Friday, October 9, 2015

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan


This week I had the privilege of traveling to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my sister. Our love of nature compels us to take a hiking trip together every now and then.

We stayed in the small town of Paradise, located on the eastern end of the UP, along the shores of Lake Superior.




My sister had been to the UP before so she knew where some of the best hiking trails and scenic spots were.




I can easily understand why Michigan is named Pure Michigan.The skies are bluer, the water is clearer, the colors more vivid, the stars and sunsets are brighter, and the air clearer. Sound like a magical place? It is!

I honestly could not stop taking pictures.I admit my eye is a little sore from my camera view finder! :o

We hiked miles through some of the most beautiful territory. Peat bogs, Hardwood and Coniferous mixed forests, and the beautiful Tahquamenon river.



Peat land bog



Tahquamenon River



Upper Tahquamenon Falls





Lower Tahquamenon Falls












We saw numerous birds, including two Black-backed Woodpeckers, Spruce Grouse, winter wren, and Hermit Thrush. Little red squirrels were everywhere...


Black-backed Woodpecker male (above), female (below)



Spruce Grouse





The sunsets & sunrises were amazing!


View of the sunrise from the motel (you can see the wind turbines in Canada)





One of my favorite spots on the UP is Whitefish Point. The beach is amazing with it’s natural look of tan sand, blue water and gray driftwood. Lake Superior’s waves are musical as they roll to shore.




We even got to see the Northern lights a few evenings on Whitefish Point!

This is only a fraction of the UP, but hopefully you got the feel of how beautiful the place is!


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Autumn Home


I promised you the other day that I would be sharing some more thrifty fall décor so here it is… nothing ornate, but it gets the feel of fall flowing through our home!

Our Living Room…


As you can see, I’m in love with maple leaves and old boxes this season. I have to keep reminding myself to think outside the box (literally) and try other combinations too.



I painted the pumpkins on the end table with a water based paint. (I just now see I missed a spot) :/ 



The burlap pumpkins are still a favorite of mine from last year. You can read about them here.




This old box contains a wild assortment of fall.. anything from deer antlers to Indian corn.



You can read about the mantle here.



Anyone for a hayride with some hot apple cider? :)

I made the sign using stencils and craft paint.



For the buffet in the dining area, I painted a pumpkin on a piece of old wood and distressed it, added the irresistible little white & orange pumpkins in the basket, and of course every arrangement needs some freshly fallen leaves. :)


I hope you are enjoying the lovely colors of fall like I am!

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Thanks for visiting!




Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Thrifty Fall Mantle


Fall is one of my favorite seasons to decorate for. What I love about it is the fact that natural things can be  displayed, directly from mother earth.


One of my favorite areas to decorate is the mantle. Since we have no actual fireplace, the primary reason I installed a mantle was so I would have one to decorate. You can read all about the mantle here , from a few years ago.

I knew I wanted a wreath hanging above the mantle, some sort of a fall-ish wreath. I checked out Pinterest and tried to come up with something I could make, and wouldn’t cost a cent. I once again thought how neat it would be to have my unfruitful bittersweet vine hanging full of berries, to make a nice fall wreath with. When I planted the vine, I didn’t realize a male and female would be needed to produce berries.So now I would need to plant two more vines since I have no idea whether the present one is a male or female… :/

Finally, I decided to try and make a burlap wreath. I really had no instructions to follow, so I had to feel my way through until I found the groove.

I started out with a piece of wire that I made into a circle, twisting the ends together. Then I cut 2”x 8” strips of burlap. I then proceeded to tie these pieces onto the wire, pushing them together as I went. At first it looked pretty hopeless, but as more strips were tied onto the wire, it took on a wreathy shape.

I didn’t take any pictures while making this,mostly because I was fairly certain it wouldn’t work out, but it turned out better than I had expected…





I trimmed some of the ends then, to give it a fuller look.


The mantle…





The “Thankful” banner is from last year and you can read about it here.



The only thing I bought here was the corn and pumpkins.

I made the old door a few years ago for one of our arbors, but had since taken it off.

The beautiful leaves are from a  Maple tree that resides beside our driveway.




I painted the jars with spray paint and distressed them using a black paint marker. The jars on the end are filled with plants from my gardens. Don’t look too closely at the one in the middle… I glued cotton to a twig, trying for a pussy willow look alike. :o





I painted this basket and put a few logs in it. (which, unfortunately will never be used in this room:()


In a few days I will be sharing a few more simple, thrifty fall decorating ideas and also a before and after makeover on this…


Pretty ugly, rite? :) (my type of makeover!)

Thanks for visiting & enjoy this wonderful season of color!


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Rustic Wedding Arbor


I am always fascinated when I go to a wedding and see all the pretty decorations and creative props. Not to say I don’t also marvel at the bride & groom and the spiffed up bridal party, but I do admit to almost looking more forward to seeing the display of center pieces, flowers and other neat décor.

I’ve always told hubby I would want to marry him again, just to decorate the wedding. :)

A little over 17 years ago we were married and had an Amish wedding, which had considerably less glitz, if you will, than the wedding we would have now. But, needless to say it was one of the best days of my life and we are just as “married” as a glitzy wedding would have made us.

But, as I was saying, I always thought someday I would love to make some props and decorations to rent out for a shabby chic-ish, rustic, vintagey kind of wedding. I figured a good place to start would be an arbor. After all, what looks more complete by the alter, or even in the back of the aisle where everyone walks through, than an arbor?

A few weeks ago I found some perfect old barn wood in a sale. I began envisioning an arbor. So, this past week I worked on one, in my spare time.

It was probably one of the more difficult things I ever made, mostly because I had to work with angles. (I was never a numbers person) It was also a challenge since I had to build it so that it could be fairly easily taken apart again to move it.

Here are some pictures I took along the way. I didn’t take step by step pics because of the complexity of it but you can see how it slowly evolved. It’s a far cry from perfect, but that’s the neat thing about rustic.. it doesn’t have to be perfect!




This beadboard looked like this when I bought it! It made my day. :)








Finally, all painted and ready to use…





Old ship lap boards for the roof (they had the perfect finish already) …



Bolts to fasten the posts…



I will never tire of beadboard…







Okay, lots of pictures from all angles :)..







The sun was shining it’s brightest the day I took these so the lighting isn’t great, but I imagine this arbor decked out in burlap and flowers, or even sheer fabric would make it a nice display for a wedding, or even other parties.



If you are local and are interested in renting this arbor or know of anyone that is, please let me know! You can contact me through my porchswings n’ honeysuckle facebook page.

Have a great week you all!