I’m back from a rather whirl wind trip Downeast for the weekend. The main reason for the trip was so that my father and I could attend a workshop at the Woodlawn Museum where we learned to make our own painted canvas floorclothes.

Since I have pretty much no native artist ability, I chose to do a motif from one of the books the instructor had brought, and even ended up making the stencil to do it. (With much help. Geometry is hard!!)

This is my more or less finished project. I figured I’d keep it simple because I couldn’t quite decide what to use as an edge border that would match the knots. I’m pretty proud of myself for a first outing.

Here are a couple of other examples from the class:

I never did get a good picture of my father’s. He based his on a geometric design that another student brought, and was still working on it this morning when I left to come home. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a picture the next time I’m up there.

The most impressive one there was this one, shown in an intermediate and close to finished stage:

She used a book as an inspiration for the actual picture, but she drew the drew the design freehand, and then traced it as a transfer to be able to fill the detail in on the floor cloth. Definitely more than I could ever do.

Later that night, Dad, C and I went to see Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor, performed by the New Surry Theatre at The Grand in Ellsworth. The play is apparently based on the writing staff of Sid Caeser’s vareity show in the 50s. It wasn’t a bad little production, though in discussion afterward, someone pointed out that the timing was off, and in retrospect, I have to agree.

The next morning, I headed early so I could make a few stops on the way home. On the way out of Ellsworth, I naturally had to stop at the Big Chicken Barn used book store. I wasn’t able to find anything from BF’s list, but managed a decent haul for myself, including three Patricia A. McKillip books, of which I’m most excited to have Heir of Sea and Fire, the second book of the Riddlemaster Trilogy that I didn’t know was a trilogy when I bought the first book. It’s actually out of print as a trilogy now, and Paperspine doesn’t have the omnibus edition, so I wasn’t sure when I was going to get around to reading the other two books. Now I’ll just need the third, and that seems very doable if I take a surf through Abebooks.com.

I also stopped at the Barnes and Noble in Augusta, and managed to completely accidentally score an edition of Maui Magazine. I’m suddenly in the market for all things Maui, as my sister and I bought tickets last week to go there in July. The price was insanely good, and we figured we just had to go. I’m really looking forward to it.

My final stop was the Purl Diva yarn shop in Brunswick. I didn’t make it there last summer when I visited the other yarn store in Brunswick, as the day I went was the one day of the week they’re closed. However, that’s probably a good thing, as I was compelled to buy both Malabrigo and Madeline Tosh sock yarn, and I really couldn’t have afforded to add that in at the same time as the stuff I bought at the Knitting Experience shop. At least I was able to pace myself. And it’s definitely pretty! (I also found out that Schaefer makes a Heather sock weight yarn. I was only able to make it out of there without it because I don’t want silk in socks so I don’t have to worry about care. I purposely let myself forget there are other applications suitable for sock yarn. I may have to go back. But at least I made it out with only two skeins this time.)

And, last but not least, I give you various pretty flowers from my weekend:

Weekend – Ellsworth

This past weekend, we headed up to Ellsworth to visit my father and C. As you can see, it’s taken me three days to recover from the trip enough to post about it.

Item #1 to love about Ellsworth:

The greenhouse in Dad and C’s house. We actually got there just in time for this picture. I took this picture on Saturday, while it was raining. The next day, Dad dragged everything outside for a spring cleaning and watering. I love this greenhouse. It’s one thing I’d love my own of if we ever manage to buy a house.

Item #2:

The Big Chicken Barn. The best used book store in Maine. Perfect for rainy Saturday wandering.

Item #3:

We actually went up to see a play that C was in, and my father built the sets for. The play is called Art, and was an interesting commentary on the way art effects different people. It was done up in Winter Harbor, and we got there a little early so we could have dinner at the local diner (best Reuben sandwich I’ve had in a while). The below picture is a sculpture in the actual harbor, done by an artist in residence last summer. It’s actually pretty cool to see when the tide is in as well.

Item #4:

After dinner, we had enough time, and the weather had cleared enough for us to head over to Schoodic Point. Schoodic is the part of Acadia NP that’s actually on the mainland. Which is great in the summer, because it’s a bit less congested than the island. It’s a really lovely spot, which some cool geologic features for rock buffs. It also had an interesting section of marshy areas right on the shoreline rocks. We don’t get those down here in the south. Our rocks are good for sealife and pretty much nothing else.

Item #5:

On Sunday, the rain cleared out, and I got to go out in my dad’s garden. It’s a lovely garden, with more of a woodland setting then I’ll ever manage here, and much more room then I have to play with. He and C have been molding it a bit more every year, and it’s looking really lovely. There are a ton more flowers than I showed here, but this is at least a sample of the springtime bounty.

I also saw a hummingbird and a veritable flock of woodpeckers feeding in the garden. I will say, that’s a definite advantage of living out in the country. (Ok, ok, Ellsworth is technically a city, but a city by Maine standards isn’t quite like a city by most other standards.)

On our way out of town, we stopped at Surry Gardens, which is the garden center in the next town that Dad and C use. Though an exercise of gargantuan willpower, I managed to walk out of there with only four plants: a hosta, an Amber Waves heuchera, a felicia and a trailing campanula. I love that place. I wish it was down here.

Item #6:

The fantastic drive home.

Blue Hill

Stonington Village

We took the extremely long way home, by way of Blue Hill, Deer Isle/Stonington and Castine. (If you want a laugh, check out Route 1 from Ellsworth to Bucksport, and then notice the loop where 15 and 175 take you.) It was lovely driving weather. The blueberry fields are freshly burned, which is always an interesting sight, and we saw beehives out in a number of the unburned barrens. (I think they burn about a third of the barrens at a time. It’s actually good for the blueberry bushes.) We saw several wild turkeys, and some sort of hawk, right by the roadside while we driving.

About the only slightly weird bit was how quiet it was everywhere. I mean, it was the weekend before Memorial Day weekend. I don’t expect summer hours, but I expect to see places open to prep for tourists. It was pretty quiet around. Enough that I have a somewhat bad feeling about the coming summer, tourism-wise.

High Excitement!

I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.

We just booked tickets (first balcony, second row center) to see Doctor Who and Captain Picard (ok, David Tennant and Patrick Stewart, for the non-extreme geek) do Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon next November. Hurray!

We’ve been waiting to go back to England for several years now, but have been a bit deterred by the exchange rate, but when we found about this production, we decided the exchange rate be damned, we were getting tickets if it killed us. Fortunately, we have a friend in London that’s been watching things for us, and called this morning to tell us to book now.

I’m so excited. I get to plan another trip abroad. Must find fun things to do around Stratford. (Should get back to Bath for a day to see Jane Austen things.) Hurray!!!