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April 2009

Minnesota Quilt Shop Hop ~ Metro Bus Tour



The twelve Twin Cities shop owners are offering bus tours during the first two weekends of the shop hop again this year. There are some changes ... the first that there will be a pick up in Roseville ... and also that a caterer will be supplying lunches during the tour. (The lunches were great ... we sampled them!) Read on for all the details.

You can choose which side of town to begin your tour. One parking and pick-up location is at the Roseville Area High School at Lexington and Hwy 36. The other will be at the park and ride location at the Mall of America.

The stores are divided into North and South routes. You can only go on one route per day. Book two trips if you want to do all of the Twin Cities shops. The cost for each tour is $20, paid in advance. Lunch is $8, reserved but paid on the day of the tour. Buses leave the parking areas at 8am sharp and will return at approximately 6pm to the starting location.

Here's a list of the stores for each route and the buses that will leave from them.

The NORTH ROUTE includes Bear Patch Quilting, White Bear Lake; Blue Bamboo, Plymouth; Charlotte's Web, Stillwater; Fat Quarter Quilts, Coon Rapids, Glad Creations, Minneapolis, Rosebud's Cottage, North St Paul. Buses that go to these stores are B,D,E,G,J.

The SOUTH ROUTE includes Eagle Creek, Shakopee; Fabric Town, Apple Valley; Heavenly Patchwork, Waconia; Quilt Cove, Eagan; Quilter's Haven, Rosemount; The Sampler, Chanhassen. Buses that go to these stores are A,C,F,H,I.

Here is the bus schedule.


Friday July 31:  Bus A departs Roseville - south route ...  Bus B departs MOA - north route

Saturday August 1: Bus C departs Roseville - south route ... Bus D departs Roseville - north route ... Bus E departs MOA - north route ... Bus F departs MOA - south route

Friday August 7: Bus G departs Roseville - north route ... Bus H departs MOA - south route

Saturday August 8: Bus I departs Roseville - south route ... Bus J departs MOA - north route

You can reserve a space on a bus by stopping in and registering. You can also call ahead to place your name on the list (until the routes start to fill up) and send a check, received within four business days, to hold your place. Don't send a check without calling first to be sure the space is available! Our phone number is 651.426.1885.

Payment is by check and cash only. No refunds but transferable.

When you register, you'll receive a receipt that will tell you the route and departure you've signed up for. It will be mailed to you if you send in a check.

For each person taking the tour, we need the name, phone number, email and if you want lunch or not.

While July sounds a million miles away, some of the routes are already filling up! If you enjoyed the tour last year ... or regret that you missed it ... don't wait. Call or come into the Cottage and we'll get you one of those coveted seats. The tour sold out in 2008.

The metro shops are giving pewter charms away with a $10 purchase. As part of the Minnesota shop hop, everyone will receive a 5" fabric charm of one of the shop hop fabric and a pattern for a 9" finished block.

Read all about it on the Quilt Minnesota web site. 

Call the Cottage right away to reserve your seat on the bus. We know you'll have the best time!



Graffiti for Earth Day!

Moss graffiti 

Well maybe your days of tagging are behind you but you can still leave your mark in really subtle ways. Have you thought of moss graffiti?

You'll find a great overview here in an article called Paint the town Green. This whole idea sounds like so much fun!

Basically, what you do is paint on a mixture of beer and buttermilk with a brush and then attach moss to it. I guess it is a bit more scientific than that.

Here's the recipe ... 1 can of beer, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 12 oz of buttermilk, several clumps of garden moss. You will also need a plastic container (with lid), a blender and a paintbrush.

Gather together several clumps of moss (moss can usually be found in moist, shady places) and crumble them into a blender. Then add the beer and buttermilk and sugar and give them a whirl just long enough to create a smooth, creamy consistency. Now pour the mixture into a plastic container.

Look around for a damp and shady wall on to which you can apply your moss milkshake. Paint your design onto it. You can do it freehand or use a stencil. Keep the area moist over the next few weeks until the moss catches. Soon the bits of blended moss should begin to regroup into a whole rooted plant.

That's all there is to it! So ... where will you start painting???


Welcome back Marine Wing Support Squadron 471!


It's hard to believe that a year ago, I picked Alex up after his last final at River Falls ... and then the next day he left to begin his deployment. Last night, the Marines were back from serving in Djibouti, located in the Horn of Africa,  in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. After a nerve wracking week of pirates off the coast in the Gulf of Aden, it's a relief to have the entire unit back safe and sound.


Families waiting for the Marines to return were fed dinner ... served by members of the VFW ... most of it donated from Chipoltle. Chipoltle will always have a place in my heart because of how much they feed our Marines ... for free! We were using the hangar at the  943th Airlift Wing. This is where many events were held for the Air Force Reserves when I was a member ... it was kind of surreal because we used to bring the boys to family day activities here.


With the planes coming into Minnesota airspace, the doors of the hangar were opened ... it was like looking at a movie screen. The Minneapolis St Paul airport is right across the way. I was chatting with a woman next to me about her Fall wedding to her Marine and suddenly, a woman behind her started saying "I know you - you're on Facebook!" ... and she was talking to me! Holy cow ... with the internet you can run but not hide!!

As we were all waiting, a 50' American flag began to appear. The sky was this amazing color of blue. It was breathtaking!




And then the planes began arriving ... Sun Country flew them home ... a Patriot Guard all holding American flags lined up on either side of the plane door to welcome the Marines and thank them for their service. And that big flag still flapping in the breeze. Beautiful sight!



Sons were reunited with Dads ...


Boyfriends with girlfriends ...


A new dad holding his baby for the first time. This really shows how much time all of the Marines and families have given up.


After all the speeches and a formal dismissal by the unit commander, it's off to baggage claim. And you thought YOUR bag looks like everyone elses!!


Within minutes of getting home, life returns to normal. The Marine uniform is tossed off in place of civilian clothes that have been folded in the drawer the last year ... the doorbell starts to ring ... and then Alex and his friends are off to get reacquainted.

Thanks to all of you who have asked about Alex and the unit this past year ... to Deb's Girl Scout troop who collected cookie donations and then sent over 70 boxes of the best selection. Over 300 Marine families are celebrating the return this morning. Feels good!!


Shopping in south Minneapolis


So I took a half-day mini vacation with my friend and we were heading to a store in south Minneapolis. But because of the construction on I-35W, we ditched the freeway and started winding our way to our destination ... and then stumbled on to a cute shopping neighborhood at 50th and Bryant. What a happy little find!

You have to love a store that features a chandelier made of doll bodies. Patina was filled with such fun and interesting objects. And now ... looking at their business card, I see they have some shops even closer to me ... one on Selby Ave and another on Ford Parkway in St Paul ... on my side of the river. Hmmm ... maybe I'll need to compare them ... looks like another day out for me! And hopefully they'll be loaded with the same kinds of things I didn't have time to explore on my first outing. Look at what I saw ...



So colorful! I bought one of the flower cans with the metal flower attached to it ... only mine had stripes. Come visit it at the workshop ... you'll want one to because it's totally adorable.


I had lanterns like this in my bedroom as a teenager ... one of the last kids at home ... I could get away with anything ... only my room wasn't as stylish as this. Love all the pink!



You had to look up down and all around at this place ... I have a fascination for those bird designs.


Foodie's could find something here, too!


Down the street was a beautiful cafe ... they had this painting in their entry. I love crows.


And what a surprise to find that my friend Heidi has a restaurant in town ... did she move up from Iowa and didn't tell?


Back in the car and off to the orignal destination ... Hunt and Gather! You know that any store that uses little girls dresses as a valance is going to have a lot to offer inside the doors. Take a peek at just a few of the wonderful and whacky things I found amuzing.






And of course, almost all the globes were turned to Africa ... maybe in celebration of the MWSS 471 ... and my son Alex! ... returning to Minnesota this weekend from their deployment in the Horn of Africa? Probably!


Creative Craft Crawl - Downtown White Bear Lake April 17 from 10 to 3!


Ok ... you've heard of art crawls ... and pub crawls, right? But how about a Creative Craft Crawl where when you get done, you have something to show for all that crawling!

On Friday, April 17 from 10 to 3 o'clock, selected do-it-yourself stores in downtown White Bear Lake are opening their doors for some hands-on activities. At these shops you'll be able to try your hand at needlepoint, brew the perfect cup of tea, make vintage jewelry ... and so much more!

The stores you can visit during the Crawl are Truly, Nesting Inc and the Avalon Tea Shop, all in the Avalon Mall. Just down the street, stop into Bear Patch Quilting ... the girls there will be showing you how to jazz up cleaning gloves, just in time for Earth Day. They'll have some Earth friendly cleaning tips for you, too. On Washington Square, be sure to visit The Needlepoint Cottage and then turn the corner and head for the Sheepy Yarn shop. And don't forget to stop into Rosebud's Cottage ... in the courtyard at Third and Banning.

Of all the communities that make up the Minneapolis St Paul metro area, White Bear Lake holds a monopoly on creativity! In every block downtown, you can come across a store that is eager to show you how to make something. Knitting, sewing, paper crafts and more ... crafting feeds the soul and these shops have all the ingredients.


At the Cottage Workshop (4715 Banning Ave), we have a sweet, wool needle keeper for you to make. If you've been curious about how to stitch on wool, this project will give you a little taste and get you hooked! One of the great things about our kit is that we'll have it precut for you and as you can see, in a couple choices of colors, too. Our price for the Creative Crawl project is $8.75 ... we'll have needles, scissors and thread for you to use. Perfect for a Mother's Day gift! We'll have extras at our shop in North St Paul in case you can't make it.

The Creative Craft Crawl will be continuing on the third Friday of each month all year long. Check out the blogs and web sites for all the stores involved to see what they will be offering. Sometimes it will be a project and other times a demo ... all are guaranteed to be fun and unique!

Hand made has always been cool but it's becoming more popular as people discover the joy in making something by hand. Whether it's a gift for someone special or a technique that will help you do-it-yourself, the feelings of accomplishment when you make something yourself can't be described! 


Are you part of the 3/50 Project?


Have you heard the buzz about the 3/50 Project? It's been in all the local papers, on tv, the radio and now has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter! 

The 3/50 Project pulls the solution for our economic problems away from Wall Street ... and even Washington DC ... and puts the power to recover what's been lost in the hands of the people on the street ... customers of all the independent stores across the country.

As explained on the 3/50 website ... the idea is for each of us to commit $50 each month and spend it at three locally owned businesses that you would miss if they closed. It might mean buying your groceries from Kowalkski's instead of Rainbow ... or getting Spring plants at Linders and Bachman's instead of WalMart ... or how about this one ... whether  you buy your quilting supplies from Joann's or go to Rosebud's or Bear Patch  ... or any of the other independent quilting stores in the Twin Cities.

Given the wide variations in the amount of corporate input and support among the thousands of franchise and chain operations around the country, The 3/50 Project supports one very specific, very unique business model—that of the independent business who does not have the benefit of a nationally recognized brand name.

I love their definition of an independent business ... someone who sleeps little, eats on the run, balances their checkbook over the breakfast table, combs through order forms in bed at night, and is capable of sorting invoices, signing paychecks, fielding questions, responding to emails, and faxing confirmations while simultaneously explaining to a new employee how to check in UPS. Wow ... that sounds like me (as I sit in bed writing this post)!

The concept of 3/50 has obviously been going through the minds of lots of people across the country. Mark Lipinski in his editor's letter in the April/May issue of Quilter's Home hits the nail on the head. He points out that if quilters don't support their LQShops, they might wake up one morning and find their favorite one gone. Pick up a copy (at your LQS instead of the chain) and read all about it.

So what do you think? I know I have fifty bux that I'm going to dedicate to a couple of stores I love. How about you?   Are you going to become a supporter of the 3/50 Project?


Handmade goodness at the Chickadee Boutique!


One of the longest running boutiques in the Twin Cities ... 30 years maybe? ... I love going to Jacci Krebsbach's Chickadee Boutique in Shoreview! Jacci was the very first place I sold things when I began my crafting for shows ... back in the day when I was a stay-at-home-mom.  Twice a year, the boutique is open and brings in over a hundred and fifty hand made artists from all around the area.


The boutique is housed in a little cottage that used to be the family's home. There are items for sale hung on the walls inside and out. These wreaths would look great on a front door or hanging in a window.


No two alike here!


Every corner and alcove is filled with items to decorate a home. I like that Jacci coordinates colors in groupings.




A Shoreview designer works with a group of women in Peru ... she designs products to sell and they make them to her specifications ... using fibers they collect and spin. The sweaters are beautiful!


Upcycling is the latest catchword and you can find it right here at Chickadee! Some of the artists have taken old things and made them into new. One person buys leather jackets at the thrift shop and remakes them into pouches and wallets ... another recycles old belts into bracelets and someone else rubber tires into necklaces ... there are even flowers made from beverage cans. You'd never know that these were repurposed if someone didn't tell you.





One thing that I like about Chickadee is that Jacci knows each of the artists who consign their products to her boutique. She has seven different potters ... her brother is an accomplished artist who sells his framed prints here. The selection is updated daily and is always in tune with the current look.  Sales run weekends through the end of May and as the weather gets warmer, plants are brought in for the garden. Check out the web site for all the details. Chickadee is easy to find ... just north of I-694 on the west side of Rice Street. Something for everyone here!




Relief from Winter at the Como Park Conservatory!


It's hard to believe that a building that looks like this outside on a bleak Winter day ...


... can yield this when you walk through the doors!


I've always enjoyed going to the Como Park Conservatory in St Paul. The Spring flower show was just part of the Easter season growing up ... we'd take visitors from out of town there any time of year ... as a teenager with friends who lived close by it was an interesting place to kill time. But for escaping a non-ending Winter, it was the perfect place to be the other day!


The feeling hits you as you walk through the beautiful French doors ... you begin peeling off your wool coat as the warm, moist air pulls you into the building. Birds flitting through ... all the green ... the orchids in bloom ... the smell of dirt ... it puts shoveling snow and bundling up right out of your mind!




The conservatory was renovated in the last few years and the changes are spectacular! They've connected the Como Zoo entrance to the new conservatory areas and it feels like one campus now ... instead of the two places it was before.


They needed to remove the fern room with the grotto in order to renovate ... kind of sad because that place had such a great cold wet feeling to it! But they built a new, more spacious fern room and it still has that misty feeling about it thanks to a high-tech sprinkler system.

Right next to that is a tropical enclosure with lots of hands-on activities and displays. It felt even moister in there because the mist was continuous. After being sick for a few weeks, it was terrific not to feel like coughing for a few minutes! Lots of unusual plants and critters in this spot.




Bob kept trying to get me to put my hand in the aquarium. What kind of fish are they? Are those piranha?


You can't leave the conservatory without a visit to the sunken garden. How many brides have been photographed here do you think? (I know one ... right Deb?) The Spring flower show is really one of the best but this is a beautiful place to go even on a regular day. The sunshine, space and smell of flowers is so overwhelming ... a great retreat when things are too much. But this time, the flowers of Spring stole the show!





Back at the front door ... shrugging into my coat and pulling out my gloves ... one more glance over my shoulder at the iris ... wondering if mine will look as beautiful in my garden!