Heather's Hangout

Sharing the people, places & little moments that make a difference.

Creating pretty pottery at local studio October 26, 2017

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Starting the project.

I’ve been wanting to head back to the local pottery studio to make something artsy. It was meant to be when my friend mentioned she wanted to try her hand at pottery painting. So we picked an afternoon for our outing, choosing to meet at Creative Arts Studio in downtown Royal Oak (I took my niece here for an aunt/niece outing).

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The studio is a welcoming, sunshine-filled location that offers pottery painting, mosaics, glass fusing and more (I’ve only tried the pottery painting). Walk-ins are welcome and you can bring your own drinks and snacks. This studio charges a flat studio fee for adults and children, in addition to the price of the item you choose (ranging from under $5 to over $100).

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There are a lot of pottery pieces available, from vases to serving dishes to seasonal items to tea sets and more! I spent (too much) time wandering the rows of items, picking up one item only to spot another that interested me. Should I paint a coffee mug? Turtle for my great room floor? Horse-shaped bank? Bookends? Maybe a Michigan-shaped platter? I finally made myself focus, settling on a small vase since I’m a lover of flower bouquets placed around my house (hint to future boyfriend), although I mentally logged some other items I want to work on at a later time. The studio was fairly busy, plus a small birthday party group arrived shortly after us, so it was fun to look around at what others were working on. There were some really great ideas and talent in that building!

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My new vase!

The staff was very friendly and helpful. We were directed to shelves of glaze colors. The glaze is food safe on the finished product. I selected a few colors for my vase, then settled at a table with my friend to start the creative process.

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Three coats of each color is required for a deep color upon finish (it’s helpful that there are sample color tiles of the finished, three-coat color). I discovered the only challenge to working at a table with another is you ‘might’ lose track of how many coats you’ve painted while talking. Ha! So one of my colors got an extra coat because I couldn’t remember and decided I’d prefer a darker color rather than lighter.

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You write your name or initials on the bottom of your item and leave it at the studio to be fired. Pick it up in a week and you have a great item to keep or give as a gift!

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5 Michigan craft beers for summer tasting July 18, 2016

Ah, summer in Michigan. It’s a good time to relax and unwind with a refreshing, cold beer (er, every season is possibly a good time to do this!). My home state is home to many great craft breweries, with many of these receiving national recognition for their beers. I know several people who share beers across the country and Michigan beers are often in demand.

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I like many of the summer seasonal beers that Michigan’s craft breweries offer since I like to drink a lighter beer. Wheat beer still reigns as my favorite craft beer choice, and in the summer I usually expand to fruit-forward beers (similar to my summer choices for wine).

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If you consider yourself a ‘craft beer snob’ and really into craft beer, you may not agree or like my choices (a lot of craft beer drinkers prefer stouts, etc – too heavy for me!). If you like a lighter choice of drink, you may enjoy trying some of my favorites.

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Founders brews some delicious fruit beers.

Archangel, North Peak Brewing Company, Traverse City – This limited edition beer is only brewed during summer, which makes me a little crazy searching for it down state as it seems to disappear off of shelves much too quickly. It’s a great light wheat made with Traverse City cherries, giving it just a hint of fruity tartness. (Available in bottles)

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Rubaeus, Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids – Brewed year round, the raspberry-laced Rubaeus now comes in cans, making it even more perfect for summer outings! (Available in bottles and cans)

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White Devil, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., Warren – I have enjoyed this beer for many years and it continues to be one of my local ‘go-to’ beers for a refreshing, light yet tasty liquid indulgence. This Imperial White Ale has a hint of coriander and hop (but it’s not ‘hoppy’ tasting). It’s available year-round in their taproom (on draft) and I heard rumors that bottles are coming soon. (Available on draft; maybe in bottles)

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Power of Love, Short’s Brewing Company, Bellaire – This newly released beer combines a raspberry and rosemary-brewed wheat with lemonade to create a sweet, yet tart taste. (Available in bottles)

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Sun-Ra American Wheat, Black Lotus Brewery, Clawson – This fun, refreshing wheat beer tastes awesome on the outdoor patio at Black Lotus while indulging in BBQ chicken nachos. Bonus: If you like fruit beers, as obviously I do, Black Lotus also offers a Cherry Poppin’ Wheat that goes down nicely. (Available only on draft)

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BONUS: Blushing Monk, Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids – Another shout out to Founders for a delicious, refreshing fruit beer. This raspberry-filled beer is part of Founders “Backstage Series” and was last brewed in 2015. (Available in bottles, where you can find it).

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What beers do you enjoy drinking during warm months?

 

Made in Michigan event showcases local products and businesses May 7, 2016

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Homemade soap and scrub

There are so many reasons to love Michigan! Good food, wine, beer, home goods, people, parks and more! Yes, I’m probably partial since I’m a proud Michigander, but I’m sure you’ll agree once you try all that the state has to offer to residents and visitors.

The annual Made in Michigan show, running through today in downtown Mount Clemens (in Macomb County), is a great opportunity to check out some of the Michigan-based companies that produce Michigan-made items. All products featured are grown, manufactured, assembled or made in the mitten state.

I’m a big proponent of supporting Michigan businesses so was happy when my mom invited me to attend with her yesterday. We checked out the many vendors selling a variety of products, ranging from food, beauty care, clothing, yard items, art, jewelry and more. Some of my favorite vendors include Grandma Luckey’s delicious garden herb dressing, Enchanted Oak Alpaca Farm’s handmade natural body items, and VP’s Yard Art.

There are several small businesses throughout downtown Mount Clemens that offer some nice shopping experiences. We decided to stop at Bath City Bistro for dinner. The local restaurant has a diverse array of food items on the menu, including many salads, sandwiches, calzones and appetizers.

The Made in Michigan event continues through today, Saturday, May 7, from 10am-6pm. A band, Music Messengers, perform 1-6pm. There is no charge for the event.

What are some of your favorite Michigan-made products?

 

Small businesses abound in downtown Clawson December 10, 2015

For those who grew up in this small town, it’s hard to believe the changes in Clawson’s ‘business district.’ The changes are great to see – if only to encourage continued growth and success of businesses, and therefore residents. It’s no Royal Oak with the almost always busy streets…but that’s okay (in my opinion). Clawson needs to maintain the small town community feel while growing business to provide resources to its residents. It’s a careful balance. All that aside, there are some great businesses in downtown Clawson that I enjoy and think you should check out too:

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Black Lotus Brewery: I’ve enjoyed this craft brewery and restaurant since it first opened in 2006. It was one of the first non-smoking businesses in the area, and since I was a big advocate of the non-smoking law, I encouraged my friends to frequent this place as much as possible. It helps that Black Lotus brews good beer and usually has an additional good selection of guest taps. They have since expanded their food menu to include delicious options, including my favorite soft pretzel bites, barbecue chicken nachos, turkey chili and build your own burgers. And if you like to golf, especially during the winter, The Drive In offers an indoor golf simulator next door.

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Madi_coffeeKahve House: If you’re looking for a pick me up, stop by the new coffee bar, Khave. Tucked on Main Street just south of Fourteen Mile, this quaint, welcoming business offers both the standard and specialty hot and cold coffee and tea drinks. You can also nimble on tasty treats while relaxing at a table with a good book. It’s a nice getaway that usually has seating available. (Feel free to tip the young barista – she’s a working college student, and my niece.)

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Twy-Fit: After all the food and caffeine I’ve mentioned, you’ll want to work off those calories so stop by this new(er) gym on Main Street (south of Fourteen Mile). This isn’t like a traditional big box gym, in that the smaller size provides a more  personal feel and interaction with the staff. A variety of classes are offered to appeal to many interests – Zumba, yoga, kickboxing, boot camp, Pilates and more. Personal training is also available from several friendly, experienced trainers. The first class is free so really, what’s your excuse?

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Leon & Lulu: On the edge of the downtown is this eclectic shop. Whether searching for a gift, couch, wall decor or funky sculpture, you’re sure to find something out of the ordinary at this shop. For those who grew up in or around Clawson, it’s a nostalgic stop as the store fills the former Ambassador roller rink location. It’s been so transformed into a fun shopping stop that you may not recognize it but ah, the memories are there.

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D’Lazo Salon & Spa: I’ve been a client at D’Lazo for years, before it moved to this current location on Main Street. The salon offers a full range of hair treatments as well as nail service, waxing, massages and more. It’s a fun yet relaxed atmosphere to be pampered in.

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Trim: I’m going to share a secret…..while Trim is marketed as a barber shop for men (and it is), they also offer massages. And reasonably priced massages. So while their stylists are shaving faces and cutting hair, and their clients are playing pool or watching a sports game while waiting their turn, I love nothing more than being closed off from the world in their massage room with soothing music. They used to offer couples massages but are short a massage therapist right now. Now keep this a secret though because I don’t want to have to wait for an appointment.

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You can also find Flipside Records, Detroit Burger Bar, Wunderground Magic Shop and many more great businesses in Clawson. I encourage you to check them out and support this small town.

 

Be Happy Designs brings home goods to Etsy November 14, 2014

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I can finally tell my faithful followers and readers why I’ve been slacking at blogging. It’s not because I’ve been sitting on my butt doing nothing. 🙂 I’ve been occupied with making things so I could open an Etsy shop!

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IMG_2562_1Be Happy Designs is my creative outlet. From jewelry holders to wood letters to mason jar crafts and much more, there are many home decor items to choose from. My goal is to bring happiness to homes.

I’ve always enjoyed making craft projects, and the creativity that comes with those projects. I also am ready to move to a new house, so decided to make a few small home decor items. Well, those led to more ideas, more making, more creativity and soon I had so many items in the spare bedroom that I didn’t know what to do with them. I love the items you can find on Etsy so after researching the requirements for opening an online shop, I took the plunge!

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IMG_2890_1Of course I’ll continue to add new items to the shop. Thank you for your support and patience. And please feel free to check out Be Happy Designs and/or share with others.

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I wish you a day filled with happiness!

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