Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Greetings from Martha's Vineyard -- Arrival

Home again. And it all seems like a dream.

Rick and I have just spent the most remarkable week in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. If I had to decide between returning to Paris and returning to Martha's Vineyard, it would have to be a roll of the dice call. Yes, that nice.

I so rarely see the sunrise! It took a very early morning flight to make that happen!

Rick had a client on the Vineyard who flew us out, let us stay in his lovely guest house apartment and drive his car for the week. Rick would work and I would play. Oh, and John's wife ended up being someone special, too -- but that's for a later post. So, after a harried time waiting in line for security at Detroit Metro and thinking we would miss our flight, we finally took off. Two plane rides later, we landed!

While waiting for John to pick us up, I met Blue Miller. He had been on tour with India Arie and was on his way back to Nashville (Franklin, TN). Such a nice guy and interesting to talk with. It turned out he was from Detroit and had played back up on a couple of 1970s Bob Seger albums (he's a favorite) along with many others including  Michael Bolton, Aaron Neville,  Blake Shelton, Melissa Manchester, John Legend and more. Check out his website! Sure did make the wait even more fun!

After John picked us up and we got settled, he left us to have a day of fun before Rick's work began. We started by visiting their town, Edgartown, on the eastern tip of the island.

How would I describe it? Well, think white houses. And those that aren't white have the gray shingles one associates with a seaside town.

Think white picket fences, pretty gardens in front of the houses, and buildings that have been there for hundreds of years.


Think a wonderful port with sailboats and yachts, restaurants with a view, and shops that -- well, Michelle Obama can afford to shop there. But I love to look!

First it was time to stop for lunch -- and take a look at the map!


After lunch in a restaurant called "Behind the Bookstore" (because it was), we were off to explore other parts of the island -- end to end.

But first, a walk through Edgartown. I'll be back here! One of the discoveries was a Murdick's fudge shop. People in Michigan know Murdick's well -- it had its start on our own Mackinac Island! So, we gave it a wave and a pass and admired other things we might not be as likely to see at home.


Then it was time to hit the road. At the far western tip of the island in the area of Aquinnah was the Gay Head light. This lighthouse was originally built in 1856 (to replace the 1799 original). It and was moved in 2015 to the present location 135 feet away from the original. It was a massive but essential operation due to the eroding cliffs where it had previously stood.

The lighthouse is well maintained and it was interesting to go inside and note the historical documents well mounted on the walls.


The views were amazing. Take a look at that big house in the photo below. That's the Oceanmost Inn, owned by James Taylor's brother, Huey. We had hoped to eat there for my late birthday dinner (despite the extremely high price) but reservations are required. And made well in advance.

And take a look at that speck of an umbrella down there in the first photo. It's in the upper right quadrant of the picture. Quite a distance. I zoomed in on it. The photo next to it is not fully zoomed to 120x. When I did, we discovered a nude sunbather. Yes, I do have (several) photos. No, I'm not going to put them on the blog. But let's just say that if you're going to let it all hang out, remember, there are tourists like me with a very good zoom!

Near the lighthouse is a small touristy kind of "village" (for lack of a better word -- call it a shop-and-snack area).

This was a surprisingly good find in the shopping department as spots like this go and I wish we'd found it near the end of our stay for I would have surely bought more than I did!


Of course the whole area is filled with woods and water. And it is incredibly beautiful -- especially on a perfect day when the sun is high and the sky is blue.

I leave you with a few more of my favorite photos of the day.

Yes, I'm a happy girl.

Almost like a dream.

Next time we'll go to my favorite spot on Martha's Vineyard -- and you'll meet an amazing artist!

This post is linked to "Share Your Cup" (Thursday) and "Thoughts of Home on Thursday." Please visit and check out this week's other fun links!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Downton Abbey Journal Swap

Recently (well, not so recently, to be honest) I participated in Karla Nathan's "Farewell to Downton" journal page swap.

Our task was to come up with six 8 1/2 x 11"  sheets of card stock, each folded into four pages, expressing the themes, fashion, characters, mood and style of "Downton Abbey." We could interpret literally (using photos of the cast, perhaps) or in style.

In addition, half of each four-page signature had to have some sort of useable space on it so the recipient could actually use it as a journal, rather than simply something to look at.

Karla had suggested people be abundant in the use of lace and trims and not hesitate to extend the width or height of the page by adding embellishment to any of the edges of the pages (except the binding side).

The photos you see here are ones that I received in my journal.

In some cases, the pockets were filled with tea or tags.


Others, including our host Karla, offered coloring pages.


Of course, with the series crossing over from the Edwardian era to the jazz age, there was plenty of style one could work with. And both upstairs and down were fair game.


But then, there were those, like the Dowager Countess, who stayed firmly rooted in the late Victorian age. So that was fun as well.

There were basically two guidelines for this swap -- make it pretty and make it useable! So, some pages were simply a very pretty paper, perhaps with a simple trim, that could be used as a background for your own art or to record a thought or memory.


(One of the nice things this time around was that everyone received back one of their own sets of pages, so their work could be included in their own book.)

I got back the spread above, which I called "Marigold" (left) and "Edith."

The image on the left of the one above is mine, too -- ledger paper with an embellishment. In the book it was placed next to a pretty botanical print.

Here are a few more of mine that were included with others' books.

A few of the spreads.

Above is one of the spreads with the detail. This reminded me of Matthew and Mary when he went to war.

A friend had visited Highclere Castle, where "Downton" was filmed, so I included several pages from a notepad she had sent me in a couple of mine. (And you could color in the Abbey!)

This page and song reminded me of Tom.

Working for a PBS station for so long brought a few "Downton" bits into my life. There were some teabags from a reception and I was able to cut apart a paper cup and convert it into a pocket.


I had a few pages I especially liked. The one above used sheet music and a graphic from another sheet of music given to me by a friend who found a good deal of this in his mother's house. It was perfect!


And I liked the fashion in these, which came from cutting up an old book I had called "Fashion in the Twenties and Thirties."

It was fun to cover an envelope in velvet and include a teabag.

My simplest pages were my favorites. (I'm not as much a fan of the too-lacey, but sometimes it works.

And I was thrilled when this one ended up back in my book. I found this painting (I think Gauguin, but I honestly can't remember now). And she was a dead ringer for the Dowager Duchess! I used a napkin background, a velvet ribbon and a couple of dimensional flowers and let her be.

All in all, a delightful swap, fun to work on and even more fun to receive! Thanks to Karla for pulling it all together! Here are links to some of the pages Karla received, This link has some of Karla's pages as she talks about "using the good stuff," and another on swap etiquette. She talks about building the books here.

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