Door County 2015

The weather was cool and blustery in Door County, Wisconsin–much as it was here in Central Illinois.  But it was Autumn on Lake Michigan.  The cool weather increased my appetite–or maybe it was the wonderful restaurants and regional treats!

Cedar Court Inn--our home-away-from-home in the Door.

Cedar Court Inn–our home-away-from-home in the Door.

Cedar Court is located in Fish Creek, one of the more active villages on the bay side of the peninsula.  We used the gas fireplace quite a bit on this trip.

Butch contemplating Lake Michigan from the red granite breakwater at the Egg Harbor Marina.

Butch contemplating Lake Michigan from the red granite breakwater at the Egg Harbor Marina.

The marina at Egg Harbor is my favorite.  Butch likes the activity and larger boats at Fish Creek.

Overlook at Ellison Bay

Shopping at Chelsea Antiques and The Blue Willow gift shops on Route 57 out of Sister Bay was a fun experience.  Beautiful things everywhere.  We found our Liberty pattern English Staffordshire china displayed in the antique shop but I came out with the Irish CD they were playing.

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It’s all about the Lake.  A great view of open water at the Ellison Bay County Park Overlook off Route 42.

When you order a small Junior Sundae at Wilson's in Ephraium, be prepared for a mountain of homemade ice cream covered in whipped cream!

When you order a small Junior Sundae at Wilson’s in Ephraim, be prepared for a mountain of homemade ice cream covered in whipped cream!

The waves were high on the lake side at Cave Point. Mesmerizing.

The waves were high on the lake side at Cave Point. Mesmerizing.

The waves were high enough for surfing.  On days such as this it is apparent how the lake carves the limestone cliffs into caves and grottoes.

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More shopping at another favorite–Pipka’s in Sister Bay–the artist’s shop and studio.  I bought vintage tinsel trim for a future project yet unknown and a small package of die-cut cherry scrap.  Pipka is a paper and media artist who is known for her collectable Santas.

Butch checked out the sale items at The Peninsula Golf Club’s pro shop.  We were delighted to find they build a six-hole course across from The Peninsula course that is very reasonable and can be played with a 7, chipper and putter.  Next time we are playing for sure.

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The White Gull Inn, our favorite place for breakfast and a fish boil.  It is a short walk from our room at Cedar Court.

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The warm and welcoming foyer of The White Gull.  After 8 a.m. on the weekends there is usually a wait for a table.

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We shopped two favorite farm markets on the way out of the Door.  I fell in love with one of those peach-colored pumpkins, bought a dozen cider apple donuts for the family at home and stocked up on Door County cherry pie filling.  It is great to have in the pantry for quick coffee cakes and cobblers too.  After the pumpkin has passed over into pumpkin land, I will harvest the seeds to grow my own next season.  Every woman should have her Cinderella pumpkin.

We are storing good memories of Door County away for another year.


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We are in a flurry of hurry as we prepare for Saturday’s SEPTEMBER SALE at Farm Grove, 18886 Springfield Road, Groveland, IL  61535.  10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Our family is having this sale to keep the creative juices flowing after 26 years in the collectible/retail business–and to make use of this beautiful country property.  How many can say they have a white rock parking lot in their front yard?  Well, when you convert your shop and restaurant into a barn home, that is what happens!

Here are the latest preview pics of our farmhouse, urban chic’ and collectible displays.  If it has a tag–it is FOR SALE.  Come visit and bring a friend.

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September Wreath Workshop for Peoria Garden Club

The weather was a temperate 82 degrees with a gentle breeze and sunshine–an idyllic day for a visit to our Farm Grove gardens from the Peoria Garden Club.  I demonstrated how to craft everlasting wreaths from flowers and berries grown in our own gardens.

Welcoming the group.

Welcoming the group.


Showing how to pin sweet Annie artemesia to a straw base with greening pins.  Begin on the outside of the wreath; overlap bunches in order to cover the pin from the previous bunch.  Then pin small bunches to the inside of the circle.  Finally, pin base material to the top.  Check to make sure materials are evenly distributed.  Lay flat to dry in a warm, dry area.


Displaying a finished wreath.  After the base has dried, use a hot glue gun to attach accent flowers such as dried yarrow, roses, crab apples, bittersweet, bay leaves, sourdock heads, and cockscomb.

Cutting cockscomb celosia.

Cutting cockscomb celosia.

I also demonstrated how to use a vine wreath as a base for everlastings.  The open weave of vine wreaths are an ideal base for gluing dried flowers and fillers.  I fashioned a wreath from pastel pink and white dried peonies, blue larkspur, blue hydrangia, burgundy cockscomb, white yarrow, and Lamb’s ear blooms and frosted it with sea lavender [statice caspia].

Crafting from a harvest of fragrant flowers and herbs is a pleasant way to spend a day in the country.   Farm Grove everlasting wreaths are available for sale at the SEPTEMBER SALE, Saturday, September 26–10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Farm Grove on Springfield Road, Groveland, IL.



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Old-fashion Cockscomb Celosia

Cockscomb Celosia–the country garden plant that keeps on giving.  I don’t plant celosia–it plants itself.  Each season it drops enough seeds to grow another crop the following summer.  It doesn’t emerge until after I have turned and tilled the green bean bed.  As the beans come up, so does the celosia, existing happily together.

The flowers do not form and begin to grow tall until the beans are finished; they do not hamper my bean picking at all.  And once I pull the spent bean plants, the celosia continues to flourish, adding a lovely touch of color to the late summer garden.


Celosia is an everlasting flower meaning it will keep its shape and color when air-dried.  I pick it to add to colorful autumn wreaths.  The deep burgundy color is a wonderful foil for the bright yellow of yarrow and orange of bittersweet.


This autumn wreath is accented with burgundy cockscomb, dried red roses, yellow yarrow, and brown sourdock heads.  The base is wormwood and silver king artemesia.  Dried wreaths when displayed inside will last for years.  Several wreaths of different designs will be available at the Farm Grove SEPTEMBER SALE, September 26, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cockscomb celosia has the look and feel of velvet.

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I am a Midwest, central Illinois gal.  For as long as I can remember, the Morton Pumpkin Festival has taken place the second week of September, just shortly after the kids go back to school.  It was something we looked forward to throughout the year.  But this year, the date was changed to the THIRD week of September because of a late Labor Day.

This is momentous to me because I had already sent out promotional material that our Farm Grove September Sale would take place Sat., Sept. 19–WRONG.  That is the same day as the all-American pumpkin parade in Morton.  No self-respecting area gal would set a sale on that day of all days!!!

So without further ado, I hereby change the date of the sale to September 26.






[One day only; cash or check.  No refunds or returns.]



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The Promise of Pumpkins — And a New Sale Date!

Pumpkin vine on the picket fence

Pumpkin vine on the picket fence

Fall brings out the passion for all things autumn.  This year I planted pumpkins in any bit of earth I thought had enough sun for them to flourish.  The vines in the step beds behind the picket fence are doing well.  I spotted at least four pumpkins; one is even turning a creamy yellow.  My husband is not happy that the exuberant vine in the picture is creeping its way toward the front lawn; I am trying to convince it to remain in the perennial border so its tendrils are not clipped by the lawn mower.

This fall especially I want a lot of pumpkins for our September Sale.  Pumpkins on hay bales, pumpkins on garden pedestals, pumpkins in old galvanized tubs and buckets and farm baskets…

SPEAKING OF PUMPKINS…The Morton Pumpkin Festival threw me a surprise curve this year.  I set my sale date on what I thought was the weekend AFTER the festival.  Wrong!  For the first time in my recollection the festival is the third week of September, not the second.  Someone mentioned the date had to do with the late Labor Day.  As a result, our Farm Grove September Sale will be SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26th beginning at 10 a.m. 


Grow little pumpkin!

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Getaway Galena

The Streets of Old Galena, Illinois

The Streets of Old Galena, Illinois

To celebrate our 43rd anniversary, my husband and I took an over-night trip to Galena, Illinois.  Breath-taking views as we turned onto Highway 20 reminded us the northwest corner of Illinois is a refreshing departure from flat prairie.  We spent our time browsing the shops fueled by gelato and chocolate.  I found a pair of Euro slacks at Collette’s that may just change my life.  They are so slimming–I love them!  Savvy Scavenger’s carries close-out fashions at fabulous prices.  I purchased a soft fall scarf in pumpkin and slate.  My new slacks just happen to be the color of gray slate.

Our home-away-from-home was The Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel featuring an authentic pub restaurant, O’Dowd’s.  Good food and some traditional Irish specialties such as Shepherd’s Pie are served in a traditional atmosphere with a nice view of  woods and hills.  The pub features live entertainment on stage Friday and Saturday evenings.

Although it is The Irish Cottage, the cozy refers to the environment not the amenities.  They offer an indoor pool, fully equip workout facility and spa.  Breakfast is complimentary and served near the library and lounge.  Each room is given a basket with fresh fruit and scones–to-die-for scones.  They were soft and delicious!  Guests can help themselves to an additional breakfast assortment of English muffins, eggs, yogurt, juice and coffee.  We ate on a raised dais in the library filled with works from well-known Irish authors.  Baskets of large shiny red apples decorated the side tables for “help yourself.”

Comfy leather furniture, woodwork and books--the library.

Comfy leather furniture, woodwork and books–the library.


O'Dowd's Pub

O’Dowd’s Pub

Hotel Entrance

Hotel Entrance

Welcome to the Irish Cottage!

Welcome to the Irish Cottage!

This very comfortable hotel made our short stay feel much longer.  It is located near Grant’s Home in Galena on Route 20.



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