Friday, February 27, 2009


Did we ever get hit with winter last night! Between about 9:00 pm last night and 7:00 am this morning we got between eight and 10 inches (about 20-25 cm) of wonderful fluffy snow. Driving a snowmobile to work in that much snow is easy, but I sure am glad I didn't have to dig out my car. Now it is beautiful, sunny, and cold - the wind chill is - 4 (about -20 C.)

For me, spring is a long way off. We won't see spring in these parts until April so I am thinking of joining in Shining Egg's Green Week again. All the pictures I see of people's daffodils coming up have me longing for a little more green in my life...

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I've Been Avoiding You

It's true and I'm sorry. It's Wednesday, and I've put this off long enough. It is almost like if I didn't write about it I wouldn't really be true. Even though all the flags on the island are at half staff, I just didn't want it to believe it.

Here, let me explain...

We haven't lost anyone to the ice in a long time - perhaps 13 or 14 years, until Saturday night. The U.S. Coast Guard found an islander, George Wellington Jr, dead from hypothermia early Sunday morning. He went through the ice on Saturday night and didn't make it to help in time. The worst part is, they found him just a matter of feet from the Coast Guard Station - he had almost made it.

I didn't really know George. I mean, I knew who he was and had ridden on his taxi lots of time, but I didn't really know him. Those who did know him say he was a great guy who will be sorely missed. What I do know is that George pushed the limit on the ice and paid the ultimate price for it. He had been drinking, he was crossing after dark, and was alone and in a snowstorm with poor visibility. The police are still investigating, but they think he got disorientated and drove right into the Coast Guard cutter channel (a path kept open for ships.) They think he and his snowmobile went into the water, but somehow he managed to climb out and walk to shore before he died of exposure. My heart breaks for his mother. Of her four children, she's lost three; one son died in a car accident, another son died in a boating accident, and now she lost her third son out on the ice. Thank goodness she still has her husband and her daughter to help her get through this.

This is the second ice accident we've had in the past two weeks. A family who regularly visits the island in the winter also went through the ice. They were slowly driving along, parallel to a pressure crack, and drove onto the edge of a large piece of ice that had broken off and was just floating. The weight of their snowmobile caused that end of the piece to go down into the water. Luckily, they were pulling a cutter (a cart on skis) behind them which got caught and kept them and the machine from going down into the 100+ feet of water. They got wet but got out just fine. Driving along side a spot where the ice is already broken is not a good idea - I'm just glad they were O.K.

All of us who travel on that ice need to take heed - it isn't really safe, we just think it is. Every time we choose to venture out there, we are taking a risk. We need to be careful and treat the ice with the respect it deserves.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Moving: Mackinac Style

A few weeks ago my friend, Wendy, moved into a new apartment. On Mackinac Island moving everything you own means you have to order a dray. A dray is a sort of like a horse-drawn pick -up truck bed, only considerably larger. Both sides fold of the dray down and the back is removable. The City Council does issue vehicle permits for jobs requiring a motorized vehicle, but if the job can be done by horse power they understandably will not issue a permit. For a move like this, hiring the dray costs about $65.00.

The Service Company dropped off the dray the night before so we could start loading early.

It took two full loads to move everything the two blocks to Wendy's new place. We could have moved everything behind our snowmobiles instead, but it would have taken much longer.

Some of the roads and paths on the island are quite narrow since they were designed for bikes and snowmobiles rather than cars. This narrow path caused the one issue we had during the move; a leaning tree pulled a shelf and an antique drop-leaf table off the side of the dray. The shelf hit a tree and met an untimely death, but luckily the table landed in the soft snow and lived to serve another meal. Wendy has everything in her new place, now she just needs to unpack...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Yellow: Day Five

Today I was inspired by the sunny skies after school to take my camera outdoors in search of yellow. I didn't have to go very far before I found:

a friend's bicycle patiently waiting for spring,

a warning (keep your snowmobile out of the playground),

and a cheery door; one I'd never noticed before.

I found myself thinking, "How could I have missed that?" But then it hit me. In the summer time, when I am often downtown, it is always during business hours. And during business hours that door is always open. Then I didn't feel like such a complete blockhead.

I hope you have a lovely weekend. Mine is sure to include The Empire Strikes Back, playdough, dressing-up, pancakes or waffles (I can't decide), grading math tests and quizzes, at least 5 loads of laundry and quite possibly some sledding - although not necessarily in that order...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yellow: Day Four

This plant brings a smile to my face almost every day. It a Crown of Thorns; grown from a piece that broke off of a plant my husband brought into the house when we got married 13 years ago. It may be covered with thorns but the top is also covered with these little flowers all the time. The best part is the Crown of Thorns is a desert plant, so it appreciates my "benign neglect" plant care strategy.

As you can see, if I want to enjoy flowers this time of year in Northern Michigan, I have to look indoors. The only green outside is evergreen...

Several people have asked what camera I use. I have a Pentax K100D Super. I use my 18-55mm lens all the time. My husband bought it for me last Valentine's Day, since he knew I wanted a DSLR but wouldn't spend that kind of money on myself. He chose the Pentax because it got great reviews and he already had a couple Pentax lenses that fit his 35mm film Pentax SLR. All Pentax lenses fit all of their cameras, so it just made sense to choose that brand. Since I can use his, I also have a 50mm and 80-200mm Macro Zoom lens. Though to be honest, I've been having so much fun learning and playing with mine that I haven't even tried them yet.

How about you... What kind of camera do you use?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yellow: Day Three

I've been "oohing" and "aahing" at all the amazing yellow photos everyone is posting on Flickr this week. I am completely impressed by all of them. So I set out today, with camera in hand, looking for inspiration. I found it at work.

In the pre-school crayon basket,

my classroom,

and in the art room.

By the end of the day I actually had teachers pulling yellow things out of their cupboards and bringing them down to my room. "How about this?" they'd say. Thanks ladies; all that yellowy goodness brought a smile to my face. There's nothing like a little yellow to brighten up an otherwise gray day. Not that I'm complaining about the gray, mind you. We needed snow and those gray skies brought six inches or so of the white stuff with them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yellow: Day Two

I pass by this sign every day, but it had faded into the background and I stopped noticing it years ago. It's tucked away in an empty lot behind a fence, which seems like an odd place for a sign like this. In the summer it is barely visible behind the fence and unruly bushes, but this time of year you can see it - if you take the time to notice. Funny how a little challenge can help you notice something you see every day. Thanks Erin for opening my eyes...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Yellow: Day One

Erin over at house on hill road is currently hosting yellow week; encouraging us all to find the bright spots in our day. My bright spot today was my son's snowmobile helmet. He loves it! A friend of mine had it in her basement and since her youngest son is in eighth grade now, she didn't need it and offered it to me. How could I refuse, it's a perfect fit. Plus, now I can find him anywhere...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Winter Wonderland

The island always looks beautiful under a blanket of snow. I trudged through knee deep snow to get that first picture. It's been so warm this past week that scenes like these are all but gone. I can't believe how much snow we've lost! I won't bore you with pictures of the mud, instead I'll leave you with this scene from last week - before the thaw. Have a great weekend...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Before and After

It's been warm and windy here lately. Two things that are not good for the ice bridge. This was the scene of the harbor and the passage between Mackinac Island and Round Island last week:

This was the same scene yesterday:

See the difference? Open water - yikes! Mother nature is a fickle mistress; -10 one day and 38 the next. Luckily the ice bridge is on the other side of the island and still locked in. At least for now, though a large pressure crack has formed. I'm off to grandma's this weekend - wonder if I'll have to fly...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Year in the Making

I think these napkins are the perfect thing to post about today...

Today is The Quilted Turtle's one year anniversary. I started QT last February with this post about a table runner and I've been going strong ever since. I've really enjoyed blogging, so much so I have surprised myself. It's been fun finding my niche, discovering my style and getting to know so many wonderful people. I am constantly amazed by the incredible bloggers I meet. So, thank you to all the wonderful women whose words I read regularly. You are a creative lot and you inspire me every day. Thank you, too, to all the people who read my words. I hope I inspire you, make you laugh, or at least occasionally put a little smile on your face.

The napkins are nothing special really - just 19.5 inch squares with a rolled hem- done on my serger. Heart napkins may seem a bit hokey, but they make my children smile. Since I've had children I try to decorate for holidays. OK, I also adore experiencing holidays through their eyes - there's something so magical about holidays when you're little. So, last year it was table runners for Valentine's and St. Patrick's, this year it will be napkins. Quick, easy, and green. (As in reusable and good for the environment.) Plus, I can make them for a fraction of how much they would cost to buy. I think they averaged out to be right around $1.00 a piece.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Traffic Jam

Look closely at that picture. Can you see it ? If you can't, click on the picture to enlarge it. Almost directly in front of that freighter is a snowmobile! Of course he (I say "he" because no sane woman would take a risk like that!) is off to the side a hundred feet or so, but still - yikes! Even though the Coast Guard Cutter breaks the ice to keep the freighter channel open, a big ship like that can move the ice. 100 feet is way too close for comfort for me.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Winter Festival

The island's annual Winter Festival was this weekend. Despite the rain and 40 degree temperatures (in the middle of February!) we had a great time on Saturday morning


I have to put in a plug here for my genus of a husband. Up here in the North, we often use chairs to help little ones learn to skate. I had grand plans in my head for something similar I wanted my husband to build out of PVC, but he had a better idea. See the child-sized walker my son is using on the ice? My husband bought two adult-sized walkers at the thrift store (for $5.00 each on Friday afternoon, measured each child, cut them down (the walkers - not the children,) drilled new adjustment holes, and had them ready for the kids to skate with on Saturday morning. Genus I tell you - genus! Another plug - my mom knit both kid's hats.


...getting our faces painted...

...looking for eggs in the snow...

... and munching on brats while getting warm by the fire.

We brunched in the school gym on Sunday morning...

...we passed on a ride...

...but we did scoop up some goodies to take home.

We voted on photos for the 2011 Seasons of Mackinac calendar...

...and watched the turtles race down the hall...

...until nap time was long overdue andwe had go home to put the toddlers to bed.

Another great Winter Festival - all thanks to the great volunteers at MIRD. If you ever plan a winter visit to the island, Winter Festival weekend is the perfect time to come!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sewing Class

Did I tell you, I've been teaching a little sewing class? One of my students has been coming to my house every Thursday night for the past two months to work on a Girl Scout sewing badge. (I was a Girl Scout and will do just about anything to help her - she's the island's only scout.) I don't remember the exact requirements of the badge, but it had something to do with "glamming" up an article of clothing. Her grandma is a quilter (but lives four hours away) so M decided she wanted to applique animals to a denim vest. I was thrilled when she chose a turtle! Which she finished last night, but then decided, "It needs something else.... How about a skunk?" So we set to work. She still works pretty slowly. In our hour together she managed to get the black body of the skunk satin stitched on, but his white stripe will have to wait for next week.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Except for the sound of snowmobiles, the island is incredibly quiet this time of year. In the mid 1800s the island became a tourist haven because of the cool weather and fresh air. Lots of beautiful Victorian homes were built here in the 1880s and are still lived in today. Well, lived in for the summer anyway. In addition to all the business closing for the winter, all the "summer people" leave too. Lots of houses get boarded up just like the shops do.

Most people pack everything away, but others don't really worry about it. There's only 500 of us here all winter. If something happens, someone will know who did it. It may take a few weeks, but eventually word will get out. So, pretty much everything is safe. We didn't even lock our door (even when we went on vacation) until this past year.

All the summer folks will come back to their "cottages" next year. (I put that in quotes because many of those cottages are bigger and more valuable than most regular people's year-round homes.) I like the hustle and bustle of the tourist season, but there is nothing like a quiet winter afternoon...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The "Bubble Dress"

Here is the finished product - dubbed the "bubble dress" but the 2 1/2 year-old. It is a tad big on her, but I absolutely love how it turned out. And I know it will fit this summer - without a turtleneck under it! I am definitely going to make more of these. I think the whole thing, start to finish, took about four hours. Let me tell you, once again, I love my serger! It makes garment sewing so much easier. Plus I love how finished the inside of everything looks. I just need to learn how to serge concave curves now. Anyone have any suggestions? I've got convex curves down, but those nasty inside curves throw me for a loop every time.

The tulle ponytail holder also turned out pretty well. K loved it. Sadly, the poor little thing got stuck with her mother's impossibly fine hair, so ponytail holders are constantly falling out. I love that this one is big enough so it won't get lost at the babysitter's house. I have tulle to make about eight more of these - in every color I could find. You can't beat tulle - I think it was a whopping $1.49 a yard.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Blue Jean Draft-Stopper

It has been bitterly cold here recently. So cold, that the bottom of my side door was icing on the inside. Well, the leg from an old pair of jeans, some leftover pipe insulation and 20 minutes at the serger solved that problem. Ever since I installed it the icing has stopped. Yeah! I guess I'm too cheap to pay $9.99 for this one when I can make virtually the same thing with stuff I already have laying around. How about you - have you made anything interesting lately?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Supply Run

After a lovely lunch with my Grandma Mary on Saturday, I went shopping. As you can see I brought lots home. I had groceries, a hot water heater insulation kit, special-order-soon-to-be-shower-curtain-and-bathroom-valance fabric (in the tall brown boxes,) and groceries. All my fresh fruits and veggies are in the purple insulated cooler so they won't freeze. The ice bridge can be a bit bumpy and I was worried my eggs would break, so they got to ride shotgun. (All 18 made it across safe and sound.) The ice was incredibly busy on Saturday - all tourists coming over to the island. We can tell the tourists from the locals because the tourists often have parkas and helmets that are matchy matchy with their snowmobiles. They are good for the island economy so we don't tease them too much.

While I was shopping I found the cutest little dress pattern and fabric. That, along with matching hair "pretties" (as my daughter calls them- pattern here) are tonight's project...