Today I am thrilled to have a guest blogger,
who’s not only my my sister-in-law, she’s one of my closest friends.
I’ve spent hours at her country kitchen dining room table,
drinking in coffee and pouring out my heart.
She knows all my secrets and keeps them.
There isn’t anything I haven’t told her or can’t tell her.
She inspires, encourages and loves me.
She has a talent of taking everything in her life,
from her home to her trials,
and making it beautiful.
When we were “junking” this summer,
my mom’s word for going to thrift shops,
we found this weird item.
We laughed and I dared her to buy it,
confidant she would create something amazing.
This is what I’ve been waiting for.
Introducing Susan from McVille, North Dakota
It all started when my sister-in-law posted a picture of a Christmas tree stuffed into an old step ladder.
No, wait, it all started when my family moved back to the house on the farm I grew up in and my sister-in-law and her family would come to visit.
Oops, I have to go back even further. It all started when we were newly married women starting our families and living on budgets that squeaked so much the mice covered their ears.
Nope, that’s not right either.….I have to go all the way back to the beginning, and that was the day my husband’s brother, Scott, knocked on our door and introduced us to the lovely young woman he was going to marry – the beautiful blonde woman you know as MommaMindy.
I have the pleasure of being related to someone who I would have chosen for a friend a hundred times over. We are similar in ways that those who grew up in the same house can’t even boast. Over the past 26 years, we have laughed, cried, and prayed each other through everything from learning to be good wives to our very good husbands, to having babies (lots of babies!) and trying to raise them to be children of God, to homeschooling, to moving multiple times, to becoming mothers-in-law and grandmothers — it has all been shared during our “prayerallel” lives.
One of the topics we love to discuss while drinking multiple cups of coffee at the kitchen table is decorating. Even back in the days when we lived in apartments with horrible green shag carpeting, we would share ways to make a house into a home. Of course, those squeaky budgets always got in the way, so we had to learn to be frugal while trying to achieve the look and feel that we desired.
Mindy was always better at this than I. No matter where she lived, she would go to rummage sales and thrift stores and find things that she loved. I marveled at how she would collect beloved items and arrange them so cleverly in her home. And I don’t mean the big items; I’m talking about the little accessories – mostly vintage and red – sprinkled around her home that gave a glimpse into her soul immediately upon entry.
I, on the other hand, don’t possess Mindy’s vision. I limped through the years knowing I needed to make my home pretty and inviting, but struggling with my mix-matched, hand-me-down furniture and accessories. Every time Mindy would visit, she would have wonderful ideas that I would implement and subsequently love, but I just couldn’t take the idea and keep running with it.
And then it happened — Mindy posted the photo that changed my life.
I’m sure you know the kind of moment – the one when angels start to sing.
(Cue big organ chord – AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH)
I double-clicked on that glorious photo which took me to a blog by Donna at Funky Junk Interiors and life as I knew it would never be the same.
I was plunged into the world of junky décor. As I clicked on photo after photo,
I was introduced to using repurposed items in new and imaginative ways — items I already possessed, or could make, or could find.
Items that were rusty and previously discarded around our farmstead suddenly had the potential to become works of art.
Items that I saved for years just because I thought they were neat or had belonged to my ancestors. And did I mention the burlap?
Finally, a look that I could wrap my brain around – a look that made me happy and could just possibly give a glimpse into my soul.
Which bring me to the point of my first attempt at blogging……….
Earlier this summer when Mindy came for a visit, we decided to have a “girlie” afternoon in a neighboring small town.
We enjoyed a cup of coffee at the little coffee/antique store and then made our way down the street to the thrift shop.
It was here that I discovered the secret to Mindy’s treasures – she goes through every little basket in the craft area.
You know – those baskets and boxes that no one else ever takes the time to go through.
As she was looking for buried treasure, my eyes caught sight of a strange looking item waaaaaay on the top shelf.
It was this weird wire contraption.
(Please ignore the date stamp – I forgot to reset the camera)
Neither of us could figure out what it was, but my junky radar kicked in and we both decided
it just needed to come home with me even though I had no idea what I could use it for.
It was marked at $.50, but when I got to the till to pay for it with the rest of my items,
the cashier took one look at it and threw it in for free!
(When I was discussing it with another friend later,
she confirmed my suspicions that it had been a wire wreath form in a previous life.)
My new junky acquisition sat around for a couple weeks waiting for my brain cells to fire up.
One day, I was in the kitchen looking at the antique light fixture which had become a terrible eyesore.
You see, we had decided to fill the fixture with fluorescent light bulbs many years ago
because it is the main light in our eat-in kitchen and is turned on for most of the day.
Unfortunately, the old globes don’t fit over the wider bases of the ugly fluorescent bulbs.
I really didn’t want to change out the chandelier because it was original to the house and has a lovely patina on the metal.
I was again thinking of how to solve the problem when it occurred to me ……
The circumference of the wire form might be the same size as the chandelier!
I ran to get the form, held it up over the top of the bulbs, and realized it was perfect!
I measured, cut, and hemmed the burlap (which I had on hand for just such an occasion).
I figured I could hook the wire half-circles right through the weave of the burlap to attach.
I sewed covers for the pliable wire that would hook into the already existing chain to suspend the shade over the bulbs.
And Ta-Da !
I had created a custom-made junky chandelier shade for about $1.50!
So, now when anyone admires my new shade, I simply tell them, “It all started with my sister-in-law.”