On the Map: Craftstravaganza!

A rainy, misty, windy day turn lovely and warm by the Craftstravaganza at the MN State Fair grounds this weekend. Oh the best part...it was free! 

See the problem is, as M and I have not infrequently discussed, that there are so few craft fairs in the Midwest.  Oh I know there are plently of "your grandma knit this sweater and is selling it for charity" kinds of fairs, and I'm not criticizing them.  However, there are very few that target the younger audience. (Either that or I just don't hear about them......ever).  I am continually dismayed when I am notified of an epic craft fair and see that its located in ....LA..or San Francisco.... Or even worse!!  Its a "Midwest Craft Fair" and its in......Ohio! Come On! Ohio?? That's not the Midwest! Its practically the East Coast!!! Do you think I have time in my post-college full-time job-but-still-poor-paid/time/off days-don't-kick-in-until-June life to buy a ticket to OHIO for a weekend?? Well, no, jiminy cricket, I dont!  (now, now, this is quasi-satire, so don't take me too seriously, just a "little" seriously). Alas, I missed No-Coast this year because I was in....Colorado.  Jeez!

ANYWAYS.  There is an exception - the Craftstravaganza from this weekend.  I heard about it last minute via email from a little shop in Minneapolis called "i like u", very fun.  I was spending my Saturday morning reading a new Bill Bryson book, which is probably where all my fiestiness is coming from today, and happened to notice the announcement in my inbox.  Then lickety-split I dressed myself in my new on-clearance-JCrew-dress-that-looks-like-a-tent-so-no-one-bought-it-but-I-added-a-ribbon-which-so-happened-to-be-from-a-discarded-Loft-bag-and-put-it-around-my-waist-so-its-just-lovely-now and went upstairs to eat a pre-fair snack. 

On my way upstairs I ran into Eli, the youngest of the lovely little girls I live with (they're not really little but its more fun to say it that way), and we both set off for Panera and the Craftstravaganza.  She was just delightful, and can I just say that even thought she's 9, we had a lovely time, and not just in the big sister/little sister way but almost as peers?  She's hilarious.

We wandered around and found many strange things, and a few really lovely things:

  • Sweet Fern Soap Company - A husband and wife from Ely who sold me the most wonderful smelling Balsam soap - reminds me of the North Woods + Eli got some lemon lip balm, yum
  • Crafterall - artist Marnie Karger who sells the coolest and most creative lake topographical cutouts/decorations EVER! AND she's a member of HandmadeMN, which I just joined a few weeks ago - super cool!
  • Colette Paperie - loved the paper cards and napkins
  • Your Phantom Limb - her cards and journals were awesomely inspiring, so much so I've been combing my resources for maps to chop up and reuse ... except it breaks my heart to cut any map so I'll have to get over that
  • Zeichen Press - chatted with them for bit on how they started in the letterpress business, a small old one to a big fancy one - boy, I wish I were that brave. There greeting cards were attractive so I had to stop and giggle
  •  Ink Orchard - with a cool collection of prints and lamps that were really beautiful even though the site doesn't do them justice
  • AND Finally, Jim Benson, who sells Wooden Cooking Utensils, one of which I bought for M who says he love it - a carved knife aka peanut butter spreader - as it turns out Jim Benson works out of his home in Circle Pines, right where I grew up and currently live.  Crazy business!
Stay tuned for more weekend adventures On the Map! image credit: unknown