Sunday, August 31, 2008

"I Do..."

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Friday night was a wonderful celebration of two lives coming together. My cousin married his beloved. The location was grand, the ceremony was poignant, the bride was beautiful, the groom was handsome, the weather was ideal, the food was delicious, and the dancing was fun, fun, fun! Picture perfect in every way!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Summer Says Good-Bye...

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As August keeps its steady march toward September, I, like the leaves that turn colors to usher in the autumn, am experiencing the shift of the seasons in multiple ways. Since I have been involved in education (learning, teaching, or both) most of my life, my internal clock runs with the ebbs and flows of the school year. It means a shift from outdoor and personal activities to indoor and work-related responsibilities. It means putting away the lightweight linen and cotton clothing and beginning to think in layers and warm cuddly sweaters. Open-toed sandals and flip-flops are exchanged for heels and shoes that protect feet from cool northern winds. It means putting away the bright summery decor and bringing out the earthy reds, rusts, golds, and bronzes that eloquently echo the retiring leaves.

As I prepare to say good-bye to a beloved summer, I thought I'd share with you a vignette in our home that was inspired by our summer trip to Hawaii, my passion for airy coastal cottage decor, and the love of family...

The glass pieces represent the freshness of the tropical tradewinds, the clarity of the Hawaiian waters, and the ease of summertime living. Each piece holds a pairing of seashells and white vintage linens from my grandmother. The vintage linens, the grand mirror, the Amish harvest table, the cake stand, the parson's chairs, the candle holders, the angel ornaments hanging from the chandelier, the chandelier itself, the wall color, the baseboard... Each item instantaneously takes me to a moment in my life when some family member openly gave of their time, their effort, their generosity, and their love. As this summer season passes, I am ever so grateful for the love of family and the special ways that we help each other through life and its transitions. Grateful, indeed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What do you think?...Keep or Remove Music?

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Hear that music that plays when you come to the WhisperWood blog? For you non-bloggers, you are listening to what is called a Playlist. If you scroll down the page and look in the left-hand column, you will eventually see the Playlist and what song is currently playing. What happens is that bloggers create a Personal Playlist on a different site (mine was created on Project where they compile music they like. They add this Playlist to their blog using a Playlist gadget, which automatically plays the selected music when someone is reading their blog. You can change the song simply by clicking on a different row. You can also hit the pause button to stop the music.

Now, I was recently reading another blog (can't remember which one now!) and there was a comment about removing the music from blogs because it is annoying, it takes long to load, and the music is usually bad. So, my question the Playlist feature negative or positive? Should a blogger (namely me) keep the Playlist or drop in the name of reader sanity? Tell me the truth by clicking on "comment" below and leaving a post. My Playlist destiny is in your hands...

Monday, August 25, 2008

JunkMarket's New Website

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In my previous August posts, I talked about meeting Sue Whitney of JunkMarket. If you haven't seen JunkMarket's new website, you should! It's fabulous! The editors post things and the members (joining is free) get to post their projects as well. If you want ideas for what to do your "junk", you will get plenty of ideas on the JunkMarket website. There's even a page to see when and where flea market/antique events are across the country. Sue recently posted a CONTEST to see what members can do with old cheese graters, so get your brain cells in motion.

Fun Finds!

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Well, between recent visits to antique stores, garage sales, and estate sales this past week, I came across some fun, fun things!

I found this antique scale at my favorite antique store. I'm not sure what it was used for, but it is heavy duty! It still works and I am tempted to get it. For what? Don't know the answer to that one. Sometimes you just have to grab those unique things and they find a use/place in your home over time. It has a fabulous patina, it's industrial, it has wheels, and it functions...all things I love and look for when I'm out junking! I haven't ruled it out yet (if it's still there!).

I found this bag of vintage clothespins for 50 cents. They have a great patina, don't they? They might be put to use, used for some other creative purpose or project, or they might end up as jar filler. Who knows!?

Here are a couple fun books I found. "One-minute Organizer"...who doesn't need that? Seems to be some good tips in there. Should be fun to explore. Now the other book is very interesting. If anyone wants to know how to make plastic out of milk or myriad other MacGyver-type things, just let me know. It gets a bit technical for me when it gets into wires and other things.

Now, for the best find of the week! Ya' gotta love estate never know what you'll find! Further words are not needed! Enjoy...

Jen & Andy's Wedding

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Slaying Dragons (Dragon Boats, that is!)

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Well, what a weekend! We spent Saturday at the Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival. Not watching, mind you, but participating! Don't know what dragon boats are? They are long canoe-like boats that hold 20 people (18 rowers, a drummer, and a steerer). Here are the boats lined up to let teams off and load new teams...

Here's what the front and back of the boat look like...


The job of the drummer (the part I played) is to sit in the front of the boat, facing the team, and keep pace with the drum and yell voice commands (such as "reach" and "dig"). Here are some fun shots of drummers...


Here's a race in action. Those rowers are giving it all they've got for that 2 - 2.5 minutes. RJNJ and the rest of the team got two great workouts that day!

Here are some other fun shots I took that day...


We didn't win, but we sure had fun! Despite the cool, cloudy August day, we survived the weather and the waves. It was one of those things in life that you never thought you'd do...first, because you had never heard of it...and second, because there are a limited number of teams. It was an honor to be asked and we look forward to doing it again next year! :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hawaiian Rainbow

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Here is one of my favorite shots from Hawaii during our trip in June. I was able to capture the rainbow as we were traveling up the mountain on the north side of the Big Island. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


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There are so many reasons I love junking...(1) It is a creative outlet for me. (2) It is beneficial to the environment because old items are being repurposed, (3) It's so fun to meet people who share the same interests and values, and (4) I'm a lifelong learner and this is always a learning process!

This photo is demonstrating how I'm learning to see things differently and put things together in new and creative ways. The items above have been combined to create an entertainment center in my living room. You see a dining room buffet that suffered flood damage. The legs were cut off and I got it for a great price. You see a vintage coat rack (from a Chicago men's club I was told), which is now serving as a grounding piece and a location for an ever-changing decorative display. You also see a retired street sign (from somewhere in Iowa I was told by the vendor at Oronoco Gold Rush Days) that is now simply a stunning piece of industrial art. I love the eclecticism and how the pieces work together even though they have been collected over a period of time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Cart" Blanche!

Pin It Here's another project I finished today. Yes, I was on a mission to get some things done before the school year kicks into high gear. I don't have a before picture of this 50s rolling cart, but it is one that I picked up at an antique store several months ago. The vendors had painted it a light green and had intermittently sprayed a silver paint on the chrome. On further inspection after I got home, I discovered it hadn't been prepped correctly. So, now I've made it my own after several hours of sanding, priming, and painting. Here is the final piece...

It will make a great addition to my kitchen, dining room, office, workout room, guest room, or any room for that matter. It will probably serve many purposes in the future!

So, today the green cart went white and the white chair went black. There are several other pieces in the works, so visit again!

Fishy Tales

Pin It Welcome to the newest member of the family, who weighed in at 7 lbs. 4 oz.! No, it's not really a family member, but it will have a home in my parents' cabin, I'm sure. This is a large mouth bass straight from a secret and sacred fishing hole in northern Wisconsin. I have been sworn to secrecy, so no asking where he caught it!

Beautiful Minnesota Day

Pin It As I've been working outside a lot today, I stopped to appreciate the beautiful Minnesota day. I thought I'd try to capture the essence of it for you. Here's the view off the back deck...

Amazing blue sky. Warm sun. Crisp breeze. Whispering trees. Stunning, no?

Wicker Chair Gets New Life!

Pin It Here's a wicker chair I got at a garage sale for $5.00 a few weeks ago. I had a feather chair cushion that I've had in storage for a couple years. The cushion fit well and the chair was in okay status. (Notice TDOG lounging in the background...HAPPY DOG!).

As the days went by, okay status became not okay. It didn't fit with the rest of the deck furniture. What to do? Well, I started by priming it with grey primer. Then I pulled out the glossy black spray paint and went to work. Here it is today in all its glory...

I think the black glossy finish gives it that extra joie de vive that makes it something a little extra special now. 

What do you think? Did you prefer the white or are you gung ho for the black? Select the "comments" icon below and cast your vote!

New Dental Sink Plant Stand & Toilet Paper Holder!

Pin It That's right! A plant stand and toilet paper holder! Magic! Here it was at Oronoco...looking a little unloved and in need of a good home...

Here it is being put to use and feeling loved in the master bath.


Isn't it amazing?! Find it. Save it. Create it. Use it. A little creativity and we can save tons (literally) of things from the landfill! 

Monday, August 18, 2008

Oronoco Flow

Pin It Well, kids, here are a few things I picked up at the Oronoco Gold Rush Days. The day that started off foggy and misty turned hot and August should be...perfect for antiquing!

Here's one of my favorite finds. It's an old dental stool from the 1800s. It has horsehair stuffing in the seat. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but it pivots in all directions on the socket at the base of the stool. I suppose this was so the dentist could angle himself as needed. It also has a lever to raise and lower the seat. I've never seen a stool like it and I love it!

Another treasure is this enamelware wall sink. She had fresh hydrangeas in it and looked gorgeous!

A street sign like this is hard to find, so I lucked out! In one of the JunkMarket books, I saw one made into a coat rack. This one might have a future as one as well. Right now, it is simply industrial art in the living room.

Okay, now I have some mixed emotions about these bar stools. I was looking for 4 more industrial/metal bar stools to replace the pine ones we have now. The vendor had gotten these from an estate sale outside of Chicago. They are in great shape for their age and did not have any flaws in the vinyl or anything. When I got home, I was eagerly unloading the truck to get them inside to see how they looked. Wah. Wah. Wah. They were too tall! Duh! Bar height stools. Counter height counter. Double duh! Needless to say I was disappointed. Raising the counter would not look right, so I'm debating whether to sell them or to cut them down in some way. If you know anyone in the market for some really cool retro bar stools, let me know! There are 4!

Now, here's one that will get you! An old dental sink!! What will I do with it? There are so many options!...a fountain, a bird bath, a planter or plant stand, etc. Right now, it is actually being used in the master bath as a plant stand and toilet paper holder. The plant is sitting in the basin. The toilet paper roll fits perfectly over that top metal piece that could also serve as a towel holder.

There are a couple other pieces of which I don't have close-up photos. Those will be getting makeovers of some sort.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Striking Gold at Gold Rush Days!

Pin It Well, what a time at Gold Rush Days in Oronoco! My hotel alarm did not go off as planned, but I still woke up at 4:45 a.m. (only 15 minutes after that pesky alarm should have buzzed!) and was on the foggy road about 5:20 a.m. I pulled into Oronoco around 6:00 and found that people were already active. I found one of the many residents who rent out their lawns for parking spaces. I gladly paid $5.00 for a prime spot and headed out to see what I could see. 

The town was shrouded in misty fog that gave it a magical quality. Vendors were setting up everywhere. The ground was still damp from the previous evening's rains. But there was energy in the air. Others like me were already headed about with their rolling carts to find their treasures. Here are some things that were interesting, beautiful, or clever...



A bit later, I made it to the JunkMarket booth. I saw a petite, blonde woman who looked somewhat familiar. "Are you Sue?", I asked? After a warm greeting from her, Sue Whitney & I became fast friends. She is fabulous! High energy, positive attitude, creative mind...she does everything with flair! I later brought my 2 books and 1 magazine by for her to autograph. I came back again about 12:30 and we walked around the booths a bit. I showed her some things I bought, she shared her inventive ideas, she introduced me to people, I introduced her to a vendor I met earlier. Just an all around great time. There is a great chance I will get to work with her professionally in the future...more on that later!!! Here are some photos of the JunkMarket booth...


As the day went on, I did find some things to adopt. I'll reveal those in later posts. There's a great system at Oronoco that helps people pick up their items. There are guys that drive around with 4-wheelers & trailers. You tell them where you need to go and they drive you there. Below is my view behind "Tim" as he carted me around like a Junk Princess on parade. I found out that he buys a permit from the city and he has his own little "moving business" for the weekend. There was a $10 charge for this service, but it was well worth it. I was so grateful for his help loading, unloading, and packing things into my vehicle that he earned a hefty tip as well. Thanks, Tim!

Gold Rush Days was a fun and positive experience! It was also a tiring one! After little sleep, an early rising, and 7 straight hours on my feet, I was exhausted! Here's to exciting adventures and to rejuvenating rests that follow them. Cheers!