Now That’s Whimsical

Some of my fun North Iowa Bloggers and I attempted to be crafty the other night.  Some of us succeeded perhaps a little bit better than others but we all had fun and that was what the whole evening was about.

You might remember me writing about visiting the Carlson Christmas Tree Farm back when I was posting about our Franklin County Harvest Bloggers Tour in the fall this year.  It was one place that we stopped on our first night to enjoy some fabulous food and conversation.  Oh yes–the wiggle cars and meal worms were also a hit that night. Our return trip this week was specifically to make beautiful evergreen wreaths.

Several of us were able to make the trip to go be creative and like I said—some did better than others.  I decided that I am much better at paper crafting than I am at wreath making.

Amy and Alicia look for just the right size bundle!

Amy and Alicia look for just the right size bundle!

Amy is just not quite sure about this bundle!

Amy is just not quite sure about this bundle!

Val was an old pro at wreath making --can you tell?

Val was an old pro at wreath making –can you tell? Donna was just trying to create one handed.

Jeni and I teamed up to do our wreaths together but we were just not getting it right.  Jeni kept taking breaks and going over to snuggle Sophie who has to be the absolute best dog in the whole wide world.  I couldn’t’ blame Jeni at all.

Jeni and Sophie

Jeni and Sophie

The process included making 10 bundles of 3 different types of evergreen and then using the cool wreath crimping apparatus to clamp the greens into the wire frame.  Sounds easy but our first wreath was a bit……grandiose.  Or as Michelle (wreath elf and maker extraordinaire) said “it is certainly whimsical”.   I think that was code for crazy, ridiculous looking, horrible really not good. She is so kind.

The good thing is we had all this great help to make our “creation” look fabulous.

Beth makes pretty bows.

Beth makes pretty bows. Must be because of her name.

Jeni said she would take the first wreath we made and it actually turned out looking really nice when it was all done. jeni

I continued to work on mine and with the right bow and embellishments I was really happy with my not so whimsical wreath. Never mind the bubbly door (you can read that post here—yes–I write about everything here on It’s Just Life).IMG_4046 2

We all had so much fun and laughter filled the barn.  I would do this again in a heartbeat because the folks at Carlson’s are real nice people.  Genuine and good people who have a wonderful family business that they obviously love running. The local paper ran a front page story on them this week and you can click here to go to read more about their operation.  It is really quite interesting. bloggers2 Collage

We really did have a great night and topped it off with dinner at West Fork Wharf in Sheffield.  I was feeling a bit cranky with no nap, a late night and late dinner so I was craving comfort food and West Fork Wharf provided that in a wonderful way.  We shared some appetizers of batter fried handcut whole mushrooms which were recommended to us by several folks ahead of time and along with the delectably crisp cheese curds our dining experience started out superbly. Just look at these mushrooms!IMG_4036

I decided to go with one of the specials that was a lovely entree of sliced beef over mashed potatoes and Texas Toast.  Like I said—I was craving comfort food and wow—was this an awesome choice.IMG_4037

The portion was huge and after chowing down on appetizers I ate about 1/3 rd of my entree and packed the rest up for leftovers. I was thrilled with my choice and would definitely return to this place again. The food was excellent and our service was prompt with attention to drink refills and to go boxes offered at just the right time.  My crankiness disappeared.

As Jeni and I drove back to Mason City we realized that we are both definitely not used to being “out in the country” as much as we were.  It was dark.  Really dark.  While I don’t claim to be a big city girl at all I guess I am used to having a few more lights around me at night than there are in the country.

Would I do it again?  Without a doubt.  Would I go with these gals anywhere?  YES!  We have such a great time and I am building up memories in my memory bank for that time when I am no longer a North Iowa Blogger. These friendships are lifetime friendships and I am blessed.

What has blessed you this week?  Have you ever made a “whimsical” craft that didn’t turn out quite as expected?  I would love to hear all about it.  Thanks for stopping by today.



  1. Looks like so much fun!

  2. This looks so fun. How did you get a blogging group started? One that actually meets and does fun things together? Also, just curious, how far are you from Okoboji? Finally I love both wreaths.

    • Lisa—-thanks! We actually got started getting together after one of our bloggers, Sara Broers, got a Social Media Breakfast group started. There were enough of us to try to meet on our own and now we keep finding more bloggers to add which is pretty neat. We have been very active in the past 3 months –have a Facebook page and a website in the works. We do fun things but also some things for the community like ringing bells, collecting food for the food bank and volunteering at local events. Not everyone can do every single event but you do what you can when you can. We are about 2 12 hours to Okoboji. Thanks again so very much!

  3. Soooo pretty! I love how it turned out!

  4. I love, love, love those wreaths!! They look wonderful, and make my frasier fir (with a little added boxwood and holly) look wimpy!
    That is neat that you and other bloggers get together and have so much fun!

    • Dianna—it is all great fun, let me tell you. We are definitely making a splash locally and people are getting what we do a little bit more. We have two more “adventures coming up this week so stay tuned!

  5. I had so much fun at wreath class. Yours looks perfect on your door. Thanks for being my partner. Those Carlson’s are pro’s. I really didn’t think the whimsical wreath could look fine, but they knew how to place that bow.

    • I had so much fun as well and you were the perfect partner! I love how we could work together but not take it too seriously. As if I am ever too serious, right? I think the pros at Carlson are well trained in fixing problem areas—-like our first wreath that took on a life of its own!

  6. Fresh wreaths are best and one you make yourself in the company of friends is better yet. The red checked bow doesn’t hurt either.

    • Laura –you and I have the same love of red, I think! It did not take me long at all to pick the ribbon—I saw it and knew it was the right choice for me.

  7. You have really put blogging on the map in North Iowa. If you start a group in Dallas, I would have two reasons to visit daughter, SIL and grandson.
    You DO make beautiful bows!

    • Oh it was the OTHER Beth who made the bows—definitely not me!!! 🙂 I just picked out the ribbon. I was happy to hand that job off! It was so much fun and yes—the North Iowa Bloggers are definitely getting around and making a name! We rang bells last night for Salvation Army again which was a lot of fun!

  8. All my crafting experiences end up “whimsical” … !

  9. I love your wreath, Beth Ann. It has that country, homey, rustic look that is simply my style. Can you believe I’ve never had a real wreath? The husband promised we will get our tree this weekend instead of days before Christmas. I want to have it up before the son arrives home from Boston ONE WEEK FROM TODAY.

    What a great group of blogger friends you have there in Iowa.

    I enjoyed this post so much and laughed at how you noticed the darkness of the country.

    What has blessed me this week? Working with a great group of friends on a soup supper fundraiser for a dear friend battling ovarian cancer. The supper was a great success.

    • Glad to hear that the event was a huge success. That is a great thing you did for a friend and I am sure she appreciated it more than words could say. The wreath making was a lot of fun. Last night we rang bells again, Saturday Webster City is sponsoring us for the day and Sunday we are helping at Music Man Square so to say we have had a lot of opportunities to be out and about lately is an understatement. I will definitely miss this group when I move away from North Iowa but they will always be a huge part of me and with social media we will always be close. 🙂 And yes—-it was REALLY dark. Gravel roads driving where we had no clue where we were going—no phone service—it was a bit wild for a bit.

  10. Looks like you all were having a great time and your wreath looks super.. I am not crafty one teeny bit. The country is dark and makes for interesting driving. CH and I are oldsters and we don’t drive around at night if we don’t have to during winter.. mainly because deer, dark, and country roads don’t work well together. That sliced beef over mashed potatoes with gravy.. I could hoover that down right now!!!

    • We did have a great time! Sounds like you are like me—I just am not good at night driving anymore especially when I have no clue where I am going! And yes–that meal was fabulous. I finished the leftovers last night and it was every bit as good as the first time!

  11. Looks like you had a festive and fun time! I think your wreath turned out beautifully!

  12. What a great time! I can’t wait for our next #NorthIowaBlogger experience.

  13. I had so much fun with you all and I absolutely love your wreath, Beth Ann!! I love you all so much and I’m so honored to be a part of the #NorthIowaBloggers

  14. What fun!! These are the things that make Christmas special.

  15. I gathered some grapevine over the summer to try my hand at a holiday wreath. I finally got it wrangled into a circle (sorta) and now I just have to decorate it. I love doing creative stuff like this. And it may even make a nice gift for someone if I do a decent job. Our local tree farm has a lady that makes wreaths from the tree trimmings and they are gorgeous!!

  16. You all have such fun! I like your wreath. 🙂

  17. What a fun post. The food look yummy. The wreaths had that wonderful handmade loo – and adorns your door with aplomb!

  18. Every craft I attempt could be described (kindly) as whimsical. I like the wreath. Now you have me craving fried mushrooms…

  19. The wreaths look pretty good to me, and you had a ton of fun on top of that!


  1. […] so it’s fitting we were paired as wreath-making partners (you can read about her experience here). Tree farm owner Michelle provided a wreath tutorial. She showed us how to arrange three types […]

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