Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Are you brave enough to be vulnerable?

I’ve thought about vulnerability off and on for the past few months after watching Brené Brown’s 2010 TED Talk.

I often wonder if I can bare my soul. Can I publicly and honestly share how I feel or what I think? Being vulnerable means taking risks. Am I willing to fail in such a publicly way?

More and more I think being creative, whether in the traditional sense of the creative arts or in the sense of problem-solving or starting new programs or businesses, is about vulnerability. You have to be willing to take action and make decisions that exposes you to criticism and failure. To make connection of any sort, as well, requires that you reach out and live authentically. No matter how much it may hurt in the end.

I find Brown’s talk inspiring and am very glad she decided to be vulnerable and share her work with TED and others.


Butchertown Art Fair and Waterfront Park

Though the iPhone was a failure at the Americana World Festival, it was somewhat serviceable at the Butchertown Art Fair and Waterfront Park. We visited both on a Sunday a couple weekends ago.

My in-laws told us that the the art fair is usually small. That doesn’t speak, however, to the quality of the products. I thought many of the artisans had nice items.

Butchertown Art Fair

Butchertown Art Fair

I really enjoyed the architecture and tree-lined streets in the community, too. Excuse the recycling bin. It doesn’t really make for  a great photo.

Butchertown

Butchertown

We spent some time speaking with some ladies from Preservation Louisville. Some of the organization’s efforts include preserving the city’s shotgun houses.

One of the women recommended hooking up with a couple of neighborhood associations close to our home. I’ve looked them up and am currently keeping tabs on the groups’ Facebook pages. The associations don’t necessarily serve our immediate neighborhood, but we’re all pretty much in the same area. Many of the similar issues affect us equally, such as vandalism at local businesses, plans for the Taylor Boulevard and New Cut Road corridor and activities at Iroquois Park.

After leaving Butchertown, we decided to take a stroll at Waterfront Park. While walking along the river front we saw the Belle of Louisville.

Belle of Louisville

Belle of Louisville

It was threatening rain, so not many folks were out and about and we decided not to stray too far from our car.


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Americana World Festival

We spent a few hours on a recent Saturday morning watching some acts at the 24th Americana World Festival, hosted by the Americana Community Center.

There was, of course, dancing:

Traditional Hawaiian dancing

Traditional Hawaiian dancing

Appalatin had a large group up and dancing by the end of its set.

Appalatin had a large group up and dancing by the end of its set.

An Iroquois High School student dances during the Americana World Festival.

An Iroquois High School student dances during the Americana World Festival.

Several Iroquois High School students participated in the Americana World Festival.

Several Iroquois High School students participated in the Americana World Festival.

There was also music, food and vendors. I recorded two performances, but my iPhone didn’t pick up any audio. I’m researching ways to correct this, but it seems that those videos are a loss. That sucks because I really wanted you to hear some Appalatin and watch one of the the high school students’ dances.

The photo quality wasn’t all that great either. I’m pretty disappointed at the overall visual quality. Next time I’ll know to at least take my point-and-shoot if not my D50.

I had a blast, though, and I can’t wait for next year’s event.

The community center offers a wide variety of services —from family education and after school programs to art and a community gardens.


My new sewing room!

I’m looking forward to sewing in my new craft space!

Louis sewing room View 2


Louis sewing room View 1

It would be better, though, with different flooring. Carpet traps a lot of dirt and isn’t a great option for people with dust mite allergies and other respiratory problems. Maybe one day we can save up a little money to replace it. That may be awhile since I’ll be in school for 4 more years!

The new space, like the former one, is in the basement. This basement has less windows than our old one, but I should be able to sew more comfortably with track lighting, more controlled temperatures and less water. The old space limited my sewing time because of the lighting, temperature and, occasionally, dampness.

The former sewing spot in Va. We had dissembled the table for easier transport.

The former sewing spot in Va. We dissembled the table for easier transport.

With lots of windows, the former basement let in a lot of sunshine, but in the summer, the hours between 3-5 p.m. were unbearable because the sun would heat up the space. And at night, I didn’t have very much lighting. I often had to use a floor lamp positioned directly over my head to thread the needle.

In the winter, it wasn’t uncommon for the basement to be too cold to stay down there very long. The last few years, however, have been a little better since we added more insulation around the basement perimeter.

Then, like many basements, there was the occasional water during rain. It wasn’t too much of an issue, especially after Chris water sealed the walls and placed a French drain at the south wall, but water was still common during a period of rain. The new home has a sump pump and has already been water sealed, so dampness doesn’t appear to be an issue.

The first projects I plan to complete are a dress I started 3 years ago — before I returned to school — and design and make a wristlet to hold my iPhone, keys and id. The dress only needs a collar and a hem. Before the move, it had been draped over the ironing board for more than a year. I am anxious to complete it so I can wear it in this Kentucky heat!


Cooking (and baking) gets faster

One big plus to moving from 2500-feet above sea level to 466 feet? Cooking and baking are faster!

The first two loaves I’ve baked have been much browner than I’d like. Here’s a prosciutto loaf I made with hard salami.

Salami loaf

And I baked the bread for the minimum recommended time.

Last night I tried cutting the time down by five minutes. I think that did the trick.

Cheddar Loaf

This is a cheddar loaf. I haven’t cut into this gorgeous bread yet. I’m dreaming of toasting it and slathering it with mayo for a extra special egg sandwich. Or maybe making the ultimate grilled cheese and dipping it in spicy tomato soup. Mmmmm!

The prosciutto loaf, by the way, is also a new one. It was tasty and is more versatile than you might think. I spread a knock-off brand of Nutella on it a couple of mornings. It wasn’t bad. The loaf dried out a little sooner than I would have liked, but I think that’s due to the over-baking.

Both recipes, of course, came from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible.


Settling in

We officially moved into our new home last weekend. I’ve been rearranging things, unpacking and generally settling into our new space. Chris didn’t begin his new job until Wednesday so he was around the first part of the week to help.

This weekend we’re adding shelves and a light to a basement closet, adding drainage pipes to our gutters, hanging pictures and setting out decorations. We hope to spend some time exploring more of our new neighborhood before another long work week begins Monday.

Things from this week:

  • We saw DeSales High School 2014 graduates walking down Kenwood Drive to Iroquois Park, presumably for their graduation. Many people cheered and honked car horns as police vehicles escorted the seniors across roads and side streets.
  • I’ve got my library card! The librarian, who registered me, is pretty darn cool. All the libraries in the city are linked so you can order a book and have it shipped to your home branch. Then you can drop the book off at any city library. No need to have it sent back to the branch you checked it out from.
  • Kentucky requires you to visit two different offices to get your driver’s license and tags. To receive the tags, the sheriff’s office has to inspect your car.
  • Like North Carolina, if you’re not registered with one of the two major political parties you don’t get to vote in primaries. I like Virginia’s system better. You get to vote in either primary no matter how you’re registered. That’s great for when the real race is the primary. Oftentimes the only contenders are from the same party.
  • In some large cities, residents and employees have to pay income taxes to the municipality.
  • Fences can be a source of tremendous stress. If people would be true to their word, life would be much more pleasant.

I start a summer program June 30. That’s six weeks to get into a routine here at home and to finish getting things organized and into place. Classes begin Aug. 4. I need to pick up some school supplies before then — a required iPad, a study table or desk, etc. The remaining tools will be bought during orientation the last week of July .


A sunny, anniversary walk

Saturdays have become our Sabbath, our day of rest. Last Saturday was our anniversary, so we decided to take a long walk after missing a couple of days due to rain. We went during a break from painting the wheelchair ramp in front of our home.

At Devil’s Den, we saw yellow Eastern tiger swallowtails, fritillaries and several blooms. There were several plants we recognized that did not have blooms yet. The plants we saw included showy orchis, lady slippers, Mayapples, dwarf wild iris, rue anemone, geranium, trillium, bellwort, cutleaf toothwort and bloodroot.

Showy orchis

Showy orchis

A bloodroot leaf (left) and cutleaf toothwort.

A bloodroot leaf (left) and cutleaf toothwort.

Trillium

Trillium

The leaves of dwarf crested irises.

The leaves of dwarf crested irises.

Lady slipper leaves.

Lady slipper leaves.

Many new four-wheeler trails have, unfortunately, been created in the woods. That means there is less places for the trilliums, orchids and other wildflowers to bloom. You’d think people would have more respect for a nature preserve, but they do not. It’s very unfortunate. In years past, the hillside would be covered with trilliums. It was an ethereal sight.

We also visited the Hiwassee end of the New River Trail and saw squirrel corn! It’s the first time I’d ever seen them in person. It looks very similar to Dutchmen’s breeches, except it is round at the top. Great end to the weekend.