Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New in the shop: waxed canvas bags

I received a shipment of waxed canvas at the end of last week, and I spent the weekend designing a couple of bags. I just love working with waxed canvas: it is easy to cut, easy to sew and looks like aged leather when you're done. My first project, the Commuter in Tan.

My second project is the City Tote in charcoal wool and gray waxed canvas. Just the bag I need for the Fall!

I love the look and feel of waxed canvas. Every little mark makes each bag very unique, and even though waxed canvas is soft to the touch, it is a very tough fabric. More waxed canvas in my shop very soon!
Check out the bags at: www.etsy.com/shop/zakken

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The New Tote on Zakken

A few weeks ago I came upon a vintage military duffle bag. Envisioning the possibilities, I grabbed it! I first wanted to create a messenger, but soon realized that I would not have enough fabric to make the messenger I wanted. So the duffle became a tote. The tote was a lot of fun to make. The design is clean and simple, but it incorporates many of the detailing of the original bag. For the handles, I used an upcycled leather belt in a lovely shade of chestnut brown. Very eco-friendly!
The front of the Tote

The Tote and the Model 

The back

The bag is available at my Zakken shop on Etsy. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Take care,

Monday, August 8, 2011

Laundry Day

Back in the old days, Monday was laundry day. I suppose people wanted to start the week off with clean clothes. Well, this is the 21st century, it's Monday and I have piles of laundry to do. So, let's get started.
I have a wonderful front loading washer and its matching dryer. But today, I am going to go green and not use the dryer. In my neighborhood, hanging out the wash is not very well looked upon, it's only tolerated, as long as there is no permanent structure in the backyard, like a clothesline - Heavens forbid!
So when I want to dry my laundry outside, I tie a clothesline from tree, to stairs, to deck, and when I am finished, I just take it down.
I love to see my organic cotton sheets billowing in the breeze
Today the weather was perfect, sunny and a little breezy. I did three loads of wash - using Ecos with lavender- and hung everything outside.  There is something so satisfying in watching bedsheets flutter in the wind. I always feel that my laundry is cleaner and  safer for having been out in the sunshine for a couple of hours. And the wonderful smell....Mmmm...

I always pick an inconspicuous corner to hang laundry, so the neighbors won't get upset. Here we are surronded by scrub oak.

By not using my dryer today, I saved more than four hours of electric energy. I have no idea how that translates into dollars (pennies no doubt), but one thing is for sure, today I felt that I did something good for the Earth, and THAT is priceless.

Simple wooden clothespin

Thank you for reading.
Take care.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


When the temperature rises, I love to make refreshing tabouleh with organic summer produce. My own version of tabouleh will serve 12.
You will need:
- One 12 oz. box of Organic Whole Wheat Couscous
- Three medium to large ripe tomatoes
- One large cucumber
- One large red pepper
- One large sweet onion
- Three lemons
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 8-10 fresh mint leaves (or to taste)
- 1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 cup raisins, softened (optional)

Wash and dry the tomatoes, the red pepper and the mint. Peel the cucumber and onion.
Chop the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, and onion. Place in large bowl.
Juice the lemons. Add juice to chopped vegetables along with the salt.
Let sit for about 45 mn in the refrigerator. The vegetables will render some of their juice. DO NOT DRAIN. Add olive oil and chopped mint  to vegetable mixture and stir well.
Add couscous and mix until combined. Add raisins if desired.
Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
The couscous will absorb the moisture from the vegetables, so there is no need to cook it first. After two hours taste the couscous to make sure it is soft enough. If not, add 1/2 to 1 cup of water to the mixture.
I love the sweet chewy addition of raisins to counterbalance the tartness of the dish, but not everyone in my family shares my point of view, so I add raisins to my own plate.

I just made this recipe a few days ago and I thought I would share it since it is so easy to make as well as healthy and delicious! Now back to the studio where a bunch of iPad sleeves await :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Messengers and Hobos

So I haven't been totally idle these last couple of weeks. I have been spending a lot of time in my little sewing studio. Being away for a month, I was getting itchy to get back into designing and sewing.
Here are the newest bags on Zakken: two iPad Messengers:

The iPad Messenger in Charcoal Wool

The iPad Messenger in Khaki Twill


 I also worked on a few Flea Market Hobos for Bag du Jour:

Flea Market Hobo with Flap and Button
Flea Market Hobo in Brown and White

I finished two more Flea Market Hobos, but a rain storm interrupted my photo session. I will try again today.
Check out the messengers at http://zakken.etsy.com/ and the Hobos at http://bagdujour.etsy.com/ and tell me what you think.
Take care.

It's already August...

Hard to believe... Summer went so fast...
After a not-so-relaxing vacation in my hometown, I am back and gearing up for the school year. After being away for a while from the hustle and bustle of my life here, I always come up with the best decisions: take it easy, take better care of yourself, life is not just about work, yada, yada, yada...So, this year being no exception, after reading an old article about detoxing while waiting for my mom at her PT's office this past July, I checked out a couple of books on the subject at the local library: Clean by Alejandro Junger, M.D., 3-Day Cleanse by Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss, Clean Food  by Terry Walters, and The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose.
Clean explains in much detail the cause and effect of toxins in the human body - scary! Junger also describes his own experience as an overweight, depressed, overwrought doctor, and his solution to regain his health. Very interesting read!
The other books describe the detoxing process and propose a plethora of recipes for juices as well as full meals- the clean way.
One of the necessary tools for these cleanses is a juicer. After doing some research online, I ordered a Breville Compact Juicer from Best Buy. As soon as I brought it home, I had to try it. This juicer is a fabulous little machine! It is very easy to use, makes juice in a jiffy, and is very easy to clean. My first juice was one organic apple and one organic carrot. Just delicious! The resulting pulp is bone dry and ready for the compost pile. When Julie came home, we made another juice with again an apple, a carrot, and some thawed blueberries she did not finish for lunch. The resulting juice was very tasty, but the blueberries were very soft and some of them ended up whole in the pulp collector. Fresh or still frozen fruit is probably best.
I am ready to go on to the "green" juices, with vegetables. More on that later...
Take care.