Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Petoskey, Michigan Weekend

A couple weeks ago Earl and I got away for the weekend to Petoskey Michigan.  In spite of being Michigan natives we weren't familiar with the area.  Most of the time we avoid tourist areas, and anyone who lives in Michigan knows "Up North" is THE place to go in the summer months. Sunday traffic going south on the highways is horrible so we usually avoid it.
This time, we decided it was off season and we would give it a try, so off we headed to Petoskey.  We stayed at the Terrace Inn, a very old inn that is situated in an old United Methodist summer camp right on Lake Michigan.  It has character galore.  Good and bad things about it, as most old Inns have, but we really enjoyed our stay.  Warning! My posts are not usually this long but there were so many beautiful old houses in this area I took a lot of photos!

The Inn's dining room is absolutely beautiful. Chandeliers, white cloths on the table and a real feeling of days gone by.  One of the things I wasn't crazy about was there was no central air in this building. Every room had it's own window air conditioner, and I am thankful for that because it was in the 80's and 90's while we were there. Definitely not typical for Northern Michigan in September!  Since there was no air in the dining room or foyer of this hotel, the dining room was not filled as you would expect.
 This is the foyer of the Inn
Instead, this is where we had breakfast and dinner, the back terrace with a view of Lake Michigan and the other glorious homes in this enclave.  It was still hot but there was a gentle breeze that made it bearable.  The first night we were there we decided to have dinner here and they had live acoustic guitar music. Very beautiful.
 After dinner we walked down through the surrounding Victorian houses to the beach of Lake Michigan just in time to see the sun setting over the water.
 I took pictures while my sweetheart skipped stones.
 Love that man :)   The next morning we walked through the old Methodist camp grounds.  When I say camp grounds I don't mean dingy tents and bunk houses.  These were summer mansions. That's my kind of camping!

 The camp ground is still in use to this day. It is called Bay View and they have summer programs for the residents.
 The old church. isn't it adorable?

 This was a porch on one of the homes.
 So many great details on these old places. They don't make them like this any more!

It was a great getaway. We came back relaxed and feeling like we had been residents of that little camp ourselves.   Have you gone on any weekend escapes lately? What's your favorite?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Back to Black

Not much has happened around here in the past few weeks. Summer is winding down and I can feel myself winding down a bit with it.  As the days get shorter, and colder and darker I always find the changes a bit hard to take.  I'm a sunshine girl and getting less always drains me a bit.  So it was time for a little bit of a change around here.  I had been considering painting this teeny little wall in my kitchen for a few weeks. First, I had to think it to death.  Do you do that? Second guess, hmmm and haw, wonder if you'll like it?  I do that and then I always come to the conclusion that it's a small wall and I can always paint over it.  I would waste a lot less brain power if I could just jump straight to that conclusion and get to it.  I like it, a lot...for now.  For this season it just feels cozy. It makes that wall pop and doesn't really seem to darken the whole kitchen into a cave, which was another one of my fears.  In the Spring I may decide it's too dark. The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes.
 Within a few days I had decided to go full out Fall on this wall.  Something about the black, and then I got these brilliant sunflowers at the Farmers Market and found that old graphic I did several years ago in the basement, (must clean basement), and it all kind of came together.  One of the things I like is how the black wall ties in with the black on the stove, and see that sweet mosaic heart holding my aprons? It has a black and white checkerboard trim around the outside and that goes with the black too. That little peg is from my sweet friend Penny at Enjoying the Simple Things and I think of her each time I see it. It's something I will never tire of. :)
 I also refilled the front door basket with some Mackenzie Child inspired goodies.  It was fun going to the new Hobby Lobby in town with a friend and finding all the elements.  I think the basket may need painting though.....hmmmm.
 The garden is winding down, much to my sorrow. I am babying it along but as the nights get cooler and the days get shorter I am afraid my dear garden's days are numbered.  I had a fabulous basil harvest so far and have frozen about 10 cups of pesto for those cold winter days when I need a shot of something that smells like summer.  Some will go to my daughter for her freezer. There is more than enough to share.
The zinnias are spectacular this year too.  I purchased some called thumbelina that were supposed to get 6" tall, they are more like 18 inches, but I'm not complaining. I love zinnias so much, I don't even care that they crowded out the zucchini.

Nights have been in the 40's and highs have been in the 60's here for the past week, Fall is definitely here!  Is it creeping where you are too?   Praying for those who are not enjoying the best of Autumn, Dallas, the fires out west and now hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida. So many friends and family in these areas.  My heart goes out to them and I will keep praying for safety and help.

Monday, July 24, 2017

July in all it's Glory

I know I am not alone in finding it hard to believe that July is more than half gone already.  I remember pining for warm weather and my garden so clearly and now they are here.  I wish I could slow the days down but we really can't can we?  If you find a way please let me know.

The beginning of the month was busy, my darling daughter Lauren flew in from PA for a week for a visit. It was pure heaven. Beautiful weather, time with both my girls together as her sister spent as much time as possible with us for the holiday.  We laughed and just hung out and it was glorious! Lauren and I spent some time planning Victoria's baby shower. She is having a girl! My purse has felt lighter ever since I found out.  Have you seen the little girl things available lately?  Oh my goodness, I may go broke with the first baby!  

Lauren and her dad picked cherries at a friends house. The friends didn't have time to pick them this year and they kindly offered them to us.  Aren't they beautiful!?  We made a little pie for them as a thank you.
 And a bigger pie for us as well as putting some in the freezer.  Earl has determined that we MUST have a cherry tree or two. I have to agree.
The garden is going strong.  We have already picked the sugar peas and torn out the vines. We will plant a second crop soon for fall.  Thinning the beets got us this beautiful basket of little beets that are just right to roast for salads.  We planted, Chioggia, Golden and Detroit red.  I'm not a fan of beet greens but Victoria's sister in law loves them so they were sent home for her.
The patio still needs a few details finished, but we got the lights hung and I love spending summer nights out there, even for just a few minutes.  As the days get shorter the lights will be even more welcome.  Fireflies have been prolific this year which adds  so much to the light show.  I love fireflies so much. I always look forward to their glow :)
The flower beds need weeding, there are more yard projects in the works, and we have Victoria's first shower coming up in two weeks.  There is so much to look forward to and so much to do!  I hope you can find a way to slow down the summer, I'm not ready for fall yet! Are you?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Patio

As one of my daughters pointed out it's been a month since my last post.  I can only plead busy as the last month has been a whirlwind of activity.  As I mentioned in my last post, so very long ago,  Earl and I decided we wanted a brick patio out by the garden and decided we could do it ourselves because how hard could that be?  Really, with him working 60 hours a week, planting the garden and all the rest of the upkeep on a home surely we could fit in building a brick patio right?
We did it. But clearly you can see why blogging has been on the back burner.
 The patio itself is finally finished, we still have a bit of work to do on the areas around the patio that were torn up in the process.  There is still lots to do and we are of course looking forward to changing some things out and adding things over the next few weeks.  We haven't hung the lights over the patio yet, (maybe this weekend?) and we need a few things here and there. Earl wants to build a couple long farm tables to replace the glass topped table we are using. That may take a while, but in the meantime, using the old stuff doesn't decrease our enjoyment out here in the evenings one iota.
 As you can see, this patio is pretty big.  I hauled 3 pallets of bricks to Earl, one wheelbarrow at a time as he laid them.  After that it was multiple wheelbarrows of dirt to fill in around the patio where the topsoil had been scraped away.  My advice if you want to do this yourself?  Make sure you are fit or hire a contractor.
 Can someone tell me why, when brown is my least favorite color, I bought brown cushions a couple years ago for the patio?  They must have been on sale, Lol.  Well at least they are fairly neutral and maybe I can dress them up with some pillows or something.  Eventually I'll replace them because, brown.  Purchasing something you don't like because it's a good price is obviously a false economy, when will I ever learn?

The garden still has areas that need to be planted with later season veggies, at least I got my flowers in right away!  Flowers tend to be my priority ;)

This project has taken so much time I feel like I am behind in just about every other area. Housework, weeding, and lawn.  One of those things you tend to forget when taking on a project of this size is that you have other things that will have to be set aside in order to get the project done.  I am so glad this is (almost) finished! I know we will use it for years to come, but it was a lot more work and time than anticipated.  I'm looking forward to a little more time to write and catch up on blogs, and also to the more fun aspects of this project, like decorating and parties!

And how is your summer going?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Little bit of This, A Little bit of that...

Now lets see... what fascinating events have happened since last we sat down together with a cup of coffee?  Well, the lily of the valley bloomed,
 and so did my beautiful snowball bush.  I know those may not seem like big events, and in the scheme of things they are not, but I pretty much live for the garden May through whenever old man winter comes to call.  Sunshine, birds singing, mowing the grass as the purple martins swoop around me to eat the bugs I kick up.  It's all so good, so yes, these flowers are a big deal to me.
 We have also begun putting in a brick patio out by the garden. We have been dreaming of this for years and being the insane DIY people we are, when I say "we " are bricking a large portion of yard, I mean "we".  It all seems like such a good idea until the guy with the backhoe comes and strips all that sod and you realize what a huge project you have taken on and that it means sweet and long suffering hubby coming home after 12 hour work days and grubbing around out there instead of relaxing.  Yes, you would think we would learn, but no we haven't. 37 years later we are still biting off more than we can chew and learning as we go.  Pray for us.
 I had to show you this amazing berry tart Earl made for our Mother's day lunch.  Graham cracker crust, a few cups of frozen triple berry blend from Costco, heated and thickened with cornstarch and then more fresh berries stirred in and dumped in the crust.  That is all the recipe I have for you, one of these days I will make him write down his concoctions to make it easier. I am sure he added a bit of sugar to taste but it wasn't super sweet, just a wonderful berry flavor. He is my hero in so many ways.
Last Saturday was my birthday, and I spent it with these two loveys. Youngest daughter came for breakfast and the farmers market, where we loaded up on flowers, followed by some garage sales, (Oh how I wish eldest daughter could have made it too!)  After she headed home Earl took me out to dinner and a comedy show.  So much fun! We ended the evening with a ridiculously rich cake and ice cream combo at a favorite restaurant and then fell into bed exhausted.  Some days are just so darn good and perfect you can't believe it. This was one of them.

And one more thing that's perfect. I'll give you a hint....
I'm going to be a grandma!  Youngest daughter is expecting a little bundle in November and we are so happy!  No idea yet whether it's a boy or a girl, but we aren't too picky.  It's been a good month, and things are just going to get better.💜💜💜

Thursday, May 11, 2017

In the Garden

I spent the afternoon in the garden yesterday with a little friend.  Earl built new raised beds for the strawberries last fall and they were absolutely filled with weeds.  Since the sun was shining and it was a perfect 70 degrees outside I decided it was finally time to clean them out so we could start planting the strawberries. 
I grabbed a couple hens and we set to work.  They nibbled on greens and ate bugs while I pulled the weeds. I enjoyed their company as I felt the warm sun, listened to baby birds chirping in the birdhouse nearby and enjoyed the scent of lilacs and mint. Such a perfect May day!
Today is a bit less perfect, with temps in the 50's and cloudy. It rained last night so I have my usual "rain" sinus headache, but after this weekend we get a warm up into the 70's again. May is like the song in "Annie"...the sun will come out tomorrow....always something to look forward to as the weather gets better and better :)
Speaking of the garden, we have some really big projects and plans for improving it this year.  We will be adding a brick patio and a graveled area for a firepit.  Work is slated to begin next week and I can't wait to show you the results as we get it done!

Just a little heads up for my blog friends.  Due to some new policies I'll be closing my etsy shop as of May 17.  It's time to rethink where I am going with my design work anyway. It has been a hobby that turned into a little bit more and now it's time to rethink where I want to take it.  This may be a very good thing in the long run and I am choosing to look at it as the kick in the pants I need to either get serious or follow other creative outlets. We will see.  In the meantime, as long time friends, if you want anything from the shop I'm going to give you a coupon code for 30% off  your purchase.  Use code FRIENDS at check out for your discount. This is limited to stock on hand and I have been filling orders like crazy so if you want something now is the time!

Lots of changes happening around here! What's happening in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Blog. Post. Seriously mom.

Blog. Post. Seriously mom. 

That was the text I got from my youngest daughter this morning.  If for no other reason than my kids love to read it I must keep blogging.  Of course I enjoy it too, I just don't seem to give it the priority I used to and that's ok. I mean, I'm living my life and not just writing about it and that's the important thing.
Let's see, what is new around here?  Well, it's a cold, (45 degrees), drizzly day out , but the flowers are blooming. (Happy belated May Day!)  In spite of the cold drizzle today, May is my favorite month. Mostly because it's pretty much all about me.  Mothers Day AND my birthday month.  Also eldest daughter's birthday is this month and some other fun stuff that I look forward to. (garage sales start up again!) But again, Mother's Day and Birthday month. Winning.

I switched the curtains in the dining room back to the blue print from a plain neutral beige, because plain neutral beige? have you met me? Also, because I'm fickle.
I have been starting basil, zinnias and tomatoes for the garden in a little knock down greenhouse I found at Big Lots last fall. It was marked down to $35 and is big enough to walk in and plant right on the shelves inside.  It has been so great for starting seeds we have decided that a real greenhouse should be in our near future.
Trader Joe's iris and tulips. SO much joy for so little money.
I'm enjoying watching Spring unfold. I think my favorite shade of green is that soft cloud of green the trees get just before the leaves are all the way out. It doesn't last long and you have to watch for it in order to enjoy every last eye full.

For those of you wondering how I'm doing with a personal trainer, I'm doing ok.  Do I love it? No. But the older I get the more exercise resistant I get, which is why I need to pay someone to stand over me and make me do this stuff. I will say I am stronger than I thought. My muscles ache, but as I told Earl, "I would rather hurt because I'm getting better, than hurt because I'm getting more out of shape."
My trainer confessed that he has a trainer too, or he wouldn't do his exercises.  Somewhere out there a personal trainer that is actually able to motivate himself  is at the top of the food chain I suppose.  Who knew? I thought those guys lived for the gym.

So that's about it.  I know that was almost more excitement than you can handle in one day. Feel free to take a nap or something to calm yourself from that roller coaster ride of my fascinating life.  Hmmm, that doesn't sound too bad.  ;)  Catch you later with some REALLY exciting stuff!

Monday, April 17, 2017


Just a quick hello. It's been a busy week, as all holiday weeks tend to be.  I was putting the dishes away from our Easter dinner and did a quick table setting to show you how it looked.  I loved the table this year!  I made the napkin rings by grabbing a multi stem daisy floral from the craft store, snipping them apart and leaving enough wire stem to bend into a circle. I wrapped floral tape around the stem to hold it in place.  I was able to use a lot of our jadeite and white ceramic serving pieces and it all came together.  No fancy multi plate stacks here, just a simple plate  that was covered in good food. 
 The menu was ham, mashed potatoes, home made rolls, green beans and broccoli salad with triple lemon blueberry cake for dessert. Yum!  I'm so ashamed... kind of.  Not really.  Anyway, we had a wonderful warm sunshiny day, church followed by dinner with youngest daughter and hubby, and a sister and mom.  We missed the family that couldn't attend but hope they can make the next big dinner.  Eldest daughter and her husband are coming for an extended visit in a couple months so yay! I have that to look forward to!
I had to show you the eggs. We have 11 hens and they have been doing a bang up job of supplying us with beautiful, multicolor eggs.  Prettier than dyed I have to say, and the daffodils are from the garden.  Things are starting to bloom left and right and I couldn't be happier. 

Did you have a happy Easter weekend?  I'm trying to catch up on blogs.  We were without internet for an entire week and didn't get it back until last Wednesday.  I'm so far behind I don't know when I'll get caught up!

Tell me about your plans for Spring! Anything new on the horizon?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

On Getting in Shape and Lots of Green

 It's April!  We are almost 4 months into the year and a little over a week away from Easter, which I just realized last night. This is important because Easter is at our house so time to get planning!

In other news, I joined a gym.  Can I just say up front, I hate gyms? I do. They are money pits and you all KNOW how frugal I am.  I hate gyms, but I hate feeling weak and out of shape just the tiniest bit more so I signed up.  I had an "evaluation" today so they could sell me on a personal trainer. *sigh* seriously, it was a battle with the frugal me who was screaming in outrage at the cost.  Fat, out of shape me wrestled frugal me to the ground and paid up.  Later, frugal me retaliated by eating a peanut butter cup thereby making my 1/2 hour on the treadmill null and void.

Frugal me is a little vindictive.

"Are you excited?" the gym owner said, as he took possession of my credit card. "Sure", I replied halfheartedly, because really? No. I was not excited.  If he was handing me as much money as I was handing him at that moment I am sure I could have whipped up more excitement.
 There will be no before and after pictures because....before pictures. But I will attempt to keep you updated on whether 1. I can stop eating peanut butter cups. 2. The personal trainer can whip me into shape.  I can be a challenge.

But in more fascinating news, I am so excited for Spring to be here.  It's my happy time, my favorite time of year.  When the flowers start coming into the stores? Heaven!  Let the flower buying begin!
I am also on a green kick.  I can't get enough. Green bottles, green plants, green everything.  It's Spring and Spring means green!
And that means I painted the dining room buffet a light, Springy, green.  I'm loving the change it brings to the room.  For a while I painted everything shades of white.  I needed to calm the house down a bit with all the color I had brought in.  Now it's time to add a bit of color here and there because all white ain't my "thang."
I had to open the front door for this photo because we have been having such dark, grey rainy days for the past few days.  We have a few more coming up but then the forecast gets warm and sunny :) I can't wait!

 How is your Spring going? Are you ready for Easter?

Monday, March 20, 2017


Happy first day of SPRING!  This is my happiest day of the year, no lie.  The thought of flowers and grass and gardens and warmth just fills me with delight.  Be gone dreadful winter!  Aren't you loving it too?
So here's an update on all those things I have been working on.  I finally finished the wallpaper. There are a few more details that we are working on so I'll just give you a teaser photo.  I wish you could see the beautiful celadon green, (I think it was called livable green from Sherwin Williams) that I painted the wallpaper with.  I absolutely love it. The color changes with the light. I tried taking photos in bright sunshine and on a cloudy day but to no avail. I just can't get a true color in the photo.  Hopefully I'll be able to get a good photo for the reveal of this tiny space.  It truly is the smallest entry ever. Just room enough to swing the door open and then either turn right and up a few steps to the kitchen or straight into the basement, but it was a bear to wallpaper! Dangling over the steps on that ladder made me feel like a real daredevil. 
 Secondly, the quilt I have been making for my sweet son in law came back from the quilter and I was able to bind it and it will soon be on it's way for his birthday :)  My quilter is Kathy at Stitch by Stitch and I always love her work. She makes my amateur quilts look like a million bucks!  At least to me ;)  It's big enough for him to wrap up in, (queen size for my 6' 3" ish SIL!) and is extra snuggly with a blue checked flannel backing.  I can't wait for him to open it!
 The antique mahogany server is installed under the new tv.  See my amazingly artful attempt at hiding cords?  Ah well, it's a plaster wall and the husband doesn't want to drill into it.  I'm ok with that.  Getting rid of the giant bookshelves and entertainment cabinet really opened this room up!  It looks so much bigger and brighter now.  I'm loving it all. 
It's good to have those all finished, now I have another list to work on, but not today.  Today I take it easy and wimp out because I have a bad cold.  I always feel guilty if I'm not working on something, so illness gives me an excuse to veg and be a baby about things.  I was able to whip up a batch of brownies to nosh on, because medicinal chocolate don't you know,  and now I'm headed for a Netflix binge and lots of fluids.   Hope you are enjoying your first day of Spring wherever you are!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

My One Weakness

Disclaimer, This post title is inaccurate. Obviously my first and foremost weakness is my sweet husband.  Love that guy to the moon and back. Ditto my girls.  No, what I am talking about is a material weakness.  If you know me at all, you know I'm frugal to a fault. My usual attitude when I am shopping is that I don't need to actually own something to enjoy it.  I like to look. I like to enjoy the item and go home without a thought to where I will need to make room to store it. I am actually in the process of a MAJOR decluttering which includes biting the bullet and getting rid of some things I really have enjoyed over the years but that need to move on. 

I'm not a shoe fiend, I can pass on lots of decorative frippery, but my weakness, my Achilles heel if you will, is dishes. Crockery. Plates and mugs first and foremost but I like alllll the crockery.
Now in keeping with my incredibly frugal nature, I have built my collection at yard sales, and thrift shops for the most part. My daughter, Victoria gave me a set of beautiful Johnson Brothers blue and white transfer ware for Christmas that I am now using for my every day dishes as a change from the plain white I have been using for several years. She knows me so well :) 
Today I was in Homegoods, (and I know you know where this is going), and I spotted these...
And immediately I'm all.They're called Devon Cottage from Johnson Brothers, one of my favorite makers.

So I texted Victoria and asked, didn't she thing these would go great with the plates she got me for Christmas?  She agreed they would and she liked them so much she wanted some too.  Well.  CLEARLY I was supposed to buy these plates so I could hand them down some day right?  I had 6 in the cart, she asked how many they had and I said 8 ,(I was wrong they only had 7), and she pointed out that I would regret leaving those plates behind.  I knew she was right, so I got the last plate and told her if she found one at the store near her she could get it for me for mother's day.  Oh my dear little enabler.
So now it only remains that I have to explain to Earl that I bought more dishes. Good thing I'm HIS only weakness :)  Besides, I can always show him this photo.  I saw this grill in Homegoods,

My first thought was, good heavens, who would buy that? But the yellow tag hanging from it's ear actually say SOLD.   It wasn't me. I was just buying these dishes. You're welcome honey!

Happy March!  Spring is only 19 days away :)