notes from last night

Thursday, October 16, 2014

(clockwise from top left):

2/ chilly mornings + vintage silk
3/ color inspiration on my studiomate's palette 
4/ rainy days

For me, the two sides of autumn will always feel a bit at odds. We're torn between the energy of shorter days that ask us to slow down, to gather and rest, and the intense uptick of activity in advance of the holidays. Things have been wonderfully lively around the studio, though I do feel myself dealing with just a touch of social-media burnout. I can't be the only one, right? It isn't so simple balancing the desire to connect with the incredible creative community that works and plays just beyond all these screens with the need for a moment (or more) of analog peace and quiet. 

It's warm out tonight, and raining. I left the studio early to attend a bokashi composting workshop at a community garden on 12th Street. This method of recycling food waste uses microorganisms to ferment (or pickle) food scraps, which can then be added to the soil. It seems like an elegant process, one that makes so much sense, especially for city dwellers. Our compost area at 6&B is in serious need of attention and I'm going to be looking into a grant that would help us get the supplies we need to start using this method. With microbes making headlines in the most unfortunate of ways lately, consciously entering into a harmonious agreement with a few of them seems comforting, somehow. Ancient and life-affirming. In the rainy dark, mixing the starter ingredients together with our bare hands by the glow of a flashlight, my neighbors and I. 

After the workshop, I walked home in the rain, feeling optimistic. I steamed up the house making a bowl of pasta with simple garlicky sauce from a basket of fresh tomatoes, wondering if they are the season's last.  

heartache + handmade paper: a story about tea packaging

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Even though it may reach 90 degrees here in the city today, I can feel autumn sneaking in. We spent two days last week at Early Girl Farm on Long Island checking our bees and getting our hands dirty, and the angle of the sun felt so different. The scent in the air, too.

This has been one of my busiest summers I can recall. It wasn't necessarily something I was prepared for, but it's been wonderful. I also never, ever thought I'd be thinking about the holiday season in July, but alas. This year, it has been a joy to take on so many new stockists and to share my work with even more of you beautiful people. I've been working on a website update that should go live next week-ish, if all goes well. And Autumn Getaway kits are nearly ready, too, full of gorgeous seasonal skin + spirit food for the months ahead.

You'll also notice a shift in our tea packaging. That wasn't really something I planned for either. I've been a regular customer at the Pearl Paint store on Canal Street since I moved to New York twelve years ago. My walk there was always punctuated by stops throughout Chinatown for dumplings, coconut buns, and exotic vegetable ogling. The building is pure magic, one of the old cast-iron factory loft buildings. Two buildings, in fact, connected by crooked little ramps and stairways on each floor. Paints, pastels and paper from floor to ceiling. And the main staircase, the beamy wooden banisters, the wide creaky steps, and the paint sample charts lining the walls. The scent of all that old wood, that I now recognize as belonging to the same fragrance family as the scent of the stairs up to my loft studio, not far away.

It's a place that has always been drenched with feelings of freedom and possibility for me. I've been there alone, with friends, with lovers. When I designed Marble & Milkweed's library card tea packaging, I went to their once-flourishing paper department to source the handmade Japanese paper that I cut out by hand and affixed to the front of each of my bags of tea.

I could hardly believe it when I heard that the store was to close this past spring. I made one last visit while the rumors were flying around, just to be safe. I bought too many bottles of my favorite Sennelier inks in gold, silver and sepia. And sure enough, within a week, it was gone.

Certainly Pearl Paint had seen livelier days, the neighborhood has changed so rapidly that artists can hardly afford to live anywhere near the old cast-iron district these days (I won't use the S-word here, out of respect for Donald Judd, who hated it, and saw it only as a ridiculous fabrication of real estate developers). Also, Pearl is/was a chain (!), a cursory online search indicates that they may be in the midst of closing their two remaining stores in Florida. It's also not the only place that sells lovely handmade Japanese unryu paper, as I was reminded by a recent visit to the rightfully well-regarded paper department of New York Central Art Supply.

Somehow, it wasn't actually about any of that. I went to Pearl for the nostalgia and the romance. And without it, I felt as if I couldn't simply resume buying my handmade Japanese paper elsewhere in the city, or (heaven forbid!) on the internet. So while my heart heals, I've decided to streamline a bit, to find something that's perhaps sleeker, simpler, a bit sturdier for traveling. It's still entirely compostable, and the outer box is recycled and recyclable. I do hope you'll like it.

I'll always be inspired by beautiful papers, though (and the spirit of old New York). So even if now seems like the right moment to take a little break from the handmade paper, you may see it pop back up somewhere else in our packaging in the coming months. And thank you, dear ones, for letting me explain myself.

Marble & Milkweed x One Kings Lane

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Just dropping in for a moment to let you know that there are only 3 days left of our sale with One Kings Lane this week and things are selling out fast! We're thrilled to be in such great company over there, and if you haven't heard from me it's because I'm digging myself out from under a pretty serious stack of orders. Thanks so much to everyone who has stopped by and picked something up! xo Briar

abundance + gratitude

Saturday, July 19, 2014

We harvested the first of our honey this week. It was so beautiful. When we began keeping bees last year in a garden in Brooklyn, we got a late start and didn't harvest honey last fall in order to leave the bees enough to get through the winter. After an exceptionally hard winter, only a handful made it and we had to start fresh this spring. A blessing in disguise, the community garden in Brooklyn wasn't able to host our bees this season, so we moved them out to a farm on Long Island where we had a connection through M.'s work. They have been so happy and productive there, and it has been such a joy to see them thrive. We've been going out to do bit of farm work there, too, when we can. It's a magical place, and tasting the honey made there this week was a reminder of the sweetness and abundance of this season, and all the things we have to be grateful for.

In that spirit, I want to say an enormous thank you to all of you that continue to support my work here. I feel so lucky to be able to do this, and to be able to share the fruits of my labor with you. It's my pleasure to offer 20% off orders in the main shop this weekend only (Saturday until midnight on Sunday EST) with the code GRATITUDE.

Wishing you the most beautiful heart-of-summer days ahead. Get out into the garden and breathe deeply!

p.s. We'll be taking a little break later this month to travel back to the Pacific Northwest, so please note that orders made between July 25th - August 5th will ship when I return, beginning August 6th.

summer is here!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Summer Getaway kit is here! One of my favorite collections yet, this set includes everything you need for a luxurious summer day or two out of town (or for a peaceful moment at home):

// summer nourishing body oil (limited edition, 7.4ml)

// rose & chamomile cleansing nectar (15 ml)

// rose + tulsi facial tonic (limited edition, 10ml spritz)

// nourishing facial balm (8g)

// rosy green glow elixir tea (limited edition 10g / enough for 5-6 cups)

// one piece rose quartz

// one organic cotton terry cleansing cloth

+ a coupon for 15% off refills on kit items (body oil, cleansing nectar, tonic, nourishing balm and tea) valid until August 31, 2014.

I'm also delighted to mention that select Marble & Milkweed products are now available in a few more shops (all in California!), including Little Paper Planes (SF), Half Hitch Goods (SF), The Floracultural Society (Oakland), Atomic Garden (Oakland) and Strange Invisible Perfumes (LA). See our full list of stockists here.

p.s. Would you like to see Marble & Milkweed in your favorite local shop? Put us in touch, and I'll send you something lovely.

Hope you're soaking up these beautiful long days!


bits and pieces from this week:

this rosy cake

now that the market is bursting with green abundance, some wholesome breakfast inspiration

an argument on behalf of messy Common Milkweed

a simple strawberry tart

despite my general aversion to contemporary fiction (I know!), this book left me breathless

spring things

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spring is taking its sweet time here in the Northeast this year. Even on the cusp of May, I'm hunkered down in my studio with my Icelandic sweater and a cup of hot tea, though I know we'll be longing for cooler days again soon enough.

The shop is finally stocked with spring things, including our long-awaited Spring Getaway Kit, which includes a few beautiful limited-edition treats for the season. The small-batch yarrow and rose geranium hydrosols in this season's Spring Tonic Spritz (from our friends at Wildroot Botanicals) are particularly exquisite, and I hope you'll feel inspired to try including this blend in your own spring beauty rituals.

The garden at 6&B is also beginning to come alive with spring ephemerals, and this year I'm looking forward to sharing more of what's happening there, especially in regards to our native plant collection that's being nurtured into fruition by the devoted ladies of the Horticulture Committee. The past week or so has seen the blossoming of the periwinkle-hued creeping phlox (Phlox subulata), the native bleeding heart (Dicentra eximia), a patch of golden Merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora), as well as a quick jaunt to the Rock Garden Society's plant sale that yielded two native Heuchera villosa. Be sure to follow along here for the latest. If you're in town, we'll be hosting our annual Plant & Bake Sale this weekend (May 3rd & 4th, 11am-6pm both days). I'll be bringing some of these, and a few other treats, as well.

A few other bits of sweetness from this week:

Yoke Quarterly has launched, and I'm so delighted to be a part of it!

If you're looking for the perfect handmade offering for Mother's Day, take a peek at Madesmith's gift guide.

Marble & Milkweed is now a proud supporter of Butterfly Project NYC!

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!

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