Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bluff Country Art Tour

The Bluff Country Studio Art tour is this weekend and it is a wonderful excuse to drive through what I consider the prettiest part of the state. The bluffs, valleys,and rivers are breathtaking. The tour includes galleries and 31 artists who open their private studios. Our items are in the Lanesboro Art Center. Lanesboro is a quaint little town on the Root River
that is really booming in the summer and fall and really quiet in the winter. A very popular biking and hiking trail runs right through town.
The falls are also right in town and there are lots of shops and B&B's and even a theater. I brought down some of my eyeglass cases which I now do in two sizes ; smaller ones for reading glasses:
and the bigger ones for regular sized glasses.
The flowers are hand crocheted and then I add embroidery.
I am especially pleased with the blue one since I have trouble working with blue. Of course, I had to add orange!

When I delivered them I thought the gallery was still stocked with pincushions, but they were nearly sold out so I will have to replenish that supply. I also have to send cases to California and we have a new shop in Anchorage, Alaska that has put in an order. There is also another studio art tour in Wisconsin along the Mississippi in May and we will have to restock the Swan Song gallery in Maiden Rock before that. Before I get too stressed at all this work in such a little amount of time I am going to enjoy how well these turned out.

Friday, April 23, 2010


In the last week or so things have really been blooming at the arboretum and one of the earliest is the magnolias. I still have a hard time believing they are hardy here in Minnesota, it seems like such a southern tree. It always looks like paper stuck in the bare branches as the flowers come out before the leaves. They have such a variety at the arboretum-one of my favorites is an "anise" magnolia. The flowers have the typical perfumey scent, but if you crush the twigs it smells like licorice!Two bangs for the buck!
Everyone has been out to see the tulips and other bulbs blooming. It has been such an early and unusually warm spring- if we're not careful we could get spoiled. At least it doesn't look like we will get our typical late smack of snow.

One of the first plant to really pop in my garden is the 'Gold heart Dicentra', my favorite bleeding heart. The picture below is from my garden. The limey green, yellowish foliage is one of my favorite colors. As much as I adore flowers, in my own garden I lean towards texture and beautiful foliage- so serene.
But, of course, another of my favorites are the flowering crabapple trees and other fruit trees. There is a plum tree that is just incredible and the crabapples below are just starting to open. By next week the hillside should be gorgeous!
I will post more photos when they are all in full flower.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


There are certain magazines that I so look forward to,Piecework in particular, and especially this March/April issue. I love handworked household items and this issue is loaded with them.
There is also a lengthy article on vintage women's magazines, a wonderful source for old patterns and household tips. Many of these magazines kept women apprised of the important social and political matters of the day,especially rural women confined to home and family.
They also encouraged women to develop their needlework skills for the production of added income- a benefit during the Depression. The article above is of particular interest to me, I love collecting potholders and also make quite a few for the online shops.
The workmanship on this simple, everyday item is amazing.This is what I so appreciate about vintage linens- the time and effort put into everything from kitchen towels and bed linens to clothes pin bags.
I have quite a few old magazines from the turn of the last century through the 40's and will share some of them here from time to time. The illustrations and graphics are beautiful and some even frame worthy!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Textile Center

We are lucky to have a wonderful textile center in Minneapolis, a place dedicated to fiber arts. There are classes in knitting, crochet, weaving(pictured above), felting, mixed media and much more. There is also a dye kitchen for instruction in fabric and fiber dying.

The center has a gallery for exhibits, a very extensive library, and a gift shop. They just had a juried call for inclusion in the shop and some of my items have been accepted.

These are some of the pincushions I brought down and also some of the eyeglass cases I have been doing. The cases now come in two sizes- a size for standard glasses and a smaller size for reading glasses. I am also going to do some embroidered bags for the fall. The shop is a little empty right now as they are restocking, but there are some beautiful items there ranging from felted cases and crocheted pins, hand dyed fabrics and silk scarves, books and dyes. I am thrilled to be involved in this great center.