Summer 2022 Inspire(d)

Summer 2022 Inspire(d)

The Summer 2022 Inspire(d) is all about living with intention. Look inside for inspiration for slowing down, being mindful, and having fun this season!

Summer…With Intention: Cover Artist Lauren Bonney • Terri Wolfe / Paperback Rider • Stephanie Fromm • Maryann Baldwin / Lansing Office Works • Starlite 14 Drive-In • Linda Tacke • 10 InTENtional Summer To-Dos • Mental Health: Mindfulness • Fireflies • Dyersville Day Trip • Sum Biz: Country View Dairy & More!

Read the whole thing online here!

A note from Aryn:

I’m writing this letter on the eve of my 41st birthday. Our daughter is turning 10 this summer. And Benji and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage (and business) this year.

I’m starting to feel a real sense of urgency with things; I can almost see time going by. Moments like these – where there seems to be just a little edge of panic to the passing of days – make me want to pause, assess, and set forth into the future …with intention.

Really, you can put the phrase “with intention” after most everything.

Let’s have a great summer…with intention. I want to hang out with friends more…with intention. Let’s explore the region…with intention.

So for this issue, we’ve collected stories of Driftless folks living and doing life with intention, plus inspiration for planning your own awesome, intentional summer.

On the cover of this Inspire(d) is a design by Decorah artist Lauren Bonney. Sara Friedl-Putnam chatted with her about how she created her mural, Together in Decorah, on the Mill Street wall of Vesterheim Museum last year (pg 16). This summer offers an opportunity for folks to get Together in Decorah at Vesterheim through their Family Friluftsliv program – Lauren leads one in June! And don’t miss Lauren’s coloring page (pg. 53)! Pull out the colored pencils and enjoy a moment of calm.

We love that Community Builders set out with the intention to, well, build their communities up – we believe this is one of the most important things you can do in life. This issue, we feature Maryann Baldwin of Lansing, Iowa; Stephanie Fromm of Decorah, Iowa; and Terri Wolfgram of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Each individual brings their own unique talents to their communities, making a difference in the lives of those around them.

Mental health writer Olivia Lynn Schnur helps us tap into our mindfulness this season – an incredibly important skill for living with intention.

Erin Dorbin dives into the fascinating history of the Starlite 14 Drive-In theatre in Richland Center, Wisconsin. Make a plan to check it out this summer – it’s one of roughly 300 drive-ins that remain in operation in the entire nation.

And conservationist writer Craig Thompson tells us how we can help our flickering friends, the fireflies around. FYI, I learn a new word almost every issue from Craig. This time it’s semaphore: “the use of an apparatus to create a visual signal transmitted over distance.” 🙂

Heading out on a road trip soon? Add Dyersville, Iowa, to your list and read Benji’s story all about the awesome folks making it a great place to live and visit (pg 74).

Get other road trip (and fun) ideas in Sara Walter’s “10 InTENtional Summer To-Dos” (pg 36) – of course, there’s ice cream on the list, plus froyo from Country View Dairy in Hawkeye, Iowa. You can read more about this family-run dairy/farm store in our summer Sum of Your Business (pg 59).

Alternatively, heading out on a bike trip soon? Lanesboro’s Linda Tacke might inspire you to do so in Steve Harris’s story about her epic adventure riding across the US (pg 48). Make sure to note her highway-riding safety tips.

There lots more fun and inspiring things pieced together in this whole issue – and you might notice, it’s thicker than usual! We’ve got 84 pages of positive news coming at you, and we hope you enjoy each one…with intention!

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Spring 2022 Inspire(d)

Spring 2022 Inspire(d) cover

The Spring 2022 Inspire(d) encourages you to look at this season as an opportunity to Restart. Just as the world begins anew, growing out of the muck, so can you. Inside, you’ll find inspiration for restarting your goals, gardens, and more! 

Restart with Spring! Q&A with MN Artist Amy Rice • Circular Economy – Secondhand as a Way of Life • Climate Advocacy – Ayla Boylen & Leslie Smith Sand • Community Builders: Friends of DPL; Renée Bergstrom; Bree Breckel & Eric Weninger • Spring Gardens • Mental Health – Restart Your Goals • Sum of Your Biz: Jamie Gavle of Rendered Unique • Spring Ephemerals • DIY Scratch Notebooks • And More!

Read the whole thing online here!

A note from Aryn:

The first thing we do when something’s not working – a computer, a coffee grinder, a phone – is do a restart.

We power it off. Sometimes we even unplug it, and then we power it back up again, hopefully with its functions restored and ready to restart.

Sidenote: Pretty much every day I get a prompt from my computer: Updates available. Restart  > now; later; remind me tomorrow?

Every time, I click “remind me tomorrow.” Ha! We are all works in progress!

And that’s more than okay. Our mental health writer, Olivia Lynn Schnur, gives us a background on why restarting – a goal, a day, your life – is a worthwhile endeavor (pg 36). She writes: “Each time we restart, our why becomes louder and our why not loses its voice.”

Minnesota-based artist Amy Rice (featured on the cover) made a conscious decision to restart her creative direction more than a decade ago, painting her future, rather than her present or past. Much of her work switched to featuring the flower farm of her future – which is now a reality! Inspire(d) is sponsoring Amy’s upcoming show at Lanesboro Arts, “A Few Steps Ahead: Finding Hope in a Seed Started.” Her work often features reuse of items like old maps, love letters, and stamps – a good way to restart the life of these items, and a perfect fit for this issue (pg 16).

This Restart theme is also a nod to Earth Day. I can’t let an opportunity to love the Earth slip on by; it needs all the love it can get!

Kristine Kopperud met up with two women who are both working to spread that message: Ayla Boylen of Cedar Rapids, and Leslie Smith Sand of Decorah. They have found a way to advocate for climate action on a community level, building their communities up as they go (pg 56).

We have other great Community Builders in this issue as well – read about Decorah’s own Friends of Decorah Public Library; Renée Bergstrom of Lanesboro, Minnesota; and Bree Breckel and Eric Weninger of Cashton, Wisconsin, and how each group, person, or partnership has worked to make their hometowns a better place to live.

Speaking of “re-” words, reuse is the name of the game in our piece about four awesome, women-run secondhand stores in the Driftless (pg 50). Plus, our Sum of your Business features Jamie Gavle and Rendered Unique, home to great rehabbed and vintage furniture, handmade jewelry, Midwest-inspired apparel, and more (pg 42).

Dreaming of restarting my garden is one of the things that gets me through the end of winter. You too? Check out inspiration on page 48. Love plants that don’t require weeding? Conservationist writer Craig Thompson gives us a tour of nature’s spring ephemerals (pg 60). Don’t know that word? I didn’t either. It means: “lasting a very short time.” Which is often the case with the entirety of spring, so let’s soak it up!

Spring can be a time where our dreams from the start of the year have fallen to the wayside. But just as the world is restarting its life outside your doors, peeking out of the earth toward the sunshine, so can you. Press restart today.

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

DIY Scratch Pads

Most households have piles of paper – worksheets from school, recipes you didn’t love, junk mail – just waiting to be recycled. But wait! How about a reuse first?!? As long as your paper has blank backs, you can turn it into your own DIY scratch pads with this fun project!

Padding Compound or Rubber Cement
8.5 x 11 scratch paper with blank backs
Paper Trimmer (scissors would work too, but be more difficult)
Thin cardboard (to act at the scratch pad’s backing)
Paint brush (the one pictured above ended up being too large, so we went with smaller ones, which you’ll see later)
Not pictured: Two binder clips for each scratch pad

Take a stack of 8.5 x 11 scratch paper and cut it in half lengthwise…

And horizontally. Gather stacks into whatever sized scratch pad you’d like to make.

Next, grab your thin piece of cardboard (this was in a mailer with some art – cardboard from cereal boxes would work too), and cut it to size (4.25 x 5.5).

We made two scratch pads, experimenting with both Rubber Cement and Padding Compound (read on to see our assessment!)

Flip the pages so the blank sides are facing up, and place your piece of thin cardboard under each stack.

Tamp them together so the pages sit evenly on the side you’re going to glue.

Then grab two binder clips and attach them at the edges of the side you’re planning to glue, like the picture above. Make sure to set up your area to catch any glue messes (we put some paper down).

As mentioned in the supply list, my original paint brush was much too big for this project. So I used this one pictured.

For the Rubber Cement, just use the brush included with the bottle. Apply a nice layer – not too thin, but not so it’s glopping off the edges.

For the padding compound, follow the same instructions (this is what it looks like – it looks similar to school glue, but dries differently).

Here’s the start to my layer of padding compound.

Next, set the scratch pads on the edge of a surface to dry (this is the edge of our table).

After 30 minutes or so, flip the scratch pads over so they dry evenly. Let them dry another 30 minutes before checking to see if they’re totally dry (just tug off a sheet and see if it’s got the feel of a scratch pad). We found the Rubber Cement took just a bit longer to dry. Both glues worked for well the project, but the padding compound was just slightly superior.

And you’re done! These are super handy for to-do lists, writing love notes to your family members, or quick runs to the grocery store! Enjoy!