Ice Wrangler's Blog

2018 Middlemoon Creekwalk Wrap-up - Complete with Thank Yous & Photos!

Posted on March 28, 2018 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 6 Comments

The Middlemoon Creekwalk is a community ice luminary event. Why do we do it?We are very thankful for the neighborhood in which we live and the Creekwalk is our way of saying "thanks". Seeing young and old bundled up with cheerful smiles is always heartwarming and makes it all worthwhile. After a long winter, its wonderful to gather in a simple beautiful place and reconnect--I know Tom and I love that neighbors (as well as those who drove a little farther) have a chance to meet other people with kindred spirits. We also love running into friends of ours that make the effort to support our endeavor. It's now our favorite part of winter.

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Posted in Custom Globe Ice Lantern Installation, dress for winter, enjoy winter, Fun in the Winter, Hanging ice luminaries, Ice Bar, Ice Castles, Ice Glass, Ice Luminary Sculpture, Middlemoon Creekwalk, Wintercraft

It's starting to feel a lot like Winter, this year!

Posted on December 08, 2017 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 0 Comments

How do the people above the arctic circle stay sane during winter? They don't think there's a problem. They look forward to winter for all the benefits that it can bring:

1. Fun stuff!—This list is long, so I will truncate it by saying anything you can do in snow!!! This, of course, includes making Globe Ice Lanterns and any other ice creation you can dream up . . .

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Posted in dress for winter, enjoy winter, Globe Ice Lanterns, winter, Wintercraft

Yes, it's ice - and no, the spider is real!

Posted on October 24, 2017 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 0 Comments

As the mild-mannered Wintercraft Ice Wrangler, my goal was not to make an ice lantern that was horrifying, but fate seemed to drop in—literally. I'm not talking about the zombiesque eyes, but the spider! As I was snapping photos of the ice lantern for this blog, down it came on its silky thread and landed next to one of the eyes that was staring out of the ice. I shrieked, then I bluhhhhhed [shiver of disgust]. Well, of course I shrank back in horror when I saw it, but then, when the spider hit the ice, it went into slow motion. I took a breath, stepped closer and starting taking photos again. Eventually, its lethargy even allowed me to take a small stick and reposition it for greater effect. Haha . . . [That was a nervous laugh. I'm not a spider person.] 

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Posted in Front Entrance Planters, Ice Art, ice luminaries, Ice Luminary Book, Ice Luminary Magic, LED Lights for Ice Lanterns, Making Ice Lanterns, Wintercraft

StarTribune Article Calls It!

Posted on February 18, 2017 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 0 Comments

StarTribune Article about Middlemoon Creekwalk

A big thank you to StarTribune writer Kim Ode who wrote a wonderful article about how the unseasonable weather has impacted our business and our ability to host the Middlemoon Creekwalk. Spot on!


It's so true--we have had to hustle like crazy to do most of our installs this winter! Fortunately, regardless of the weather yo-yo, we were able to install many private home displays, a large ice display at the REI in Bloomington, MN, we contributed to the Enchanted Forest at the Luminary Loppet, and did a full scale icebonanza at the Midwinter Light install at The Commons! So, all in all, given the shortness of our season, we have had a great winter! 


What Kim is talking about, is the current warm temps may make it impossible for us to pull together a Middlemoon Creekwalk this season. But Tom and I don't like to give up. If we get even a few days of freezing temps, we will definitely try! Just look at this long range forecast:


It looks hopeful to me! Especially the part about the snow. Yeah! So, please pay homage to your deity of choice and mention that we would love to have some snow and cold in Minnesota soon. I will thank you in advance :)


While doing so, please do not repeat the part of the article where it quotes me as saying, "I would kill for a walk-in freezer . . ." Yikes! When I see it in writing, it sounds a tad dramatic. My guess is, if we had access to a walk in freezer, I might shed a few tears of happiness, hug whomever is nearby and then jump for joy! After the article, we had one kind person offered the suggestion of their church's hand-me-down freezer. Nice idea! Rest assured, I am going to be keeping my eyes and ears open on this front.


For a reminder of how much fun the Middlemoon Creekwalk can be, here is a link to the photos of the 2016 event! 


Enjoy the Glow!

Jennifer Shea Hedberg - The Ice Wrangler



©Wintercraft.  All Rights Reserved. This blog post may be linked to and credited, however, the contents including all photos, videos and text may not be reproduced in any form without written permission.







Posted in Custom Ice Luminary Installations, Ice Art, Ice bar, Luminary Ice Creations, Media, Middlemoon Creekwalk, Wintercraft

The Miracles of The Commons

Posted on February 14, 2017 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 2 Comments

Wintercraft Ice Wrangler The Commons Park


(Follow up to Mother Nature: Friend or Foe)


When we accepted the commission of a 5 day ice luminary installation at The Commons in downtown Minneapolis, we went into it with our eyes wide open. We knew that weather could play a part in the outcome of any installation, but we did not expect the worst conditions possible. Not only did Mother Nature sock us in with high winds that spun through the park day and night, but she other denied us of the two most important things we needed: cold weather and snow! The combination was harsh.


Wintercraft Wide open Globe Ice Lantern by Chris Broste Photography 

High wind can be dealt with by how the ice lanterns are set up. The chimneys were fairly large by the last day which made it very challenging, but with the help of Tom, Nate, Mary and Dale, we successfully lit as many as we could. Some of the tall, thin Finnish Glass Towers needed to be broken up and used individually.


Wintercraft Ice Wrangler The Commons Three Candlelit Finnish Columns


Snow, at least, can be found in a pinch. But, the process requires a lot more time and hard labor to find it, transport it and selectively place it where it is needed. During this installation, snow became gold!


Wintercraft Ice Wrangler Chris Broste Photography No Snow in The Commons Park

This beautiful photo by Chris Broste shows the extreme lack of snow!


The warm weather was the true killer. Mix warmth with sun and you should just throw up your hands and say, "I surrender!" Thankfully, we had several days of really cold weather before the event to be able to make many Finnish Glass Towers and hundreds of globe ice lanterns. The problem was the long range forecast. All the weather stations were predicting a big thaw with a week of sunny days and temps that could reach the 40's or 50's F (4-10°C). So, Tom reached into his back pocket and pulled out his Ace of Hearts and the first MIRACLE of The Commons. Tom figured out a way to box all the ice pillars and ice lanterns, put them on pallets and shipped them to a huge freezer warehouse where they would sit in ice heaven during that warm week. Such relief! Truthfully, I am not sure I can put the feeling into words . . .


Wintercraft Winter Storage


But, we still had a large crop of Ice Glass to worry about because it was too big to store in the warehouse. Ice Glass has become a staple in my ice installations and I was unsure what I would do if all of it melted into a puddle. Ice Glass cannot be transported by vehicle after it has sat in warm weather/sun for a few days -- it just becomes too weak to make the trip. So, my solution was to locate a sun-free spot within walking distance of the event where the ice glass could be stored during the thaw. There was no spot in the park itself, but across the street, on the north corner of the Armory building was a set of garage doors in full shade that appeared to not be used. Amanda Wigen and Beth Shogren, directors of The Commons and Green Minneapolis, the conservancy that overseas its maintenance, obtained permission from the property managers and poof - MIRACLE number two occurred. We had a perfect spot for the ice glass. But, would it survive the high temps and rain?


Ice Glass Storage by the Armory


MIRACLE of The Commons number 3: The ice glass survived!


Wintercraft Ice Wrangler Ice Glass Survived the Thaw by Chris Broste Photography


We had to hand carry it across the street - piece by piece - but it looked great. The warm weather had etched it, so each piece was filled with an amazing pattern that picked up the light and danced!


Wintercraft Ice Wrangler The Commons Flower Tower Photo by Chris Broste

We managed to get everything assembled and lit for 5 full days! It was a fabulous experience and I will be forever thankful for the three MIRACLES of The Commons that made it happen!


Wintercraft Ice Wrangler The Commons Ice Luminary Installation Robin Hetchler facebook photos

Thank you to Robin Hetchler for allowing me to publish a compilation of her facebook photos - beautiful shots!

- - - 

And thank you to Chris Broste of Chris Broste Photography for the use of his beautiful photos!


Enjoy the Glow!

Jennifer Shea Hedberg, Ice Wrangler for Wintercraft 
©Wintercraft. All Rights Reserved. This blog post may be linked to and credited, however, the contents including all photos, videos and text may not be reproduced in any form without written permission.

Posted in Custom Globe Ice Lantern Installation, Globe Ice Lanterns, Hanging Globe Ice Lanterns, Ice Photography, Luminary Festival, Luminary Ice Creations, Wintercraft

Mother Nature: Friend or Foe?

Posted on January 24, 2017 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 0 Comments

Wintercraft Proposal Image for Midwinter Light in The Commons park in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota

Wintercraft Proposal Image for "Midwinter Light - Creating Art with Ice and Light", a candle and LED lit ice luminary event in The Commons park, downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Dusk -10pm, January 27th-31st, 2017. 


One would think with a large ice luminary event to install in the next few days, my thoughts about Mother Nature would be generous and kind. It is, after all, because of her gift of cold weather that we can even attempt to create something as beautiful as an ice luminary. But, you see, in Minneapolis, where it often blows cold, she has taken a vacation for about 6 days. The warmth she brought could have wreaked havoc with our progress to make ice luminaries of all shapes and sizes. But, I bring GOOD NEWS! We planned ahead . . .


Wintercraft Cold Storage Solution to Warm Temps

 Cold Storage Warehouse in Fridley, Minnesota.


We boxed up all the ice luminaries that we had made through the previous cold snap and trucked them off to a cold storage warehouse where they are snug and cold in their wrappers. On Thursday morning, a truck will drop off 7 pallets of ice cold luminaries at The Commons park and we will work like crazy to assemble them all into a beautiful candle and LED lit event.


Wintercraft Ice Glass for Midwinter Light

 This is how we usually store our Ice Glass until we are ready to use it. With warm weather on the way, we moved it into deep shade and covered it with a large sheet of plastic.


The Ice Glass we made for Midwinter Light had a harder time. We were unable to store them away with the rest of the ice because of their large size. We did find a nice place in the shade where they could relax and think cold thoughts. Are we worried? Yes and no. We would love for the rows of Ice Glass to be as strong and tall as we left them, but we also live by the credo,"What doesn't kill ice glass makes it more beautiful." So, if they survived, they will find an honored spot in the woods of The Commons. The aged and crackled ice makes the light dance, so we'll give it center stage!


Bruce Challgren for Wintercraft Sunkissed Globe Ice Lantern

This old globe ice lantern was sun-kissed for several days to evoke a "cut crystal" look. Glorious! This beautiful photo was taken by Bruce Challgren - Thanks Bruce!


The Midwinter Light Event will Evolve

If Mother Nature won and the Ice Glass did not survive, a new batch will be made as soon as the weather will allow it. Then, we will bring it down, install it and light it up. We will make the first night of Midwinter Light as grand as possible, but please note that every day that is cold enough to make ice, we will make it, bring it down and light it up!


WHERE: The Commons is the park that lays out in front of the new U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. And our Midwinter Light event will be taking place in the woods of The Commons park which is at the farthest point away from the stadium.  

Where is The Commons park in Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota


WHEN: We will be building the ice luminaries all day Thursday (Jan 26) and Friday (Jan 27) with the plan to light it all up that night thru Tuesday the 31st of January. Of course, the sun will be lighting up the ice during the day, too. 


I hope you make it down - and if you see me, please stop and say hi!


Enjoy the Glow!

Jennifer Shea Hedberg, Ice Wrangler for Wintercraft 
©Wintercraft. All Rights Reserved. This blog post may be linked to and credited, however, the contents including all photos, videos and text may not be reproduced in any form without written permission.

Posted in Custom Ice Luminary Installations, Hanging Globe Ice Lanterns, Ice Art, Ice Glass, Luminary Festival, Luminary Ice Creations, Wintercraft

My Love Affair with Snow

Posted on January 11, 2017 by Jennifer Shea Hedberg | 1 Comment

Wintercraft Globe Ice Lanterns waiting to work under a blanket of snow


Today is a beautiful winter day!


The sun may be hiding, but the snow is thick and glorious. And, because it is snowing, the happiness it brings has compelled me to mention a few thoughts about . . . snow.


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.


This famous poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning continues, but I think you get the idea. I love snow and I CAN count the ways:


1. When snow starts to fall and cover the world with a soft whiteness, I always imagine my mother pulling the blanket up to my chin and saying sleep tight, my dear. For is not Mother Nature doing that very thing for all the rose buds of tomorrow.

 blanket of snow


2. Snow signals playtime - snow forts building, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, snowball fights, the list continues . . . what's not to enjoy!

On a sled!

But, you need good clothing to make it enjoyable (See next point). Fortunately, we have the ability to buy clothing that would make our ancestors drool. When I think about the hardship they must have endured, it makes me truly thankful for Polarfleece!

A pack train makes its way through a snow storm in a wood engraving after a design by Charles Nahl, 1856. Packers and their mules encountered a variety of dangers in carrying supplies to mining camps, but winter trips were especially hazardous. When a tremendous storm caught one train between Grass Valley and Onion Valley, all but three of forty-five mules perished before the snows lifted.  California Historical Society, FN-30968 .


3. On a lighter note, snow revs up the economy. For all of us who rely on snow as a means to earn our keep, snow allows us to get to work. And, it's not only good for snowplow drivers, but sales rack up for everything from salt to snowblowers to candles. People head out with a list of groceries and goodies to make their homes cozy and welcoming. 


I did my part to innervate the economy this year by making a few larger purchases. I was craving a new pair of boots. I wanted something that lightweight, warm, waterproof and relatively nice looking. Well, I have to admit that I scored big! I bought a pair of Ugg Maxie boots and they are everything I wanted and then some!

Jen loves UGGs Maxie Boots for winter fun and work!

The second purchase was more serendipitous. I was working on my Christmas installation at the local REI store and all that was left to do was adjust the LED lights. I figured I had to wait about a half and hour, so decided to wander inside and look around a bit. Nothing serious, for I really did not need anything. But, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a pair of winter pants and they were on SALE, too! I tried them on and knew - I just knew these pants would be my favorite winter pants of all time! Not only are they lined with a thin layer of polar fleece, but the outside layer is a matte finish poly blend that is wind and water resistant! And to top it off, they look good dressed up or down. OK, ok, I'll tell you the brand. They are Mountain Hardwear Yumalina™ Pants.

Jen loves Mountain Hardwear Yumalina Pants from REII'm telling you--these are the perfect pair of winter pants! I just broke down and bought a second pair online as a back up [sheepish grin].


And as for me and my Winterscaping work, I can do a lot without snow, but a much larger world of opportunities open up when abundant snow is at my fingertips. It helps insulate the bottoms of Globe Ice Lanterns as they are freezing. It helps to level any ice luminary while setting it up for candles. But most importantly, it is absolutely imperative to have snow when I am making Ice Glass Shards. I need snow to make my pools. I need snow to store the ice glass until I need it. And, then I need I snow to plant the Ice Glass in to make the ice sculptures. Point blank - I need snow!


Wintercraft Globe Ice Lantern Balloon sitting in a Wintercraft Freezing Base surrounded by snow to insulate the bottom!


And BTW - the best gloves for working in the snow are my Smurfy Blues! I devoted an entire blog post to them a few years ago and I love them more than ever! 

Jen loves Smurfy Blue Gloves! 


4. Snow can make the world more challenging for some, so it becomes a time to reach to those who need help. I believe in the old adage, "Out of adversity comes opportunity." Maybe we shovel an elderly neighbor's driveway, help push a stranger's car out of a ditch or dig deep and teach some neighbor children how to build a quinzee hut! :)


5. And finally, the quintessential snow moment is when you wake up to a winter wonderland following a snowstorm. The swirling crystalline madness has settles down and left behind a blanket that has been pulled up tight, so we can walk out into the serenity of it and enjoy!  


Enjoy the Glow!

Jennifer Hedberg, Ice Wrangler for Wintercraft


©Wintercraft.  All Rights Reserved. This blog post may be linked to and credited, however, the contents including all photos, videos and text may not be reproduced in any form without written permission.


Posted in clothing, dress for winter, Ice Glass, Snow, winter clothing, Wintercraft

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