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Last month, I had my very first Las Vegas experience — and, I think I did pretty good for a first-timer. I gambled a little (came home $75 richer), saw Celine Dion at Caesars Palace and I visited The Neon Museum. The slot machines and Ms. Dion had been on the agenda, but The Neon Museum was something my buddy and I decided to take in on a whim. And truthfully, it was one of the trip’s highlights (right up there with Celine!).

Neon Museum

Photo From The Neon Museum

If you’re a history buff, this place is for you. The Neon Museum is home to Las Vegas’ old neon signs that once kept the city famously lit. Pieces in their collection include signage from the Moulin Rouge Hotel, the Stardust and Desert Inn. You can go on a guided tour through their “boneyard” and hear tales of the city’s fascinating past.

Neon Museum

Photo From The Neon Museum

Apparently, many newlyweds go to the museum’s boneyard and have offbeat wedding pictures made there. Whatever your relationship status, I highly recommend you visit this place on your next Vegas adventure — you won’t regret it.

More Neon Talk From Design Happens:
June 2012′s Color of the Month
DIY Crafts: Neon Animal Garland
Neon Decor Scores

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:Sigh: Charleston — my dream city! I must have lived there in some previous (and terribly glamorous) former life because I feel absolutely at home whenever I visit. The nice folks at the Historic Charleston Foundation invited me down to check out their 10th annual antiques show and peek inside a few of the city’s (amazing!) historic homes and gardens and I couldn’t get my car packed up quickly enough.

One of the nation’s premiere antique events, only select dealers are invited to show each spring in Charleston; independent auditors screen each item before it’s offered for sale to guarantee authenticity and provenance — so, none of my bargain-basement finds here. I’ll share more antiques plus some pics from my home and garden tours later but here are a few of the pieces that caught my eye:

Named for Sweden’s King Gustav III, Gustavian furniture features Neoclassical (Greco/Roman) details and a decidedly French flair — Gustav was a frequent visitor to the French palace of Versailles and modeled his court’s style after the pieces he saw there. Unlike French furniture of the period which was often gilded or shellacked, the Swedish craftsmen continued to paint their pieces in matte, pastel shades — creating the signature look that’s so desirable today. Below:  “Mora” tall case clock, circa 1800 — $8,600 and 1 of a set of 6 hand-carved chairs, signed Sven Anderson — $12,000. All available from Dawn Hill Antiques  Antique Swedish furniture at Charleston Antiques Show

I spied this Queen Anne chest-on-stand from a distance and had to get closer for a better look. It’s gorgeous, don’t you think? The wood is in amazing condition — especially considering this English piece (circa 1710) is over 300 years old. That’s right, this dresser is older than our country. Check out the fanciful arched detail on the skirt — beautiful! — $18,000. Available from Jayne Thompson Antiques Antique wood furniture at Charleston Antiques Show

Although most of the items at the Charleston Antiques Show were centuries old and European, there were a few early 20th century American gems like this charming carved bulldog head that opens up to reveal a brass-lined humidor so a Victorian gentleman could stash his cigars within easy reach — $1,900. A Bird in Hand Antiques Antique tobacco storage at Charleston Antiques Show

 *Check back next Wednesday for more of my trip to Charleston.

Adventures in Antiquing: (Easy!) Beachy Candle Makeover
Adventures in Antiquing: Repurposed Wooden Tray
Adventures in Antiquing: Crushing On Carrara Marble
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Toolbox Turned Magazine Caddy
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Clock Repurposed as a Frame
Adventures in Antiquing: Classical Busts
Adventures in Antiquing: Vintage Avon Bottle
Adventures in Antiquing: Salvaged Molding As Holiday Decor

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My love affair with stately, opulent marble began in college and my first trip to Italy. Semesters spent in art history class poring over photos of classical sculpture and architecture didn’t prepare me for experiencing it firsthand. By the end of Day One, I was hooked and my quest for Carrara marble began.

The first bit of marble awesomeness I bought was a small bedroom lamp. I’ve since graduated to these big beauties (below). You can find them on ebay, 1stdibs and V&M but be prepared to shell out the big bucks. The lamps themselves are pricey but shipping is the real budget-buster. Plus, because these date mainly to the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s (Art Deco and Hollywood Regency periods), the wiring will need to be replaced meaning more $$.

To score a marble lamp within budget, hit local antique or thrift stores and, of course, estate and garage sales. Before purchasing, carefully check the stone for chips, cracks and discoloration. A good cleaning with mild dish soap and a toothbrush will do wonders, but marble is porous so if the lamp has spent decades exposed to cigarette smoke, regaining its original creamy color will require professional help.

Oh, in case you’re wondering: I paid $35 for the lamp below at an antique store which my dad and I then rewired for around $12, $15 for the drum shade and $18 (a total splurge) for the crystal finial.marble table lamp with lenten roses

How amazing is this bowl?! I found it full of stagnant water and rotted plants at an estate sale. It was so grimy that both I and the seller initially thought it was concrete. After wiping off a layer of black slime (eww!) I could tell it was marble and knew I had to have it. The price: just $10 — a real steal. Of course, I tweaked my back man-handling it back to the car…but….it was totally worth it.  carrara marble planter with orchids

Here you can see the planter’s detail. The marble isn’t polished but the lion’s heads and banded detail are well carved. carrara marble planter with orchids


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As you guys know, I love a good estate sale. One of my favorite places to search for treasures is the garage — but I’m not looking for tools. I’m on a quest to find broken bits with potential — like drawers, keys or old knobs that have been separated from their original piece of furniture or vintage harps, finials or other electrical hardware — essentially anything with character that I think I can repurpose.   

A few months ago, I discovered a 4-foot board with a carved detail along the top and beautiful raised acanthus leaves at either end. The seller found it in a barn and had no idea how old it was or whether it once framed an elaborate doorway or was part of a long piece of furniture, like a buffet.  The white paint was crazed and chipping – just how I like it. The seller seemed shocked that I even wanted a beat-up old board so he priced it low – 2 whole dollars. Originally, my plan was to strip all the paint and stain it but once I had removed the chipped paint and sanded it smooth, I decided to leave it as-is.

Topped with glittered pinecones, blue Spruce and holly boughs, my found molding makes a beautiful, rustic swag above the entry to my kitchen:

Here you can see the acanthus leaf detail on the ends — pretty, right?! Totally worth a dusty, dirty scavenger hunt in the wood pile.


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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of finding new uses for old things. I’m the person you see huddled in a corner at an estate sale turning an object this way and that, brow furrowed, envisioning what it could be used for. Take this old wooden toolbox. It was filthy – as all great estate sale finds are — filled with rusty, old screws and nails and only partially painted yellow. A thick layer of dust covered both the box and its contents so it definitely had some age and looked to be sturdily hand-constructed.

I knew it would make a great magazine rack and I knew I had to have it:chipped yellow paint on old toolbox repurposed as a magazine holder

Other uses I considered: Filling the 3 compartments with potted herbs in my kitchen; using it to hold rolled towels in a bathroom; or as a caddy for organizing craft or gift wrap supplies.

The $8 price tag seemed fair for its condition — dust, rusty nails and all. Once home, I dumped out the metal bits then gave it a good once-over with the vacuum. I then sanded all the surfaces to remove loose bits of peeling yellow paint and smooth the rough areas. Then, I stained it with an oil-based wood stain (Minwax Early American). BTW, I only use oil-based stains. I know some people swear by water-based because there are less fumes and the dry time is much quicker, but I’ve found that wood better accepts oil-based stains resulting in a richer, deeper color and less streaking.

Upon closer inspection, the toolbox is a mishmash of materials: the end pieces are pine, the sides are beadboard and the handle  –  I think — once belonged on a broom. You can see in the photo below how the mismatched woods took the stain differently, which for me,  just adds to its vintage charm:  old toolbox repurposed as a magazine holder

 So, tell us in the comments below, how have you repurposed items in your home?

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The team recently visited High Point Furniture Market to rub elbows with the design world’s movers-and-shakers and take the pulse of what’s to come. After several days of (blissful!) interior design saturation, I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that antiques are HOT! Think mid-day-sun-baking-asphalt-in-the-middle-of-the-Mojave-desert hot. To capitalize on the trend, most showrooms had a curated, collected-over-time look that mixed their newly-manufactured products with a few vintage-inspired pieces.

Traditional furniture and accessories have always been a Market mainstay. Reproductions of everything from heavily ornamented Louis XVI settees to pale Gustavian commodes have never really gone out of style; but at this Market they were joined by the real deal: centuries-old case goods, lighting, classical sculpture, architectural salvage and quirky, one-of-a-kind accessories.

Here are just a few of the goodies I spied at Market; unfortunately, most of these gems are available only to the trade so I couldn’t include links — hit local antique shops or online sites like V&M, 1stdibs or Ruby Lane to search for similar items.

Antiques at High Point Furniture Market*burled wood chest: Luisana Designs  *early American ship’s compass: Design Legacy
*iron basket pendants: Bobo Intriguing Objects  *carnival chick: Design Legacy


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Actresses Busy Philipps and Courteney Cox have announced that they are teaming up with The Art of Elysium and One Kings Lane to co-curate a vintage and market finds sale on the One Kings Lane website. The sale will feature vintage items that they are donating from their homes, as well as an assortment of one-of-a-kind pieces hand-selected by the interior design enthusiasts. The 72-hour celebrity curated sale launches this evening at 9pm/8c at and proceeds will be donated to The Art of Elysium.

Design Happens interviewed Busy Philipps and asked her about design, child-proofing and her One Kings Lane sale. Check out our chat below.

Busy Philipps

Actress Busy Philipps

DH: How would you describe your house? What’s your design style?

BP: It’s very eclectic. I personally don’t love when you walk into a home and you feel like it’s a page ripped out of a catalog. Some people feel very comfortable in those environments; that’s not how I choose to live. Our house is more like a collection of pieces and things. I have a sofa from Room and Board in my living room and we also have an antique wall unit with a desk. Years ago I bought Elizabeth Taylor’s dining room chairs from her Palm Springs Estate. There are things from Modern One gallery here in Los Angeles. We have really nice beautiful antiques mixed with newer pieces and we’re not married to one particular era or style. My favorite houses I’ve been in have been able to blend different styles seamlessly and that’s what we’ve tried to do in our home. And I think we’ve been pretty successful at it. What’s crazy about our house is that we are never finished. We are just those people who are continually like, ‘maybe we need a new couch for the TV room, we probably need to order a new bed, let’s re-wallpaper our bedroom.’ It never ends. We are never going to be done with our house. And I love it. I love doing it. It’s a never-ending project and I love it  – much like our marriage, much like raising a child.

DH: You have a 4-year-old daughter. Did having a child change everything in your house, design wise?

BP: You have to be careful, especially when you have antiques and really nice things. You just teach them very, very early on – one finger, it will break really fast, you don’t climb on this furniture. You can climb on the sofa but you don’t jump on the sofa. And then she has her spaces – her bedroom, our bedroom, her playroom and our TV room that are her areas where she can go nuts.

We had a little bit of a situation. We have this really cool wallpaper – and you know wallpaper ain’t cheap – in our playroom, and she stuck all of these Tinkerbell stickers on it when she was two. Then she tried to take them off and ripped a big chunk of the wallpaper down. She didn’t get in trouble, I wasn’t watching her, you know what I mean, and she’s a little kid. I just had to suck it up and at some point I’ll have to pay to get it fixed, but it is what it is and things are just things.

She’s four now and she’s like “remember when I did that Mama?”
More With Busy Philipps

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If you’ve been checking out the other photos of my house (here, here and here), then you’ve noticed that my style is pretty traditional. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it suits me to, well, a T.

For years, as I hit estate sales, flea markets and thrift stores looking for traditional items to fill my first home, a classical bust was at the top of my wishlist, but their high price tags meant I always went home bust-less. So I was thrilled to find this one at an estate sale for the bargain-basement price of….wait for it….50 cents! Yep, that’s right, it was tagged $1 and, as this was the sale’s last day, they had marked everything half price. Best of all, she represents my favorite Greco/Roman deity: Artemis (aka Diana), mythology’s original wild woman — goddess of the hunt, chastity, childbirth, the moon and protector of women.

My bust is plaster and therefore very fragile, hence the long (character-adding) crack across her cheek:  antique bust of goddess diana

A plaster bust is the least expensive option. My friend and fellow traditionalist, Grant, one-upped me last weekend and scored this lovely pair of bisque (or unglazed) porcelain busts at an estate sale for only $20: Grant Dudley's busts


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As I’ve mentioned before: I love antiques but, in particular, my heart skips a beat when I see European antiques — French finds in particular. Years ago, I discovered a gilt Rococo-inspired wall clock at a flea market.  The clock face looked to be from the ’60s but the surrounding frame was hand-carved wood with applied gold leaf and appeared to be much older. At the time, I lived in Los Angeles and really had no use for it so it languished, forgotten, in my parents’ North Carolina basement for a decade until I rediscovered it. And, let me tell you, it was a very happy reunion indeed. I had recently purchased a round needlepoint of violets at an estate sale without a frame. Once I popped out the ’60s clock, I thought the Rococo frame and sweet, little needlepoint would make a happy pair.

And so they did: needlework in an old clock frame


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When searching for my current home (my first!), I had a pretty long list of must-haves: a fireplace, crown molding, hardwood floors, a fenced-in yard for my pups and an en-suite bath for myself. I also wanted a foyer — a separate antechamber with enough room for an entry table and a few decorations plus a closet for hidden storage. Well, as is true of many first-time homebuyers, I got most of the things on my list but something had to give. You guessed it: I didn’t get a foyer; the front door opens directly into my living room. Oh well, you can’t win ‘em all.

Luckily my living room is pretty big (15′ x 21′) so I just designated a 6′ x 10′ area to use as a foyer:

traditional home entryway with collection of framed photos

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One rule I follow when thrifting is to see a find for what it can be not what it is. Take this antique drawer I found at an estate sale. It was at the bottom of a scrap wood pile in a stuffed-to-the-gills garage. The home’s previous owner had been a never-throw-away-anything-you-may-someday-need type and had seen the potential usefulness of a small drawer that had long since been separated from it’s original piece of furniture.

What sold me is its runner-less construction. Runners are the wood or metal glides that help a drawer to smoothly slide in and out; without them a drawer is just a shallow box. I was on the lookout for a small tray that could do double duty serving food and drinks at parties and was big enough to neatly store magazines on my coffee table the rest of the time – I thought I could make this drawer work. The bottom was flimsy due to water damage so I added a plywood board to strengthen it then tacked on quarter-round trim to disguise my fix and handles on each end so it could really function as a tray. 

Antique drawer repurposed as a tray

This project was a bargain costing me less than 10 bucks -- $3 for the drawer + another $6 for the handles which are actually gate pulls rather than drawer pulls. The quarter-round trim and stain I already had on hand.


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I love antiques. My home is filled with them. I’ll admit that’s partly out of bargain-hunting necessity but mainly because, in many ways, I feel that antiques are better — better construction, better lines, better attention to detail — just better. They have a character, charm and history that new and mass-produced can’t match.  

Take this winsome little vase. I discovered her at a rural flea market this spring covered in decades of grime. The milk glass color and classic Greco/Roman shape drew me in while the $1 price tag sealed the deal. Honestly, I didn’t recognize it as an Avon bottle until I’d cleaned her up enough to make out the label.

Avon perfume bottle filled with gardenias

My vintage Avon "Grecian Pitcher" originally held bath oil when sold in the '70s, now it's my go-to vase for short-stemmed flowers like gardenias.


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Let’s do a little furniture math, shall we? (Relax, there won’t be a test.) Marimekko + the lines of this Dering Hall find ÷ time = ??? Give up? The answer is this quirky vintage settee from Coco House & Company I peeped on 1stdibs.

vintage settee

Its almost regal, throne-like shape made me recall the Muirfield bench, and who can resist such a playful fabric pattern? Plus, it has a vintage pedigree, which makes it doubly cool. I have to say, I think this settee is greater than the sum of its parts.

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Have I already explained what “NMS” means on here yet? (Apologies if I have. I’m sick at the moment, so I’m all NyQuilled out. Humor me!) Anyway, many of the ladies around here use the acronym NMS — which stands for “not my style” — when talking about things that aren’t exactly our personal cuppa. But it’s frequently in an affectionate way, as in, “Hey, that’s usually NMS, but this is cute!” And that’s my reaction to the weather vanes over the couch in this Connecticut home designed by William Diamond and Anthony Baratta.

weather vanes over couch

I gravitate to Art Deco, Hollywood regency, or mid-century modern, but every now and again, some nice all-American country decor hits me, and reminds me a bit of the Bucks County home I grew up in. (Not that it was this opulent, but it had a similar pastoral vibe.) I never would have thought to bring weather vanes indoors and use a collection of them in place of paintings or photos, but this arrangement is charming. It’s NMS, darling, but I’m loving it.

[Via: Pinterest, Kelly + Olive]

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It’s snowing in New York right now, finally. We haven’t really gotten snow since Halloween and it was kinda bumming me out. (I know, I’m one of those weirdos who actually enjoys snow even as a grownup of driveway-shoveling age, even on weekends, when it doesn’t mean a day off from work.) Watching the crystalline flakes drift down, I’m reminded of this gorgeous frosted chandelier from

frosted chandelier

The way the Lucite prisms hang straight down reminds me of icicles. And the frosted white fading away into a robin’s egg blue feels wintery as well. Plus, it’s very art deco — always a win in my book. I imagine the light dancing from these prisms would look like sunlight bouncing off of a bank of snow.

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Texas and I are lovers. The first time i went there was a few months ago to shoot my HGTV’d episode in Austin. I spent a week there and fell in mad, hot, Texan love for that city, the people and that crazy yet unpretentious culture.

<img title="I

I <3 Texas

I went two stepping at Gruen Hall (one of the oldest live-music, dance halls in the country) the very first night, and that was kinda the end of it….or the beginning of it. It was nothing short of magical.

So when HGTV emailed and asked if i would want to go to the Round Top antique show in Texas I remember thinking, ‘UH….. Does a librarian like books? Do cops like doughnuts???….DOES KIM KARDASHIAN LIKE MASCARA?????? YEAH!! YES!! YES!!! YES!!! I WANT TO GO TO TEXAS TO GO ANTIQUING!!!!

You betcha, I do.

Emily Henderson at Round Top Antiques Fair

Hi, HGTV friends!

And it was awesome. HGTV set up a booth for shoppers just to drink water, relax, hang out and for two hours meet with yours truly. Round Top has SEVENTEEN miles of antiques. I mean, are you kidding me? It’s the Super Bowl of antique shows, the Olympics of flea markets, the Academy Awards of thrift. You could spend a week here and not see everything. So having a booth in the shade where people could relax and drink free cold water was actually super appreciated by a lot of shoppers.

So the thing about being a designer on TV is that its not the ‘being on tv’ that is fun. It’s not like i sit watching Secrets From a Stylist and elbow my friends and say over and over, ‘hey thats me, isn’t this fun to just watch me?’. Designing is always fun, running a crew is totally fun, having HGTV pay for me to redo rooms and make people really happy is a total blast, but the fun really comes when people come up to you, write to you, stop you in the street and say, ‘I love your show so much because you help me make my home prettier’, and then they go off on why and how.

Secrets From a Stylist: Gunnin’ for Style

Its unprovoked and completely genuine. And that’s why its fun to have a tv show, because its not just you and one client at a time any more. Whenever i feel kinda worried about the future of SFAS i just read some comments on the blog and wham, i feel so good again.

Emily Henderson and fans at Round Top Antiques Fair

Hanging out at the booth with my incredible fans.

So for a few hours the booth was dedicated to anyone who wanted to meet and talk to little old me and it was totally incredible to hang out with all these people who appreciate what I work so hard on. The line was out the door and there were so many people that legitimately couldn’t wait to hang out.

For instance:
I met Jessi, who genuinely was excited to tell me that she was my number 1 fan, and she wasn’t just saying that. There is a ‘Jessi’ that comments a lot on my blog and indeed it was her. She was incredibly sweet and made me feel really good by telling me that she has learned more from my show than four years of Interior Design school.

Emily Henderson and Jessi at Round Top Antiques Fair

Me and Jessi


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As you know, teal is our October Color of the Month. Many of you agreed it is the perfect color for fall, and I have to say, I happily agree. I was all about mustard-yellow going into October, but I think I’ve found a new favorite color. My nails are painted a glossy shade of teal. I recently picked up a deep teal dress. And now I think I can finally say goodbye to summer without too much separation anxiety, all thanks to my new best friend. The hue instantly struck a vintage chord in my mind. Retro teal electrics, hand-blown glass and mid-century modern kitchen wares. Check out some of my favorite vintage teal finds.

Entertaining with the Color of the Month: Let’s Talk Teal

HGTV Color of the Month October Teal Colors Etsy Accessories Teal Trending Color HGTV Design Blog Design HappensAll from ETSY: 1. Vintage Avon Fish Cologne Bottle :: FunVintageLiving  2. Vintage Swingline Stapler :: WiseApple  3. Vintage Boston Champion Pencil Sharpener :: swagJUICE  4. Large Samsonite Biscayne Luggage :: theoldgoat  5. Retro Motorola Electric Clock :: BeatriceinBlue  6. Cathrinehom White and Teal Lotus Cooking Pan :: MidModMomStore  7. Nelson McCoy Vase :: alamodern  8. Mid-Century Modern Chair :: SocietyInc  9. Vintage China Dish :: vintagebitsandpieces  10. Vintage Ceramic Plates :: thecupcakekid

In what form would you most likely use teal in your home? Slathered across your walls in a shade from your favorite paint collection? In bold accents? A dose of vintage fun?

Tell us in the comments below.

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A few weekends ago, Ken and I took a break from decorating the new dining room to explore a few of our favorite local antique stores. There are still plenty of empty areas we’d love to fill in our home, and rather than buy new, we’re always fans of purchasing something with a bit of history.

Although we ultimately came home empty-handed, there were quite a few stunners we stumbled upon:

Antique Shopping- Erin Loechner

I may not know how to sew, but I can dream, yes?

Art is always a need in our home, and I’m continually switching out new pieces that rest on our art shelf. I fell hard for these vintage ads for dress patterns and sleeve detailing.

Antique Shopping- Erin Loechner

Oh, I would love to name each of these folks. I see a Harry and an Evelyn!

Along the same vein, antiqued photographs make for a really interesting collection in any space. I’ve always loved the idea of displaying photos of people I’ve never met. Call me crazy, but it’s a small reminder that even though our world is big, we’re sort of all connected in some small way.

Antique Shopping- Erin Loechner

Game time!

On a more functional note, antique games always make me smile. In this case, a wooden croquet set caught our eye not only for the perfectly aged condition of the game, but also for the rustic wooden box it came in. Two cool finds in one!

Antique Shopping- Erin Loechner

I feel like I need a child just so I can justify purchasing this toy.

Vintage typewriters are everywhere, but I’ve never seen a kid’s tin version in such a vibrant color as this one. Wouldn’t it be a lovely addition to a children’s room?


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Man, you all are good! I figured that either major fans of Ocean Spray cranberry juice or New Englanders would nail yesterday’s “What the…?” MizzyD guessed correctly first. R. Barth added, “My mom was from New England, and we grew up with one in our home as a memory of her childhood.”

Wooden Cranberry Scoop - HGTV Design Blog - What the...? Answer

This wooden cranberry scoop, circa 1860, is available from Nantucket House Antiques on 1stdibs.

Do you have a cherished family relic of times past that you display in your home?

Tell us in the comments below.

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