By Jen Bakken
LYNDALE, MN Chandeliers, painted and distressed furniture, lamp shades with tassels, and mixed media art are just some of the things one will see at Kathie’s Finds, a new store in Lyndale.
Stepping through the door of the historic Lyndale Creamery, one is immediately struck by the beauty found in every inch of this store, owned by Kathie Armstrong and her husband, Jeff Morlock.
Though there are perfect holiday-themed items, Kathie’s Finds are jazzed up with sparkle not just for Christmas, but every day of the year.
Growing up in Canada, Armstrong had no idea that later in life, after raising her three children, she would fall in love with a man from Minnesota and feel at home in a tattered old brick building built in 1894.
After meeting Morlock on a blind date, they continued a long distance romance, and Armstrong first fell in love with Morlock’s e-mails. Eventually, the couple was married, and in 2007, they purchased the old creamery building.
Initially, Armstrong thought her husband was crazy, suggesting they purchase a building that was basically falling apart.
“There were 22 holes in the roof,” said Kathie Armstrong. “No insulation, no sink or usable toilet, no heat, the electrical was all messed up, windows were rotting, and then some.”
But, it was only a matter of days before the couple purchased the building through an online auction. They could both see the beautiful possibilities in the eight different levels of their new home.
One year later, their home and store are still works in progress. They are truly living with construction all around them, not to mention a few dogs and cats running around.
Though Armstrong is a woman still suffering without a closet, she is thankful for insulation and heat, something they lived without last winter.
Visiting her store, located in the front portion of the building and one adjacent room, one wouldn’t know there is the chaos of construction in the rest of the building.
One could literally spend hours there, and possibly not see every unique item.
“I find things and give them new life,” said Armstrong. “I do whatever my eye thinks and jazz it up somehow.”
A hint of glitter here, a tassel there and items are turned into an original Kathie’s Finds masterpiece.
Her imagination seems endless. A popular item is her baskets, for which she uses new and vintage items for any theme one could think of and any price range.
Her store offers vintage jewelry, and she makes amazing original pieces. The fun, yet practical Second Life Totes she makes are another top seller.
Using blankets, rugs, and other fabrics, each of them are hand-made and no two are alike.
“I reclaim and repurpose anything and everything.” she said.
Being earth-friendly, Armstrong truly tries to recycle, reuse, repurpose, reclaim, and give new life to things. Currently, she is making Kathie’s Cup Cozies to go around paper coffee cups.
“When I see something with a lot of waste, it drives me crazy,” she admitted. “When I noticed all the paper rings being thrown away at coffee shops, I came up with the cozies. They are reusable, washable, and I make them out of reused wool, which absorbs moisture.”
It would be nearly impossible to mention everything one could find at Kathie’s Finds. The store is currently open every Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The creativity under this historic roof doesn’t stop with Armstrong. Morlock, himself, has imaginative ways, too. By day, he fixes computers, but he recently published his first book, “Ripples on the Water,” a wonderful love story.
“He just sat down and started to write,” she said proudly. “The moment he finished the last word, the title came to him. I did the artwork for the cover.”
This unique couple has found their home and the perfect spot to spend their lives, use their imaginations, and share their creativity with everyone who steps through the door of Kathie’s Finds.
A visit with Armstrong not only puts one at ease, but makes one feel as though they are old friends who could talk for hours.
Kathie’s Finds will host a holiday open house Saturday, Dec. 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be homemade cookies, hot apple cider, a sneak peek at her one-of-a-kind items, and a chance to meet this fun, artsy, and passionate lady.