The Great Indoors: How to make sure vintage doesn’t equal junky

It’s been almost a month since cleanup week found antique lovers and bargain hunters rummaging through piles of would-be garbage on the city’s curbs. Perhaps you’re one of them; excited at first by what you found, now looking at it and wondering “what am I going to do with this thing?”

It’s something vintage decorators like Shannon Olson and Carrie Brusven understand. Olson writes a blog ( on her love of vintage decorating and baking. Brusven owns Rustic Trunk, a business which specializes in decorating for events using vintage or rustic pieces.

Both of their homes are covered in vintage pieces from the 19th and 20th century, much of it acquired from clean-up week, garage sales and discount bins. The rooms are full of conversation pieces. They feel warm and welcoming and you don’t feel like you’re sitting in the middle of a junk pile. But how do they do it? How do you avoid having your collections and vintage pieces from making your house feel cluttered? Here are their tips.

1. Find what you love and stick to it. Olson says she’s always loved enamel ware and old coffee pots. So when she sees one she picks it up. She doesn’t bother with something that’s close, but not quite right. All that will do is add to the clutter and it won’t ever be a favorite piece. The item should really speak to you. If it’s nice, but not quite right pass it up. Brusven especially likes pieces that have a story with them. That way it’s not just a knick knack on a shelf, it’s history.

2. A collection can be three items not 30. Collectors get obsessed. They see something they like and they think they need to have every one ever made. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Or consider buying it, but only displaying a handful. Brusven agrees. “When you have too many items on display, nothing stands out.” Less can be more.

3. While shopping at garage sales or on the curb consider the strategy of one in/one out. If you bring something home to use in decorating your home, consider taking something else away and putting it on your own curb for clean up week.

4. Vintage can be practical. There’s no reason vintage decorations can’t be functional too. Olson found an old rake handle in her neighbor’s garbage. She attached it to an old wooden cabinet door and uses it to hang necklaces in her bathroom. Her photo from the project has been a hit on Pinterest. Brusven found an old beat up cabinet that she repurposed into a lemonade stand or guest book stand for use at weddings or other events.

“No one would have wanted this thing. But we worked with it and it’s really a cute and fun piece now,” she says.

5. You’d be surprised what a little TLC can do. If you see something that’s really beat up, give it a little tender loving care and it can come back to life. Olson found an old dresser like one her grandmother once owned. It brought back so many memories but the top of the dresser was trashed. But Olson took it and gave it new life. She found old sheet music and covered the top of the dresser in it. That piece has become the primary dresser in her master bedroom.

For more ideas on vintage decorating and baking, visit Shannon Olson’s blog at and for more information on decorating for events go to

DIY Christmas: Personalized Coasters

Did you know the majority of Americans feel like they spent too much last Christmas? And if last Friday’s numbers are any indication, shoppers are going overboard this Christmas as well.

If you’re not done with your shopping (or maybe haven’t even started) why not consider making homemade gifts? They cost less than store-bought gifts and can be more meaningful because you took the time to make them yourself.

I stumbled across the idea of homemade coasters this summer while visiting a friend’s lake cabin. I noticed the cutest homemade, personalized coasters on the coffee table. They had been simply made from a Minnesota road map. But you can do so much more. And best of all it’s inexpensive. A set of six coasters can be made for about 7 dollars.

Here’s what you need to start:

Six small square tiles found at any home improvement store.

A small bottle of Mod Podge in any finish you’d like: glitter, matte or glossy. (Mod Podge is sold at crafts stores such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby).

White glue

A sponge paintbrush

3 8 1/2 by 11 sheets of felt (color you pick is based on the artwork you select).

Artwork (pictures, maps, etc)

Cut the artwork to fit your tiles. Make the artwork just a fraction smaller than your tile so you don’t need to trim the picture. Place a small bit of glue on the tile to secure the picture. Use the sponge brush to Mod Podge over the picture on the tile. Let it dry over night. Depending upon how you’d like the coaster to look, you can consider putting another coat of Mod Podge on the coaster. Once you’re happy with the finish of the tile, glue squares of felt onto the back of the coaster.

The possibilities are endless on what you can make. Here are just a few ideas:

Geographical: Does your friend have a lake place like my friend? Or maybe they have a favorite city or state. Maps are perfect for this project.

Sports fan: Use photos from the newspaper of your team in action. Pick felt that matches your school or team colors.

Family fun photos: dig into that shoe box of old photos you haven’t put into an album yet and make them into keepsakes.

Hobby coasters: They love NASCAR? Buy a NASCAR magazine and find pictures of their favorite drivers.

Wedding coasters: Pictures of the bride and groom from childhood to coupledom.

Think about your loved one’s interests or passions. Let your imagination guide you. It’s simple. It’s easy. And every time, they put their glass down, they’ll think of you.

What SheSays

Children look up to their parents, especially at a young age. Blue Cross Blue Shield has a couple commercials showing overweight parents making unhealthy decisions and their children following suit. Is this a good way to promote families making better decisions or putting them down?

These real women talk about this real issue this week on What SheSays.

What SheSays

From “Toddlers & Tiaras” comes a one-of-a-kind reality show “Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo”. This show has been a recent hit with people commenting on their redneck ways and the audience’s inability to pull their eyes away from the screen once this unique family pops on your screen.

A big question has been with this and any other reality TV show featuring children, are they being exploited for money? Real people talk about this real issue on this week’s episode.

Hungry For More: Basic Brined Chicken

Join Hungry For More’s Jim Manney and LaurelLee Loftsgard and learn how a simple brine can take your basic chicken to the next level!

Basic Brine

2 ½ Cups Water
2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
10 Peppercorns
2 Bay Leaf
½ Lemon

Heat water and salt until salt dissolves. Squeeze in lemon juice, and lemon rind, peppercorns, bay leaf and any other herb or spices you wish to incorporate. Take off the heat and let cool completely. Pour over chicken, turkey or pork and keep in a resealable bag in the refrigerator up to 8 hours. Make enough so all of the meat is covered, double or triple if necessary.

Note: To speed up the process, heat only half the water needed and after you remove the pan from the heat add the remaining liquid amount as ice to help cool.

Brined Chicken Breast

1 lb. Chicken Breast
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Heat over to 400. If you used a brine, remove chicken from the liquid, rinse with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with pepper (and salt if you didn’t brine). Heat saute pan over medium high heat, add olive oil and carefully place chicken breast in the pan. Make sure there is enough room so the chicken isn’t crowded. Brown chicken breast on both sides and finish in the oven (about 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165F)

Roasted Asparagus

Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Heat oven to 400. Wash and and dry break off woody stems of asparagus. Place asparagus in a single layer on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 25 minutes. Asparagus should be tender but crisp.

Know Your Identity and Have Faith In It

Only 2% of women think they are beautiful. How can that be? We need to believe in ourselves and know that we’re beautiful. We need to know our identity.

Happy Body/Hot Life columnist Chris Linnares speaks at Mikey Hoeven’s Women’s Wellness Expo about how we can be our most powerful and wonderful selves which is by having faith in ourselves and our identity.