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✨ This Year, We Celebrate 14 Years of Peg and Awl!

portrait of family standing in a creek


A joyous new-place photograph that you’ve seen if you’ve been with us for any amount of time. Every year we promise ourselves a new family portrait, but the year ends and I find myself reaching for this one again.
This shall be a kind of public self-nudge!

14th Anniversary Pondering, a Power Outage,
 and a Coffee Shop Pause

Walter and I started Peg and Awl on the 10th of January, 2010. My journal – which was blank – suggests nothing miraculous. Last night’s power outage from yesterday’s deluge means a coffee shop in-between which rouses the unexpected, always. As I walked and wrote in my new journal*, the in-between felt grounding, as each footfall, each letter, and the sun warming despite the cold, settled me. 

I was thinking that we should share a timeline of Peg and Awl successes, but it occurred to me as I walked, to share bits of the in-between days instead.

Thank you for being here!

As we do our best to plan for this coming year (I am notoriously spontaneous, but appreciate the need for a weaving), I look forward to so much. So here, a little looking forward to 2024:
    • Our Shop! We recently opened it up to visitors for a few days with great success – we met so many wonderful people, which reinforces how lucky we are to connect, through Peg and Awl, to such humans. 2024 will see our shop filled with new treasures from us along with treasures made by others. We are heading to NAMTA in New Orleans in March, on the hunt for art materials.

    • Journals and Kits and Tutorials! We’ve been working on some unusual new designs and look forward to sharing them.


Time Traveling Through the In-Betweens...
Handmade Library Necklace with Leather-Bound Mini Journal Pendants
Before starting Peg and Awl, I had a little slow and steady business called The Black Spot Books. I made journals and jewelry and a gathering of my favourite scraps lead me to make the tiniest books, which I eventually strung together into the Library necklace. Boing Boing featured it, making it my first experience with spiraling, viraling.


We started out making treasures for our Philadelphia Row Home, including our Tub Caddy out of reclaimed wood and materials gathered from nearby construction sites. At that point, people were thrilled that we were rescuing the materials from them or the deconstruction sites, saving them time and money with trips to the dump.
Reclaimed Wood Project for Handmade Products

Now with two boys and a business, and needing a diaper bag that wasn’t paislied, flowered, or pre-gendered, we decided to make a bag that would suit all of us. Thus, the first Peg and Awl bag – The Tote – came to life! This may be when we realised we could keep making things first for ourselves, and then for others. 


The Black Spot Books and the early days of Peg and Awl treasures were mostly comprised of reclaimed and found materials. As our business evolved, we started using new materials for a variety of reasons, primarily as a shortage of reclaimed materials arose. In our first couple years, we decided to officially launch our Of a Kind collections which harkened back to those early days.


I went to Spain for Picture Camp, a picture book workshop with my art supplies in various pouches and bags. On the way home, realizing i needed something more conducive to traveling, I started to design an artist roll unlike any artist rolls I could find at the time — one that would hold a variety of art materials, could hold small necessities in a zip pouch, as well as small notebooks. Thus, our most popular treasure to date — The Sendak — was born!

Walter, feeling compelled to find his way back to making art as well, went to a painting workshop lead by Jeremy Mann and Nadezda in Tuscany, Italy. On the supply list was a plein air box. Not knowing what this was, Walter ignored it and found himself taping his canvas to his hand to paint. Thus began his developing of the Peg and Awl Scout Plein Air Box!

Growing weary of Philadelphia and the business success story of growinggrowinggrowing, we sold our Philadelphia workshop and moved everything to our land in West Chester, rebuilt the dilapidated barn, set up shop, and are now enjoying our new adventure!

Journals! I am always eager for change and currently working on new journals*, tutorials, and kits for Peg and Awl. If you’ve been following along, I started this unusual creature a few years ago, and they are nearly ready for take off! This one I made for my friend Deb, using her Pinocchio illustrations on the cover.

Just Yesterday

When the power went out, we found a box of unused Hannukah candles, sunk them into decade old organic black rice and farro, and lit our way through a few rounds of one of our favourite games, reminiscent of The New York Times’ ConnectionsCode Names! Søren and I started out strong with Roadtrips for 5.



I moved around a lot in 2023 and started this year the same! We’ve already found our way to Savannah, GA and I meandered up to snowy Canaan, CT.
I’ve been moving around The 5 Acre Wood looking for spot that is just right.
 Sophie Blackall’s, Milkwood in New York, Photograph by Sophie.
 Our Cabin in CT, photograph by Deborah Stein.

A salvaged flat file turned standing desk! A beloved new corner of my studio. 


Everywhere, Astonishments!

The Flynn Effect and “kids these days...”

I don’t know about you, but I hear a lot of mischief about kids these days and see a lot of memes that don’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

This morning in Turk’s Head Coffee Shop in West Chester, Penna, there was a young person – he must have been 5 – who sat near us and lit up upon seeing a gigantic book of maps on the table and immediately asked “Where is Israel? Where is Japan?” as he navigated the book’s systems. “Mommy, I want to go to Japan.” She considers then realizes he means Japan in the book. Pages turn. “Where is Taiwan. What is this island? Georgian Bay, Ontario. Lake Superior. Where is Minnesota?”

He reads and pronounces places I am still learning, and goes on to explain what makes 75 an interstate.

I could have sat and listened all day, but I had to go fetch my own two creatures, full of wonder, curiosity, and magic. I wanted to leave my name and number, to connect this 5 year old map lover to my 13 and 15 year old map lovers. But maybe they aren’t unusual, these curious young people. Maybe they are everywhere.

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