Journal

Southwest Part III - El Cosmico "Hotel", Marfa TX June 07 2013, 0 Comments

El Cosmico isn't your typical hotel with room service and wake up calls.  It's more like hipster camping ... or as we like to call it "glamping".  Choose your shelter: premium vintage airstream with private shower, teepee, safari tent, or B.Y.O. tent and share a bathroom with the rest of the "glampers".  The maids service the "rooms" with clean linens in a tiny little old mail truck - cute as can be!  We stayed here on our Marfa trip and enjoyed a safari tent and all of it's stripped down glory.  It sure beat sleeping in the truck bed, so we were feeling like it was a luxury.  El Cosmico is definitely a new take on a vacation; a little bit hip, a little off-beat and a whole lot of rustic.  


Southwest Part II - Balmorhea State Park & The Town of Marfa, TX June 05 2013, 0 Comments

Admittedly Marfa could be perceived as "just another tiny town" in the middle of America.  But it's really much more than that.  It is a place with the quaintness of a small rural village, the taste level and sensibility of a chic modern art museum, and the people are nice as can be.  

On our way into town we stopped at Balmorhea State Park where you can swim in the world's largest spring-fed swimming pool (1.75 acres) which remarkably stays at 72-76 degrees year round and with crystal clarity in its 25 ft. depth.  The pool is fed by the San Solomon Spring and you can swim amongst the fish as 22-28 million gallons of water naturally flow through the pool every day.  

Heading into the town, we were struck by every simply beautiful little moment we felt, and every little scene that was set.  In fact it felt just like a quiet little movie set filled with kind people who all seem in the know all about each other.  The pictures really tell the story the best, but the experience of Marfa is so sensory with the food, smells, folks, and visuals - it's really a must visit destination.

 


Father's Day 20% Off Men's Leather By ML Brown June 04 2013, 0 Comments

Our leather working genius Mat Brown just had a baby and it's his first Father's Day.  In honor of Mat and in order to give dad a gift that he really wants most, choose from this exclusive assortment of custom handmade leather goods by ML Brown for your dad and we will pitch in with a promotion to save you 20%.  We are even offering this discount on belts with a custom message hand written and burned into the inside of the belt for an extra special touch.  Use code LEATHER20 at checkout until Father's Day on 6/16 *Order by Monday 6/10 (or custom message belt by Saturday 6/8) for on time delivery. 

                                        


Southwest Part I - Arcosanti, AZ May 29 2013, 0 Comments

We packed the Doka for a trip out to Texas destined for about two weeks of open road.  We were hoping for scenic views, inspiration, killer vintage finds and a few meetings with makers along the way.  The first night we camped in Prescott National Forest near Phoenix so we could wake up and explore Arcosanti in the morning.  Arcosanti was architect Paolo Solari's experimental city testing "Arcology"; his idea of mixing ecology and architecture.  A way of life living densely in a city with multipurpose spaces that are highly efficient and self-sustaining.  

We were taken by the beautiful brass and clay bells that they craft on site and sell in order to make up for some costs of keeping the tours going and to help earn money to construct the buildings.  In fact they even utilize the same technique of constructing bells to craft their breathtaking domed buildings in a sort of earthen kiln.  Basically, Arcosanti is a handmade city in progress, a.k.a the Mecca of handmade.

It's been 43 years since Solari purchased the land at Arcosanti and the city is now 3% complete, inhabited by less than 60 people who all work on the property between artist residencies, facilities, and maintenance.  Paolo Solari passed away 3 days after our pilgrimage to his test city.  We left the city with the hope that it would continue to be a place for artists to live and work and with doubts of it achieving its planned size.  Now that Solari is no longer with us though, we hope even more that his dream will come true some day.


Diner - Brooklyn, NY May 28 2013, 0 Comments

While in Brooklyn, we could not resist trying the famous grass-fed award winning burger at "Diner" in Williamsburg.  Diner is owned by Andrew Tarlow, the genius restaurateur as Marlow & Son's, Marlow & Daughters and Roman's.  He is also the creator of the publication Diner Journal which we proudly stock at Half Hitch Goods.  It seemed only proper to checkout this fine eatery and see what all the fuss is about.  Turns out, it's nothing short of adorable that the entire restaurant is built in an old train like a real dining car.  The menu changes daily and is all handwritten (hardly legibly in such chaotic beauty) on the butcher paper tablecloth by the waitress.  Fabulous ambiance, great service and the food (condiments included) was nothing short of mouthwatering.  At the end of our meal a special chocolate desert treat made its way to our table complements of the staff.  Needless to say, it is a must try eatery in Williamsburg and we will definitely be back.

 


VW Vanagon - Transporter Tristar Syncro May 23 2013, 0 Comments

You will likely never see one of these Volkswagen models in your entire life.  Have I got your attention now?  The Volkswagen Vanagon Transporter Tristar Syncro was a four door and four-wheel drive (Syncro) luxury version of the Vanagon Double cab Truck ("Doka", that is the Half Hitch mobile) launched in October 1988.  Unlike our analog truck, the Tristar had fancy power windows, automatic seat belts, a lined truck bed, divided back seats, sliding windows in the cab and much more.  It's the creme de la creme.  There were 18 Tristars sent to Canada and legendarily one of them broke in shipment and arguably 2 of them ended up in the U.S.  Needless to say they are very rare in the continental United States and an unknown number of them were produced in total.  So you ask: where are all the Tristars now?  The world may never know, but if you spot one of these, you will know because if it has the original paint job there will be a decal on the drivers side on the front that says "Tristar".  Almost as good as seeing Elvis or Tupac Shakur, you should probably snap a photo at the very least or if you are feeling adventurous ask to take it for a spin around the block.

 

 


Hartland Brooklyn Card Co. - Brooklyn, NY May 20 2013, 0 Comments

When we meet with artists and makers, we never know what to expect.  But when we arrived at Emily Johnson's little studio in a brownstone in Cobble Hill, we were delighted and amazed.  We walked into a living room wrapped in white walls with a graphic and gilded triangle pattern that Emily illustrated herself.  I was amazed at the beauty simplicity of her eclectic design sensibility.  It is a tasteful and sparsely decorated little home studio with a light-well alcove containing the tiniest little desk you've ever seen.  Now if you know me, you know I love anything miniature and have always been fascinated as long as I can remember by all things small.  The thought that first came to mind when looking at the tiny toile papered alcove... "How do such amazingly creative cards come out of such a tiny space?"  Known for her labor-intensive hand-painted neon designs and metallic foil prints, Emily is not limited by her space and she doesn't hesitate to spread out and use every possible surface to work when producing a large order.  Emily's passion for her work is contagious which makes us even more in love with these cards as they are each a unique work of art.  See some of her adorably original designs here:  Cactus  //  Tulips  //  Fly Me To The Moon  //  Roll With Me  //  Silver Balloons  //  Arrows .  Now and then wish that we were back in Brooklyn with Emily and her cats Henry and Larry listening to Beach Boys records on a rainy day.  We hope to be return soon!


Fredericks & Mae - Brooklyn, NY May 13 2013, 0 Comments

On a little thoroughfare in Brooklyn and tucked away in an unassuming building a few floors up, there is a little simple oasis where Jolie Signorile and Gabe Cohen work their magic.  They are the artists behind Fredericks & Mae, an art and design company founded in 2007 and they recently moved to this new space that they have quickly made their own.  

Their studio includes a full wood-working annex where Jolie, a self-taught wood worker, cuts and trims stacks of puzzles and games with her amazing and natural jigsaw skills.

With business getting, well ... busy, Honora, their skilled friend works with them and sits patiently wrapping colorful thread around locks of Mongolian horse hair into intricate brooms and tassels.

The two partners showed me and Brit some of their newest designs including a moon domino set, skim board, and foosball.  They excitedly described a tournament they had with the new foosball game and how incredibly fun it was to see their friends play on their games and with such vigor and joy.  When you play a game it is like you forget about everything else and just ... play!  Games are more than just the basis for their product line; they are a way of life and an ideological philosophy.  Connecting with friends and strangers over meticulously crafted classic wood game pieces is a revival of an old way to connect and live.

We wish we could have stayed all day just to be witness to their mesmerizing creative process, watch their pretty paint dry, and smell the scent of freshly cut wood.  Check out their drool-worthy products: Marbles, Horse Hair TasselWorry Bead Necklace.


Studio SUZAN: Mother's Day Promotion ... 20% Off! April 25 2013, 0 Comments

Mother's Day is quickly approaching and we've got the perfect selection of fine hand forged silver jewelry that will make your mom feel treasured.  All Studio SUZAN Jewelry pieces are handmade works of art and each individual piece is made with love, care and thought; no two pieces are alike.  Her work honors a woman's natural beauty, endurance, and growth potential.  It seems obvious that for Mothers Day we should be gifting SUZAN Jewelry so our gift to you is 20% off of the entire collection until mothers day May 12 (see some of the offerings below).  Order by May 6th for Mothers Day delivery.  Use the following code at checkout: MOMLOVE2013

DOUBLE OVAL FLAT EARRINGS $130 (NOW $104)

CORAL ACORN NECKLACE $230 (NOW $184)

FLAT HAMMERED BANGLE $116 (NOW $92.80)

 

DOUBLE CIRCLE LOOP EARRINGS $120 (NOW $96)

 

BODHI SEED ACORN BRACELET $190 (NOW $152)

 

 

 

MUSTARD SEED WRAP BRACELET - PEARL $40 (NOW $32)

BABY LOOP BANGLE BRACELET $105 (NOW $$84)

TURQUOISE ACORN NECKLACE $230 (NOW $184)

BODHI SEED SENTIMENT BRACELET $165 (NOW $132)


MCMC Fragrances Eau de Perfume 15% Off! March 26 2013, 0 Comments

We are excited to announce our first spring special!  Celebrate the advent of spring (and maybe even Mother's Day as well) by taking 15% off MCMC Fragrances Eau de Perfume.  But don't drag your feet, the offer is valid until end of day this Saturday 3/30 use promo code MCMCEAUDEPERFUME15 at checkout.


Tea Towel Gift Wrapping March 22 2013, 0 Comments

The advent of Spring is the perfect time to honor your neighbors and friends.  Pick up a fresh loaf of bread, bottle of honey, a stack of special chocolates, bottle of wine, a cool magazine, or some seasonal preserves and wrap it up in a tea towel for a green wrapping option.  Or better yet let us do it for you.  Simply select your items including a tea towel of your choice, and check the box for gift wrap at checkout and mention the words "tea towel" in the notes.  When we run your card we will comp the wrapping, its on us!

Photos courtesy of StudioPatro

 

 


Jute Utility Tote - Kinfolk & Apolis Partnership March 18 2013, 0 Comments

Half Hitch is excited to offer this unique and functional Jute Utility Tote bag that is the result of a wise design partnership between Apolis Global and the lifestyle magazine Kinfolk.  It is manufactured in Saidpur, Bangladesh by a female artisan co-operative that is committed to producing change in the garment industry in Bangladesh by providing workers with fair wages, freedom of association, accountability, and transparency.  The artisans enjoy a high degree of autonomy and their children often accompany them to work.  They use their earnings to provide clean food, shelter and education for their families.

The multi-pocket design makes for a functional bag suitable for use in the garden, for a picnic, as a tool sac, diaper bag, or daily work tote.  Finished in California and equipped with a durable wipe-able lining and natural vegetable-dyed leather straps reinforced by antique nickel rivets.

 


MCMC Fragrances - Brooklyn, NY March 07 2013, 0 Comments

If you aren't familiar with Anne McClain's work, she is a classically trained perfumer who studied at The Grasse Institute in Grasse, France - the age old perfume capital of the world on the Riviera.  Scent is her art form, natural oils and extracts are her medium.

Anne and her sister Katie generously hosted us in their Brooklyn studio a few weeks ago.  Her spot is situated nicely in Greenpoint on a little industrial side street where she shares a big room with several talented jewelry designers.  It is a creative space with skylights and a simple open layout.  She is due to have a baby in May, and so is one of her studio mates, Emily.  So they joke about building an indoor teepee for the babies to play in while they work away doing what they do best: Hustle their olfactory delights and gemmed adornments to mostly boutique clients and work on inventing new creations.  

Anne and I talked about her original inspiration for her line and her hopes that for folks who might be a little fragrance shy (especially with her roll-on oils) it might be a subtle introduction into this feminine tradition.  I confessed to having worn perfume as early as elementary school and sited Tommy Girl as one of my go-to pumps.  And she laughed and joked with Katie about how Katie gifted her Angel perfume when she was in Jr. High (a very mature fragrance for a young girl).  So apparently we were not going for subtle fragrances then but we are now.

After enjoying a few good laughs, creative ideas, and plans for the future she and her studio-mate Jennifer compiled a comprehensive shopping/cafe hit list for Brit and me to keep us busy for the remainder of the day in Brooklyn between studio visits.  Delight!  Check out MCMC Fragrances products: MCMC Perfumes, MCMC Candles, MCMC Garden Perfume Oil, MCMC Dude #1.

 

 


St. Valentine: A Martyr For Love February 05 2013, 0 Comments

In preparation for Valentine's Day and in the Half Hitch Goods spirit of stories, I thought I'd offer an abridged history of the holiday.  Alternatively, for you busy folks ... by all means cut to the chase and scroll down to check out the V-Day gift guide and packaging.  We are offering free gift wrap on any order until Valentine's Day.  Simply type "Valentine's Day:" in the "Gift Message" section of your shopping cart and select the box at the bottom for gift wrap.

The day began as a celebration honoring Valentinus, a Christian saint and martyr who was imprisoned for conducting weddings for soldiers who weren't allowed to marry and for ministering to Christians who were persecuted under the Roman Empire at the time.  While imprisoned he supposedly healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius.  Just before his execution, legend has it that he wrote her a letter and signed it "from your Valentine" which is a phrase that will go down in history from one heart to another.  By the 15th century A.D. St. Valentine's Day evolved into an occasion to express romantic love for one another by offering flowers, treats or greeting cards (a.k.a. Valentines) to those who we love.  To this day, it is the second most widely celebrated holiday in the world next to New Years.

 DANDELION CHOCOLATE $9 Each

BODHI SEED SENTIMENT BRACELET $165

 

MARBLES $40

MCMC DUDE #1 $48

LODGE STRIPE THROWS $129

THE HILL-SIDE TIES $89

PEACE BOMB BANGLES $22-40

HANDMADE LEATHER CLUTCH $120 

WILD SAGE HONEY $39

 

Valentines will be gift wrapped in a kraft box and/or white tissue with a pink and brown ribbon from an indian textile.  A personal message that you designate will be hand written on the small black tag and the large creamy tag will be complete with the corresponding witty saying for the gift you chose.  Ex: The Wild Sage Honey will say "Will You Be My Honey".


"Bar To Bean" - The Un-Making Of Dandelion Chocolate January 16 2013, 0 Comments

Dandelion Chocolate Bar-to-Bean from Cat Trick on Vimeo.

 

Celebrating Dandelion Chocolate's first official full day of business on Valencia Street!


HHG Holiday Pop-Up January 11 2013, 0 Comments

We were lucky to be invited to move into a wonderful fish bowl store space at The OC Mart Mix for the month of December.  We kicked off the month with a busy event to raise money for the Orangewood Orphanage by donating back 10% of our sales.  That set off a great month of wonderful customers, amazing stories, and lots of great gifting.  It's good to be back in San Francisco but we sure miss our friends at the Mart.  Enjoy our photo retrospective. (Photos by Zachary T. Haskell).

 

 


Meet the Founder Anne McClain - MCMC Fragrances January 09 2013, 0 Comments

Came up on this sweet video of Anne McClain, Founder of MCMC boutique fragrance house in Brooklyn, NY. Take a look and consider trying one of her perfumes, candles, and men's fragrance.


Perfect Pairing #12 - For the Modern Minimalist December 21 2012, 0 Comments

Printed Leather Coin Pouch $39

Lifesaver Stud Earrings $85


Perfect Pairing #11 - An Excuse to Get Cozy With Your Man December 19 2012, 0 Comments

MCMC Dude #1 Beard Oil $69

MCMC Dude #1 Candle $49

Lodge Stripe Throw $139

 


Perfect Pairing #10 - For the Generous Host(ess) December 18 2012, 0 Comments

Dry Beans $10

Moroccan Ladel $28

Marfa Brand Soap $11


Perfect Pairing #9 - For Your #1 Dude December 17 2012, 0 Comments

The Hill-Side Tie 4-Color Gingham $89

MCMC Dude #1 Beard Oil $69

Marfa Brand Soap $11


Perfect Pairing #8 - Something Special for your Sophisticated Sister December 16 2012, 0 Comments


SUZAN Flat Hammered Bangle $116

Printed Leather Coin Pouch $39


Perfect Pairing #7 - For One Who Appreciates Rare Treasures December 15 2012, 0 Comments

Vintage Heath Ceramic Ash Trays $36 - $49

Palo Santo Wood Bundle $15


Perfect Pairing #6 - For Your Cozy Cabin Lover December 14 2012, 0 Comments

Lodge Stripe Throw $139

MCMC Candle $49

"Little Toothpick" Mother of Pearl Pocketknife $69


Perfect Pairing #5 - For The Hibernating Home Body December 13 2012, 0 Comments

Dry Beans $10

Moroccan Soup Spoons $10

Linen Tea Towel $24


Perfect Pairing #4 - For Your Lady December 12 2012, 0 Comments

Printed Coin Purse $39

SUZAN Acorn Necklace $230


Perfect Pairing #3 - For the Modern Host(ess) December 11 2012, 0 Comments

Baguette Board, Handmade Penn. $108

Kinfolk Magazine $18

Marfa Brand Soap $11

 


Perfect Pairing #2 - For The Rugged Man In Your Life December 10 2012, 0 Comments

Foot Soldier Blanket $169

Rosewood Barlow Knife $49

Marfa Brand Soap $11

 


Perfect Pairing #1 - For the "Down Home" Chef December 08 2012, 0 Comments

 

None Of Your Beeswax $10

Dry Beans, Yellow $10

Diner Journal $12

Moroccan Lemon Wood Ladle $28

Wild Sage Honey $39

 

 


ML Brown - San Francisco, CA December 07 2012, 0 Comments

Mat Brown honed his leather working skills while apprenticing with his friend Dillen Ailman while she was hand crafting a line of handbags for A Détacher in New York.  He trained with her for years learning about techniques of meticulous hand stitching and crafting leather goods to stand the test of time.  He eventually started his own leather goods company called ML Brown and he has since crafted unique and beautiful quality leather goods for many brands including Freemans Sporting Club, Taylor & Stitch, and Ernest Sewn.

Mat now resides in San Francisco and kindly allowed us the opportunity to hang out and watch him produce our exclusive Half Hitch wallets, clutches, belts, and key chains and also snap off some shots of his home studio.  



Dandelion Chocolate - San Francisco, CA November 26 2012, 0 Comments

What a treat to visit the old Dandelion Chocolate factory in the Dogpatch!  We snuck in right before their opening in the Mission to check out the original space.  The tall ceilings and broad windows showcase the gorgeous view from their little chocolate factory nestled in an unassuming building among lofts and offices. Only the aroma of chocolate through the hallways confirmed for us that we were headed in the right direction.  We toured with Alice Nystrom, a long time employee and she gave us the 411:

Dandelion was started by Cameron Ring and Todd Masonis in a friend's garage.  They began with a few bags of beans and just started roasting them up and they got lucky, their first batches were delicious.  

In their factory we learned about their step-by-step process to roast the beans in tiny batches in what looks like a countertop toaster oven.  Then they are ground like peanut butter and mixed and churned with sugar in a conche for a 3-4 days, which refines the cacao particle size and smoothens it.  Then the chocolate goes through a temperer which finalizes the texture, flavor and molecular structure of the chocolate.  Finally the bars are poured into molds and shaken to remove any bubbles.  It takes many days to produce each batch, and each batch yields a small amount of bars.  Each is hand foil wrapped and then put through an old fashioned red machine that wraps it with pretty paper.

Their small batch, “bean-to-bar” chocolate sets them apart from other bars.  Their simple recipes are very pure with 70% cacao and 30% sugar (no additives) so are flavorfully focal on the beans and the texture is resultantly velvety.  Dandelion buys their beans directly from farmers and packages the bars with handmade recycled paper from India’s garment industry, which has been printed with metallic inks in tight unique patterns designed by hand.  Each 2 oz. bar is hand made, molded, packaged and signed.  Check out the three bold flavors and snatch up a half dozen bars to hand out as hostess gifts this holiday season the packaging alone is a treat!


Jess Brown - Rag Doll Making Process November 21 2012, 0 Comments


PeaceBomb - Dropped & Made in Laos November 15 2012, 0 Comments

In the Naphia Village in Laos the Mine Advisory Group combs farmland and collects metal shrapnel from the 250 million bombs that were dropped on Laos by the U.S. during the Vietnam War.  It is a dangerous land because 1 in 3 bombs that were dropped did not detonate and are still land mines today.  Since 80% of Laotians are subsistence farmers (eating what they harvest) the danger of the undetonated bomb litter presents a food security issue and a barrier to economic development.

A resourceful villager figured out how to salvage the bomb metal to craft aluminum spoons by melting the metal in an earthen kiln and then cast the molten metal in hand sculpted molds of wood and ash.  He taught the same technique to 10 other families.  Article 22 has recently been helping the villagers with their product development and sales in the global marketplace.  For making these bracelets farmers and artisans are paid 4X their local market rate.  

Proceeds from each bracelet purchased at Half Hitch Goods will help clean up between 1-5 meters of bomb littered land.  Help us buy back the bombs.For more information please watch the 10 minute documentary:


Butterbean Studios - Jalama, CA November 07 2012, 0 Comments

On our way up the coast we dropped by the quaint Jalama Road in Lompoc California where there is a family-run farm stand merchandised on an old piece of farm equipment.  The stand is run by a collective of women who strive to build community in the valley by teaching neighbors and passers by about heirloom growing, living off the land, old ways of doing things, and being gentle on the earth.  

We visited Jalama Road to pick up some dry beans, beeswax, and honey that are grown and harvested by the Pata family.  The Pata’s home is the first built on Jalama Road where the family has been harvesting beans and running cattle since 1912.  The beans are dried and packaged by Erin Pata in a sweet muslin bag that she hand screen printed with the nostalgic Jalama farm stand logo that she designed out of her graphic design studio: Butterbean Studios.  The honey is raw and unfiltered courtesy of the honey bees that visit the wild sage of the Jalama Valley and transport their nectar back to the hive while pollinating crops on their way.  

We were supposed to meet Erin at the farm stand but traffic wasn't on our side and we missed each other but she kindly left the Half Hitch Goodies on her screened in porch all beautifully packaged up.  Of course we will meet up next time.  Thanks Erin!

Find out more about the Jalama Road Farmstand jalamaroadfamilyfarmstand.com and Butterbean Sudios butterbeanstudios.com.


Proprietors of Farmstand, (from left to right) Carla Malloy, Grace Malloy, Erin Pata.




The Doka Truck & The Beginning Of Our Journey October 12 2012, 0 Comments

I recently purchased this funky 1985 VW Vanagon Doka Transporter that is perfect for road trips.  Legend has it that the closest these things ever got to the U.S. was Canada because in the 80’s Volkswagen determined that there was no market for this weird model of truck in the U.S.  Well this rare and well-built machine inspired us to take an inaugural haul through the deserts of southern California collecting Half Hitch Goods along the way.

We packed our Wolfhound “Mason”, some basic provisions, and started in Joshua Tree for a few days of camping.  We explored the Yucca Valley and the Mojave desert to our heart's content and we even picked up some great vintage hand thrown studio pottery.    We visited the iconic architecture of the Marmol Radziner House in Palm Springs, the Salton Sea, the Integratron in Landers for a "Sound Bath", and then journeyed out to the deep canyons of Anza Borrego Desert State Park.  

This journey marks the first of many to come, we will travel near and far and do what we do best: collect special things and meet great folks along the way.  This journal will record our journeys and introduce you to the artistic and enterprising folks we meet who make Half Hitch Goods a reality.



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