I don't know if others do this, but when the house restoration feels never ending and I don't see much getting accomplished, I will change plans and do a little small-scale restoration. This way I get some satisfaction of a job completed and, hopefully, don't loose too much time out of my crazy schedule.
Check out these photos of a mini-restoration of a Coal Bin.
Here are the before Photos (I am known to forget to take these, this time I remembered). The little black painted metal box is about 18 inches tall, came without feet, but had beautiful cast iron handles in the shape of flower baskets, no dents, and original painting. See how dull and lifeless the color is. All it required was some cleaning and a good coat of Shellac.
Here are some after photos. The painting is all original. I have another coal bin from an earlier shopping trip without any painting that was dented all over but had amazing handles in the shape of Pharaoh heads with Egyptian head and claw feet. Since those handles and feet were restored earlier, and this bin had no feet, I combined the 2 into one and ditched the flower basket handles it came with. That's pretty much frowned upon by antique purists, but they were both the same manufacturers - The Jewett Vase. This coal bin even had the patent info on the inside of the lid (sorry my photo is a bit blury). Its from Dec. 10, 1872. After I finished this (in one afternoon) I felt like I wasn't a total slacker and did actually accomplish something. If you ever have worked on an old house, you know that feeling - there is always a longer "fix it" list than "accomplished it" list.