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:


*    *    *    *

Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

*    *    *    *

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!


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.

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.

And the 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!

*    *    *    *

Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

*    *    *    *

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.

*    *    *    *

Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

*    *    *    *

April 22, 2011

Collecting: Milk Glass Hen Dishes


Milk glass is an all-time favorite collectible of mine. I love how such a simplistic color can be beautiful in an understated sort of way.


Last fall, I stumbled upon this collection of milk glass hen dishes at a barn sale on the prairie, near my home. I paid $30 for the set of 8.


I'm drawn to the older pieces that appear opalescent in light:


It's collections like these that add another layer of specialness to our family holiday celebrations. I look forward to using my new collection this Easter and for many years to come.

*    *    *    *

Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

*    *    *    *

March 29, 2011

Adding it to the Collection


Look what I found while out antiquing the other day! A perfect addition to my collection of paintings. I love old originals.

Do you collect paintings?


What do you collect?

*    *    *    *

Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

*    *    *    *

March 24, 2011

The Perfect Fit

I stopped by the Vintage Rabbit today. I like to do that whenever I'm passing by. And, I've been looking for things for the new house.


I was also hoping to spot some


And look at that! Signs of spring in the Silver Suitcase booth:



Wait! What is that I see? That big *huge* basket under the table? Let me take it out to get a better look:


An old horse blanket basket? Will it possibly fit in the laundry room, in that space that I've been having the hardest time finding the perfect basket for?


Hooray! Yes! And the good news? You held horse blankets. So, you're used to animals and animal smelling things. Perfect, because now you'll be holding things coming down the laundry chute from my little animals upstairs. And hopefully, there won't be any worms.


Welcome home, basket. You're the perfect fit.


The Vintage Rabbit is owned by Jan who is a vendor at The Farm Chicks Show.

I found my basket in the Silver Suitcase booth. The girls from Silver Suitcase are vendors at The Farm Chicks Show as well.

The Vintage Rabbit is located in Spokane at 2317 N. Monroe.

*    *    *    *

Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

*    *    *    *

February 04, 2011

Collecting: Lockets


I've been collecting lockets as long as I can remember. When our home was burglarized a few years ago, they took most of my grandma Marjorie's jewelry and the locket that contained her picture. But luckily, they left her picture. So, I still keep her with my collection. Isn't she beautiful?

My favorite locket has the inscription:



As a girl, I collected butterfly jewelry too. But that's a story for another day...

My collection was started for me by my mom because she LOVED hearts. Anything hearts. By the time I left home, I was so sick of hearts that I never wanted to see another one again. But thankfully, this year I've warmed up to hearts again (in moderation) and am so glad that I still have my collection...

Serena grade 6

...after all these years.

*    *    *    *

Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

*    *    *    *

January 25, 2011

Barbed Wire


One of my favorite "great finds stories" of all time was from Elaine Tolson. One day, while out thrifting, she stumbled upon a box of old barbed wire, which for me, is a beautiful piece of our Western American history, and one that speaks volumes about the hard work that went into shaping our countryside - dating back to Abraham Lincoln and the Homestead Act.

So naturally, when I heard about her find, I had to see it for myself.



A meticulously labeled collection, identifying each piece, including the year, like this one from 1899.

IMG_3184 describes the history of barbed wire as the original tool used by farmers in the west to protect their crops from roaming buffalo and cattle.


And its rustic beauty is not lost on me. I can't help but get lost in the miles and miles of barbed wire that twists and turns its way across the back roads of the west. Our home.

It's also a reminder that sometimes, we forget about what we see. The things we pass day after day. And it makes me wonder what am I missing? What have I overlooked?

And it makes me want to take the long-cut home. Because I don't want to miss a thing.

*    *    *    *

Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

*    *    *    *

December 22, 2010

Collecting: Christmas Kitsch

The Farm Chicks Christmas 047-2

Meet kitsch.  Although she's a wee bit, well....kitschy, I'm a big fan.  There's always a place for a little kitsch in my collections.  Because, after all, kitsch is happy.

And so am I.

Do you collect Christmas kitsch?  What do you collect for the holidays?  I'd love to hear.

Image by the wonderful Samantha Cabrera.

*    *    *    *

Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

*    *    *    *

May 18, 2010

Collecting: Old Gardening Books


I'm a big fan of old gardening books.  And one of the biggest reasons why is that they give me good inspiration for an older style of landscape design.



These books are invaluable to me as I dream and begin to design the landscape around our new home because I don't want what's trendy.  I want classic.



I've never paid more than a couple of dollars for a book, and have had great luck finding them at my local thrift shops and estate sales.  And the bonus?  They smell like old books (because they are), one of the best smells on earth.

*    *    *    *

Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

*    *    *    *

January 20, 2010

Collecting: Farm Paintings

I've been collecting original paintings for a few years now and love when I find ones depicting old farms.


I found this one while doing a book signing at my friend's antique shop (Forget-me-Not) in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. One of my favorite things to do after buying a painting is to find out about the artist.


And although I haven't found anything on this particular artist yet, the real fun is getting to see the artist's vision on my wall every day.



*    *    *    *

Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

*    *    *    *

December 02, 2009

Christmas Collecting: Santa Mugs

I do love vintage Santa and what could be cuter than mugs?  Thrift stores are a great place to find them, and they're usually priced just right, at $1-$3 each.  I can't resist.  What do you love collecting for Christmas?

*    *    *    *

Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

*    *    *    *

December 01, 2009

December 1st

Happy December 1st!  May the Christmas cheer begin!


I love this time of year with all the festivities, school programs and good will.  And I love collecting vintage decorations like this great old Santa original painting.

*    *    *    *

Between posts on my website, I document my life on Instagram. You can follow along with me there.

*    *    *    *

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

July 24, 2009

Better With Letters


I have a serious weakness for old letters.  And I have a lot of them.  Mostly from old signs or advertising.  But I've always wanted a set of old plaster letters - the type that poke into a bulletin board.

6a010534adb750970b0115723157bd970b-200wiI was so excited to find an old set at an estate sale while junking with the boys last weekend.  And, it was only five dollars!  It's still in it's original box, which I love!

I'm scrubbing, cleaning and painting inside my house this weekend, but will make sure to set aside some time to put these letters to use.  And I'll make sure to show you when I'm done.  Everything's better with letters!


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.


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.

November 05, 2008

Book Love


Today's a busy busy day, but I wanted to share the book love I'm having for my latest little find. Don't you just love it?  I can't wait to get a minute and look through all of the fun contents!

Learn about my show!

About Me

My Books

Email Serena

Follow Serena on Pinterest

Follow Serena on Twitter

Spread the love!