12 Things (23 If You’re An Optimist)

And let’s just say I’m an eternal, unapologetic, and annoyingly chipper optimist. Anyway, we’re back to share the homely group of odd items that we picked up with our $100 shopping budget on our little end-of-winter beach vacay in Rehoboth. Since we were staying at John’s parents’ beach house for free (I have the best inlaws ever), we figured that a hundred dollars to put towards light fixtures and wall decor and other new house items sounded about right to two cheapskates like us who were happy to have saved at least three times that amount by avoiding hotel fees and driving to the beach in the winter instead. Hah. They’re not exactly a group of lookers yet, but we have plans to paint, frame, hang, retrofit, and generally revive a bunch of them. Here’s the spread:

1. You already saw me gleefully clutching our $5 thrift store mirror here. Love it. Plans for that guy involve a major splash of color. Not sure which one, or where he’ll live. Yet…

2 & 3. You also already met our crazy orange horse head book end friends (scored for $2.50 each). I’m thinking of spraying them white or maybe even a bold color like navy or yellow. They might live up on the built ins with the bulk of my other ceramic animal buddies.

4. This light fixture was hanging in an antique shop’s booth all plugged in and glowing. And I was instantly drawn to it like a moth to a flame. It was just $19 and John was outside in the car with the sleeping bean so I was taking a chance by getting it without dragging him and sleeping Clara inside so he could see it for himself. Thankfully he loved it. Of course we’re planning to paint the brass cap and chain. And we’re thinking about hanging it in the little sink alcove in our bedroom. Not sure though.

5. You can read more about the bee significance in our relationship here, but I fell in love with this $5 iron bee hook from the moment I saw it. I have visions of painting it glossy yellow and hanging it in the mudroom/laundry room for Burger’s leash.

6. I’m 99% sure that I’ll paint this $7 wall mountable iron horse white and hang him in our bright blue hall bathroom with a white hand towel in his mouth ring (more deets on that room’s plan here).

7 & 8. These two wood plaques were $3 a pop and John and I both thought they might look good hanging above our bed with our ram friend in the center. Not sure if we’ll paint them or leave ’em au naturale.

9. This tiny (he’s around 5″ wide) wall-mountable gold duck (goose?) was just three bucks. So we both agreed that he had to come home and meet his older brother. Not sure if we’ll hang them together. Probably not. Maybe we’ll hang this little one among all the frames in the hallway.

10. We already shared this $10 green luggage rack for the guest room this morning, and mentioned that we may or may not paint it (but definitely plan to switch out the straps – one is missing anyway). Should be interesting…

11. You’ve also seen this $18 paper lantern this morning, so you know we’re planning to hang it in the playroom with a $5 light kit from Ikea. Love those hearts.

12 (or 12-23 if you count each print as a thing). Perhaps our favorite find, we have plans to disassemble this $20 vintage map calendar and frame and hang them all en masse somewhere. Maybe in the guest room. Maybe in the playroom. Or maybe even in the much-mentioned frame-filled hallway that we’re planning.

So that’s what we got for $98. Thanks to shopping in Delaware (where there’s no sales tax) that was actually the total amount spent. And because I’m a dork, I like to calculate the average cost per item, which comes in right around $8 (when you count the calendar as one thing) and $4.26 (when each print is counted separately). Not bad average prices for things like two light fixtures, a luggage rack, a mirror, two bookends, and 6 pieces of wall decor (or 17 if you count all the vintage maps in the calendar). Woot! More details and pics when we frame/hang/paint/install each thing. But now it’s back to the guest room. There are things to clean and paint swatches to consider…

Psst- We announced this weeks giveaway winners. Click here to see if one of them is you.


  1. Sarah says

    I’m in the middle of writing an essay on Schopenhauer and your blog is the best ever break from it. Although I keep checking all the time for your next post so I guess I’m not getting much done..!

  2. says

    I love the idea of having a real luggage rack in the guest room – that is fancy (if you get it working!). Also love the bee hook and the calendar. I’ve done the same thing with an old calendar – but LOVE vintage maps. Way to go!

  3. Katie says

    So I can feel less like a stalker…I just have to let you guys know how much I love your blog! I check it twice a day *just in case* you have posted twice! :) I squealed out loud when you posted your thrift store finds! Thanks for reminding me I don’t have to have a million dollar budget to makeover my home and make it a space that I love. Gosh…imagine what you could do with a million buck-a-roos though!

    • kate says

      I had to laugh out loud cause I know how you feel! I too check a few times a day & often feel like a stalker!! When I read this post I actually felt extra-stalkerish cause I too have in-laws who have a beach house near the Deleware beaches and I know exactly where all these stores are! Wondering if I could find amazingly cheap treasures and turn then into fabulous pieces like Sherry and John….:)

  4. says

    Great Finds! I am in love with the luggage rack as-is (after the new straps) as well as the iron horse head..I think he fits well with the inspiration room just as he is but depending on what other decor items you will be bringing in and how far off from the inspiration room you’ll be going to bring in your own twist!

    Love seeing these items you’ve picked up on the trip! Now I need to go plan a vacay!

  5. Erin says

    Can’t wait to see how you transform everything! I love that you buy things I would never even look at and make them so cool. I need you vision!

  6. Junebug says

    Love the great finds! I have a random question. Have you guys found a no VOC primer that you love? We’re getting ready to paint our outdated kitchen cabinets and we have a 7 month old baby. Thanks!

    • says

      We wish we had a fabulous no-VOC primer that would work on your cabinets, but unfortunately you’ll need something oil-based to block any wood or stain bleed-through (water based paint can’t do that) and all oil-based paint is fumey and loaded with VOCs. Such an annoying debacle! One way to attempt it would be to send your baby off somewhere while you paint and then ventilate like crazy (once you apply no-VOC paint over it, like Olympic Premium) the fumes should all be sealed in, so your baby would only theoretically have to be gone for the priming process and then could come back once things are painted. Or you could visit an eco building supply store and see what they recommend. There might be some specialty product that we’re not aware of. Just be sure it’ll block bleed through (so it shouldn’t just be a water based primer). Good luck!


    • Junebug says

      Thanks for the help! That’s what we were afraid of. We’ll just have to send our little one away for the day. At least the bulk of the priming will need to be done on the doors, which can be primed outside.

    • Jennifer says

      I just primed my kitchen with an extremely low voc primer and it worked great! I had deep deep red walls that I thought would take a ton of work to cover. I used two coats of Kilz Clean Start primer (can says extremely low voc) on the walls and now you can’t tell that the walls use to be red. It didn’t have that painty smell. Good luck!

    • says

      Yup, we’ve found great low and no-VOC primers when it comes to walls (since they can be latex or water based) but sadly when it comes to priming cabinets you need the fumey stuff to block wood/stain bleed through. Wish someone would come up with something that would work for cabs without having tons o’ fumes!


  7. JMB says

    Love the luggage rack! I scored a similar one recently and it also needs strap replacement, so looking forward to how you decide to do it. It lives in our guest room as a nice little “extra” since you don’t see them much anymore. Also love the iron horse and the bee hook. Nice thrifting YHL!

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