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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Big Seven-O

Birthdays come and go.  Today is my 70th.  Yesterday I was grumpy about it.  Today I am fine.  Especially since my Aunt Ricky just called to wish me a happy birthday.   She is a young 90 and we laughed and laughed about our ages. 

My favorite birthday gift is the gift of smooth ice for ice skating.  I put my skates on at the shore this morning and it was a beautiful skate.... very fine, light snow in the air and no wind.   Delightful.  Afterwards I got a cup of coffee and sat on the thinking bench by the lake and tried to remember the decades.... some were easy, some not so much.   All in all, it's been a beautiful life and I am grateful.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Long time, no blog

In a nutshell, it has been a challenging, rewarding and special few months.  I admire those who post on their blogs in a consistently regular fashion.   I'll begin with today and work backwards posting pictures of my wonderful October trip to Italy later on when I have extra time.

After a very mild October and November, we finally received a nice amount of snow from the storm that blasted the midwest during the past couple of days.    Here's our front yard facing the lake.   Today everyone has shoveled out, however, some are still without power.  We did  not lose electricity this go-round and we are very grateful.

Today we took the long way home from town after some futile last-minute shopping and found this horse and pony.  I love them.  They are so curious and friendly.... at least the horse was.  Pony was busy eating the freshly scattered hay.  Notice the evergreen wreath on the barn door.

This afternoon I am packaging freshly made cookies for some special home deliveries.  To be truthful, I eat too many myself during the process..... no surprise there,  huh?

My granddaughter, Emily, and I made these cut out cookies a couple of weeks ago.  Aren't they festive?   I hope you are enjoying these last few days of 2012.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Into Autumn

Fantastic colorful autumn came early here this year.  Usually mid-October Mother Nature is in full swing with her paintbrush.  September went by with a flourish... lovely days and lots of sewing for me.

I am about to depart on a dream trip of a lifetime.  My daughter and I are leaving today for Florence, Italy, for a few days of visiting museums there.  Next we will spend a week hiking and sketching in the Cinque Terre region along a more remote stretch of the Italian riviera.  My grandmother was born near there so it will feel a little like going home.    Here you can visit a link that describes the Cinque Terre which means Five Lands.  It consists of five small Italian villages, each with it's own dialect, and connected only by a local train and hiking trails.    Ciao!

Friday, August 31, 2012

End of Summer Blueberries

A few more blueberries at the Farmer's Market.... couldn't resist.  This time I added rhubarb which I was surprised to see this late in the season as well.  Adds a nice tang to the pie.  Had enough for the full two-crust pie on the left and a galette on the right.... either way.... delicious!  It was great with brats and sweet corn on the grill last night.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer is Winding Down

The neighborhood families are getting ready to launch their wee ones.  While kids are buying school supplies and the empty nesters are rejoicing as their last child goes off to college, nature's teenagers are learning to fend for themselves.   A loon family has been training their 3/4-grown young ones to find the best fishing spots in the lake.  The pileated woodpecker family above is fun to watch as they teach their adolescent how to navigate a suet feeder.  The fawns' spots are beginning to fade.

There seems to be as much to do as fall approaches as there was in the spring and August flies by.
Somehow I am behind in my sewing...... again!  I did manage to make this ruffled apron for my daughter-in-law's birthday last week.   I'm making a matching one for 3 yr.-old Emi and a corresponding bib for baby Ruby.
And I have enjoyed making some custom items for my Etsy customers, especially this market cart liner for a gal who chose these awesome Amy Butler and Riley Blake fabrics.  Isn't this a cute one?
I hope you have projects ahead of you and more ideas than you can execute.  Happy end of summer!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Room to Grow

Perfect dress for our 90-degree days.... and there is growing room as well.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Cherry Festival Dress

What a delight it is to sew for my 3 yr. old granddaughter.   The National Cherry Festival begins tomorrow in our town so Emily needed something to wear made of cherry fabric.  I began with the thought of the little apron with all over cherry print on pink and it progressed to a coordinating knot dress she can wear now and into the fall with a shirt underneath .... if it ever cools off and we ever want to wear long sleeves again!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bella Galleria

About once or twice a month I gallery sit at the Bella Galleria :    on Old Mission Peninsula near my home.  The gallery is the dream child of a wonderful artist who casts in bronze in her workshop next door.  Verna also owns the attached restaurant and makes Polish pierogis every Thursday night... delicious! 

The drive to the gallery is stunning and I would recommend it for anyone visiting the area.  There are several very fine wineries, fruit orchards and stands with seasonal fruit for sale, and an historic village and lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula.

Here are some photos of the tavern/gallery, a couple of my paintings (yes, I am represented here) and the sunset as I drove home at the end of the evening.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Scorcher!

With weather like this, my packet of nasturtium seeds sprouted in a week.  Here they are on day 9.
They are so much fun to grow.  The orange blooms should look great with the purple petunias, yes?
Stay cool everyone!  And Happy Solstice!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Shady Gardens

These blue canterbury bells have begun to naturalize throughout the steep shady rock garden outside my studio.  My gardens tend to be "free-spirited" so I am always pleased when this happens.  These lovely plants will continue to bloom throughout the summer; the deer don't eat them.... at least, not yet.  If you have any suggestions for deer-resistant perennials, shout it out!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rain Ends and Clothespin Bags Sprout!

It rained heavily all Friday, all that night, Saturday and on into Sunday morning.   I was watching for Noah and his Ark and ready to jump aboard.  I used the time wisely and made a few clothespin bags which I love to sew from reclaimed vintage tablecloths.  So happy for the sunshine to take some photos, then list in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day Picnic Planning

The plan today was to finish planting the annuals and tomatoes!  Storms keep rolling in one after another with dark, dark clouds, wind, downpours.  Then it brightens for a bit.... and begins all over again.   We really need the rain so we should not complain.            However tomorrow we host the annual neighborhood Memorial Day picnic and I so hope it isn't soggy and the rain has stopped.   Either way, indoors or outdoors, we'll have a good time with good friends and the potluck dishes will be fabulous.

    My husband took off early for washers and a hose attachment for the hoses to water the kitchen garden, but I don't think we'll be needing to water for a couple of days.  He was sixth in line waiting for the hardware store to open.  Funny how we all hurry to plant and prepare for our short summer season.   I dashed out between squalls to snap a few photos of the garden... so bright and colorful in the rain.   Happy planting to everyone!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

First Farmers Market

Tomato plants anyone?  Flowering shrubs?  How about some honey or beeswax products?
How happy we all are to have the seasonal opening of the local farmers market today!  It is located in a lovely setting along the bank of a fast flowing river ~ yes, the Boardman River as it approaches West Grand Traverse Bay.   Cool shady banks with the lilacs all in bloom.  Mallard ducks are hoping for a handout from the children. 

Rhubarb and asparagus were plentiful at the market today.  My purchases included a few herbs: thyme, parsley and cilantro.... so fragrant in the car on the way home.   At an estate sale this morning I also found this antique metal milk bottle carrier.  Love it!

My last photo is of a platter (small) of fresh morel mushrooms ~ a gift from my neighbor who knows all the secret woodland hunting spots.   They are amazingly delicious sauteed in butter and added to just about anything.... scrambled eggs, steak on the grill...  a springtime treat.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Groovy Night Club

Around 45 years ago, when I first moved to this then small town, there was a wonderful little night club called "The Brook."   It was situated on a stream that meandered through the city neighborhoods and flowed into the larger Boardman River and on into the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan.  I remember the live dance music floating in the air while walking by on many summer evenings.  It was a groovy joint in the 60's.  Torn down many years ago an apartment complex is now in it's place.

Much to my surprise while driving out in the countryside this past winter, I spotted this sign.... yes, the original sign from "The Brook."  Barely visible from the road, it is discreetly hidden beside this cute Boardman River summer cabin.  Brought back happy memories.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Recent Estate and Garage Sale Finds

From delicate to rustic, these are my favorite finds from my last two adventures.  The very last photo is of a long narrow wood box with two carved drawers and dove-tailed corners.  What do you think it might be?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Our Favorite Tree

This amazing white pine has been a beauty in our lives since purchasing the property twenty years ago.  From the lake we could always find our way home because it was one of the tallest trees on the north shore.  Unfortunately the March storm took its toll.  Huge limbs came down onto our roof, deck, yard and the tree was leaning dangerously over the house.

A kayak ride out on the water afforded this shot just before the tree was topped.  We have left the stump and plan to make a bench from it.  Sad day for our favorite tree!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Today I am Three!

My granddaughter, Emily, had her third birthday yesterday.   She loved having us sing Happy Birthday to her.  She enjoyed blowing out the candles on her pink bunny cake [chocolate on the inside].
I had the pleasure of spending some time with Emily this afternoon.  It was brisk, breezy and pretty.  We had a snack in her back yard with Ernie and Duck.  Emily told me "Today I am three!"

Friday, April 20, 2012

April Showers..... Finally

The alarm rang at 5:30 a.m. today.  I leaped out of bed, got ready quickly and ran to the car during a total downpour.   A super estate sale about an hour drive away was calling me.  I like to be first in line for the handing out of numbers for admittance.  It poured all the way there and just let up slightly around 8 a.m. when I received my number ~ # 3.  Not bad!!

On the drive there as it was just becoming light, I noticed this charming working farm complete with young cattle.  These ducks were in the puddles along the road edge and gave me quite a start.  They were loving the weather!  I especially like the lead duck with his feathers streaking out on the back of his neck.

The rain let up on the return trip home and I stopped to photograph these beautiful scenes.  White trillium, a protected wildflower, is blooming now on the hillsides.