time Seth went to visit her, or my favourite  – the happiness a jar of homemade applesauce would bring, she was giddy like a little child with it in her hands – down to not even considering sharing it, I can still remember just how excited she was when we gave her some a couple of Christmases ago.  And bacon.  Oh, how much she loved bacon! & these are just some of the memories we made in the last seven years, I can’t even begin to imagine the memories of everybody else who had known her for longer.

Here’s to the celebration of life and making memories with those who really matter.  The ones who allow us to come to their house, make a big mess and then leave it for them to pick it up and never complain about it, the ones that spoils us when we’re little and then continue to do so as adults.  Here’s to grandparents.

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