Monday, November 8, 2010

Maine Writers

I feel like it's been forever since I've written a new post on The Maine Reason and once I looked at my last posting, I realized IT HAS !

Where does time go ?

Anyway, I wanted to post today about something (someone actually) that I'm really interested in following which is an up and coming Maine writer. Maine has some amazingly creative artists as portrayed in paintings, photography, sculpting and of course, writing. (Stephen King is likely our most famous author.)

It is my belief that the newest writer that holds my interest will be one to keep watch of. Knowing her personally, it has been a journey watching her grow and lose herself within the characters she creates for her books.

She is currently embarking on a hefty endeavor called "NaNoWriMo" which is a month long challenge to write 50,000 words. Yikes, I'm a freelance writer and that makes me quiver with a healthy dose of fear !

I invite you to join me in following this talented Maine author as she chronicles her NaNoWriMo challenge on her blog "The Write Life"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall Clean Up Time

We know it has to be done now that fall is here for most of us. It's time to clean up the yard, cut back the flowers, rake leaves and put away the patio furniture. Cleaning the patio furniture before putting it away will give a great head start to next spring (which will be here before you know it) when it's time to haul it all back out again for the summer season.

Here's how I took care of my resin furniture this season. Note in the picture how gray and mildew looking one side is and the fresh new look of the cleaned side. What a difference a little "elbow grease" can make with a few simple products. This set was ready for the trash until I decided to give it a try and see if I could spruce it up. I'm glad I did !

Here are complete instructions on how to clean your resin furniture.

Happy Fall cleaning !

Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm Featured !

I know........I haven't posted in ages. Well, my excuse is that I have been busy working on my other blog, working on some fund raising efforts for a civic group, trying not to swelter in the heat....and well, blah blah blah. :-)

BUT, I found out on this much-less-humid Monday morning that I have been chosen to be the Featured Writer of the Week for How cool is that? At my profile page on eHow, you will find articles of all kinds noting my interests, talents and skills. Need to know how to clean lawn furniture that gets dingy over time? How to use aromatherapy? Learn to breathe better to FEEL better? How to lose weight? Projects to do with friends or children? Yes, I'm Jill of all trades and certainly interests.

I'd love to have you come on over and check out my "stuff" !

Shirley is eHow's Featured Member of the Week !

Monday, June 21, 2010

Maine's Critters that Bug Me

Here in Maine we have four different seasons. One of my favorites is summertime. I do love our short season of warmth ! However, on my daily walks I DON'T like the pesky deer flies. Where you are, you may not have any idea of what a deer fly really is. Imagine a mini black fighter jet. This is what these look like. They buzz 'round and 'round your head until you're dizzy, then they dive bomb and land in your hair. You will inevitably try to think you are faster than they are and will slap yourself in the head trying to kill these creatures who will also inevitably bite you. One out of 10 times (if you're lucky) you will actually connect with one. The other 9 times, you will have simply hit yourself and the fly will continue to torment you.

And when I say they bite, I mean they bite. And it hurts so it's best to just keep swatting like a lunatic to keep them buzzing 'round instead of letting them land.....Come - walk with me. ;-)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Aromatherapy Rose Oil

As a massage therapist, I am very familiar with the use of oils for aromatherapy. I always love it when the opportunity presents itself to make my own. The rose oil shown below is one of my favorites to create because it comes directly from my own roses. In fact, I have so many old-fashioned roses that if you closed your eyes, you'd be hard pressed not to think you were in a Victorian Era garden by the heavenly scent.

As you can see, lots of the rose petals fall before I get a chance to harvest them. These white ones go as quickly as they come and they serve more as a nice looking contrast to the pink ones when infusing in the bottle. For the true scent of the rose oil, the pink ones are the ultimate.

Harvesting the petals is the most fun, yet it's important to avoid the flying creatures who love them as much as I do. Bees are by the thousands and getting stung can be a hazard of the trade. I have avoided it thus far, but only by luck !

So here we are after picking fresh rose petals. For today, I'm using a small bottle (a spice bottle in fact), and half filling it with almond oil (grape seed is nice too). I squeeze in 1-2 vitamin E capsules contents to preserve the oil also. Home infused oils can go rancid quite quickly and if you're going to put the work in to make your own aromatherapy oil, you might as well take a few minutes to add something that will preserve it a bit longer.

Then it's a simple matter of packing the jar with rose petals. This 4-5 oz bottle holds about 1 cup of rose petals so you can see why pure rose essential oil might be just a bit pricey. Once the bottle is packed with petals, I continue to fill it slowly with more oil until it completely covers the top layer of rose petals. This is important. If any of the petals stick out from the oil itself, they will mold and spoil the entire bottle.

I then set the bottle in a warm window and allow time and the sun to do their part in drawing the natural rose oil from the petals and infusing it into the almond oil. I will watch it over the next week and make sure to top off the oil level as needed so no rose petals are exposed. Then it's simply a matter of the "sniff" test to know when it's time to remove the petals and strain the oil for use.

I hope you enjoyed this project and come back and visit soon !

Linking to Whatever Goes Wednesday by Someday Crafts

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An Easy Breezy Summer Project for the Garden Enthusiast

This is an easy project for the gardening enthusiast or as a gift to make for one! Simple and fun, this windsock made from a garden glove is a great project for a lazy hazy summer day !

Combine one ladies' garden glove, grosgrain ribbon and matching buttons in vibrant colors, a stenciled-on flower and some filament line to hang it and you've got a garden glove windsock.

For complete instructions and step by step photos on this project, click here
Enjoy !

Monday, June 7, 2010

Maine Crafts: Giving New Life to An Old Glass Vase

So the question is: is it a vase or is it a candle holder?

I proudly admit that the price was nice and the work was easy.
It entailed a free (but ugly) vase, and $1 worth of supplies. Oh, and 10 minutes of my time.
Just the way I like it!

Maine crafters are thrifty and pretty darn creative.

Check out Mainely My Creations to see how I made it. :-)

Linking to Trash to Treasure Tuesday at Reinvented.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays

Well, in this case, 'rainy days and Sundays really get me down'-as the song goes. But not always. Rain in Maine means more vibrant colors and well, grass. Lots of it. And that's ok too. I love walking barefoot in the grass. I remember visiting friends in Queens, New York and noting the signs around the apartment complexes to "not walk on the grass". My initial thought was, "what the...???" I guess you can take the girl out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girl. (Isn't that a song, too?) Enjoy the rainy Sunday, if you're lucky enough to be having one. :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

More of Maine's Floral Wonders

Coming directly from my backyard, with Maine's short growing season it is important to "immortalize" the flora through photography before the bloom time fades. Interestingly, where the patio furniture now sits was a small ornamental pond just a short time ago. 
For a gorgeous close-up photo of wild Maine phlox, see Maine Pics.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Mainers have their very own language. From "Ayuh" (that's ay-UH, but can only be intoned adequately with a sharp intake of air on the "UH" part), to "cah's" (cars) and "rivah" (river) amongst many others. Hanging out on a Maine waterfront dock is an experience to remember with choosing fresh lobster and listening to the locals.

Along with the special pronunciations (or hacking of the English language), Maine is also known for its quaint "Mainer-isms" (phrases), but with growing up in a house full of men, most of the Maine-speak I learned is not appropriate for general audiences so I'll refrain from posting them. Just know that in a Maine winter it truly is cold enough to freeze the ***** off a brass monkey. (Use your imagination).

I found this article in the Maine Observer that made me laugh. I find it amusing to see so many of the everyday phrases I grew up with depicted as part of the color of Maine. :-)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Movie Ticket Bowls

It's easy to find inspiration in all that is around us. Take these movie ticket bowls for example. They are decorative, functional, easy to make and of course, fabulous ! Design them to your own specifications and let creativity be your guide.

For more photos see: Mainely My Creations

Linking to Get Your Craft On Tuesday! at Today's Creative Blog and Trash to Treasure Tuesday at Reinvented. It's party time!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Spring in Maine

Spring has sprung in Maine and it's been a beauty - long and dry and warm. Ok, totally unheard of. Many years I have seen snow this late and though it makes one nearly crazy so late in the season, we know it comes with the territory. Putting in crops and gardens is a hold-your-breath process hoping for no frost until we get beyond the benchmark- Memorial Day.
Here's a picture of some of my lupine just starting to bloom. They are no where near where originally planted and not even close to the salmon or yellow hues that were planted in my garden. Lupine in Maine tend to revert back to their native color purple and yes, they do whatever they darn well please. True Mainers.

Take a look at Life of a Mainiac for more signs of spring from the home front.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sounds of Maine

Maine's music has it's own haunting melody blending the sounds of nature with the harmony of gifted Maine musicians.

Cooking Maine Lobster

Ever cooked a lobster? Want to know how? Maine folks have their own way of doing things and cooking "lobstah" isn't any different. Check out Maine Eats.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My Maine Man

This is Lucky! And yes, he is my Maine man and ever-loyal companion. He loves to lounge around. He is so special to me that I've given him his own page in my blog. Like Lucky, it's a work in progress so please visit us often.

Lobster Tales of Maine.....

When I was a kid growing up here in Maine, lobster was a rarity for us. The reason being there were 9 in our family. We didn't live on the coast where lobster were plentiful so when we had it, it was for special occasions. What I remember about my first experiences with lobster were the succulent little legs. Yep, that's what the kids got when we had lobster. I was in my teens before I ever had any meat from the claws or body!

Today, I prefer the packaged meat to shelling my own lobster, but it's a fantastic tradition for many and a real treat for visitors. Learn how to shell and pick a lobster the Maine way here.


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