Brookline Street Studio is now Birch Paper and Home!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Spaulding Cooperage

I helped my friend Kris move into her space at the Spaulding Cooperage today! While I was there, I snapped a few photos of my space and a couple of finished projects I brought with me.

Finished projects from post, "Project Day."

The history of the Cooperage is very fun (Lunenburg Post). The building was built back in the 18th century and was long-owned by Jonas Spaulding, who used the building as a cooperage, producing wood barrels. The property was later donated to the local Historical Society by the Spaulding family and was recently converted into a multi-dealer antique shop by Laura Bradley, who is related to the Spauldings. Laura is a talented antique dealer and floral designer and clearly has a gift for being a proprietress! I'm thrilled to be one of her first dealers!

image courtesy of Townsend Historical Society

Congratulations to Kris for taking this leap! You have a gift and will surely be blessed! Your space looks tres magnifique!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Whale watch?

It's been a busy, but fun week! My dad and stepmother are visiting from Florida and we always have a week filled with activities when they are here. Yesterday's event was a whale watch out of Rye, NH. I put the emphasis on the word watch, as we didn't actually see a single whale. There were rumors of a dolphin sighting, but I think that may have been an artifact of 4 hours in the sun and major waves.

Despite the lack of sightings, it was a beautiful day for a boat ride. Windy, yes, but that made for some really fun swells--it was like riding a mini rollercoaster over, and over, and over..... So glad I don't get seasick!

I'm still busy at work on projects, life, business, etc. Hope to get to the flea market this weekend, but family takes priority, so we'll see. Having family close is a happy blessing--one I appreciate every day!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy Day at the Flea!

I had a great time at the flea market this morning! The only problem is, I want to keep nearly everything I bought!!! The metal cabinet is awesome--I can't wait to see how well it cleans up! The green table and white plant stand are off to the Cooperage on Wednesday. I'm thinking of stripping the stools down to bare metal... The galvanized drawers will be great for displaying little treasures at the Cooperage. If they weren't so heavy, I'd put them on etsy--they are perfect for an artist studio!

I also finished getting the last of my "stuff" out of the Brookline Street farmhouse. I put out a huge "free" pile with some awesome stuff--I think it was the happy of the day for all the kind people who stopped. One nice lady even left me $10 and a note of thanks!

It's so strange to see the house empty. It looks so filled with promise, like the day I first saw it. I pray it will bless its new family.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Birth Announcement

While I was cleaning out the very-large-attic in my old farmhouse today, Momma Catbird's eggs hatched! I don't think I've ever seen a baby bird this small, but they look so very fragile...and amazing! God's creation inspires me every day, but this is just a bit more beautiful than the everyday. As I say good-bye to the home I thought I would retire in, He shows me that He is actively creating new life all around me. My new home will be blessed. My new life will be blessed. My children will be blessed. What could possibly be happier than that?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Project Day

So, my two best antiquing buddies went to the Brimfield Antiques Show today...without me! One big disadvantage to being newly without a husband is I have no backup childcare for emergencies such as these. Instead of moping all day, I decided to turn my day around and have a project day!

I worked on four projects today: (1) unpacking, again (WILL IT NEVER END?!?!), (2) creating a bench from an old bedframe, (3) refinishing an old sewing table into a desk, and (4) extracting the adorable cubbies from an old secretary desk that needed way-too-much work. As you can see from the photos, (featuring my adorable little four-year-old--his smile is the definition of happy!), I actually finished the bench and it's off to the Cooperage. As for the other three projects, the desk and cubbies should be done tomorrow, but unpacking????

Project days are definitely happy days! Especially when I have my two little helpers riding their bikes around me, hammering in nails with the tiniest-little-hammer-I-ever-saw that I brought home from the Hollis flea, sitting on the grass and drinking lemonade, and just being the joy-filled kids God created them to be. Nothing, absolutely nothing (I dare say it, not even Brimfield), brings more joy to my heart than the smiles on my kids' faces. I wonder if God feels that way, too...

Brimfield, I miss you!!! I hope to see you Saturday, but it looks like I'll be clearing out my attic instead as I finally have a closing date on the farmhouse!!!!!! Perhaps we'll be together again in September...

PS. I came across a NEW issue of COUNTRY HOME today. It's beautiful! Welcome back Country Home!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Changes on the way!

This is the current "splash" collage on my website. I love the site design (by August Afternoon--highly recommended!), but it just doesn't reflect the heart of my business. So, I've decided to branch out and and am so excited to report that I just hired Sarah Duckett of Sadie Olive to redesign my website/blog/etc! I kind of jumped into the whole website thing headfirst and bought a ready-made template to save money. As much as I love the design, it's just time for something new...

Earlier this evening, I was telling my friend Kris (of Cricket Acres--you'll see more of her, I promise!) during our first "Think and Drink" (you know, discussing business plans over a glass or two of wine) that I didn't have a whole lot of time for planning my Brookline Street adventure. From day one, this business just seemed to take on a life of its own. I guess that's God's way. If I planned, organized, and moved it forward, the business never would have gotten off the ground. God knows, I would have really messed it up!

I feel like I'm in a back-up-and-take-perspective phase of the business. I've explored enough paths to know the direction I want this thing to go. I've made a lot of "mistakes" in the process, but, hey, I also learned a lot on the way. Experience and exploration is certainly a lot cheaper than an MBA!

My happy for today is Kris. She is an inspiring, creative, and just-plain-wonderful woman. I'm blessed to call her my friend and I look forward to many, many more "Think-and-Drink" Mondays! Kris recently welcomed her husband home from a year in Iraq. Please remember the families left at home as you prayer for the safety of our soldiers overseas. They make enormous sacrifices on our behalf and deserve our gratitude, respect and prayers.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hollis Flea Market

I love flea markets. The Hollis, NH, flea seems to be my fave these days (mostly because it's close, but I always find at least one treasure). This morning's catch was small, but I did find a really fun old sewing table (iron base, "Domestic" brand, complete with drawers) and and old wood/galvanized milk crate. The photo above is of one of my favorite shopping trips this season, about three weeks ago.

Why was this "catch" so fun? Well, first of all, I have a tendency to collect four categories of items: old green paint, old white paint, old-and-beat-up-wood, and metal. This day, I collected an old yellow and blue chippy bed frame (cleaned up gorgeous and in the process of becoming a bench); an old lavender baby crib in the perfect size and height for displaying flowers or serving beverages on the patio; a blue-green set of awesome cubbies; an old green (predictable) window; an oak cabinet (which, yes, I painted green); and lots of other fun treasures. The combination of colors just screamed summer!

So, as a result, I completely transformed my space at the Spaulding Cooperage from soothing greens and whites to a burst of garden-inspired colors. Of course, time being short in supply these days, I haven't had a chance to take photos, but I promise to get my camera over there this week:-) I always find little treasures in Hollis, as well, such as the tin filled with vintage clothes pins and rusty keys--happy!!!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Birthday Girl

For the past 4 years, my birthday gift to my daughter has been a room makeover. She is my design-diva, my crafty-companion, the girl-after-my-own-heart. As much work as it is, I have to be honest and admit that I am already planning the next girly-girl makeover--I just love it!

Cadie's birthday falls during the week of the 4th of July, when my (former) in-laws gather as many relatives and friends as they can entertain (and sometimes more) in beautiful Duxbury, Massachusetts. My heart has ached during this week the past two years. I so very miss Nanny, Pop, and my sisters- and brothers-in-law. Fortunately, I've had the girly-girl makeovers to fill this week, and they've been SO MUCH FUN!

This year, Cadie decided to raise the bar a bit and asked me to write "rhyming clues" to lead her from one gift to the next. Apparently, she enjoyed the gift-hunt I created for her last year. Since Cadie loves to watch Design on a Dime with me (particularly the ever-so-adorable Kristen Cunningham), I started her clues with this: "As every great designer knows, your room should always match your clothes." In the box attached to this clue was the dress she is wearing in the photo above...the dress she wore for two days straight! This girl knows, without a doubt, that she is loved! Is there any greater purpose for a mom?

Here is the look on my little munchkin's face when she first saw her new room. Even as I share this photo, my heart overflows with love. It's bittersweet to celebrate her 8th birthday. Each year brings new amazement as I watch this beautiful little girl develop into a young lady after God's own heart. Yet, there are always the lost treasures of a younger age that I grieve. Praise God for photos like these that bring forth a waterfall of memories, love, thankfulness, and just plain joy. My Cadie is my "happy" for today. She brings unmeasureable joy to my life and was the first real glimpse I ever had into God's love for me. How unimaginable to think that He loves each of us even more than we love our own children....

Friday, July 9, 2010


Hello. My name is Michelle Cooke and this is my first blog post. I am the owner/artisan/creative director/etc. of Brookline Street Studio--responsibly handmade books and stationery--and ReCreative--the etsy site where I share my found treasures and eco-goodies with other artisans.

I named my business after the place where I discovered my creative side, a 150-year-old farmhouse on Brookline Street in Massachusetts. I moved there in 2004 in an attempt to save my marriage. I left my career in public health and dedicated all my energy toward being the best wife and mother I could be. There I started a small business refinishing antiques and printing eco-friendly letterpress stationery. The business has had many ups and downs, but I've remained dedicated to being eco-friendly and maintaining enough simplicity that I can still do what I love most--being a stay-at-home-mom.

Unfortunately, life has had it's own ups and downs. My marriage recently ended and the farmhouse is being sold. I've moved to a small cape on River Road that I'm renting from a wonderful friend. So, I'm no longer on Brookline Street, but the name reminds me of how blessed I am to still be at home caring for my children and running a creative business that I love, despite my new circumstances. My life is filled with loving friends and family, beauty, faith, and a bit of simplicity. For these things I am so very thankful.

So, here is my much-overdue first blog post. I hope this blog will bring new friends and inspiration and allow me to share the little "happys" in my life. Today's "happy" was the stunning little catbird nest I discovered among the raspberry bushes in my backyard. Those perfect little eggs remind me of the hope and new life God offers all of us each day. I hope this photo gives you a little "happy" too!