Archive for July, 2013

Little Free Libraries: Go See Them!


On Wednesday, my friend Kathy T and I took a drive around town to visit the Little Free Libraries that we know about. (I’m sure there are more, but they aren’t all on the website’s map.) There’s a nice one at 3rd Avenue East and 9th Street, which we visited, but I forgot to take a picture. Meanwhile, here are some others.

We took some books and we left some books. It was a fun mini-road trip. Go visit them!

This one is on West Mankato Street in Woodland. It’s cleverly painted to match the owner’s house.

This one is decorated with Christmas lights, so may be lit up at night. What a great idea! It’s in the 3800 block of Allendale Avenue in Woodland. I love the funky roof:

My favorite (next to my own) is at the intersection of Dodge Street and 40th Avenue East. Beautiful surroundings and a good mixture of interesting books. The nice lady who lived here went indoors and brought us an armload of cookbooks that she’s giving away:

This one is close to home, on 43rd Avenue East and Luverne Street. If you walk around the corner, you’ll be at my real favorite one, at 43rd and Gilliat. A Twofer!

Mosey on over to 17th Avenue East and Jefferson Street, and you’ll find this lovely one with a few rules tacked to the door. I didn’t read them. I don’t believe rules apply to me. (But I digress.)

A block down the road, at 16th Avenue East and Jefferson, you’ll find this funny creative one made just for kids. They must love it!

Next time I get a stack of kids’ books, I’m taking them over there. I love the crooked little window and door! And I thought this was a nice reminder to kids (and adults, too.)

(“Take. Read. Give. Enjoy.”)

That’s kinda what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Read any good books lately? Tell us about them!

Congratulations, Mike and Amber!


Amber and Mike Brostrom

My favorite (and only) nephew and his fiancee Amber were married last Saturday in a beautiful ceremony at St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Duluth.

Weddings always choke me up, so a great moment of comic relief was provided by Madison, my 2 year old great-niece and honorary flower girl, who dumped her basket of flowers at the back of the church and hurried down the aisle, arms swinging like a roller derby queen, as if to say “Let’s get this show on the road!” And so they did.

The lavish reception was held in the Harbor Room of the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC), providing a gorgeous backdrop of the harbor and Aerial Lift Bridge, especially enjoyable to out of town guests.

The lovely bride is also owner of Cake Occasions in Duluth, and must have worked for weeks preparing the many cakes that guests were invited to sample. (We did!) The choices included Red Velvet cake with cheesecake center, dark chocolate cake with Kahlua filling and a chocolate ganache icing, white cake with fresh raspberry filling and almond butter cream, Lady Baltimore cake with lemon filling and buttercream frosting, and rainbow cupcakes. She also baked their wedding cake, along with creating paper dolls of the bride and groom for the little kids, gift bags for the children, a bride & groom coloring book with crayons for the kids, baskets of personal items in the women’s bathrooms, firestarters for take home gifts, and a bucket of slippers by the dance floor for those who might dance their feet off. She thought of everything.

It was fun to reconnect with relatives I hadn’t seen in a long time, and fun to watch the groom dancing with the little girls at the party. (I don’t think Madison missed a dance, even if she had to dance alone. She was in party mode all night!) Here’s the flower girl taking an energy break before hitting the dance floor.

Another great-niece, Gabriella, was in the bathroom with her mom when the bride entered. Later she told us that she had seen “Cinderella” in the bathroom. I guess she really did!

Here’s my favorite photo, which is either the result of too many free drink tickets, or else I was planning to create one of those “insert your own head” photos:

The party was wonderful and everyone had a great time. I wish them many many many years of wedded bliss!

I leave you with these random photos.

The Best Man delivers a revealing speech.

Madison and Gabriella enjoy the view

Niece Katie with her husband Eric

3 Princesses: Amber with Gabby and Madison

Best “Little Free Library” on Earth


When you love what you’re doing, it shows. And when I saw Rob and Toni Morse’s home a few weeks ago, I knew they both loved what they do (especially sharing a love of home) and I knew Rob would be the best person to build a perfect Little Free Library for my yard. And I was right!

Rob and I worked together at HBJ years ago, and he’s someone that could always make me laugh. Even years after he left the company, if I heard his name, I’d start laughing, just thinking of some of our past conversations. Husband, father, designer, sign maker, stand-up comedian and all-round good guy, Rob taught himself the basics of carpentry, I guess, and his talent and love of creativity shines through in anything he builds.

So we discussed options for the Little Free Library that I’ve wanted for so long, and came up with a few rules (Not too outlandish; must be recognizable to the general public, should have at least one shelf and glass doors) and I knew the project was in good hands. In less time that it took me to simply write about it, the thing was done.

It is beautiful. I love having it in the yard. I am so pleased to see how many people use it. The original supply of books and movies has been replaced with more books and magazines; notes from passers-by, and a few other surprises. I especially love seeing little kids and their parents perusing the stacks, or people on bikes who saw it from the Lakewalk and decided to investigate.

The thing has been registered but I haven’t received the official plaque yet. When it arrives, the Little Free Library will be on the national list of LFLs, and appear on the online map so people will be able to find it. But for now, traffic is not a problem!

Everything's gotta start somewhere, doesn't it?

Rob Morse, Builder of Anything.

Lakeside clay. Gardeners hate it.

Tools of the trade.

Don't forget the concrete!

Leveled and allowed to set up for the night. Caused some gawking from passersby.

A thing of beauty! Official unveiling: June 25, 2013

Take a book. Leave a book. Or don't!

The Unveiling Party: Toni, Kay, Jerry, Jean, Dave and Rob

First visitors arrived 1 hour after unveiling. Happy to see them!

Come and visit! Get comfy… there’s good reading to be found.