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{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??


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


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



Not even close! $1000?


$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


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?? 




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.


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! 


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.


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


{Kitchen Update} DIY Iron Pipe Gallery Wall

Happy Monday friends. I hope you had a good weekend! I got our taxes done, binged watched House of Cards (omg!)and enjoyed the sunny weather…I’ll call the weekend a success!

As promised last week, I wanted to share the update I made to the kitchen. We haven’t moved forward with any lighting projects, but the tips I got from Carmel and her readers are definitely setting things in motion. And, this project will actually influence lighting decisions…now a chandelier is in the mix.



I’d been trying to sort out what to do on the long wall behind our kitchen table. I kicked around a gallery wall and then read that picture ledges are the new gallery wall, which I loved, for 5 minutes. Then, I imagined all the head and should bonks on the ledges as people walked to their seats or stood up. Ledges were out.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 6.28.33 AM

Then, I was out to dinner in Syracuse at this restaurant that looked like Joanna Gaines had decorated it. With the exception of a random fake tree in the middle of the room, they had some awesome decor. I noticed a gallery wall of pictures hanging from an iron pipe. Y’all know how much I love iron pipe decor. Sold! 


I went on a wild goose chase looking for the same black pipe Larry and Tim used to build my bookshelves. All the hardware stores only had super black iron pipe (too black) or galvanized steel pipe (too silver). It wasn’t until after I went to two different stores that I called TimTheFarmer and learned that when they washed the grease off the super black iron pipes, they also lightened the color. Ugh. #lessonlearned 


I was so excited to do this project that while dinner was in the oven, I scrubbed down the pipes in kitchen sink #keepingitclassy. I just used dish soap and one of those green scrub pad things. How wild is the color difference?

GWall4 GWall5

I assembled the pipe pieces and TimTheFarmer helped me figure out where to put the anchors in the wall for a level hang. #yayforhusbands Then began the never-ending process of installing the anchors.


It was at this time that TimTheFarmer informed me that he’s figured out our relationship. According to him, I’m the chef, and he’s my sous chef  – – prepping everything for me to finish the project. Does that mean he’s calling me bossy? Probably. I sort of am though. #IllBeYourSousChefTooHoney

Once the anchors were in (and I ran back to the hardware store because we discovered the anchor screws were too small and slipped through the pipe mounts – which I fixed my getting little washers), we hung the pipe. Using, of course, my new hot pink drill from my dad. I then went around the house collecting items to hang from the pipe. I’d picked up an assortment of things I hoped would help with hanging (clear picture hanging wire (basically thick fishing line), ribbon, a wreathe hanger, etc.) and crossed my fingers. 


This project did involve dismantling the picture frame wall I showed you last week. I have a piece coming for that wall, which is why I was OK taking the wall apart. Stay tuned! I used the same technique and laid out my plan on the kitchen floor.


As I set out to figure out how the heck to hang all this stuff, I thanked my dad (in my head) for making me tie on my own fishing hooks for all those years – that knot came in handy with the clear picture hanging line. To minimize my knots, I looped the line around the bar and then tied it to the object being hung. The objects were floating a bit, so I used some good ol’ ticky tack to stick them to the wall. On the flamingo I used the 3M velcro mounting strips because the ticky tack couldn’t hack it.


Side note on the flamingo. I had an Audubon calendar a few years ago and saved it (#hoarder) for future decor projects. See honey, there is a reason I keep all this crap. I cut the calendar up and put this picture in a frame. The flamingo was the only picture I wanted to look at while eating. Unlike this one, which one freaks me out.


Insider Tip: I liked how the hangers looked more intentional in the inspiration wall in Syracuse, but I have no idea what those hangers are. So, I hung everything with the clear line. Then, I used more ticky tack to stick a glittery burlap ribbon to the line to make it look like it was hung with ribbon. 



And….here’s the finished product!


I’d like to figure out an easier hanging method so I can switch things out seasonally. I love the idea of switching out the flowers depending on the season, too.

And, what are your thoughts on a wedding picture in your kitchen/dining area? I love this picture – it’s really a work of art from Casie Zalud. But, is it too personal for a dining/community space?


Project Sources:

Pipes: Lowes/Home Depot/Ace Hardware 
B: Michaels
Picture frame: thrifted find
Dalias: Michaels
Antique blue mason jars: thrifted find
Bird: I have no idea – I’ve had that for years. 
Flamingo print: page from Audubon calendar in a frame we had
Picture line, ribbon, ticky tack: Michaels

How to Hang Antique Wooden Skis … with Zombie Prep in Mind

Whew! Last week was a whirlwind with two Thanksgiving celebrations. We joined TimTheFarmer’s family on Thanksgiving for our annual celebration and the turkey was as juicy as ever. Then we were prepping for 2nd Thanksgiving, our annual Saturday party that allows us to celebrate with the kiddo who is often with his mom on Turkey Day and allows me to make my own turkey and all the side dishes. This year, I’m thrilled to report our (27lb!) turkey was the juiciest it’s ever been. I chalk that up to the maple whiskey brine I used from Pioneer Woman (who else’s would I use??) and the fact that I kept adding chicken stock to the pan each time I basted the bird. It was so so fun to host our friends and family in our new home! 


One of the best parts of hosting parties is that it requires me to finish projects and put boxes away. Newsflash: after months of complaining about it, there are currently no unpacked boxes visible in our house and our first round of painting is done!! There may or may not be a few in the basement, but we don’t need to dwell on that. One of the projects that turned out to big a bigger task than I expected was hanging my grandmother’s antique wooden skis my parents delivered from Colorado last month.


I have this eternal naiveté optimism where I always assume things will be easier than they are. My mom has all the wooden skis hung up around her home with a few nails creating a cradle for them. I figured that’s all I’d need to hang them here. Then, being the practical person he is, TimTheFarmer pointed out that my mom lives in a log cabin with exposed log walls … in other words, her walls are one giant, supporting stud. Our walls, on the other hand, are your typical drywall walls and the heavy wooden skis would rip the nails right out of the wall. So, I did what I do in all tough situations, I turned to Google. 

This site had cool idea of using antique leather to strap them to the wall. I loved it, but we didn’t have any old leather on hand nor the time to run across the river to find some. Then we found this site with a whole forum of ideas. Turns out lots of people drill right through the skis to mount them … no way!! What if I need to escape in the zombi apocalypse and my antique wooden skis are my only option?? Someone suggested making hanging loops with picture wire – bingo!

I scavenged our picture hanging kits and pulled together every last bit of wire I could find.  First, I doubled the length of the wire needed to go around the ski and folded it in half. I then made a small loop that would fit around the screw on the wall to hang the ski from. I held the loop in place on the back of the ski and wrapped both ends all the way around, twisting them together with pliers on the back side of the ski. I did this in two places: on the binding and near the tips where the skis would cross.



We marked where we wanted them on the wall and where they should cross and then put screws in the wall in the two places the first ski hit the wall. If there wasn’t a stud, we used a drywall anchor.


Taz kept an eye on me high up on the ladder.


Once the first ski was hung, I made the same wire loops around the binding of the second ski, making the loop just a tad longer since it was further to the wall because it was sitting on top of the first ski. We added a third screw to the wall to mount the binding loop. 

HangingWoodenSkis3Where the skis cross, I made a second loop, but this time we looped the wire through the hanging ski’s wire. Does that make sense? 

HangingWoodenSkis6 HangingWoodenSkis4This is where it got tricky and here’s the big lesson learned. Line up the skis by the binding height, not the tip height. It was weird because the tips were at the same height, but the 2nd ski was apparently at a different angle and the bindings weren’t lining up, which is REALLY noticeable from the ground. It took a few adjustments to get the bindings lined up properly and it’s still not perfect, but hopefully no one will look too close.


We then hung my vintage ski posters up and cut our (giant) Christmas tree and the room is so cozy! We love it! 


Also, I’m confident that when the zombies come, I’ll have no problem quickly getting these skis off the wall and onto my feet. #not

And, I know you wish you had a pair of those sweet overalls.