Friday, August 29, 2014

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ No. 2 Pencil

by Mollie

In their early years, pencils were created from high quality graphite sticks which were wrapped in string or put into wooden tubes. Later, pencils were made by gluing these graphite sticks in between two pieces of wood.
"Pencil" by per from Norway - Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Then, in 1794 Nicolas-Jacques Conte developed the process of manufacturing pencil leads in which powdered graphite was mixed with finely ground clay; this mix was shaped into a cylinder form and then baked to create a pencil. The more clay that was included in the mix made the pencil "lead" harder. This became known as the "Conte Process" and he later patented this process.

{photo courtesy of Matters of Taste blog}
Pencils were first manufactured in the U.S. around 1812.
Mass production began following the Civil War when additional patents for the machines invented to make pencils were granted.

Today, pencils come in all shapes, sizes, colors and hardness. But I still have a great fondness for the good ol' standby. So with the spirit of the new school year comes my love of the freshly-sharpened No. 2 pencil.  Thus, today's treasury. I hope you are taken back to some fond school memories as you do a little shopping.
{Click on the image above to be taken to the treasury and shops featured.}

Handwriting, math problems, filling in the little squares on multiple choice tests...
What does a No. 2 pencil remind you of? What's your favorite thing about pencils? Do share!

Monday, August 25, 2014

End of Summer on a Stick!

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

State Fair week and monarchs-aflutter and school buses on the street — oh my!

You know how that all adds up: The end is near! The end of summer, that is.

The colorful flowerbeds will soon give way to colorful tree tops.

The fluttering of butterfly wings will be replaced by the fluttering of leaves.

And yet, still, there's beauty everywhere. And aren't those cool evenings wonderful?

Here is a collection of handmade items from our Minnesota Etsy team to celebrate this most excellent transitional time, and remind us to get out and enjoy it all, as summery things begin to tuck in like Sleeping Beauty, ready for a long nap.

Friday, August 15, 2014

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Happy

By Mara of  Dragonfly Adornments

August is Happiness Happens Month. They say you can never have too much happy.  According to the Secret Society of Happy People, there are 31 different kinds of happy? There's everything from amused, balanced and cheerful, to relieved, spiritual and thankful! We think that our HandmadeMN artists can help you feel happy too!

Enjoy your day and be HAPPY!

 {Click the image above to be taken to the treasury.}

It might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break
I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air, like I don’t care baby by the way

Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do

Friday, August 8, 2014

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Ahoy Matey

by Mollie

Ahoy there!

Does anyone remember that Science Museum of Minnesota commercial where the parrot is singing a tune in pirate-ese? "Oh, Cape Cod girls ain't got no combs..." It was for the Real Pirates exhibit about 2 years ago. Well, if you haven't seen it, you should check it out. I think it is so funny. Can't explain it, but it tickles my funny bone.
In it, the term avast is used. First documented in 1681, the word avast (meaning to stop what you are doing right away) quite possibly originated from the sailing term houd vast which meant "to hold fast". (Ever had the necessity to hold onto a line or the edge of the boat quickly to keep from being tossed in the water?)
So, "Avast!". Check out today's Fun Friday Finds!
Ahoy Matey
{Click on the image above to be taken to the treasury.}

Now that the high water restrictions have been removed from many area lakes, folks can once again zoom around at high speeds. Keeping the word avast in your vernacular may be a good idea these days to keep everyone afloat. However, I think using it in every day conversations is a hoot and I encourage you to do the same, no matter if you are on the water or not.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fun Friday Finds: Dog Days of Summer

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

As we slink into the sultriest days of the summer, you might want to rise early to enjoy the cooler morning air. And if you rise early enough—say, before dawn—you might catch a glimpse of Sirius, the dog star, twinkling brightly low in the southeast.

At least, that's what they say. I am not an early riser, so I wouldn't know.

It's the appearance of the dog star at sunrise at this time in the season that led the ancients to call these days of late summer heat the dog days (read more about that on Wikipedia here).

As for me, I'll take a cat nap when I can in the heat of the afternoon, dreaming of dogs ...