Shopping Estate Sales: Honoring Legacies

Dreambox Discoveries has been taking a bit of a break for the first few months of 2017. But now we’re taking a break from our break to share this marvelous post from

It’s crammed with good details about turning your love for vintage into an actual business. That’s high on the list of what’s in my little box of dreams.

But what especially caught my eye were a couple of nuggets from Highfield Wild Rose and 510 Decor. They captured one of the things about estate sales that I love the most — something that transcends the simple fact of cool stuff and great bargains. They get into the heart of why it matters.

To quote Highfield Wild Rose:

If someone’s heirs are not interested in keeping things in the family, I can honor their collections in my own way. Even though my customers and I aren’t family, we can give people’s lifetime of collections a loving home and honor what made them happy.

And 510 Decor:

Estate sales offer a peek into someone else’s passions and lifestyle. I have found myself attracted to things that I may not have typically gravitated towards until being shown in a space where someone had displayed them with much love for those particular items.

Indeed. In our relatively short estate sale shopping careers, Timothy and I have come upon a number of those collections or individual items that we feel compelled to acquire just because … well, they deserve to live on. Somebody clearly put so much love and care into these items. They can’t be allowed to just disappear.

The bunnies above are one example. All four of them were buried amid piles of “junk” in a basement, along with some patterns, templates, fabric and other lost remnants of their creation. The two on the left weren’t even together when I unearthed them, though clearly they’re meant as a pair.

The ones on the right came from elsewhere deep in the stacks.

Though they’re adorable, they’re not the type of thing that I would typically buy in a traditional setting. But at an estate sale, in the home where they were created, nurtured and loved … I couldn’t stand to see them just cast aside once the sale was over. So I brought them home. Along with a number of other items that their creator had crafted over the years.

The bunnies on the left now have a prominent place in our bedroom. The ones on the right, which have Christmasy attire, come out for the holidays.

Maybe I’ll try to sell them some day. Maybe I won’t. But at least I’ll know they have a home. And we’re honoring a legacy.



Necklaces for the Papillon dog mom

My mother has two Papillon dogs, Stash and Wager, who are stars of the agility ring (not to mention stars of lazing around on the couch). The name Papillon (which is French for butterfly) comes from their butterfly-like ears. Naturally this leads to any number of gift possibilities, including my necklace creations.


For my mom’s birthday gift, a few days before Christmas, I ordered a couple of dog bone-shaped stamping pieces and stamped them with the dogs’ names, then added a butterfly charm and pieced it together with some chain taken from a Goodwill necklace.


And for Christmas, I was delighted to find a gorgeous butterfly centerpiece at an estate sale. Then I chose white, black and rust beads to match the dogs’ colors.


She was thrilled with both. The personalized one with the dogs’ names was the biggest hit, which tells me I should put some focus on upgrading my stamping-and-personalization skills for future use …


What’s ‘Dreambox’ all about?

It occurs to me that in explaining our “Dreambox Discoveries” name,  my description of Dreambox origins lacked a few key details: Why boxes, and why call them Dreamboxes?


Part of my mom’s Dreambox. Horses were a big part of her life as a youth, so we included several of them. Also a watch part in tribute to her father.

I’ve always loved boxes of all sorts. On the outside, they can take on a vast variety of appearances, shapes and sizes. On the inside … well, who knows what’s inside? Boxes carry a bit of mystery that I’ve always found alluring.

The idea of these boxes was to adorn them with random trinkets conveying bits of history. We didn’t know precisely what the history was. That simply added to the enchantment. We wanted to spark our recipients’ imagination. To inspire them to … dream.

To get people started, each box included a “Dreambox Starter Kit” filled with more little trinkets and odd bits.


My mom’s Dreambox Starter Kit included several butterflies, in honor of her two Papillon (butterfly) dogs.

Since none of this was exactly self-explanatory, Tim wrote these words, which we enclosed with each Dreambox:

You may not know what to make of a Dreambox. You might also question the meaning of that dream you just had where your Aunt Ida chased after you with a carpet beater. Simply embrace the dream. You don’t have to fully understand it. It sprang from you and colors your existence.

Just as in dreams, we encounter things as we drift along in life that tug at our imagination. It might be a fortune from a fortune cookie, a rock, a found little knickknack of any kind. Embrace these things. The Dreambox can hold them. Perhaps knowing that you have a Dreambox at the ready will help you keep an eye out for the things that inexplicably resonate with you. Snatch them up, put them together and see what develops in your collection. And keep dreaming.