Meander Notes To Self

Dust on the driveway has settled.   I can’t stop thinking about  how successful, rewarding and FUN Meander 2012 was here at the RedBarn in western Minnesota!  The folks who plan and vendors who take part in the Minnesota River Meander Art Crawl are already planning great things to make Meander 2013(10th year of the event)extra special!  On a personal note, I made the slightly impulsive and extremely wise decision to take an online class from none other than famous artistic designer, Kelly Rae Roberts.  She describes herself as an artist, author and possibilitarian.  Right now her new most important role is. . .she’s MY TEACHER!  You know how we all love our teacher.  You can read about Kelly Rae, her beautiful products, candid insights and many offerings at  The knowledge I’m gaining, inspiration I’m storing up and new friends that I am making through this experience rock!!  It is with thoughts of all  the wonderful people in my life who help to pull off Meander at the RedBarn AND with visions of my new online creative friends, who love to learn from each other, that I am posting some of my ‘notes to self’.  I am not a very dedicated  list-maker or journaling creative like some of my peers.  Once in a while, things to remember or creative project ideas start pouring in and I know better than to think they are all going to stay inside this head until I want to recall them.  That’s when I pull my tablet and pen out and begin to jot things down.  The simple act of writing it out seems to help the idea grow and take more shape.   It worked this time!

Note #1:  Becky,put your favorite, tall, boots from L.L. Bean on right away in the morning next year.  Happy warm feet=happy vendor.  I bought these boots in the Freeport, Maine store while on a dream-come-true coast of Maine fall road-trip with friends, Teresa and Sheila.  Highly recommend!

Note #2:  Becky, no matter what RedBarn photo shots you think your customers should want, please remember that the ‘Frosty Barn’ shot is still their favorite.  The 12 ‘Frosty Barn’ cards sold out the first afternoon.  You were able to get about 30 late-night minutes out of your hands each evening to create 6 more before your head said, “This is nuts-go to bed.”

Note #3:  Becky, listen to whatever Julie tells you next year.  She said, about the ‘Looking Back’ photo project collection designed for the Big Stone County Courthouse, “People are going to want to buy those.”  I replied, ” No, they aren’t.”  I am now filling 6 orders.

Note #4:  Becky, listen to any suggestions that Patti and Sandy have for you regarding verse on your ‘friend’ cards.  They were right, you needed more and folks still prefer your imperfect hand writing over labels, or other types of print.

Note #5:  Becky, keep thanking people all year, even if they get tired of hearing you. ( Thank-you, Trish, for being the kind of friend who knew I would need you, worked late, looked ahead and even helped me make up  the last bed in the basement.   Even though my role-model image is the old one of  the duck whose smile is charming, body calm above the water, while his/her feet are paddling nonstop underneath, I am well aware I can’t do it all.  Volunteer help is a God-send!  Thank you, Lois, Elaine,Trish and Mo for your gift of kindness in welcoming over 1000 people to the RedBarn!)

Note #6:  Becky, you have a wonderful husband, amazing adult sons, daughter and daughter-in-laws, and extremely competent little granddaughters too! The three babies are just so darn cute-even if we can’t work ’em yet! Having a houseful of family and extra friends for dinner might sound like a “what?” move on the same week-end as Meander. It wasn’t. Remember how everyone helped, cooked, cleaned and enjoyed the time together. Except me-I didn’t fix a meal or wash a dish.  It was extra fun to have guests stop by!  Make sure that Daltie and Roxie know (son, Charlie’s dear friends) they are always welcome here.  A fun memory  that Dawn and Ann(dear Charlie’s dear girlfriend Eliza’s dear Mom and dear Auntie) were brave enough to jump in and meet our ‘country bunch’ all at once and stayed to visit around the bonfire at night.  We won’t forget that they headed back to Minneapolis with their car ‘stuffed’ full of Meander purchases!

Note#7:  Becky, remember that it works best when you smile through the ups and downs, don’t get too serious and laugh at yourself whenever possible!  A little story:  Most of us are not all that eager to stand in front of a television camera.  It works best, in situations like this, if I don’t think about it very hard, simply jump in and give the interviewer  whatever happens to come into my head quickly before I start to get nervous or begin to work on  sounding intelligent.  We jumped in and I was trying to give Pioneer Public TV Production Manager, Tim Bakken, a short conversation about what Meander means to the artists.  Suddenly, I had no choice but to say, “Tim, can we halt this interview?  My nose is running and I need a tissue.”   Wouldn’t that be the most awful thing. . .for someone to see you on air with your nose dripping away?  Of course, that is when friend Trish decided to snap our press photo also.  Smile about everything, right?  Both Tim and I grew up as farm kids and we decided that the 46 degree, windy-cold day, which was making my nose drip, could truly only be considered as a mildly chilly day.   Walking from the barn, after helping do evening chores on a stormy, subzero, blizzard winter night, as a Minnesota farm-kid. . . .that is our benchmark for cold.  Brrrr!  It felt good to have a kindred spirit behind the lens of that big camera, which seemed a little high-tech for. . .a barn.

Note #8: Becky,remember that your ‘one special thing to get done’ this year was getting  the new/old weather vane set atop the RedBarn. Think all year about Charlie and Randy rebuilding the bearings on the dear old thing so that the cow with the bullet hole through her butt can twirl and point out the direction of the wind for another 100 years. . . . on this RedBarn.  Let them know how really happy you are every time they climb up on a high roof and don’t fall off.  Think about getting that cool, old dusty pink bike out next year, attaching baskets and planting some flowing vines in them.  Oh, I can’t wait!!  Remember what plants withstood the fairly hard frost this fall: snap dragons, geraniums, petunias, vinca vines,those great ornamental cabbages.   White alyssum down by the RedBarn looks better than ever.

Here’s me, in my card-shop space under the RedBarn staircase!  Same spot each year helps regular customers find vendors.

If the ability to laugh at one’s self is that important, and it is, I’d better show you this eyes-closed-nose-dripping photo!  OMGosh.   A jute string and a few clothespins works well to exhibit extra photos or creative work that you want to share but may not have room for.  Draped from one high point to another you will find extra ‘free-space’ in your booth; above your head.  Thank you, kind production guy, Tim, for covering the Meander Art Crawl at the RedBarn.

The busy business man who always finds time to help a certain someone with her project ideas!  Thank you, Honey!

  Miss Livi running out to help pick another load of pumpkins from the garden!

 (above) Miss Haley is giving her customer the options:  Donate and take pumpkins home or simply donate.  (below) Miss Shayla smiles sweetly and explains to the RedBarn Meander visitors from near and far about how all of the money raised from selling pumpkins will be donated to the Christmas project fund at the Big Stone County Food Shelf.  There is nothing so basic and important as the food needs of our neighbors.  It is also important that we who are involved in the arts, and love the support we recieve from within our communities, give back whenever we get the chance.

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Thank you for visiting at May you have one very special 'countryside of life' sort of day wherever you are. Smiles!