Friday, September 28, 2012

Fall Field Trip

One of the many wonderful things about of volunteering with the Junior League is that you can make lifelong friends.  Many of my closest friendships are living proof of that, as the girls that I hang out with most, were in my membership class 15 years ago!

Today I am taking Angie and Tricia with me on a weekend getaway to visit Barb, one of our dear Junior League friends that has moved away.  Barb now lives in northern Indiana and has been tempting us with stories of Amish country for a while now in hopes that we would come see her.

Our theme is "I wanna go to Shipshewana" or "Girls Gone Amish," depending on who you ask.  We are going to talk and laugh and drive around the area poking our head in shops, looking for quilts and who knows what.  I promise to take a lot of pictures and fill you in on what we find.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bling Vase

Can you hear the angels singing?  

This project turned out exactly as I wanted it to.  I had a million inexpensive flat back "gems" and I arranged lots of different patterns or crests on my kitchen counter to see which combinations I liked best.  I thought that the amber and gray "brooch" was my favorite, but this one is giving it a run for its money.  

To make this project yourself, you will need an empty jam jar (this is "upcycling" at its best), some Gem-Tac glue, a bag of flat backed gems and your imagination.

It's a little bit preppy and a lot cute.  All it needed were a few pink roses (Paul McCartney) and a sprig of chocolate mint.  Magnifique!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Loving Lemon in London

Do you ever really know when you are making a lasting memory?  Of course, I was on my first trip to England, so just about everything was exciting.  But it is funny how this moment stands out among the other highlights.  

We had checked into our hotel, The Mayfair, and decided to try and diminish our jet lag by going on a walk around the area to get some fresh air.  It was damp and gray and I was happy for the short trench coat and scarf I had brought along.  

After wandering around for quite a while, we noticed a Marks & Spencer Simply Food on Piccadilly Road, very close to an entrance to Green Park.  We bought some yogurt and water and walked over to the park and found these chairs.

When you select chairs to sit in, an attendant comes over and charges a small rental fee.  That was okay with me - the chairs were very comfortable and it gave me a spot to savour my Lemon Curd (!) yogurt.   
I liked this yogurt so much that I took a photo of the label so that I could find it again.  

I never found it again.  Not on the trip and not back in America.  Why can't we have lemon curd yogurt?  It was light and tart and fabulous.  If you are in England, do me a favor and have one for me. 

So this is a fond memory from my first trip to England:  Sitting on striped chairs in Green Park eating Lemon Curd yogurt.

Sometimes you never know what will bring you delight.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Embellishing Soap

I have started making things again, so get ready to see some fun new projects!  This idea came to me, clear as a bell, while I was watching TV late one night.  Embellishing soap.

I know that this was a popular craft project back in the 1970's, but I couldn't find any reference to it online.  So I am bringing it back!  Attaching paper images (scrap or scrap art) to small hotel soaps using clear nail polish (a strong top coat).  It is super easy and when the right shade and size of soap is paired with the right image, the look is not crafty, just fabulous.

You will need a collection of really thin paper images - something you would decoupage with (see some here).  I used the butterfly page from a value pack called "Romantic Scrap Art Paper" by Artifacts Inc (click the link to see their entire collection for sale online).  My value pack was from Micheal's Craft a few years ago - check their decoupage section in store.

I also think that a lot of the charm is in the small size soap.  It becomes just a touch of botanical by the sink.  And I think everyone has a few extra hotel soaps tucked away.

I chose a moth/butterfly that I thought looked pretty against the pale mustard soap, brushed a little clear nail polish on the back of the moth like glue, and then placed it on the soap.  Then I gently brushed the entire top surface of the moth and soap with clear top coat nail polish to seal it.  Be sure to leave the sides and bottom of the soap uncoated so that they will still suds.
These are the ones I have made so far.  I think John Derian would be proud, don't you?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Delightful Blogs

House Beautiful magazine has recommended that people look into finding and reading "delightful blogs" (March issue, p.78). And since that is precisely what I have been writing about here at for the past 5 years,  I want to applaud them and welcome you to my 1,600 original posts.

I am an author, photographer and crafter, so the photos, thoughts and ideas you see here are all mine.  My mission is to delight my readers with topics that range from interior design and baking, to friendship and collecting.  You never know what I will be writing about each day, but that is part of the fun!  

I have a "City Series" displayed in the right hand column that lets you read my posts from a specific city, if you are planning a trip.

Just below that is "Anne's Favorite Recipes" section so you can jump to my recipes by name ("Cheddar Leaves" for Fall parties!).

The "Blog Archive" is displayed by month, so if you want to read about a particular season with me, choose "April" within "2009" and you'll see Easter and Spring posts.  

There is also a "Search Box" if you want to read about something specific like roses or honey.  Have fun!  Reading about delight is good for you.

xo Anne, Architect of Delight at

Friday, September 21, 2012

Leland Fishtown Tug Cookies

This fishing tug has long been the symbol of Fishtown and represents the charm and history of Leland, Michigan.  The town has been a fishing village since the late 1800's and this particular model of fishtown tug has been a working fishing vessel in the waters of Lake Michigan for more than fifty years.

For years there have been tug window decals, t-shirts and jewelry to help those that love Leland trumpet their affection for the town.  The Tug Stuff shop in Fishtown has the largest collection.  My favorite tug item is a 3-D silver charm for a necklace that I found in the Leelanau Historical Society gift shop.

Recently, a local bakery Sisson's started making tug cookies!  I highly recommend them for afternoon tea.  They make such a darling conversation piece.  As a baker, I wanted to have an entire fleet of tugs and I asked Dan to make me a tug cookie cutter (yes, I have a "make your own cookie cutter kit") to my specifications.
Tah-dah!  I love them!  We tried different variations (with a window "dent" and with a window completely "cut out") and on the cuteness scale, I still can't decide which one I like better.  Most of my first batch (shown above) had just a window dent.  For the next batch I make, I'll do some of each.  Aren't they cute?  

Now I have a cookie cutter to use for the rest of my life when I am up north and in the mood to bake and entertain.  These are certainly the perfect cookies for the Land of Delight.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Intent To Delight

This is a moment of delight!  A single David Austin "Heritage" rose and a spring of mint resting on a silver coaster on my piano.  Do you ever make tiny bouquets?  It is easy with this flat disc vase from CB2.

I like to have something small and sweet in unexpected place around the house.  It shows my intent to delight and is a visual gift to everyone who sees it.  Do I sound crazy?  I am completely serious.

Here, I have it resting on the ledge of the piano.  Sometimes I put a single rose in the first floor bathroom or next to the phone in the kitchen.

I definitely have turned my rose garden into a cutting garden.  When I get a bloom, I cut it, no regrets.  I would much rather have it shown off in the house than leave it outside bobbing in the elements.

Plus, this way I get to show you!  How do you show your intent to delight? 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cookie Sprinkles in Test Tubes

I am halfway to a really good idea.  I have put my prettiest cookie decorations in test tubes!  I knew that it would look really neat - along the lines of spices that are sold in test tubes, but prettier.  The only problem is I need a rack or some sort of container to stand them up on.  I want to have them out on my kitchen counter as "art". 

I bought two sets of the Martha Stewart Test Tube favor kit with cookie sprinkles in mind (I think it was designed to be a Halloween party favor full of candy), and naturally I couldn't wait to fill them with a lovely array of sprinkles.  But I need a rack!  

For now they are leaning inside a large bowl and the effect is just not the same!  Anyone have any ideas? 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Empire Bluffs Trail

Are you heading north for the Fall color?  If you are headed to the Leelanau Peninsula, I have one more thing you can do to get out in the fresh air.

When I was visiting my friends in Alabama, we talked about northern Michigan a lot.  Melanie and Jon visit family up here every year and they were surprised that I had never been to the Empire Bluffs Trial.  They said that this view of Lake Michigan is their favorite and that a trip "up north" is not complete with out a morning hike out to the bluff (with coffee and muffins?).  Now that I've seen it, I'm sure that a lot of people feel the same way.

You can hike along the Empire Bluffs Trail and stop along the way at bench near the scenic overlook and take in the view (above) of the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes dropping into Lake Michigan.  I stopped here to preserve my ankle, but my husband ventured on and took these two incredible photos.
He wanted me to show you the boardwalk and bench options at the top of the Empire Bluffs Trail, which is 1.5 miles round trip.  The self-guided tour handout says that the lake to the right is called South Bar Lake and that it was once part of Lake Michigan!  Apparently long shore currents deposited a sand bar that eventually separated the water into two lakes.  I know that rivers change their course, but I had never imagined lakes being created from
a sandbar taking hold.

If you make it to this spot, 400 feet above Lake Michigan, breathe in and feel some camaraderie with everyone that holds this view dear.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Water Lily

Ooh la la...for a brief moment I fooled myself into believing that I was at Giverny, Claude Monet's home and gardens which was the setting for many of his famous water lily paintings.  I have always wanted to visit Giverny, which is about 45 minutes from Paris, but I have never scheduled it into my itinerary.  In the past, something wonderful has always trumped it, but I intend to make it a priority the next time I visit.

I am thinking about making this image into an art print for my family room.  You can easily upload a photo to the Costco Photo Center and have it printed on a stiff museum-quality semi board that you can then hang on the wall.  The treatment is casual, but effective.  Remember how pretty my hollyhock photo turned out?

Sometimes the best art for your home is something you created yourself.  And when Costco makes it this easy (you can also order canvas prints, which are more expensive, but also more formal), why not give it a try?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Team Beekman: The Amazing Race Cheering Section

I want you to join my cheering section on this season on The Amazing Race.  One of my oldest friends and his partner are a team on the fall season of The Amazing Race!  The show begins on ABC on September 30th and you can watch a video interview with Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge here.

I only use my photographs on my blog, so I've put a picture of Josh and me back in 2006 in NYC.  Josh and I went through the English Literature BA program at Michigan State University and I couldn't be happier to lend my support and try to promote his efforts here.  

Josh and Brent have an exciting life right now as goat farmers, founders of the brand Beekman 1802 (a lifestyle brand founded in small town America) that features goat milk soaps, BLAAK aged goat cheese and a selection of artisanal onion jams, caramel cajeta sauce and creamed honey.  

You can actually watch their life on a tv show called "The Fabulous Beekman Boys."  An entire season is being rebroadcast on The Cooking Channel starting September 20 at 10pm.  Originally filmed and broadcast on Plant Green, we are all hoping that the show gains a large enough audience to justify filming another season of life on the Beekman farm.  It is a charming show about the real life issues of working in NYC and trying to establish a new venture in small town America.  The photography is stunning (believe me, you will want to visit), plus the animals on the farm are characters in themselves.    

Josh is an advertising executive and New York Times best selling author and together he and Brent (a physician) have also written a Heirloom Cookbook, using the recipes they created from their heirloom seed garden.  Last year, The Beekman Boys helped to breathe life into a local Heirloom Seed company by partnering with Williams Sonoma to promote a special collection of Beekman 1802 heirloom vegetable seeds.  Neat, eh?   

As you can see, these "boys" are creative entrepreneurs and savvy businessmen, but most of all they are kind, generous and steadfast friends.  If anyone can win The Amazing Race, it's Team Beekman.  Let the games begin! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Write Your Friends

This is a quick reminder to write to your friends.  I received a note from an out-of-state friend last week and I loved it.  A real note card; her handwriting; even the stamp she chose caught my eye.  And the message showed that she really cares.  Her note has inspired me to send a few short letters out myself.

And I am passing on the inspiration to you.  I bet you have a box or two of cute note cards in your desk, just waiting for the write occasion.  The time is now!  Take a few minutes and send a little love through the mail.  You have no idea the positive impact you can make. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Waialua Soda Works Pop Art Vases

Before I had even left for Hawaii (in January), I knew what I wanted to find, photograph and craft with.  The Waialua Soda Works had been on my radar for a while and I was so happy when I realized that they were located on Oahu, my destination!

I told Corinne (who I was going to visit) that I was hoping to find where they make this gourmet soda, tour the plant (if possible) and take a photo of the display case full of Waialua Soda.  Now you can see why traveling with me can be a bit of a challenge.  I had the whole thing worked out in my head.

Well, one day we drove all over North Shore looking for Waialua Soda with the help of our iPhones and Google Map, but we only found where they used to be located before their business grew.
I settled for a photo in the cooler of a local Hawaiian shop (doesn't it look pretty?) and bought a 4-pack of Pineapple, Lilikoi (Passion Fruit), Vanilla Creme and Mango to sample at home.  The soda is light and fizzy and exactly what you'd want in an artisanal soda.  Plus I now have beautiful vases!
Part of my grand plan was to "bejewel" some Waialua Soda Works bottles (and other Hawaiian specialty products) with sequins and turn them into vases.  I had to wait until my Veterans' Honor rose bloomed to be able to show you the results of my master plan.
This is what I call "Pop Art!"

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2012 Suttons Bay Flotilla

Everyone was rooting for a world record.  Could the Suttons Bay Record Paddle Challenge (called the "flotilla") on September 1st break the record of 1,902 kayaks and canoes rafting in one place?  The inspiration was to raise funds for the local school district (kayaks/canoes paid a registration fee to participate) and although they missed the record by less than 200 kayaks, I would call this event a success!

Click here to see an aerial photos of the flotilla on the official Suttons Bay Flotilla website - it's beautiful. The color of the water and expanse of sandbar makes "the bay" look otherworldly.  If that photo isn't an enticement for families to come to Suttons Bay, I don't know what would be.  And the kayaks look like birthday party sprinkles in the water!

I was in Suttons Bay the night before the event and couldn't resist taking this photo of the pre-registered kayaks lined up in alphabetical zones (organized by registrant's last name).  

I talked to one of the tween boys dragging the kayaks into place.  We agreed that we couldn't believe how many colors of kayaks there were and I said to him, "Wouldn't it be neat if they were scented?"  He said, "That would be sweet!"  When I asked him what color and scent he would want his to be, he said "orange" on both counts.

I would have said "pink" and "bubblegum," but he didn't ask.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Best Wishes!

There is nothing like attending the wedding of a dear friend.  Last Saturday I was there to witness a wonderful couple get married and I am so very happy for them both.  

The bride was levitating, the groom was choked up and Mother Nature was there to bless their union and hold the rain off just long enough.  On the long drive out into the countryside for the wedding, I was thinking about our friendship, and I realized that I had known the bride for 27 years.  She is a kindred spirit and I am so thrilled for her to begin a chapter of her life with such a terrific man by her side.  "Best Wishes!" 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Looking For Quiet

If you have followed my blog since January, you know that I have been on-the-move this year.  I have been to 10 states in 7 months and although I love all of the glorious photos that I can share with you, I need to write!

I am home, my laptop is ready and I am thrilled to be working toward completion of my next book.  I will keep you posted and and when it is finished, you'll be able to order it here first.  If you want to catch up with my first two titles (Moments of Delight or Paris: Delight in the City of Light) you can buy them in the blog sidebar or on Amazon.

My photo today represents "Peace and Quiet" - exactly what I need to really get things done.  No matter what your project is, may you get the peace and quiet you need to be really productive.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Andy Warhol 50th Anniversary Campbell's Tomato Soup

Tah-dah!  What a fabulous way to honor the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol's painting of the Campbell's Tomato Soup Can.  A limited edition series of tomato soup in retro label colors.  I love it and bought 4 at my local Target.  You can also get some online (although it is much more expensive this way) here.  My cans will become pencil and paint brush holders on my desk...once I have lunch, of course!  I will cover the label with a strip of clear contact paper to protect the paper from getting damaged.  I cover lots of things with contact paper - it protects the item and keeps me from being too precious with it.

This promotion really is life imitating art!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Cherry Hut

"Celebrating 90 Years!" - that is the proclamation on the top of the paper place mats at The Cherry Hut in Beulah, Michigan.  Their signature paper place mats have a red cardinal printed in the corner and were designed for the Cherry Hut by nature artist, Gwen Frostic.  So pretty.

My mom and I always have lunch at The Cherry Hut and this year I swayed from my usual Egg Salad sandwich and ordered the Cherry Chicken Salad.  Wow - this is the kind of chicken salad that you hope for.  Lovely white meat, a light amount of mayonnaise, fresh celery, chopped almonds, bountiful dried cherries and no herbs to affect the flavor.  It is perfect and it is the kind of chicken salad I would want at any ladies lunch.  

After a lovely lunch at this old-fashioned restaurant, we bought one of their homemade cherry pies to take home for dinner and at the counter, the manager was proud to tell us that they had sold 20,000 pies this year! How is that even possible? What an accomplishment.  I'd buy one again, that's for sure.  This is lunch in the Cherry Capital.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Decant Honey

I know that I am a little kooky sometimes, but I have had "decant honey in Beulah" on my to do list for over a year now.  Last Summer, I was in the Market Basket in Beulah and noticed this local honey display, isn't it neat?  Customers bring their own container and a salesgirl will decant "dark" or "light" honey for you.

So this year on my annual jaunt around Benzie County with my mom, I made sure to stop at Crystal Crate and Cargo (a great housewares store in Beulah) first to buy something that I could decant honey into.  No easy task, but I settled on a Salad Dressing Shaker/Measuring Cup that has a tight seal.
("action" shot - decanting honey)

And the best part is that the honey is fabulous!  I bought the light variety and I've been drizzling it on nonfat plain Greek yogurt with a sprinkling of raw almonds every morning this week - yum!  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day

It's Labor Day and we are winding down Summer with a gorgeous weekend at the cottage.  These towels looked so pretty, I had to show you.  

Towels drying on the line is a quintessential summer scene, reminding me of the beautiful days in the movie, On Golden Pond.  It's a movie full of emotion and I could be just as happy watching the scenes without the characters, just panning the sparkling lake and quiet wildlife.

I hope that you had a beautiful summer to remember.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Northern Michigan Flower Petal Art

This is one of those "scenic views" that means a lot to me.  It is the view from my parent's cottage and I never tire of watching the sun set over Lake Michigan. 
The sloping land on the left is called "Pyramid Point," because the edge is steep and dramatic like the slope of a pyramid.  The land mass to the right is an island called South Manitou (there is also a North Manitou Island out of the frame and farther to the right).

It was this view that prompted me to try my first painting enhanced by real flower petals!
I did a watercolor first and then I glued dried lavender along the shore and folded a piece of geranium petal to represent the sun going down.  Do you like it?  I framed it with a narrow lavender mat and then put my little masterpiece in an antiqued-gold frame. 

It is the perfect touch on my piano and reminds me that I've had a wonderful summer full of sunsets.