Melissa Brandt’s mind flashes back to a scene in her mother-in-law’s home: bunched together on a small silver tray stood 10–15 bottles of Opi nail polish.
“They all were the same color,” she recalls. A dark, rosy pink.
Melissa jots down such slices of life for future scripts.
Charmingly situated in the back corner of the Peace Plaza downtown, SEMVA Art Gallery is more than just a neat exhibition of local art. SEMVA, which stands for Southeastern Minnesota Visual Artists, is a vibrant community of over 70 local artists.
Comprised exclusively of artisans from Southeastern Minnesota, SEMVA thrives through its collective members who pay monthly rent for exhibit space and work volunteer shifts within the gallery to display and sell their masterpieces. From handling burst pipes in the ceiling to balancing the books, all the artists do their part to bring fantastic creations to Rochester.
The gallery is an experience in itself. Bright, with a friendly ambiance, the outer walls showcase photography and paintings, while the center focuses on handmade jewelry and three-dimensional art from eye-catching, silk-dyed garments to one-of-a-kind sculptures by Tom Evans made from found objects, such as mechanical parts and small plastic dolls.
Our staff's picks for gifts made and sold locally.
1. Hand-carved child's spinning top by Rochester artist David Dunn, SEMVA Art Gallery, www.SEMVA.com, 281-4920.
2. Organic, gourmet cupcakes homemade in Winona by Mon Petit Cupcake, www.monpetitcupcake.com, 358-8504; also sold in Rochester at Chocolaterie Stam, Shops at University Square.
Sometimes less really is more, like when family and friends gather ‘round the holiday table and the event turns into a feast. Finishing off all that food with a heavy cake or pie seems too much…yet the thought of a little something sweet beckons. Perhaps then, one (or two) decadent nibbles might be the “less” that is more.
This holiday season try one of the following recipes for “bitty bites” to round out your repast. Replete with dark chocolate and cream cheese, warmly spiced pecans, cashews and almonds, the zing of cherries balanced with a hint of coffee or the tangy-sweetness of cranberry and orange blended with rich hazelnuts, these miniature desserts may be just what your sweet tooth desires.
1/4 cup each margarine and all-purpose flour
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/16 tsp. black pepper
Dash of salt
1/2 lb. American cheese slices
1 (10–oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed* and well
6 crisply cooked bacon slices, crumbled
2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
4 eggs, separated, saving whites and yolks**
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
Midwest award winning wines
The Fourth Annual International Cold Climate Wine Competition, a collaboration of the Minnesota Grape Growers Association and the University of Minnesota, was held in St. Paul this past August.
Four Daughters, Spring Valley, Minn., took top honors for its 2011 La Crescent, receiving the coveted Minnesota Governor’s Cup, which recognizes the “Best of Show” (i.e., the top prize of all Minnesota gold-winning wines). This year’s competition included more than 325 wines from participating commercial wineries in 12 states and Canada. For more information and a complete list of winners, see http://mngrapegrowers.com/past-award-winners.
Whether your outdoor holiday decorating includes an illumination of your entire residence, a simple swag or an inflatable Santa and 12 tiny reindeer, a bit of exterior festive décor not only welcomes your guests but charms those passing by as well.
With a full-scale outdoor lighting company and many wonderful florists in town, you can do all the decorating yourself or hire out part or all of it, giving you many options for brightening up those long November and December nights.
Grab a friend and leisurely shop for gifts, sip cider and nosh on holiday treats as you revel in new ideas for decking the halls.
Whether it’s simply adding a wreath to the door or going all out by decorating the front of your house, fresh Christmas greens, alone or adorned, go a long way in making your house festive for the holiday season.
Just by itself on a velvet hook over your door, the lavish blue-green of an elegant conifer wreath makes an inviting entryway.
If you wish to dress it up a bit, use florist’s wire (found at craft stores) to add a festive bow, a few well-placed Christmas ornaments—maybe an old favorite that retired from the tree long ago—glittery tinsel or a few picks of silk or artificial berries.
Be sure to wire the additions to the framing on the back of the wreath so it stays secure, and you will have a custom-made wreath in no time.
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