Friday, January 13, 2017


"Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make, makes you. Choose wisely."  Roy T. Bennett

IT'S HERE!!!  GWEN AND ALMA'S NEW YEAR'S GIVE-AWAY!! As mentioned in another post , I decided that the New Year was a good time to thank all my Gwen And Alma's customers by having a GIVE- AWAY! But even if you have NOT been a G&A's customer (yet), you are ALL eligible to enter!


I want to give some time to let the word get out so more have the opportunity to enter. So I'm going to keep this up until I have a minimum of 50 entries! That could take awhile! So be sure and get the word out! 

                           THIS GIVE AWAY IS FOR CONTINENTAL U.S. ONLY. 

And here is what you will receive:


       And just to add some COLOR to this Give-Away, I'm going to add this COTTAGE MAGAZINE:

                    The magazine is  not new ( 2012 ) but is in "like new" condition and the decor is "timeless vintage ..."

In order to enter, please follow these instructions:

1) Go to my Etsy Shop, Gwen And Alma's, pick out your favorite treasure, click on it that you like it, then come back to THIS blog post, and in the comment area, state what your favorite treasure is.

 2) For a second entry, "like" Gwen And Alma's on Facebook, and come back to THIS blog post and leave a separate comment stating that you "liked" G&A's on FB.

We would also LOVE it if you would "favorite" our G&A's shop. You won't receive another entry for this, because we don't want to "put words in your mouth" if it's not really, you know, one of your favorite shops. But we HOPE it is!!! 

                                      So there you have it! Enter and tell your friends!


Monday, January 9, 2017


                   "A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for"   William Shedd

I may have posted about this before, but I just came across it again and it's worth my opinion! ; )

Have you heard of "Hygge"? Pronounced "hoo-guh". It's a Danish word defined as a "quality of coziness and comfort" that "creates a feeling of contentment and well being". The nearest translation in English that comes close is the word "cozy".  I found a lot of information online as to what features are found in "Hygge" but many Scandinavians come up with very different ways to experience Hygge. It has become a "big thing" in Scandinavian countries. But they seem to use a rather broad interpretation of the idea. For example, in a video, one interviewee while sitting in a crowded cafe/laundromat drinking coffee said she was experiencing "Hygge". Now I don't know about you, but being in a crowded noisy cafe where washing machines are rotating, doesn't sound "cozy"to me, notwithstanding the cup of coffee she's enjoying.

I mean, if there's one word that has become a BIG DEAL to describe being "cozy", it better be REALLY MY opinion!


Another person being interviewed, a bike seller, said his idea of "Hygge" was riding bikes! Now riding bikes is a fun thing but I never thought of it as COZY!

So I decided to describe some thoughts of what might constitute "Hygge" for ME!  I think we who live where the winters are COLD and feel LONG, could use some ideas at staying cozy during the long cold months of winter. I think that was the original idea of the word. So here are some ideas I've come up with to help you "feel the Hygge" during winter:


First I think that trying to effect all the senses can make a big difference. You know... sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. The more senses you reach in setting an atmosphere of coziness the more impact it will have.

So the first cozy scene I'll describe, attempting to use all the senses:

Put yourself into this scene: You are sitting by a fireplace watching the dancing and relaxing flames ( sight ), hearing the crackle of the fire ( sound ), smelling the burning of the wood ( scent ) and feeling the warmth, while lounging in a comfy chair covered with a soft warm blanket ( touch ). You are enjoying a cup of your favorite warm beverage in your favorite cup or mug ( taste ). You may or may not want to have a book or magazine to enjoy. You may also want another person to relax and enjoy this scene with...or not.


Aaahhhh...Now that's cozy to ME!  Here's another...

You are sitting in your favorite cozy spot, all comfy wearing your favorite warm soft socks. There is a candle with your favorite scent lit nearby adding light and warmth to your space in addition to being surrounded with the lovely scent. There is a beautiful light snowfall outside the nearby window, which relaxes you as you enjoy its beauty. Your favorite relaxing music is playing softly in the background. You are also enjoying your favorite warm beverage or maybe a bite of your favorite homemade bars...or a bit of luxurious chocolate.

Creating "Hygge" requires being intentional. It does not just happen. You must create the atmosphere and then indulge and enjoy its comfort and coziness. Remember to use those elements that touch ALL the senses for full effect!

What would describe YOUR favorite Hygge moments?

Friday, January 6, 2017


                                    2017   Twelve New Chapters :  365 New Days

I've collected photos of my favorite vintage finds in 2016. Some of them I sold in my Etsy Shop, some at our Hob Nobbers Occasional Sales, and some I kept. Others will be for sale in our Hob Nobbers Sale or Etsy's shop.

You'll find that I like  the old Rustic and Farmhouse style decor. The first one is this old box with its cute hooks. I love to use old boxes for storage  and I love the Farmhouse style look. This one sold on Etsy!

The next item is also a favorite. This cute little desk and chair which I sold at our Occasional Sale.

                                               This large primitive dough bowl sold also. I'll keep looking for more of these! Love it!

I hauled this amazing Library rolling ladder home from Naples, Florida! I sold it at our Hob Nobber sale. Both sides have large wooden steps and had been used as a book shelf.

                                         Are you seeing a pattern here? Lots of wood! Next up is an antique child's folding  table and chair.  This has not sold yet and I'm so surprised. It's adorable and the color is amazing!  I've envisioned this not only as a child's item but  cute vintage decor pieces. But for a child, how cute would it be in a garden setting with a little plant on the table?  This is still for sale in my Etsy Shop, Gwen And Alma's!

Below is another REALLY favorite piece. I had never seen anything like this before. This is a unique antique German wooden trencher or trough. The couple I purchased this from were collectors and were downsizing. They had used this as a blanket holder at the end of their bed. So my Hob Nobber partner, Karen, purchased it. And she is now using it in the same way. We often buy each other's treasures!

This is a vintage ice cream stool with a wooden seat.  Love, love, love it! Not sold yet!

I love the color blue and I love stoneware bowls so this was on "My Favorites List" for sure! This sold in my Etsy Shop. I'll be looking for more for sure!

This is a blue enamel Norwegian  tin. The reason this was a favorite is because I had two of the same set.  So you know I had to keep this one to complete the set! Can you believe that I had two of a set of these from Norway and then happened to find the third in an Estate Sale  in another state? I didn't even know there WERE three of them! I had purchased the other two from a friend who collected Scandinavian treasures and was downsizing in retirement. The other tins say, "Sabe" and "Borster". I've had a hard time trying to find the definitions but the closest I've come is that "Sabe" is "Soap", "Borster" is "Brush" and "Soda" is "Soda". Apparently soda  was kept years ago in bathrooms. So my guess is that these might have been hung in bathrooms to hold items used there. If anyone out there has better knowledge of the definitions, let me know.

This next one is something I had not seen before. I couldn't even find another one like it on the internet, and every antique collector I asked had not seen another either. So this is RARE! I sold it in my Etsy Shop to some lucky person! Just love the little soap dish attached to this enamelware!

So that's my TOP TEN for 2016! Of course there were many more favorites but I had to pick only 10!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


                "Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance."  Epicurus

So I decided to kick off the New Year with a ... NEW YEAR'S GIVE AWAY! Details will be coming next week! Watch for it!

This year our small group Bible Study that meets at our home decided to surprise someone with a little "extra" for Christmas. So we spent a few weeks collecting our pennies and ended up with $115! Actually, pennies were hard to come by. But we just wanted to make a point to ourselves that just saving pennies can make a difference. We were inspired by a video we saw of someone who started a Penny Drive asking everyone to donate their pennies only and they saved over a million dollars. So he started giving away money to organizations that needed it. The penny collecting continues and they continue to give away millions!

Many people actually throw pennies away thinking they are insignificant. You can find pennies on the street! My husband saves his change, but pennies he throws around the house as if they don't matter.

 Now all our group members already support organizations, missionaries, and Church on our own. And because $115 is not a large amount for an organization, we wanted to give it to some unsuspecting person that might think it was a great Christmas Gift. So we decided to order Pizza at one of our gatherings at Christmas time and give the money as a tip to the pizza delivery guy. 

 When the pizza guy came my husband brought him into the living room and began to give him his tip. He handed him a five dollar bill. The guy said "thanks". Then he handed him another five and he said "OH Thanks!" and then another five. The guy looked surprised but took the five, smiled and said "thanks" again. Then my husband said, "Oh wait, there's another bill here", and then handed him a one hundred dollar bill. The guy didn't know what to say. Wish I had thought to take a photo. He said, once again, "thank you!, this time a bit more emphatically. He seemed surprised and speechless at the time, but I'm sure  he probably was "woot, wooten!" when he got back to his car.

Next time, when we do it again, I'm going to ask the person his/her name, ask him/her a bit about themselves, and take a photo. You know, make a big deal out of it!

So here's a challenge for you: This year in 2017, start saving YOUR pennies. Find a jug and start throwing them in. You'll never miss them but they will add up. Keep an eye out for them on the street! Invite some friends to join you. Then at Christmas time, have a Pizza Party and surprise some lucky Pizza Delivery Guy or Gal! It's a fun and painless way to give but the recipient will love it!

At the end of the year, let's post photos of the lucky Pizza Person on a blog post. I'll remind you when it gets closer to Christmas. Wouldn't it be fun to have several blog posts and photos of Happy Pizza Delivery People getting a little Christmas Gift?

Monday, January 2, 2017


Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year!  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well, here it is! The second day of the NEW YEAR! The first Monday of the year! Time to get that "Fresh Start" to the new year going!

One of my goals or intentions for the New Year is to DECLUTTER! Which is a challenge when you're trying to collect more and more treasures to sell! If there are any "vintage sellers" reading this with answers to this dilemma, please share! So my first project is going to be...getting all my Hob Nobber and Gwen & Alma's "fun finds" sorted and stored!

I have to keep my Gwen & Alma's treasures kind of out in the open so when something sells, I can snap it up without going through bins trying to find it. I have a room next to the laundry room which, before I opened Gwen & Alma's,  I called my Hob Nobber room. It is where I store the treasures I've collected to sell. And now with the new online store I'm adding MORE finds to this room. It is OVERFLOWING! Sometimes you can't even WALK IN THERE! That does NOT work very well.

So right now this is what I've had for storage: Small Gwen & Alma items I keep in a vintage metal storage cupboard. Larger items go on shelves. Then large furniture items that I usually save for Hob Nobber Sales, have to go in the single garage, which is heated. But the problem is that my husband also wants to fit his golf cart in there for the winter, which takes a lot of maneuvering. And I want to keep the linens upstairs to make sure they stay extra clean. So, yeah, I've got a lot of organizing to do!

Now this ( above ) is practical, but not appealing for my vintage treasures...

This is vintage and I could fit a lot of small items in there. But what to do with the big stuff? And I want to keep it vintage looking and not be expensive. So that's my challenge. Any professional organizers out there?

I'm usually good at organizing but it's hard to get furniture and big stuff together without looking like just a heap of furniture! I want it to look nice! So this may take a long time to complete...I'm going to take some "before" and "after" photos so I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, December 31, 2016


Happy New Year 2017!!

May you have a blessed and prosperous New Year!! 

Thursday, December 29, 2016


                                           Coming soon in 2017.... A FRESH START

Many years ago now I founded and directed a Christian  outreach to troubled and at risk youth. We offered them hope in that they could put their old ways behind them and start a new life! We shared this Good News with them from "The Message":

 "Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with (Jesus) gets a FRESH START, is created new. The old life is gone, a new life burgeons ( begins to grow and flourish )!   ( Based on 2 Corinthians 5 :17 )

One of the fundraisers or mini business' that we began in order to raise support money  for this ministry was a gourmet coffee business. We called it, "Fresh Start"...Helping Never Tasted So Good! We figured that name fit pretty creatively into beginning a "Fresh Start in life" and beginning your day with a cup of coffee and a "Fresh Start to the day"! We thought it was a really "clever" idea!

My daughter and son-in-law had a coffee mug made up with the logo on it and gave it to me as a gift. It says "Fresh Start Coffee" on the bottom. The blue area of the design represents the cup and the brown areas represent both the coffee and the kids. A professional graphic design company offered their services for free to have this logo made for us. 


While I no longer direct this outreach, I am reminded each New Year that we can have a fresh start in life! In reality we can have this fresh new start anytime of the year, but especially at the beginning of a New Year I always feel that excitement of beginning again, having a fresh start...

Whether it's starting to eat healthier, getting in more exercise, growing spiritually, trying to simplify my life, being more intentional in ALL areas of my life, or whatever it might be, "fresh starts" give me motivation, energy, optimism, and excitement! 

In a couple of days we can all have a Fresh Start if we choose! It's a NEW YEAR! Create a NEW YOU!


Tuesday, December 27, 2016


              "Life is like a mirror. You smile at it and it smiles back at you."   Peace Pilgrim

For Les and I, the week between Christmas and New Years is a rather laid back one... to put it mildly. I don't think Les has dressed yet and it's the 27th!! He's padding around in his PJs, robe, and slippers.  We've eaten left overs for two days! YIKES! We are L. A. Z. Y.!!! 

But we hosted two gatherings for our Bible Study group recently and hosted three Christmas Celebrations in three days. So I think we kind of deserve a bit of a break. Of course everyone pitched in and helped so we didn't do ALL the work. It was a fun-filled blessed three days of family fun!


We're still enjoying the Christmas lights and decor and spending time talking about how we've been blessed this year.


 We look outside and are still in awe of this amazing place that we are so blessed to be able to live in.  It doesn't quite fit into two photos!! ( We are Resident Directors of this historical 49 room mansion ) We've lived here 26 years!!!

                                                  It's a magical place, especially at Christmas!

I've been spending my time looking through my Country and Vintage Decor magazines... and Pinterest, of course! Always looking for inspiration!

I think tomorrow I will begin my list making and setting goals for 2017! One of my favorite things to do! I'll also add some listings to my Etsy store, start on one of my goals of exercising ( or maybe wait on that one...Hah! ), relax a bit by the fireplace, and slowly begin to get back to a routine. The tree will finally come down on Jan 1st. How do YOU spend the days between Christmas and New Years? 


Tuesday, December 13, 2016


"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Soon the bells will start
And the thing that will make them ring
Is the carol that you sing,
Right within your heart."                                                                        

Well, I'm getting there...ready for Christmas that is! Every year I make a plan to be organized, simplify, and stay focused on the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus. I've omitted a few things that were on my Christmas "to do" list, like attempting to have a party for friends. Who has time for that or even to GO to one? I mean Christmas parties are nice but you can have a party ANYTIME, right? So why try to fit another big event into an already busy season? Oh, I know, we want everyone to see our beautiful Christmas decorations. Am I right?

I mean, we DO go to all that work of getting all those tubs of decorations out of storage and decking the halls ( ie the WHOLE HOUSE ) with boughs of holly. So we want people to see it! After all it IS BEAUTIFUL! I get it. I love the decorations also and want others to see the loveliness.

So this year as I have done in seasons past, I am slowing down some of the activities to take time to appreciate the Reason For The Season.

I am taking time to sit down once a day with a cup of tea, coffee, or cocoa, Christmas Tree lit, and read a Christmas devotional.

                                I'll just sit, relax, and enjoy the Season, and the Reason.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


            The true sign of intelligence isn't knowledge but imagination.  Albert Einstein

A couple of years ago I found a vintage shoe rack or baker's rack with wooden dowels and rolling wheels. I had been looking for one ever since I saw one in a magazine. They are difficult to find! As soon as I saw it, I HAD to have it! I remember the American Picker's saying that when you see something you have been looking for, JUMP on it, it's "Picker's 101"! So I did! And I've never regretted the purchase! I love it!

 Here ( above ) I am using it for displaying some stoneware at one of our Hob Nobber Sales. It has 4 wood shelves with dowels, and the end pieces are steel. I LOVE it and use it in my office while not using it in our sales. People kept wanting to buy it at our sales so I figured I better keep looking for another one to sell. And again it took a few more years.... but I found another one!

I purchased this at an estate auction of an antique collector, one of many unique and fun items.

And this one is even nicer than  mine! It has 5 shelves and the ends are wood also. I like the "wood all-over" look! The whole thing has a wonderful patina to it! This is a vintage baker's rack with wheels. Yes, I almost kept this one for myself but I'm used to the one I now have so this one is for sale.

I now have this listed on Craigslist for local pick up and may end up listing it in my Etsy Store. So far I haven't listed anything this big on Etsy so I'm a bit hesitant. BUT if this is something you are interested in, and don't live within "pick-up range" and are interested in it, leave a comment and let me know and we could work out  the shipping arrangements. 

So what would you do with this? I've seen many ideas on Pinterest so be sure and check it out! But it could be used in the kitchen to store large stoneware bowls or other Farmhouse decor, in an office area for fun country style storage, even the living room as a focal point for your Farmhouse style decor. It would even look great in a Scandinavian Style Living room.

This is an original and getting harder all the time to find! It measures 50 inches tall, 30 inches long, and 15 inches wide. If you live within pick-up distance from Rochester, Mn, you could pick it up. Otherwise we could work out shipping details. I'm asking $275 for it.

More photos...

Thanks for stopping by!



Sunday, October 30, 2016


                                               Don't call it a dream, call it a PLAN!

 Les and I attended one of our favorite auctions yesterday, John Kruesel's General Merchandise and Auction Co.  This one is in our home town. We preview the items the night before and set up our canvas lawn chairs. They usually have two buildings full but we plant our chairs in front of the main auctioneer so we have a place to sit and rest while viewing and bidding on items. This area is where the higher end items ( some, hundreds of dollars per item) are bid on. The other building is often the lower end items, though still amazing items, and we walk around the building following the auctioneers. And yes, I'm usually bidding on the lower priced items. But you can still find some great stuff, like this great "spool chest", which has a special name, but I forgot it.

 When we arrive on Saturday morning, I have my coffee in hand ( brought from home ) and we find our chairs, three rows from the front. John Kruesel, the main auctioneer, owner, and friend of ours, begins with the pledge of allegiance. He's a very patriotic guy and sits up on a stage behind a large "desk" decorated with a red, white, and blue banner, an American flag hanging behind him. Many long time followers of these events sit in the front rows. John's whole family is there helping out. His two daughters ,who are young adults, help out although there are many workers at these events. Their dog, a black lab, walks around like he owns the place.

I bid on this old trunk, but a friend purchased it for herself. I have to buy things at "wholesale" to resell them. Now I wish I would have been thinking of buying it for myself.

This auction includes items from several estates but MOST of the items are from the Estate of a long time collector of antique and vintage items. who recently passed away.
These spoons were sold as a "LOT" and many of them were David Andersen silver and enamelware spoons. David Andersen is Norwegian and this Estate collected Norwegian items. These spoons can sell for $50 each and up.

This Norwegian jewelry was sold by the LOT also. 
Antique soap dish.

These auctions are really fun! Well, for people who enjoy spending a day at an auction, anyway. My husband and I get a number ( this year we were the first to get one so we were number ONE ). But we usually split up ( each taking a card with our number ) and buy things we've talked about buying ahead of time. However, one time I was bidding in front, on a sled. Without seeing me, my husband was bidding against me in the back. He was standing by a man who is a local judge who happened to have been a student of my husbands. He pointed out to my husband that we were bidding against each other! He and my husband got a good laugh out of it!

MANY lamps of all eras. I thought this one was unique.

Many Finlandia Pitchers. I bid on these but didn't get them. So disappointed!

HUGE amounts of old photos.
Many unique antique instruments.

The set of dishes above were Denby Stoneware from the 1960's- 1970's. This is the same pattern I picked out when we got married and had until I sold them many years later. It was fun and nostalgic seeing them again. 

I haven't shown yet, the things I bought. Those will come in another post. I was excited to get the things I did, but regret not bidding higher to get some other things I wanted. I buy mostly to sell, so I have to consider what my customers will be willing to pay. I have to buy "wholesale" while others might be buying for themselves "retail".  But now I'm thinking I might have to change my thinking on some things. I found a very old wood figure similar to the wood man with moveable joints that are popular right now. He was in a box with a leather like camel and other stuff. Bidding against me was John's wife who buys for herself. I stopped bidding at the point I had set for myself so she got it. But if I were to have purchased it for myself I could have gone higher. Then maybe I could even sell it later for my purchase price, ( not making any money ) but just to put something unusual out there. 

Anyway, it is nice that both my husband and I enjoy this activity so it is something we can do together.

Beginning in November, now only two days away, I'll be sharing some things that I have in my Etsy Shop for Christmas Shopping! I have LOTS of great gift items! I'm trying to post 10 new items each week. I'm getting into the mood!!!

Thanks for stopping by!
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