Thursday, August 28, 2008

Art In Birmingham, England

Not only is this a most amazing example of art, I love the woman's shoes!

Make today Art Day!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Did Someone Mention Food?

You’ve heard of a hot dog on a stick. You’ve heard of cotton candy. How about a Fudge Puppy? Or a Pig Licker? The food at the Minnesota State Fair is as varied as the types of people who eat it. For me, it is one of the main reasons I visit the fair.

There are the standard favorites, which much be consumed every year. These include the Pronto Pup, Tom Thumb Donuts, deep fried cheese curds (the ones by the horse barn, not in the Food Building!), a twist cone from the Dairy Building, and Danielson’s onion rings. Are you noticing the theme of deep fried? Yum. When I’m feeling in need of something a little healthier I’ll get a Schroeder’s caramel apple.

Of course are complications. Seems every year there is something new to try, which means on top of all of the usual favorites I have to force myself to try things that most likely will become added to the list of favorites. The list of must-eat foods at the fair grows every year, as do the pounds I put on. No matter. I write that off as insulation, which will come in handy in a few short months.

I got a tip to try the deep fried (that again?!) S’more. I also have to try to aforementioned Pig Licker, which is chocolate dipped bacon. Ish, you say? I’m not afraid. I heard about the Pig Lickers weeks before the fair. Coincidentally there was a family event for which I was preparing a salad containing crumbled bacon and a dessert involving hot fudge sauce. The night I was frying the bacon and making the hot fudge sauce, I decided to try this most unusual combination. It was surprisingly good! So I’m eager to see how good it tastes at Famous Dave’s.

You’ll see people eating hot dogs, hamburgers, and pizza at the State Fair. Personally, I like to get my fill of things I can’t get anywhere else but the fair. Even if it’s not so unusual, like walleye or spaghetti, the fact that they put it on a stick makes it bona fide State Fair cuisine.

If you haven’t been to the Great Minnesota Get Together yet this year, there’s still time.

There’s plenty to see, plenty to eat, and it’s the best place in the world to get free stuff. Come on down. It runs through Labor Day. I’ll be the one waddling down the street with a deep fried Twinkie in my hand.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New This Fall

Believe it or not, I’m sitting here watching Wayne’s World, typing on my NEW LAPTOP COMPUTER! Yes, I finally bit the bullet and depleted my secret stash for an Inspiron 1525, with a bunch of GBs, MBs, MPGs, IUDs, and other initials for things of which I have no idea. If you know for a fact I made a huge mistake, don’t tell me. I tried to make an educated purchase and did the best I could. It seems to be working okay, except I can’t seem to get onto the internets yet. I screwed up something with McAffee and I just don’t have the energy to check into it. Maybe sometime next month.

Things have been hectic both in and outside of my head. After spending a relaxing time at the lake we jumped right into Minnesota State Fair season. Twelve days of nonstop fun and excitement. Well, for me it will be six days of fun, as I can’t afford to spend twelve whole days at the fair. Someday. I should just go out there and get a job. Or perhaps have a space in the Merchandise Mart or Grandstand selling my wonderful candles and other ephemera.

As the fall craft show season approaches I’ve been busy pouring candles, filling wholesale orders, and the frillion other things necessary before I go “on.” You’d be surprised how much time it takes just to package and price the inventory.

But you don’t want to hear about how busy I am trying to produce, package, and sell the absolute best products I can. You want to know what’s new. For now I can give you a sneak peak at the newest little accessory I’ve created. As things stand now, they’ll only be available at shows, boutiques, and stores at least until December. Perhaps I’ll move them to my online shop after that time.

Have you ever seen a cuter match stick container? They’re adorable. They’ll look so much better on your mantle or end table than that book of matches from the local libation station. Plus, stick matches are so much easier to use when lighting candles or kindling in the fireplace. Not only are these little fabric-covered cups cute and useful (holding matches AND containing a strike strip on the side), when you use up the matches you can either fill it up with more matches (readily available at any hardware or grocery store), or use the cup as a votive holder! Simply put a votive or t-lite candle inside the cup – the light from the flame will show through the cute pattern of the fabric and give a warm glow. Huh? I know!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Moonlight Serenade

I've been remiss in posting. Been spending sunny days and moony nights at the getaway. Can you blame me?

I'll be back soon with updates and posts. Relaxation time is just about over.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Made The Big Time (?)

My trinkets and treasures would never be on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, but what if?

How much fun is that? Put your own pictures in a museum by going to Unlike the Metropolitan Museum of Art, they'll accept anything. Even if it's slightly naughty.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Miracle Workers

Got a victrola sitting around in your house? Has the oil accumulated and hardened on the soundboard, resembling silver pony poop? Is the arm all tarnished and groaty? Do your records sound icky? Does it work at all?

I have, in my parlor, a 90+-year-old Brunswick crank phonograph that was original to my dad's grandparents. I'm fairly certain it had not been cleaned for at least half a century. Miraculously it still worked, but with much effort and horrible sound.

After a lot of calling around I found Vintage Music Co. in Minneapolis. Seems they're the only people in the twin cities metro area who repair and clean these wonderful, yet simple, pieces of machinery. Over the phone they instructed me on how to remove the motor, crank, and arm from the cabinet. After doing so, on a cold winter afternoon, I took the pieces into the shop.

The store itself is a lesson in history. It's filled with old records and antique phonographs, radios, and TVs. Scott and Mike, the proprietors, had vast knowledge of these machines, as well as a passion for them. I left the old, crusty parts of my machine with them, having full confidence they would salvage this piece of family history.

And so they did. I could actually see the gears that had previously been caked with oil and dirt. I learned you should change the needle after every record. The arm shown so brilliantly it could pass for brand new.

I had the family over for a christening of the new old Brunswick. As I played the first record, Stille Nacht, I watched my dad's face go from childlike anticipation to maturely pensive. His eyes misted over. He said he knew his grandparents, parents, and all of his aunts and uncles were in the room with us, listening to the old crank-up phonograph, like they had when it was new.

The guys at Vintage Music Co. don't just sell old records and fix old machines. They call to mind happy memories. They work magic.

See the guys at Vintage Music Co. at 1820 E. 38th in Minneapolis. They also sell old 78s!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Let's Have A Party!

Charlotte and I are in the midst of planning our parents' 50th wedding anniversary party. It's taking precedence over production for my shop and the upcoming fall craft show series I'm building, but proves to be a creative venture in itself.

I finished making the invitations last night. I've made note cards before, so it wasn't an entirely new venture. However, instead of printing the scanned wedding picture directly on the card stock, I made several copies of the photograph on photo paper and attached them to the cards with little black photo corners. This gives the cards a vintage feel, as well as providing the guests with a removable photo of the guests of honor.

I'm also making party favors for the guests. The guest list is limited to the wedding party, so it's not a daunting task. Each member of the wedding party will receive a bottle cap magnet with their image as they appeared in the wedding. So cute!

Both of these projects have inspired me to add new products to my line. Bottle cap magnets have been on the market for a while, although not in my shop. They will be up as soon as I get around to taking pictures. And photo cards? Yeah, it's been done before, but what a fun project. I know Charlotte has been thinking about a line of those herself. She better get busy or I'll beat her to it. Perhaps a joint venture...

And guess who's turning @* this week? Yes, it's my birthday on the scariest day of the year, 08/08/08. (OK, not as scary as 06/06/06.) Happy birthday to all you other Leos out there!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Etsy Treasury!

Make me giddy, KattyClare! My waterlily candle has been featured in her beautiful Treasury in Etsy.

Check out the Katamaran Dingo treasury:

I just feel!

Kiss Kiss!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Mighty Palm Wax

I've been putting some palm wax candles in my Etsy shop recently. They're a great candle to have around because guess what? They don't get soft in the summer heat. You know how paraffin, soy, and beeswax gets soft and/or sticky when it's hot, even if you're not burning it? Doesn't happen with palm wax. The surface stays dry and hard. It's a great candle to ship to another location in the summer, because no matter how long it sits in the back of the UPS or US Postal Service truck, it's not going to soften and lose it's shape.

I'm probably giving paraffin, soy, and beeswax a bad name now. Please know that it takes pretty intense temperatures for a paraffin pillar to soften and lose its shape. Beeswax might develop a bit of stickiness to its surface, but certainly won't start melting until it's well over 150 degrees. But palm wax has such a unique surface and consistency. You can have them in a west window in Arizona and it won't soften or sweat. And the feathered surface designs are just intriguing. They're simply wonderful summer candles.

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