Thursday, July 30, 2009

Buymichigannow.com

The governor has declared the week of July 27th as Buy Michigan Week throughout the state. Locally, the town of Northville has sponsored a Buy Michigan Now Festival with many daily activities to celebrate and promote Michigan businesses.



Among the many activities in Northville today is the Free and Fabulous Girls Night out which starts at Starring, the Gallery at 7:30 pm. Mary invited me to be a part of the event. I'll be at the Gallery tonight with all new jewlery.



I've been selling my jewelry at the Gallery since last August. Mary Starring has a wonderful Gallery shop with hand crafed art and lots of fun things at all price points.

The weather could not be more perfect today so check out the festivities in Northville and Buy Michigan Now!

Polyvore Sets

This is my first attempt at a set on Polyvore

Polyvore.com - the best place to discover or start fashion trends. Browse and shop looks created by a global community of independent trendsetters and stylists.

Polyvore is an addicting website where you can play around with fashion and put together a collection called sets. It is as easy as click and drag. Select a category, say...skirt, and the choose color and price and you are presented with may options to choose from. Click and drag as may as you like to your set and then look for a top or shoes. Or make a whole set of shoes. You can shop on Polyvore too. Share your sets with other and get feedback on your style savvy.
This may take the place of solitaire for me.





Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beach Find

I found this precious shell fragment on an Elbow Cay beach in June. Only the size of my thumb, this delicate little spiral caught my eye as I was searching for shells. It is a gloomy morning and I am dreaming of walking on the beach rather than walking the dog in the rain here in Michigan.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wedding Jewelryl/Bridesmaids Gifts

I have been working on designs for wedding jewelry. A bride asked me to make pearl pendants for her bridesmaids as gifts. She requested that they all be different. She also requested pendants for 2 sisters and for both mothers. The bride had been give one of my pendants as a gift for being in a friends wedding. In fact, she is going to wear that pendant on her wedding day and has asked that I make earrings to go with the necklace. The bride requested certain designs and then left it to me to come up with the other looks. Here are the results.
Click on the individual designs for a larger view.





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Monday, July 27, 2009

Book Club Dinner

My husband and I belong to a couples Book Club. The club has been meeting 3-4 times a year for about 4 years. We rotate hosting, the host being responsible for a meal for the group. Last night Rich and I hosted the club at our home. We read and were to discuss, The Count of Monte Cristo so Rich and I decided to go along with the French theme, particularly South of France.
First course was a nod to Julia Child and Mastering the Art of French Cooking with Pissaladiere Nicoise. See the recipe in Bon Appetit.
The main course, Salad Nicoise, was straight off the cover of Food & Wine magazine.
For dessert, I sauteed apricot and fig halves in honey for about 2 minutes and topped them with homemade caramel ice cream and a sprinkle of sliced almonds.

The Count of Monte Cristo, written as a serial for a newspaper by Alexander Dumas in 1844, is a very LONG book. It is the swashbuckling adventure of Edmond Dantes, wrongly accused of treason and sentenced to life in prison as a 18 year old, his imprisonment, escape and his vow to avenge. We could have talked about the book all night.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Eat Local

I just love summer! I especially love buying produce from local farmers at the Farmers Market. I am lucky enough to have several markets to choose from. This is a photo taken at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market this morning.
I loaded up my French Market Basket with all sorts of goodies. I'm getting ready to host our couples book club tomorrow. The peas are for bacon and pea risotto tonight.
Have a delicious evening.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Summer Color Palette






Photos by me
Everything seems better when the sun is shining.
Have a happy day and enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

No Guilt Banana Bread

I hate to throw away uneaten food and it seems bananas are one of those foods that tend to spoil quickly. This banana bread recipe has become a favorite for those overripe bananas. Makes a great breakfast or snack food and very in low fat.

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 medium bananas, mashed
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
* optional, 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans, and or 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Lightly grease loaf pan and dust with flour

If using a food processor, process bananas and add remaining ingredients and process until just mixed. *add nuts or chocolate chips if using. If using mixer, mash bananas and mix all ingredients in mixer until mixed. If you are "green" and not using any machines, mash bananas and then add remaining ingredients and stir until all ingredients are blended together.

Transfer to loaf pan and bake about 1 hour. Cool and turn out of pan.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Leaving New Jersey

Time to say good bye to NJ, and family. I did get to have my favorite pizza last night...white pizza with broccoli.
Off to the airport, I leave for MI and my son for Ireland.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Souvenir Buildings Collection

No, this is not a photo of a street in New York , this is a shelf of Souvenir Buildings owned by my brother in law, Rick. Rick, an architect, has been collecting these miniatures for many years and his collections numbers about 450. His finds are from eBay, flea markets, antique shows and from trading with other collectors.
The miniatures started as souvenirs from well-known attractions on the European Grand Tour and then spread to the US. There are souvenir miniatures representing buildings from stadiums and arenas to cathedrals and office buildings. Rick's collection is of cast metal but the buildings are also made of other materials. Sometimes the model buildings were given as gifts to stockholders and other times with a purpose such as fitted to be used as a coin bank.
This is a very appropriately cool collection for an architect and the sheer number of miniatures on display is amazing.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Art Work for The Bahama



Isn't this the cutest painting? My 5 year old niece, Lily, painted this and gave it to me for my birthday. She visited me in the Bahamas and thought this would be perfect there. I think so too! Thanks Lily. I love it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Unexpected New Jersey


When you tell people you are from New Jersey, you are typically asked, "what exit?" People think of New Jersey in reference to the turnpike and not as the Garden State. I am visiting my family in the Princeton, NJ area for the week. We celebrated my parents 55th wedding anniversary, had a family picnic and are just having fun catching up. I'm staying at my sister and brother in law's house in Hopewell, not far from the former home site of Charles and Anne Lindbergh, where their child was kidnapped.
It is very peaceful at their house and the yard is a great place to spot adorable deer and other wildlife.

I'm impressed with the vivid hydrangea. In Michigan, we seem to have the wimpy white and pale hydrangea.

Looking forward to "tomato pie" (translate - pizza) tomorrow.

Hope you are having a relaxing weekend.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ann Arbor Art Fairs

Tomorrow is the first day of the Ann Arbor Art Fairs. There are four Fairs with the oldest Fair, The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, celebrating it's 50th anniversary this year. Click here to read about the Fairs, view a map and read about parking and shuttle bus options. This is ranked one of the best Art Fairs in the country.


While in Ann Arbor be sure to check out Zingerman's Deli. This is MORE than a deli. They have great sandwiches, cheese, breads, baked goods, coffee...... You get the picture. They have several varied locations in the Ann Arbor area and a mail order business. Don't be afraid to ask for a taste of something. They LOVE to give out tastes.




Monday, July 13, 2009

The Uniform Project

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Uniform Project July dailies. Click on a thumbnail for larger image.

Several blogs have featured the Uniform Project and most lately the NY Times magazine had an article about the venture. The concept is an "exercise in sustainable fashion". A versatile, same style dress will be worn 365 days varying the look with creative accessories. The project is also a fundraiser for the Akanksha Foundation which is a movement for change in education in India. Monies raised will go to buying school uniforms and living expenses for kids living in the slums. Click on the highlighted words above to read more about the Project, the dress design and daily photos since the beginning of the project.

I love checking out the creative use of accessories for a myriad of looks. I think about people watching on the Paris Metro and observing the French women who wear classic clothes and the most beautiful and innovative accessories. The secret to a wonderful wardrobe my not be what is on the hangers but imaginative accessorizing.





Saturday, July 11, 2009

Etsy Find for Hostess Gifts

BLUEBERRY SMASH cocktail inspired GIFT BASKET with soap and coaster


The Keepershouse is an Etsy shop of hand crafted textile art baskets and things to go in them. There is a line of baskets inspired by cocktails as well as many other baskets and trays and bags. The "things that go in them" are candles, soaps, ornaments etc.
I bought several items to be shipped to NJ where I will be visiting family later this week. Now I'll have hostess gifts that I don't have to schlep on the plane with me. I can't wait to see them when I arrive at my sister's house. I may have to order more for me to be waiting when I arrive home next week.

Weddings and Pearls

Aren't these pearls gorgeous? I have been asked to design a neck piece for the mother of the groom to wear to her son's wedding. We met at the Bead Gallery in Ann Arbor and she slipped into the dress she'll be wearing at the wedding. The gorgeous dress suited her perfectly and we chose these pearls to compliment the dress and highlight her features.

I'm also working on pearl pendants to be bridesmaids gifts for another wedding. This wedding project will also include gifts for the mothers and sisters.

Pearls, the oldest know gem, have been associated with weddings since 1000BC. It is said that pearls symbolize purity and innocence. They certainly are a beautiful tradition.

That is what I'm working on this weekend.
Hope you have a beautiful weekend. Relax and enjoy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer walk

Every morning I take my 14 year old lab, Nikki for a walk in the undeveloped land behind my home.
This land was to become condos but the weak Michigan economy has put that on hold. It is amazing that in just a few short years since the land was cleared, wildflowers have sprung up in the abandoned land.
The wildflowers are certainly common varieties but how dull the walk would be without them and the color and beauty they give. Every once in a while I'll pick a handful to take home. This idle land has become the home for many birds as well. The chirping and flitting of the birds is another pleasure as we walk in the morning sun.



Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Good Food Fast

roasted pork tenderloinImage by jamailac via Flickr



Sometimes the hardest thing about making dinner is having an IDEA of what to make.

I really like this recipe for pork tenderloin. It only takes 3 ingredients and one of them is the pork. The other two ingredients are chili powder and maple syrup. Sounds strange but it is really good. For 1 pork tenderloin, mix together 1 tablespoon each of chili powder and maple syrup and rub the mixture onto the pork. Grill at about 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes, turning the meat about every 5 minutes. You could roast the pork in the oven if you don't have a grill. Let the pork rest for about 5 minutes and then slice and plate.

I like to serve the pork with a peach chutney. Garlic mashed potatoes are a great side dish. Serve a green veggie and you are set. A real special treat with the tenderloin is corn pudding. I can't wait for Michigan corn so I can do that!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Likeness

Cover of "The Likeness: A Novel"Cover of The Likeness: A Novel

My husband suggested I try this book. He read about it and put it on hold at the library. I borrowed it as an audio book. I love to listen to books while I work in my studio or drive around running errands.

Anyway, I'm hooked. I love this book. It takes place in Ireland and the audio book has an Irish "speaker" so you get the full effect with her Irish "accent".

This is Tana French's second book with character Cassie Maddox, a police detective going undercover to investigate a murder. The case is named Operation Mirror because Cassie Maddox is a dead ringer (no pun intended) for the deceased, Lexie Madison. Lexie's death is kept secret and her friends have been told she survived. Cassie agrees to go undercover and assumes the life of Lexie Madison to try to find the killer. I'm just at the part where Cassie has spent 24 hours living with the Lexie Madison's housemates.


If this sounds good, you may want to read French's first novel, In The Woods. There is quite a bit of reference to this first book in the sequel, The Likeness. Click on the titles to read the NY Times reviews of these books.

Cherry Quartz Neckpiece



When I found this chunky, faceted briolette at the bead store I had to have it. I have lots of cherry quartz beads but I knew it would only take a few beads to set off this gorgeous stone. This neck piece is composed of sterling silver chain, a 1 inch diameter textured silver disc and, cherry quartz beads and a gorgeous, chunky, 1 inch length cherry quartz briolette. The true color of the stones is a "salmon pink" not a bright cherry color.

I love the look of cherry quartz in the summer. It reminds me of a sorbet flavor. Very cool. This piece looks great on white or khaki or black or just about anything. Just add silver hoops and you're all set.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fish Plates

I am an absolute sucker for tabletop decor. I had been "coveting" these plates from Anthropologie for a few months.
They just went on sale and I snatched up 8 of them. Click here to see the online catalog and purchase. They are called the Aquarium Dessert Plates. The fish remind me of snorkeling in the Bahamas.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

End of the Holiday Weekend





It is 7:30 pm on Sunday. I'm sitting on the deck, listening to the fountain in the pond. My sweetie poured a lovely glass of wine for me and I was just catching up with the NY Times. What a great weekend with my daughter and her boyfriend visiting from Minneapolis and my other daughter in from DC. We had a great relaxing time just hanging out together. Lots of cooking and eating together and some exercise and sun.
It's good to take some time to celebrate our freedom AND to relax.

Now it is really summer and I know it will be gone before I know it. I'll be harvesting my green beans by the end of the week. I've got a trip to NJ to visit family and another to Montana with friends to look forward too. Meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy every minute of sun and warmth before Michigan winter sets in. Every sunny day is a gift.

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Version of Rock Candy Bracelet

This is the new version of the Rock Candy Bracelet. I made a more feminine version of the silver part of the bracelet. The silver portion is hammered silver wire, thinner than the previous 1/4 inch strip of hammered silver sheet. I like this better. I wore it last night to a party. Loved it. Hope you do too. Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Simple Pleasure

I love the look of raindrops on these leaves. Click on the photo to enlarge.

Have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fast Food

I knew yesterday was going to be a busy day so I planned to serve a favorite quick salmon meal for dinner. This meal is quicker than takeout and very flavorful. Only 3 ingredients are required, salmon, fresh basil leaves and cherry tomatoes. (pantry ingredients salt, pepper and oil oil also used)

Place a salmon fillet on a large piece of foil. Rub fish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Top the fish with basil leaves. Slice cherry or grape tomatoes in half and place on top of the basil leaves. Enclose fish in the foil making a loose packet to allow for steam. The foil packet can be placed in the oven at 400 degrees for about 8-10 minutes or on the grill at medium high heat for about the same time. Cooking time may differ depending on the weight of the fish. You should hear some sizzling from the packet to know the fish is done.
Last night I served this with corn on the cob and a green salad.
Clean up is so easy, just toss the foil. Because the fish is cooked in foil, the house will not smell like fish.
Enjoy!


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