Sunday Wanderings

IMG_2474En route to Houston, we stopped in  Franklin, Tennessee, for a quick visit with our farm girl daughter.  It just so happened we were there when a holiday popup show sponsored by City Farmhouse was happening which gave the daughter and me a fun way to spend some time.

IMG_2465-2To no surprise, most of the booths featured things perfect for a farmhouse country look.

There was a big emphasis on pillows for all seasons.  You can be sure the ones made with French linens were being snapped right up.

I’m crazy for pumpkins,  and these made of chenille and tartan plaids were eye catching and suitable for more than the fall season.

IMG_2446White ironstone was plentiful, and I couldn’t help but think of many blog friends who fancy it.

IMG_2440It would be a lovely accent for this pottery that reminded of classic French style.

Over the years I’ve participated in a number of shows, and this one impressed me with the cohesiveness achieved by displays complementing one another.

IMG_2470I left the show with no purchase, but when we stopped by City Farmhouse, I was sorely tempted by these Christmas trees.  Rustic, yes, but they have that whimsical aspect which suits my fancy.  

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Transitioning

If you’ve followed along for a while, you know that my life is split between Maine and Houston.  I enjoy both places, but transitioning into Houston does have its challenges.

West UThere are some highlights, including coming home to the house I love.  

Houston houseThe first few minutes are spent wandering from room to room reacquainting myself with each one.

tablescape/barEven before bags are unpacked, I go to buy foodstuffs.  Now, that is one of the joys of being in Houston.  Costco and Trader Joe’s are just a few minutes away as well as a grocery store that has everything and then some.  Between the three the pantry is well stocked and bunches of flowers make it seem like home.

Office View HoustonNow for the hard part. Compared to Rockport, Houston is a behemoth!  What that means is traffic, lots of it.  Already I’ve had to do some freeway driving and after traveling mostly two lane roads for the last few months, six lanes of cars moving at fast speeds is a trifle scary.

Houston has been home for many years, and I do have good friends here that I am anxious to see.  I appreciate the amenities this big city offers, but I miss the simple life and the natural beauty in Maine.  Heck, I even miss shopping at TJ Maxx!

Rockport HarborI especially miss opening my eyes every morning and looking out to see how Rockport Harbor is welcoming the day.  Here, when I turn my head all I see is the wooden fence that separates us from the neighbors.  

Oh well, it’s a good life and I am very grateful for all that each place affords.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Halloween Fun the Small Town Way

Halloween

Small towns seem to bring out the best in folks when it comes to holiday fun, and here in Maine Halloween may be the best time of all. 

IMG_2416Skeletons party up in front yards.

 

Bony friends rise from the deep in boats that have long since ceased to float.

IMG_2354Witches have tired of broomsticks and now travel in carriages pulled by pumpkins instead of mice.HalloweenGhouls rise up out of darkness to be part of things,

 

 

 

and ghosts and scarecrows have tasty treats to share.

 

In one small town giant pumpkins, painted and carved, line the street

 

while in another the main street is closed for an afternoon of trick or treats.  There are no tricks as every business participates in the fun with costumed employees handing out treats until there are none.

I don’t know what it is about small towns, but it doesn’t take much to bring out community spirit that makes holidays fun for everyone.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Art of the Natural World

 

Art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take the risk.  This world of the imagination is fancy-free and violently opposed to common sense.  It is our function as artists to make the spectator see our way, not his way.

Adolph Gottlieb, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman

Some of you may not be aware that three of the top liberal arts colleges in the U.S. are in Maine.  Bates is in Lewiston, Bowdoin is in Brunswick and Colby is in Waterville.  All are known not only for academics but for having outstanding art collections and exhibitions.

 IMG_2378 (1)On a quiet day, we ventured over to Lewiston to take a look at the Bates Museum of Art.  Wouldn’t you know it was closed for a new installation but hearing that we had come over from Rockport the director allowed us in.

IMG_2393 (1)Staff was putting the finishing touches on Anthropocenic.  Now that is a mouthful and what it means is art about the natural world in the human era.  The accompanying brochure describes the show as an exhibition of 17 artists and collaboratives from Maine, the US and abroad who make art about nature, the natural world and out effect on and interrelation with it in the 21st century.

IMG_2386 (1)As always with art, it is interesting to see how artists interpret a theme.  I was intrigued by the collaborations of Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber.  First, they built a model of their subject and then photographed it.  There are many humorous details in their work.

Isabella Kirkland’s stunning prints are produced from her much larger paintings done in the tradition of still life and incorporating natural elements.

IMG_2385 (1)Throughout the main floor was abundant stimulation with materials cleverly used to make a statement.

IMG_2382 (1)Venturing down to the second floor, we were surprised to see a familiar name.  The hubby and I took a street photography workshop in Paris from Peter Turnley last month and he made no mention of an exhibit at Bates.

IMG_2383 (1)Peter’s photos capture the essence of humanity no matter where they are taken.  The more I see of his work the easier it is to understand why he is tops in his field.

Thanks to the director of the Bates Museum for letting us have a preview of a beautiful and interesting exhibit.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Sunday Wanderings

IMG_9632Usually Sunday Wanderings have no specific destination, but this day I wanted to find an old antique shop  where several years ago I had seen a wonderful quilt made entirely from woven labels and insignias from World War II.  I wanted to own that quilt, but the elderly lady who made it said it was not for sale. For some reason that piece has stuck in my mind and I was curious as know if it was still there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI found the shop and was disappointed to see that it looked like it had been abandoned for some time.  I guess the story of the quilt, as well as the woman who made it, will remain a mystery.

Liberty ToolDisappointment was not going to stop my wandering, and I ventured on until I came upon Liberty Tool.

Liberty ToolTalk about a place to browse!  Here was some of everything.

Liberty ToolThere were more old tools than you can imagineMaine 2009 43as well as jars and jars of screws, nails and hinges.  To my astonishment, men were going through them looking for just  the one that could be used for some miscellaneous repair.

Liberty ToolThere were kitchen utensils I’d never seen the likes of, and I thought of several people who would do some wonderful arrangement with them.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was an old loom scattered on the floor. From the looks of it, it was beyond repair.  I couldn’t help but wonder how long ago it was last used, and imagining how difficult it was to operate made me appreciate my very sophisticated setup.

Maine 2009 44Two floors of the old building were filled with everything you can imagine, and all of it was meticulously organized.  When I asked about bottles, there was no hesitation about where to send me.

Who knows when I’ll go back to Liberty Tool, but finding it while out wandering was a delightful surprise.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Spooky Fun

HalloweenThe days around Halloween are my favorite when it comes to table tops.  There’s just so much fun stuff with which to work.

Halloween tablescapeWitches see the light of day

IMG_2371and spiders and bats come out to play.

DSC01659Black dishes never work better

DSC01656and long stemmed goblets are perfect for witches’ brew.

Napkins are folded just so to make  a pocket for flatware, too.

DSC01662Witches shoes are pointed and curled reminding if the shoe fits…….I don’t like the looks of this one so think I’ll wait for a prince to come along with a better choice.

Halloween tableAnd while I’m waiting for his arrival, I’ll munch on a kettle of corn!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Tablescape Thursday

Up the Mountain

Camden Snow BowlFolks are often surprised to learn that right on Maine’s midcoast is a Snow Bowl where from December thru spring there is skiing on Ragged Mountain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe runs aren’t real long, but neither are the lines so a diehard skier can get his fill in a day.

DSC01721There’s no snow this time of year, but on October Sundays one can take the chairlifts up the mountain.

DSC01724Except for the fact that it got colder and colder as we went up the mountain and our hands turned to ice, it was a glorious experience.  Ordinarily, leaves have gone by but thanks to a warm, dry summer they are at their best late into October.

DSC01746I could only marvel at the beauty as we went higher and higher.

DSC01739At the top of the mountain, one can see forever.

DSC01731 (1)What is astonishing is the view of Penobscot Bay and the many islands that dot it.  How many places can you think of where it is possible to ski while looking out onto the water?

 

 

Ragged Mountain is not just for skiing.  Throughout the year, people can enjoy hiking and biking trails.

DSC01703It’s not just humans that enjoy being on the mountain!  Here, there is ample opportunity for everyone to find something to enjoy.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Sunday Wanderings

IMG_1484I don’t have to go far to find this place as it’s an easy walk right down the street.

IMG_1493The sign says it all about when the shop is open this time of year.

IMG_1485Books are displayed in every available space starting at the front door.

IMG_1486Displays often reflect the season not only with decor but with titles.  You can be sure Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe are well represented now!

On the shelves, books, new and gently used, are arranged alphabetically as cleverly designated.

IMG_1487Mixed with the books, there just may be a surprise.

IMG_1491Throughout the space are chairs and tables that invite visitors to sit and stay awhile.  You may be offered a cup of tea while browsing, a nice touch on these chilly fall days.

Barnswallow is one of many bookstores that can be found throughout Maine.  Folks here like to support the locals which means the big chains don’t fare too well.  There’s something to be said for such small town places that serve dual purposes.  They are not only resources for reading material but for interesting programs featuring writers, poets and artists.  For me,  such opportunity is another reason Maine is the way life is supposed to be.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Next Step

DSC01572With the house having little touches of fall, it was a no brainer to have the next step be continuing them on the table for the evening dinner.   Already what can serve as a centerpiece is there making it easy to add the rest.

DSC01603None of my dishes reflect fall better than these.  The rich color with its arty black leaf outline is perfect, and I like using them for another reason.  They were a gift from a very special and thoughtful friend who knows how crazy I am about all things for tables.

DSC01579Some time ago this flatware was on sale at Target, and it has been such a good find. Its coppery contrast with the table’s wood surface adds such warmth.

DSC01586Thinking about what food is going to be served, I don’t put more dishes on the table than can be used.  Tonight there will be an entree and a salad, so nothing more than dinner and salad plates are needed.  The black salad plate complements the leaf outline, and its shape will be perfect for the salad.

DSC01593On any table, the napkin presentation is one of those little touches that make a table special.  One of my favorites is this one folded accordion style and fanned to make it stand.

DSC01592With the addition of wine stems and water glasses, a table can’t be much simpler than this.  It started with what was already there and has warm color and texture which makes any table inviting.

DSC01588I can’t resist sharing with you one of my favorite salads made with delicata squash, one with which I was unfamiliar. The attraction was its green and pale yellow striping, reason enough to give it a try!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the salad, cut the squash into rings and remove the seeds.  Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast at 400 until tender, roughly 15-20 minutes.  To prepare the salad, place mixed greens or any lettuce on a plate.  Top with the roasted delicata rings, sprinkle with craisins, toasted almonds and feta (optional).  My preference for dressing is a honey mustard vinegarette, but most any salad dressing would work.

I can assure you this salad will be a hit at your table not only because it is so tasty but because it’s a little different.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Full Plate Thursday

Share Your Cup Thursday

Little Touches

By now I usually have changed things around to reflect fall, but somehow time has passed and summer slipcovers are still in place.  We will be leaving this house soon, so I see no reason to struggle with putting fall slips on.  Call me lazy, but leaving the sofa and chairs as is will make the spring return easier.

DSC01560That being said, I can add some little touches to make it look a little more like fall.  The easiest change is pillows.

DSC01551They are a simple and inexpensive way to give chairs and sofas a new look.

DSC01564 (1)Textiles add warmth and color to any room, and I use them at every opportunity.  Here a crazy quilt  with rich colors and sheaves of wheat in its design becomes a table topper.

DSC01646A shawl woven in fall colors is handy should anyone want to cozy up to the fire.

DSC01556Nature provides some little touches.  Apples are in season and hydrangeas are cut and drying nicely.  Both are great for table tops. 

DSC01572Oh, and let’s not forget about pumpkins and gourds which are my favorite symbols of fall.

pumpkins/porchInside or out, you can never have too many.

 DSC01596 (2)With a fire burning brightly, there is no question that it is fall with or without little touches!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind