Category Archives: vintage

Wooden You Love an Upcycled To-Do List ?

We’ve lived in our current home almost seven years.
I figured it was time to get a few things done.

I was tired of ugly To Do Lists.

It’s not inspiring.

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This window is from my dream home, an older two story beauty. 
We lived there less than one year.
When we replaced the old wooden windows with
double-paned argon sealed windows,
there were stacks of windows on my lawn.

I SO craved keeping them and making something out of them.
But, this was back in the Olden Days when there wasn’t
a lot of blogging and there wasn’t Pinterest.

Ya’ know, the Dark Ages for Inspiration Time.

I kept one.

It was used for a picture frame, then sat in the attic for years.
I finally figured out what I wanted to do with it.

I know all the young crafty people think they invented
but they just renamed it.
We‘ve always called it “making do.”

Why do you think my mom was raised wearing panties
that said “SUGAR” on the bum?

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First, I had to remove the bright craft  paint.
A paste of Comet and water works well.
Smear it on, walk away.
Come back later, rub and scrape.
Smear on a little more and walk away.
Come back later, rub and scrape.
Repeat until paint is gone.

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Almost  done!

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I wanted something to back the panes of glass and remembered this vintage curtain
that I’ve stored away for….
ummm…nearly two decades?

It might be called Dotted Swiss. 
I read about Dotted Swiss in a Nancy Drew book when I was younger.
This has dots but I don’t know if it’s Swiss.

It was very hard to cut up a curtain. 
It kinda’ gave me the heebie-jeebies
’cuz it was such a nice curtain.

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But, I cut it up into four squares and kept the scraps.
Maybe 20 years from now I might need them.

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I smeared the back of each pane with Mod Podge.
The majority of my life I called it Modge Podge
That’s what Kim in my High School Home Economics called it.
I believed her.
After all, she told me she was one of the Popular Kids.
Now I know better about both accounts.

The fabric was carefully smoothed over the back of panes.
Don’t put it in backwards!
The pattern has to face forward.
It was challenging to get the rows of dots straight.

Just in case you’re wondering,
if you spill Mod Podge on brand new carpeting
but wipe it up right away with a damp rag
you can get it all up.
Almost all of it, anyway.
Just in case you’re wondering.

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It was going to be a bulletin board,
but the post-it notes fell off right away.

Remember post-it notes were invented because of a failure?
Oh, you didn’t read that
You can read it now.

Well, my post-it note failure invented a better solution.

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I discovered dry erase markers work great on glass.

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Vintage tatted edging and clip-on earrings were later improvements.

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The final resting place, on an enamel topped table in my office.
Four panes to organize four parts of my life.

Suddenly, that To Do List is looking pretty good.


Repurposed Vintage Christmas Tablecloth

As a new bride, I craved vintage.

Not the Avocado Green and Harvest Gold that was in every rental, that wasn’t old enough to be cool yet.

I started buying red-handled kitchen utensils, vintage tins and doilies when I could find them cheap and I had a few extra dollars in my pocket.

There was nothing in my life to feed my desire for tacky décor, except an occasional well-used Country Living magazine at the laundry mat that I would devour page by page with my poverty stricken eyes. There was no internet, blogging or Facebook.  There certainly wasn’t any Pinterest.  I rarely ran into anyone who had my same taste for the chippy and faded items from the past.

I just loved, loved, loved me some vintage. 

I saved my husband’s pocket change until I had enough to justify pushing the stroller a few blocks to the thrift store.  This was back in the day when $1 or $2 could buy several items.  Remembering those prices makes my heart pound. When my husband had a dollar for a can of pop, he would use two quarters and leave the two quarters in his pocket for me.  It was the only time in our marriage where I supported him drinking something that wasn’t good for him.

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I was thrilled to find this beautiful tablecloth in about 1989 and used it for years on my kitchen dinette table.  My centerpiece was usually a vintage glass pedestal bowl with fresh pine branches and red glass Christmas balls.  I loved  creating Christmas magic in my home without spending a lot of money.

The linen was only retired to the closet when we bought a real oak dining room table that was too big.  It hung around for years, because I couldn’t part with it.  It gathered more yellow stains.  After a few years of dreaming about it, I got brave.

I pulled out my trusty Ginghers, not the pair my husband used to cut carpeting,  the pair he bought to replace the pair he used to cut carpeting, and began dissecting before I lost my courage.

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Two panels were cut from the length of the tablecloth, using the printed pattern in the center  as a guide.  When I want to “get ‘er dun” I’m not all picky about perfect measurements. For the bottom, I simply folded the seam up to the bottom of the red border, ironed, and sewed. The valance 12 inches from top to bottom. I left 1/2 inch along the top to make a little ruffle and about 1 inch casing for the tension rod to fit through. 

If you don’t sew, you need to know about Stitch Witchery. It’s iron-on fusible webbing you can use to hem things. It may make the fabric a bit stiff, so you want to use it with heavier items. I didn’t use it here, but I’ve used it even when hemming clothes.

A memory of Christmas Past became a memory of Christmas Present.  I look forward to hanging my valance for all the Christmases Yet to Come.

I Served Cold Cereal for Our Company Holiday Party


A strange American holiday tradition is Chex Mix.

It’s not enough that we eat cold cereal for breakfast, 160 bowls  or 101 pounds per year per person, according to Cerealizing America.

We coat it with butter, Season-All salt and Worcestershire Sauce (how DO you say that anyway?) and it’s a snack.

We mix it with butter and melted marshmallows, squish it in a pan with our bare, buttered hands,  and it’s a desert.

Crumble it up and throw it on a casserole and it’s dinner. 

String it on yarn and it’s an edible craft.

We Americans love us some cold cereal.

We also love us some Chex Mix. 

It’s a salty tradition that balances out all the sugar we devour during the holidays.  And it’s healthy, right? Right?

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We go big or go home, as Jon,  my teenage son, would say. It’s easier to dump everything into lotsa bowls, then just crank the batches through the microwave. 

Since you just need 10 cups of stuff, I don’t always follow the recipe.  I love adding Bugles and Goldfish Crackers.  This year I added tiny Triscuits and little rye crackers. I use mixed nuts, cashews, or dry roasted peanuts, depending on sales.

We make enough for drop-by company or impromptu movie nights and store it in Ziplocs in fridge or freezer.

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This recipe came in a little cellophane wrapper in a box of Chex cereal, and is almost as old as my marriage.  We’re all still happily together. The online recipe is a bit different, although they claim it’s the original.

Plastic Chex Bowl 40th Anniversary with Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

I saved box-tops and sent for this treasure in 1990, a microwave safe bowl designed in honor of Peanuts’ 40th Anniversary.  I used it every year until I burned a hole right through the bottom. I found this beautiful memory  in Tracy’s Etsy shop, Upscale Yard Sale.

When my sister-in-law, Nita, gave me the turquoise Pyrex bowl in the first picture above,  a new tradition was born.

This year I needed a new tradition for serving my salty cold cereal for a holiday work party hosted in my home. I’ve used mini take-out boxes in the past, but I wanted something reusable.

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I guess I’ve been buying these things for awhile. The flatter ones are Sandbakkel molds, a Norwegian cookie I should make, but never have, and some are mini Jello molds.

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Those of you that like rusty, chippy things are drooling with jealousy now.

Those of you that don’t like rusty, chippy things are saying, “EEWWW!  Why didn’t she just throw that garbage out?”

Rabbit Trail Alert — I’m thinking those little flowers on the upper left would look great nailed onto something, or added to knitting needle stems or….what would YOU do with them?

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I was gunna’ be all impressive and use my Geometry skillz to perfectly cut holes on each side of the tin cups.  But, I discovered a lined index card with a black line worked just fine.

The tiny green wire garland was bought to make something for my daughter’s dollhouse a few years ago, but obviously, I never got around to it. I had to climb up into the scary attic and find it in the Christmas stuff, because I’m crazy like that when I have a project burning a hole in my pocket.

They need to change Murphy’s Law to Mindy’s Law.  Of course, I had to hit my head on a nail in the attic.  Why did they use nails six inches too long to pound the roof on?  It’s like a torture chamber up there.

Then, after drilling 50 holes with my trusty Makita drill, I realized little bits of metal were still clinging around the edges.  I didn’t want my company to eat metal, so I took a small paring knife and cleaned out each hole.  I was glad I remembered to wash them, because I bought them all at the thrift store and garage sales. 

Then, I discovered the green trim was shedding little bits of stuff after I cut the ends.  I had to de-fluff the green stuff by running it through my fingers and shaking the stuff on the floor for the kids to clean up.

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I used festive cupcake papers, ya’ know the kind I don’t usually spend the money on because I’m so cheap frugal, and turned them inside out to line the tins.

They really needed something added for a decoration, but I was out of time.

What would you add?

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They were served in an old, rusty cast iron muffin pan.  ‘Cuz, when you invite your husband’s boss and team over for a party, you really wanna’ serve them in rusty, vintage stuff.

It’s a tradition as American as Chex Mix.

veni. vidi. vici.

There’s nothing boringer (I like to make up my own words, sometimes, rather than just using everyone else’s)  than looking through someone else’s vacation pics, right?


That’s part of the reason I put off blogging about Amsterdam for so long.  My intent isn’t to make you jealous about what a great life I have, it’s to show you how the Lord ministered to my heart.


I have to admit that for the past year I have mumbled on occasion, “Nothing GOOD ever happens to ME!” 


I know, what a whiner.  My heart has been broken over and over again by the deaths of people I dearly loved.  Someone very dear to us, The Innocent Man,  was falsely accused of a crime and sentenced to 8 years in prison, 10 years on probation.  I’m permanently scarred from watching the him being shackled and hauled away without even being able to say good-bye or give one last hug.  My health has been stable, but the thyroid cancer is still there, lurking. 

The list could go on, but you all have your own lists, don’t you?  Burdens  weigh down our hearts so  we have a hard time believing we have a Faithful and Loving Father. The ugliness around can dull our hearts to the beauty of having a personal Savior.  Still, I daily fight to live my belief that shivers beneath the burdens,  “God is good all the time.”

I’d also been recently made aware that fear can cripple me, to the point where I don’t  do what I want to do. Not trying has been easier than failing. When the trip to Amsterdam came up, it was more than just a trip to Europe.


At one point before the trip, I cried a little.  Why would I leave my kids?  Why would I travel to a place where pot and prostitution are legal? What if something really bad happened?  I prayed and my hubby tried to encourage me, but he can’t relate.  He’s not afraid of anything.  After I conquered those fears of going all by myself, I busied myself with shopping and packing. We arrived and learned our first important travel lessons. What kind of woman wouldn’t be jumping for joy excited about going overseas? 


I spent the first day in the hotel room, unpacking, ironing, making sure hubby was ready for his responsibilities. OK, I was trying to muster up courage to follow through, too.  I ventured into the nearby mall and train station to plot my course, pretended I understood the train map,  and fanned my simmering coals of determination.

Then, it was all about me.

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There’s a quote about an army marching on it’s stomach, so I figured if I was gunna’ march around Amsterdam in my new Born shoes, I better eat breakfast.

I put on my new clothes, my new comfortable shoes, lightened the weight of my awesome purple purse, and I was off and running. There are so many museums and art galleries in Amsterdam, you could live there a lifetime and not experience it all.  You could just sit on one bench and feast on the sights around you and be content.  Or you can walk as fast as you can, like I did, and take as many pictures as you can, like I did, and try to accomplish everything in two days. I will show photo galleries later, today I want to show you how the Lord spoke His love me for.

After wandering around Amsterdam for hours taking pictures and breathing in the sensations of history, I start wandering away from Dam Square, following the canals.  At this point, I was feeling reckless. Even though my cell phone didn’t work and my credit cards didn’t work, and I had only about 20 euro with me, I figured if I got lost, someone would find me or help me or something. 

I spotted an enticing doorway.

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Look closely?  See the entrance? Dishes. Anybody that knows me personally, knows I love dishes. I pert near was drooling. The Golden Bend Tableware shop, which happens to specialize in dishes from two of my favorite companies, Syracuse China and Homer Laughlin.  Of course, I prefer the vintage models, but I was still thrilled to find this little spot.

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With my huge purple purse, the hallway was dangerous.  But, I bulled my way in.


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I coulda’ bought the whole bucket, but my suitcase was 49 pounds already. 



Dishes, dishes, everywhere.  I bought two Syracuse coffee mugs in one of my patterns for Scott and I to use in nostalgic , romantic memories.  OK, we never get up at the same time, and we never drink coffee at the same time, but maybe someday, we will.  While visiting with Dorothy, the owner and fellow dish lover, I wistfully mentioned that I really wanted to find a thrift store.  She looked up with  surprise and said, “There’s one just around the corner.”  Now, I really didn’t care if I was going to get lost or not.  I HAD to get to that thrift store.



Aahhh.  doesn’t it just look delicious?  I won’t bore you with details of all the treasures inside, and I can’t tell you the name because there wasn’t a sign, but if you come to Amsterdam with me, I’ll walk ya’ right to it. The owner, Arie, wasn’t in, but his worker wrote down the address for me.  Overtoom 532, 1054 Amsterdam, Holland. I want to send him a Hans Brinker book to promote a marketing strategy to Americans.


What I would have bought if I could fit it in my suitcase.



Or this.  Wouldn’t it look adorable with my grandkids in it.


What I bought had to fit in a suitcase that only had room for one more pound, or in a bag I carried home.  When you don’t see something on the surface, dig deeper. In a second hand store, it sometimes means getting your fingernails dirty, or crouching down to explore under a table. Under a table,  I found the Treasure of all Treasures.


Hans Brinker skates.  I was so excited I might have wet my pants if I’d been drinking my daily allotment of water.  But, remember, I’m in Amsterdam where there are no potties, so I wasn’t drinking.  If you pinched me, my skin would stick together for an hour, but at least I was ready for this moment of more excitement than an ol’ woman could handle.

As I squealed and stammered I kept saying, Hans Brinker, Hans Brinker.”  Even though her English was way better than my non-existent Dutch,  the clerk had no clue.  I had a DUH! moment.  The book was printed in America about Holland, they hadn’t grown up reading it. Wasn’t I silly to expect her to know who Hans Brinker was? The skates were only 5 euro a pair, and she enthusiastically helped me dig through the box and a basket   to find the oldest pairs.  I told her Americans would go crazy for these skates and she needed to charge more and hang them in the window, after I bought mine for the lower price, of course.  Not sure if she took my suggestion seriously, but she was very nice to this crazy American tourist.

I also purchased two vintage tins, because I collect tins.  I’ve seen enough sombreros, maracas and wooden shoes at garage sales to know  I wanted to purchase keepsakes worth keeping a lifetime.  Earlier I’d found a few miniatures  for my printer’s shelf, so I was good to go.


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Souvenirs couldn’t be any sweeter, could they? 

But, the blessings weren’t over.

I had a little time left before I met the hubby and business associates for dinner, and was casually wandering the streets towards the train station, when I spotted THE MUSEUM. I had 30 minutes before closing and I HAD to use the WC.   Photography was allowed, so I started running through the  museum taking pics of the displays and the description cards, for later research.  After a few minutes, I wanted to lay on the ground and weep in worship.

It was a Roman Empire display and I was seeing items I had only read about for the past twelve years.  A historical fiction  book has been burning in my heart and mind but I haven’t written because I don’t know enough about the Roman lifestyle during the time of Christ.  I’ve read books and watched movies and listened to college lectures, but I hadn’t pushed through, because that’s what I do.  Remember my fear of failure?



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It felt like I personally was the one who unearthed the treasures from their burial in time, the feeling of discovery was so intense.

It was a holy moment, because the Lord met me there.  Each item spoke of His infinite love and care for me. 


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I was reminded that those concerns of my heart are concerns of His heart, and that even though He didn’t have to prove His love to me, He did.




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So THAT’S what a strigil looks like? Words in books were coming alive.


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My homeschool mommy wheels were churning, what if we lived through the Roman Empire next year the way we’re living through the Homesteading era now with Little House on the Prairie books?  Wouldn’t it be fun to make a Roman doll house?  Actually, I’ve always wanted to do that, seeing these things in person made the dream a more possible reality.


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It’s easier to write about something when you’ve seen it.  When I got to this part of the display, an older gentleman in the doorway kept telling me to leave because they all wanted to go home. Since my home was a lot farther away than his, and I knew I wouldn’t be back again, I walked as slowly as I could,  taking as many pics as I could. 


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The final perfect souvenir of the perfect day from the museum store.

Without a map or a plan, the Lord drew me to my three favorite loves in a city I’d never been to before. I was overcome with His tender love for me.  With the help from the Lord ~

I came.

I saw.

I conquered….fear and Amsterdam.

Don’t Spit Me Out!

 There’s nothing better than a drink of cold water on a hot day.
If you really think about it,
nagging your kids to stay hydrated is Biblical.
Well, maybe not the nagging,
but providing cold water for them is.
 Matthew 10:42  
And whoever…gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink,
truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”
OK, I might be stretching the application a little, but
when I found this baby at a thrift store while shopping with my son Daniel,
I knew I needed it.
Red, vintage, useful to keep water cold,
what else could a woman want for her camping supplies?
I experimented freezing cups of water that fit perfectly in the opening.
Each block of ice was slipped into a sandwich bag,
then all into a gallon bag.  I didn’t want them to stick together.
It worked!
I had cold water the entire 90degree day.
I proved my hunch,
the colder the water  the more the kids drank.
Yea, I was Biblical without nagging.
As a new believer, another cold water verse was introduced to me.
Revelation 3:16
 So because you are lukewarm,
and neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of My mouth 
It was explained that God wanted me either hot,
 as in on fire for the Lord,
or cold, as in not on fire for the Lord,
but not lukewarm.
This didn’t make sense to me.
 Why would the Lord want people to walk for Him or against Him?
Every verse I read seemed to contradict this theory.
But, kept hearing this explanation.
It was a young man, Scott, who cleared this up for me.
He said this verse means the Lord wants us to be
Cold water is useful. 
It refreshes the thirsty.
It soothes burns and lowers fevers.
Hot water is useful.
It makes wonderful coffee and tea.
In bathing, it cleanses and soothes aching muscles.
It sanitizes.
Lukewarm water is good for nothing.
You don’t want to drink it,
You don’t want to sit in it,
You don’t want to wash with it.
The Lord wants us to be
like cold water, refreshing and healing,
or hot water, soothing and cleansing.
That vintage red cooler was so
I intend to keep it around for a long time.
That useful young man, Scott?
I kept him so long he’s vintage, too.
Now, I have two tools to help me follow Revelation 3:16.
I just don’t want the water of my life and service
to  be spit out…