One of my Favorite Things to Do



In my newly adopted home, Traverse City, Michigan, is a community center named Michael’s Place, whose function is to welcome and care for individuals and families who are grieving the loss of loved ones.  My dear friend, Chris Dennos, established Michaels Place over 15 yrs ago and it has grown from a small nucleus serving children of affected families to a thriving community offering grief classes and support groups for all ages, as well as  serving area schools whose students and faculty have experienced a collective loss.

They also sponsor an event 4 times a year, Create-A-Keepsake, when families are invited to bring in their loved ones clothing or other memorabilia and work with volunteers to create a pillow or stuffed animal from these items.  I’ve latched on to this event like a barnacle, not letting go.  The process of working with a child ( and/or parent) to conceive and execute one of these keepsakes is a slow and steady one, and allows for a lot of story-telling, listening, laughing and compassion. Every time I volunteer at these events I come home filled with gratitude.

I’m pictured above late 2015 with 4 keepsake bears made for  a family of kids who had lost their mom a few months before.  Each bear was made out of a pair of her pajamas.



Back when Santa was still busy in his workshop…

  I had some elves working at Meg Staley Handmade!!! Kathryn And Duncan Penfold plastered the studio with hand-printed cloth napkins – gifts for unsuspecting family members. I couldn’t resist a shot of all this unapologetic RED!!! 

A terrific way to cheer up an otherwise grey winterscape. No snow for Christmas this year. Though Mother Nature has skedaddled to make up for that in the first 2 weeks of 2016. Happy new year!!


Our friends, Mary Rothenbeuhler and Jeff Katz, actually found themselves at  Fake Rock Farm on their way from New York to a family gathering in Sioux Falls, SD. Jeff was also on the literary trail, seeking out the settings and childhood home of author Jim Harrison.  Since the farm is rarely on the way to anything, we were impressed and honored to be included in the loop.  Mary, being the clever graphic designer she is, constructed a terrific “travel brochure” as diary of their visit.  Click below to see the fun….


A Day in the Life of Blue Chicken***

IMG_2171Up early, Blue Chicken gets the “lay” of the land, while Doris, her coop-mate, looks on in awe.

IMG_2183Before anything else, she checks her email and Facebook.

IMG_2174Occasionally she needs to spend some time with 4-leggeds.

IMG_2181IMG_2186After taking a leak, it’s back to the studio to work on Jerry’s Map.

IMG_2169The coop is cozy enough for roosting, but it’s a little early for bed.

IMG_2196Blue Chicken’s no fool.  She goes under the covers with Bubba, another 4 legged friend. Sweet dreams, you two.

***Blue Chicken is the handiwork of Leelanau County artist, Brad Ingraham, whose work is shown at Cog’s Creek Gallery, Traverse City, Michigan.  She joined the flock at Fake Rock Farm last November for my husband, Jerry Gretzinger’s birthday.