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Thursday, May 24, 2012

No clothesline? No problem with this DIY dropcloth tent

This weekend many families will be headed to their summer cottage or some remote campsite. Others will camp out at home. Remember how easy it was to make a backyard tent when you were a kid? Just toss an old blanket over a clothesline, stretch out the corners, secure them to the ground with a tent spike, and you and your friends were good to go.

That’s back in the day when most families had clotheslines.

So now what?

You could buy your child a tent, but what made the clothesline tent fun was making it yourself. Since I know of a few parents who are the adventurous types, I’ve enlisted the help of the creative ideas team at Lowe’s and its plans for a dropcloth tent. What’s nice about this tent is you can store it away once the kids are ready to come indoors, and you can turn it into a second project: After making the tent, let the kids paint a motif of their choosing on the sides.

The supplies add up to about $38. Here’s what you need: one dozen 1-by-2-inch by 6-foot boards (#1407); two or three 1-1/4-inch wood screws (#8); two 3/8-inch wing nuts; two 3/8-inch flat washers; two 3/8-by-2-inch hex bolts; and a 6-by-9-foot canvas dropcloth (#74135). Also needed are a drill, countersinking pilot bit for #8 screws, 3/8-inch drill bit, framing square, tape measure, staple gun, wood glue and paint supplies (optional).

Step 1: Wash the dropcloth to make it soft, and sand the boards to remove sharp edges and rough spots.

Step 2: Pick out four straight boards to use as the vertical ends for both frames. Measure 20-1/2 inches down from the top end of each piece of wood and mark the center of the board. Then drill 3/8-inch holes at each mark for the wing nuts. The holes should be 90 degrees to the wood surface.

Step 3: Begin by building one frame side at a time. On a flat surface place two of the vertical ends on edge so they’re parallel and about 6 feet apart. The 3/8-inch holes should be at the top. Lay the cross brace with the face spanning the two parallel boards and flush with their ends. Use the carpenter’s square to make sure they are 90 degrees to each other. Now drill two countersunk pilot holes about 3/8 inches from the edges of the top board. Then add glue and screw the top board to the two vertical boards.

Photos courtesy of Lowe's

Step 4: Measure 23 inches from the edge of the bottom board and mark the two vertical boards. Glue, drill and screw a second horizontal board in place. Measure another 23 inches and repeat to add a third horizontal board to complete one tent frame side. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to make a second side. Set aside to dry.


Step 5: Now join the frames by standing them together with the holes overlapping. Place a washer on a 3/8-by-2-inch hex bolt, slide the bolt through the holes, and hold it in place with a second washer and a wing nut. Repeat this for the other side.


Step 6: Now you’re ready to drape the canvas over the “A” shape frame. It should reach to the bottom board on each side. Once in place, staple one end to the bottom board on one side, repeat on the other side while pulling it tight. If needed, use a few quick-clip bar clamps to hold the canvas in place.


Step 7: Drill and screw (but don’t glue) a reinforcement on top of the stapled bottom board to create a clean look and keep any staples from popping loose. Repeat for the other side.

If you run into trouble check out the Dropcloth Tent Diagram
Looking for more to do? Check out Lowe's Novice Weekend Projects

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tips well-suited for the GQ look

Devota & Lomba/Getty Images

Details, GQ and Esquire are among the fashion magazines one might find among the stack of Game Pro magazines read by teenagers. No surprise. Their fashion examples offer plenty of ammunition for a young man looking to land a date for the prom. However, it's not many teens who can afford the likes of Hugo Boss, Guess and Louis Vuitton apparel. Besides, when push comes to shove, dude, it is the new "Diablo III" video game that will win out over new duds.
So what can a guy do?
"There are plenty of affordable ways to create a professional wardrobe," said Andrea Woroch, consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli and frequent fashion expert guest on such TV shows as "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today." "Stocking up on a few new looks might postpone your impending Play Station 3 purchase, but it doesn't have to drain your bank account.
Below are a few of the tips she and other fashion experts recommend to men of all ages who want a great wardrobe, without draining their bank account.
IZOD design in traditional twill.

Be selective
Don't spend $150 on a button-up shirt when pairing it with a sweater or jacket. It is not the most important piece of an outfit. "While shirts provide a foundation for your overall look, they're generally pretty standard," Woroch said. What's crucial in this case is the color and fit of the shirt.

Geoffrey Beene and the fashionable trio of Van Heusen, IZOD and Arrow are noted for their colors and tailored fit. Among the hot colors this spring are soft violet, glam greys, cobalt, yellow and nautical shades of ruby red and navy blue. These can all be found at stores such as Kohls and Target. The price on these are anywhere from $18 to $30. So the money you save here can go toward an item that is important, like the jacket or watch.

It's all about timing
"Surprisingly enough, some months are better for buying suits than others," Woroch said. "Purchasing suits in either January or July is your best bet, as these months are typically when retailers reduce prices on last season's styles."
Another trick is to use store gift cards purchased at sites such as GiftCardGranny, which instantly trims up to 35 percent off your purchase price.

Van Heusen
Forget dry-clean only
Learn to look at the tags on items to make sure it's not  100 percent wool or so fragile it requires dry cleaning,  because it will end up in a bag tossed in the trunk of your car/truck. Not only is dry cleaning expensive (on a regular basis), but inconvenient.

Don't be a dork
Reversing your tie or flipping it over your shoulder at lunch is no way to hide the gravy stains from the last gig you attended. Woroch recommends investing in a nifty little gadget called the Tide To Go Pen. "This handy little contraption can be kept in a pocket or desk and makes everything from barbecue sauce to coffee disappear in an instant," she said. "Your days of strategic shirt tucking and tie placement are finally over."
Arrow modern gingham.


Don't get hung up on plaid
It's great that you love Alec Baldwin's plaid tie, and while it's good to have a few interesting patterns and vibrant colors mixed into your wardrobe, do not spend your budget on them. You've heard of the little black dress worn by women. Well, every guy should also have a black ensemble, like black pants or black jacket, or both. Solid, standard colored shirts such as light blue are another staple.

Recycle your wardrobe
If you can sell your games on eBay, consider putting some of your clothes (like the leather jacket your old girlfriend bought, or the ugly tie you purchased on a whim) for sale online, or at a local consignment store. Woroch recommends checking out the clothing resale site online called ResaleShopping.com.
Now you'll have some extra cash for some new duds, or game.


Take a walk online
Unless you have some kind of odd foot characteristics, consider buying your dress shoes, even your Nike and Jordan's, online. The prices are reasonable and sites
such as Zappos.com offer free shipping and free returns
with all shoe orders. Also, most of the sites offer large
images of the products so you can match the shoes to a
suit, belt, jacket or other item.

TODAY'S MUSE
Fashion as we knew it, is over; people wear now exactly what they feel like wearing -- Mary Quant

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Homeworks: Kiwi Crate delivers fun crafts monthly

If you haven’t already seen it, and your children love crafts, Kiwi Crate is something you should check out. 

What you’ll find inside is everything you need to make a pair of stomping dinosaur feet or a fossil. “Our crates are designed around fun themes and filled with all of the material and inspiration for hands-on projects,” said a Kiwi Crate spokesperson. “Explore with arts and crafts, science activities, imaginative play and more.” 

I’m not sure on the story behind the funny fruit name (maybe because the box is green?), but I’ve seen the crates and love the idea. Where was this when my children were little? 

It works like a magazine subscription. Subscribers can choose a monthly subscription for $19.95, which includes shipping; an annual subscription for $220, with one month free; and three- and six-month subscriptions for $60 and $110. Gift subscriptions are available to those looking for a unique gift for moms and dads, birthdays, grandparents and anyone who homeschools. “I loved the ability to open a box and have everything needed for an afternoon of fun and learning,” said one mom, who homeschools her four children. “The lessons and activities can be used for an afternoon (if you are like me and get too excited for your own good), or used throughout a week or with the lessons you are already teaching.” 

Kiwi Crate is designed to be simple for children ages 3-7. Once you subscribe, choose what crates to receive. Each one is designed by a creative team and guided by an advisory board that includes experts in science, art, education and child development. Kiwi Crate also staffs a crew of kids who put the projects to the test to ensure they are, most important, fun to do. 

“Kiwi Crate is totally great for overwhelmed and busy parents. New, fresh ideas come to me and my kids. Every month, we’re so excited to see the green box,” wrote a mother from New York in her testimonial to Kiwi Crate. 

Another mom who subscribes said the kits contain everything you need for the desired project and that the materials are of high quality. 

Besides all of this, the crate arrives in the mail. What child doesn’t get excited about a package delivered to their home with their name on it? 

WHAT DO YOU THINK? 
To find out more about Kiwi Crate, visit www.KiwiCrate.com. If you do subscribe, let us know what you think, and include photos of your finished project: gina.joseph@macombdaily.com; @gljoseph

Friday, May 11, 2012

Paul McCartney’s recharged ‘Ram’ rolls out May 22


As a child waking up on Saturday mornings I could count on two things: If my mother got to the stereo first I would be coaxed out of bed by the operatic voice of Mario Lanzo. If my brother beat her to it, I would be yanked out of sleep by the sound of the Beatles. I preferred the lads from Liverpool. All of us did. Even my sister-in-law's brood were Beatles' fans, including her father who turned me on to “Mull of Kintyre” -- an obscure tune brimming with bagpipes. The song was written in tribute to the picturesque Kintyre peninsula in Scotland, where Paul McCartney has owned a farm since 1966, and to its headland, the Mull of Kintyre. It was there against the backdrop of sheep lowing in the green fields that McCartney and his first wife Linda collaborated on the album RAM - which will be rereleased as part of the deluxe Paul McCartney Archive Collection on May 22.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is an album from a long, long time ago, when the world was different. This is an album that is part of my history - it goes back to the wee hills of Scotland where it was formed. It reminds me of my hippie days and the free attitude with which it was created. I hope you're going to like it, because I do," said McCartney, in a report released to the press.
The ultimate collector's package comes with a standard album or deluxe edition box set with four CDs, bonus songs, a DVD, a 112-page book, photo prints and handwritten notes and lyrics. There's also a limited edition mono vinyl set being released. Price will be somewhere between $69 and $100. If you want an autographed version, like the one selling on eBay, be prepared to shell out $1,799.
Among the favorite songs on the standard tracklisting are Too Many People and Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey. The deluxe edition's second disc contains seven bonus tracks including Another Day and Hey Diddle.

McCartney is currently on tour and expected to greet Detroiters at Comerica Park on July 24.

Until then here a few tidbits to hold you:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Children of all ages have lost a friend


AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, file
News of Maurice Sendak's passing has made this a sad day for readers and writers alike.
It seems like only weeks ago I was snorkeling though the sea of information that I had gathered on Sendak and his work -- in anticipation of what I imagined to be a very enlightening and exciting interview.  

Like millions of children around the world, I was raised on Sendak's books and fantastic stories like, Where the Wild Things Are.  As one reporter said of the 83-year-old writer, "Mr. Sendak's books were essential ingredients of childhood for the generation born after 1960, or thereabouts, an in turn for their children."

It's true. I wanted my children to be exposed to the same thought-provoking (sometimes stubborn, pushy and even unpleasant) yet delightfully realistic characters that my father introduced to me in his best English accent. One of the reasons is that his characters, however imaginary, illustrated the message that, as with life, not all heroes and heroines are polished members of society. The other being his whimsical drawings alone -- influenced by the work of Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse, along with Pablo Picasso -- were worth a look.

Besides winning every important prize in children's literature -- as the illustrator of 80 books and author-illustrator of 20 more -- he was an advocate for the freedoms that allow us to write stories, whether adventure fantasies or national news. 

When the Wild Things was published in 1963, it was a startling departure from the Dick and Jane books of its time. Librarians, psychologists and many parents banned the book as too dark and frightening. Sendak stirred controversy again with the release of "In the Night Kitchen," because its graphic illustrations showed the child-hero Mickey falling through the air naked. Some librarians drew diapers on Mickey to cover the nudity. The stories not only held up to the criticism but stood the test of time. Any one of Sendak's award-winning books can be found at bookstores in print or digitally online. 

I never did get to chat with Sendak. My interview with him was cancelled because of his health -- a terrible cold I think -- and albeit thoroughly disappointed, I always imagined a second chance would come. Instead, we are left to cherish the gifts that he left behind, including My Brother's Book, a new poem and illustration by Sendak, inspired by his love for his late brother, Jack, scheduled for release in February.

Maurice Bernard Sendak was born in Brooklyn on June 10, 1928. He died earlier today in Danbury, Conn., at age 83, for days after suffering a stroke. "Sendak revolutionized children's books and how we think about childhood simply by leaving in what so many writers before had excluded," said a report by the Associated Press. Below are a few images capturing moments in his life. 







AP Photo/Susan Ragan, file
In this July 26, 1990 file photo, artist Maurice Sendak signs his individual prints from "The Mother Goose Collection," in New York.


AP Photo/Francesco Guazzelli, Syracuse University in Florence
In this Jan. 20, 2005 photo above, released by Syracuse University in Florence, central Italy, Thursday Jan. 20, 2005, shows a moment of the Fantasy Opera in one act and nine scenes, "Where The Wild Things Are" which will premiere with a fund raising gala for Florence's Meyer Children's Hospital. The Opera's libretto and original designs are by U.S. illustrator Maurice Sendak.



AP Photo, file
In this October 1988 file photo, author Maurice Sendak, creator of the best-selling children's book "Where the Wild Things Are," checks proofs of art for a major advertising campaign in his Ridgefield, Conn., home.









AP Photo/HarperCollins
This image provided by HarperCollins shows the book cover of "Where the Wild Things Are," by Maurice Sendak. Sendak illustrated about 80 books and was author-illustrator of 20.





AP Photo, file
In this Sept. 25, 1985 file photo, author Maurice Sendak poses with one of the characters from his book "Where the Wild Things Are," designed for the operatic adaptation of his book in St. Paul, Minn. 

TODAY'S MUSE
"Dear Mr. Sendak," said an 8-year-old boy, in his letter to Maurice Sendak. "How much does it cost to get to where the wild things are? If it is not expensive, my sister and I would like to spend the summer there."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Stop by the Michigan International Women's Show and say hello!



"Royal Dresses of Diana: The People's Princess" is just one of the many exhibits being featured at the Michigan International Women's Show going on May 3-6. Other highlights will include fashion shows, displays and demonstrations that celebrate the creativity in all of us. The CHA Craft Pavilion will feature expert crafters teaching new techniques on everything from beading and scrapbooking to sewing, paper crafts and home décor.
Another pavilion will cover women's health concerns and workshops that will help them balance personal needs with those of their job, family or interests. Kristy Villa, host of Lifetime's "The Balancing Act," is among the many celebrities who will take the stage at this year's show.
Local celebrities will include Novi's heroic firefighters, who have volunteered to walk the runway modeling their dress blues and bunker gear, along with cancer survivors from the "Go Red for Women." The "Summer Reading Handpicked from Local Michigan Authors" exhibit will feature a number of authors including Marie Masters, who has written self-help and inspirational articles for Detroit-area newspapers and magazines. Masters will debut her new memoir, "The Color of Sunset." From the concrete streets of Detroit to the cobblestone paths of Paris, Master embarks on a journey that reveals her relationships to various men and the paintings of Claude Monet.

"I have always seen my life reflected in Monet's work," said Masters, "and sensing his courage no matter what he faced, sunrises or sunsets, inspired me to keep trying in my life as well."
Joining Masters at the show will be several other authors, including Anca Vlasopolos (“Walking Toward Solstice”), Karen Blaisdell (“I Could Write A Book”) and me (“The Winter Spirit”).
Be sure to stop by and say hello!

The Suburban Collection Showplace is at 46100 Grand River Avenue between Novi and Beck Road. Show hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 3; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 4; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 5; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 6. Admission: $10 for adult; youth 6-12, $5; and children 5 or younger get in free when accompanied by a paying adult. Advance tickets are $9 online at International Women's Show

DAYTRIPPING
Looking for more to do this weekend? Check out our listing of family-friendly events going on around the Metro Detroit area:
Café’ Parisien
Step back in time and honor the memory of the Titanic and enjoy an afternoon tea in the ship’s Café’ Parisien being presented as a fundraiser by the Crocker House Museum and Macomb County Historical Society. The café was one of the luxury innovations aboard the R.M.S. Titanic. On this day, you will board as an actual passenger that sailed 100 years ago. After dining guests will learn more about the voyage and its passengers. Tickets are $50 for members and $55 for non-members. For reservations and information call 586-465-2488.

“Motown Magic”
live and silent auctions, catered food stations, cash bar, Motown entertainment, 6 p.m. May 4, at Assumption Cultural Center, 21800 Marter Road, St. Clair Shores. For tickets, $35 per person, call 586-779-6111 ext. 3 or 586-772-4477. Proceeds benefit Assumption Nursery School and Toddler Center.

Sock Hop
Mother’s Day weekend ’50 sock hop to benefit Solanus Casey Center, 6-11 p.m. May 11, at Lakeland Manor, 26211 Harper, St. Clair Shores. Tickets, $40 per person include dinner, soft drinks, beer, coffee, sold in advance only at 586-419-0461 or 313-388-8439 or www.solanuscenter.org. Cash bar available.

Spaghetti dinner
Pasta dinner fundraiser, 5:30-7:30 p.m. May 16, at Chesterfield Senior Center, 47275 Sugarbush, Chesterfield Township. Tickets $10 at the door, include pasta, salad, bread and homemade desserts. Call 586-749-3713 or 949-3810.

VFW events
VFW Lempke-Blackwell Post 7573 hosts Mother’s Day brunch, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 13, $12 adults, $8 ages 10 and younger, free ages 3 and younger. Meal at post hall, 35011 23 Mile Road, New Baltimore. Call 586-725-7100.

Thomas the Tank
“Day Out with Thomas: Mystery of the Rails Tour 2012,” May 5-6, 12-13, at Greenfield Village in Dearborn. Event includes 25-minute ride with Thomas the Tank engine, games, activities, Thomas & Friends Imagination Station, meeting with Sir Topham Hatt. Ride departs every 45 minutes 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.. Member tickets $11.75 per person ages 1 and older, includes free admission to the Village; non-member tickets $11.75 ages 1-4 years, $29.25 ages 5-12, $35.75 ages 13-61, and $33.75 age 62 and older. Call 313-982-6001 or visit www.thehenryford.org.

Craft show
Michigan Made First Fridays Arts Crafts Jewelry Show, noon-8 p.m. May 4, at Atrium of Novi, 43155 Main St., Novi. Free admission and parking.

Zumba Gold
Zumba Gold low-impact dance/exercise classes through May (unless otherwise noted), 5:45 p.m. Mondays, 6:30 p.m. Fridays, also 10 a.m. Saturdays (through May 19), all at Sacred Heart Church, 18430 Utica Road, Roseville; 11 a.m. Wednesdays and 6 p.m. Thursdays at Father Solanus Casey Knights of Columbus Hall, 16831 12 Mile Road, Roseville; 7 p.m. Wednesdays at Erin Presbyterian Church, 30000 Gratiot, Roseville. Fee $4 for 1-hour class; call 586-634-5844 or billshoe@live.com.

Vendor sale
Harrison Township Public Library hosts a vendor sale, including Miche Bags, Tupperware, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, gold exchange, noon-3 p.m. May 6, at the library, 38151 L’Anse Creuse. For information, 586-329-1261 or htplib.org.

Dining Out
Troy Dining Out Meetup Group meeting noon May 5 for outing to Detroit Riverwalk and lunch at Eastern Market. For details, 586-566-0838.

Relay For Life
Relay For Life of Shelby Township team captains meeting, 7 p.m. May 9, at Eisenhower High School, 6500 25 Mile Road, Shelby Township. Relay dates are 10 a.m.-10 a.m. May 19-20, at River Bends Park off 22 Mile Road between Shelby and Ryan roads.

Fashion show
“Women Helping Women” luncheon and fashion show to benefit programs of Grace Centers of Hope, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. May 5 at Royal Park Hotel, 600 University, Rochester. For ticket information, www.gracecentersofhope.org.

Palette Club
Lakeside Palette Club meeting 6:30-8:30 p.m. May 7, in Gildorf Room of St. Clair Shores Library, 22500 11 Mile Road, features demonstration on pastel painting by Paula Wild. Call 586-350-4518 or visit www.lakesidepaletteclub.org.

Concert sounds
Macomb Symphony Orchestra presents “Oscar Winning Film Scores” concert, 8 p.m. May 11, at Macomb Center for the Peforming Arts, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. MSO’s annual silent auction takes place in lobby during intermission. Reserved seat concert tickets $18 adults, $15 students, seniors and children. Call 586-286-2222 or visit www.macombsymphony.org.
Oakland Youth Orchestra concert featuring student violin solos, 6:30 p.m. May 3, at Lake Orion Performing Arts Auditorium, 495 E. Scripps Road, Lake Orion Township. Tickets $10 adults, $5 students and children, available at the door.
Farmington Community Chorus prsents “My Sentiments, Exactly,” 8 p.m. May 4-5 at Mercy High School, 29300 W. 11 Mile Road, Farmington Hills. Tickets $12 advance, $15 at door; visit www.farmingtonchorus.com or call 248-473-1500.
Symphonia Chorale spring concert “Radio Hits Through the Decades,” 5 p.m. May 6, at Addison Oaks Banquet Center, 1480 W. Romeo Road, Leonard. Dinner served at 6:15 p.m. For tickets by April 30, 586-781-9921.

On stage
Box Theatre presents the musical “Avenue Q” 8 p.m. May 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 2 p.m. May 6, at the theater, 51 N. Walnut, Mount Clemens. For tickets, $25, $22 students/seniors, call 586-954-2311 or visit www.theboxtheater.com.
Richmond Community Theatre presents “Harvey,” 8 p.m. May 4-5, 11-12, and 2 p.m. May 6, 12, at Richmond Center for Performing Arts, 69619 Parker St. at Churchill. For tickets, 586-727-9518 or at the box office.
St. Clair Shores Players present “A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody,” 8 p.m. May 4-5, at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 31601 Harper. Doors open 7:30 p.m. Tickets $10 adult, $9 seniors and students at the door. Visit www.scsplayers.org.
“Mother Superior’s Habits” 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through May 12, and 2 p.m. select Sundays at Broadway Onstage, 21517 Kelly Road, Eastpointe. Tickets $14 opening night, $16 other performances; for reservations, 586-771-6333.
“Arsenic and Old Lace” presented by Rodgerland Productions at the Sterling Heights Lions Club, 12828 Canal west of Schoenherr, May 12 and 19. Buffet dinner 6:30 p.m., show follows; dinner and show package $25 including tax and tip. For reservations and information, 586-776-9844.
Avon Players present the musical “The Secret Garden,” 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays May 18-June 2, at the theater, 1185 Washington Road, Rochester. For tickets, $16-$18, call 248-608-9077 or visit www.avonplayers.org.
Stagecrafters present “Titanic – The Musical,” through May 6, at the Baldwin Theatre, 415 S. Lafayette, Royal Oak. Show times 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays; to purchase advance tickets, $18 and $20, call 248-541-6430 or go to www.stagecrafters.org. Available tickets also available one hour before show time at box office for additional $2 per ticket.
Grosse Pointe Theatre presents “Hairspray,” May 6-20, at Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lakeshore Road, Grosse Pointe Farms. Performances 8 p.m. weekdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets $24; for reservations, 313-881-4004 or www.gpt.org. Special Ladies Night Out event May 9 begins with reception at 5:30 p.m. featuring food stations, cash bar, followed at 8 p.m. by performance. Tickets $45 per person.
Grosse Pointe South High School choir presents “Phantom of the Opera,” 7:30 p.m. May 3, 8 p.m. May 4-5, at the Grosse Pointe Performing Arts Center, 707 Vernier Road, Grosse Pointe Woods. For tickets, $15 and $20, call 313-432-3638 or visit www.gpsouthchoir.org.
Ridgedale Players present the comedy “Squables,” 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays May 4-20, at 205 W. Long Lake Road. For tickets, $15 adults, $13 students/seniors, call 248-988-7049 or visit www.ridgedaleplayers.com.
Rosedale Community Players perform the comedy “Moonlight and Magnolias,” 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through May 12, at Peace Lutheran Church, 17029 W. 13 Mile Road, Southfield. Tickets $14; call 313-532-4010 or www.rosedalecommunityplayers.com.
Farmington Players stage “Little Shop of Horrors,” Thursdays through Sundays through May 19, at the Players Barn, 32332 W. 12 Mile Road between Orchard Lake and Farmington roads. For tickets, $18 adults, $2 off for students, call 248-553-2955 or www.farmingtonplayers.org.
‘The Divine Sister,” Friday, Saturday and Monday nights May 11-June 4, at Ringwald Theatre, 22742 Woodward, Ferndale. For tickets, $10-$20, visit www.TheRingwald.com or purchase at show time at the box office.

Mad Hatter
Mat Hatter Tea Party, 1 p.m. May 19, at Cedar Glen Golf Club, 36860 25 Mile Road, New Baltimore, to benefit at benefit Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team. Tickets, $30, include lunch, basket raffle, entertainment and door prizes. Call MCREST at 586-415-5101 or visit www.mcrest.org.

Fishing clubs
Vanguard Trout Unlimited for fishing enthusiasts meets 7:30 p.m. second Thursday monthly at Rochester’s Dinosaur Hill. Also, Fishing Buddies Fishing Club gathers 6:30 p.m. third Tuesdays at Rochester Hills OPC, 650 Leticia Drive. Call 248-375-1931.

Blind bowlers
Macomb Blind Bowlers for visually impaired and/or blind individuals 18 and older, league bowling 11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Fraser Star Lanes, northeast corner of 14 Mile and Garfield roads. Fee $10 per week. Call 586-360-9543.

Square dancing
Patches Squares dance club hosts beginning square dance lessons, 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays at First United Methodist Church of Warren, 5005 Chicago Road. First class (no matter when dancers start) is free, $3 for following sessions. Call 248-613-3169.

Feature writer Debbie Komar contributed to this list.

TODAY'S MUSE
History should be a hammock for swinging and a game for playing, the way cats play. Claw it, chew it, rearrange it, and at bedtime it's still a ball of string full of knots -- Jeannette Winterson.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dresses of the People’s Princess grace the Michigan International Women’s Show



This Thursday kicks off the Michigan International Women's Show at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Now in its 17th year -- with hundreds of exhibits and workshops, demonstrations and activities -- it has become a local tradition as well as a great weekend destination for women everywhere.
"I'm very excited about it," said Maureen Dunkel, who’s traveling to the show from Nashville. Dunkel is the owner of the "Royal Dresses of Diana, The People's Princess" exhibit and author of "My Decade with Diana: The Perpetual Power of the People's Princess," which chronicles her time as owner of the dresses and how they have been used for charitable purposes to further Diana's mission of helping those in need.
Visitors to this year's show will have the opportunity to meet Dunkel and see the exhibit that features not only an amazing collection of gowns, but a display of photographs and video. The exhibit provides a retrospective of Diana's life and her journey from a shy girl in the English countryside to a royal bride and future Queen of England to mother, fashionista, divorced princess and humanitarian.
"I think visitors will love the total experience," Dunkel said. "It tells the story of one of the most famous icons of all time."
Comprised of seven sections, visitors might want to allow extra time to take it all in.
The journey begins with a 15-minute documentary about Diana, followed by a glimpse of the early years: Diana's ancestral background, childhood experiences and lineage that factored into her future relationship with Britain's royal family. Then on to Diana's engagement and wedding: A video story of the announcements and the ceremony that was viewed by more than 750 million people worldwide. The Princess of Style & Charity portion of the exhibit features video, graphics, sketches, notes and commentary from Diana's favorite fashion designers sharing personal insight into Diana's legendary transformation from ingénue to style icon. The fifth stage of the journey, "The Servant Princess," tells the story of Diana's tireless approach to her duties as a princess with a purpose as she ascended to global humanitarian, highlighted by the perspectives of those who benefitted from her compassion and generous use of her royal platform. "Goodbye England's Rose" leads visitors through the somber moments that followed her passing: video of her brother's eulogy as well as the royal family's reaction to her death and ultimate honoring of her life. Guests are invited to leave words of endearment and tokens if they wish. 
The finale is a celebration of Princess Diana's dresses. Among those at the show are several gowns by Catherine Walker, one of Diana’s favorite designers, and the regal beauty she wore dancing with John Travolta at a White House state dinner (at left).
This exhibit is by no means a simple display of royal wedding memorabilia. One might even say it was destiny that made Dunkel curator of the dresses.
In June of 1997, while Diana was still alive and Dunkel was making decisions that would impact her own future, the Princess of Wales commissioned Christie's to auction off 79 of her gowns. These were dresses, which she had collected during her 15 years as the wife of Windsor, which were handpicked from her closet to be auctioned off for charity. Shortly before the auction, Dunkel was told by her financial adviser that textiles were a good investment. So Dunkel placed an anonymous bid on several of the dresses in the auction.
She became an owner and contributor to the cause, as all proceeds from the auction were donated to charities that Diana supported. "There was a buyer at the auction who donated a dress to the Boston-based AIDS charity," Dunkel said. Dunkel was not only dazzled by her purchase, but even dumbfounded. After all it's not every day that a woman purchases a $200,000 dress owned by the future Queen of England.
Then the unthinkable happened. Diana was killed in an automobile accident in Paris and all of a sudden what was a financial investment had become an irreplaceable heirloom, a piece of a puzzle that would forever remain unfinished. 
"I didn't really follow her (Diana)," Dunkel said. "Then when she died, and we had all of that news about the accident and her life 24/7, I got to know her as a woman."
It's this understanding of Princess Diana that led Dunkel to expand her role and her collection to 13, which at one point was on loan to Kensington Palace. "Yes, it was a great investment," Dunkel said. But one that came with great responsibilities that Dunkel has shouldered with endearing pride and compassion not only for the People's Princess but those who gave her the title.

Viewing the exhibit is included in the show admission.

"Royal Dresses of Diana: The People's Princess" is just one of the many exhibits being featured at the Michigan International Women's Show going on May 3-6. Other highlights will include displays and demonstrations that celebrate the creativity in all of us. The CHA Craft Pavilion will feature expert crafters teaching new techniques on everything from beading and scrapbooking to sewing, paper crafts and home décor.
Another pavilion will cover women's health concerns and workshops that will help them balance personal needs with those of their job, family or interests. Kristy Villa, host of Lifetime's "The Balancing Act," is among the many celebrities who will take the stage at this year's show.
Local celebrities will include Novi's heroic firefighters, who have volunteered to walk the runway modeling their dress blues and bunker gear, along with cancer survivors from the "Go Red for Women."
The "Summer Reading Handpicked from Local Michigan Authors" exhibit will feature a number of authors including Marie Masters, who has written self-help and inspirational articles for Detroit-area newspapers and magazines. Masters will debut her new memoir, "The Color of Sunset." From the concrete streets of Detroit to the cobblestone paths of Paris, Master embarks on a journey that reveals her relationships to various men and the paintings of Claude Monet.
"I have always seen my life reflected in Monet's work," said Masters, "and sensing his courage no matter what he faced, sunrises or sunsets, inspired me to keep trying in my life as well."
Joining Masters at the show will be several other authors, including Anca Vlasopolos (“Walking Toward Solstice”), Karen Blaisdell (“I Could Write A Book”) and me (“The Winter Spirit”).
Be sure to stop by and say hello!

The Suburban Collection Showplace is at 46100 Grand River Avenue between Novi and Beck Road. Show hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 3; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 4; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 5; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 6. Admission: $10 for adult; youth 6-12, $5; and children 5 or younger get in free when accompanied by a paying adult. Advance tickets are $9 online at The International Women's Show