Newport, MN Library

One day in early January we had to do an errand in Newport, a small town just to our south. There are lots of trucks and trains there, and it’s also close to the ominous Rosemount refinery. After getting my fill of industrial scenery, we drove by this little church and happened to see the neon sign said “OPEN” so we stopped in.


This is the Newport Library and Community Center. Here is the inside. There are cozy chairs under the steps.


Our daughter liked the selection of board games, many of which are educational. We played “The Allowance Game.”


We also enjoyed this “Hangman” game. Seeing as the “prisoner” is already very dead I don’t see the urgency in solving the puzzle. Also, this says “Travel Game” but doesn’t this take up more room than just the pencil and paper that this game is normally played with? Just imagine setting this up on your airline tray table!


You can read “The Annals of America” here.


I was delighted to discover a new place so close to home that feels so far away.




Beverage Caps

I certainly did not intend for this blog to languish for over a year without an update. I have been working on many new things; the problem is that I have too many experiments going at once and so all the projects are in states of incompletion. One of the things I have been wasting my time with is saving beverage caps (from orange juice cartons) because…well…it just seems like there is something that could be made with them. My husband (as well as some other friends) disagree. They think whatever could be made would end up looking junky. My first attempt at cap art was this wall piece for our friend Darin’s birthday last June. I found the plastic “D” at a new antique store in our neighborhood. I think it looks OK  – and it used up 70 caps!


Imagine my delight when our family saw this display by Artists for Humanity at Logan Airport. “Look! You CAN make something from these caps!” I rejoiced. My husband remains unconvinced.




South St. Paul Whale

There’s a blue whale on streets of South St. Paul. You are most likely to see it at South City Motors on Concord Street. I was disappointed to learn it is not for sale. A chat with a gentleman at South City yielded more information: the whale used to be a promotional vehicle for WAYL, the twin cities “beautiful music station” which broadcasted from 1960 to 1988 (it’s now 93X). The South City Motors family rescued it from a junkyard in Newport, MN and restored it to its present glory. The support car underneath is an El Camino. The whale makes appearances at parades and events. You can friend the “Whale Car” on Facebook.

Red blazer and blue pickup krill.

Bachelor Farm

“Bachelor Farm” is the name of my friend D’s home in South St. Paul. It’s a workshop, music studio, garden, classic car garage, and a retreat for artful loafing. When our mutual friend J visits from North Carolina the two bachelors spend time on a variety of construction and recreational projects (which may or may not involve sling shots and tomatoes.) Their most recent collaboration was the transformation of an old tin shed into a Bachelor Farm banner of sorts. The letters were snipped and and fastened to a wire to create a sign worthy of mass distribution on Pinterest. A hand was also sliced in the process, though thankfully stitches were not required. There’s a casual order at Bachelor Farm, as though its owner has paid attention to the arrangement of things, but not so carefully as to get stressed out about it. Unlike the the domestic inadequacy that flipping through Better Homes and Gardens might beget, the Bachelor Farm reassures that a very small amount of money and whatever time you are inclined to spend will improve your surroundings.

Bridget Beck

As the mother of a young child I spend a lot of time in playgrounds. Most of them are uniformly unattractive: the sterile plastic Tupperware-like parts, the ditches of mulch worn away under the swings, the most vulnerable features often spoiled by vandals. Bridget Beck’s sculptures are an antidote to these aesthetically challenged play structures. Her recycled metal and wood constructions feature ladders, ramps, desks, benches, bird houses, caves, swings, and sliding poles. I imagine the word “whimsical” has been used to describe to Bridget’s work by well-meaning folks. The brightly colored doo-dads and the spaceship quality of the pieces overall certainly inspire whimsy, but a touch of chaos gives this work an added edge – perhaps literally. Because these things were not made by a safety committee there is an element of risk: there are places to trip and the slide might land you a little faster than expected. If you have the good fortune to enjoy one of her play structures with a child you might notice an interesting leveling effect – children will be challenged to do some serious imaginative work and and adults will shed responsibilities and get back a piece of childhood. You might also be inspired to reconsider your own cast-offs and have some transformative fun with them.

The sculpture below, “Poetry Studio,” was completed in June 2012 at Franconia Sculpture Park.

My daughter’s drawing of “Poetry Studio.”

Walker Open Field

My art group recently hosted the Drawing Club, which meets on Thursdays at the Walker Art Center’s Open Field. Michon Weeks, one of our members, landed this gig and presented the idea: drawing with tape on the exterior of the museum and parking ramp. Here’s what we made…

“My” corner turned into a patio with plants, weeds, and a clothesline. Elaine Rutherford, Monica Reede, and my very helpful child are pictured.


X’s by Mary Bergs

My daughter’s plant.

Hot Dog by Michon Weeks.

Many talented people (mostly children) joined in.


This is in West St. Paul near the Post Office “annex.” Maybe you’ve seen it if you’ve been down there to pay some overdue postage.

Mall Map #10 – Southdale Mall, 2012

Drawing by Andrew, age 8. One of my favorites – and it’s just how this place really looks.

Mall Map #9 – “Equal Distribution”

From what I understand of Brandon’s mall map, his plan would be to arrange stores in one long strip on a single floor, beginning with Bath and Body. I guess it would make it harder to miss a store, but you might want to have your shopping list in order – it’s a long walk to the other end if you forget something. I am not sure what it is that is being evenly distributed in his plan.

Mall Map #8 – “A Dream Mall”

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