March 28, 2015

Shaggy’s Company Skis to Success


Like most kids, Jeff and Jonathon Thompson loved taking things apart and putting them back together, never thinking that their inquisitiveness might lead to a new family business. They were teenagers when they first built a surfboard with the help of … [Read more...]

Croff Craft Custom Driftboats: Small Boats With Big Attitude


Phil Croff wasn’t planning to start a boat-building business when he constructed his first driftboat in 2006, using Michigan cedar and walnut. He was looking for a safe way to fish rivers at night—a time when big brown trout come out to feed and anglers … [Read more...]

Mitten Bar Fits Her Like A Glove

Everything at The Mitten Bar, from the dozen beers on tap to hard cider, is made in Michigan.

When is a beer not just a beer? When it’s the ideology behind a gathering place for those who enjoy the camaraderie shared over a handcrafted adult beverage. That’s the thinking that launched The Mitten Bar, a Ludington hangout that serves only … [Read more...]

Asparagus Wine Is ‘One of a Kind’

As a girl, Kellie Chase had her fill of picking asparagus on the family’s West Michigan farm. Making wine from the vegetable—making any kind of wine—was as far-removed from her thinking as the big city excitement she longed for. “I was one of those kids … [Read more...]

Trenary Wood Products: White Cedar From the Heart of the U.P.

Steve Boyer stands next to ready-to-ship bundles of shingles from the Trenary Wood Products business he owns with his wife, Sharon. Visit to see more products, or contact them by e-mail at or call 906-446-3326.

The incense of cut cedar fills the air; motes of sawdust drift through the sunlight that streams through large windows. The high-pitched whine of the saw makes conversation difficult as the four-man crew cuts, sorts, squares off, and packs. Trenary Wood … [Read more...]

Fish Carver Extraordinaire!


Where most people see a cedar fence post, Dave Kober sees a trout. Or a perch. Or maybe even a turtle or a frog. Kober carves fish decoys—both working decoys that fishermen use when spearing through the ice, and decorative decoys that exist purely for … [Read more...]

Jewelry With a Past

Creative keepsakes made from broken dishes. In a thick binder filled with photos of Lois Miller’s work, every pitcher tells a story. As does every dinner plate, serving platter, cup and saucer that she transforms from a piece of china with sentimental … [Read more...]

Chocolates To Love


Sweethearts have expressed their affection with heart-shaped boxes of chocolates since British candy maker Richard Cadbury introduced the romantic packaging for Valentine’s Day in 1861. The custom endures, with some retailers filling the void left by … [Read more...]

Neighbors Create New Plow to ‘Bully’ Winter

Paul Starner demonstrates an eco-friendly, easy-to-use snow plow that he and his neighbor, Jerry Schichtel, developed and call the “Snow Bully.” Their website is

Tired of being “bullied by the snow,” Paul Starner and Jerry Schichtel, of Traverse City, decided to fight back. They created the Snow Bully, a four-wheel steel shovel with a 34-inch blade that clears snow easily. “It was an invention of necessity,” … [Read more...]

The Craft Lady of Caro

Mollie’s Blankie Baby pattern was featured in Living Crafts magazine.

According to, if Molli Hartel unraveled all the yarn she’s crafted into projects this year it would stretch about 173 miles. It would reach from her home in Caro to the family’s log cabin at Fife Lake, south of Traverse City, and back to the … [Read more...]