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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good Bye 2013 - Hello 2014

Whoa!   Where did that last six weeks go???  Time to stop and smell the roses, er..... um.... snowflakes!  The craft fair the end of November was a success.  The turkey was delicious.  An excursion to Kingston, Ontario was exciting.  The Christmas tree is still up and hanging in there for one more week.

In the meantime, we have partied and over-eaten, visited friends and did I say partied?  Cooked?
Lots of snow here.  I've been enjoying sledding down our driveway.  Ice-skating has been difficult due to too much snow, but a January thaw should fix that.

Have a happy, safe celebration tonight and welcome to 2014.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Halloween Costume

I couldn't let the season go by without posting my granddaughter, Emily, wearing her Nut Brown Hare costume.  I had such fun making it for her and with her counsel.  We had several fittings in the last days before Halloween.  Such fun.  She bounced and hopped so much the ears stayed floppy, but she liked them that way so no matter.
I wonder what she will want to be for Halloween next year?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sailing School Anyone?

A recent mild autumn day I walked along the bike path which borders this lake.  The Sailing Center was open and all the supplies, boats, rudders, centerboards, etc. were being made ship shape for the winter.  This is a wonderful facility.  Children at an early age can have a full battery of sailing instruction here.  What could be better in our land of many lakes?  Thought you'd enjoy a few snap shots.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Autumn Beauty

It is autumn again and who can believe how fast September flew by?  Colors are becoming more colorful day by day.  Notice the blue heron perched on the boat to the left of the dock.  He fishes from that spot most mornings in the early sunshine.
The last bouquet of glads of the season came from my favorite roadside veggie stand.
Dutch apple pie and many other varieties of apple desserts are on the menu.  There is a bumper crop of apples this year.  Might be good to can some applesauce as well.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Thunderstorms & Summer Rain

We've had a lovely summer with warm spells and cool spells, but not many rainy spells.  A couple of days ago we had two major storm fronts move through... one in the morning and one in the afternoon with drizzle inbetween.  I cooked during the morning storm... crockpot full of stroganoff, kettle of split pea soup and a banana cake.  But the afternoon storm rolled in with more thunder and lightning and I decided to take a blanket to my wicker chair on the open porch, snuggle in and simply enjoy it.

The weatherman later said we received nearly 4" of rain that day!  We bailed our little fishing boat, the big fishing boat and the neighbor's boat when I found it sitting on the bottom of the lake half full.

I enjoyed this quiet listening time.  It brought back memories of a summer when I was about 12 yrs. young.  A lot of that summer it rained incessantly.  We kids in the neighborhood gathered in one girlfriend's house on a regular basis.  The mom was a stay-at-home and welcomed our company, encouraged us in our games and cooking.  We played many games of canasta and "war," made the old-fashioned stirred chocolate fudge (pre-marshmellow-cream-years), popped popcorn, and most fun was playing "Murder in the Dark" which was an acted out version of the board game, Clue.   So I was glad for the rainy day to spend some time remembering. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Past Month of My Life

My neighbor thinks I may perish from "chenille-ufocation."  I think she may be right.
My fixation on chenille has gotten out of hand.  For most of the past month, my spare time has been spent sorting, piling, creating bundles, and letting a lot of it go.  The above photo shows what I think I want to keep for my patchwork quilts.  I have already made quite a few quilts, but I have many more ideas and gifts to give.

 This second photo is in front of my regular quilt weight stash on the left and my weaving department which contains a variety of warp materials.  I love to weave, but I cannot access my supplies. 
 And this third photo is in front of my rug loom... all warped with a special treadling design in mind and I haven't been able to get to it for three years now.  Oh, dear!
And this pile of chenille is in front of my vintage bark cloth collection.... more projects in mind.  Will I live long enough?  I had better keep at it.  In the meantime I feast my eyes on these gorgeous colors and designs from days gone by.... such inspiration.  Check out my ebay and etsy sites if you want to help me out here.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cherry Season

 Tart cherries are these bright red pie cherries.  Of course they ripen during the week we have consistent temps in the 90's with high humidity.  My husband and I picked 17 pounds one day this week.  The next day I pitted them... I do this by hand so the cherries will be round and plump in my pies.  If I plan to make jam, I use a hand-crank pitter which chews them up a bit.  The 17 pounds yielded 10 quarts by the way.  We will enjoy these throughout the winter in cobblers and pies.

Here is my granddaughter, Emily, picking sweet cherries.  Notice the juice on her chin.  Her daddy had to remind her the best way to eat them... not by little nibbles, but rather pop them in your mouth all at once, then spit the pit out.  She got the hang of it right away.
Raspberries ripen nicely in the summer heat as well.  We eat them on our cereal and on ice cream with chocolate sauce dribbled over them.  They never seem to make it to the freezer.  Delicious summer bounty! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Senior Center Location Extraordinaire

Here is our local Senior Center funded by the Commission on Aging.  It is situated on the shore of West Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan.  The beach is fabulous.  The facility is small, built in the 1960's and our county population has grown considerably since then.  It is in need of renovation, but there is talk of relocating.  I just joined this fine group of people and attended the first of weekly summer yoga classes held on this beach one early morning last week.  What a delight!

It had rained during the night and the sky was brightening in the east.  To the west is the Great Lakes Maritime Academy and the large Coast Guard training ship, plus a couple of small private boats.  My vote is to stay put and renovate!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Iris Farm - It Must Be Summer

 There is a wonderful iris farm nearby.  The iris have been in bloom for the past week and anyone who wants to add some lovely color to their garden is placing their order now.  The rhizomes will be ready for pick up in the fall for planting.
In the meantime, one can pick a bouquet @ $1 per stem.  Here is the lovely bouquet I picked  consisting of just ten stems.  

The water is finally warm enough for our little granddaughters to play in the lake.  

And I've been out in the kayak for a spin a time or two ... in fact, the lake is calm tonight so I'll be heading out for a paddle soon.  We have "quiet hours" on our lake... no speeding and no wakes after 7:30 at night nor before 11 a.m. in the morning.  Very peaceful.


Friday, June 7, 2013


Ajuga gone wild in my front yard by the lake.

                                                        Iris in my garden on the hill.

A field of lupine along side the road near Lake Michigan.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Granny Porch

 My friend was here for our Memorial Day picnic and said "I love your "Granny Porch!.""  I didn't even know it was a Granny Porch, but I like it.  To begin this creation, a bat who I named Barry kept roosting up in the peak of this porch and although I think bats are very charming and useful, I didn't like him looking at me every time I came and went.  Finally I made a muslin false ceiling and strung some twinkle lights.  That seemed to solve the problem with Barry.

This folk art painting of the cat and bird has been hanging indoors for a few years.  An outdoor spot seemed appropriate.  Then one thing led to another.  I found these wonderful rag rugs at a tag sale.... they are made of recycled denim ~ perfect for the porch.  The little half moon table seemed to fit. I added a vintage crocheted doily, a fairy lamp and a bouquet of lilacs. Pull up a comfy wicker chair and, voila! ~ a Granny Porch!
I found this painting at an arts and crafts fair ten summers ago.  The artist explained her inspiration.  She was watching "Animal Planet" which featured this story of an injured wild bird and a sympathetic family cat.  The cat kept an eye on the bird but never attempted to catch it.  Gradually the bird became well enough to fly away.  The bird and cat had become friends.  The bird returned daily for the rest of the summer to visit the cat.

We host the neighborhood Memorial Day picnic each year.  Potluck, of course.  Such wonderful salads and casseroles and desserts arrive with no assignments, no planning.  It always works out so well.  We have been having these picnics for at least 35 yrs. since we all moved here and had our children.  The group has grown considerably and most of us are now grandparents.  This year we had nine grandchildren present between the ages of 1 and 10.  Great fun!  Next picnic will be July 4th at another neighbor's home followed by a Labor Day picnic to close out the summer.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Successful Treasure Hunt

 Yard sales and tag sales are underway in earnest here.  Thought you'd like to see some of what I found today.  Only the louvered shutters were in my treasure stash before.  Notice the cute little
spigot on the galvanized water can.  Love the chippy metal tool box.  And a Camel cigarette thermometer advertising sign!....  It's pretty rusty, but still a great find.  The vintage rose-covered hand-hooked wool rug is lovely.
Along a quiet country road I spotted some blooming "jack-in-the-pulpit."  These are getting harder and harder to find.  They prefer to live in undisturbed deciduous forests.  I consider this a treasure, too.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Changeable Weather!

For the past two weeks we had unseasonably warm weather nearing 80* each day!
It was heavenly.  Cherry blossoms and trillium!
With the help of one of my daughter's starving artist friends, I raked the entire yard from road to beach and then cast 25# of grass seed where it was appropriate.
Mother's day weekend it snowed for two days.  The minor snow accumulation wasn't a problem except for our moods.  Mother's Day picnics all had to be moved indoors.
Here's my oldest granddaughter having a tea party with 
Sadie, our corgi.... underneath the dining table.
All in all, it was a lovely Mother's Day here and I hope it was for you as well.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Signs of Spring.... Finally

Schools were closed two days last week throughout our region due to heavy wet snow!  Yet just today I have risked taking my Jeep out of 4WD ~ hopefully until next October.  Our inland lakes are still frozen solid yet the ice is looking a little grey in color instead of solid stark white.  Rain is predicted for the next few days so that should reduce the piles of plowed snow and break up the ice.

In the meantime, we had a bright day yesterday and I took a photo of pussy willows... a sure sign of green leaves to come.  My Hellebore or Lenten Rose always pops through the snow all budded and it is beautiful this year... pinks and deep purple...very sturdy plant and the deer won't eat it.  I have one little patch of crocus about to open and these the deer WILL eat happily.  Keeping my fingers crossed that the deer will forget this year and we can enjoy the blooms.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Maple Syrup Time

It is finally looking like spring here in the north.  A sunny day Friday and no commitments meant my husband and I were off for a drive to Leelanau County ~ which is the "little finger" of Michigan if you look at the back of your left hand and wiggle your pinkie finger.

The buckets in the thick maple woods at Pa Brown's were over-flowing with that sweet sap that will become delicious maple syrup.  Icicles were dripping off the buckets in the morning sun.  I like the ingenious corrugated lids that keep the fresh sap clean.

The colors of Grand Traverse Bay approaching Omena Bay were so gorgeous, I couldn't resist one more picture.  How many pictures of the lakes have I taken over the years?  Many, many....
All in all, it was a lovely day with a forecast of snow / rain mix to come on Saturday.  We were not disappointed.  A good covering of snow mid-Saturday convinced me it was safe to burn the
Christmas tree in the beach fire pit.  It's my usual spring equinox tradition to burn the tree on the first day of spring, but the tree was buried under snow then.  Better late than never!  Welcome spring!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hobbit House

We had a touch of "cabin fever" today and headed north for a change of scenery.  There was a flea market advertised in a small town so that was our destination and it was sweet, literally.... with homemade pies by Judy.  She bakes them all year round at home.  Just call and leave your order by 9 a.m. and she'll have your pies baked by 3 p.m.  We came home with apple pie and rhubarb pie. I met an auctioneer and bought a few antique treasures from him as well.

We got over our winter doldrums!  We have almost no snow compared to an hour north.  Pulled over to take a picture of this quaint stone "shed" with stone walls on either side of a trail up and into the woods beyond.  Plenty of snow on the roof.  I love the shape of the chimney.  Wonder what the history of this place is.  Snowmobilers were everywhere today... perfect outdoor winter sports weather!  ..... and spring?  When?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring is Here, but the Weatherman Doesn't Know

Another estate sale got me up early and on my way this morning.  And look at my wonderful treasures!  First a cement Easter Bunny for my front porch.  When I get the frozen dirt out of his basket, I can fill it with eggs or pansies or both.  Isn't he happy and handsome?

Then these two pairs of matching bowls: two Blue Dot Pyrex and two Texas Ware splatter bowls.
They are all four in beautiful condition.  I was especially happy to find the unused vintage ticking ~ six yards plus a little.  This is my favorite fabric for my clothes pin bag linings and goes with the vintage tablecloths I use so nicely.

The back roads were very icy when I left home this morning.  I thought about turning back, but the thrill of the hunt kept me on track and luckily the main roads were clear.  I like to burn my Christmas tree in the beach fire pit at the spring equinox, but both the fire pit and the tree are buried in the snow.  And I don't dare take my Jeep out of 4WD yet.  Hey, weatherman, don't you know it's spring?