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Today’s The Big Day-TCFF

Only Great Movies!

TCFF Part 1/The Intouchables

When it comes to the Traverse City Film Festival and writing a blog post, I just know there will be a Part 2 and maybe 3 and 4, so I can safely start off with a small dose for now.

Last night I had the privilege to see the French movie, “The Intouchables,” at a festive afternoon showing–complete with free pop, popcorn, and cake!  At this special preview for “Friends” of TCFF (and takes $100 to be a friend these days, so pony up everyone…)  Michael Moore spoke passionately (as he is wont) and energetically (as he is also wont) about the film festival in general, taking questions and suggestions from the seated guests for over a half hour.

Then the lights fell and we were treated to a perfect movie, “The Intouchables,” which so far is the second highest grossing French film in history.  The movie was delightful, touching, multi-layered, finely acted, magical.  I laughed, got verklempt, and gasped once or maybe twice.  My emotions weren’t played with or manhandled—I hate it when that happens.  Let’s just say I was throughly satisfied and had the opportunity to thank Mr. Moore as we walked out of the theater.

Image via

High on my list of movie recommendations for this year will be “The Intouchables.”  No doubt.

Sunny Day in Glen Arbor

It is raining today, but some times you never know if you will get a break from the fabulous weather and you just need to do a run to town.   Some times a sunny day is a good errand day–especially if you get a straight up, Northern Michigan, low humidity, light breeze, amazing day!

Glen Arbor, Michigan is a gem.  The gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes (AKA Good Morning America’s Most Beautiful Place in the US of A), Glen Arbor is the stuff your errand dreams are made of.

Here are your coordinates!

No trip “to town” would be complete without some encounter with fudge.

The Totem Shop carries the famous Doug Murdick variety and also every sort of water toy, T shirt, wooden rubberband gun, and Minnetonka moccasin imaginable.  For $42 I scored some gray suede Minnetonkas with no beading AND pebbled rubber driving soles!  Dealski.

Lest you be low on fudge….

Around the corner is the corporate giant of Glen Arbor, Cherry Republic!  Notice the details–the humorous signs, the use of cherry wood, the products.  What a treasure!   I personally can’t get enough of their cherry teas and the salsas are the perfect spicy/sweet balance.

Don’t forget to do a pit spitting contest!

You can grab a bite at Cherry Republic or if you are in need of a cold one, head back to M-22 and settle in at Art’s.  The burgers are amazing and the whitefish burger is the key for you pescetarians.  Be sure to consider the soups of the day and maybe one of the gourmet grilled cheese.

The porch is breezy and shaded. Check it out weather permitting!

Another shopping gem is Great Lakes Tea & Spice Co.  This friendly couple travels the world to bring a constantly expanding array of teas and spices to fans up north and across the country.  Not only are the products delicious, but the packaging is beautiful.  Recently, they have added some jewelry from their travels that is housed mostly in their back “shed” which used to house the entire enterprise.  It is fun to see the business expanding and doing well.  Maybe they will be the next Glen Arbor “corporate giant.”

You can’t miss them now! Right on the west side of M-22.

Even if you aren’t a soft serve or hot dog lover, notice the Pine Cone, just north of Great Lakes Tea & Spice.  There super tall pine trees growing straight through the roof!  Classic, quirky Glen Arbor.

There is so much I haven’t mentioned:  Becky Thatcher Jewelry, Bay Lavender Trading Co., Northwoods Hardware is great for every kitchen gizmo, Ruth Conklin Art Gallery.  Just go in and poke around.  Your favorites list may be different from mine!

Tile as Art

Handmade tile is dreamy.  The imperfections add character.  The differences in the glaze and color with each firing are charming.   It is organic and functional and beautiful.

Blue Heron Tile. Leif Sporck Tile Art.

I feel lucky to have worked with Leif Sporck, of Lake Leelanau, Michigan, on two separate building projects.  His artistry captures the rhythms of nature and is a beauty to behold.  I know its only tile, but it is sublime.

Leif’s art fair set up at the Leland Artists Market.

The hard part is choosing!  Do you want multicolored, hand painted tiles?  Do you want a solitary glaze but different images?  Do you want a large keystone piece to anchor a fireplace or kitchen?  Do you want to design your own?

Gorgeous Trillium Tile. See Leif’s web site for every wild flower imaginable.

Also, I have a little bit of an obsession with glass fishing net floats.  Leif is a great resource for these and collects them from all over the world.  He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the histories and origins of the floats he sells.  From Japan to Norway, these little guys would tell a story if they could talk.

I love the array of blues and greens.


Meat is having a moment.  Living in the midwest, I am lucky to have nearby resources for delicious beef, chicken, eggs and duck.  Seven Sons Farms supplies their grass fed beef from Chicago to Indianapolis and is located just a stone’s throw away.  I can go into the local co-op and purchase or stop by their honor system store at the farm.

7 Sons Farms on farm store. Image via 7 Sons Farms.

Joseph DeCuis is the only restaurant in the United States raising their own Waygu beef–just 6 miles away from the restaurant!  The Emporium in Roanoke stocks their beef, free range eggs and also Gunthorp Farms chicken.  I can also get that delicious chicken that is making waves on menus of chic Chicago restaurants at the co-op and the Seven Sons Farm store.  How lucky am I?

Waygu beef cattle loving life. Photo via Joseph DeCuis.

But when I don’t feel like tracking down my own meat and cooking and when I find myself in some of my favorite cities, here is my list of totally meat-centric restaurants that I love:

Chicago–Girl & the Goat (don’t be afraid of a super early reservation.  Skip lunch!  Eat early.  Then have the rest of the night to digest!)   and Smoque.

LA–Animal.  ‘Nuff said.

Indiana–Joseph DeCuis.  Our area is so lucky to have the commitment of the Eshelmans.

Nashville–Prince’s Hot Chicken, Neely’s BBQ–I know they are on the Food Network and all that jazz, but it is for good reason.  So many “meat & 3” restaurants to choose from in Nashville, you really can’t go wrong.

No web site for Prince’s, but here is a phone #!

NYC–Craft.  So many to choose from in this city, but 3 words sum it up:  Deep. Fried. Bacon.  Trend setting.

I feel a protein attack coming on!

Macramé Run Amok

What is this?  A lamp?  A hat?  A plant hanger?  The Craigslist listing says it is 7 ft long!  To think someone made that.  And bought it.  And put it in their home.  I love it!

Favorite Scent: Ambre Blends

Ever been on the search for a “signature scent,” one that is yours and yours alone?  Search no more and try Ambre Blends, a product made by hand with 100% pure ingredients.  Amber essence sourced from a 7th generation family company in India is the base ingredient in all 3 scents, Solace, Invoke and Ambre.

Via The Best Things in Beauty

I happen to wear Ambre, but after reading a really great blog post on the line on Best Things In Beauty I may branch out and try the others.  Maybe mix it up depending on the season!  Solace evidently has more vanilla notes and Invoke has a hint of floral.  Both are still based on the amber essence, so that background is still apparent.

Via Wikipedia. Amber is fossilized tree resin and when treated with heat produces an oil with a musky scent.

The line features not only the oils, but also soap, body wash, candles, lotion and lip balm.  Two of my favorite stores carry the products–8Fifteen in Indianapolis and Symmetry in Fort Wayne.  Here is a link to other locales around the country.

Via Ambre Blends

Part of the mystique of the product is that they smell slightly different on each person because they are dependent on your body chemistry.  So, there you go:  a true “signature scent!”

DIY: Macramé Bracelet

Here are the step by step instructions for making the macramé bracelet.  This is super easy–do not be afraid newbie crafter!

List of materials:

Stiff Board (I use a canvas panel from an art supply store) that is marked off in inch increments (great for all kinds of jewelry projects).

Office Clip

Silver Beads or others of your choice (make sure the holes are the correct size for the string you will use).  I like to use prayer beads and pearls too.  The Bead Chest is a great source for a wide variety.  They are on etsy and also have a web site.

Waxed Cord (I use this for the middle string as its stiffness is good for stringing the beads).  Try to match the color to your outside strands

Silk Cord–Mine came from Etsy.

A bead/stone/object to use for your end finding.  I am using a beach stone that has been drilled.  Etsy find once again!

The supplies all lined up and ready to go!

1.  Cut the wax cord to 12″.  Thread thru your end finding and tie 3 knots to secure at the end of your wax cord.  The wax cord will be the middle of your macramé.

Drilled Beach Stone finding. Wax Cord tied in 3 knots to secure. You can glue the knots now for extra security.

2.  Now string the silk cord through the hole in the finding.  I needed to use a stiff wire to help poke mine through to get it started.  A needle might help.  Pull the silk cord through until the bead/finding is in the middle.  Tie your first macramé knot, with the wax cord in the middle.  Use this YouTube video to acquire or refresh your skills! The point is to try to cover up the ugly knots you’ve just made!  I am using the brown wax cord to show the contrast for illustration.  For “looks” use a wax cord that is close in color to your silk.

Silk cord threaded through the finding–ready to start the knots!

3.  Keeping the wax cord in the middle, you may want to do 4-8 macramé knots before you attach the bracelet to the board with your clip.

Beginning of bracelet clipped to the board.

4.  Now comes some creativity and decision making.  Knot as many as you like, depending how many beads you will use.  I did 6 knots, then clipped the extra wax cord that was still sticking out that formed the short strand.  I will end up using 10 beads.  So, I did my 6 knots, added a bead.  Then two more knots.  One in each direction.  (or as many as you like to get the space between the beads you like).  Maintain your pattern.  Add a bead.  Knots.  Bead.  Knots.  Etc.  Until 6″ long for a 7″ bracelet.  Most bracelets are between 6 1/2″ and 8 1/2 “.  Wrists vary almost as much as ring sizes!

Progression of beads. I will add 10 all together.

5.  When you are at the very end of your Bead/Knot pattern, you need to secure the wax cord by knotting it with the silk cord.  I knot the wax cord with one side of the silk cord, then cross it over to knot with the other silk cord.  Try to tie the knots so the wax cord ends up in the middle again.  Then I tie a knot or two in the wax cord as close as possible to the end of the bracelet.  You can put a dab of glue on this knot now for extra security. Tie as many macramé knots as you need to match the pattern at the opposite end of the bracelet.  I had 6, remember? Then trim the wax cord so it is no longer sticking out.

Extra knots made in the middle for security.

6.  Remove the bracelet from the clip.  Tie two knots at the end with the finding between the silk cords—this will make the loop to put your finding through.  Do this twice to get an adjustable bracelet if you are selling it or making it for someone whose measurements are uncertain.

Making the first of two loops

7.  Tie knots in the ends of the silk cord and trim.

Shows the two loops plus the knots at the end of the silk cord. Voila! You are done!

Two bracelets ready to wear!

Top bracelet is the one we just made–blue silk cord with silver metal African beads and a beach stone end.  The other is made with black waxed cotton and Ethiopian prayer beads.  The closure is the adjustable slide closure as shown in the YouTube video.  The ends are finished with two pieces of beach glass.

DIY—Classy Macramé Inspiration

If you were alive in the 60s or early 70s you probably had an encounter with macramé. Either a plant holder with wooden beads holding a spider plant decorated some corner of a family room, or you actually spent lots of time tying knots to create said plant holder for your apartment or your mom’s birthday present.  I fondly recall my shoe box full of my supplies—hemp rope and wooden beads.  Strangely, I see these plant holders may be making a come back, so don’t discount them!  My latest etsy search came up with 10 pages!

Macrame by Design’s creation. On Etsy.

If plant holders aren’t your thing, think about updating your idea of what materials can be used to macrame.  Recently, I’ve made some bracelets using sari silk ribbons, silk cord, raw hide leather, and silk chiffon ribbon.  I’ve used prayer beads, African glass trading beads, and pearls.

From left: Prayer Beads with Silk Cord, Freshwater Pearls with raw hide, African Glass Trading Beads with sari silk ribbons, ditto.

The Bead Chest in Santa Monica, CA is a great source for beads.  Etsy is, as usual, a great source to find lots of supplies.    I was inspired by designs from Buju–a Malibu, California based design team who creates some fabulous pearl and leather jewelry, but takes it beyond the simple knots.  Becky Thatcher, in northern Michigan, is doing similar styles.

To get started if you have never done macramé, watch a youtube video!  (so NOT 70s…) The particular video I have a link to also will show you how to do the sliding knot closure.  I won’t be using that technique in my post.  Both ways are good to know though!   Practice with some cord or twine you have laying around until you feel comfortable.  Or jump right in—it really is super easy.

Practice up, order your supplies, and sit tight.  My next post will be step by step instructions on how to create a bracelet that you can add your own twist by the choice of materials you use!


Flags were a flyin’ on the 4th of July in Leland, Michigan.  Here is a photo blog of a little slice of Americana:

Leland River Bridge

Mounted Patrol on Parade

Main Street Cottage

Main Street Cottage

You never know who you will meet on the way to the parade

Community Band. The majorette was amazing!

Classic kids decorated bikes.

Amphibious Cars–what a riot!

Judges’ Stand

Classic Fire Truck

No caption needed.

Main Street Cottage

Democrats Marching. No sign of the Republicans.

Not sure what the purpose of that vehicle is. Hmmmm.

Last, but not least. A leftover from the parade.

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