Wisconsin Rhythms

When we arrived in Wisconsin back in June, we all had mixed feelings. We were excited to see all of our dear friends but anxious to see how our community would receive us back into the fold. Northeast Wisconsin, in particular, is a tough egg to crack. It’s a region with a definite rhythm. And, if you don’t beat to that drum then you don’t play in the band, so to speak. We’ve learned to walk humbly in this community, listen and learn the rhythm. All the while, gently encouraging different rhythms. I don’t know if it’s because we’ve been gone for a year and our perspective is different but this time around, we noticed much more reception to the “different” that we bring as a family and as The Hollands! We are so grateful for the open doors here in our home state. In the last two weeks we’ve performed about twenty times with double slots daily. As we get ready to head to Minnesota, we’re trying to soak in these last few moments. We are looking forward to one more pass through in September as we head to the West Coast for the winter.

Some of our highlights from our Wisconsin Tour:

The Fox River House, Appleton WI. This little gem is full of bright, creative and thoughtful folk.  We really felt like we were at a family reunion. We meet kinfolk from the moment we arrived until we departed. We were inspired by artist like Washington D.C’s, Chad Brady and a darling named, Elysa who did this pen and ink on a paper plate while we were performing. The Pizza was great and Jess, Laura and Patti took great care of us.  The spirit of hospitality is welcoming at the Fox River house and the twinkle lights in the beer garden make us feel right at home.

Gordon Lodge-Top Deck, Baileys Harbor, WI- The food is amazing, specially the desserts! Our favorite is the Creme Brulee. The staff offers a kind smile and helping hand and the owner/management treat us with respect. This is one of the most gracious and welcoming five star resorts we’ve ever performed at. They offer music Friday’s and Sunday’s in the summer. We arrived early and took advantage of the paddle boat and lounging in the shade.  Also, Gordon Lodge offers the best sunsets in Door County!

 A classy, sassy boutique in Fish Creek, WI. The Brilliant Stranger is owned by our friend, Dawn Patel. Dawn, is a creative visionary and when she invited us to come and play a set in her boutique we said, “Yes!” We enjoyed Luna Coffee and sang to folks who were happy to have a sit and listen, then shop joyfully as our music carried through the store. Grace and I were delighted, at our finish, to be able to pick out a special dress each. Craig was happy with his coffee and Banjo got a YoYo.

 Terry Naturally, Green Bay, WI- Wednesday nights, one of our favorites, the Terry Naturally Farmers Market is small but relaxed with a set up like a mini-festival or back yard party. Debra, the owner has her grill rolling, offering dinner for less than you would pay at a fast food joint and it’s all natural yumminess. There are a handful of venders, including a few farms from the area, Soap and beauty makers, Tea, a lemonade/popcorn stand run by a little guy about the age of 12. Also, Joyful Henna Designs is there with her rugs and pillows and calm comfort. And, there is always good music from 4-6:30. 🙂

WE LOVE YOU WISCONSIN!!

Global/Local Holiday Gifts

There is much rhetoric about buying “local.”  The idea is to support our neighbors in order to keep our corner of the world thriving. I agree with this to the extent that it is important to support our neighbors, I just think our neighbors can be farther away than our postal code. We have connected with wonderful folks all over the country who are sharing their creative talents and striving to support their families in small business. So, this holiday season if you are looking to support the local market I have a few ideas to send your way.

I spent about three hours gathering all of their links. So, CLICK AWAY! 🙂

Art, Craft & Photography: There is nothing quite like an original piece of artwork. Commissioning an artist to take the sketch of your mind and make it 3D is a beautiful process. These folks all have fantastic skills, creative minds and most of all they are good listeners.  Bloom Photography, Out/Back Design,  Heidi Keys, Jason Seiler Illustration, Josh Kufahl,  Little Lace Lady, Off the Wheel Pottery, Photos by Beth Ann, Popelka Trenchard Glass, Richard Steinberger Photography, Nik Arnoldi Fine Art

Clothing & Accessories: These friends don’t shy away from a market driven by the mass desire for generic design. They are gifted and talented seamstress, treasure hunters and fine crafted jewelers, you want unique and beautiful check out these sites…  VillageBaby, The Brass Owl, ShoveIt Design, Refab, Larky Park, Gracie Designs, CityMade, Billy & Co., Wild Prairie Silver, If you are looking for name brand, check our our friends at Altrec

Food & Drink: Yum!  Authentic Feather FarmKabumParallel 44 WineryLa JavaDos ChilesGreen Plow Roasters, Kavarna

Body & Healing Arts: Great resources for body, mind and soul. Good Earth SoapTerry Naturally,  Kristie Lee GunsMardi Halvorsen YogaPeninsula ChiropracticMore MarriedShaping HerJerry Price CounselingMazzara Midwifery

Support non-profits & servant minded folks: These projects are both spiritual and practical, they are all run by individuals who have a desire to make this world a better place. They are trustworthy and supporting them would bring great joy this Christmas season.  Cornerstone Community Outreach, Timberline Lodge, Hungry Hearts United, Of Scars, Seven Loaves Project, The Suitcase Sideshow, Operation Elf Box, Bethany Erickson, Leadership Lab, YoungLife, Foundation Skate Ministry, Vapor Sports, The Fall Out Creative Community, Tribe of Judah School

Music: If you are looking for some great tunes try ordering directly from the musician. We have lots of favorites but these are some of our dearest friends. They are professional and creative musicians and I think you’ll love them.

Folk: Sammy Horner,  John Statz,  Patchouli,  Bill and Kate Isles,  Seth MartinGalynne Goodwill,  The Brothers Burn Mountain,  Beki Hemingway

Folk/Punk: Hillfolk Noir,  Men as Trees Walking,  Insomniac Folklore,  Destroy Nate Allen                                                                                                                                          

Indie: Nick JainaSoil and the SunRick Beerhorst

Electronic: Optimus PromWreckless Music,  Cloudburst

Jazz: Jana Nyberg GroupThe Unfortunate

Metal: The EternalSouthside Stranglers

Funtimes: Magic MamaCanon Ball

If you have other ideas to add, please feel free to comment.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2012!!