maine made artisan cutting boards {giveaway}

one of the best things about writing a blog is that you can feature business and services from your friends. it can act as a forum for me to promote people and businesses i know are doing exceptional work. i try to focus exclusively on maine businesses and today i want to introduce you to Of Maine Wood. see below for instructions on entering the giveaway!

Of Maine Wood is a new and emerging family business in Blue Hill, Maine. i've known the family, the chittendens, since i was a little girl. actually, they lived right down the road from us in new hampshire and one of the sisters used to babysit me. so it's with great enthusiasm that i introduce their products to you. 

they craft kitchen and table boards "to celebrate the natural marvel of wood and the love of food presentation." Tina, one of the sisters, explains the company this way: 

The key elements of our business really center on our desire to use local woods either to Maine or the American North East that have either fallen in storms or have been collected locally. We then mill our own logs in Blue Hill and use a solar kiln to dry the boards. As the drying process uses solar energy, in cloudier months such as last February, it may take a bit longer. We are not in a hurry!

Once the boards are dried (takes about three months) we then really look at each one carefully to get a sense of the individual grain pattern and texture of each tree and then use templates to cut the boards. Each one is from a single piece of wood - no lamentation.

Once the board is cut, it is then hand sanded and finished with a beeswax/mineral oil finish.

We have two lines: the core collection and the live edge. The core is more closely associated with serving and presentation but can also be cut on (we stamp one side of each board and recommend that if someone is going to cut on it, that they use that side) Live edge pieces are all completely individual.
what a gorgeous and thoughtful wedding or anniversary gift these boards would make. i can just picture a display of exquisite cheeses laid out across the board ready for a party, can't you!?
a solar kiln is used to dry the wood
how the boards are laid out on each plank
cutting out the boards
the finishing process
the core collection
the brett set


want to win one of the boards?! we're giving away:

The Classic board (9 3/8 x 15 1/8 inches). It's perfect for preparing vegetables and meats, but also functions as an excellent small serving tray. The Classic board fits into every kitchen setting. $65.00 value! (US shipping only)

follow these simple instructions to be entered to win a gorgeous board from Of Maine Woods!

1) like Of Maine Wood on Facebook (required). feel free to like A Sweet Start on Facebook, too (optional).
2) leave a comment on this blog about what you would use the board for.

we'll pick a winner on april 26th and announce it on both Facebook pages. you have until 11:59 p.m. on thursday, april 25th to enter the giveaway. good luck! 

nautical maine home goods

last week i had the pleasure of attending an open house at uptown studio in rockland, maine. what a great store. it's owned by tori, who is an artist. her store is almost more like a gallery really. she has fantastic nautical inspired home goods: table clothes, aprons, linen napkins, tote bags, and more. her goods would be perfect gifts for the special people in your wedding. or, if you're attending a maine wedding, they would make perfect gifts for newlyweds.   

Original Designs · Maine Made · Local, Modern & Vintage Inspired...Expect the Unexpected

LiveME maine-inspired apparel and accessories giveaway

this is so exciting! not only do we have a guest post/interview with the owner of LiveME maine-inspired apparel and accessories, but he's giving away a LoveME tote bag!!! find out how to win the tote bag at the bottom of this post. 

we can all thank pinterest for this blog post. one day as i was pinning i came across the LoveME camp mug and fell in love (ha, ha). the LiveME products, all with different slogans, are are so quintessentially maine, if you get married here it would be awesome to include them in your wedding. 

here is my interview with owner chris avantaggio.

How did LiveME get its start?
BeerME was actually the first design. It started as a t-shirt design I created for a bunch of friends. Every year we would go to the Maine Brewer's Festival and wearing bright colors made it easy for us to find each other in the crowd. In the fall of 2009 we wanted to do something a little more fun, so I put this t-shirt design together and we printed them on blaze orange t-shirts. It turned out to be pretty popular so I just kept making them.

What was the second design you came up with and how do you think up new ones?
I think the second design was LoveME, but we released 4 new designs several months after BeerME became LiveME. Now we have around 12, and only release a couple of new designs a year. We try to make them appealing to what people love about Maine.

When did LiveME become your full time job?
LiveME is still a passion project for me. It's a lot of late nights and weekends. I currently work full time as an advertising Art Director.

Do you sell in retail stores in Maine or only online?
The best way to shop our entire collection is on our LiveME website. But you can also find a selection of our merchandise in Portland at Zane, Old Port Card Works, Mexicali Blues, Newbury Comics and at Central Street Farmhouse in Bangor.

What if someone wants to purchase a large quantity of, say, LoveME camp mugs for their wedding, can you accommodate special orders like that?
Absolutely. We have done many bulk orders for weddings and the camp mugs make perfect glassware for signature cocktails and drinks. We also do a lot of custom orders such as tote bags, koozies, and t-shirts for wedding favors. We have a contact section on our site for inquiries.

Where are your products made?
Almost all of our apparel is made in America and printed in Portland, Maine.

Whats the most popular product you sell?
The BeerME and LoveME t-shirts are topsellers.

Whats the best part of running your own small business?
Creative freedom.

Whats one thing your customers should know about LiveME?
Where a small family run company that loves Maine!


want to own your own LoveME tote bag?! of course you do! all you have to do is follow these simple instructions:

  1. go over to LiveME's facebook page and "like" it
  2. leave a comment on this blog telling me which is your favorite LiveME design
  3. that's it!

i'll pick a random winner on valentine's day, february 14, 2013 and announce the winner on my facebook page and my twitter account. you may only enter once. feel free to "like" my facebook page, too, although that's not necessary to win. 


maine wedding gifts

terry hire photography | maine photographer

are you looking for gifts? either you're a couple getting married in maine and you're looking for authentic maine gifts for your wedding party or family members, or you're attending a wedding in maine and you want to give the happy couple a gift from maine. may i humbly offer the following list of incredible gift ideas!

alan claude print

terry hire photograph (see image above)

quench metalworks piece

black dinah chocolatiers chocolate

luksin designs piece

sea bag bag

maine float rope company mat

ll bean hudsons bay point blanket

maine sailing adventure on the frances

maine magazine subscription

maineshare donation in honor of

anything from craft/artisan vendors at the maine organic farmer and gardener association annual common ground country fair held the third weekend in september in unity, maine. everything has to be manufactured or created in maine, so you know you're supporting the local economy. 

and if you really can't figure out what to give, check with the wedding couple to see if they're registered with betterment gift registry

do you have other ideas? put them in the comments below.