Estate Sales: Disturbing or Practical?

I like going to Good Will and shopping on Facebook Marketplace where I have found furniture pieces and home decor at great prices. However, I have avoided going to estate sales because the idea of them makes me uncomfortable. Going to Good Will or finding items on Facebook Marketplace is much different than walking through someone’s home (that usually has passed away) touching their personal items and going into their private spaces.

But after watching some You Tube videos and seeing the beautiful and sometimes unique pieces that have been found at estate sales, I decided to give them a try. My first attempt was a failure. The sale itself had a lot of nice things but I had no real direction and became overwhelmed by the number of items available and the amount of people at the sale. I ended up talking to one of the people in charge of the sale and voicing how I felt about going through someone else’s belongings. She told me I should use the website EstateSales.Net it will give you sales in your area but best of all pictures of what they are selling. It will allow you to see what’s available and help decide if you want to go to that sale. She also suggested that I look at purchasing an item as a way to give it a second life. It made me feel a little better, but I ended up not purchasing anything. My husband however found a Stanley tool chest on wheels for a great price.

In my second attempt I did use the website EstateSales.Net and was able to see pictures of what was at each sale. I found a sale that had a beautiful clock, and it gave me the reason to go to the sale.

Below are some photographs of items I have found at recent estate sales:

Here is the Stanley tool cabinet my husband found. It has a space for his chop saw on top and storage for his drills underneath.

This was the clock that motivated me.

I was the first one at the clock and purchased it for $65. It even chimes on the hour.

I also purchased this large cement basket for $20. It will look great in my garden.

I am not going to lie I will most likely still feel sad when I go to estate sales, but I will try to look at it differently. Instead of feeling like I am intruding, I will look at it as a gift. I have been given the chance to walk through someone else’s home and get a glimpse of how they may have lived. Like seeing decorations for every holiday and envisioning their home in full regalia. Maybe a chair that is more worn than others and knowing this was a favorite spot. Their choices in books, artwork, dishware, and so on. I hope that by purchasing one of the things they may have loved that I am honoring their life in some way.

I would love to hear your ideas about estate sales and definitely any experiences that you may have had.

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Good Will Artwork Finds And How To Style Them!

To me a room is not finished unless it has some type of artwork. But as much as I want artwork in my home, my budget does not include owning a lot of original art. In the past, to accommodate my desire for art on a limited budget, I ordered prints from Art.Com, All Posters,, and Society 6. But recently I have found some wonderful prints at Good Will. You may have to dig for it, but that is part of the thrill.

I have been reworking my hutch in my front room and wanted to add artwork to the shelves. I found both of these at Good Will. The frames were in rough shape, but the prints were adorable.

I put the prints into frames I already had and styled them in my hutch. Love the results!

This was also a Good Will find. The frame was broken but the print was what I was after.

I did not have a frame for this print, so I went to Micheals and found this antique gold one.

The print looked great, but I wasn’t sure how to put it into this type of frame. I went to the desk to ask and the person working said you would cut off the excess and add a backer board. She offered to cut the excess off for me and when she returned, she had put on a backer board and stapled it for me (no charge). I love going to Michaels. They are awesome there!

I put this one over the shelf in our family room. I needed more color in there and this did the trick!

A Wedding And Antiquing On An Impulse!

At the beginning of August, we attended the wedding of our beautiful niece Amanda and her husband Erik. It was a wonderful time with family and of course witnessing the beautiful union of two people who love each other very much is always very special.

Congratulations Amanda and Erik!

The next day we headed home. With no time frame for us to get home, we decided to extend our wonderful weekend by doing something we both love, antiquing. I plugged in antique stores nearby and The Syracuse Antique Exchange popped up. The description said it had four floors, 20,000 square feet of antiques to explore and it was on our way home. Woo Hoo!

We set our GPS and were on our way!

This is the back of the building. That’s a lot of floors to cover.

The entrance was so quaint.

My jaw dropped when I walked in. There was so much to see. In this picture alone the artwork, table, bookcase and chandelier blew me away.

I have been looking for pottery and decorative plates and there was a cornucopia of them but alas not enough time to go through them properly. In addition, there were too many shiny things pulling me elsewhere.

When I looked closer at these pieces, they had been decorated with cigar bands and lacquered over. So cool!

Some of the booths seemed to lean toward a certain style. This one was more mid-century modern.

This booth: That “70’s Show.”

Some of the booths had vintage clothing.

I purchased this purse in a booth with vintage items. I love that it snaps on the bottom.

These pieces of pottery were beautiful. Surprisingly the prices were not outrageous.

I liked the chairs, but they were humungous. I sat in one and felt like a little kid.

The further you went upstairs; the more mish mosh it seemed to get. It is difficult for me to think when everything is everywhere.

As we were leaving the store one of the booths was packing things up and I heard them say they were leaving for the Bouckville Antique show. We asked about the show, and they said it was the biggest show in New York State with 2,000 vendors running from August 14th-20th.

August 19th: Bouckville Antique Show here we come!

I don’t know why but as soon I started walking around, I was overwhelmed. I have been to large shows like Brimfield before and did not feel this way.

I was seeing a lot of items for collectors but nothing at this point that I was interested in.

Here I was thinking that we may have made the trip for nothing.

Then I saw these gorgeous corbels and knew there was stuff here for me.

Architectual details like this are so beautiful.


I loved this booth it was inviting and everything was well organized.

I could see this at an entrance to a garden.

These frames were made from old- reclaimed wood siding.

Some of the tents were empty. I’m not sure if that meant that they sold out or they just left.

This booth was selling everything for 1$. I purchased these three prints for my son who loves to fish.

I am not going to lie I was disappointed in this show. Maybe I was thinking it was going to be like Brimfield and my expectations were too high. I did however learn that the night before they had a torrential downpour which could be why tents were empty. We also came at the end of the show on the second to last day and several vendors said you need to come in the beginning of the show to get the best items.

Even though I did not have the best experience I will not mark it as a never go again. Instead, I will give it another try next year and come in the beginning like the vendors suggested. I also will research the vendors, so I know where to find what interests me.

Using Easy Off Oven Cleaner “Hack” To Strip Furniture!

Now that Summer is nearing an end and things are winding down, I have been looking at projects that I had been meaning to do but never got around to doing them. One such project was refinishing a half-moon table that was given to me. It will be perfect for our family room.

Originally, I was going to paint the piece but when I turned it over, I saw real wood. We already have a few painted pieces in the family room and having a wood piece would be nice. So, I decided to uncover the wood using a stripper we already had in the house. I started working on the top, but it was messy and stinky and taking way too long. We tried sanding it but again for such a small table I felt a lot of work was being put into it and there were other things I could be doing.

I stepped away from the project at this point to decide if I wanted to continue or move on to something less frustrating. While I was contemplating, I remembered seeing a video recently about using Easy Off oven spray to strip and bleach furniture. In the video it seemed to work well so I thought what can I lose. I went to the store purchased Easy Off oven spray and used it on my half-moon table.

Let’s see what happened!

This is the half-moon table and what I found underneath.

I have used Klean Strip before on tough projects, but it usually needs more than one application, and it has a strong odor.

First application.

After removing the paint, I sprayed it again to start on the varnish and gunk.

Even with the second application there was still a lot of varnish left. I was three hours in, and frustration was setting in.

Even after sanding for a half hour (my husband jumped in for me, my allergies were bad that day) you can see the stain embedded in the wood. This is where I stopped to plan my next move.

It said fume free, but I still used a mask.

I sprayed a thick layer of Easy Off on the piece and let it sit for twenty minutes.

When the time was up, I used steel wool and a wire brush to remove the paint and varnish then rinsed the residue off with the hose.

I did do another coat in some areas where the varnish was thicker.

After rinsing off the residue from the second application I let it dry in the sun.

Then gave it a light sand.

Before and After

I would definitely do this process again. It was much easier, and not only did it strip the wood it lightened it as well.

The finished product looks great in the room. Love it!

Creating A Garden Plant Map And Journal To Be A Better Gardener!

I really never thought I would be a “real” gardener. I thought I would have bushes, pots on the front stoop and maybe some flowers for some curb appeal. But here I am with three good sized gardens (at least that’s what I would call them) one is 22′ x 20′, another is 25′ x 8′ and the third is 23′ x 7′. I have to admit I am enjoying myself, it is hard work, but I like digging in the dirt, breaking a sweat and feeling tired in a good way at the end of the day.

However, I am definitely a rookie when it comes to my knowledge of plants and how to care for them. In the beginning I was moving plants around because I did not look at the heights they would grow. I now look at the tags that come with the plants (those of you who know me know I am not good at reading directions). But in this case, things might die if I water them too much, plant in full sun instead of part sun or shade, when to feed, mulch, cut back etc. It is because of everything you need to know to keep every plant happy and healthy that I am creating a plant map of my gardens and starting a journal.

The map is essential for me because I can never remember what is planted and where, so I have to wait until they start to grow to figure it out. I am hoping the journal will make me a better gardener by recording what works and what does not. It will also give me something to look back on to see my progress and also prevent me from creating yet another garden when I look back at how hard I worked on the other three.

Front Garden Map

Cottage Garden Map

Back Garden Map

I ordered this journal from Amazon. With this journal and my garden maps it should help me become a better gardener.

Cottage Garden Part Three: 2023 Improvement A New Fence!

I posted a blog in 2021 about “Creating A Cottage Garden Part One. In the post I talked about how after our addition/renovation was done on our home in 2021, we were left with a perfect place for a cottage garden. In preparation for the garden, we roto-tilled the area, added garden soil, laid pavers for a path, added a birdbath, and ending by selecting plants and placing them (some still in their pots) into a garden design. I followed this post with “Cottage Garden Part Two”. Here I actually planted the garden and was contemplating some type of enclosure. After seeing a video of making a fence out of pallets, I decided to give it a try. Getting the boards off the pallets was a lot harder than I expected and I gave up the idea. I chose instead to use boxwoods around the garden and as they mature, it would create a separation.

That brings us to this blog post. Honestly, I don’t think I ever gave up on the idea of a fence, but it was just too much at the time. Every time I watched Linda Vater on You Tube and saw her Potage Garden enclosed with a beautiful fence, I wanted one too. I was finally pushed into action when I saw four by eight-foot cottagey looking fencing at Home Depot. They would be perfect to enclose my garden. Yeah!

P.S: First I had to convince my husband since I needed a partner in crime to pull this off. Ultimately, he came around. Love that man!

As a reminder, this is where we were after “Cottage Garden Parts One And Two”.

These are the lengths of fencing from Home Depot we ended up purchasing. Now I had to decide what color to paint them.

I thought about painting the fence white, but I didn’t think it would work with the piece of “perfectly rusted” wrought iron fence I had found on Facebook Marketplace.

Returning to Linda Vater’s Potage Garden and the fact that her fence was a darker color, I looked online to see if she had ever mentioned the color that she used. Not only did she mention the color, she posted the formula and the fact she purchased it through Home Depot.

I set myself up in the backyard, put my earbuds in and proceeded to paint all for lengths of fence and the posts they would be attached to. I did some singing and dancing along the way.

I really like the color. It’s a bronzy black/brown which goes well with the wrought iron fence.

As I was painting, I could see the garden right in front of me and thought wouldn’t it be great to have decorative newel posts as an entrance to the garden. A large salvaged pillar that we purchased a couple years ago came to mind.

My idea was to cut the pillar in half and create two newel posts.

Two halves of the bottom and top of the pillar. Now we just had to screw them together.

Because these halves did not match up, the circled part on the right had to be removed to put them in line.

That piece was cut out then glued back together.

After the posts were dry, I painted them with the fence color but wiped some off because I wanted it to be lighter than the fence and for the paint to get into the cracks.

Next, we started putting it all together.

First, we dug all the post holes.

Added the posts, put rocks all around and then backfilled with dirt.

Dug out trenches to level the fence.

Once everything was level, attached a clamp to hold in place while screwing together.

When we added the newel post they were a little short, so we added wood to the bottom to raise it up.

The finished fence for my cottage garden. I love the fence but thought something was missing. Maybe a finial for the newel post top.

I went shopping in my house and found two candle holders made of resin in my front room.

I added the same color paint as the fence to the candle holders and I love the results!

It was a lot of work, but the end result was worth it!

Next up, a glass of wine on the patio looking at our new garden fence!

Garage Conversion Part One; Not Just For Cars Anymore!

I have been refinishing furniture and doing home decor projects for over ten years. The last four of which I have been sharing with all of you on my blog “”. During this time, I have worked on my furniture in my office, in the dining room and if weather permitted, somewhere outside of my house. My office is not very big so it could only accommodate small projects. If I worked in the dining room, everything had to be put away each day to use it as a dining room. Repeating this each day until the project was finished. It was annoying, but it’s just how I got it done.

My husband and I have bounced around the idea of a separate workspace over the years. We talked about renting space but found the logistics didn’t work out with having a full-time job. The garage was another idea, but it was too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. Which is also not conducive for my paint supplies. So, we shelved the idea.

Well, the idea is has come off the shelf and has been put into action. We have just recently started a conversion project for the garage so it can be used to work out there year-round. The decision was not an easy one especially since we just had a major renovation adding on a space for my mother-in-law. There are many factors contributing to the decision though. I have increased my work intake, I would actually like to have an office to do officey things, and we are both tired of my projects being in the dining room.

Here we go!

The first thing we had to do was rent a POD to store everything that was in the garage. I thought it was too big, but it was barely big enough for what we needed. We will definitely be reorganizing and purging before everything goes back in the garage.

I forgot to get a picture of the empty space, so I took a quick picture before the framers got started.

We were a little surprised when the electrician gave us two options; break through the drywall ceiling in the basement to run electricity through the house or dig around the front of the house to bury them in the ground. This is what it looked like after the trenches were dug. This option was much better than opening ceiling in our house.

We are electrified!

Then the inspector came and required insulation to be buried outside of the exterior walls to help keep the heating/cooling from leaking out the concrete slab floor. This meant cutting the driveway across the front of the garage and digging up our plants on the outside wall. This time the plants had to be removed. I left my Hydrangea bush but tucked it into a box for protection.

Insulation is done on walls and ceiling. After it is all inspected and approved, then comes the drywall!

Look for Part Two coming soon! I hope..

Sometimes Trying To Prove A Point Leads You Down a Rabbit Hole!

You may be wondering where I am going with the title of this post. Let me explain. My husband and I do things differently when it comes to preciseness. He measures. I guestimate or eyeball. As a person who measures, my husband feels that his way is correct and I can see his point, but my argument is that we both end up with a good result in the end, so my way isn’t necessarily wrong, it’s just different. We both continue to use our own methods and maybe it’s because we think our way is better or we are just being stubborn. Either way, this attitude can lead you down a rabbit hole (definition: to enter into a situation or begin a process or journey that is particularly strange, problematic, difficult, complex, or chaotic) hence the title.

Before we get to the rabbit hole itself, I want to give some insight into our methods and how they differ.

In the past when I have hung a picture, I tried to measure but it took too long and ended up not being straight. When I do it my way there may be a few mores holes in the wall, but it took less time, and no frustration was involved. Another time our preciseness and lack thereof came into play was when I wanted to hang lanterns on our side of our neighbor’s six-foot high fence (with permission of course). My husband was leaving on a business trip but before he left, we talked about hanging the lanterns so they would be line up nicely. He talked about measuring the fence and breaking it into sections…I was a little overwhelmed at the thought of it but was willing to give it a try.

The next day I tried using a measuring tape and breaking it into sections, but it just wasn’t working for me. I was discouraged at this point and sat on the ground cursing the fence. But as I sat there staring at the fence, I got an idea. My thought was to count all the pickets on the fence and break it up that way. I jumped up, counted all the pickets, then divided by the number of lanterns and “viola” I had my spacing. Next, I measured (yes, I used a measuring tape) the height of the fence deciding where I wanted to place the lanterns. With all this information I was able to place all the lanterns in a symmetrical straight line. If my husband was there, would he have been able to do the same thing using his method, I have no doubt.

Our neighbor’s fence, no wonder I was overwhelmed.

Using my method of counting, I hung all the lanterns.

Perfectly symmetrical and straight.

Story of the Rabbit Hole

Last year I created a cottage garden in my backyard and love the way it turned out. This year I wanted to add a picket fence which is where the tale begins.

Because I wanted the bushes in front of the fence, I needed to move them. This was my first attempt eyeballing it as you can see it was not straight. After many more tries (in the extreme heat) I finally got them in line.

Next, I took out the fence to see how it would look next to the bushes. It was going to be perfect except they were too close to the fence. I knew if my husband was doing this, he would have had a measuring tape and string to make a straight line. Instead, I eyeballed it again, this time it took four tries.

Oh yes there was also a front part of the garden but this time I did use a stick to help guide me. Alas it took at least two maybe three tries. I can’t remember because I felt faint from the heat…

As I am writing this and reflecting on the situation, I really thought in the beginning that my method would work. But after that first attempt, I should have used a measuring tape and string. Why didn’t I do it? Plain and simple I did not want to admit that my husband’s method would have been better in this case. So, down the rabbit hole I went.

In the future I hope I will be able to concede and not be so stubborn!

How To Create An Accent Wall With Paint!

I was planning on writing about my cottage garden in my blog this week, but heavy rain kept me indoors last week. Not a bother though. I just chose one of the many projects that are bouncing around in my head. In this case, an accent wall in our family room.

I have done accent walls in the past only to have an uneven transition between the two colors. I was able to fix it, but it took many do overs until I got the sharpness I was looking for. To avoid having to redo the wall, I used a technique I saw on You Tube on how to create a the perfect edge.

Let’s see how the technique worked:

This is the wall in question. I like the color in the room, but I always felt like the couch and lamps disappeared against it.

I chose Ottertail from Behr. It is a complimentary color to Doeskin also by Behr which is on the other walls in the family room.

I taped off the baseboard and crown molding.

Then I abutted the tape between the two walls. This part is key to using the technique I spoke of.

Once the tape was on, I applied the paint color that is already on the wall (Doeskin) to the edge of the tape to create a seal.

I was skeptical but had nothing to lose at this point so I started painting.

As I was painting, I saw the couch and lamps started to pop against the color.

Done! All that’s left is to pull off the tape (fingers crossed).

I would say painting over the tape was a successful technique! No do overs needed!

I never would have thought an accent wall would make such a difference. It not only draws your eye in it also makes the room look bigger.

The couch and lamps definitely don’t disappear into the wall now. Love the change!

Ballard Design/Mora Clock Hack!

A couple years ago, I came across a picture of a Mora Clock and fell in love with it (The name comes from the Swedish town of Mora where in the late 1800’s the town was affected by several years of drought and people fled to Stockholm to learn new skills including clock making). I liked the shape, patina, and the fact that it was quirky and beautiful at the same time. I researched pricing for a tall Mora Clock, and they ran anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000. I even looked at a similar piece I found at Ballard (Katerina Floor Clock) which was priced at $2,999.00. It seemed I couldn’t afford a reproduction either. With these prices, I knew I was not going to be owning a real Mora Clock or even a reproduction, so I did what I always do, I tucked it in the back of my head to be retrieved when and if I found something that could be remade to look like the clock I wanted.

Below: The two on the left are examples of Mora clocks and the one on the right is the Katerina Clock from Ballard Designs.

As it happens, I was finally able to bring the vision out of my head on a visit to Good Will where I found the perfect item (pictured below). I know, I know, my husband had the same reaction. He kept asking me if I really wanted it and I said yes, yes, yes. I didn’t like the color or the painted flowers, and it was short, but I could see the possibility. Like when Linus picks the sad little tree in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and says that all it needs is a little love, I bought this clock with the potential spinning in my head. All it needed was a little love!

The clock had some really nice features like the round face, the moldings and the detailing, but none of it would matter if I couldn’t increase the height of the clock (which came in at 3 feet one inch).

We were able to make a pedestal to increase the height.

The pedestal raised the height of the clock to five feet and one inch.

Before I got started, I gave it a good cleaning.

I used Rust-Oleum Chalk Paint in aged-gray for the base coat.

At this point, I crossed my fingers hoping that painting it one color would make it look like one piece.

I was very pleased that after the first coat it looked like one piece. Yeah! Once it dried, I added a second coat to get full coverage.

I decided to paint the clock with Annie Sloan Aubusson Chalk Paint. It is one of my favorite colors.

I added water to thin it out.

I loved the blue, but the trim felt too stark next to it.

I decided to change the trim color to Waverly Chalk Paint in Moss.

Green wins. So much better!

To give it a more aged look I used Annie Sloan COCO Chalk Paint.

Using a chip brush to spread on the COCO paint.

Then blended with a lint free rag.

If I felt it was too dark, I used Aubusson Chalk Paint to tone it down.

To give it even more of an aged look I used Waverly Antique Wax.

I made a wash with the antiquing wax by adding water and spread it on the piece.

Then wiped it off with a rag.

I used my acrylic paints to cover the flowers on the face of the clock.

The original mechanism did not work so I purchased a new one.

I found the perfect place for my clock it is right between the transition from family room to kitchen and it is the first thing you see as you enter our house. It’s funny as I was looking at this picture, I noticed a full circle moment the drapes in the background are Isabella drapery from Ballard Designs. I may not have the Katerina Clock from Ballard Design, but I have their beautiful drapery that goes perfectly with my clock.

It may not be a real Mora Clock or Ballard Design Katerina Clock, but I love the results!

It is hard to believe this is the same clock!