Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Holiday Art, Craft and Food Markets for Thanksgiving Weekend in Minneapolis and St. Paul

by Cindy Lindgren
and Sharon Parker

If you like the idea of starting your holiday shopping on Thanksgiving weekend, but not the prospect of mobs at the malls and big box stores, have we got the shopping guide for you!

First, the small indy shops' alternative to Black Friday is the much more appealing and colorful Plaid Friday, promoted by Buy Local Twin Cities. 

And what's more, many of these small independent shops sell works by local artists and fine  crafters, and you can browse a list of the ones that do so via the Local Shops link in the lefthand column of this blog (or by clicking right here). 

And, of course, there are fun pop-up markets and shows all around the Twin Cities. We've gathered a list of a few of them here. If your Minnesota town is holding a Christmas Market or other event with makers selling their own work, please share it in the comments so others can learn about markets close to them. 

Happy shopping! And don't forget to check back next Thursday for more holiday art, craft and food markets in our Minnesota communities.

A holiday market at Sociable Cider Werks


Last Minute Market
Wednesday, 4–9 p.m.
HeadFlyer Brewing
861 E. Hennepin, 55414
Prepared foods ready for gifting, and handmade goods from Minneapolis Craft Market makers

Plaid Friday  & Small Business Saturday Winter Markets
Friday & Saturday, noon–5
Sociable Cider Werks
1500 Filmore St. NE, 55413
Minneapolis Craft Market makers and food vendors from Frank & Ernest Markets will be outside on the patio, plus live music in the tap room, hot mulled cider and new cider releases 

Small Business Saturday at the Northrup King
Saturday, noon–5 p.m.
Northrup King Building
1500 Jackson St. NE, 55413
Open studios and sales with hundreds of artists throughout the building

Holiday Open House 
Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
158 13th Ave. NE, 55413
Meet some of the artists featured in this artist-owned small business; enjoy refreshments and prize drawings.  

Linden Hills Holiday Market
Sundays, 9–2, through Dec. 17
Sunnyside Gardens
3723 E. 44th St. 55410
This weekly market in the greenhouse features handcrafted gifts, holiday decor, and a wide variety of foods. Cohosted by Minneapolis Craft Market and Linden Hills Farmers Market.


Saturday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church
1669 Arcade St., 55106
An annual tradition featuring 75 crafter vendors and a "huge" bake sale, plus food to eat on the premises. Proceeds benefit the church's work in the neighborhood.

Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. | Sunday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Schmidt Artist Lofts
900 West Seventh St., 55102
More than 40 artists and makers selling hand-crafted goods.

Saturday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Interact Center for Visual & Performing Arts
1860 Minnehaha Ave. W., 55104
Original works from more than 50 artists at 20 percent off, and their first ever Semi-Annual Studio Garage Sale.

Looking for even more local indy business shopping hot spots and holiday markets? Check out this comprehensive City Pages listing.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Holiday Shows for November 17-19th

by Cindy Lindgren
and Sharon Parker

Here's your curated guide to local shows featuring handmade crafts and original art. Your opportunity to shop for unique local handcrafted items for the holidays and other gifting occasions, or to treat yourself. Enjoy!

All shows take place this weekend, Nov. 17-19th. Check back next Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) for more!


60 different artists each day
Saturday, November 18th, 10-4pm
Sunday, November 19th, 10-4pm
Grain Belt Bottling House

Saturday, November 18th, 10-5pm
Midtown Global Market

Sunday, November 19th, 9-2pm
Sunnyside Gardens

Holiday Exhibition Opening Reception
Refreshments, hands-on clay activities and demonstrations.
Sunday, November 19th, noon–4pm
Northern Clay Center
2424 Franklin Ave. E.


Friday,November 17th 6-9pm
Saturday, November 18th, 10-4pm
Minnesota Waldorf School


Saturday, November 18th,10-5pm
Sunday, November 19th, 11-4pm
Plymouth Creek Center

North Branch

Saturday, November 18th, 9-4pm
North Branch Area High School


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Handmade Gifts for Minnesota Hosts & Hostesses

By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

Glogg notecard by Cindy Lindgren
Holiday gatherings are coming up soon! Is it really Thanksgiving next week? Yikes, yes, it is!

I asked some of our HandmadeMN Minnesota makers for ideas for gifts to bring to gracious hosts, and for their thoughts on guest arrival times; notably, whether it's better to arrive early or late. Not surprisingly for a bunch of Minnesotans, there was a strong preference for on-time arrivals.

Considering this question for myself, I realized that it makes all the difference if it's a sit-down dinner or a more informal gathering with food offered buffet-style. When I hosted a Christmas gathering that included relatives whose drive was an hour or longer, I told everybody it was really an open house and they could show up any time. Who needs the added stress of expected on-time arrival? Especially when there are small children to get ready! And when some relatives arrive early, it's a nice opportunity to have a quiet chat before the gathering becomes boisterous.

How about you? Share your thoughts in the comments. And do you think there is a cultural or regional preference for guest arrival times?

Shino glazed, soda fired 7" vase from Diane Gamm
When it comes to gifts for hosts, I'd like to share a tip I gleaned from my mom, who was always a bit flustered if a guest brought cut flowers, because she was never completely ready and waiting when people arrived (is anybody?) and so she felt it somewhat of an imposition to have to stop what she was doing to look for a vase to put them in. 

I always remember that, and so if I am inspired to bring flowers to a host, I bring them in their own container, which could be a mason jar fancied up with ribbons around the rim, or a lovely handmade ceramic vase that's a fine gift in itself, like this one (above) by Diane Gamm for an affordable $28.

Here are some more gift suggestions for hosts, and thoughts on arrival times.

Jodi Fiedler's Etsy shop, Palette Passion, features hand-dyed and hand-painted textiles, from silk scarves to ever-so-practical kitchen towels. She says, "I will probably host a small Thanksgiving meal and I love when people show up on time. Not too early or I'm probably scrambling around, and not too late as the food gets overdone."

I (Sharon) know that my kitchen towels are all a little grungy looking and kind of embarrassing to have out when company comes, so I'd sure appreciate a set of these hand-dyed flour sack tea towels, which come as a set of 2 for $16. The splotchy color pattern might just help to hide the inevitable stains, as well!

Hand dyed tea towels from Palette Passion 

Margie Hilla's Etsy shop is Warm Hugs Corn Bags. She says, "I would rather have guests arrive a little early...since it's mostly family, they can pitch in and help get everything on the table."

What host doesn't want to put their feet up and soothe their sweaty brow after hours in the kitchen? This gift set of two corn bags for $15 lets you keep one handy in the freezer and another near the microwave to use heated, whichever the situation calls for.  

Corn bags gift set from Warm Hugs Corn Bags
Mary Ellen Kutz offers a variety of handwoven goods at Mimi's Fun Stuff.  She says, "I like when guests arrive right on time." She added that she has given handwoven kitchen towels as hostess gifts.

Mary Ellen doesn't have kitchen towels in her shop at the moment (pssst, ahem! Mary Ellen!), but I couldn't help but think what a swell gift this sturdy tote would make, especially for the host who likes to unwind at their favorite coffee shop the day after the party, with their knitting or just some favorite reading material. No ordinary tote bag, this is not only handwoven, but also features sturdy cotton twill straps and a magnetic closure, all for just $30. And at 13 x 14 inches, it would even hold my MacBook Air. hmmmmm

Handwoven tote with magnetic closure from Mimi's Fun Stuff
Susie Crouse,  jewelry maker at Metaling Susie, says, "I generally go to my in-law family's house for Thanksgiving so I like to give something as a thank you. I have given a Childhood Cancer Awareness handmade bracelet (family niece in remission!) and a personalized bottle opener. 

You could order this simple, elegant personalized bracelet/cuff for a special relative who has been hosting for years and it has never occurred to you to show up early to help out let alone to bring a gift, has it? $65 and worth every penny, don't you know it. (Allow a couple of weeks for this made-to-order item.)

Personalized cuff from Metaling Susie
Brian Western of Western Art Glass says, "Cherry Apple Cider from Urban Forage on Lake Street...brought to Thanksgiving festivities by...myself. And how about everyone on time for a change?"

Mr. Western was too modest to suggest a gift from his little shop of art glass wonders, so may I suggest this dainty 2" glass 6-pointed star ornament or sun catcher? $28 for the smallest one, also available in other sizes (2-1/2" or 3-1/2") for a little bit more.

Star ornaments or sun catchers from Western Art Glass

Here are some more ideas for host gifts, from Minnesota makers on Etsy.

How about wine glass charms? Even if your host has a set, they can probably use more of them. Of course, they can be used on the handles of coffee mugs and teacups, too. 

Natural gemstone wine glass charms, set of 4 for $25,  from Gemstone Talisman

Or these with with handmade paper beads, set of 4 for $10 from Deeder the Beader
As long as you're bringing the wine (you are, right?), consider a handcrafted wood and cork coaster to set that bottle of red wine in and protect the fancy holiday table covering. Now that's a gift a host will surely appreciate!

Wine bottle coaster from Woodchuck's Wood, $10
Whether you are hosting or guesting (that's not really a word, is it?), my best wishes to you for low-stress, fun and convivial holiday gatherings throughout the season!

And don't forget to pick up some lovely Minnesota-made notecards for writing thank you notes to all those fine hosts!

You can also check back in at this blog every Thursday for a list of local craft shows on the weekend. Because we all know that it's not always easy to plan ahead for mailing time.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Holiday Art and Craft Shows Happening this Weekend, November 10–12

by Cindy Lindgren
and Sharon Parker

Here's your curated guide to local shows featuring handmade crafts and original art. Your opportunity to shop for unique local handcrafted items for the holidays and other gifting occasions, or to treat yourself. Enjoy!

All shows take place this weekend, Nov. 10–12. Check back next Thursday for more!

Weavers Guild of Minnesota Fiber Fair


Studio 332, Northrup King Building
1500 Jackson St. NE
Minneapolis 55413
Friday, 10–7
Saturday, 10–5
Sunday, noon–4
Scarves, shawls, purses, rugs, handspun yarn, and other fiber items made by members of the Weavers Guild of Minnesota

Nokomis Community Center
2401 E. Minnehaha Parkway
Minneapolis 55417
Saturday, 9:30–4
Clothing and accessories, jewelry, wood and ceramic items, letterpress and hand-printed cards, and more. Proceeds benefit park programs.

Linden Hills Holiday Market
Sunnyside Gardens
3723 W. 44th St.
Minneapolis 55410
Sundays, 9–2, through Dec. 17
This weekly market in the greenhouse features handcrafted gifts, holiday decor, and a wide variety of foods. Cohosted by Minneapolis Craft Market and Linden Hills Farmers Market.

St. Paul

Dow Artists Building
2242 University Ave. W.
St. Paul 55114
Friday, 5–10
Saturday, noon–8
Open studios and galleries throughout the building.

Mn Christmas Market
Lake Monster Brewing
550 Vandalia St.
St. Paul 55114
Saturday, 1–7
Local makers, local handcrafted goods; vendors donate 7 percent of sales to three selected children's charities. Food trucks on hand.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Holiday Artisan Show Count Down: November 3-5, 2017

by Cindy Lindgren
and Sharon Parker

Each Thursday, we are going to list Minnesota Holiday Shows that include great handmade artisan wares. Here is your shopping preview for shows happening this weekend around Minnesota:

Twin Cities area:

Annual Arts & Crafts Show
Champlin Park High School
109th Ave. & Douglas Drive
Saturday, November 4th

Richardson Nature Center
Saturday, November 4th
10 am-3pm

Northrup King Bldg
Friday, November 3rd, 5-10pm
Saturday, November 4th, Noon-8pm
Sunday, November 5th, Noon-5pm

The Historic California Building
Friday, November 3rd, 5-10pm
Saturday, November 4th, Noon-8pm
Sunday, November 5th, Noon-5pm

The Casket Arts Building
681 17th Ave. NE
Friday, November 3rd, 5-10pm
Saturday, November 4th, Noon-8pm
Sunday, November 5th, Noon-5pm

2653 Stinson Blvd
Saturday, November 4th, 10-
Sunday, November 5th, 10-

Jewelry & Accessory Makers Mart
Walker Art Center
Saturday, November 4th, 11am-5pm

Monday, October 23, 2017

Entertain with Handmade Style

By Jeff Ambroz

With autumn now here, it’s time to think about entertaining, and creating a warm welcome for your guests in the fall and winter months.

Will you be hosting any holiday gatherings?  Dinner party plans on the horizon?  How about birthday or anniversary celebrations?

No matter the occasion, the artisans of HandmadeMN have created an amazing array of handcrafted items that will enhance any gathering. 

Quilted placemats from HartfordAvenueQuilts will add color and warmth to your dining room table.  They are sure to be a conversation starter, and will help you create a relaxed and cheerful feeling with your table scape.
Geometry meets coziness:  Quilt-inspired placemats.
Aprons are a practical item, allowing you to stay neat and tidy while preparing for your guests.  Why not choose a cafĂ© style apron with enough style and panache to proudly hang in the kitchen?  Try this linen fabric beauty from LakeshoreLinen.
Stay fashionably neat with an elegantly simple apron.
Honey is a natural sweetener, adding a subtly rich flavor to breads, desserts, tea and many other foods.  Your guests are sure to appreciate this pure honey from SweetBeeHoney.  Pass a jar around the table and let your guests enjoy this special Minnesota treat at your next gathering.
Even the most discerning guests will appreciate the joys of local honey.
This pair of pottery cups from DianeGamm will be a handsome addition to your dining room table.  In fact, their handcrafted beauty is worthy of display all year long. In addition to being wonderful drinking glasses, you can fill them with small bouquets of flowers for an additional seasonal decorating option.
One-of-a-kind drinking cups will add earthy, organic flair to your table.
Napkins in striking patterns allow you to add special-occasion flair to the dining room table with ease.  This patterned set of napkins from SnipsAndStitches will add sophistication and a pop of color to your next dinner party.
Napkins in a sophisticated, joyful print; reminiscent of 1940's and 1950's textiles.
As you can see, HandmadeMN makers have been hard at work creating a large assortment of thoughtfully handcrafted items for your home.  Take some time to peruse their many beautiful and practical offerings.  You’re sure to find many items you’ll be proud to put to use during this season of entertaining.   

Monday, October 16, 2017

Day in the Etsy Life - Metaling Susie Jeweler

by Susie Crouse
Metaling Susie

Ever wonder what an Esty shop owner does each day.  Well here is my story.  To introduce myself, I make handmade metal jewelry in a rustic style with lots of textures and dimension. I really enjoy taking flat metal and forging it into fluid shapes for jewelry.  I have an online shop and my jewelry is in several retail shops in Minneapolis and across the country.  I also attend local Art Fairs which are really fun to meet the shoppers and see what they are drawn to in my jewelry.

Metaling Susie display at Holiday Art Fair 

When I think about a typical day in my shop I find that each is quite different.  Depending on my mood, the weather and day of the week, I seem to be doing something different....really!

In the morning, I first check on orders and package them up for delivery.  I like to be prompt for my customers. I also like to spend quality time in the morning at my bench making jewelry.  I have noticed that I always have several projects going at the same time.  Sometimes this is due to a drying step but many times creativity just needs to marinate.  I like to let pieces sit for a few days and come back with fresh eyes.  I generally find new inspiration as I come back to finish a piece.  The process to make my jewelry starts with cutting shapes from flat sheets of metal.  Next, I texture the metal with design stamps or hammers.  Sometime components need to be fabricated depending on the design.  Layering metal and painting metal with ink are very fun steps in the process.  I love to hammer on metal!  It is amazing the dimensional results that happen!

My standing bench with my tools and supplies close at hand.

This afternoon, I happen to be walking to the New Gild Jewelers in Linden Hills, Mpls.  I have some cuffs on display in this wonder gallery owned by Jen and Kelsey.   The gallery has several artists work on display and the owners make wonderful custom pieces.  Many custom pieces are from family gemstones redesigned into beautiful jewelry.  How wonderful!

Metaling Susie cuffs at New Gild Jewelers in Mpls

In the evening, I find myself spending a lot of time on my computer.  I generally photograph my jewelry pieces in batches.  I'll take shots on my iPhone and then transfer them to my computer.  Once I sort through the best shots, I'll edit the photos and create new listings for my online shop.  I also spend the evening time ordering supplies, managing business records and working on social media efforts.

All in a days work!

MetalingSusie Shop
MetalingSusie Facebook
MetalingSusie Pinterest

Monday, October 9, 2017

Splurge on Handmade and Live Luxuriously

By Jeff Ambroz

How do you describe luxury?

For many, luxury can be found in fine details, exceptional materials and expert creative techniques.

With this definition in mind, several artisans of the HandmadeMN Etsy team have created items worthy of the term.  While perhaps more costly than some mass-produced goods, each of the items presented for you here is a unique expression of the artist, and created just for you.  If you find value in lasting beauty, look no further.

As we enter the autumn season, these plush velvet pumpkins by LuannDanzlDesigns will bring elegance and distinction to your home.  Created from sumptuous fabrics in rich colors, this generous display of 8 decorative pieces will be a beautiful addition to the entry, great room or dining room.
Add dazzling color to your home with this set of 8 fabric pumpkins.
Made-to-order clothing may seem an unnecessary luxury to the uninitiated, yet thoughtful shoppers see it a smart investment that can be worn for years – and even decades—to come.  This jacket in Italian wool by MargaretMousley features a three dimensional floral design.  Its versatile style and color scheme work for many occasions, day or evening.  Imagine how different it will look paired with dark denim for a business-casual Friday at the office, and paired with a long red skirt for a special holiday gathering.
An artful addition to your fall and winter wardrobe.
As seen in this cowhide shoulder bag by JulieMeyer, handcrafted goods are a perfect way to add relaxed luxury to our daily lives. A mix of textures, specially sourced materials and smart proportions are always in fashion.  Julie has created distinctive, investment-worthy bags like this one from her Minneapolis studio since 2008.
Eye pleasing details abound in this handcrafted bag.
Sometimes luxury is expressed in a handcrafted object that holds special meaning between two people.  This gallery wrapped canvas by catalyst54 features lyrics to a song made famous by Etta James, conjuring up memories of romance and beauty.  Expert use of typography leads the eye across the canvas, much like a couple gliding across a dance floor.
At Last... you can add a reminder of romance to your home.
As our artisans know, luxury is worth expressing each and every day.  It's an investment in how we look, feel and present ourselves to the world.  What opportunities do you see to bring artist-made luxury to your home or wardrobe?  For additional inspiration, peruse the Etsy shops of the HandmadeMN team. You're sure to find even more perfectly crafted items for the life you want to live. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

A Little Leaf Motif

By Sharon Parker
Sharon's Compendium

It's not as though there are more leaves in fall than there were in summer, yet we are so much more aware of them now that they are drifting through the air and gathering underfoot crunchily. In summer, we notice — and appreciate — the shade and beautiful greenishness that leaves provide; in fall, we notice the leaves themselves. Am I right?

And of course, artists are not immune to the leaves' charms, so we see them showing up as a recurring theme in a variety of lovely things created by Minnesota artists of the HandmadeMN team. They are the leitmotif of autumn, and of this post. Click on the images to view the complete item listing on Etsy, and on the highlighted artist or shop name to browse their other works.

This oak leaf is just one of several leaf-themed sun catchers and mobiles from Western Art Glass. To get the curved shape, Brian Western cuts the leaves from the sides of glass bottles.

Metaling Susie has crafted this copper statement necklace and earring set in rich burnished autumn tones and tapered leaf shapes.

These sterling silver leaf earrings are accented with citrine for just a touch of autumn color, from Gemstone Talisman.

The picturesque white trunks and falling golden leaves of birch trees are captured on paper in the graphic Arts & Crafts style in this digital print by Cindy Lindgren. 

Another interpretation of birches in fall is offered by Lisa Ryden Erickson in this digital painting created on her iPad. Read about her process in the item description, it's rather interesting.

This notebook with touches of leaves and other botanical motifs in fall colors comes in a set of three notebooks, each with a different design on the cover. A practical item with a touch of artistry from Mendota Paper Company.

This hand-painted silk scarf by Palette Passion has sun-imprinted fern leaves rendered in the soft taupe shades that they take on in fall, as they curl and dry in the garden.

Here's another silk scarf by another HandmadeMN artist, Diane Gamm, in which she uses a different printing technique that she says transfers the plant pigment to the fiber. Read her item description for a brief description of this method.

Wine glass charms, like this leaf-themed set by Deeder the Beader, are great for guests to keep track of which glass is theirs, and can be used on the handles of mugs, too, if you're serving coffee or hot mulled cider instead.