Music at the winery

Yes, Minnesota has wineries. Many of them. Three within 25 miles of where I live. And one of them, Indian Island Winery, asked me to come out and play for their Friday happy hour(s) a couple of weeks ago.

It was a cold, terribly windy, very rainy night. The perfect night to hole up in a cozy place and enjoy some wine and some live harp music, if you ask me. And many brave souls agreed with me - there was a nice little crowd sampling the vintages and listening to me play.

The picture is a little fuzzy as my photographer (Mom!) had also been sampling the wines...

...and they only got fuzzier as the night wore on!

I can't drink much when I play - you wouldn't want to hear the results. But during my second break, when there was only about 35 minutes left to play, I did sneak into the tasting room.

I had a few samples and highly recommend the Petite Ami. 
You'll swear you're drinking a rose!

Ah, wine and harp music...

After the last set, I spent some time chatting with a Facebook friend about her own harp playing quest. I love talking about the harp almost as much as playing it. And then I collected the harp, bench, music stand and music...

...and Mom...

...and drove us all home in the wind and the rain. A lovely evening, and thanks to all who came to listen!


What's left after Day One of the garage sale

Sale runs Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon. 
(Yes, 7 a.m. Special attention will be given to those who bring coffee and croissants...)
637 Nicollet Ave, North Mankato 

Wow. It was such a wonderful, lovely, joyful parade of my stuff leaving the garage with smiling people that I didn't even have time to get sentimental. I loved seeing who wanted what, and was delighted to see some favorites go to some really special friends.

Things were looking a little bare at 7:00 when the sale ended for tonight. So I brought out a few more things and rearranged what was left. Here's a sampling. If something sparks your interest, stop by!

Cool old windows. 

More cool old windows. Priced to move. 
What do you do with cool old windows?
Use them as room dividers, paint them, hang them on the garage.

Or do this to them.

And while you're at it, snag this awesome, comfy, shabby couch and chair. A bargain.
Cushions included.


 Or tea?

 A handmade rag rug in delicious sherbet colors. Big. Soft. You need it.

Next trip, take one of these oldies.
Or use them as a really awesome side table. Store some books inside.

Spruce up your kitchen with this super-handy baker's rack.
Those doors to the left? Use them as a headboard, a garden accent, a place to hang wreaths.
Or use them as a door.

 The loveliest old buffet. Sand it, paint it, put a piece of glass on the top and...wow.

And now for some artsy shots...of viburnum and green bowls.

Pink tatting and embroidery.

The tiniest teacup you will ever see.

And I hope to see you Saturday!

My first garage sale

Sale runs today from 3-7 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon.
637 Nicollet Avenue, North Mankato, Minnesota (out of town? worth the trip!)

...I'm thinking it will probably be my ONLY garage sale. Wow, the time I've spent getting ready for this - sorting, cleaning, setting up, pricing. 

Loot sample. There's more. Muuuuuch more.

And the emotions I've gone through while doing so. Oh, my heart. Each piece that's going on the sale has some kind of lovely old dream attached to it. My friend Gwen and my Mom came over to help me set up the other night and each time they commented on something, my heart would clench and I'd say, "I love that! I was going to (paint it, fix it, make a room divider out of it, make curtains out of it, turn it into a pot rack for the kitchen, make a headboard out of it, turn it into a lamp, make pillows out of it, put it in my garden, use them as candlesticks...) but I never did." Gwen said I should have called this a "...But I Never Did" sale. True.

Now, it's time. As much as I've loved having all this great, shabby, vintage, potential-filled stuff waiting in the garage for me, it's time it goes to people who will love it and use it. I've talked here about how how my priorities and passions have changed over the last few years. My garden has been neglected. I've spent more creative energy on writing and my harp and traveling and seeking than on decorating my home and turning old window screens into a room divider (...but I never did). I've been sorting through years of accumulated treasures and have made countless trips to the thrift store. They know my truck by sound now.

 But you can't really take 100 old windows to the thrift store...

Here's a sampling of what else is going on the sale. And don't faint - I'm even selling some Jadeite. I know. I surprised myself, too.

Vintage linens, old windows, a vintage secretary desk.
15,000 vintage hankies @ $1 each.

The cutest old chicken coop you've ever seen.
(I was going to raise chickens in my backyard....but I never...you know)

Sweet vintage dishes and prints. Flowers...

 Accumulated little "doo-das" (as my Mom called them) awaiting creative touches.

Pretty. (And they go with Fire King Jadeite, if you must know...)

Used to be in my first apartment, then on the porch, then I was going to put them in a baby's room...
but then I just never had a baby.

As promised, Jadeite. Yes, there are more pieces than Jane Ray pattern cups and saucers.

The coolest assortment of terra cotta pots EVER. 
I used to plant something in every single one of these things. Can you imagine???

Everybody needs goddesses frolicking in the garden, don't they?

And more vintage linens.

So, here we go. It's supposed to be pretty cold this weekend. But I'll have the chiminea fired up to keep cozy. Hope you'll stop by.


Harry helps with laundry

I love doing laundry. It reminds me of my Grandma Freda. With a husband and sons and grandsons who farmed, she did a lot of laundry. I would sit in the basement with her and listen to her sing as she ironed and folded. I learned to iron by practicing on Grandpa's handkerchiefs. Whenever I smell line-dried sheets, I think of her.

Well, I got to do a lot of what I love Saturday. Laundry, all day. I had good help, too.

Waiting for a load of warm towels to come out of the dryer.

 No, Harry, I don't see you at all, hiding there in that white laundry basket.



New harp photos

My friend Ursula had a great photographer for her wedding. And the location, the Red Sky Lounge in Mankato, had such dramatic lighting. So after the family photos and the bride and groom kissing shots, the photographer came over to where I was playing for the cocktail hour and started shooting. Here are the results.

The harp always looks bigger in photos than it feels when I'm playing it.

Mid-Canon in D.

Dreaming of wedding cake.

Getting the giggles. Happens every time a camera's pointed at me.

See my asymmetrical haircut? Longer on the right side.
Matches my seeking, searching, off-kilter life these days.

Thanks for the great shots, Jeremy Depew!


Whatever, spring

You just couldn't wait, could you? You had to get all 80-degrees in March and all above-average temperatures in April and just totally confuse everything. We didn't have our spring wardrobes ready. We hadn't even put away our space heaters and we suddenly had to make room for oscillating fans.

But we adapted. Yeah, we're Minnesotans. We embraced the warm weather. "Spring is here!" we said with confidence to each other over the garden fences and on the sidewalks. We started up our mowers and dug our white shoes out of storage and started dreaming about aperitifs on the porch. But outside...

The bleeding hearts are 
already blooming their hearts out.

And then, you do this to us. 

Freeze warnings, two nights in a row.

I'm sure it was you I heard laughing as we all raced around covering up our gardens. I'm sure it was you I heard snort with evil glee when you saw us pinning down the coverings with rocks against the wind you decided to whip up, just to top things off. I'm sure I heard you snicker and wheeze, "Good luck keeping Harry away from them..."

...when I had to bring the pansies inside 
and water them in the kitchen sink.

Well, if we have a bare and dull May, it's because you just wouldn't wait to do things right, could you? It'll be your fault if you miss out on...

The Angelique tulips. Remember them? Delicate pink and green.

The mini daffodils. So cheerful. So trusting.

The fern peony that gives you two extravagant,
bright fuchsia blossoms every year.

So fine. Fine, spring. Go away for a while. We prefer if you acted on time anyway. Doesn't bother us at all. We have plenty to do inside that we didn't get done because of your early tease. 

Like finishing our winter knitting with Jingle Belle.

Fine. Take your time. Maybe we'll notice when you come back.


I need shoe advice

I'm really, really, really picky about the shoes I wear when I play the harp. They have to be the right heel height so I can work the pedals easily (high heels are better, as I have really little feet). The toes can't be too pointy, or they'll get in the way of the pedals. And the shoes have to stay on my feet so all this can happen.

In the main interest of them staying on my feet, I've taken to wearing shoes with straps. Good thing shoes with straps are in now...

Wide straps...

Dainty little straps...
(This was an outdoor wedding. In the rain. 
I had to throw those shoes away afterward.)

Funky T-straps for wedge sandals...

Patent Mary Janes...
(This was taken outside the Louvre in Paris...

 but they've also put in good, hard time as harp shoes.)

I love these suede T-straps...
(Taken after a rehearsal at home - I usually don't wear sweatpants when I perform.)

And these. I wore them at last year's Irish concert...

A couple weeks ago I was shopping for shoes to wear for an event that didn't involve the harp. So I could get shoes without straps, right? Wrong. I tried on every single pair of chunky-heeled pumps in Minneapolis. And not one single pair would stay on my feet when I walked. No amount of doctoring helped, either - ball of foot pads, heel grips, total inserts, all three - my heels slipped right out. As I said, I have small feet and I was trying on size 6 shoes (the smallest size available) - but what's UP? Have my feet shrunk? Have shoes sizes gone up slightly? 

Will I have to wear shoes with straps everywhere, all the time? What if shoes with straps go out of style? How the heck do YOU keep shoes on your feet? 

Desperately need shoe advice. Desperately.