Friday, January 2, 2015

January 2015 Desktop Calendar

 Never forget what day of the week it is with our handy 
Desktop Calendar for your home or work computer.

This month we'd like to share an image of the quaint potting shed that we built in our backyard.  Enjoy!

Click on the image above to view a full size version that you can save to your computer.

Be sure to check back next month for a new calendar image for February.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December 2014 Desktop Calendar

Never forget what day of the week it is with our handy 
Desktop Calendar for your home or work computer.

This month we'd like to share an image of our keeping room as seen in "The Night Before Christmas" - our first book with our dear friend Mark Kimball Moulton. This book is the perfect gift idea for family & friends and can be ordered by visiting our website or by calling us toll free at 888-887-1820.  Enjoy!

Click on the image above to view a full size version that you can save to your computer.

Be sure to check back next month for a new calendar image for January.

Friday, November 7, 2014

November 2014 Desktop Calendar

Never forget what day of the week it is with our handy 
Desktop Calendar for your home or work computer.

This month we'd like to share a grouping of Birdhouses made by V's grandfather many years ago.  Enjoy!

Click on the image above to view a full size version that you can save to your computer.

Be sure to check back next month for a new calendar image for December.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October 2014 Desktop Calendar

Never forget what day of the week it is with our handy 
Desktop Calendar for your home or work computer.

This month we'd like to share our Pumpkin centerpiece surrounded by Bittersweet. Enjoy!

Click on the image above to view a full size version that you can save to your computer.

Be sure to check back next month for a new calendar image for November.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Noel's Crumb Top Apple Pie

It's that time of year for freshly picked apples!
Here's what you'll need for Noel's scrumptious Apple Pie- 
10 Apples (Noel prefers Macintosh or Cortland)
9" unbaked Pie Shell (or you can make your own crust if you have the time.)
⅓ c of Sugar
¾ c of Flour
6 Tbsp Butter

½ c Sugar
¾ tsp Cinnamon

Cut Apples into thin slices.  Fill Pie Shell.

Mix ½ c Sugar and Cinnamon.  Sprinkle over Apples.
Mix ⅓ c Sugar & ¾ c Flour.  Cut butter into the mixture until crumbly.  Sprinkle over Apples.

This pie will be quite high until it cooks down.

Bake 35 - 40 min in a preheated 350 oven or until bubbly, golden brown and apples are soft.  Turn oven off and let pie sit (if you can.)

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream.


Optional - Adorn with pastry decorations on top, brushed with an egg wash.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September 2014 Desktop Calendar

Never forget what day of the week it is with our handy 
Desktop Calendar for your home or work computer.

This month we would like to share a pic* of one of Noel's favorite treats to bake in the Fall- a delicious Apple Pie.  Enjoy!

Click on the image above to view a full size version that you can save to your computer.

Be sure to check back next month for a new calendar image for October.

*Image by Mark Kimball Moulton- taken at the home of Noel & Verge.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tasty Summer Mojito

Tasty Summer Mojito

Here's what you'll need for a single serving:
1 cup of Ice Cubes
1 to 2 ounces of White Rum (Suit to taste)
10 - 12 Mint Leaves
1 to 2 Tablespoons of White Sugar
½ cup Club Soda
½ of a Lime cut into 4 wedges.

Place the roughly torn mint leaves and one lime wedge into a sturdy glass and muddle*.  If you don't have a muddler, you can use the handle end of a wooden spoon.  Add 2 more lime wedges and the sugar and muddle again.  Do not strain.  Fill the glass almost to the top with ice.  Pour the White Rum over the ice and fill the remainder of the glass with club soda.  Stir, taste and add more sugar (or Rum) if desired.  Garnish with a sprig of mint and remaining lime wedge. 

For an equally delicious, non-alcoholic version of this drink, replace the White Rum with 4 ounces of chilled Ginger Ale. 


*Muddle - Mash the ingredients at the bottom of the glass to release the oils & juice.

From Attics to Basements Tour at Hancock Shaker Village

From Attics to Basements Tour 
Hancock Shaker Village
If you're like us when visiting a Living History site or Museum, we always wonder what's behind the door marked - "Museum Staff Only" or "No Admittance."  Well, this special tour during the month of August at Hancock Shaker Village, is an all access tour offering you a chance to get past those "Museum Staff Only" signs and peek into the nooks and crannies of rarely seen areas of the Laundry & Machine Shop, Brick Dwelling and the Trustees Office & Store.  Go behind the scenes in some of HSV's most significant historic buildings, learning about the Shakers' architecture and material culture.  Call for pricing & to verify times or visit their website here.  Tour ticket includes general Village admission for the whole day!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

August 2014 Desktop Calendar

Never forget what day of the week it is with our handy 
Desktop Calendar for your home or work computer.

This month we would like to share a pic of our back patio as seen in Country Living magazine from a few years ago - simply decorated with pots of fragrant Rosemary.  Enjoy!

Click on the image above to view a full size version that you can save to your computer.

Be sure to check back next month for a new calendar image for September.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

JULY Happenings around New England

Here are a few upcoming events in New England that we thought you might enjoy - 

When: Saturday, July 13th - 11:30 - 3:30
Where: The grounds of the Pownalborough Courthouse - Dresden, ME
What: 2014 Dresden SUMMERFEST!

There will be a variety of events & activities appropriate for all ages so bring the family along to this wonderful community event.

Activities for Summerfest 2014 
(More activities may be added as the date approaches)

11:30 Parade led by the Maine Public Safety Pipe and Drum Corps
12:00 Concert by MPSPDC
12:30 Concert by Dresden Richmond Choral Group
1:00 Presentation by Wind Over Wings- Birds of Prey
1:30 Pie Judging Contest
1:45 Concert by Cedar Grove Band
3:15 Sing Along with the Accordion Dude

All Day Activities
Barbeque provided by the Dresden Fire Department
Farmer’s Market- Goranson Farm
Horse and Carriage Rides by Hideaway Farms
Tours of Pownalborough Courthouse
Nature Trail Hikes
Children’s Games- Clowns- Facepainting- Hula Hoops
Petting Zoo with goats and other animals
Community Displays- Dresden Historical Society- Bridge Academy- Republicans and Democrats-Richmond Area Health Center- Richmond Dresden Food Pantry
Local Businesses- Jewelry- Home made breads

When: Wednesday, 7/16 at 5:30pm
Where: Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland, ME
What: Summer Garden Series - Castlebay Presents Maine's Bygone Ballads 5:30pm
This program relates to the 2014-2015 museum exhibit, "Home: The Longfellow House and the Emergence of Portland."
Cost: Free for MHS members; $5 for non-members (pay at the garden gate).

For more info visit the Maine Historical Society website.

When: Saturday, 7/19 - All Day Events
Where: Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, MA
What: Fire & Ice Day at Old Sturbridge Village

Old-fashioned fire fighting
See an exciting demonstration of historical 19th-century hand-pump fire trucks, and lend a hand by helping to pump the water. Enjoy a fire truck parade around the Common, including historic motorized fire trucks.

We will also host Massachusetts' premier Fire Explorer Scout Muster, providing the opportunity for teams of scouts to compete in several events. Visitors will also have the chance to compete in the same events!

Old-fashioned ice cream
For ice, cool off with demonstrations of old-fashioned ice-cream making, using period tools, techniques, recipes, and ingredients. In the morning, 18th-century techniques will be used and in the afternoon, we'll switch to 19th-century methods.

The Best Chili in History Contest
Help judge our fifth annual chili contest. Local restaurants including The Oxhead Tavern and The Publick House are putting their chili recipes to the test!
For more info visit the OSV website.

When: Thur & Fri, 7/24 & 7/25 - Various Times
Where: Rufus Porter Cultural Center - Bridgton, ME
What: Cultural Heritage Series featuring workshops on Vinegar Graining, Theorem Stenciling, discussions on Understanding Antique Homes, Rug Braiding & more.  
For more info regarding class prices & times visit the Rufus Porter Museum website.

When: Saturday, 7/26 from 10am - 12pm

Where: Tate House - Portland, ME

What: Family Fun Days - Creating in the Herb Garden
Hands-on activities which utilize common herbs grown in colonial and contemporary gardens.  Families will visit stations and make herbal sachets, dye yarns, make herbal salves, and dried flower wreaths to take home.
For more info & pricing visit the Tate House website

When: July - Oct 18th

Where: Tasha Tudor Museum - West Brattleboro, VT

What: Exhibit - From Scratch: Tasha's Handmade Life

Immerse yourself in Tasha's lifestyle as you take in her handmade things which include a corgi, original paintings and drawings and canned goods. See how Tasha's devotion to hand-written letters inspired some of her followers.

Watch the documentary, enjoy a cup of Tasha's tea, revisit the lost art of letter writing and even try a bit of watercolour painting. Your children may enjoy our dress up area, colouring pages, reading corner, dollhouse, play tea set with cookstove and more

For hours, directions & more info please visit the Museum website.

Circa Home Living is not responsible for changes or cancellations to the events listed above due in part to rain or unforeseen circumstances.  We recommend checking the individual websites or calling to confirm events before making final plans.  

If you know of an upcoming event for August that you think our readers would enjoy we'd love to hear about it. Please e-mail us the details by the 23rd of July to be sure there is time to include the listing in our next Events blog post.

Triple Delight Brownies

If you enjoy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oreos or Fudge Brownies this is the dessert for you since all three are combined together in this hard to resist, delectable treat! They're always a big hit at any gathering and super easy to make! 

Here's what you'll need:

1 Box/Bag of Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
1 Box of Brownie Mix
1 Pack of Double Stuff Oreos
Check the package mixes for what is needed to make each - eggs, butter, oil, etc...

Preheat your oven to 350.

Line a 8x11 Glass Baking Tray with grease proof paper - we use parchment (NOT wax paper.)

Follow the instructions for the Cookie Mix to make the cookie dough. Press the cookie dough into the bottom of the lined baking tray, until it covers the bottom evenly.

Cover this layer with Oreos. You may have a few leftovers for snacking on later.

Mix up your brownie batter per the box instructions. Pour over the oreos.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes depending on how gooey you want the centers.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

When its still a bit warm, use the paper to lift the brownies out of the tray and rest it on a chopping board.

Use a large, sharp knife to cut into manageable squares.


Gina asks - What is the maximum wattage for bulbs in your light fixtures?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions regarding our lighting.

All of our Chandeliers & Sconces are equipped with the smaller candelabra sockets.

The maximum wattage bulb for this type socket is 40 watts. If the chandelier is being used as a main lighting source, either 25 or 40 watt bulbs (shown in top photo) will do the trick nicely. To cut down on the glare frosted bulbs can also be used - found at most local grocery stores. 

For more ambience we offer silicone dipped bulbs in 3, 4, 6 & 15 watts (shown above) in plain silicone or tinted with scent. We use the 6 watt bulbs in several of our fixtures to act as nightlights throughout our home.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 2014 Desktop Calendar

Never forget what day of the week it is with our handy 
Desktop Calendar for your home or work computer.

This month's image features gorgeous Bee Balm with our Potting Shed/Art Studio in the background. Enjoy!

Click on the above image to view a full size version that you can save to your computer.

Be sure to check back next month for a new calendar image for August.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Minty Citrus Punch

We first sampled this fantastic punch when our friend Georgia served it up at a Bookstore signing event many years ago.  She was kind enough to share the recipe with us & it quickly become our go-to punch for Summer parties.  The fresh mint leaves pack a fragrant & delicious wallop.  We hope that you enjoy it as much as we do.

Bridget Paddock's Punch (from an old New York Times Cookbook, she said).

Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes: 
2 quarts water and
30-35 fresh mint leaves or 2-3 mint tea bags
(I used 5 tea bags for twice this recipe)

Strain mint leaves or remove the tea bags, then add:
 2 cups sugar and stir till dissolved.

Cool. Then add:
2 quarts orange juice
1 1/2 quarts pineapple juice
2 1/3 cups lemon juice

Chill well.

To serve, add to the juice mixture:
1 quart gingerale and
1 quart sparkling water (club soda or seltzer; I usually use seltzer)
Garnish, if desired, with strawberries and very thin slices of oranges and/or limes or sprigs of fresh mint, or fresh day lilies if in season.

If using a punch bowl, have ready a frozen juice block or ring, made from very diluted juice (about 1 part juice to 3 or 4 parts water. It will stay solid longer with a greater proportion of water; but plain ice will dilute the punch too much. I usually do this a few days ahead, and usually before I'm ready to do the mint-sugar syrup mixture, so I just do a mixture of OJ and lemonade, so I don't have to steal from my punch ingredients.)

If you plan to serve from pitchers, then make some of that diluted OJ/lemonade into ice cubes and have plenty to keep the punch well chilled.
This amount should serve 50 or more, depending on the size of the punch cup and how hot the day.


Thanks to Georgia Hansen for the great recipe!

Linda Asks - "Are your Pewter items food-safe?"

Yes, unlike pewter fashioned in earlier days, today's pewter is 100% lead free, so it can be used with confidence!  We don't recommend using pewter for long term storage of food items as the acids found in some foods can cause pitting or discoloration of the pewter.
To care for your pewter - After each use, wash your pewter in warm, soapy water, rinse well and dry it immediately with a soft cloth. You may find that initially some of the non-toxic gray patina will wash off.   This is normal.  With excessive scrubbing you will be left with more of a polished look but over time the surfaces will dull down.  Do not put pewter in the dishwasher or microwave. Pewter dishes cannot be used over an open flame or in the oven. 
By following these simple steps you should enjoy your pewter items for years to come.

Monday, June 2, 2014

JUNE Computer Desktop Calendar

Never forget what day of the week it is with our handy 
Desktop Calendar for your home or work computer.

This month's image features a beautiful Guy Wolff Bell Jar in our Herb Garden, surrounded by fragrant Oregano. Enjoy!

Click on the above image to view a full size version that you can save to your computer.

Be sure to check back next month for a new calendar image for July.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

MAY Computer Desktop Calendar

A little gift for our Circa friends - 
Never forget what day of the week it is with our handy 
Desktop Calendar for your home or work computer.

This month's image features our Courtyard Garden filled with 
Catmint, Daisies, Ferns and Vintage Birdhouses. Enjoy!

Click on the above image to view a full size version that you can save to your computer.

Be sure to check back next month for a new calendar image for June.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rosalie asks - "Are your Floorcloths washable?"

Absolutely!  To care for your floorcloth simply mop it as you would your floor, using any gentle cleaning product that you dilute with water.  DO NOT USE alcohol or ammonia based cleaning products,  If unsure, blot test on the reversed glued edge.  If you spill liquids or your pet has an accident, the floorcloth should be mopped immediately or the liquid may create water spots on the piece.  Once you have cleaned your floorcloth, make sure that the floorcloth is dry before placing any furniture on top of it.

Here are a few other tips for extending the life of your floorcloth -
Regularly rotate your floorcloth like you would your mattress.

To prevent uneven wear patterns on uneven floors, ie: slate, brick, etc... place newspapers under your floorcloth.

If your floorcloth tends to slip on the surface on which it lays you might try using double stick tape (carpet tape) or a thin mesh pad to keep it in place.  We have several floorcloths in our own home and find that we don't need anything underneath to keep them in place, especially if furniture rests on top to keep them in place.
If you just purchased a custom floorcloth that was created specifically for you, please be aware that the paint is still "green" and will need 3 to 4 weeks (or longer in humid conditions) to completely harden.  Aggressive cleaning, heavy furniture, high heels and animal urine are some of the things that we know can and will damage an un-cured floorcloth.  We recommend letting your floorcloth rest in an out of the way spot or if needed sooner, at the very least make sure you place felt pads under any heavy furniture that will rest on top of the piece, until the curing has taken place.

Over time, your floorcloth will need to be refinished.  All types of flooring start to wear eventually.  We use water based varnish applied with a 4" foam brush.  Clean your floorcloth first before varnishing to prevent dirt from being trapped under the varnish.

We hope that these tips help to extend the life of your floorcloth.  If you have questions regarding your existing floorcloth or if you planning to purchase please feel free to call us at 888-887-1820.

We look forward to hearing from you
- Noel & Verge

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tappin' The Maples

It's that time of year again & the folks from Goranson Farm have been collecting the sap that has been flowing from our Maple trees for several weeks now.  Once collected it goes to the Sugar House to be boiled down into the very best Maine Maple syrup.  We can't wait to have our Maple Syrup drizzled over Vanilla Ice Cream or to sweeten up a nice Ham in the crock pot.  If you have a favorite use for Maple Syrup we'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

For a preview of how Maple Syrup is made, check out this short video clip from "Goranson Farm - An Uncertain Harvest,"  a documentary made about our local organic farm here in Dresden, ME.

This year's Maine Maple Celebration at Goranson Farm takes place on the 23rd & 24th of March.  For more info visit their website, call  (207) 737-8834 or email at

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Note from Noel and Verge

Hello Friends ~
My, my how quickly time flies!  Where did the first half of January disappear to?   With the Holiday Season officially behind us we find ourselves once again enjoying the start of a brand new year full of optimism, hope and promise!  We were thrilled to hear from so many of you last year via our blog and facebook page!  With so many questions and comments we took the time to think about how to enhance our social media connection with you this year.

What better way than by providing practical, useful and inspiring content that covers topics that enhance our homes and lives while complimenting your interest in Circa Home Living.  We continue to believe its important to reinforce our connection as friends by sharing interests, stories, advice, opinions, information, inspiration, encouragement and a laugh or light hearted moment as needed.

As you might know, we are both passionate about 19th century styled homes and period wares, and as you might expect it takes time to realize the potential of any home.  Whether it's lighting, mouldings, furniture, floor treatments or finding the perfect coverlet, choices and decisions are at every turn.  A home is always a 'work in progress', an ongoing investment of time, patience and money.   We might not have all the answers but we have lots we want to share with you this year and hope that Circa Home Living provides the inspiration you are looking for!

Here's to a Happy, Healthy 2012!

Ever your friends,
Noel and Verge (Elphie too!)

P.S.  Be sure to "like" our page on facebook by visiting here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Sampling of New Items to Share

   Every year at this time we're bursting at the seams with new products and can't wait to share them with you!  We give careful attention to each and every item in our 48 page catalog and make every effort to offer you inspirational pieces, and in many cases, exclusive items found only through Circa Home Living.  We're proud to be able to work with many talented artisans that share in our vision - a commitment to quality products Made right here in the Good 'Ole USA!  We hope you'll find to your liking a small sampling of some of our NEW products shown below.                   Enjoy! 
                                          Ever your Friends ~ Noel, Verge and Elphie

Garlic and Cheese Dishes 

Our Pewter Garlic Holder and whimsical Mouse Covered Cheese Dish are fun, great for entertaining and certain conversation pieces!  Made of lead-free polished Pewter, these make great gifts for the cheese aficionado and garlic lover in your life!
United We Stand 
Table Square
This beautiful Table Square is patterned after a circa 1800's original.  The corner block reads: United We Stand/Divided We Fall.  Reversible with fringed edge.  Available in Red or Navy, both with Linen background.  32" Square.

Gourd Birdhouses 
                   and Bee Skeps
For the backyard and garden we couldn't pass these by.    Bring any outdoor setting to life (literally) with an added touch of whimsy and charm.  Gourd Birdhouses come in assorted shapes and sizes with drainage holes and jute hanger. Bee skeps are made of lightweight cement composite material, can be used indoor or out and come in three sizes perfect for collecting.

Wood Bin
This attractively aged and sized Wood Bin holds an ample supply of wood and provides storage for all those fireplace accessories and decorative touches to boot.  A great organizer of all things around the fireplace or woodstove.  Aged Mustard over Black.  23"w by 42"h by 16"d. (8"d at top.)

Tin Floor Lamp
Elphie truly admires this new Tin Floor Lamp!  Makes a statement in any room.  Features a weighted cone base.  4 candelabra base sockets are rated for up to 40 watts per socket. Primitive Aged Finish.  57" high with a 12" diameter base.

For more - visit our
To request a copy of our print catalog please click here.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

From Printing Press to your Mailbox

the 2012 Circa Home Living Catalog
your pathway to the American Country Home

We are thrilled to present a selection of new offerings that are sure to please.  
Our excursions this past year were filled with exciting discoveries of new artisans and innovative hand-made American products, many of which are exclusive to our catalog.    Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and browse our online offerings or request a printed copy of our catalog with our new handy dandy catalog request form here.   Of course you can always call us toll free at 888-887-1820 with your mailing address if you prefer.

Adorning this year's cover is a beautiful watercolor image painted by our friend Karen Hillard Good.
This framed watercolor print is available in our new catalog.

Check our website in the coming weeks for more spectacular watercolor framed originals by Karen.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Behind the Scenes: The Making of a Catalog

In anticipation of the 2012 Circa Home Living Catalog debut we thought we'd give you some insight and a behind the scenes look at what it takes to put it all together.

Planning for our yearly catalog is an important and ongoing process.  From the moment our catalog is printed and shipped each October we take a short pause and then start anew working on ideas for next year.

Cropped & Elphie approved
for the new catalog
Setting up the shot.
We begin in January researching and scouting the country for new products made by American artisans with our customers in mind.  As sample products are received they are photographed using our period 1800's home as the backdrop - giving our customers a feel for how the products can be used in their own homes.  We then measure all products, write short descriptions for each along with any pertinent information that we feel may be useful for our customers.  When all of this work is complete we then move to the design and layout phase where we pay careful attention to grouping like items together so that they can be easily located in the catalog. 

Printing is then done locally where we are hands on in the process every step of the way to ensure that the colors printed are as accurate as possible.  After a few rounds of careful proofing (Elphie gets finally say with her 'two paws up' approval) our catalog is mailed direct to tens of thousands of customers here in the USA, Canada and as far away as Tasmania! 

Color proofing at our local print shop.
It's a long process with an extraordinary amount of time given to the details but ultimately what makes our catalog debut such a rewarding and special time of the year here at Circa Home Living.

For our existing Circa friends, check your mailbox over the next few weeks for the new 2012 Circa Home Living catalog - filled to the brim with exciting new products.  If you're not currently on our mailing list and would like to request a catalog fill out our handy dandy new catalog request form here or call toll free at 888-887-1820 with your mailing address.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Ever your friends - Noel & Verge 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Attention ~ Old World Pewter Collectors !

We've recently acquired a wonderful, hard-to-come-by selection of pewter plates, candlestick holders, pitchers, trays, peppermills, canisters, measures and more ~ all from the talented folks at Old World Pewter.

We invite you to browse our newest offerings by clicking here or by visiting our website and clicking on the pewter category.  Many of the items shown have very limited quantites available.  We are expecting more pewter in the coming weeks so be sure to check back.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Celebrating May

May is one of our favorite months here at Circa. The life-giving rains of April have done their job famously, coaxing the trees and flowers to burst forth in a Broadway-worthy cabaret of multi-colored hues. 

It’s a grand time to celebrate! And if the warmer weather and eye-popping performance of Mother Nature itself isn’t excuse enough for you to throw off the comforter and kick up your heels, then mark your calendar with the following dates which are certain to inspire a bit of well-justified merrymaking.

We invite you to check in with us periodically as we’ll be taking a closer look at a number of these events as the merry month of May tap dances her way through our hearts.

May 1st is Mother Goose Day (how fun!) and, of course, May Day.
Every year at Circa we delight in gathering a bouquet of early posies from our garden and place May Baskets anonymously on doorknobs throughout our tiny village. It’s a simple gesture but we guarantee you’ll take as much pleasure in doing it as anyone who receives one does! (See our previous blog for suggestions on how to create your own May Day treasures to share.)

May 2nd is National Truffles Day (the mushroom variety, not the candy kind) and May 3rd is National Raspberry Popover Day. (Now that’s more like it!)

Cinco De Mayo, May 5th, is the ideal time to celebrate with a lively Mexican Fiesta. Bring on the Guacamole, Carne Asada Tacos, Rice and Beans and perhaps, if you’re feeling a tad naughty, even a Margarita (or two) might be in order. Feeling even more adventurous? Might we suggest inviting some of your favorite Senors and Senoritas over to the homestead, clear out the rugs, push back the furniture and have the local dance studio in to give Salsa dance lessons in your living room. Talk about kicking up your heels. Ole’! 

Artwork by the a-may-zing Geninne Zlatkis, from the whimsical website .
Be sure to visit Geninne's etsy store at

May 6th is Nurse’s Day and May 8th is National Teacher’s Day, both worthy dates to keep in mind.

The second Sunday of every May is Mother’s Day. Whatever you do, mark this date! And remember~ candy, flowers and cards are nice, but nothing beats the gift of time spent together. 

May 11th is Eat What You Want Day (we’re serious~ whoopee!) and May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Day. (Can it get any better?)

May 13th is National Apple Pie Day, taken very seriously in our neighboring state of Vermont.  I.E ~ “No. 15, effective May 10, 1999, apple pie is designated the official State Pie. When serving apple pie in Vermont, a "good faith" effort shall be made to meet one or more of the following conditions: (a) with a glass of cold milk, (b) with a slice of cheddar cheese weighing a minimum of 1/2 ounce, (c) with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream. ~ from the Office of the Secretary of State, Vermont Legislative Directory.”    Way to go, Vermont!

  Noel's makes the most delicious Apple Pie - hands down!

 May 18th is National Museum Day and a trip to your local museum with the kids or grandkids is surely in order. Let’s teach our young ones early on that learning can be fun.

 A fun day with our god-niece Elsa at the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Boston.

May 23rd is National Taffy Day (it just got better!) and May 25th is National Escargot Day. (Umm~ to each his own.)

Memorial Day is May 26th in the United States, a time to reflect on the brave men and women who died in service to our great country. Perhaps a quiet picnic in the park today?

May is also Asparagus Month, National Book Month, National Better Hearing and Speech Month, National Nursing Home Month, Flower Month and, one of our favorites, National Barbecue Month. It’s been a long, cold winter here in Dresden and we’re more than ready to throw a few shrimp on the barbie to celebrate the month away. 

Lastly, but certainly not leastly (is that a word?), May is National Strawberry Month, and a fruit more worthy of such an honor would be difficult for us to name. After all, strawberries are known to be low in calories (excellent news!) and high in Vitamin C. They also contain antioxidants and may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Further, research indicates that these plump, little powerhouses may help improve our memory. (More strawberries~ please!) Besides all that, they’re delicious.

Here in Maine, as in much of New England, we can’t expect to pick our strawberries until June, but we find them so irresistible, we just can’t help but push the season a tad. After all, is there any better way to finish off a good, old, belt-loosening barbeque than with batch of home made Strawberry Shortcake crowned with oodles and oodles of whipped cream? 

In the Circa kitchen, tradition dictates that in lieu of cake, these crimson beauties rest their heads on a pillow of biscuits fresh out of the oven.  We’ll be posting a few of our favorite biscuit recipes (even one that’s gluten free!) in plenty of time for strawberry picking in your area.  

Yes, it’s clear to see that May is simply a-may-zing, so join us, if you will, as we find reason to celebrate this glorious month, week after week after week. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy May Day!

The tradition of the May Basket, or “Bringing in the May”, can be linked to the ancient Druid holiday of May Day, a celebration of spring and the forthcoming pleasures of summer.

Surprising a friend or neighbor on May 1st by anonymously hanging a flower filled May Basket on their doorknob is surely as much of a heart-tickling delight now as it was in days of yore.

Fashioning May Baskets can be as straightforward or as involved as one wishes the process to be. Here at Circa we rarely allow our imaginations to be bound by ritual, choosing, rather, to embrace simplicity instead. Thus, the traditional basket might be substituted by an old canning jar, a clay pot or perhaps, even, a porcelain tea cup~ whatever might be at hand that we deem suitable to hold our May Day offerings.

Gather containers, colorful Spring ribbons and fresh posies.

Select an appropriate ribbon, and then tie it around the container,
leaving enough on the ends to form a loop to hang over doorknob.

Arrange flowers in a pleasing manner.

Address a tag with the recipient's name or nice sentiment. We use simple shipping tags which can be found at most office supply stores. Tie sentiment tag on container.

Hang your May Basket on the recipient's doorknob, knock once,
and then vanish like mist in the morning sun.

With that said, spring flowers might be substituted for little trinkets, sweets for a child, or perhaps a pot of honey for a tea aficionado. If our offering proves too cumbersome for the doorknob, we place it before the threshold. We hold firm to the notion that it’s not the offering or the way in which it is presented that counts, but rather the thought.

We encourage you to enjoy the process, be creative, and elaborate at will.

Happy May Day, One and All!