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The Great Minnesota Get “Back” Together

Each year, I enjoy going the the Minnesota State Fair, viewing the artistry of the creative activities entries, as well as entering a couple quilts in the competition. In 2020, I was disappointed when the fair was cancelled.

This year, I had originally thought that I would not be able to enter any quilts in the competition. Having a trip to Colorado scheduled during the drop off days for the creative activities, I was at first unsure how I would be able to enter. About a week prior to our trip, I learned that I could drop off entries at the fair office during early drop off days before leaving on our trip.

After entering, I was still hesitant to attend the fair due to the increase in Covid cases. However, with the attendance numbers on previous days being down, I decided to go this morning. Being there from 8 to 11am, the number of people that were there was pretty small. The weather was cool and it was an enjoyable morning.

Things that I did not do:

  • Utilize a Park & Ride bus – to avoid the crowds of people on the buses, I left home early morning and was able to find parking in a lots across the street from one of the fair entrances.
  • Eat Fair Food – I usually avoid the fair food, so this was nothing new for me.
  • Ride any amusement in the Mighty Midway
  • Do any shopping in the Market areas.

Things that I did do:

  • Wore a mask and avoided crowds
  • Arriving early, I walked through several of the animal and 4H exhibits prior to the other buildings opening
  • Enjoyed the artistry in the Creative Activities building, including quilting, weaving, crochet and woodworking
  • Enjoyed the flora of the fair, a much overlooked aspect of the fairgrounds

Animals:

Creative Activities – My entries:

My hexagon quilt received a third place ribbon. The quality of the entries this year was amazing. So, I am pleased with a third place finish.
My miniature doll quilt, made with hand dyed fabrics received a second place ribbon. This was a huge surprise to me. I only entered this quilt as a whim at the last minute, the quilt was never intended to be entered into a competition.
The Twin Cities Skyline wall quilt that I made for a friend did not place. However, it is displayed in a very prominent location at the entrance to the Creative Activities Building. I will be interested to read the comments from the judge when I pick it up next week.

Creative Activities – Noah’s Ark: My absolute favorite of all of the creative activities entries that I saw today!

Creative Activities – Other Quilting:

Creative Activities – Weaving:

Creative Activities – Others:

Butter Sculptures of the Fair Princesses:

Flora of the State Fair:

Split Personality

My favorite way to relax is to work on one of my crafts.  And, yes, I have been doing that a lot.

But, today was a day to do something very different.  With the temperature in the low 70s, low humidity and, most importantly No Bugs, it was a day to work outside.  I was able to crossed something off of my to-do list that has been on the list for a while (okay, so actually a couple years).

img_3697A few years ago, we had three large oak trees taken down by a local arborist (Branch and Bough, if you are in MN, is a great tree service).  These trees were hanging far over our driveway and the concern was that they might fall onto our vehicles. At the time, we had the tree crew take the trees down and then cut them into 1 foot length intending to split the wood to use in our firepit and fireplace.  Since then, these large pieces of wood have been stacked by our driveway.

Well, today I finally got around to splitting the wood.

img_3699.jpgWe made a trip to Home Depot last night to rent a log splitter for a day (my husband was kind enough to help with this since I am not confident towing something behind my vehicle).  Then around 7:30 this morning, I started working through the stack of logs.   Eight hours later and I had about a full cord of wood (8 ft x 4 ft by 4 ft) split and stacked.  At the current rate of $550/cord, I’d say it was a productive day.

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But, boy am I tired.

I think I’ll go back to my craft room before tackling another task like today.  But, it was certainly nice to get the log splitting off of my to-do list!

 

Snow-capped Mountains

Happy New Year to each of you!

Now that Christmas is over, I can share posts about some of the gifts I made this year.

I really enjoy making gifts to give to friends and family.  There is a sense of accomplishment when I can make something unique to give away.

Several of my sons enjoy skiing and snow boarding, so the mountains are a place they like to go in the winter. Hiking and taking photos is another draw of the mountains for them. So, for  each of my sons, I made a set of wooden bookends to look like snow capped mountains.

I had seen something similar in a magazine.  However, that photo showed only a single mountain on each side supporting the books.  My original thought when I saw this was that a 2″ thick hardwood board would not hold up books very well.  So, after some thought, I came up with a design for making some more useful bookends.

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Unfortunately, I did not have any wood the right size stored in our basement, so I made a trip to Menard to purchase some oak.

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Supplies:
2″ x 4″ x 6′ red oak   $28.59
1/2″ x 4″ x 4′ red oak $4.69
Various shades of stain, White Acrylic Paint
Polyurethane sealer – these I already had, but can be purchased at any craft or hardware store for about $3.00 each

Total cost was about $9 per set of bookends.

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Using a circular saw, I cut six triangles out of the oak boards for each pair of bookends.

  • two 4″ x 8″
  • two 4″ x 6″
  • two 3″ x 5″

 

 

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The cut boards were then sanded smooth with an electric detail sander.  Wood glue was spread between the boards and they were assembled with the smallest triangle placed between the other two sized.  Being careful to make sure the bottoms and backs of the boards all lined up even, the boards clamped together and the glue was allowed to dry overnight.

A coat of stain was applied to the entire surface of each bookend.  I used four different shades of stain to make each set of bookends unique. Three coats of white paint were used to create the snow caps, and the entire project was sealed with polyurethane. Rubber anti-skid 1/2″ cushions was added to the bottom of each bookend and the projects were complete.

I hope my boys enjoy using these in their various apartments.