Thursday, July 30, 2009

Views of Maine Part 2

I have been so busy-so busy that I have not been here to tell about it.. .While I make the time (it is made, not found, so I am told) to blog about all that has been happening in the past few weeks, you may enjoy another little Maine views series to hold you over...
This series is from Acadia National Park- a favorite place of ours.
The Rocky shore has the best rocks for holding, some shaped just like eggs.
A view of the mountains from a lily pond just across the street from the ocean-how could you not love it here!?!
One of the many harbors...
Lobster traps stored on floats in the harbor
A mossy hill in the forest
I didn't adjust the color, it really is that blue!
See you soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rough Day At The Office

Today was a rough one.
I was very fortunate to have spent the day styling a photo shoot for Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company in Cundy's Harbor, Maine. What a treat to spend time in a brand new, waterfront and oh so gorgeous house, equipped with the smartest kitchen I have ever been in, and in the company of great people. Oh yeah, and did I mention the water view?!?
Here is a behind the scenes look at the set up shots of the lobster mac & cheese-there is Amber, the operations manager at Hancock Gourmet Lobster, in the background, carefully choosing the glassware for our next series of shots...How official all of photographer Gil Talbot's equipment looks! For most of the morning, there was cooking, lobster preparation, primping, fluffing and checking Gil's test shots, re-styling and more pictures. We got some pictures of Cal, the delightful and savvy owner and founder of Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company too. Unfortunately, Cal had just broken her foot and was on crutches, so we assisted her in the kitchen for the prep of the food.
After shooting all of Amber's specified pictures for the closeups of a new Lobster sampler product the company is launching, we moved outside to set up the lobster gazpacho table.
These are just my snapshots, I will share some of Gil's real and professional photos when they become available. This table was my primary assignment. I sewed a nautical table runner and khaki linen napkins to complement the lantern, mussel shells, white dinner ware and the orange red of the gazpacho that was soon to fill the bowls.
I spray painted little galvanized buckets red to house wedges of crusty bread and accesorized with square votive holders, enamel handled silverware and a sprinkling of tiny yellow periwinkle shells that my daughter has been collecting over the summer.
This is the rough part. After shooting the gazpacho table, Amber and I collected "props" for a series of lifestyle pictures that was scheduled to take place on the dock. After consulting with Gil, we determined that the dock was not the ideal spot, which led us to curiously uncover the Zodiac that was being stored on the dock. Much to our delight, we learned that the boat was a delicious red color, so in Amber and I climbed, with our lobster rolls, old fashioned soda with turquoise straws and our fabulous Seabags. I enjoyed carrying the real Seabag around on my shoulder, have you heard of this Maine company? You should go visit their web site and learn about them-a great product, stylish and recycled to boot!
So my afternoon was spent on the water, in the sun and breeze, on a quintessential Maine summer day, tethered out from the dock, with an old friend, receiving hilarious direction from a helpful, friendly and professional photographer. Rough, I know. Just another day in paradise.

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Baby In Town

Today my step sister had her baby, a boy, Aiden. Here he is, healthy and new. And just like that, you are here. Incredible, isn't it?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pillow Sewing Extravaganza

Recently my husband went to New York to visit his grandparents for the weekend...for various overcommitment reasons, Ava and I didn't go along with him. We had a girls' weekend instead. We made home made pizza for dinner, did crafts, put on rubber boots and ran in the puddles-because apparently, it is going to rain just about every day for the rest of the foreseeable future here in Maine.
We also tackled a seemingly insurmountable but necessary task, as we near the finish of the camper interior restoration.
I just got the urge-it was time to make the pillows to go on the couches in the camper. And I got a bit carried away. I thought I would stop at 8, but Ava kept picking out delightful fabric combinations from the stash and I just kept cutting and sewing.
You can only imagine what the house looked like that Sunday, after 48 hours of a toddler having her way around the notions baskets, fabric piles and thread caddy-sometimes life is messy. And the fun she had was far worth the trouble of having to clean up on Sunday night.
I typically fuss about and clean up at the end of every day. Not this weekend. I simply put away the, pins, scissors and such and turned off the kitchen lights when I went to bed. The sewing machine stayed out, the thread and bobbins all over the floor remained and the piles of fabric slept right on the kitchen table. Waiting for us in the morning. We made pillows. All weekend. About 15 of them. Ava helped, stuffing all of the hand made pillow inserts with stuffing. I thought about just sewing the pillows up, but thought better of it with a young family, it is necessary to be able to peel off a pillow cover and put it in the wash.
"More pillows? Oh, oh! More pillows mama!" I hope I never forget the sound of that little voice repeating that sentence over and over!
I have to face the completion of the camper curtains and then the really scary task of making the slip covers for the couch cushions...maybe I will take a little break and knit. Just for a few minutes...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A View from Maine, Part 1

In case you won't be getting here this summer, or if you just want a Maine fix-I will be posting some views from Maine for you. A little series of sorts. Number one is from a Maine fishing village that also features one of the world's only working crib stone bridges. A typical wharf . The shore is mostly rocky here and beaches like this are not uncommon. We do have a few sandy beaches though! Lobster buoys at sunset... I wish I could capture the salty air and wooded forest scent for you!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yah! Business Press!

I am excited to be featured on the My Kate Parker Wedding blog! You can read the 2009 Vendor Advice and Trends feature here. I love what Kate has done with her new venture, My Kate Parker Wedding-you can keep up with the blog, the service and web site will launch in January 2010. Kate Parker is one smart cookie.
I don't remember if I mentioned this feature back in April, but I was also interviewed by Kate for the My Kate Parker Wedding blog-an honor! What kind words from a colleaugue I have watched since the beginning. Kate has built an empire of a brand and I am proud of the work she has done to get where she is today and the business savvy she has.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bar Harbor Tradition

Every July, we go to one of our favorite places on the planet: Bar Harbor, Maine, or Har Barbor, if you ask Ava. Acadia National Park is quite indisputably, one of the most incredible places to be, smell, walk, hike, bike, swim, laze or craze. We have so many great memories and adventures in our past, being there with my husband's brother and his wife, before they were married, and before we were parents. Times we spent with my husband's whole family there have produced some of the family's most humorous memories, most stressful weekends and interesting excursions. Think hand capturing frogs from an unmentionable water source, your body completely submerged, to win a $50 bet... If Baxter State Park is my family's Eden, then Acadia and Bar Harbor is my husband's family's paradise.
We start with the parade on Saturday morning of 4th of July weekend-this year Ava spent some time on her dad's shoulders to get the best view.
The morning on the Shore Path started out foggy and then burned off into a partially clear and perfect day for being outside.
After lunch, we typically head out to the carriage trails for a long, challenging and scenic bike ride. This year, our ride deserves it's own post, so that will come later...Here is a sneak peek!
After a cookout at the cottage, we head into town to set up blankets on the lawn by the harbor, to watch the fireworks. This year, Uncle Keith went into town early and staked our claim to our usual spot then met us back at the cottage for dinner. I broke down this year and we kept Ava up way, way later than her bed time, and she enjoyed the show. Last year, she was just too tiny for all the noise and commotion...
The hotel where we watch the fireworks is in such an ideal location, over the harbor. The Margaret Todd, a 151 foot, 4 masted schooner is available for excursions into the harbor- so pretty when the sails are open!
I only wish we could have stayed longer this year. We scoped out some suitable areas for the camper and are seriously motivated to finish that thing in order to make a return trip to Acadia this fall...

Monday, July 6, 2009

First Maine Strawberries

We took Ava strawberry picking for the first official time in her life. She is old enough now to be in the fields and assist with the picking. Well, sort of.
Really she was more concerned about the surrounding vegetation and spent most of her time with her Grandpa, making the rounds on the farm, as opposed to actually picking.
She did contribute though.
I want to teach Ava where food comes from-until recently I think she thought lobster and strawberries grow in the grocery store. Living in Maine, there are local opportunities to show her otherwise. Fairwind Farm, on Pork Point Road in Bowdoinham, Maine is a great location for berry picking. You can reach them at 207-729-1872. I think this was the first of about 17 rainy days in a row, when the sun was out-we speedily headed out to the fields.
When we got home, we whipped up 3 strawberry pies. I have never made one before, but I figured if there is a recipe for raspberry pie, I could substitute with strawberries, and they turned out perfectly! I am going to share my tried and true homemade pie crust recipe, from my step mom. Now that I have made this, I will never use store bought crusts again. Ava even made the crusts, it is that easy! The only modification to this for me, is that I usually only get about 3 crusts from this recipe, not the 4 listed, but I enjoy a thick crust...
Can you read the recipe?
Here is the pie recipe I used:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (total baking time of about 50 minutes)
2 rolled pie crusts from recipe above, one placed in an ungreased pie baking dish.
5 cups fresh strawberries (I whizzed mine in the food processor for a second after cutting off the tops)
3/4 Cup sugar
3 TBS all purpose flour
That's it!
Mix all ingredients together and pour into one crust in the ungreased pie dish. (I used oven safe, deep salad plates)
Top with 2nd crust, cut slits, or any desired shape for steam to escape, and crimp the edges together.
This is a juicy one, so I recommend placing a cookie sheet under the pie dish, or you just might be scrubbing the oven and waving a towel in front of your smoke alarm, while frantically opening all of your doors and windows. Oh so I hear...hmmm.
Cover edges of crust with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes until top is golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.
I made homemade whipped cream to serve with mine and sprinkled cinnamon sugar on the top before baking. Maine strawberries are actually quite tart, so you may add a little extra sugar to the filling if you prefer a sweeter taste, and are using Maine berries.
Next up: raspberries!