Thanksgiving Caramel Popcorn!

Happy Thanksgiving from MRS Designs!

Like most people, I get extremely excited each November for the infamous turkey day; a day filled with food, family, and counting your blessings. Yes, the turkey is delicious, the mashed potatoes are heaven, and the stuffing can be piled a mile high on my plate (don’t forget the gravy!), but one of the menu items I look forward to the most is the carmel popcorn.

MRS Designs Blog - Thanksgiving Caramel Popcorn

Hold your horses now, don’t get all worked up, I’m talking about HOMEMADE caramel popcorn, not the average store bought kind. My mother makes the absolute best caramel popcorn. We’re talking carmel popcorn so good that she gifts it to family members and family friends in large glass jars with a standing agreement that upon completion, it can be returned, and re-filled. And refilled. For FREE. Now that is generosity! 

It’s always around thanksgiving that she makes a huge batch so we can all be snacking before meals, during meals, and after meals (or maybe sneaking a handful in the middle of the night…shhh, don’t tell!). The popcorn is literally good anytime, but fresh out of the oven is absolutely divine. It’s warm and ooey-gooey, and it takes serious self control to not run at full speed with the pan to a secluded corner of the house and eat the whole thing.

MRS Designs Blog - Thanksgiving Caramel Popcorn

Anyway, you can judge for yourself, but I promise you won’t be disappointed. Here’s the recipe from Cooking from Quilt Country by Marcia Adams…let us know what you think!

  • 6 quarts unseasoned popped popcorn
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Divide the popcorn between 2 large bowls. Oil 3 lipped cookie sheets very well and set aside.

MRS Designs Blog - Thanksgiving Caramel Popcorn

In a deep saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, and cream of tartar. Insert candy thermometer. Bring to a boil and cook the mixture over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the thermometer registers 260 degrees F (hard ball stage). Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda. The mixture foams up.

Pour the syrup mixture over the popcorn, half into each bowl. Work quickly to coat all the popcorn with the caramel. Spread popcorn evenly on the cookie sheets and bake for 1 hour, stirring 3 times.

MRS Designs Blog - Thanksgiving Caramel Popcorn

Remove from the oven and spread popcorn on wax paper to cool, breaking up the larger pieces, if necessary. Store in airtight containers and enjoy! Yummy!!

MRS Designs Blog - Thanksgiving Caramel Popcorn

On behalf of MRS Designs, I’d like to wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving! May your food be plentiful, your family in good health, and your blessings outnumber your troubles. God bless!


Ode to Summer Breezes and Sunsets

Today is Labor Day and thus the end of summer 2014. One of my favorite things about summer is the warm breeze, so this summer I decided to create my very own wind chime. I used an old tea kettle and vintage spoons to create a clever wind chime unique to my home.

MRS Designs Blog - DIY wind chime using a tea kettle and spoons
MRS Designs - DYI Wind Chime

I love how the vintage spoons make such a magical sound in the wind!

I drilled holes in the silverware to hang them from the tea kettle. It was a bit hard to drill through, but patience always pays off. Steady and a way, just like summer! I decided to add a bit more character and stamp some words onto the spoons after flattening them with a hammer. I twisted the tines of the fork and then hung all the spoons from it to create a fun way to separate the spoons as they hung down. A chain hangs from the spout of the tea kettle to complete the wind chime.

Summer breezes were blowing our flag out in our front yard:

MRS Designs Blog - Patriotic Flag

And our whirlygigs were flying all summer. We are a little looney :)

MRS Designs Blog - Gorgeous Sunsets

Beautiful clouds created beautiful sunsets.

Rainstorms blew through and sometimes left a rainbow.

MRS Designs Blog - Cow Pasture

Summer was peaceful and lazy.

And the sky was constantly changing as days drifted by.

MRS Designs Blog - Sunsets

Blessings to you on this last of summer sunsets.


Remember to  reuse, renew, repurpose.


Vintage Half Dolls

This week I'd love to give you a glimpse into one of my vintage collections: half dolls and pin cushion dolls. I find them to be so sweet and can't help but want to save them from the dusty shelves of antique stores and dress them up to their full potential!

A little history first about the dolls:

Most vintage half dolls or pin cushion dolls were produced between 1900 and 1950. Many were made in Germany, by firms such as Dressel & Kister, F. W. Goebel, Ernst, Bohne & Sohne, Heubach, Hertwig, Karl Schnider, and many others. Japan made many inexpensive models. Most half dolls are between one and nine inches tall and are generally made of porcelain. Half dolls are often found unmarked, marked Germany or "Made in Germany," marked "Japan," or with a four or five digit mold number. Only a few are marked with a distinctive company mark. The bottom edge of the half doll was made with several holes for thread, and the doll was stitched with a voluminous skirt. They were made to be incorporated into something useful like to cover a hot pot of tea, powder box, pincushion, whisk broom, or lamp.

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Half Dolls

Looks like a host of characters ready to party!

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Half Dolls with Broom Bottoms

Remember girls, our job is to sweep...

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Half Dolls. Some are animals!

You will also find animal heads. This dog half doll is made in Japan.

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Half Dolls, Jester

This sweet jester half doll is made in Germany.

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Half Dolls with Plaster Bottom

This half doll is a towering eight inches tall and has a plaster bottom with number 5024, Germany on the back.

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Half Dolls Collection

I like to call my collection, "The ladies in waiting."

When a half doll arrives in our shop, she is usually in need of something...desperately. They just seem shy and embarrassed with their situation, and I feel I must do something!

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Half Dolls. Sometimes they are in rough condition!

Sometimes their stuffing is rather stinky and is sometimes filled with old wood chips...

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Half Dolls Original Filling

So we carefully take them apart, and begin with a new and fresh beginning.

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Half Doll Pin Cushions, How to Refinish

We begin with a sturdy base made of wood. A muslin skirt is made to fit around the base and then it is stuffed with new wool batting.

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Half Doll Pin Cushion

She consults with a stylist and picks out the latest in vintage adornments. Usually this would include vintage hankies, vintage lace, ribbons, beads, and vintage buttons. Ahhh...thats better. I think she agrees!

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Half Doll Collection with Two Refinished

Both of these pincushions are available in our shop. We have also posted three half dolls if you would like to dress up your own lady! They are waiting for you now in our shop, ready to serve and to be loved again!


Thanks for visiting.

Remember reuse, renew, repurpose.


How to Paint and Decoupage an Old Book Cover or Journal

Here is my faithful bible that I purchased in 1970. It has been well used and needs a facelift. Sure, I could have sewn a new slipcover, but I had heard that Annie Sloan chalk paint will stick to almost anything!  

So I prepped the book by removing the pages, which were still intact with its original book webbing, leaving the flaps.

MRS Designs Blog - Paint and Decoupage an Old Book Cover - Step 1

I opened it up and laid it flat on a painting surface. I brushed on Annie Sloan paint "Pure White" on the outside and let it dry. 

MRS Designs Blog - Paint and Decoupage an Old Book Cover - Painting the cover

Then I painted the inside flaps.

MRS Designs Blog - Paint and Decoupage an Old Book Cover - Annie Sloan Paint

I folded back the page and pressed them back together and then opened them again. The texture appears to look like angel wings or feathers. Annie Sloan chalk paint is very creamy and perfect for this.

MRS Designs Blog - Paint and Decoupage an Old Book Cover - Annie Sloan Paint Inside Pages

I let this dry again and then I topped it with a light coat of Annie Sloan wax to seal it and then buffed it lightly.

MRS Designs Blog - Paint and Decoupage an Old Book Cover; embellishing the outside

Back to the outside of the book. Here is where it really gets fun. Collect together all your paper embellishments like old music, vintage wall paper findings, stamps, old postcards (mine were written by my grandmother who sent them to me when I was little) and other graphics that have special meaning to you. The Graphics Fairy is a fabulous resource where you will find over 4,500 free vintage images. Pre-arrange them on the dry cover so you get an idea where to place them once you are ready to glue down with "Mod Podge" glue. Use stamps and paint to add texture after the first coat of glue has dried.

MRS Designs Blog - Paint and Decoupage an Old Book Cover; Stamp Tips

A trick to place stamp images exactly where you want them is to first stamp the image on white tissue paper. I use the Cost Co brand. Using water, paint around the image and tear it out. Then glue down exactly where you want guessing or luck required! Be sure to give your cover three good coats of glue. Here is the new front...

MRS Designs Blog - Paint and Decoupage an Old Book Cover; final product

And here is the back...

MRS Designs Blog - Paint and Decoupage an Old Book Cover; final product cover

The wonderful thing about using Annie Sloan paint is that it leaves a time worn, vintage a pretty way, of course!

MRS Designs Blog - Paint and Decoupage an Old Book Cover Finished Product

Why not pick up some velvet bookmarkers that you can find in our shop to go along with your "new" book!

Thanks for visiting.


Remember to reuse, renew, repurpose.


Busy Elves!

MRS Designs, LLC Christmas Elves

Yes, we know Halloween JUST happened and Thanksgiving is still on the way, but over at MRS Designs we are already looking forward to Christmas! We are planning to add a wonderful Christmas section to our shop, full of ornaments, elves, decorations, and other unique festive gifts. We want to make this section available to you as soon as possible for your decor/gift planning so we have started today with restoring and improving vintage elves! 

Before Elf on a Shelf became a hit, MRS Designs Owner, Margaret, can remember the popularity of cute little elves growing up in the 60's. When she came across a collection of well-used and battered elves (from we assume around the 60's) while antiquing last year, she couldn't help but swoop them up and rescue them from eternal antique store dust. We have been carefully reconstructing a sturdy and flexible new body for each elf and then sewing old sweaters as new clothing!  Here are some pictures of the process including the wire frame/leggings, stuffing the legs, and assembly line:

 The final product is absolutely adorable and is a sure way to put a smile on your face while decorating for the holidays. With Fall and Thanksgiving still present in our minds, we couldn't help but make one elf in fall colors and place him in a festive scene. Hope this cheers you up today and that you check back later when our Christmas shop section is open on our website!!!

MRS Designs, LLC Fall Festive Elf
MRS Designs, LLC Fall Festive Elf
MRS Designs, LLC Fall Festive Elf