New Year, New Projects

Welcome, 2014!  We had a lovely Christmas and a productive working holiday.  Thanks so much to all of you for your patience.  Things still look pretty much the same around here save for a few new photographs and a teaser for the re-introduction of our shop apron.

What did we get done, you ask?

We are working with a real live web developer AND a real live graphic designer on a whole new website.  All good things take time, so they say.  We’re shooting for an early spring launch.  We will be offering a few more products and a web store that will be much more intuitive and easier to navigate with pretty drawings and photos.

In other news we (read: my Dad) are building a new studio! A mobile 10′ X 22′ building with lots of built-in storage and plenty of light.  Here’s a sneak peek:

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We acquired an old (and leaky) travel trailer in late December.  My Dad swiftly went to work disassembling the entire trailer screw by screw to get to the real diamond in the rough.

IMG_20140110_141912[1]A sturdy steel trailer frame.  Made in Indiana I might add.  So far he’s placed it on piers and framed the floor joists. He’ll be reusing some old corrugated metal with a lovely patina for the siding that he salvaged from my uncle’s barn.  I have big plans for a cutting table on casters and a dedicated shipping station. Lots of daydreaming going on.

I feel like I’m getting a complete overhaul and I’m so thankful for everyone involved.  It looks like our new digs (both virtually and physically) will be ready this spring.

Here’s to a great start to the new year and a happy (and rainy) January.

 

Shop Closed Until Jan. 10

Hi all,

Thanks for stopping by.  We’re taking a bit of a break from the machines and putting our energy towards upgrading this space.  New photos, new products, improvements to existing products and with time a new look.  Thanks again for your patience and patronage. See you in the new year!

Best,

Randi Jo, Eric, Beck, Coe and Gus014resize

Last Call & Our Working Holiday

Today (12/16) is the last day to order up RJF goods and receive them in time for the Holidays.

For all of you who already purchased goods, thank you!  You’re orders will go out shortly.

We will be closing the shop from December 20 – January 10 to

1. Take a nap

2. Make goods for our own family

3. Make improvements to the web store (new photos, new products, new look!)

Thanks again for all of your patience and patronage and cheers to 2014!

Best,

Randi Jo, Eric, Beck, Coe and Gus

Holiday Orders

Hi all,

I’ve been getting several inquiries regarding shipment times for the holidays.  From the looks of the calendar and my current schedule you have until December 16th to place an order and receive it in time for the holidays.  Send me an e.mail if you need an item by a particular day and I’ll do my best to accommodate.  Thanks so much for all the recent orders! You guys are the best!

Randi Jo

p.s. I may have some waxed canvas aprons ready in time for the holidays. Who wants one?!

017tree

Tree Cutters

026decor

Dad’s Holiday Decor

Turkey Day ride

Turkey Day ride

Short stop.

Here are the two hands that make the goods. Pin, Sew.

 Here is the bike that hauls the goods (and the kids) to the Post Office.

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 Here are the kids crabbing (i.e. keeping busy while I sew.)  This involves lots of waiting and eating Cheetos (our secret bait.)

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 And here is the M.U.T. with a new revision – a side release buckle for the roll top closure.

MUTThat is all.

 

Fall Freeway Flying

Autumn is here.  Cool nights and mornings wither the garden away, yellow and gold leaves fall from the hillsides, and Halloween rears its pumpkin head ushering in seasonal decorations for the coming holidays.  Last week we cut and sewed around an unexpected trip to California to celebrate the life of Eric’s grandmother who passed away.  A beautiful person, whose daily life revolved around thinking of others.  A great reminder to balance our days by giving enough to others, but not forgetting ourselves, working to accomplish and keeping the craft enjoyable so as not to burn out.

Eric’s grandma created dozens of photo albums, over fifty for herself between the ages of 15 & 91.  She made Eric six, full of photos, captions and things like movie tickets and a flower he picked for her outside a Wienerschnitzel.  Here are a couple pages.003cropresize

We dropped in on Rick Hunter to disrupt the intense concentration of the fine frame builder; took over his computer to write a eulogy, saw some sweet bars, made a mess of his place and attempted to clean it up.  Hopefully we can come back again.

Hunter Cleanup

After the services Beck and Coe got to go for a ride on Andre with Auntie Teeta.Riding AndreThen over to Aptos to hang with Jynelle and Kyrod.  Pumpkins were pickedPumpkin Pickin

and carved, and then some sort of naked pagan ritual that only Coe knew was performed.Pumpkin BunsOn our way north we stopped off at Rivendell to say hi and try out their new robot arms.Rivendell Robot ArmsThey had just opened their new Bike Book & Hatchet shop in Downtown Walnut Creek, so we went down to check it out and ended up picking up a few books for the road.    Hatchets next trip.450editNot too much else going on, some otter spotting,032edit

& lots of projects.  These caps being delinted went out to Tandem Bagels and the others were embroidered for Hodala Racing Team.

047edit Much thanks for keeping us busy and doing what we love.

Summer’s End

 

Let’s start off by letting you in on an October coupon. Place an order in our Etsy shop during the month of October and receive a coupon code good for a discount in other BikeCraft shops. In my shop, the coupon is good for 15% off! There are over 30 Etsy shops participating and you can use the coupon as many times as you’d like. Go forth and shop for your favorite bike lover!

Etsy Shop

It feels like that last bit of summer flew by.  That bit where you keep wishing you could pull out your wool sweaters and mud boots but the weather keeps telling you otherwise. We made our first fire this morning and now fall really feels official.

Way back in August we went to a few end of summer potlucks.   My go to dish for such an occasion has been the humble cobbler.  It’s pretty simple to make and we almost always have all the ingredients on hand.  The most glorious part about this particular potluck cobbler was the way in which it was transported. Round rack + cast iron = NAHBS winner. (NAHBS is an annual show aimed at showcasing the talents of the best builders of handmade bicycle frames in the world.) This year packing a chainsaw via bike was ‘the thing.’ Next year I predict cast iron.  Who doesn’t want a cast iron cooked meal while on tour?  What’s another couple of pounds when you’re already hauling 40?
Cast Iron CarrierWe visited the river more often this summer.  Waterdoggin’ and throwing rocks is pretty much the best way to beat the heat.

water doggin'

We started an apron factory.  At least it felt like it. 45 aprons in one month I reckon and all of them shipped to international destinations.

ApronsEric and the kids were cruising the back road of Elkton on the cargo bike nearly everyday this summer.  Traveling by bike gives you plenty of opportunities to encounter wildlife.

Snake!

More recently I’ve been busy making custom caps for shops, teams and framebuilders.  These handsome caps went to Eric of Winter Bicycles.

Winter Caps

Wine has become a big part of tiny Elkton.  This year Eric and I both helped bottle for Brandborg Winery, where my mom works (that’s her on the left.)  They use a mobile bottling service run out of a semi-truck.  The assembly line style process is both hypnotic and incredibly interesting.   

Foil toppers gewurztraminer

And I’ll leave you with the best shot we could get of the kids on their first day of Cooperative Preschool. First Day of SchoolHappy Autumn!

Patience and Serendipity

We’re back in the studio trying to catch up on the many orders that seemed to pile up while we were away. Thanks so much for your patience!

Ready to Ship

It’s wedding season at RJF! Bike shop, dress shop, dye shop…

I thought my wedding dress making days were on hiatus after making that lovely 1950′s inspired number last summer.  Not so much. Enter our two favorite eco-pioneers and their wedding 17 years in the making.  How can I turn that one down?

An education at The Evergreen State College (Alma Mater for myself, Eric and the bride) is the ultimate DIY B.A. (DIY before it was cool and there were 50 million blogs about it). The bride, Jynelle, is far from a seamstress (although she claims to be skilled in the legendary anarchist stitch) but she managed to throw down some pretty sweet 360 drawings of their dream wedding attire.

J Sketch kyroddrawing

Pretty great, right? Since we live 600 miles away from each other Skype became our means of operation. We Skyped to take measurements – hopeful measurements.  We also had long discussions about comfort, fashion, color and the fact that Jynelle hadn’t worn a dress since 5th grade.  Images of inspiration were passed, posted and pinned.

We were ready for some action.

Purchase fabric, check. Except any fabric in a particular shade of berry sangria is super hard to find.

Purchase dye, check.

This gorgeous pimento linen needs to be sangria.  Which blue do I choose? Navy, royal or turquoise? #colortrouble

Find patterns, check. Except one doesn’t exist for her jacket or his vest.

Draft my own patterns, check.

Make muslins (test garments to check fit), check and double check.  Except I only had some lonely numbers on a piece of paper, not bodies.

Cut, sew, press, check.

Handsome man shirts are so satisfying. #linen #weddingsewing

Hope to hell they fit AND they like what I made. Check?

The first fitting with Jynelle came just 4 days before the wedding.

Porch Fitting

Thankfully the fit wasn’t too far off but alterations were needed.  I reworked the overlap on the front of her jacket to expose more of the lovely berry sangria skirt and alleviate some unnecessary weight.  I purposely finished all of the jacket seams Hong Kong style just in case I had to make adjustments.  Pretty inside and out.

Doin' it Hong Kong- style. #weddingsewing

 

Where is the fitting for the groom, you ask?  Oh, well, you see….he’s in the hospital recovering from a burst appendix and may or may not actually make the wedding.

Just a little speed bump, right?

Dun, dun, duuuuuuuuuun!!

He made it out!

And with 34 hours to spare! 

Walking the Aisle

Don’t they look exquisite?!

Kyrod and Jynelle

Unfortunately we didn’t get a good close-up photo of the back of their garments. I did some small fancy thread drawings on the necklines – a lizard for him, a butterfly for her. I love secret little details.

Magical Wedding
Weddings are just the best.  They are crazy-making stress balls too.  For all of the work planning and making sure every little detail is in place, the only thing that really gets tucked away in our memories is the copious amounts of joy and love that beam from everyone.

Who’s next?!

 

Spring to Summer (and a note about placing orders)

Spring has been busy in and out of the RJF sewing studio.

I’ve been steadily shipping out orders both big and small and squeezing in a little sewing for our family.

OOAK kiddo caps heading out via bike to my only truly local stockist @brandborgwinery

The Rocket is in the house.  #porcelainrocket

A dirndl. Coe size. #weddingsewing #annamariahorner

In addition, I am acting as costume designer for our good friends’ upcoming wedding.  I say costume design because it has felt more like a theatrical production with themes and eras to reference.  The bride and groom have provided me with plenty of visual references through all forms of social media. Here’s just a taste. We were able to do measurements with the help of Skype; a somewhat awkward and hilarious endeavor that involved a piece of hemp twine and a contractor’s tape.  Needless to say, this project has been both incredibly thrilling and challenging.

The wedding is in two weeks and the amount of sewing left to do is a bit daunting.  With that I would like to make note here than all orders placed between now (June 10th) and June 25th won’t make it out the door until that following week.  My two hands can only sew so much in one week!

Outside of the studio we’ve mananged to expand our garden space and plant our summer ‘crops.’  Eric is now proficient in the art of hose and sprinkler placement and management   (i.e. Director of Water).  Now we just need to keep Coe from pulling up our newly sprouting plants.

We’ve been taking advantage of fruit hoarding opportunities too.  Strawberries for eating and freezing, check!

Beck has finally found gumption enough to go down the slip n’ slide and pedal on his ‘big’ bike – all in one week! Summer is upon us!

(Of course, the one good video we had was the one time he wasn’t wearing his helmet.)

Here’s to a summer full of adventures, curiosity and camaraderie!