Monday, August 31, 2009

My Garden View

It's not been a great year for my garden, between a very cold spring, a cool summer and ravenous rabbits, it;s been a tough go of it. But that makes me appreciate all the more those plants that have toughed it out this year, so here's a few views from the garden and some of the creatures enjoying it's small bounty.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Just a Little Sole - Part Five

I know it's been quite some time since I've reported in on my slipper sole experiments - just too many projects and not enough time!

And I'm afraid I have not finished the next experiment yet, BUT I do have something interesting to share: a pair original slippers!

They are straight lasts:

Note the stamped design, which was referenced in a previous post:

Given the mid-19th century craze for "Turkish" design, the "Sultana" designation is interesting.

Stylistically, they are very similar to patterns given in Peterson's and Godey's, right down to the ribbons for size adjustment at the ankles.

And due to their age, we can get a peek at how they were constructed - just whipped to the purchased soles, using the small canvas strip on the soles themselves.

The soles show no wear , inside or out, and have an attached cushy wool insole - they would be warm and toasty to wear.

I promise, I WILL resume my experiments, but not until fall!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An Evening Cruise

We had a special gift last week, a sunset cruise around the Island and under the Mackinac Bridge! It was a perfect evening, clear with just a light breeze and wonderful company.

A freighter heading past the Island:

Our captain keeping a close eye on those brave individuals who chose to swim:

Travelling under the Bridge:

Another freighter, making the same trip:

And, most splendid of all - the sunset!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer's Bouquet

Purples and golds predominate in the summer wildflowers, with a bit of white for pop of contrast; here's a summer bouquet collected in the last week or so - enjoy!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Leaving a Print

Our local art gallery, was looking for a way to keep visiting children entertained while their parents enjoyed the gallery; I developed a series of "Make It & Take It" projects, the most successful by far is the print making project.

The projects had to meet several criteria:

1.) Low cost,

2.) Not too messy,

3.) Not take too long to complete.

Each project has two components, a board with a brief description of the background of the project:
And a second board with step by step instructions:

STEP 1: Imagine a design:

STEP 2: Draw your design on the foam square:

STEP 3: Cut out your design, remember the parts you cut away will not print.

STEP 4: Using the glue stick, glue the foam design to the wooden square.

STEP 5: Carefully press your block on an ink pad, make sure to ink the entire design.

STEP 6: Press the block on a printing sheet, apply pressure on the entire block.

STEP 7: Lift the block and view your print! Please make two prints, one to take home and one for us to display and share.

The participants are welcome to take their block with them if they wish. I've been amazed at the wonderfully artistic creations that have resulted given the uncomplicated materials, the short time spent on making the prints and the young ages of the artists.

Given our location, it's not surprising that horses are a popular subject:

Also popular are hearts, flowers and cats: I sincerely hope this small project will leave a lasting imprint on all the young artists, showing them that being creative and artistic doesn't necessarily require elaborate supplies or space, just imagination and desire!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Past Visitor Remembered

The cliche goes "you learn something new everyday" and I certainly did today - Henry David Thoreau visited Mackinac in 1861!

The Mackinac Island Public Library offers a series of guest speakers throughout the season, today's was Corinne Smith, discussing "A Transcendental Travelogue" or Thoreau's travels in mid 1861.

Thoreau took a trip to the West, specifically, Minnesota and spent several days on Mackinac during his return trip east. He appears to have spent much of his time botanizing, his journal includes a four page inventory of plants, including sugar maples, yellow ladies slippers and dandelions - "very abundant, even throughout the woods". Significantly, there is NO mention of lilacs!

It appears the weather was similar to our current cool summer, he notes "Sat by fire July 2d".

And some things never change: "They think trout not as good as white fish."

Monday, August 3, 2009

In the Vineyard

We had several occasions to celebrate this past weekend and so attended a special dinner - a summer sparkling wine picnic at L. Mawby.
L. Mawby is on the Leelanau peninsula, a particularly lovely part of the state, with rolling hills surrounded by Lake Michigan. Due to the unique geologic topography, it's an ideal location for growing fruit of all types - especially grapes!

We enjoyed six courses, out in the vineyard:

Tapenade with fresh vegetables
Hummus with Grilled French Bread
Tomato & Mozzarella with Basil

Thai Spiced Shrimp with Cucumbers & Peppers

Warm Salmon Loaf with Beurre Blanc
Potato Batonnet with Parsley

Fresh Vegetables, Zucchini & Corn
Fresh Basil Dressing

BBQ Rack of Lamb
Lentil Salad

Pine Nut Tart with Saffron & Fennel

And each course was accompanied with a different sparkling wine, grown and made on site.
We finished with a vineyard walk and talk by Larry Mawby himself; all in all an absolutely delightful evening!