Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Crafts galore & a bonus scarecrow contest October 26, 2013

The sign marking the entry to 100 Ladies and Gentlemen Craft Sale near the intersection of Minnesota Highways 56 and 60 just outside of Kenyon.

Signs mark the entry to 100 Ladies & Gentlemen Craft Sale near the intersection of Minnesota Highways 56 and 60 just outside of Kenyon.

I WISH, OH, HOW I WISH I could show you all the crafty goodness that encompasses the 100 Ladies & Gentlemen Craft Sale just outside of Kenyon.

This building and a wing in the back house the craft sale.

This building houses the craft sale.

But no photos were allowed of the merchandise stuffed inside this pole shed. So you will need to imagine the stitched, hammered, painted, baked, preserved, knitted and other handcrafted items sold here.

Need an apron? Homemade caramels? A Minnesota-authored book? Some crazy saying to decorate a wall? Handcrafted furniture? Seasonal decorations? A photograph of a barn? The list is endless.

The property features a paved parking lot for shoppers.

The property features a paved parking lot for shoppers.

For 40 years, Marlene and Curt Morrow have hosted this craft sale on their property at 45986 Minnesota State Highway 56, just north of State Highway 60.

The show was abuzz with shoppers when my husband and I stopped on a Saturday afternoon, so busy that wiggling through the narrow aisles proved challenging.

I thought Randy would be bored, but he lingered longer than me, reading humorous sayings at a booth of quirky signage.

It wasn’t until I spotted upcycled freestanding cabinets in the back section of the building that I found merchandise which truly interested me. At that point I called Randy over for his opinion on a cabinet to fill a hole in our dining room wall. We removed a chimney several years ago, but I seldom notice anymore the cardboard sheets that hide the space. Until we have guests. Yes, we really need to do something about that. But then I need new flooring and kitchen counters and cupboards and a sink, well, the list is endless. I would love to win a kitchen make-over.

Oh, yes, back to that craft show. I pulled a tape measure and notebook from my purse and Randy measured while I jotted numbers, hopeful that maybe one of the three cabinets we both liked would fit the space. It was not to be, we learned later upon returning home and measuring the void.

Despite purchasing nothing at the sale—because I really do not need more “stuff”—I still enjoyed the drive over to Kenyon and perusing the handcrafted merchandise. I always appreciate the talents of local artisans.

And the scarecrow display, which I was allowed to photograph, provided for some fun photo ops. At least I didn’t bring my camera with me for naught:

Visitors can vote for their favorite in the scarecrow festival with cash prizes awarded to the top three.

Visitors can vote for their favorite in the scarecrow festival with cash prizes awarded to the top three.

Here's a close-up of the Queen Mom, the scarecrow in the foreground in the photo above.

Here’s a close-up of the Queen Mom, the scarecrow in the foreground in the photo above. Her red hat sisters surround her.

Look at the attention to detail by the creators of the Queen Mom.

Look at the attention to detail by the creators of the Queen Mom.

Some of the scarecrows can be a little frightening.

Some of the scarecrows can be a little frightening…

While others can be as fashionable as the Queen Mom, like this hip 60s scarecrow.

while others can be as fashionable as the Queen Mom, or this hip 60s scarecrow.

Scarecrows making a statement.

Scarecrows making a statement.

Among the humorous tombstones on display.

Among the humorous tombstones on display.

Another scarecrow.

Another scarecrow.

An empty chair provides a photo op for a shopper.

An empty chair provides a photo op for a shopper.

And these four hang out outside the craft sale. (Yes, they are for sale.)

And these four hang out outside the craft sale. (Yes, they are for sale.)

FYI: The craft sale is open from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily, except Tuesdays and Wednesdays from now until November 10.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Christmas gift possibilities crafted in southern Minnesota December 10, 2012

THIS TIME OF YEAR the crafters emerge, peddling their wares at malls and craft shows.

I am nearly always impressed and, in all sincerity, envious of their talents. How do they manage to transform a simple piece of wood into a work of art, a skein of yarn into something beautiful and wearable, food ingredients into the most delectable treats…?

Saturday’s craft show at the Faribo West Mall presented an array of crafters showcasing their work for sale.

I couldn’t possibly photograph everyone, so here’s a sampling of the offerings.

Beautifully-packaged Cheryl's Turtles.

Beautifully-packaged Cheryl’s Turtles.

Let’s begin with Cheryl’s Turtles, sinfully delicious candy created by Cheryl Morris in her south Faribault home. Cheryl was parceling out samples of her treat prepared, she emphasized, with her homemade caramel. I was especially impressed with Cheryl’s lovely product packaging; this woman clearly understands the value in presentation. She even told me that her sons, who are sales reps, will gift their customers with these delightful mini packages of sweetness. Cheryl stirs up candy year-round and these same packages will fit her Valentine’s Day marketing plan.

JENean Mortenson's art painted onto a box.

JENean Mortenson’s art painted onto a box.

JENean Mortenson, who shared a table with Cheryl, was selling her hand-painted pieces and stained glass art by her husband. Although she did not specifically tell me this, JENean’s love of gardening clearly influences her art. I’m not sure how we even got on the topic of gardening, but this rural Faribault woman’s gardens have been on the local garden tour many times.

Chuck Henry's cutting boards crafted from reclaimed wood scraps.

Chuck Henry’s cutting boards crafted from reclaimed wood scraps.

Nearby, Faribault resident Chuck Henry takes an approach to crafting that truly fits today’s trendy green living. He uses reclaimed wood from his brother Dave’s custom cabinet shop to saw, glue and press pieces of otherwise cast-off wood scraps into one-of-a-kind cutting boards, trivets and cheese trays. Chuck calls his creations “usable and kind of pretty.” He’s nailed it with that modest description.

Nyla Wille knits while she and her husband tend their table.

Nyla Wille knits while she and her husband tend their table.

Yarn flies across the needles in Nyla's crafty hands.

Yarn flies across the needles in Nyla’s crafty hands.

Next table over, Nyla Wille of Morristown was knitting faster than I could photograph. She asked if I was from the local daily paper and I explained that I’m a blogger simply passionate about writing and photography and sharing my discoveries with readers. Then she tipped me off to a recent visit to the Mall of America by ABC resulting in the Faribault Woolen Mill Co. making “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” on December 5. The mill’s MOA store was highlighted in a segment called “Made in America, Christmas Edition: The Store America Built.” How cool is that? You can watch that video by clicking here. And you can check out the woolen mill’s on-site store in Faribault by clicking here.

A snippet of the cross Bud Paschke crafted honoring veterans from all branches of the military.

A snippet of the cross Bud Paschke crafted honoring veterans from all branches of the military.

Anyone with a veteran on their Christmas gift list could find the perfect gift among Faribault resident Bud Paschke’s scroll-sawed fretwork designs. It amazes me how anyone can cut such fine details into a piece of wood without sawing off one’s fingertips.

One of Cheryl Anderson's creations from her Nana's Hat Shop.

One of Cheryl Anderson’s creations from her Nana’s Hat Shop.

I absolutely fell for Cheryl Anderson’s array of Nana’s Hat Shop hats, mittens, baby sweaters and other handiwork crocheted in often vibrant hues. This Faribault woman even allowed me to position a Styrofoam head for the best photo op. How “Minnesota Nice” is that?

A sampling of Linda Kooyer's jewelry.

A sampling of Linda Kooyer’s jewelry.

Linda Kooyer’s table was splashed with jewelry, where she sold bracelets for as low as 6 for $5. I snapped up one made of wood.

A holiday doily crocheted years ago by some crafty crafter.

A holiday doily crocheted years ago by some crafty crafter.

Finally, Verna Bahl, a long-time Avon collector, was selling a few of the remaining items in her collection as well as some vintage stuff like this Christmas doily. I contemplated purchasing the crocheted poinsettia piece for the pure kitsch art aspect, but decided, yeah, I really don’t need this. But that did not keep me from snatching up several delicate vintage floral handkerchiefs for a quarter apiece.

TELL ME. Are you a crafter crafting gifts for family and/or selling your creations at holiday craft shows?

IF ANYONE WISHES to connect with any of the crafters featured here, I can connect you. Submit a comment with your contact info (I won’t publish the contact info) and I will pass it along.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling