Thursday, July 31, 2008

Moments of Delight

So neat! You can now "peek inside" my book online at I never dreamed that I would be able to harness this technology to promote my first book - but we did it! Now you can "see" some of the beautiful pages and get a sense of my book. The page turning feature is just below my picture on the home page. Let me know what you think!

Going to Mecca

In the little town of Benzonia, there is a darling artist-owned gift shop called Mecca. This little house is filled with paper butterflies, glitter trophies and hand-crafted cake toppers. I make the trip to this shop at least twice a year and stay more than an hour each time soaking up the scene. One area of the store has an ever-changing collection of antique bottles. I found this wonderful blue "ear of corn" bottle and had to have it. The glass is designed to show individual kernels of corn and has "old fashion maize concoction" stamped in the glass. I keep it by the kitchen sink filled with flowers. Love it!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh, Graham...

I am on a first name basis with my roses. "Abraham...looking good. Bill, how are you doing? Eden, you look fantastic." I think it started as a way to help the garden club girls learn the names for our garden walk (Abraham Darby, Bill Warriner, Eden Climber). This beauty is a David Austin English rose named Graham Thomas. Over the last week or so the roses have been in a lull - hardly a bloom between them. So when I walked out to the patio and saw this I simply said, "Oh, Graham!"

Monday, July 28, 2008

Person, Place, Thing

My Mom and I cleaned out the "art drawer" at the cottage and found our watercolor postcards, a pile of brushes and a never-opened set of watercolor tubes. By the time we had carried out the supplies, filled the enamelware bowl with water and situated ourselves by the garden, I was happy just to sit there and talk. The verb painting became the least important part of our plan to "paint the garden." All I needed was the person and the place.

Leland Michigan's Safe Harbor

Can you see the silhouette of people in the distance? They are doing what is fondly called "walking on the rocks." 

The breakwater in Leland Harbor makes for a fun "after ice cream" walk for vacationers. When you've had a lovely dinner in town, you've peeked in all the shop windows and you still can't bear to let the day end, a "walk on the rocks" is a fun way for the sure-footed to watch the sun go down over the harbor.

I used to "walk on the rocks" with my dad all the time when I was around 10 years old.  A little fresh air and what seemed like a very adventurous route across the harbor made for some great memories.

Now when I look at the harbor, I see a beautiful place where time stands still.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gourmet Sandwiches

Now this is taking lunch to the next level! One of my favorite spots to have lunch in the summertime is a tiny Scandinavian Gift Shop called Punzel. It is about 15 minutes south of the Interlochen Center for the Arts and is a local treasure. Open-face sandwiches with edible flowers, soft cheese & broiled fruit make a lunch that is too pretty to eat. There is no menu, you simply make a reservation for "lunch" and you'll be delighted every time.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Blueberry Dessert

What have I baked three times this week? My beloved blueberry gateau. Neighbors, friends, brothers - all have gotten their fill lately. Discovered years ago in Country Living magazine, this recipe from Vermont's Blueberry Hill Inn is becoming my signature dish for blueberry season. When I mention that I have/want/need blueberries, more & more people are asking "Are you making gateau?" (My neighbor even gave me a huge box of blueberries this week with a glance that said "You know what to do.") Delicious with a cup of tea, wonderful as a snack, perfect for company...I love this recipe. Try it. I know you will make it time and time again. And soon your friends and family will be asking...Are you making gateau?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quiet Time

When I am at the lake, I drop everything when the sun starts to set. At home, I can't see the sun go down, so I consider it a special occasion when I can. I suspend the gin rummy game, the dishes, the movie...whatever it is that I am doing can wait 20 minutes while I soak up the sunset. This overcast day evolved into quite the "inspirational poster," don't you think? The phase below it could read, "Every day should end with a little quiet time."

Bee Hive Cake

Want to create a buzz? Build a hive! I bought this cake pan years ago through Martha By Mail and I love it. You can order your own hive pan (a little different from mine, but the same idea) from Nordic Ware. A simple box of pound cake mix (add 1/4 cup of fresh lemon zest when you are mixing) makes the cutest bee hive cake ever. After it is baked and the two halves are "glued" together with icing (made of powdered sugar and lemon juice) drizzle more icing over the seam and down the hive. What should you serve on the side? A scoop of Haagen Dazs' limited edition Vanilla Honey Bee ice cream. Yum!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ladies in Waiting

What's so amazing about this picture? It was taken on July 17th! My peonies bloom in early June, so how do I have a fresh bouquet 6 weeks later? I have found a florist's trick that really works. When peony buds are about the size of a ping pong ball and showing color, cut them from the plant leaving a 6-8 inch stem. Dip the cut end in hot wax to seal. Wrap bud & stem in damp paper toweling and seal in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two months. When you are ready for a spectacular bouquet, simply recut the stems to remove the wax and place the buds in room temperature water. Your "ladies in waiting" should open within a day or two. Love it!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Top 10 Herb Gardens

The Herb Society of America has listed the Top 10 Not-To-Miss Herb Gardens in the United States. To check it out, simply click here and open their pdf. I was talking "herbs" one day with a Master Gardener and she suggested that I visit Greenfield Village and photograph the garden they have dedicated to herbs. So cute - it makes me want to edge everything with brick! They have a vine-covered sitting area to the right where I sat in the shade and drained an icy lemonade.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Moments of Delight, Local Press

Remember the photo shoot in my rose garden? The rain held off that day and the photographer got some beautiful shots. I want you to see the article written about my first book (the article was aptly titled, Moments of Delight) that ran in the Observer & Eccentric newspapers all over metro Detroit on July 3rd. They did such a nice job. You can read the article and see the photos as a pdf here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lavender Festival Delights in Romeo

The 3-day Lavender Festival in Romeo, Michigan is going on now. There are booths of lavender products, "Make & Take" lavender workshops and wonderful salads and sandwiches for sale (with lavender lemonade, of course). When I saw on the schedule that a french pastry chef would be doing a demonstration called "French Lavender Sweets," I was a goner. So yesterday I rearranged my schedule and found myself eating honey lavender ice cream and listening to instructions like "put ze lavender in ze pan." It was fun. An open-air demonstration on bringing lavender's essence to everything from creme brulee to cookie dough. Magnifique!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Candy Couture

I took my first trip to New York City in 2005. I had a "must see" list of shops and my friend Kerry skillfully mapped out our route for the weekend. 

Ribbon stores, a paper emporium and the tearoom of a Japanese department store were all on my list. But it was when I said that I needed to see Dylan's Candy Bar that my friend really perked up. 

A store devoted to candy candy candy - yum! My photo of their shop window (featuring a mannequin in a candy gown) combined with the skyline reflecting behind, became my "signature shot" for our amazing weekend. 

Can you tell I am dreaming of New York City...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


My college roommate had a poster of a crimson poppy by Georgia O'Keeffe over her dresser in our room. It was bright and dramatic and she loved it. You can see an example of it here. So whenever I see an Oriental poppy in bloom, I think of my dear friend, Heidi. In this picture, I love how the orange petals are set off by the bright greens of Spring.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dinner Cruise

There is nothing more romantic than a slow cruise up the river in a classic wooden boat. Have you ever gone to dinner by boat? At The Riverside Inn in Leland, you can arrive by boat and tie up at their dock. I love to dine on the patio where the sounds of dinner mingle with the low thrum of antique boats cruising by.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lavender Farm

My mom and I went to my favorite lavender farm in northern Michigan (Michigan Lavender in Northport, E. Johnson Road) on Saturday and photographed these perfect purple tufts. They usually advertise when the lavender is in bloom, but aren't open to the public on other days.  Call before you head out 231-386-9256. 

A sunny day, interesting products for sale (I am going to use their culinary lavender in a roasted potato dish tonight) and an icy cup of lavender lemonade. 

What more could a girl want?  

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Some Fruit

We have the tiniest "berry garden" ever. A few strawberry plants, a few raspberries and two lone blueberry bushes. I don't expect a lot from this plot, but it's fun to watch the berries develop and we do get a few cups of fruit over the Summer. Today, when I rounded the brick wall, I saw that we had blueberries! Beautiful, perfect blueberries. There are only about ten total, but aren't they gorgeous? I am very proud. If Charlotte were here, I know she would spin a web that said "Some Fruit."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Super Cute Necklace

I knew that I was onto something when I mentioned making a necklace out of novelty buttons here. I thought that the colors and shapes would be just right with "the T-shirts of Summer." 

 Well, I wore it last night to a card party and it was a hit. Everybody loves something bright and pretty to jazz up a simple tee. I am going to wear it with pink and orange and green, oh my!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rooftop Garden

Isn't this house charming? 

Notice that they have a rooftop garden, not for vegetables, but for decoration! 

I had never seen such a thing and I simply had to show you. This long narrow house sits right on the lake and feels so European. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Perfect Gift

I drove up to my aunt's house and saw the most spectacular peony blooming by her front walk. She said that it was a gift from a friend. Can you think of a lovelier present?

When I tried to identify it online, I came across the neatest peony website. You enter the peony info (color, flower type, bloom time) and it shows you which peony it might be! I think that this is "Lotus Bloom."

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cherry Country

Traverse City, Michigan is in the heart of cherry country. These Cherry Streusel muffins are so delicious you'll think you're at a country inn overlooking Grand Traverse Bay!

2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar (3/4 cup and 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 sticks butter
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract

1 (8 oz) 1/3 Less Fat "Neufch√Ętel" cream cheese
1 egg
48 tart or sweet cherries, pitted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray. In a food processor, pulse flour, butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar until crumbly. Remove 1 cup of this flour mixture and set aside. Pour the remaining flour mixture into a mixing bowl. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, sour cream, egg, and almond extract and mix well. Using a cookie dough scoop, drop a mound of dough into each muffin tin and spread a bit to create a muffin base. Place 4 cherries on top of dough. In the (now empty) food processor bowl, blend cream cheese, 1 egg and the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Spoon a dollop over cherries in each muffin tin. Spoon any remaining dough into each muffin tin and top generously with reserved crumble mixture. Bake for 20 minutes.

The Blue Angels

The Blue Angels put on a magnificent airshow this year at the National Cherry Festival. Watching from a pier on Grand Traverse Bay, I could see every maneuver perfectly. 

It is said that The Blue Angels fly in formation 18 inches apart! Look how close they are in my photo above. 500,000 people visit the 8-day festival and I stood with my camera among the thousands of spectators enjoying the show. I had a "special event ticket" to watch the air show from the pier while enjoying a gourmet picnic of wine and local fare. The chefs offered cherry bar-b-cue chicken, pulled pork with cherry glaze and a chocolate brownie studded with dried cherries & walnuts. Yum. 

My favorite thing that happened? A ten-year-old boy with a camera walked up to me after a particularly close fly-by, gestured to my camera and said "What'd ya get?" So, photographer-to-photographer, we compared our best shots and agreed that The Blue Angels were "cool."

Sunday, July 6, 2008

National Cherry Festival

It is hard for me to explain how much I love watching the U.S. Navy Blue Angels airshow. The power and precision of six F/A-18 Hornets flying in tight formation is spectacular. The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan hosts the Blue Angels every other year and I haven't missed a show yet. I snapped this shot during a practice flight. Look how the plane is screaming through the blue sky between the sun and an American flag - love it!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Strawberry Delight

Every time someone comes back to the cottage, they seem to be carrying a quart of strawberries. The markets are loaded with berries at their peak and no one can resist! But the kitchen counter is getting crowded with them, so I think it is time to make more jam. I may even make a strawberry tart. 

What if I add strawberry slices to a pitcher of lemonade? Mmmm...I love Summer!

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July

A small town, promises of ice cream and my 3 nephews watching the parade. I couldn't have planned a more perfect 4th of July photo. I especially love the red, white & blue t-shirts. I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Tisket a Tasket

I've decided to try my hand at embroidery again. I was about 8 when I first learned to cross stitch. I would mark a design in pencil on a flour sack square and then stitch over it with DMC floss

I vividly remember making a square for my brother with the outline of a sailboat on it. Lately, I've been seeing embroidered dishtowels in antique stores and I want to try some of those pretty stitches myself! 

Yesterday, I drew this basket of raspberries with a disappearing ink pen and stitched the berries by making lots of french knots. I am really happy with it. Dishtowels here I come!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Order Dessert

While many get offered a bite of some one's fabulous dessert...I get offered a photograph. My friends know how much I love photography and let me take pictures of their desserts before they dig in. This beauty was taken at a luncheon celebrating friendship that I attended in May. It was quite a scene when my friends all pass their desserts to me and when the waiter saw what I was doing, he brought me a stack of colored napkins to use as a backdrop - so thoughtful! 

You can see a different dessert where I used a lilac napkin here. A decadent chocolate cake finished with fresh berries and a pool of chocolate. All I can say is order dessert.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Time to Bake

I couldn't help myself...the darling packaging that was designed to make me buy & bake, actually made me buy & make. I saw this sweet box of cupcake mix and instantly wanted to make a clock out of it. I haven't made the actual cupcakes yet, but I'm in no rush. I know I'll never lose the instructions - they are on the back of the clock! To make, you will need a cute box, a clock movement (from the craft store), 1 AA battery, and tape. 

Make sure to center the hands high enough on the box to allow the hands to tick all the way around (too low and they will hit the table). Follow the clock movement instructions to place the motor of the clock inside the box (open box from the bottom) and the hands of the clock on the face. I used a 3 inch piece of strong tape across the motor inside to keep it secure (just don't tape over the time set wheel). It is super simple and super cute!