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August 2008

One last look at the Minnesota State Fair!


The fair will begin winding down on Labor Day so we have two more fun days ahead of us. It's been teriffic seeing customers from the store and those who returned to visit us at the fair last year. The weather's been beautiful, the crowds brisk and full and there's always been something new to see this year. Love the fair!

This map is in the newspaper museum at Heritage Square. It's made of printer's type so very appropriate to the building. When you visit, make sure you read through all of the notes regarding the First Amendment. It's a huge reminder about the one big freedom we enjoy in the United States ... the freedom of speech ... to be able to say what we feel without the fear of retaliation. I know I've taken it for granted so reading through some of the displays in the museum really made me stop and think! Reflection is good for the soul.


One of the cool things about being a vendor at the fair is hearing the back stories of the others who sell there. Next to us is Eagle's Wings Jewelry, owned by Tammi and her dad Phil from Scottsdale AZ. They make all their own silver jewerly, hiring 20+ silversmiths who work in their facilities in Scottsdale. They also have a store and do a lot of shows across the country. Man ... do they have a schedule. Tammi told me in January she begins laying out all of their airline and hotel reservations for the many shows they do.  She left yesterday for the LA County Fair and her dad will jump in the car tomorrow night and drive across the country to join her. They have beautiful things and now that I know that they make it themselves, it seems even more special.


Found another ribbon winner ... this one for the baby quilt award. Please don't ask where it was ... I have no clue how I stumbled on to it!


I thought this mosaic on the outside of the east wall of the food building outstanding! I've always had a special feeling for mosaic and always enjoy looking at anything made in with this technique. Each of the letters depicts some other scene or symbol from Minnesota. This was one of the few seconds I found that didn't have someone up close examining it!


A close up of the M ... the names of the states are written on either side of the piece.


Over on the west side of the food building is Norman. He's been there ever since I can remember ... I was totally fascinated by him when I was three and four and twenty ... and beyond. This mechanical man interested me a lot more than the taffy he pulled but from the buckets of it that people buy, it must be spectacular!


Another site from my childhood? The 4-H Building! This was where we all wanted to be when we won awards at the county fair ... there's a huge dorm up on the top floor. 4-H taught me a lot ... it's where I learned to talk in front of a group, demonstrate what I know, make things ... all skills that help me every day. It's great seeing lots of kids taking those steps, too ... and seeing how 4-H continues to change with the times.

One last shot ... the quilts on display made by 4-H'ers. Quilting is alive and vibrant and will continue to remain strong if these quilters keep on stitching! There are beautiful quilts in this building so be sure to visit.


More quilts ... a chicken ... and a giraffe ... all at the Minnesota State Fair!


Wandering around the showcases in the Creative Activities building, I found a few more quilts from people I know ... with a little help from them because it's like a scavenger hunt in that place! This one is by Marilyn who comes to our Tuesday Wild Roses Group. She made it for her grand daughter using Terry Atkinson's Winner's Bouquet templates. It's a darling quilt!


Found this one made by Vicki who's in the Northern Material Girls guild in North St Paul (they meet the third Monday at 7pm at Silver Lake Methodist Church). She cut apart a panel and turned it into this lovely throw. And they put it in the display right across from the baking competition!


This quilt won our award for a commerative quilt. It's made from homer hankies from lots of different places and teams ... someone loves baseball! It's hanging in the racks.


And look at this! You can buy ANYTHING at the fair ... including a chicken from a 4-H kid packing up to go home. This one cost ten bux and included a canvas bag to tote it around in. Cracked us up when we saw it peeking out of the bag. I want a chicken now. It was so white and pretty.


Finally ... the giraffe. Have you seen the topiaries over by the Admin building? They have just about any kind you can imagine. This company sells a wire frame and then you fill it with plants and keep it trimmed to hold the shape. You can buy a completed Elvis for two thousands bux. I thought the giraffe holding the monkey by a string was particularly amusing!

So when are YOU coming to the fair to see the sites?


A visit to the Horticulture building


One of the nice things about being at the Minnesota State Fair each day is that I get to take quick little trips to various areas of the fair. I don't have to try to take in the whole fair  in just a few trips throughout the whole twelve days ... I get to sample little bites of it every day.  There's lots to see!


Wouldn't be the fair without looking at the giant pumpkins! Now, we've grown some pretty huge ones in our backyard but nothing like these guys. Question of the day ... how do they get them out of their garden and over to the fair? That one in the foreground is shaped exactly like a bean bag chair. And whoever laid out this display had a sense of humor ... the scarecrows are sprawled on the pumpkins, totally exhausted from lugging them in!


Speaking of scrarecrows ... this one might not chase away the birds with all that corn but it shoud really win an award for being inventive! The scrarecrow contest is one of my favorites at the Horticulture building ... I've entered in the past and just love the whole idea of creating them.


Not far from the scarecrows is the crop art exhibit ... another one of those fascinating things! The attention to detail is very clever and while I have the patience to quilt, I don't know if I could sit long enough to put a crop art piece together. It was interesting, though, to see someone doing a project. Not a lot of tools needed ... a design, some Elmer's glue, buckets of seeds ... and lots of patience!


I thought the vintage seed sack display was charming. Love everything about them.


Meanwhile, over in the honey section, things were buzzing. They have great displays and competitions ... did you know you can enter quilts, and crafts and your collection of honey related items? Yes. It's true. And its fun to do! I used to enter here in addition to Creative Activities. One of the reasons is I could usually find my items easily and not have to go on a scavenger hunt to see if I won anything. Oh ya ... and because there isn't a ton of competition, you have more chance of winning. Dig out your beehive patterns and get to work!


Ok ... and for me, looking at bees in beehives is like looking at a car accident ... I cannot tear my eyes away. Creepy and fascinating at the same time.


The gang at the honey ice cream stand looking happy for me. They put sunflower seeds in the ice cream ... very tasty!

One last place you have to visit in the building ... the Christmas tree display ... it brings December rushing back! A funny thing about this photo ... see the older gentleman on the bench? Sound asleep. I'll tell ya ... the fair can just tucker you out!!


Snaps from the Minnesota State Fair!


Well here we are ... all packed into our booth in Heritage Square! One customer told me yesterday that she couldn't believe how much stuff I had in such a small area. All those years of craft shows has finally paid off!


The first day of the fair was perfect! Clear skies, a little breeze and tons of people enjoying the day. I made the walk down to Creative Activities to look at the awards we sponsored and to find quilts from people we know. This one was a winner of our state fair theme ... its to the left in the show case as you come in through the main door of the building. You have to see the whole thing!


Found Jan's flamingo quilt tucked into a display that was all about Florida! Made a pouty face because she didn't have a ribbon pinned to it. I love that quilt. Ooops! Went back to look again and Jan DID win a ribbon ... she got first place. Great job, Jan!!


Beautiful quilt ... middle of the building in that one really large showcase. This was the 'my first applique' choice. My 18th applique project would not look this good!


I think this is the winner for my first quilt. It's in the area where the quilts are hung on racks. You won't believe what I had to do to get this pic. It was pretty funny!


Look at this little cutie pie!


And her punky older sister! I love the kids and I love love this hair booth that dolls these little girls up! But I pity their moms trying to get those do's down!


Watch for the signs for the State Fair walking tour. This is the one for Heritage Square. Oh ... and I found the perfect fair food by the band shell in the Square ... herb roasted potatoes on a stick ... for when the thought of any other food on a stick is just a little too much. They were d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s.!

The view from my 'front door' ... always something interesting to see!


Dinos at the fair!

State Fair dino  

One of the things I love about the Minnesota State Fair is how stimulating it is! Smells ... sounds ... color!! So imagine how delighted I was to come across this dino near the Administration Building when I went to pay my fees. You have to walk around it and look carefully because there are all kinds of state fair scenes painted on it's body. It was hard to tear myself away! The Leinekugel bandshell is just a few steps away ... who knows what you'll see after a couple of Berry Weiss!

Come visit us in Heritage Square. We're all getting revved up about being there and in the next 24 hours, it'll all be ready and time for another great time at the fair. See you there!




Do you ever make something that the more you look at it and use it, the more you love it? That's how I feel about this composition book I covered. I was getting ready to go to quilt market last fall and wanted a new book to take along ... so the night before I left I whipped up this wool cover. Ya, I know ... totally crazy. I should have been making dinners for my family instead. In truth, the idea had been simmering for a few days. My only rule ... it all had to be wool and I had to use shapes that I had previously cut on my AccuCut ... couldn't cut anything new. I love this book and it's almost painful to use it because I don't want it to get used up ... even though I can easily change into a new book. Sometimes when I'm not writing in it I just look at it. Almost can't believe I made it!

So now that it's Back To School I'm haunting Office Max. Last year I found some great Mead composition books with graph pads on the top half of the page and lined below that for taking notes. I only bought one ... what was I thinking! They also had some that were blank at the top of the page ... and my other favorite ... primary school with those great big lines and the dashes dividing the line in half. What is it about writing on that kind of paper that is so intriguing? (I loved first grade!!)

When I'm not covering the books with fabric I love to pull out the scrap book paper and cover them with that. Here are a few notebook projects I did for OLFA so you can cover your own notebooks. My friend Liz used the directions for all the girls who were there for her Super Bowl party ... while the guys were whooping it up in the family room they were huddled around her work table cutting paper and sticking it to the books. She said they had a blast personalizing them! I just picked up some Halloween paper and am itching to cover a book with it!

In addition to the regular composition notebooks, Mead makes these little memo books ... love these just as much ... I use them to track my projects ... to keep my grocery list handy ... all kinds of things. Sometimes I cover them with paper ... others I go a little bit further and make a stinkin' cute fabric cover like the one below. Print out some images and you can really personalize them.

So now that I've told you ... don't go running down to Office Max and cleaning them out, ok? Well ... the Maplewood location is going to be bare so I guess you can go to the other locations. Don't you just love notebooks???


Doing the Flamingo!


While I sort of think of flamingos being a Florida thing ... there are a group of shops there that do the Flamingo Run shop hop that I find kind of amuzing ... these bright pink birds seem to be flocking to Minnesota recently. Maybe my sensors are just finely tuned to them right now or something but they seem to be everywhere. Like this group of yard birds at Good Things ... sure don't look like the ones grandma had!


I need to find an excuse for a party so I can buy this platter. Or the bowls and plates. Such a shame that I can't justify it as a display prop for the Cottage. But maybe ... have flamingos gone folk art yet?


The beaded flamingos are a little too much for me but I do love that dip cooler!

And it seems that the flamingo phase has affected the quilters at Tuesday's Wild Roses group. Check out this fabulous hand appliqued, stitched and quilted flamingo quilt that Jan made! The fabrics she chose are fabulous ... I love the florals pulled out into the border. You need to see this up close to realize how wonderful it is. I've been egging Jan on to enter it in the Minnesota State Fair ... can see it front and center in one of those big showcases as you come in ... sporting a Rosebud's Cottage rosette! If you know Jan, jabber at her until she trucks it over to the fairgrounds next week when they open up entries in Creative Activities. It's a masterpiece that needs to be shared.