“Spring is the Time of Plans and Projects”

Leo Tolstoy said it. Do you feel it too? When the clocks spring ahead, it’s time to start gathering up the winter projects that have filled all the corners of the house, workshop and studio and start accessing them with a critical eye…can I get this done in a few hours? is it worth the stress of a deadline to leave it (knitting, carving, painting project) in full view so that I get it done soon? if I pack it away now, will I ever remember how to start next November? AND my very favorite, is it time to admit defeat and get rid of it all together?

We’re living in a landscape of ice, mud, yuck and more yuck. The beach is hard to walk right now because the sand and the seaweed are starting to thaw but when you try to hike along the shore, your boots get sucked into a goo that is unforgiving. Just trying to get down to the water is a trial and I haven’t successfully arrived there without soaking my boots all the way to my socks. In polite company we say “my, isn’t this a wet beginning to the season?” but what we’re really thinking is “March is a wicked pissah this year”.

The other day we went to Delvino’s in Belfast for lunch…we had gotten our chores done and decided that carbs, cream sauce and red wine were the right way to celebrate one of the last snow storms of the year. The mushroom sacchetti was wonderful…but then I pushed it a bit too far. Feeling heavy from the delicious meal, I suggested to Steve that we drive up to the top of the mountain across from the campground and go for a hike and watch the snow fall. Ever the prince, he agreed…up we went…into the ditch the truck slid. It’s safe to say that any buzz we had over lunch evaporated as Steve got out of the truck, trudged down to the campground for a tow rope and farm truck and then struggled back up the alternately icy and muddy road to haul me out.

In my defense, we needed the fresh air. We’re spending most of our time on computers getting Fiber College ready for its launch on April 1st, meeting with people who will be playing music and doing art this summer at the campground and trying to get ahead of all the paperwork the banks, state and insurance companies keep tossing our way. You know, I always thought that as the years go by, things would get easier simply because we had more practice…but they don’t…the software keeps changing, the paperwork gets more complicated and there are simply more layers to all of the bureaucracy. When it all gets frustrating, I comfort myself with the awareness that at least we enjoy a direct correlation between where we focus our energy and the results that follow. Another truly brilliant part of owning a campground in Searsport Maine is that we feel like part of our community. Saturday was town meeting day and Steve was asking for money to support the HOBBA map (you should ask for a copy…it lists all the businesses and hikes and land trusts right around us. HOBBA is the local business alliance that meets regularly to promote and foster the businesses on the 12 mile stretch between the Passagassawakeag Bridge in Belfast and the Penobscot Narrows Bridge in Bucksport. HOBBA asked for $1000, got it and then we adjourned for fish chowder from Angler’s restaurant…yes, life is good!

And a final note…we’re looking for a few great people to spend the summer immersed in our world. We pay, we teach and we share what we know…would you like to join us from May until October ISH?

Photo Safari 

April melted into a memory quicker than it ever should. May is following along the same path. We haven’t suffered the dramatic weather that we’ve seen in other parts of the country but I think in 45 days, we’ve had 6 without rain. Cold, gloomy and punishing if you want to get outdoor chores accomplished. A perfect excuse to work in front of the computer and play in the studio if that’s your inclination. Yup, I’ve been more happy than I probably should be considering how much work needs to get done before we open.

Rather than list off our chores, here’s a bit of a photo essay of our days:

We met with Shae of Knotty Goat farm and she’s agreed to make her special soaps for our store…we’re going to have Slippery Mermaid and Sultery Neptune…curious?  It’s really fun to work with another shepardess who LOVES her animals and her life!


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I made new cushions for the Frog & Faerie cabin with Steve’s worn out jeans and printed fabric from a shopping trip of 20 years ago.  The quilting style is Gee’s Bend…the ladies will be coming up from Boykin Alabama for Fiber College this fall and I want to honor their style.

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We’ve been propagating like crazy…with 40 acres on one side of the road and 150 acres on the other, we have alot of planting we’d like to do.  We’ve been taking advantage of these weeks of wet weather to root dozens of forysthia, pussie willows, lindens and dogwoods to brighten up the woods for years to come.

We’ve designed a new billboard…but the prep work is a bear!  Working between the raindrops we’ve finally got the background prepped and painted.

This fall we’ll be hosting three events in September: Fiber College, Vacationland Jam Camp and the Old Time Music Campout.  Nancy and Joe Segari of “Eat at Joe’s” Food Truck have agreed to provide the food right here on the campground.  Their menu is local, fresh, organic…and whenever possible kosher and gluten free…I wish they’d move in!

Painting, painting, painting for the billboard!

We have a new favorite place for Pie!  Searsmont is a charming village about 15 minutes from us and the General Store makes the BEST pie…definitely worth the drive and if you’re lucky enough to be here for an early evening of pie and light music…Go!  Did I mention there’s a micro brewery in the same village square?  Fraternity Village General Store

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We’ve got new mugs in the office.  Do I hear you say that’s not much of an accomplishment?  Au contraire my friends!  There are hundreds of styles, endless handles, multitudes of color combinations, manufacturing ethics to consider…and then the graphics.  It took two years of thought and conversation followed by two weeks of actual research and waiting for samples.  But we’ve got them now!  In red, green, blue and orange.

There’s terrific hiking right from the campground…miles of trails with oodles of waterfalls this time of year…just pack an extra pair of boots because you can’t avoid wet feet this time of year.

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Shearing done…wool sent to Aroostick County for processing…just waiting for the yarn.  I’m yearning to get it into the dye pot and on the shelves for a limited sale of “Searsport Shores” yarn…we need a mermaid kind of name 😉  This is a not so great shot of Esther our Leicester…she’s tired and cranky from all of the rain.

Meet Kathleen Gerdes Artist in Residence August 23 – 29

moiBecoming a fiber artist was one of the best things that I’ve ever done in my life!  My circle of friends has grown to include people from across the state of Maine and beyond.  I never dreamed that life could be so good!  When I began walking down this path, I was imbedded in a corporate life, where I knew that if I continued, all I’d ever make in life would be money.  My hands (and heart) were itching to create!  I’d dabbled in alot of art forms, such as stained glass, pottery and the softer handcrafts like embroidery and sewing.  But when I discovered fiber at a great little shop called Portfiber, my world exploded like the Fourth of July fireworks.  Being a discontented city dweller, the road to my country life lead me to brilliant colors (that I had never seen before!) and shapes and designs that I never knew existed.
Today I live deliberately and spend my days immersed in my feltwork.  Felting is a magical process that leads to all kinds of wonderful results.  When people ask what I do, the best explanation that can give them is “I paint with wool”.  And one of the most magical things about it is…….anyone can do it!   When I am teaching, my students begin the class doubting that they can create a “wool painting” or a cute whimsical 3D figure, but by the time we finish our project, they are amazed with the results.
On August 23rd, I will be at the “Shores” for a wonderful fiber filled week of felting fun.  For those families who will be camping that week, we will be making dragons and wizards, frogs, turtles, owls, sheep, hedgehogs and we’ll even make ducks in ponds, just to name a few of the projects that you can choose from!  And all from wool!!  I will teach you the very easy and satisfying art of needle felting or wet felting, whichever appeals more to you. Or perhaps you’d like to learn both. The choice is yours.  Kids will love creating animals that can made in under an hour.  For the adults, you may choose to make a wall hanging to bring home with you.  Or perhaps you’d like to make felted beads to create a necklace or earrings.  Wearable art is unique and can be made by anyone, even children!   It will be a wonderful opportunity for families to spend quality time together while creating fun projects that everyone will enjoy.
One of the best things about felting for me is knowing that the possibilities are simply ENDLESS.  It’s like a mountain with no top!   My list of possible projects grows longer and longer each day and for the first time in my life, that’s a wonderful feeling!  I hope it never ends……….
I can’t wait to meet you at the “Shores”.  I will be there beginning August 23rd, for a week.
In fibery goodness,
Kathleen Gerdes
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Ellen Mason “The Humble Stitch” Artist-in-Residence July 26 – August 1

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When I was about ten years old I busted my Mom’s sewing machine. My Dad gathered it up and left the house almost immediately. Two hours later he came home with a 1940’s Singer sewing machine. It was classic black with painted gold scrolls. It sewed forward and backward. That beautiful machine was a gift for me, just me. (They replaced my Mom’s machine shortly afterward.) This is how my folks supported my stitching habits from the time I was just a girl, keeping me in fabric and yarn, machines and tools. They enrolled me in lessons, provided space, and most of all, example. I was raised as a maker by a family of do-it-yourselfers. And I was never, ever bored.

Today I live in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, sewing or knitting every day. I make most of my clothing and I write patterns for knitted items such as sweaters and mittens.  While at Searsport Shores, I will sew a complete garment each day.  Come learn about patternmaking and garment construction, both sewn and knitted, and the tiny thing that holds it all together: The Humble Stitch. Campers are invited to sew an accessory, fasten a button, hem too-long pants, embellish with embroidery, all with coaching and the company of friends. Stitching is a handy skill that can be learned at any age!

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Twin Invasion Camp & Create with Susan & Seasi Ober July 19 – 25

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Seasi Ober

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Susan Ober

You might think you’re seeing double when the Ober sisters come to Camp and Create! Susan Ober is a quilter from West Haven, Connecticut. Her identical twin sister Nancy “Seasi” Ober is a potter from Kansas City, Mo. Susan’s primary art form is quilts, She has made around 100 to date; Seasi has been throwing pottery for over 30 years, and they both enjoy gardening.

Susan makes her living as a Registered Nurse but remembers her first job as a “field girl” on a vegetable farm when she was 16 yeas old. She drove the tractor and helped out at the farm stand but her favorite part of the job was picking strawberries! Susan began sewing at a young age as well, she has been seriously quilting for 15 years. It’s theraputic to play with color and texture, and she loves seeing how pieces fit together like a big fabric puzzle. When she’s not at the sewing machine you can find Susan at her plot in the community garden coaxing beautiful flowers and vegetables from the soil and sharing with her freinds.

Seasi left for the Mid-West in the 1970’s and never looked back. She attended college in Kansas and received a degree in Art then started her own gardening business which she ran for 20 years. Seasi then headed back to college to receive her Master’s in Education. She teaches English as a Second Language (ESL) Her pottery is utilitarian bowls, cups and vases that she sell at area fairs.

As Artists-in-Residence “The Twins” will explore what’s growing in the garden at Searsport Shores and guide campers through a wide variety of activities.

New Farm Stand!

Cross Patch Farms of Morrill, Maine has begun their 3rd season selling produce at the new and larger farm stand located on Route 1 in Serarsport just across from Searsport Shores Campground.

The new building replaces a much smaller stand origianally built in 1973. Mr. Treat owned the property at that time, he had a big garden and wanted to honor the heritage of the property which had been a working farm from the shore to the top of the mountain since the 1800’s. The little red farm stand was very popular with locals and folks from away for the fresh produce and enjoyed national fame as the setting for a Nutrisweet ad.

Steven and Astrig Tanguay of Searsport Shores Campground now own the property. Last year Steven noticed a sign that read “duck” on the front of the stand, thinking the Cross Patch Farm was expanding their product line he asked to buy some duck for supper only to find the sign refered to the need to “duck” your head to keep from hitting it in the doorway, “The building was starting to lean a bit too much,” said Steven Tanguay, “so I decided to replace it with a new building.”

When you stop in at the farm stand you’ll meet Ann Ambrose smiling behind the counter.

Ann manages the stand for Terry and Roxi Whitney who run Cross Patch Farm. Four generations of the Whitney family work on their 25 acre farm growing produce.

Ann is having a great time decorating the new space. She says the new stand has far exceeded her expetations! It’s much larger, Ann is able to display many more procucts indoors.

The crew at Searsport Shores provided the labor with the help of Larry Dolan of Morrill. The pine siding for the farm stand was milled in Winterport from trees downed in the November storm last year. The cement came from State Sand and Gravel, other building materials were purchased locally from EBS and Viking in Belfast.

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Cross Patch Farms

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The NEW Farm Stand

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The original little red farm stand built in 1973

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the little red farm stand used as the setting for a national ad campaign

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Ann Ambrose helping a customer

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Ann Ambrose helping a customer

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