A creative mind

RURAL CLARKFIELD – Candy Albertson of rural Clarkfield says she “tries to make old things pretty again.”

Whether it’s taking old tools, a window frame and some chicken wire to make a decorative wall item or finding a couch on the side of the road to reupholster, Albertson will find a use for almost anything.

Repurposing and renewing items was just something Albertson has picked up throughout the years. When she and her husband were just starting out on the farm, they didn’t have a lot of money, so she had to repurpose all of her furniture, she said. Albertson’s father was a wood builder, and he had built all the cabinets in Albertson’s home.

“I helped him a lot and watched him,” Albertson said.

Reupholstering furniture has been her favorite thing she’s been doing lately.

“You find an ugly chair, take it apart and put it back together with pretty fabric,” she said.

Pretty soon her house got full of stuff.

“My husband said ‘you got to do something,'” Albertson said.

At first, Albertson didn’t know where to go with her repurposed items, but her daughter Julie had a solution. Mary Gillespie was about to open a shop in Granite Falls, Frogs on the Footbridge, which features locally-made items and antiques and vintage pieces.

“(She said) ‘I think you should go talk to her,’ and I did,” Albertson said. “And I had a fantastic month.”

She’ll find things to repurpose at flea markets, auctions, and on “trashing” excursions.

“I go to the towns that put out their junk,” she said.

Dawson is one of the best towns to go “trashing,” Albertson said, and she has a friend there who keeps her informed.

“She calls me when it’s junk time, and I go there and pick up a lot of stuff,” Albertson said.

One of the items she got while collecting things of the street was a wooden framed sofa that she reupholstered, and it now sits in her house.

“It was homely, and I said it needed some work,” she said.

Albertson works on her items in a small woodshed or the garage during the warmer months. She also has a craft room in the house containing tools, paints and various other items.

“Every day I work in here,” Albertson said about her craft room.

Several of her friends tend to give Albertson a call, saying they have something she can use for her decorations or something they want her to make for them.

“So I got a lot of things to do in the spring,” she said.

As for her decoration ideas, Albertson will find them in magazines or they’ll just come to her. A decorative project she found in a magazine involved 19-gauge wire and beads. She said the wire is perfect to twist with a pliers, and she uses old jewelry pieces in the center of the decoration. She made 40 of the pieces, which have sold quickly, she said.

Several of the items in her living room have been repurposed, including a dresser she found at Frogs on the Footbridge. Albertson used decoupage on the dresser, covering the drawer fronts with scrapbook pages depicting bingo cards, playing cards, crossword puzzles and old license plates. She’s refurbished a hutch and recovered a sofa. She’s taken old bed frames, antiqued them and painted them, creating a wall shelf.

Albertson said she finds the “funky” fabrics at JoAnn Fabrics in Willmar to use in her furniture reupholstering. She pointed out an old chair that her son had. She was eager to redo it.

“He said ‘you want this chair?’ and I said ‘oh yeah, I want it,'” Albertson said.

“You’ve got to have the right fabrics on them to catch people’s eye,” she added.