well THAT was fun


Spruce & Gussy was open before 6 a.m. this past Saturday for the 17th Annual Early Bird Sale. To be honest, I hadn’t attended this event before last year, when I had to work at it. How much fun can wandering around town in your pajamas before 9 a.m. possibly be? Turns out it’s a great time!

We had coffee and homemade breakfast treats, and a storewide sale of 25% off. Michelle, Abby and I were all in our pjs, and so were most of the people who came through the door, such as these lovely ladies in their bright and cheerful robes.  Read more »

getting out of my own way


Wowza. No matter how many years I live and work in this town (I’m mid-way through number 23), it is always stunning to me how quickly it goes from bustling tourist destination to ghost town. Okay, perhaps it’s not quite that extreme, but there isn’t much of a transition period, not nearly so much gradual dwindling as you’d expect. Main Street still sees a fair amount of traffic from the last few cruise ships. For us over here on Mt. Desert Street, it’s more like there’s a switch. Yesterday it was on. Today it is off. Read more »

the return of susan fleming


Wow! What a month it has been, and we’re only halfway through. Bar Harbor’s first Fashion Night Out happened on September 8, and it was a fabulous event. Merchants all over town participated, and there were drink specials and dance lessons and art openings and Santa(!) and plenty of libations. It was really, really fun. So much fun that I didn’t manage to get any photos. So you’ll just have to take my word for it when I say that here at Spruce & Gussy, we all looked fancy and had a blast. Many thanks to Tegan Curry for bringing extra sparkle to our store.

Life has been so full of events like these, and the beginning of school with the mayhem that tends to bring, that I haven’t been farther from the shop than Cottage Street in weeks. So imagine my surprise when I found myself with a free half hour one afternoon this week and wandered down Main to see this.  Read more »

august fun!


Well, so much for that commitment I made back in May to write at least once a week. Good thing I didn’t tell you about that, you’d think I was a real loser. The road to August is paved with good intentions…

Yes, here we are. August. For most of the US population it is a month of downtime; closed schools and offices, barbeque parties and beaches to attend, the lazy hazy days of summer. For those of us who live in Bar Harbor, it is a time of heightened chaos. Even those of us who don’t rely on the tourist trade for our income cannot avoid the long lines on the roads and in the grocery store, the crowded sidewalks and the slightly frantic feeling that pervades the air. Read more »

american made holiday


The 4th of July is right around the corner, and already Bar Harbor seems to be bursting at the seams. We’re looking forward to lots of happy mayhem here at Spruce & Gussy, starting with taking everything out of our window and redecorating for the holiday. We would be doing this anyway, but this year the Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a window decorating contest, so we’re even more jazzed up than usual to adorn Constance, our lovely mannequin, and her perch.

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legacy of summer


I think that summer should mean warm, lazy days full of a whole lot of doing nothing. Some of my best memories of childhood are of aimless bike riding and afternoons looking for sand dollars. It doesn't sound terribly productive, but I believe that having all that free, empty time was essential for successfully learning and making and doing on subsequent days.

But we live in Bar Harbor and run a retail operation, and summer actually means some serious scrambling to create more, do more, earn more before the chill winds of fall send the visitors scurrying home. We've both been crazy busy; even days when we're supposed to be off-duty are full of appointments and emails and phone calls. I love the heightened energy and liveliness in town, and I've always loved being busy. But the last couple days reminded me just how wonderful it is to take an occasional day and not do anything. 

The kids are out of school, but day camp hasn't started yet, so I've done some schedule juggling so that I can spend some time with them before we start our summer routine. My kids like to bike and hike and do all the fun outdoor things you can do here on this wonderful island, but the past couple of days, we didn't do much of anything at all. We got ourselves to the beach, and plopped ourselves down for hours. We came into Bar Harbor and ate lunch on the Village Green and sat beside the pier throwing rocks in the water. We ate ice cream. And though there were plenty of things I could have been doing, I let myself enjoy doing nothing much at all. I'm hoping I can make time to do nothing at least once a week all summer. I think it might be the best therapy of all. 

Now that my couple of days doing nothing are over, let me tell you about the extra activity we'll have here at Spruce & Gussy tomorrow. It's Legacy of the Arts Week in Bar Harbor, and there have been concerts and open studios and gallery shows all week. Tomorrow night there is an Art Walk, with businesses all over Bar Harbor featuring an artist and their work, complete with demonstrations and special displays. Here at Spruce & Gussy we'll be featuring the work of two artists, Jennifer Judd-McGee and Bill Sanborn.

I found that it was really difficult to get a decent picture of a mirror, but here is one of the pieces that will be here tomorrow night, a mirror handmade by Bill featuring Jen's artwork. We'll also have some new work of Jen's just for the evening, including originals and prints of her work, as well as her new tea towels. Bill will have his beautiful woodwork on display, including bowls, lamps, and more of these mirrors. And of course we'll have wine and snacks, too. 

We hope to see you there. Hopefully after you've had a lovely day of doing nothing much at all. 


happy day, daddy-o


Mid-June means a few things around here. It means Michelle's birthday (happy birthday, Michelle!), and that the kids are almost out of school (just one half day left!). It also means that Father's Day is coming right up, bringing the annual scramble to find a gift for that beloved guy who is so difficult to shop for, at least in my world. I love my dad dearly, and probably the best gift would be an afternoon spent drinking a beer in the sun together. But I can't always manage the journey, so I'll have to come up with something else. 

This year we spent a little extra time trying to find some good gifts for guys. And I think we did find a few that pass muster. Take, for example, this new pottery we just got in. 

It's made by hand in Indiana by a fellow named Justin Rothshank. It feels great in your hand, solid and cool. Being hand-thrown, each piece is completely unique. And would definitely make a perfect gift for certain dads. 

We've also got some great wallets and dop kits, some fashioned out of old inner tubes, others from leather and eco-friendly fabrics. I think my kids need to get their dad one of the rubber card sleeves so that he can throw out the worn piece of tyvek that passes for his wallet these days.

If you've got a guy who'll wear a ring or cufflinks, we've got some fantastic ones. The rings are all sterling and there are grilles of various antique cars, or big chunky bands by Tegan Curry. Wicked cool. We've got cufflinks by Susan Fleming, Carrie Cross, and some of my little people, as well as a set in which you can put photos of your sweet smiling children. And then there are those lovely pocket knives from Douk Douk of France, simple and elegant. We've got lots of belt buckles, all handmade in the US, including the very clever ones that also open bottles; we've got belts to go with them or you can get just the buckle. 

We're on our summer hours now, open every day 10 am until 10 pm, so it's easy to stop by Spruce & Gussy to pick up something for dear old Dad. You'll both be glad that you did. 




As many of you know, we lost a dear friend, Kristen Klint, to ovarian cancer four years ago this June. She was 46 when she died, so we feel like we were cheated out of at least 40 years of her company. Ever since she died, we've been thinking about ways to honor her memory. To celebrate her spirit, really. A year or so ago we started to think about a scholarship fund, and after a few personal hurdles that needed to be cleared, we're finally ready to start. 

We're still working on a name, and there are many details to be ironed out, but we intend to award the scholarship annually to a young woman graduating from MDIHS to pursue an artistic endeavor, be it further education, a well-thought out project, or travel for inspiration. Kristen had a real talent for writing and film, but followed a different path in her formal education, so it seems a fitting tribute to her.

We hosted the first fundraiser in tandem with a first anniversary party for Spruce & Gussy. Friends and local caterers and restaurants provided the food, and many local businesses and individuals provided a plethora of fantastic items for bid in our silent auction.

It was a lovely evening, one that Kristen herself would have enjoyed very much, surrounded by her friends and sipping sparkly wine. We reached our goal for the evening, and are looking forward to planning more fundraisers and working out the details so that we can award the first scholarship in June of 2012. 

One ongoing fundraiser at Spruce & Gussy will be this jewelry case. All of the pieces were donated either by the artist or by Spruce & Gussy, and 100% of the proceeds from sales will go to the scholarship. Come by and see what's in the case now, because it is sure to change often. If you have any questions or would like to make a donation, you can stop by Spruce & Gussy and talk to Michelle or Patti, or you can chat with Kate Macko, Barbara Maffucci, or Julie Harris.

We are also happy to be helping a group of MDI High School students to participate in the People to People program, the goal of which is to promote peace through understanding. The students will be traveling to Australia this summer, and to raise money, one of them has designed these cards, inspired by Australian aboriginal art. You can buy them here at Spruce & Gussy for only $2 each, and all proceeds go directly to the students. 

Memorial Day weekend is nearly upon us. We'd like to send out a thanks in advance to the veterans of our Armed Services for all of your hard work and sacrifice. We are both daughters of veterans, and though we would be grateful regardless, the day has special meaning for us. We wish a peaceful weekend to all. 

–Patti & Michelle

saturday festivities


Wow, what a wonderful Saturday we've got ahead of us, chances of continuing gray showers notwithstanding. The island is going to be hopping with lots of fun activities, and we wanted to fill you in on a couple of them.

Many hearty souls will be out biking the roads in support of MS research. MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord and occurs primarily in young adults. There is no known cure. Check here for more information on how to make a donation. This is a cause near and dear to our hearts, so please consider making a pledge, no matter how small. 

In downtown Southwest Harbor from 9 am til 3:30 pm, you'll find the Acadia Fiber Faire. Because of a prior commitment (see below), Michelle and I can't go, and we are very, very sad. A fair for fiber enthusiasts of any age, they will have free workshops, a swap table, exhibits by fiber artists, activities for kids and teens, and vendors offering fiber related goodies. In addition, they'll have gatherings for fiber work, so bring your project and attend a knit-in, a spin-in, a hook-in, a felt-in… so fun! All proceeds will go toward funding more fiber teachers for the Summer Festival of the Arts, a summer day camp for young people in grades 1 through 11. 

Also on Saturday (phew!) in Bar Harbor, will be The Taste of Bar Harbor, Merchant Street Stroll and Craft Fair. From 9 am til 3 pm, restaurants and shops will be offering special tastings, previews and sales. Also, over 20 area artisans and non-profit organizations will have tables set up in the parking lot at the First. Some of our favorite crafters will be there, including Jennifer Booher of Quercus Designs, Jennifer Judd-McGee of Swallowfield, and Kirsten Hardy of Anabelfuzz. Here at Spruce & Gussy, we'll have a table on the sidewalk with some super sales, and inside we'll have snacks and coffee, and a drawing for a gift certificate. 

So we're looking forward to a fun-filled Saturday, and we hope to see you. In addition to the sale, snacks and drawing, we've got lots of fun new stuff, including some new pieces by Susan Fleming Jewelry.

We just love the burst of color that Sue's jewelry brings to a gray spring. There are many more pieces in addition to these pictured, and we've got her new belt buckles, too. 

We're looking forward to this weekend, and to the beginning of the season here on our beloved island. We hope you can join us!


mom on my mind


There is nothing, absolutely nothing, like spring in Bar Harbor. Not because the weather is particularly lovely, and there are only just a few flowers in bloom. But the energy in the air is palpable, and invigorating, and exciting. We delve into our seasons completely here in our island community, spring perhaps most completely of all, as we prepare to welcome millions of visitors. For locals, there are a couple of particularly exciting openings this week. Just down the drive from us, Cafe this Way starts breakfast tomorrow! They have an extensive and varied menu including dozens of omelette fillings, the famous Kit's Burrito, and, of course, Maine blueberry pancakes. And across the Green and just down the street, the Lompoc opens tomorrow, too. We are so looking forward to enjoying a chilled glass of white wine and a game of bocce on the lovely patio. 

Our friends Ralph and Anna, former owners of the Morning Glory Bakery, are opening their new venture for a second season, the Acacia House Inn. With their intown location and innate talent for cooking an amazing breakfast, that is where we would opt to stay if we didn't live here. 

Also coming right up, of course, is Mother's Day. We've got lots of fun things that Mom would love, but one of our absolute favorites are these new matching mom and daughter pendants from California artist Mark Poulin. 

In addition to the aliens, we've got owls, dogs, kitties, whales… the list goes on. The cuteness factor is off the charts, and the price is incredibly low for US made sterling jewelry. 

If your mom isn't a jewelry kinda gal, these little bamboo pots with soil and seeds are simple and stylish and useful.

This US company also makes great little brown bag plant kits that are adorable and economical. What's not to love?

For the thoroughly practical mom, we've got floursack towels that are handprinted right here in Maine. Have you ever seen such cute designs? With bright colors and garden themes, they are sweet as well as functional.

That's just a few of our favorite things for Mom. Stop by and see what else we have! We'll be open on Mother's Day, and Sundays from now on.