Monday, June 28, 2010

From this to this...

I try to make my own cards for special occasions - actually who am I kidding, I always try to make everyone's present for special occasions! Not always quick or easy but it's a lot more meaningful for me and I hope for the recipient as well! The special occasion that's just around the corner is my dad's birthday. My dad is a wonderful and even though I won't be with him on his actual birthday, I wanted to make a card that would convey just how much he means to me. He's the epitome of the world's best dad - unconditional love and support!

The card began with these pages filled with my calligraphy and other lettering.

With a little bit of experimenting and searching through my stash of papers, it became this card for dear old dad!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I've been in more laps than a napkin...

So that's not me, merely a quote from Mae West! It only suits my post for today as I finally finished a set of napkins using my Set the Table fabrics. I combined my fabric as the border with some white linen on the front and gray linen on the back. Once they were all stitched up, I added some hand stitching in green floss to accent the green flatware in the border fabric. I love how they turned out and can't wait to have a dinner party to use them - how geeky am I!? I'm planning to stitch up some more and offer them for sale in my Etsy shop as soon as I can order some more of my fabric!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Today was the annual Grandma’s Marathon here in our fair city. My husband and I are lucky enough to live just a few blocks up the hill from the shore and London Road where the runners make their way to the finish line. Since we’ve lived here, we walk down to the hill to an area right around the 21 mile mark to take in the event. We cheer on the runners, though at this point we don’t personally know any of these racers. This fact does not matter to us in the least - I watch in sheer amazement at something I know I will never be able to do due to life-long knee problems (if they would wait for me to walk the entire route, I would do it in a heartbeat!). My husband watches with a knowledge of what it really takes to do it as he has run a marathon and hopes to again when he gets back in a bit better shape.

My greatest amazement at the event is always observing the front runners in the race, those who will cross the finish line first - they don’t even appear to be human, they glide like gazelles and very nearly seem to not even touch the ground but glide just above the asphalt. My greatest pain on these days is seeing those runners who hit a wall at that this point even if I only see the physical manifestation of it - a cramp they can’t shake that forces them to take a momentary sideline or maybe run backwards to work it out. A runner who must walk for a time to restore their energy but can’t walk a straight line from exhaustion. This year’s race is that much more painful as there is word that one of the half-marathon runners passed away following the race.

Besides seeing the runners themselves who are undertaking this amazing achievement and the vast majority who are only doing it for a sense of personal accomplishment, it’s also amazing to take in the sight of all those lining the course route and cheering from the sidelines. Obviously all those friends and loved ones can’t be at every spot along the route, but instead station themselves at one point, wherever that point is that the runner most needs it. Maybe it’s the starting line to let them know that they really can do this and to keep them from chickening out; perhaps it’s the finish line to get them through those last painful steps; for others it could be that 21 mile mark when the physical and emotional reserves seem completely tapped and getting through those last five miles seems impossible even though they’ve made it so far already.

Considering those runners and their cheerleaders got me thinking about the cheerleaders in our lives and how vitally important they are. This is something I’ve been thinking about for quite a few months actually as I’ve been struggling and wondered how I would make it through. I’ve also considered how easily I trust and believe in others and see the best in them when I should guard my heart much more carefully lest it be broken. I still want to take risks and reach out and be hopeful, but after really struggling and needing friends more than ever, I’ve come to see who my true friends are and I am thankful beyond words for them. Those who are there for you no matter what and not those who are merely companion of convenience or pal of proximity. I’m truly indebted to the true cheerleaders in my life and hope that you’ll thank the cheerleaders in your life, too!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Anniversaries and Aprons!

Today is the fourth anniversary of the day that I got to marry this wonderful man - my best friend, biggest fan, the only one who's always in my corner, my cheerleader, the one who is there for me when I'm lower than low, the one who makes me laugh when he dances,and the one person that I know I can count on. I am so happy to be your wife and I love you honey!!!

Today is also the opening of another Spoonflower contest. The challenge for this week was to design an apron that fits completely on one yard of fabric. I took the challenge and and put this pattern together using my Set the Table fabrics and stitched up my sample to work all the kinks out! If you want to participate in the voting, click here, and feel free to vote for my entry! It has a fabulous prize that I would love to win!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Where is the bathroom?

When guests come to our house, I inevitably mess up giving directions to our bathroom (very sad after living here for nearly three years). I just always forget to count the door right next to the bathroom door that is our linen closet. I've remedied the situation by creating a sign above our bathroom door using these cool frames that I've had for a while now and wasn't quite sure how I might use them. I always find the coolest stuff that I don't really need in the $1 spot at Target. I searched out a cool retro-feel font and sized it to fit the frame. Now, all I have to say is "hang and left and look for the sign above the door."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Food and Flowers

Our night away to Grand Marais included fabulous food (as all visits to Grand Marais do!) and on this night we opted for The Crooked Spoon Cafe. We noticed this spot on our last trip up, but couldn't squeeze it in lest we would not be able to squeeze into our clothes! Our meal began with the most beautiful French Onion Soup topped with puff pastry and gruyere. My entree of pan roasted bone-in chicken breast and buttermilk mashed potatoes was delectable as well. I always find myself coveting whatever my husband orders as he usually orders shellfish of some kind when we're out. I was diagnosed with a shellfish allergy a couple of years ago so I can no longer prepare it at home which I loved to do frequently. He ordered these gorgeous Bronzed Jumbo Sea Scallops with Blood Orange-Coriander Gastrique and Blue Crab and Sweet Pea Risotto that you see above. I could only try a teeny taste of the gastrique as it's the only part of his meal that didn't contain shellfish, but it was heavenly!

Our trip also included lots of beautiful flowers to admire. These white lovelies were seen at the scenic overlook in Silver Bay where we were marveling at the fog covering Lake Superior.

The lupines are in full bloom all along the North Shore and we captured these on the way back along the roadside north of Two Harbors. On our trip up to Grand Marais, these lupines were surrounded by a camera club trying to preserve the all too brief blooming beauties.

Monday, June 14, 2010

In a fog...

My head only feels slightly foggy this morning which I think is mostly due to the weather we've been experiencing all weekend. I love these sorts of days once in a while, but they do tend to make me feel sleepy and sluggish. Before leaving our lovely hotel in Grand Marais yesterday, I captured as much of the balcony view out of our room as I could given the dense fog over Lake Superior. When we looked across to Artist's Point it was completely obscured or I would be sharing that with you!

On the drive back down the North Shore, the fog was just as thick, but made for some really incredible views. We stopped at Silver Bay to capture this moment looking out at this rock formation that feels all dreamy and mysterious in the mist. The whole trip up and back felt a bit surreal as the fog constantly hovered over the lake and made the water appear as if it disappeared into the clouds and nothingness.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Journey to Grand Marais

My husband and I ventured up the North Shore to begin celebrating our anniversary a few days early. Last year we took our first trip up the North Shore to the Canadian border (but couldn't cross as we don't have our passports or enhanced licenses yet!) We were hoping to head up that way again today, but as the fog is as thick as pea soup, we're thinking it's probably not worth it. On our journey, we made lots of little stops along the way to take a break from the thick fog that was also present yesterday.

We stopped for breakfast/lunch at The Rustic Inn as we had to try the other lesser known pie spot along Highway 61. I indulged in Cranberry Wild Rice French Toast - YUMMY!!!

The next stop was a perfect opportunity for a little hike around the Temperance River in one of our beautiful state parks. It was remarkable to see the "potholes" that this remarkable river formed in the massive rock. I'm hoping I can get some pics of the Lupines that are in full bloom all along the shore!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fantastic Giveaway!

I just discovered this blog, Regan Family Farm, home to Marie Madeline Studios. They design wonderful fabrics and patterns and they are giving away a marvelous prize - their Street Skirt pattern and the fabric of your choice from their collection! Find out more about them and the contest by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Girls On The Run

Part of our excursion to Michigan included some volunteer work at the Girls On The Run end of the season celebratory 5K run. My dear friend has been coaching a team of amazing girls and this event was the culmination of all their training! My husband was enlisted to help check in the volunteer runners who ran along with the girls to keep them encouraged and moving. I provided photography services for the day. I love this pic at the starting line - only grade school girls would have the bead-embellished socks for the event!

It wasn't always easy but all the girls finished and got to feel that wonderful sense of accomplishment. I loved seeing the girls encourage one another when they were struggling, running hand in hand, arms wrapped around one another's shoulders urging each other on. The look of joy on their faces as they rounded the track and picked up another popsicle stick to indicate one more lap down.

Rounding the track one last time to pick up their medal when they finished elicited the most joyful smiles and laughs (and a few celebratory dances and poses along the way)! One particularly inspirational part of the day was seeing the father of one of the girls running the race as well. At the ceremonial lunch following the run, we all came to find out that this father is battling cancer. The girls surrounded him and cheered him on with one of the Girls On The Run cheers.

Another fun aspect of the our trip was searching out lots more letters for collection! We found letters around the Soo, Mackinac Island, on the ferry, lots of places!