Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas at the Mall of America

Last weekend, I met Mom at the Mall of America to photograph some of the holiday decorations she had told me about. Although I miss the Peanuts characters that were retired with the end of Camp Snoopy, I enjoyed seeing the theme this year.
The elevator shaft above wasn't part of the theme, but was disguised to look like a building behind the line to see Santa. And the "Seussian" trees below were seen in the former Camp Snoopy, now called Nickelodean Universe.The blue-white-silver decor was best displayed in the rotunda (where a high school choir was singing).
Two gigantic trees were adorned with giant musical instruments made of wire and glitter, while wintery branches festooned the columns.

Giant swags were strung over the major corridors.
And more instruments were suspended over three stories.

I especially liked the giant ornaments that seemed to be floating down to the reflecting pool.
Oversized is fun, but can you imagine the giant divided boxes needed to hold these?

Sweet and Simple

These thank-you cards were made just after Thanksgiving and I was inspired by all the wonderful desserts we had at Cousin L's. The cardstock was folded, then cut in a triangle shape. I stamped the message onto pre-glittered cardstock and punched out a scalloped circle shape to resemble whipped cream. The "crust" was made with a scalloped-edge scissors and another stamp. Simple as pie! :)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Fast and Old

My card production has been low lately, but I made my first "slider" card for my brother David's birthday last month. I took a photograph of his 1936 Ford (a car he completely rebuilt from the chassis on up), cut it out and mounted it on a sandwich of pennies and foam mounting tape. The pennies for weight and the foam tape spacers slide along the slot in the card front; the card front is also raised a bit from the base for a smooth "slide". The "fast" was printed on my PC and the "old" was punched from a gift bag that was covered in a typewriter-key pattern.

It was fun to make and give - and David liked it too!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Before December arrives, I have a few more photos of November events to share.
The day after the Northstar Commuter Train opening, the family and I drove out to Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter, a German restaurant in Stillwater.

The food was delicious (and plentiful - we had the buffet),
the decor was warm and inviting,

(and whimsical - check out the dangling-man light fixture),

and the tableside music was great! My brother, C, took accordian lessons as a child, so it's a nostalgic instrument to me.

It was surprising that no one could remember ever having visited Gasthaus before, since we are part German, but I'm sure we'll be back.
The restaurant is an easy drive from the Twin Cities and still surrounded by enough countryside to make it a relaxing summer or fall destination.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Back On Track...

...with the Twin Cities newest mode of transportation AND regular blog posts (I hope).
On November 14th, C and I drove up to Coon Rapids for the Northstar Commuter Train opening day festivities. There were activities and speakers at each of the new stations, including Big Lake at the northern end and Target Field in downtown Minneapolis at the southern end. We chose Coon Rapids as the station most likely to have free train-ride tickets available. It was a chilly day to wait outside for an hour for a chance at a ride, but we traded places for visits to the warm tent where there were a few free food samples and bottles of water given out by Coborn's and Panera.
Amy Klobuchar spoke briefly about the many years of planning and work that were spent on getting the Northstar running.
The commuter runs on the same tracks as the freight trains - as we saw when one flew past.
It's thrilling just to SEE a train station in the Metro. Having lived in Minneapolis and suburbs all my life, it's a sight seen only in movies and on trips to Europe.

Only those with tickets for the train were allowed in the station, and, as you can see by this photo from the pedestrian overpass, WE GOT TICKETS!!

Here's C with his boarding pass just before the train started up. I filmed the train arriving to pick us up, but I may need to edit it a bit before it will upload. Look for it in the next post or in the sidebar. Our short trip took us to the Target Field stop (the new home of the Minnesota Twins when it opens in April 2010), where we got off, bought some food and looked at a few train-related exhibits before boarding for our return to Coon Rapids and our car.

Regular service started Monday, November 16th. We're planning to take a round trip from Minneapolis to Big Lake some weekend to see the whole route and anticipate the day when train service is restored to ALL the major cities in Minnesota.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy November

Ready or not, November's here. With Thanksgiving and my birthday, it's one of my favorite months (I think September is still my #1). It's also my brother David's birthday AND it would have been Dad's 90th! I'm still planning on a special post that day (the 28th).
But I couldn't leave October without posting these photos of the glorious leaf colors near the Southdale Hennepin County Library. Someone really knew what they were doing when they planted the varieties of trees and bushes that produce this yearly display.
My reading "binge" that started last spring has taken me to this library more times in a few months than in all the previous five - or ten - years. So, not only has reading taken me to imaginary places (and real places I can only imagine), it has lead me to revisit some real places with new scenes to enjoy and photograph. Nice how that works.
Timing is everything. With all the rainy and cloudy days we've had, it was a wonderful coincidence that the day I made the bus trip after work to the library was sunny AND still daylight savings time.
If I'd waited until a weekend when I do most of my errands, I might have missed the peak color. Most of these leaves are gone now and most of the light will also be gone when I get home from work tonight. But it was a treat to walk to my bus stop in the daylight this morning.

I don't mind the early sunset at all. It's my signal to start the indoor projects. In fact, while I was giving out candy to the trick-and-treaters on Saturday night, I boxed up all the books from one bookshelf in my "library", so I can get serious about wallpaper-stripping/painting.

The final photo is of a business across the street from where I'm working. Wow!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Complete Color

My maple tree is fully colored now, so a few more photos, and I'll be done. Both these shots were taken today.

The photo below was taken Oct 18th. Most years my tree is the last to turn, but this year there are still green trees all around the neighborhood. I like the contrast, and consider it the true "peak" of Autumn colors.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Favorite Tree

After our dry summer, the leaves have been changing color slower than usual. My front yard maple is normally the last to turn, but when it does, it is spectacular! I've tried to take a photo every few days when the light is right - and there IS light (I leave for work in the dark). In order from bottom to top: the photo above was taken October 10th (on a typical "flinter" day).
The middle photo was Octber 4th, and the third, September 26th.

I'll be back with a shot of it nearly red!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Will Steger

A couple weekends ago, Mom and I went to see Will Steger give a presentation on climate change. For some reason (since I'm not YET a senior), I had received an invitation in the mail from Walker Methodist Senior Center. Seating was free, so I asked Mom to come along and we were treated to an interesting slide show depicting some of Will's recent and past adventures.

He is one of the few people on earth who has actually witnessed the effects of climate change on the North Pole. For example, expeditions now must include kayaks to cross open water where there was solid ice not so many years ago. He also spoke of growing up in Richfield and how he became a teacher and explorer.
The invitation I'd received was put into a drawing and I won a "Global Warming 101" tote bag (my winning streak continues)! After the presentation, we were treated to hors d' oeuvres in the dining room and it was more than just cheese and crackers: smoked salmon, stuffed mushrooms, bruschetta, a selection of desserts, and coffee/apple cider. We had never been to the Walker Center before, and it was certainly a wonderful way to visit the place.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dancing With The -- Family

Happy "Flinter". You know, breakfast + lunch = brunch, so Fall + Winter = Flinter (I took liberties with the spelling). It's been so long since I posted, calendar autumn arrived, followed by snow on green grass and trees). I will have a few photos to post of that scene. In the meantime, here's a fun "video" I put together with the help of Oriental Trading, a catalog and online craft store:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Summer In September

I had planned to go to the Centennial Lakes Art Fair last weekend, but when I got there, the combination of hot weather and crowds made me change my plans.
Instead, I sat on a swinging bench in the shade, read my current book, and enjoyed the view of the maze, funky metal sculpture, and view across the man-made lake (of a retail building that replaced the movie theater).

The flowers were looking full and well-tended. I believe I've already done a card in these colors, but I may be inspired to make another.

My absence from blogging this past week was due to the heat, but also from the lack of energy that always sets in when I start a new job. Before you get excited (for me), I'm still a temp with AppleOne and I'm still on assignment to Minneapolis Public Housing, but the position has changed. My supervisor in the financial department recommended me to the supervisor in another department who needed someone for a 3-month project. Although the new area basically provides customer (tenant) services (a job for which I'm not suited or trained) I'm still working on analyzing spreadsheets, inputting computer data and some filing when I have time. AND I'm still job-hunting for something with more responsibilty, higher pay and my own desk! I'm in the copier room for the moment :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Paul!

Your card is in the mail, Cousin Paul, but I couldn't let the day go by without wishing you a Happy Birthday! I hope you get to celebrate by doing whatever you really enjoy...or by doing nothing at all (see above for how-to).


I wanted to re-post this card from last May. It was not made with any occasion in mind, but it seems to be appropriate for today, the 8th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Although this is not a serious or controversial blog, it IS a personal journal of sorts, and I can't let the day go by without pausing for a moment to remember that day and thank God I didn't lose any loved ones. I was in London with my oldest nephew (for his high school graduation trip) when we started to hear that something had happened - via talk on the street, a canceled performance (because it was USA-related), and an eerie photo of a single WTC tower with smoke pouring from it. It wasn't until we returned to our hotel later that day that the whole shocking series of events was played on TV before our uncomprehending eyes. We had several days left of our vacation, so the delayed flights home didn't affect us. In fact, we flew home the first day planes were allowed to fly in London. When we landed in Pittsburgh, the passengers gave the pilots a round of applause and we were greeted by airport personnel as if WE had done something heroic.

And maybe we had. We got on those first planes and returned to our homes and lived our lives, because that's what the living must do to honor the departed.

If you have any thoughts or memories of that day, please feel free to share them here.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

It's Already Tuesday!

Happy Back-To-School day to all you students! And if you're just going back to work after the long weekend, may your day and week be as pleasant as can be. Friday is the last day at my temp job and I'm waiting to hear about my next assignment.

Mom, K and I saw Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Bloomington Civic Theater over the weekend. Only one musical number was familiar to me from the movie of the same name, but I enjoyed all the song and dance routines, along with the humor. After a few scenes, some of the characters elicited laughter just by appearing on stage! This is another play by BCT that will prompt me to add the movie to my Netflix queue.

Although photography isn't allowed, I think I remember enough of the colorful costumes to inspire a card or two. I'll be back later with pics.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Another Cosmo Cricket Card

Many more Cosmo Cricket cards will follow, although the nice weather may make it difficult to stay inside and craft. Here is the full view of the sneak peek from a couple days ago. Except for the fancy ribbon-wrap, it's a simple card. The paper and chipboard medallion/flower are from the Early Bird collection (that I won). I added the white chipboard frame with a bit of ink to tone it down, the button, 2 different ribbons, and a clear sticker over the ribbon.