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A few weeks ago, when I felt a little stuck in my everyday drawing practice, I began making paintings of my favorite things. As the little paintings accumulated, they began to feel like a gift guide – the perfect way to share some of the things I use daily. Here goes:

1. Local Food!

Since moving, we’ve found growers’ markets surrounding us. Fresh, delicious local food has changed my world (and ultimately leads to MUCH smaller grocery bills for us). I cannot get enough delicious mushrooms, fresh ginger, and turmeric! My family loves Brandywine Bread Company, and I will actually cry when the markets close for winter.
2. Piles of Books!

I can never have too many unread books around, though sometimes I question the excess. Find a local bookstore if you can and stock up! I am working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and despite all of its weirdness, I am loving it! (It has been on my unread shelf for years) If you have any of your favorites to share, please do in the comments section!
3. Art Supplies

Where to begin?! It is always a delight to find antique pens and pencils at flea markets. Stocking up on art supplies is as fun and dangerous as stocking up on books. I love Blackwing pencils. Case for Making, Greenleaf & Blueberry, and Beam Paints have all opened up my world with the magic of handmade watercolors.
4. Hydro Flask

I can never get enough water and I cannot believe it is still legal to put so much stinking water into plastic bottles. The math is simple, the convenience is clear. And Hydro Flasks are great! (But not the sippy version – they leak!)
5. Saltverk Licorice Salt

I love licorice in nearly any form so finding this salt was like finding magic dust for my every day!
6. Staub Kettle

I adore this beauty of a kettle. We’ve had it for years. It is simple, looks great in our kitchen, and I look forward to using it every day.
7. Fiorentini + Baker Boots

I had to include these. I don’t think a week goes by without someone asking about my boots. Here they are in miniature! Or, one pair anyway. I love these so!
8. Uncle Harry’s Breath Freshener

More fairy dust! I am so happy to have found this breath freshener and digestive! Yum! (I love their tooth powder too!) The packaging is simple and recyclable and they make everything in America.
9. Tiger Balm

…has been in my pockets or bag since I was a kid. I’ve always been prone to headaches, and this balm has always helped to lessen them. I was once back stage at a Sonic Youth show and Kim Gordon complained of a headache – I gave her a try. She loved it so I promptly handed over my tin!
10. Moss and Mineral Bee Hotel

We built our garden this year at the 5 acre wood and cannot wait to put our Bee Hotel from Moss and Mineral in it next spring, and look forward to seeing all of the pollinators who will call it home. Handmade from all reclaimed materials.

 Peg and Awl House Library | Photograph by Rikumo

We've been so psyched to be welcoming guests to the Peg and Awl House in our beloved city of Philadelphia since The House’s launch in July. In addition to receiving travelers, we’ve also been hosting small businesses that have used the space for photographing and filming their stories. It is so lovely to see new visions in our old home!

We were thrilled when Rikumo reached out to us to shoot their Holiday Gift Guide in our home – we LOVE their shop! 

Have a look at their beautiful photographs and the shop here!

Peg and Awl House Kitchen | Photograph by Rikumo 

Massive Handbound Journals covered with antique leather and handmade details

 “Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it.”   

-Johann Wolfgang Goethe

 

The well-worn pages of a collection handbound journals by Peg and Awl

I am sure my right arm is stronger for all of the writing and stitching and hauling of pages in journals for so many years of my life. So many miles we’ve traveled together, me and my books. I wonder how many miles of words I’ve written if strung end to end? I've always made books (I have one from when I was 6!), but began to keep a journal regularly when I was 12, and started making my journals when I was 25. I won’t do the math, but there are a lot of years of books and a lot of years of scribbling between now and then. I was always stitching a book or filling one up.

Hunter S. Thompson invited me into his limo one day, outside of The Strand in NYC. Actually, it wasn’t me he invited in, but my journal—I was holding it. I didn’t know anything about Hunter beyond Fear and Loathing, but I climbed in and sat next to him—shoulder to shoulder. When he asked if he could see the journal, I handed it over. Then he asked if he could write in it. I said yes, of course. He wrote a message in Latin and I don’t remember what else. I never did get to translate it because I went to Amsterdam shortly after the encounter and my bag—with my journal in it—was stolen.

That was the first proper journal I had built. I’ve made hundreds since then. But the first one was stolen in a café in Amsterdam. What the journal thief couldn’t possibly know was that his actions would set me upon a path, for despite my initial despair, I struck out in search of a book bindery. After a day of walking and asking nearly every stranger I could make eye contact with about the shop, I’d finally found it. And what a magical place it was! I stocked up on supplies I’d never known existed then went to an upholstery shop up the street, where I discovered antique leather in a dusty floor corner removed from a chair made in the 1800s! With tools and material from the bindery, I set to work making my second journal, using my thighs as a book press. The result, with its battered old leather, looked like it had travelled through time many hundreds of years, and its pages begged for stories like that of The Journal Thief.

We will be celebrating 10 years of Peg and Awl in January, and the very objects that started this adventure, will finally find their way into our shop! Putting these Tomes into production was no easy task and after much planning, many trials and many years, we’ve got the process down and have made a small batch that will be available soon! I appreciate everyone’s questions and interest always, in these Monsters, and am so pleased to finally be able to share them!

Handbound leather tome journals by Peg and Awl

Handbound Leather Journals by Peg and Awl

We will also be launching our One of a Kind Tin Type journals soon! For more on these, go here.

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New Iris Painter’s Palette and Orra Sketchbook by Peg and Awl

NEW Sketchbooks and Paint Palette!

In the wise words of Annie Dillard, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” At Peg and Awl, we are working to facilitate the making of art everyday and anywhere with objects that make packing and transport easy, whilst looking quite handsome. Meet Iris and Orra!

The Iris Painter’s Palette

The Iris Painter’s Palette is inspired by the wooden palettes used by the ancient Egyptians. Constructed from sustainable maple and vegetable-tanned leather, the palette is a simple way to transport your favourite paints, whether you mix your own pigments or squeeze them from a tube.

Iris Painter’s Palette by Peg and Awl Iris Painter’s Palette by Peg and Awl

The Orra Sketchbook

Life’s astonishments and the impressions they conjure leave me awash in scribbles and sketches. Our Orra Sketchbooks are thin handbound books that are ideal companions for small projects and daily excursions. They are named for Orra White Hitchcock, a 19th century botanical, geologic, and zoological artist, an illustrator to whom no detail was too small to be recorded in her art. Made from high quality Strathmore drawing paper, Legion cover stock, and handstitched with linen, these versatile sketchbooks can take on a variety of media including pen and ink, watercolour, and graphite. Available in three sizes.

Landscape Orra Sketchbook by Peg and Awl Portrait Orra Sketchbook by Peg and Awl Large Portrait Orra Sketchbook by Peg and Awl
Landscape
Portrait
Large Portrait

Both the Iris Painter’s Palette and the Orra Sketchbook (Landscape and Portrait sizes) are designed to fit into our Classic and Mini Sendak Artist Rolls!

Sendak Artist Roll by Peg and Awl
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