Christmas Time At MRS

All is calm and all is bright...

MRS Designs Blog - Christmas Time Vintage Rhinestone Pins

Small and large radiant beams...

We are a flutter with the warmth of Christmas time.

MRS Designs Blog - Christmas Time Vintage Rhinestone Pins

Vintage brooches remember the happiness of Christmas' past, and celebrate the coming promise of the future...

MRS Designs Blog - Christmas Time Vintage Rhinestone Pins

Our days are merry and bright...

MRS Designs Blog - Christmas Time

Warm hearts are glowing!

MRS Designs Blog - Christmas Time Vintage Rhinestone Pin

Glories stream from heaven afar...

MRS Designs Blog - Christmas Time Vintage Rhinestone Pin

Ooooo, Ahhhhhhhh.....

MRS Designs Blog - Christmas Time Vintage Rhinestone Pins

May you sparkle with happiness like our Christmas tree...we wish you a Merry Christmas.

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!

Nicole

Annual Mill Tent Sale at the Faribault Woolen Mill!

Earlier this month I blogged about the beautiful downtown Faribault, Minnesota where you will find my favorite antique store. Today I'd like to share with you the "soft" country side of this charming little city and a special place you will find along the Cannon River.

Here is the Cannon river which runs throw Alexander Park - a park named after the founder of the city, Alexander Faribault. 

MRS Designs Blog - Annual Tent Sale at the Faribault Woolen Mills

It is a scenic spot where you will find ducks, fishing, a dam, and a Woolen Mill.

Today is different than most, there is something extra special happening here this weekend! See that huge tent???

MRS Designs Blog - Annual Tent Sale at the Faribault Woolen Mills

As you can see this weekend, September 26 and 27(9am-4pm), the Faribault Woolen Mill is having their annual Mill Tent sale. It's a saving of 85% on seconds and has many discounted products!

MRS Designs Blog - Annual Mill Tent Sale at the Faribault Woolen Mill

Pretty cute welcome! There is a huge tent filled to the edges with boxes and boxes of blankets, throws, scarfs, etc! 

Reminds me that winter is around the corner and I need to stock up on wool!

MRS Designs Blog - Annual Tent Sale at the Faribault Woolen Mills

I especially liked these "ticking" wool blankets and scarves:

Faribault Woolen Mill is a family owned business known for its quality and durable, comfortable wool blankets. It is the oldest manufacturing company in Minnesota and is the last remaining woolen mill in America that uses raw wool and also creates woolen products all in one place.

Watch this video about the woolen mill to understand my love of this store:

I also wanted to mention their beautiful wool bags that you will find in their online shop. They are awesome and made to last with leather handles and many compartments. They are on my Santa wish list :)

MRS Designs Blog - Annual Tent Sale at the Faribault Woolen Mills

Prices at the sale were excellent and I was able to find many things!

MRS Designs Blog - Annual Tent Sale at the Faribault Woolen Mills

The staff was very helpful and ready to check our purchase.

I am so proud of our Mill! Target has announced that Faribault Woolen Mill will be joining to create an exclusive line of classic-meets modern collection of American-made accessories and giftable items starring the heritage mill's signature 100-percent wool textiles. This includes an assortment of bags, throws, scarves and tech accessories (smartphone cases and tablet sleeves) which will be available starting November 2nd. Here is the announcement Target made, along with another great video. I can't wait!

MRS Designs Blog - Annual Tent Sale at the Faribault Woolen Mills

The other day, while window shopping at the posh Galleria Shopping Mall in Edina, I found this cute window display which said, "Wrap yourself in Minnesota History" and then realized it was filled with Faribault Blanket products! I was so proud to see the success the woolen mill is having.

MRS Designs Blog - Annual Tent Sale at the Faribault Woolen Mills

Please visit their online shop and support a local business. I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

 

Remember reuse, renew, repurpose.

Margaret

Madame Secretary

May I introduce you to Madame Secretary of MRS Designs headquarters. She is a woman of few words. She resides over many of the ins and outs of correspondence, and keeps everything tidy. 

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Secretary Desk

With humble beginnings she was beautifully crafted many years ago.

Fitted with two top shelves, carved legs, and a handy drawer, she was very exquisite on the outside. And as it is with most things though, her true beauty was deep within. Women are complex! She was not very happy with her aged "orange" look, and begged to be updated. With careful thought I began her transformation. 

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Secretary Desk

Paris gray chalk paint by Annie Sloan seemed the best choice. A bit conservative, but I wanted to retain a classic, airy look. Sometimes, ok all the time, when I am repainting something I tend to go through the "ugly stage" of the process.  It's usually when I am halfway completed that I start to second guess.

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Secretary Desk

This makes me and Madame Secretary moody and worried. But stay the course...it's only paint after all!

The real fun about repainting a piece is when you age it. All the curves and carvings are highlighted and come to life like magic.

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Secretary Desk

Excellent Madame Secretary!

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Secretary Desk

Here we dressed her all up for fall.

We did have to deal with accessories...the chair. It was orange too if you recall. So I made a slip cover out of hemp linen and couldn't help but embroider it with my initials, MS :)

Helpful Tip: Don't forget to piece it together inside out for easy fitting and stitching.

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Secretary Desk

A cozy corner to read. Thank you Madame Secretary.

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Secretary Desk

Now don't be moody!

 

Remember reuse, renew, repurpose.

Margaret

Antique Shopping? Here's a Keeper in Faribault, Minnesota...

Join me as I explore a special shop where time stands still.

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

In a small town atmosphere, in the heart of the midwest, is a vintage shop which should not be passed by. It is a destination shop, meaning it has EVERYTHING!

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

With the charm of vintage downtown Faribault, it stands nestled between other shops of business.

It's called "Keepers", as in finders keepers, located in Faribault, Minnesota. Owned by three treasure seekers, Nona Boyes, Mary Bull, and Connie McHenry, it has been selling vintage wares since 1996. This shop has become one of my favorite places to search for vintage treasures. Lucky me, it's only a ten minute drive from my home!

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

As you enter you will notice that it is big and filled to the brim with shelves full of treasures. There are many display cabinets bursting with items, and the ladies are so helpful to direct you to make your hunt a successful one.

Each section of the shop has been carefully and beautifuly displayed to help you imagine the antiques' happy purpose.

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

Wow! What a vast sea of crystal, silver, and china. 

So much sparkle and gorgeous craftsmanship.

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

Jewelry anyone? Here is where you will find racks and shelves full of all kinds of vintage jewelry.

Colorful depression glass and beautiful linens galore!

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

Gorgeous pieces of furniture are arranged with great care and tempt your mind to imagine a different place in time.

One of the many reasons I adore this shop, is that it's not like the usual vendor booth arrangement you find in antique stores. No, it is so organized and logically displayed, with a flair of home decor and lifestyle.

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

Here is where every drawer, yes every drawer, is filled with sewing items. Buttons, trims, patterns, lace, etc! Can I just move this whole case to my craft room?

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

This is the charming kitchenware section. Takes me back!

So much to pick from and enjoy!

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

All around the shop are pictures. This is what I like to call the "Library" section.

I can get lost in here. Lots of vintage ephemera, postcards, photos, and books. Good thing there is a table and chair for me to sit down to soak it all in.

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

There are many vintage tools, hardware, lighting, sporting, and Americana items.

Shopping is so much fun when it's organized.

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

Towards the back of the shop there is a whole Indian and Western section.

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

And a huge area of vintage clothing.

Lots of wooden shoes, hats, furs, and clothing for everyone.

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

There are oodles of signs including these Tilt-A-Whirl signs. Tilt-A-Whirl is a crazy fair ride where you sit in a basket on an uneven deck while it circles around and around. This ride is one of Faribault's many claims to fame. According to wikipedia, the Tilt-A-Whirl was invented by Herbert Sellner at his Faribaultian home in 1926. A year later he opened Sellner Manufacturing in Faribault with the Tilt-A-Whirl becoming a huge hit at county fairs and of course, the Minnesota State Fair.

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

Keepers has a clearance area too!

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

Fa-la-la-la-la! Hooray for vintage Christmas! Other holiday, religious and european wares are also kept in this area.

Santas are in abundance, along with every kind of ornamentation.

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

Let's not forget about toys and trains.

And of course vintage dolls and miniatures.

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

Wait. Did you lose track of time?

Did you just experience a different time and place?

MRS Designs Blog - Keepers Antique Store in Faribault, MN

Well, if the answer is yes, then you have been at Keepers.

You will find "Keepers" at 224 Central Ave. in Faribault, Minnesota. They are open Monday-Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm. I highly recommend it!

 

Remember to reuse, renew, repurpose.

Margaret

 

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 slow...in 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.

Margaret

Talking Vintage Doors

Sometimes doors talk to me. Yes, it's true. Today I'd like to share with you a story about a shopping spree where this very thing happened to me! I was shopping with the hubby at a liquidation sale, which was a very favorite shop of mine for many years, and I was super sad it was closing. In my melancholy mood I waded through the items, telling myself that I didn't need that, or that, until I saw back against a shadowy wall an old brown door with groovy 60's flocked wallpaper on it. I could imagine it in a beautiful neutral color; a perfect setting to hold seasonal vignettes. This is what I was envisioning:

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Door and Back To School Chalkboard Art with Bunting Banner

The door was just begging to go home with me. Of course I agreed, but I knew this would be a tough sell for the hubby. It was a solid heavy door and very, well, ugly. I could easily envision it stripped and painted, but this can be difficult for a math-minded man like my guy. "Are you sure??" he asked...my hubby always hopes I will rethink everything twice, as he hates to spend money. Always trusting my trash-to-treasure vision, he agreed we should rescue the door.

After getting the door home, I couldn't help but wonder what they were thinking to wall paper a door?! Oh...perhaps it was to cover up the two deep cracks all the way down the panel that I discovered once removing it. I wonder how that happened? Too many harsh winter storms? Perhaps it was a very strong, young, Paul Bunyan type farmer knocking to call on a neighbors daughter? How romantic. I digress. I spackled and sanded, then spackled and sanded again. It did not want to give up this character line! Even after painting many coats! Fine. I'm O.K. with it. I have wrinkles too :)

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Door, After Picture

Here is the vintage door, anew again! And adorning her new look is our ode to "Back to School" 2014. 

Did you notice the books? Very school-ish, don't you think?? This is a simple way to add a vintage touch in your home and be festive for the back-to-school season!

MRS Designs Blog - Back to School Decorating. Take a few books and wrap them with an old belt!
MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Door and Back To School Chalkboard Art and Bunting Banner

I made my bunting with polka dot cardstock and added festive vintage-looking flash cards I created using stamps. I decided to try to make a chalkboard out of an old frame and chalk paint. I gave my daughter, Nicole, some ideas of what I wanted the chalkboard graphic to look like and she was able to create this swirly design for me on her computer. I printed it out and covered the back with chalk. After taping the design to the board (chalk side down), I began to trace away...I tried to stay on the lines! The chalk transferred back to the board and a copy of the design was left. Just like using carbon paper (for us old timers). 

I found using chalk very challenging and decided I was good with using a permanent marker, like a sharpie, to complete the graphic.

MRS Designs Blog - Back To School Chalkboard Art and Bunting Banner

It looks very "perfect" for photographing, but I think I will "touch it up" with some sandpaper now that the photo shoot is done.

Here is the door all dressed up for the Fourth of July. 

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Door, Decorating for the Fourth of July

That once ugly, groovy door was not the only door I came home with that day. I also found this beauty...see it there, almost floating in the sky??

MRS Designs Blog - Using a Vintage Door within a Skylight

What you are looking at is the awesome ceiling of my craft shop. This California girl loves her sun, so during the long Minnesota winters I need to get my sun fix. I'm so lucky to have this sun lantern to let in so much beautiful natural light! I needed something to break the direct light on hot summer days, but I did not want to lose the beautiful blue sky. This door was the perfect the solution! It's an aged buttery yellow color and has beautiful etched glass panes.  

MRS Designs Blog - Using a Vintage Door in a Skylight

Keeps me looking up in more ways than one.

Thanks for visiting.

 

Remember reuse, renew, repurpose

Margaret

We are Plum Crazy!

Italian plum crazy to be exact! It's that time of year again, August to September, when the Italian plums are available in the garden and market.

We are very blessed to have a tree in my father's garden that always produces an abundant harvest. These are the European-style plum (Prunica domestica), which is a small, dense, egg-shaped fruit with blue or purple skin, freestone pits (they separate easily from the flesh) and has a sweet, yellow flesh and slightly sour skin. This plum is the plum used by commercial growers to produce dried prunes. Prunes!?! Calm yourself, as they can be transformed into yummyness.

MRS Designs Blog - Delicious Plum Buckle Dessert

Dessert anyone?

MRS Designs Blog - Yummy Plum Buckle Dessert

My favorite recipe to use with Italian plums is called Plum Buckle, which I have adapted from allrecipes.com and tweaked it a little to my liking. I do not like soggy cakes and this has just the right amount of fruit to cake ratio.

Let's start baking!

MRS Designs Blog - Plum Buckle Ingredients

You will need:

2 cups of Italian plums (pitted and quartered)

2/3 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

2 cups milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Place the plums in the bottom of the dish.

MRS Designs Blog - Plum Buckle Recipe. Start by layering 2 cups of Italian plums that have been pitted and quartered

In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in the milk and vanilla to make the batter smooth. Pour the batter over the plums.

MRS Designs Blog - Plum Buckle Batter

Next we make the yummy streusel topping!

MRS Designs Blog - Plum Buckle Streusel Topping Ingredients

For the streusel topping mix together:

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pulse quickly. Sprinkle on top of batter.

MRS Designs Blog - Plum Buckle Dessert Recipe

Looking very German, Ya?

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, usually 50 to 60 minutes. Tip: take a peak in the oven towards the end of the cooking time and top with foil if it appears to be browning too quickly.

To serve, top with delicious whip cream or ice cream. Mmmmmmmm...

MRS Designs Blog - Homemade Plum Buckle Dessert

I have had the privilege of cooking meals for my parents twice a week now for a few years. This is one of their favorite combos:

MRS Designs Blog - Sauerkraut with ribs dinner served with yukon potatoes and plum buckle for dessert

Sauerkraut with ribs, yukon boiled potatoes, and plum buckle for dessert. It puts a smile on a German anytime. Is your mouth watering yet??

MRS Designs Blog - Lots of dishes after making a Plum Buckle dessert!

Ha, of course, it is a little work (notice my expert stacking job on all the dishes to avoid having to dry them).

But this recipe is worth the effort!

MRS Designs Blog - Plum Buckle Dessert

Now where is that easy chair and amber summer sunset...

 

Remember reuse, renew, repurpose.

Margaret 

Refinishing a Vintage Cabinet for Craft Room Storage

Welcome to my craft room! Today I wanted to share the before and after of a piece of furniture that greets me everyday as I enter my work zone. Its a very useful, organized, and happy piece that helps to make my workshop an inviting place.

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Storage Cabinet, Welcome to My Craft Room!

I love a good sale! So when I stumbled across this piece at a liquidation sale, I knew I could use it for storage in my shop. It was multi-tasking as a knob showcase and knob storage cabinet in the furniture store. Poor thing was bruised with handle and knob marks and lots of extra holes from previous knob expos.

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Storage Cabinet

Once home, I filled the holes with wood putty, sanded and then painted the drawers with Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue chalk paint. I then waxed it with clear wax and sanded a little. I had a little chipping of paint but I was OK with that - I think it gives it a fun vintage look. I then buffed it and added small brass label handles.

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Storage Cabinet for Craft Room Storage

I house all of our vintage lace and ribbons here, using the brass labels to identify colors and textures.

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Storage Cabinet. I use it in my craft room for storing ribbon and lace
MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Storage Cabinet for Your Craft Room

You might have noticed the pictures on the side wall. They were a fun craft idea I had a few years ago. I took unfinished frames and decoupaged them with old sewing pattern tissue and then filled the frame with retro pattern jackets that my mother and I had used in our sewing projects. (I photocopied the jackets to keep the originals in a safe place.) It's adds a "crafty" look, while at the same time has a special meaning to me each time I see them.

MRS Designs Blog - Decoupage unfinished frames with sewing patterns for a fun crafty look! Use vintage patterns you have used for a keepsake

I used the actual fabric that I had saved from making my outfits as the background mat of some of the pictures. I then added some small embellishments of buttons, ribbons, and sewing notions.

Yes, that is me in my younger years! I loved this jumpsuit pattern and it was my favorite outfit for years. Yes, I said years! It was easy to sew and very comfortable. The purple socks were an outfit de comple! I recall it challenged me with having to put in a long back zipper for the first time in my home economics sewing class. The pattern in the frame on the left is from the 1980's and is very similar to my original jumpsuit pattern. I think I will always be fond of jumpsuits and purple socks!

 

Thanks for visiting.

Remember reuse, renew, repurpose.

Margaret

Someone's Playing With Silverware

We are in the kitchen today cleaning vintage silver plated silverware that we picked up at the country auction. Someone might say, "Yuck. Those are good for nothing!" Ha! Not so fast. Think of all the possibilities! I'm seeing reinvented jewelry as rings, bracelets, or pendants. And it's a hammered stamping heaven for garden markers, wind chimes, and photo stands.

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Silverware Treasures from the Auction

A few knives, but mostly spoons, forks, and ladles.

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Silverware - Knives, Spoons, Forks, and Ladles

Just waiting to be repurposed.

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Silverware Treasures Ready to be Polished

Imagine having to keep these clean for everyday use. That's a lot of polishing! I am grateful for todays stainless steel.

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Silver Spoons

Amidst all this vintage splendor was a small modern "Braniff" spoon. Braniff was an American Airline which operated from 1928 to 1982. 

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Silver Fork

This vintage fork, like the spoons above, have 1881 Rogers stamped on their backs. It is circa 1908 in the La Vigne pattern. This pattern was produced until 1917, the beginning of World War 1. La Vigne means the vineyard and it features grapes and leaves around a cartouche with more spilling down the handle. It is lovely with fairly deep sculptural cravings.

Drumroll please...here they are, all spiffed up! I'd say it's a pretty dramatic change! (Please excuse my pink glow in these spoons, but they are shining up very nicely!)

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Silverware Before and After

Possibilities? Stay tuned :)

 

Remember reuse, renew, repurpose.

Margaret

Vintage Auction Pins

The auction vibes were floating in our corner as we bid for these treasures at last weeks auction out in the country. We were able to scoop up these vintage victorian pins! They are gold plated and very unique. Some have colored rhinestones and pearls.

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Pin Collection from a Live Auction

Aren't they pretty? They range in sizes from 2 1/4 being the largest, to 5/8 of an inch long at the smallest.

MRS Designs Blog - Vintage Pins from a Live Auction

We like to incorporate them in our heart pillows and jewelry.

If you are interested in finding out more or even purchasing one of these beauties from the auction, just send us a comment. We would be happy to answer your questions.

 

Thanks for visiting!

Remember reuse, renew, repurpose.

Margaret

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.

Margaret

Vintage Scales

I really love decorating with vintage scales! Sometimes in order to get one for a good price you have to think about redoing and refreshing. I found this kitchen scale at an auction and decided it was coming home with me. It was a bland beige, but in my mind it looked just like this.

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Scale with Annie Sloan Paint

So first I had to prime it with some white spray primer, making sure to cover all the parts that are not to be sprayed with blue paint tape and paper. I really liked the original logo on the side, so I made sure to cover it securely.

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Scale

I then painted the scale with Annie Sloan chalk paint in the color Louis Blue and highlighted with Paris Gray. I sanded it a bit with a sanding block and then gave it a coat of clear wax and then a little of the dark wax. Here's the final result:

MRS Designs Blog - Refinishing a Vintage Scale, Final Product

And here's how it looks in my kitchen. It looks right at home!

MRS Designs Blog - Using Vintage Scales to Decorate Your Home. Always look good in a kitchen!

And for the holiday. Happy Fourth of July America! 

Notice the side where I saved the original logo and added some cute dots.

MRS Designs Blog - Using Vintage Scales to Decorate Your Home. Refinished scale, close up view

Which made me think...where are my other scales? This is our sunroom where this California girl hangs out all winter. True love brought me to Minnesota and my sweetheart made sure I would survive the long winters with plenty of sun and heated floors. I have two vintage scales in this room, decorating the two bookshelves amidst vintage photos, milk pitchers, and other keepsakes. 

MRS Designs Blog - Using Vintage Scales to Decorate Your Home. Sunroom Bookshleves

I picked up this old scale that came with brass bowls at a favorite antiquing barn north of the twin cities.

MRS Designs Blog - Using Vintage Scales to Decorate Your Home

And this one I found at an auction out in the country. It has a little bit of rust, or as I like to think, character.

MRS Designs Blog - Using Vintage Scales to Decorate Your Home. Use fun props like a sea shell

Love to play with these...Shells and rocks are always fun!

MRS Designs Blog - Using Vintage Scales to Decorate Your Home. Play around with props of different weights

And here is my biggest scale, which you will find on our stair landing overlooking the sunroom.

MRS Designs Blog - Using Vintage Scales to Decorate Your Home. This one overlooks the sunroom
MRS Designs Blog - Using Vintage Scales to Decorate Your Home. Why not use a plant?

She's a beauty. Big and all the things a scale should be. When I first saw her at the country auction I knew it would be perfect to hold my bonsai plant. After all, I needed something to protect my wood table incase my bonsai would weep. My sweet husband lugged it all the way home. Wouldn't the deep brass dish be a great prop for a baby photoshoot with a nice fluffy blanket? Maybe our next grandbaby will use it...

Do you have any vintage scales? Where and how do you showcase them?

Thanks for visiting.

 

Remember reuse, renew, repurpose,

Margaret

Creating the MRS Designs Logo

Thought it would be fun this week to give you a look into the development of the MRS Designs brand and logo design. A lot of thought went into what the logo for MRS Designs should be - we wanted it to be vintage inspired, whimsical, flowing, and have a special meaning to us. Our first thoughts surrounded buttons of course, but we wanted to make sure our logo didn't limit us to only vintage button products. We had plans to use all types of vintage jewelry and to open what is now our Flea Market and Vintage Finds shops.

So what other symbol could we use to represent us? We began to think about what vintage postcard pictures we gravitate to, what vintage fabrics we love, and what is simplistic, yet beautiful. Then, when coming across a stunning enameled brooch from my grandmother (Margaret's mother), we realized that a bird was the perfect symbol for MRS Designs. Below you can see the white bird brooch that belonged to my grandmother. My mom's favorite color is blue, so when she found these other two bird brooches on one of her treasure hunting escapades, she couldn't help but pick them up and save them for a special project.

MRS Designs logo

When I began to work with my mother on the logo design, I absolutely loved the long, soaring lines of the blue bird brooch and was determined to capture it's beauty graphically. Then was born our new business identity. With feather pen edges, the logo takes you back in time and represents the special vintage components used in all of our products.

MRS Designs logo inspiration came from a beautiful vintage bird brooch

We've actually carried the bird theme throughout a lot of our products and it seems to be one of our favorite postcard background options for photographing our products as well. Here are some of our necklaces featuring birds!

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 it...no 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 look...in 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.

Margaret

Rheum palmatum or Yummy Rhubarb

Rhubarb season is here! Growing up in California, I never noticed a Rhubarb plant in my mother's garden of vegetables and roses, and was unfamiliar with it until I moved to Minnesota. My parents love rhubarb and my dad has stories where he remembers selling rhubarb in their village just to make some money in Germany as a small boy. When I make potato pancakes for them I always make a rhubarb sauce, cooking fresh rhubarb stove top with a little sugar and water. Here in Minnesota the climate is perfect for it and it is always an indicator to me that spring has sprung and summer is really here. There is something very warm and cozy about the smell and taste of cooked rhubarb that warms the soul during a frozen minnesota night in the winter. So, I try to harvest as much as I can and freeze it.

MRS Designs Rhubarb Harvest
MRS Designs Rhubarb Harvest

Be sure to remove the leaves because they are toxic.

MRS Designs cooking with rhubarb

Wash and cut up rhubarb into pieces and then place rhubarb pieces on top of parchment paper in a pan and then put in freezer. Remove after slightly frozen and package into freezer bags for later use.

Here is my favorite Rhubarb recipe:

Cherry-Rhubarb Crisp from "The Joy of Rhubarb Cookbook" by Theresa Millang

Crust:

1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

Filling:

4 cups fresh rhubarb, diced

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350. 

Crust: In bowl, mix oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, and salt; cut in butter until crumbs form. Press half of mixture onto bottom of an ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan.

Filling: Spread rhubarb over crust. Mix granulated sugar, water, and cornstarch in a saucepan; stir until blended. Bring to a boil, stirring until thickened. Stir in extracts and pie filling; spoon mixture over rhubarb. Sprinkle with remaining crust mixture. Sprinkle top with walnuts. Bake 45-55 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers. 

Makes 8 servings

MRS Designs LLC Blog Cherry-Rhubarb Crisp


Remember reuse, renew, repurpose

Margaret