Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Shore Society | New Look

I launched the new SS site last week and wanted to share some of the inspiration that went into the new look and branding. As any designer will tell you, designing for yourself is sort of a torturous process—you're trying to balance your vision with all of the possibilities, and nothing ever seems to be finished. You'll tweak everything over and over until you've lost the message, so knowing when to STOP noodling is key. 


I began the process by collecting some inspirational images that spoke to me through texture, color, pattern and mood, and matched the aesthetic direction that felt right for Shore Society. I wanted the look to be true to the brand's nautical roots, but to avoid appearing clean and preppy – the local Cleveland influence required something a little more textured and timeworn. Something more akin to iron ore ships than sailboats and Sperrys. The overall look developed into a mix of modern and cottage, which stayed true to my own tastes as well as the existing feel of the brand.

Most of the inspiration I drew from had a limited color palette of warm black and bone ivory, with washes of gray-blue, drawn from the sea. Small doses of nude/shell peach gives a dose of femininity to such a neutral palette. 

Developing the logo took the most time, by far. I went through countless ideas and revisions (should be hand lettered? Type? Clean, rough, sweet, or whimsical?) and those were all approaches I considered. In the end, I fell in love with this perfectly hand-done typeface that ticked all the boxes on my list. I expanded the design into my business cards, order insert, stickers, and packaging and hope that all of these elements create a gift-quality experience for my customers. 

The "white" on all of my print pieces is actually a tint of the shale gray in my palette, to provide a warmer, scrimshaw-inspired tone. 
My favorite purchase so far has to be this striped tissue paper for wrapping my shirts—it's so cute and makes me happy when I'm packing orders!

All of my printing was done by StationeryHQ and they did an awesome (and fast) job with each of the pieces. In the future I would also love to see have the business cards letterpressed. Completing the rebrand and website was a major task on this year's to-do list, and I'm so happy to check it off and move on to other things (like planning our wedding...oops). You can continue to follow the blog here, but I am hoping to move it over to shoresociety.com to keep everything in one place. Hang in there if you notice anything is missing or not working – I'm on it!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Recipe File: The Perfect Carrot Cake

Well, another week has begun – I hope you guys had a great Easter! It was so nice to have Friday off, it was a much-needed long weekend and I spent the day tying up loose ends with wedding stuff and working on the new website, which is coming soon! On Easter Sunday we had a little brunch at our house, just the two of us, then visited family for dinner. One of my favorite cakes EVER is carrot cake, so it felt appropriate to bring along for the Easter Bunny feast.

I prefer nuts and raisins in my carrot cake, but I left them out in case those weren't crowd pleasers. The cake was still awesome and didn't feel lacking, so it's just personal preference! I've adapted this from various recipes, and this is what works for me. I hope you try it and enjoy...it's delicious!


THE CAKE:

1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
6 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (you can use all-purpose instead, this is just my variation)
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 lb. finely-grated fresh carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional but YES)
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional but also YES)

THE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp. clear vanilla extract (regular will yield more ivory frosting)
6 cups powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl, combine flour and dry ingredients (spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt) and set aside. 

Mix oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla slowly and continue mixing. Gradually add the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed until combined. 

Fold carrots into batter with a spatula just until combined, then add in nuts and raisins. Be careful not to over work the batter, just fold until combined.

Grease and flour two 9" cake pans, and pour batter evenly between the two. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Place pans on a wire rack and cool completely – this usually takes a couple hours, so now's the time to make your frosting. Before I frost the cake, though, I like to pop it in the fridge to chill down – a cold cake will be much easier to frost.

TO MAKE THE FROSTING:

In your stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract. Slowly add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, adding or subtracting based on desired thickness. You can add milk to thin the frosting, or add more powdered sugar to thicken it up.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:

Carefully run a table knife between the cake and the pan to loosen the cake, then flip the pans upside down to release the cake. Using a sharp serrated bread knife, level off the rounded tops of the cake layers. Place your first layer on the plate or cake stand, followed with a big dollop of frosting in the center. Spread the frosting thickly and evenly across the layer – don't worry about it being perfectly smooth, just try to get it even. Spread from the middle of the layer out to the edges and slightly down the side. 

Add your second layer, centered on top of the first. Repeat the frosting process by starting with a large dollop on the top and work your way down the sides, filling and smoothing with an offset spatula. Check out this helpful video with instructions on how to achieve a smooth finish with your frosting. Carrot cake doesn't demand a lot of embellishment with the icing, so I made a few calligraphy flags to jazz up the cake for the holiday.

You can serve the cake right away or pop it in the fridge to cool down and set, which I like to do with cream cheese frosting. You'll want to store your cake in the fridge when you're not devouring it. And that's it! Pure carrot bliss.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Giveaway: Cleveland Home + Remodeling Expo

By now I'm sure you're all aware that in our household, we don't mind getting our hands a little dirty. Home projects and DIY take up a good bit of our time and we love figuring things out along the way. However, it's always great to have resources in your back pocket (and of course, YouTube tutorials) — which is why we're excited to check out the Cleveland Home + Remodeling Expo next weekend. I'm offering a special discount to Shore Society readers as well as a giveaway for two tickets to attend the event. With spring approaching, it's the perfect time to get inspired and learn a trick or two for any upcoming projects!

The show runs from Friday, March 27th through Sunday, March 29th. There are going to be plenty of demos and speakers to suit any project—whether you're designing in a small studio space or planning the perfect outdoor patio for summer drinking. Our kitchen remodel is on the long term to-do list, so we'll be checking out ideas and finishings for when that time comes! 

To enter, leave a comment below telling me what your DIY dreams are made of — what would you love to do to your home? Or what cute decor are you looking to make yourself? The giveaway starts today and will end on Friday, March 20th. A random winner will be chosen from the comments below and the winner will be notified via email. 

If you're anxious to get your tickets, you can use the code SHOREHR at checkout to save $1 on admission. Good luck, and hope to see you there!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Links + Sephora Giveaway Winner

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you're all staying warm in these arctic temperatures. It's bitter cold outside so we definitely don't have any major plans this weekend (although Cleveland Restaurant Week starts today, so I might be tempted into attending)!

Most importantly, I'd like to announce the results from the Sephora gift card giveaway—the winner is Kayla Kelsey (@kaylaincle)! You'll be receiving an email from me shortly with the details of your prize. And it appears she's also a bride-to-be, so double congrats to you, Kayla!

Thank you all for entering and commenting about your skincare routines—I am such a product junkie and loved all of your recommendations. I've had a few questions about daily-use products, so I plan to do a follow-up post on that as well. In the meantime, I rounded up some tasty detox water recipes for anyone who's looking to spice up their water game. Enjoy!

1 | Raspberry Lemon water (Eat Drink Love)
2 | Lime Raspberry Mint water (Sammy and Bella) - I'd love to try this with basil!
3 | Cucumber Lemon Mint water (Sweet and Savory)
4 | Pineapple Sugarcane Spa water (A Spicy Perspective
5 | Cranberry Juice Detox drinks (Bembu)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Wedding Prep Skincare + Sephora Giveaway

 photo Wedding_Skincare_Philosophy_MicroPeel_zpsnx4eyjgq.jpg With our wedding slowly creeping up on us, I've been paying extra attention to keeping my skin healthy and happy. Besides my usual everyday products, I've been adding in some spa-worthy home treatments to up my game (and save me money on facials)! I definitely want to put my best face forward on our wedding day, so having a long-term, consistent routine will help me keep things balanced. I also try to get off on the right foot by drinking plenty of water—but hey, if all else fails, that's what makeup artists are for!

The products I use vary with the seasons (my winter skin and summer skin are nothing alike) but these are some of my consistent favorites for both face and body. Check 'em out below and be sure to enter my giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win a $25 Sephora gift card!
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Left to right:

Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel | This is a quick, two-step treatment that exfoliates and resurfaces, but isn't too harsh. My face feels baby soft when I'm done using it. I especially love it in the winter when my skin is dry, flaky, and dull. Plus, the Vitamin C in it smells deliciously orangey and fresh! It's a bit pricey but a little goes a long way – when used twice a month, one set lasts me almost a year.

Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub | Exfoliating your body is just as important as treating your face—this is especially true if you use self-tanner or plan on getting a spray tan for your wedding. This scrub makes my skin silky smooth and gets bonus points for smelling like a beach vacation (although it comes in many other scents if that's not your thing). Another winter staple, but also perfect for the spring and summer when you actually start showing some skin. I reach for this at least once a week and follow with...

Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter | I bought this for the first time when I was drunk and watching QVC (don't ask...I blame Shark Tank) and I am so, so in love with it. I use Argan Oil on my hair so I was curious to try this body butter version, and it's wonderful. It's super creamy, yet light and fluffy, and moisturizes for hours without being gross or heavy. It's a luxurious upgrade to your daily body lotion.

Kiehl's Creamy Avocado Eye Treatment | Finding the right eye cream can be difficult, especially when the anti-aging results aren't instantly visible. I've cycled through a few and my favorite by far has been this one. It absorbs well and fight dryness. I've also found my eyes are less puffy when I wake up, which is sort of a miracle considering all of the bizarre wedding nightmares that interrupt my sleep.

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask | Last but not least, my personal favorite—this is the mother of all facials. This stuff will purge your pores and smooth fine lines, all while making your face pulse (for real). It comes as a dry clay, which you can either mix with water or organic Apple Cider Vinegar, which is my preferred method. When mixed with the vinegar, the clay fizzes and bubbles and makes the mask easier to apply, when I've found water doesn't quite mix up as smoothly. Plus, you get the added cleansing benefits of the Apple Cider Vinegar to really make this a powerhouse treatment. I spread it on and let it sit until it's dry (about 15-20 minutes, or until you literally can't move your face). I love that it's cheap ($9!), lasts forever (I've had the same tub for over a year) and makes your pores disappear. My skin looks fresh and awake and it's super addicting—it's definitely a little intense so I try not to overdo it, once every other week seems to work for me.

To spread the love to all you brides and lovely ladies out there, I'm hosting a giveaway for a $25 Sephora gift card—the contest begins today and ends at midnight on Thursday 2/19. One winner will be announced here and notified by email on Friday, 2/20. You can enter through the widget below by completing any/all of the three options.

Good luck in the giveaway, drink your water, and don't forget to treat yo self!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Zero disclosure here, this contest is not sponsored, all opinions are my own.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Home Series: Before & After | Attic Home Office

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Our third floor space was always on our to-do list, and when Jim's new job required a home office, we knew the attic was the place to set it up. The problem was, it looked like THIS:
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Yeah. Not great. When we moved in, we used the attic as a dumping ground for our junk and hadn't gone through it since. Not to mention the green carpet and unpainted wood trim – not exactly the type of space you'd want to spend 8 hours a day in.

We also knew our junk wasn't going anywhere, and that we'd still need long-term storage for things like Christmas decorations and childhood items. Jim and his dad drew up a plan to include a closet, built-in cabinets, and shelving that would store our things out of sight and keep the space tidy. Painting the ceiling, walls, and raw wood trim would transform the space, and the green carpet had to GO. The floors underneath were nothing special so re-carpeting was the best option, and also would make for a cozier room. We opted for hardwood floors throughout our entire house, so we liked the idea of having something different upstairs.

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The guys started by ripping the existing closet out – then they built a new structure, which would feature four doors instead of the tiny single door we had before.
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After the closet framing was built, we ripped up the carpet and installed the cabinets. The walls on the left and right of the photo were cut away, so the cabinet units could be built in – which helped us maximize the room's square footage.

Once the structures were in, we spent WEEKS painting. Seriously. Weeks. Every cabinet door had to primed, painted, flipped...repeat. The trim had to be primed and painted (all the way down the stairs, all around the windows, all of the shelves) as well as the walls and ceiling. There was so much surface area to cover...we were having flashbacks to our first few weeks in the house!

When we finally finished, we organized all of our storage items and purchased the furnishings for Jim's office setup. It was important for the room to continue our house's modern cottage style, but to also feel a little masculine.  photo Attic_Makeover6_zpsli0lgmpn.jpg
To achieve that look, we chose Serious Gray by Sherwin Williams for the walls, and accented everything in Pure White semi-gloss. The custom shelving around the windows gives added storage to a previously useless wall – we went with contrasting metal brackets to enhance the cottage feel.
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The shelves are a perfect place for storing books and nicknacks...and a mini bar (because it's a long walk down to the kitchen, duh). We bought a few air plants to add life – they're low maintenance and enjoy all of the natural light this room gets. The plants and cute containers are from Bird and Feather Co. on Etsy.
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I LOVE that the cabinet layout allowed for a window seat, they're so charming and we knew Cooper would enjoy sitting here and looking outside. We ordered it custom through Cushion Source—it fits perfectly and came in about four weeks.
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The new closet features double doors for easy access, and there's a clothing bar and shelves for off-season clothes and shoes. The Eames lounger was a Craigslist score – Jim gets all the credit for tracking it down!
 photo Attic_Makeover2_zpstw68uh3p.jpgWe only had one TV in our living room, so adding another one up here keeps us from fighting over the remote. We chose an internet TV with apps to avoid the messy cables, and truthfully we watch most of our shows on Netflix and Hulu anyway. Jim custom built this TV cabinet with a perfectly measured shelf for a sound bar (because why not). We picked up the floor cushion at World Market to cozy up the floor space (and for Cooper to lay on, let's be serious).  photo Attic_Makeover4_zpspxk9zepb.jpgA nook for reading or watching TV. photo Attic_Makeover5_zpspqggqjgy.jpg
We added a console table in the corner to hold a lamp for more light, and it doubles as storage for my record collection. The table and lamp are both from Target.
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Overall we're SO thrilled with this complete makeover – it turned out to be more work than we anticipated, but it was worth the long process. It's done and we love it. It adds a fully-functional room to our house, where an empty, useless room existed before. All of junk is still there, you just can't see it! We've already enjoyed spending time up here, and know we'll get a lot of use out of the room. Additionally, it will add great resale value to our home. It feels great to be done! I hope you guys enjoyed our little attic tour, and please feel free to message me or comment with any questions about our process!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy 2015!


Happy New Year, guys! Hope you all had fun celebrating last night. Jim and I headed to Fahrenheit in Tremont for their four-course dinner and it was delicious – no surprise there! As I've said before, I never really set resolutions for myself, but I do strive to be consistent throughout the year with eating smart and exercising regularly – especially with our wedding coming up this year. My main goal is to slow down and enjoy the ride, and keep my head on straight! I also have quite a few aspirations for Shore Society as a shop and blog, and am very excited to keep the momentum of 2014 going.

How did you ring in the new year, and are you setting any goals for yourself?


Monday, December 15, 2014

DIY Kate Spade Inspired Glitter Studs

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There are few things that feel worse than shopping regret – running out of beer is a close second – but I experienced this on a facepalm-worthy level last week. I'd had my eye on these cute little Kate Spade glitter earrings but was resisting the urge to buy, since it's Christmastime and I guess I should shop for other people? Is that how it works?

Until one day when I was shopping for other people, and saw them again, during a 20% off sale. I added them to my cart, deciding they would stalk me forever if I didn't. I stepped away for a few minutes, came back to click "submit" and I get the dreaded error message: "THIS ITEM IS UNAVAILABLE." I'm sorry...WHAT.

I refreshed, I tried re-adding, searching every other site that carried them...Sold. Out. Everywhere. If I had any idea that these were possibly the LAST ONES OUT THERE I wouldn't have thought twice. Ugh. So mad.

But why get mad, when you can get even...I set out to try to replicate them myself. The results were great and the best part is, you can really make them look however you want them to. Although if you're feeling lazy, you can find the original earrings on ebay, selling for upwards of $114 (no joke).

 photo KateSpadeglitterearringsDIY4_zpsdf5180f5.jpg

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

Gemstone stud earrings
Glitter nail polish – any color or a combination of a few (the colors I used are pictured above: OPI for Sephora "Only Gold for Me," Deborah Lippmann "99 Luftballoons" and Wet 'n' Wild "Party of Five Glitters")
Needlenose pliers
A hairdryer

 photo KateSpadeglitterearringsDIY5_zps64dc202c.jpg

DIRECTIONS:

1) Start by removing the stones from the earring setting – use the needlenose pliers to gently bend the prongs back to loosen the stone. I only bent two prongs instead of all four, and it was enough to get the stone out. I had these earrings already, but you can find similar ones at Target, or even use a pair of Kate Spade ones to get the most accurate look.

2) Holding one stone with your pliers, apply a thin layer of glitter topcoat to the earrings. Try to cover the edges as well – that's one advantage of removing the stone from the setting. Let each layer dry before adding another one (this is where the hairdryer comes in handy). Layer the polish on however you like – I used three types of glitter to get the multi-colored look I wanted. The original earrings had a lot of gold, pink, blue, and red-orange.

3) Let the polish dry thoroughly before replacing them into the setting – I let mine dry overnight just to be safe. Snap the stones into place and bend the prongs back over them. Using nail polish instead of loose glitter keeps the glitter from flaking and shedding all over the place, but that's another option to try if you want a different look.

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Now I don't feel so bummed, and have some fun studs to wear for the holiday season. Crisis averted!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Our Wedding: Bridesmaids Boxes

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I'd be lying if I said the early stages of our wedding planning weren't stressful, but we've been in a phase of smooth sailing for the last few months. Beyond choosing a venue, everything else has been pretty easy. A few of our vendors have been booked, a bought a dress in one day (I might be crazy...or smart? Still TBD) so we've been able to move forward into the details of the day.

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Next on the to-do list was to gather my crew of bridesmaids and ask them to be with me through the next year, and stand with me on our big day. A mix of family and best friends, I wanted to ask them in a special way that set the tone for the rest of our celebration. Desserts and sweets are a serious obsession of mine (and will play a starring role in our wedding) so I enlisted local favorite Coquette Patisserie to create a few dozen French macarons in our wedding palette. The flavors that matched the colors were salted caramel and rose raspberry—it was a miracle that I didn't eat them myself.

Each bridesmaid received a box containing the macarons and a card popping the question, all wrapped up and personalized. I was a little nervous shipping such fragile cookies across the country (word to the wise ladies...think your shit through) but they made it safe and sound.

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They all said YES (hopefully not because I manipulated them with delicious cookies) and I'm happy to have them all on board! Dress decisions are next..!

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Big thanks to Coquette for creating the perfect macarons on time, and for their awesome packaging!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fall Polish Roundup

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I've been trying to resist the fact that it's fall, but now that it's really here, I can look on the bright side – dark manicures are in full force. My go-to shades for fall are nudes, grays, and burgundy, which are classically seasonal and go with everything from day to night.

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I'm currently wearing OPI Scores a Goal, which is a nice dark raisin color, and for a more dramatic twist I switch to Essie's Wicked — an almost-black burgundy hue. OPI's Taupe-less Beach is the perfect gray-nude, and on the flip side, NARS Storm Bird is a cool, cloudy gray with a beautifully creamy finish. I usually reach for opaque polish, but I do have a few favorite shimmery shades for fall: Essie's Penny Talk and Butter's Chimney Sweep. I'm a big fan of Butter's formula, and have noticed it tends to chip less than other polishes. Sometimes the pricier options are worth it.

So are you embracing fall yet? And pumpkin everything?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Illustrated Wedding Invitation for Meghan + Nate

One of my favorite couples ever – Meghan and Nate – are getting married (so soon!) and I was thrilled to complete their stationery suite with these custom invitations, which complemented the Save the Dates I designed a few months ago.

They are getting married in a tree-filled NYC park, and wanted their invitation to combine the elements of a cityscape with the nature of the park. We decided on a palette that reflects the early fall feeling of September – neutral beige, mustard, and berry tones pair perfectly with the kraft RSVP envelope and info tag.

The star of the show is the invite, so we kept the rest of the pieces simple and sophisticated, with just the right dose of lightheartedness (a Mad Libs RSVP card is very fitting for these two)! The bride, being ever-so-crafty herself, chose the cutest combinations of stamps for each envelope. After months of hard work and collaboration with them, I was super excited to get my invite in the mail.

Counting down the days till this awesome NYC wedding!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ship's Wheel Mirror Makeover

When it comes to antiques, I'm usually cautious about altering their appearance in fear of destroying their value (file this under: everything I know I learned from Pawn Stars). We were faced with a lot of these decisions when we moved into our house – we had to decide what needed to be kept and what was okay to touch. For example, our living room is full of original cherry wood trim...and even though it wasn't my thing at first, it's an element that adds real value to our home, and we'd be crazy to paint it. Now I'm happy it's there – the wood is beautiful, and makes our living room feel like a modern cabin.

On the flip side, just because something is an antique doesn't make it valuable (though it could be emotionally valuable) and a little coat of paint isn't going to hurt anyone, if it makes you happy. 

Jim and I decided to check out the Lakewood city-wide garage sale a few weekends ago and after heading down a ton of driveways, we found this antique mirror with a $5 sticker on it. I'm sorry – what? $5. This is why I love garage sales.

The bones of it were there, but we knew the paint job and the metal stars wouldn't really fit our decor. Thankfully the mirror was made of wood and not metal, so we knew we could give it a quick makeover and find a great home for it on our walls.

I actually can't take any credit for this makeover, because Jim did it all himself, but hey...I art directed?

He removed the metal stars, which were just pinned into the frame with small nails, and then stripped off the paint with Strypeeze. This causes the paint to bubble and peel like tar, so be sure to wear gloves when trying this at home. He used a shim to scrape the paint off once it became loose. Once the paint was removed, he used wood filler to fill the cracks where some of the pieces were separating, and gave the piece a final sanding.

We actually liked the distressed look that the stripping/sanding process gave, so we left the mirror as is. I debated about white-washing it, or putting the stars back on, but decided against it. You can always add, but you can't always take away.

It turned out to be the perfect piece we were missing in our second floor stairway. I love it more than I expected – for $5 I figured it was a risk-free project, so it was great that it came out so nicely. I can't really say no to something nautical for a few bucks, anyway. 

Do you shop garage sales? Are they worth it for you, or too hit-or-miss?