Suttons Bay

Over the July 4th Holiday our family took a mini vacation to Suttons Bay, Michigan. It is one of the small towns along the infamous M22– a 116 mile stretch of highway along the beautiful Lake Michigan coastline in the upper lower peninsula.

Located in gorgeous Leelanau county, famous for its 27 wineries, Suttons Bay is 20 miles North of Traverse City and is a small quaint waterfront town with specialty shops, eateries and it’s own beach.

I was able to snag a cute little 2-bedroom apartment for us that allowed dogs. It was located above an art gallery right on the main street. We arrived in the early evening and after getting settled in, we explored the town, ate a delicious meal outside at the historic V.I.Grill and then capped off the night with amazing ice cream from 22 Scoops!

The next day, July 2nd, was my husband’s birthday. Lucky dog– his birthday always coincides with the national holiday and we frequently do a little get away given the extra time off of work.

For that day we decided to check out Torch Lake. If you’re not familiar, this long inland lake is known as the “Caribbean of the Midwest”. Although it is quite deep in areas, it boasts an enormous sandbar where the water is only about 3′ deep — a haven for boaters and partiers! And in these shallow areas the water sparkles under the sun, even the deeper lake is a gorgeous blue!

While the main beach/park was closed, we found a small little outlet to swim. It was extremely refreshing after the 90° heat wave we were experiencing.

Afterward, B and I toasted his birthday with margaritas and we all enjoyed a Mexican dinner in Traverse City.

The last couple of days we did a bit of local shopping, drove along M22 to explore the other waterfront towns around us, visited the Grand Traverse Bay Lighthouse, went to the local Suttons Bay beach and ended each night with a giant scoop of ice cream from 22 Scoops!

Maude’s Garage

A couple of years ago our family went on a Michigan vacation to the West side of the state, Ludington to be exact. It’s a great little coastal town on Lake Michigan with neat little shops and restaurants and a wonderful beach. And if you take scenic route M22 up the coast you reach the famous Sleeping Bear Dunes. We packed a ton into that trip and had a wonderful get away.

Maude’s Garage

One of the places that has stood out in my memory is a great store called Maude’s Garage in downtown Ludington. The store is actually in an old garage that’s been converted and inside you find hand-made fine art pieces, up-cycled and reclaimed furniture, vintage jewelry, unique and wacky gifts, etc.; just the kind of place I can get lost in for days. And you can’t miss it: just look for the old vintage red truck out front covered in antiques and flowers.

I took this photo and it has to be one of all-time favorites! I knew one day i would paint it. Well, the day (or days/ weeks/ months I should say) finally came. This has been my latest project, between everything else going on, it’s taken a while, but I finally completed it last week and couldn’t be more happy.

It certainly presented a challenge because at the time I took the photograph I wasn’t thinking about a future painting project and so some views were missing – namely the front of the truck! A couple of months ago, when I began the project, I didn’t know the name of the store. It was only today when I was doing my research for the blog write up that I stumbled upon the name and some great photos of the entire truck that I was missing. Talk about learning a lesson!

Maude’s Garage
Drawing_Graphite Pencil on Canvas Paper

Without my own photos I headed to the internet to find the missing piece of the puzzle. I researched 1930’s Ford pick-up trucks until I found one that looked exactly like Maud’s. I learned that it is a 1934 Ford Model V8 1 1/2-Ton Stake Truck. You can check out a brand new replica Stake Truck here (and it can be yours for only $93,6000!). I combined my photos along with what I found to create the initial drawing.

Maude’s Garage
Putting in Darks w Oil

The next step was to paint in the darks. Then, I layered in the intermediate colors and began detailing the truck.

I continued by adding in the light hues, the flowers, and details. I must admit I really struggled with getting the front end of the truck and tire just right and repainted it several times until I was happy. It will be perfect in our home and will always remind me of that wonderful little vacation in Ludington!

Maude’s Garage
Finished Painting