Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Experimenting with White Chocolate: Buttons and Monograms

Don't you love the idea of pure white chocolate decorations? I do and I had fun one summer afternoon making these buttons, fruits and monograms.

Unfortunately, I was multitasking and let my "easy to melt" white chocolate discs simmer over a pan of hot water a little too long. I should have followed the directions and microwaved them in short intervals. Anyhoo, that is why they look like they are chalk-olate.  Get it?   
I made dark chocolate cupcakes and frosted them with homemade buttercream. Topped with a pure white chocolate icon, I thought they looked beautiful. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Borner Vegetable Shredder is a Treasure

How is it possible that I found a second complete Borner V-Slicer set at a rummage sale? I found the first at a church rummage sale in Birmingham, Michigan in 2011. It was wrapped in a bag with the instructions rubber-banded to the exterior and was $4. It included all of the mandolin slicing blades, plus a host of extras like a tool to turn the peel of an orange into a flower and a stand-alone blade that shredded zucchini or lemon zest. 
I may have been the only one who knew what it was on sight, and quickly snapped it up. I priced the piece of that set online and I think it was around $150 retail. I have treasured this set and laugh when I think of its origin. Did a mother-in-law buy it for a daughter-in-law that didn't cook? Was it a well-meaning husband's birthday gift? It had never been used - ever. All of the packaging and original plastic wrap was still on every piece. I had to leave it in Michigan until we finally sell our house and move everything. And frankly, I have missed being able to use it.

Fast forward to 2015, last Friday in fact, when I heard of a local church "garage sale" to benefit Habitat for Humanity. I love to look for treasures and I still can't believe that I found another never-been-used set! This one for a mere $2. 

Thanks to my new treasure-hunting turf, my vegetable shredding plans are back on track. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Art With A View: Suttons Bay Art Festival

What a day! I spent the first Saturday in August meandering the annual Suttons Bay Art Festival in northern Michigan. The artists' tents back up to the beach and marina - what a view! It is interesting that you can see the vistas that inspired so many of the artists. 
I bought this darling bracelet of blown glass beads by Suellen J Parker of Case Island Glass. The image is a little blurry, as I was taking the photo of my own wrist, but you can get the idea. It has layers of vibrant colors in smooth oval discs. I love it. This is a terrific art show in a fabulous setting. Come visit!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sunflower Bouquet: Visual Vitamins

Visual Vitamins: when looking at something is good for you.

When I see this bouquet of sunflower blossoms, the word "glorious" comes to mind. I stopped into Blue Boat coffee in Leland for an afternoon latte and was greeted by this magnificent display. 

These are Visual Vitamins are there very best.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fishtown: The Perfect Place to Visit on your drive Around the Peninsula

I caved and took a selfie on the bridge over the waterfall in historic Fishtown. Dan was in Seattle and I wanted him to see the gorgeous day I was experiencing a million miles away in Leland, Michigan. It came out so well, I've decided to share it. The photo above was taken from the footbridge over the dam.
The Carp River flows from Lake Leelanau over the dam and out to Lake Michigan. The public can walk the docks of fishtown, peek inside the working area of Carlson's Fish and smell the fresh catch being smoked in the smokehouse next door. I always buy a container of whitefish pate (to be served with wine and white crackers) from the storefront. The Fishtown Preservation Society strives to protect and preserve the historic fishing shanties, fishing nets and tugs (low body fishing vessels - seen above with a green base). I've walked these docks every summer for the last 40 years, the first 13 with my maternal grandmother, so the preservation of fishtown is real to me too.  
This image shows a sailboat tied up at The Cove, a local restaurant that is famous for it's large outdoor deck. A lovely place for drinks and dinner, as trumpeted by chef Mario Batali. I took the photo from the docks looking back at the dam. The footbridge is just above the water, connecting the buildings.

The perfect place for a summer vacation, no?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Nest: A Tiny Treasure Found

I noticed this little nest tucked into a tangle of lavender plants just a few feet off the ground near the cottage. Did the wind blow it down? Could a bird have chosen this as a nesting place? It was so arranged so perfectly straight, it didn't look tousled by the wind.

I meant to come back later and see if I could answer my own question, but it never caught my eye again. Though the proximity to the ground seemed risky, the sweet smell of lavender would have made a lovely place to nap.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Can You Canoe?

It looked like a scene from an inspirational poster. Two men and a dog were out on Lake Michigan enjoying the calm. Bird calls and the sound of their paddles in the water was all they could hear. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Alnwick Rose by David Austin

A rose that looks destined for crystal; this is the Alnwick rose by David Austin. Have you ever seen a blossom so lovely? 

This is not a casual country rose. This beauty was designed for greatness. I can feel it. I was honored to meet the David Austin in England a few years ago and the experience was wonderful.

If you are thinking of starting a rose garden, you need to know that it will take time and tending, but results like this are worth every minute. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Mattress: King, Queen or Daylily Bed?

There is a romance to this photo that I want to share. This is the bed of day lilies at the cottage and for yet another summer, a family of deer have been sleeping in it every night. 

It starts sometime in July. After a season of growth, one day the plants are healthy and lush, the next morning there are distinct circles where each mother, father and baby deer has slept. The day lilies don't fluff up much during the day and the circles are even more distinct each morning. This lasts the entire summer. I have never seen the deer, but they certainly leave their mark.

Isn't it wonderful to think of them quietly walking into the yard, choosing their place and sinking into the cool leaves. Do leaves have a Sleep Number? Do the individual deer choose the same spot each night?

You may not have realized it, but this really is a BED of day lilies. Sleep tight!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sweet Pie of Mine: Cherries from Cherry Country

Like many of my peers, I have fallen in love with Pinterest and the endless posts about jam jars. I knew I couldn't let Summer end without attempting to make little cherry pies.

Aren't they beautiful?!

I used 3 Ball quilted jam jars (4 oz) and 4 larger Pyrex glass custard cups and my go-to cherry pie recipe. I baked them on a cookie sheet - 45 min at 350 degrees. It worked like a charm.

I did not grease the cups, but simply cut circles of Pillsbury pie crust and fit them into the bottom and sides of each container. Then I spooned in a nice amount of filling into each cup and then cut and arranged the extra pie crust pieces into a lattice or hearts.

I forgot to take a photo after they were baked because we ate them warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Lake Michigan Magic

It has been a summer of adjustments and this view helped. I have spent most of the summer in Leland with my mom. Thank you for being patient and allowing me time to get my bearings. 

I am about to make a permanent move to Seattle, Washington! I will finally be living in that cute apartment that I started to show you back in March.

I will still have a few responsibilities in Michigan, but essentially I am starting a new life with Dan in the Pacific Northwest. It's a big deal.

P.S. After a hard winter of pounding waves, the "beach" at the cottage has disappeared. On clear days we can see where it went! There is a brand new expansive sand bar out front - can you see the sandy stripe in the water?