Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Sweet finds in downtown Montgomery, Part I April 10, 2013

Rani's Furniture @ Antiques housed in a former hardware store in downtown Montgomery.

Rani’s Furniture @ Antiques housed in a former hardware store in downtown Montgomery.

I LOVE A SWEET vintage find. However, I can’t always own what I covet, even if the price is right. That’s reality. My pockets are not deep nor my house large.

But that doesn’t keep me from shopping thrift and antique shops like those my husband and I perused on a recent visit to Montgomery, Minnesota. I suggested we take the van, just in case we found a piece of furniture for the son who is moving into his first apartment in six weeks.

Randy saw right through that smokescreen.

I purchased the white table on the right and had to keep myself from buying the $60 dining room set.

I purchased the white table on the right and had to keep myself from buying the $60 dining room set. Note the beautiful original wood floor in this former hardware store building.

At Rani’s Furniture @ Antiques, Montgomery’s newest business (opened on April 3), I found my furniture find, much to the spouse’s chagrin. He couldn’t quite understand why I just “had to have” a $15 shabby chic round table with peeling paint.

I practiced my persuasive speaking skills. Think al fresco dining or an indoor/outdoor plant stand or a guest bedroom bed-side table and/or a really cool table to use at the daughter’s upcoming wedding reception in an historic venue. Randy wasn’t exactly buying my arguments, but acquiesced and dutifully loaded the table into the back of our van.

This 100-plus-year-old Hoosier cabinet had seven layers of paint on it before Mary Bowen refinished it. The cabinet is being sold in her son Dean Turnlund's store for $325.

This 100-plus-year-old Hoosier cabinet had seven layers of paint on it before Mary Bowen refinished it. The cabinet is being sold in her son Dean Turnlund’s store for $325.

I wished I could have stuffed a round dining room table with the heaviest wood chairs I’ve ever lifted; a 100-plus-year-old Hoosier cabinet resplendent with tip-out bins; and two aged wardrobes into the van, too. But I wasn’t about to push my luck and purchase this furniture I neither needed nor have space for in our home.

Love these old wardrobes for sale at Rani's.

Love these old wardrobes for sale at Rani’s.

A girl can dream, though, can’t she?

The stone block steps leading into Rani's.

The stone block steps leading into Rani’s.

I tend to get all starry-eyed whenever I enter an antique or other shop featuring vintage furniture. Rani’s, housed in a hulking corner brick building labeled as “Lepeskas Block 1898,” had me in her clutch even before I stepped onto the substantial stone steps leading into the former hardware store.

Michelle McCrady owns Quilter's Dream and the adjacent music store, 116 First Street South in downtown Montgomery.

Michelle McCrady owns Quilter’s Dream and the adjacent Montgomery Music Studio.

Likewise, even though I’m not a quilter, Michelle McCrady’s Quilter’s Dream dreamy quilt shop, located two blocks north of Rani’s in the Old Ben Franklin store and complete with an impressive original tin ceiling, charmed me, too. I cannot resist the sweet touch of historic features.

Quilter's Dream features a beautiful original tin ceiling and a wonderful collection of quilts, fabrics, notions and more.

Quilter’s Dream features a beautiful original tin ceiling and a wonderful collection of quilts, fabrics, notions and more.

Plus, entering Michelle’s shop was like stepping into spring with vibrant hues splashing across quilts and bolts of fabric. This quilt shop reawakened the seamstress in me—the teen who, in the seventies, stitched clothing from hot pants to the shortest of short skirts to sensible simple dresses for Grandma.

Bolts of eye-catching fabrics in bright hues line shelves.

Bolts of eye-catching fabrics in bright hues line shelves.

I’ve never lost my appreciation for bolts and bolts and bolts of cotton fabric awaiting the pinning of straight pins, the snip of scissors, the stitch of thread. There’s something artfully satisfying about creating from fabric.

A sampling of the gorgeous quilts you'll find in Michelle's shop.

A sampling of the gorgeous quilts you’ll find in Michelle’s shop.

Fifteen minutes in Michelle’s shop will convince you that this mother of 11 is passionate about quilting and all things fabric. She teaches classes, leases out time on her long-arm quilting machine and stitches up plenty of cute gifts from aprons to bibs, not to mention the many fabulous quilts gracing her store walls.

This owl quilt centers a back nook.

This owl quilt centers a back nook.

Who knew such sweet finds await shoppers in Montgomery? Not me.

Another nook, this one at the front of the quilt shop.

Another nook, this one at the front of the quilt shop.

Michelle uses this long-arm sewing machine to quilt at the shop. Quilters can also pay to use the machine.

Michelle uses this long-arm sewing machine to quilt at the shop. Quilters can also pay to use the machine.

FYI: Quilter’s Dream, 116 First Street South, is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday and from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday.  Click here to reach the Quilter’s Facebook page.

One of my other favorite finds at Rani's, a vintage 50s toy chest.

Two other favorite finds at Rani’s: a vintage 50s toy chest and Cabbage Patch dolls.

And just because I appreciate vintage graphics, here's the label inside the toy box lid.

And just because I appreciate vintage graphics, here’s the label inside the toy box lid.

Rani’s Furniture @ Antiques, 300 First Street South,  is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday.

CHECK BACK TOMORROW as I take you into more sweet shops in this southern Minnesota community. Click here to read my introductory post to this small town. And click here to view my photo essay on an old-fashioned Montgomery barbershop, Main Street Barber.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

22 Responses to “Sweet finds in downtown Montgomery, Part I”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Awesome!!! It wouldhavebeen difficult for me to walk out of that antique store without something…..

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    (sigh)….You have my 100% undivided attention!!! Antique furniture AND a quilt shop (and a sweet one, at that!). Your purchase, truly has many possible future uses. A purchase, or two, from “Quilters Dream” would definitely be “in the cards”…LOL! Thanks for sharing. Hugs…..

  3. Clyde of Mankato Says:

    The older you get, the higher the % of items in antique stores are from your childhood. When they get to be from your adulthood, you quit going to antique stores.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, yes, I’ve definitely noticed this trend toward “more stuff from my childhood.” Couldn’t possibly be because I am getting older, could it?

  4. Poking around antique stores is a great way to make a story unfold later on the page! There’s a section of West 7th Street in St. Paul that has quite a few antique stores in a row (you may have been there at some point) and they are all fun to visit. Love the photo of those wardrobes, a piece of furniture that would have no place in my circa 1972 house but I, too, dream.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Those wardrobes are fabulous and the price was right, although I cannot specifically remember the price. They would fit my old house, but it’s a small old house. I pictured you living in an old house, not a vintage 70s one. I have not antiqued in the Cities.

  5. just drove through there early last week. the gems you find along the way make it all worth while.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You are so right, Dan. Even I was surprised by all we discovered in Montgomery. I have been there a number of times, but not when the downtown businesses were open. And Montgomery is less than a half hour from my home. Ridiculous that it has taken me 30 years to check out this town. The lesson to be learned here is that so much awaits us right in our backyards, if only we take the time to investigate and appreciate.

  6. First of all loving the table you purchased because it is darling as well as versatile – love that:) Second I am digging that toy chest – great find! The quilt shop is amazing and you can tell the owner has a passion for quilting too. I am liking those veggie prints on the wall – sucker for prints and dishes when going into an antique store. Thanks so much for sharing! Have a Great Day:)

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, my, that toy chest…can’t even begin to tell you how much I love the graphics. I, too, am drawn to prints and dishes, bowls, linens…a lot of “stuff” in antique shops.

      You are spot on correct in stating that Michelle possesses a passion for quilting. Loved her store, too.

      • That toy chest just SCREAMS good times will be had – still love playing even though I am an adult/big kid – ha! I so wish I had the patience when it comes to sewing and quilting. I could barely handle cross stitching at times growing up. My one aunt is so talented when it comes to linens, doll clothes and her baptismal gowns are just gorgeous.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        I actually did a lot of sewing and handiwork at one time and enjoyed it. Maybe I need to resume those hobbies.

        If you want to see some fantastic quilts, check out this blogger whom I follow: http://treadlemusic.wordpress.com/


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