Thursday, April 30, 2015

Weekend Happenings: May 1-3, 2015

Lake Minnetonka Studio Tour

Lake Minnetonka Area
Excelsior, MN
May 2-3, 2015
Sat:  10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sun:  10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost:  Free


A group of Artists with Studios in the Lake Minnetonka area – Excelsior, Deephaven, Minnetonka. Every Spring, we enjoy opening our Studios and sharing our Art with the public. Our Artists work in various mediums, creating interesting, quality art — Ceramics, Painting, Jewelry, Glass, Textiles, Wood. Do stop by — Meet our Artists! Discover Art! Explore the Lake Minnetonka area.   Visit the website to download a map and brochure.

Tonka Youth Tri

Minnetonka Middle School East
17000 Lake St.
Minnetonka, MN 55345
May 2, 2015
8:30 AM - start of first race
Cost:  Free

Tonka Youth Tri

Join us for the 10th Annual Minnetonka Youth Triathlon for children grades 2-8. All participants receive a t-shirt and refreshments. Trophies will be awarded to the top three male and top three female finishers in each division. 

Inspire 2015 Innovation Expo

Minneapolis Convention Center
1301 2nd Ave. S., Mpls
May 1, 2015
10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Cost:    Expo General Admission: $10; 6-12 $5; under 6 Free.  Workshop Packages: $40 per day or $65 for two days. Expo admission included.  Award Dinner Tickets: $42

Inspire logo

Inspire™, 2015 Innovation Expo, is the 58th annual event hosted by the Inventors Resource Center, a program of the Minnesota Inventors Congress. Since 1958, this non profit organization has brought together inventors from across the country have set up in a traditional trade show format to test market their latest products at the oldest annual invention convention in the world. As an entrepreneur, if networking and exposure for your product are what you’re looking for, Inspire is THE place to be! For the general public - don't miss this opportunity to see the latest products and even purchase them. This is a business to business expo, where the public is highly encouraged to attend to check out the latest innovations exhibited by entrepreneurs from around the country.

Moms Rock! Expo

Minneapolis Convention Center
Exhibit Hall D
1301 2nd Ave. S., Mpls
May 2-3, 2015
Sat:  10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Sun:  10:00 Am to 4:00 PM
Cost:  Adult $10, Children 5-17 $5


Minnesota moms will have access to information, resources, and camaraderie at this unique 2-day expo coming to the Minneapolis Convention Center May 2-3, 2015.
With a vibrant mix of expert panels and celebrity keynote speakers—moms with firsthand, real-world parenting experience, including Tamera Mowry-Housley, Lee Woodruff and Jaime Primak-Sullivan—area moms will learn tips and secrets, and get access to the best resources Minnesota has to offer for balancing home, work, and family, so every mom can live life easier. Ensuring moms can achieve a happy, healthy and prosperous balance between work and family is crucial to the economic security of Minnesota families, as well as the region. 

Topics, Pro-Active Panel Discussions and Demonstrations on the Following Topics: 

• Stepmoms and Blended Families
What’s the secret sauce for success?
• Divorce and Death
Are you and your children protected?
• Your Money
How to save for retirement and a rainy day
• Discipline
What works and what does not?
• Education
What you can do NOW to get your child ready for college.
• Fashion
Designer looks for less; Wardrobe do’s and don’ts
• Beauty
Makeup demos and setting up guidelines for your daughter
• Cooking
Easy ways to cook healthy meals
• Shopping 

More than 200 local and national vendors!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Create A Gallery Wall

Whether you have artists in your family, a great collection of art or an eclectic collection of photos, art and fabric, you can create spot to showcase it all.

Step 1:  Decide where you want it

Do you want it in the long hallway where it's hard to hang just one or two pictures?  Do you want to showcase it on a living room wall?  Up the stairway?  In a bathroom?  Based on the number of pieces you have, pick your location and then move on to step 2.

Step 2:  Do your research

Okay, here's the fun part.  I'm giving you permission to spend time on Pinterest.  In the Search function, type in Gallery Wall.  Then peruse the pictures and determine what you like best. Here are some things to decide:

  • Matching frames or random ones, or not frames (wrapped canvas)?
  • Symmetrical placement or asymmetrical?
  • Lots of small pictures, a few big ones or a mix?
  • All color, all black and white or a mix?
  • Span the entire surface or just a portion (like a 4 ft tall section all the way across)?
  • Small spaces between the frames or larger ones?
  • What speaks to me?
Once you have a strategy in mind, then move on to step 3.

Step 3:  Determine your layout

10 Tips for Creating a Collected Gallery Wall at TidbitsAndTwine. Checkout this handy idea from 320 Sycamore for laying out and hanging a gallery wall using paper templates so that you can move them around until you get them positioned just how you want! If when making the templates you also mark where the nail goes, once you have a layout you like, you can put the nails in the wall, tear away the templates, and you’re ready to hang!

Based on your research, find the pieces that you want to include in your gallery.  For each finished size (with frames), cut out some newspaper or butcher paper to fit each piece.  Now lay them out in an arrangement that meets the criteria you spelled out in step 2.  But don't be married to it.  Allow yourself room to change your mind based on what you love.

Once your newspapers are in the right pattern on the floor, place your pieces over them to see if they blend well together in that arrangement.  If not, change it until you're happy.

Step 4:  Finishing touches

If you decided you wanted all the same frames, then either purchase frames or paint them so that they are all similar.  Use quality picture hanging hardware.  If your pieces are heavy, be sure to use drywall anchors so that they won't pull back out of your walls.  Measure, measure, measure and then measure once more before pounding in your nails.

Want some inspiration?  

Here are some galleries we love.  They showcase a variety of ways to do a gallery wall.

Fizz56 + Lulu and Georgia Giveaway Winner's NYC Apartment Restyle! | The Everygirl

8 Bathroom Bettering Ideas You Can Do (When You Can't Renovate Your Rental) — Renters Solutions | Apartment Therapy

I love the Ivy League prep effect of luxe gold frames against a navy wall.

Pinewood Social is Nashville's Most Stylish New eatery.  I like the top to bottom photo gallery.

Living Room Gallery Wall || Bachelor Pad

Portfolio | Robert Brown Interior Design | Atlanta

Bae Mombaers |

Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Weekly Market Update: April 27, 2015

Well, folks, we have hit the beginning of the selling season. As the actual calendar season announces its presence with overall temperature change, the residential real estate market will up its game by bringing an annual seasonal increase in home sales and inventory. Many metrics should begin to take off as we begin what should be one of the best recovery years housing has seen thus far.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending April 18:

 • New Listings increased 31.1% to 2,062
 • Pending Sales increased 18.8% to 1,426
 • Inventory decreased 0.3% to 14,914

For the month of March:

 • Median Sales Price increased 10.5% to $210,000
 • Days on Market increased 7.4% to 102
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 95.9%
 • Months Supply of Inventory increased 3.0% to 3.4

Source:  Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors

Monday, April 27, 2015

Too Much White?

It seems that white kitchens and woodwork are all the rage lately.  They give a clean and timeless look and blend well with the grey/neutral tones that are popular now.

That being said, there are definitely some drawbacks to having white cabinets and woodwork.  The biggest complaint about white woodwork is that it shows dirt so easily.  If you have young kids or dogs that come in wet and dirty...then know what we're talking about.

Many who have white kitchens also complain that the lower cabinets get a lot of scuffs and nicks from everyday use such as kids kicking the island while they're eating breakfast, and you using your foot to close the drawer that holds the garbage.

Yes, these happen with wood-toned cabinets as well, but you just can't see them as much.

If you're looking to ease up on all the cleaning involved or your just over the whole which kitchen thing, take heart.  Wood toned cabinets and woodwork are still beautiful and can look modern and updated.

Today we'll showcase some beautiful rooms that have beautiful wood work and still look totally today.

Trim-Colors for media roomLove the dark wood with the light walls

Clean, efficient, open, warm. Now it just needs to replace a cabinet with wine storage and have the espresso bar placed to the left...and it'd be perfect.

I really like the neutrals and the layout of this room.  You can just see the corner of the TV stand.  Being able to layout a room to use the fireplace AND the TV is perfect!

Earthy wood floors, and center island cutting board. Stainless steel appliances, lots of space!

Pictures of Beautiful Kitchen Designs & Layouts From HGTV : Page 10 : Rooms : Home & Garden Television

Fiddlehead Design Group - desire to inspire -

Dark tall cabinets with dark floors and light marble countertops.  Simple, crisp and elegant.

I like the dark cabinets, farmhouse sink, wall tile, & flooring...Kitchen Workspace:   Some of the lower cabinets have a metal grating instead of wood, to add another layer of texture. "It reminds me of those old-fashioned pie safes, and it lets things breathe and dry," Dan Ruhland says. Parefeuille Peach antique terra-cotta flooring from Exquisite Surfaces.

WIth its richly-colored tile, the powder room has an Arts & Crafts feeling.

modern bathroom   by In Detail Interiors - Cheryl Clendenon Pensacola Florida

Bathroom Vanity Ideas :: Beneath My Heart's clipboard on Hometalk :: Hometalk

Gray Paint Colors with Wood Trim. Sherwin Williams Unusual Gray

Wood floor, dark walls, and lots of pictures.

Great Room. This is more like something I would actually do because it looks clean.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Weekend Happenings: April 24-26, 2015

Savor Minnesota

Canterbury Park
1100 Canterbury Road
Shakopee, MN 55379
April 25, 2015
Noon to 5:00 PM
Cost:  Admission is $45 at the door, $40 in advance (tax not included) if purchased online or in person at Northern Vineyards Winery in Stillwater.

Enjoy the best in Minnesota wine, food and beer at Savor Minnesota!

The sixth-annual Savor Minnesota, sponsored by Minnesota Grown, Minnesota Farm Winery Association and Total Wine & More, is the only event offering a one-stop opportunity to sample the best wine, beer and food from local producers.

Admission includes a four-hour tasting featuring wines from nearly 20 Minnesota vineyards, nibbles from more than 20 food producers – including everything from cheese to chocolate – and beer from several local breweries.

Ticket holders receive a wine glass, reusable shopping bag and booklet of the event with a list of the items available for sampling, space to take notes on each exhibitor and more than $100 in discounts from participating exhibitors. Attendees will also be able to purchase up to six bottles of wine from Minnesota wineries as they exit the show area.

Tickets are limited to the first 1,200 people. All attendees must be at least 21.

Great Amazing Race

Kenwood Park, 2101 Franklin Ave., Mpls
April 26, 2015
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Team Entry Fee: $48.00 Early / $60.00 Race Day (walk-ups are accepted)

Photo: Great Amazing Race Facebook page
Source:  Great Amazing Race Facebook Page

If you are looking for a family-friendly event that allows you to be active and support a good cause, you should check out the Great Amazing Race. Modeled after the popular reality show, The Amazing Race, this great amazing race teams two people together to race around a 1-mile course, peppered with up to eight challenges the teams must complete.

The team that completes the course in the fastest amount of time will win the Great Amazing Race. It should be noted that the team members should be able to communicate well with each other, be willing to get a bit dirty, and be ready for a fun challenge.

Your team can have two adults, one adult and one child, or two kids (children in Pre-K and Kindergarten must race with an adult). The race starts at 3:00 pm, with waves going every 10 minutes, starting with kid teams, followed by kid/adult teams, then adult teams. Registration is $60 per team, and if you bring two pairs of used sneakers or running shoes, a monetary donation will be made to pediatric cancer research via the Max Cure Foundation’s Dunk Your Kicks program.

St. Paul Spring Art Crawl

Lowertown St. Paul
April 24-26, 2015
Fri:  6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Sat:  12:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Sun:  12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Cost:  Free


Join hundreds of artists as they open their studios and galleries for the 24th year of the St Paul Art Crawl. Held every year the last weekend of April in the spring and the second weekend of October in the fall.

Recognized for its tremendous success, the Saint Paul Art Crawl has become a model arts event that is emulated in cities across the country. To the artists and residents of Saint Paul, the event means much more, though. The Art Crawl has evolved from a fun weekend art event, to a framework for creating and fostering important, interdependent relationships between the arts community and the city itself. The Collective and its member artists receive a tremendous amount of support from residents, businesses and local government in order to stage an event of this magnitude, and in return, they’ve given Saint Paul a close-knit, vibrant and energetic art community that actively contributes to the greater Twin Cities culture.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Decorating Your Deck

Outdoor living just continues to grow in popularity for most homeowners.  Especially in Minnesota where warm weather months are few, we want to maximize our time outside.  But it isn't very much fun to sit on a folding chair on an empty deck.

To encourage you and your family to spend more time outside, consider amping up the beauty of your deck by treating it like another room in your home.  Bringing indoor decorations outside and using more made-for-the-outdoors furniture, you're bound to love spending time on your deck even more than before.  

Here are some tips and ideas for making your deck a shining gem.

Clean and Fix Your Deck

There's nothing worse than getting sliver on your own deck.  Or having to clean your feet off after just walking around on your deck.  So take some time, give it a good power wash, sand it if necessary, apply new stain and new poly.  You'll be happy you did this little step first!

Make It Feel Like Home

A comfy chair or two with a table, a nice rug and some pillows give you that homey feeling.  You'll never want to leave!





Block The Sun

During mid-day in the summer it can be brutal to be sitting in direct sunlight.  Whether it's a roof, a pergola, an awning, umbrella or strategically placed curtains, find a way to give yourself some shade.





Good Lighting

When the sun finally does go down, you don't want to have to head indoors.  Have good lighting available for whatever you want to do.  Lamps, candles, string lights, and strategically placed lights to highlight decorative features will all do the trick.  Use solar light bulbs in your lamps so you don't have to run electrical cords.





Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Weekly Market Update: April 21, 2015

Both the job market and housing starts regularly draw media attention. One week, reports show that hiring is up and salaries are on the rise, and that home prices are increasing and inventory is on the rise. Then you might catch a story about a layoff or lack of homes for sale and flat prices. While there will always be markets in the country that aren't as fast-tracked as others, it doesn't mean they will finish last in the race. Recovery is still evident, as trends show stability to steady improvement.

In the Twin Cities region, for the week ending April 11:

 • New Listings increased 9.7% to 2,114
 • Pending Sales increased 17.0% to 1,319
 • Inventory decreased 0.2% to 14,509

For the month of March:

 • Median Sales Price increased 10.5% to $210,000
 • Days on Market increased 7.4% to 102
 • Percent of Original List Price Received increased 0.8% to 95.9%
 • Months Supply of Inventory increased 3.0% to 3.4

Source:  Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors

Monday, April 20, 2015

Painted Brick

Red brick has been a standard building material for centuries.  It is durable, flame resistant, and has a neat and orderly appearance.  But for some, brick can feel a little old fashioned.  Yes, there are some gorgeous natural brick homes out there, but what if you want a different color?  Should you rip it all out and replace?  That's probably not the best idea.  Consider painting your brick instead.

Unsure?  Check out some of these great painted brick photos and decide for yourself.




Source:  Pinterest

Source:  Pinterest

Painting the brick around your fireplace can completely change the look of it.  In fact, any brick you have in your home could be painted, giving it a modern feel.





Don't let dated brick stop you from having your dream home.  Call us for referrals to great painters in the area who could help you achieve the look you want with your brick home.

Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors