Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pillowcase Bag

In anticipation of an upcoming camping trip, I was lucky to find two child-sized sleeping bags at one of my favorite thrift shops a couple of weeks back. Two identical sleeping bags so there won't be any arguments and I managed to get both of them for a grand total of $5.50. I was worried that they would get dirty if we just threw them in the back of the car, so today I made storage bags for them out of old pillowcases. They were a breeze to make and each bag only took about an hour and a half.

They took so long to make because each one has twenty buttonholes and I don't have an automatic buttonhole foot for my machine. I'll be adding that to my Christmas list...

I think this would make a great laundry bag too.

Monday, June 29, 2009


The hawkweed has bloomed on Mackinac. It's everywhere and it is absolutely beautiful. Whether you call it a wildflower or a weed, the sea of yellow it creates in the woods is breathtaking. The path from Cass Cliff to Anne's Tablet is stunning while the hawkweed is blooming. If you are going to be on the island in the next week or so, I highly recommend you take a stroll out that way...

It is raining here this morning, so we won't be going out walking today. I'm not complaining mind you, we desperately need it. While we were out walking yesterday we noticed that almost all the lady slippers are gone now. So sad - I just love them. Guess I'll just have to wait until next year...

Sunday, June 28, 2009


These were the clouds above Market Street on the other day. Interesting, huh? I think they are mammatus clouds, but I'm not sure. They were there and then 20 minutes later we had beautiful blue skies.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Art & Nature in the Park

Hooray! Arts and Nature in the Park started this week. Now each Wednesday morning the kids and I will head of to the park for some crafty fun. This week's project - rock creatures.

What fun. These two are now residing on our coffee table.

We owe a big "Thank you!" to the Mackinac Island Recreation Department and to Mrs. B for this and all the other fun things she has organized for the island kids this summer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shirt Dress Shirt

Remember I said that I had another dress shirt in a pretty mint green? It was a boy's XL so it ended up being too short for a dress, but perfect for a summery shirt! I think it is a smidgen short (when K raises her arms we get a big helping of tummy) so I'll have to make the next one a couple of inches longer. Oh yes, there will be a next one - I am addicted! The best part is - K actually wore it today. Yippee.

What do you think?

Brenda shared this tutorial with me the other day. K may have to get ones of these too!

Monday, June 22, 2009


Yesterday the kids, my friend Wendy and her daughter, and I all went swimming at the pool. We rode our bikes, so S and K were riding in the Burley behind my bike. All of a sudden I heard a panicked, "SPIDER!" followed by blood-curdling screams. I stopped, opened the Burley and managed to use K's hat to scoop out this guy. At first glance he just looks like any old spider, doesn't he.

Now look at him again with my foot for a size reference.

No wonder they were screaming bloody murder. I would have been too! That is one hell of a spider - and the scariest thing is, he is the second one we've seen this summer. I'm hoping he's also the last, because while I like bugs - I do not like spiders.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Anne Sexton said, "It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was," and I completely agree. I am lucky enough to have had three "fathers" enrich my life: two grandfathers and my dad, and I have wonderful memories of all three of them. (My grandpas are both gone, but thankfully my dad is still alive and kicking.)

Above, in the yellow shirt, is "Grandpa from Florida;" he taught me to always hold my family dear. He didn't always have one - his mom died when he was young and his dad was a traveling salesman, so he spent a lot of time as a child in orphanages waiting for dad to come back from sales trips. I remember getting letters from him often. They always reminded me to remember other people's special days (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) and while I found it silly as a child, it was an important lesson.

"Grandpa Bill," my other grandfather, lived in Michigan so I saw him often as a little girl. I remember he use to take a nap and I would sneak upstairs and yell, "Boo!" to wake him up. Little naive me actually believed I scared him awake - it wasn't until I was an adult that I learned he always heard me coming. I remember being scared of him too- he was a big man - but I always knew he loved me.

This handsome fellow is my dad - circa 1959.

That's his high school graduation picture, so I never knew him when he was that cute. I love science fiction because of of my dad. We use to sit on the couch and watch Star Trek together. He also taught me to love the natural world, science, and always made me feel intelligent. My dad (and my mom) are ham radio operators. I remember coming home from school one day and telling my dad we learned about Ohm's Law that day and he asked me to explain it to him. (He was also a high school science teacher.) After I did he put his arm around me and told me, "That's the hardest part of the amateur radio license test! All you need to do is learn Morse Code and you'll have your license." Not that I had any desire to get my license, but it felt good to believe that I could if I wanted to.

Now I'm wondering what my children will remember about their father...

I'm sure their fond memories will include hunting for mushrooms in the woods, feeding fish, The Land of the Lost and other Sci fi on TV, and helping them create their invented recipes in the kitchen. He seems to understand, "a dad is loved because he gives his children the one thing they treasure most - himself," (Author Unknown) and it is a wonderful thing.

Wishing you and yours a happy Father's Day...

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Shirt Dress

Dana over at Made posted a tutorial on turning a man's dress shirt into a dress. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make one. It just took me forever - she posted it back in April! It has taken me this long to collect some decent thrifted shirts, and given that I only get to thrift about once a month, I suppose two months isn't so bad after all. I had so much fun with this project - and it went quickly once I actually started cutting; I had the entire dress done in an afternoon.

Now I just need to get K to actually wear the darn thing. Except for about 10 minutes immediately after I finished it, she has refused to wear it.

I used a different sleeve than Dana. (I used See & Sew B5119.) That blue plaid was so institutional I thought it needed a bit more pizazz. I also left off the belt, though I'm sure I'll try one with it eventually.

After I was done I decided to reattach the pocket. I mean what little girl doesn't need a pocket for her treasures, or in my daughter's case - her rocks. This plaid was my least cute shirt - I was worried that I would futz it up on the first try and I didn't want to spoil the beautiful robin's egg blue shirt with the shell buttons, even if it was only $1.00. I also have a boy's XL in a lovely mint green that will be too small for a dress, but will make a cute shirt. Hmmmmm, I bet I could get that done tonight...

Tomorrow I am heading off the island to shop for groceries, thrift, return cans, and to pick up more fabric for tea cozies - which I realize I haven't told you about yet. Soon, I promise...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

One Down...

Two to go...

My son chose this cute turtle fabric for his new hat. I love it and it fits perfectly. He specifically asked for, "No Velcro," so this hat is currently strap free. After wearing it to the parade and having it blow off a time or two, he's decided that a chin strap might be a good idea after all. As soon as I get a few minutes I'll be adding that.

We went to the Medical Center earlier this week after S had complained about a headache, and now he has an ear infection and is on antibiotics. Jeez! The doctor also tested him for mono but thank goodness he came back negative! So we are all taking things pretty easy this weekend. How about you, what are you up to?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Love a Parade

My favorite part of the Lilac Parade is always the Scottsville Clown Band.

S giggled and pointed as they walked past while K covered her ears. (She did as every band passed.)
"Too woud!" she'd say.

They may have been loud, but there's nothing like people having fun to put a smile on your face.

We liked these ladies, too.
The Northern Michigan Beach Queens.

Too funny.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Just in time

Tomorrow is the last day of this year's Lilac Festival and the Mackinac lilacs have started to bloom in the nick of time. Due to K's hospital stay we didn't get to enjoy many of the festivities this year, but that's O.K. As long as the weather cooperates we'll be stationed in front of Sea Biscuit tomorrow for the parade. It starts at 5:00; if you're going to be in the neighborhood you should join us...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Back Home

K, Papa and I returned home yesterday to a warm welcome from the irises blooming in the garden. What a nice surprise...

Even though her eye isn't perfect yet, the doctor felt she was well enough to go home as long as we followed up with him today in St. Ignace. St Ignace is just north of the bridge, so we'll hop on the ferry, see the doctor, and pop into one of my favorite thrift shops afterward for a quick peruse.

For the next week or two K has to take an oral antibiotic three times a day. She also is taking Zantac to help her tummy deal with the antibiotic. Even though she is going to have to take it easy this summer due to the mono, she is thrilled to be home. When we were in the hospital she actually asked, "Can we go home Mama? I want my own bed." Me too honey, me too. We both slept like rocks last night.

Thank you so much for all the thoughts, prayers, and kind words. I don't have time right now to reply to each of you individually, but know that your thoughtfulness helped brighten my days at the hospital.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


My daughter has an eye infection - a nasty one.

Our wonderful doctor sent us to the emergency room on Monday for a CT scan.

K was admitted Tuesday morning and is now getting two different IV antibiotics.
Oh yeah, she has Mono, too.

Northern Michigan Regional Hospital has a wonderful pediatric unit. K got a quilt to keep, a stuffed animal, and they are keeping her well stocked with books, videos, and toys from the toy room. (Note to self - make a couple of crib sized quilts to donate back to the hospital.) They even have a computer the patients and parents can borrow. The doctor and nurses are great, and while it stinks to have to be here, I know she is getting top-notch care.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rainy Sunday

Just a quiet rainy Sunday here on Mackinac Island. It has been so chilly here this spring, it's the seventh of June and I still have tulips in the garden.

No bees out working today.

After working in the garden all day yesterday, I needed a lazy day too. During nap time I got started on new hats for the kids since the ones from last summer are too tight.

Hubby and S are in the kitchen cooking dinner, K and Miranda are looking through Miranda's "treasure box" (jewelry box,) and I'm going back to my sewing room. *Sigh* all is right with the world...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Here Fishy Fishy Fishy

If you happen to be in Northern Michigan this summer and have little ones with you, you should stop at the Michigan Fisheries Welcome Center. It is one of our favorite places to spend an afternoon. (And we really do hear people trying to call in fish by saying, "Here fishy fishy fishy.") If you do stop, be sure to bring a pocket full of dimes and a lunch bag. The dimes are for buying fish food from the "candy" machine and the bag is to hold said food preventing your hands from absorbing the wonderful fishy smell and then reminding you of it for the remainder of the day. (Just trust me on that one, OK.) You might want to bring a picnic lunch, too.

Just a short walk from the Welcome Center are several ponds stocked with various species of trout ready to gobble up whatever is food is offered. Sometimes they get a little aggressive with one another. Look at that first picture again. That splash was made by Mr. Bigger Fish racing to get to the food before Mr. Smaller Fish got there. You should have heard the kids giggling and seen the looks on their faces - it was priceless. I love seeing the wonder in their eyes when we do things like this; it's one of my favorite parts about being a parent.

Whenever we drive to see Grandpa in Petoskey (Grandma is still in Egypt) S and K always ask, "Can we feed the fish?" Since we have to drive right by we often do stop. On our most recent visit, Papa had secretly brought what seemed like a never-ending supply of dimes. Which was a good thing because S wanted to throw handfuls of food. K, on the other hand, was content throwing in one nugget at a time. Unlike last summer, she didn't ask to swim with the fish once. I was shocked - she is my little water baby. I think she would live in the water if we let her.

Daily tours are available of the actual hatchery buildings, but we are saving that for when the kids are older. You can't do everything when you're only three and four...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Welcome Home

Did you know they ship live bees through the U.S. mail?

Yup. My husband's new ones arrived about three weeks ago. (He's the island's only beekeeper.) See that little wooden box below? The queen bee is inside. According to my husband ,she arrives that way so you know she made it to you alive. Having her separate from the other bees also allows them to get use to her scent. Once they are all in the hive together, the worker bees have to eat through a little sugar plug to free her. Welcome to your new home little bees, now get to work...

Last year we harvested about three gallons of honey from my husband's one hive. This year he's got two. Now I need to start collecting recipes that use honey. Might you have any to share? If so, send them my way!

Monday, June 1, 2009


My friend, Wendy, recently closed out her storage unit. Which meant everything had to fit into her new apartment. Her grandmother was quite the crafter and since Wendy didn't have the room or the desire to keep these goodies, she passed them on to me. Nothing like a big box full of vintage buttons and some sharp German-made scissors to put a smile on this pack-rat's face. I didn't really need six new pairs (or is it pair?) of scissors, but I just couldn't say no. They say admitting that you have a problem is the first step, right?

The buttons have already come in handy. I was the chief costumer for the 4th - 7th grade school play this spring (A.K.A. last week.) Unfortunately, the hat the Witch's mother ordered was too small. No problem, I opened up the seam to give her an extra inch of head space and then covered the opening with a cockade. The green button in the center matched the trim and the Witch's dress perfectly. (The only problem was my son yelling out, "Mama, the Gingerbread Witch stole your hat!" as she rode her broom onto the stage at the beginning of scene two. At least the folks sitting near us found it amusing.)