Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The beauty of raw

My husband has so often pointed out how hard it is to put a finger on my taste. This is something I take as a compliment. I am here to declare, my taste is raw! I love anything that is not mass manufactured, that has that wonderful patina given to it by years gone by without the traditional look, something that shows all the personality and love of the creator of the piece. In other words, handcrafted with a personality and imperfections showing, without being cute. Have a hard time with cute. It's just not my thing unless it is coming from my kids. Today, I looked through my favorites on Etsy and re-discovered some old favorites that I would love to share with you. These are shops that feature the style that I love the most and I am in awe of these artisans' work. Please take a moment to check out their shops.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The simple life

One would think that living in the woods of Maine, there would not be a whole lot to do and we would spend every night in front of the tube. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, we do not watch TV other than the occasional DVD or Discovery show online. When we moved into our house over a year ago, the choice of not having cable TV was the first one made. This equals more quality family time and more time for our crafts, although it seems lately there is not enough time for that either. Funny, I used to be a globetrotting big city girl who couldn't get enough of the clubs and concerts but although I had fun back then, I wouldn't trade this for the world.
The kids are growing and developing so much it is hard to keep up. My little boy Leif went from alternating crawling and walking to running and throwing himself at the end goal, especially if it involves food. My daughter Cecilia is growing more beautiful by the day and I see heaven when I look into her eyes. She is bi-lingual and translates for her daddy whenever he cannot understand what she says in Swedish. She is only 3 years old an I don't want her to ever grow older...
The love of my life, Nathan, is working way more than anyone should have to for me to stay home with the kids but he still manages to make some beautiful pieces on the lathe and work on the house. Cecilia loves to hang out with her pappa in his shop and play with 3" "boards" while he turns pens.
Our garden is still pretty much weed free, thanks to erosion control mulch (way cheeper than the normal stuff) and the tomatos, lettuce and squash are doing fantastic considering all the rain and lack of sun rays we have had in the past few months. I made some tomato cages out of branches the other day by bending the shorter branches into loops. I am loving the organic look and if I were a tomato plant I would much prefer wood to aluminum.
So here is the week in photos. From the top: Leif and Bullseye, Cecilia and the vegetable garden, Nate's latest bowl available in his shop and my latest carnelian earrings.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A different kind of refuge

Although I live in a regular house now, there was a time when my husband and I considered buying a yurt. A what? A yurt. Some of you may have heard of them and they have become quite the fad in vacationing retreats. Originally used by Central Asian nomads, this semi-permanent tent is a very comfortable but simple option to a traditional house. Very efficient on heat and keeps quite cool in the summer, it is affordable and can be built in a week or less. The only drawback is the financing. It is extremely difficult to get a home loan for a yurt and many insurance companies will not cover it. Yet, someone who owns a piece of land and has a chunk of cash stashed away in their mattress ($15000+) can buy themselves a humble home or vacation retreat.

The base models only cover the basics but there are yurts with amazing sunroofs and add on wings for more space. Years ago we talked to a yurt owner in Maine who only spent about $200 on wood per year to heat his family and said all they needed to keep it cool in the summer was the ceiling fan or simply opening up the windows.

Yurts have been around for a long time but it is only recently that many popular hiking and outdoor retreats are offering stays in yurts as an option to their regular camping or lodges. It is quite affordable to them and it provides the tourist an experience like no other. The canvas walls offer a closeness to nature that is hard to find in anything other than a tent. I must admit, the thought of constantly hearing every cricket and coyote in a ten mile radius was not all that appealing to me. As much as I am a child of nature, I do enjoy complete silence from time to time. However, I am hoping to own one in the not so far off future to be used as a studio and guest house or just a secondary home for us.

Here is a list of some of the best quality yurt manufacturers as well as a few of the many vacation retreats using yurts.

Colorado Yurt
Rainer Yurts
Pacific Yurts- a favorite of mine
Mindful Yurts- a little more luxurious in wood

Snohomish parks, WA
American River, CA
The Montana Dinner Yurt
Rocky Mountains
Naha Bay Alaska
Flagstaff, AZ
Brownfield, ME
Catskill Mountains, NY
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

Fun Yurt resource:
Living in the round