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.

I have had a few neat projects and photos this summer that I want to share, so the next ten posts will show you what I've tasted and tried.

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?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Honoring the Past: When Embroidery Captures a Moment in Time

I found a treasure! Someone spent hours embroidering this darling kitchen scene.  Just look at the details...there is food and wine on the table, a kettle on the stove and pots hung on the wall. She even stitched a small china windmill, a popular souvenir, sitting on the kitchen shelf.  My mom thinks that this dishtowel was stitched before the depression when there was time for needlework and pretty linens - late 1920's? I've always loved collecting vintage Pyrex as a way to honor the American kitchen. This dishtowel fits right in with my aesthetic. 

I plan on starching it and framing it on the wall somehow. Wouldn't it be darling in a blue and white kitchen? Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bouys: Let Color Float Your Boat

Color inspiration is everywhere and this month, House Beautiful magazine has featured a photo of vibrant lobster buoys for their By The Sea color palette. It has deep blues, bright red with stripes of yellow, pink and mint.

It reminded me of my own buoy images from a delightful trip to Maine in 2009. The buoys above are bright and new, ready to mark the daily catch, while the collection below show that they had been bobbing in the sea for years.
Did you know that the color and striping on lobster buoys represents each lobster man and his license. Each operation has their own matching buoys. Isn't that interesting? Can't you see me at the Secretary of State (or some such office in Maine) asking to trade for a better color combination as my signature? I mean, if I was given the brown and yellow combo (above) I would have wept.

Color is everything to me. Which color combo would you request? 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Christening Cup: Little George Turns Two

Prince George turns 2 today! His sweet face makes standing in the grocery checkout line more bearable - you can see official pictures of him here. In honor of his royal birthday, I've arranged some flowers in his christening cup.  

The blue of the flower (why can't I think of it's name?) is closer to that of the cup in real life and paired with apricot roses, I've got quite a sweet little bouquet. 

Would you like some commemorative royal china? You can purchase some beautiful pieces here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Reinhardt Blooms: Remember My Flower Farm Visit?

I was able to visit with Katie Wachowiak from Reinhardt Blooms this weekend!

Remember when a tornado warning sent me scrambling for cover and I drove off the highway and ran into a stranger's house yelling, "I'm taking cover!"

You haven't heard that story? Read it here.

Well, my port-in-a-storm family became my new friends and I was able to visit them later in the summer. Karen cooked me a beautiful dinner and then introduced me to her talented friend, Katie Wachowiak. Refresh your memory and read about my visit to her Michigan flower farm last summer.
Okay, now you are all caught up. It's July 2015 and I was so happy to see Katie again. She is one the most talented floral designers I know. Be sure to check out her floral arrangements on her webpage. I was able to stop by the Birmingham (Michigan) farmer's market and buy flowers from her stand. Look at her bright and vibrant summer bouquet! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Game On: A Vintage Game Board works as Art

Do you see the beauty too? This antique Chinese checkers board will someday hang as art in my house. I stopped into an antique shop in a strip mall and b-a-m! I saw this beautiful board. I pretended to be interested in other things, but in the end I knew that I couldn't leave without it. 

The colors were so vibrant and interesting and for some reason reminded me of a bouquet of snapdragons. My first thought was to have a piece of glass cut for it and use it as a tray on an ottoman. That option is still there, but for now I have settled on hanging it on the wall as art.

I couldn't wait to show you, so I placed it in a stand so that I could photograph my new vintage treasure from 1938. It is the perfect representation of my design mantra: I like things that are beautiful and interesting.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bottle Bouquet: A Beautiful Way to Blend Natural Colors

Isn't this lovely? Sometimes we need a reminder that the colors and textures of a flower arrangement doesn't always need to relate back to another part of the arrangement.  We took what was blooming and placed a stem or two in each glass bottle. During the course of the week, as a flower faded, we replaced it with another. It was an ever changing touch of color in the kitchen. Visual Vitamins, indeed. 

I believe that this bottle carrier for flowers was found at Pottery Barn years ago. You can order a similar flower arranging item here. I just love how natural it looks. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Blue Boat: A Coffee Bar in Leland

My days in Leland have gotten a little brighter. One of the new businesses that opened in our little resort town is called Blue Boat and it's a coffee bar! This is an action shot (above) of a pour over coffee brewing. There were 4 choices of beans for pour over that day and since I am not an expert in knowing which region I like my beans from, they allowed me to make my choice by scent.
I noticed on the Blue Boat Facebook Page that their barista, Kent, participated in a latte art competition in Traverse City last month. How cool. I would love to go to an event like that, proving that Seattle is going to be a great new home for me. My friend loved her pour over and I thought that my latte was delicious. It was rich and smooth and divine and it wasn't just because I detected whole milk.
My extended family loves this new coffee bar and we had Blue Boat logo-ed paper cups all over the house during the July 4th holiday. Some even saw actor, comedian and summer resident, Tim Allen in line for a cup. I had a chance to meet Tim Allen and welcome him to the area a few years ago. I plan to frequent Blue Boat coffee and expect that someday soon I will the voice of "Pure Michigan" order a latte. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Art in Leelanau County: An Alternative Day at the Beach

What a lovely day to paint! When my mom and I decided to spend an afternoon at the beach and we weren't playing volleyball. Have you ever painted a scene from your summer vacation?
This slope of land that juts into Good Harbor Bay is know as Whaleback, because the shape resembles a whale emerging from the water. I have photographed it many times and I knew that it would be a great landscape to paint.
Monet, I am not, but I did have fun trying my hand at the local landmark. I am going to mail this card out to Dan in Seattle. It's not wonderful, but it is definitely refrigerator-worthy.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Hey Sugar: A Flower Arrangement to Delight

My mom gets all the credit for this lovely display. She found the antique canisters (tea, coffee, oatmeal) at an antique show. She knew that they would make darling vases. All she had to do was wait for the hydrangeas and roses to bloom and Voila!

Arranging tablescapes is part of the fun of being up at the cottage. Every few days we change from placemats to tablecloths, from nautical blues to vintage pastels and make a flower arrangement to suit.

I assure you, everything tastes better with a centerpiece like this.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Farmers Market: A Different Perspective

As you head into Saturday's farmer market, appreciate the beauty of the vegetables and try to think of all the different materials artists have used to replicate their beauty.  Here are blown glass ornament vegetables at the Kristkindlemarkt in Chicago. Have you seen vegetables made with wool felt? Carved from wood? Molded out of soap?

Monday, May 18, 2015

KAST: Kirkland Artist Studio Tour 2015

Long before I got to town, I started surfing the internet, looking for interesting events and activities that I could attend while I was in Seattle. 

This art event jumped out at me: the Kirkland Artist Studio Tour (KAST).  I love to see artists in their element and I was looking forward to seeing another area of greater Seattle. 

This free event is a self-guided tour that invites art lovers to follow a map and explore private home studios, as well as artists' displays within the shopping district of Kirkland.  When touring an artist's home studio isn't practical, participants are given space within a retail shop to showcase their work.  

We drove to Kirkland in the afternoon, after giving the West Seattle Community Garage Sale a whirl that morning. We found a Kirkland Artist Studio Tour map and ducked into Zoka Coffee Shop to see what we could see. 

Jacob Grahn was the artist assigned to the Zoka space and he had a large canvas set up that he was actively painting. When I walked in, he was talking with customers and explaining his creative process. I didn't want to interrupt a potential sale, so I just snapped this photo (above) to give you an idea of his work and what an artist's space looked like within a retail store. Thanks for participating, Zoka Coffee, this artist seemed very happy with the space provided - plenty of natural light and right by the door where he could be easily found.

We wandered in and out of some of bustling stores, when Dan reminded me that it was really the home studios that I was interested in and that we only had a limited time to explore. He was so right! I was lulled by the map and what I really wanted to see was where artists create.
We plugged an address from the map into Google and off we went. Our first stop was to Joy Hagen's house, home of OJOY Studio. Beautifully situated in the woods, we drove up the steep incline of her driveway and parked our car. She was hosting two other artists, Katherine Wright and Daya Astor, who had tent spaces set up on the property. It was a beautiful day and everyone seemed happy to be exploring Kirkland and having the luxury to talk to one another about art and what moves them.

Joy Hagen is an encaustic painter, which means she works with hot melted beeswax and pigment to create her dramatic nature-inspired images. This display of her work, below, showcases just how at home her paintings are in the wild. 
Joy was kind enough to take a moment and demonstrate her technique, using a torch to blast colored beeswax into patterns across her wooden base image. It was very interesting to see the texture appear and recede as she directed the heat. This picture of her studio is a favorite.
The best part of this entire day was our last stop on the tour. We arrived at Mini Griffin's home, just down the road from the previous studio and I liked her immediately. She is happy by nature, talented for sure and was absolutely tickled to be a part of the Kirkland Artist Studio Tour. 
Her personality is infectious and we spent so much time chatting about the concept of delight, hope, color and art, that I neglected to take a photo to represent her home studio. Luckily you can see her art and contact her on her website. (*Update: Mini saw my post and supplied a few images for me. Now my post is complete. Thanks, Mini!)
When I described her to my mom, I said that she had sunlight streaming out of the ends of her blonde hair. How's that for a description? That is what is fun about this world, you never know who you will meet. 
My advice for today: Get out there and talk to people!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Zeitgeist Coffee: Caffeine and Conversation

Our first guest came to see us in Seattle, so a stop at an independent coffee house was a must.

When we knew Dan would be living on assignment in Seattle last year, I bought him the book: The Pacific Northwest's Best Trips (33 Amazing Road Trips) by Lonely Planet and it is terrific! The first weekend Dan was here, he followed their walk through downtown Seattle, to get acclimated, and it directed him to Zeitgeist.  

Since Dan's first Seattle coffee house visit was at Zeitgeist, we made a beeline to the South Jackson Avenue location for an hour of caffeine and conversation. 

That is their gorgeous cold brew coffee with milk (above).

Friday, May 15, 2015

Visual Vitamins: Peonies with the color of Grace

A graceful bouquet. I was at Pike Place Market on Mother's Day and I made up a bouquet for myself with 3 peachy pink peonies with yellow stamen and 5 yellow tulips with pink at the base of each bloom. They looked better than I could have imagined and as they aged, their color faded and I liked the arrangement even more.

Flowers are visual vitamins and you will benefit from a dose every day.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Art Eases Long Distance Friendships

I wanted to show you a little something I made to make myself feel better, a collage of photographs of my friends near and far. 

Moving to the other side of the country, even part time, is a big deal. My friends at home want to know "when I'll be back" and as I forge new friendships in Seattle, I hear "You're leaving so soon?" 

I wanted to make an art piece that would let me take my friends from around the country with me out West.

I had seen options online offered by photo companies that would build you a similar collage for me, but I thought I would give it a try myself. I supplemented my heart with images of things I love (my roses, antique dishes, sentimental vistas) and I am so happy with how it turned out.

My process, in a nutshell, was to:

  • print images in "contact sheet" size
  • arrange images in a heart
  • glue each photo to a piece of mat board, cut to the size of my frame
  • slip it into the frame
  • pack it carefully for the move across the country
  • hang it in our new apartment where I can see it often
I hope that each and every person in my collage makes the trip out to see me in Seattle. Boy do I have some things to show you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Seattle: Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room, a new Coffee Destination

Starbucks is elevating the coffee lovers experience yet again. This time it is honoring the process that makes what we love so much. The brand new Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room on Pike Street in Seattle is a sight to behold. Giant copper vats. Pneumatic tube transport. A library of reading material dedicated to coffee. Oh, and you can have a cup of coffee too. (wink)
I was astounded by the whole concept. Coffee tourism, indeed. There is no doubt that everyone wants a latte from original Starbucks location across from Pike Place Market - the line is always endless! Remember when I had my sentimental coffee

I'm sure it was that enthusiasm that prompted Starbucks to create a real coffee destination.
The coffee bar is beautiful and offers far more exotic offerings than your local haunt. Iced Sparkling Espresso with Mint, perhaps? A Citrus Lavender Sage Herbal Infusion? Do you have time to enjoy a Brew Comparison Flight of coffee? 
I swear I'm coming back for 2 hours so that I can taste everything I want to. I just realized that Dan would probably really enjoy the 200 title coffee library, so he could camp out there while I'm upstairs in coffee heaven.  

This location offers special items for purchase that are logoed with the Starbucks Roastery brand - I bought had fun buying gifts for Starbucks loving friends. 

Some may think coffee as a destination is ridiculous, but I think it is wonderful. Do come visit!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mother's Day at Pike Place Market

Doesn't this look like home run for Mother's Day? I saw many a family giving their mother a little extra attention while strolling Seattle's Pike Place Market on Sunday. This weekend was the market's Flower Fest and there were far more vendors selling fresh-as-a-daisy bouquets. The market has become a regular stop for me (can you blame me?) and this was the first I have seen of the beloved peony. 
                              
I watched a cute exchange between a twenty-something girl and her mother. The mother had chosen a bouquet and the daughter was insisting that she be allowed to pay for the it. The $20 bill got passed back and forth between the two of them before the daughter got wily and tucked the money into her mom's purse when she looked away. Well done, daughter, well done.
I think I helped to seal the deal for a father and son who were waffling between two arrangements. I pointed to one of their choices, an exquisite arrangement in all pinks and white and said, "That's the one." They looked relieved.
The sun was out and people were buying flowers - what could be better? 
Cheesecake! I think whoever decided to personalize the mini cheesecakes at The Confectional is a genius. Shoppers could choose between Mom, Mummy, Mum, Mommy and it looked as cute as can be. I bought a caramel one to the left and it was just as good as the last time I visited. Yum and yum.

Monday, May 11, 2015

West Seattle Saturday: What A View

Our jumping off point for our big Saturday in West Seattle was lunch at Bakery Nouveau for some of their famed croissants. It was our first trip to their bakery and the line out the door told us we were at the right place. The staff worked quickly to accommodate their customers and it wasn't long before Dan was eating a turkey Havarti croissant sandwich and I was sinking into a traditional baguette with ham and Swiss. Yes, please. I also snagged a plain croissant for breakfast the next day. This beacon of French deliciousness will call us back again and again.
I had in my mind that I wanted to stop at the West Seattle Community Garage Sale. I love finding treasures at garage or rummage sales (remember my quest for vintage Pyrex?) and I felt that this would be a great way to get to know the area. I am new to Seattle and I want to get a sense of the different neighborhoods. Why not tour it when they are all on their driveways welcoming the crowds? It was a gorgeous day and after a few stops with no luck, I changed my game plan and concentrated on the scenery. When we rounded one corner, this was the view! Imagine mowing you lawn with a view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains in the background. Location location location.
We left the neighborhoods and parked near Alki Beach to enjoy the view. I stopped in Starbucks (2742 Alki Ave SW) for a latte and turned around after ordering to see this (above) - a bank of windows overlooking Puget Sound. I wouldn't have believed that you could have coffee in such prime real estate.
We walked across the street, walked until we found an empty bench. We sat and drank our coffees while we marveled at the view - the Olympic Mountains to our left, the city of Seattle and her Space Needle to the right, with kayaks and ferry traffic in between.  
Once we were back in our car and leaving, taking the slow drive along Alki Ave., I saw this building and insisted I be let out of the car. Dan found a place to pull over and I was able to photograph this beautiful example of two vines working in harmony: wisteria and clematis. Have you ever seen a more beautiful example of what can be done with vines and color? It is growing on an apartment building right on Alki Ave. This masterpiece only lasts about a month, I'd estimate, but what a month it is. Bravo.
A closer look at the striped clematis blooms and the coordinating wisteria clusters nearby.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Seattle: Washington Arboretum: Azalea Way

Azalea Way, a path within the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle, is in full bloom and you don't want to miss it. Before you wander, start in the Visitors Center and look over cutting display, it showcases which trees and bushes are in bloom. 

An up-to-date summary is also available online, if you want to see if your favorite species is blooming before you head over. Right now, the star of the park are the azaleas planted on Azalea Way.

I visited last week to see if the wisteria-covered pergola was in bloom. It had just started, as you can see from my photos below. Wisteria is a sturdy vine with lilac-scented white or purple clusters that hang off the vine like grapes. The blooms are hanging through the slats of the pergola at the Washington Park Arboretum Visitors Center.
This wisteria is so old and established, that the vine curling up the wood of the pergola (below) is as thick as a tree trunk.
Onto the azaleas! You may have first noticed these beauties while watching The Masters golf tournament on television in Augusta, Georgia. The Augusta National Golf Course  is known for its beautiful landscaping. The pine trees and sweeping fairways are an ideal backdrop for the colorful azaleas.
I have visited the Washington Park Arboretum many times, but not when the azaleas were at their peak. Can you see the pinks (above) blend into bright yellow, then orange and coral?
In this photograph, I was able to capture even more unusual shades, including periwinkle!

I think this is a "Geisha" azalea, which features a few individual pink blooms scattered among the predominately white blossoms. At first, I thought that 2 varieties had grown together, but no, this plant has humor in its genes. The pop of pink scattered across the plant looks like jewels sewn on a fluffy white gown and it has become a new favorite of mine. 
Speaking of gowns, I think this variety of azalea, with smaller tighter blooms, looks like an Oscar-worthy creation by Mother Nature - Spring 2015.