Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Help a local artist (that would be yours truly) support local (that would be Maine) farmers!!!

After featuring this watercolour design in a recent post I suddenly had the bright, sparkling idea of using it to actually help Maine farmers. I headed downtown here in Belfast and went to the offices of MAINE FARMLAND TRUST and suggested that I donate 30% of my profits from this particular design at my Cafe Press online store. I am thrilled to tell you that they accepted this idea and here we are, Bob's yer uncle and off we jolly well, here's my little ad for such...


Belfast artist, Patricia Shea, is donating 30% of the profits from her illustration "Created by Mother Nature, Nurtured by Local Farmers" for one year to MAINE FARMLAND TRUST a statewide organization that works with landowners, land trusts, farm groups, towns and state agencies to identify and preserve valuable agricultural land so that it will forever remain available for agriculture.
Established in 1999 Maine Farmland Trust's mission is to:
1. Protect and preserve Maine's farmland
2. Keep agricultural lands working
3. Support the future of farming in Maine

Patricia's illustrations have been featured on gift ware in Bloomingdale's and Macy's and now, by visiting her online store at www.cafepress.com/patriciashea and purchasing items such as tote bags (see below), mugs and t-shirts with the featured illustration, you can help support Maine Farmland Trust. Patricia is hoping through her artwork she will help this admirable mission.

Here are some things you can do to keep Maine farms growing:

1. Support your local farmers: Shop at roadside stands, farmer's markets, greenhouses and pick-your-own operations.
2. Ask your grocer to stock locally produced food (saves gas miles too!!)
3. Use local produce for community events and meals.
4. Encourage the purchase of local food supplies for school lunch programs
5. Become a member of MAINE FARMLAND TRUST. Support from individuals like you are critical to the Trust's continued success.

(See my post on June 10th...a ways down... for more info on the illustration...thanks!!!)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Proclaim your love of cupcakes to the driving masses!!!

For all you crazed cupcakes lovers out there the bumper sticker of your dreams has arrived at my online store...please click here www.cafepress.com/patriciashea to procure your proclamation .

Thank you!!!!

PLUS...I missed the first "Mid-Coast Maine Iron Cupcake Challenge"
Honestly what kind of fool am I to have missed this? Actually the kind of fool who was helping her partner gold leaf on another all day rainfest here in Maine!!
The Iron Cupcake Challenges are a great idea for crazy bakers to get together and make themselves sick by eating vast amounts of varied flavour cupcakes by many and sundry other crazy bakers. Each month a flavour theme is given out and you come up with a recipe, then make the requisite amount of cupcakes and show up at the designated time and place and off you go eating cupcakes to your little heart's content. You do have to sign up for the challenge...IRON CUPCAKE CHALLENGE.
Well here are the two delights I missed out on yesterday...only two bakers showed but it was a grim day and it was the first and we are in underpopulated Mid-Coast Maine afterall....the winner was Anna from VerysmallAnna with Lemon Chamomile Tea cupcakes with Blueberry Chamomile filling and Honey Lemon buttercream (faint!!) and the runner up was Carrie from Fieldsofcake with Lavendar Vanilla Bean Red Velvet Cupcakes with Lavendar Bean Custard and Lavendar Buttercream (double faint!!!)
I consider myself as daft as a brush for missing this but have declared come hell or high water" I WILL BE AT THE NEXT CHALLENGE"...join me if you dare!! Details will be at Carrie's blog...click above or here at Fields

Monday, July 13, 2009

Delphiniums, blueberries and the haunting scent of milkweed!

For the longest time I thought I didn't like delphiniums and I have to admit it was a prejudice against the name....I made the assumption that the name alluded to some kind of leafy aspidistra looking Victorian foliage-y plant in a big heavy urn in a darkened overly wallpapered room...was I wrong or WHAT!! I am now in love with delphiniums...they are so beautiful, regal and gorgeously coloured in the white, blue, lavendar and lilac pallette. Admittedly my poor delphiniums have been labouring sadly to grow this season what with the unending rain, drizzle, mist, mizzle, fog, thunderstorms and torrential downpours we have been experiencing here in Maine for the last six weeks...yes that does say SIX weeks...very little sun has been glimpsed until about 4 days ago and as a result my plants are leggy and bendy and generally well behind where they should be at this time of the year. I was beginning to think the 'delphs' had no chance at all but they sallied forth and turned into these beauties you see above...they are a little thin and spindly but they are still breathtaking..... and I will never assume again I don't like them because of their glum sounding name...naughty moi!!
The blueberries have not faired well either...I just took this photo on the barren next to our house today and as you can see there are some absolutely full and ripe berries right next to ones which have barely begun to grow...the weather has caused them to ripen very unevenly...they are still beautiful though aren't they?
Now here's a happy bunch..............
...and look at this for textile design inspiration, I did design a blueberry t-shirt for a company here in Maine a few years ago...they were a delight to paint but quite a hard colour to capture because of their bloom...again you can see the uneveness of the ripening.
And here we have milkweed, an unassuming little weed (except that it is toxic and monarch caterpillars dote on it!!!).....quite pretty in it's subtle colouration and beautiful globe like flowers...what is special about this plant is the scent...I have left a whole pod of it to grow around one of James' sculptures and the scent wafting through the house is gorgeous...heady and old-fashioned and very evocative, reminds me of the Yardley scents I grew up with...do any Brits know what I am talking about?? I wish we had smellorama here on the blog!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My little town Belfast, Maine anka (also now known as) Chicken Village!!!

Here is a design I did on spec a few years ago for my 'dinnerware' portfolio. I used to develop a portfolio of designs 'in the round' which I then took down to my tabletop (any item that goes on a tabletop...plates, mugs, glassware etc) clients in New York with the hopes of the design being purchased for use on ceramic or porcelain ware....unfortunately this design was left an orphan so I recently decided to recycle it into a celebration of the colourful history of my wonderful town Belfast, Maine.

So here is the reworked design in all it's strutting glory!!

Belfast, Maine is an excellent coastal 'village' at the top of Penobscot Bay, and a wonderful place to live. In the 'olden' days it was a shipbuilding port and Belfast area shipyards built more than 600 sailing vessels during the mid-19th century. It was indeed named after Belfast, Northern Ireland where shipbuilding was also a very important trade.
By the 1950s poultry, sardine and potato companies had set up processing plants along the waterfront. Belfast called itself the “Broiler Capital of New England” and each July thousands came to eat barbequed chicken on 'Broiler Day'. The first 'Broiler Day' was July 10th 1948 and there were 2,000 people in attendance. Learn more about the history of Belfast, Maine at the
Belfast Historical Society and Museum
Celebrate Belfast with a t-shirt from my online store
...or a BBQ apron
...or a mug that says "Greetings from Chicken Village, Maine"