Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Beach Balls Made of Ice!

Get your jacket on and come along with me 
to see beach balls made of ice on the shores of Lake Michigan.

I know it's April, but its been a long, long winter 
and the ice has just recently broken up along the coast of the lake.  
I have read about the phenomena of ice balls forming on the beach 
and I had to go see it for myself.

The frozen edges of the Great Lakes are absolutely otherwordly.

These "mountains" of ice form every year along the coast.
They are very dangerous to climb on, but very compelling to explore.

The action of the wind and the waves creates a churning, sloshing cauldron 
of bone chillingly cold water
that spews out globules of ice in infinite sizes.

It's pretty darn amazing.

My faithful dog, Burly was happy to come along.

To see her romp around on the beach and clamber over the ice
is to see JOY in it's purest form.  
She is in heaven when she is at the beach.
Come to think of it, so am I....

But I digress.

These photos offer a glimpse of the amazing, majestic power and beauty of the Great Lakes.
I was captivated by the sparkling, splashing water
and took endless pictures trying to capture it.

Always changing, always astonishing.

The waves were roaring and the wind was powerful.
It was fascinating to see.

These aren't rocks, they're balls of ice!

A view to the south, showing the other side of the ice "mountains".

We had a great day, Burly and me.
We never saw another soul on the beach.  The solitude is remarkable.
I'm so grateful to have this place to visit and to share.

Back up the dune, or BuzzKill Hill as we like to call it.

One last glance back before we go inside to warm up.

Truly, Just Grand!

Linking to:
Inspire Me Monday at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Inspire Me Tuesdays at A Stroll Through Life
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Kitchen Planning

Big News
A Question for my Readers...

First the big news-
It is really happening!
We are finally going to remodel our much loved but worn out 
and outdated 25 year old kitchen. 
It's time.

And I have to say- 
I love having a kitchen designer helping me with my kitchen remodeling plans.
I have been designing kitchens for many years 
and when it comes to figuring out what my customers need, 
I can usually zero right in and make recommendations without hesitation.
For my own kitchen, not so much...

Enter Sharon, from Amish Custom Kitchens in Chicago. 
Sharon has been patiently and thoughtfully working with me 
as I evaluate and re-evaluate and re-re-evaluate layouts and designs.

I have been very busy not blogging while I agonize over every inch of my kitchen plans.
And now, we are very, very close to actual dream kitchen status.
The cabinets have been ordered and will be delivered in May.
Demolition is scheduled to begin in late April. 
The whole project will hopefully be complete by June 
so we can get plenty of Michigan time in this summer.

My kitchen has served us well for a long time.
Remodeling it was the first thing we did when we moved into this house. 
I was not yet a kitchen designer but I worked with our builder 
to create the new space and include as much as our budget allowed.
We moved in in September, and about a week later the remodeling began.
The kitchen sink was installed on Christmas Eve and I had never had a better Christmas present!
As you can see from the picture below, Oak was king and we had it in spades!
I was quite proud of it for many years. 

Fast forward to 2014.
My kitchen is dark and dated.
Soffits, laminate countertops, and oak everywhere.
The appliances began to tire out and have been replaced.
I have been nursing the cooktop (above) along for several years- 
it's the last remaining original appliance.
New ovens, a new dishwasher and a new refrigerator have all been in place for months  
while we debated the value of remodeling the kitchen.

One of the things that bothers me most about the kitchen is how dark it is.
It's in the middle of the original part of the house so it has no windows, 
only light borrowed from the adjacant family room that we added on to the back of the house..
Look at that dark corner between the oven and the refrigerator!
I'll explain the green tape in a bit.

When we painted the powder room vanity recently, 
we were thrilled by the way it brightened up the room.
The same red oak cabinets in the kitchen were used in the powder room.
I wrote a post about painting the doors that you can read about here.

Let me refresh your memory...
Here is the before picture of the vanity:

And here is the After:

If we had any doubts about what white cabinets could do for our kitchen, 
they were erased by this project.
Time to pull the trigger on the kitchen remodeling plan.

We have spent hours debating layouts and trying the changes on for size.  
Mr. Grand has been remarkably patient with me...
The green tape in the picture below was used to simulate the dimensions of one island option. 
Adding an island is our number one reason for remodeling the kitchen.
In order to fit an island into our kitchen, other things must be sacrificed. 
The wall on the right, below, is going to be removed as is the penninsula on the left. 
The refrigerator will be moved to the wall where you see the two vertical pieces of green tape. 
There will be lots of other changes that I'll share as we go along 
but this gives you a basic idea of what the plan is.

I haven't been this excited since we bought our little cottage...

And now, on to my Question for you!

I have a few more days until no more changes can be made to the cabinetry order.
(Poor Sharon thinks we are done.)
And I keep thinking, what am I not thinking of?
Is there anything else I should be including?
So now, dear readers, I'm asking for your input!

Please tell me-
What is your favorite part of your own kitchen?
Is there one thing you have in your kitchen that you cannot do without?
I would love to hear from you!

Linking to :
Inspire Me Monday at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Cottage Style Magazine Feature!

I'm pretty sure that most writers, blogger and designers 
have a secret desire to have their work published....

I know I always have.

That's why I am so excited to tell you 
that our little Michigan beach cottage has been featured in a national magazine!
Pinch me!
And cross a big one off my bucket list!

Early last fall, sweet adorable Amy of While Wearing Heels fame 
referred Gridley and Graves, the awesome professional photographers, 
to check out the photos of our cottage on this blog. 
They were interested and came to visit.
They spent a day photographing our cottage for Cottage Style Magazine.
That was a lot of fun, at least for me. They were working pretty hard....

The photos in this post are all Gridley and Graves photos, used with their permission.
They are wonderful.
(Both the photos and Gridley and Graves!)

This one is my favorite.

It's the back of the cottage and the outdoor shower that Mr. Grand built.
Might just be my favorite place....

They made the front porch room look pretty blissful.

I wrote this blog post about this room back in 2012.
The Gridley and Graves photos are so superior to mine it's incredible.

It was fun to watch them move my accessories around a little 
and rearrange things so they photograph well.

I set the table for the day, hoping they would like it.
I combined some vintage glasses and plates with some newer things 
and I loved how the colors turned out.

The blue stretch glass plates were my Mom's.
I really wish she could see this....

And here's the kitchen...

The green wall paint is not really that minty, 
but it's such a small room and not well lit.

Here's another view into the kitchen.

I wrote posts about the kitchen here and the salvaged table here.

This is a nice overview of the living room and dining area.  
Those professional lenses capture the space so beautifully!

Darling daughter painted the stripey/wavy canvas art.
I bought a blank canvas years ago and gave it to her to paint something in the cottage colors.
Each summer she paints right over the last years' effort 
but I think this one is a keeper! 

The birdhouse and the aqua blue Blenko carafe were my Mom's too.

And finally, here's a great picture of our sweet dog, Burly.

She sat so patiently for this photo- 
you would have thought it was her dream to be in a magazine, too!

There are more photos and a very nice article in Cottage Style Magazine.
There are several cottage related decorating magazines out now, 
so if you want to find this one,
(and I hope you do)
here's what the cover looks like:

It's on the newstand now, at book and grocery stores.

Now that's Just Grand!

Linking to:
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Tuesdays Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Inspire Me Tuesdays at A Stroll Through Life
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Feathed Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Fabulously Creative Friday at Jennifer Rizzo
Furniture Feature Friday at Miss Mustard Seed

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