Shopping for a Breath of Fresh Air

Whew, wee! It was time to get the heck out of the house last night. I was late applying the third coat of marine varnish to the potting table. Each night before, that job had been done by 5 or 6:00 PM so I had a few hours of daylight when I could have the doors standing open in the basement.

After 2nd Coat of Marine Varnish


Last night I was running way behind and didn’t get that third coat of varnish on until closer to 7:30. When nighttime arrived and I had to close the doors in the basement, the table had barely even started to dry.

By 8:30 the smell of the varnish inside the house was too much. I could feel my heart racing and racing…not good. It was time to get out and go some place, anyplace to get away from the smell! But where to go, all the stores would soon be closed. I headed over to Marshall’s since it’s only about 2 miles from my home and is open to 9:30 each night.

You know all those times I’ve taken you on a shopping trip (like this past trip to IKEA) and always come home empty-handed? You always ask, “Well, what did you buy?” and usually my answer is nothing. Not this time! Maybe it’s spring fever but it turned out to a very productive trip.

So, what did I buy? This time I actually have some shopping finds to share with you!

My current kitchen shears are $1 scissors from the dollar store. They worked well for about a minute, but now I think I could tear open a package of bacon with my teeth faster and more efficiently than with my current shears. So these came home with me. Cost: $8

Kitchen Shears_wm


In the past while shopping in Marshall’s I’ve purchased a large canister of pretty white sand and one of sandy-colored sand. I’ve loved using those in summer tables so I thought these might come in handy, too. They may end up around the base of candle inside a glass candle holder at some point…who knows where else. Cost: $4

Decorative Stones and Pebbles_wm


This made me smile! I could see it sitting on top of the potting table out on the deck with a pretty plant inside all summer long. Cost: $12

Whimsical Flower Pot with Attached Faucet


I’ve had my eye out for a fish-net tablecloth for a while now. I actually purchased one a while back from Michaels. When I bought that one, I noticed the package said it was a real fishing net. They weren’t kidding! Think rotten fish. It smelled so bad I ended up returning it. My fish-net table cloths don’t have to be THAT authentic!

This one was wasn’t inside a package so I could give it the smell test before buying it. It passed! It’s going to make a cute tablecloth for a future beachy table setting or even in a beach vignette. Cost: $10

Fishing Net Tablecloth_wm


I love anything with shells on it…remember my hand-made (took-forever-to-make) shell chargers? πŸ™‚ So these had to come home with me, too. They are pretty big, over a foot tall and were $20 each. You’ll most likely be seeing them in a table setting this summer.

I briefly thought of just making my own. All they’ve really done to make these is hot glue burlap around the base and then hot glue shells and starfish on top. But as mentioned, these are over a foot tall, and the tall vases in Marshalls were $10 alone. I figured by the time I purchased the vase, the burlap, the shells and the starfish, I would end up spending close to $20 anyway. Now if you already have a tall vase you aren’t using, it might be worth purchasing the shells to make one. Or, perhaps you already have the shells. They would be super easy to make!

Shell Candle Holders


Okay, I saved what may have been my most favorite find of the evening for last.

I’ve been admiring these cute terrariums/greenhouses in catalogs and online for some time but they were always way more than I was willing to spend. This one was a price I could live with at $25. I love the shape!

Terrarium Greenhouse 3_wm


It’s made with real glass panes which I really like. I love the little window at the top on two sides…good for air flow to the plants or whatever would be displayed inside.

Terrarium Greenhouse


It has cute vintage-looking lock on the side.

Terrarium Greenhouse


Here’s how it opens. I’ve debated cutting the little ribbon thingies away but I’m not sure if the top will just open back and rest on the table or not, so for now I’m leaving them.

Tabletop Greenhouse or Terrarium


I’ve also thought about painting it but I kind of like the rustic look. Ummm, what would you do…paint it or leave it as is?

Tabletop Greenhouse


Oh, before I forget, if you are interested in building the potting table I built recently, Ana from the blog,  Ana White has created awesome plans for the table, real plans you can follow including a cutting list! You’ll find a set of printable plans at Ana’s blog here: Ana White.

Thanks so much to Ana for featuring my potting table on her amazing blog! She has inspired so many with her talents! Be sure to check out the Plans category at the top of her blog. You won’t believe all the amazing things you can build with the plans she gives away freely each day!

Pottery Barn Abbott Inspired Potting Table & Buffet Server


*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. *

 Never miss a Between Naps on the Porch post! 

*Subscribe to have updates delivered to your Inbox. 


  1. Awesome finds, especially that spigot planter! I was just in my Marshall’s on Thursday and saw none of these goodies…I did come out empty-handed.

    • Vicki, you may want to check back. I think they are just starting to get things in because I stopped in about a week ago and they had nothing I was interested in that trip. I have to stay away for a while now, I found so many good things this time around. πŸ™‚

  2. Susan, you outdid yourself! These are some amazing finds, I truly don’t know which is my favorite! I vote for leaving the greenhouse natural, but I’m sure it would love fabulous painted too. Whatever you decide you can’t go wrong.

    The weather is FINALLY starting to warm up here in NY. I actually didn’t have to wear a jacket today! WhoooHoooo!!

    • Yay for warmer weather. It’s 76 here today and I have all the doors open to the porch. Love this weather and hope it stays! Hope it keeps getting warmer in NY too, Doreen! Spring is here! πŸ™‚

  3. wow you sure found some great things, love the glass candle holders with the shells..I thought for sure you bought a terrarium last year, it was white or green and you sat it on the side table on the porch,,,I remember loving it so much and I think you used it for some centerpieces too, this one is a little more seaside looking and I love it, I would leave it with out paint or I would dry brush it a little with some white paint….Love all your purchases…

    • I did…you have a great memory, Phyllis! I love it, too. It also came from Marshalls. It’s a different shape and is a pretty green. It’s time pull it back out! Thanks, Phyllis!

  4. Oh Susan,
    no wonder you are brimming over with enthusiasm for those amazing shopping finds!
    If I were you, I’d too! πŸ™‚
    Love that plant holder (so funny with integrated water tap!) πŸ˜‰ and that terrarium/greenhouse!
    Since you already have a white one, (if I remember correctly…) I would leave this one as it is!
    ~Hugs to you~

  5. Linda Page says

    I love the spigot planter! Just too cute. Hurry up and pot something in it and show us! I mean, you are through varnishing your potting table so what are you waiting for? Huh???????? lol

  6. Love, love, LOVE the terrarium/greenhouse!!!! I would leave it the way it is until you tire of it, then paint it.

  7. Hi Susan. I haven’t written in awhile but I have continued to follow your blog every day. You are one crafty Lady! I noticed you have your Spring Header up today. I love it! Spring has arrived in my neck of the woods in the Pacific Northwest. And I love your latest project of the potting table. You did an awesome job building it! I’m not a builder, so I am on the lookout for a suitable thrift store table to use outside for a potting table. I will keep you posted if I find one.
    P.S. You remind me of my daughter, who is also named Susan.

    • It’s time for spring, Phyllisa! Way past time! πŸ™‚ I couldn’t resist changing the header last night with all this nice weather we’ve been having. It’s 76 out today! Yipee! I hope you find your table…this is a good time to be looking. Tell your Susan to keep an eye out for one too…for her Mom!

  8. I wouldn’t paint that terrarium until after I had used it for 3-4 years with the natural finish. It looks good the way it is. I suspect if you cut the ribbons, the top might fall back too far.

    • That sounds like a good plan…I think I like the rustic look anyway. If it would go all the way back like a piano hinge, that would be okay, I could just rest it on the table. But I’m afraid the hinges might not and in that case, it could bend them, which wouldn’t be good. So I guess I’ll leave it but I know it’s going to get messy or wet. If they do, I may remove them then, see if it’s a piano type hinge and if not, replace the ribbons with leather or something not so fragile.

  9. I vote for leaving it natural!

  10. BamaCarol says

    These are all beautiful! I invested in some good kitchen shears years ago and have given them for gifts as well so I know you will get a lot of use out of them. Looks like I need to make a trip to Marshall’s/TJ Maxx/Homegoods to see what all is new for Spring. Love the terrarium especially.

  11. Charlotte says

    Great finds! I say leave the greenhouse as is for now. I like to “live” with things for awhile before I change them up. Looking forward to Summer tablescapes!

    • I think that’s great advice, Charlotte. I kind of like the rustic look of it. I’ll be sharing a summery table this Thursday…yay, for summer! Glad spring is almost here!

  12. Susan, Did the varnish finally get to you? It is so much fun when you can find a whole lot of things you can use and you didn’t break the bank. I did that before Christmas at Ross and have enjoyed everything I bought. I havent been back, but one of these days when the weather gets nice, I will get out the deck furniture and go buy accessories. That most likel will be June because my deck is open and things blow away. Anyway, enjoy!!

  13. Liz Serpa says

    Oh, I love going to Marshalls! Actually, when I was a teenager I worked at the very first Marshalls in Bedford, MA. When they opened up down here I shocked the cashier by telling her I worked there and never got a paycheck to take home. Well, I really didn’t, cause I put everything on layaway and when I got paid I paid on one layaway to put another layaway up! Yep I have loved that store for more years than I would like to say. Now, when I go in there and I am not even looking for anything, you can bet I always come out with a purchase! I love all your purchases. TJ Maxx the ole sister store is another great haunt!

  14. Great inspirational post! I live by the sea so love the ideas but, as we’re in England, we don’t have the sunnier climate to set off the tones!

  15. Love that greenhouse. You get all the good stuff. Our Marshall’s never has anything. I think we get all the leftovers from other stores!
    AS, for good was 80 here today. Opened up all the windows and doors. BUT we are suppose to get SNOW tonight. How does that grab you? Don’t think this winter is ever going to end.

    • How can it be 80 during the day and snow at night? Vicki, I think your weather changes even faster than ours! Wow! What state do you live in? This does seem to be the never ending winter for some areas. Guess I better check our weather since I’ve put a lot of plants back out on the porch.

  16. Susan, You hit paydirt!!! Love your goodies!

  17. Wow you found some great treasures at Marshall’s. Our Marshall’s never has great stuff like that! I wonder why each store, even though they are the same company, carry such different merchandise.

    • I’ve noticed that among the stores here in my area, too Jocelyn. Some seem to get nicer things than others. Not sure why that is. The Marshalls near me has always been pretty good. Only problem is they often just get one or two of something, never very many of the really cute stuff.

  18. Linda S. in NE says

    You did come back home with some good “finds”, Susan. I will also vote for leaving the glass planter as is. I am surprised no one has mentioned giving it a protective coat of your Marine Varnish. It does appear that it would be too much work, as there is an outside and inside wood surface. One cracked pane of glass, and you’re done. The garden faucet planter is very cute. I have seen similar planters that have a LARGE fascetted clear jewel hanging down just below the spout. As that jewel catches light, it looks like a drip of water! Enjoy your finds.

    • Thanks Linda! I may not leave it out on the deck or potting table, may just use it on the porch so I think it will stay in pretty good shape. The little faceted clear jewel sounds so cute! What a great idea! πŸ™‚

  19. Susan, you have given me the perfect shopping excuse……the paint fumes got to me!! πŸ™‚ Being allergic to strong odors myself, I sympathise with you.
    Great finds, especially the tap on the plant pot..loved that!!!

  20. Well it’s dropped to 49 big rain storm going on now mixed with snow.We live 18 miles North of Columbia, MO.
    Worked cleaning the flower beds today. Really has been some winter.

    • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

      Hi Vicki, I used to live in Columbia. Haven’t been there in years but
      it was a really cool town. I love a university town. πŸ™‚

  21. Oh Susan I’m so glad you got out of there or you’d have been blogging from the basement floor. All in all a productive evening. My 2 cents on the terrarium is to leave it as is and see how it weathers. You can always paint it later. I can just picture it decorated for each of the seasons and holidays – nice find. I think the spigot planter is quite unique and will make a great conversation piece. The potting bench looks terrific. I think 3 coats was a good choice.
    The night we moved into our new home the builder’s crew was just putting the varnish down on the wood floors throughout most of the main level. Our furniture was crammed into the garage, kitchen and bedrooms along with boxes of our as of yet unpacked personal belongings. We had a house full of workers and didn’t feel comfortable leaving until they were through. My husband ran out for take-out and there we all were (our boys were 7 and 9 at the time) eating Bo Jangles on snack trays in the kitchen while our brains were losing hundreds of cells by the minute to the varnish. I swear I can still recall the overwhelming fumes and the headaches we had the next day. That stuff is lethal, I don’t know how the workers do that day after day without respirator masks.

  22. Loving all the finds! Good work sista girl. I’m thinking of the terrarium. I had a couple of frames that I kept on a screened porch in Pensacola…did NOT work out well. They were made of what look to be the same type of wood as the terrarium. I’m thinking I would either paint or stain it and maybe hit it with a coat of protectant. Otherwise I’m afraid you’re going to see some of the wood get a blackish moldy look to it that is very unattractive, or at least I thought it was really ugly!
    Keep it coming though! Thanks for sharing your finds!

  23. Awesome finds Susan! Love the sea shell glass cylinders and the terrarium. I have one with a similar shape that has no straps but mine doesn’t have glass- it’s more a decorative item than a real terrarium. Perhaps the straps keep the top from falling backwards when opened and less risk for the glass breaking? I saw new bird feeders that have a terrarium look at Lowes the other day!

    • Thanks, Liz! I think I’ll leave those little ribbons for now. If they get dirty, I’m may try removing just to see how far back that lid will go. I bet it would be easy to accidentally let go of it so probably good idea to have something to hold it. I haven’t seen the terrarium style feeders…I need to look for those next time I’m in Lowe’s. Sounds cute! Did you buy one?

  24. Hi Susan! Love your blog and the terrific ideas you have! πŸ˜‰ The planter you found made me smile too and your potting bench is beautiful! πŸ˜‰

  25. Well I can’t speak for anyone else, but I thoroughly enjoyed that shopping excursion as it didn’t cost me a cent. ☺ (Wish we had a Marshalls up here in Canada.) Regarding the little terrarium I think I would live with it for awhile as is, with the thought in mind you can always transform it later on. Also am going to add al little tip: clear silicone (that which you use as a bathroom caulking) makes for a great glue when all else fails. ie: Securing seashells on glass. -Brenda-

    • Brenda, thanks for that tip on the silicone…never would have thought to use that! Yep, think I will just live with the terrarium for now. I do like the natural look, it suits it, I think. πŸ™‚

  26. SharonFromMichigan says

    Susan – What cool finds! You did good girl! When I saw the kitchen shears I broke out in a cold sweat. I too had a cheap pair of kitchen shears and replaced them with a really nice, sharp pair. I had a bunch of radishes (still with the greens on them) and it was very late at night after working in the yard all day, and I decided I needed to rinse those radishes off and cut the stalks off of them before going to bed. Well, I can tell you one thing, never ever use them when your super tired. I held the stalks in my hand while I was cutting the tops off and almost cut the tip of my finger clear off. Hubby patched me up with some homemade butterfly stitches and it healed well. I now have a healthy respect for those kitchen shears!

I'd love to hear from you! Please leave a comment!