On the Outer Edge of hometown pride

Last Saturday I discovered a bunch of talented people who love Appleton as much as I do.

My friend Jill and I walked down to the Outer Edge, a beautiful, historical building that actually sits in the center of town.

We popped into an Indoor Urban Market held there, and, for just a minute, I stood in the doorway to take it all in. From the left side of the room wafted the rich smell of French Press Coffee, from the right side passed handcrafted Bloody Marys, and down the center of the large room stood really appealing displays by local artists.

Oil paintings, soaps and lotions, candles, clothing, hand-knit sweaters and scarves, custom illustrations, and, in one particularly clever booth, brass instruments turned into lamps filled the room.

I bought some hand-some thank you notes from a company called “Circle Street”, which just happens to be the street next to my house.

I picked up another set of thank you notes from “Sketch Tag Art” and chatted for a little bit with artist Emily Reetz. Emily’s original sketches of Appleton landmarks thrilled me and I bought two prints as well.

Congratulations to all of the artists who showed their work last Saturday. I can’t wait for the next Urban Market and I hope to see some of those this summer at both the Farmer’s Market and Art in the Park.

Appleton Stationary

I loved the Appleton artwork, particularly this sketch by Emily Reetz.

Sewn Stationary

I also bought these cool hand-sewn thank you notes because I liked the look of the newsprint text and, apparently, the artist is my neighbor.

A fresh display

The artists took time to display their work beautifully, which made the shopping experience even sweeter.

Artistic scones

And, speaking of sweet, these scones looked amazing.

Chandelier

The Outer Edge is a beautifully restored building featuring gorgeous stained glass windows and vintage chandeliers.

Stained glass windows

I’m a fan of stained glass windows.

Brass lamps

These brass lamps were whimsical and really pretty.

Sketch Tag Art

Here is the artist and her Appleton sketches. I can’t wait to have her sketch our house.

The Outer Edge

A view from the balcony.

Run turkey, Run turkey, Run far away!

Through a new lens

Happy birthday to the Outlaw Mary Jane and the In-Law Donna

We’ve noticed that the sweetest candy and the shiniest shoes are called Mary Janes.

And, though both have been around much longer than our beloved Outlaw Mary Jane, we think the three Mary Janes share a number of attributes including eternal style, reliability, grace, comfort and kindness.

Today, we’re chewing a little sweet candy, and kicking up our patent leather flats to celebrate the birthday of our favorite Mary Jane.

It won’t be her most memorable birthday, not by a long shot.

That honor might belong to her third birthday, sweetly noted by her mother in an intimidatingly well-kept baby book. That year, she “Made a trip to radio station KYW, said her name over the radio. After the first time, she went to the end of the line, to repeat same again.”

The story confirms the lifelong paradox of Mary Jane, an introverted ham.

Her most memorable birthday might have been her 80th, when the family gathered in Naperville for a champagne toast and party.

It might have been the years her husband Vince took her to Arlington Racetrack to bet on lucky No. 8 and steal a couple of hours away from their growing family.

Or the years her mother decorated the dining room table with blue and white streamers, flowers and a store bought cake from Widens Bakery. Those were good birthdays too.

By far, though, Mary Jane’s best birthday happened in 1957, when she gave birth to her daughter Donna, the second of Vince and Mary Jane’s nine children.

In honor of that birthday, we’d like to take a moment to say Happy Birthday Grandma Mary Jane! and Happy birthday Donna, too!

We hope both of you celebrate all weekend long to kick off one of your best years yet.

3 year old birthday details

Here’s a 1934 entry in the well-kept Mary Jane Baby Book.

Mary Jane Candy

I used to say I was eating these in honor of my mother in-law, but, really I just like the sticky, peanut-buttery goodness. Still, I think of her every time I buy them.

Elaine's  wedding 087

The Outlaw Mary Jane loves to hang out with her family.

Grandma MJ pyramid

She’s a fun-loving mother in-law too.

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Here is most of the family at her 80th birthday party.

Donna, Vince, Laura and Molly

We’re saluting the in-law Donna as well. Happy birthday to the family adventurer.

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And Happy Birthday to the Outlaw Mary Jane!

A salute to taxpayers who support the arts

Take me to your heart, Graceland

Walking in Memphis

How to ace your college tours

10 reasons you want to be a Badger basketball fan

It’s pretty easy to spot the motion W these days. On flags, hats, T-shirts, sweat shirts, license plates and baked goods, the University of Wisconsin logo has become a ubiquitous presence in a nation obsessed with sports and sporting personalities.

For a team that hasn’t won a national title since 1941, the Badger men’s basketball team has responded to this increasingly bright spotlight with impressive poise and refreshing joy.

From Vitto Brown’s voice, to Frank Kaminsky’s dance moves, to Sam Dekker’s mentor, to Nigel Haye’s vocabulary, the team’s off-court personalities have added a brand of genuine entertainment that sometimes eludes the high stakes world of Division I collegiate championships.

You can credit Coach Bo Ryan with allowing his players to express themselves creatively. The veteran and well-respected coach has achieved the perfect balance of on-court discipline and off-court silliness among his delightful band of talented goofballs.

In case you haven’t yet put your thumbs together and extended your pointed fingers to symbolize your support, or tweeted #MakeEmBelieve to your followers, or jumped around, here are 10 reasons you want to be a Badger basketball fan.

1. The talent. These boys can play the game and that’s how they reached the final. Transcending all of these big personalities is pure, athletic ability.

2. The Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious press conferences.  With all the pressure on these young athletes to represent their schools and the NCAA with dignity, the press conferences can be giant, scripted yawns. Enter the Badgers and their stenographer fascination. If nothing else, Nigel Hayes’ attempts to trip up the stenographers with creative words of the day have increased our collective vocabulary.

3. This tweet:

Aaron Rodgers classic tweet

4. Our hot mic gaffes are adorable.

5. Among his many honors, Frank Kaminsky recently was named the 2015 USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year.

6. “Everyone has their one sauce. Mine is syrup.” Kaminsky said it during the dance off video with Fundamentally Sound seen here. Syrup as a sauce may be debatable, but Frank’s goofy and relatable charm is not.

7. Vitto Brown’s national anthem. The sophomore forward (featured in this Fundamentally Sound video) has sung the national anthem on several occasions. Saturday night he represented the University of Wisconsin in a very cool version of the national anthem that featured athletes from each of the Final Four schools. As the only basketball player, Vitto sang suited up in his game warm-ups. It’s nice to see well-rounded athletes, even at the elite level of the sport.

8. Bo Ryan. Before Coach Ryan came to Madison, the team had never won more than 22 games in a season. In his 13 seasons as the Badger’s head coach, his teams have averaged 24.7 wins as season. It’s an amazing turnaround and no one is more grateful to him, or respectful of him, than his players.

9. Jump Around. A little aerobic exercise never hurt anyone, and this Wisconsin tradition is just plain fun.

10. Matt Ferris. The freshman player from our home town has been hosting a well-written blog that gives us all a little behind-the-scenes look at the team. Seven of the 16 players on the team were raised in Wisconsin, including Sheboygan’s pride, Sam Dekker.

You’re probably already suited up in your Badger gear, ready for tonight’s game. But, in case you aren’t, these tips should help you get in the big game spirit. On Wisconsin!

Katherine, Molly and me

At first we were the only Badger fans in this Chicago bar Saturday night. But, by the end of the game, we were high-fiving strangers and spreading the Badger joy.

Vinnie and friends

Vinnie and his friends stopped in Tennessee to watch the game before continuing their road trip back to Madison. They ran into these Badger fans and, by the end of the game Saturday night, that whole bar was cheering for Bucky as well.

We resurrected a lamb

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