Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Decor

The other day, I picked up a copy of the March issue of Domino magazine. If you don't subscribe to this, you should! I'm sending in my subscription soon because it is GREAT! Anyway, in the magazine, I saw an ad for this peel & stick tree. It's like a vinyl window cling, but it's made for your walls (like those inspirational quotes that you can buy to put on your wall). I ordered it ASAP, and it arrived today. I had to assemble the tree on the wall, using their photo, but was able to adjust it so that it fit around our family calendar. You can even peel off the pieces, move them and re-stick them. There is nothing there to harm your paint. I absolutely love it, and think that it looks great. This is our small wall in our kitchen area. I ordered it from Check it out!

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Collecting Sap

It's been 10 years since we last collected sap and made Maple Syrup, but since we do live in the "Sweetest Little Town Around", Blue River Mill decided that they needed to get in on the action. This time Walker is a full participant. There wasn't much he could help with the last time around since he was only 8 months old. Here is is collecting today's sap. They collected over 37 gallons today alone! You'll also note the large lake in the background. This is what our entire yard (actually, our entire county) looks like after 2 days straight of heavy rain!

Here, Walker wanted to show you the full plastic can of the sap that they collected today. Before they pour the sap from the small buckets into this one, they pour it through coffee filters (see the last photo).

The sap goes from this can into another container and then slowly runs into this boiler. As the sap boils, the steam is AMAZING to smell (think marshmallows toasting over the open fire). From here, the sap goes into another container where it is filtered again and boiled down into the final syrup. Last night, Walker was allowed to skim and eat the foam off of the top of the boiled sap with a large spoon. He can't wait to do that again!!! If you wondered what you might be getting for Christmas from the Priests...

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Blue River Mill has a Catalog!

Well, they almost have a catalog! I just finished putting together a full color 20-page catalog of all of the things that Kevin and Ken have been building. It has tables and chairs, barstools and pub stools, walking sticks and canes, children's rocking toys, beds, dressers, end tables, grilling planks, coasters, benches, children's blocks and more! I feel like I've been working a full 2nd job as I've worked on this. It's pretty amazing to see what they've built over the past several months, and I'm grateful that Kirk bought Amy a GREAT camera this year for Christmas (thanks for all of your hard work on the photos)! We're going up to Mackinaw at the end of the month where Kevin is hoping to meet with store owners. We even contacted Dana Beasley who is planning on helping us get the catalog printed. She's also going to work on an upright banner that will come with a stand to display when Kevin sells items at places like craft shows and the Home Show. While I'm on Spring Break this week, we are also going to change website hosts and I'm going to re-design the website so that Kevin can post all of the items from the catalog before he starts meeting with store owners. Below is Kevin's first dining room table and set of 6 chairs. He loved making the table...the chairs, not so much!

Don't you love how Kirk and Amy set up a bedroom right in my front yard! They did this while I was at work and literally robbed the sheets off my real bed. It was fun to look at what they put together, and think about where they had to snoop in my house to find the stuff! The neat thing about the bedstands is that if you make them a little shorter and take out the drawer, they become perfect end tables.

Kevin has also been working on 2 and 4 foot shelves. For these, he peels the bark from the wood, and uses a wire brush to clean up the wood. It is not fully sanded on the bottom, so that you can see the natural markings in the wood.

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More Catalog Photos

Ken has made these rocking toys for all of the grandchildren, but these are the first two that he made for Blue River Mill. Walker loved his blue motercycle, and rode it daily when he was young!

This is the bench that Kevin made for my dad's birthday. If you visit Mackinaw, you can sit here and enjoy the view of the bridge!

After visiting the kids at CMU's preschool last year (they were interested in building stools), Kevin designed this children's table and stools. He also has a small bench that seats two for use at the table as well.

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More from the Catalog

These are the two stools that go with pub table that Kevin made for our living room.

We have seen grilling planks at several touristy type stores and at gourmet food stores. Kevin made some for Christmas presents last year and is now getting ready to mass produce them. Below you will see the plank that we used to grill food for our catalog photo shoot (it tasted great too!). The other picture is of the packaged planks. I put together a paper cover for the planks (and then Kirk took it and made it meet his standards). Kevin also bought a shrink wrap machine so that he could wrap them professionally and make them look like they belong in those same stores where we originally found them!

Here are red cedar coasters that he'll be selling in 4-packs. He will also wrap these with the shrink wrap and then tie them with the twine and business card.

So, I know that it's not excusable, but making his catalog has completely sucked my time. It has been fun to see everything come together and realize all of the different things that have been made over the winter!
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Working on the Living Room

I can't believe that it's been over a month since I've posted! There is NO excuse, but I have a couple I'll try! We finally started putting some pictures on the walls of our living room! It looks so much cozier. Here is Taylor perched in her favorite place. Without even looking, I can promise you that she is either looking up something related to Meryl Streep or Dancing With The Stars. On the wall here, you can see a watercolor by John's old teacher who now lives in Mackinaw City. On the facing wall, I'm going to frame some lighthouse pictures that I took on long boat rides in Mackinaw.
This collection of pictures are photos taken during last summer's trip to Thailand. Everytime I walk by them, it's instant memories!
Kirk and Amy bought this great mirror, and I loved it so much that I had to go and get one for myself. From Taylor's perch, you can see the fireplace in the mirror. The photos here are from my trip to Italy.
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