Tuesday, May 28, 2019


                      There is more to life than increasing its speed.  Mahatma Ghandi

I have been on a kind of hiatus from blogging but now I'm back! I've been busy working on my Etsy Shop, Gwen And Alma's, but there's still more to do. I guess that's always the way it is in business, even a small business! 

While sharing about Gwen And Alma's here, I'll also continue to share my adventure in "simplifying" my life, my journey in experiencing the joy of "gratitude", and some thoughts on "living in the moment". I hope you'll join me!

I love to find old books in my hunt for treasures for my little shop. But before I go any further I guess I better begin calling it "OUR" little shop because my husband and daughter work on this fun endeavor with me!

So anyhoo, I'm always on the lookout for interesting old books and I found one called, "A Way Of Life" by William Osler. It's a little book printed in 1937 and it's an address delivered to Yale Students in the Spring of 1913 as a sort of "lay sermon". The gist of Osler's sermon is to do the day's work, to live in the day. He coined the phrase, "living in day-tight compartments". I had heard this phrase before but didn't know it was first coined by this man who I had never heard of. This was right up my alley in seeking to live in the moment. Even thought he speaks more of living "in the day", it's the same idea and I wondered what he would have to say back in 1913 about a concept that is popular today and perhaps even thought of as a "new idea" for this day and age. 

Osler was a very wise and learned man but his main philosophy of life that he says helped him become very accomplished was simply a "habit". He explains how he began life in the best of environments, having grown up in a parsonage as one of a family of nine children. He has filled Chairs in Four Universities, accepted several professorships, written a successful book ( not this one ), and had been asked to lecture at Yale. These accomplishments would suppose that he would have "brains of a special quality", he asserts. But, he says, and as his friends would agree, he was actually a man of mediocre character. The one quality, he suggests, that helped him attain this degree of success in life was simply a "habit". A habit of living one day at a time, or living in "day-tight compartments" as he phrased it. Not worrying about the future or living in the past but focusing on what is right in front of you.

Sounds so simple really and it is BUT it isn't! It's NOT simple because our habits have been most often in letting our thoughts wander into the past and mindlessly into the future. But it IS simple because it only takes practice on a daily basis focusing on the present moment and the present day. This simple change of habit, Osler claims, can help you accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

This little 41 page book explains more on this topic and is a quick read but one you will want to come back to again and again for inspiration. I might want to keep this little book for myself and not sell it but we'll see. It's a little treasure for sure!


Tuesday, August 21, 2018


                                                    Out of organizing find simplicity.

As I've mentioned in previous posts I'm working on simplifying my life. This means different things to different people. Right now for me, in this stage of my life, it means de-cluttering. Next year we will have been married 50 years! Yikes! I can't even believe I'M 50, much less being married that long! Anyhoo, you can imagine what you can collect in that amount of time. Especially when your husband is a pack rat like mine. He has a hard time letting go of everything!

I've been cleaning out drawers, cupboards and closets one at a time. I'm doing things in "baby steps" so as not to mess up the whole house when de-cluttering. If I emptied one whole closet in a day I would probably have a mess and not know what to do with it. Therefore, "baby steps". Not to mention the time it would take. But I CAN find a 1/2 hour in my day to do one section of something. The other day I mentioned to Les that I was going to clean out the "drinking glasses" cupboard and he said, " Well, don't do it unless I'm here!" He wouldn't be able to let go of all the plastic cups he gets every time he buys something to drink. Like a lemonade at the fair. And he buys special glasses that go with special non alcoholic fancy drinks when we travel and go to a restaurant. And travel mugs and mugs with fun sayings and on and on. These things clutter up the cupboard but he just can't let go of them. I'm tempted to do it when he's not here but he would not be a happy camper with that. So I'm going to have to "allow" him to pick a couple of favorites to save and then de-clutter from there.  

The simplifying and organizing bug got me to thinking about the items I have to sell that are great for organizing and yet add charm to any decor. I've gone through and picked out some to keep but I have some that I will be adding to our Etsy Shop. Without being conscious of it, I actually have bought a lot of things that are great organizing items that are also charming pieces. Simplifying is in the back of my mind at all times.

I thought I'd share them here. Only a couple of them are listed in our shop right now but others will be soon. They would be great for organizing anything but my daughter, who is now homeschooling her 1st grade daughter,  also pointed out that they would be great for Home School Moms. She has a few things she found for herself as we do this business together. She likes to keep her organizing items natural wood so these were right up her alley.

And there's MORE....

You can just go to my Etsy Shop here to see the smaller items that are already listed and some others not shown here.  Have fun looking!

Saturday, August 4, 2018


Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.   Robert Heinlien

  We're gearing up for Gold Rush! We've been hitting some final sales before the big event and the countdown is on! Now we have to make tags, give the treasures one last cleaning, and pack 'em up! We try not to wait until the last minute. It ends up being back-breaking! We are getting OLD but it's always encouraging to see even older sellers at Gold Rush. On either side of where we usually have our booth are couples that are in their 80's and 90's! They make ME feel older than THEY are the way they run around!

So here are a few bigger items we'll be bringing to Gold Rush:

This table will be coming to the sale this year! It has been in my Laundry Room for quite a while now and I have another table I'll be using in there. We're working on downsizing so one has to go. This table was handy because any spills of laundry detergent could be easily wiped off this enamel top table. It was hard to choose which one would go but the other one gets to stay because we bought it as a gift to ourselves  and used it in our last house as a kitchen table. Brings back good memories STILL.

This old Hitchcock Chair is another guy coming with us. The rush seat is in great condition though the wood is a little scratched in some places. I saw a picture of a chair exactly like this in Country Living magazine. I've loved this little guy also but he needs a new home.

This primitive black coffee table will be there! It's the perfect size for a small space but also opens on both sides to add table room when needed.

And more fun stuff to come! I'll also be bringing some items from my Gwen And Alma's shop to sell and you can see those items here. 

I'll be sharing more things that will be there in the next couple of weeks.

And even though this collecting and selling is still a "Hobby" for us, we find other fun things to do as well. We also enjoy spending time at the Lake on our Pontoon with the kids and grandkids. We always have fun with the kids and enjoy the beautiful scenery as well.


We also see fun wild life like these migrating white pelicans that make a stop through this Lake on their way through...and some Sea Gulls in the background.

Hope you're having a fun and relaxing summer!

Thanks for stopping by!  

Saturday, July 28, 2018


   Gladness of the heart is the life of a man, and the joyfulness of the man prolongs his days.  

We will be having a booth at Gold Rush in Rochester. The event is being held on August 17, 18, 19.

Here is one thing that will be in our booth:

 This old industrial bakers rack ( or shoe rack ) that I purchased at an antique shop a few years back.

It has metal posts at the corners and four wooden dowel shelves. There is a fifth space at the bottom that can be used as storage also by using the steel beam frames. 

I am trying to create a simpler lifestyle by downsizing so I've decided to let this go. I've used it as storage in a little office I have but it really takes up too much room for the space. At the time I purchased it I had been looking for one of these for years so when I spotted it I had to have it! 

        It had been on the second floor of the antique shop, called The Button Factory, and had to be sent down on an old elevator. The shop is unique in that it is in a very old building that previously was a button making factory. They made pearl buttons from clam shells taken from the lake. The town sits on Lake Pepin, an enlarged area on the Mississippi River.

We have our pontoon on this lake and I've spent many years on this lake going back to when I was a child. The Mississippi River marks the dividing line between the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. So while we live in Minnesota, when we're at the lake we can look across the river  to see the bluffs in Wisconsin.

I'll be sharing more photos in the coming days of more treasures that we will be bringing to Gold Rush. Hope to see you there! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


           The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well being that places harmony in one's life. Peace Pilgrim


In my last post I talked about Living Simply. But really what does that mean? It can mean different things to different people as I mentioned in that post. But my question is, " What does Living Simply mean to YOU?"

Is it about downsizing to a smaller living situation? Decluttering and just getting rid of stuff?  Finding more time in your life by cutting back on your activities and obligations? More serenity and calm in your life?  An uncluttered mind? Or maybe it's all of the above.

Some of these areas may not be right for you at the moment, such as downsizing. Maybe this is not the right time for you to move to a smaller living situation. And that's OK. One size doesn't fit all in the case of Living Simply. But you might want to think about which of these areas fits your idea of simple living right now. 

My first step in the process of wanting to live a simpler lifestyle was to take the step listed below.
It helps to find a comfortable place to sit with maybe coffee or tea nearby. Get relaxed and ready to begin clarifying what you really want/desire in your life. Get a new notebook, nothing fancy, but it helps to begin with a nice fresh notebook, and pen or pencil. Now you're ready!

You are going to make three lists: 

1) Make a list of your priorities
2) Make a list of your values
3) Make a list of your passions

The reason for this listing is because when your values, priorities, and passions are clear in your mind,  you are then free to release whatever is in your life that does not uphold them. They are easier to let go of when you have this clarity. You can then release more clutter in your home, more activities in your day, and be intentional as to where you put your focus. Ann Voskamp, author and blogger says, "Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus."

Begin to think about what this list means to you and what is in your life right now. Are you spending time with things not on your list? Are you accumulating unnecessary items in your home? How much time do you spend with things on your "Priorities List"? Does your life seem to match up with the list you made?  As you begin to think about this list and your life right now some things will stand out glaringly and others will need to be looked at a bit closer. Take some time to compare your list with how you are living your life. It may seem like too much "work" if you're not a "list maker" but it really helps to do this before you get started creating your Simple Life.

And while you're at it, check out these items now listed in our Etsy Shop, Gwen And Alma's here!


Monday, July 23, 2018

Seeking The Simple Life....In Baby Steps


My husband's name is Les. When we were dating, many many years ago now, his friends would always ask me, "Why settle for Les? You GET Les! Don't you want MORE?" They thought they were so funny!

But "Minimalism" is on the rise so "less"( Les )  is now "more", more or less!  Hah!

So while I am beginning to embrace a simpler lifestyle I'm realizing it's NOT ALL THAT SIMPLE. Especially when my current hobby/business is collecting and then selling vintage and antique treasures. Right now I have an inventory of 300+ items including some furniture, that are all waiting to be sold in my Etsy Shop, Gwen And Alma's, or at the local Gold Rush event, a local antique sale and flea market. While selling antiques started out as a hobby, it now makes enough income for  us to take our kids and grandkids on vacation every summer and do other fun things. And the thrill of the hunt makes me happy. My husbands hobby is golf but it doesn't make any money. Just sayin. 

So I'm not ready to give up my hobby just yet.   But I do really want to pursue a simpler lifestyle. I may not make it all the way to minimalism, but that's OK. So the question for me is,"Can I simplify my life while being in this business that I enjoy and provides us with fun benefits?" Oh yeah, and my other challenge in this is that my husband, Les, is a PACK RAT. He has a hard time letting go of ANYTHING! Ironic, isn't it? His name should really be MORE!

I don't believe that one has to become a " true minimalist" as some who believe that it includes downsizing to only having 100 things in your home or that you need to live in a "tiny home". But of course, that is just MY opinion.

Everyone's "simple life" may look different. Some may think it means letting go of lots of "stuff", while others may think it's about just getting back to the "basics".  I often think of Tasha Tudor when I think of downsizing, but I don't think I'd be able to live her lifestyle, romantic though it may be.

 So I'm on a journey to find the right kind of Simple Life that is right for ME. And while I do, I hope you'll follow along and discover your OWN Simple Life. 

But I'm going to try and keep it simple, taking BABY STEPS. Because who wants to make simplifying your life, well... complicated? Am I right?

So follow along as I "do this business" and try at the same time, to simplify my life. If you've been following along because you've shopped our Hob Nobber sales ( and have no plan to simplify your life ), stay tuned because I'll still be talking about vintage stuff and keeping you informed of upcoming sales (at Gold Rush now). Also, there will be updates on my Etsy Shop and as this blog begins to grow, I will have some Give-Aways from my Etsy Shop.

Follow my Facebook page at Gwen And Alma's!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


                        Don't GO through life, GROW through life.  Eric Butterworth

We've finally recovered from Gold Rush! It was a whirlwind week of cleaning our treasures, tagging them, packing them, and then unloading them in our booth. That was followed by three days of selling and of course, more buying! The first day was raining and COLD! Fortunately we were inside. The people who had planned on being outside didn't set up until the following day. I was surprised  that we actually sold some things! The true diehard collectors and shoppers still came! We did have to have our winter jackets, boots, and even mittens. It was THAT cold, even inside! But still, as always, we had FUN!

I managed to remember to take a few photos of our booth.  Some of the items in the photos have sold and others are being listed in our Etsy Shop.  We sold a lot of the furniture on the first day. A large green cart was sold to a lady who was going to use it for an outdoor wedding and then giving it to a friend who had a floral and garden shop. I love it when someone finds something that is just perfect for their needs. Some of our items go to photographers to be used as photo props. Others, of course, are happy to find a treasure for themselves. There were even shoppers for Mother's Day gifts and I happened to have just the right items! So all in all it was a success for everyone!

                                     And these were  just SOME of the treasures we had.  Be sure and check out my Etsy Shop, here, to see more!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


                        In the Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.  Margaret Atwood

 Are you getting ready to get out there into the dirt? The gardeners here are out working hard already. Ben has planted Pansies in the big pots by the door but now is using his blower to blow leaves, dirt, and other junk off the driveway and sidewalks.

For my part I've just purchased indoor plants as mentioned in a previous post. I don't smell like dirt, yet, but I'm working on it!

I've listed a few more things in my Etsy Shop, Gwen And Alma's! I'll post some of them here but go check out our shop to see more. I'm trying to get up to 300 things for sale on our shop but things keep selling! Not complaining though! I love to hear those Cha Chings! In case you don't know what I mean by that.... Etsy's site is set up so that whenever you make a sale, your ipad makes a loud CHA CHING noise! If I'm on the ipad, engrossed in reading something when it cha chings, it scares the bejeemers out of me! But it's so FUN to hear!

So here are some latest listings:

Tomorrow I head out to the 100 mile garage sale around Lake Pepin! Hope to pick up some great stuff! I'll be listing some and taking some to Gold Rush this month! See last post for info on  Gold Rush.
Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. Click the  link to go to our  Etsy Shop

If you like something, "heart" it! Thanks!

Saturday, April 28, 2018


                   Gwen and Alma's will be at Gold Rush this coming May 11th! We'd love to see you there!                      

                                           GOLD RUSH 
                        ANTIQUE SHOW AND FLEA MARKET
                      OLMSTED COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS
                                      ROCHESTER, MN 

                                          MAY 11 - 13

Now in its 46th year, Rochester Gold Rush is known to be one of the top antique destinations in the nation!

Covering the entire 52 acres of the grounds with vendors from across the U.S.  Including 10 buildings, 3 arenas, and the grounds outdoors!

                                 You won't want to miss this! 



                    No Winter lasts forever; no Spring skips its turn.  Hal  Borland

Hah! Actually I WAS beginning to think that Spring was skipping its turn this year. Winter went on forever it seemed...But now I can feel Spring in the air!

And so with Spring in the air...

                     ....We're getting ready for Gold Rush, an Antique Show and Flea Market!

                             ...I'm buying new plants!

I bought a new hanging plant. I've tried several times to keep plants alive but have failed. Now I'm trying to turn over a new leaf in this area and treat plants like pets ( so to speak ).  I even began naming them. I've purchased a few smaller plants and so far so good. I started naming them after my Grandmother's sisters and so far we have Sigra, Emma, and Vera. The Spider Plant above is new and named Francis and my new hanging plant I named Madie. She's a fern.

Say "hello" to Madie!
                             ...the gardener's here at the Plummer House are planting flowers in pots! Love pansies!

                 ...The first outdoor wedding here at the Plummer House ( see Plummer House page ) is taking place as I write! I can hear the music from here.
                 ...Les golfed for the first time this year.
                 ...The snow is finally melted.
                 ...We went for our first outdoor walk today.
                 ...And we're working on de-cluttering and simplifying our lives.
                 ...OH! And one more thing..."Baby" is sporting one of Les' baseball caps. And some glasses.


YUP! Spring is here! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


  My business is not to remake myself, but to make the absolute best of what God made. Einstein

Spring is in the air and that means...Another snowstorm for those of us who live in the Midwest! We left Minnesota for a Florida vacation the day we had 8 inches of snow begin falling. The weather went from in the "teens" to the 80's when we hit Florida! In two days we head back home and right into another snowstorm! My 6 year old granddaughter went from saying "April showers bring May flowers" to "April showers bring snow plowers"!

But I'm just going to ignore the weather and move on like it's Spring, which, technically it IS! And then I'll bring some flowers into the house, new plants, and pretty Spring things. And we have lots of great treasures for Mother's Day which is coming up next month!

 Of course we have plenty of rustic goodness as well as the "pretties" for those who like Farmhouse Decor.

And there's LOTS LOTS MORE! Go to our shop to get more ideas for Mother's Day and other occasions... gwenandalmas.etsy.com

The Plummer House is getting ready for Spring also and preparing for all the Summer Weddings. We are booked EVERY WEEKEND this Summer for weddings! Yesterday, we had a small party show up on the grounds having an "Impromptu Wedding", as they said. Right at the front door of the house. It was rather chilly but that didn't stop them. We have a few of those every year.

We are also working on getting the hardwood floors cleaned and refinished, and tightening up the dining room chairs that tend to get squeeky and wobbly after repeated use. Well, to be clear, we hire people to do those things. But we DID make the "Spring To Do List" and followed up on all the work. The Spring window washers will be coming soon also! There are so many more projects waiting to get done! We're really running a small business here but it's a sweet gig!

Just have to say that we have the most amazing workers here at the House! Just as we were leaving for Florida, the Garden crew came and shoveled out the driveway and as we were picking up the mail at the very large mailbox, one of the guys came over saying, "Let me get that snow for you" as he swept a big pile of snow off the mailbox! After thanking them, and driving away, I looked at Les "We can't ever leave here".

And yeah, I'm writing this while on vacation in Florida! I'm also keeping our Etsy shop open with the notice that we can't ship until after we get home. And people are buying! It's really fun making money while we're on vacation!

Monday, March 5, 2018


Another day, another Flea Market! Just sharing today a few more finds that Les and I purchased at a Flea Market. Here's the small haul...

                                                                RUSTIC GOODNESS

                                       This wonderful old Antique Scale from the turn of the century! Notice the design around the face of the scale.

                                                        Cast Iron Turtle String Holder.

                                                          Vintage Soap Saver

                                                A Vintage Small Nutmeg Grater.

                                                    A Vintage Metal Cup Holder.

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