state fair

Sep. 2nd, 2016 09:47 am
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Last week we went to the MN State Fair. It is always fun and we had a pretty good time. I didn't take so many pictures as last year, but I got a few.

The creative activities just weren't as good this year as submissions seemed to be down in a lot of categories, especially garment sewing. But I did take photos of anything I recognized as being made of Treadle fabric!

state fair 2016 (1)

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elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
If it's not obvious, "Up North" is the local catchall phrase for basically any rural place you go in MN for outdoor fun, usually north of The Cities, but not always. We went to the North Shore of Lake Superior, an always beautiful, always fun, always popular vacation spot. The whole area is just full of ridiculously beautiful scenery like this.

up north 2016 193

More, with lots of pictures )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Yesterday we had our Victorian Ice Skating event downtown at the Landmark Plaza rink. It was PERFECT weather, maybe even a little warm at 30 F, and no wind. The Girl and I were joined by Miss French and Mr. Geraghty on the ice, and Ms. Low attended and took photos.


I made The Girl a new coat and muff. She wore last year's dress and hood.

skating 001

Miss French was a little timid, not having skated in years. But I think she did wonderfully!


We skated about an hour and then headed to the St. Paul Grill for drinks and desserts. Lots of chat about the next events we want to do, as usual! Looks like Victorian bathing is going to happen for real. So I need to get cracking on historic swimwear that I can actually swim in! Or wade, anyway.

I am so glad that this ice skating event has finally gained a little momentum. I really want to keep it going and do it every year! Now if only we could convince the skating rink to play waltzes.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
So this is what we woke up to today:

first snow 2015 (8)

It's not officially the first snow, but it's the first snow of any real consequence. We got a dusting on Thanksgiving but this is about 3" and it's still coming down. Maybe up to 8" by Wednesday!! Yay!

Apparently this is "Winter Storm Delphi" happening (are we seriously giving every storm a name now?) but it's not stormy here; there's no wind, and the snowfall, while constant, is gentle and soft.

It reminded me I still haven't shared photos of a day The Girl and I spent in the park a few weeks ago, in early November. We took advantage of a beautiful late-autumn day and went to Hidden Falls park, a little bit of nature in the city.

The leaves were all gone by this point. I love the autumn color, but there is also something beautiful about the bare trees. And when all the undergrowth dies off for the season it's easier to walk off the paths.

The warm sunlight coming through these trees makes this day feel like ages ago! But it was only three weeks.

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More! )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Okay, let me preface this with the fact that the Minnesota State Fair is a Big Deal. My friend wikipedia tells me it's the largest state fair (by average daily attendance), and my innate home-state pride tells me that it's definitely the best one.

People love the state fair here. We love all the exhibits, the funny and beautiful and strange ones, we love rides, we love the music, and we especially love food on a stick. Seriously, you can put ANYTHING on a stick here and people will be lining up to eat it. Bonus points for deep-frying.

So, yesterday we all went. It was opening day, gorgeous cool weather, and totally mobbed. There is SO MUCH to do out there, we could never get to it all. As it was, we got there around 9 and didn't leave until almost 6. The day just flew by! Plus I felt like I was taking pictures all day and I didn't even capture half of what we saw.

The first thing I like to do is always check out the Creative Activities building. There are zillions of categories, including beadwork, embroidery, sewing, knitting, crochet, scrapbooking for some reason, wood carving, boat building, lacemaking, quilting of course, and dollmaking. (There is a ton of baking and canning too but I usually skip that.)

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Nerd crafts were much in evidence.

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LOTS more - seriously, it gets long )

There is so, so much more that we did that I didn't photograph, and so much more that we DIDN'T do!! We missed the butter sculptures, most of the Fine Art, and the show with the guy who jumps rope on a unicycle. One day is just not enough to see and do and eat everything you want. We were wrecked by the time we got home. But we had a really great day!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I don't know if you guys all have this where you live, but up here, the family cabin is a Thing. And it's not usually an actual cabin, it's usually just a house, in some small town, in a rural area. It's almost always near a body of water, it smells slightly like mildew, and you spend your weekends there when you want to get out of the city.

Our family doesn't really have a cabin, but my uncle has a place on the St. Croix river, about a half hour's drive from the city. It was my grandfather's house and now my uncle has inherited it and lives there, and we tend to gather there in the summer for barbecues and such.

My uncle was out of town when my sister flew in, so she and my mother planned to stay at the house for a couple days. The Girl and I decided to come down and spend a couple days with them having Summer Fun.

Here's the view from the house.

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Goofing off with The Girl is the best!

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Two long flights of stairs take you down the bank to the river.

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We swam, of course. And took a long beach walk and explored.

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More! )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
The day started out a little rocky, with everybody being crabby, especially me. But eventually we got mobilized and started out on the road.

All ready to go!


We took the interstate to Reproduction Fabrics, which turned out to be a pretty tiny shop in the second floor of a bank and office building. I would never have found it if I hadn't been looking.


Read more... )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
We had such a lovely time last weekend at our picnic! We had 20 people altogether (21 if you count the baby!) which is an amazing turnout, considering that 18th century is not nearly so popular here as it is other places.

We arrived at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum around 11. The gardens were already mobbed. We found a shady spot and laid out our picnics.

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Debbie was period perfect in her handsewn shortgown.

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Gary, Sue, and Erin had such an amazing setup, with china, pottery, and homemade period-appropriate food.

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Lot lots more! )

We had a fabulous time. I wish we could have stayed all day, but by 4:00, I was pooped. That hot sun just sucks the energy right out of you! Can't wait until our next one!

p.s. for the curious and dress-obsessed out there, I plan to spill all the dress details in a separate "new dress!!" post.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
On Saturday afternoon a small group of ladies gathered at the LeDuc house in Hastings, MN, a charming house built in the 1860s and now preserved as a historic site.

One of the best things about the house is that none of the furnishings are original (stick with me for a sec) which means we can actually USE the place - eat off the tables, set glasses down, lounge in the chairs, and so on.

It's a short drive out of The Cities, and when I arrived I was greeted, given a short tour, and invited into the parlor for sherry. I was a bit early but the other ladies joined me shortly.

photos! )

So glad I was able to attend this great event!
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Last weekend, The Girl and I had the opportunity to attend a Victorian-themed Christmas market at the historic courthouse in Stillwater, MN. For the event I made her this dress, based off of images for a "child's plain waist" and 4-gore skirt from this book of Butterick pattern catalog reprints.

red check dress (1)

red check dress (2)

I am pretty happy with the way it turned out. It's definitely the best historic dress I have ever made her. The one thing that bugs me is the yoke depth; I could have made the yoke portion much lower.

The original trim plan included more pink ruffles at the hem, but F asked me to leave it off and said, "I'm not particularly fond of pink." I love this for so many reasons.

I wore this old brown wool dress from back in my dinosaur days. It was a little tight but I just suffered through it. :)

stillwater nov 2014 (3)

yes, there's more )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
So, it's Tuesday, and I feel like I am the last person to get my weekend photos up. How weird is that? Modern times.

We went to the Netherfield Ball this weekend organized by the Historic Recreation Society. I wore my green voile from last year. I had big plans for a new yellow silk dress but after making Glinda and the purple plaid I was a little burned out and postponed it for another time. I also had plans for the HB but I decided to wait until I have the new-ish Laughing Moon men's regency tailcoat pattern so I can do it right. So her wore his blue 18th century suit from last spring.

It was really cold and snowy that night, and my HB asked me if I was sure I would be okay wearing that thin dress. Silly man! At least I didn't dampen it, like a certain hardcore reenactor in attendance.

Anyway, pictures!

A goofy selfie was required.


The ball was pretty well attended. Lots of lovely ladies and dapper gents all dressed up! Not everybody was perfectly in period; a lot of the men were in their Victorian evening wear, but who cares because they like to dance!


Lots more! )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
We had the opportunity to attend a costumed barn dance yesterday. This was an event organized by the Living History Society, a local group that does 1860s/Civil War era events.

First we will skip right to the cute: this horse swing they had out by the barn was definitely a favorite activity of the day for my little one!

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barn dance 003
More! More! )
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I first heard of Little Free Libraries in a Minnesota Women’s Press article. I loved the idea so much that I clipped it out and still have it stashed in my file cabinet.


If you haven’t heard of this, a Little Free Library is basically a weather-proof box with a door that you stick in your front yard and fill with books. People can stop by, take a book, bring it back later, pass it on to a friend, or donate a book of their own. The first time I saw one, I got so giddy with excitement – it seemed like the best thing ever!

little free libraries stp 007

This idea is not unique to the Twin Cities, but we seem to be brimming with them here: within about a mile radius of my house, I have counted twelve so far and it feels like more are popping up all the time! It is now a favorite pastime for F and I to stop at one or two on our walks through the neighborhood. On a totally practical level, I really appreciate having fresh reading material for both of us without having to take the bus to the public library constantly.

Here are a few of our favorites.

This one is in front of a row of businesses on Snelling Avenue.

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This is probably the nearest one to our house, just the next block over. It has a sweet little bench to sit and read.

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This is the Super-Deluxe one on St. Clair Avenue. Its exterior is made from repurposed soda cans, plants are growing on the roof, and there is a seed swap drawer in the bottom. Love it!




Also very near to us, and I love the simplicity of this one.


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Of course, I have wanted one  in my own yard since I first heard the idea! Maybe in a couple years, but right now I think the neighborhood is pretty well covered.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Yesterday we made a totally spontaneous decision to go to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. It was the last day of the season, our timing wasn't great, and I was fighting off a minor cold, but the weather was beautiful and I couldn't resist.

The part about the timing came to bite us when we spent over 2 hours in traffic getting there, when it takes 45 minutes if you leave the Cities at 8:00 am. Note to self: Yes, it really was worth it waking up at the crack of dawn for all these years!

Taking F out there is so much more fun now that she is 4. It's only her 2nd year there, but I think she enjoyed it even more. She was SO EXCITED that there was a ride. It was butterfly swings for small people.

ren fest 2013 (9)

I LOVED the fact that there was a guy pushing this thing to make it go. He was so nice to all the kids, too.

The Herpetological Society has a great setup out there every year. We saw cute turtles and petted some snakes.

ren fest 2013 (5)

More!! )

So glad we went!
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I need to drop the url here for the new/reformed old local costume group, because the old website is gone (I was hoping it would redirect for a while) and no amount of Googling was getting me there.

It's  That's Historic, not Historical.  No wonder I could not find it.  It's not much more than a placeholder but I'll be keeping my eye on it.

I agree with others that it ought to be suffixed with mn; the name is just too common.

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