Now that it’s September all the local events kick in. On Saturday the Egan Maritime Institute hosted their yearly Maritime Festival on the grounds of Children’s Beach. This is a free event for everyone and families come to participate in all sorts of maritime arts and crafts. There’s also plenty of food served throughout the day.

Maritime Festival at Children’s Beach

A huge tent was set up with a dozen or more tables manned by volunteers and hosted by artisans encouraging children of all ages and adults to pull up a chair and participate for however long they wanted to stay.

Artist and master scrimshander, David Lazarus, had a busy table where he encouraged me, and a few children to try our hand at scrimshaw.

Scrimshander David Lazarus teaching his craft

He had a bag of scrap material from years ago and gladly gave each person a disk to work on. Even Natalie, aged four, with her “cat” face painting patiently waited for her turn. At another table, Tori, aged 13 had a display of the baskets she made in her class at the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum this summer and was busy making another.

IMG_1369Lightship Basket making by Tori, age 13

There was rock polishing, rope bracelet making, painting on quarterboards and wooden whale carving to name a few. Each “station” was full all day long. The most fun was watching the cardboard boat race. Each handmade boat raced until it sank. The day was perfect for this event and reminded me of the Nantucket of many many years ago when families gathered at this same place for the Sunday evening band concerts. Even longer ago, we gathered at the bandstand that is now The Tavern, and when I was a kid, on Main St. in front of Charlie’s Market, now a high end clothing store. Many old timers remember when the Finast market was here and later The Sweet Shop was where we now have Met On Main. My kids and all their friends scooped ice cream in the summertime. It was their first jobs.

At home on Nantucket is almost anywhere on the island during the “off season”. The entire island now, after a long summer, once again feels like our home. Time to get out and find each other. It was a glorious summer, but the mugginess took a toll on our homes. Mildew was a big problem.

dried hydroDried hydrangea wreath

Tip: Put dried lavender inside shoes to keep mildew away. Hang bunches of lavender upside down in the closet. It makes everything smell fresh, but keeps mildew at bay.
This is also a great time to dry flowers from the garden and now is the time to cut the dried hydrangea blossoms for Christmas wreath-making. They can even be decorative for fall, especially a wreath made from the faded pink or cranberry colored blossoms. Check out my column on Thursday in the I&M for how to make potpourri and a little more about mildew.
The wreaths can be hung in windows or on a protected doorway, or you might like to use the wreath as a centerpiece with a grouping of candles in the middle. Place the wreath on a tray and fill the center with fat candles of different heights or with glass votives filled with votive candles. Some of the hydrangeas dry to a silvery blue, others turn pale green or retain their deep wine color. Use all the same color or vary them depending on the blossoms you find. If you spray them lightly with hair spray they won’t shed as you work with them. Here’s how:

Materials Needed: a Styrofoam or straw wreath, florist’s pins and florist’s wire.

Wire each blossom and pin to the wreath as tightly packed together as possible. Some people do put them on the front door, knowing they will look inviting for a while, even if they won’t last forever. They are reminders of a fading summer, but can be enjoyed all year. Add a beautiful fat velvet bow and you’ll have a classic holiday look for several months.

Look for interesting containers, pitchers and baskets for dried hydrangea arrangements. They add a nice fall addition to a room. The dried bouquet will last for as long as you want to keep it. Cut the stems very short and pack the blossoms tightly together so they form a mass just above the rim of your container.

Until next summer when the hydrangea bushes are all puffed up and bursting with pride, your dried blossoms in a bouquet or creating a wreath will have to do.