Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Food Renegades Unite

On my best days I follow a grain-free diet for digestive health & wellness,
and while browsing websites for grain-free recipes, I recently stumbled upon
this upbeat and grain-free savvy food blog : Food Renegade.

I love their poster invitation/declaration:
Our band of miscreants dares to challenge
politically correct nutrition. We love BUTTER,
grassfed & wild meats, raw and fermented foods 
(including RAW MILK), and local organic veggies.
Our heroes are farmers, teachers, poets, and homemakers.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Latest Etsy find:

I'm just adoring this handmade find on Etsy:
An army green doily rug - wow - need I say more? 
- just envisioning this in my bathroom, asap:

Friday, July 1, 2011


This is terribly cool: Unbound: Now books are in your hands...
Go ahead, make a book happen!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Canelle et Vanille cookbook bliss

I am so excited to have found this food blog and the gorgeous photos and tantalizing recipes from Canelle et Vanille. It's obvious Aran and her family live a sweet, good life — when I browse these
pages I feel inspired by Aran's blissful creations and I want to echo a lot of that heaven with my
own family. Her first cookbook will be published by Little, Brown & Company in the fall of 2012!

Nostalgic and oozing with summer ripeness, these photographs and the dishes Aran has created
are magical — in that way that magic becomes real when infusing everything you make (or do)
with authenticity, love, beauty, and wonder.

Just brimming with sunlight and fresh breezes, sweet or tart, savory, pungent or spicy, each dish
makes a seriously mouth-watering statement! Best of all — they're Gluten Free!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Belfast is Hip!

Belfast is growing, confirming our decision to settle here in the Midcoast (and not to go back to live in Portland), we've got the mountains and the sea, and hip towns all around!

A wall at City Drawers, a new underwear store on Main Street in Belfast, displays perfumes and accessories for sale. The shop is one of more than 40 that have opened or expanded in Belfast in the last year.

A wall at City Drawers, a new underwear store on Main Street in Belfast, displays perfumes and accessories for sale. The shop is one of more than 40 that have opened or expanded in Belfast in 
the last year.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Felted acorns from Maine oak trees

I've been sneaking into my neighbor's garden (okay, he wouldn't really care, would he?)
and gathering up last year's acorn "caps" from beneath a bunch of oak trees.

Then I tote them home, wash them all in hot water and a little veggie oil to shine them
up a little.... and then I needle-felt little oval balls with colorful wool roving to make acorns:
New life with all natural ingredients!

sunny summer salad - I love this dressing

I love this dressing for a sunny summer salad tossed with cukes, carrots, Boston lettuce, peapods, shrimp, and vermicelli noodles:
  • crushed clove of garlic
  • crushed chili pepper
  • teaspoon of honey
  • teaspoon of Thai fish sauce
  • teaspoon of Ume plum vinegar
  • half of a squeezed lime
  • a handful of: chopped mint, basil, chives, and cilantro
If you make this, Enjoy!


What I have been making lately:
Darling little baby blankets from upcycled 100% cashmere sweaters. So soft and sweet,
and adorned with needle-felted hedgehogs, mushrooms, acorns, and flowers.

Why upcycle wool sweaters? Because I am not a great knitter, BUT I love wool fiber,
and sweater material is not sold by the yard. SO.... I make an eco-choice: I take old
sweaters, felt them by washing them in a hot water bath, and then I re-purpose them:
I cut them up, up, and up, and then I sew, sew, and sew the pieces into new creations.

Must be my persnickety-ness, but I love to cut cashmere squares for patchwork!

Needle-felted Hedgie close-up...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Erin Flett - textiles

I just discovered this Maine textile designer, Erin Flett. Her bold, colorful pillows are pure fun! Gotta go to Etsy and check them out some more. — Enjoy browsing Erin's work!

Return to Fabulism? - I say it never left....

I just read this article on the Guardian:

Does Téa Obreht's Orange prize signal a return to fabulism?

Fabulists are authors of fables. Fabulism is a term used to describe books of Magical Realism written by authors who are not Latin. And as far as I can see it, fabulism never left. Books infused with magic and surreal elements blending with a realistic atmosphere are everywhere and loved by many. It's a world phenomenon to seek magic and enchantment in our lives, and a very healthy perspective for all cultures. I say, keep reading and championing Fantasy in Fiction! 

To see that fabulism is still alive, a few authors of mention: Catherynne Valente, and Elizabeth Hand, who both live in Maine! See also Little Hands Clapping by Dan Rhodes. Please comment if you have other authors to suggest.


We're really digging the BBC Masterpiece Theater series Sherlock.

It's Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson's adventures in 21st Century London!
Equally mysterious, funny, stylish, and gripping, it's a contemporary remake
of the Arthur Conan Doyle classic. The two actors play their roles to perfection.
It's great watching the decadent, yet brilliant, Sherlock obsessively using his skills
(powers) of Scientific Deduction to solve London crimes.

We're anxiously awaiting the next batch of shows!

(BTW: the actor Martin Freeman who plays Watson has been cast in Tolkien's  
The Hobbit, directed by Peter Jackson. Freeman seems an excellent choice
to follow in Ian Holm's hairy-hobbit-footed steps!)

Upcycled Wool Sweater Cottages

My latest creations: sweet little soft sculpture cottages made from repurposed
wool sweaters. (Some come with bunting pennant flags hung along their facades.)
These look great propped alone on a shelf - all pert and winking at you. Even better,
they love nestling all in a row as a stylish little village (many, many winks).The colors
and wool patterns were great fun to put together. They are hand-stitched, stuffed
with carded sheep's wool, and have a tiny Maine beach stone embedded inside.

Plush softie abodes for your eco-home pleasure:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another lovely handcrafted-in-Maine company to indulge in:  Pleasant River Soap Company.
With scents like: Fennel Poppy, Lemongrass, Lime Rosemary, and Maine Woods,
I can't decide which of these all natural soaps I want to try first!
Gorgeous branding / packaging design... (can't help noticing that.)

Celebrate Maine and get clean while you're at it! Well, get dirty first. It's that time of year, lots of gardening going on: hands and knees not quite spic and span these days, right?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Down on our beach for spring...

It's so wonderful to be all together on our lovely beach with baby G in the spring.

All the familiar bits of the beach are there as usual, 
and yet the scene is altered in that wonderful way 
that only the shifting tides can create: Sand drifts 
are shaped anew, and rocks and washed-up logs 
have stationed themselves with new dynamics. 
There's bright sea glass poking out from the grey 
shale to collect, and new flat rocks for Punky Rowan 
to paint. Can't wait now for warmer weather for swimming 
and to bask in the sultry sun-drenched sand by the 
dappled aqua water and get into some serious seaside 
day dreaming.... 

Darling Gwyneth is 6 months old

Here is the 6-month-old birthday girl with 
lovable Calamity "Clamcakes" as we call her - 
our 15-year-old tuxedo cat.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Punky Rowan got a new kitten for Easter. 
She named her Sukie. Adorable:


You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces -
just good food, from fresh ingredients.
   -Julia Child

Soon I hope to own this book:

Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen

The author Amy Pennington buys everything in bulk and stores them in glass jars. This is my goal too; little by little I hope to turn all my pantry shelves into bulk storage and canning jar havens. I would use these awesome Weck jars too.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Here at House of Rowan we're all mad about the
Moomins and we cherish every one of Swedish-Finnish
novelist Tove Jansson's delightful books. But it doesn't stop with
just reading MoominTales, no, we love to collect Moomintrolls!

And I just found these Moomin kitchen tea towels, hurrah!
You can browse them all here.
(I especially love Little My and Snuffkin) :

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


 Punky Rowan and I have been sewing quirky little 
chicks for Easter with upcycled wool sweaters and 
stuffed with wool scraps. We got the how-to from this 
book: The Sweater Chop Shop, by Crispina Ffrench.

So many to make though! But fun!

Happy Easter! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

this may be of interest...

With more and more families determined to bringing self-sufficiency and living off the land
into their lives, here's a smart-looking series of books dedicated to Homemade Living:

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