Altered Designs in Holly, Michigan

It’s always beautiful in Holly, no matter the weather. But when it’s sunny and 72 degrees like it was today, that’s hard to beat!

Holly, Michigan is the home of Altered Designs, our favorite place to shop in town.

Many people who visit Altered Designs comment on how friendly everyone is. All guests are greeted warmly and immediately sense the welcome is genuine.

Holly Harrington-Herrick and her team at Altered Designs do an incredible job arranging items throughout the store. A person could visit every week and still have the feeling they have walked in the first time. Inspiring that kind of interest is not an easy task. The folks at Altered Designs are particularly gifted at doing just that.

There is an unmistakable warmth at Altered Designs that encourages folks to slow down just a bit. Breathe deeply, take shorter steps, and take the time to see with new eyes.

One of the most commonly spoken phrases in a retail space is, “No thanks, I’m just looking.” At AD, when help is offered to guests, I think a more likely response could be, “Right now I’m just enjoying this.”

I absolutely love the copper wire tree artwork. It’s difficult to describe the beauty of these pieces. Bundles of copper wire are twisted and shaped into amazing treescapes. The frames are handmade for each individual piece. There are just two photos here, but many incredible copper wire creations are available. The artwork will capture your attention and you’ll immediately begin thinking where in your home you should place it.

Many artisans make up the family at Altered Designs. Visitors will never, however, have the feeling of moving from one “vendor booth” to another. We are happy to be a part of the artisan group at Altered Designs with our “Up North Flannels”.

Altered Designs has an ideal location in Holly, 101 South Saginaw Street, on the south-east corner of South Saginaw Street and East Maple Street.

Of course, whenever we go to Holly, we start our morning with breakfast at the Bittersweet Cafe. The cafe is right across the street from Altered Designs. With delicious food, great coffee, and a very cozy place to enjoy a meal while shopping in Holly, Bittersweet Cafe is a favorite.

When you have an opportunity to visit Holly, make your first destination Altered Designs. Then be sure to include the Bittersweet Cafe. Holly will become a frequent choice in your travel plans.

Cottage Outfitters Hosts Flannel Fest

February 11-12, this Friday and Saturday, is the annual Shanty Days celebration in Caseville, Michigan. If you love winter activities, you’ll love Shanty Days. This weekend is also Flannel Fest at Cottage Outfitters in Caseville!

Jonathon Bibby, owner of Cottage Outfitters, has been working diligently to prepare for Flannel Fest. The cabin room is amazing, and everyone who visits will be immediately captured by the need to stay for a while and enjoy the “up north” comfort.

Flannel Fest is about enjoying the winter weather while wearing a comfortable and warm flannel shirt. Jonathon has a great stock of Up North Flannels from which to choose. Just about any color combination, with many variations of plaid is ready and waiting for you.

New this year for Flannel Fest is a line of comfortable and warm hats called, “Trappers.” There are several colors available, like the one in the photo with buffalo plaid and fur.

Cottage Outfitters continues to be the place where folks love to shop for items for their home and cottage. Jonathon is a master at creating spaces that evoke feelings of comfort and peace. Not only is he a great designer, he’s one of those special people who will make you feel at home, no matter who you are.

During our visit today, I was really excited to see a big display of Sander’s Fudge Topping! Oh my gosh, are you kidding me? Everyone knows Sander’s ice cream toppings. I have to admit, fudge is my favorite, but the caramel is fabulous!

If you have never owned a flannel shirt, which, I think, is almost impossible to believe, you are in for a real treat. If you can imagine wrapping yourself in something that gives a sense of comfort, warmth, home, and “up north,” then you’ve just found a flannel shirt. The only problem will be you won’t want to take it off.

If you head for Caseville for Shanty Days, or just to get away for a while, make sure to stop at Cottage Outfitters and enjoy Flannel Fest. Say hello to Jonathon. But then again, he’ll say hello to you first, I’m sure.

It’s a Michigan Thing

I have mentioned my lovely wife many times and have also written about her Up North shirts. We have a lot of fun looking for flannel shirts to repurpose. She sells the shirts in a couple of stores and we have sold them in a local farmers’ market. She recently wrote the following.

“Michigan! Michigan’s geography is known through some common descriptors such as, ‘The Land of Many Waters,’ a ‘Winter Wonderland’ or a ‘Pleasant Peninsula.’ Michigan has four distinct seasons, which all have unique characteristics! And, it may be the only state where you use your hand to show people where you are from. ‘I live in the thumb,’ I say, and people look back with a confused expression. So, I then resort to the ‘one hundred miles north of Detroit’ reference and they knowingly nod.

“Michigan folks have the opportunity to enjoy vacationing year round if they wish. Every Michigander knows the term ‘Up North.’ Up North might be an hour’s drive to a destination in the thumb on the shoreline of Lake Huron or Saginaw Bay. It might be 200 miles north to the Straits of Mackinac or to the west, to the shores of Lake Michigan. There are numerous campgrounds and resorts sprinkled all over the state, and activities that we can enjoy through every season.

“It is upon this concept, which I chose to name my repurposed flannels ‘Up North Shirts.’ My ‘Up North Shirts’ are perfect for sitting around a campfire in the North woods or taking in the sunrise on your deck as you sip your morning coffee. It’s something you can throw on, on a chilly day as you dash out to get the mail or run to the grocery store. Each is versatile, cozy and soft, and feels comfortable against your skin. I never leave home without mine!”

Who doesn’t love a great flannel shirt? We had great fun this Christmas as my wife selected Up North shirts for everyone in our family.

It’s obvious she is the real writer of the family. She is a certified elementary English teacher, and even though the majority of her career was teaching Social Studies to middle school students, she taught English as well. It’s very similar to the years of music we performed together, and still do, once in a while. She is the real singer. My favorite, as a matter of fact.

Whether you are a Michigander, or you’re reading this in the UK, or Alaska, or Ireland, it’s important to find a great flannel shirt. (No, we don’t sell them online, or do mail-order, we don’t have a website – we’re not interested in starting down that road.) It’s just fun for us, and several people have been happy to find our Up North Flannels.

Here’s to many enjoyable nights around a crackling fire, snug in a flannel shirt while you sip your coffee.