Morton Girl

About Me

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Thrifty finds, DIY, and a soon to be Home Reno...


I love to find cheaper ways to do expensive things. Whether this be through Thrift-store-shopping or DIY decorating, I find a way to get it done. I NEVER shop in the regular priced area of a store. If I do happen to see something I love that is regular priced, I wait til it goes on sale. OR, i make it my own version of it. I love to paint and do crafts. However, being a mother of two and a night-shift nurse, I have very little time to do it. We are also in a rental home while we search for my forever home. So, I am LOVING the blog world right now as I find ideas for my new home. Be sure to follow me so I will know I'm not just blogging to myself. :-)

Friday, January 25, 2013

What's in a name?

I am a small town girl.  Maybe that's where I get my sense of nostalgia. I love anything with a story.  I love family trees, family names, and family history.  In prepping for this blog post, I read that "nostalgia can become unhealthy"...haha! OK.  I promise to keep my Nostalgia under control...

 ( defines nostalgia as )...


[no-stal-juh, -jee-uh, nuh-] Show IPA
a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time: a nostalgia for his college days.
Well, I love the thought of my future home being filled with family heirlooms, photos containing great family get the picture.  Well,  as I was thinking about this, I thought, "you know, instead of just an 'M' on my future gallery wall, I want something 'Morton'."  That's what led me to good old Etsy. So,  in the search bar, I typed "Morton".  UMM...guess how many "morton" items there were?  Go ahead, guess....1088!!  How fun!!  Of course there was Morton Salt memorabilia.  But, SO much more.  I have posted some of my favorites below.  So,  then,  I thought, "Well, OLIVER (my maiden name), has to get some play time as well".  So, I typed "Oliver" in the search bar.  WOW...almost 90,000 items!  Well, most were "olive".  So, I changed to just vintage and still   13,363 items.  How fun!!  I am posting some of my faves below as well. 
Anyway, I just wanted to share my neat finds with you.  And, I wanted to encourage you to explore your sense of No-stal-juh too!
This gal...she would be framed in a cool frame in the kitchen.  I mean, "morton like the salt" is how I tell people my last name 99 % of the time. "what's your last name?"  me: "morton"  "huh?, norton?"  me: "NO, MOR-TON, like the salt"
This book.  Definitely a coffee table book. We could make up some story like "Madge was really my husband's grandmother.  And, someone wrote a fiction  book about her".  Ok, we wouldn't do that. 
But, it would make for good conversation.
Apparently, Morton pottery was pretty big back in the day.  Etsy has LOTs of awesome pieces.  I WILL have to shop more for this.  How cool?!?
And, lastly, these Morton Arboretum is a place in Illinois with significant history.  These are vintage postcards from there. The arboretum was established on 14 December 1922 by Joy Morton, founder of the Morton Salt Company.[5] Joy Morton's Thornhill Estate, established in 1910, formed the basis of the Arboretum's original area. Mr. Morton's father Julius Sterling Morton was the founder of Arbor Day.
OK. I'll be honest...The OLIVER search wasn't as fun as the Morton search.   But, nonetheless...THIS guy would be  neat framed as part of a Gallery wall...
You KNEW some Oli twist would a mention. Coffee table?  I think so.
NOW, THIS is cool!  The OLIVER typewriter. SO pretty!  And, SO expensive :-o  But, here's what wikipedia has to say about it...The Oliver Typewriter Company was an American typewriter manufacturer headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The Oliver Typewriter was the first effective "visible print" typewriter, meaning text was visible to the typist as it was entered.[2] Oliver typewriters were marketed heavily for home use, utilizing local distributors and sales on credit. Oliver produced more than one million machines between 1895 and 1928 and licensed its designs to several international firms.
Well, I hope I didn't bore you to death.  I would LOVE to hear what you find if you search for some FAMILY name "stuff".  Next post...back to crafts and furniture...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

You've come a long way, baby...


So, I know pottery barn hasn't been around that long.  And, I also know that people had to make do "back in the day".  But, this "kid's table" was a little extreme.  I wish I had the true before pic.  (again, terrible blogger here)...But, let me paint a pic for you.  Vinyl, ORANGE vinyl.  Felt trim, PEA GREEN felt trim.  And, a few 1960's towels for cushion.  You see, this little beauty had orange vinyl stretched across the top of it.  The person who attached the vinyl thought that a little cushion to the top of the table would be nice.  So,  they, apparently, went to their linen closet and grabbed a few of their old bath towels, folded them up, stretched the vinyl across it.  THEN, they added the gorgeous pea green felt trim.  But, when I saw the table that was straight out of Jane Fonda's 1960's home, I peeked underneath.  And, I saw great rough wood.  So, I grabbed the tag off and it was mine.  Well,  I got home, stripped vinyl off and I thought the top looked pretty cool.  (see below)  But, it was in pretty rough shape.  So, it sat on my back porch like this FOR MONTHS.  I needed inspiration on what to do with it.

LOOK---there is the VINYL- YOU SEE IT?? 

 Well, I soon found the inspiration I needed.  These Chairs!  They were the perfect size for the table.  And, pretty cheap. So, I FINALLY had some vision for the table.

With the inspiration I needed, I went to work on this bad boy.  Well, apparently, the previous owners didn't own a staple gun!  The vinyl and trim was attached to the top with NAILS.  Like 350 NAILS!  Heavens to betsy!  The staple gun has been around since the 30's people!!


I looked through my paint inventory and came up with this combo...


Progress....I'm likin' it!


And, here is the finished product!  Quite a transformation.  Welcome to 2012 little table!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Third time is a charm, right?

Our home search has been ridiculously exhausting.  It started out with my husband and I having a hard time finding common ground.  We have learned a lot about each other in the process. One thing we have learned is...we are incredibly unlucky.
 We submitted an offer on a long sale short sale back in June.  We waited 3 MONTHS on the bank to reply.  They finally responded with a counter offer that was $30K more than our offer.  Ummm, NO.  So, then, we moved on to another home.  It was a home I had fallen in love with a year ago.  They rented it out right after we initially looked at it.  But, the renter was moving out and the owner contacted me to let me know it was going on the market again.  It was the DAY we found out about the short sale.  It was meant to be, right?... WRONG.  The appraisal came in $15k less than the sales price and they wouldn't budge.  So, we walked. AGAIN.  Did I mention this was 5 days before closing day? I had a really hard time accepting this and tried everything I could to make it work out.  But, after pretty much begging the people to LET me buy their house, they decided to keep the house as a rental home.  So, we accepted and moved on.
The other thing we learned in the process is that we LOVED the small town feel.  There is something about driving down Main Street seeing a local pharmacy vs a Walgreens that gives me warm and fuzzies. Thirdly, we learned that old houses have a story and an immeasurable amount of character that can't be created in a new home.  For example, the home with the low appraisal...was built in 1920.  One of the local elderly women who grew up in the home shared with the homeowner how, as a child, she remembers family time & jitterbug dancing on the front porch.  Just walking through the home, you can feel the love that has been shared in the home for almost a century. 
So, let's recap...
1) We are unlucky
2) We love a small town
3) We prefer an older home
and 4) not mentioned above...I am more type A than I ever chose to believe.  And, when I know what I want, I go after it. 

So, I drove through our town of choice (just me and my good friend Google) and looked for homes I loved.  I stalked homes googled addresses in hopes to find one that may have been on the market and just not sold. We were seriously considering putting "we want to buy your home" notes on people's mailboxes.  Well, that wasn't necessary.  I found one!  An adorable 1930's home with curbside character like you wouldn't believe.  And, guess what?  According to, it had been listed and taken off the market 3 months later.  So, a couple of phone calls, several drive-bys, a visit, and a ridiculous amount of paperwork later, we have a contract on this little beauty!  We should find out about the appraisal today.  This is where the concern lies.  We are very anxious to hear back.  Apparently homes in rural areas are difficult to appraise and appraisals in these areas are probably more subjective than most.  So, our fingers, toes, and eyes are crossed that our Jan 1 rent payment was our last!! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Blood, Sweat, and Tears...

Ever picked up something as a project and thought..."that will be a piece of CAKE to turn into a gem!"  Well, here is a little advice.  If it looks like a "simple little project", look VERY closely to make sure.   I have a blister on my right hand, rust on my new needlenosed pliers, and a jumbled up piece of twisted metal to prove that this chick who was supposed to be a "piece of CAKE", kicked this gal's bootay!  But,  she was worth it.  Here is her story...
 When I first saw her at the Thrifty, that bottom door was intact.  But, after opening it a few times, it fell off.  (that was the first sign that my "piece of cake" was a joke.

This is the body shot.  Notice the top part section has a hole in the back.  I knew this.  But, I had a plan.

This, my friends, is a STRIPPED SCREW.  And, that cute little trick on pinterest about using a piece of rubber along with the screwdriver.  They LIED. It didn't work.


And, this, my friends, is a RUSTED, STRIPPED Screw... (insert UGLY WORD here)
This, is my precious little helper...

I used needlenosed pliers, regular pliers, wire cutters, multiple sized (and shaped) screw-drivers...and whew!!!
FINALLY, got it.  And, what I had left was a rusty mess
I painted the exterior of the cabinet and the doors with Annie Sloan's Emperor's Silk and wiped on some of her Dark Soft Wax.  I also wiped on MinWax's Dark Walnut Stain/Poly.  It made the shelves look SO MUCH BETTER.  Notice the top shelf vs the bottom.  And, I wasn't even done at this point.

And, here she is...
I added burlap to the backs of each cubby.  (to add texture and to camo the hole in the back of the top cubby.)
Was she worth it?  I think so. 

Until next time...


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Ugly Duckling

Has your husband ever given you that, "Have you lost your mind" look?  Or, how about a "Did you spend my hard earned money on that" look? Well, you can bet mine has.  And, most recently, it was over this little NOT SO beauty...

This girl needed to be stripped down and given a good ol' bath.  And, God love her. She needed some serious lovin.  It was obvious she had a way of "gettin around". :-0  That was obvious from the LAYERS of fabric.  Her oldest layer was paper thin and had about 800 staples and finishing nails in it. 

This was my first somewhat invasive upholstery project.  And, to be honest, probably my last. I had my work cut out for me.  But, after months of her staring at me in a very "you know you want to dig in" kind of way, I started her makeover. 
Before you think it...I wore gloves and washed my hands often...

I had the perfect spot for her. She was going to live in the guest bedroom of my new house. The house that I fell in love with. The house that we had a contract on. The house that 4 days before closing, the sellers changed their mind about selling. This house... :-( But, that story is for another day. So, her new home is yet to be determined. But, here she is in all of her perfectly imperfect clean glory. I am NOT posting a tutorial. Because, I am in no way qualified. And, you can tell by looking up close at her, I would steer you wrong. But, just look from afar. And, think about where she's been. The ugly duckling is beautiful in her own way...


You can now follow me on Facebook now  "Morton Girl"....I have NO IDEA how to make one of those little FB or Pinterest icons.  But, I'll get better (and fancier).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Piano Bench gets funky...

There once was a girl who lived in a thrift store. Ok, ok...she didn't LIVE in the thrift store. But, she went so often that the employees knew her and her children by name. But, this story is about her.  It's about another girl. A little girl with 4 skinny legs and a belly that could be filled with little treasures. She lived in the thrift store too. She really did. But, not for long...

Here she is when she arrived at her new home. Sad, scratched and her belly was full of some sort of waxy material that I had to get a paint scraper after.

But, with a little bit of love, spray paint, and fabric, she became a cute whimsical little girl who will live at the foot of a special 6 year olds bed...


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Little Blue School Desk

I had seen this inspiration photo on Pinterest from Southern Revivals. I LOVED everything about it!

So, I had been looking for a desk on CL and at the Thrifty. And, low and behold...I found one!! Yay! For only $4.88----Yay! Yay! Yay!

I started by taking the top off and taking some of the splintering wood off. Then, I sanded the underside to prevent any further splintering. I cleaned up the rest of it and started painting.

I used Valspar "Exotic Sea" spray paint for the body of the desk. I LOVE this deep blue truquoise color!!

Next, I used roll on chalkboard paint for the top of the desk. (I can just imagine a sweet little one doodling away on their new desk). 
For the wooden parts of the desk...I sanded and used minwax dark walnut stain to freshen it up a bit.  This dark walnut provided a beautiful contrast to the deep turquoise body. 

Then, Humpty Dumpty was ready to be put back together again...

I added the burlap ribbon to the back...well, because I thought it looked cool (and, I'm slightly obsessed with burlap).  So sorry for the bad picture.  The "solo" after pic got erased by the "little hands" that play with my phone constantly sometimes.

This little desk sold within a week of being in our booth at Chelsea Antiques...

I hope you enjoyed the transformation as much as I did!