Latest Bits

February 17, 2014

Few Bits in Woodworkers Journal

wood turning

I was recently interviewed for woodworkersjournal.com and Joanna Werch Takes did a lovely write up.  They run features on different woodworkers from time to time, and I was very honored to be asked.

You can find the article here.

 

January 4, 2014

My Hunt for Stylish Work Boots

Putting together a wood shop from scratch while simultaneously working on projects, I’m spending a lot of time at the shop.  A lot of time standing and walking.   And while I liked my New Balance sneakers, they were just not cutting it.  So I decided to get some work boots.  Of course I wanted a pair of tough work boots, but I also wanted them to look good.  It took a whole day of internet research and thrift store shopping, but I finally found a great pair of boots.   Word to the wise: if you’re a woman looking for work boots, don’t waste your time looking at thrift stores like I did.   All I found at the thrift stores in Los Angeles were drug addicts and boots that were too big.  Seriously, has Melrose Ave. always been so sketchy?  I was actually scared.  Maybe I am old.  Anyhoo, here are some great ones I found during my quest:

1. Original Packer, from White’s Boots.

Work-Packers

I liked these immediately, I imagined wearing them and playing the Gemshorn with Arcade Fire. Then I read that they were originally designed for outfitters and packers (people who were on their feet all day long) and had a high arch support.   I need a lot of arch support, so this really appealed to me.   What did not appeal to me was the price I was quoted, $450.  Oh well, maybe my next pair.

2. Women’s 1000 Mile Boot, from Wolverine.

wolverine boot

Are these stunning boots or what?  The name suggests that you could walk 1000 miles in these, so of course I had that Proclaimers song in my head for a whole day which was suuper annoying. These, like the White’s Boots, are also made in the USA, in Rockford, Michigan.  Alas, these too were out of my price range at $355.

3. Kimberly by Vintage Shoe Company.

Kimberly

Handcrafted in the USA.  Similar in style to the Packers, I really liked these, but they only came in black, and I wanted brown.  Plus at $329 still al bit out of my price range.  From the website: Inspired by the original, the Kimberly definitely has a work boot silhouette with a hint of feminine flair.  I agree!

4. Jayden Cross Engineer from Frye

frye

Good ol’ Frye.  Always good boots.  I liked the height of this one and the fact that it doesn’t have laces, I could just slip it on and off.  Also made in the USA, noticing a trend here?

5. Women’s 8″ Work Boot from Thorogood.

Womens-Thorogood-Work-Boot-514-4364-L

 

 

This style is more affordable at $160 but still made in the USA.  I saw these in person and I liked them but another pair I tried on won the day:

6. 8″ Chocolate Apache Lacer  from Chippewa.

chippewa

 

If you couldn’t tell by the American flag on the laces, these are also handcrafted in the USA and boy, are they comfortable.  Great arch support and all leather, with Vibram soles.  They are men’s boots and the smallest size they come in is a size 6, so if your foot is smaller than a women’s 8, you’re out of luck.  Very affordable at $175, I was pleased with my purchase.   Big thanks to The Work Boot Warehouse in North Hollywood for helping me out.  The guy who helped me was wearing the same boots!  Can’t wait to break ‘em in.

January 2, 2014

Few Bits in the LA Times again!

jarrah-tealight-holders

I was so grateful to be included in the LA Times handmade gift guide last month.  It was especially great to be featured alongside so many artists whom I admire; like Emily McDowell, Ben Medansky, 110xbtr, Tracy Wilkinson, Cotton & Flax, and Lustered Walnut.  Here’s to more success in 2014!

 

 

December 20, 2013

Where to find Few Bits

I’m setting up my new wood shop in an artist co-op in DTLA, and couldn’t be more excited.  I’ve been looking for a space in which to work for almost a year now and have finally found the perfect place.

I put my etsy shop on vacation while I’m setting up, but you can still find my wood home goods locally around town.  There are 3 stores that currently carry Few Bits:

1. Shopclass in Highland Park. Shopclass is a wonderful store run by the nicest people who happen to have spectacular taste.  They mostly have cool vintage pieces, but are currently featuring some local artists for a holiday pop-up, one of which is me!  You can find my faceted tealight holders, succulent planters, cocktail cutting boards and more.

5215 York Blvd in Highland Park, 90042

shopclass

2. Potted in Atwater Village.  Potted is the place to get modern garden accessories, plant home decor and more.  Carefully curated and with a knowledgable staff, this place is aces.  There you’ll find some specially made succulent planters and faceted tealight holders.

3158 Los Feliz Blvd in Atwater Village, 90039

walnut succulent holders

Photo from pottedstore.com

 

3. Orn Hansen.  If you’re in or near Long Beach, you have to check out Orn Hansen.  They just opened a few months ago and have a great selection of all American made goods.  You’ll find vintage and new clothing, accessories, and home goods.  Like my faceted tealight holders!

306 Cerritos Avenue, Long Beach, 90802

 

orn hansen tealight holders

Photo from ornhansen.com

December 20, 2013

Sneak Peek & Update!

I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been crazy busy with 2 big projects.  First, I signed a lease on a my very own wood shop (!) and have been trying to set it up.  It’s a mess.  But it’s a mess for good reason, because while I’m setting up shop, I was also building some walnut tabletops for a new restaurant opening up in Beverly Hills.  I’ll be able to divulge more info after the opening, but here’s a sneak peek:

tables

UPDATE:

The tables are installed at Maude, Curtis Stone’s new restaurant in Beverly Hills.  The design was done by the fabulous design team at Bishop Pass.  Here are a couple better photos of the tables that I made:

01_2014_MAUDE-136

Photo: la.eater.com

Photo: la.eater.com

Photo: la.eater.com

 

See the entire post about Maude here.

 

October 31, 2013

Modern Menorahs

Modern Menorah

My friend Jessica came by DT Flea this past weekend where I happened to be selling my homemade wood goods.  She looked at my faceted candleholders and said that I should make a modular menorah out of them.  She also said that Hanukkah was early this year, so I better get on the stick.  So this week in the shop I made a couple different versions of modern menorahs and guess what? You can totally buy them from my Few Bits Etsy store!

The first one I made is in the tradition of my monolithic succulent planters.

modern wood menorah

modern wood menorah

And the second is similar to my faceted tealight holders.

modern modular wood menorah

modern modular wood menorah

What do you think?

October 25, 2013

The Ira Lamp

featured-image

Most of my memories of my paternal grandparents involve a lamp.  A mid-century ceramic terra-cotta lamp that had different sized and colored bottles painted on it.  It sat next to my grandfathers chair, where he would sit and do crossword puzzles or watch golf on TV.   When I was bored, made to sit nicely in the living room and be quiet while the adults talked,  I would study that that lamp. I loved it.  So when my grandpa Ira died, I took it. I kept that lamp for 20 years.  My husband Adrian hated it, he thought it was so ugly; but no matter how many times he made fun of it, I refused to get rid if it.

I was going to take it to a lamp store get a new shade for it (the original went bye bye a while ago and the IKEA one I had on it looked horrible) and was just about to load it into my car when I dropped it in the garage. Onto the cement floor.  It broke.

broken-lamp

I was chagrined, Adrian rejoiced.  I had some nice ash left over from making Adrian’s standing desk, so I decided to make a new lamp.  Turns out, it’s really easy to make a lamp. See how I did it after the jump.

October 16, 2013

Would You Woodwork? Episodes 3 & 4

They’re up! Episodes 3 & 4 featuring the wonderful Kimrie Davis and hilarious Jude Shelton.  I teach Kimrie band saw basics and Jude learned how to use the drill press and vertical sander.

I’m off to NYC for a week of inspiration and shop visits, I’ll have much to blog about in the coming weeks!

Enjoy!

 

 

October 9, 2013

Mid Century Inspired Pepper Mill

Final shot of the pepper mill

Our friends Melanie and David had Adrian and me over for dinner not long ago and Melanie expressed her frustration in finding a modern looking pepper mill that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Her current pepper grinder had been mysteriously broken and she needed a new one. Drunkenly, I said that making a pepper mill was easy and I’d make her one. I know that they sell salt and pepper mill kits at Rockler, I know how to use a lathe, how hard could it be?  Kinda hard, it turned out.  But also pretty fun.

The folks at Rockler gave me a ceramic grinder kit, an olive wood turning blank, and instruction booklet.  They were also kind enough to give me a carbide turning set to try out.  I highly recommend buying the instruction booklet if you’re new to turning.  The one-sheet instruction booklet included with the crush grind mechanism is really not that informative.  I was still pretty confused after reading the more detailed booklet, so I enlisted some help from one of my favorite turners, Pete Carta.  I know Pete from the El Camino Woodturners Guild; he is part of the team of turners that run woodturning classes at El Camino.  Pete also works at Rockler and told me about a new thing they’re doing at Rockler, which is private instruction for $25/hour.  Perfect!

Melanie did not want the traditional shaped pepper mill, you know which shape I’m talking about:

chef-specialties-08150-professional-series-customizable-windsor-walnut-pepper-mill-8

She gave me some examples of what she wanted, this image of old Dansk pepper grinders.  She liked the one on the far right.

a2a5b79c39c155cdda3735ff1f8faf6d

 

So I headed off to Rockler with all my gear and Pete and I got to work.  Tutorial of how to do it after the jump.

September 4, 2013

DIY furniture (with help from your friendly neighborhood CNC)

There is a new thing happening in furniture.  Open source furniture plans that anyone can download and take to their closest shop with a CNC.  I think this is a really exciting time in woodworking and furniture design.  Here are a few good ones I have seen around the web:

1. Open Desk

open-desk