Friday, December 23, 2011

All Is Merry and Bright

Thanks for stopping by on a day so close to Christmas.  I know you must be busy, so if you're reading this in the midst of this holiday season,  I  am especially thankful for your visit.  Today, our wish for a white Christmas was granted by a freshly fallen blanket of snow.   Here's a peek of my attempt at snowflake making. 

It's not that I'm fickle with my lighting, but I do admit this is the 3rd fixture in my kitchen that Henri has installed for me in the last few years.  This one's a keeper though.   I'm sure of it. I am totally in love with my new kitchen chandelier. 

So if the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, a way to my heart is through bright and shiny things and Henri must know this. While I'm in the kitchen gazing at my new light fixture I might as well keep baking.  My freshly baked Russian Tea Cakes that I boxed up for Christmas Eve.

While browsing Pinterest I came across a recipe for pistachio cranberry cookies that are ridiculously easy to make.  Just add a small box of pistachio instant pudding & pie filling, 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and 1 cup of roasted pistachio nuts (shelled) to a Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix.  We've been sampling the cookies as I bake them and I have to say these are pretty darn good too.   

So yesterday, while we were out trying our best to walk off all this cookie sampling, here's a shot I took of some pretty red rose hips.   Later, when I loaded up my pictures,  I noticed I caught the blur of a couple lobstermen passing in a skiff as they headed out to their boat. 

Then today while it was snowing (and in-between baking) I snapped a shot of this cardinal as he briefly lit on a branch.  It's badly out of focus, but I like the contrast of color in the snow.

Henri took this one today, but we don't know what kind of bird it is.  (We only know it's not a chickadee.)  I haven't looked it up yet, so if you know and have time to comment, please do tell us.  

I just realized I have never even shown you a picture of a lighthouse in Maine before.  So here's a close second for you.  Our lighthouse bird feeder mounted on the railing of our deck.   And for your viewing pleasure, here it is in today's freshly fallen snow. 

Nightfall in my kitchen. 

I hope your holidays are all Merry and Bright too.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sweet Surprises

This is what I found on my camera this morning, even though I slept right through sunrise.  The view from our bedroom window that Henri captured for this sleepyhead. 

Want a quick snack idea?  I found the "everything bagel" pretzels at the grocery store last night and thought I might dip them in some white chocolate morsels for a sweet and salty treat. 

And then this morning inspiration hit me as I melted the morsels and then got distracted.  The white chocolate set up too fast and so I just slathered it on between 2 pretzels. 

Just look what Lee from The Way I See It sent me in the mail recently.  A lovely handcrafted rose pin. All I did was leave a comment on her post and she awarded me with this beautiful customized creation.  I just love it!

She has had her artwork featured in Somerset Apprentice, and she lives right here in Maine too. Thank you so much Lee, it was a very sweet surprise! 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Evergreens and Gingerbread

 This year I have a freshly cut tree.  And a new buffet in my downstairs kitchen.  I'm excited about both. 

The buffet is a chippy white painted dresser that I discovered was the same height as my kitchen counter top.  So I filled it up with some freshly baked gingerbread men. 

And a fresh cut spruce that I added as a table top tree inside my crackle painted urn. 

Everything smells so fa-la-la- lovely!  The scents of Christmas time gathered all together on my new buffet.  

My glittered pine cones have a wonderful cinnamon scent as well. 

I even have some paper whites growing in a Terra cotta pot. 

My table top spruce is decorated with a few mercury glass ornaments. 

I added some vintage and very distressed silver ornaments under a glass cloche atop a silver plated pedestal dish.  If you look closely, you'll see a starfish and white sea shell tucked in along side them. 

Truth be told, the gingerbread men you see in this picture are the first batch I baked.   Today I made another batch and then I moved the contents of the buffet around twice.  Just playing and having fun. 

The day sure does go quickly this time of year.  It gets dark here at 4:00 pm. 

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at what I have been up too.  I hope your day was just as enjoyable as mine was! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Here It Comes

 This year's first plowable snow. 

 And the first images I have captured of our Fearless truck in the snow . . . showing some teeth courtesy of the customized paint job Henri added to the plow.   

I took these a couple hours ago, and it's still coming down out there.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Manual Labor

Has it really been 3 weeks since I last posted?  Since then, I have been out practicing with my camera. It was finally time for me to take the big plunge and convince myself that moving that little dial on my camera to Manual mode would provide me with a new challenge that would be good for me.  So I did it.  And I was frustrated for a while, but determined to get past it, promising myself that I could go back to the Auto mode if it still didn't "click" for me after giving it a week.
What I found, was that I am lazy about reading and all that information about ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed and trying to figure out how they all relate to each other was almost too much for me.  Yet somehow,  I got past it and found my own unique way of playing with my settings until I was able to capture a picture I was proud of.  And you know, that felt really good.  So I continued.  Below is a shot of the fountain over in Bar Harbor where I became fascinated with the droplets of water. 

Okay, I went a little overboard with my fascination of the water and shot two more of that same fountain. 

I realize these aren't really that interesting, but my need to document it, is so I can look back on them in the future and hopefully see improvement. 

My attempt to capture something in motion  (for practice, just in case I panic when I spot an eagle and want to revert back to Auto mode).

Or just in case we have a really big storm, I need to practice my timing of the crashing waves too. 

I want it all to become second nature to me. 

And someday,  I hope to capture the way the setting sun sometimes fills up the cabin of a lobster boat and makes it look like it's on fire. 

But for now, thanks so much for indulging me with my new found interest.  I have lots to learn and work on, but I can't help but feel a sense of freedom of taking that first step away from relying on my camera's Auto setting.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Crowning Touch

Michael over at Inspired By Charm is hosting a link party today where he has invited his readers to join him in sharing a makeover inspiration from a thrift store find.  Here's a close up of my entry. 

Can you guess what it is?  Or was? 

What it was, was a dispenser to keep rolls of either foil, plastic or wax paper handy in the kitchen.  Below each spindle is a bar with a serrated edge for cutting.  It was priced at $1.99 from my local Goodwill. 

It's new purpose will be to help inspire me in my craft area. 

It will be mounted on the wall of my newly redone space and I will use it as a place to gather and hold adornments for the crowning touch on my future hat creations. 

But there is another reason why I want it in there. 

Because it was inspired by the memory of my Grandmother Mayfair, who passed away 29 years ago today, who I can still envision all dressed up and wearing a hat. 

Linking up with Michael at Inspired By Charm. 


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Home Made Dark Chocolate Nonpareils

Sometimes I just crave these.   Although you may know them as "snow caps." 

Making them at home is so simple.  Get out your double boiler and pour a half bag of Hershey's special dark chocolate morsels in the top.  I don't have an official double boiler, so I use one of my sauce pans with a tin mixing bowl.  They get all melty in just a matter of minutes so as soon as you see them start to melt, stir and go ahead and remove the pan from the heat. 

 Next, just pour your sprinkles into a small shallow tray. 

Then drop half teaspoonful circles of the melted chocolate right on top, making sure you have a nice bed of nonpareils (sprinkles) underneath.  If they are too shallow you won't get an even coverage and they may stick to the bottom of your tray.  (Just don't ask me how I know this.) 

Then, very gently shake the tray a little from side to side to help level out the chocolate a bit.  Some of the circles will turn out a little larger than others, just be careful to leave plenty of room so they don't touch each other.  (But don't worry, if any of them happen to accidentally stick together, I recommend you just pop them into your mouth, no sense flaunting our mistakes.) 

Then put them in the fridge for about 10 minutes or so and that's all there is to it!  I've tucked a few into a little French inspired box for later. 

You want some don't you?   So did I.  It's a bad craving.  Here are some more colorful ones I made. 

Yesterday's sunset at Sullivan Harbor. 

A sweet place to walk off the calories of my bad cravings.  N'est-ce pas?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Arrival of Fall

It was still pretty green here last Thursday when I made my first apple pie of the season.  But for some reason the smell of apple pie coming from the kitchen is a signal to Henri that leaf peeping must begin immediately. 

Just needs the top crust and into the oven it will go.   But my mind was on an early rise in the morning so this is the last you will see of the pie.  For the record, it was YUM. 

The next morning, we were up before the crack of dawn and headed to the Western mountains of Maine with our sights set on Rangeley.   The foliage was at full peak, even though my attempts to capture it were thwarted by the glare and shadows created by the noon day sun. 

While parked and enjoying our picnic lunch, we watched as this seaplane descended and I managed to find my camera just in time to catch a shot of it's water landing. 

One of Henri's captures. 

He even found a white pumpkin for me in Rangeley and then later, surprised me with a carving.  Check out my newly created galvanized pedestal stands that I'm using to display my pumpkins.   All it took was riveting some affordable hardware store parts together with some flan pans I found at Goodwill. 

The green pumpkin is a cross between a buttercup and a blue Hubbard. Using dried hydrangeas and zinnias from my garden, I had fun arranging them into fall vignettes, tucking them into a rustic, wooden tool caddy I found while thrifting. 

This corn is from last year.  Glad I saved it as the colors are still pretty vibrant. 

 I took this picture just yesterday over in Blue Hill of the blueberry barrens just coming into color.  Soon it will be peak foliage here too. 

A shot from Sorrento Harbor, where rain is in the forecast, after our nearly week-long stretch of warm, sunny weather.   


But this rain is really just a figment of my imagination.   The above photo was made using a free stock texture found here and pairing it with my own photograph by using the software program called Gimp that you can download for free here.  Pretty cool, huh?