Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dinner in the Vineyard

You just know it's going to be a great evening when you're greeted by such a playful sign!

We recently enjoyed a special dinner, in the vineyard at L. Mawby, a winery on the Leelaneau peninsula that only makes sparkling wines.

The food was fabulous; each course was accompanied by a different sparking wine - and yes, sparkling works with all types of food.

We were surrounded by rows of grapes, soon to be harvested and transformed into wine.

Talk about locovore!

Making wine is as much about art as science, you just never can be sure what may happen.
And here's another bit of vineyard art, an incredible sculpture the artist calls a "Craven".

It was a wonderful evening: great company, good weather, fabulous food and wine - we just had to a bit home with us, to enjoy and remember on cold winter evenings!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

August "Cycling"...Again

I just recently noticed that my original post for August "Cycling" was actually July...again...oops!

What can I say, it gets a little crazy Mackinac in the summer and we all start suffering from "August Attitude" - I hope to recover soon.

So here is the proper post for August, a bull thistle.

It was difficult to capture the colors, as the flower is not just a flat purple, but a variety of purples, pinks and every combination in between.

The textures were fun to replicate, there's a lot of layering and dimension to this one.

I choose to eliminate the bee from the final image; I wanted to focus on the botanical aspect, as this is meant to be an herbarium page.

September soon!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cone Flowers

Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench or purple coneflower, is considered to be a native species her in Michigan, but I've never seen them growing wild.

However, they are a very popular addition to the garden, being perennial with smooth, 2-5 ft. stems and long-lasting, lavender flowers which typically bloom in august here on Mackinac.

The genus name is from the Greek echino, meaning hedgehog, an allusion to the spiny, brownish central disk.
The flowers of Echinacea species are used to make an extremely popular herbal tea, purported to help strengthen the immune system.

Purple coneflower seeds are a valuable food source for many birds -- it's a great idea to leave your seedheads in the garden over the winter to provide food for birds that live in your area year-round.

This time of year, it's bees that are primarily attracted (well and me and my camera too), which is great for pollination and more plants for next year.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Surprise Visitors

Can you imagine a time when the harbor would have been full of tall masted ships, coming and going, collecting and delivering freight and travelers?

We had just a taste of that experience, coming home the other day to find these two participants in the Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge making a quick stop at the Island.

There were 25 ships racing over all five of the Great Lakes, over the course of a month, with frequent stops at maritime festivals along the way.

The smaller ship on the left of the dock is the Unicorn, 118 feet long, with an all female crew.

The larger ship is the Bounty, 180 feet long and built in 1960 for the movie "Mutiny on the Bounty". She was also featured in "Pirates of the Caribbean".

I'd love the opportunity to take a trip on such a ship, a voyage from the past, an experience to treasure.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hanky or Hankie, but Where IS Your Handkerchief?

My topic at the recent Academy of Mid-19th Century Life - the handkerchief!

Why handkerchiefs?

I needed a topic that would cover many objectives:

1.) I was asked to include a "hands on" activity as part of my presentation,
2.)Would apply to both men and women,
3.)And would be a detail often overlooked in an overall impression.

Handkerchiefs fit all those needs and more!

We started with a brief history, (the first written record of the handkerchief dates to the 1st century AD) and discussed how the frequent references found in period literature demonstrates what a common, indeed ubiquitous, object the hanky was to every man, woman and child.

Images of period hankies were shared, including this educational style:

and this vivid example of a hanky for a male.
These are some reproduction examples of men's hankies - which do you think are correct?

The answer:

The blue bandanna is a nearly perfect replica; the technology of the time allowed 4 men, operating 16 presses to create 19,200 yards of bandanna material in a 10 hour day.

The multi colored example is a reasonable reproduction, showing the multi color, botanical inspired motifs that so often appear in period examples.

The lower green example has no historic precedent, and unfortunately, is the most common example seen in the field.

We also discussed the many examples of embroidery patterns in the ladies magazines of the times, which moved us to the hands on portion of the presentation.

Participants were supplied with a kit which included a 17" square white cotton handkerchief, a scrap of cotton to practice stitches, thread, instructions for chain and satin stitches, and three pages of patterns from an 1865 pattern catalog.

With just a bit of time and effort, participants could create a lovely accessory to complement their ensembles.

The presentation included much more than I've outlined here; like so many of the topics I choose to research, it was much more involved than I anticipated. I discovered so much I had not expected and I will continue to add to my research in the future - maybe someday, I'll have the opportunity to present this topic to a new audience.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Porkpie

Ladies head wear of the mid 1860's is a tricky subject: what's appropriate depends upon age, socioeconomic status, marriage status, and activity - in other words, who are you and what are you doing?

It's common to see hats being worn inappropriately, so I really wanted to include a good example of a hat in the fashion show I narrated last month and this porkpie worn by a young, unmarried lady involved in a casual activity was just right.

It's a straw base, trimmed with carefully folded ombre ribbon, feathers and a flower, just tacked in place. This type of hat shows up frequently in the lady's magazines, it's a very trendy accessory.

The base is a circa 1950's hat. I rummaged through my ribbon, feather and flower boxes and grabbed some coordinating pieces and trimmed this out in the car on the way to the event!

August "Cycling"

August means orange skies, both morning and evening, and the wood lily or Lilium philadelphicum captures the colors of those skies perfectly.

The colors are intense and glow against the deep green of the woods; wood lilies prefer the forest edge.

I never seem to see them growing in clumps - they seem to enjoy a solitary lifestyle.