The American Made Brand Blog Tour 50 state road trip continues, and today I am thrilled to welcome you to Minnesota. I hope you enjoy your visit.
Let’s start with the Minnesota License Plate that the good folks at Clothworks, asked me to make. Here is my final design for Minnesota:
When I started to design my license plate, I asked lots of friends from all over the state to share what they thought was the essence of Minnesota. I got lots and lots of great answers, but two themes came through in most of the responses. We have water everywhere, and Minnesotans enjoy being out and about in all four of our beautiful seasons.
There are five components in my license plate. The first is water. Then, left to right, the four seasons shine through. Winter’s beauty with a gracious snow-covered pine. Spring fields in the rolling farmlands. Summer in the North Woods, where the tall pines form cathedrals. And Fall, when the trees put on their finest show, the fields are caramel-brown with hay and corn stubble.
Water is front and center in my license plate. We are called the Land of 10,000 lakes, but that is a serious understatement. There are over 13,000 lakes with areas larger than ten acres, and twice that over 4 acres. That does not include the 8,100 rivers that flow in three directions here–towards the Gulf of Mexico, Hudson Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. When you add up all the shoreline from the lakes and rivers, you find we have 180,000+ miles of shore, darned respectable for a state smack-dab in the middle of a continent! Then add all the wetlands, well, we do have a lot of water in Minnesota.
That water gets used and enjoyed. Ocean-going barges navigate Lake Superior to reach Duluth. One in six families owns some type of boat. The barge traffic on the Mississippi starts up the minute the ice is declared “out” in the spring. Lakes are full of cabin cruisers, houseboats, speed boats, canoes, kayaks, water-skiers, fishermen and women, swimmers, and windsurfers. The Mighty Mississippi starts in Minnesota, as does the chain of the Great Lakes.
Winter wraps our state in snow, and wraps people in cozy jackets and caps. People may be snuggling under quilts inside, but they trek out to soak up the brisk fresh air and sunshine. We play as well! Sledding, downhill and cross-country skiing are lots of fun. In winter the ice fishing is grand, ice-sailing is fun to watch, and people flock to the lakes for skating and pond hockey. Crisp, clear nights make for chances to star-gaze and watch the northern lights. In rural areas you will hear the roar of snowmobiles. You may also hear wolves and an occasional moose. Sled-dogs are very happy for the cold weather and the chance to run. The polar bears at the zoos think winter is heavenly.
Despite all our water, Minnesota is about 65% farmland, represented in the Spring section on the licence plate. Corn and soy are the largest crops, but oats, barley, spring wheat, sugar beets, sweet corn and sweet peas, pumpkins, apples, grapes and berries, and many other things are grown here as well. In the Spring the new green shoots in fields are a welcome sight after the winter. Minnesota leads the country in turkey farming, but also has chickens, milk cows, goats, sheep, bison, and mink farms. Oh, and wind farms!
Summertime, and the living is, well, often hot and muggy! We flock to the lakes. We camp in our 67 state parks, we canoe in the Boundary Waters. We swat mosquitoes with a vengeance, and love to hear the cardinals in the morning and the loons in the evening. We live in our backyards, bike the trails all over the state, and visit the vineyards and bed and breakfasts scattered about the state. Urban dwellers dine in outdoor bistros, and walk the trails around city lakes. Families all over the state frequent softball games and ice cream shops. Sure, we work, but summer is meant to be savored, and we love it!
In Fall, the harvest rules the state for some time. Once the corn is out, the pheasants and deer run in the stubble, and hunters are sure to follow. The trees put on a spectacular show. Tamaracks turn brilliant yellow, rivaled only by the aspen forests. Maple trees don shades of orange and red, and the oaks stubbornly hold their deep red leaves right through winter. Squirrels bury things everywhere, often to the dismay of gardeners like me. The evenings are full of the scent of fire-pits being enjoyed. High school football heroes are celebrated, and pilgrimages are made to apple orchards and pumpkin patches.
Time for a Giveaway! Isn’t it amazing what a pile of fabric can bring out of you? I am happy that Clothworks is giving away a fat quarter set of selections from their new AMB Cotton Solids, and you can win one just by commenting below. (this giveaway is now closed) I am also having a fun little giveaway, featuring 30 five-inch charms of AMB Cotton Solids, and some fun little Minnesotan goodies. Winner will be selected randomly from all comments received by Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 11:59 PM CDT. Winners will be announced on Saturday. Then be sure to visit all the other states on the Blog Tour, and enter their giveaways as well! Sorry, no international entries this round.
Want to make your own Minnesota License Plate Block? Well, you can! There is a complete tutorial to be found here, just hop over and have fun.
If you are new to fusible applique, you might want to check out my Fusible Applique Demonstration and learn how it’s done. It is easy, and very forgiving! If you make the Minnesota block, I hope you will send me a photo of it to share with my readers.The blog tour is visiting Minnesota and California today, and you can head off to Oregon and Kansas tomorrow. Be sure to check out the complete list and visit all 50 state this summer.
Yes, I know. The license plate omitted many things like cities, the arts, the schools and universities, the famous companies that started here, and the Mall of America. But give me the great outdoors in any season, and I am one happy Minnesotan!