Sugar Cookies
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup sugar
½ cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp salt
Additional sugar
Using electric mixer, beat butter, oil, and sugars in a large bowl. Mix in egg and vanilla. In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Add to butter and egg mixture.  
Cover and chill 30 minutes or up to one day.  
Preheat oven to 350. Roll 1 tablespoon dough into a ball. Place on cookie sheet. Dip glass into sugar and press into ¼ inch round. Bake 12 minutes.

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The Arrangement - The Inspiration 
For four days last spring, the Minnesota Institute of Art was alive with breathtaking installations by the talents of 165 floral artists interpreting masterpieces of the Mia's collection. The Art in Bloom show has taken place in April for the last 35 years. Early spring can be agitating. One day it's generously warm, the next it cruelly snows; through rainy, grey weeks, we wait restlessly for the season's blooms to burst from dormancy.  
Here are 11 examples from this year's show.  
Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks and Plums 
Eugene Delacroix
Sue Bagge and Diane Enge       
Standing Deity Holding Horn and Bucket, Italian Fresco 
Beverly Munson, Richfield Garden Club    

Sunburst, Dale Chihuly  
Tara McCarthy   

Tornado over St. Paul, Julius Holm 
Tricia Johnson, Hy-Vee, Lakeville

Black Place 1, Georgia O'Keeffe      
Jeff Wozniak and David Schmit  

A "Bear" Chance, Philip R. Goodwin   
Kristin Langerud and Mary Langerud  

The Denial of St. Peter , Gerrit van Honthorst   
Jessica Parsons, Grey Duck Gardens  

The Fallen Tree
Thomas Gainsborough R.A.
 Avice Parker, Flowers by Avice
  Castle and Watermill by a River, Jacob van Ruisdael
Melanie Bolson, Tamarack Design Group

Lucretia, Rembrandt   
Jessica Sommerhauser, Koehler & Dramm Wholesale Florist  

River Landscape with a Ferry, Salomon van Ruysdael   
 Linda Leraas Ray
For more information on the Minneapolis Institute of Art 
Is a real Christmas Tree better for the environment than a fake one?
Every year, 95 million families put up a Christmas tree. According to the American Christmas Tree Association, 81 percent of Americans have artificial trees, and 19 percent go for the real thing. Deciding whether to go with the real thing or an artificial version involves lots of factors.  
Some people feel it's not Christmas without the sweet smell of pine, spruce and fir throughout the house. Most of that piney odor is due to chemical compounds called terpenes. Terpenes are abundant in conifer resin, and when a tree's bark is damaged, the resin flows out, hardens, and protects the tree. Others would rather store their Christmas tree every year than have the water overflow the basin and damage floors, have to sweep up needles or push the real tree out the door, leaving a sticky mess behind.
To grow a real Christmas tree, you need soil, water, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Then you need gasoline to harvest and transport, as well as human labor to do all of that. And while the Christmas tree is growing it is removing carbon dioxide from the air and turning it into oxygen. Christmas trees are grown on farms and are not stolen from nature, providing valuable local jobs. Most cities let resident's compost real trees, incinerate them or send them to a landfill.
To manufacture an artificial Christmas tree you need PVC plastic, steel and aluminum, plus cardboard for the packaging and the resources to ship the trees from Asia, where most are made. Artificial trees can be reused, then donated to places like Goodwill, but their ultimate destination is the landfill, because they cannot be recycled.
So, which has the greater environmental impact? What happens to the tree after the holiday is the main factor to consider. On a one-to-one basis, a real tree requires considerably fewer resources to create and to get to the customer than an artificial tree. But if you plan to reuse your artificial tree, the environmental impact tips in favor of the artificial tree. The most conservative estimate suggest it takes nine years of use for an artificial tree to be a better choice than buying a real tree every year.  
There is no such thing as a bad choice when it comes to a Christmas tree. Choose either tree and relax and enjoy the holidays.

For more information on which is the greener choice. 
Thanks for reading. 
Happy Planting and Happiest of Holidays!    


Faith Appelquist

President & Founder


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