Monday, March 30, 2009


To our generous Mary and Gerard


Such a lovely evening.

Nous vous manquez deja.

Friday, March 27, 2009


~ Happy Weekend ~

Back on Monday

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Down for now... but still strong.

~Charles M. Bailey-Public Library~

This is the public library of my home town. A beautiful old stone building that has been our library for as long as I or anyone in the town can remember.
This is where, as young students, we would go to prepare for a history report, a book report or to look at the latest edition of Ingenue magazine-{do any of you remember that?}

A few weeks ago, a sixteen year old boy- not from this community - set fire to this landmark. So far there is little talk about this young man or why he was out in the middle of the night or why this happened.

My late Mother was a trustee of this library and she used this library. It was a special to her. She regularly took books out from this library and would use it for research.

It's sad to drive by and see no young children entering for story hour, or high school students going inside to look up information online. We are hoping that with the help of community - our little library will be back with us soon. We are a community that does not judge, we do not blame... we just want her back in all of her glory.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How many~is enough?

~Most of them~

When I worked as a gardener on a nearby estate, I became friendly with the chefs. The first was a woman who authored at least two cookbooks. She once told me, "When you purchase your second cookbook, you have started a collection". The second chef was a bit eccentric and rarely used a recipe. I thought him to be a master at his homeland Moroccan cuisine. Back to the first-the lady author. She gave me a signed copy of one of her cookbooks, making that my second... and that, was the beginning of my cookbook collection.


~There are two copies of The Joy of Cooking. One is pretty old and tattered, and the newer one is the updated edition.

~The complete works of Ina Garten~The Barefoot Contessa. These are my 'go-to' books. I love the way this woman entertains and if I could have dinner with but one cookbook author it would be this lady.

~The New York Times Cookbook-this is my husband's favorite and is his 'go-to' book of choice.

~I am a soup maker and lover so there are several good soup cookbooks. Most of those were gifts from my wonderful son and daughter-in-law~Jonathan and Amanda.

~Two great Maine cookbooks are the Marjorie Standish-Cooking Downeast and Keep Cooking the Maine Way.

~I love Classic French Cooking by Elizabeth Luard for the fantastic recipes and its whimsical illustrations.

~The New Basics and The Silver Palate by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins are great sources as is, Great Good Food by Julee Rosso.

~I love Dean & Deluca The Food and Wine cookbook-pairing dishes with complimentary wines.

~From Maine-The Arrow's Cookbook by Clark Fraier and Mark Gaier. My husband and I have had the pleasure of dining at Arrow's in Ogunquit-it was memorable.

~There are a couple of cupcake books for those times that our Granddaughter Erin visits and we feel like baking.

~I treasure my Mother's old copy of Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook.

~I don't eat meat, so there are few good vegetarian books.

~More Joy~

~The Black Dog- Summer on The Vineyard and The Martha's Vineyard Table are perfect for summer fare.

~I was raised by my a strong Italian Mother and my Dad who loved my Mom's ancestral dishes, so there are some good Italian cookbooks.

~I have folders of clipped recipes and favorites from family and friends. I enjoy two wonderful cooking groups where we choose a theme and contribute to a splendid evening of sharing.

I would love to hear about your favorite recipes and some of your 'go-to' cookbooks.

p.s. I love everyday recipes from Cooking Light magazine- Oh yes... cooking magazines~ that's a whole other post...

Please join me in visiting ~ A Day That Is Dessert ~ A Perfect Beginning ~ PVE Design. They too will be sharing their cookbooks with us over the next several days.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dream Houses

~New England Cottage~

When we purchased our first home, it was a large Cape Cod style home. Fairly traditional, but it did have a finished basement with a bath, kitchen, plenty of closet and storage space, a living room with a fireplace and it's own entrance. It was the perfect, private spot for our son when he came home from college and if he wanted to have friends in. There were a total of twelve rooms in that house. When I was working outside of the home, full time, it was a lot to maintain. My husband is pretty good around the house but it was an older home and always needing attention.

So, when we decided to buy a much smaller home, I was thrilled. We down-sized significantly holding yard sales and passing things on to those that could use whatever was up for grabs!

I had long dreamt of designing and building a school house. It would be one large main room downstairs, with bath and upstairs. There would be a large master suite and two small rooms, one a studio for me and the other a den for my husband. However those plans never came to fruition and we were thrilled to be in this smaller cape, which was manageable and bright and we do truly love it here.

~Log Cottage~

I have always been attracted to tiny buildings. Especially those that hold some interesting bits of architecture. I imagine them as cozy living spots or studios where creative juices can flow boundlessly. Last night I announced to my husband that I thought we should sell most of our earthly possessions, sell our home, simplify our wardrobes, buy a piece of land on a private road and I build a TINY house. One that would have just what we truly needed. A snazzy kitchen with a compact dishwasher, a gas stove, a small refrigerator and as much storage places as could be cleverly designed into the project. There would be a full bath with an apartment sized washer and dryer. A narrow short few steps up would be the master suite- minuscule by any standards but it would have what we needed and there would be as much storage as possible. Only those most precious decorative pieces would be out, keeping the landscape of our little home neat, tidy and, most important, easy to maintain - giving us lots of time to illustrate and tie flies.....

I really had it all beautifully pictured in my head. There would be window boxes filled with bright colored annuals and a small herb and vegetable garden close by. I continued trying to sell my idea to my husband by announcing that there would be no mortgage, low property taxes, low utility costs and very low maintenance. He could retire and we could travel to Lucca, he could fly fish as much as he wanted and we would have endless, lazy days together.

We pondered this for a while over a glass of wine and after going back and forth, pro and con...

~Sleeping Loft~

I will always be attracted to a sweet dwelling, a place where one can dream, live with only what is truly needed and holds some storybook quality. I love illustrating little spots such as these- imagining what it would be like to have a cozy nest where the days are long and the nights are sweet with the sound of the peepers~ while reading in a warm, comfortable loft.

Do you ever think of a major downsize, going off the grid and creating a more simple life?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Natasha Richardson 1963~2009

~Natasha Richardson - May 11, 1963 ~ March 18, 2009~
Passed away as the result of a tragic skiing accident.

I have long been a big fan of Natasha Richardson~ born into a family rich in film, she was the daughter of the late Tony Richardson and actress Vanessa Redgrave. Ms. Richardson is survived by her husband, film star Liam Neeson and two sons, Michael and Daniel.

Among her many roles, a few of my favorites~

~Maid in Manhattan

~The Parent Trap ~ the remake

~Nell- starring with her husband Liam Neeson

~Past Midnight


~Wild child

Will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Priceless Art~


During a recent visit our young Granddaughter Erin went to her art cupboard that we keep stocked for her. She brought out little snippets of this and that. There was colorful paper, a paper punch, glue, stickers, tiny wooden sticks, crayons and colored pencils. She focused on this piece for at least a couple of hours- gluing, removing things when they didn't quite suit her and repositioning until it was just as she wanted it.


It is displayed in a place of honor. This is more precious than riches to her Mimi and Pop-Pop. Don't you love the texture, the use of color? We encourage her with plenty of supplies and we set aside special, creative playtime when she visits. During one extended visit, while Mom and Dad were on vacation, we took her to a local museum. She was quite taken with the colorful displays and the interactive areas especially for young children. We think Erin to be somewhat gifted in the arts and to us- this piece is priceless.

"Every child is an artist, The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up". Pablo Picasso

"I could do art all day". Cameron~ Age 5

"I love art because I can impress myself". Fourth Grader

Do you have a young person close to you that enjoys the creative process? Do you know of books appropriate for very young children that may inspire~ I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Patricia

~Trifolium repens~

The four leaf clover is said to be a symbol of good luck. They say that finding a four leaf clover is rare. I knew a woman several years ago that had infinitely 'good luck' finding four leaf clovers. During breaks from work, she would find a spot under a tree to have her lunch. Almost every day she would return to work and hand a four leaf clover to one of her co-workers.

It is believed that the four leaflets symbolize~


Saint Patrick's Day, Shamrocks and four leaf clovers are all symbols of Good Luck. So, it would seem to me, that if one were lucky enough to be born on this day, Good Luck would follow them.

Today is Patricia's birthday. She needs no introduction- she is well known in our blog world. We instantly recognize Patricia's illustrations that frequently accompany her daily posts. We know the selfless assistance that Patricia has offered to many and her giving nature.

I want to take this day to thank Patricia for her kind support and encouragement. I hope this day holds many gifts for you~ not just the ones that can be unwrapped~ but the kind that offer HOPE, that there is always FAITH in your daily life, the LOVE surrounds you always, and LUCK in all that you pursue.

Enjoy this day and all that it holds, for it is yours~

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Easter,Thanksgiving or Christmas?

~Close-up of flower and leaf~

This cactus has given us the most beautiful flowers- the first blooms arriving during the holidays. They made such a nice addition to our other holiday decorations. I kept it on the dry side and really didn't pay too much attention to it. This plant was a gift from a very dear friend and each time I tell her that we have flowers, we go back and forth on which cactus it is. Is it an Easter,Thanksgiving or Christmas cactus? Now, mind you I was a gardener for several years and after that I worked at a gorgeous destination garden center for 14 years...I should know what cactus this is.

I'm looking for help from you, all of my very faithful visitors. Do you know what cactus this is?
I hope I have captured the leaves and flowers so you get a good idea of just what this little beauty looks like. She is lovely isn't she?

Do you have a plant that someone special gave you- a constant reminder of friendship, of things shared, gifts that have been passed on? I would love to hear her story.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

"Come Clean"

~Time to 'come clean'- even this feels like too much!!!~

I'm not one that likes to be miss out on the fun. So, I have decided to follow the lead and join Joyce at A Perfect Beginning and Patricia at PVE showing you my purse and it's contents.

Right now I am using a Longchamp LePlige tote. Inside is my very worn, very loved Coach day timer/journal/sketchbook, a business card holder {special gift from a friend}, tissues {I did remove a couple of loose tissues...}, cell phone, glasses, wallet, loose coins, and today it was Scott Barnes lip gloss~ but that changes daily, some pens for when inspiration strikes and a CD that I bring from the car-inside and then back out to the car. Not very interesting. I do try to keep it pared down, it's very frustrating when the phone is ringing and you can't locate it!

Why not come clean and show your purse and it's contents... now, where are my keys?

P.S.- That day timer can hold a lot of clutter...


Vertallee Letterpress, Austin, Texas

I have long been an admirer of the art of letterpress. I love the texture of the stock, the indentation where the ink lays and the old art of the process. Lovely, well crafted, raised letters and patterns pressed into thick paper.

In the February~March issue of Victoria magazine there is an article about The Austin Press in San Francisco. The owner, Kimberly explains the process, gives us a short tour of the press room and there are many examples of her exquisite work.

I can get lost in a stationery shop. One that has a fine selection of fountain pens, inks, journals,
wax sealers, cards and catalogs where I can dream up color combinations for notes, calling cards,
and stationery. If you are fortunate to be near a Mrs. John Strong Boutique or one of the many retailers that carry this line ~ take the time to visit~ you will most certainly walk away with a divine wish list.

Who doesn't love going to the mailbox and finding something special, addressed just for them?

Just recently I received a lovely note from Patricia at PVE Design~ beautiful letterpress, hefty card stock, enveloped in her signature twin bird motif.

I hope you visit a special stationery shop in your area ~ spend some time to really look, feel, smell the offering it holds. The visit alone is enough to get your creative juices flowing.

The following is a short list of stationers or Letterpress shops that you may find interesting.

~ Papier Gourmet- Portland, Maine

~ Real Card Studio- Check website for a location near you. Heather also has a blog~Here!

~ Bella Figura- Syracuse, NY

Do you enjoy perusing a fine stationery shop?
What are a few of the things on your wish list?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hey Sugar~

Lookie here what Mr. Postman delivered right to my door today! Joyce at A Perfect Beginning had a celebratory birthday give-away and I was one of the lucky winners. This sassy, little lime valise filled with iced sugar cookies was my winning gift. It was Joyce's birthday and she handed out candy and treats all week and finished the festivities with a give-away... This is a woman that knows how to celebrate a birthday- but then every day is a golden day when you have a Perfect Beginning.

Thank you Joyce~
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One of the advantages of working from home is that you are able to listen to your creative forces at any time, day or night. There have many nights that I have crawled into bed after a busy day, looking forward to a full night's sleep~ only to wake up at two a.m. and have a burst of creativity.

Lately I have been working on a series of miniature illustrations for Rachel at Two Dog Pond. This is one talented lady. If you haven't visited Rachel's blog - you'll want to. We are working on a project together and will announce it as we finalize the details.

There is no rhyme or reason to when creative energy might take hold. I might be at the gym and notice someone doing a series of stretches, or at the local market watching a woman choosing a bunch of asparagus in the produce section.

Inspiration is different for all of us- what one may see as insignificant, another may notice an innocence or it might conjure up a memory from the past. One does not need to sketch or paint to be inspired by something meaningful or particularly lovely. Picking out a greeting card for a friend may inspire you to write a note about an experience that you once shared. Shopping for fabric can bring back all sorts of memories - perhaps that of an apron worn by your grandmother, or the scent of a candle may instantly bring you back to the weekend several years ago when you were without power due to a storm.

I am inspired to sketch by the things all around me, every day. A bunch of fresh asparagus can instantly take me back to the smooth, thick soup that my Mother made in the early spring. What inspires you to paint, sketch, write in your journal, bake, or maybe bring out your sewing machine? Do you find yourself awake at the wee hours ready to start a new project, waiting for daylight so you can begin ~ anxious to see what the new day will bring?

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Easy Rider~

At first I thought it was just a snowmobile riding down the side road next to our home. Imagine my surprise when I looked out and saw a gentleman tightly wrapped in winter garb taking a leisurely ride on his motorcycle. With another eight inches of fresh snow ~ he must have been thinking...if you can't beat 'em...join 'em!!! Around here, people sometimes push the seasons a little, especially with as much snow as we've had this winter. I've seen men swinging a golf club on the frozen lake, ladies with hair pulled back riding around in an open convertible, my neighbor leaves for work each morning in shorts, and I admit to dreaming of when I may be able to trade in my Uggs for sandals.

But this brave soul... do they make chains for motorcycle tires?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Millie's Challenge~ My kitchen

In the kitchen~ looking into the den

The gorgeous Millie of The Laurel Hedge has challenged me to take you on a little tour of my kitchen~ and to tell you what I love ... and may not love about it.

My little hutch- filled with ironstone- note the gate, to keep pups out of the den...

~Cooking Central~

Coffee station~ The most important part of the kitchen!

~Breakfast area~

Our kitchen is small but fairly efficient. In a perfect world I would have a lovely, functional, chef's kitchen. I do love to cook. Since moving to this much smaller home I have had to keep only the things that I use regularly and make the most of my limited space.

My kitchen is bright with the morning and late afternoon sun and even though I wish it were larger, it suits our needs and is easy to maintain. As this challenge came in we had just said "Good Night" to dinner guests- so the timing was there...

1~ What color is your kitchen? Black and white

2~ Describe your kitchen. Small but cozy and calming

3~ Describe your dream kitchen. BIG

4~ Fave activity in kitchen. Cooking and making cupcakes with Erin

5~ Name one thing it is lacking/missing. Space and refrigerator (it's in the entryway as you enter the kitchen- we chose to have the wine keeper in the kitchen...priorities you know!

6~ Do you cook or bake a lot? Cook~ alot!

7~ What don't you like and what would you change? Not enough counter space and I would love
another window.

8~ What do you love about your kitchen? That my Mom once prepared wonderful family
dinners here.

9~ Worst kitchen activity? Cleaning up

10~ Tea or coffee? Hands down- coffee! Tea in the afternoon.

11~ Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate~ dark, please.

12~ Do you like to prepare food- or eat it? Both

13~ Do you prefer to serve meals in the kitchen or dining room? Dining room~ I love my
dining room~ but that's another post!

Now I challenge~

1~ Lecia~ at A Day That Is Dessert~ because she had such a way with a camera and I suspect
she loves to cook.

2~ Joyce~ at A Perfect Beginning~ because she has photographed some amazing dishes.

3~ Seleta~ at Simply Seleta~ because this gal has style and sass!

~I would love to hear about your kitchen and what makes it the heart of your home.~

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