This lovely maker was a happenstance find while in Seattle — meet Baleen! Billy and Leah started Baleen in 2013 when they saw a niche for quality, affordable handmade jewelry they decided to fill, and their fresh and sculptural jewelry is all handmade in Seattle, WA. Their jewelry is eco-friendly in a number of ways: about 95% of their materials (silver, brass, and gold-fill) are made from recycled metals, they are a zero-waste manufacturer, their nickel-free and conflict-free gold-plating facility is also zero-waste, and their packaging is printed locally on recycled paper made in Michigan in a green, water-powered factory. And besides all of this, their jewelry is just plain beautiful!
I fell in love with their Fifty/Fifty earrings when I came across them in the Seattle Art Museum store, then bought yet another pair of their earrings as I shopped at the delightful Butter Home shop at Melrose Market. Their Herkimer studs almost came home with me as well and still might.
If you’d like to visit, Baleen’s workshop and storefront is located right in Ballard, or you can shop online to your heart’s content. Necklaces, bracelets, pins, rings… so many fun things to choose from. And as someone with a mild nickel allergy, I can vouch that their jewelry is comfortable and worry free to wear. Thank you, Baleen!
I’m back from Seattle and will have a post about that delightful city soon, but in the meantime, let’s chat about little free libraries. On our trip we stayed in the charming Seattle area of Ballard, and I saw tiny free community libraries whenever and wherever we walked. They perched near the street in front of homes like oversized birdhouses, beckoning curious readers and fostering a lovely sense of community. I. Was. Smitten.
After a bit of research, I found that Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by inspiring book exchanges all over the world. Statistically, children growing up in homes without books can lag about three years behind their peers with lots of book access, and these tiny neighborhood gems aim to bridge that gap by providing 24/7 access to books in areas where they might otherwise be scarce. Currently Little Free Library has over 70,000 libraries in 85 countries, with millions of books borrowed annually. On their site they offer free instructions for building little libraries, support for obtaining free or discounted books to stock them, and a store where you can buy kits and pre-built models if you’d rather not build one for yourself. On the user end of the spectrum, their site offers a map to help people find and share books wherever they are. So great!
It makes me deeply happy that people are building their communities around a shared love of reading this way. If I didn’t live so close to a good public library, I would add one to our yard. Maybe I still should? Either way, I know there is a thriving network of tiny libraries in Ballard, WA, to inspire me.
It’s been a little while since I shared some inspiration images, so here are a few lovely things that have caught my eye on this fine Friday. A blend of fresh and moody colors and sunshine are on my mind — and judging from the variety of locales, I seem to also be feeling a tinge of wanderlust. Enjoy, and have a good weekend!
That carved wood cabinet on that wood wall at Casa Warrandyte in Australia is perfection. Warm woods and leather with all that greenery? Yes and please.
Dying over this moody teal hex tile, especially paired with a grey concrete shelf.
This sunshiny corner at Sonoma’s Scribe Winery encapsulates their “falling down but still soulful” aesthetic delightfully.
Sisters Hollister and Porter Hovey’s Brooklyn apartment is a maximally chic adventure in design. (And seriously, how great are their names?)
This serene and light-filled seating area in Sint-Niklaas is exactly where I wish I could spend the weekend.
It has been a difficult couple weeks for a variety of reasons, perhaps most especially because we lost some amazing and luminous figures to suicide just days apart from each other. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, you will be missed. As we hold ourselves gently, gingerly, and move forward, here are some important/poignant/touching/thoughtful reads for you to ponder:
I took a brief hiatus from the blog for a trip to Yosemite National Park last week. It was a beautiful place, far beyond what words or pictures can adequately describe. That is the true value of our national parks — not only do they preserve our plants and wildlife, but they provide us with spaces for awe, for wonder, and for experiencing something grander and more majestic than ourselves.
I hiked below Bridalveil Fall and then around the loop for a bit, with stunning views of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Cathedral Rocks. I even saw a rainbow over the falls! All in all it was a great little solo trip to relax and recharge, read and reflect, and revel in the beauty of nature for a little while. Here are a few pictures from my travels, if you’d like to see.
“This person, this self, this me, finally, was made somewhere else. Everything had come from somewhere else, and it would all go somewhere else. I was nothing but a pathway for the person known as me.”
― Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
I’m wishing I were somewhere else today. It is one of those days where you wish things could be different, but you aren’t sure how or why, and you have no idea how to get there. Perhaps it is our human craving for stability juxtaposed with the ever-changing nature of the universe that has me aching. Or maybe it is just the middling-ness of it being Wednesday. Some days are for blazing trails, but today I am just quietly walking my pathway, wishing it would take me somewhere. Somewhere else.
When I first began planning a trip to Barcelona, I was more focused on the Paris leg of that Europe trip than anything — I love that city dearly. But when I mentioned my trip planning, people would say, “Oh, Barcelona? That is my favorite city…” Their voices would be wistful and a touch envious with the pronouncement, and now that I have been, I know exactly how they feel. Barcelona is an amazing and vibrant city, full of modern art and culture, delicious food and wine, and a spirit that is infectious.
This is city’s most famous public market. Fruits, cheeses, meats, and sweets make up a colorful panoply, rows upon rows. Stop at the tiny Bar Pinotxo, and thank me later — many say they offer the best tapas in the city. Cava at 11 A.M.? Why yes! Seriously delicious baby squid with white beans were had at this tiny eatery, served by the kindest older gentleman proprietor who could not have been more enthusiastic to share his food with us. Make sure to grab some jamón and cheese to snack on as you wander.
“That meadow scene is the first thing that comes back to me. The smell of grass, the faint chill of the wind, the line of the hills, the barking of a dog: these are the first things, and they come with absolute clarity. I feel as if I can reach out and trace them with a fingertip. And yet, as clear as the scene may be, no one is in it.”
― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
These paintings from my visit to SFMoMA are on my mind today. They sort of match my Wednesday mood. In-betweens. Almosts and not quites. And in the midst of it all, quiet.
This weekend I took a few days off and headed to San Francisco, where I spent one delightful and inspiring afternoon at Heath Ceramics. I wanted to bring everything home! then figured it would be easier to just live in their glorious store! Spoiler: I finally settled for a pair of beautiful items to bring home and some lovely photos to share.
Founded in Sausalito, California, in 1948, Heath Ceramics products are handcrafted by skilled artisans in small runs in the Bay Area. They believe in “making good things for good people—the right way,” which is a philosophy that I love and support 100%.