A Recap of Fiber College and Maine

What a whirlwind this trip has been.  I drove home to Rowe last night, leaving at 6:30 after class (and picking up lobster and clams).  I arrived about 11:30.

This was my first foray into the “fiber” world and all I can really say is it was interesting.  I find it amusing the style of dress “creative” people wear.

My first day (Thursday) I took a book binding class with Anna Low of Purplebean Bindery.  We made Buttonhole bound books.  They are brilliant in their simplicity.

IMAG0890Anna was a great teacher and we each made two beautiful books that lie flat when they are open (always a plus for me).  There were 10 of us in the class and it’s always such a joy to spend time with other creative people.

IMAG0889The class got out early – around 3:30 so I decided to take a drive up Route 1 and see more of Maine.  I rounded a corner coming into the Penobscot River crossing and saw the new bridge.  It defies description really.  Beautiful to look at, creepy to drive across (that could just be my own bridge phobia talking).  I went into Bucksport and all I could think about was that bridge.  I looked it up when I got back to my room and decided to spend my free Friday morning at Fort Knox State Park and ride to the observatory at the top.  That, my friends, will have to be another post.

Friday afternoon I had a class on making scarf pins with Cindy Kilgore.  The class was a couple of hours and was crowded, hot and sooooo much fun!  Did I mention it was loud?  Picture 7 women at a plastic banquet table pounding 12 gauge brass wire with a ball peen hammer on small square metal bench anvils.  Yeah, loud.

130906 Scarf Pins

Cindy was a fun, patient teacher.  She explained things really well and by the time I was done I felt really comfortable with the design possibilities and was pleased with my pins.  Not the best photograph but you get the idea.

Saturday I had two classes, one in the morning, one later in the afternoon.

The first class was with Tom Cote, a wood carver from northern Maine.  What an amazing guy.


Tom was an art teacher for 30 years teaching grades K-12.  You could tell, he was talented and could tell a story and keep you interested all while you were sanding little pieces of wood.  This class was all about making buttons and closures out of found objects.  The closures I made were out of a stick picked up off of the ground in the campground, a wooden bobbin from a weaving mill and a chunk of wood cut from scraps in his wood shop.  It was really all about seeing things around you in a different way.  Almost everything was done with a coping saw, sandpaper and a drill.  A little oil and you have yourself a button.

IMAG0976This photo doesn’t do these buttons justice – but I took it on my fleece jacket on the ground outside of the tent so it is what it is.  They are beautiful.

My last class was with Jennifer Carson.  I’ve been following Jennifer for quite a while now, I love her art and especially her creature creations.  I’ve made stuffed bears and dolls for years but decided to take her class because it had to do with design.  It was great fun with a lot of very funny women.  I have found over the years that doll makers are one of the best groups to hang out with.  We all make up back stories for our dolls as they are created – great fun.

IMAG0984This was an exercise in creating from scratch.  We started with a pencil and piece of paper and everyone ended up with a head.  I love doll making for this reason, you really don’t know what you’re going to end up with – it evolves.  A lot of techniques were used in this and the wool felt it the perfect medium – very forgiving.

This half week getaway was a lot of fun.  I met a lot of great people from all over the U.S. (yes, people travel all over just to go to these things).  Each and every one was creative with a need to learn and share.  The location was amazing, right on the shore.  If you needed a quiet spot it was only a few hundred yards away.  This is the kind of event that sends participants home re-energized and ready to create something new and unexpected.  It takes away the fear of the unknown.  You learn that anything taken in small simple steps can be accomplished.



This trip has been interesting is many unexpected ways. When we were kids our family went on vacation one week a year and very often it took us up the coast of Maine.
As I was driving up Rte. 95 the towns in which we had stopped passed by as nothing but roadsigns and memories – Kittery, Brunswick, Wisscasett.
I’m not sure why but I feel like we often stopped at odd obscure places. It could be because my father always had far flung interests, most of which I didn’t realize were odd until I was far into adulthood. Or my mother had a healthy sense of humor that would take us to places like Perry’s Nut House.  I’m wondering what makes someone stop at a place like that.
Since it’s next door to the place I’m staying I think I will find out. This is a place we all remember, maybe only for its name. It’s probably been almost 50 years since I set eyes on it but its name has been in our storytelling forever.
With any luck I’ll be able to report a fantastic experience and perfectly good reason why this has been part of our vacation history. I have a sneaking suspicion that most of it has to do with the name.

I’m So Done with Peaches


It’s been a busy few days.  Lots of canning this past weekend in spite of the hot, humid weather.  I always think if being way too hot when I’m canning, it’s the nature of the beast.

The canning marathon began Sunday morning with a large bowl of tomatoes.   The photo looks like it’s all yellow but it was half plum as well.

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These little tomatoes are bursting with flavor, one of my favorites and the plants are extraordinarily prolific.  There is always a bowl of these on the counter to munch on as you’re walking by.

I made the sauce highly spiced with homemade pesto and oregano (and lots of garlic of course).  It was cooked down to be rather thick and then I canned it in small jars (2/3 cup).  You never need much sauce when you make pizza and this just made more sense to me – that and the fact that I had two dozen of these cute little jars.

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Monday I wove and finished my scarf for the Big E.  That took a good part of the day.  It was hot, humid and rainy.  We invited friends over for dinner so the only thing I did outdoors was dig potatoes for dinner.  I also picked peppers and put them in to dehydrate. They were there overnight.  Before going to bed I went online and saw Apex Orchards had put out an APB about an overrun of peaches so I knew what I would be doing in the morning.

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Yes, peaches.  Lots of peaches.  I picked them up around 9:00 and started in as soon as I returned.  This wasn’t the best peach experience I have ever had.  They didn’t peel as well as I would have liked so it was slow going.  I managed to put up 15 pints and with half a box to go I decided to make a little jam.

130903 Peaches (2)I had picked up this new pectin at the orchard and was hot to try it out.  One of the reasons I don’t make much jam is the amount of sugar that has to go into it, this made more sense to me.  I made a jam with peaches, honey and ginger.  It smelled heavenly while it was cooking and what little was left in the pan tasted great.  The thing with jam is it sometimes takes a while to jell up.  By the time I left the house last night it wasn’t looking too thick. I figured I would give it a couple of days to see if it would be thick enough to spread on my toast.  If not it’ll just go into my oatmeal or yogurt.  Mmmmmm, Honey Ginger Peach yogurt, how good does THAT sound!

By the time the afternoon was over I was sooo over peaches.  Canning fruit also calls for serious cleaning – everything was sticky, including the floor.  This may be why peaches are one of the few fruits I put up.  The next will be pears but not until November.  I need a couple of months to recover.

130903 Peaches (3)I will be leaving for Fiber College in Searsport, ME this afternoon.  I’m not sure how much time will be devoted to blogging but I will make an attempt.  All I really want to do is smell and walk along the ocean and eat lobster but I may be coerced into doing a little crafting while I’m there.