Junk is My Life—for me, this has become a mantra. It’s the thrill of finding that unique item that keeps me on the hunt for vintage treasures. I started going farm auctions with my family as a child. I loved it then—and love it now. I can also be found scrounging through a good garage sale or thrift store. I have a passion for all things vintage, particularly those that are past their prime and need a whole lot of love.
Repurposing and upcyling are second nature to me. As a child, I spent a lot of time using discarded items to create pieces of furniture for my dollhouse. I credit my father with encouraging an inquisitive child. My dad would always be tinkering with a project in the garage and encouraged me to find a piece from the scrap pile and make something useful. No idea was silly. Nothing was deemed impossible. As long as the vision could verbalized or drawn, dad would help make it come to life, all the while teaching life skills on the use of various tools. Using the materials on hand taught me to think creatively and it is a legacy I value.
My grandmother’s sewing room was a magical place. Digging through the remnant bag to find pretty fabrics to make doll clothes was a favorite activity with guidance from grandma. Now I use my sewing skills to repurposes damaged vintage linens in various ways. My ability to sew, knit and crochet is a tribute to my grandma.
I can trace her love of all things vintage to my grandparent’s farm in Huntington County, Indiana. Visiting “the country” from the suburbs of Chicago was always an adventure for me. I have vivid memories of watermelons being iced down in huge watering troughs for family reunions.
This video encapsulates my memories from my grandparent's farm in the summertime.
I am most often drawn to traditional farmhouse items and will time and time again spy that exact item in old photographs from the farm. I now make my home less than an hour from that family farm.
I started the Junk is My Life blog in 2017 to chronicle my adventures and share the process of repurposing or upcycling these forgotten items into timeless treasures. I don’t claim to be an expert—sometimes I have to “Google” my way through a project. I share the mishaps encountered in transforming a piece because mistakes often lead to a better outcome. I encourage everyone to dive in, be creative and tackle that project without fear.
Living in Northern Indiana offers ample opportunity for treasure hunting and after spending 30 years in corporate America, I am so blessed to be able to do what I love every day. My home is decorated with carefully curated vintage and antique items and as much as I would love to keep my cache of vintage finds, I have turned vintage treasure hunting into a business and offers a variety of items in three antique stores:
Dutch Lady Antiques (in Coppes Commons) in Nappanee, Indiana—A beautiful old building that once housed the Coppes Cabinet factory now offers a variety of businesses in the heart of Amish country.
The Standard in Bourbon, Indiana.—Unique antiques plus ice cream, cupcakes and other delicious baked goods make this great place to sit a spell, browse through some beautiful antiques and grab a snack!
Pipe Creek Mercantile in Peru, Indiana—Leave the bustle of the highway and take a step back in time. It is in a convenient location just off of US 31 just south of Peru, Indiana.
In addition to the antique stores, Robin also participates in Primitive Gatherings, a once a month gathering of a variety of vendors in Mentone, Indiana.
Many of the projects featured on my blog can be found in these shops. Take a moment peruse her website and follow me on my junking journey and take your own summer road trip to find these shops, and maybe stop at a few garage sales along the way and find your vintage treasure!
Below are the links to the Facebook sites for the shops.