A junking junky with a love for all things Interior Design related.

Family Reunion Cookbook…

As I mentioned in my previous post (here: https://vintageinspireddesigns.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/guess-who-17/ ), I’ve been working on a family recipes cookbook after our family reunion…

Here she is… and after the photo I’ll tell you how….


Things you need to have on hand:

Clear “cover” sheets

Metallic cardstock

Binding coils

Plain white paper



The coils I used to bind the books were purchases from my local office supply store (here’s my chance to promo my favorite local office supply store a little …. It’s called Mind Your Business… and it’s in Montevideo, MN or online here: https://www.facebook.com/mybonline )

Anyway, back to business… (business – tee hee)…. You can most often times get your paper punched to match those coils at the same store you purchased them. (Which I so did… of course).

Print two recipes per 8.5×11 page, cut the pages in half. Print the cover on the metallic paper, cut in half (one for the front, one for the back). I used a clear “cover” (also from the office supply store) also on the front and back. Twist the coil in and … done!

The patience part I mentioned comes in the way of typing in everyone’s recipes while trying to quell the urge to edit them…heavily… I also added a few old pictures of all the people that donated a recipe for use in the book.

Now to figure out how to package them for mailing. Oy.


Who thinks about blankets when it’s 100 degrees? Me.

Yes it’s been something like 100 degrees and humid out. Yes, I’m thinking about quilts. No, I’m not crazy… (that I know of).

It all started last winter. I had the idea to make a quilt using vintage sheets and vintage chenille blankets. It was going to be fabulous. For the next three days I did nothing but cut quilt squares. When those were done, is when the panic set in. You see, I come from a long line of talent women when it comes to sewing… or more specifically quilting. The quilts my mother and grandmother made were spectacular. Then, when I was 13, my mother encouraged me to make a quilt for one of my friends. She’d help, she said.

What happened after that was a nightmare. Much yelling, much screaming, and when I was done I’m sure my mother thought I was suffering from a bad case of the dramatics. Nothing worked right, I couldn’t cut straight, I couldn’t sew straight and I swear, everytime I touched that machine, it tried to commit suicide. The end result was a crooked quilt and a 13 year old girl who decided she never ever wanted to touch a sewing machine again.

Okay, so I went back on that later in life… I did, in fact, touch a sewing machine again, and it wasn’t that bad, but definitely, the things I sew on a sewing machine pale in comparison to anything my mother and grandmother ever created on that machine.

Here’s a fine example of their handi-work (and yes that sweet lil’ dumplin’ centered atop their masterpiece is yours truly…)

…And here’s my disaster of an attempt at quilting at 13. (Cut me some slack, it was the 90s… that hair style was IN)

So when it came time to quilt, my mother’s best naggy-voice entered my head… “those squares aren’t cut straight….” “You’re not sewing the right seam allowance…” I stuck all the squares in a box and forgot about it.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I found my box of quilt squares and decided I WILL get it done. See, I’m the kind of Type-A personality that doesn’t think “It must be perfect.” I think, “It must be DONE… NOW”. So I resumed my work on the quilt. A week or so later, and she was done. I even added some fabric letters atop that read “DREAM” and some vintage pom-pom style borders around the edges. I admire her.

She’s not perfect.
She’s not perfectly straight.
Her pattern isn’t perfect.
I think she’s lovely.
I’m convinced someone else may find her lovely enough to take home someday.
Here she is….

Guess Who?

Last weekend was my annual family reunion. For as far back as I can remember, our family reunions have been mostly about eating and chatting. This year I decided to help with the planning and come up with some fun additions to the day.

One of my ideas was to email a postcard to everyone in advance, not just as an invitation, but also to ask for people to contribute recipes for a “family cookbook”.  Some mailed ahead of time, others brought recipes with to the reunion. When I sat down to put the cookbook together, I decided to put each person’s recipe along with an old picture of them…. I’m still working on the cookbook – and will post a “how to” later, but here’s my cover design along with an idea of what an inside page will look like….



The cover photo is of my great grandmother holding a potato from her garden. Since the relative list at the reunion includes all of her children, their children and grandchildren (and a few great-grandchildren) I thought it would be a fitting photo. My great grandma Eunice has been gone a long time, but my grandmother had some of her recipes to share and so I scattered those throughout the cookbook as well. Being the editor I am, I had a hard time sticking to inputting the recipes just as people wrote them, but I did!

The next thing on the agenda was to set up a photo booth area (okay, that’s not new – I did that last year, too). Luckily I kept the “Reunion” banner from last year, so I just draped a long cloth across an expanse of wall and tacked the banner up with some thumb-tacks, creating an “area” for group photos.

My grandmother, mother and some of my great aunts gathered up old pictures to have sitting around so people could look at them, identify some people and also make notes of which they’d like copies of….

I decided to work up some additional entertainment, so I came up with a game, titled “When I was a Kid”… I tried to explain this game to my husband and he was thoroughly confused. Hopefully, I can explain it better in writing….

So I figured a fun way to get a conversation started would be to come up with a game in which each person had to fill out a slip of paper that gave a little information about what their favorite things were when they were a kid… I gave each person a slip and a pen and asked them to fill it out and include their name (most followed directions, even). ***I said that with a laugh*** The questions were, for example, “My favorite indoor activity was?”, “My favorite outdoor activity was?”, “My favorite game was?”……Image

After the sheets were filled out, I gathered them, then grabbed a cousin and took a place at the front of the crowd to start the game (the cousin was to keep score). I read questions off, starting with number one “My favorite tv show was?” Then I randomly drew some cards and read their answers and the audience had to guess who said that…. so I’d read “My favorite tv show was…? What’s T.V.” (someone in the crowd would yell) Eleanor! I read around five random answers for each question. Now, the cousin who was scorekeeping wrote down the names of all of the people who answered correctly. At the end of the game, while I read a couple of cards that people (silly people) had answered in an amusing (and incorrect) way, my cousin figured out who had guessed the cards the most. We picked the top three correct guessers to be the recipients of some awards I made and printed out at home.
 Then we announced the winners of the “Know-It-All” game… (that’s also what the award said in big letters across the front of a shining star”…. announcing the first, second and third place “Know-It-All’s” was also amusing to the crowd!

Even the young kids participated in the game – My firstborn took fourth place …. a proud moment for his mama *tear….(Just kidding, it wasn’t that big a moment, but I did feel a competitive little glint of glee that he was so astute.)


The game was definitely a hit and gave everyone something to laugh about… a lot… and not just at my feeble attempt at MC’ing… (Just kidding… I was pretty good at it.)




A handmade gift….

When I was a young child, my mother was friends with a family that held large Christmas gatherings. One year, we went to their celebration, and upon arrival I noted a very large gift in the corner of one room had caught the attention of all the children in attendance. The gift was taller than I was at the time, and if I were to lay down, the gift was also longer. It was huge. It was also unmarked.

After the dinner, the gift opening commenced. The final gift was the extra large one and it turned out, it was just for me! It was a dollhouse that the two men of the family that were like my own uncles had built by hand, with working lights and a staircase, and carpet. I loved that dollhouse for so many years. Also, being the recipient of such a work of art made me feel pretty special.

As my daughter’s best friend’s birthday drew near, I told my little Madelin the story of my dollhouse, as I’d heard her friend mention her wish for one. Madelin looked at me, her eyes wide and said, “MOM, we HAVE to make her one!” I was so pleased to hear she wanted so much to make a special moment for her friend.

Here’s how we did it…

We set to work finding two dresser drawers, and then we had Dad put them together with some hinges. We also got Dad to put a handle on top for carrying, and a latch on front to keep it closed. We painted the outside turquoise and applied some wall stickers from the Dollar Tree around the outside for extra cuteness.


Here’s the outside:

We then used contact paper (Also from Dollar Tree) to “wallpaper” the walls and another contact paper that looked like wood flooring to cover the “floors”. We used a piece of a bird cage glued to the ceiling for a chandelier, and used a cigar box to make a bed. We found a few pieces of actual “Barbie” furniture – a chair and table for furniture. I sewed a cushion for the bed, and Madelin found a doily for the bed’s blanket. We used another doily for a rug, and Madelin cut out a picture of a door and glued to the wall in the “kitchen” (we used modge podge). There are some cute little “miniatures” in the house that came from a large bag of miniatures I found at a thrift store once.
Here are the rest of the photos:

Door and doily rug…miniature letter holder by the door and watering can glued into the corner…

Wood hutch in the “kitchen” with a miniature of a wash board and tub on the top…

Barbie’s “bedroom”


The full kitchen…

To top it all off, Madelin found a photo of her friend and she and we put it in a small frame … hanging it on the wall of the “kitchen”….

A Special Project…

Last summer I spent many evenings and weekends sorting through and cleaning out my grandparent’s old store building, preparing all of their life-worth collection of stuff for an auction. My grandfather had been an antiques dealer, gun dealer and repairman, chainsaw sharpening and repairman, grocery store owner and construction worker, and had amassed an entire building full of stuff. Through all the sorting and treasure finding, one thing stuck out – an old trunk. The trunk was up on a shelf and badly damaged from moisture and mildew, as many of the items in the building were. Grandma said it was from her relatives, but because it was so damaged, thought I should throw it.

I didn’t.

Instead, I snuck it home and for the next almost-a-year aired it out in the sunshine, cleaned it up and repaired it’s broken parts. Once it was sturdy and didn’t smell like basement anymore, I decided to try a technique I’d found on Pinterest to bring some beauty back to it again. The technique is modge podge and fabric. The trunk used to have a paper on the outside of it that had a floral design (very little of it was left on), and so I found a fabric that had a similar design and looked “old”.

First I removed all of the trim pieces, metal pieces and accents, bringing the trunk down to just the frame. I covered the trunk with modge podge, cutting pieces of fabric to fit as I went, and then smoothed the fabric over the modge-podged sections. I then sealed up the edges with more modge podge and went over the top of the fabric with a very light, watered-down coat of modge podge.

While that was drying and curing, I primed then painted and distressed the wood pieces, as well as the rusted metal trim pieces.

After a day and a half I was able to put all the trim and accessories back on.

I painted the inside of the trunk, but used the same fabric from the outside for just the bottom of the inside. (I was running out of modge podge! It took almost the entire bottle.)

I also added some very small “bun feet” to the bottom, just because the bottom was warped so it didn’t sit straight on it’s own (plus, they added a little extra cuteness factor).

The original trunk had wood handles, but they were pretty much rotted out, so I fashioned new handles for the sides of the trunk (with a little help from hubby) out of a belt.

Here was the end result (minus the handles – I forgot to take a picture after we put the handles on)


A closer view of the detail

Grandma was definitely surprised and very pleased with her old/new trunk!

A Work In Progress – Thinking About Design in a Different Way

Usually when I succumb to the urge to redecorate a room, I have an “inspiration room”. Whether from a magazine, a blog, or a televised decorating show, I usually see a room and think to myself, “There’s something about that room that strikes me.” From that room I will gather ideas to create my own version of whatever inspired me about it in my own home. Recently, I knew I wanted to re-decorate the kitchen and dining room….only, I didn’t see any room anywhere that had the “feel” I wanted for these two (attached) rooms.

One day I sat on the dining room floor and closed my eyes and thought long and hard about what I wanted out of these rooms. Here’s kind of a scattered list I wrote myself at the end of that meditation:

1. Peace and Tranquility – life is too HECTIC lately.

2. This is where the family gathers at least once every day. It should be soothing and warm.

3. Earth and Sea – a combination of effective feelings of both while not being “overdone”.

Then I began a list of what things bring me peace.

1. Walks in wooded areas.

2. Sitting on the lake shore watching the water move in the light.

3. warm blankets on sleepy cold mornings.

Okay, so it wasn’t a long list, but in effect I wanted to achieve those “senses” from those things without overdoing a theme. Understated. Shortly thereafter I began recklessly pitching away all of my old decor items in a box for Goodwill.

So here’s kind of the “before” of the room (which isn’t totally done yet, I just decided I couldn’t wait to start this blog). As you can see, I had kind of a REALLY (I say “kind of” in a snickering way, p.s.) bright yellow room. Not sure what I was thinking…. I guess I started out with a kind of bohemian idea that turned very, very bad…


So when I started out with thoughts for wall color, I decided that since overcast days are my most relaxed, creative days, I’d go for an “overcast sky” wall color, combined with white trim. The ceiling color in the whole of the dining room and kitchen is a lighter shade of gray. Kitchen walls are the lighter shade, and dining room walls a darker shade. This gets a little complicated in some areas since my layout for those two rooms is like this:


…Due to that, I had to choose some “defining areas” to begin/end the wall colors (more on that in a post at the end of this project).

Anyway, rather than collecting items that had any kind of “theme” to decorate, I decided just to make a hodge podge of things I loved. This turned out to be an okay idea because a lot of those things were natural elements, and what wasn’t meshed well with the natural elements – nature and architecture together is a design scheme all it’s own. Here are some pictures of the things I have done thus far to give you an idea of that combination…


And then, of course, there’s just some fun things like this little guy – our “guard dog” in the corner of the room…

In the kitchen, I repainted the cupboards all a nice, stark white. I haven’t been able to replace them yet (they’re metal) but this will do for the time being…

I also ordered some vinyl accents for the door of the closet in the kitchen…

Much of the kitchen work isn’t done yet because I’ve also chosen to try out one of the kitchen countertop transformation kits (paint) rather than replacing the countertop, opting to save countertop for a time when cupboards are replaced also. Of course, it has to be a certain temperature for a certain amount of time to be able to use the kit, and it hasn’t been yet. Soon, though.
In the meantime, I’m taking my time working on the dining room… which still has a lot left to do. I’m currently painting my Craigslist find table and chair set and still need to add some glaze to the desk and hutch, as well as find one more large element for wall decor in the room… I’m also painting the wood chest in the room and making some throw pillows for the top of that as well… for now here’s the “thus far” progress comparisson…

Until next time!

A Sad Story Turns Happy…

When my Grandmother graduated from High School, her mother was a waitress at the old “Falls Café” in Granite Falls. Her mother purchased a watch as a gift for her graduation, having made payments on it for some time. She had the watch engraved with Grandma’s name on the back. Grandma’s mother passed away when I was very young.

Whenever Grandma dresses up or “goes to town” she still wears this watch. A number of years ago, for Grandma and Grandpa’s wedding anniversary, their children had the band on her watch replaced.

Then last week, Grandma and Grandpa went “to town” on a shopping trip. As they were driving home, Grandma realized her watch was missing. It wasn’t in their van. She had only been to two stores. She was so upset. She told my children about what had happened to her, and when I was in “town” shopping the next night, my son told me how much his heart hurt for Grandma because she lost her watch while shopping. I called Grandma to confirm, and she said yes indeed, she’d lost the watch somewhere between the Stuff-Mart and the Grocery Store. I checked both stores lost-and-found departments that evening with no luck. When I got home, I posted an advertisement on a local classified site. The next day, I went to town again and checked the lost-and-found departments yet again, and then went as far as to walk through the parking lots of both stores, scouring the ground, looking under cars. Then went into the stores and looked up and down every aisle under the shelves. Still nothing. The next day, again and still nothing. It was now Sunday and I was assuming, having heard nothing by then, we probably never would. My heart ached for Grandma. She was so distraught about this watch. “When I realized it was gone it was just like I lost my mother all over again,” she said. I would have done anything to get that watch back to her.

That night, just as the kids were sitting down to supper, my phone rang. Somehow I knew I needed to run to the phone – I wasn’t expecting any calls. It turned out it was a police officer from the “in town” police department. He explained his story – someone actually found the watch the day she lost it in the Stuff-Mart parking lot. The person who found the watch brought it across town to the police department. From there, the officer attempted to locate the owner based on the name inscribed on the back. The problem was, the name was my grandmother’s maiden name. Not being able to locate the owner, he made no more calls. Then, he happened to be browsing the online classifieds site and saw my ad!

I was so excited, I could hardly breathe. I left my husband and kids sitting around the dinner table and rushed over to Grandma’s house. “Do you want to go with me to Marshall?” I asked. “Why would I want to go to Marshall at this time of night?” she seemed confused. “To get your watch!” I nearly yelled.

When we got to town and the officer walked into the lobby holding it she nearly screamed “That’s it!” (I think he jumped a little). There was a lot of talking and laughing while we did the appropriate paperwork for her to take her watch. The watch had only suffered the damage of a broken clasp, which is what had caused the watch to escape her wrist in the first place. It had managed to make it through it’s time in the parking lot without being run over.

On the way home, she was still talking excitedly. “I don’t even think I’ll be able to sleep tonight! I was just so sure it was gone! I was just so sure I’d never see it again!”

It blew my mind how someone actually took the time, on finding the watch, to bring it across town to the police station. Many times I’ve watched people walk past something in a parking lot, glance at it and keep going. There was a thought while it was missing, also, that someone could have perhaps found it and kept it or sold it, due to its age. I’ve found things before, and always made a point to bring them in to the store’s lost and found, but come to think about it – in a case like this, it’s doubtful the store would have even looked for her and had she been many places, she may not have remembered about where it was lost….

Sometimes it seems like people in general more and more lose their compassion for others or an ability to sympathize or empathize with others. When something like this happens, you know there are those out there willing to go out of their way for a stranger. It’s a good thing to keep in mind.Image