Thursday, December 31, 2009

Once In A Blue Moon...

Just a fun fact for our New Year Eve...

When you hear someone say "Once in a Blue Moon…" you know what they mean: Rare. Seldom. Maybe even absurd. After all, when was the last time you saw the moon turn blue?

A blue moon occurs when there are two full moons in one month. There was a full moon on December 2nd and there will be a full moon on December 31st. A very rare blue moon for New Year’s Eve! New Years Eve blue moons occur only every 19 years; the next one will come again in 2028.

Happy New Year!

Whatever you may be doing tonight ~ staying in and enjoying the evening with your special someone, joining a crowd at the local bar, or ringing in the New Year at a lively home party, may it be a Happy New Year for you!

Thank you for being part of my blog this past year. It means a lot to me that you come to this little place and read my little blog. You people are truly great! More to come in 2010!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Felted Soaps

My dear friend Launa sent me a wonderful smelling package in the mail. I knew right away that it was something Lavender, I could smell it through the box! Upon unwrapping the package I was delighted to find a beautiful felted bar of lavender soap.

Felted soap is a very cool concept. You cover a bar of soap with fabulous wool fiber, then felt* it, and you have a soap and washcloth all in one! Moisturizing, handmade soaps are wrapped in softly spun, naturally anti-fungal wool to create an exfoliating, fragrantly lathering, long-lasting bath time soap/washcloth all in one. When the soap dissolves, reuse the washcloth by making a small cut and slipping a new bar inside

This is also a great idea for children because the soap doesn't get slippery and slip out of their hands, you don't have to have a separate cloth or scrubby in the bath, and if brightly felted is easy to find in a bathtub of bubbles.

I made felted soap a few years back and my niece just loved her bar of felted soap.As I said above, I have indeed felted soap before, and sold many bars at the farmers market. I even had several customers come back and ask if I had more, a whole year later! And while it is a bit time consuming, they are beautiful to look at, fun to use and I have just been inspired to do it again. Look for my felted soaps soon. Thanks Launa!

* Felting ~ Felting is produced by matting, condensing and pressing woollen fibers together. Hot water and friction is needed to mat these fibers together. You can "felt" an old wood sweater by putting it in a hot water wash. When it comes out of the wash, the fibers have all matted together and you can now cut that sweater without it unraveling. I will use fibers that have not yet been spun into yarn, called roving to felt my soap. These fibers will be laid on top of one another and I will add hot water and friction and the fibers will all lock together! Neat-o!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The 3/50 Project

Have you heard of the 3/50 project?
Their philosophy is pretty basic:
Think of three businesses you'd hate to see disappear, then pop in and say hello....
Pick 3. Spend 50.
Save your local economy.
They are looking for a few more fans to reach 30,000. Join them on Facebook and help them reach their goal for the New Year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Need Some Inspiration?

Martha has "Organizing Tip Of The Day" to inspire you to get it put away, keep it tidy, find it fast. Seems that the New Year always brings out all sorts of feelings of organizing ones life, exercising more, eating healthy. Maybe with the numbers 01/01/10, we just feel it's a clean slate on which to start with.

Holiday Food Part 3

More from my Holiday food menu....

My friend Rick loves stuffed mushrooms and orders them every time we got out to our favorite haunt for dinner. We headed over to Rick and Deede's house for a little Christmas Eve cocktail and appetizer party. I brought delicious little beauties along. They were gone in a snap. I made a second dish at the same time, and saved and served them the next day at Christmas dinner as a side to Roast Beef. De-lish! A bit of a new take on stuffed mushrooms, no breadcrumbs in this dish. Only a few simple ingredients and one shining star, Brie.

This recipe is from my BFF, Pioneer Woman (well, she doesn't know who I am, but I love her just the same)

Here is the link to her page:

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms


1 package White Button Mushrooms, Washed And Stems Removed
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
¼ cups Flat-leaf Parsley, Chopped
4 whole (to 5) Green Onions, Sliced (up To Middle Of Dark Green Part)
Splash Of White Wine (optional)
1 slice (wedge) Of Brie Cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add mushroom caps and toss to coat in butter. Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook for 1 minute. Remove mushrooms from pan and place upside down in a baking dish.
In the same saucepan (without cleaning it) throw in garlic, parsley, and green onions. Sprinkle very lightly with salt and splash in wine, if using. Stir around until wine evaporates, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Cut rind off of brie wedge, then cut pieces of brie to fit each mushroom cap. Place inside, lightly pressing to anchor each piece of brie.

Top mushrooms with parsley/garlic mixture.

Place into the oven for 15 minutes, or until brie is melted.

Note: mushrooms are best when they’ve been allowed to cool slightly. Delicious

And you can buy Pioneer Woman's cookbook on Amazon, it highly recommend it!

End Of Year ~ Time To Take Stock....

(No, this is not my space, merely an inspiration)!

After a whirlwind of a past few weeks, things have settled down a bit and I have taken a long look at the aftermath of these busy busy weeks. A little tidy up is in order as well as a handful of tasks. This week I will be taking end of the year inventory on my soap supplies and finished products, as well as planning lots of new project for 2010, working on my 2010 business plan and much much more.  Time to look at the numbers, take stock of the company direction and accountabilities.

Farmers Markets continue and I will be at Allen, Sterling & Lothrop this Wednesday from 10-2, Rt. 1 Falmouth.

New soaps will be coming soon! Any suggestions for soap fragrances you would like to see/smell? I love hearing from you.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Food Part 2


A French-Canadian tradition, Tourtiere is simply a savory meat pie. While neither I nor my husband or any of our families are French or Canadian, living in Maine, we are pretty close to Canadian. If you read this blog with any regularity or know me personally, you know that I love to cook/bake and new recipes are my thing.  I love to try new things.  We both know several families that cook up this delicious dish each Christmas and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I set out to find and make our own Tourtire!
Some Tourtiere History I have found online:
A tourtière is a meat pie originating from Quebec, usually made with ground pork and/or veal, or beef. It is a traditional part of the Christmas and/or Christmas Eve réveillon and New Year's Eve meal in Quebec, but is also enjoyed and sold in grocery stores all year long
While every region claims to be the birthplace of "real" meat pie, which is traditionally served with a tomato ketchup, the English regime also played a part in its history. Tourtière would come to be known as "Pâté à l'angloise," the red devil's delight, served with a sweet and sour condiment of vegetables and fruit.
Lots of debate, should potatoes be added, and if so, in what proportion? Should they be raw or cooked?
Should it made from beef, pork, veal, game or what is the best combination?
Should the meat be ground or cubed?
And the spices… apart from salt and pepper, should you add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, even sage or thyme?
Some varieties add mushrooms, and there are even vegetarian versions available.
All versions call for a savory spiced filling in a double crust served warm, at room temperature or cold. There are old family recipes that have been passed down generation to generation, and there are folks like me that have found a few recipes and adapted it to her own liking.

This is the recipe I choose.



2 T. Butter
2 T. Olive Oil
1 pound lean ground pork
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 C. chicken Broth
1 1/2 t.salt
1/2 t. dried thyme, crushed
1/4 t. ground sage
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1/8 t. ground cloves (I did not have ground cloves in the pantry! I added about 1/4 t. Allspice for some Holiday flavor)

Your favorite pie crust recipe for a 9 inch double crust pie ~ OR store bought crust.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, melt butter and add olive oil, heat to combine.  Add onions and saute untill soft.   Add garlic and cook only about 1 minute.

Add and combine pork, beef, chicken broth, salt, thyme, sage, black pepper and cloves.

Cook over medium heat until beef and pork is no longer pink and cooked through, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer until meat is completly cooked, about 5-7 minutes.

Spoon the meat mixture into the pie crust. Place top crust on top of pie and pinch edges to seal. Cut slits in top crust so steam can escape. Cover edges of pie with strips of aluminum foil.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Remove foil and return to oven. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until crust is golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before slicing.

Holiday Foods

A blog fan asked me if I had any "special" Christmas food that I had prepared.  Well, yes.  I will post more recipes in the next few days, lets start with this one:

Sherried Carrots


5 lb. Bag Of Carrots
2 Sticks Of Butter
1 C. Of Cooking Sherry


Peel carrots. 

Slice carrots into thin coins, you may slice them on an angle if you want to get a bit fancy.

Melt 2 sticks of butter in large saute pan.

Add sliced carrotts.  Cover saute pan.  If you do not have a cover for this particular pan, use a cookie sheet to cover.  The idea is to cook/steam the carrots in the butter and soften those babies up.

Cook, cook, cook those carrots down.  It should take about 30-40 minutes.  Test for "doneness" and make sure that those carrots are soft. 

Add the 1 Cup of Cooking Sherry and combine with the carrots and butter.  Cook about 5-8 more minutes.

Serve warm, and may easily be re-heated.  Enjoy.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Night AFTER Christmas Party!

I'm headed out....for "sure to be a good time" Night After Christmas Party located at The Frontier Cafe.  This fanstasict place in Brunwick on the Androscoggin River.  Set in a cool, old, 4 story brick mill, the ceilings must reach 20' high.  Windows overlook the river and they offer some fantastic food ~ "Fresh Ingredients, World Flavors and Seasonal Specialties". Tonight they are having Blues & Bluegrass music to continue the Holiday spirit. 

Ft. Andross is the buidling that the Saturday Winter Market where I sell my soaps (Satrudays 9-12:30) is held.  Here is a fantastic write up about the history of Ft. Andross:

For over 300 years, Fort Andross has influenced life along the banks of the Androscoggin River. It has been a trading post for fur trappers, a pre-Revolutionary fort and a bustling textile mill. Fort Andross continues to evolve as life around it changes and today serves as a vibrant hub for professionals, non-profits, artists, craftspeople and a growing number of “creative economy” businesses. The Fort is conveniently located at the base of downtown Brunswick’s Maine Street, within walking distance to Topsham and Bowdoin College and in the heart of the midcoast region. The combination of location, a diverse local and professional community, historic character and spectacular river views made Fort Andross the ideal site to build Frontier’s meeting place.

And the description for tonights "festivities".

"Bring family, friends, or just your jolly self for an evening filled with live blues + bluegrass music, a savory dinner selection, beer + wine specials, and community spirit. Please consider bringing unwanted gifts and Frontier will donate gifts to Toys For Tots, The Salvation Army, and Family Crisis Services. All donated non-perishable food items will be donated to the Tedford Shelter.  We hope you will join us for this special gathering"!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! 
From my house (on the coast of Maine) to yours. 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Candy Land!

Something fun to strive for next year?  I don't know if I will be quite as elaborate as this, but I am on the look out for kitchen themed ornaments.  Next year I would like to have a Christmas tree in the kitchen, all decked out in cookie ornaments and Christmas kitchen themed items. 

Check out the full story of this Candy Land at one of my favorite sites, Bakerella

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last Farmers Market ~ Wednesday Dec. 23rd


It's been a whirlwind of a Holiday Season for me. Making hundreds of bars of soap, labeling them all, sending out packages, fielding desperate phone calls and meeting customers in Shaw's parking lot for a soap delivery, selling at Craft Fairs and Farmers Markets....whew!

I have managed to squeeze in some shopping of my own, trying to support local merchants when I can.  I have also baked a few batches of cookies Martha Stewart's Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share (Martha Stewart Living Magazine) some new recipes from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl as well as attended a great neighborhood party and walked away with an awesome Yankee Swap gift, a Wine Bottle Pepper Mill!   You can find it here: Marlux 9-3/4-Inch Red Wine Bottle Pepper Mill .  I have another party tonight, a Pot Luck/Yankee Swap at the bakery where I work.  Hoping that maybe I come home with something like this Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients, or this And Winter Came (by Enya) or I would even take this Twilight (Two-Disc Special Edition) !  What fun we have at our Yankee swap,
you just never know what will be there and after a few cocktails and a lovely meal, it is all great!

There is one more chance for you to shop for soap....Wednesday we are having an extended Farmers Market in Falmouth and are calling it (are you ready?) The Festival Of The Last Minute! Come to Allen, Sterling & Lothrop on Rt. 1 Falmouth from 10-3 for all sorts of last minute gifts. There will of course be plenty of soap for you to choose from as well as knit items, yarns, pottery, baked goods, teas, specialty Olive Oils and much more. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Glimpses Of The Winter Market

Here are a few recent photos I took of some of the fantastic items you can find at the Winter Farmers Markets.

Hand dyed Alpaca yarns in shades that will make you want to learn how to knit!

My friend Jeanette's dehydrated vegan raw granola! It is sooo good. She uses all super fantastic ingredients, organic and fresh. She offers samples too....

Super chubby and short carrots! Too cute and soo orange!

Cranberry plants! That's right, buy and plant your own Cranberry plants and maybe you will someday be in competition with Ocean Spray!

Beautiful wood scarf/shawl/wrap holder. Simply artfully wrap yourself in your hand knit shawl and secure it in place with this gorgeous all wood "pin"! How clever!

Yummy red skinned onions from Jillson's Farm.

And this is what is happening right next to me! My fellow Farmers Market vendor Cordelia is spending her time at market spinning wool fibers into yarn! The colors she spins each week are just so beautiful, see that lovely blue on the bobbin?

Crisp , fresh and beautifully green heads of cabbage.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Soap For Gift Giving....

(Oh! And that above is a glimpse of my new soap labels! Everyone is loving them!)

Soap makes a great gift! Everyone uses it (we hope), it doesn't have any calories, it "goes away" meaning it doesn't sit on a shelf and collect dust, it's great for men & women, young & old.

Just a reminder that you can find soap at these locations....

Maine Wreath & Flower ~ Freeport

Lisa Marie's Made In Maine Gift Shop ~ Bath

The Vegetable Corner ~ Brunwick

In Good Hands ~ Bucksport

Farmers Fare ~ Rockport

BUT, If you want the best selection, see me at the Farmers Market on Saturday at Ft. Andross 9-12:30. Or call/email/send me a message via carrier pigeon and I will met you some where for a soap delivery.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Soap Growing Pains....

More soaps on the way! I have some on the shelves curing and I am frantically making more just for you to use as stocking stuffers, gfits for your family members, co-workers, hair dresser, mail carrier, secret Santa, teacher or to treat yourself this Holiday season.

I had a very very successful craft show at North Yarmouth Acadamy on Saturday December 5th and was just about wiped out of soap. I had to place an emergency call to "The Captain" (my husband) at 11:00 to bring me more soap. I didn't even have any soaps labeled at home for him to bring, so he had to bring along printed labels, tape, scissors and more so I could label soaps in between customers. He was even given special double parking privileges as he entered the parking lot and explained to the attendant that he was delivering an emergency supply of soap to his wife. I was thrilled and overwhelmed that this was happening to me, and didn't want to disappoint my customers. I started out with 28 variety's of soap to choose from, by the end of the craft fair, the last customers had only about 12 fragrances left to sniff. I had to turn away a few friends that wanted to buy soap. They saw what was happening and volunteered to not buy soap at the craft fair so I would have enough for the customers. In turn I had to promise that I would met up with them sometime in the next week so they could do their shopping.

I have a few wholesale orders to fill and have been sending out mail order packages as well. It has been a busy start to the Holiday season!

If you are local, you can still find me at Ft. Andross on Maine St. Brunswick on Saturday mornings from 9-12:30.

Ordering online? Please understand that I may be very low or out of your favorite fragrance. I underestimated the surge of soap purchases this season. A growing pain, for sure. But a welcome one.

Thank you all for your support!

Cheddar Biscuits

You should really try to make these biscuits. I mean it. They are just way too good to not make. With just a little work on your part, fresh herbs (they make all the difference) and your food processor, you can have these delicious melt in your mouth, tangy cheese, slightly crumbly, melt in your mouth (did I already say that?) biscuits. I paired them with a potato soup last Wednesday night. My husband requested that these be put at the top of list of most awesome things I cook/bake.


For the

Cooking spray
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons
baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons
1/4 teaspoon
3 tablespoons
vegetable shortening, at room temperature
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 ounces grated yellow cheddar
cheese (about 1 1/4 cups)
3/4 cup whole

For the garlic butter:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley


Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Lightly mist a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Make the biscuits:

Pulse the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a food processor.

Add the shortening and pulse until combined.

Add the butter; pulse 4 or 5 times, or until the butter is in pea-size pieces.

Add the cheese and pulse 2 or 3 times.

Pour in the milk and pulse just until the mixture is moistened and forms a shaggy dough.

Turn out onto a clean surface and gently knead until the dough comes together. Do not overwork the dough or the biscuits will be tough.

Using a biscuit cutting or a drinking glass, cut the biscuits into rounds and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart, and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the garlic butter:

Melt the butter with the garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.

Brush the biscuits with the garlic butter when they come out of the oven. Serve warm. Yum!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

NYA Holiday Craft Fair This Saturday, December 5th

I will be selling at one of the best craft fairs in the area this Saturday December 5th. The North Yarmouth Academy Holiday Craft Fair! Hope to see you there....


It is AWESOME for holiday shopping! I barely had a moment to check out the fair last year, but shopped just from the 4 booths directly in my area for 5 people last year!

"The North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) Parents' Association will host the Annual Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, December 5, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in North Yarmouth Academy's gymnasium (154 Main Street) and Safford Center cafeteria (148 Main Street) in Yarmouth. This annual event is held in conjunction with a town-wide holiday celebration. Over sixty vendors from across the state will present a diverse variety of crafts including artwork, photography, jewelry, candles, soap, alpaca products, blown glass, woodworking and much more. Enjoy a sit-down lunch at the NYA Cafe and listen to holiday music by the NYA Chorus. Gift wrap service is available. Money raised from booth rental fees will help support NYA teacher grant requests".