About lulu

I am a fiber artist with special emphasis on weaving, but I love working with threads and cloth in a variety of mediums. New ideas, new ways of connecting threads are the spice of life.

Summer Time, Summer Time

MaineSummer in Maine is a short season officially beginning July 4 and lasting through Labor Day when already there are hints of fall in the air.  During those two months not every day is perfect, but when I wake in the morning and see a perfect Maine day outside the window, my thoughts turn to boating.

Pipe DreamsFor many years we were sailboat people, but with so many  places to explore off Maine’s coast, we have turned to a power boat which allows us to get to more places a little faster.  Ours is a Maine made boat the style of which is influenced by lobster boats and designed for comfortable cruising.

lobster buoyThere are some 3500 islands off the coast of Maine, many of which are less than an hour from us.  As we cruise  along, the water is decorated by brightly colored lobster buoys identifying individual lobstermen and woe unto anyone who bothers  traps not belonging to them!

lobster boatI never fail to be fascinated by lobster boats out to bait or check traps and generally followed by gulls hoping to snag a tasty morsel.

osprey/maineAs we cruise along, it’s not unusual this time a year to spy an osprey nest sitting atop a marker and by now white heads peek above the nest.  It is said that this particular nest has been in place for 150 years and osprey return to it each year.  I can’t help but wonder who is tracking that and if the returning osprey are descendants of the ones who built the original nest.  Somehow I don’t think there is an answer!

commorant/maine

In addition to gulls and osprey, it is not unusual to spy cormorants sunning themselves on rocks peeking above the  water’s surface at low tide.

flag/maineApproaching one of my favorite spots, a solitary flag flies on a lichen covered rock, and I never fail to acknowledge my appreciation for the person who keeps that flag in place.

lighthouse/maineAnother favorite sighting are the lighthouses, most of which are no longer in service but characterize the coast of Maine.  No matter how many times I’ve seen the same one I can never resist taking yet another photo.  Just as I was snapping this one, a spray of water kicked up alongside the boat resulting in this magical picture.

Perry CreekSummer cruising on water smooth as glass and beneath a sky so blue as to seem almost artificial is a special delight with much to see along the way.     Yes, summer time in Maine is special, and I don’t want to miss any of it.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Have a Pavlova

PavlovaThanks to my friend Gray, Pavlova, or meringue shells, has become one of my favorite go to desserts.  It is easy to prepare and can be served with any number of fillings. Fresh fruits, which this time of year are plentiful and delicious, are always a great choice.

I am sure there are many ways of making a meringue shell, but  I am sharing that of my friend as I know it’s a good one.

Pavlova

4 large egg whites at room temperature

1 c. sugar

1 t. white vinegar (I’ve been known to use balsamic!)

1/2 T. cornstarch

1/2 t. vanilla

In a metal bowl, beat the egg whites with  a whisk or mixer until they form soft peaks.  Gradually sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, beating after each addition, until all sugar is used and glossy stiff peaks have formed.  Sprinkle cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a plastic spatula.  Add the vanilla, folding gently into the mixture.

PavlovaOn a baking sheet lined with foil or a Silpat baking sheet, spread the meringue in  circles.  Indent the center with the back of a spoon so you have a slight well in the center.

Bake in a preheated 275 degree oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it goes a pale eggshell color.  Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven for an additional hour.

Just before serving, remove the meringues from the oven and place them on serving dishes.  Fill the center with your choice of filling and top with whipped cream.

Pavlova

This time around I filled the Pavlova with homemade lemon curd and blueberry lavender jam.  I found an incredibly easy recipe for lemon curd made in the microwave here, and it was yummy!

The jam was perfect with the lemon curd, but a blueberry compote made with 2 c. blueberries, 3 T. water and 1/4 c. sugar  stirred over medium heat until thickened would have worked just as well as would just plain blueberries.  Love the flexibility of this dessert.

PavlovaAn added bonus to making Pavlova is that it can involve kids who love to help in the kitchen and get a big kick out of presenting their creations.  That can’t be beat!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Winslow Homer in Maine

Winslow HomerSince the 1800’s, the magnetism of Maine’s natural beauty has drawn many an American artist.

Winslow HomerAmong the best known and most popular is Winslow Homer whose home and studio on Prouts Neck in Scarborough, Maine is now open to the public as part of the offerings of the Portland Museum of Art.  From 1883 until his death in 1910, Homer spent much of his time here painting many of his best known works.   Until 2006, the property remained in the hands of his heirs who, becoming concerned that it would be lost to future generations, sold it to the museum.

Winslow HomerThe studio is meticulously renovated, however, little of the original furnishings is there. 

Winslow HomerSome of what is left struck me as reflecting both Homer’s sense of whimsy and his personal taste.

Winslow HomerThe second floor porch looks out upon a broad expanse of sea.  I could imagine Homer standing there smelling the salty air,

Winslow Homer watching waves crashing against craggy rocks

Winslow Homerand observing places where worn gray was broken by clusters of color.

Winslow HomerHow could these images not be among the very ones interpreted on canvas?

Winslow HomerIn the distance, a small craft cavorted among the waves

Winslow Homerreminding me of Homer’s paintings reflecting the struggle of man against nature. How different today’s scene is from one that inspired this painting.

Yes, Maine has influenced the work of painters from Homer to Hopper to Bellows to Indiana to Katz to Estes and I wonder how different their work would have been without their having experienced the magic of place.

Note: The images of the two paintings are borrowed from Wikipedia

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday

What’s in Portland….Maine That Is

When I’m in Maine I don’t venture too far from Rockport because there’s plenty to keep me entertained on the midcoast.  Every now and then, however, I need a need a city fix in order to go to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or places to shop other than WalMart or TJ Maxx.  That means heading to Portland.

PortlandThough small, barely 100,000 or roughly 10% of Maine’s population, Portland has most of the amenities you’d expect in a city.  There’s a very good art museum,

Portlandtrendy shops and galleries,

Portlandand during the summer months Portland teems with throngs of visitors enjoying street festivals in the Old Port area.

PortlandThere are plenty of good things to eat like this steak and lobster pizza which has me drooling just thinking about it.  Portland has, in fact, become quite a foodie city well known for its talented young chefs and fresh and local menus.  The only problem is that restaurants here have become so popular they’ve had to put tables on the sidewalks which has residents grumbling about it being harder to navigate the sidewalks.

PortlandIn addition to great restaurants, there are food trucks and nowhere else have I seen a cupcake truck

Portlandor one that dispenses sodas right from its side. 

PortlandFor that something extra special, there are lots of ice cream shops serving up housemade selections of all natural ingredients.  One thing’s for sure, we never  leave Portland without at least one tasty treat.  Making a choice is the hard part.

With all it has to offer, Portland is Maine’s closest answer to city life, and it has become a very hip place attractive to young professionals as well as a magnet for visitors to Maine.  It is a great introduction to  life the way it should be!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Seasonal Sundays

Time for a Change

Maine houseAfter 10+ years of being in a house, some things start looking a little tired and/or messy. So it was with the shelves in the TV room, so everything got pulled off, the shelves dusted, books sorted, all unnecessary items removed.  In the process, I thought it would be nice to give the shelves a different look, and I began shopping the house.

Maine houseEverywhere I looked was one or two of the same thing: pitchers, so I gathered them all and took them to the TV room where each found a place.  

Maine houseWho knew there were so many, all shapes and sizes, making me wonder when they had become an unintentional collection.

Maine houseSome I had not seen for years and had, in fact, forgotten all about.

Maine houseSome of the pitchers have such fun shapes and interesting textures.

Maine houseAmong all the pitchers, I had to make room for at least one shelf of bells.  Glass and crystal bells are an intentional collection and every one I have evokes a memory of place or time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaine houseWith the shelves all done, I looked around the room and thought how nice it would be to have some new pillows.  In my studio, I found fabric bought for no other reason than liking it and, voila, new throw pillows.

Maine houseWith nothing more than time and a little elbow grease, the TV room has a fresh new look, one that is probably good for the next 10 years!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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An Easy Start

tablescapeAs often happens, what is already on the table inspires what happens next.  In this case, it’s the wonderful piece of antique embroidered cloth that is used for a runner, the flowers and the female figure that determined both the table setting and the menu for the first gathering of the Maine gourmet group.

tablescape

The yellow in the cloth and the flowers made it easy to pick plates, a pale yellow from Tagg.  At first, I thought not to have placemats, but these multicolored straw ones from TJ Maxx begged to be used.

tablescapeBecause the little lady reminded me of a Spanish señora, it seems a good time to recreate some of the favorites from our recent Foodie Adventure in Spain.

tablescapeThe first course: gazpacho that will be served in cranberry cups that are part of a wonderful set of dishes from the 1930’s.

tablescapeI can’t stop here with  color, so alongside the wine stems are  inky blue thumbprint glasses, yet another find in a Maine antique shop.

tablescapeI can never resist doing a little something to a napkin.  Here it is folded in half, the upper left corners are turned back and the napkin is folded in half again to create a nice little pocket for the flatware.

tablescapeAll is ready for that first course to be served.

cod with shrimp and chorizoChanges will follow as the cups and saucers are replaced with blue bowls filled with our favorite cod with white beans, shrimp and chorizo (recipe here) that will become the main attraction.  Let me tell you, it doesn’t get better than this.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

PS  A sincere thanks to Kathryn at The Dedicated House and Kim at Savvy Southern Style for featuring the post on my back porch.  I appreciate all who stopped by to visit.

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Little Changes

When it comes to seasonal changes in the house, mine are minimal.  Maybe a few things get rearranged, but there are few, if any, new additions to the decor.  There is one exception….slipcovers.

Maine houseMaine winters are hard.  During those short, cold days, color can do a lot to make rooms feel warmer and cozier.

Maine houseIn our living room, hues of teal, red and gold combined in several patterns do just that.

flowersflowersflowersflowersEven the flowers and accessories are meant to lend warmth.

Maine houseCome summer, however, what we want is to lighten things up, so a new set of slipcovers  replaces the winter ones.

Maine houseEven though the slips are a neutral green, I can’t resist adding mixed patterns in complementary colors.

Maine houseAnd, if you look closely, you will notice that some things are moved around.  That’s my primary way of redecorating!

flowersBest of all, during the summer, beautiful blooms from my garden replace flowers from the grocery!  That I can’t get enough of.

Well, there you have it, very simple changes that give a room a whole new feeling.  The best thing about slipcovers is they can be washed, an added bonus after kids are here.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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