Friday, August 29, 2014

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ No. 2 Pencil

by Mollie

In their early years, pencils were created from high quality graphite sticks which were wrapped in string or put into wooden tubes. Later, pencils were made by gluing these graphite sticks in between two pieces of wood.
"Pencil" by per from Norway - Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Then, in 1794 Nicolas-Jacques Conte developed the process of manufacturing pencil leads in which powdered graphite was mixed with finely ground clay; this mix was shaped into a cylinder form and then baked to create a pencil. The more clay that was included in the mix made the pencil "lead" harder. This became known as the "Conte Process" and he later patented this process.

{photo courtesy of Matters of Taste blog}
Pencils were first manufactured in the U.S. around 1812.
Mass production began following the Civil War when additional patents for the machines invented to make pencils were granted.

Today, pencils come in all shapes, sizes, colors and hardness. But I still have a great fondness for the good ol' standby. So with the spirit of the new school year comes my love of the freshly-sharpened No. 2 pencil.  Thus, today's treasury. I hope you are taken back to some fond school memories as you do a little shopping.
{Click on the image above to be taken to the treasury and shops featured.}

Handwriting, math problems, filling in the little squares on multiple choice tests...
What does a No. 2 pencil remind you of? What's your favorite thing about pencils? Do share!

Monday, August 25, 2014

End of Summer on a Stick!

By Sharon Parker
Arty Didact

State Fair week and monarchs-aflutter and school buses on the street — oh my!

You know how that all adds up: The end is near! The end of summer, that is.

The colorful flowerbeds will soon give way to colorful tree tops.

The fluttering of butterfly wings will be replaced by the fluttering of leaves.

And yet, still, there's beauty everywhere. And aren't those cool evenings wonderful?

Here is a collection of handmade items from our Minnesota Etsy team to celebrate this most excellent transitional time, and remind us to get out and enjoy it all, as summery things begin to tuck in like Sleeping Beauty, ready for a long nap.

Friday, August 15, 2014

HandmadeMN Fun Friday Finds ~ Happy

By Mara of  Dragonfly Adornments

August is Happiness Happens Month. They say you can never have too much happy.  According to the Secret Society of Happy People, there are 31 different kinds of happy? There's everything from amused, balanced and cheerful, to relieved, spiritual and thankful! We think that our HandmadeMN artists can help you feel happy too!

Enjoy your day and be HAPPY!

 {Click the image above to be taken to the treasury.}

It might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break
I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air, like I don’t care baby by the way

Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do