May 22, 2012

Collecting: Honey Tins

One of my favorite collections is my honey tins. They're my go-to source for flower arrangements in our home. The old graphics are so cheery to me.

I found this tin at a yard sale in Spokane:


This one from my friend, Dena, at the Mad Hatter Flea in Spokane:


And this special tin was a gift from my good friend, Heather:


You can read more about my favorite finds and collections here.

March 17, 2012

The Best .10 Cents I Ever Spent

It was shortly after the birth of our fourth son, the last of three born 15 months apart. Our home at the time was an old schoolhouse built in the thirties, nestled in the foothills of Mt. Spokane. We were adjusting to life with a home full of young boys and struggling to make ends meet.

I'd recently begun making a modest amount of money selling yard sale finds on ebay and although it wasn't anything to write home about, I enjoyed it immensely.

One afternoon, my friend Teri called to tell me she'd just been to an amazing yard sale in Deer Park, which was about a half an hour from my home. Dishes, fun vintage purses, neat old scarves and so on. I was so excited about her finds that I dropped my yard work, hopped in the car, and headed on over to her house to check it all out. When I arrived, I was surprised to see how much stuff that she, her sister, and two girls had scored. I asked if there was much left at the sale when they'd left. "Quite a bit!", they replied.

And so we headed back to see what I could find.

We pulled up and all I could really see were several tables piled high with clothing. Not what I was hoping. But when I neared, I could see that the clothing was at least all vintage and I was intrigued. Digging in, I came upon an interesting old Hawaiian shirt.

    At some point leading up to that day I'd read an article in Country Living Magazine about vintage Hawaiian shirts and remembered learning that certain ones could actually be quite valuable.

I added the shirt to my pile and went to pay. "All clothes are .10 cents each", the lady said with a smile. Well, I thought, I can't go wrong.

Later that week, I listed my shirt on ebay and crossed my fingers that it'd be worth something. Maybe $50? And then something began to happen. The bids started coming in and the price began to rise. $50 - - - - - $85 - - - - $125... WHAT?!

I called Colin, heart pounding, "MY SHIRT IS AT $125!" Then I'd call Teri. MY SHIRT IS AT $125!!!  No, Wait! It's at $135!

And so it went for seven days. Eventually, Colin's co-workers were watching the auction too. Who could believe this shirt was going this high?

When the final minutes on the auction ticked away, and we continued to click refresh! refresh! refresh! with the mouse, the price ticked on up to a final bid of $860!

$860 dollars!

It was my favorite find.


Yep! That's the shirt, and the $860 check.

But the fun didn't stop there. Ebay loved the story so much that years later I shot a commercial for the company, re-telling my story. I don't think the commercial ever aired, but it was a fun experience none the less.

Do you have a favorite find? I have lots more as well and nothing is more fun for me than sharing the stories of what I've found with others who understand. I bet you love that too.

I hope you'll come join me on my new website, My Favorite Find, and share your finds there too. And while we're at it, let's discover some great places to find more of what we love. It's all there and I hope you will be too!

P.S. You can read more about the story behind My Favorite Find on these blogs:

OC Cottage

Drinking From My Saucer

Cathy Penton - Dare to Dream

Blissful Blooms

Vintage Grey

The Savvy Luna Bug

Homesteader's Heart

Alexa Lett

Rural Revolution

Ramblings from a Vintage Gal

Curious Details

The Grand Suprise

KXLY 4 News

Farm Fresh Therapy

Hampton Victory Garden

Mockingbird Hill Cottage

Finding Home 

Recraft Magazine

Tanya Smith

Sweet Peas and Happy Things

Homemade Renegade

SugarPie Farmhouse

Raffia Sisters

Sing and Don't Be Silent

Pots and Pins

February 06, 2012

Collecting and Other News


I'm pretty into old cake tins. I think they're so interesting and can add so much to a simple cake. Here are a few I've picked up recently.

I always remember where these finds come from too, which makes each cake special because I'm baking and thinking about that good memory.

The top one came from Junebug, at their Mad Hatter Show.

Second one down was from a rummage sale in Sandpoint, Idaho this summer. $1!

And the last two I picked up this weekend at the Junk Salvation show in Oregon.

Oh yeah, that reminds me. This weekend I met up with my friend, Heather, in Portland and did some antiquing and collaborating. It's really nice to get out and see the shops and shows that exist outside of my everyday life.

In other news, My Favorite Find is getting closer and closer. The big day is no longer months away. Just days now. Just days! Have you signed up yet?

And the best news? The sun has been shining for several days and that makes me happy. In honor of that, I wore sandals today when I met Colin for lunch. It was 45 degrees, but I didn't care. Spring is in my heart.  :)

December 19, 2011

Collecting: Christmas Mugs


There's something special about collections just for the holidays. Like holly mugs - for Christmas. And aren't they so wonderful, displayed for all to see?

Do you have holiday collections? If so, what do you collect?

Image by John Granen

P.S. Melaine at My Sweet Savannah is giving away a copy of my book, The Farm Chicks Christmas. Head on over to her blog to enter!

December 08, 2011

Making Something Out of Nothing

Growing up with very little was a blessing because I was able to see the beauty in the everyday objects that are often overlooked. That's what you do when you don't have much.

When you take the time to look around at what you have, you can make anything special. Take this collection of syrup dispensers for example:


It's really simple:

1.) Gather together clear, like objects that can be used as vessels.

2.) Fill with Christmasey items such as little trees, ornaments, and fake snow or objects in a color to fit your Christmas theme such as old game pieces and glitter. (This can be done with anything you love, any time of the year!)

3.) Display as a grouping.

You can find this Christmas inspiration, as well as decorating ideas, recipes, and Christmas cheer in my book, The Farm Chicks Christmas.

Special thanks to my friend, Nancy, for letting us into her home to play and display with her collections. You can find more wonderful objects such as these at Nancy (and friends) shop, Forget-Me-Not, in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho.

Image by John Granen.

November 17, 2011

My Old Crafts Space

At one point in our last home, I got tired of not having a crafts space and got a crazy idea to incorporate it into my tiny office (World Headquarters) nook. Jenny Doh featured it in her wonderful book, Signature Styles. I thought you might enjoy seeing some of my favorite ways to re-purpose kitchen, household, and often overlooked objects for use, as I shared in Jenny's book.

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Sprinkles in a jar are perfect for holding pens:


Pages from a vintage textile and ribbon sample book become artwork for the wall:



Pretty fabric should be displayed for added happiness. Twine is easily accessible in a clear jar. Cakestands are great for housing an array of supplies. A vintage baking dish holds rick-rack. A disposable plastic Christmas tablecloth is better utilized as a shelf liner:


A colorful old flour sifter is the perfect size for holding a big cone of baker's twine. Sturdy cupcake liners work as vessels for small objects such as twist-ties.


The entire feature, as well as My apron pattern and instructions are available in the book.

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Special thanks to Jenny for creating such a beautiful book and featuring so many creative women, and to Christina G., who photographed this story. All images seen here are by Christina G.

The sprinkles, cupcake liners, and twist-ties are from Bake it Pretty.

The cakestands are from Martha Stewart for Macy's.

The disposable plastic Christmas tablecloth is from Martha Stewart Crafts.

My desk is from Pottery Barn.

The oilcloth covering on my desk is from Cath Kidston.

P.S. Don't forget to enter for your chance to win EARLY ADMISSION tickets to The Farm Chicks Show! Click here to learn more!

August 04, 2011

Collecting: Glassware

When I designed our dining room built-in, I wanted to make sure I'd have a spot to store all of my extra glassware.


I love how something so simple can add such sparkle to a room.

My favorite source for glassware is estate sales. It seems that most people just pass them by. Most of the sets I find are quite large, which is a must for me. I usually won't buy any sets with less than 12 glasses. Although I couldn't pass up this set of 8 tiny juice glasses (shown at left) recently.


The set was mine for $1. And I do really like how old-fashioned juice glasses are tiny. I think juice is more special sipped, not guzzled.


I still have several shelves to fill and can't wait to see what I'll find next.

P.S. Have you ever seen Matthew Mead's Entertaining Simple book? I love his use of glassware throughout.

Post Edit: I ordered our table from Antico. It works really well for our big family because it seats 12. I love that their furniture is made from reclaimed and sustainably harvested wood. The chairs are from Cost Plus World Market.

July 27, 2011



I had an interview of sorts the other day, and was asked about my passion for junking. And you know, it's not something I often stop and really think about. It's just the way I grew up.

I can't explain how much I love when someone calls me to tell me about an old barn they'd like to let me to come and dig through or when I roll up to a farm sale. It makes my heart skip a beat. What will I find?

I found this old toy truck at a farm sale a few weeks ago. The place had been picked over but I couldn't help but wonder about what may be sitting in their enormous barn across the field. So I asked if I could take a peek. "There's nothing in there but junk", they said. Well, that sounded perfect to me.

When I enter a barn, I stop at the entrance and do a 360 degree scan. Then I look up, which is something my dad always taught me, because wonderful things are often stored in the rafters.

On this day, while looking along the wallboards, I saw this filthy old toy truck.


I have a thing for these trucks. I think it's because my parents always used them as vessels in our gypsy wagon. They'd use them for holding various things like onions or buttons... basically anything that could hold something was used and old toy trucks were easily found in the landfills my parents would dig through.

Anyway, back to the barn.

When I emerged from the barn, I showed the truck to the owner who said he had been looking for that toy for 50 years! It had been set down one day and he could never remember where he put it. And after he told me about his memories of that truck when he was a child, he told me he'd be happy to sell it.

So now it's mine. This junky old truck that needs to be cleaned up. It may go into my collection, or who knows, maybe I'll sell it someday.

Someday, I'll have to tell you about the shirt I found at a yard sale for .10 cents and later sold for $860. dollars.

It's true!

July 07, 2011


Most Fridays of summer, the boys and I can be found out and about, hunting for treasure. But our treasure isn't defined by monetary value, rather, random objects that have a story to tell or that simply catch our eye. Estate sales are our favorite.

So when Kellie contacted me to tell me about her upcoming estate sale, I knew I wanted to go and get a preview of the contents of her grandfather Joe's 100 year old farm.

You may see chipped dishes, but I love that they were actually used, rather than kept pristine from years of sitting on a shelf. Beautiful.


The best ornaments? Old glass balls, worn over time. Perfect.


I love these old pencils, given out by the local grange supply store. And they're from Fairfield, the location of the farm.


Old cake toppers stop my heart. They speak of true love. Everyone should own at least one, to remind them of their one and only.


If the packaging doesn't get you, the handiness of the contents will. Old paper wall dispensers are the best.

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I'm collecting old wooden spools of muted thread to display. Simplistic beauty.


Have you ever dug through boxes of old farm junk? You never know what you may find. They're the best.


Old crazy quilts. Every piece stitched by hand. I'd choose you over a boring blanket any day of the week.


And old books? Possibly one of my favorite collectibles of all time. The papers, the print. Books rank right up there with paint for one of the easiest ways to add warmth to a room. Stack them around, display them, open them to expose the beautiful papers inside. Treasure.





What are you doing this weekend? The boys and I will be looking for some good estate sales, like this one. If you live in Spokane, you might want to stop by Kellie's estate sale, featuring the contents of her grandfather Joe's farm. And maybe I'll see you there! (I didn't cheat even one little bit by buying anything early. That wouldn't be fair now would it?)


You can find the estate sale at 4920 East 14th Avenue in Spokane Valley. The sale will run this Friday and Saturday from 9-3.

May 04, 2011

Collecting: Wooden Kitchen Objects

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April 22, 2011

Collecting: Milk Glass Hen Dishes

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February 04, 2011

Collecting: Lockets

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December 22, 2010

Collecting: Christmas Kitsch

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October 13, 2010

Collecting: Clutches

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September 17, 2010

Junk Bonanza Scores

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May 18, 2010

Collecting: Old Gardening Books

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January 31, 2010

Link of the Week! Collection a Day 2010

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January 20, 2010

Collecting: Farm Paintings

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December 18, 2009

Jolly Ol' St. Nick

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December 02, 2009

Christmas Collecting: Santa Mugs

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December 01, 2009

December 1st

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August 10, 2009

Farm Country Sale


There was an estate sale in the heart of farm country this weekend.  The sale was run by one of my favorite estate sale companies, Monarch.  I really appreciate the descriptions they give in their advertisements because I know they're always accurate.  They described this sale as a "digger", which means there will be a TON of things to "dig" for.  My neighbor Michelle loves their sales as much as me, so we decided to go together.  We also met up with her friend and business partner, Faith, and her daughter.  We ran into the Junebug girls there too.





The house, barn, outbuilding, chicken coop, and tents were jammed full.  Everything was for sale.  The advertisement described thousands of yards of fabric, which was perfect for me, especially because we're working on a shoot at the end of the month and can always use a good assortment.  (Plus, I've never met a fabric I didn't like).  After a few hours, our trucks were jammed full.  We stopped for lunch on the way home and I couldn't resist snapping a picture of the trucks with their loads.


August 03, 2009


I love collecting cookbooks and it sounds like a lot of you do too!  Since our book has been out, I've been approached by several women who have introduced themselves and told me about their collections.  One woman told me about her collection of over 600!  I love reading them like books.  And if I get some tasty recipes, that's great too!
Kitchen 005

June 12, 2009


I love collecting great old pop bottles to fill with special drinks for guests.  Like these I filled with vanilla chai tea I'd brewed the day before.  Delicious juices work really well too!  To seal, I use new corks that we purchase from home improvement stores like Lowes.  And I always make sure to sterilize the bottles before use.


For this Prairie Party, we placed the bottled ice-teas in a huge old yellowware bowl and filled with ice.

May 07, 2009

Collecting Cans

Whenever I see cute old cans for sale, I make sure to pick them up.  There are so many uses for them around the house, including use as a utensil holder.


January 08, 2009

Vintage Rosary Bracelets

I really love vintage rosary bracelets. I came across my first one at an estate sale and have found many more at flea markets over theyears. I like to layer several together at one time and enjoy the way
they jingle jangle together on my wrist.


November 06, 2008

Jam Pots


I want to re-package everything I buy. (Unless it's cutely packaged, of course!)  And I do, which drives my family a little crazy. But I really love moving pasta from the bag to a jar. And rice.  And nuts.  And chocolate chips ... and ... and ... and...  I enjoy opening up the pantry and seeing pretty things - not packages. So imagine my excitement when I found these darling little jam pots at the Sister's Sale. (I'll have more on them and their fun sale sometime in the future). Now, when I open the fridge, I'll see pretty things there too.

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