just before spring

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I've been reveling in pre-spring rituals these last few weeks, both at home and at the studio. A lovely visit to the Orchid Show and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at NYBG is always on our list at this time of year. A trip there is a little glimmer of hope that warmer days are not far off, especially after the intense winter we've had. Floratherapy, if you will. We also made the time to sit for a few hours over a gaiwan of oolong yesterday at Tea Drunk, which was a rare and wonderful treat, indeed.

I've been lucky enough to have some delightful guests in the studio lately to brighten these late winter days, including Ashley from ABJ Glassworks, Jess from Witchin' in the Kitchen, and Jill & Vanessa from the forthcoming Yoke Quarterly. It's been so inspiring to connect with these ladies and to talk about our lives and work.

After a very bustling beginning to the new year, it's been good to take a few days to deep clean and make plans for the coming months. You'll notice a few shifts around the shop in the next little while, including new formats for a few items. Our Repair Balm will soon be offered in a slightly different formulation and format, and only a few tins of the current version are still available (and on sale!) in the shop. You'll also notice that our botanical fragrances will only be available in the main shop from here on out. A few more new projects are in the works, as well, (including our Spring Getaway Kit) so stay tuned...

Wishing you a very joyful transition into Spring!

the garden in winter

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Greetings for the New Year! 

We've been enjoying a very wintry few weeks here, and I've finally been able to spend some time cozying up and recovering from a very bustling holiday season. I've been reflecting with much gratitude on 2013 and looking forward to what the year ahead will bring. 

One goal of mine for this space in the coming year is to share a bit about my budding interest in native plants, in the hopes of cultivating a similar interest in my readers. Being involved with the native plant project at our community garden this past year continues to be an engaging exploration, and has turned much of what I thought knew about gardening on its head. I would love to be able to pass along an enthusiasm for native plants, not only because gardening with them is ecologically responsible, but also because they are truly beautiful and interesting, and are another one of the many ways in which we can connect with a sense of place here on our earth. Stay tuned...

A quick bit of housekeeping around the shop - orders placed after Monday, January 6th in both shops will not ship until after we return from our sojourn to the Pacific Northwest. I'll begin shipping again on January 24th. Thank you so much for your patience! 

a few good things from this week:

the soak // inspiration for the bath

and mint tea, of course

Wishing you many warm baths and hot cups of tea for the chilly days ahead!

- Briar

holiday musings

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I hope this post finds you all all well and rested after the holiday weekend. I've been doing a bit of thinking about the month ahead and I just wanted to share a few bits and pieces with you.

All the shopping-related noise of this weekend makes me uneasy.

Even as a small business owner who stands to benefit greatly (in the financial sense) from the attention that small businesses get at this time of year, part of me worries that even the "shop small" movement, however well-intentioned, is just another cog in the wheel of the overconsumption machine that steamrolls the holidays.

I know I must sound like a total bore.

Supporting your local small businesses, and buying products that are made with love by people you know are really important things. This enables people like me to support themselves doing what they love, it strengthens communities, among so many other good things. The longer I work by hand with plant material, though, and spend time observing the garden and the rhythms of the natural world, even here in the middle of the city, the more unnatural the hectic rush surrounding the holidays feels to me.

Philosophically, I've come to think of Marble & Milkweed as a way for me to share a connection to the wisdom of the natural world. All of nature is at rest right now in preparation for the renewal of life in the springtime and I don't think that seeing ourselves as an exception to this part of the natural cycle is productive or healthy. In my own life, I've made some choices about the way I spend my time, energy and resources at this time of the year that haven't always been well-understood by those around me. My partner and I support organizations whose work we admire in honor of our family and friends, and give gifts handmade in our kitchen during warmer days that can be savored and then remembered fondly. I also devote an enormous amount of time to making sure that the shop runs smoothly and that I'm able to share what I make with as many of you as possible. It brings me great joy to provide beautiful handmade gifts for you and your loved ones at this time of celebration, and throughout the year.

Your choices may be different, of course, but I think there is much to be gained in stepping back for a moment, and thinking about how to spend these dark and cozy days in the way that feels most true to you.

Wishing you a peaceful month ahead, filled with whatever it is you need most.

p.s. Rena's words here, here and here over the last few days have really resonated with me.

{photo: prayer flags at 6 & B on Thursday}

a giveaway: our autumn getaway kit!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

“At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds."

-Rainer Maria Rilke


UPDATE: the winner is Juliette L.! Thanks so much to everyone who commented with their favorite scents, reading through all your entries was such a lovely indulgence!

We're giving away one of our new autumn getaway kits this week! They are currently available via pre-order in the shop, shipping beginning Friday, October 4th. Simply comment below telling me your favorite scent of the season, and a winner will be chosen randomly on Friday, October 4th at 9pm EST. Be sure that there is an email address associated with your comment, so that I'll be able to reach you!

the set includes:

// Nourishing Serum (3.7ml)
// Autumn Body Oil (limited edition, 7.4ml)
// Rose & Chamomile Cleansing Grains (.5oz)
// Rose & Chamomile Facial Tonic (10ml)
// Rosy Lip Tint (.5oz)

Packed in a lovely muslin bag, this collection is perfect to take with you on an autumn weekend out of town. Featuring small sizes of a few essential luxuries, this kit will change with the seasons, continuously offering the chance to try something new.

I can't wait to hear about what scents you love most at this time of year!

xo Briar

out west

Friday, September 13, 2013

I hope that the beginning of September has treated you well. Despite the strangely tropical weather here this past week, the seasonal shift is still perceptible, and I've been spending just a bit more time working by lamplight in the studio. I wanted to share a few photos from our August trip to Washington State, where we enjoyed seeing family and friends (both old and new!), and got a much needed dose of the great outdoors. This August was generous with its beautiful days and its blackberries, and we were grateful for it.

a little time away

Saturday, August 10, 2013

In case you missed our latest newsletter (subscribe here, if so!), I'll be out of the studio this week for a little jaunt to the Pacific Northwest. Our twice-yearly trip is always a treat, and extra-anticipated during this abundant season when local markets are overflowing with fruits and flowers, and making pies and going sailing seem like the only natural ways to spend the day. In the meantime, teas are on sale in the main shop, and orders of $60 or more (before shipping) receive a complimentary drinking crystal with the code HAPPYSIPPING. All orders made between now and August 21st will be shipped after I return.

Wishing you all a beautiful few weeks ahead!

here are a few little morsels:

polar summer postcards }

{ I always admire Sarah's candid posts. }

blackberries: poem + jam }

old buildings

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have an inexplicable interest, obsession perhaps, with old buildings. Places with history. I live in one, I work in one. I send handwritten letters to people who used to live in them, after snooping around to find them on the internet.

Guilty as charged. I want to hear stories.

After a very tiring day yesterday, I reclined for a moment on our new studio sofa as the light was fading. I spend so much time there rushing around, engrossed in projects. That's what a workspace is for, after all. But I watched dusk fall over my little room, my thoughts turned toward the small group of people, of which I am now a part, who have seen the light fade just so.

When I first saw the studio, I knew right away that I would be happy working there. All the details were in place: moldings painted over dozens of times, always in white, heavy windows with original glass, the scent of old wood. I began to research the history of the building, something I do quite often these days. I can easily become fascinated with a building while waiting for the bus, or walking to the bookstore, as I did in the case of 219-221 Bowery. I'm still getting over that one. As I sifted through what little information was available about my studio building at 71 West Broadway, I came across a particularly touching story. It turns out that it is much easier to imagine a bit of what went on in your building before you (at least, in the more recent sense), when one of the previous tenants is a documentary filmmaker.

I discovered the filmmaker's own account of life at 71 West Broadway on the day of, and in the days following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center two blocks away. You can watch it here.

No one lives in the building now, perhaps due to a combination of the cost of legalizing residential loft conversions, and the changed landscape of the neighborhood following the attacks. But this part of the building's history has been often in my thoughts since watching the film, and it is my hope that further research may reward me with a few more stories, at least.

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