into the wild west.

I think Gabe particularly loved this trip to Stephanie's wedding in Nebraska. In part because he has never seen southern Minnesota, South Dakota or Nebraska. But, also largely because if there is one thing that can make me break into proverbial hives faster than you can imagine it is bald eagles and flags. And dream catchers. And cowboys. And Mount Rushmore. And CDs filled with endless hours of Native American music.

Wisconsin and Minnesota, I once believed, held the crown. Thousands of middle aged men proudly covering their 12mpg trucks with bald eagle decals while squeezing into two sizes too small red, white and blue duds. I see them daily.

But I was wrong. I admit (document this now, I rarely say it) SWEET GOODNESS WAS I WRONG!

Since my parents were the type to take my sister and I on educational vacations (yes, I've seen nearly all of Laura Ingalls Wilder's homes as well as attended multiple French Voyager Rendezvous), I've traversed the Dakotas 8 to 10 times...however my mind must have been preoccupied with endless rounds of Travel Guess Who? as well as another game called YOU'RE ON MY SIDE, DANA AND NOW YOU MUST DIE.

But how I didn't remember the horror brimming inside each gas station, gift shop and restaurant is beyond me.

Just incase you haven't driven across the wild west here is a visual. There's a lot of this:

And this:

And just when you think you're out far enough to avoid any further dream catcher/eagle/flag blowing in the wind kitschiness...it strikes again. This time when your irritability threshold is particularly susceptible...a 2am gas stop in Podunk, South Dakota:

Yes indeed, my friends. A 5X tall "Freedom is Never Free...Brothers in The Wind" bald eagle t-shirt. The American pride tee that will trump all others until the end of time.

Now, I wouldn't normally pin Gabe as the type to purposefully irritate me. But, on our all nighter drive back, twice I awoke to the EXACT same Native American chant playing at ungodly volumes on the radio...and Gabe glowing with an unusual look of satisfaction and mischief.

Well, what goes around comes around. When we finally arrived home this morning...it appeared as though somone had thrown a cement brick through Gabe's window. Karma's a what? :)

seal the deal.

Congratulations to one of my favorite females, Stephanie, who married her high school sweetheart this weekend in her hometown of Valentine, Nebraska!

I've known Stephanie for years, but have spent the last three sharing an office the size of a closet along side her. So, needless to say, I love her dearly have been eagerly awaiting her wedding since she and husband Dale became engaged in November of '06!

Well, her day finally came and everything about it was summer and sunshine.

A few photos, from left to right:

  • A cheery Valentine sign not far from the church
  • The bride and groom entering their reception
  • The bridesmaids' adorable reception footwear (very fitting...everything was citrus!)
  • One of several well wishing Valentine businesses
  • A sweet favor tin filled with tangy lemonheads
  • The gorgeous bridesmaid bouquets (Brent Douglas!)
  • Lovely fonts and colors from the front of the bulletin
  • Wide vases filled with limes, lemons and oranges brightened the tables in the least fussy of ways
  • Thoughtful guest greetings stocked with directions and visitor information at the front desk of our hotel

Thanks to the new Mr. and Mrs. for a lovely weekend in Nebraska!

Oh, and also many well wishes to my incredible sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Radcliffe, who this week will be honeymooning in the same city as Stephanie and Dale!


smashing, positively dashing spectacle

The Ascot Op'ning Day.

Although I've never been one for horses, every part of me wishes to be a fly on the wall at the Royal Ascot, one of England's most over the top social events. Apparently in years past, attire has gotten out of hand and this year, the Queen instituted a few simple dress code rules:

Ladies are required to dress in a manner appropriate for a smart occasion. (Love that statement.)

Only formal day dress with a hat or substantial fascinator will be acceptable.

Off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch and / or mini skirts are considered unsuitable.

Midriffs must be covered.

Trouser suits must be full length and of matching material and colour.

Gentlemen are required to wear either black or grey morning dress, including a waistcoat, with a top hat which must be worn at all times.

Normally I'd consider the regulation of other's apparel slightly snobbish, but for the sake of keeping this 300 year old tradition both classy and fascinating, I have to agree with the Queen on this one.

The smashingly dressed woman on the left gets my vote. I LOVE everything about that ensemble, and don't believe Queen Elizabeth herself could turn up her nose at it.


crafter's union.

Downside to living in a lovely, but midsized town in Wisconsin? Limited access to nifty things, because BAD NEWS, Hancock Fabrics really is no place to get inspired, my friends. There's got to be some sort of a Crafter's Union for the Beautification of the City that is siting inadequate inspirational materials in the Greater Eau Claire area.

Nifty things, like a store that sells Joel Dewberry's new Ginsing fabric collection (above), would make my heart soar! This might merit a trip to Crafty Planet in Minneapolis. Slumming it in the thift store's fabric section is just not cutting it anymore.



I have a lucious day off waiting for me tomorrow morning, and I crossed my heart that I'd create something. Thankfully, How About Orange pumped out a few options just in time. This bird mobile could perk up my new place...but this paper berry centerpiece could beautify just as well...


good old.

I picked up a copy of Elle Decor this weekend and was elated to find a feature on the Twin Cities! Those two beautiful cities have been my little getaway spot and in the realm of national tourism, I always feel they're overlooked.

One of the recommended "to-do's" was the James J. Hill House, to which I give a resounding YOU MUST SEE. Gabe and I visited it on a whim last fall, and were blown away by the arduous carpentry skills and innovative design solutions. Not to mention the mansion's thirteen bathrooms, art gallery and organ!

The grand staircase can only be described as breathtaking. It was specifically designed to cash in on that warm, sunny glow. Even though I was wearing sweats...I felt like a trillion bucks floating down the stairs.

The laundry room could not have been anymore charming. Not only was it *ginormous*, but it was almost entirely white, with the exception of the perfectly placed black tiles.

The mansion makes for a great park and walk day, since it sits within walking distance of the Cathedral of St. Paul and the Minnesota State Capitol. A tourist trifecta!


mr. mouse.

One of my avid readers (hello, momma) directed me to this adorable video of Steve Tomashek (see yesterday's blog) carving one of his little creatures. So intricate!

you pea sea.

A surprise art festival was lurking at the market this morning...a welcome Saturday distraction from real responsibilities. This little shop was probably one of my favorites.

The artist, Steve Tomashek, carves miriads of tiny little creatures and then poses them in the most hilarious and adorable surroundings, each of which makes me smile and giggle.


through hoops...

Yesterday Jessica over at Swell Life posted about these adorable little hoop boards she found on etsy. I hate to be a blog-copier...but I'm absolutely in love and need forty-seven of them in my drab office. Couldn't help but share.

If you're an etsy addict, you need to visit Jessica's own etsy shop, Simply Swell. Keep your eyes peeled for the turtle onesie...by far my favorite. :)


I fancy this little twist on candle centerpieces--quite inexpensive! However, I've been doing it for a few months and never even thought of using double sided tape, which resulted in sweaty, cramped hands after just a few votives. So, thanks Martha for making life just a smidgen easier!

Try it on vases. Works just as well!



Last week Ned decided that rolling in his litter, while wet, was an ingenious idea. He then figured that tearing out of the bathroom and jumping on to Gabe's bed to continue Rollfest '08 was an even better idea.

Then that naughty little litter-coated kitty got a bath. I adore post-bath Ned because he always looks for a warm snuggle. And he smells like a freshly bathed baby.


itty! bitty!

An even better and even bittier idea I found while browing Craftzine...a carton pull-tab turned pincushion ring! Early Bird Special can give you the how-to run down.

Love, love, love it!



Found this in a deserted back alley this weekend...totally made my day! I was convinced that the trash can would lead me to the 3rd level of Mario Brothers. Or something.

monday massacre.

As much as I love being handed flowers...this gives me the creeps. Especially since there's a $100 price tag on it. Yikes.


hand me down.

My cousin, Gloria, was confirmed today and wore my grandmother's confirmation dress, which was also worn by my mom. Cute! Unfortunately, when I was confirmed I chose to wear a hideous ankle length floral dress and a dowdy cardigan...because that's what my friend's and I wore in 2000. Bad choice...

Here's a picture of my sweet little grandma wearing the dress 58 years ago!


under my umbrella.

One of my favorite local Etsy sellers has to be Just Another Day Designs. Her work, which encompasses invites, stationary, recycled notebooks and prints, is colorful and eyecatching without being obnoxiously perky.

This print hangs in my bathroom and I admire it for 2 minutes every morning while I brush my teeth. Talk about fresh!


cut a rug!

Congrats to my long-time friends Jeff and Eleise who tied the knot in a candlelight ceremony last night! Thankfully the forcasted rain and wicked weather held off so we could enjoy their elegant reception.

Wishing them the very best of luck on their future together! Enjoy the exotic honeymoon!

(Apologies on the lack of photos. Completely forgot the camera.)


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