Friday, January 28, 2022

Two Recipes to Make Your Valentine Swoon

If you're looking for some fun, easy desserts to share with your Valentine -- anyone from your beloved to your neighbor to your best friend -- here are a couple that are sure to melt their hearts!

Fabulous Fudge Bars


I didn't add nuts or fleur de sel to the top -- but you can!

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Checking In

Touching base on a sunny, cold day! The birds are back at their feeding frenzy. Lizzie alternates between sleeping and watching! I alternate between baking, painting, reading, watching and blogging!

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Gathering Our Inner Resources

There are times all during life when we need the inner resources to keep ourselves busy and productive all by ourselves.

         ~ Fred (Mister) Rogers 

How are you doing with Omicron? Are you hanging in there? Self-isolating and going out only when necessary? Living with abandon?

New Years, 2018. Those were the good old days! More abandon then!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Winter is a Grand Time to Bake!

Sunday morning I awoke to 6 degrees F. Although it did warm up some later in the day, I knew from the time I got up that today would be a good day to bake. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

On Being Alive

"It is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.”
-Mary Oliver

Sometimes Mary Oliver speaks to the heart better than anyone. (No. Most of the time Mary Oliver speaks to the heart better than anyone.)

Friday, January 14, 2022

Winter in the House

I have an awkward relationship with January. It's fresh, a clean slate, time to get on the stick and do something! It's also cold, there's stuff to clean up and put away, and I just want to chill out -- without being chilled!

Truth is, my friend Kate captured my mood exactly in her January calendar offering. For that matter, she captured Lizzie's mood perfectly too!

Monday, January 10, 2022

Starting the New Year Right!

Well, we are full into January now, with cold days here in the north and enough white stuff on the ground that Rick is into cross country ski mode. I'm into nesting mode! Santas, out. Snowfolk, in.

Friday, January 7, 2022

A Blue and White Season: Winter at the Ditch

We've had our first real snow (not all that deep -- only about four or five inches) but it was enough to look pretty at the ditch.

Pretty cold, that is!

Monday, January 3, 2022

The Year in Books

In a recent article in the New York Times, Julie Lasky quoted author Reid Byers on home libraries: "Entering our library should feel like easing into a hot tub, strolling into a magic store, emerging into the orchestra pit or entertain a chamber of curiosities, the club, the circus, our cabin on an outbound yacht, the house of an old friend. It is setting forth and it is coming back to center."

Saturday, January 1, 2022

2021 in Pictures

Happy New Year, everyone! I love going back through photo files at the end of the year and the images remind me of the highlights -- and sometimes, low lights -- of the year. Here are a few.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

A December Visit to the Ditch

(A quick note -- as you know, unless you are a no-reply blogger and I don't have email contact for you, I usually reply personally to your comments. If you don't hear from me for past comments, I just realize blogger turned off notifications for me! I think it's fixed!)

Until just recently, we've had no snow -- or very little. That makes walking at the ditch a little bit easier! Most of the color is gone, but with the beautiful sunsets and a few spots of bright, it's still lovely in it's own way.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Our Christmas Feasts

In times gone by when the whole of the family was together for Christmas Eve, Rick would prepare a roast and traditional dinner similar to one he enjoyed at his grandparents' as a child. But in recent years, we've been on our own for Christmas Eve so it was time for a new tradition! We would make something new. This could be risky business but also, very fun! Last year it was a Quebecois Tourtierre. This year it was the Feast of Seven Fishes Pie.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Joys of the Season

I have to admit, this has been an odd Christmas season for me. It seemed to creep up and then bam! It was here and I wasn't ready! Cards went out late, I couldn't get my baking mode on, I didn't feel all that satisfied with most of the presents I found (and I still haven't finished shopping for when we celebrate with the kids). It was just odd.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas 2021

From Christmases long past...

... when we went to bed with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads... 

 To those 24 years ago...

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

A Southern Exposure Christmas

Longtime followers of The Marmelade Gypsy know that one of my "happy places" is Southern Exposure, an herb farm not far from Lansing, where I've enjoyed many wonderful craft classes, dinners and garden walks. 

When I had my mortgage paying party, we gathered in a private room here. That was over a year ago. Now it has been converted into a "Santa's Workshop."

Saturday, December 18, 2021

A Festive Forest

It's finally a festive forest in my home! (Say that five times fast!) So, c'mon in! (Cue the music!)

My house is a 1960s ranch, about 1,250 square feet. The living room is long and and the far end serves as the dining room. Between the two spaces, there are four trees. I love trees.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Holiday Art in the House

Do you rotate art in your home during the holidays? I do. Well, at least some of it! In the case of my hallway, the Paris wall comes down and the holiday wall comes up! Most of this year's wall features the work of Muppet master Caroll Spinney, along with a special piece by a good friend. (Cue the music!)

The centerpiece of the wall this year is a costume design for The Ghost of Christmas Present, done by the late Gretel Geist Rutledge. Gretel was a mainstay of the Michigan State Theatre department during my time there as an undergrad and until her retirement, probably about ten years ago. She went on to pursue her art in a variety of ways. After her death, her family allowed friends to choose from her many costume renderings. This watercolor holds pride of place.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Holiday Decorating -- It's Starting to Come Together

I've started bringing out the fa la la, getting the house decorated for the season. It's a time I always enjoy and yet for some reason, this year I am a little slower, perhaps a bit more deliberate. And maybe that is a good thing. (Cue the music!)

We've had a little snow -- and then it goes. I'm OK with that. I dream of a White Christmas often -- but I'm not that big on the days before and after! 

Monday, December 6, 2021

Cork Poppers Taste International Wines!

I haven't been to a Cork Poppers gathering since Rick and I hosted in July and it was so good to see my fellow vino tipplers! Our theme of the day was "Wines from Anywhere but the U.S." and our food theme was Appetizers and Desserts.

Works for me! Here are our totally non-professional reviews of five wines. What can I say -- we know what we like, and what we don't! And we don't hold back!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Traditions -- When Everything Old Is New Again


I love that word. It brings to mind memories of times past and occasions and activities that were so special, unique, or fun that they became incorporated into our souls and repeated over and over again. (Cue the music!)

No season seems to echo the thought of tradition more to me than the winter holidays.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

November Reads

November wasn't another banner month for reading but everything I read was worth the time.

The Lantern Men

Monday, November 29, 2021

Thankful for a Wonderful Holiday Weekend

I still love a four-day weekend now as much as I did when I was working. It's a different vibe, time to relax -- or work your tail off -- or see people you love. And mine was splendid.

Friday, November 26, 2021

My Official Start to the Holiday Season

While I don't start decking the halls till Thanksgiving, my official start to the holiday season is the annual Northville greens market, which I always attend with my friend, Jan, like THIS LAST VISIT in 2019.)

We missed it last year for Covid reasons, but this year we ventured out to do our traditional day -- the market, shopping at our favorite store (Gardenviews), lunch at a favorite restaurant and then a stop at Trader Joe's!

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you are living in one of the countries celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope yours is a happy one.

And if you're not, remember -- 

Any day is a good day to find something for which to be grateful.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Tomorrow's Theatre Designers

I had the most delightful experience recently, which I mentioned in an earlier post. I was invited to a master's class in theatre design at Michigan State University to share some of "my story" and my commitment to the arts. The assignment for the students was to listen carefully under the hypothetical idea that I was a wealthy major donor funding a re-do of a grim auditorium lobby. Their assignment was to design the lobby and a gown for the grand opening, that reflected what I shared in class.

Among the thoughts I included in that talk were little obscure facts about me -- love for history and art as well as theatre, a passion for bright colors, bad feet (no heels, please!), the integration of community and university and some of my favorite things.

Friday, November 19, 2021

The Gypsy Caravan Is Now Open!

A number of you have asked if I have any of the items I sell at Mistletoe Market available for online sales and the answer is now -- Yes!

Monday, November 15, 2021

A Recipe for You: Jeanie Crostini

Our Mistletoe Market was a great success, for both me and the other six vendors. I think we all came home energized, tired, and with new friendships, and you can't beat that! 

When I got home, I realized I had a baguette that needed to be used -- and soon -- so I made Jeanie Crostini. I haven't posted this recipe since the very first week I started this blog in 2007! In my first few blog posts, I was clutching at straws for content! This recipe is a family favorite, a go-to take away for a party or even wrapped as a party favor.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

September/October Book Wrap -- Slacker Months!

I have come to terms with the fact that I probably won't reach my book goal (or page goal) this year. While some months have been filled with books, September and October were marginal at best and November doesn't look much more promising. But most of what I read was very enjoyable.

 Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Monday, November 8, 2021

November: The Unpredictable Month

Apart from Thanksgiving in the U.S., can anyone really pin much reliability on November? To me, it is a busy month and it's over before I know it, leaving me even more harried before the December holiday season. It could be sunny and 60. It could be snowy. Mostly it is just drab.

Pumpkins on the china cabinet

I haven't shared much home dec these days because for the most part, I haven't had a lot of clear surfaces to photograph! But some of the photos here are from this year's decor, most of which got up late! 

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