Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let's Sail Away

Those becalmed sailors have just been stuck in my head...

So here's some sailing images from Etsy artists.

This is "Sailboats at Sunset" from alkdesigns, a hand printed lino cut.

KFGallery created
"Adrift", an original oil.

This is an original watercolor by Stellae04.

This is a 3D stained
glass piece by MountainNavy, "Sailboat Duo".

And this is "Little Sailboats",
by andreabrand, a sea glass sculpture.

I hope these artists inspired you let your imagination sail away!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Mackinac is the finish line for two races: Chicago to Mackinac and Port Huron to Mackinac. There's always much hustle and bustle after the finish line, flags fluttering, sails being hauled in and stowed away and excited sailors... But they have to finish first and last night was dead calm, so still you can see reflections of the sails. There weren't any waves of water to be seen, but the waves of frustration could certainly be felt, with the finish line in view and no way to reach it!

During the night, the wind came up and everyone eventually made it in, accompanied by the traditional cannon blast as they crossed the finish line. They all find their place at the dock and the party begins!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Water Spirit?

I love to walk in the evening; one of my frequent routes is up to Point Lookout/Ft. Holmes, down to Arch Rock and back home - about 4 miles total. While at Arch Rock, I always look out over the lake, but I never before noticed this lady, formed in the shallow shoal rocks.
Who would have ever have expected to see a Great Lakes mermaid? Or do I just have an overactive imagination?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Trip to the Past - Charleton Park Living History

We spent the past weekend at Charleton Park near Hastings, Michigan participating in the Civil War living history event. It's a lovely recreated village that allows plenty of opportunities to play and a bit of reunion with many old friends.

Nearly all Civil War events include a "Fashion Show" for the spectators, to provide some education on exactly why we wear these funny clothes anyways; this was my first experience as the commentator. I didn't have a great deal of notice (10 minutes - yikes!!) but it went fairly well and I'll be better prepared for next year.
We also were a stop on the lantern tour, which occurs after dark, with the spectators experiencing brief glimpses of war time. This year there was a field hospital, an execution, a tavern, etc. At our stop, "Sister" and I scurried about packing essentials, hiding the valuables, preparing to quickly become refugees, as our head of household drunken held forth regarding the "damn Yankees" and how ridiculous we were to attempt to safe anything, including ourselves.

The highlight of the weekend was definitely the barn dance Saturday evening, not only because I love period dance but because it was the "professional debut" for some friends who have been working hard on their impressions as musicians - they were fabulous!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Playing Tourist - Part Three (Greatly Delayed)

I've been very tardy in posting my final installment of playing tourist in the Eastern UP for a day, but part three is worth the wait: The Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
Seney was established in 1935 and encompasses over 95,000 acres in an area locally known as the Great Manistique Swampland provides habitat for wildlife including ducks, bald eagles, osprey, common loons, trumpeter swans, river otters, beavers, black bears, moose and gray wolves.
There is a visitor's center with great interactive displays, hiking/biking trails and a 7 mile "Marshland Wildlife" drive with numerous observation decks.

During our visit (which was very rushed as we were running out of time) we saw numerous wildflowers, swans, loons, sandhill cranes and an eagle - pretty good considering the less than optimal conditions during our visit.

The following images are just a tiny glimpse of the beauty we experienced; it's well worth your time and effort to make a visit yourself.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Amongst the Rose Petals

It must be great fun to absolutely wallow in your food!
The bees appeared to be appreciating the roses even more than we mere humans - we only enjoy the sight and scent, while they take a more long term approach in collecting the abundant pollen.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Turtle Dreams

According to the oral stories and traditions of the Great Lakes Woodland Indians, the turtle is a powerful symbol. One legend details how the turtle's back provided a base for the first land that was formed in the midst of the great waters. Mackinac Island takes its name from a word in the Ottawa language meaning "Great Turtle".

Living on Mackinac , turtles are a definite influence on my work and appear frequently. I recently finished a new necklace and accompanying bracelet, "Turtle Dreams 2".

It features a handmade porcelain turtle pendant and some really interesting laminate beads that resemble a turtle shell in shape. I wanted to work looser and more free form on this piece, the turtles resting in the water weeds.

This is the first "Turtle Dreams", a much more structured design featuring a pendant formed from Red Rose Tea Wade figurine.

This is my all time favorite piece, it came out exactly as I envisioned, "Shell Game" or "Shelly" (my special pieces always seem to have nicknames!), a functional, heavily bead embroidered bag in the shape of a turtle.

This is "Jewel of the North", definitely the largest beaded piece I've ever done at 4 foot by 6 foot and covered with thirteen different scenes or icons of the Island. Jewel was part of "Turtles Around Town", which was a fund raiser for the Mackinac Island Community Foundation.

I've plans for more turtles, all just a bit different, all needing to find their own little niche,

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thwarted by Weather

A rare opportunity to tour inside Round Island Lighthouse was available this weekend and I missed it by one boat!

The wind and waves had kicked up, making it difficult and dangerous to make the transfer from small boat to the rubber raft that could make it up on shore. As usual for me, I just missed out. It's not terribly hard to find a boat ride over to Round Island, but the light is seldom open for visits to the interior.

So, I'll share some photos of the exterior taken on a previous picnic expedition instead - enjoy!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Playing Tourist - Part Two

Another stop on our day trip was Seul Choix Point Lighthouse, on the northern shore of Lake Michigan.

The light was placed in service in 1892 and is now a lovely museum, you can even climb the tower. Walking the shore quickly demonstrates why the light was and is a necessity - a huge limestone shoal surrounds the point.

A variety of wildflowers manage to survive on the rock, despite the lack of soil and baking in the sun.

We were surprised at another aspect of the beach - the huge piles of zebra mussel shells.

The piles were three feet thick and stretched for dozens of yards. Apparently, wind and current can cause them to accumulate in certain areas. Zebra mussels are an invasive species thought to have been introduced to the Great Lakes in the ballast water of foreign ships. They are incredible prolific and are negatively affecting the ecological balance of the lakes.

It was quite odd to walk the beach accompanied by the crunch of shells, but it's a beautiful place to visit, both for the inherent natural beauty and opportunity to support historic preservation.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Playing Tourist

We spent a day this past weekend playing tourist, visiting a number of places in the eastern UP including Kitch-Iti-Kipi or "The Big Spring".

Kitch-iti-kipi is an oval pool about 40 feet deep with an emerald bottom. Spring water flows from the fissures in the underlying limestone at over 10,000 gallons per minute throughout the year at a constant temperature of 45 °F.

Ancient tree trunks with mineral encrusted branches can be seen, as well as a variety of trout that appear to be suspended in the crystal clear waters of the spring.

A self-operated observation raft guides park visitors to vantage points overlooking the underwater features. This raft is on a cable that is pulled across the spring pool by the park visitors.

The state of Michigan acquired Kitch-iti-kip in 1926. History records that John I. Bellaire, owner of a Manistique Five and Dime store, fell in love with the black hole spring when he discovered it in the thick wilderness of Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the 1920s. It was hidden in a tangle of fallen trees and loggers were using the nearby area as a dump.
Bellaire saw its potential as a public recreational spot. He could have purchased the spring and adjoining property himself, however persuaded Frank Palms of the Palms Book Land Company to sell the spring and 90 acres to the state of Michigan for $10. The property deed requires the property to be forever used as a public park, bearing the name Palms Book State Park.

Like so many attractions in northern Michigan, there are many Native American legends attributed to the springs, but it is likely most are false, created as publicity to entice visitors.

Regardless, it's a great place to visit and enjoy the natural beauty.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July from Mackinac Island!