Auction Finds

By now you probably know that Mark and I love going to auctions.  A couple of weekends ago we spent our Saturday morning at a local estate auction run by our favorite auctioneer.  At first, nothing stood out that we planned on bidding on…then we took a second look, a third, and so on.  We ended up hitting the jackpot.  THIS is exactly why we love auctions, you never know what you will end up with.  Case in point…

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  • 3 sets of Edgar Allan Poe books
  • antique candy scale
  • fowl feather artwork
  • Williamsburg slipware trencher platter

Bidding on and winning an item is only half the fun (well maybe more like 75% thanks to the adrenaline rush) the rest is figuring out how to incorporate what we buy into our home.  It takes an open mind to think of how items can be used or repurposed.

This time around, I started with the books to makeover our mantel with a few other pieces we already had. It took a few attempts at rearranging to get it “just right”.afterlightimage-26

My favorite piece out of this group is the candy scale, which is now a centerpiece on our kitchen table and also has the perfect spot to hold a small candle.  I think it was made for our house.

 

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Mark’s favorite item is the trencher platter, he picked it out.  It is now on display on the kitchen counter and is also currently holding a candle.  Apparently I turn everything into a candle holder.  It is a very unique piece that I’m glad he spotted, he has a good eye!

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Last, but not least, the fowl feather artwork.  Small and simple and a perfect accent in our guest room.  For my own peace of mind, I am convincing myself that no birds were harmed in the making of this piece 🙂

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Let me finish by saying, not every auction is this much of a success. Sometimes it is hit-or-miss but that is part of why we enjoy going, it is always a gamble.  Here is a little more insight into our love for auctions for anyone who might be interested.

If you are a fellow auction enthusiast, please share! Experiences, favorite buys, etc…

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Decor Deals

When you love decorating, but you are working within a budget, you hunt for deals…simple as that.  I actually enjoy the hunt, it makes me feel like I won something.  Now, it is worth saying, that when it comes to certain items “quality over quantity” is a good rule of thumb to follow.  For me, it is all about balance.  There are certain items I am willing to splurge on and others that it’s all about the bargain.

Here are some of my favorite recent decor deals from my go-to resources including Amazon, Etsy and Target (of course).

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1. Preserved boxwood wreaths from Amazon

I paid just over $30 for both: 6″ $11.55 / 9″ $19.98…and they were PRIME eligible so no extra shipping charge and arrived in 2 days (YAY!).  Compared to some of the prices I was comparing on Etsy for similar wreaths, or faux versions, I felt like these were a good deal.  Also, I am impressed with the color and quality.

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2. Custom throw pillow covers from ShamShack 

If you have purchased custom shams (or any shams for that matter) you know they can be expensive.  I have purchased from this shop before and find their prices to be reasonable, plus they have wonderful customer service.  I paid $33, including shipping, for these two covers (10×10 & 17×17).  I was able to select the colors and materials so they turned out exactly how I wanted.

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3. Floral watercolor painting from CoastToCoastArtist

This sweet little print was only $5 on sale. Having a one of a kind piece can be affordable.   It’s new home is now in our cottage bedroom and it is perfect. This shop has all kinds of beautiful botanical, animal, and farmhouse themed paintings.  Not only that, she does custom artwork as well, which I think will be my next purchase.

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4. Sweater knit throw blankets from Target

If there is anything I might love as much as throw pillows, it would be throw blankets.  I had my eye on these for a while.  They are usually $24.99 each, but I was lucky enough to catch them on sale for $17.99.  My REDCard added an extra 5% off and free shipping.  I’m glad I was patient.  They are so soft and comfy, definitely worth the wait!

 Maybe my favorite decor deals could turn into yours, have a great weekend!

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No affiliations or paid promos in this post

Just some good deals worth sharing 

 

Mom’s Green Thumb: Indoor Edition

Courtesy of my Mom, Jeanette (because I did not inherit her green thumb)…

Last Spring Becky asked me to write a  post about outdoor plants and flowers, so I did. Now, she asked me to write about indoor plants, so I will do that as well.  Needless to say I like all kinds of plants, but indoor plants add something special to a home, the are great decorating accents, and they help clean the air inside just like they do outside.

At the moment I have ten plants throughout the house plus three more wintering in our basement until it is warm enough to bring them onto our enclosed porch for the summer.  I will probably bring one that is almost ready to blossom up from the basement soon as I don’t want to miss the flowers.  I also have a pea plant Annabelle, our great-granddaughter, started at Children’s Church a few weeks ago and a tiny pot she and I are watching for a watermelon to break through.  We may have to plant a new watermelon seed.


Among my house plants is a ficus tree that is older than Becky (33 years for reference). It was given to me by the woman from whom we bought one of our first houses.  She was downsizing and didn’t have room for it in her new home and it has been a part of our lives ever since, moving with us to six different houses. Our son, Seth, has a cactus he brought home in the back of a truck in January 17 years ago.  I nursed it along and although it still has the scars from the plant version of frost bite it has grown from about two feet tall to over six feet.  The peace lily by our french door was given to me by the former superintendent and his wife when I started as a Superintendent.  Every time I look at it, it reminds me of their kindness and support as I started a new position.  I can tell you similar stories about when I acquired most of my plants.

I also add a few plants now and then as I see an area that needs a fresh look or when a current plant has grown too big for the windowsill. And every now and then I lose one. The ivy I had in the window near my piano died this Winter and I’m not sure why.  Maybe it just got too cold during some of the coldest days even though it had lived in that window a couple of years. Oh, well.  I also have a Christmas cactus that has never blossomed for me. I may try planting it in the ground outside for the Summer.  What do I have to lose?


My approach to plants is pretty simple.  If I get a new plant I read the tag and try to match its need for water and direct or indirect sunlight and if someone gives me one I check on-line.  I water my plants thoroughly once a week, but do the “finger test” (push your finger into the soil slightly and if dirt sticks to it, no water is needed, and if not, water it) first.  I like to put fertilizer sticks in each pot in February or March. The directions tell you how many to use for a particular diameter pot, but I have also used dissolvable fertilizer, the fertilizer sticks are just easier because they are once and done for the year. The plants don’t seem to care either way.

Once or twice a summer I try to put my plants outside when there is a gentle rain to wash the leaves, but putting them in the shower also works, it’s just a little messier. Every few years as plants grow I either re-pot them or divide them and sometimes I change the soil.  If a plant gets too leggy or spindly, I pinch it back or take a cutting and put a piece of it in a vase or jar until roots develop.  I put a plant I started from a cutting on the window in Becky’s cottage and she and I both think it looks right at home there. I visit to water it once a week when she’s not around (thanks Mom!).


I can’t grow everything—African violets, like the Christmas cactus, don’t bloom for me. But that’s OK.  In the meantime I’m enjoying the plants I grow successfully.  I enjoy them throughout the year, but it’s especially nice to have something green and growing around in the winter. When the days get longer they come out of their winter doldrums by putting out new leaves and shoots, their own way of welcoming Spring, I suppose.

One caution before I close.  Some plants can be harmful to children or pets. Check on-line to be sure what you have is safe for those in your home or put them on a high shelf then enjoy the freshness and beauty plants add to your home.

 

In a lot of ways I take after my Mom, but this just doesn’t seem to be one of them.  I’m thankful for her knowledge…and so are the few plants I’ve managed to keep alive for any length of time.  

Have a great weekend!

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Be Our Guests

Last weekend we had the pleasure of hosting our dear friends from Michigan which has me thinking about what it means to me to be a good hostess or at least how I try to be.  First and foremost, I truly enjoy having company and want any guests in our home to feel welcome and comfortable…whether it is for a week, a weekend, or just an evening.

Hosting doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, all you need is a little forethought…

Plan Ahead

My to-do list the week before having guests usually includes the routine cleaning and grocery shopping..making every effort not to wait until the last minute.  I like to think of a few of our favorite restaurants in advance that our guests might enjoy so we aren’t stuck spending too much time deciding where to eat (Mark and I are TERRIBLE when it comes to this)  It also doesn’t hurt to have some ideas of things to-do or places to go.

Be Considerate

This goes hand-in-hand with planning ahead, try to be aware of any dietary restrictions, allergies or preferences guests might have and you can accommodate accordingly.  This will avoid any awkwardness when you unknowingly make  bacon & eggs for breakfast.

A Special Touch

A little extra effort can go a long way…consider adding fresh flowers to your guest room, spare toiletries in the bathroom and have extra pillows & blankets accessible. As someone who has a hard time falling asleep without white noise (usually a fan) I recently added a sound machine by the guest bed for anyone who might share my quirk.

These simple things not only benefit your guests, but can help you ENJOY your time with your company instead of stressing, what’s more important than that?

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Auction Anyone?

What are you doing this weekend? Looking for something different?  If you’ve never been to an auction there is no time like the present.

Mark and I started to going auctions a few years ago and became enamoured with the whole experience.  We have found unique and special items, we have flipped a few things to make a profit, and had a lot of fun doing so.  Some of our most favorite pieces in our house (like these copper kettles) are from auctions.

We have learned a few things along the way… 

First, come prepared.  Auctions are often several hours long and the one thing you might have your eye on may take a while to get to which means you need to be comfortable.  You will need to know what payment methods are accepted and have the means to transport your purchases.  Next, know your limit.  It is easy to get carried away with the excitement and get carried away during bidding.  We have made the mistake of paying more than we wanted (or should have) because we got wrapped up in the moment…its an adrenaline rush!  Last, don’t get discouraged.  You will get outbid.  I have found myself immediately attached to an item I felt like I “had to have” and the bidding ended up going far beyond our limit…it wasn’t meant to be.

The most important thing is that we truly enjoy going to auctions, regardless of what we may or may not come home with.

Ready to check one out? A great resource (that we use regularly) to find local auctions  is Auction Zip. You can type in your zip code/range/date/etc and it will show a list of area auctions with location, time, and even photo previews of what will be offered.  We typically stick to estate or antique auctions.

If you are an auction frequenter, or end up going for your first time, I would LOVE for you to share your favorite buys!

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Spring Cleaning Part 1: In

A few weeks ago Mark nearly made me swoon… he mentioned (out of nowhere) that we should pick a weekend soon to go through the house room by room and deep clean together.  Yes please!

We have a pretty even divide of regular “chores” that suits us both well.  For example: he does the floors/I do the bathrooms…he mows/ I weed the flower beds.  However, even as a team, a full seasonal clean can still be a daunting task.

Here’s an idea of what our Spring Cleaning will entail, starting with Part 1: Inside

1. Seasonal wardrobe change

I actually enjoy this one, swap out fall/winter clothes in closet & dresser for spring/summer clothes in totes under the bed.  Also, sort out any clothes for donation.

2. Move & clean under/behind…

This includes appliances (I can’t tell you the last time our fridge has been moved so that should be fun) and all furniture to sweep/vacuum/dust areas that are usually unreachable

3. Tackle the nooks & crannies

Baseboards, stray cobwebs in corners and on ceiling, vents, “wash the walls” as my mom would say, anything that gets missed in daily/weekly cleaning

4. Edit & organize

Clean out all expired items including food from pantry and fridge, medicine and personal care products from bathrooms and re-organize respective storage areas

5. General Maintenance

Change out water & air filters (we do this quarterly), touch up any scuffs on walls, tighten lose toilet paper holder…you get the idea

Spring cleaning may not be fun per se, but it always feels worth it.  My house feels fresher and it allows more free time to enjoy the warmer weather once it arrives.

Speaking of weather, hopefully before long we’ll be ready for Part 2: Out…stay tuned!

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Recent Reads

Reading is relaxing for me.  There is nothing better than becoming fully immersed in a new book which often involves staying up way too late to read “just one more chapter.”  I’ll admit I do appreciate the convenience of e-books, but there is something about holding a book in your hands and turning the pages that can’t be replaced.  My mom shares this feeling, and she has been an avid reader my entire life…which is probably where I got it from.

I am always on the look-out for my next book to dive into. I’ll be honest, there are some books I have abandoned part-way through (gasp) because I just couldn’t “get into it”. Here are 4 of my recent reads that I think are worth checking out.  I will refrain from sharing too much detail because that is the beauty of reading…

The Magnolia Story

Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines, and Mark Dagostino

Capital Gaines

Chip Gaines

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I read The Magnolia Story first and was excited when they announced Chip’s book Capital Gaines.  I even got a free Magnolia t-shirt for pre-ordering, BONUS!  Both of these books give insight into the history of the Gaines family and how Magnolia became a household name.  Even though some of the subject matter may be similar the tone and perspective between the two books is very unique and you feel like you get a real glimpse of their lives far beyond what we see on HGTV.  They share so much heart and love, and who couldn’t use a little more of that?  In my opinion, you don’t have to be a fan of Fixer Upper to enjoy these, their stories stand on their own. Visiting Waco and Magnolia Market is already on my travel “bucket list” and these just added more fuel to the fire.

Of Mess And Moxie

Jen Hatmaker

Girl, Wash Your Face

Rachel Hollis

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I first saw Jen a few years ago when she was on My Big Family Renovation on HGTV and I fell in love with her sense of humor.  I have read several of her books since and Of Mess And Moxie is her most recent.  It was actually through Jen’s social media that I was “introduced” to Rachel Hollis and in turn Girl, Wash Your Face.  Let me tell you…these ladies are strong, sincere and FUNNY.  Both of these books will make you reflect, laugh, and maybe even cry a little.  There were moments reading these books that I felt like the authors were sitting right next to me chatting over a cup of coffee…I definitely want to in real life.  Aside from just the entertainment value of a good read…both of these books would be great for book clubs, personal development, or gifts.

All 4 of these books are available on Amazon (Prime!)…if you are like me and love a good hardcover, they are all around $15.00 or less.

What have you been reading lately?

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Goals Revisited

We are officially one full month into 2018 (which is CRAZY)  I’ve been thinking it is about time for me to briefly recap/revisit my 2017 GOALS with you…

1.Finish Cottage Remodel

We have made AMAZING progress on the cottage! It is now in living condition and ready for final inspection. We are looking forward it to enjoying it fully this summer.  However, I don’t know when the cottage will ever truly be “finished”, and we’re 100% ok with that. With the interior nearly done we can space out projects over the next few years…replace the roof, work on the basement, landscaping, etc.  

2.Explore Cooking

Before Mark switched shifts at work we came a long way in our culinary skills with the help of Plated.  I shared several posts under my food/travel category if you’re interested in our experience.  I have also been focusing on healthier recipes and also plan on going back and recreating some of our favorite meals from Plated.

3.Refresh Living Room

We planned on changing our entire living room around…but did a trial run rearranging all of the furniture and it just didn’t work.   Our current arrangement is the most practical for functionality and appearance.  So we went ahead with a refresh including new lamps, side tables, ottoman & accents.  It is surprising how much those small changes made a big difference.  I plan on posting about that very topic soon…

5.Simplify & Organize

This is definitely a continuous WORK IN PROGRESS.  I have made countless trips to Goodwill over the past year, and I keep a box at all times to put new items to donate in.  I  start the process by asking myself a couple of simple questions…do I NEED this? and/or do I LOVE this? If not, its probably time to let go.

I’ve been using the “1 in 1 out” rule in my wardrobe…for every new piece I add I have to pull out one I haven’t worn in over a year to donate. Focusing on quality over quantity when it comes to new purchases is also making a big difference.  As a starting point, I tried several of the clothing delivery services including: StitchFix, Trendsend, Wantable and Trunk Club.  Anyone interested in hearing more about my experiences with those services? I’d be happy to share.

Overall I am very pleased with all of the progress in 2017 and will continue to work on the same goals in 2018. I look forward to sharing with you this year!

What about you…any big or exciting goals for 2018?

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Spotlight Series

spotlight 1It’s time to share the love!  In addition to my regular topics, I will be posting a series that will showcase the interests, ideas and projects of my family and friends.  Do you remember this post from my Mom? There will be more to come from her and others. I’m fortunate to know so many creative and talented people.

Keep an eye out for these over the next few months!

 

 

TC Treasures

Earlier this week I mentioned that when we were in Michigan for our vacation, we took a break from working on the cottage to visit Traverse City. for a few days  It was somewhat of a do-over for us because the last time we went to Traverse City (first time for Mark) was a few years ago and it wasn’t great.  It had nothing to do with TC per se, but it was cold and rainy for the duration of our stay, we were about 2 weeks too early for the fall color, and our beloved pup Emma was in the early states of kidney failure.

Needless to say we were ready to try again and we were not disappointed in the least.  It was warm, but not humid, with clear blue skies and sunshine  (PERFECT).  Also, since the National Cherry Festival was the week before, and we visited during the week, it wasn’t overly crowded (ALSO PERFECT).  We walked through downtown, visited a few wineries, found some neat antique shops, and ate EVERYTHING.  We had no set schedule or timeline.  It was glorious.

Here are a few favorite pics from our mini vacay

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Canal/bay view from downtown shop


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Mission Point lighthouse


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Bay view @ Hawthorne Winery


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Chandeliers @ Jolly Pumpkin


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Marina view @ Apache Trout Grill


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View of us @ Apache Trout Grill

Now back to the shopping…we are always on the lookout for antiques or other items both for our house and/or the cottage.  And we lucked out with a few unique finds…

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Handmade juggling pins from Paris-for our house


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Antique golf cart-for our house


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Bucket -for the cottage-perfect for bathroom waste bin

What I love the most is that these items all have the memory of our trip to TC tied to them.  So many cool places, and plenty more to check out next time.

Our favorite stops:

Black Star Farms

Wilson Antique Stores (2 TC locations)

Jolly Pumpkin

Apache Trout Grill

Milk & Honey  (so good we had to stop here twice)

 

Can we go back now?

Have a great weekend!