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Svea, Minn., friends have fun creating treasures out of reclaimed and tired furnishings and accents

Christy Swanson, left, and Deb Krueger hold gifts they have created from old and tired items, which they then sell at their business called Red Door Treasures in Svea. They will be having a sale Nov. 4 and 5. (Tribune photo by David Little)

SVEA -- Deb Krueger and Christy Swanson of Svea are friends having fun creating gifts and accessories for the home and garden out of reclaimed and tired furnishings and accents.

"I think the idea we kind of have is to reuse, repurpose, upcycle, just the whole reduce, reuse, recycle because it doesn't all have to go to the landfill,'' says Krueger of the small business they started in 2010 called Red Door Treasures.

They had two sales in 2010, had a sale earlier this month and will have another sale from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 4 and from 9 a.m. to noon on Nov. 5 in their shed next to Swanson's home in Svea.

Krueger says nothing is off limits. They receive items from friends and at garage sales, find stuff in dumpsters or see interesting things along the road or the curb.

"A lot of things are just tired,'' Krueger continues. "They just need to be repurposed or just take them apart and make them into something completely different. I think that's the fun of it. I think people come out and say they never would have thought of doing that, look at that, and we hear that over and over.''

Plates glued to a glass or vase form cute little cake stands. Dragonflies take wing from old thread bobbins. A painted window frame with the glass out of it is a decorative piece. An old bicycle wheel becomes the basis for a wreath.

Old doors taken apart, screwed together and painted black become a bench. A repainted small desk with "new'' pulls could be used for storage or a craft table. Painted, blank picture frames can create something unique and inexpensive.

"I think it's endless once you just open your mind to doing this or that,'' said Krueger.

The name of the business is painted on a red door attached to a tree. The friends have the color red in common: Swanson has red hair and is nicknamed Red. Krueger's favorite color is red and has been the color of the front door of every house she has lived in.

"It just kind of went together,'' says Krueger.

She got the idea for the business after going to a junk show in the Twin Cities more than two years ago.

"This is so cool,'' Krueger recalls. "People just take stuff they find at garage sales and other places and they are finding new purposes for those items. Wouldn't that be cool?''

They're creating treasures when they aren't working full time or are busy with children and family. Swanson says the amount of time needed to make things varies.

"Sometimes we get in the last-minute rush and try to get as much stuff done as possible because we never think we have enough stuff. But it turns out we always have plenty. We try to fill our shed,'' she says.

Swanson recalls hurting herself the night before their first sale in 2010.

"I was frantically trying to get ready and I stepped on a scissors and had to have stitches quick and come back and try to finish everything,'' she said.

Krueger, being a good partner, took Swanson to the hospital while her daughter babysat Swanson's children.

"We're in it thick and thin,'' she says.

Others help the partners. Krueger's husband is sometimes the unofficial carpenter and family and friends often assist during sales.

"We just really appreciate it. But it's a fun time when we have our sale. We've made friends this way,'' says Krueger.

She said two ladies from the cities showed up at a sale because they had heard about it from Krueger's friend on Facebook and they've been friends since.

"We email back and forth and they always stop and they're just a hoot. And we've made other friends just like that and I think that's really fun.''

Swanson believes the future for them looks good.

"As far as I know we'll have some more sales and we have more junk that we need to use up, so as long as it's fun and we don't hurt ourselves anymore than we have in the past.''

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150