Dreams of Yesteryear Victorian Bed & Breakfast

1100 Brawley Street, Stevens Point, Wisconsin 54481
Innkeeper(s): Bonnie & Bill Maher

"Repurposing" at it's Finest. 15 Oct 2014, 7:06 am

I realize "repurposing" can't be summed up in "Days." "Repurposing" is on-going. The most you can hope for is to one day start a "repurposing" pile and keep adding to it as you come across things you don't need. I met my own goal of repurposing more stuff by October 7. This time Easter Seals got my donation. October 7 was the day Easter Seals had scheduled a pickup in my area. I was determined to get a healthy load ready by the time the Easter Seals truck backed into my driveway. My "Day One" blog told how I focused on repurposing large items, but this time I focused on the smaller stuff that I could carry to the garage on my own power--the things that I could fit into manageable sized boxes and bags. First I cleaned out my closet and drawers. If something hadn't been worn in a year or didn't fit anymore, into the bag it went. There was no room for sentimentality or for wishful thinking that "I might fit into that someday." Well, except for the two dresses I wore at each of my two daughter's weddings. Some sentiment is absolutely priceless. Next I hit the basement storage room and the armoire that was full of board games and remotes for video games that hadn't been played since my daughter's grade school days--some even from my grade school days! Collectible games? Things of value, you may ask? Perhaps. I didn't allow myself to think that way. I looked on line to see what kinds of articles Easter Seals accepted and noticed that "antiques" was on the list. In fact, there isn't much that Easter Seals does not take. I repurposed luggage, books, cassette and video tapes, boxes of yarn and fabric, light fixtures, small tables, to name a few--even my husband's old bowling ball. (Sorry Bill, don't know if you knew that. :)) We have a two car garage and I managed to repurpose enough to fill the area in front of one garage door two rows across. I felt good about my healthy donation, the space I had acquired in my storage room and armoire, and the fact that someone might find a purpose for things I no longer needed. My next project is the workshop and garage. The next Easter Seals pickup in my area is November 11. So if I start my "repurposing" pile now, I might get another load ready by November 11. I'm not looking forward to cleaning the workshop and garage, however. The recent "clean out" of my parent's estate including my dad's workshop resulted in lots of things being added to my own estate--the hazard of cleaning out someone's else's stuff. Yes, the "repurposing" saga continues.

A Church Restoration Story 2 Oct 2014, 6:48 am

Had the most wonderful breakfast conversation with some recent Catholic guests. They shared this link to a You-tube video of the history and restoration of St. Stanislaus Church in Milwaukee--absolutely captivating and extremely interesting especially for people like me who live and breathe historic restoration. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55qVIlw6n8k St. Stanislaus Church: The Restorationhttp://www.StStanislausMilwaukee.com/

Day 1 of "Repurposing" 24 Sep 2014, 10:11 am

Day One of the "repurposing" mission to clean my house turned out to be a lot of work. I got rid of unused big items like furniture, an exercycle, storage trunks, an old clothes rack, and cabinets. This allowed me to look at my old space with new eyes and figure out how I wanted to rearrange/reorganize items I was keeping. I discovered that with a little sifting, sorting and rearranging, I could eliminate some of the large furniture type items I was using for storage. I made a list of large items I wanted to repurpose and then enlisted the help of J & S Salvage of Stevens Point. I discovered that J & S will not only take anything, but will also pick items up for free--even my old TV and my husband's beater recliner. Making a list of all the things I was repurposing made sure that nothing would be left behind when J & S pulled out of my driveway. At 6:00 PM last night J & S loaded up all my big items and hauled them away--what a beautiful sight as that truck loaded with all my big items I was repurposing rolled down the street. What a great feeling of accomplishment! That wonderful feeling, didn't last long however. What I didn't count on, was my husband's "bad attitude" toward my giving away his old delapidated recliner and his TV. I think the words Bill used while storming off to a meeting were something like, "next you'll be getting rid of me." Well, I'm not getting rid of Bill. :) I guess I should have included him in my "repurposing" plan. Oops! He didn't know that I was making room for a newer recliner and TV I had around the house. More repurposing was about to unfold. I plan to use things I have lying around in other ways in my own house. You can bet while Bill was at his meeting, I worked hard to refurbish the "man cave" with a newer recliner and a much lighter flat screen TV. I even added a floor lamp we inherited from Bill's father next to his easy chair. I guess Bill liked his new digs since he treated me to ice cream later. :) So that was day one of repurposing. With the big items out of the way, my next step is to find plenty of boxes and then go through smaller items that I think Easter Seals can use--clothers, dishes, tools, and even antiques. The next Easter Seals pickup is October 7, so I've set October 7 as my deadline for going through closets and cupboards. Repurposing continues.

Time to "Repurpose" 17 Sep 2014, 11:31 am

It has been a long time since I posted on my Dreams of Yesteryear blog. Got to admit--life has been busy. Bill and I are definitely in that sandwich generation--the ones that take care of their parents and their grandchildren. So that's my excuse for not posting. But perhaps life will slow down a little now that my parents have moved into an assisted living facility and their house is cleaned out and on the market. Anyone interested in a 1958 ranch style home in Stevens Point, WI?
There is a lesson to be learned when you clean out your parent's house. That is, of course, watch what and how much you collect so your children won't have to deal with masses of "stuff" when their turn comes to clean up. Which brings me to my own clean up. My winter project for Dreams of Yesteryear Bed and Breakfast is to go through the basement and closets and "repurpose" "stuff." I've always kept my "stuff" clean and well organized, but let's face it, it's still just "stuff." I like the word "repurpose." "Repurposing" sounds better than recycling or trashing. My experience cleaning out my parents house has shown me lots of places to do my "repurposing." Places like Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, Goodwill, Easter Seals are always looking for useful things. Easter Seals will even come to the house to pick up your donated items. I think they will like the treasures I will be putting together. And, don't forget, you can "re-purpose" things by getting your kids to take them into their basements, garages and sheds! Then someday they can "re-purpose" them. :-) Sitting at my computer and writing about cleaning up makes the task sound easy and me motivated. I may have given you the wrong impression, I'm sure when I'm finally sifting and sorting, I'll be subject to that, "it's too good to get rid of" inclination and things will end up back in the basement or closet. So, reader, send some strong "repurposing" vibes my way. I'll let you know how my 'repurposing" project goes.

Dreams Gets a College Pro Facelift 16 Jul 2013, 11:37 am

Dreams of Yesteryear Bed and Breakfast has the reputation for being well-maintained.  We strive to keep the outside looking as beautiful as the inside. One thing I longed for, though, was to see every square inch of the building painted in the same season.  Prior to this year, at the advice of a neighbor who also owns an old Victorian, we painted one side of the house a year or hit the places where it was needed most.  So you can understand my feeling after owning the house for 26 years, I wanted to see the house completely painted.  I wanted her to look as fresh as the year she was built.

So it was with this in mind, that I researched College Pro Painters to do the job.  I usually try to hire college students whenever possible to do jobs around the bed and breakfast, but I must say, I was a little apprehensive about sending college students to the top of my three story house.  After making sure these students were trained and insured, I decided to give them a chance.   I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the result.  I'm posting some photos to share

June in the Gardens 21 Jun 2010, 3:11 pm

Here it is June already. Birds and squirrels, gardening and B&B guests are getting my attention these days. Stevens Point has had its share of rain already this month so creatures and plants in our gardens are quite happy. Already summer travel has provided plenty of opportunities to share the gardens of Dreams of Yesteryear with guests.
I like to describe to my guests what the property, especially the gardens, were like when Bill and I purchased our historic home, the J.L. Jensen House in 1987. The huge yard was quite overgrown with trees, shrubs, vines, and Lily of the Valley. Cedar hedges that were nearly as wide as they were tall topped the stone rip rap on two sides of the lot. A bittersweet vine near the west porch crawled over the roof and looked like it would be the plant that ate the house. Grape vines had tangled their way relentlessly through the Lilacs (not a bad thing if you like to make grapevine wreaths J). Pachysandra had managed to make its way up to the top of the mama and papa pines. Although we had just bought a large old house that needed lots of attention, we couldn’t wait to sort through the gardens to discover what kinds of plantings had been placed here by early owners of our house. I imagined Jensen family members planting these varieties a century ago. But, I also imagined that soon enough I’d be using my back, knees, elbows, and muscles to have my way with these plantings. After all, what is the purpose of a garden if not to accentuate the house? J
We’ve owned this historic home over 23 years now and I think we have pruned and trimmed every inch of the yard. As guests stroll through the formal and informal gardens of Dreams of Yesteryear, they now can gaze upon antique plantings that have been lovingly nurtured back to health. Honeysuckle, Bittersweet, Lilacs, Roses, Cotoneaster, and Bridal Wreath are a few of the plantings we've given a second chance at life. Of course we couldn’t resist the allure of the local nurseries and have given some new plantings a first chance at life in a Victorian garden. A variety of Hostas, Dragon's Blood, Lavender, Bugle Weed, Sedums, Artemisia, Iris, Jacob's ladder, Wild Ginger, Anemone, Lamb's Ears, Perovskia, Euonymus, and Lillies have found a home in our Victorian garden.
So as I write this I realize it‘s officially the first day of summer. With no purpose in writing this except to ponder my gardens, I wish you a happy summer and invite you to come enjoy a stroll through my garden.

Gardens at Dreams of Yesteryear 18 Jun 2010, 3:45 pm

It's been a long time since I've entered a blog. Shamefully, I'll admit it was Christmas. Now here it is June and Christmas is but a memory and birds,gardening, and B&B guests are getting my attention Stevens Point has had it's share of rain already this month so birds are chirping happily and the gardens are lush. And the best part has been sharing these treasures with bed and breakfast guests.

As guests comment on the gardens, I like to describe to them what the property was like when we purchased our historic home in 1987. The huge yard was quite overgrown with trees, shrubs, vines, and Lily of the Valley. Cedar hedges that were nearly as wide as they were tall topped the the stone rip rap on two sides of the lot. A bittersweet vine near the west porch crawled over the roof and looked like it would be the plant that ate the house. Grape vines had tangled their way relentlessly through the Lilacs (not a bad thing if you like to make grapevine wreaths). Pachysandra had managed to make its way up to the top of the mama and papa pines. It was exciting to sort through nature's green to discover see what kinds of plantings may have been placed here by early owners of our house.

Over the years we've pruned and trimmed our way to returning the yard into the beautiful Victorian landscape we enjoy today. As guests stroll the formal and informal gardens of Dreams of Yesteryear, they enjoy gazing at mature antique plantings that have been lovingly nurtured. Honeysuckle, bittersweet, lilacs, roses, cotoneaster, bridal wreath to name a few are the plantings we feel we've given another life. Guests also notice the other plantings that we've added over the years. No gardener can resist the many varieties of hostas or the dragon's blood, lavender, bugle weed, sedums, wormwood, iris, Jacob's ladder, wild ginger, anenome, lamb's ears, provoskia, eunemome, and lillies we couldn't resist adding to our gardens.

I Wish You the Christmas Spirit 4 Dec 2009, 2:02 pm

Well it finally came. The first real snowfall of 2009. Thank goodness! I've spent three days at my job in the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point's Tutoring-Learning Center trying to sandwich in the business of decorating the Writing/Reading and Content Tutoring Labs for the holidays, two days decorating my mother and dad's house and tree, and countless days/hours decorating our home--the Dreams of Yesteryear Bed and Breakfast. And guess what? I wasn't in the Christmas spirit in the least. But today changed all that.

Today we had our first real snowfall of the season. I woke up to discover my lawn covered with white, and to the slippery roads that paved my way to work. Looking through the windows I felt like I was in a giant snowglobe. The tips of the tree's branches were dusted with white, the large snowflakes melting on the heads and shoulders of the students as they came into our office, and the weather prediction of snow for the next five days has finally put me in the Christmas spirit. It feels good to feel that Christmas excitement again.

You would think that as one gets older, the excitement of Christmas would wear off. But, it is truly that magical time of year even for us adults. I love the anticipation that pours from Bill's and my six grandchildren this time of year, the beautiful sentimental feeling evoked by the old classic Christmas carols, the Advent Season as we prepare for Christ's coming.

I hesitate to put a damper on my Christmas spirit by turning on the news or even thinking of the state of our nation and economy this time of year. So join me and let's not make the world's problems take main stage right now. Instead, let's embrace Christmas and trust in He Who knows our problems and can make them go away. Perhaps if we can hold onto that Christmas spirit, the rest of the world's problems WILL go away.

Bill and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed 2010!

Stevens Point Roads Getting Confusing 21 Jul 2009, 9:40 am

If you've visited Stevens Point, you know that our streets can be confusing. The older section of Stevens Point is especially confusing because the streets are angled to follow the path of the Wisconsin River. And to make matters worse, the downtown and older section south of downtown is made up of several one-way streets. And now to add insult to injury, the DOT has made changes regarding US Highways 10 and 66 resulting from the opening of new US-10 West between Highway 34 North and I-39.

Here is a description of the changes as forward to me through our Stevens Point Convention and Visitor's Bureau. http://www.spacvb.com/

The changes are as follows:* US 10 no longer runs through Stevens Point west of I-39; the road there is now called Highway 66.* Old US 10 West has become County Road HH between Highway 66 and Highway 34 north.* County Road P is now Highway 66 from Stevens Point to Highway 34 near WisconsinRapids.* With the re-routing of Highway 66 onto I-39 between Highway 66 and US 10, StanleyStreet and Michigan Avenue have lost their Highway 66 designation and have become local streets. Detailed map information can be downloaded here[http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1102640178370&s=39&e=001ATZcwBzHY8SVi_CPd92VBeOyPcwflz6zRn_B841RF7E6u1pZuzopMLLsZxeHw1ZqlQNJLp3iPCCnOd1ZkBRsK-qo7naY8HHN43CjtjpeMFd19w8v429uKw==].

So far these road changes have not kept guests from finding our Dreams of Yesteryear Bed and Breakfast. But, I must say, I had some UWSP alumni visiting a couple weeks ago and some Iola Old Car Show returning guests who were surprised to see signs reading Highway 66 instead of Highway 10. Don't let the road changes fool you, we're still here. Come see if you can find us. :)

The Recession and Dreams of Yesteryear 18 Jun 2009, 7:13 am

As I'm out and about, people will often ask me if the bed and breakfast business has slowed down due to the recession. You know with the recession our country is in, I really did not expect people to be traveling as much, but I find my expectations are wrong. I can happily reply that business at Dreams of Yesteryear has been steady and is even surpassing last year's statistics. So who are these people that can afford to travel? Well, let me tell you what I'm observing.
There are still the big events in the area that attract certain guests--events that people look forward to and plan for year after year--kind of like the square dance conventions that Bill and I would plan to attend year after year. :) This weekend the 20th annual Midwest Renewable Energy Fair has our guest rooms full. Next month, Riverfront Rendezvous, the National Wellness Conference and the Iola Old Car Show will bring guests. Later the Jazz Festival, Art in the Park, the Amish Quilt Auction will bring people to our community. But, in between the events, what reasons do people find to travel? I think that recession or no-recession, people work hard and need a vacation. So to meet that need for a vacation, I'm finding people are being resourceful and taking vacations closer to home. Some guests come from as close as an hour's drive, some come from right here in Stevens Point to get a peak at our historic home and to experience bed and breakfast hospitality. Guests may not be traveling as far to get away, but they still can feel rested, relaxed and "vacationed" by checking into a nearby bed and breakfast.
Low cost and free activities abound in Stevens Point so once here guests do not need to spend a lot of money to have fun. Some bring their bikes and ride our beautiful and free Green Circle Trail or experience hiking in our many parks. Others take architectural walks to view our many historic buildings and homes in nearby downtown. And when it comes to food, a full gourmet breakfast at Dreams of Yesteryear starts your day and is included in the price of the room. For lunch and dinner, Stevens Point has a wide variety of restaurants to choose from so dining out does not have to be expensive.
So to make a long story short. The recession has not been bad for the bed and breakfast business. It's actually great to see people stretching their imaginations to come up with ways to vacation without stretching their wallets.
I'm sure you've already thought of ways to take an inexpensive vacation, but if not, consider staying at a nearby bed and breakfast. And, while you're at it, why not stay at Dreams of Yesteryear! :)