Dear All - a place to rest

Stumbled upon this coffee shop the last time I was in Tokyo. I was struck by the design and the amazing coffee. Regulars came and went while I recharged my batteries. The baristas (friends from high school) seemed to know everyone. They are the only two employees and they are making their dream come true. The hospitality and good coffee went a long way with this weary traveler. I asked if I could snap some photos and they obligingly said yes.

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Kings Full Service Gas Station

 

Mrs. King and her husband have run this full service station for many years. Mr. Kings father started the station in 1940 in Gonzales, Tx. A few years ago Mr. King passed away. Mrs. King decided to keep the full service station in business. If you are lucky, she may even have some home made cookies for you to snack on while she fills you up and gets you back on the road. She is one of the kindest sweetest people you could ever come across. I just wanted to document a small part of her story. She is an amazing and remarkable woman with a contagious smile and a kindness that is seldom found in today's world.

film scan of Portra 160

film scan of Portra 160

Rhode's Canoe rental

A couple weeks ago we took a family trip to Glen Rose, Tx. As we were getting close to our destination (just before we crossed the Brazos River) we drove past Rhodes Canoe Rental. After we had driven past it a half mile I asked my wife if I could go back and take a few photos. Being the great sport she is and understanding my love for photography she agreed. The boys were starting to get fussy but she indulged my desire nontheless.

I knew the boys were antsy and tried to grab as many pictures as quickly as I could. I saw Max sitting at a desk through the window. I decided to go in the office and meet the man that owned this property.

As I walked into the office Max didn't even look up from his Soduko game until I said, "good morning sir." He looked up and greeted me nonchalantly. Even though he was casual there was a kindness and warmth in his words and demeanor.

I looked around and felt like I had stepped back in time by about 35 years. He politely declined when I asked if I could take a portrait. I took a shot of the sudoku game he was working on and also felt like the interior of his office (trailer) was enough of a portrait.

I knew that by now the boys were probably getting fussy so I thanked him for his time and headed out the door. As soon as I stepped out I realized that I had so many questions for this man. I hope to go back sometime and ask Max a few more questions and hopefully get a portrait.

table zer0

a couple of weekends ago i had the opportunity to spend an evening at Lake forest farm in mckinney with Vanessa and Aaron of table zer0.

vanessa and aaron hosted a pop up dinner at the family farm in the newly expanded 3000 square feet greenhouse before vanessa's father was to build out the rest of the aquaponic grow beds.

table zer0 = the table which doesn't exist in any dining establishment.

according to Aaron and Vanessa, "the event is our artistic expression, with an intention to engage all of the senses in our guests"

the dinner included a four course seasonally inspired blind menu with products from the farm and other local producers.

a days worth of organic eggs

fish from the local pond on the farm to help with the aquaponics system used to grow vegetables

this particular evening featured a japanese-inspired menu

course 1.

farm greens, pea shoots, radish, roasted golden beets, carrot-ginger vinaigrette

course 2.

seasonal vegetable tempura, daikon, ponzu 

course 3.

ahi tuna, caramelized tofu, shishito pepper

course 4.

matcha green tea creme brûlée 

i originally thought that i was just going to be photographing an event. shortly after i arrived and met vanessa and aaron it became obvious that i was really capturing two individuals coming together to make art. aaron is the chef which is a true art form all on its own while vanessa creates the beautiful space, community, ambiance and develops a vision for the evening. with each of their own unique gifts and passions coming together the result is a truly amazing experience for others to enjoy. make sure and check out their website tablezer0 and the facebook page of lake forest farm for upcoming events.

the backpack that gives back (Just Porter)

I recently found out about JustPorter.org and was immediately intrigued by the great design of their backpacks. I was also really excited to find out that for each bag that is purchased a second bag with school supplies is given to a child in need.

I had the opportunity to take the sable rucksack on a recent road trip to Palo Duro Canyon, Garden of the Gods and Breckenridge.

The bags are high quality with a minimalist and modern design. They are weather-proof and feel great on your back.

For each bag bought, Just Porter manufacturers a "give" backpack and fills it with school supplies and gives it to a child in need. They are manufacturing their "give" backpacks in the areas they distribute these backpacks and are also purchasing the school supplies from the local markets. Just Porter is trying to solve the problem of poverty through creating jobs in the areas they give and promoting childhood education.

THey began as a Kickstarter and was fully funded in December 2013.

I am really impressed with the build quality of these bags as well as the mission of the company.

#packforlife

Pastrana Studio

Julian and kate own Pastrana Studio just outside of denton, tx where they create beautiful paintings and handcrafted wood pieces for the home. I've had the opportunity to visit their home and studio a couple of times now and each time I have been struck by how warm and welcoming they are. this shouldn't come as much of a surprise,  as many of the pieces that they make revolve around community, sharing and hospitality. every piece that they create is one of a kind- whether it is one of Kate's paintings or one of Julian's serving boards, maple bud vases or boxcar stools. each wood piece is an original design and is a blend of utilitarian need and art. they both also work full-time outside of the studio which came as a shock to me based on how much work they are constantly turning out and the amount of time that goes into each piece they create.  They have collaborated with other makers in North texas and frequently do pop-up shops with other local vendors.

the beginning stages of a serving board

selecting the perfect piece of wood

the edges of the serving boards are cut freehand on the band saw before they are smoothed out and shaped by hand. from here they will be carefully sanded and will head into the finishing room before being sold.

during my visit i was able to just stand back and observe as they collaborated and discussed new designs and projects being worked on. there was a calmness between them and an unspoken understanding of what the other was doing or needed as they performed various tasks around the shop. 

from the original design to the hand-crafting and packaging, each step along the way is thoughtful, intentional and done with great care. 

julian shared some different design changes he had recently tried with the boxcar stoolsthese stools use salvaged wood from an old box car that was used for ammunition storage. the seat itself is red oak while the legs are solid walnut.

end table and bud vase

boxcar stool

untitled painting in upstairs sitting room

the walls of their screened-in porch are built from salvaged wood. 

both their home and work space are a reflection of the beautiful pieces they create as well as the lifestyle and the values they celebrate. beauty abounds and the attention to detail in every design choice is obvious. inside of their home, many pieces of furniture are handcrafted works of art including a kitchen table, end tables, computer desk and even a dog bowl.  when a need would arise for a piece of furniture, kate would simply sketch a design and julian would get to work bringing that design to life. 

make sure to follow along with them on instagram and facebook. also make sure to check out their website and keep them in mind the next time you need the perfect gift.