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

 Tradition.

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! 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Toddler Time!

We can't say we've had a dull October. After coming home from the lake, we had a day or two at home before Rick took off on his bike for Oberlin and the day after, I met him on the way. You know the rest -- the Oberlin visit and Jeff's wedding. Two days later we were headed to metro Detroit to spend four days toddler sitting.


Monday, November 1, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: I'm Going to Miss this Spot

Rick headed to the lake last to take a few well deserved solo days and ultimately to close up the cottage for the season. I'd love to have been there and I'm glad I'm wasn't. Closing down makes me incredibly sad.


Friday, October 29, 2021

Halloween -- Costumes of the Past

Pam did a fun post recently about her past Halloween costumes. I don't have as many as she did, but I did have fun going through the archives and finding a few. This one was from the early days! 


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: A Colorful World

In all the craziness of the past few weeks, I never got this posted! So before a color tour is a thing of months past, here are a few photos from my last visit to the lake in early October.


Sunday, October 24, 2021

Road Trip: A Few Zoo Views

We didn't get to see as much of the Cleveland Zoo as we might have on a zoo-only visit when we were at Jeff and Lauren's wedding. But we did catch a few animals! My favorites are the giraffes.


Friday, October 22, 2021

Road Trip: Happily Ever After!

I have not been in public crowds for a very long time and I was very apprehensive about our visit to Cleveland. But my cousin Jeff was marrying the lovely Lauren and I wouldn't miss that for the world. Well, yeah, I probably would have if Covid was as bad as one year ago. But with the vaccine and booster, an N95 and another to put over it, and the promise of sitting at a vaccinated table after the outdoor wedding ceremony, I was good to go!


Monday, October 18, 2021

Road Trip: Oberlin, Ohio

We have been more or less gone and offline since October 7 and if you've noticed that comments haven't been replied to (I'm pretty sure I won't catch up, so  just know I appreciate each and every one), or visited, my apologies! I'm not sure I'll catch up there, either, but I'll do my best! And where were we? First stop, Ohio!


Our trip began on a rainy day as we headed toward Oberlin, Ohio. This small town is about 35 miles west of Cleveland and is the home of Oberlin College.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: Road Trip - Another Look at the Art of Heidi Marshall

When I shared our visit to Petoskey in July, you might recall that we stopped at Crooked Tree Arts Center's beautiful gallery. The featured exhibit was Michigan artist Heidi Marshall and I fell in love with every piece of hers that I saw. This forsythia was a favorite. Just look at how those colors pop!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: Birds of Up-North Michigan

As we come close to wrapping up the 2022 series of Postcards from the Lake, I thought I'd take another look at some of my favorite birds from the past few months. I never did get a photo of the blue jays that loved the bird feeder neighbor Jim made, but I was lucky in catching (albeit a tad fuzzy) my friendly chickadee.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: Road Trip - Pond Hill Farm

Oh, the colors of October. I love those earthy rusts, browns and oranges and when you are lucky enough to find a fascinating pumpkin farm, it's all the better. So, when Susan suggested we go to Pond Hill Farm, of course I was in!


Sunday, October 3, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: Road Trip - Petoskey Stone Hunt!

Rick had a follow-up with his kidney surgeon in Petoskey, so we did another road trip! 


It was a beautiful day for the drive. The color wasn't peak but when you see a spot like a field of sunflowers, you've got to smile!

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: Roadtrip to Boyne City for Art!

The other day I got up and started checking a somewhat neglected and far too long queue of email when I noticed a new one from my friend, Holly, whom I'd seen a few days before at lunch. "There's a painting workshop in Boyne City on Monday. Interested?" Well, yeah! 


So, off I went for a day that included not only a delightful workshop but -- in the hours after -- a walk through this charming northern Michigan city, about 45 minutes from the cottage.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: A Wet, Lonely Week

When watching the yahoos hired to take my neighbor's dock and boat ramp work away is the highlight of one's week, you know it has been an odd and unexpected week!

When I came north about a week ago, it was with the idea that Rick would join me as soon as he could. I was thinking within a few days and so was he. But he's been up to his eyeballs with painting the duplex, doing repairs and loads of stuff outside -- not to mention (hopefully) getting a new tenant booked and ready to move in. I realize I really miss the guy! But one does what one must, like adding a lantern to the mantel!

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: Road Trip to Traverse City

Traverse City, Michigan, is the largest city in Michigan's north, and it sits beside the beautiful Grand Traverse Bay. It's a popular vacation destination with its annual cherry and film festivals and offers a number of cultural activities. It's also known for its Michigan wines and the many vineyards on the Mission Peninsula. Most of the photos here show the beauty of that area.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: A Stormy Day

On this gloomy morning, Lizzie and I are taking advantage of what might be the last porch day for a bit. We woke to a warmer morning than expected and took the computer to the porch, catching up with all of you. It wasn't a bad day and when a butterfly flitted by, I ran out to the beach to photograph it, dancing cheerily between this weed and that.


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: A Little Bit of Early Fall, Inside and Out

Happily back at the cottage for a bit and wondering when we'll go from green to red and orange. I can see hints in some of the trees but it will be a few weeks yet before we hit full fall color.


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: Not Quite the Last Hurrah

It's only mid-September, not quite the last hurrah at the lake. But you can feel it in the air. Days are cooler; nights are much cooler. Quite often, the mornings find the lake mirror-calm, reflecting the treeline on the other side and the quiet fishing boats, a far cry from the noisy jet skis of summer. Sometimes it is too cool or windy to paint on the porch, all the better to curl up with a book or needlefelting project, with an extra layer of fleece, hoping for an early visit from Harry North.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: Can It Really Be September?

I don't know what happened. I woke up and it was September.


And now, we are well into it. One can feel it in the air at the lake. The temperature dropped dramatically, there was one almost full-day of rain. The lake is quieter after Labor Day. Boats and docks are being pulled from the water, despite the fact that September will bring many gorgeous (and hopefully warmer) days.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: August Books

After a banner reading month in July, I slowed down a little for August, with seven books on the list. This month they were all mysteries.

 "A Sea of Troubles" by Donna Leon


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: Quiet Mornings, Loud Cat

I'm back at the lake, finally! And look who welcomed me back! 

Rick will join me for an extended time when he wraps up his annual Dalmac bike ride (Lansing, MI to Mackinac City, 100 miles a day). He's captaining a tandem with his friend Nino, pedaling behind. (Or not, as the case may be!) This early September is lovely and I wanted to be here sooner but life got in the way. You just have to fly with the birds and go with the flow.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

At Home: Cooking During a Fruit Fly Infestation

I'd take a photo of the fruit flies but they're so darned small and so fast I can't even slap them down!


I came home from art camp to a fruit fly infestation. This is bad and I don't know how it happened because I didn't leave any fruits or veggies on the counter or any of the other things Google tells me they like. All I know is that they seem to like it in my house and it's driving me nuts.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: Art Camp - The Nature

In my last Art Camp post I mentioned that we had an unexpected guest during our time north. Life is good when you look out the porch window and see this.


Harry the Heron appears to have an up-north cousin, aka Harry North. And he was pretty stunning.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: Art Camp -- The Art!

The purpose of art camp, of course, is to make art. But it's not the only thing we do. We read, swim, walk, talk (for hours), eat well, enjoy wine, visit the market. But mainly, we do art! (And talk for hours.)


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