Monthly Archives: December 2012

Coffee Grounds to Ground posted this small-pond project. I don’t know why, but this snowy weather has me thinking about spring projects…

Ground to Ground

Build a pond for frogs or fish or fun

If you want to get the most from your garden, then find a place for a pond or two.

Not only can you use a pond to attract frogs and beneficial insects; water is a very effective place to grow food, and according to those involved in an aquaculture, more effective than a soil based equivalent.

This article is not about the benefits of incorporating water into your garden, but rather a practical guide on how to build a pond with car or truck tires. Having done this twice now, I can point out some of the things done wrong along the way, and hopefully step you in the right direction.

But first, let’s take a moment to admire the finished product (just click on that arrow to start the video):

Choosing the Correct Tyre

The first step is to get…

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A Winter Solstice Wish

Peace, Love, Joy

Dear Reader:

On this day of Solstice, when we celebrate light returning to our world, I send out a wish. I wish for a societal shift toward rejecting violence and embracing, instead, kindness and respect and love.

I started here in my house by deciding NOT to finish watching a TV series. The other night Hubby and I sat mute as a fictional FBI agent pulled out a gun, took a prisoner out of his SUV, pushed him up against the vehicle, and shot him in the neck and body five or six times. The prisoner was unarmed and cooperative. Blood splattered, and I asked myself, Why would I want to watch this? How does this enhance my life? What message is this sending to kids who are watching it?

I don’t care if it is “make believe” or “just a story.” Stories are a wrapping in which we package our values and give them, like a gift, to the world. Perhaps it is time we think about those values and begin to question whether or not our music, games, movies, television, books, and art represent the values our higher selves hold dear.

I challenge each of you to think about your values as we enjoy the holiday season. What is most important to you? Family, spirituality, education, earnings, possessions, art, beauty, environment, health, love? What values lift you up? What values lift up an entire community?

When it is time to chose a movie, a music album, a video game, an activity, ask yourself which of your choices best reinforces your values. Reject the ones that do not. Embrace those that do. In this way we can signal our values to our entertainers, to our creatives, and most important, to our children.

In the coming year, I will strive to signal that I do not value violence. I do not think it is heroic or admirable or even brave, only justifiable for self-protection as a last resort.

Pre-emptive violence? Nuh-uh. Not anymore. It is time for a new way of thinking.

I believe it is time for our society to have this conversation about values, starting with an internal dialogue and expanding outward to family, community, state, country, and the world. What do you think?

I (Heart) Snow Days

I (heart) Snow Days

Dear Reader:

We had a little snow covering the ground this morning, and it felt like the kind of day to sit beside the fire with a good book. I didn’t quite manage such a relaxing day, but I CAN recommend a good book to read this winter. Maine writer, Bill Roorbach’s LIFE AMONG GIANTS. (Buy it at your locally-owned bookstore!)

This is a big book, a giant book. Big themes of love and family and longing…so much longing. Big characters. Tall, yes, but also big in scope and heart and personality. Big houses with lots of doors and corridors and secret rooms hidden away. David “Lizard” Hochmeyer, a tall and talented high school football player becomes enchanted with the famous dancer, Sylphide, living next door in a big house, a mansion. Lizard’s parents are murdered because of his dad’s dealings with a crooked boss possibly (likely) involved with the mob, but we don’t know if, how, or why Sylphide is somehow involved. Lizard ends up playing pro football for the Miami Dolphins and later becomes a restauranteur. There is so much here. It is the kind of book to read slowly, to savor.

This would be my ideal day: cozy flannel pajamas, a fur throw, coffee, a great book, soothing music, snow falling, roaring fire, and a scented candle. What about you?

I Wear Double-Knit

Goodwill Fashion Dec 2012

Goodwill Fashion Dec 2012

Dear Reader:

So, I was sort of making fun on my mother a little while ago because back in the 1970’s she sewed a gown out of mint-green double-knit polyester. It was for a church choir concert.

“I thought that dress was pretty,” she said.

“I guess it was,” I said. “But double-knit polyester?”

If you were born after 1980, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Click HERE to see some examples.

As you, my dear readers know, I am trying to buy all my clothes locally this year. Since I am frugal (cheap), I don’t get to the specialty shops in downtown Portland or Falmouth too often, but I DO frequent the Biddeford and Gorham, Maine Goodwill stores. Amazing to me, I am finding a new willingness to go out on a limb, fashion-wise, since the clothes are so inexpensive, the stuff you find in there is eclectic to say the least, and I have fun shopping. I never used to have fun shopping. This is a revelation!

Today, for example, I bought vintage double-knit slacks. At least, I think they are vintage. They are constructed differently than today’s pants, the stitching seems different, too. They are stretchy, high-waisted, and comfortable with a “made in the USA” label on it. I’m guessing 70’s, but they are in good shape so who knows.

Not a bad fit, huh?

Not a bad fit, huh?

I think they make my butt look fabulous!

After deciding “yea” on the pants, I went over to the sweater rack and found the perfect Croft & Barrow sweater in burnt orange. If you are suspecting a mini-cable sweater trend here on Localista, you are correct. I seem drawn to these this year. I now have one in medium green, electric blue, and now the orange.

Burnt Orange Bonanza

Burnt Orange Bonanza

I am envious of some fashion bloggers out there who have access to photographers with really great cameras. I make-do with the Teen’s bathroom mirror and my ten-year-old camera. But you get the idea how the outfit looks on me.

Knit Hat by Sandi

Knit Hat by Sandi

I think this handmade knit hat by my friend, Sandi, is perfect with the outfit. I also added the Vera Bradley bag purchased at a nearby consignment store. See blog post Wedding Card, Ralph Lauren, and a Little Black Dress.

Tommy Hilfiger Clogs

Tommy Hilfiger Clogs

To bottom it all off, I pulled out the Tommy Hilfiger leather clogs I picked up at Goodwill a couple weeks ago. That makes this Burnt Orange Bonanza outfit 100% locally sourced. Except for the lingering scent of Goodwill on the clothes, I couldn’t be happier. Nothing a little wash in the machine and maybe a spray of Chanel No. 5 can’t remedy!

Off to write my newspaper column. Do you have some fab local shopping finds you’d like to share? Send me a link to your blog or a photo or simply write me a note. I’m especially interested to see if Dear Reader Mary Ann finds a dance bag! Happy shopping, everyone.

Shopping Local for the Holidays

Sandra Waugh Watercolor of Red Rowboat

Sandra Waugh Watercolor of Red Rowboat

Dear Reader:

How are you doing on your holiday shopping so far? I’ve been taking advantage of lucky opportunities that pop up–like yesterday’s trip to Portland for a Jim Brickman performance at the Portland Museum of Art.

Heading toward the museum for the performance, I noticed a Reny’s department store across from the parking garage. Hello! I don’t get into Portland that often, so the chance to pop into one of the branches of a Maine-owned department store was like an early Christmas present to myself.

Reny's Department Store Logo

Reny’s Department Store Logo

I’m fairly pleased with my local shopping progress this holiday season. I’ve bought books by Maine authors at public readings, handcrafted jewelry from the funkiest little shop--Maine Jewelry and Art--in Bangor on Plaid Friday (local answer to the mall’s Black Friday horror story), c.d.’s directly from musicians at performances (ahem, did you catch that Jim Brickman reference up there?), makeup from a local Avon rep, clothes from that Reny’s excursion yesterday, and a few things at Goodwill.

Fly Fisherman painting by Sandra Waugh

Fly Fisherman painting by Sandra Waugh

I’ve also ordered Christmas cards from my good friend and fine artist, Sandra Waugh, who lives right here in my town. That is her “waughtercolor” at the top of this page, such a cute, little red boat skillfully rendered, floating between sea and sky. This and other select paintings are for sale right now, but Sandra also creates beautiful watercolor portraits of loved ones, children, and pets from photographs you mail to her, like this one of the fly fisherman.

I am in awe of that kind of talent! Please visit her website at http://www.waughtercolors.com/ and/or private message her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/messages/waughtercolors

With the shopping well-underway, I guess it is time to start looking toward decorating the tree and holiday recipes. Food shopping for holiday meals can be a bit challenging (I need an egg source!), and I will write about that in another post as we get closer to Christmas. In the meantime…

I challenge you to buy at least ONE item this year from a local merchant or small-business owner, knowing that when you do so, much more of that money gets sent back into the local economy than if you spent the same $$’s at a mega-corporation. Want more reasons? Visit the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website for the Top 10 Reasons to Support Locally Owned Businesses.

Happy Holiday Shopping, everyone!