Tuesday, May 31, 2016

June 1st WOYWW

I'm writing this late Tuesday night (almost midnight lol) but I see that Jan over at Lunch Lady Jan's has already posted the link thingy for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday so I might post as soon as I'm done. It is technically after midnight here in Michigan so I guess it is Wednesday!

Yes, it's Wednesday again and time to join in the madness of travelling around the world and visiting desks. My thoughts are with Julia. Hopefully she'll have a speedy recovery and be back with us soon. Thank you SO much Jan, for hosting while she is recovering. It is much appreciated. I love joining in with this group.

It was a busy weekend here with adventures at an antiques market and trips to three lighthouses (previous posts). I did make a little time for crafting. Here's my desk as it was when I left it.

I'm starting to try to figure out how the explosion box card is made. Has anyone made one? You can see my outer layer and one of my inside layers to the side. I did attempt to cover the middle but ripped it off as it wasn't working out.

This was how it looked when I practised putting together the layers (no glue lol).

And with the 'cake' on top. Not sure if I like it or not. I have two months to figure it out! There is another one I saw that had the third layer on an angle. I liked the idea of that one. I have three grown children so I thought about using one side each for them, maybe have them write something for Mum that would be on the top of the flap and then a picture underneath. The fourth side would be for me and hubby. Just a thought.

Last, but not least, my updated cross stitch picture. I am FINALLY done with all that gray, done with all the stitching and now on to the backstitching. The end is in sight!

I'm not sure how much I'll get done this week. We are off camping at the weekend! I haven't been camping in years (and longer still since I've been camping in a tent!). 

Lighthouses - Pure Michigan

Pure Michigan is the travel slogan for Michigan. It's used to show just how beautiful Michigan can be. I am learning to really appreciate that. Monday was a bank holiday here in the US too. We planned a day out with some friends of my husband's. We're both about the same age and our kids are all moving out. Their children are a little younger than ours but they are completely empty-nesters. We're trying to get together more and go places.

Yesterday we decided to hit the next lighthouses on our list up in Ludington. It is about 146 miles away so quite a drive. On our way up we decided to stop again at Grand Haven Lighthouse. Last time we were here was back in early April (see below)

We couldn't walk along the walkway at all, the lake was coming up and over. Yesterday was a lot calmer.

What a difference a couple of months make!

The next on our list was Ludington North Breaker Lighthouse. There is half a mile walk out to this one.

This one was open to the public and we walked up to the very top.

I did not like these steps. They were like ladders and quite steep! The view was amazing though.

This one was enclosed at the top so you can see the bugs and reflections!

The final one on our list for the day was Big Sable Lighthouse. This is just a few miles up the road from the last. There is a 1.8 mile walk to the lighthouse. The sights are just beautiful. I didn't realise there would be a lot of dunes around here too.

And finally a peek in the distance!

And around the corner the whole lighthouse came into view.

The tower looked quite intimidating!

But up we went!

These stairs were spiral. There were 137 of them Phew. Quite a climb!

The views from the top were amazing! I don't like heights so I was very pleased with myself.

What a great day out! My foot/ankle was not happy at the end of the day, but it was well worth it. Next weekend is camping. I haven't been camping for about fifteen years and that wasn't in a tent! Should be quite an adventure!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Antique Fair - funny who you meet!

It's been forever since I went to an Antique Fair. It must be since the kids were little (and that was a long while ago!). My MIL and FIL used to take us all along to different things. Antique Fairs were something she always liked to do, so when they were visiting other day and we talked about things we used to do MIL said there was a fair on Sunday so off we went.

It was a lot busier than I thought - there was even a queue to get in the car park. Lots of fun stuff to see.

I thought these were really cool. They look like they came out of a 50s diner and purple is one of my favourite colours.

Some cute gnomes!

This I really liked - MIL and I were both admiring it to keep our crafts in. I was thinking floss. She was thinking cottons.

I ended up coming away with only these

The top set caught my eye as they are all from England. One was of a church Dovercourt. My Nana was born in Dovercourt so I was quite surprised. I mentioned this to the gentleman whose booth it was and he said his wife's family was from England. He called her over and asked where they were from. Imagine my surprise when she said they were from Felixstowe (very near to Ipswich) and she had actually been born in Woodbridge. I once lived in Woodbridge with my husband (he was stationed at nearby Bentwaters). Her father was an American and her Mum English! We had a nice natter. It's strange who we meet when out and about and so far from our common town.

I couldn't resist this bottle. It doesn't show in the picture but it is actually purple. There was a whole table of purple bottles. They made quite the sight.

It was a lovely morning out. MIL gets around with a walker to help but she did great. She had fun too - bought some handkerchiefs to make doll dresses with. I miss doing things with her. She is a great woman. I am so lucky to have a really good MIL. We did not meet until after her son had already married me. She was so welcoming, friendly and helpful when I first came to this country.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


I like Saturdays. It's the day Mum and I Skype. Even though we are thousands of miles away it's like visiting her house every week, sitting down visiting and having a nice chat. Last year while she was going through chemo it was a lifesaver for me. I needed to see her. I would have dropped everything and come to stay with her, but she wanted me to wait. It was a horrible word - wait. Wait in case things didn't go well. Wait in case chemo/radiation didn't work. Wait in case things got worse. I'm not ashamed I had trouble sleeping and there were days when I went in to work and people were too afraid to say anything in case I started crying.

I'm thankful all that is behind us. At least for now. Though I'm sure that anyone who has been through cancer will know it's always there lingering in the background. There are the check-up appointments. The scans. The blood tests. The waiting.

I'm thankful that - as of today -  that in just nine weeks I will be in England, visiting with Mum and we'll have more memories to share. She was telling me today that she went to Felixstowe and actually had fish and chips. She laughed and said the next time she'd be eating them would be when I came to visit.

We'll take a little walk along the front and maybe have an ice cream. Mum's will be plain, mine is the 99 with the flake (yum!).

Until then it will be more phone calls and more Skype. Sometimes technology is good.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Beautiful Michigan - Five on Friday 27th May

It's Friday again and time to join in with the wonderful group over at Love Made My Home for Five on Friday. It's a fun time to look around at other blogs and see what people are sharing. There are always wonderful stories and gorgeous photographs.

For my Five on Friday this week I'm going to share some thoughts/pictures from the trip we just went on further up north in Michigan.

I am not a native Michigander. I was born and raised in Suffolk, England. I moved here with my husband who is from this area. We met while he was stationed in England in the Air Force and we moved back here via a short stay (stationed) in New Mexico before settling here. I was VERY homesick in New Mexico. It is very dry and warm and there isn't a lot of change in season. Here in Michigan things are greener and the seasons are very definite. I don't like all the snow (average of 62 inches per year apparently) and the cold. I am, however, coming to appreciate the beauty of Michigan. For a while there when the kids were little we seemed to just go about our daily business and we didn't really explore. Now we are finding the time to get out and about.

Monday and Tuesday of this week we took a mini-break to the Northern part of the state (not the Upper Peninsula where we will be taking a later holiday). It is a beautiful part of the state.

Our first stop was Sleeping Bear Dunes. I have never been there before and hubby only visited when he was little. My friend told me about the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive so we decided to go on that.
This was the first view we stopped at (not quite at the dunes).

From there we travelled on to the dunes.

We decided to take a trail through the dunes. It was hard going even though it was only a mile and a half. It isn't easy walking on all that sand! The wind was pretty strong in places too.

It was well worth the views!

If you look close enough you can see the specks that are people brave enough to climb up the dunes!

On the drive there are several places to pull over and get out, walk and look. One of the most spectacular is the Lake Michigan overlook. The platform is 450ft above the lake.

The weather was just glorious. We were so lucky. It was pretty warm but not hot enough to make it really uncomfortable and, as you can see, the sky was blue and the sun was shining.

From here we moved on to Traverse City and up along the old Mission Peninsula to visit the lighthouse at the very tip. It was built in 1870.

The trip along the peninsula up to the lighthouse is gorgeous. There are lots of vineyards and the views down into Lake Michigan are gorgeous.

We got to spend a lovely night in Traverse city and just before sundown took a walk along the lakeshore and sat to watch the sunset.

There is another lighthouse in the Leelanau State park at the top of the Leelanau Peninsula. Another beautiful drive. We saw three rather large turkeys walking along the road! There are several cherry tree farms as this area is quite famous for them. They were still in blossom and quite beautiful. We are planning to camp at the Leelanau State park later in June so we wanted to pick out our spot. Not that we needed an excuse. I love visiting the lighthouse.

This one was built in 1858. Apparently volunteers stay in the lighthouse for a week at a time and help take care of it. I picked up a leaflet but don't know I'd ever get picked! People even volunteer to stay in the winter. They must be BRAVE souls as I'm pretty sure it gets really snowy and cold with the winds coming off the lake.

Before heading home we stopped at a couple of shops. I don't really like shopping a lot on our holidays. In most cities/towns the shops are all the same, but in some places there are some cool independent places to shop.

Who can resist cheese?

 The Cherry Republic - everything Cherry!

It was a fantastic trip. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

WOYWW May 25th

It is the 7th Anniversary of What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday!!! Happy Anniversary.

It is Wednesday again and time to join in with the lovely group of WOYWWers. Our usual host is Julia over at Stamping Ground but she is taking a break for surgery so Jan over at Lunch Lady Jan's Fabric Frenzy is graciously hosting for us. Thanks so much Jan!

The last week has been a busy one for me just not a crafty one so my desk just looks like this.

It's not a whole lot different from last week though there is some crafting finds dumped on the top. I thought maybe I could use the snazzy elastic to secure some mini-albums and beneath that are some stamp sets I found at the charity shop. They were good finds.

My ATCs for the swap are just about finished - I should have them finished up tomorrow and posted at latest Thursday (difficult to get to Post Office as public transport not good and I currently do not have a car and will have to rely on hubby to drive me to PO). I think they turned out okay and I hope the recipients like them. I had fun making them.

I had fun on my trips this last week. I did post some pictures on Friday and will post some more in another post of our trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes. Can only say WOW, FANTASTIC! The weather was gorgeous and the dunes are really breathtaking.

You can just about spot some really brave people down at the bottom by the water (not more than tiny specks lol). It is said to take about two hours to climb back up!

And lastly an updated cross stitch picture. I haven't been home much this last week to stitch. I am on that pesky gray again. I am hoping to get it finished this week and (maybe) start the backstitching next week. I really would like to get it done as early in June as possible so I can start on one for my Mum.

I really appreciate all the comments everyone makes!

It's not the greatest picture (taken with my phone) but it shows the little (though it seems like a lot) of gray I've got done this week!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Weekend Meanderings

It was another warm day on Saturday. We headed back to Lansing (about 75 miles away) to pick up daughter and go to the Lansing Spring Arts & Crafts fair. We went last year when daughter was still at Michigan State University. She graduated in December but has decided to make her home there. Sad, as I don't get to see her as much as I would if she was in Kalamazoo, but we visit when schedules don't clash and talk almost every day.

It's a really big art/craft fair over quite a large area. There is a little of everything. I love looking at the photographs and paintings people have for sale.

We got there quite early so it wasn't very busy when we first got there. Later it got really packed. As we climbed back in our car there was already someone waiting for the spot in the multi-storey car park.

On the way back to daughter's apartment we passed by a farmer's market and decided to stop.

It was quite small but there was a nice variety. I only gave in a few times. The yummier things I bought are pictured below.

Vanilla Bean cupcakes.

Love a good cheese bread. I can't seem to make a nice, regular loaf of it though. I can make focaccia or a cheesy flatbread, but not a nice loaf you can make sandwiches or grilled cheese with.

Something for the garden. I love rhubarb. Mum always used to make a lovely rhubarb crumble with custard. I haven't seen one for sale before (perhaps I'm just looking in the wrong place!).

We had a lovely day out. We also got to visit the Whole Food Store where I got some veggie pasties and some wonderful English cheese (can't beat it!). Hopefully it won't be long until we see daughter again.

Today is a lazy day getting ready for our mini trip tomorrow. I should have pictures to share late Tuesday. Middle son is visiting and staying for tea (bringing washing with him too!). Hubby is out cooking on his new grill (courtesy of daughter). We are having the season's first sweetcorn.

It was 4 for $1 today. Can't beat it. Hope it's yummy!