{Thrifted Finds} Estate Sale Reality

I’ve never been to an estate sale. They always sound too fancy. Guest what? They are. Well, mostly. 

I was lured in this weekend thanks to a local Facebook yard sale group. They posted the estate sale and there were some cool (read: funky, old. rusty, shabby, unique) pieces I was interested in.

First up, this patio set. We need a table and chairs for our deck and I loved how funky and old this was. I was totally picking out the color I would spray paint it on my way to the sale. Who else would want this rusty, weird table??

table

Second, this old armchair. I loved the upholstery color and am looking for our living room/entry that continues to prove challenging to design.

chair

Third, these rugs. I need some rugs that aren’t the obviously-Target geometric ones I currently have i.e. grown-up rugs.

rugs

I got up super early on Saturday to ensure I was there when the ropes dropped so I could definitely scoop up the table and maybe grab the chair – I guessed the chair might be a little pricey. I got there promptly at 8am per the advertised Facebook start-time, and NO ONE was around. Umm…I looked at all the signs and they said 9am. I rechecked the Facebook group which I’d checked before I left at 7 and it now said 9am…she changed it last minute….what the heck?!? So, I drove to Home Depot to peruse the electric lawn mowers and pick out the spray paint I was going to paint my new table.

I returned at 8:50am and people were already milling around. Oh no! My table would be gone! I made a bee-line for the patio, passing the rugs on my way. I did a quick price check – they were all at least $150. Ouch! And, noooo way!

I made it to the patio and the table was even cooler (funkier, rustier) in real life. I located the price tag. Guess how much it was? As a reminder, this is what we’re looking at:

table

$500?

Not even close! $1000?

Nope. 

$1525. Yes. You read that right. $1525 for an old, rusty table with a FAKE slate top. Apparently it’s a collectable, vintage set according to eBay. #thanksebay

The lurker guy sensed my disappointment, told me that the seller would be open for negotiation, and asked what I’d been hoping to spend. I told him my max was $200. He said, “Well, it never hurts to ask.” Which is usually my motto (at work), but I highly doubted she’d drop the price by $1300. I was beginning to worry my 45 minute BCOD drive was going to be a waste of time, sleep, and gas.

Ok. The chair. Maybe I’d have a chance there. I finally found it (after passing a few more too-expensive rugs) and …. $300. #notgonnahappen Ugh. 

I decided to do a more thorough tour of the house and see if I could redeem this trip. I noticed some AMAZING vintage orange duck-patterned curtains. I can’t even describe them (in my excitement—and confidence she’d sell them to me—I forgot to take a picture). They were so tacky they were awesome. Do you know what I mean? I have no idea where I’d put them, but I needed them. I ran back upstairs to ask the price on them and she wanted $100. Seriously!?! I can’t believe anyone would pay that much for old, tacky curtains. At that point, I made her my offer on the table and she told me I could leave my name and number and she’d call if either item was still left at the end of the weekend. #shesnotcalling

books

I did one more pass through and spent some time at the bookshelf. I discovered a stack of skiing books from the 30’s. They all have personal notes in them from the authors to the homeowner, calling him a champ. They are SO.FREAKING.COOL.  As a former ski instructor, it’s amazing to see ski technique from 85 years ago. It turns out the owner was a Cornell and Dartmouth grad, was on their ski teams and avid skier, and also a doctor. He just passed away, but was a skiing champ in the 30s…he must have been close to 100 years old. I keep wondering what his story was?? 


Ski6

Ski5

Ski2Ski3

There were also some American Heritage cookbooks from the 1960s, which I couldn’t wait to look through. I stacked the 8 books up and knowing she wanted $5/per book, planned to negotiate. 

I peeked in a back room and saw an armchair in the perfect 60’s-era mustard yellow-green color I love. I expected to have my heart broken by the price tag, but it was only $50! I sat in it, it was comfortable. Ok! This day wasn’t going to be a bust.

Chair2

I put on my American Pickers bundling hat and went out to negotiate. Her offer was $40 for the chair and $40 for all the books. I pulled a Frank, summarizing what I was buying and offered her $60 for all of it. And I got it! 

bundle

Moral of the Story #1: Unlike yard sales, Estate Sales have fancy stuff that will be priced appropriately. Otherwise they’d call it a yard sale.

Moral of the Story #2: Taz approves of the chair choice.

Chair1

Moral of the Story #3: The goal should always be to match your library to your decor. 😉

Ski1



{Homestead Garden} The Plans

Alright y’all, I’m about to majorly over commit to a project, so I thought it’d be a good idea to put it out there publicly. This way, if there is an epic fail at the end of the summer, everyone will know about it. You’re following my logic here, right?

The project? A homestead garden that replaces our CSA/farmer share. The reason? I’m not completely sure. We have all sorts of farms around us that could provide our vegetables and we both work (very) full-time jobs and I’m trying to complete big home makeover projects. But, our new house came with a giant, fenced-in garden that’s just begging to be used. And, if zombies take over, we’ll be ready. 

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Before

With this project, I’ll start a new series here, The Homestead Garden. Each week, I’ll post updates on our progress, tips, and lessons learned (of which, I’m confident there will be many). Now, I know what you’re thinking: Aren’t you married to a farmer?? Why would this be a challenge? Well…let me tell you.

First: I have absolutely no green thumb. I’m currently struggling to keep aloe alive. 
Second: TimTheFarmer did large scale, in-the-dirt farming on an 80 acre vegetable farm; we’re doing this in 900 square feet with raised beds and have to be super strategic with when and where we plant things. 
Third: I hate weeding. 
Fourth: I am really good at killing plants.
Fifth: our garden is current a giant bed of weeds (did you see the pic above?), so substantial prep is required.
Sixth: it’s humid here. I don’t function well in humidity. Weeding and humidity=whiny Katie. #somanythingstolookforwardtoo That hashtag for for my dad, in his style.

So, we’re going to set aside all the reasons this is a big, scary, intimidating project and focus on the fact that we’ll be growing our own food, will be producing what we eat, and will have what we need to preserve for the winter. Plus we’ll totally feel cool 😉

 

We’re drowning in produce….

A photo posted by Katie@Isn’tThatGrand? (@kt_co) on

The only other time we planted a vegetable garden, we totally winged it. We bought all our plants at once and planted them with minimal strategy.* Some worked, some didn’t, but between that lesson, watching TimTheFarmer farm, and seeing my rockstar gardener friend Gretchen garden, I’ve learned that you do need to have a plan. This weekend, with planting season upon us, was the time to plan and I dedicated an entire day to making a plan of attack. I got out our various gardening books we’ve inherited from people and pretty quickly turned to the internet to help me make a plan…who has time to read an encyclopedia to plan this out??!

Plans

After a few strikeouts, I found this sweet garden planner on The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Here are the plans:

The Food

Despite my love of the idea of a CSA model, it doesn’t fit our lifestyle. Between our paleo dietary needs (and general preferences), two VERY hungry boys, and our desire to put up food for winter, we need WAY more of some things and none of others. #talkingtoyoutatsoi We got totally spoiled the last few years because, as a farmer’s family, we could get as much of what we wanted—when we wanted—from the farm. This garden is an attempt to recreate that. Before mapping out where we’d plant things, I started with a list of what we wanted to grow. Luckily I have a pretty good sense of how much we need of what after a few years of picking-our-own at the farm. Here’s what we’re growing:

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The Layout

This is where that handy Almanac tool comes in. Not only does it map the layout for you, it tells you how many plants you’ll get in a given area. I ventured into the rain to measure the garden. I walked it out and concluded I had a 62’x42′ garden. All the space! I then spent a couple hours working out (and reworking) a layout. Once I was finally happy (tall things in on the north side, squash with room to sprawl, succession plans, lumber cost plans) I headed outside to prepare the asparagus bed (which needs to be planted yesterday). As I was walking it out, I realized after my first 3 feet, that I did not, in fact, have 39 more feet between me and the fence. Ummm….I walked it again and realized I did my math wrong. This is why that one architecture project I did in 7th grade DROVE ME CRAZY #notgoodatplanning. It turns out our garden is 42’x22′. Hmm. Well, that’s slightly smaller. I spent the next hour reworking our design and was able to get everything in there except the cauliflower and broccoli, which is ok — they are finicky and take up a lot of space. So…here’s the first attempt at a plan:

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Note: We are not doing companion planting, because we’re not really growing things that are common companion plants. In my head, this is a mini vegetable farm, not a garden…somehow that justifies this…on farms, they just plant in rows…there’s no tomatoes by beans by corn. That’s my justification. We’ll see how it goes. Thank you for listening. 

The Timeline

To keep the sense of feeling overwhelmed under control, I next turned to the handy dandy planting tool within the Garden Planner. It gives you timelines for seed and seedling planting, harvest, and tips on each plant.

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How awesome is that?! I used this to make a weekly plan for clearing parts of the garden, building beds, buying seeds and plants, and planting. We are going to do 2nd successions of lettuces, kale, carrots, beets, and fennel for fall harvest. We’ll work on that timeline once we get through the chaos of the next 6 weeks. If all goes according to plan, beds will be built and crops will be planted by mid-June. #alreadyexhausted From there we’ll install irrigation, weed, trim, harvest, and plan for the next succession.

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Note 1: We are not starting seeds, so the only seeds we’ll planting are beets, carrots, and fennel. 
Note 2: We’re planting asparagus crowns (year-old asparagus starters). In two years we’ll be able to begin harvesting them and the bed could produce for 30-50 years if properly maintained. #dedication

The Budget

Our goal is to keep the cost of this project under the cost of a full farm share which is $600 per season. I made another spreadsheet to track costs. The biggest expenses will be lumber and plants plus weed barrier. It’s looking like we’ll need around $400 worth of lumber. At this point, I have no idea how much plants will cost.  So, I’ll track costs and if we go over $600 (which I guess we will), I’ll consider the beds and weed barrier to be capital investments and spread their costs out (in my head) over a couple years 🙂 Luckily we’re on  a well here, so we don’t pay for water. 

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Ok, that’s the plan! We’ll see how this all goes come October. If you have any tips on how to arrange things, or other things I should know…please post them! I need all the help I can get here.

*TimTheFarmer would like me to point out that this was when he was Tim, not TimTheFarmer.



{Friday Favorites} Girl Power Edition

Women rocked it this week. This week’s Friday Favorites are all about strong women and beautiful things. 

Nashville Floor

FLoor

As I recapped last week, I LOVED visiting Nashville. Great food, great music, great history. It’s also seen a boom in recent times and as you walk down Lower Broadway there’s an interesting mix of old honkey tonks, new honkey tonks trying to look like old honkey tonks, and restaurants with some amazing interior design. I mentioned we visited Acme Feed and Seed, a newer restaurant/bar which really nailed the vintage warehouse look. Merchants, however, was my favorite for interior design and is in a notable hotel that which apparently put up many music legends over the years. I think I’d call their look ‘vintage glam Southern diner’ — that makes sense right? How amazing are those floors?!

Kelly Rippa

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I don’t watch morning TV, but I have always thought Kelly Rippa of Live! was a tiny little powerhouse. She got a lot of flack last week for taking a day off to process the news that her long-term employer kept her—the headliner of the show—in the dark about Michael Strayhan’s move to Good Morning America. Everyone was waiting to see how she handled her return….and I thought she nailed it. She took ABC to the woodshed as much as she could and I hope that she inspired other women in the workplace to stand their ground, demand a seat at the table, and expect respect. Huge props to Kelly #strongwomen. You can watch it here.

Etsy Goes Solar—On a HUGE Scale

A former student of mine who used her capstone project to propose an innovative strategy to take Etsy towards 100% renewable energy—including it’s shipping AND makers—announced last week that Etsy is moving forward on adopting this strategy with a goal of being 100% renewable by 2020. Guys, this is a HUGE initiative because many companies in e-commerce don’t look past their own facilities when considering clean energy when shipping and production are often their biggest issue, but Etsy is taking responsible for its entire carbon footprint and will work with it’s makers around the world to install solar systems on individual homes to work towards carbon neutrality. Congrats to Chelsea and Etsy!! 

After the Rain

RoseHillRain

I stopped by Rose Hill Farm to see TimTheFarmer and as we were chatting on the amazing wrap-around porch, we got pinned there by an absolute downpour. It’s the kind of porch where you can sit there through a wild storm and stay completely dry – I loved sitting there! Then, as the storm cleared out, the light became absolutely amazing, looking out over the apple orchard and blueberry patch. Otis was clearly less impressed.

Lemonade

beyonces-lemonade

I know everyone else is talking about this this week, but Beyoncé dropped a bomb of a record this week. I’m so out of the loop that I had no idea a big album was coming out, but by Monday, after hearing all the hype, I was intrigued. I downloaded it and was blown away. If you take it at face value (and not a marketing ploy as some are claiming) which I’m choosing to do, it’s an amazing tour of her personal journey through infidelity and the experience of black women, “the most disrespected person in America”, to quote Beyoncé quoting Malcolm X. The video that accompanies it is incredibly deep and thoughtful and emotional and beautiful (even at it’s darkest). Every track is something you’ve never heard before and explores all sorts of musical styles. It’s rock and soul and pop and hip hop and brass band. You’ve never seen this Beyoncé before. She’s all grown up. And an aside, it doesn’t matter who ‘Becky with the good hair’ is … why don’t we look squarely at the man at fault here?

Ok friends, I’m looking forward to a weekend of gardening and tag sales. And you can bet Beyoncé will be the soundtrack to my weekend :). Have a great weekend!