Category Archives: abaca

The Line Up

My last post, from March 30th (has it been two weeks already?) provided the dates and places where you can find Three Stone Steps LIVE! And, a new show has been added to our itinerant storefront line-up.

Here’s what our weekend looks like:

Saturday, it’s EcoFest in Druid Hill Park, noon to six. It’s the west side of the park, by the zoo.

(By the way, on Saturday we’re marking down, way down, our repurposed mosquito netting and some of our eco-amazing abaca bags. These new prices will be online with the new site–which I hope is up soon!–so don’t fret if you’re not in Baltimore.) But, if you’re in the area, it would be great if you could stop by, even if just to say hello. This will be Three Stone Steps’ third Baltimore EcoFest. I know it sounds sort of auspicious, but I just want to let you know that the event is fun with a capital “F.” And, it’s also free.

And, this just in: We decided to pitch our tent (quite literally, in fact) at the Hightlandtown Wine Festival. Ok. I’ve never been before, but my guess is that it’s also an f.u.n. event. (Ok, it’s not a free event. In fact, it’s $25, but for that you get wine tastes and other great goodies.)

And, hope you have a great and F-U-N weekend, whatever you do.


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Filed under abaca, Baltimore, mosquito net, sale, shows

Just in time for Mother’s Day: A Trunk Show!

Please join me at Alexa Webb Artisan Jewelry, on May 7, from 6 to 8 pm for a Three Stone Steps trunk show, where we’ll be unveiling brand new items from the Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

Pictured left is a great new travel set, a cosmetic case and jewelry pouch, made of jacquard silk from Vietnam. The set costs $25, or $15 each piece.

And, to the right, we have a cute, perfect for that summer event clutch fairly made in the Philippines of seagrass. If seagrass isn’t eco-chic enough for you, the lining is made from recycled flour sacks. And, you can carry this this incredibly sweet bag for a sweet price. It’s a mere $23!

Oh, and there’s so much more! New hand loomed silk scarves from Cambodia. New colors of the very popular silk screen on cotton messenger bag, more colors and styles of the lovely Angkor bag, complete with matching silk wallets, and purses made from recycled junk food wrappers.

We’ll be serving some light refreshments, and hope that you’ll join us.

Alexa Webb Artisan Jewelry is in Federal Hill, at 1028 S. Charles Street.

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Filed under abaca, Baltimore, messenger bags, scarves, silk, silk screen, trunk show

And, why do you think they call it the "Manila envelope?"

I received a shipment from the Philippines last week. Three Stone Steps now has brand new colors and designs of messenger bags and other personal accessories. Very exciting. But what’s actually blogworthy is that these bags come in rarely seen in the U.S. fibers. So, in addition to mosquito netting, recycled metal, silk, and cotton, Three Stone Steps now boasts such fibers as recycled tetra pack (think those little juice boxes where you poke a hole with a straw) and used (but clean) junk food wrappers, bamboo (made into hip jewelry), seagrass, and abaca. Of all these wonderful fibers, I must admit to having somewhat of a mini-obsession with abaca. Plus “abaca” is just such a magical sounding word.

I’ve posted photos of my abaca products before on this blog–in the should Venus, the mannequin, be naked post–but it’s time to do it again so you can see just what I’m talking about:

Cute, huh?

Anyway, without getting all Latin plant name on you, abaca is the fiber from a tree that looks exactly like a banana tree, just without the fruit. The fiber is harvested from the outer sheaths of the trunk, a process done by hand that doesn’t harm the tree at all. In fact, in a couple of years, the same outer sheath grows back. And, while abaca is grown in various parts of the world, it’s said to be indigenous to the Philippines, and the Philippines leads the world in its production. Ok. End of botany lesson.

Abaca is generally considered to be the strongest natural fiber available. In fact, cordage, especially for ships’ ropes, is among its most notable use. And, not only is its strength legendary, abaca is incredibly lightweight. Talk about having it all.

But wait, there’s more. Abaca, this friendliest of eco-friendly fibers is, at least in the Philippines, grown by small farmers, working maybe five or ten hectares. So, we’re not talking some big multinational paying workers peanuts to harvest this fiber on plantations, this fiber comes from real small farmers. And, once it’s in fiber form, it’s taken to another small producer to dye and weave. All this is done by hand, too. And, then the producer I work with, on the big southern Philippine island of Mindanao, and I figure out how to design this woven fiber into bags you will love.

These bags have other special, eco-friendly features like lining made from recycled flour sacks, but I’ll leave the inside of the bag for another post.

Oh, and the Manila envelope trivia question thing? Abaca is sometimes called Manila hemp. And, envelopes used to be made out of it, hence the Manila envelope. And, now you know.

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Filed under abaca, messenger bags, mosquito net, Philippines, recycled, silk


WSVW= What Should Venus Wear?

Venus is the name of my armless mannequin. (Incredibly obvious name, I know.) Anyway, I use Venus to show off Three Stone Steps‘ bags, so that buyers can get a sense of their size and how to wear them. However, she is naked. This never bothered me before. In fact, I thought that usually a mannequin was much less alienating than using a live model, since, well, since live models can sometimes be intimidating because, well, who looks like that? (Of course, Venus has the same ridiculous dimensions as a Barbie doll, so that theory has more than a few holes.) Anyway, I just shot some more photos, and realized that this nudity is not good. It’s time to dress Venus.
But, What should Venus wear?

I’d love your suggestions!

Naked Venus models an abaca shoulder bag, with recycled flour sack lining, with little abaca flower brooch.

Naked Venus is carrying the mint green color of the Luna Shoulder Bag, in repurposed mosquito netting. (It’s on sale, by the way.)

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Filed under abaca, eco-chic, luna bag, messenger bags, mosquito net