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

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 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Hope you remembered to wear green today! If not, look out for those pinching leprachauns! Check out some of our Irish inspired bracelets, the Lucky Irish Button Bracelet and the Green Cat's Eye Bracelet

From MRS Designs, we hope you all enjoy your day of lucky clovers and green colored beer! We'll leave you with this sweet Irish blessing as you go on your merry way:

May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks. May your heart be as light as a song. May each day bring you bright, happy hours that stay with you all the year long.

Valentine's Day Countdown - It's Finally Here!!

Today is the day! Happy Valentine's Day!!! Since most women out there, whether single or in a relationship, will be eating chocolate today, we thought it'd be funny to post a vintage valentine involving a scale. This scale is a special scale though, with a rotating back listing "To My Own True Love" in the scale window rather than the scary numbers we all try to avoid looking at during holidays. We think it's a charming little valentine, and really, who couldn't smile when looking at this little girl's checkerboard dress with big pink bow, not to mention the sweet puppy and giggling boy.

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We hope you have enjoyed following along the MRS Designs Valentine's Day Countdown! It was so fun to revisit all of the vintage valentine's we have collected over the years and transport ourselves back in time where Sponge-Bob and Justin Bieber valentines were not the norm. Sending lots of love from MRS Designs, we wish you all a wonderful Valentine's Day!

XOXO

Love me dear, as I love you, with a heart as warm and true,
Then may I be, Oh! bliss divine, forevermore your valentine.

Valentine's Day Countdown - 1 Day Left!!

Only one day left until Valentine's Day! We can't wait to celebrate with our loved ones. Today's blog is featuring an intricate three-layer fold-down vintage valentine. Standing about nine inches tall, the valentine is gorgeous and definitely a show-stopper when it comes to valentines. One of our favorite parts though are the hand-written names on the back, "To Charlotte, from Anges." We love the classic names as it really takes us back in time. What great friends the two must have been to warrant such a beautiful valentine!

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Purchases won't arrive in time for Valentine's Day, but feel free to still check out the MRS Designs Shop! We have lots of unique jewelry, button bouquets, bookmarks, and vintage products for sale, and remember, there is nothing wrong with treating yourself to something new (or should I say vintage).

If you could look into my heart and see the love that’s there,
then turn it into money, you would be a millionaire.

Valentine's Day Countdown - 3 Days Left!

Three sweet heart vintage valentines and three days until Valentine's Day!

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Printed on delicate paper and carefully cut around the edges, the sweet scene and floral patterns are gorgeous! Bright colors bring these valentines to life! I personally love how the first valentine is addressed, "To one I fancy and love." How romantic!

Inside each card are more sweet-nothings, sure to win over the recipient and make them blush. 

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Dearie me, I’m worried some,
Do tell me what’s the matter.
Every time I look at you,
My heart goes pitter, patter.

Valentine's Day Countdown - 4 Days Left!

Today we are featuring two fold-down vintage valentines. The first one is of a darling boy riding a chariot, with a message over doves saying, "Here's my heart secret, If you will please take it, as faithful love can make it." The other valentine shows two cherubs forging wedding rings to last a lifetime. On the back of each you can find the original sender and receivers of the valentines:

To Betty J, from Robert and To Miss Wagner, from Dorothy Davis

Was there a possible love fling between Robert and Betty J? Was it a forbidden affair and this valentine was passed along in secret? Were Miss Wagner and Dorothy best friends? We love trying to transport ourselves back in time and make up a soap opera story to bring the valentines to life. 

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I want to send a valentine, a heart wish all for you,
but it takes a lot of courage, such a bold bold thing to do.

Valentine's Day Countdown - 5 Days Left!

The countdown to Valentine's Day is flying by...and so is this vintage valentine! Here we have another mechanical valentine where the heart with the valentine's greeting can move beneath the airplane. We love the sweet little children pilots, sneaking a quick loving glance at each other.

A Token of Affection.
I love to fly to and fro, when with my loving beau.

Valentine's Day Countdown - 6 Days Left!

Fancy Saturday calls for a fancy featured vintage valentine! This vintage valentine is full of color and spring flowers. It appears to be a flat card at first, but pull down the front "Best Wishes" flap and the valentine comes to life with honeycomb tissue and two cut-out layers! A very sweet card, indeed!

We still have lots of gift ideas on our shop page! From jewelry to button bouquets, you are sure to find something you'll like! And don't forget about our seasonal Valentine's Day shop!

I’m waiting for the answer from you - Will you be my valentine true?

Valentine's Day Countdown - 7 Days Left!

Only one week left!

We love the vintage honeycomb tissue valentines! And how cute is this little boy in a tux?! The "I'm all togged up" greeting fits the illustration perfectly.

Have you visited our Etsy shop, MRSVintageDesigns? We have a whole section featuring wall art centered around valentines such as this one. Each frame is embellished with vintage hankies and buttons, complimenting the colors and style of the vintage valentine. Check it out in our Valentine's Day shop too!

My heart’s for sale, who’ll buy? My dear, are you the lucky guy?

Valentine's Day Countdown - 8 Days Left!

Today's featured valentine - a vintage fold out card with honeycomb tissue! This vintage valentine is huge and definitely was meant to be on display. Sadly, the red honeycomb tissue has faded over the many years, but we still love the unique shape and darling cherubs watching over.

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Still in need of gift ideas? How about a vintage bookmark for the book lover in your life? Or check out our Valentine's Day shop!

“Watch me join those two hearts as one,” said wise cupid with the dart; it was no sooner said than done - his arrow struck true the mark.

Valentine's Day Countdown - 9 Days Left!

Valentine's Day is all about sharing the love and giving personal gifts. MRS Designs has the perfect necklace for someone that loves the classic, vintage look. Order a custom monogramed optical lens necklace to give a truly beautiful personalized gift. Purchase soon in order to have it arrive in time for Valentine's Day! Our Valentine's Day shop is still open as well!

Vintage Monogramed Optical Lens Necklaces, MRS Designs

Vintage Monogramed Optical Lens Necklaces, MRS Designs

I want you for my valentine, and pledge my love anew,
Just say again that you are mine, for no one else will do.

Valentine's Day Countdown - 10 Days Left!

We are feeling playful today at MRS Designs, so we thought this playful vintage mechanical valentine was very fitting! With a teeter-totter that actually works, we love the sweet, innocent characters on this valentine. Why don't we make valentines like this anymore?

Don't forget to check out the sweet hanging fabric hearts from the Valentine's Day shop if you still need gift ideas!

MRS Designs Fabric Heart.JPG
With smile divine I greet you, my valentine to keep you.

Valentine's Day Countdown - 11 Days Left!

It's Monday, it's cold, and you don't want to be at work. Wouldn't you love to have flowers arrive at your house or workplace to cheer up your day?? Wouldn't it be even better if the flowers lasted forever?? Well...have you checked out MRS Designs' button bouquets? The hand-wired vintage buttons and cluster earrings within vintage salt shakers are a sure way to brighten up the gloomiest of days. Send to a loved one, family member, or friend as a quick way to bring a smile to their face. Our button bouquets hold a special place in our hearts as they were the start to our love of button collecting.

Don't forget to also check out the MRS Designs Valentine's Day shop!

Sparkle Milk Glass Shaker Button Bouquet

Sparkle Milk Glass Shaker Button Bouquet

In the garden of your heart, I’d plant a tiny flower
Forget-me-nots so you would think of me every passing hour