Friday, November 19, 2010

Easy as Pie!

Many of you know that I participate in the Komen 3-Day for the Cure every year. Part of my commitment to the event is agreeing to raise at least $2300 before I'm allowed to walk. This results in me doing a lot of fundraisers. My latest one was great! I sold frozen pies from the Grand Traverse Pie Company. My customers got pies from a well-known, and delicious, company and I got $5 per pie sold for my fundraising efforts. In addition, I supported a Michigan company. When I picked up the pies, the employees even loaded them into my car for me!

If you have any need for a fundraiser, check them out. Each store does the fundraisers themselves, so just contact your local store for details!

If you're interested in supporting my fundraising efforts, visit my walker page!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shop Locally This Holiday Season!

We already know that supporting locally-owned businesses helps the economy. Now, it can help you too! You could win a fabulous getaway at a Michigan establishment!

Here's the scoop from Michigan Main Street Center:
What is the "ShopMIDowntown Holiday Challenge"?
It is a campaign challenging Michigan's residents to spend 75% of their holiday shopping dollars in Michigan’s downtowns and Michigan Main Street districts. We have created a Facebook page for the campaign where we are asking people to post pictures and video of their favorite downtown stores. Please review the ShopMIDowntown contest rules. People who post pictures or video will be automatically entered into a random drawing to win an overnight stay at one of the following establishments:

The Ramsdell Inn in downtown Manistee The Doherty Hotel in downtown Clare
The National House Inn in downtown Marshall
The Water Street Inn in downtown Boyne City
The Courtland Carriage House Bed & Breakfast in downtown Hart.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Another Michigan Collection!

This one was curated by a different ArtFire artisan. Use these collections to shoip handmade for the holidays!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Michigan Artisans

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend Giveaway

This weekend is the unofficial start of summer and there are lots of things happening around Michigan to celebrate. What are you planning on doing? Will you be heading to a parade on Monday to honor our veterans? Will you be having a bbq with family and friends? Will you be spending the weekend out on a lake?

Tell me what you're doing in the comments and you'll be entered to win a red, white and blue Michigan Mitten ornament! I'll pick one comment at random on Tuesday, June 1st!

**This is a sample. The color patterns of the actual ornament will vary.**

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Yay, spring!

So, you may have noticed that I disappeared there for a bit...I apologize profusely. I was a little tired and icky there for awhile, because...there is a new Michigander on its way! Now that I'm feeling better and spring is finally trying to arrive, I promise to be around alot more!

On the way in the near future:
-a review of some local farm markets
-more artisan features
-news on local festivals and events
-other cool stuff that I find!

Thanks for your understanding and I'll "see" you soon!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fire Alert!

From Pure Michigan's Facebook feed:
Fire conditions in the state are at high danger; according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, all open debris burning is banned until further notice. You can check the burning conditions in your county daily at Your cooperation is appreciated.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

Yesterday was world water day. We can be thankful here in Michigan that we have an abundance of water. Forty of Michigan's 83 counties touch at least one of the Great Lakes and we have over 11,000 inland lakes. Let's make sure we don't take our abundance for granted!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Toast N' Jams

Last weekend we were visiting my parents in Muskegon. They took us out to breakfast at the cutest little restaurant, Toast N' Jams. Unfortunately, I got there without my camera. :( It's not a huge place, but it's full of people and energy! It's got a cool retro feel, complete with a Route 66 mural. My husband and I had omelettes, which were both delish! My mom had stuffed hashbrowns and my dad had a belgian waffle with pecans. Yum! My son, well he had cocoa krispies...

It gets busy, so get there before or after the rush to avoid a wait. They're also open for lunch.

I've already decided that the next time we go there for breakfast, I'm trying the strawberry cheesecake pancakes!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


OK, well, apparently I went through a time warp and lost a week! Sorry about that! I promise I'll be back next week with new posts!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

The Cherry Hut has been serving hunks of homemade cherry pie since 1922, when James and Dorothy Kraker opened a roadside pie stand as an outlet for cherries from their orchard. Today, the hut in Beulah (pop. 363) is a full-blown restaurant famous for its cherry pie.

**I've had the pie, and it is delicious!!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Michigan Staycation- Double JJ Resort

For part of our staycation, we headed to the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, Michigan. Due to our schedule, we weren't able to use the snow tubing hill, but we took full advantage of the indoor waterpark. The waterpark is not as large as, say, Great Wolf Lodge, but there were four nice slides, a lazy river, an indoor/outdoor hot tub, a small wave pool area, and two areas for smaller children. There was also a family locker room, which is always nice for those of us with smaller kids. We ate three meals there and they were all quite tasty. The breakfast was included with our package and was a pretty typical buffet, but the lunch and dinner at Rustler's Roost were much better. There are other restaurants there, but the hours vary and they weren't convenient for us this particular visit. Since my parents also came with us, we got a one room suite with a full kitchen and jacuzzi tub. The room was beautiful and comfortable. I can't wait to go back and check out some of their other activities. Staying at the "Back 40" and having some dude ranch experience seems like something my son and I would really enjoy, the husband is less excited about trying it out, but I'll convince him!

Total cost: ~$350 which included overnight accomodations in a one room suite with full kitchen and jacuzzi, 5 passes to the waterpark, 5 breakfast buffets, 5 lunches, 5 dinners and a late night snack and coffee run.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

The model for the smiling chef on the Cream of Wheat box is believed to be Frank L. White, who died in 1938 in Leslie (pop. 2,044). A granite gravestone with an etching of the cereal box was placed on his grave in 2007. White was photographed for the cereal box about 1900 while working at a Chicago restaurant.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Staycation February 15th-Frankenmuth

Day three of our staycation was the first that we really ventured out to do something specific. Our family, along with my mother-in-law, decided to spend the day in Frankenmuth. We headed out around 10:30am and our first stop was actually in Clio at Runyan Pottery Supply. I'm including this because, if you're a clay artist, it's a beautiful place! I highly recommend it for the ceramicists and potters that are reading.

Next was a lunch stop at Halo Burger in Birch Run. Halo Burger is a Flint institution and I get one whenever I can. There are several locations in Flint, Fenton and Birch Run. Their burgers are fresh and include all the fixin's. Olives, mushrooms, bacon and peppers are also available and I always get the olives!
Cost for 4 lunches: $19.18

Once in Frankenmuth, we tried to go to the Michigan Military and Space Museum, but it was closed for President's Day. I'll try again some other time. Instead, we went to the Frankenmuth Historical Museum, next door to the visitor's center downtown. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children or $5 for a family. It was a well put together display with some hands-on elements for the kids. It told the story of the Germans who settled in Frankenmuth through present day. I would allow a half-hour to one hour, depending on how long you spend reading and doing the hands-on parts.
Cost for museum admission: $5
Cost for some souvenirs: $15

After the museum, we went across the street to the Harvest Coffeehouse. It's owned by a young husband and wife and is welcoming and fun. There's a "kid's cave" for little ones to play while mom and dad have some coffee and there's an assortment of couches and tables for your relaxing pleasure. The menu is extensive, varied and reasonably priced. My son had a kid's cocoa which was a perfect temperature for immediate drinking. I had a raspberry french soda and my mother-in-law had a special Valentine's latte. All three were excellent. Please, stop by the Harvest House when you need a bit of refreshment!
Cost for 3 drinks: $7.75

After the coffee, we walked down the street to the other side of Zehnder's where the ice sculptures from snowfest were still mostly intact. There was a large assortment of amazing designs and I hope that some year I actually make it up to see them being carved! After that, we drove back to Bronner's to browse the giant Christmas store. No matter what time of year it is, Bronner's can put you in the holiday spirit! For more on Bronner's check out my earlier post.

When we were done at Bronner's we headed back downtown for the famous chicken dinners. I know some people feel a strong allegiance to either Zehnder's or the Bavarian Inn, but honestly, I think they are both wonderful! I've tried a wide range of dishes from both restaurants and everything is excellent. This time, though, we all opted for the all you can eat family style chicken at Zehnder's (also available at Bavarian Inn). Well, my son chose macaroni and cheese, but he's 3, he'll learn! For $18.95 a person you get a cup of noodle sooup, a selection of homemade breads and jam, garlic toast with liver pate and cheese spread, cottage cheese, coleslaw, cranberry relish, dressing, gravy, butter noodles, mashed potatoes and, of course, yummy fried chicken. Also, a dish of ice cream. Everything is all you can eat except for the soup and ice cream and if you can't finish you can take home anything that is on your table after you're done. Instead of ice cream I had a piece of their homemade cherry strudel, which was exquisite!
Cost for 4 meals (including 3 soft drinks and a glass of wine, strudel and tip): $95 (there are often coupons available if you check the website)
Cost for some treats from the Zehnder's bakeshop: $15

Cost for the whole day: $156.93

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

The Saginaw River is only 20 miles long, but with its tributaries is the largest drainage system in the state.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Michigan Stay-Cation: February 13th

As promised, here is my first post about our "staycation". Day one wasn't all that exciting, really. We laid low and watched the Olympics. We did head out to lunch at our favorite local mexican restaurant, El Patio. There are 3 locations: Waterford, Farmington and Milford, but I've only been to the Waterford restaurant. Everything has always been fresh and yummy. Service is lightening fast and the staff is friendly and outgoing. If you prefer carry-out, call as you walk out the door. Your food will be ready and waiting. One time I ordered take-out and then was delayed for a few minutes. When I arrived, they re-made everything (and it was a big order)! It took about 5 minutes and they wanted to make sure my food was as fresh as possible!

Day 1 cost: $30.25 (3 meals, 3 drinks and tip)

Get out there and experience some local restaurants. I promise you will find one (or lots) that will knock all the chains off the map!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

Vernors ginger ale was created in Detroit and became the first soda pop made in the United States. In 1862, pharmacist James Vernor was trying to create a new beverage when he was called away to serve our country in the Civil War. When he returned, 4 years later, the drink he had stored in an oak case had acquired a delicious gingery flavor.**

**Vernor's son suggested in 1936 that the formula was not actually developed until after the war.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Michigan Stay-cation 2010

My husband has a week long vacation from February 13th through February 21st. Normally, we would head off to somewhere a bit warmer. This year, however, we decided to stick closer to home and explore all the good stuff our local area has to offer. So, get ready to experience a southern Michigan stay-cation! Destinations include Frankenmuth, the Double JJ Resort and the Grand Rapids Public Museum. I'll try to keep track of not only what we do, but how much it costs for those of you that are trying to watch your finances.

Watch out Michigan, here we come!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Famous Michiganders

Ok, so he was raised in Indiana and now resides in California, but on September 25, 1956 in Marshall, Michigan a future Mythbuster was born!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

Sault Ste. Marie was established in 1668 making it the oldest town between the Alleghenies and the Rockies.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Birmingham Restaurant Week

I love food and I love local restaurants. Any time you can get a 3 course meal at a great local restaurant for $15 (lunch) or $25 (dinner) is a good time! From now through February 12th (excluding the weekend) you can get this great deal at a selection of Birmingham restaurants. Be sure to tell your server that you want the deal!

Check here for the list of restaurants that are participating!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Today in History

This is a big week for Michigan history. On the 26th, in 1837, Michigan was admitted to the union as the 26th state! Happy birthday Michigan!

Today, in 1915, the US Coast Guard was created from Life Saving & Revenue Cutter services. While this is not specifically Michigan history, the importance of the Coast Guard to the Great Lakes system cannot be overstated.

Sadly, today is also the 24th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. So, in memory of the crew, I leave you with the words of Ronald Reagan from the night of the tragedy:
  We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of Earth' to 'touch the face of God'.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

In 1920, Detroit's WWJ begins commercial broadcasting of regular programs, the first such radio station in the United States.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fight the Winter Blahs!

I know that after the holidays, the reality of Michigan winter sets in and it can get to be a bit monotonous-but it doesn't have to! There are still lots of events going on all over the state! Here are a few for the week of January 25th.

Zehnder's Snowfest-Frankenmuth
Tip-Up Town-Houghton Lake (weekends)

Head to to find events near you!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Did you know?

When most people think of wine their mind immediately heads to California, France or Italy, but Michigan has a bustling wine industry, too! There are wineries all over the state and many stores stock Michigan wines.

Want to go on a tour of Michigan Wineries? Check out the official website of Michigan's wine industry.

Not a fan of wine? Check out the Michigan Beer Guide, B. Nektar Meadery, or the Michigan Hard Cider Club.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Congratulations to Zingerman's and Grand Traverse Pie Company!

These two staples of Michigan food are both featured in this month's "O" magazine as outstanding online food stores! Here's a link to the online list of featured sites. If anyone has a copy of the magazine, let us know how you liked the article. In the meantime, I'm going to stock up on pie at Grand Traverse Pie Co., and all kinds of deli goodness at Zingerman's!
If you've never tried either place, I highly recommend them both! Zingerman's and Zingerman's Roadhouse are both in Ann Arbor. Grand Traverse Pie Co. has several locations throughout Michigan (and beyond!).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

The city of Novi was named from its designation as Stagecoach Stop # 6 or No.VI.

(This may be my husband's favorite piece of Michigan trivia!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

MLK Day Events

Everyone loves a day off, but let's take a moment to remember the importance of Martin Luther King Jr. There are plenty of events throughout Michigan to take part in; here are just a sampling.

Detroit MLK Day
Event listing from
Cooley Law School Celebration
Grand Valley Day of Service
UM MLK Symposium
Symposium at Henry Ford Museum

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Michigan Artisan- Gaelic Knot Studio

Please check out the beautiful work these ladies do! And, take note of the paragraph at the bottom, discussing their charitable contributions and how you can help!

Name or Store Name: Gaelic Knot Studio
We are a mother and daughter team of “Renaissance” (multi-talented) women.
Delaney Hansen - mother
Skye Hansen - daughter


Redford, Michigan - A western Detroit suburb
We are a home-based studio, there is no actual shop. Our business is done via the Internet or at Local Farmer’s and Artisan Markets. We chose our name to honor our Celtic heritage.

1) What medium do you work in?
A number of our pieces are created using knotwork, also known as macrame. Skye and I design and make hand-knotted jewelry, snowflake tree ornaments and round mats using Crawford Linen Cord imported from Belfast, Ireland. Our choker-styled necklaces and bracelets use a bead and loop closure system, specifically created to contain no metal making them hypo-allergenic or safe to be worn by someone with allergies to certain metals in some jewelry.

I also cut and wrap my own wreaths from willow and grapevine. My willow wreaths are made with a Trinity knot.

Skye and I both paint.

We design our own stained glass.

We’ve also worked in silver and pottery in the past and will add these things back in as our business grows.

I also sew and often create my own patterns, including the cute sitting kitty shape we use to make our Scrappy Cat cat toys.

2) How long have you been creating?
Probably all my life. My favorite gift as a child was a box of 72 Crayola Crayons, the ones with a built in sharpener in the back, plus a big stack of paper to go with it. When I was little I dreamed of writing and illustrating my own books. I’ve always been interested in art and attended College For Creative Study for a year before life interfered.

I’ve worked in macrame, paint, silver and clay for over 40 years, stained glass for 30 years. Floral design 25 years. Desktop publishing and graphic design 12 years. Wreath wrapping 4 years. Did I miss anything? I also crochet, cross stitch and make candles

To satisfy my other area of interest I write content for the Internet, including our website. I’m an aspiring novelist and screenwriter. Who knows I may actually write and illustrate that children’s book one of these days, even if it’s just for my own five grandchildren.

3) What is your favorite thing you have created?
That’s a tough choice, but I’m rather fond of my Winter Collection jewelry (see the picture at the top of the interview). Skye and I have both been making chokers, bracelets and earrings for a few years now. Last winter I came up with the idea to combine a smaller version of my snowflake tree ornaments as a pendant to one of our necklaces, but wasn’t sure about how I’d downsize it. This year I figured it out and created the set using clear glass beads that resemble pieces of ice in the necklace and bracelet with a one and a half inch hand-knotted snowflake for the focal point. I also made snowflake earrings and a matching brooch or lapel pin. It’s a rather impressive and beautiful set.

4) How long have you lived in Michigan?
I was born and raised in Michigan and have actually lived in both peninsulas. My younger daughter, Skye, was actually born while I was living near Escanaba. Most of the time I’ve lived in the Detroit area though. In total I’ve resided in the state of Michigan for all but 8 of my 56 years.

Leaving in search of greener pastures and warmer weather gave me an interesting perspective and a greater appreciation for all that truly is a part of life in Michigan. My younger daughter Skye and I returned to Michigan over two years ago to help care for my elderly mother who is now 93. My older daughter, Cerina decided to stay in the Florida Panhandle with the love of her life, and their five children. With the economy as it is and jobs being scarce Skye and I decided our only choice was to create our own jobs, so we re-started the small craft studio we had in Tennessee.

5) What is your favorite Michigan product?
It’s very difficult to choose, but I’d have to say the produce. Michigan grown sweet corn has the most flavor. The apples, carrots, potatoes, everything. We don’t know if it’s the nutrients in the soil, but everything grown in Michigan tastes better!

6) What is your favorite attraction in Michigan?
The diversity of our beautiful state is incredible so it’s very difficult to pick just one thing. I love nature. Michigan has by far the best State Parks for camping amongst the trees, on the lake shores or along rivers. Each of our Great Lakes are unbelievably different too. I guess my favorite attraction is our beautiful lakes.

7) How do you think the handmade movement will benefit Michigan?
How can the handmade movement not benefit a state where part of it is shaped like a hand? Being handmade seems to fit our “Mitten” state very well.

8) Is there anything, in particular, about Michigan that inspires your work?
It’s beauty, diversity, nature, the lakes, the forests, the farms, the changing seasons, the people...I guess everything! I love this state and I’m glad to be home. My daughter and I wrap wreaths from the branches of trees and vine that grow here. We recycle Michigan grown Christmas trees into rustic hanging bars and beads for our knotted banners. We paint on lake and river rocks to be used as paper weights and door stops or garden decorations, then coat them with a sealer so the beauty of the stone itself can be seen. We paint trees, flowers, lakes. Even the ice and snow of our Michigan winters inspired my knotwork jewelry’s Winter Collection. The economy and the plight of stray or abandoned cats and kittens in our area have inspired us to try and help with donations through the sales of our Scrappy Cats Cat Toys. Every where you look in Michigan there is inspiration.

Gaelic Knot Studio directs 50% of the sales from Scrappy Cats Cat Toys to helping care for and find good permanent homes for stray and abandoned cats in the economically hard hit Detroit area. Our own cats are all kittens of stray or abandoned cats we have rescued over the years.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

Michigan is the only place in the world with a floating post office. The J.W. Westcott II is the only boat in the world that delivers mail to ships while they are still underway. They have been operating for 125 years.

JW Westcott Company

Monday, January 11, 2010

For those Michiganders with fins, fur and feathers!

The third largest national pet supply chain, Pet Supplies Plus, started in 1988 in Redford, Michigan. There are now 240 franchised locations in 22 states, with all of the Michigan locations being locally owned and operated. The headquarters is in Farmington Hills.  If you need something for a pet, you can bet you will find it at Pet Supplies Plus! Your pets can even go shopping with you! If you are looking for a pet, check out their selection of small animals or one of their adoption events!