Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Location, Location, Location

The Vinegar Marketing Board is really on their game this year. Genius!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lurid Easter

Vivid. I'm sure I meant to say vivid.

Is pastel passe?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Current Threat Level - Pastel

I love Jr. Mints. So, after seeing this new version I am very torn between thinking "great, it's about time", and calling Michelle O. to say, "You're right, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how junk food marketing leads to spare tires and muffin tops. You go girl."

Formerly a special going-to-the-movies treat, Jr. Mints (along with most other candies) are now for sale all the time, everywhere, in every color, for every season. It just ain't right.

Must resist.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Inexplicable Easter

No need to tease those jelly beans out of the Easter grass. Now you can indiscriminately shove handfuls of sugary basket contents in your mouth.

For the young aspiring Vegas performer?

These should seal the deal on lifelong Easter egg hunt phobia for those kiddies already traumatized by the Easter Bunny costume and hunt-starting siren.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Clean Out the Frig Soup

Threw in some onion, chicken broth, and a little milk and got leftover lunch. Didn't even have to scrape mold off of anything.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Speedy Delivery

The best thing about Spee-Dee Delivery aside from their speedy delivery is the delivery guy. I am not kidding you when I say he could be a twin to the young Mr. McFeely in appearance and demeanor. Friendly, efficient, polite, cheerful, and neat as a pin. If you can only remember the older Mr. McFeeley then substitute in your visualization Kenneth, the NBC page.

Once, when handing me a special order from Macy's he chirped, "Enjoy your package!" The contents - a bra. Still makes me giggle.

Their logo is pretty awesome too.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Black Gold

It is a very happy day when the Spee-Dee Delivery truck shows up with our regular coffee order from Great River Roasters. Six pounds of caffeine and we are good to go for another month or so. Credit card bills have accrued late charges, our water has nearly been turned off, but we never forget to reorder coffee on time. When the grounds are nearing the dangerously low mark in the jar "the call" is made and sweet relief is on its way.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Pinn Family Comes to Call

My friend has had these dolls since she was a girl. She thought they were from her Indiana relatives, but until yesterday knew little else about them.

After we took these photos she did some searching and found more information at the Minnesota History Center website.

Following are comments from Objects Curator Linda McShannock on the Pinn Family dolls.

"The Pinn Family dolls, simple dolls made from common household clothespins, come straight out of the Great Depression and the imagination of a Minnesota designer. Not only do they represent the simplicity and make-do attitude of the era, but they also give us a glimpse of an imagined family growing up in Minnesota. Their names reflect some clever double meanings: father, “Ty Pinn,” mother, “Hattie Pinn,” daughters, “Beauty Pinn,” and “Clo Pinn,” son, “Harry Pinn,” and “Baby Pinn.”

The original Schoenhut Company and its dolls didn’t survive the Depression. Reorganized in 1935, the Otto Schoenhut Company of Philadelphia added Emily Myers’s Pinn Family dolls to its product line and brought Myers, a Minnesota designer, to Philadelphia to teach employees how to paint the features and accessorize the dolls. In the late 1930s, Myers ended her contract with Schoenhut and manufactured the dolls herself from her home in Mahtomedi, Minnesota.

Emily T. Myers (1886-1971) produced and sold individual collegiate dolls and Pinn Family dolls by mail order and at the Minnesota State Fair through the 1940s." - Linda McShannock, Objects Curator

After learning this background information my friend now believes the dolls probably came from her granny in St. Paul who was an avid Minnesota State Fair-goer.

Do you know anything more about the story of the Pinn family and their friends?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Winona Road Trip Part II

The grounds and setting of the Museum of Marine Art are as wonderful as the museum itself. On the day of our trip we had beautiful weather and a blue sky, but the landscape was still pretty drab as fields and forests were just beginning the "greening up" process. Native and perrennial plantings surround the building.

The tall grasses from last year were still very impressive.

The Mississippi River, still frozen in many places, is not yet open for barge traffic.

Out on the ice there were two adult and a juvenile bald eagle. This is as far as my camera will zoom on its own. Do you see them in front of the barges? The juvenile is gone now.

I thought I would try a technique that never would have occurred to me before my sister and niece used it to photograph wildlife on a recent trip to Costa Rica. Here is attempt one at a shot through binoculars.

On attempt two the bird took off and I got it. A somewhat successful experiment!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Winona Road Trip Part I

The button club went on the road to see an exhibit of special interest at the Minnesota Museum of Marine Art, The Shell Game: Clam Fishing and the Pearl Button Industry. We were delighted to find that there were three other wonderful current exhibits. Impressionist and Hudson River School Art, Life on the River - Leo and Marilyn Smith Folk Art Collection, and Famous Names and Places: The Marine Art of John Stobart, Roy Cross, Dusan Kadlec and Maarten Platje. The Impressionist and Hudson River School Art collection contains work by Monet, Pissaro, Renoir, Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam and others. An unexpected treat!

Just for this special occassion one of the button club ladies wore a shellbutton-embellished vest she has made. Her attire caused a flurry of attention and activity among the museum workers who took photos and tried to get a news reporter to show up to cover her creation and the momentous visit of an out-of-state button club to their exhibit. The number of buttons Norma sewed to her vest is near 2000 and she says she isn't done yet. This is the vest back.

I highly recommend you put the MofMA on your list of places to go, things to see, and people to meet. It would be a great destination for those who like to take the occasional Sunday drive. If you happen to have kids in college in Winona a visit here would be a good graduation weekend add-on activity or a post apartment move-out destresser. The beautiful six-year-old museum has strong supporters including, I believe, the owners of the Fastenal and Watkins companies, and is well run by a very friendly staff. Sadly, by the time you read this, the whimsical wood carvings of Leo and Marilyn Smith will be gone, but their work comes back later this year in a holiday-themed exhibit.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pesto Prescience

What a beautiful sight in the freezer in March.

Thank goodness a certain basil lovin' neighbor had the foresight to plant a pesto plantation at the community garden last year. Without this visionary gardener's effort, enthusiasm, and generosity we would now find ourselves pestoless. It would indeed be a desperate situation if, at this point, we were faced with rationing a single unit of this green, garlicky delicacy until next season's basil harvest. As it is, our supply is still so plentiful that should an impromptu pesto party invitation be issued we would be in very good shape to bring a pestolicious, pestoplentiful dish to pass.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

You Can Have One Too

Waiting (at Target) to be adopted (for only $19.99) into a good home.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Orla Kiely

A few acquisitions from one of Target's previous pair-ups with a fun designer.

Orla Kiely. Come and gone(from Target), but not forgotten.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Magical Fruit

Black Valentine, Scarlett Runner, Garden of Eden, and Red Nightfall aka Mayflower. Aren't they pretty? I will share if you'd like to grow some too.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Only the Gnome Knows

Finally, true intrigue in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, a gag order has been issued due to the sensitive nature of the on-going investigation. Details that could only be known by the the perpetrator and the responding crime scene analysts are not being released at this time. We are able report that all husbands and children have been ruled out as suspects due to evidence of a concern for tidiness at the crime scene which does not fit their profile.

The only witness, this guy:

And he is not talking.

If national security were at stake Jack Bauer would be called in, or at least channeled, for the interrogation, but we believe the threat is localized and are confident that questioning by our crack team of Citizen's Academy graduates will eventually get results.

Until there is a suspect in custody, be on the lookout for individuals nervously loitering near vending machines while worrying excessive amounts of change in their pockets. Use all caution as the suspect may be over-caffeinated and dangerous.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Absobloodylutely Brilliant!

Target has partnered with Liberty of London to offer some really fun, seriously floralish goods.

I snuck over Sunday morning to take a look while the shelves were still mostly full.

I might have have made it before there were any gaps in the merchandise if we hadn't forgotten all about the time change. We've never done that before!

More than a few items made it into my shopping cart. I had no sales resistance especially since it was a pre-planned splurge event. No one knows what to do about buyer's remorse better than The Return Queen, but we are amused by our purchases, and don't anticipate experiencing any regret.

Get there soon if you want to score any abfab Liberty of London for yourself.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Puddles Mean Progress

Neighborladies and ladyettes gathered recently in the alley for a confab and cute boot photo shoot.

The truly exciting part of the one wore coats, mittens, or scarves. Lingering outdoors, an activity that has rarely happened since last October, was enjoyed by all thanks to the balmy near 50 degree temps.

The confab consensus was that Spring has a rubber-booted foot planted firmly in the door.

Mother Nature may still try some winter-like hijinx, but she can't fool us, Spring is coming.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Now What?

Some helpful, frugal tipster said to freeze old, lone bananas until you have enough for a batch of banana bread. I'm not feelin' the love with these babies, but I bet they would make good, potassium-rich compost. Do I have a second for that motion?

The out-of-focus look is mostly frost.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Extra - Garden Plots Available

This week the local paper did a nice article with photos to promote community garden sign-up. Of the seven photos featured six were taken by me. One appears in the on-line version. It was very good of them to give us so much and such colorful space on the back page.

Don't hesitate. Don't delay. Sign-up for your garden plot today!

Follow-up guest column here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tabloid Gardening

We would expect to read a sensational headline like this while waiting in the checkout line, but in our seed catalog?

Perhaps the editor got his start as an intern at The Star. On the other hand, these do look like they could have been grown by aliens or Elvis in an Area 51 community garden plot. Hmmm...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beautiful Inside and Out

Lovely, enticing, frame-worthy, fun.

Klehm's Song Sparrow has a beautiful catalog, beautiful products, and a nice website. Sadly, many of their special plant categories such as the Japanese maples, while very tempting, are iffy at best in our zone. Take heart, and take a look, there are plenty of other wonderful species that thrive in our climate.

Must have more acreage.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Greenhouse Stroll

By Mother's Day these pots and baskets will be as stunning... the hydrangea and cyclamen are now.

Greenhouse owners are very understanding about people who need some green-therapy at this time of year. Visit one today.