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!

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Great Resource for Southeast Michigan Parents

Metroparent magazine is one of my parenting essentials. This monthly publication is available for FREE at many locations throughout the metro Detroit area. In addition to helpful and informative articles, each issue contains a calendar of family-friendly local events. Every month I find events that my family and I can enjoy. Some of the events are free, others may have a nominal cost. Their website is also a treasure trove of events and other resources. If you need to find an idea for a birthday party, a summer camp or a preschool, you can find directories on the Metroparent website. They also have directories for bowling alleys, museums and libraries. I can't say enough to promote Metroparent! I look forward to that calendar of events every month!

I don't know if other metro areas have similar resources. Let me know if your community has a publication like this and I'll pass it along!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside!

Well, there is no denying that we are in the middle of a Michigan winter. OK, I know that it's technically not the middle of winter yet, but it sure feels like it! When it's this cold out, alot of are looking from a bit of coziness while we drive to work, school or the store. Next time you're craving a warm drink, try Biggby Coffee. They are based right here in Michigan and have great coffee, hot chocolate and hot cider. If you're in need of something more solid they serve food too!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Book by Michigan Author

Lake Orion mother of 5, Bridget Llewellyn has written a children's book called One Child, One Planet. The pictures are done by the same photographers that shot the famous Strangers in the Woods series. The book is intended to teach children all over the world how to begin a life of conservation and respect for the earth.

I have not gotten the book yet so if anyone has a copy, please chime in with your reviews!

Buy it at Borders, a Michigan-based company!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

According to Metroparents Magazine:

$1 spent at a local store= 68 cents for the local economy
$1 spent at a national store= 43 cents for the local economy
$1 spent at an online store = 0 cents for the local economy (the exception is a website for a local business)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Did You Know?

There are lots of nationally known companies that got their start in Michigan. Did You Know? is a semi-regular feature highlighting some of these companies.

It's hard to find anyone that has not heard of the Cheesecake Factory. Their cheesecakes are legendary and, from what I hear, the other food is great too! I will admit that I've never had any non-cheesecake selections. What can I say? Most people, though, don't realize that the origins of Cheesecake Factory lie in Detroit.  Evelyn Overton created the original recipe and owned a small cheesecake shop in Detroit in the late 1940's. With two small children, she and her husband, Oscar, gave up the shop and she made cakes for local businesses from her Detroit kitchen. In 1971, the Overton's moved to Los Angeles and opened a 700 square foot shop, The Cheesecake Factory. The rest, as they say, is history. There are now over 150 locations that offer a full menu and, of course, endless varieties of cheesecake.

Sadly, there is no Michigan location of the famous chain, but the next time you enjoy a bit of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, remember that it got it's start in Detroit, Michigan!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

2010 is here! Did you make any resolutions?

I plan on making sure at least 50% of the money I spend is spent on Michigan based items. My grocery spending is already heavily local, but I need to increase my local spending in other areas. This may be tougher, but I'm convinced it's possible.

I also hope to be alot better about posting to this blog regularly. Is there something you'd like to see written about? A favorite local store or restaurant? A great tourist spot? A beautiful natural area? Let me know!