spring on the coast of Maine

Spring is a busy time of the year around here…lots needs to be done in preparation for the upcoming (and exciting) summer season!

The lawn mower needs to be tuned-up, the garden needs attention, flower beds are cleaned and baby seedlings need to be transplanted – wood still needs to be hauled and the fire still burns…Here’s a peek into what we’ve been up to as well as a look around what surrounds us …

1.finn with pitchfork

2.Finn spreading seaweed

Finn helping to gently turning the soil, then spreading locally collected seaweed…

Spring cleaning time…washed pots for transplanting, drying in the sun…recycled from the transfer station, of course.

3.transplanting potsFinn is never one to sit and watch, so he filled the pots with potting soil…

4.finn filling pots

Mission accomplished…

5.pots filled

A few parsley plants being transplanted…

7.tansplants going in

6.parsley plant in hand

Next, morning glories…

8.morning glory seedlings

Tulips just beginning to open outside our front door…

9.tulip opening

10.tulips and greenery out front

Lichen ever growing on rocks in the back.

lichen

Lilac blooms in the fog.

lilac blooms

Spinach growing in the backyard garden.

spinach in the garden

And the centuries old Linden tree, standing tall in the original ‘front yard’… apple trees ’round the back. Early one foggy evening…

fog

Peonies pushing up…I love peonies.

peonies

Spring in Maine.

Foggy, misty, cool, warm, sunny, breezy, calm … fire still burns through the night.

Ahhhh, spring…

Enjoy the weekend and Happy Mother’s Day!

xoxo

life these days

We’re still in the ‘re-adjusting stage’ of being back home and have been busy catching-up with the business and getting back into our daily routine, slowly that is … I haven’t had much time to cook anything different (the ease of preparing meals which I’ve done a dozen times before is much more inviting at the moment than experimenting – though this will pass, I know), thus no new recipes and not much else to comment on – though I have started more seeds and am getting excited about the warmer (warmer for here that is) weather which seems to be coming in – though a daily (and nightly) fire is still needed…

Here’s a few photos of life around here – at the moment of course – everything changes…

red beans

pears on plate

planting seeds

lilies

seeds to start

sheets drying in the wind

snow dropsbulbs pushing throughhelping

moving wood

Happy Easter everyone!

Enjoy

planes, trains and automobiles

I had planned posting as usual last week, though after being bumped from our flight (who bumps a family traveling with a three year old? American Airlines does), after waiting in line for three hours to check in, then told (rudely) there are no more flights until the following day (what?) – didn’t plan for that expense (complaint letter being written soon!), then delayed the following day (in Miami) due to a snow storm and then, finally, we arrive in Connecticut, to visit with Michaels’ sister and niece, and there is no internet connection for five days. Life seemed to say, no posting for you…so here I am, now…

We returned last week from our epic trip and stopped off in Connecticut for a few days to visit with family and attend the Architectural Digest Home Show in NYC. This is a big show and an expensive one.  We’d been invited to participate for the past few years (it’s a juried show), though wanted to check it out first, in person, to see if it’s a good match for us (get a sense of the overall ‘vibe’), this is NYC and a very HIGH end show after all, so before investing lots of money and time we thought it best to to do our research, first, and I’m so glad we did.  We loved it!

They have a ‘MADE’ section which is a perfect fit for Michaels’ work and our business (Designs Adrift).  We spoke with a few exhibitors (artists) and not only were they friendly, encouraging and talented, they suggested we take the plunge and exhibit next year. Each person we spoke with said it was worth the investment and their business grew as a result…grew enough to continue coming back year after year.

We were placed on the guest list, so the entrance fee was waived and Michaels sister babysat (family rate = free) Finn all day while we traveled in and out of the city… we ate a delicious lunch for only $8.50 (for the two of us) and walked to the show. No cabs for me. I love walking in NYC, it’s the best way to be ‘in the city’ – especially as we were only there for a few hours… why spend for a cab when walking is not only free, but great for the body too.

The train and parking fees were money well spent. We look forward to the prospect of exhibiting next year and I am beginning to plan accordingly – who knows where it may lead?

But, for now, I’m settling back into being ‘home’ and have already started a few seeds, despite my garden still covered in snow…

Planes, trains and automobiles.

There’s nothing quite like being ‘home’…

enjoy.

garden envy

I miss the luxury of growing my own.

vegetable garden

I grow, but not during the winter, I don’t have the necessary space. I grow from spring to fall and miss it this time of year. I miss it so much. Especially as it’s been looking like this (below) lately…

snow covered gate

I miss having food growing and available, in my backyard. I miss being self-sufficient (at least in terms of veggies). I miss the luxury of walking outside (despite the mosquito issue around here), snipping away (usually quickly – the mosquitos), and then coming back inside with a basket full of fresh greens and then some…I do miss my backyard veggies..

freshly picked vegetables

Enough, melancholy – Februarys’ brighter light and longer days have reminded me – Spring is inevitable.

morning glories

even if it doesn’t seem so now…it will come.

rosa rugosa

Normally I would have started plantings already, but this year I’ve had to hold off – at least until we return from our long overdue trip! I am so excited to be going away (we haven’t taken a trip in over 5 years!!), though I do wish I could have started my plantings already – the season is short enough around here !! But starting trays and trays of seedlings made no sense. I didn’t want to ask anyone to look after them while we were away, that just felt like way too much to ask of anyone…so, the seeds will sit and wait a few more weeks…as will I…

seeds

 

enjoy!

365 days ago…

I decided to start this blog. I wasn’t sure if people would like what I wrote, or if they would even find me – why would anyone be interested in what I had to say? But enough people suggested I try it, so I did. And I’m so happy I didn’t let fear stand in the way. I chose to take a leap… and get over my fear, and just try – what’s the worse that can happen, right?

Turns out, it has been a wonderful creative outlet for me. So much of my life is my business, Designs Adrift, which I love too – but I’m in the ‘background’. I do all the paperwork, writing and photography (some of the photography), taxes, etc…yet Michael, my partner, is the artist in the end…and his work is beautiful, yet this blog, is mine and mine alone. My time writing, photographing, planning and editing is well spent – it allows time for me, to be me. And the added (and unexpected) bonus is, it’s been a great way to meet other, incredibly talented, like minded individuals! Who knew?

So when my first post was published, I was so excited and shocked to have a like and a comment – on my very first post! How did they find me? Who are they? What? People liked what I wrote? Liked it enough to take the time to write a comment? Wow!!  It made me smile…Thank you Norma, From Wok to Garden, for my first comment – you inspired me to keep going! I’m still kind of figuring out what readers are interested in (and what makes folks comment), but for the most part I just share my life. I’m just being me, really. Camera in hand, sharing what I love…what I cook, how I prepare it, what I’m interested in and how I keep my expense down…my life in rural Maine, on an extremely tight budget, in other words, The Art of Thrift.

Knowing what to buy and when and more importantly, when not to…recognizing quality and craftsmanship; not to buy cheap, but well, or not at all – it makes all the difference (in my opinion)…for the planet and your wallet. I like to encourage second hand buying – it makes so much sense! (and if your still a bit worried about second hand – don’t be – if you’ve eaten in a restaurant or slept in a hotel, then you’ve used second hand items!)

I know how to be thrifty, but I also know when (and how) to spend…even the NYTimes agrees… and while I’ve accomplished some of what I had set out to do, there’s still so much more to share…I’ve posted a lot of recipes, but not a lot of suggestions for travel, groceries shopping, children’s needs, insurance – everyday stuff – but all things in time right? As long as I can find the time to write and photograph (and get to the library to publish – my dial-up access is a real detriment not only our business, but my blogging!!) I will.

I, thank you all for reading and sharing this past year – it’s been fun and a challenge. (A challenge because of my dial-up!!).

And now this, little miss thrift, needs to find the time to get to the library (wifi, remember?) a little more often so she may become a little more tech savvy – fonts, layouts, widgets, settings oh my…this is one arena where being thrifty isn’t necessarily helpful…but being patient is. All things in time, right?

What have you been doing lately that is thrifty?

Have a fabulous weekend and thank you for reading! xoxo

Enjoy.

transfer station treasures

Dump shopping is my favorite kind of shopping. To be factual, my town transfer station is my favorite shopping destination. A big part of the transfer station is the ‘freebie barn.’  It’s a trailer set aside to house free (but good) stuff that residents no longer want/need…Who doesn’t like a deal? And a free deal, is the best deal around, right? Added bonus, this stuff isn’t ending up in the landfill or worse…why don’t more towns and cities incorporate this into their budgets? It boggles my mind – if my little town can do it, surely others can too…it’s another form of freecycle – but centrally located versus driving all over – what’s not to love about that? Extra added bonus – the savings. Childrens books and toys add up (everything adds up doesn’t it?), money saved is money available for other things, or simply more time to do more things…money equals time, the less money you need, the more time you can have (sort of – everything has its trade-offs) to do what it is you want to do. We’ve chosen to live on a much tighter budget than most, though these past years spent raising my son are worth so much more than money could ever buy…and shopping is so much more fun this way.

Here’s a few recent finds…amazing huh? It’s nothing, yet so much, all at the same time…

glassware

I just love these little etched vintage glasses – a whole set of 12 – perfect for little man. Estimated savings, at least $20.

childrens booksMore books. We read a lot around here, so new books are always welcome – estimated savings, easily $40.

childrens illustrations

These are the first two illustrations of ‘Animal Stories’ seen above – they are beautiful in person and will look great framed. Free art – estimated savings, $40.

childs puzzle

Finn is getting into puzzles and he LOVES trains, so when I found this (new, still in box!) I had to pick it up. Estimated savings – $12.

kitchen tools

Finn is also really into cooking, so when I found a bunch of kitchen tools (some even kid sized!) I had to take them too! Here’s Finn enjoying his latest treasures. Bonus they were all metal or wood (spatula, spoons, pie server, tongs, ice cream scooper (vintage), whisk, honey spoon)! Even the little people joining him were found at the dump (of course!). Estimated savings – $25.

play barn yard

Yet another plastic toy saved from landfill – even the batteries still work as do the sounds and songs which are played when the doors open and close…little animals were free too. So much plastic in the world – it’s frightening…estimated savings – $35.

file sorter

File sorter. I can always use something like this, but I won’t buy this type because they are plastic, but I’ll use it and then recycle it when I’m done. And when I say recycle, I mean I’ll give them away to someone who wants them or return them to the ‘freebie barn.’ Estimated savings – $15.

sea shell book

And finally, this cool (vintage) book about shells. I love shells, I always have. I had to pick it up, the illustrations were too cool…estimated savings – $8.

Total estimated savings  – $195.

Savings to the planet, priceless.

Other ways to save money and resources -check out flea markets, freecycle, craigslist, consignment shops, stay out of the mall and big box stores, trade with friends, shop for big items during annual sales, check your local newspaper… you just never know what you may find.

Also, visit your local library. Books, music, newspapers, magazines, movies – are all available for you to use (and borrow) for free…ok, not ‘free’ the town has to pay for all those books, movies, newspapers, etc. and the library itself, but then, its’ citizens (including and most importantly, children) get to enjoy all those ‘free’ treasures…money and time well spent I’d say.

enjoy.

sickness and snowstorms

What a week! Finn was slowly recovering from his bought with the flu and then it took over my body…and then onto Michaels…now back to little man, though, thankfully it’s just a cold now… Hence, no posts last week…

Then it was preparing for the storm – the record breaking, two-day storm. What a storm it was – over 3 feet of snow, both doors snowed closed and drifts up to the windows (and even over some windows!)…thankfully, we never lost power and the sun did eventually shine…

So, we are all still recovering and looking forward to spring – it will inevitably come, sooner or later as will our good health…

front door

snowy windowsshoveling despite having a coldfront of house

cheap or frugal?

I’ve never been fond of these descriptives. I’ve also never been fond of the images associated with these words and I certainly would not categorize myself as either cheap or frugal. Surprised? 

I prefer to think in terms of being conscious or being aware. In other words, thrifty. Thrifty is defined as – (of a person or their behavior) using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully. That’s the key for me – not wastefully.  I’m neither cheap nor frugal – I’m thrifty.

I think the reason I struggle with the word ‘cheap’ is the fact that a lot ‘cheap’ stuff is just that ‘cheap’ – or of inferior quality and wasteful. Cheap isn’t always associated with quality or respect for our finite resources, actually, oftentimes, just the opposite…just look at how many ‘cheap’ plastic toys break just after one use?

The word, frugal is defined as – sparing or economical with regard to money or food. While being frugal is wonderful, it can come across as being a bit dull or limiting (not true I know, but some do fear this)…Now some may think this is silly – it’s simply a matter of semantics, right? Perhaps you are right, but for me, the word ‘thrifty’ is all about being aware of our money and our finite resources and I’m all about that.

I think if everyone was a bit more ‘thrifty’ (mindful), we’d all be a bit better off…it’s an advantageous lifestyle – not only for our own individual selves and others, but the planet as well.

 What do you think? Are you thrifty?

comforting an ill child

Not much to post today…Finn came down with the flu and few days ago, so life around here has s-l-o-w-e-d  down. Thankfully, not a strong strain of the flu, but one to make us stop for awhile…

Stories, sleeping (he, not I), sipping tea, sitting by the fire, more stories, playing in the tub (great for aches and pains), sometimes twice a day (again, he, not I), wiping tears, snuggling on the couch (near the fire), more stories and trying to convince him that those ‘little pellets’ (homeopathic) will help his ill-ease, are just a few things which have consumed my days and nights lately…Nighttime is usually when I work, though these past few nights have been sleepless with fever – so, not much to post today except;

Be thankful for your health and the health of your family and friends. It’s such an easy thing to take for granted, until it’s taken from you…even if only for a few days…

Be well.

Enjoy.

sample sales aren’t just for overpriced designer clothes…

I had never been to a sample sale before (I’m not a big ‘shopper’) and to be quite honest, I didn’t intentionally ‘go’ to this sample sale either – I just happened to be in the right place, at the right time. Finn and I went to our local farmers market this past Saturday, it’s indoor at the moment and takes place in an old renovated mill in Brunswick. It’s a fabulous space. It houses artist studios, offices, restaurants, a flea market, an antique market and a variety of other businesses and services…Acorn also has an office there and they were hosting a sample sale this past Saturday. I had no idea. I only became aware of the sale upon entering the Farmers Market (Acorn is adjacent to the market) – a sign read,  ‘Acorn Sample Sale – Today only’. Now, I’m not big into shoes, I’m more of a ‘boot girl’ – but I was in need of some fun new summer shoes, and being on a rather small budget at the moment,  I thought, ‘why not check it out – all shoes for $5, why not at least look?’,  I was so glad I did. I found two pairs of shoes for me and one pair for Finn! Nothing was in Michaels’ size…sorry Mikey…

sampl tag

side view orange acorn

blue shoes

finn's boots

Only $15 for three pairs of brand new, well made shoes – even a consignment shop or a thrift shop would have a hard time beating that price!

The thing about sample sales is not all sizes or styles are available and pieces may be slightly imperfect  – which is why items in sample sales are sold for such low prices. So do check everything out and do try on, sizes may be slightly off too…basically, you can find well made (but not perfect) pieces, for next to nothing. I only spent $15 for shoes which would have easily cost me $150 retail, what’s not beautiful about that?

Sample sales, add them to your list of budget friendly places to shop.

Check out these links for more information about what sample sales are and how to shop them.

Trunk Show Daily

5 Things to Know About Shopping Sample Sales

How to Shop A Sample Sale: 7 Tips For Survival