5 Old Books I Found in Our New Home

Old houses are full of surprises.

(I’m a master of the understatement.)

Our colonial farmhouse has already given us plenty of surprises – most of them electrical related.

I also found some old books and magazines in our new home. That’s a WAY better surprise than realizing you only have one inconveniently located outlet in your master bedroom!

Since I previously told you the seller left tons of unwanted items in the house when he moved out, you might think that I found these old books in one of the four gazillion dozen boxes of junk on the premises.


I found the old books and magazines in two places. The first place was in the piano bench. Yes, a piano was left here. You don’t want to know how hard it is to give away a piano.

The second place was under the window seat cushions in our living room. I do actually mean ‘under the cushions’ because there is no hidden storage in the bench of these window seats.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled up the window seat cushions to recover them and found a grammar school geography book…from 1893!

The book might be older than that, but it was signed on April 7, 1893, by Daisy from New Germantown, New Jersey.

grammar school geography Five Old Books I Found in Our New Home

Doesn’t she have the most beautiful handwriting? I’m still trying to decide what the letter is after the “t” in her last name.

New Germantown, New Jersey, no longer exists. That area is now an unincorporated area called Oldwick and is located in the same county in which we reside. I suppose it is possible that Daisy lived in our house.

This geography book was signed in 1893, which was 126 years ago. To put in context how long ago that was, Irish independence from Great Britain did not occur until 1916.

grammar school geography Five Old Books I Found in Our New Home

Another book hiding under the window seat cushion was a Norman Rockwell picture book.

The copyright date on this book is 1977, so comparatively speaking, this book isn’t old at all!

50 norman rockwell favorites Five Old Books I Found in Our New Home

The Norman Rockwell book was printed so that you could cut out the artwork and frame it.

As far as I can tell, all of the images are intact.

50 norman rockwell favorites Five Old Books I Found in Our New Home

I also found two magazines from October and December of 1900.

The Cosmopolitan cost 10 cents and each issue was packed with fiction and non-fiction articles, advertisements and political cartoons.

So far I’ve read an article about the Russian army and one about how our children are not being taught values at home. Apparently, not much has changed since 1900!

The next article I’m going to read is the “prize essay” titled The Care of the Teeth. They don’t hand out prizes for essays like that anymore and that’s a darn shame.

the cosmopolitan 1900 Five Old Books I Found in Our New Home

If you think this magazine title sounds familiar, you’d be correct. This is how the women’s magazine, Cosmopolitan (Cosmo) got its start in 1886. William Randolph Hearst purchased the magazine for $400,000 in 1905.

In addition to articles, the magazines contained several pages of political cartoons. Some of the cartoons I understood pretty quickly. Others I had to dig deep into the recesses of my mind (and Google) to understand the nuance.

the cosmopolitan 1900 Five Old Books I Found in Our New Home

The last item I found was in the piano bench and it is a gardening catalog from Peter Henderson and Co. that is dated 1895.

It looks like you could use this catalog to order a wide variety of seeds and learn about the various seeds the company offered. The order form is still inside the magazine.

The art on the cover is gorgeous. The lettering is embossed and provides a wonderful elegance to the design.

peter henderson and co Five Old Books I Found in Our New Home

The art on the inside is even better, don’t you think?

This is just one of the pages inside that was printed in color.

I want to keep the magazine intact, otherwise I might try framing some of these pictures!

peter henderson and co Five Old Books I Found in Our New Home

I did do a quick Google search on each of the old books and magazines that I found to assess their value.

The most any one of these items might fetch is $50.

That’s not too shabby, but I have no plans to sell these old books and magazines. They make me happy and I still haven’t read the articles titled Our Navy 50 Years From Now and The Hygiene of Sleep. I have a feeling I know some spoilers on that Navy article!

Plus, I have too many questions.

Why in the world would you keep these books and magazines? How did they survive more than 100 years and end up in this house? Why would you keep them under a seat cushion in your living room?

Was this their version of a time capsule? Because I am all for it!

In fact, I might need to leave a time capsule for the next owners of this house to find.

Thanks for reading this post! Here are some more you might enjoy!

Books My Kids Are Reading Part 8

Picking Up Trash in the Forest and Turning it Into Art

Wardrobe Malfunctions Happen

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My Dining Table Is Now a Coffee Table

Do you remember when I bought a $9.60 round dining table at the Habitat Restore and making over that table almost sent me over the edge?

That was fun.

round dining table makeover

Fast forward several months and the scars from the traumatic table makeover experience were healing nicely.

Then I realized why that table might have been donated to the Habitat Restore in the first place.

The top kept coming loose from the base. I’d tighten it and then people would put their elbows on the table (!) and eventually the top would loosen up again.

The solution was clear. Either I could teach my family manners or we could stop eating all together.


Those solutions seemed a little drastic.

Perhaps the simpler solution would be to get new bolts for the table base?

No. This is me we are talking about.

The simpler solution was to switch out the table with another one I already had.

The round dining table was taken apart and banished to the basement.

Fast forward several more months and we moved into the Colonial Farmhouse.

(Beware! Progress pictures ahead.)

Convert a Dining Table Into a Coffee Table

Our living room is pretty big and I knew it could handle a large coffee table. That’s when I was glad I had banished saved the round dining table top. I knew we could easily convert the 48-inch round dining table into a coffee table.

After all, I still loved the blue color of the table top and despite all my woes with the paint job, it had held up well.

I just needed a new base for it that would be coffee table height. Of course when I “need” something for a design project I can’t ever find the right thing. Why is that?

So we took the 16-inch metal hairpin legs off another table (this Lego table we made) and screwed them into the round top. It was instant love!

Convert a Dining Table Into a Coffee Table

As an added bonus, the top didn’t wobble anymore!

I’m still idly on the lookout for a different base, but for now I’m quite pleased we could convert a dining table into a coffee table!

The next thing on my to-do list is to paint the living room. It may surprise you, but a yellow fireplace with a stenciled paint job isn’t the vibe I’m going for in this room. Also, the picture frame molding looks wonky because I did manage to paint the ceiling of this room before we moved our furniture in and things got a little messy.

I am happy with progress though!

Living Room Sources:

Sofa – Rivet Andrews Leather Sofa, 82″ W, Cognac – Amazon

Rug – Safavieh Monaco Collection MNC243N Vintage Bohemian Navy and Light Blue Distressed Area Rug (8′ x 10′) – Amazon

Clock – 15 years old from a store in Minnesota

Metal Hairpin Legs, old from Amazon – similar ones:  16″ Heavy Duty Hairpin Coffee Table Legs (Set of 4), 3/8″ Thick

Copper Planter – Thrifted and discussed in this post

Ladder – Found

Blankets and Quilts – Handmade, Super Old

Rocking Chair – Left in the Colonial Farmhouse

One of the best parts of my day is sharing this blog with you, so thank you for being here. Here are some other posts you might enjoy. 

Easy Blackberry Freezer Jam Using Frozen Berries

Lamp Base Filled with Yarn Pom Poms

Phonics Books for Star Wars Fans


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The Doors of Our Colonial Farmhouse

My number one reason for buying our colonial farmhouse was the original, wide plank wood floors. That’s how everyone selects a house, right?

My number two reason for buying our home was the original doors.

According to my logic, if life opens one beautiful door and you choose to walk through it and discover another beautiful door and ANOTHER, how do you not buy that house?

It was a sign from the universe I didn’t want to ignore.

The doors of our colonial farmhouse are definitely the eye candy of this house. And I do love me some eye candy!

And don’t even get me started on the glass knobs!

This is the door to the master bedroom and the rustic wood with the glass knob is a combination that slays me.

The Doors of Our Colonial Farmhouse glass knobs

Now, in a modern home, most of the doors would be matching. Door styles help set the tone for the home’s style.

Not in this old farmhouse.

Matching is for the birds!

From what I’ve surmised, every time the home was added onto and a door was needed, someone built a door. Simple as that.

The oldest part of this home is around 240 years old. That’s a ton of time for interior design trends to cycle in and out and in and out of style. I’m guessing that is what accounts for most of the difference in the varying types of doors styles in this home.

Nevertheless, each door is a bit of a mystery to me. Some have comically low door knobs.

The master bedroom door has an oddly high door knob.

Some of the doors don’t shut tight anymore, probably as the home has settled, so there are separate latches to keep them closed.

Some of the doors are painted. Some are stained. All of them have character galore.

The photo below shows the amazing door latch to a closet located off of our entry. It’s as complicated to open as it looks! And ignore the wonkiness of the paint job. I was in the middle of painting when I snapped this photo.

The Doors of Our Colonial Farmhouse vintage door latch

There are two sets of French doors that lead from the main living areas onto a sun porch. The French doors look like they are stained glass, but they aren’t.

They have flowers decals added to them.


Honestly, the decals don’t bother me that much.

I’d rather they weren’t there, but they are low on my priority list. Now, if they start peeling like the decals on our laundry room door have, then they will bother me a heck of a lot.

The Doors of Our Colonial Farmhouse glass door knob

The wood door below is the door to our kitchen stairs. It matches the wainscoting that goes around the entire kitchen. You can also glimpse the lovely wallpaper gracing this space.

Oddly enough, I LOVE the door, but I’m not a fan of the wainscoting.

I’ll talk more about this at a later time, but the kitchen is not original to the house. Electricity and indoor plumbing are also not original to this house. Ha!

The kitchen was the last addition and was probably added around 75 years ago. I may not like this kitchen, but I sure am glad to have it!

The Doors of Our Colonial Farmhouse

Other than cleaning them up, I have no plans to drastically change any of these old doors.

Well, maybe I’ll change the ones from the 1980s.

That was an unfortunate decade for door design…and a few other things.

The Doors of Our Colonial Farmhouse white door knob

I didn’t show you any exterior doors today because they are the least interesting doors of this house and that’s probably because they are the newest.

It also just dawned on me that I probably should have titled this post the “Doorknobs of Our Colonial Farmhouse” instead of the “Doors of Our Colonial Farmhouse.” It seems the pictures that I took or ended up selecting for this post were not full shots of the doors.

I’m not sure if that was accidental or on purpose, but I do know my next goal will be to find homes for all the piles so that I can actually take pictures of the doors in their entirety.

Anyone want a free piano? I’ll happily give it to you. It’s one of items that was left in this house and one of the “piles” that desperately needs a home.

P.S. Here’s a list of 1980s interior design trends that do not need to make a comeback. Although, I don’t know what HGTV Canada has against ferns.

P.P.S. According to Trulia, NO ONE selects a home based on flooring and doors. I’ll concede. Location, schools, crime, etc. are also important factors in selecting a home…if you want to be responsible and stuff.

If you like old doors as much as I do, you might like one of these posts too!

Jewelry Organizer From an Old Door

Camouflaging the Dog Door

Running Medal Display From an Old Door


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3 Unexpected Succulent Planters

I’m excited to show you how I’ve planted my succulents in 3 unexpected planters.

I do not have a green thumb, but I seem to be able to keep succulents alive.

This is probably because succulents tend to do well with a little neglect less watering than regular houseplants.

Now that I’ve inspired your confidence in my abilities (ha!), let’s get to the fun stuff. Pretty much anything is fair game around my house to be used or reused in an unexpected way!

Unexpected Succulent Planter #1: Shot Glass

This idea could go very tacky very quickly. Believe me, I know.

However, we happen to have a brass shot glass that looks like a thimble. It’s pretty amazing with just the right amount of quirk. It’s even engraved with the saying “just a thimbleful.” I think it was a gift for my husband from his sister.

I’m not sure we ever used it for actual shots though.

shot glass Unexpected Succulent Planters

I put a teeny tiny succulent in the shot glass earlier this year and the succulent seems to love this little container. I keep it in the kitchen on a wood tray with my dish soap. As you can see, the shot glass has developed some patina from being next to the sink.

This is not a huge size-wise statement maker, but it’s probably one of my favorite details in my house right now.

Unexpected Succulent Planter #2: Small Dish or Bowl

I have a pretty lidded dish that lost its lid in our last move. I used to keep guitar picks in this dish, but haven’t used it since I lost the lid. On the bottom of the dish is my Great Grandma Della’s name and the date of October 1964, so the dish has sentimental value.

I don’t know if I’ll ever find the lid for this dish, but I wanted to keep using it. Now it holds a small succulent.

small dish Unexpected Succulent Planters

If by some miracle I manage to grow this succulent any larger, I will just find a new, deeper container for it. Crazier things have happened!

Unexpected Succulent Planter #3: Pewter Baby Cup

Anyone else have an engraved pewter baby cup from when they were, well, a baby?

It’s definitely not the oldest item I own, but it is one of the most useless items I’ve carried around for my ENTIRE LIFE! Do people actually drink out of these baby cups?

pewter baby cup Unexpected Succulent Planters

The other day I found the baby cup in the bottom of a box, which might explain why my cup is a little banged up and dented. Even though I’ve seen this cup a thousand times, this time it looked interesting to me and I thought I could make use of it.

Once I turned the cup around so that the engraving of my birth height and weight (20 inches and 7 lbs, 11 oz, thanks for asking) wasn’t visible, it looked like a fun container that could hold a succulent!

I’m beyond tickled with how this one turned out and how well the succulent seems to like its new home.

Here’s a caveat to planting succulents in these type of containers that weren’t designed to be planters: there is no drainage. You have to be careful about over watering succulents anyway, but you especially have to be careful if you plant them in a container that doesn’t have a hole in the bottom.

Generally speaking, over watering my plants is not my problem. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite!

If I am in the middle of watering a succulent and worry it got too much water, I carefully, so no soil falls out, tip the plant over so that any extra water can drain out the top. So far, so good!

Have you planted succulents or other plants in something unexpected? I’d be so happy if you’d share your planter ideas with me!

P.S. Here’s a baby cup similar to mine. You can find thimble shot glasses on Etsy. I do not know where you can buy a dish without a lid from 1964 with my grandma’s name on it. I’m good, but not that good. Hahahaha!

P.P.S. I usually buy my succulents at Home Depot. Their plant section just sucks me in and gives me all sorts of false hope that I can keep those suckers alive! I recently bought a bag of this cactus/succulent potting soil so that I easily repot my succulents. My aloe vera plant from this post needed a bigger container with more soil.

Here are some other posts you might like!

Burlap Flag Centerpiece for 4th of July

Bowling Ball Lawn Orb 

House Number Sign from a Wooden Spool

Personalized Wood Hangers 

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My Latest Thrift Store Finds

Believe it or not, I’ve been shopping – thrift store shopping! And I have some thrift store finds to share with you.

There’s really no difference at all between thrift store shopping and regular store shopping for me.

99% of the time the outcome can usually be categorized as one of the following:

  1. This store was a complete waste of time. I can’t believe I left my house for this.
  2. The store contains all my hopes and dreams and I can’t afford any of it.

That last 1% of the time I find something at the intersection of I can’t live without it and I’m willing to pay for it, but not pay too much.

Here are my latest thrift store finds in all their new-to-me glory.

Thrift Store Find: Glass Citrus Juicer

Not a sexy purchase, but I broke our last citrus juicer that looked exactly like this one and we’ve missed it.

For whatever reason we like this style much better than the handheld juicers.

Glass citrus juicers sell for around $10 new, so the $3 I spent was a good deal and I won’t feel so bad if I drop this one on the floor too!

My Latest Thrift Store Finds citrus juicer

Thrift Store Find: Cocktail Ring and Faux Diamond Bracelet

Excuse the awkward hand photo below. I’m going to cross fashion blogger off my aspirational list because taking a picture of your own hand is not as easy as it might seem.

I paid $2 for this cocktail ring and it has been in my regular ring rotation since purchasing it a couple of months ago.

There are times when I want a little bling on my wrist, but I don’t want to wear the real thing. This faux diamond bracelet fits in that category and it was also $2.

My Latest Thrift Store Finds jewelry

Not too shabby for a total of $4, right?

Thrift Store Find: Copper Bowl 

This copper bowl was $3. Right now I have a plant plopped in it and I love how that looks. Since buying this bowl I’ve seen other stores selling similar ones at the same price, so $3 must be fair. Although, on eBay these bowls sell for $10.

According to Wise Apple Vintage, my bowl which has a Coppercraft Guild sticker, was probably made in the 1970s. Coppercraft Guild was owned by the same company that owned Radio Shack. They wanted to get in on the Tupperware-style of business, so they manufactured copper bowls and other items that were intended to be sold at parties. Unfortunately, they went out of business in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

My Latest Thrift Store Finds copper bowl

Don’t look too closely at that plant. It’s really not doing that well. Perhaps I should to take it out of its original container and plant it properly.

Thrift Store Find: Mini Foosball Game

I bought my son a basketball for $2 and a mini foosball game for $6.

The foosball game is fun to play and since we don’t have space for the full-size thing, this is a good compromise. These mini foosball tables sell new for around $20 at Dick’s or on Amazon, so I’m happy with the savings because I know this is a novelty thing that we will eventually donate back.

My Latest Thrift Store Finds foosball table

Thrift Store Find: Ceramic Bud Vase

I spent a whopping 50 cents on this little bud vase. Clearly, I’m willing to spend the big bucks to decorate my home!

McGee and Co. is selling a similar vase to this one for $12, so I thought 50 cents was a bargain.

In full disclosure, this vase has been holding my toothbrush. I didn’t think my toothbrush would make a very appealing photo, so I plopped a branch in here for you. You’re welcome.

My Latest Thrift Store Finds bud vase

Thrift Store Find: COPPER BAR TRAY

I save the best thrifted find for last! I purchased this copper bar tray for $2.

You know where this story is going, right? Just like the above mentioned bowl, this tray is also a Coppercraft Guild creation. There is one selling on Etsy right now for $44 and they are selling for $30 – $40 on eBay.

Yes, I am very delighted with this score. The tray is not holding bar accessories, but it is holding something near and dear to my heart – my memory rock collection.

my latest thrifted finds copper tray

Again with full disclosure, for the purposes of today’s photos, the tray is by a window in my daughter’s room where the natural light is decent. Normally, I have it placed on my dresser in my bedroom. The natural light in my bedroom room is terrible now that the leaves have grown back on the trees. There’s some irony there because I am so happy the leaves are back!

If my math is correct, I’m up to a whopping total of $20.50 spent on this round of my latest thrift store finds. I’m ridiculously happy with how far I stretched my 20 bucks! If only I had this much luck when buying clothing.

I’m still on the hunt for a few particular thrifted items. At the top of the list is a brass ash bucket because I think it would be a cool vessel to hold my playing card collection. I’m also looking for quirky leather accent chairs and additional outdoor seating.

Are you on the hunt for any particular thrifted finds? If you are, I wish you all the luck in finding them!

Thanks for hanging out with me today. Here are some other posts you might enjoy.

Junky 4th of July Wreath

Happy Thrifting: The Nest at Farmstead Farmers Market

I’m Starting to Like Zucchini Because I Hide It In All the Foods

Our Best Hidden Storage Purchase


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