Little Lap Desk

UPDATE: Now available in our etsy store!

I grew up with a Mickey Mouse lap desk. Mickey was posed happily in the center of a white hardboard top. And an orange cushion was attached to the underside to ensure full comfort while I colored the day away.

I loved that little lap desk. And years later I was given a larger, grown-up version with a mahogany stained top, ergonomic design, perfectly-contoured cushion and absolutely no Mickey Mouse. But I loved that one, too. I set my very first lap top on it one day and never looked back.

So, in the interest of creating things that we love, it was high-time we made a lap desk.

This one is made of birch ply. It is adorned with a very simple and very cute elephant. We used a white wash so that the grain of the wood still shows through. And the eye and ear are drawn on with a silver paint marker.

The wood and artwork were then sealed with a few coats of a water-based polycrylic. So, that elephant ain't going anywhere.

The cushion underneath (not pictured) is made of organic cotton and filled with bamboo stuffing. We also added velcro strips so the cushion can be removed if necessary to clean.

Now, our niece, Gibson, can take her lap desk anywhere and comfortably color her day away.

(Again, thanks to Geoff Wood Photography for the crackalackin' shots.)

Matt and Lisa


Hello again after another lengthy period away. We certainly didn't intend to snub all of September but...alas, we did. And these things happen. And we hope that September will just accept that and we can move on and be friends of some sort. Or acquaintances.
Just holiday cards?

This time we don't have just one big project to share. Instead, we have thrown ourselves into a number of activities over the last couple of months. And we are hopeful that these activities will grow into products that you will just love.

Oh, go on, love 'em.

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Felted Pendant Lights.
We've just begun a brand new design for pendant lights. Sculptural, felted branches cascading from a seamless form. Natural drama? We'll take it.

Felt Flower Necklaces. 
Our original felted necklaces were such a big hit last year that we're bringing them back. Production has started on millions of flowers (so many) of various colors.

The flowers are then beaded and sewn to cording like in the examples below.

Felt Pins.
We also combine the flowers and branch forms to create naturally-inspired brooches.


Felted Cashmere Capelets. 
These smart little numbers are a combination of pieces of cashmere knits mixed with hand-felted adornments and accents. They cover just enough of your bits to be toasty warm without being an overbearing protector. The capelets wrap around the shoulders and clasp just over the heart. Awww.  

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But, it's not all felt, of course. We've still been tinkering in the wood shop and hard at work on ye olde sewing machine.

Shoulder Bags.
A cheery, little light-weight bag that hugs your hip, messenger style, leaving your hands free for other fun. We've been honing these nuggets for a month or so now, calibrating shoulder to hip proportions, tweaking our pattern here and there and choosing fantastic colors. It's all very scientific. Right now, we are doing "test runs" on lovely models (lady friends). And we're nearing completion on a variety of colors in vinyl and suede.

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Wooden Spoons.
These wooden spoons are pretty fantastic to hold, we must say. They're made of Bocote (on left) and Ambrosia Maple and are finished nice and smooth. And the grain on both is a bit... bazow!

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And last but certainly not least...

Business Cards.
We are now armed with cards to distribute or throw in the air or pass secretly in handshakes. We are here, world!

Never felt so official.

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So, that's where we stand at the moment. Creating and readying a slew of items to launch in the etsy shop. And, additionally, we'll be launching our own online shop in the very near future. That's the goal, the dream. Our grand... wait for it... design.

Thanks for stopping in. 
Matt and Lisa

Blue Bureau Biology

Dull, little caterpillar transforms into classy, vibrant butterfly.

The larva.

Seems this one just never made it into the chrysalis. And spent way too much time moving around from place to place hoping for some kind of metamorphosis.

Well, hope no more, you old worm. Beauty is right around the corner.

The blue morpho.

The wings, of course, are theoretical. But still, certainly dramatic. And it's got that look-at-me-now attitude about it. I'm a butterfly. A real, blue-bureau butterfly!

 And have a look at the zebrawood drawer pulls. Very zebrawoody, of course.

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Inside (outside) the chrysalis (at the workshop). First things first. There was a broken drawer to contend with. A small problem but important to fix.

So, we removed the side wall that was chipped, cracked and broken and made a new one. Then routed out a long recess for the drawer's bottom to slide into.

Here's some pictures of the... pupation.

The legs were recycled from an old side table that withered years ago. A bottom was added so that the legs would have somewhere to attach themselves to and we swapped out the existing hardboard back with a wood back that would look better as well as offer greater stability.

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Tip time. Here's an easy way to paint the legs. Attach the leg plates to a long board and face them upwards (and you really just need to use 2 of the 4 screws). Then, screw the hanger bolts in the legs into the plates.

You'll have all your legs standing in front of you ready for painting. And they can stay put to dry.


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The perfect color. We had decided on the zebrawood for the drawer pulls, so, we wanted to choose a paint color to complement those well and make the zebrawood a strong focal point.

We did have some ready-to-use colors that would have worked reasonably well. But, they just weren't quite the right tones. There was a nice blue. A light blue. An aquamarine. And we decided on something sort of in between-ish.

So, our resident paint-mixer went about her magic science and created a color that both blows your mind and soothes your soul. ...I know. ...Magic, right?


And here's one last look at this little miracle of nature before it takes flight for the first time. Off you go, you beautiful bug. Be free!

But watch out for birds. Cause you look delicious.

Want us to hurry along the metamorphosis of your wayward caterpillar? Send us a note.
Matt and Lisa

Six-Pack Plastic Pendant Lamp

We just finished up this intriguing lil' pendant lamp after about a year or so of being "in-progress." It's made out of six-pack rings, torn open at random breaking points and affixed with metal grommets.

And did we guzzle that many six-packs in order to complete this pendant? I'm sorry, what? I didn't hear the question. Well, how about we just show the pics.

The hanging apparatus.

The plastic, ripped apart and pushed together into a dense configuration, flows and stretches outward as though underwater.

She's jellyfish-like. She's entrancing. She pulls you in... closer...closer... but don't worry—this little beauty can't sting.

Swim away.

Unlit, she is no less a treat.  Her whole form glistens in natural light.
Anyone who sees her, knows the delights she holds within.

These were taken before the light was installed. We dangled her by a chain and eye hook from branches and let her soak in the sun. She's a natural. Except for the recycled plastic, of course.

Thanks for visiting. Hope you enjoyed our new girl. (psst. she's that pendant lamp.) We are both proud of her look and of keeping all of this plastic out of the landfill.

Comments are welcome. Or email us here if you like.

Matt and Lisa

Furniture Revamp

Moss Robot recently had the pleasure of designing and building some storage pieces for a private office/multi-purpose room. It was a very fun and rewarding project. We learned a lot of useful tips along the way and think we ended up producing a pretty sweet set of furniture, too.

We're so proud, in fact, that we'd like to share a little bit of the process with you.

First up is the armoire. We found this monster on Craigslist. Solid wood and in decent working order but just an aged mess and a little smelly, frankly. But, you know, perfect for a revamp.
Here it is after we lugged it home.

You can see that the drawers were already taken out. And that's because we knew we were chopping off the bottom section in order to put her up on legs. There was some molding around the top that we tore off by this point, too. The muck and such was sanded off and the holes and warpy bits were filled, glued and fixed. Then a couple coats of paint and this old monster gets a new life as a beautiful, brawny princess.


The shingle inspiration came from a pantry created by a company called Field Day. The turned legs, well, ...turned up... on Craigslist. We bought a few bundles and cut them into sections to be used on all three pieces we created. Handles and hinges came from the hardware store.

We love the shingles for the fairy-tale-cottage-look they give the armoire. Fun. A little mysterious. Feathery. Owlish.

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The second piece is a long, low cabinet. And we decided to make this out of a bookcase that was already being used in the room. The issue, of course, would be turning this thing on it's side and generally making it look like it was never a bookcase at all.


This started as a very solid, well-built piece which made the process of transformation just that much easier. The legs would have to be sawed off. The top replaced. A new top added. Doors. Shelves. New legs. And customization, customization, customization.
Now, it's so happy as a low cabinet that you'd never know it could stand so tall.


The back was cut out of the left side for a fully open display area. While two existing metal shelves, that were just begging to be useful, were installed into the enclosed cabinet side for storage. 

A really stylish, modern cabinet. And the converted horizontal arrangement strikes a much more warm and inviting figure than it's previous looming one. Makes you just want to touch it. ...But get permission first...


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Now to the third and final cabinet, which we are particularly proud of. This little piece has no "Before" picture because it was built from scratch using the leftover shelves and top from the bookcase. Let nothing go to waste, eh?

This small bureau will be a great place to store supplies. It has two drawers and two shelves with plenty of room for articles of various shapes and sizes. The counter top is the top to the old bookcase. And the sides, middle partition and left-sided shelf are made from the shelves of the old bookcase.

We added turned legs and gave the doors a more simplified take on the shingle design to set it apart just slightly from the others. It's a cute little guy, we gotta say.

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And if that wasn't enough, there is still one more component of the project to feature. Floating shelves. In addition to the metal shelves that were installed into the low cabinet, we were provided with 5 floating shelves to incorporate into the design. Three of the shelves were solid black and two were solid white. So, we've got to make them all work together, don't we?

Enter... The Stamp.
By using this stamp with white paint we added a unique and interesting pattern to the black shelves and connected the grouping of shelves together visually.

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This project was a great experience for us. And we hope to do a lot more of this kind of thing. So, please help us by spreading the word.

And thanks so much for reading about our process. We're glad you're here.

Special thanks to Geoff Wood (@_geoffwood, for the professional shots of the final pieces. And also to Summer Busto for the trust and the opportunity to impress.

Please comment below or email us.
Matt and Lisa