Friday, December 18, 2015

Fun Friday Finds: Stillness

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

The December solstice is this Tuesday, December 22. To the astronomically inclined, it is a precise moment at which the sun appears to cross the equator, or something like that. If you're into that sort of thing, there's a terrific explanation with lots of photos and graphics at you can peruse. Enjoy!

For those more philosophically inclined, it's the time of year when the sun seems to stand still.

Indeed, the Latin origin of the word "solstice" means just that: sun standing still.  (See this for that.)

I love that, because it is both lovely and a bit ironic, considering how much people are running around at this time of year, trying to get all their holiday preparations in order before Christmas.

It can be hard to let go of the busy-ness and give ourselves permission to pause, whether to ponder the holiness of a sacred birth, or to just sit with the stillness and beauty of the winter solstice.

Sometimes an evocative object can be just the thing to help us slow down and ponder that which is truly important to us. I selected the items in this collection, a treasury on Etsy of handmade items from Minnesota, for just that reason. Forget your gift list and to-do list for a moment, and consider whether one of these objects might be just what you need to help you remember to be still with the sun on a winter's day.

(Click on the image to get a closer look at these items on Etsy.)

Friday, November 27, 2015

Fun Friday Finds — Anything-but-black Friday

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

I have a confession to make: I have never liked Black Friday. I don't like the name, I don't like the hype, I don't like the whole idea, the obsessive consumer frenzy, the big boxes and big malls. None of it.

But I've found ways to make the day (and days) after Thanksgiving pleasant.

1. Ignore all the Black Friday promotions.

2. Enjoy a leisurely morning with no rush to go anywhere.

3. Head out in the afternoon (on foot or bike, if you feel like it) to a few local businesses — or at least to an independent coffee shop (where I am now, writing this blog post). I love that small shops call this day Plaid Friday (yeah — check it out).

4. Don't try to do all, or even most of your holiday shopping in one mad dash. Because when you shop both online and independent, it's not an ordeal to be got through, but a pleasure to savor.

How about some ideas to get you started? OK — here's both Minnesota local and one-of-a-kind handcrafted items for your browsing pleasure. Just click on the image. Happy Plaid Friday!

Monday, November 16, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Ring Leader

by Mollie

It's becoming a bigger circus around here with school concerts, programs, after school obligations, and the upcoming holiday season. We have family arriving, friends joining us, and a big surprise the kids have no clue about.

But I wanted to take a moment to remind myself to slow down and appreciate simplicity; I am trying not to get myself all wrapped up and overwhelmed with details. I am going to put those aside and just be present with those we are spending the holidays with as that is what is most important.

And I think my treasury today features some wonderful items that will certainly help. Whatever your circus includes, these are items that are sure to calm the monkeys, and your recipients this holiday season. Whether you are decorating, entertaining, or attending gatherings, you are bound to find a perfect gift or treat for yourself!

Enjoy your time with whomever you spend it and be grateful. Don't get caught up in the whirlwind!

Until the circus comes to town again...

Friday, October 23, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Knock, Knock

by Mollie

Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Rufus who?
Rufus the most important part of your house.

Based on a children's game, the knock-knock joke made it's way into the mainstream in the early 1930's. They were well-known and widely used through the 60's until they fell somewhat off the planet, according to the Knock-knock Joke Wikipedia page.

They made a come-back when they were used regularly on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.

I grew up with knock, knock jokes and unfortunately cannot for the life of me remember too many. My good ol' standby is the one where you say "Orange", because you can change the answer based on what is going on at the moment.

And at the moment, I am glad it's Friday. Today's treasury is loaded with many wonderful items in honor of the color orange. Seemed like a good fit for the season.
{Click on the image above to be taken to the treasury.}

What are some of your favorite knock, knock jokes? I could use a refresher or some new material for the kids!

Monday, October 5, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Circles and Squares

by Mollie

Shorter days.
Longer nights.
Cool breezes.
Black, star-filled skies.
October has arrived.
Drink it in.

{Click on the image above to be taken to the treasury!}

These are just a few of the wonderful items I found while perusing HandmadeMN shops, but you can find more by using the links to the right.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fun Friday Finds: A golden afternoon

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

These summery September days are all the sweeter because we know to savor them while they last—don't you think?

Here's to golden afternoons . . .

(click on the image for a closer look)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fun Friday Finds ~ Leather or Lace

By Mara of Dragonfly Adornments

If you are my age, you can't hear these two words without remembering the Stevie Nicks song about love, fragility and strength. These items don't have anything to do with the popular song but don't you just love the combination? Check out these creations from our HandmadeMN team!

{Click on the image above to be taken to the treasury and the shops featured.}

Friday, September 11, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Quick Change

by Mollie
While I am a bit sad that summer seems to have left us for this year (and quite quickly I might add), there are many things that I am looking forward to this fall: 
  • The leaves changing color
  • Wearing jeans and sweatshirts.
  • The smell of burning leaves.
  • High school football.
  • Corn mazes.
  • Apple crisp and hot apple cider.
  • Playing in the leaves with my kids.
I am also enjoying perusing all the lovely gift and home d├ęcor ideas that members of our team have created in the fall spirit and colors. They are the highlight of today's Fun Friday Finds!
{Click above image = go to treasury!}
What are some of your favorite things about fall? I'd love to hear!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Fun Friday Finds: September Sapphires

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

September is supposed to bring cool, dry air and sapphire skies, right?

Well, after Labor Day, perhaps. It is still summer until the equinox, after all.

For now, let's cool our thoughts by gazing on these lovely handcrafted things sporting the color of the September birthstone.

You may even discover lots of great gift possibilities for birthdays this month.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fun Friday Finds ~ Dog Days

By Mara of Dragonfly Adornments

We just went through the dog days of summer and celebrated National Dog Day so I thought it was appropriate to share the story of my lovely baby dog. Are you as crazy about your dog as I am about mine? I'm nuts for my dog. 

We had a dog before we had kids. She was a wonderful fluffy red Chow with a purple tongue that had a pink spot in the middle. She was our baby before we had babies. After she moved on, I could not even think of dealing with a dog. I had a toddler and a baby and was up to my elbows in diapers, laundry and dishes. I couldn't focus on another being in the house. When the boys got bigger, they begged for a dog. I said I'd think about it. Well, it took me about 8 years to say, "Yes". 

We knew that we wanted to adopt a dog so we "shopped" around and were interested in a few lovely pups but none really stuck. My husband came home one day and said that there was a cute dog at the Humane Society so we went to meet her. I was hoping for a larger female, with blond or red fur. This dog was a female but she was sort of brindle and was pretty small. She wasn't the softest or cutest dog I'd ever seen but I still agreed to meet her. We were placed in a visiting room and my kids sat on the floor with her. She was really sweet and went to each kid to snuggle and kiss them. Back and forth she went. I really liked her but wasn't convinced. I was sure she wasn't the one but told the family that I would think about it. Well, I couldn't stop thinking about her! We went to adopt her the next day and it's been love ever since.

I can't believe how much love, laughs and joy she brings to us every single day. We had a couple of small bumps when we brought her home but it's the best thing ever, having her around. She is a schnauzer/cairn terrier mix. She was called Wendy at the kennel and supposedly came from Oklahoma. We named her Coco and she reminds us of Toto from The Wizard of Oz.

Our MN artists have created some fabulous items for your fur-babies. Visit their shops and check out all their amazing items.
{Click on the image above to be taken to the treasury and the shops featured.}

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Minnesota Monday Finds: Creatively Upcycled Practical Goods

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

Getting ready to ship those students back to college? Time to snazz up your home office after a summer of neglect? Or just looking for a new handbag with a clever eco-friendly twist?

We found an excellent assortment of clever and useful items ingeniously crafted by Minnesota artists from bottles and bicycles and bluejeans and more.

Click and enjoy responsibly.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fun Friday Finds ~ Farmers Market

By Mara of Dragonfly Adornments

Homegrown and handmade! Whether it is a farmer or an artist, they offer fresh, affordable, convenient, and healthful products sold directly from the farm or studio and created right here in Minnesota. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ At the Cabin

by Mollie

It's Friday. And for many Minnesotans, and other northerners, that means it is time to head to the cabin.

As a girl, our trip up north was usually to Melahn's Resort on Lake George: rustic cabins on a pretty lake, outfitted with tetherball, canoes, swing sets and the great outdoors. So many great memories were made there. I even met a lifelong friend who would usually be there the same week we were.

Today's treasury is an homage to those great on the image to be taken to the treasury and all the shops included.

What are some of your favorite memories of a trip to a cabin, or just "up north", or to the lake? Whatever they may be, hold them close. They will be with you forever.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fun Friday Finds: An Artful Garden Collection

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

Gardens can be such mixed blessings at this time of the summer, when the weeds are running rampant and the harvest is coming fast and furious — tomatoes and beans and, oh my!, the lettuce is bolting!, and what are all those tall things I didn't plant?!

A garden of art -- or some art in your garden -- may offer just the relief you need; a delightful harvest for the eyes, and very little maintenance required.

Here's a collection of marvelous handmade garden goodness from Minnesota artists and crafters. Of course, a few of these items are best "planted" indoors, but others will weather beautifully amongst the hosta and ivy.

Best viewed from a shady spot with an iced drink in hand.

Just click on the image to get a closer look and visit the individual shops on Etsy.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fun Friday Finds ~ Blueberry Hill

By Mara of Dragonfly Adornments

Blueberries are beautiful, healthy and luscious. They are high in antioxidants and are perfect fresh or frozen. Just as blueberries are a super food, these fun finds are created by superstars right here in Minnesota.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fun Friday Finds ~ Ahhh, Tea!

By Mara of Dragonfly Adornments

June is National Iced Tea month. I am honoring iced tea with this refreshing treasury of amber colors of tea and citrus yellow of a slice of tart lemon that compliments the tea so well. According to Tea Time Magazine, in 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair a man named Richard Blechynden was trying to hand out samples of hot tea in the sweltering Missouri summer. He chilled the tea in ice and was able to offer the fair-goers a cool, refreshing beverage and from that point, iced tea became a popular drink in the US.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fun Friday Finds: Summer!

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

Here comes midsummer! (The summer solstice, that is.) And Father's Day, and the Swedish heritage festival known as Svenskarnas Dag, at Minnehaha Falls park in Minneapolis (next weekend, June 28).

Yah, we know how to have some good summer fun here in Minnesota. And colorful handmade goods from Minnesota artisans to celebrate it all -- maybe even for a little gift-giving too?

Go ahead, click on the image to get a closer view of the collection over at Etsy -- and links for each item to their shops. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Art on the Lake

by Mollie

This weekend one of my favorite art shows is happening: Excelsior Art on the Lake.

The setting is beautiful, the artists are amazing and there is so much food and music to delight everyone's fancy.
If you haven't taken in this show before I highly recommend it. And what's not to love about being outdoors on what should be a beautiful day?

The show is located right on the green grass along Excelsior Bay on Lake Minnetonka. There are shuttles provided to make parking a breeze and when you are done shopping along the lake, you can walk into Excelsior and dine on some more fabulous food, take in unique brick and mortar shops, check out the trolley and maybe take a many things to do and see and a perfect way to spend a nice weekend day.

Today's treasury includes some of the artists you are likely to see at the show, as well as some other Minnesota artists who you may or may not have seen before. Be sure to click on the image to go to the treasury and the shops featured.

And here is a link for more information about the show itself.
Make sure to leave your comments below if you are able to stop and peruse ~ I would love hear to about your favorite artists at the show!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Fun Friday Finds ~ Great Graduation Gifts

By Mara of  Dragonfly Adornments

Are you looking for some last minute graduation gifts? 
Look no further! We have some great choices right here in Minnesota.

Friday, May 29, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Blue Skies

by Mollie

We had two absolutely beautiful days weather-wise here in the Twin Cities this week - sun, heat, blue skies. It all made for great outdoorsing after the rain we received earlier and boy did the spring pop out! The grass and leaves are so lush and green now; I love this time of year.

I was out in the yard both days and found myself humming a little tune as I was weeding the gardens. That tune has stuck with me, even though we have a cloudy, rainy day again today. But hopefully today's treasury collection will help keep spring in your world and brighten this gloomy day.

Blue skies, Smiling at me, Nothing but blue skies...
{Click the image above and you'll be directed to the treasury itself and all artists featured today.}
This weekend should be a great one - enjoy it, however you may spend it!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fun Friday Finds ~ Beer Crafts

By Mara of  Dragonfly Adornments

May 11-17 is American Craft Beer Week. This is a week of celebrating the craft brewers and their fans around the U.S. According to MN Craft Brewers Guild , Minnesota has a diverse range of craft breweries and pubs with more opening all the time. It doesn't take a guild to point out how popular craft beer is, it's quite obvious to us all, but beer crafts made by Minnesotans is also hot! There is a diverse selection of beer related gifts to choose from for the craft beer lover in your life.


Friday, May 8, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ A Walk in the Park (with Mom)

by Mollie

Mother's Day is right around the corner and I am sure you are already prepped for the family gatherings, brunches, picnics, and miscellaneous fun times together. I hope you have a wonderful time regardless of how you spend it.

But don't forget to include the other moms in your life! Your sisters and girlfriends who have "furry" children are to be remembered and thanked and appreciated this weekend also!

This week's Fun Friday Finds features lots of great last minute gift ideas for the women in your life who are moms to man's best friends.
{Click on the image above to be taken to this week's treasury.}
Be sure to get out and enjoy the scenery, the weather, the green, and the loved ones with whom you share your life, furry and not!

Happy Mother's Day from all of us at HandmadeMN.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Fun Friday Finds and a Saturday Craft Fair

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

So it begins! The spring and summer craft show season, that is.

This Saturday, May 2, Nokomis Park in Minneapolis is hosting the Nokomis Urban Craft and Art Fair, featuring several members of the HandmadeMN Etsy team along with other local Etsy sellers.

I've gathered a collection of items from 16 of those sellers, just to give you a little preview of some of the things you'll find there. To see the full list of participants, and for more details, visit the event page on Facebook here.

To learn about other art and craft fairs coming up, visit this page on the blog.

And it looks like it will be a lovely day for a walk in the park, besides! (Although the fair actually takes place inside the community center, so maybe I should say a walk to the park! Or across the park on your way to the community center. Or around the park after you shop. Or ... well, you get the idea!)

Fun Friday Finds: Nokomis Urban Craft and Art Fair!
Click on the image to view the treasury on Etsy.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fun Friday Finds ~ A Day Late and a Dollar Short

By Mara of  Dragonfly Adornments

It may not be Fun Friday but it is Super Saturday! This is a collection of super steals and deals. Nothing is over $8.00. Check out these awesome finds made by Minnesotans.
{Click on the image above to be taken to the treasury and the shops featured.}

Sunday, April 19, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Songs on a Spring Sunday

by Mollie

Listening to the birds chirping is one of my favorite parts of spring.

Particularly so after a soft rain on a weekend.

I can just hunker down with the windows open to allow the fresh air and music of the songbirds fill the room.

Off I go...but before YOU do, please take a gander at the treasury I've created for this (past) Friday's Fun Finds.

~Songs on a Spring Sunday~
{Click on the image above to be taken to the treasury and the shops featured.}

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fun Friday Finds: Dancing in the Rain?

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

You know that Prince song where he sings, "Sometimes it snows in April"? I always wonder whyever he said "sometimes." I guess "often it snows in April" just doesn't quite convey the sense he was looking for.

When those big fat snowflakes were plopping down on my patio furniture this morning, I'm pretty sure the doves around here were laughing.

Or why not dance?

If you click on the image above, you'll get a closer view of this fine collection of Minnesota items filled with springtime good cheer, whatever the weather. Cheers!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fun Friday Finds ~ Spring into Easter

By Mara of  Dragonfly Adornments

Friday, March 27, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Until We Meet Again

by Mollie

I unfortunately had the displeasure of recently departing from the Hawaiian Islands. If life had allowed, I would have stayed MUCH longer! (It had been about 30 years since I had been there last. And I will tell you this: I will not let another 30 years pass before I go back.)

It was truly a memorable vacation and I feel so fortunate to have been able to take in as many sights, sounds, tastes and experiences that I did in my too short amount of time there. Oh the smell of plumeria and hibiscus, the fruity drinks with umbrellas with the ocean waves as a backdrop, the bike down Haleakala, Pearl Harbor, snorkeling Molokini, the aerial tour of Kauai, Mama's Fish House...truly amazing.

As you can probably tell, I am missing Hawaii as I eagerly await the snow to disappear from my yard now. So to cheer myself up and bring back some wonderful memories, I created this week's treasury.

I say, "Until We Meet Again!"

A Hui Hou Kakou
{Click the image to be taken to the treasury and the shops featured.}
Have you been to Hawaii? If so, what are some of your favorite memories, things to do or places to go? (I'm planning my next visit already!)

Friday, March 13, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Luck o' the Irish

By Mara of  Dragonfly Adornments

Saint Patrick's Day is coming! I don't know much about the day other than it's an Irish holiday that we all like to celebrate with them. I know we wear green and if we are 21, we drink green beer. Oh, and that the Saint drove the snakes out of Ireland. I decided to learn a little more about Saint Patrick's Day. Here's what I found out.

  • Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. 
  • It is said that he was born in Britain, around 385AD. As a boy of 14 he was captured and taken to Ireland where he spent six years in slavery herding sheep. He returned to Ireland in his 30's as a missionary among the Celtic pagans.
  • The reason the Shamrock the National Flower of Ireland is that St. Patrick used it to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans. 
  • Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been – the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. 
  • Driving the snakes from Ireland was most likely symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. 

A couple of toasts for St Patrick’s Day...
May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends beneath it never fall out.
May the luck of the Irish
Lead to happiest heights 
And the highway you travel
Be lined with green lights


Saturday, March 7, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Eager for Spring

by Mollie

I know Sharon did a Spring-themed Fun Friday Finds last week, but really, can you have too many? I mean, c'mon. Spring is almost here!

Many of you are even planning trips to warmer destinations to get your Spring on.  (But with the warm week that is predicted ahead, you may have a change of heart. We will have our own Spring-like weather happenin' right here in good ol' Minnesota!)

So, to encourage an early arrival, here's to Spring!

Eager for Spring
{Click image = get to treasury.}
Don't forget to Spring those clocks forward this weekend - it gets us one hour closer! ;)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fun Friday Finds: Minnesota Skies Show Signs of Spring

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

I tell ya, one day it feels like spring is just around the corner, and the next day it sure seems far away.

But the sun doesn't care; it just keeps climbing higher in the sky each day, and in just 22 days (March 20 this year), it will gain the upper hand, and winter will have no choice but to concede defeat.

And the sky over Minnesota just keeps getting bluer and brighter, doesn't it?

So here's a celebration of the bright colors of the Minnesota sky as the northern hemisphere continues its inexorable tilt toward the sun.

Friday, February 20, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ On the Red Carpet

By Mara of  Dragonfly Adornments

It's Oscar night on Sunday! Don't fret. You don't have to be in Hollywood to look like you should walk the red carpet! Our local Minnesota shops offer everything from hats to shoe accessories to give you that movie star look!

Friday, February 13, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Lucky in Love

by Mollie

Today is Friday the 13th, a day typically associated with bad luck.
I actually find this day to be lucky for me. I hope many of you do too.

And tomorrow is Valentine's Day. I am not one to overly appreciate the day for what it has become in terms of holidays. If you love someone, you should show it on as many days that you are able, not just Valentine's Day. But for many, it is one day they feel they can go full steam ahead and do things they maybe wouldn't normally do as far as sharing their feelings, doing something special for their someone special, etc.

Here's today's treasury, filled with wonderful trinkets perfect to give anyone, anytime.
{As usual, click the image above to be taken to the treasury.}

What are some things you enjoy doing for or with those you love?
Spending quiet time together?
Enjoying a nice home-cooked meal?
Eating lots of chocolate?
Taking a walk around the lakes?
Going ice fishing?

Whatever it is, I hope you take a moment to see how lucky in love you are, and share your appreciation with those you love.

On behalf of the HandmadeMN team, I'd like to thank you for your faithful following of our blog and for your continued support and patronage of our shops.

We love you!

Friday, January 30, 2015


By Mara of  Dragonfly Adornments

Are you going to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday? Are you hosting a party or going to a party? My husband, our two boys and I will be going over to our friend's house to "watch" the game and the commercials. Did you know that a Super Bowl fan would pay $6 to $12 to watch the first Super Bowl? You would have to pay up to $7000 today. Supposedly, around 8 million pounds of guacamole will be eaten. Mmmm, I love guacamole! I think it's really interesting that 9 out of 10 people watch the game at home or a friend's home, according to Fox Sports.

You won't find a shortage of awesome football-related items on Etsy from our HandmadeMN team and MN crafters. Stop by their shops and check 'em out!

Friday, January 23, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Pretty in Pink

by Mollie

It's a new year. How can that be possible? Seems like it was just the start of 2014 to me.

As a new year begins, so does a new calendar. And for me, that means taking the time to fill in all the wonderful birthdays and anniversaries, births and memorials of friends and family over the course of my lifetime to this new calendar. (This year, I got a large desk calendar with nice big squares.) I've done this every year, and find it so amazing to know so many wonderful people and their special events.

With birthdays and gift-giving on the brain from my huge trip down memory lane as I wrote in all their names and dates to remember, I figured I would use it as inspiration for today's Fun Friday Finds.

I hope the color choice brings some cheer to your day, and inspires you to take a trip down memory lane. Or visit a shop or two and get a jumpstart on your birthday gift stash.

Pretty in Pink
Update 1/25/2015: I failed to include the link when I first posted. You can now click on the image to be taken directly to the treasury and all the shops included this week. My apologies for the oversight.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fun Friday Finds: January gems

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

Happy middle of January! This Etsy collection is brought to you by garnet, the beautiful birthstone of my mother's birthday month.

The name of this gemstone comes from the same Latin root as pomegranate (pome = apple, fruit; granate = seeds, seedy) because of its resemblance to pomegranate seeds.

Although garnets actually come in a variety of colors, including blue, green and yellow, it is most strongly associated with that deep red color of the most common variety.

Merriam-Webster's dictionary describes the color in rather precise terms: "a variable color averaging a dark red that is yellower and duller than cranberry, bluer and duller than pomegranate, and bluer, stronger, and very slightly darker than average wine."

I didn't try to be quite so exacting as that when I gathered a collection of Minnesota-handmade items on Etsy celebrating this luscious gem and color. Perhaps you'll find something here for a January birthday gift.

Friday, January 9, 2015

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Winter Sports

By Mara of  Dragonfly Adornments

Check out our Minnesota  shops for beautiful handmade items.