Monday, January 28, 2008

Yurt Sweet Yurt

I am back from the overnight excursion to the Yurt and have had the time of my life...
Us "Gals" (Alison, Kristine, Michele, Erica, Eileen and Yours Truly) all spent this past Saturday night on Yurt Ridge at the Hidden Valley Nature Conservancy off of the Egypt Road in Jefferson, Maine.

The excursion went a little something like this:

At around 6:00 pm (That's WELL past dark around these parts), Kristine, Michele, Eileen and I hiked out to the yurt to meet Alison and Erica and Erica's wonderful dog Micah (our "protector"), who were already there. This was my first real "hiking" experience AND my first "nighttime" hiking experience, which meant a lot of huffing and puffing, hauling, and headlamps. Very interesting hike out there, as it was supposedly only a "quarter of a mile" to the yurt. Quarter of a mile? Not so much. I used to do at least a quarter of a mile to and from the subway in Boston every day and this was no quarter of a mile: this was my friends lying to me for my own good. But seriously, I would be very interested to know the OFFICIAL distance from the head of the trail to the yurt, because of course every hike seems endless when it's dark and you're carrying a heavy load uphill in the snow to someplace you've never been before.

The yurt itself (once we got there) was lovely. Situated on Yurt Ridge, overlooking a little lake/pond thing and miles and miles of woods, it truly was Yurt Sweet Yurt. Being girls on a girl's weekend, we had our priorities straight and started COOKING. My friend Alison is the world's most amazing cook and we all partook of her dee-lish chicken dumpling stew. The next course was steamed asparagus and mac & cheese, with red wine. This is the crowd I run with: No trail mix for us! When these gals do something, they do it right and in this case, that meant gourmet eats, made all that much better by the HUNGER I built up hiking all the way out there (okay, no more whining about the hike out there, I promise: it really wasn't that bad).

The rest of the night was spent cranking the woodstove, eating MORE yummy food (birthday cake and brownies!!!), toasting each other, howling at the moon and talking the way that ONLY girls can. Mostly, we just appreciated each other's friendship. After we were all stuffed, after many, many "Deliverance" jokes, and after wiggling into those crazy mummy-style sleeping bags, we went to bed sometime after midnight. Yes, midnight!!! Are we cuh-razy or what???

In the morning, after crawling out of bed (or in my case negotiating my way off of the top bunk)and the obligatory cold, cold, early morning trip to the out-house, Alison and Erica made the BEST egg-veggie-bacon-home-fries-cheese-salsa burritos (Four-star, all the way!) for our breakfast. We packed up our stuff, had a nice little surprise visit from the owner of the Conservancy (who, I think, was seeing if "those 6 crazy girls" survived a night in the great outdoors), signed the "Log" Book and went for a snow-shoe hike. Perfectly wonderful weekend.

Now I'm back to my real-life here at the store: well-rested, a little ache-y, but most definitely smelling better (ahhh...bathtub, I love you!!!) No need to send a search party for me. I am now a genuine "outdoors-y" girl and cannot WAIT to get back together with my girls and spend another night in the Yurt Sweet Yurt.

See you soon,


Saturday, January 26, 2008


Hi there everybody.

This is just a little pre-post to let you all know that I'm skipping work this afternoon. I'm going to set off for the great wilderness and spend the night in a yurt with my girlfriends to celebrate our Alison's birthday. I made my Dad (who is the original sensitive, new-age outdoorsman) very happy when I came to him and asked if I could borrow a pair of snowshoes. I swear I saw a little tear in his eye. So, even though the store will be open I will be taking off a wee bit early on this little adventure and I just wanted to leave this little teaser post. The journey will be well documented, well edited (what happens at the yurt stays at the yurt), and Alison's birthday will be well-feted. Just for the record, I've already told the girls that for MY birthday, we are going out for dinner and dancing.

If I haven't posted again by Monday night, please send a search party and one of those Dogs with a barrel of Brandy attached to it's neck.

See you then,



Saturday, January 19, 2008

Here come da Kitchen!

Hello one and all,

As many of you know, I have, for some time now, been living "sans kitchen" and let me tell you, the charm of eating out/mooching off of my friends and family has worn off. I have been keeping perishable items that need to be refrigerated in the unfinished kitchen which is just off of my bathroom. I call this room "The Fridge," because obviously, it's very cold in there. It's uninsulated and until very recently had no windows and consequently was at the mercy of the elements. But don't cry for me, Argentina: this part of the house is completely sealed off from the rest of my house and I am living safe and warm in my little "suite." Well, today, George and my Stepdad J.D. began laying down the floor to my kitchen. I knew something was up when I came back from an early morning meeting in town and saw the freshly delivered boards on my front lawn. As I strolled back in my front door I thought to myself "Ah, I LOVE the smell of lumber in the morning..." especially when said lumber is intended for my kitchen floor.

The rest of the day was a whirlwind of the Quilting-est kind: Private lessons, visitors, lots and lots of customers (It's been nuts lately!!!), people signing up for classes, my little sister asking me if I would take her to lunch, cutting fat quarters, picking out fabrics for people's quilts, answering e-mails, all interspersed with either George or J.D. popping in for a Root Beer and an update on how the floor was coming. Tonight I returned from a shopping trip to Brunswick and couldn't resist a little peeky-peek into the kitchen from the safety of my nice, warm bathroom. I have half a floor, but I feel like a kid at Christmastime who got everything she wanted.

I promise pictures in the near future, but the truth of the matter is that I am so rarely here at my house in the daytime that I never remember to snag a picture. But I know I would regret not having documented the transformation of this house: It has been SLOW as all get out, but thorough. As room by room this place becomes a home I love it more and more.

We are hoping to have our "Grand-Opening" coincide with the Alewives' migration in the spring: in other words, somewhere in between Mother's Day and Father's Day. Wouldn't that be so poetic? It's the perfect time to kick off our particular brand of Quilter's Retreat, so if you know anyone who might be interested in spending a few days quilting in the Mills at a very cute little house, pretty please would you pass the word along?

When it's done (The kitchen, that is) I promise you all freshly baked Chocolate Chip Cookies or some kind of delicious goodness. When it's ALL done (the whole house, that is) I promise a huge shindig to warm the house once and for all. In the meantime, I am content with my half a kitchen floor, because I know the rest can't be far behind.



Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Quilts and the Country

... as opposed to "Sex and the City."

That's right: I went there.

Is it so off track to imagine myself the rural equivalent of Carrie Bradshaw? Particularly so as I sit here in my apartment (okay, it's a house), typing away on my laptop. And I'm totally known for my bad puns. And I do have a HUGE closet full of shoes, only instead of Manolo Blahniks I have a rainbow array of $2 flip flops from Old Navy. Instead of lunch with Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, I go to Tuesday night yoga with Alison, Kristine and Michele.

Who would have thought that the same gals who grew up listening to the New Kids on the Block (which I am SOOO not guilty of, by the way) would also turn out to be avid quilters and want to make there own dresses and curtains? Who would have thought that an Amy Butler bag would be a hotter commodity around these parts than a Louis
Vuitton? That the ladies who watch Grey's Anatomy religiously on Thursday nights would also go and take notes at a Kaffe Fassett lecture? (Okay, THAT I am guilty of). And most of all, who would have EVER predicted that Quilting and Sewing in general would morph from this old-fashioned, antiquated pastime into a trendy, chic and fulfilling hobby. Not me.

The point is, as Carrie would definitely point out, we have it all. We have balanced the crazy, hectic schedule of our lives with this calming, quiet little ritual that also happens to bond people together in a way that most hobbies don't. It doesn't matter what your age or background is- I have seen it happen time and time again at the shop- people who would never otherwise have connected end up bonding over a sewing machine. That leads to talk of music, food and drink, family ties and past loves. And people around here live deceptively juicy lives. NYC has got nothin' on Midcoast Maine, trust me.

Just remember, ladies, I have two simple rules:

What happens at Alewives STAYS at Alewives.

And... don't drink and sew.

Until next time!!!