Garage Sale Goodness

May 24, 2011   //  Posted in: Being Thrifty, Decor   //  By: Emily   //  7 responses

We’ve lucked into some great estate sales lately. I love this time of year. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that we stumbled upon an amazing neighborhood by way of following hand-written garage sale signs, but didn’t really get into the what we found and bought at the house itself. We left after spending $17.10, which is really quite a garage sale splurge for us, but we could have spent 20x that if we had splurged on any of the Danish contemporary chairs, tables, and the green leather 6′ long mid-century bench that would have looked so (so, so, so) good in my house (it was $50, and I’ll forever regret quitting my job and not being able to responsibly splurge on the spot).

It really was a crafter/maker/mid-century moderist’s dream.

The home itself was stunning, with huge glass windows and contemporary design aesthetic, albeit a little outdated. I still woulda moved in and rehabbed it in a heartbeat though; the lot went way back up a fully-wooded hill and the homes were set reasonably far apart from one another. The folks that had sold the property (yielding a need to clear it out estate-sale-style) had lived there since the home was built, meaning that they had the space highly customized and jam packed with goodies which suited their hobbies.

Tsotchkes, blankets and books aside, which I didn’t buy into, they had a huge basement full of tools and raw materials from their jewelry making and metal-smithing workshop. For instance, they had boxes of shells, rocks, and glass, some of which I bought; I don’t even know what I’m going to do with these huge pieces of glass (just some of the pieces we found), but they’ll be wonderful paperweights until I figure out what they’re intended for (any jewelers out there interested?).

Large chunks of glass.

Oh yeah, and FYI, the little green one is the size of my fist. The others are considerably larger, kind of the size if I hold my two hands together like they’re clawing at eachother. Have a nice visual of me doing that?

Pete found lots of random things like paint scrapers, J.B. Weld, sanders, nails and bolts and nuts, and lots of little clamps and a framing square, which are always nice to have, especially now that I started my little frame making biz (surprise!).

Lots of clamps.

I also picked up this basket because I liked the shape and it was in good condition. I don’t really need any more baskets but I think with a little sprucing up (ex. removal of that gold stripe) it will look nice next to the fireplace holding driftwood. Just an idea.

Garage sale basket.Other odds and ends included this antique blue glass jar with an original porcelain-lined lid, and a little mod polka-dotted cup that might soon be a new home to our toothbrushes.

Blue glass! And cute cup.I was also won over by this pretty little trivet, which according to an etching in the underside was made in Israel. Loving the ornate detailing. Also, I found myself a little pack of metal pushpins that are just infinitely covetable, and this little container of odd things stored… tiny pine cones, dried branches, and two of the tiniest starfish I’ve ever seen.

Trivet, push pins, and little starfish.I can’t even decide if these are real dead starfish. They are SO SMALL.

Tiniest starfish.

I also picked up two more carbide glass drill bits (since they’re $10+ each retail). You’ll understand why I want after you see the post I’m planning for tomorrow.

P.S. A second post will be coming this afternoon because HomeRight offered a giveaway for readers of Merrypad! I’m excited!

Suburbia Perfection

May 23, 2011   //  Posted in: Scooter Fun   //  By: Emily   //  7 responses

You know when you think you know all the nuances of your town, know all the streets and roads and secret cut-throughs and best neighborhoods and dead ends? Apparently I’m not there yet.

Let me back up for a second.

Last summer, Pete and I bought matching Honda Ruckuses. Pete wrote about them over on his site earlier this year. They’re much more rugged than the Vespa scooter models you’re used to seeing, more so like mountain bikes than the casual yellow Schwinn that you see on the boardwalk if you want a fancy little bicycling analogy. They’re road-legit, although not suitable for highway travel, but we picked up brand-spankin’-new ’09 models right from a dealer, last 2 on the lot, seriously discounted. So seriously that both of them are already paid off. Debt free transportation is a win these days. So is 107MPG. And while our license plates are one digit different from one another (which is sort of embarrassing like “oooh, so cute, his and hers”), these are the most badass scooters… maybe ever. What I’m getting at is now we spend every warm weekend exploring and scooting to destinations, dead ends, and new neighborhoods (usually in search of random garage sales and hot dog stands). Buying scooters has ultimately increased our awareness of neighborhoods we might not have come across otherwise.

This weekend, we found heaven. Heaven, as in a hidden new-to-us neighborhood.

Following handmade signs to a modest estate sale, we found ourselves completely leaving the expected run-of-the-mill suburban strip of 1940′s homes and heading down a very weathered trail, lined with trees and legitimately kick-ass mid-century estates.

Pete and the hidden road.

We had no idea where we were and stopped to check out the coordinates via our iPhones.

iMap and Zillowing at a dead end.

I was actually Zillowing the heck of out of the neighborhood, astonished at the extreme affordability indicated by the few homes that were on the market. Yes, I just used Zillow as a verb. It’s my lifeline to real estate knowledge… and if you’re curious, the properties were listed between $89,000-$200,000. WHHHHAT, that’s right. Lots on the lower end of that spectrum, too. We were expecting much higher price points given the property and seclusion alone. Although, I will remind you that were literally a half-mile from the totally as-you-would-envision row of beaten down american foursquares. It was remote and silent and made you feel like you were hiding away somewhere in the Adirondacks, not just around the corner from Wegmans, HSBC, and Starbucks.

This one probably would have been selling for considerably more. Swoon.

A stunning, newly renovated, mid-century mod estate.

But this one right across the street from it was handsome and actually something I could have afforded if I were still gainfully employed. I quit that job on Thursday, if you missed the memo. It was actually much closer to the curb and at road-level than most; lots of homes were secluded in the woods and had long driveways that wove up steep hills.

Another updated mid-century home. This one was closer to the curb and less hidden than most. And if I hadn’t quit my job already, this post might be very different, because I probably would have BOUGHT this next house on the spot if I still had that steady source of income and stuff (you know, all the good stuff mortgage lenders need to see). It’s a legit working fruit farm and stable, totally in my price range, and, well, an income property if you consider that the stables are for boarding. Yeah, it’s for sale, and no, I’m not telling you where so that if something happens (like I win the lottery) I can swipe it up. Not joking.

Fruit farm and boarding stables. My dream property.And, if all these pictures and info about how inexpensive Rochester housing can be didn’t sell you yet, the hidden neighborhood is still only 2 miles from this:

Top of the Genesee River leading into Lake Ontario.That’s the mouth of the Genesee River as it opens up into Lake Ontario. Amazing. At the hidden Adirondack-eqsue mid-century bungalow at night, and at the beach all day? Win-win, if you ask me.

P.S. Found some great goodies at the estate sale; the sale itself was a mid-century decorator’s and jeweler’s dream sale. We went back on Sunday when we didn’t have to worry about carrying stuff on our scooters. I’ll give you a sneak peek tomorrow.


New Day, New Career Path, And Some Must-Reads For YOU

May 20, 2011   //  Posted in: Business-y   //  By: Emily   //  19 responses

In the time since I launched this blog, a lot has changed. For the better. For the best, really. I’ll follow up later this afternoon with some new decor I’ve been excited about, but first… Happy Friday: I quit my job!

I’ll be substantiating this post with a couple of images for you. Because there wasn’t enough evening sunlight yesterday to capture me literally jumping for joy and running in happy circles with the doggums. Both have been pinned on my pinterest page, and are also credited accordingly in this post:

Linzie Hunter, "Don't Put Off Your Happy Life"

(Illustration via the amazing Linzie Hunter)

I’ve become inspired, impassioned, and excited about my professional future all over again. After years (4 years, 10 months, and 2 days, because I’m exacting like that) I left my job at a reputable Rochester ad agency to carve out my own path as an independent entrepreneur. Yesterday. This all went down yesterday. I’m nothing but grateful for the experience, it was just my time to leave and try out new things. I had lots of opportunity, met wonderful people including Pete and received almost everything I asked for (from responsibility, to challenge, to a cubicle with a view). And I had a series of amazing bosses who not only gave me the room to grow personally and professionally, but also the means in which to do it. Wow, I can make it sound pretty sunshine and lollipops, right?

But, get this: After 4 years of the day-to-day, I was terribly bored. And bored me is the worst me. I had work to do; I was plenty busy, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t excited by it anymore. At all. Getting through the day made me a really angry person too, and I didn’t like that, nor did I like that I was bringing those bad vibes home with me, and I really (really, really) didn’t like that my Sundays had gone to shit because I was angry about the following day being Monday. Who wants to live like that? Not this girl.

I put in my notice a month ago… and walked out of the office last night with a huge weight off my shoulders (OK, and a new huge weight ON my shoulders); the best part of this whole experience? The support from friends, co-workers, and clients alike. Here goes nothing. Here starts everything.

This blog you’re reading turned into more than just a creative outlet, and more than I intended it to be originally. I had approached it with a pretty open mind. I was inspired by some other bloggers, but mostly looking for a different way to share what I had been up to around the house, meet some new people, and find out what this whole blogging thing was really about; my photo “blog” on tumblr wasn’t enough for me anymore. In the last 6-months, Merrypad has become something that exuded promise and opportunity, a chance and place to really express myself in a strategic business development role. From the ground up. Starting from nothing is fun. And this post is really just my way of sharing my perspective on new business from the very start. I’ll be blogging. I’ll be making and selling art (launching within the next week). I’ll be marketing-consulting. I’ll be representin’. I’ll be happy.

I like to think I’m approaching this whole “Emily, Reinvented” thing with a perspective on marketing, advertising, and business development unlike some others in the niche space; my agency experience and general interest in how businesses and products launch and grow really makes me feel positively about my decision (obviously I wouldn’t have done this if I hadn’t felt confident in my own abilities). I’ll find a way to make it work; stuff’s already happening, and I love… stuff… happening. As I can often be quoted saying, “Everything is Awesome”. Can you believe I found this on Pinterest just yesterday? Add “quilling” to the list of things I need to learn how to do.

Erin Casner, "Everything Is Awesome"

(via Erin Casner’s flickr page – Do yourself good and check out the rest of the set on Quilling when you have a few minutes.)

So, I can’t say it better than any of these folks I’m about to introduce you to (or maybe you’ve already met). I have no intent of this site transitioning into something that’s a small-business consultancy, so I’ll leave you with this hot list of the most influential-to-me articles, websites, case studies, and realists that I would strongly recommend to you too:


P.S. Sincere thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway for SentrySafe! I’m so pleased with the response both via comments on and Twitter. The winners are Patricia H. and @fallonbryce. Stay tuned for another giveaway – it will be announced next Tuesday!