the Vintage Modern shop – vintage, budget chic style for your home & wardrobe

The Vintage Modern shop offers curated, vintage style at budget-friendly prices. It’s like shopping with a team of interior designers without the designer price tag. And you never even have to leave your couch.

Hey Girl (And Guy), Did You Know I Write a Blog?

Women in Business, Content MarketingPamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

Here's a confession: I am not the best salesperson. 

But I own a vintage store?! Yep. I do. 

Because I love refinishing furniture and finding vintage gems. 

I am particularly not the best salesperson when it comes to selling myself. (And not in a lady of the night kind of way.)

It makes me uncomfortable to list off my accomplishments or talk about my best qualities. I am not particularly great in an interview. (And let’s not even get into giving a presentation.)

I'm an introvert, and all of these things fight against all my wallflower tendencies.

It is much easier for me to tell you how great my best friend’s band is (really it is) or talk about how I just discovered this amazing writer.

This puts the person I am talking about in the spotlight, and lets me hover comfortably in the shadows. 

It is one reason I love writing so much. It is a solitary activity. It is just me and my laptop.

And if you are writing fiction, you can disappear into your characters. Your characters can say all the beautiful, clever and brave things. Which is a truly lovely thing for an introvert, believe me.

But I write things other than fiction. I write creative nonfiction (which is essentially about me), and of course, I write this blog.

This blog is certainly not all about me, but as the owner of this shop, it is about me connecting with my customers and providing them useful content.

Since I am the one writing the beautiful, clever things on here, it is probably time I took ownership of that.

Don’t worry because there is no chance I am going to become one of THOSE salespeople. I just don't have it in me. But I am going start acknowledging that what I provide here is helpful and interesting. (There I said it!) And I am going to be a lot less shy about sharing it.

Because I think you’ll like it. But if not, that’s cool too.

Who doesn't love a good Ryan Gosling meme?!  Source

Who doesn't love a good Ryan Gosling meme?! Source

So hello again! I’m Pam Dewey, and I own this online vintage shop based in lovely Minneapolis, MN. I also write this blog.

And I am going to keep writing and sharing my content. Wallflower tendencies be damned.

Not Leaving the Couch during a Netflix Binge is Okay, but Sitting Still on Your Business is Not

Women in Business, How to Suceed in BusinessPamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

“If you sit still, you die.”

Taken out of context, this phrase seems a little dramatic. Ok. Very dramatic. And what does it mean? That if I keep sitting on the couch, bingeing Orange is the New Black, I’m going to die?

No, no. Of course not. Binge away. (The newest season is great. Seriously.)

When I was completing my degree in Strategic Communication, I took a Media Management class, and our professor taught us ten axioms to help us succeed in the business world.

Number three on the list was the above, that if you sit still, you die. The idea is that to remain successful in business, you and your business must be willing to evolve with the shifting market/economy.

The business landscape is always changing. So your amazing product that is selling so well now might not be doing so hot after your competitor comes out with a new, improved version.

Or maybe the economy takes a dive, and suddenly no one can afford your $2,000 dog house. (I’m sure it’s a great dog house, but I mean, Fido could settle for something a little more economical?)

And if your company doesn’t react as the economy plummets, or your competitor puts out a better product, you know what’s going to happen?

That’s right. Your sales are going drop. And you could be at risk of going out of business.

Because why wouldn’t people want the better, new product? Or the cheaper product?

It makes sense, right? Changing market = the need to respond to that change.

I had this in mind when I launched the Vintage Modern shop in November.

I can’t say the market or economy has suffered any drastic changes in the last eight months. But I have paid attention to what vintage goods are selling best, and I’ve reacted to that.

When I first launched, I had a small offering of used clothing, culled entirely from my own closet. There were some great pieces in there because not to brag, but maybe even more than home design, fashion is my thing.

But the clothing didn’t sell.

Admittedly, I was spending a lot more time promoting the furniture than the clothing.

But selling the clothing wasn’t happening. And I didn’t want to sit still. I wanted to pivot and focus on what was working.

So I removed the clothing from the website.

Will I revisit selling vintage clothing someday? Maybe. I’m not sure what the future will hold.

But I know I made the right decision for my business at the time. I didn’t sit still. 

So unless we’re talking a Netflix binge, sitting still is not a good thing. It can prove incredibly detrimental to your business.

But if we are talking about bingeing Orange is the New Black, then by all means, pass the popcorn ‘cuz I’m not going anywhere.


Amazingly, this  dresser  is still for sale. But I wouldn't sit still on this for long. This beauty won't last.

Amazingly, this dresser is still for sale. But I wouldn't sit still on this for long. This beauty won't last.

Rejection is a Good Thing. No. Really.

Dealing with rejection, Roxane GayPamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

"I have become accustomed to rejection."

These words used to greet you when you arrived on writer Roxane Gay's website. If you google the phrase, her website is still the first result.

It seems ironic now. Gay is a New York Times bestselling author who has written five books (six+ if you count her World of Wakanda comics for Marvel) along with numerous fiction and non-fiction pieces.

I mean go to her website. Her writing has been published over and over again. And it's good. Really good.

And yet, Gay titled her blog this way for a reason. Before Gay was a known name, she received her fair share of rejections. And she still does.

As this Bustle article suggests, most creatives deal with rejection. A lot of rejection.

This is part what makes creating art so difficult.

Not only do you need determination and talent to create, but you also have to go through the process of sending your work out in the world. And then hoping against hope someone else considers it worthy of being published/bought/listened to/admired.

It is an incredibly daunting prospect. I mean to me personally, it is an incredibly daunting prospect.

I have spent a long time being afraid of rejection. It has kept me from writing. It has kept me from sending my writing out to publications. It has made me afraid to try new things, like say, starting my own business.

Before I went live with, I wasn't sleeping well. I was waking up with backaches.

I blamed my old mattress. So I ordered a new one because I am the type of person who doesn’t function well without a full night’s sleep. But the mattress was never really the problem.

I wasn’t sleeping because I was scared and stressed out.

I was scared I wasn’t going to be able to get everything ready in time. I was scared my website wouldn’t turn out well. I was scared no one would buy anything from me.

But mostly, I was scared of putting myself out there and being rejected by the world.

But I despite all this fear, I did it anyway.

Last week, Gay read from her new memoir, Hunger, at Magers & Quinn Booksellers. In addition to reading excerpts from the book, she also answered questions from the audience.

A woman asked her about how, as a shy person, she has the confidence to put out such personal material and risk being rejected.

Gay replied, "I don't wait for confidence. I just do it anyway."

It is good advice. And obviously, it has worked out for Gay. 

I certainly didn’t feel confident when I launched the shop. I still don’t.

But that's the point. What really matters is your willingness to make yourself vulnerable.

You must look past the fear and risk being rejected.

Write the story. Paint that canvas. Create a business plan.

Your first few stories/paintings/end tables may not turn out. That’s okay.

I painted some end tables hot pink a few years ago. The tables looked amazing, but when you tried to set anything down, that item stuck to the top of the table. (Pro-tip: Don’t paint outside when it’s super humid. Your paint won’t set correctly, and you will have a sticky table top situation.)

So I learned how much humidity affects drying paint. And I have not repeated that mistake since.

Still feeling afraid? Follow Gay’s advice: do it anyway.

Make some mistakes! Get rejected! And keep getting rejected! Getting rejected means you're taking risks because you know failing isn't the worst thing. 

Nobody becomes a great writer overnight. Not even Roxane Gay. 


It pretty much sums up how I feel about life in general. :) Note the MORE CREATING line. Grab this print  here.

It pretty much sums up how I feel about life in general. :) Note the MORE CREATING line. Grab this print here.

My #1 Way to Stay Organized (And Not Freak Out)

Women in Business, Organizational TipsPamela DeweyComment

If you’re like me, your life is awfully busy sometimes. Even a little overwhelming.

While I was in school, I often felt overwhelmed. I had homework to do, a full time job, various writing projects like composing a blog, editing a blog, writing press releases and working on my flash fiction. Plus the regular stuff like doing laundry, mowing the lawn, working out, visiting family and let’s not forget, having fun! (Having fun should always be a priority.)

I had a lot on my plate.

Even now that I’m out of school, I still have a lot on my plate. I have the shop now, and I still have a day job. And my various writing projects + all that regular stuff.

That means staying organized is incredibly important. And how do I do that?

The answer may not be revolutionary, but it is effective.

I make lists.

This was my packing list for Saturday's Minne-Mile NightMarket Event. I surely would have forgotten something important without this little list. But I didn't, and the event turned out great! It was so wonderful to get out and meet new people.

This was my packing list for Saturday's Minne-Mile NightMarket Event. I surely would have forgotten something important without this little list. But I didn't, and the event turned out great! It was so wonderful to get out and meet new people.

You might be surprised how satisfying and effective a list can be. Not to mention multi-purpose.

Going to Target? Make a list of the things you need to buy. And then stick to it. You will save $$$. (I occasionally make this happen.)

Taking a trip? Make a list of all the things you need to pack. Then check the items off as you place them in your suitcase.

Getting ready for a big event? Make a list. This can be a simple To-Do List, or you can go all in and create a more elaborate Excel document or calendar.

When I was getting ready to launch the Vintage Modern shop, I made a list of all the things I had left to complete, created an Excel document and then I divided these tasks into groups, grouping about 3 tasks into each week. Not only did this keep me on track time-wise, but it also made my VERY long To-Do List seem doable.

And that is probably the best thing about making a list. Even when it seems like you have a million things to do, if you write it down on a piece of paper and then start crossing things off, you have a visual reminder that your gigantic list now has one less thing on it.

And it is a great feeling to drop it down from 1,000,0000 to 999,999. I mean that is a whole digit off your list, right?

Let’s Take Our Relationship to the Next Level…Come Shop the Vintage Modern shop in IRL!

the Vintage Modern shop, Women in Business, Minne-Mile NightMarket, Minneapolis vintage storePamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

Whew. We’ve been busy. Our apologies for being a little MIA lately.

But we haven’t forgotten about you! We’ve just been busy scouting new-to-you vintage home décor, as well as refinishing more fabulous, vintage furniture.

We added another vintage dresser to the site last week. Our Stormy Sky Chic Upcycled Wood Dresser is painted and distressed with a light grey chalk paint. We also added some sparkly, crystal knobs to amp up that shabby chic factor. Grab it here for just $140.

We also have a beautiful buffet that is almost finished, and we are super excited to show it off.

Show it off we shall, and that’s where you come in. We know you love shopping online, but we also know you like to get out from behind that computer screen sometimes.

So if it feels like it's time to take our relationship to the next level, we have to say, we couldn’t agree more. 

The Vintage Modern shop will be selling our vintage wares, including furniture, clothing, accessories, home décor and a small crop of succulents, at the Minne-Mile NightMarket on Saturday June 3rd from 5-10 pm.

The event is hosted by the Minneapolis Craft Market, and along with our shop, there will be over 25 vendors selling vintage and upcycled merchandise. 

So don’t be shy! Come out to South Minneapolis on June 3rd and shop the Vintage Modern shop IRL.

And don’t worry, we always bring flowers. ;)

This cute little cactus and other vintage merchandise will be available exclusively at the Minne-Mile NightMarket on Saturday June 3rd. See, we said we'd bring flowers?!

This cute little cactus and other vintage merchandise will be available exclusively at the Minne-Mile NightMarket on Saturday June 3rd. See, we said we'd bring flowers?!

5 Easy Steps to Hack Your New Home Design Project

Minneapolis vintage shop, Home Design Hacks, Design a Color StoryPamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a bit of a home design nerd. I get really excited about picking out new paint, rugs, light fixtures, and then pulling all these items into a cohesive project. Like my entryway redesign that I did a few months back. Or my living room redesign which is still ongoing.

How do I get started on projects like these? It usually starts with a particular piece of furniture or maybe a paint color. And then I find items that compliment that inspiration piece. I basically build a color story around that item.

Wondering what a color story is? Don’t worry. You’re not alone.

I was talking to my friend and her boyfriend about my booth for the upcoming Minne-Mile NightMarket, and how excited I was about the color story I selected.

And her boyfriend was like, “Wait, what the heck is a color story?”

A color story is basically a set of colors you select to design a home, an event or even a tablescape. This group of colors, or color story, will guide the items you buy for that design project.

By selecting a color story, you are essentially eliminating some options and giving your project a focus. This is incredibly helpful if you are designing an entire home, or say planning how to display merchandise in a 10 X 10 tent.

Using a color story will also prevent your house from looking, like Elsie Larson from A Beautiful Mess quips, “a little bit like a crayon box, or different sets for a quirky girl television show.”

1.      Check out Pinterest and your favorite stores for inspiration.

Pinterest is amazing for planning design projects. You can create a board specifically for the project you’re working on and then pin all your ideas to the board. If you’re using the Pinterest app, you can just pull up your inspiration while you’re out shopping too. Super convenient.

I am diehard Target fan, and if you’ve been paying attention over the last few years, the discount store has really stepped up its home décor game. The Target I frequent has also created an area where home décor is merchandised much like what you would see in a department store. And you better believe this area always has a color story going on.

2.      Pick colors you love, not just what is trendy.

I love design trends just as much as the next gal, but I also know that just because a color is trendy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s for me.

Blush pink is really popular right now, and I admit I am a huge fan. But I’m not going to paint my entire living room blush pink.

I like blush pink, but I don’t like it THAT much.

When I repainted my living room, I painted it black and white. Not only is black and white a classic color palette, but I have also loved this combination since about the third grade. I think it’s pretty safe to say I won’t be changing my mind about black and white anytime soon.

3.      Head to the paint store.

If you are designing a room or a home, I like to start with paint first. It really sets the tone. Plus if you’re buying new furniture it makes more sense to paint the room before you get all your new, beautiful pieces in there. I don’t know about you, but I am an incredibly messy painter.

4.      Let’s go shopping!

As Elsie from A Beautiful Mess suggests, “I like to build my color story like a pyramid, placing the biggest priority (both money and time spent on decisions) on the more permanent ‘bones’of my design first.” In other words, after the room is painted, you should be looking for your sofa, dining room table or headboard, depending on your project.

So head back to your favorite stores and start shopping!

You want to buy the bigger items first and then fill in around those big statement pieces.

5.      Embrace a little color story anarchy.

Not everything you buy has to fit in your color story. Say your color story consists of black, white, gray and blush, but you find these amazing turquoise pillows.

Buy those amazing turquoise pillows! (Especially if said pillows are on sale!)

Being too matchy-matchy can get boring. So don't be afraid to mix in small doses of other colors, especially in things like candles, pillows or other items that are cheap and easy to change out.

Maybe you'll decide down the road the turquoise pillows don't work at all, but then you're only out a few bucks.

But really, I think you'll be happy you bought the turquoise pillows. ;)

This blanket includes all of my color story picks for my booth at the  Minne-Mile NightMarket on June 3rd .

This blanket includes all of my color story picks for my booth at the Minne-Mile NightMarket on June 3rd.

Our Favorite Boho Chic Home Décor Trend

the Vintage Modern shop, vintage macrame, macrame home decor, Minneapolis vintage shopPamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

Over at the Vintage Modern shop, we are all about embracing the idea everything old is new again. I mean that is literally what we do, we make the old new again.

Our favorite boho chic look that has reemerged as a home decor trend is macramé. It is popping up all over our favorite design blogs—Design*Sponge, The Jungalow and A Beautiful Mess—in the form of macramé plant hangers, wall hangings and curtains.

For those of you unfamiliar with macramé, let us help you out. 

“Macramé or macrame is a form of textile-making using knotting rather than weaving or knitting. Its primary knots are the square knot (a variant of the reef knot) and forms of ‘hitching’: various combinations of half hitches.”

It was popular in the U.S. during the 1970s, lending a bohemian flair to clothing, jewelry and of course, home decor.  However, macramé’s history extends much farther back than that.

“In the Western Hemisphere, macramé is believed to have originated with 13th-century Arab weavers. These artisans knotted the excess thread and yarn along the edges of hand-loomed fabrics into decorative fringes on bath towels, shawls, and veils. The Spanish word macramé is derived from the Arabic migramah, believed to mean ‘striped towel’, ‘ornamental fringe’ or ‘embroidered veil’.”

The art of macramé spread to the U.S. slowly.  

“Sailors made macramé objects in off hours while at sea, and sold or bartered them when they landed, thus spreading the art to places like China and the New World. Nineteenth-century British and American sailors made hammocks, bell fringes and belts from macramé.”

Whatever its origin, we really like the chill vibe a piece of macramé adds to a space. It feels both old and new, perfectly vintage modern.  

If you are feeling the macramé vibe like we are, grab our latest addition. It is an epic macramé plant hanger curtain that was crafted by my lovely mother. (What can I say, I come by the crafting/DIY thing pretty honestly.)

3 Strengths that Help Women Crush the Business World

Women in BusinessPamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

“For years, as I said earlier, I sort of fought the idea that women are ‘different’ than men…Hey, we’re all just people, and each one of us unique…I always resisted the notion that either gender-men or women-might possess inherent qualities that made it inherently ‘different’ or ‘better’ at business than the other. But as recovering research analyst, I always try to let the research speak to me, and when I started to drill down on these issues, what I found surprised me. The research shows that women do bring ‘different’ traits to the office that are good for business.” –Sallie Krawcheck Own It: The Power of Women at Work

I am with Sally here. I have also fought the idea women are inherently different than men.

I think it's safe to say many of differences between men and women are caused by how the differently our society treats men and women. (Like how we are paid differently, how our bodies are viewed differently, etc., etc.).

But if we accept that men and women are inherently different, we can reject the idea that women need to act like men to succeed in business.

In her book Own It: The Power of Women at Work, Krawcheck shares her experiences as the former CEO of Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, as well as the current CEO of Ellevest. She explores how women can use their traditionally female traits to their advantage.

More specifically, she lists 6 strengths that position women for more business success than their male counterparts.

For this post, I focused on 3 strengths that resonated particularly with me.

1.        Women are better at relationships.

Krawcheck writes, “There is research to back up the claim that women are more empathetic, better connectors, and natural relationship-builders- all skills that matter enormously for success in business.”

Before I launched my business, I took a strengths assessment to determine my top 5 strengths. I thought learning my strengths would help me leverage these skills to build my business.

The assessment revealed my number one strength is empathy.

I use my empathy whenever I am thinking about how to improve my customers’ shopping experience. It is the reason I keep my prices low, as well as why the shop offers free shipping and free delivery.

2.        Women love to learn.

Krawcheck writes, “Increasingly, I’ve recognized that we women love to learn and that we do better at jobs which we’re acquiring new skills. We’re 57 percent of college graduates and 62 percent of master’s degree grads. And we don’t just love to learn; we’re also good at it: a recent analysis found girls making higher grades than boys overall.”

Like I said, before I launched my business, I completed an assessment to learn my top strengths, a move I thought would teach me more about myself.

But before that, I was working toward my master’s degree in Strategic Communication. I developed the idea for the Vintage Modern shop as a Capstone project for the program.

3.        Women are more risk aware. 

Krawcheck writes,“So what can women’s risk awareness offer to businesses? For one a lot more transparency. For another, a lot better decision-making. Our risk awareness not only means we make fewer mistakes, it also means we have a greater ability to dial back from the mistakes we do make. As leaders and managers, it means recognizing the difference between confidence and competence. It means us actively working to know our blind spots.”

The business and marketing plan I wrote for the Vintage Modern shop was incredibly thorough. My professor jokingly referred to it as “the Moby Dick of Capstone projects.”

I wanted to make sure I understood how much it cost to start a business. I also wanted to understand the market I would be entering, my competition and my target customer.

Evaluating all these things helped me figure out if my business could be successful.

Happily, I learned that the market wasn’t oversaturated, and my Moby Dick of a paper led to opening the Vintage Modern shop.

As previously mentioned, in her book, Own It: The Power of Women at Work, Krawcheck gives an additional 3 strengths women can use to their advantage in the business world. She also includes a lot of other useful information about succeeding as a businesswoman.

If that interests you, I would recommend grabbing a copy from your local library or bookstore


Own It: The Power of Women at Work by Sallie Krawcheck

Own It: The Power of Women at Work by Sallie Krawcheck

The VM shop's Top 4 Trending Colors for Spring 2017

Top 4 Colors for SpringPamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

It is officially spring, and it is finally starting to look like it in Minnesota. Tulips are popping up, birds are chirping and the wiener dog manages to find all the muddy spots in the backyard.

Some signs of spring are more welcome than others. (Insert winky face emoji here.)

It also has me feeling like it’s time to breathe some new life in my space. My new sectional arrived, and it is wonderful.

The tufted cushions, the chaise, the mid-century shape, and the color. The mixed grey color will help with the previously mentioned muddy wiener dog.

And I don’t think I’m the only one who feels like freshening up their space. Furniture has been moving out of the store at a pretty good clip the past few weeks.

With that in mind, I am starting to work on some new pieces, and I am thinking about what colors are really inspiring me.

1.     Blush Pink

I am not over this color. It is just so light and pretty. And as soon as I paint it on a piece of furniture it feels instantly transformed into my new favorite piece. Especially when paired with brass hardware. And it just so happens, I just finished an end table in blush pink. With brass pulls. I am kind of in love with the pulls too, I must say. There will be plenty more blush showing up in the Vintage Modern shop.

2.     Grey

At one point, nearly the entire interior of my house was painted grey. It is a fantastic neutral and far more exciting to me, than say beige. (I recently informed my mom that I will NEVER paint anything beige. Haha. Just not my shade.) Grey has so much versatility. It can be moody, serene or warm. Some greys just feel really cozy, like a favorite wool cardigan you might wear on a chilly spring day.

3.     Bright Green

Pantone declared Greenery the color of the year for 2017. Greenery is just what it sounds like, a bright cheery green that resembles the green of plants and trees. I particularly like the idea that, “Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.” That is exactly what I’m talking about. Spring is nothing if not a time for new beginnings.

4.     Yellow

Yellow just screams spring. It is daffodils, dandelions and the buttery center of daisies. I am seeing different shades of yellow from bright Sunshine Yellow over at Elle Décor to a more pale, buttery yellow over at House Beautiful . Either way, yellow adds warmth and light to a space, like a little ray of sunshine. That’s why we painted our Rocking on Sunshine Upcycled Bentwood Rocking Chair a buttery yellow. We thought it would be perfect to brighten up a nursery or any little nook that needs some warmth.

So those are my top four favorite colors for home décor this spring. Are there some colors that should have made my list? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll keep that in mind as I’m working on new pieces for the shop. I am always happy to hear from my customers.

4 Ways to Create an Unexpectedly Beautiful Tablescape

China, Dinnerware, ServewarePamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

I never used to like to set the table.

It was one of those things my mom asked me to do, and I begrudgingly agreed. Because I was kid. And my mom was the boss.

So I laid out a fork with a napkin tucked underneath. Plate. Knife. Spoon. And then a glass filled with milk.  Because my mom wanted to make sure we all had strong, healthy bones.

Not my favorite chore, but certainly better than dusting.

Then as one does, I got older. And it turns out I like to cook and entertain. And I really like to decorate.

Setting the table no longer feels like a chore. It is more like, oh goody, I get to set the table. (I know, I know, I'm a nerd.)

Designing a table always starts with a germ of an idea. Am I going glam? More bohemian? Are we eating al fresco? Will there be wine? (And the answer to that is always, yes, there will be wine.)

Then I hit Pinterest, look at Design*Sponge or flip through some magazines.

Over the years I’ve realized some of the most beautiful tables are those that use unusual elements in unexpected ways.

Certainly, you can use china and crystal to make a table look beautiful. And I do love that look.

But sometimes, you want to create a tablescape with a little more daring, or maybe you’re just tried of the same crystal and china look? Whatever the case, I thought I would share some ideas for creating more unexpected table settings.

1. Mix natural elements in. I am not talking just about flowers here because flowers are pretty expected right? What about placing a pear on each one of your plates? Or creating a centerpiece out of moss?

2. Use mismatched vintage dinnerware. This idea has gained a lot of popularity over the last several years. You can use mismatched vintage plates or mismatched vintage stemware. The idea is to do it in way that is looks intentional and cohesive, instead of like a great big mess. And done correctly, the results are stunning.

3. Use formal and informal elements. In other words, don’t get hung up on using all the china with the crystal. Think a little outside-of-the-box. Maybe you use your tiered marble serving tray, but you pair it with a tie dye tablecloth?

4. Make it all about the food. This is not a great idea if you are serving meatloaf. I mean I love meatloaf, but it just isn’t that pretty to look at. This works better if the food you are serving is particularly visually appealing. Think a beautiful cheese plate with charcuterie, artfully assembled salads, antipasto skewers, roasted game hens, etc. If your food is ready for Instagram, then it is a perfect focus for creating a beautiful table.

But for me, the best part of creating a beautiful table is sharing it with your family and friends.


Thanksgiving table at my house with a moss centerpiece. I basically covered a silver platter in moss and then added some flowers in vintage bottles.

Thanksgiving table at my house with a moss centerpiece. I basically covered a silver platter in moss and then added some flowers in vintage bottles.

This is picture taken of an appetizer platter I created for my birthday last year. There are few things I love more than a good cheese plate. This one was complete with the melon, prosciutto, and mozzarella skewer recipe I linked to above. Seriously, so good and so pretty.

This is picture taken of an appetizer platter I created for my birthday last year. There are few things I love more than a good cheese plate. This one was complete with the melon, prosciutto, and mozzarella skewer recipe I linked to above. Seriously, so good and so pretty.

The Vintage Modern shop Gets Some Street Cred

Customer Reviews, ReviewsPamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

You ever have one of those super productive days where you feel like you’re conquering the world?

I had one of those days on Sunday. I put away laundry, washed dishes, scraped painted-over wallpaper (something I have been putting off for about 6 years), worked on an end table and made a fancy pizza.

Things I did not do. Write a blog. Crap. That I absolutely forgot.

With all that getting shit done, I didn’t look at my calendar and think, hey girl, you need to write a blog today. 

So this week’s blog is late. Sorry friends.

Back to that end table. I have been working on a bit of a living room/bedroom/entryway redesign at my house. It has been slow process because I am on a budget. Last week, I finally found a sectional in my price range.

Buying a sectional means I needed make some room. An end table needed to go, so I decided to give it a makeover to sell. So be on the lookout for that new beauty in the shop soon.

The sectional I settled on was one from an online store. (I looked on Craigslist many, many times in this search.) But I ultimately decided to go for a new sectional with a vintage look.

I was excited, but also nervous. I was buying a couch without ever getting to sit on it or see it in person.

But the reviews were good, and the website also had a chat feature. I was able to ask someone questions about the sectional, like the level of firmness. The representative told me it was a medium firm, which sounded about right.

I was also able to order fabric samples, which was helpful.

Without fabric samples, I might have ordered a hot pink couch because well, I could order a hot pink couch. After seeing the fabric in person, I knew hot pink wasn’t for someone who likes to drink wine (and occasionally spill it) or for Max Wiener (my dachshund). 

I decided to go with a dark charcoal grey with flecks of lighter grey. 

Now I am waiting for my sectional to be assembled and delivered. I still don’t know what my couch will feel/look like in person. But so far, I think I made a good decision.

But after such an extensive research process, it occurred to me that maybe the Vintage Modern shop needed to add a little street cred too.

So I added a Customer Reviews page to the site, which features pictures and feedback from some of our happy customers.

I get it.

It is scary to make a purchase online from a company you haven’t heard of before. You don’t know who that person is or what to expect.


I’m Pam Dewey, and this is my shop. I am not a shady online figure trying to scam you out of your cash.

I am just a lady who loves all things vintage, home design and refinishing furniture. And if you need some bona fides, check out some reviews.

And please feel free to drop me a line!

You can find the Vintage Modern shop on Instagram, Facebook and of course, right here at


7 Easy Steps to Build a Gallery Wall

Pamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

As someone who loves to decorate (and redecorate) her house, this week I thought I would share some tips on how to create a gallery wall.

There are multiple ways to design a gallery wall, but here are some of my favorites. Let me know in the comments section, if you have any other ideas to add.

1.      Start with one piece of art and build from that. This is often a bigger statement piece, but it could just be your favorite piece of art.

2.      If you want to go for a particularly clean gallery look, use frames that are all the same color. Or if you prefer a more eclectic look, mix in different styles and colors of frames.

3.      Lay your artwork down on the floor and practice arranging it. You can even take pictures with your phone to help you decide what arrangement you like best.

4.      If you are a graphic design pro, you could lay it out in InDesign, or whatever program you like. It might be more time consuming, but if you are very particular, this is a good option.

5.      Another option is to use painters tape to outline the art on your wall. This will give you a good idea about how the frames fit together, but you won’t get the visual element of how the art mixes.

6.      Make your significant other, roommate or Mom hold up the art in your desired location. (This requires a patient significant other, roommate or Mom.)

7.      Get out the hammer, nails, a pencil and a level. It’s time to hang some art! Remember, you can always fill those nail holes later if you change your mind.

Below I have shared some photos of the galley wall in my living room, as well as a link to a beautiful home featured on Design*Sponge with its gallery game on point.


This is the gallery wall in my living room. Please forgive the glare on some of the pictures. I am working on my photography skills.

This is the gallery wall in my living room. Please forgive the glare on some of the pictures. I am working on my photography skills.

Here is a closeup of my gallery wall. I went with a mixture of frame styles and colors. Also don't Jeni's prints look great?!

Here is a closeup of my gallery wall. I went with a mixture of frame styles and colors. Also don't Jeni's prints look great?!

Everyone's Place is in the Resistance

Pamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

This last week has been rough.  

Like many of you, I’ve been left feeling helpless, defeated and wondering what I can do.

The answer I’ve come with is we can resist. We can refuse to accept the orders Trump is enacting against our neighbors, friends and family.

We can stand up and say this is not my president, and this is not what I believe in.

We can write letters. We can attend rallies. We can meet with other concerned citizens and plan future resistance.

And we can support organizations that are actively fighting against this regime.

The Vintage Modern shop wants to add our support as well. For every Feminist and I am a Nasty Woman framed print we sell, we will donate  $1 to Planned Parenthood and $1 to the American Civil Liberties Union. Read more about the ACLU here.

We will restock the prints when stocks deplete. And we will continue to resist.

Have a Case of the Mondays? Or the Thursdays? Here’s Our Secret to Beating the Back-To-Work Blues

Pamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

I have a confession to make. When I am having a bad day, I visit the Quotes board on Pinterest.

I scroll through until I find a quote that strikes a chord with me, and I pin it.

I guess you could say, I love an inspirational quote. And I don't think I'm alone here.

Of course, not all quotes are created equal. Some are just silly or trite or both.

Like the saying, "Everything happens for a reason." I find that to be not only trite, but just not true. And not helpful.

But a quote like, “Let your past make you better, not bitter,” I am a big fan of.

It may be a little hokey, but nonetheless, good advice. These words say, move on. Do better things. Be a better person. Let all that bad stuff go.

It is good, if not necessarily easy advice.

Another one I am particularly fond of is, “Wake up. Kick ass. Repeat.” I find this phrase often floating around my head.

As a small business owner who also works a full-time day job, it sometimes seems like there is a never-ending to do list. This saying reminds me to put my head down and do the work.

Sand that dresser. Check out that new thrift store. Write that blog. And then wake up and do it all again the next day.

So whenever I am feeling overwhelmed or disheartened, I return to my “Well said” board on Pinterest. I scroll through my inspirational quote pins, and I start to feel better.

I mean, we could all use a little more inspiration in our lives, right?

With that in mind, I have been working with the incredibly talented Jeni Adkisson on a new project for the shop.

Adkisson created the logo for the Vintage Modern shop, so she obviously has some serious graphic design skills.

Within the next week or so, be on the lookout for some new inventory to be hitting the Vintage Modern shop’s shelves.

In the meantime, don’t let Monday or Tuesday or Thursday get you down.

Just keep kicking ass out there, friends. We promise to do the same.

The Vintage Modern shop's Top 5 Sources for Creative Inspiration

Pamela DeweyComment

Hi friends.

Inspiration is probably the most important element of creating. Without inspiration, you are just a writer sitting at a desk, a musician staring at the keys or an artist with a blank canvas.

Like most creators, I find inspiration in a variety of ways. This week I thought I would share my top 5 sources to get my creative juices flowing.

1.    Design Blogs

My favorite design blog is Design*Sponge. It was started by Grace Bonney in 2004, and it features home interiors, recipes, DIYs, before and after projects, art, business tips, and just about any other type of design you can think of.

I check out Design*Sponge not quite every day, but close. It keeps me up-to-date on the latest trends in interior design, inspires how I decorate my home and also inspires the pieces I create for the shop.

More than just the content she shares, I find Bonney herself a source of inspiration. Her blog has turned into a wildly successful company and brand. She has published two books, and the most recent book, In the Company of Women, is a New York Times Best Seller.

But Bonney does more than market her own brand, she also encourages other women to succeed. She regularly features other creative women on her blog and shares their secrets of success.

When I was creating the Vintage Modern shop, I often looked to Design*Sponge, and Bonney particularly, to figure out the best practices for launching a new business.

As I mentioned in last week’s blog, I also really enjoy the design, DIY, food and fashion blog, A Beautiful Mess. Sisters Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman have fabulous taste, and their homes are impeccable.

I can also credit this blog for cementing my love for all things blush pink.

2.    Books

I have always loved reading. Reading helps me recharge my batteries. Reading helps me disappear into another world. Reading teaches me to be a better writer. Reading teaches me more about the world I live in.

I try to read every night. And when I start a really great novel, I can wile away a whole Saturday curled up on the couch reading. It feels like the ultimate luxury.

I am currently reading Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. Gay is one of my favorite writers, as well as a feminist icon. With her book Bad Feminist, she not only coined a much beloved term, but also created a legion of devotees. Difficult Women is a collection of her short stories, and it does not disappoint. I aspire to be half the writer she is.

I am also reading In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney, as mentioned above. In the Company of Women, as the cover states, contains “inspiration and advice from over 100 makers, artists, and entrepreneurs.” Also as the name suggests, all these creatives are women.

My favorite profile so far is Genevieve Gorder’s. Gorder is an interior designer and a host on HGTV. She is also from Minnesota. (Twin Cities!) Gorder is beautiful, talented and she seems like just a genuinely lovely person.

When asked what success means to her,” Gorder replies,

“The simplest answer I can think of is to able to live my imagination and give it away to as many people as possible in one lifetime. I’m never worried about having enough inspiration. I’m worried that one lifetime will never be enough to execute it all.”

As a woman who has multiple creative passions, this answer really resonates with me. I worry that I am pulling myself in too many directions, and I will never have enough time to get it all done.

At the same time, being able to create and share my art with the world is the most amazing feeling.

Last Friday, I sold my Shoe Collector Curio Cabinet. After I delivered the piece, I followed up with some care instructions for the customer. She texted me back, “I love it so much!! Thanks for dropping it off…Even my 2 year old said PRETTY when he saw it.”

Receiving that text was so rewarding. She loved the cabinet as much as I did, and I was so happy that I could share my creation with her.

3.    Music

Music is such an important part of my life. I listen to a little bit of everything, and I often listen to music while I write. It helps set the mood for the creation process. (I am listening to the new Bon Iver album, 22, A Million a lot.)

Music can also inspire what I create. Sometimes a lyric from a song will inspire me to write a story or a poem.

But more than just inspiration, music helps soothe my soul, provides me focus and helps me unwind. I mean, is there anything more cathartic than a five-minute dance break?

4.    Pinterest and Instagram

I find so much inspiration scrolling through my feeds on Pinterest and Instagram. Pinterest has a lot of good DIY ideas, and there are so many insightful pins about refinishing furniture on the site.

And personally, Pinterest is my go-to source for recipe ideas. As someone who loves to cook and try new things, Pinterest is a great resource.

Instagram is more than just a photography site. It is an online community where people can share their art and interact with other artists.

And believe me, they are so many people making great art. The beauty shared on Instagram continually blows me away.

5.    Thrift stores and flea markets

I love the thrill of the thrift store hunt. Scouring through racks and racks of used clothing, and then stumbling across that perfect vintage coat is quite a high.

Finding thrift store treasure takes patience, perseverance and a good eye. Through my twenty odd years of combing through racks and shelves, I have developed a very good eye. I am always on the lookout for that diamond in the rough!

Hope you enjoyed my top 5 sources of inspiration, and maybe found some ideas to get your creative juices flowing!

In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney

In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney

How to Fail and Win Anyway

Pamela Dewey

Hi friends.

I make mistakes. Ok. I make a lot of mistakes.

It is human to make mistakes. And I am human certainly. (No robots are employed at the Vintage Modern shop.)

Like I said last week, I like a little imperfection, a little character. But when I am working on projects like writing or refinishing furniture, I like complete those maybe not perfectly, but somewhere close to perfect.

Perfect with character. Perfect with personality. Handmade perfect.

But the only way you to get close to perfect is practice. And as you practice, you make mistakes.

You hit the wrong note. You cut the board too short. You realize no matter what the paint label said, use primer.

And from these mistakes, you learn.

You play different notes. You measure twice. You always use primer. (Seriously, just use primer.)

And slowly, your songs sound better. You cut your boards the right length. Your paint covers perfectly.

You get better.

But before that happens, you make those mistakes.

Over the last two weeks, I got better at some things. I saw this cool banner DIY on A Beautiful Mess.

I thought, I could make that, and I could sell that at the shop.

But I had a tweak in mind. I wanted my banner to be not quite so Christmas-themed. So instead of NOEL, I decided my banner would say ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE.

So I went to the fabric store to buy my supplies. I agonized over the type of sheet moss to buy. Cost, how much I need, etc. Sheet moss cost more than I anticipated.

I went home and unrolled my moss. It was completely see-through.

I went back to the store and bought something that actually resembled a sheet. Mistake made. Lesson learned.

Since I was adding more words to my banner, I also decided to scale down my letters. Instead of doing the word LOVE 8 inches tall like the blog post suggests, I made the word LOVE 6 inches tall and the rest of the words 2 inches tall.

I cut my banner out of felt and cut and glued my ribbon down to the felt. I printed out the letters, taped the letters to the cardboard and then cut these letters out. Then I cut the letters out of moss and glued these letters to the cardboard letters. I arranged ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE on my banner, and I glued the words down. Then I hung my banner over the edge of a door and glued two wreath hangers to the back of the banner.

I stood back and looked at the banner. Something was off. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

I took a couple pictures, and I sent one to my mom.

“Kinda on the fence about it.”

“Doesn’t seem to have the same pop as the other one. Are all the letters moss covered?” she wrote back.

I had, of course, covered all the letters in moss. But with this text, my mom essentially identified the problem.

She couldn’t tell for sure if all the letters were moss-covered, so the green was not nearly as bold as it should have been. By making the letters smaller, I had thrown the scale off. So the banner didn’t have as much “pop" because the size of the banner wasn’t proportional to the letters.

This letter re-sizing amounted to a mistake, and one that was not as easily fixed as returning the moss to the store. The banner was maybe not entirely ruined, but certainly not usable in its current state.

So I failed. But I also learned.

Some tweaks are good. I still like the idea of using “ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE.” I also like the rose gold ribbon I bought. But the letters must be bigger, or the banner must be smaller to correct the scale.

I haven’t decided how I want to try to salvage the banner I made. Or if I want to try to make more banners for the shop.

As I get older, I have accepted there are plenty of things I won’t ever be great at. But it doesn’t mean I want to stop pushing myself to try new things.

Some of these things I will be good at. And some of these things I will fail at.

Making mistakes and failing is what makes us human. Failure helps us grow. And no matter how old I am, I don’t ever want to stop learning and growing.

These are my work-in-progress moss letters. If nothing else, I had a fun time playing with the moss.

These are my work-in-progress moss letters. If nothing else, I had a fun time playing with the moss.

How to Build a Perfectly, Imperfect Farmhouse Table (Or at Least Some Ideas)

Pamela DeweyComment

Pro-Tip: Hay Barn Building Experience May Prove Helpful

Hi friends.

This week on the blog, I thought I would share something a little different. I interviewed the builder who created our Make It Your Family Farmhouse, Upcycled Trestle Table. And the builder just so happens to be my dad.

What was the first piece of furniture you built? When was that?

I built a bench and a toybox in 4H. I was about 10 or 11 years old at the time.

Did you create the pieces from scratch, or how did you know what to do?

There was a 4H planbook that had pictures, told you the materials you needed, instructions to follow, what lengths to cut boards, etc.

What was the next thing you built?

I helped build the hay barn (on the family farm) when I was 20.

Wow. That sounds intense.

Yeah. I mean I didn’t do it on my own or anything. I helped my pop build it. It took us a couple months.

I know you make drawings beforehand. Tell me a little bit about your design process.  Where do you pull inspiration from?

I pull inspiration mostly out of my head. Some of the drawings skills (to create the table blueprints) I learned in high school, college and at work. (My father is a retired, electrical engineer.)

Tell me about where the wood from this table is from.

The wood is all out of the house. (The house is farmhouse my father grew up in, located in Kansas.) The wood is mostly fir, maybe some pine. It is the wood that was the floor joists, as well as studs out of the wall. I call it structure wood.

What is one of your favorite memories of growing up on the farm?

I loved the freedom. Back then, there wasn’t so much fear of bad things happening to children, like them being kidnapped. We worked a lot, but we also had free time to go fishing, wander around, and just explore. 300 acres is a pretty good area to go exploring in.

How did you come up with the color for the stain?

I used a pre-stain sealer that turned the wood a reddish color. Then I applied ash-colored stain to return the aged look to the wood. Then I sealed the table with several layers of polyurethane.

What is your favorite part of making a table?

Letting the creative juices flow. None of the three tables are exactly like. (This is the third farmhouse table my father has constructed. The other ones he built are in my and my brother’s dining rooms.)

What is one thing you have learned from making these tables?

I like to work with repurposed wood because it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Yeah. I think that is what makes these tables so beautiful. The imperfections make the tables completely unique. 

An Aside To the Readers

The older I become, the more I appreciate imperfection in home design. Let’s be real. Your house is never going to look like the cover of Architectural Digest or even HGTV Magazine most days. You live there, you have kids, you have pets. Dirt gets on the rug. Wine gets spilled. (In my house, far too often.) Dust settles EVERYWHERE.

So rather than worrying about all the ways my house doesn’t look like an magazine cover, I decided to embrace imperfection. Seek out something with a little patina, a little chipped paint, or a few scuff marks. It shows the piece has age and character. And then when I spill wine (or paint) on that old trunk I use for a coffee table, I don’t worry. I am just adding to the charm. And the less things I have to worry about, the better.

A Long-winded Introduction from the Vintage Modern shop

Pamela Dewey

Hi friends.

My name is Pam Dewey, and the Vintage Modern shop is my new online store. I am the owner, the boss, the designer, the shopper, the stylist, the marketer and the copywriter. I think that about covers it?

A little more about me to start. My mother started taking me to antique stores when I was about five or six years old. From the beginning, I loved all the sparkly, costume jewelry antique stores sell. The more bling, the better.

And I loved the old clothing. I love 50s and 60s style clothing, Dior New Look style dresses with nipped waists and the paisleys and the floral prints of the psychedelic era. There was an extended period of time where I wished I was born in 60s, so I could have lived my true life as a flower child. 

As I got a little older, I began to frequent thrift stores. I searched for the clothes to complete my grunge wardrobe along with cute 50s style cardigans.

When I was In college, shopping at thrift stores became more of necessary part of the broke college student existence.

The year after I graduated, I rented my first solo apartment. I was excited about having my own space, but it also meant furnishing an apartment on my own. I was working as a visual manager for a dying department store, so my home design budget was very modest.

And to be honest, I didn't know much about interior design yet. But my mother was determined to help me create a good looking apartment. (My mother is a retired teacher, but she is also an amateur furniture refinisher and all around crafty lady.)

We took my hand-me-down couch, futon and end tables and added an Asian-inspired table lamp, black and red floral, silk pillows (that my mother made), my parent’s old Persian rug (that nicely covered the stain on the carpet), a few pieces of cheap art, a vintage ice bucket (to hold magazines) and a wicker chair from Pier One. The chair was a horrible dark green, but my mother spray painted it a bright, beautiful red.

All of sudden, I had a living room that looked like a grown person with some taste lived there. I was astonished by what a little bit of styling and creativity could do.

Shortly thereafter, the department store decided to close its doors, and I found out I was about to be out of a job. But it just so happened, my best friend had moved to NYC, and one of his roommates was moving out of their Brooklyn apartment.

I had visited NYC once years ago and loved it then. It seemed like fate. So after an exploratory visit for New Year’s Eve, and I decided to take the plunge.

My former employer was owned by the same company as Saks Fifth Avenue, so I tried to work those connections. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much of a visual portfolio, so the first interview at Saks didn’t go great. But the HR woman did compliment me on my outfit, so it didn’t go terribly either.

In the meantime, I got a sales associate job at H&M. I wanted to work my way up to a visual position, but then I received another call from Saks. I was in.

I worked at Saks Fifth Avenue the rest of my time in NYC. I started as a visual merchandiser and was promoted to a stylist position. Along the way, I learned.

I learned about couture and the fashion industry. I met some fashion designers. I attended a runway show during Fashion Week.

I also learned how to use a hand sander, how to use a staple gun, how to assemble a chandelier and lost all my fear of ladders.

I learned how to create a statement wall with some peacock feathers and a staple gun, to build a chandelier out of Frisbees, to design a snowman out of denim and styrofoam, to create fabric flowers from muslin and liquid starch and how to gold leaf an entire mannequin platform. I also met some crazy talented, wonderful people who shared their knowledge with me.

It was wonderful. It was exhausting. I got burnt out. On the job and on the city.

So I moved to Minneapolis, at the end of 2008. The recession was just taking hold, and I started temping in an accounting office. I eventually was hired on. And then I stayed and stayed.

After I moved to Minnesota, I also started refinishing furniture, basically sanding and painting vintage furniture to give it new life. I started with an abandoned dresser at my old apartment. I spray painted it silver and added new hardware. It looked brand new.

The next piece I refinished was a vintage buffet I inherited from my grandparents. Sometime in the 60s, my grandma painted it the at-the-time popular avocado green. I painted over the unsightly avocado with  black paint. The beautiful lines of the buffet were accentuated with the new, moody dark paint. 

After working inaccounting for awhile, I decided it was time to make a change in my life. I enrolled in a Strategic Communication Master’s program, so I could seek out a new career path, something with some writing involved. Along with fashion and design, writing is my longtime passion.

While completing my degree, I took classes like copywriting, social media communication, advertising and content strategy for web communication. Last spring, I enrolled in my Capstone Class. A capstone is essentially a thesis project people that must be completed to graduate.

On my former blog, I wrote about the “(wo)man in the mirror” moment I had as I was contemplating my Capstone project. You can read that here. It was essentially the moment I ditched my original project idea and decided to write a business plan. A business plan for this business, the Vintage Modern shop.

The Vintage Modern shop provides a way for me to combine all my passions into one project. I get to frequent thrift stores to shop for vintage items that need to be refinished, reimagined or just need to find the right home. Then I get to work on these refinishing projects, write the product copy, market these items online and then blog about the process here.

Here are the last two sentences from my Capstone project.

“Though I know there will be bumps along the way, I will get to funnel my skills of writing copy, social media promotion, and strategic planning into an online store where I sell furniture and art my friends and I have created. It is kind of the dream.”

And I get to be my own boss. So that is how this whole shop came to be. 

I apologize for this longread. Future blog posts will be much shorter.

Going forward, the blog will focus on the refinishing process, as well as things I am learning while running the business.

But today, I wanted to say an incredibly long-winded hello.


For fun, I wanted to share a before and after of one of the pieces for sale on the website. I think it turned out pretty great, right?