Friday, July 29

studio storytelling

in the works

(the poem in there is this one)

I gave an interview over at 'Handmade in PA' which talks a little bit about my being an artist and how I got into altered books and polaroids. Whenever I give an interview I learn something new about myself.

Do you ever ask yourself those questions ~ what circumstances brought me where I am, am I happy here, what am I wild about, what would I like to shift and how could that look if it happened? I generally write a little bit about those things every so often, just to air out my subconscious. I try to catch it off guard, and I tell you, some funny things have happened when I have.

xo brooke


Thursday, July 28

how to make camping espresso

how to make camping espresso

how to make camping espresso

how to make camping espresso

how to make camping espresso

how to make camping espresso

how to make camping espresso

I've been wanting to share these from our recent camping trip.


Wednesday, July 27

after the heat wave

Things have been pretty nice around here now that it's not 101* anymore. (The wall of hops behind tim used to look like this.)

The goldfinches pick off the petals of the sunflowers so they can get to the seeds, running around on the flower faces like children on a king-sized mattress. Most of our sunflowers look bedraggled now, but a few have escaped.


Sunday, July 24

you can pick the lilies

lake mahkeenac at kripalu

While I was at kripalu, I went kayaking, and while I was floating in the lake of lilies and trying to take a polaroid (difficult, as the kayak kept being blown away in the wind), a fellow kayaker kept calling to me that I could pick the lilies. I nodded at her, hoping she would quiet without a response, but she told me repeatedly and excitedly, 'you can pick them! you can pick the lilies!' I thought the lilies were beautiful where they were, and did not pick any. When I got back to the boathouse I saw that she had picked an armful and they were gorgeous lying there in a bright tangle.

It did not seem that they would ever fade.

In a way, that's why I take photographs. It is my way of picking the lilies.


Friday, July 22

road trips and water delving

taken from the kayak

I went to kripalu for a few days. I've only been a few times but each time heals and sets me clear on the life I have and re-centers my focus. I have a few different places like that, each available at different times if I need them. Most involve being near water and having plans to gorge on reading and to delve.

Most involve a road trip.

I came home to heat in the 100*'s. The garden is an unruly mess, the studio simply boiling, and we finally put an a/c in downstairs after 5 years.

I made hummingbird nectar and kombucha. I cut back the pumpkin vine growing out of the compost. I took things off the walls and enjoyed the empty space. I gave the birds seed and the dogs peanut butter, scanned polaroids and unpacked.

It's good to go away because it's so good to come back home.


Wednesday, July 20

nature dreams sea

full moon

full moon

waiting for the moonrise
over the ocean ~
(why isn't the beach packed with people?)
the gulls are hanging and hunting
over the curling surf
and patches of foam are pink from the setting sun

slowly, slowly the tide is coming in
birds float by as if a pair of wings
were the easiest thing in the world

suddenly tim pointed, 'there'
and a tiny piece of horizon glowed
and the moon birthed itself from the sea
as simple as anything,
oblong and perfect

it floated and hovered
and the blue earth turned under it

the full moon over the sea
casting quicksilver and mercury
onto night waves

it seemed a place of magic
and I imagined how easy,
in ancient times,
it would've been
to imagine there was a path
over the sea
and that the light would hold me up


Tuesday, July 19

damp sand, windy hooping







An afternoon on damp sand
a brisk wind, hair in a honeyed bun
the crashing of waves, coral toes
by the sea ~ red linen pants
(everybody needs a pair of red pants)
the terns darting down for a briny sip
swallowing and shaking off drops
in mid-air, like a dog does,
and the horizon pulling and forming,
pouring and retreating.

*taken by tim

Monday, July 18

Thursday, July 14

the ocean calls

We're off to the ocean for a few days. The temperature is dropping down into the 80's and I can't wait to get my feet on the damp evening sands.

We are just about to leave ~ are almost on our way with dogs in the back of the car, the license plate game beginning, at the ready to stop for any fruit-stand.

In my bag to bring are a few pablo neruda and mary oliver books, my newly thrifted red linen pants, a new striped tee (I feel very french riviera), my Moleskine, a few favorite pens and a packet of assorted teabags. Just the core essentials. 


Tuesday, July 12

evening strolls


tonight's moonrise

The older lady in the pin-striped men's button-down, gardening under the magnolia tree. Her straw hat set aside and upturned on the freshly-clipped hedge, the flowers beyond colored in shade against the house.

The man who plants his sunflower seedlings out each summer in his tiny front garden, slowly building his driveway brick by brick, and always the half-heard radio on to the Grateful Dead hour or baseball.

The moon dissembling behind the curtains of willow.

The glimpses into high rooms at dusk ~ the lamplight on warm red walls. Fans visible turning on the ceilings, light flickerings from late-night movies.

The single dandelion puff glowing in the dark. The walled garden in cobalt and blues. The white gardens, each flower visible like a ghost.


Monday, July 11

the shared not-aloneness

Thank you all so much for your incredibly generous and comforting comments on my last post. I treasure each of your well-wishes and each of the emails arriving, one by one, just when I needed it, to share a story or hold the space.

Yesterday I took a deep breath, and realized I had not taken one in days. I'm just breathing for myself now.

If I had broken a limb, I would have a cast. An operation leaves a visible scar. There is a ring for a wedding ceremony. But nothing shows for this. Most of what occurred was emotional and private. We as a culture have no recognizable mark to hail the invisible start of a mother.

And yet I feel a sense of shared not-aloneness, and it makes a chemical difference to me. I treasure each word you all wrote, and the spirit in which it was written.

x brooke


Saturday, July 9

personal news

I've been struggling back and forth with writing this post. This subject is incredibly personal to me and I feel fiercely private about it. Yet I begin to feel as if I am putting on a mask by not touching on it here as each day passes. I have found such generous understanding and support here from each of you, and I feel as if I would appreciate greatly your kind, thoughtful and caring thoughts.

I suffered a miscarriage this week. I was almost three months along. In fact, I was just about to share with our larger circle of friends and family that we were expecting. I was looking forward to sharing the news here as well.

And now it's not happening.

Months of secret happiness, of loving what my body was doing, of planning and thinking and collecting, of looking to the future, of eating kale at every meal, of remembering my vitamins and herbal supplements, of sewing little baby pants, of drinking kefir and sipping nettle and raspberry leaf teas, of sitting in loving silence with my hand on my belly, of feeling special every single day and every single time I remembered I am pregnant. Put on hold for a present experience of pain, loss and waiting. Starting over. Uncertainty. Impatience. Fear. Anger.

That's what's happening.

I'm resting and taking it easy, and have especially wonderful, wonderful support from tim and my midwives. I'm grateful for so much.

I miss being pregnant.

Thank you for being here and for listening. I appreciate it so much.


Wednesday, July 6

beets, bees and basil

bee on the cosmos grown year by year
from the seeds of my great-aunt evelyn's garden

We planted beets and basil today, our feet bare on the soil. There is a pumpkin vine growing from the compost pile, full of large orange blooms. I am still waiting for the hummingbirds, and for the rain.

I love how sometimes, when I let the dogs out at night, I see a spot of white on the lawn ~ the white of the cat's breast as she sits out there on the clover, poised like a statue. I think she is watching the stars.


Tuesday, July 5

the mummies

The Zweeloo woman, named after the village in the Netherlands where she was discovered by a peat cutter in 1951, was about 35 years old and 5 feet, 6 inches tall ... her last meal consisted of porridge of millet, rye, barley, oats and blackberries.*

I find mummies so heartbreakingly beautiful because the people are there, they existed, and they still exist. They were. They are. It's the craziest link of where we came from, what we did, and how similar we are to past civilizations. This is why I go to natural history museums.

This female mummy from Peru was found with one child on her abdomen, and a second child beneath her head: It is possible that the child under the woman's head was buried at the same time as the woman...the other child was placed with the woman some 200 years after her death.*

The ancient Egyptian mummy with blue faience amulets and gold leaf on his hands. The crocodile and ibis mummies. The scatterings of amulets, never meant to be seen.

This is a very private experience.

Ushabtis are small figurines that were placed in the tomb with the mummy. The word ushabti means "answerer"...*

The 6,500 year old south american baby buried with the amulet in his linens. It was still hidden somewhere close to him, where it was carefully placed 1,000 years before the advent of mummification in Egypt. Since the advent of CT scans and X-rays, they can look inside without unwrapping anything. Somebody loved him.

I could take away the descriptions, the scientific facts. But I couldn't take away with me the intense blue of the amulets, the blond curls of the early Christian child peeping from his cap, the wooden horse figure buried with him, its red paint rubbed off.

The 5,000 year old man, dubbed Otzi, discovered on the Similaun mountain on the Austrian-Italian border. Various items were found with the mummified man, including a backpack made of wood and fur...*

*quotes from the mummy exhibit

Saturday, July 2

shop sale


every polaroid in my shop, nature dreams sea
20% off this holiday weekend
till monday eve
use the code POLAROID20


everything in my vintage shop, yarrow and finch
(like the working camera above)
also 20% off this weekend
use the code FOURTHWEEKEND20


happy weekending!

x brooke


Friday, July 1

home things (work things?)

books to alter







I have a feeling that my plans for today might not be the ones I originally sought. I had thought I might go downtown to see the mummies exhibit but am feeling a burst of energy for home things. Our dutch oven needs a cleaning, books are in the middle of their altering, such an awkward stage for them, the basil seeds still need to be planted.

I've had a few questions about the rustic strawberry tart I made ~ it's something I made after seeing one at the coffeeshop going for $4.25 a slice. I refused to pay that and when I came home, rolled up my sleeves and tackled the dilemma. It was easy! Roll out a whole wheat piecrust (my recipe here), slice fresh strawberries (or peaches, blueberries, raspberries, etc) and layer on in the center with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, and drape extra edges up and over. There should be no holes or the juice will leak out. Bake (I use stoneware, thrifted of course) at around 400* F until it smells good and looks done.

Might I beg you to take a surplus kombucha scoby? Kombucha is a fermented detoxifying tea which I make at home. I can include directions on how to make it. Send your address to me at flypeterfly AT hotmail DOT com, and I will be happy to send one to you!

Enjoy your weekend, and the holiday! Have any fun plans?