journey through the mists

journey through the mists

waterfall (4 of 5)waterfall (5 of 5)

Given that this post’s title can be considered an homage to the superior fourth installment in the Land Before Time saga of my youth, I’m naturally overwhelmed by the vaguely prehistoric qualities of these rain-soaked forest landscapes. With that broad, bold Monstera leaf big enough to shelter a small child from the elements (holes notwithstanding!), the towering banyan trees that surely must host a neighborly Totoro or two, and the glistening plateaus of thick uluhe fern clusters, the plant life surrounding this waterfall trek seems magically monumental in scale.

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petal sunsets

petal sunsets

orchids (5 of 9)orchids (3 of 9)orchids (7 of 9)

I used to ride by Akatsuka Orchid Gardens nearly every day when I was a child – on the long way back from Hilo, I would see that cheerful orange orchid logo and know that home was just about ten minutes away.

Now, I’ve brought my fiancé to visit the Big Island for the first time, and to give him a sense of the local landmarks, we decided to spend an afternoon marveling over the many gorgeous blooms and scents in the greenhouses.

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outgoing mail: lost worlds

dinosaur mail (5 of 5)dinosaur mail (3 of 5)

Of late, I’ve found my thoughts straying to dinosaurs: or more specifically, the Dinosaur Court built for the relocated Crystal Palace Park in the mid-1800s, where models of Megalosaurus, Iguanadon, and a number of other prehistoric beasts struck awe into the hearts of nineteenth-century audiences. In all the time I’ve spent in the U.K., I’ve never had the opportunity to visit these strange relics of historical science, and I dream of one day wandering through their lost world in London.

In one of my thrift-store expeditions, I discovered a beat-up – and relatively unreadable – copy of dinosaur encyclopedia (this one, if you’re curious, except the one I found was a Spanish edition). It was already missing a few pages and had suffered some damage, so I worked my envelope alchemy to salvage what I could for crafting. In the end, I was so pleased with how these collages turned out: and glad as ever to offer new life to a dying book!  Continue reading “outgoing mail: lost worlds”

tea in the garden

garden tea (5 of 6)garden tea (6 of 6)

Though I still can’t quite imagine feeling so bound to a place that I can begin the process of homeownership, I often fantasize about our future garden. I dream of fairy doors tucked under stumps, meandering flashes of moss, and strange overgrown sculptures emerging from every cluster of plants – as though some eccentric lost city lies beneath our herbs and flowers.

I experienced a similar cultivated wonder when visiting this tiny plot of teapots yesterday – and certainly found myself inspired to imagine how I might integrate some mismatched ceramics into a hypothetical garden of my own.

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the last homely house

the last homely house

FOREST PHOTOS (2 of 6)FOREST PHOTOS (6 of 6)

The last time we visited this enchanting corner of the Berkshires, the stale snow of late March covered pond and stones and grass alike. Seeing each corner of these historic gardens enlivened by blossoms, lilypads, and trees took my breath away – and made me even happier to think that this place will soon become the site for a most important romantic occasion.

Consider this stream-of-consciousness (and intentionally vague) post a small opportunity for strange escapism – I hope these photographs can take you away from whatever troubles you for a moment! The common impulse is to compare this property to a hobbit-home in the Shire: but I think the experience it creates for the weary traveler has much more in common with Rivendell, “the last homely house…”

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the lord of the weddings: tolkienesque bridal charm bracelets

the lord of the weddings: tolkienesque bridal charm bracelets

Tolkien wedding bracelet (3 of 6)Tolkien wedding bracelet (5 of 6)

With our wedding just over a month away (seriously!), I find myself overwhelmed with strange desires – a bizarre attachment to the notion of programs that double as hand-fans, a craving for customized bubble wands, and a yearning for a stereotypical T-shirt printed with some variation of “Bride.” (Even though I never wear T-shirts: not even Emily Dickinson ones.)

A little while ago, I became fixated on the notion of wearable gifts for the “wedding party” – which consists of me, my mom, and my sister – that would capture the spirit of the event and lend our appearances some small element of cohesion. I spent hours transfixed by the bridal charm bracelets on Etsy, but nothing really won me over: and, to be honest, I became quite convinced that I could make one myself.

Enter these Tolkien-inspired bracelets, which I cobbled together from bulk-bought charms curated by a whimsical eye!

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aque[duck]ts

Aqueduct Blog (2 of 6)Aqueduct Blog (4 of 6)

The last time I visited Wales, crossing the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct seemed an impossible venture – ice, cold, and wind might have complicated such a quest. I’m glad we didn’t even try, because the summer experience proved absolutely idyllic!

Clad in my standard uniform for British adventures – a Sophie Hatter-esque dotted blue dress and an enormous, SPF-strong sun hat – I stepped into the sky with a canal at my side!

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The aqueduct (a World Heritage site!) naturally appealed to my romantic sensibilities. That’s funny, considering that it constitutes an engineering highlight of the Industrial Revolution – probably the opposite of what would satisfy most actual Romantics – but in the twenty-first century, it possesses a distant historical aura that I adored. Imagine an alternate world in which such airborne canals became commonplace, and man-made rivers stretched like highways throughout all of New England!

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A flock of ducklings and their watchful mother crossed our paths near the edge of the canal. Make way!

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Of course, I most enjoyed the marbled, glimmering glimpses of the sky and trees in the water! On our way back, a few tourist-bearing canalboats sliced through the reflections, creating an even more dizzying pattern of colorful ripples. Now that I’m back in Massachusetts, I can’t help peeking into creeks with some disappointment…