Friday, July 31, 2009

Charlevoix Part III

Sunday began with a late wake up -- I didn't make it out of my bedroom until 10 AM. Now, I had been straightening up my knitting, clothes, and assessing the previous day's purchases from the Fiber Festival, so it wasn't as if I was actually lounging in bed all that time.

Breakfast included delicious blueberry pancakes, sausage, bacon -- yummy for my tummy. :-) The morning greeted us with rain that soon gave way to abundant sunshine and Denise and I took both dogs for a walk in the woods. Thank goodness I'm in charge of walking the Norwich Terrier and not the Siberian Husky!

Denise, the dogs, and I headed into Charlevoix in search of a new T-shirt for me but alas, none thrilled me. My sister, however, was able to find several items for her friends' upcoming birthdays. After returning I headed out to the deck to knit a new bag. Lo and behold, it was cocktail hour ~~

Talk about bliss -- sunshine, knitting, relaxing, watching the boats, sipping a yummy adult beverage!

And here's a close up shot of the bag I worked on ~~

Since Denise had thawed extra veal, we invited the Geigers over for dinner again. This time she made Veal Scallopini and I made a salad. Another stupendous meal. Leftovers for dessert including a request from Carla's boyfriend Jeff for the Cherry Magic Cake. Guess I know how to keep him happy! I told Carla it was very easy to make but she admittedly has trouble boiling water!

Monday I got ready to head for home. I'm not sure how it happens but I have a really tough time making it straight home in the 4 hours it should take me to get home.

After saying goodbye I headed down Charlevoix-Boyne City Road. I didn't get far before my first stop. I've been meaning to stop at Horton Bay for many years to check out this general store I've passed so many times.

The General Store was very cute ~~

Just outside the front door was this terrific shoe shine chair ~~

Here are some shots from inside ~~

And I loved this sign~~

Notice it's strategic location?

The general store served food in the back and drinks up front. I also spotted this great rug for sale ~~

If it had been an antique I might have picked it up but alas, it was newly made in India. I'd rather have something vintage.

Next to the general store is the Red Fox Inn ~~

Just outside the door, Holly and Mike's kind of coat rack ~~

James Hartwell, the grandson of Vollie Fox, runs the place. Vollie Fox taught young Ernest Hemingway how to fish. It's really a bookstore now. If you give James a few minutes he'll educate you on Hemingway and how he spent his youth there. He's probably got every book written by Hemingway that has anything at all to do with Michigan. He's carefully handwritten into each book next the the chapters in the index, the locations that were depicted by Hemingway related to that area. He's quite knowledgeable about the area too. He had to remind me, though, that it was a bookstore, not a museum so the cost for my photographs was $1, the purchase price of two of his postcards for sale, complete with some sort of postmark that he applied to the back of each card. Hmm.

I didn't mind so much. Afterall, I did spot this great sign ~~

and this super map -- Oyster Bay is where Denise and Mike live -- just about where that cabin is on the map ~~

From there I headed into Boyne City, another town I'd driven through many, many times without ever stopping. Not that day.

I went in and out of several shops and spotted this great mural on the side of one of the shops ~~

And this super bench had been painted for a sale to benefit the American Red Cross ~~

I would love something like this -- patriotic and functional!

While strolling in and out of shops I was spotted by Betsy Koss, a member of my local quilt guild. Amazing to run into someone you know when you're far from home! We chatted a bit and on her recommendation we went to the local burger place where I got lunch and she had a strawberry shake. It was so nice to run into her!

From there I headed home, passing the many tall pine trees that line the route to Gaylord before hitting I-75 South.

Once I arrived home, I was greeted by Kevin. No, he didn't welcome me home, but rather slammed me with 'I didn't break it, but the dryer's not working'. Before I could set my bags down, I felt like turning around and heading back out the door again.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Charlevoix Part II

I started the day out Friday with a fabulous scrambled egg breakfast. Not your typical eggs -- these included fresh cilantro, chives, cheese, onions, and more. Add the sausage and bacon and you've got the perfect beginning to the day. Denise and I took Miki for a walk through the trails that Mike has groomed. I sweat like mad just like when I work out so it must have been a good walk, right?

I spent a good hunk of the day knitting and we went for a nice boat ride with their neighbors, the Geigers. Dinner was a cookout at the Geiger's home afterwhich we sat outside and watched the fireworks. Friday's fireworks were the prelude to Saturday's grand finale fireworks.

Saturday morning Denise and I headed down to Boyne City to their Farmers' Market, in search of more of the delicious organic blueberry bread that Mike loved (the only bread he's ever had where he didn't need butter!), freshly baked scones and bagels, and a few items for the evening meal.

I devoured a bowl of Denise's homemade granola and headed out to the Castle Farm for the Fiber Festival. I drove up to Charlevoix to do several things: see the fiber show, Venetian Festival, visit with my sister and her family, plus bring my show tent back downstate for next month's show.

The Fiber Festival was delightful. I saw several artists I knew -- Kris Miller (Spruce Ridge Studios), Suzanne Higgs (Hooked on Felt), ceramist Patty from Romeo, Deb McDermott (Stonehedge Fiber Mill), and a few others.

In Deb's booth there was this fabulous felted girl's coat ~~

It was too darn cute!

I did buy a few skeins of yarn, one ball of roving and some buttons (I still have to photograph them!) but I kept my spending to a minimum. A local sheep farmer was demonstrating how to shear a sheep so I camped out and watched him. The sheep was quite nervous as this was it's first shearing ever!

He got down to business and soon the sheep was squirming ~~

I left the farm and stopped at a grocery store to pick up the ingredients to make my Cherry Magic Cake (see previous post). That would be my contribution to our dinner where we were hosting the Geigers. We prepared a fabulous meal, well Denise did most of the work, and everyone enjoyed their Veal Parmigiana, zucchini, salad and the cake. Next we off for a quick ride in the Geiger's boat over to Round Lake to watch the Venetian Festival parade of boats and then the fireworks.

Let me tell you, it was the craziest sight ever. With the first fireworks to announce the beginning of the boat parade, we witnessed the mass exodus of ducks -- they swam out into the lake as fast as they possibly could. You could barely see them in the dark but you could hear them splashing away. Too funny!

There are always a number of boats that put on lights and various decorations to entertain you. My favorite boat was a Christmas themed version that towed a little rowboat behind it where 'Santa' was standing upright, waving to the crowds, as is he were in his sleigh. Another boat, a perennial one, had the young women who had competed for Miss Venetian Festival ~~

The fireworks were beautiful and thunderous ~~

But one thing became abundantly clear -- we were definitely downwind of the barge and that was not a good thing. The smoke was so thick we could hardly see plus it obscured the actual fireworks.

Well, that's it for now. The last update on my trip will have to wait for tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Charlevoix Part I

My sister Denise has a fabulous garden in her front yard that is surrounded by her circular driveway. Over the years she has added more and more plants. The center of the garden is a great metal deer. Not exactly a deterrent for the real deer - that's why there's a wire that surrounds the flower bed.

Here's something new this year ~~

This plant looks familiar -- can you identify it?

Another new planting :

And Denise's first tomato plant:

You know how people say big houses, big problems :

All of the Fond du Lac stone on their lower level had to be lifted, replaced and re-grouted. The workers used giant pastry bags to do the grouting -- it was crazy looking! It has taken 6 weeks to finish -- I'm sure everyone, including the neighbors, will be glad when it's done!

I managed to knit up 3 hats, 2 handles and begin a new felted bag while I was there.

Tomorrow I will show you the crazy fireworks display. Note to self: never be downwind of a fireworks display!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Missing In Action

I took a few days off from blogging. Actually it was a whole week. Thank you for noticing! Most of that time I didn't have access to a computer so I've got all sorts of things to say and report.

Last Wednesday at work we had a potluck so Tuesday night I made the easiest dessert I could think of: my Cherry Magic Cake. There's really nothing complicated about it and it usually gets gobbled up ~~

The recipe is on the side of the Jiffy White Cake mix box. It takes 1/2 stick of softened butter, 1/2 C chopped nuts, a box of Jiffy White Cake mix (surprise!), and a can of pie filling. I love it when I pull out a recipe and have the ingredients already on hand. I needed the pie filling this time, though. My friend Joyce had picked up the cake mix for me -- thank you!

And that is why I didn't post last Tuesday. Wednesday was a stressful day. Kevin and I drove out to see my Dad for the first time in his new building at the home. We only stayed for 10 minutes. Dad was mixed up about so many things. He said his room was a mess. He didn't know how he was going to get all of his furniture in the room. He said he needed the maintenance man to bring him some extra mattresses so Kevin and I would have a place to sleep. He said his mother and father would be visiting him the next morning (they both died in the '80s). The decline is unbelievable. From there we headed over to visit my Mom. More stress. She's so 'busy' it's as if every day is fully spent. She had to take care of Dad 24/7 so things had fallen behind. Didn't even want to go there with her -- we offered her options for managing the situation with Dad and she chose not to take advantage of them. Ugh.

When I got home from Mom's I started to pack for my trip to Charlevoix. I was ok picking out clothes but went into a tailspin trying to decide what knitting projects to take. Finishing projects, new projects -- not that hard of a choice but I sat there and stewed about it for at least an hour. Making sure I had the right needles, accessories, yarn, patterns. Not exactly like solving the wars of the world but it was a toughie for me!

I'll have more on my trip to Charlevoix tomorrow. Lots of pictures to come!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bountiful Garden

Yesterday I made the golf club cover for my co-worker. Today I re-worked it. Seems that although I made it to his exact specifications, it was waaay tooo big. I could have guessed that when I put it over the biggest club Kevin has and it was roomy enough for his entire set of clubs. At any rate here's the cover ~~

Once I finished sewing the cover I headed for the garden party. Anne, owner of Right off the Sheep, and her husband David throw a fabulous garden party every year when the lilies are in bloom. Their backyard is stunning to say the least.

Their Koi pond is amazing and they even have a waterfall.

Such an abundance of color ~~

Not sure what that plant above is -- any guesses?

Along one of the paths I spotted this super cute bench -- just big enough for a frog to stop and sit a spell ~~

Not surprisingly, I found it much more relaxing to take in the sights at Anne's (not to mention the delicious food and wine) rather than sit at my sewing machine. But I knew I had to finish the golf club cover before I could reward myself with an enjoyable evening. It was so nice to be among friends, meeting a few new people, and commiserating about our parents. Several other people there had dealt with Alzheimer's in their families so it was good to know I'm not alone and comforting to share experiences. It's so good to have friends to help you through these tough times.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Too Late

I thought I'd be home sooner tonight from Anne's garden party but it didn't work out. I'll have lots of pictures to post tomorrow.

Also, finished the golf club head cover -- remind me NOT to take on extra work like this EVER again. NEVER. Yes, NEVER. I really mean it. Start practicing, 'NO', 'NO', 'NO'. That wasn't very painful at all. Especially when money is NOT exchanging hands.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chilly Saturday

What happened to Summer?? Today it barely broke 70ยบ, spit rain and was cloudy much of the day.

I woke up this morning feeling a bit like I'd been run over by a truck. I spent the previous two evenings at Home Depot picking out vegetation and border for my front tree. I skipped the gym to do the yard work and it made me stiff and achy all over. I did get some pretty good buys at HD, though. I picked out Delphiniums (2 pots for $10), English Lavender and Coneflowers ($7.88 a pot), and a Japanese groundcover that I cannot recall the particular name.

The next door neighbor and Maggie don't get along much. Ok, not at all. Maggie takes off toward the fence as if there's venom spewing from her mouth. It's pretty embarrassing. The corner of the yard where I could plant something is usually destroyed by Maggie, staking her claim. But no more. I weeded, dug out the dumb indoor plants we were sold as outdoor plants (not listening to that guy at English Gardens ever again), and planted the Delphiniums, English Lavender, and Coneflowers. It's actually looking pretty slick, if I do say so myself.

(notice the flower stem on the right from my Lamb's Ears?)

(free from bees for a short time)

(one of my absolute FAVORITE scents, for sure)

And finally the only plants that had been existing in the bed previous to Wednesday ~~

Malva -- which thrives all over my yard and I do mean all over

And the aforementioned Lamb's Ears ~~

Gardening is said to be very therapeutic and I have to agree, aches aside. I love digging and mashing and working with the soil. It gives me lots of time to think and rationalize all that is going on in my life.

Now most everyone I know is crabbing about the chilly weather but I have to say I'm enjoying it. I enjoy not sweating. I enjoy not having to run the air conditioner. If it stayed in the 70s all summer I'd be happy.

Today I took inventory of all of my products for the upcoming show season. I think I'm in pretty good shape. I know what I need to knit up before my shows start. I am considering adding a show in August but need to boost my stock before then so that I'll have enough for the final two shows. I hate being short of items and then knitting my arms into tendonitis to get caught up. I've got quite a few purses that need closures, and pockets and handles sewn on. Lots of busy work. Tomorrow I've got to make a golf club head cover for a coworker. I'll post pics tomorrow. Can hardly wait -- I love working without a pattern. Yippee.