A Gypsy’s Journey Down Minnesota’s Backroads — Part One

The gypsies are out and about looking for inspiration, running through the fields, stopping to enjoy the moment and creating when the just want to.  Gypsies may travel across Europe, visit small towns or choose a state to explore.  You know there really are no rules when you are a creative gypsy.  We sometimes worry so much about getting where we are going that we forget to enjoy the journey, the special moments and the world around us.  Gypsy Betsy Skagen takes us on an amazing journey on the back roads of Minnesota to places that will inspire your gypsy soul.  So many of us plan and plan and plan long summer trips that are far away.  Betsy reminds us to look close to home for the journey and you will be amazed at what you will find.  


Last summer our family took an amazing trip across the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming to see Glacier National Park and Yellowstone. I loved just about every minute of it. My one regret? Since we had a schedule to keep, we did not take the time to turn around and go back to capture those out-of-the-way photos. You know, those inconvenient shots that we would probably never see again. A fallen down country store, dilapidated farm machinery and rolling golden fields set against blue mountains are just a few of the photographs I regret not capturing.

Hello, I am Betsy Skagen of Paper Calliope and a lucky member of the talented Canvas Corp Brands Creative Crew. My family’s hectic schedule this summer means there was no time for another long road trip. Instead, we decided to discover some of the roads closer to home. This time–since there were no hotel reservations to meet–we could turn the car around to go back and take a picture or stop to explore some out-of-the-way vintage shop.


Before hitting the road

I wanted a journal to record places we visited–especially antique stores and flea markets that would be worth a return trip.  The 7gypsies Starter Journal provided the perfect base for the book. The Starter Journals are cardstock weight books that are sewn down the middle and ready for journaling, photos, paint and art…a great place to start and you take it form there.  Part Two of this series provides the complete tutorial on how to make your own Back Roads Journal.


Out and about in central Minnesota

We spend many of our summer days at our family’s lakeside cottage in central Minnesota. Except for the mosquitoes–it’s our own slice of Heaven. The cottage served as a base for many of our back road explorations.


Not far from our cottage, we discovered Barntiques, a fun new vintage shop in Hillman, Minnesota. 


The exploring didn’t stop there. As you can see from the pictures, we found eye candy all around us.


My favorite discoveries are falling-down buildings that are ghosts from generations past.


While I will be adding more of these photos to my Minnesota Back Roads Journal, you can see that I already added a classy photo of my husband and myself at Happy’s, our favorite all American Drive-In. 

On the road to a pizza farm


Didn’t you know that pizzas grown on farms?  Well in Northfield, Minnesota they do. On summer evenings, people drive from near and far to the Red Barn Pizza Farm to picnic on the farm grounds amidst chickens and horses and enjoying wood-fired pizzas made from farm-fresh ingredients.


Heading South

I discovered vintage and junk shops galore when we visited the southern part of the state. One of the more interesting shops was Salvage Sisters, which is being considered for an HGTV series. I had a nice conversation with owner Heather Fisher, and now I am convinced I have to introduce her to Canvas Corp!


Southern Minnesota’s back roads had plenty to offer besides vintage shopping. Waterfalls, bison and St. Peter’s Pearly Gates were just a few of the highlights. If you take a look at the journal, you can see a picture of my daughter trying to pry those pearly gates open.


Oh yes, southern Minnesota also had stairs. Lots and lots of stairs. Steep stairs. Curvy stairs. Crumbling stairs. Even dead-end stairs. And I think my daughter forced me to climb every single one of them.


Darling daughter–There will be payback.


My Back Roads Journal is not complete, but I’m not worried because summer is not over. I have many more Minnesota roads to travel. In the meantime, please tune in next week for Part Two which includes a tutorial on making your own Back Roads Journal.



Great Stuff

7gypsies Starter Journal

Silver & Kraft Diamond

Silver & Kraft Stars

Kraft & White Fleur De Lis

7gypsies Wicked Gypsy: Costume Ball

Navy & Kraft Mini Dot

Red & Kraft Ribbon Stripe

Navy & Ivory Ticking

7gypsies Ordre Du Jour 8 x 8 Pad

7gypsies American Vintage 8 x 8 Pad

7gypsies Maritime 8 x 8 Pad

7gypsies Mini Ephemera – American Vintage

7gypsies Mini Ephemera – Receipts

7gypsies Mini Ephemera – Gypsy

7gypsies Lille 6 x 6 Pad

7gypsies Surveyor Ruler Display Trim

Vintage Photo Distress Ink

Beacon Fabri-Tac

3D Foam Adhesive

Rub on letters

Happy Trails, Betsy

Betsy continues her travels with a Part Two that will be coming soon.  We hope Betsy’s journey will inspire you to explore close to home, take lots of photos, make a journal and enjoy the world around you.  To see more of Betsy’s work visit her blog Paper Calliope and you can follow her on Instagram.  


Canvas Corp Brands is the home of Tattered Angels, 7Gypsies and Canvas Corp (Canvas Home Basics). We are a manufacturer of surfaces, paint and vintage reproductions coming to you from Springdale, Arkansas.

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This blog is a compilation of inspiration from the Canvas Corp Brands family including Canvas Corp, Tattered Angels and 7Gypsies.