Last year I hit the Jersey mall. Here's the BLACK FRIDAY REPORT from Paramus. [We arrived at the mall at 7:34 a.m.] This year, I shopped for maybe 1.5 hours in downtown Belfast. I loved it. Here are the stops Santa's sleigh made:
- Fiddlehead Artisan Supply. Martha told me to check this out. A true treat. Fabrics, glitter, ribbons and trim. Stocked up on Tacky Glue and glitter tubes and card stock so Punch and I [and Fig if she wants] can make cards and tags. The ribbons are glorious. I also bought a couple of yards of cheery holiday fabric to use somehow, not sure how. To wrap sacks of cookies? Put on table in breakfast nook? Make dolly blankets for Punchy?
- Conklin's Maine Mercantile. Oh, so nice. Maine-made products like maple syrup...Vermont pewter from Danforth. I bought Figgy and Sis pretty keepsake presents here today. And I when I shopped there on snowy Wednesday afternoon, the owner gave me $10 in Bear Bucks to use on a $50 purchase. Presented it today.
- Northwoods Gourmet Girl. In the space where Dave and Sheila had their bakery for many years. I used to love going in to buy Sheila's wares but it was a tall order for her to run the place, rising in the dark to prep and bake with three young sons at home. Now it's Northwoods Gourmet Girl. I didn't buy gifts, but I did get comforts that should help keep Mr. & Mrs. Santa calm and nourished through the season, including a forest-scented candle that is burning in Room 112 now and 2 bottles of Love for Lemons Co. All Natural & Eco Friendly Kitchen Cleanser, Lemon Rosemary scent ["handmade on the coast of Maine"]. Also bought a very large Field Cookie for $5. Exceptional.
- Bellabooks & Antiques on High Street. Run by Kim and Gary, this shop is enchanting. I walked in at about 3:30 to the scent of chocolate-chip cookies baking. I succumbed to the BEST CHOCOLATE-CHIP COOKIE I HAVE EVER HAD. I tasted farm butter and melty chocolate and homespun sugar. Kim also makes a wonderful cup of homemade hot chocolate. She told me she started baking as a girl, growing up in Maine. The shop sells new and used books and old treasures like sparkling, nubby crystal creamers, colorful mixing bowls, cheerful plates. I bought Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder on CD for Punchy, figuring she will like it for the long car ride back to Jersey and at home. Also snagged Orange Is the New Black; didn't realize the Netlfix series was based on a memoir. Brought two of the cookies to my mother-in-law in the hospital this evening. Not sure she will eat them.
- Colonial Theatre. My shopping time was made possible by the generosity of Mike and Therese, who let our family in to see the 2:30 showing of "Penguins of Madagascar" for free in their restored theater dating to 1912. I decided I'd better seize the moment. We've been going to the hospital every day for a visit and doing other family things, so when I saw a shopping window, I took it.
- Ummmmmm....not sure. Well, did speak calmly and try to see clearly. And drank a lot of seltzer and water.
- Made new friends, Jean and Sandra. It's healthy to connect with kindred souls and share your story.