It seemed like an appropriate choice to celebrate Mr. Q’s birthday at the Minnesota History Center’s Suburbia exhibit this year along with my sister and my niece.  After all, this exhibit begins with an exploration of the post-WWII building boom and the birth of the suburb.  OK, that era pre-dates Mr. Q just a tad, but he and I (and my sister as well of course) are not far behind that at the tail end of the baby boomers.  We didn’t find the first segment of the exhibit all that exciting, it was slightly interesting in a school history lesson sort of way.  But the next section of the exhibit, Living in Suburbia, was more fun for us.  Well, most of us.  I think my niece was bored throughout the entire thing.  But since the rest of us grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, many of the articles on display here really spoke to us.

Like this ranch style kitchen …

1-suburban kitchen

Both my sister and I spotted these chrome cannisters straight off.  Not only did my mom have a set of these, but she passed it on to my sister who has them still.

1-suburbia cannisters

In fact, wait a minute … I have photographic evidence.  Here is my mom circa 1961 (I’m pretty sure she is pregnant with my sister in this photo) and there are her canisters.  At first glance it appears as though she had quite a few more than the History Center’s set, but I think that’s just a reflection in the matching chrome bread box (where obviously we kept the Wonder Bread!).

vintage mom

And here is Debbie now, channeling her inner Vanna White …

1-suburbia freezer

Do any of the rest of you remember when freezers where this size and you had to defrost them regularly?  I know new neighbor Karen does, because for her it was just two months ago (she’s almost done with a major kitchen remodel).

I loved this display of vintage bar-ware.


Have you ever heard of a wall mounted refrigerator?

1-wall fridge

Yep, that’s a fridge.  I guess they never became popular, but I bet there were plenty of people who just had to have them at the time.

This display totally cracked me up …

1-suburbia keys

Do you know what this bowl of keys refers to?  Here’s a hint …

1-suburbia key exhibit

I’m fairly certain that my parents never participated in any “key” parties, but then again, who knows?  Do you think I should ask my mom now?

Leaving the ranch style home exhibit we were able to hop into the station wagon and head over the the last section of the exhibit.


Honestly just sitting in this car was a blast from the past.  Cars without seat belts?  A bench seat?  Windows that had to be rolled up and down?

Shopping in Suburbia, the last segment of the exhibit, focused on the advent of the shopping mall.  For those of you that are not from around here, did you know that the first fully enclosed shopping center was right here in Minnesota?  It makes complete sense considering our climate, right?  This was a no-brainer.  Southdale Shopping Center opened in 1956 and was developed by the Dayton Company.  I bet I’m not the only Minnesotan who still misses Dayton’s Jubilee Sale, am I?  Also, did you know that the Dayton’s also opened the first Target store in Roseville in 1962?  Target was intended to be the ‘discount version’ of Dayton’s.

When was the last time you saw a woman dressed up like this for shopping at the mall?


The coolest part of this exhibit for us was the drag and drop multi-media table.  It featured aerial photos of six shopping malls in the Twin Cities area dating from when they were first developed to the present day.  You could zoom in, zoom out, move sideways, all while also moving the timeline from then until now.  What made this especially interesting for us is that our house isn’t all that far from Maplewood Mall, which was one of the six shopping centers included.  We were able to manipulate the images to show our house from way back in the early 1900’s up until now.  In the earliest photos our house is the only one standing.  For those of you who don’t already know this, Mr. Q and I live in a 1904 farmhouse that has since been swallowed up by suburbia.  Now our neighborhood consists of 50’s and 60’s ranch style houses with a few 70’s split levels thrown in for good measure, plus our 1904 farmhouse.

I thought this display as you’re leaving the exhibit was terribly clever.


What a great way to raise extra funds.  I think there might be just a few more no’s than yes’s.  What’s your answer?  Is suburbia your American dream?

By the way, the Suburbia exhibit is just one of many exhibits at the History Center.  While there, I had to make sure that my niece experienced the tornado in the weather exhibit, which is one of the permanent exhibits.  The tornado alarm goes off and everyone heads to the ‘basement’ which has been recreated based on a typical 1960’s home.  You hunker down in the basement and listen to news reports of the oncoming storm.  You watch the sky turn orange and then green through one of those tiny basement windows typical of back then.  The wind picks up, the power goes out, a tree falls outside the window, you can hear things crashing around upstairs and the whole room vibrates with the power of the tornado.  Once the storm passes the vintage TV comes back on and shows actual footage from a series of tornadoes that struck in Fridley, MN in 1965.  It’s really well done and a good reminder of how dangerous nature can be.

My sister was fascinated by the small exhibit on the collapse of the 35W bridge in 2007.  I am sure that every single Minnesotan remembers that day, and I bet that each one of us had at least one (if not more) friend or family member that we knew commuted across that bridge that time of day.  For me it was my bff, Vonda.  I was so relieved when I called her and she told me she hadn’t been on the bridge at that time.  Ironically, in 2007 my sister still lived in New Jersey of course, and she was the one who called me about the bridge collapse.  I was out in the driveway washing my car.  I still remember her calling and asking me if I had heard about it.  I hadn’t, so she’d learned of it before me!

If you are local, you should consider a trip to the History Center.  Just for the record, I am not affiliated with the History Center in any way and I am not being compensated for this post.  I paid my $12 to get in just like everyone else (except members, who get in for free I believe).

Well, that’s enough history for today.  Let’s look forward to what’s coming up soon here on q is for quandie.

My hatbox party is tomorrow!  I’ve been cranking out hatboxes right and left.  I wanted to be sure that I had a good handle on how the Fusion transfer gel works so I made up a few more hatboxes.  Sure enough, it worked great on light colors.  I even got better results with my Paris opera graphic on this one.

opera hatbox

I wish I could tell you that it worked on the black hatboxes too, but I could not get it to work using pale grey printed graphics.  I tried it 4 times and each one was a fail.  Maybe I’m doing it wrong.  Maybe the graphic I chose doesn’t work with pale ink?  I even tried it on both black chalkboard paint and Fusion’s black paint.  I’m not really sure what the deal is, but FYI, I couldn’t get it to work.

Also, I discovered that the Graphics Fairy has a whole bunch of mirror image graphics that are perfect for the hatboxes (or any other transfer image projects).  If you don’t already know about the Graphics Fairy, be sure to check that out here.  This fab graphic is from her site …

hatbox graphic

As is the one on the front of this box.

hatbox graphic 2

Meanwhile, even though I haven’t been painting any furniture lately, I’ve been picking up furniture right and left.  I plan to get started painting some on Sunday.  I’m going to begin with the piece that I picked out for the Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic paint and the vintage wallpaper from Hannah’s Treasures.

coming soon

I have gone around and around on this project.  I felt like I needed to have just the right piece for this paint.  Not because the paint isn’t versatile, but because I wanted the piece to be worthy of THE Rachel Ashwell paint.  I was originally going to paint the armoire in my own bedroom, but in the end I just wasn’t feeling it.

Then I brought home another gorgeous dresser that I was sure would get the Rachel paint.  But in the end I decided that milk paint would be better for that one.

But now I have the perfect piece.  A lovely linen press that Mr. Q picked up for me.  I paid a little more than usual for it, but I think it will have been worth it.  The planned treatment for it is very similar to this linen press that I painted way back in June 2014 …

wallpaper 1

So stay tuned, I hope to have it posted here soon!

4 thoughts on “suburbia.

  1. Sounds like fun. I few years ago we took our kids to our local museum that had displays of kitchens and living rooms going back to each decade. Then you walked through displays of clothing, toys, games, household items, radios, tvs from those same decades. We really enjoyed it and it was fun to show our kids actual pieces of clothing from when we grew up, 60s and 70s. Oh to think we really wore platform shoes and plaid pants!


    1. That sounds like an awesome museum! I’m a big fan of museums that show everyday sorts of things as opposed to really valuable things. I hate to tell you this, but I think plaid pants might be coming back 😉


  2. Interesting article…Loved the kitchen stuff…we had the old orange and yellow tupperware canisters…more from the 60’s I think? And the fridges with actual ice cube trays. I can remember spending many a Saturday afternoon with bowls of hot water, with a winter mitten and a hammer “defrosting” (i.e. hammering large chunks of ice”) our stupid freezer. Lol. The good old days huddling with our backs up against the wall in the hallways at school with our hands over our heads, waiting to get “nuked”. Ahhh…a quick trip down memory lane. Looking forward to the Hatbox Saturday party!!!


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