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Monday, December 27, 2010

Lamb Barley Soup

We had a fantastic roast leg of lamb for Christmas dinner.... slow cooked with lots of garlic, onion, fresh thyme and rosemary!   Today I made an equally delicious soup from the leftovers ~ a suggestion from my daughter-in-law.  Great idea!

Ingredients:  Beef broth, red wine, tomatoes, the usual veggies, marjoram, thyme, garlic and barley.  Don't forget the lamb!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

1909 Christmas Cards

Here are special holiday cards for special friends made from printing images of 1909 vintage cards onto cotton, then sewing them to heavy parchment blank cards.   I think it worked very well.  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Deer in the Garden - Summer & Winter

The deer arrive at dusk to see what I have left them in my compost pile.  No wonder they check out the garden buffet in the summer.  

Ready or not......

We have shoveled out from that beautiful snowstorm, the tree is up and decorated and company is coming whether we are ready or not....  This morning I left home early under a beautiful blue sky with the cold sun making hoar frost glisten on every twig and clump of weeds.  It was 2* ~ crispy and crunchy!  A few errands to run, then back home I found the mantel looking especially pretty on this bright day.  Every year I decorate it differently and I rather like the lace, candles and poinsettias.  The candle holders are etched red flash antiques from my husband's Aunt Martha.... a treasure.

And, of course, any pie will do anytime......... I made a chicken pot pie for dinner last night.  It was especially delicious!  I was short of time so picked up a hot ready-cooked chicken from the grocery, cooked a pot full of veggies slightly, made a white sauce, topped it all with a freshly blended pie crust, popped it in the oven while I made
a salad and..... voila!   Perfect winter supper!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lake Effect Snow

The sledding is terrific on our steep driveway. How we love that first significant lake effect snowstorm. 18" to 20" of snow fell here. It's been a beautiful week. Hope everyone is safe and warm.

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

One of our favorite summer farm markets offers freshly cut trees and homemade wreaths.  We love to get our tree here.   They drill the trunk to fit on a special stand so we aren't struggling with trying to straighten the tree... saves  some stress.  Inside the market is the wood stove for warming chilly fingers and toes.  A pair of kitty siblings snuggle together by the fire.   Frenchy Groleau established this farm, but has recently passed away.  Many French Canadians settled in this region.   Frenchy had some great stories about the early days and we miss him.  Thankfully his family is carrying on.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Arts & Crafts Finale

A remaining treasure from my final holiday arts and crafts show is this small collection of beaded and embroidered birds made from felted vintage blankets.  They hang by a loop of fish line if you wish.  Of course, I made oodles of cardinals in both red and wine and they "flew" off the display.  The weather held and roads were clear for the show this past weekend, but we have since received around 15" of snow in the last 36 hrs.   It is beautiful, but internet service is wonky.   The candles and matches are handy in case of a full blown power outage.  Very cozy!

My neighboring vendors always have tempting products, too.   I bought an ounce of roving from a spinner/knitter and ordered felting needles.  Have no idea what I am going to make, but am looking forward to learning something new.   Feel free to suggest a beginner's project for me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Ice & Penny Rugs

A series of nightly low temps in the 20's and we have a skim of ice on the lake this morning.  Even though it won't last.... yet.... I am thinking about my ice skates!  Hope everyone had a wonderful
Thanksgiving as we did here with family and extended family.

Christmas Craft Fairs are in full swing here in the north woods.  Thought you'd like to see the reclaimed wool and velvet embroidered and appliqued pillows I made for my booth this past weekend.  Also, I painted vintage furniture~chairs, tables, sleds~with snowmen and Santas.... sold out!!!  What fun!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The lake is cooling down

Here is an early morning scene a few days ago as the air cooled the lake we swam in all summer. Perhaps it's beginning to think about making ice for ice-skating!  Beautiful mists.  Today we are getting such strong, gusting winds that the remaining leaves are being blown from the trees and away.  Makes me wonder why I bothered raking the other day.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One of 4 Fave Seasons

Right now Autumn is my favorite season.   Soon Winter will be my favorite and so on!  We have been enjoying one of the most beautiful falls on record with moderate temps and glorious colors.  Here are some photos from my yard and home.  I raked leaves into a huge pile one recent day.... another reason why I love fall... raking!  Yes, truly.  Good exercise and it smells so good. 

I also made this pieced candy corn banner of quilt weight fabrics.... a "green" way to decorate and I can use it again next year.  The reverse is a Halloween print as well as the double fold tape.  I made the tape with one of those neat little tools and an iron.... very easy to do, inexpensive and it coordinates perfectly with the flags.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lake Michigan Squalls & Lunch

The winds whip wildly off Lake Michigan this time of the year.... up and over the dunes creating white caps on the inland lakes, many of which have dredged access to the "big" water.  Such has been the weather the past couple of days, but that didn't keep me away from an estate sale yesterday providing vintage treasures.  I don't admit to many people that I get up before dawn, drive for an hour in a storm, sign up for a number to be issued in another hour securing my rightful order in entering the houseful of treasures, then wait yet one more hour in the rain for the sale to begin!  It takes some kind of nut......

The rewards are great, however.  I found two wonderful old oak school chairs, vintage skeleton keys, sewing notions, a fantastic vintage recipe file box chock full of hand written recipes.... can't wait to read through them all and try a few.   And to top off the morning I had an early lunch at the Blue Slipper Bistro Cafe at the end of the lake.... Chicken Curry Eggplant Soup to thaw me out!! Awesome Greek- influenced menu.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harvest Moon and Pumpkin Spice Cake

If it isn't too cloudy where you live, check out that gorgeous moon.   I walked onto the end of the dock last night before bed and there it was shining down.   It's a special time of year.  The leaves are beginning to turn colors.  The squirrels are extra busy stashing acorns and raiding the bird feeders.

The autumn fruits and vegetables are in ample supply at the farmers market.  They make lovely centerpieces.... a good reason to display my vintage Vera tablecloth with the red ladybugs scattered through the brown and gold leaves.

The cool days have inspired me to make spice cake... what smells better than an apple pie or pumpkin spice cake baking?

If I am not baking, then I am sewing.  I just made some "candy corn" from quilt weight fabrics and perched them with pip berries in old vintage bed springs.  You can find them for sale in my Etsy shoppe.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Finding Tranquility

What a couple of weeks it has been!  A dear and talented neighbor/friend who was a genuinely careful and experienced motorcyclist had a car turn in front of him unexpectedly.  In spite of modern medical surgical miracles, he passed away as a result of his injuries.  Please watch out for bikers ~ both pedal and motor.   Thankfully, during this sad time,  I have had my granddaughter's corgi ~ the middle dog ~ to baby sit.  He gets along really well with my two dogs and there hasn't been a dull moment... a good distraction.

During a recent morning I heard the old-fashioned sound of a single engine airplane motor.   It was still and quiet with the lake like glass.... a perfect day to practice take-offs and landings.  And that is exactly what this little yellow sea plane did for a couple of hours.  I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed to the "thinking" bench by the shore and watched for quite a long while.   Hence, the tranquility I was looking for.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Flea Market Sundays

A friend alerted me to this fabulous Flea Market held each Sunday through the summer.  We went this past weekend and what a delight! 

The first thing that  hits you when you get out of your car is the smell of a bakery!!  Fresh donuts are made all morning long.... melt-in-your-mouth  fantastic!  And on the honor system, no less.   A tiny sign states 50 cents for coffee and 50 cents for a donut.  You make your own change and bag your own donuts.... if they make it to the bag!

The kitchen is in this delightful old building with the big porch and blue gingerbread trim... lots of tables and chairs to sit and savor the day and the donuts.

My finds at the Flea Market were this great rustic cottage table, a cluster of skeleton keys for my "steampunk" projects and appropriate to my last blog ~ a book of Hemingway's Short Stories!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hemingway's Summer Territory

Ernest Hemingway's family's summer home was about 50 miles north of my home here in northwestern lower Michigan.  Workshops, retreats and tours abound in this area for the Hemingway fan.  Last week was our 5-county regional Quilt Store Shop Hop.  It does indeed take an entire week to leisurely visit all of the quilt shops and it was a great time of being inspired by all the wonderful new fabrics just in for fall quilting as well as the many quilts on display.

Three shops are in the vicinity of the Hemingway region.... between Lake Charlevoix and Walloon Lake.  Here are lots of woods to hunt in and streams to fish in.... all were inspiration for Hemingway's Nick Adams stories.   Here are a couple of photos from the village of Horton Bay... a sign for the book store and the General Store which hasn't changed one bit since Ernest was a teenager.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Film Festival Hoopla

What can I say?   Time got away from me.   Three batches of summer lake company ago was the big deal Traverse City Film Festival.  My daughter came for the week from out of state.   All of my family who live in town coordinated which movies we wanted to see... most of them foreign... and we had so much fun seeing some of the greatest films!  Michael Moore is the founder of the festival along with local photographer John Robert Williams and local author Doug Stanton (Horse Soldiers).  Their efforts have really paid off for our town.  It is a fabulous event run by volunteers. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bats in my Belfry

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted something moving swiftly while I was sewing in my studio today.  It was, to my surprise .... a swooping bat!   Not one to panic, I immediately thought I had to find a way for him to get back outside.  I took a screen off a window but it didn't go near the window, just kept swooping wildly.... then landed on a shelf and looked at me.  I opened the front screen door and held it open while ... er... um... hiding behind it.  Soon the bat swooped out the door and was gone.   Whew! 

It was a very handsome bat.  Rich brown furry body with black ears and wings... wingspan was about 8" - 9"..... it is called "Little Brown Bat."  Eats mosquitoes.  You gotta love 'em for eating mosquitoes.

My husband's woodworking shop is in the same building and he always works with the utility doors wide open with no screen doors .... easier to move the large projects in and out!  That's the only way we think a bat could possibly get in.   I haven't seen a bat since third grade.  I attended a two room rural school with, yes, a belfry.  The rope hung down in the entrance hallway and occasionally the teacher would let one of us swing on the rope to ring the bell.  One day a bat was loose in our classroom.  The teacher grabbed a broom and calmly guided it out the front door.   Thank you, Mrs. Gregory, for being such a wonderful example to us all.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunflower Fields

I was searching for a "Barn Sale" the other day and got distracted by these fields of sunflowers.
Thought you would enjoy seeing them, too.  Another week or two of hot July weather should have
them in full bloom.  I love how they truly follow the sun.  I have painted them in the past and feel
the urge again to get out a blank canvas .... not that I can improve on nature's handiwork, but there
is such joy in slopping on brushes full of those happy bright yellows!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Busy in my Sewing Room

It is a beautiful summer here in the north and the long warm days and evenings give me lots of time outdoors... gardening, walking the dogs....   I love my cozy corner of the deck for reading.  And still I am finding plenty of time to sew as well.   Here is a reversible liner of new Ava Rose fabrics I made for a great old vintage flea market cart.   I just listed this in my Etsy shop if you want a closer look. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cherries are Ripe*Blue Angels are Here

Just a couple of quick postings of photos.... cherry trees are loaded if you care to pick your own.
The farmers are busy, busy getting the fruit harvested and to the packing plant.  With the National Cherry Festival officially beginning tomorrow, we have all been stealing away to our favorite viewing sites to watch
the Blue Angels practice.  Windows are known to shatter when they roar over our little town.  My granddaughter is coming to my house for a quiet nap tomorrow since we aren't in the direct path of the jets.  My, but they are impressive.  Someone called their noise .... "the sound of Freedom."  Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Good bye, June. Hello, Cherry Festival!

Can you believe that June is over?  Turn the calendar pages tomorrow morning.... or tonight if you can't stop yourself.  Our small town on dual bays of Lake Michigan hosts the National Cherry Festival each July.  This year, due to an unusually warm spring, the cherries are ripe in time for the festival!

I just tonight finished this sweet cherry print dress for my 14 mo. old granddaughter.  It's her first year to truly witness the clowns, music, and many events of a Cherry Festival.  Her daddy used to march in the parades as a member of the high school band percussion section.  Will she? 

Oh, and I baked a raspberry-rhubarb pie tonight.  Never tried that combination before.  Delicious!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer Solstice

I don't know about you, but I love the longest day of the year!  It reminds me to get better in tune with the earth, the sky, the elements.  The long, warm days of summer are with us for a while now.  It's time to steal an afternoon with a good book and head for the hammock, the beach, your favorite porch chair.  Or, like the young people fishing off the end of our dock late on the Solstice evening .... seize the moment and enjoy the beauty of the season. 

These young folks grew up fishing off this dock.  There is a wonderful fishing hole there semi-surrounded by a sandbar.  It's a natural hiding place for large bass and all sizes of bluegill.  It's a winning spot for learning to fish.  Dads bring their young children to this prime learn-to-fish location for a winning experience.  Loons fish here.  Muskrats fish here.  Happy summer!  

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


A few cool, rainy days here put me in the mood for pie!!
First I made a chicken pot pie, then a cherry - rhubarb pie.
My, how we enjoyed them.