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Coloring Not Just For Kids Anymore

When was the last time you picked up a crayon and colored in a coloring book? Unless you’re a new parent, you probably haven’t picked up a box of Crayolas in quite some time, which is really too bad because a growing number of psychologists suggest that coloring may be good for you.  It helps you to “let go” and get creative. It helps you relax and unwind. coloring book for adults

Coloring books for adults are hot right now, thanks in large part to Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford, who started the trend with her adult coloring book, The Secret Garden, in 2013, which reportedly sold more than 1.4 million copies.  Her new book, The Enchanted Forest, out this spring, went immediately to the top of the charts on Amazon. That’s right, a coloring book.

coloring book for adults coloring book for adults In an interview with NPR,  Basford said she started producing coloring books for adults after clients repeatedly told her they had an urge to color her always black and white illustrations. On why she thinks her coloring books are so popular she said, “I think there is something quite charming and nostalgic about coloring in.  And chances are last time you picked up pens or pencils you didn’t have a mortgage or like a really horrible boss or anything. So yeah, it’s just a really nice way to be creative. You don’t have to sit down with a blank sheet of paper or, you know, have that scary moment of thinking, ‘What can I draw?’  The outlines are already there for you, so it’s just something that you can do quietly for a couple of hours that, you know, is hand held and analog and quiet.”

With the popularity of her books and the discovery of a whole population of closet coloring addicts, Basford got inundated with people wanting to share their colored renditions of her inked pages. She recently started a colouring gallery  webpage for grown ups to to show off their work, and have other people rate them.

Basford also has another coloring book due out this fall by Penguin Random House, this time with an ocean theme.  It’s called The Lost Ocean: An Underwater Adventure & Coloring Book. In the meantime, her success has spawned a new market for adult coloring books on sites like Etsy, many with garden or nature themes.

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Nursery Visit: Snug Harbor Farm in Kennebunk

For gardeners of any ilk, a summer in Maine would not be complete without a stop at Snug Harbor Farm in Kennebunk.  Conveniently located off Route 1 and the Maine Turnpike, it bills itself as a destination for plant connoisseurs and has been ranked as one of the top nurseries in New England by Yankee Magazine.  Set in an historic farmhouse with four greenhouses and a number outbuildings, Snug Harbor does not disappoint. You’ll find all sorts of hidden treasures and inspiration everywhere you look.

snug harbor 049 snug harbor 052 Above: An assortment of cheerful annuals greets visitors out front.

Established in 1991, Snug Harbor offers a variety of greenery plus garden implements with what it calls an “old world” style. There are hand thrown terracotta pots, some aged in moss, others with unusual form. There is an abundance of statuary, including run of the mill cherubs and not-so-run-of-the-mill bulldogs. Snug Harbor even sells pre-formed espalier.

Below: The greenhouses, however, are where the more unusual plants hang out. Expertly trained topiary, unusual varieties of geraniums, and an extensive assortment of succulents.

snug harbor 068 snug harbor 084 snug harbor 080 succulents Inside the barn and outbuildings,  the garden inspiration abounds.

snug harbor 032 terracotta driftwood Walkaway ideas on this visit: plant containers of Maine driftwood, trugs constructed of dried vine and chicken wire, swags of dried vine on doorways and windows, rosemary topiary, and old bottles with single branches of apple blossoms and lilacs.

If You Go:

Snug Harbor is located at 87 Western Ave., Kennebunk, Maine. The farm is open 7 days a week, 9-5, and until dusk from Nov-Mar. Ph: 207-967-2414.

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#Blizzard of 2015

We made it, folks. The hashtag-Blizzard of 2015 – also known as Snowmaggedon 2015 and Juno – is behind us now, though many are still trying to find their cars,  shovel out their driveways, and find a place to put all that snow. Some parts of the Northeast received up to three feet of the powdery white stuff, and many areas sustained white out conditions and high winds for much of the day. In our area, they’d predicted up to two feet,  significant enough for the most hardcore of Mainers to head out to Reny’s to get some storm supplies. We ended up getting just about that, no more.

blizzard 105 A lover of weather extremes, I ventured out the afternoon of the great storm in my snowshoes – my good ol’ Tubbs – and my camera.
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And to no one’s surprise, there was no one out but a few determined neighbors snow blowing their sidewalks, and a small army of plows from the City of Bath.
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Wind and ice whipping my face, it was very difficult to see. Normally, you get a view of Lake Winnegance and the Rt. 209 bridge going out to Phippsburg and Popham Beach, but the blizzard made it completely disappear.
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Even the Winnegance General Store was temporarily obliterated from view.
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Until I was right on it. Too bad I couldn’t stop and take a break from all that blizzardry, because the store was not open. And the Winnegance General Store is always open.
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Guess they, too, were hunkered down in the storm, hopefully eating something wonderful and homemade. I’d like to think that.

Two days later, school is back in session and the roads and driveways have been cleared, mostly, with a warning from the Bath Police Department that motorists should approach intersections with caution, as the snowbanks are particularly high. Leave your headlights on, too, they say, as an extra precaution.

And soon the snow banks will grow even higher, maybe even as high as Mount Katahdin. According to the National Weather Service, more snow is on the way for Friday and possibly Monday.

I think I might head to Reny’s this time.

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