the haul from Linden Hills.

Another one of my absolute favorite neighborhoods, Linden Hills, had their annual garage sale this past weekend.  My sis and I got up early Saturday morning and headed out to be there for the 8 a.m. start time.

There are several things I love about Linden Hills.  First and foremost, it’s a ‘Saturday only’ sale.  Since I’m a working stiff, I can’t get to the sales that start on Thursday or Friday (unless I take a vacation day at work).  All of the good stuff at those sales is long gone by Saturday.

Second, the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council provides a listing of all the sales along with descriptions of their goods, plus a map showing all of the locations.  Both are crucial tools for a successful garage sale experience.  I always try to pick the best spot for starting out in the morning.

Third, it’s just quite simply a beautiful neighborhood full of gorgeous old homes that is a pleasure to drive around in.

Before Debbie and I headed out Saturday morning I studied the list of sales and picked out one at the southern end of the neighborhood to start at.  The description said ‘Vintage furniture, linens & books.  Some small antiques.‘, so I was optimistic.

And we hit the jackpot!

I spent just over $100 and purchased a dresser, a vintage bookcase with a glass door, a 2nd vintage bookcase, two soon-to-be planter chairs, three old books, several sets of linen napkins (I’m going to try dying them with Dixie Belle paint, coming soon) …

some green depression glass, a McCoy pot, and a uniquely shaped Atlas jar …

I’ve already added a little something extra to the Atlas jar in the form of a Tim Holtz rub-on …

 and I also purchased three vintage milk glass light fixture globes at that first sale.

I especially love the art deco wedding cake globe.  In fact, I’m giving it ‘find of the day’ status.

I have a similar style globe on the light fixture on my front porch that I also purchased at a garage sale and I just love it.

So I was hoping that this one would fit my existing bathroom light fixture, and it did!

Since I was completely unable to get a decent photo of my own bathroom light fixture (since I have the world’s smallest bathroom), I borrowed this one from the ModMercantile on Etsy.  If you absolutely love this look, you can buy a similar fixture from them for about $265.  I paid $10 for mine, bwa, ha, ha, ha (insert evil garage sale laugh here).

Anyway, yes, all of that was just at the first of sale of the day.  We couldn’t even begin to fit all of the furniture into Debbie’s SUV, so I made arrangements to come back later with our van to pick it up.  That ended up being a good thing because we filled the SUV up with other stuff as the day went on including this adorable little nightstand and another potential planter chair.

I also picked up this amazing vintage iron crib.

I just love genuine heavy vintage iron pieces like these.

The older couple I purchased it from were quite funny.  They said that they actually used this crib for their kids when they were babies and pointed out this was before people worried about silly things like safety.  They mentioned that they called it ‘the slammer’ because their kids were ‘behind bars’ and then chuckled at those happy memories of their babies in their iron prison.

I’m not precisely sure what the fate of ‘the slammer’ is going to be.  I had initially thought I would put it back together and turn it into some sort of garden bench like this example from pinterest …

but I’m missing some of the parts that hold it together so I’m not sure I can make that work.  The separate  pieces would be gorgeous in the garden with a clematis or something growing on them though.  So we’ll see.

Luckily even after all of that there was still room in the vehicle when we came across this lovely crystal chandelier.

The gentlemen selling this item said he replaced it with something that was more his style.  I was happy to take it off his hands!  I don’t really have a spot for a gorgeous crystal chandelier myself though, so I’ll most likely be selling it on.

Unfortunately by the time we got to the house with the $5 small farmhouse table there was just no way at all we could fit it in the SUV.  And I knew when I came back with the van for the pieces from the first sale of the day there wasn’t going to be any room for it either.  It hurt me a little inside to have to walk away from that table.  I hope someone else found it and is going to give it a new lease on life with some paint!

Meanwhile I finished up a sweet vintage farmhouse style dresser yesterday that I just need to get photos of so I can share that with you here this week, so be sure to stay tuned!

bottomless chairs.

Are you a fan of cane chairs and benches?

I love them.  I have half a dozen of them myself.

But the sad truth about cane is that it’s easy to damage.  So far the cane on two of my chairs has ripped.  And I don’t have the patience for replacing damaged cane.  So, in my opinion, cane chairs are best reserved for occasional use, not rough every day use.

I see a lot of damaged cane chairs for sale at garage sales and on Craigslist.  Sometimes they are priced super cheap, although I also see plenty of ads for pricier chairs where the seller says ‘you can easily add new cane’.  I always laugh when I read those ads.  If it was so easy to do, why didn’t they do it themselves?

I’ve come up with a few ways to work around ruined caning.  On the bench I put in my bedroom I added a cushion where there once was caning.

  On the ‘cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater‘ chair I added an upholstered seat …

Originally I planned to do something similar with a pair of chairs that I picked up last summer at a garage sale.  Don’t be confused by the snow on the ground in this ‘before’ photo.  I purchased the chairs last summer, but took this photo sometime last winter.

 I did add a seat to one of the chairs, which I then paired with the Sea Glass dressing table.

But with spring just around the corner, I decided to turn the 2nd chair into a planter chair.

But first, in case you’re not familiar, what’s a planter chair?

Here is one that I gave to my mother-in-law for mother’s day a couple of years ago.

It’s basically a bottomless chair with a hanging basket of flowers filling up the hole where the caning or other seat once was.

I love the whimsical touch they add to a garden.

Obviously these chairs are not meant for outdoor use normally.  I find that they will hold up well for 2 or 3 years if you store them in the garage for the winter, but they won’t withstand outside weather indefinitely.

But that’s OK, everything in life doesn’t have to be permanent, right?

For this planter chair I decided to go bright.  I pulled out an old jar of The Urban Rooster chalky paint in a color called Jaded Rooster but I was worried I might not have quite enough paint left for the chair so I also grabbed a small tester size jar of Annie Sloan’s Florence that was half used.

As you can see, these two are practically the same color.  One has maybe just the tiniest bit more green than the other though, so I simply mixed them together to stretch my paint a little further.

I painted two coats on my chair.  Once dry I used acrylic craft paint in Oyster White to stencil “Fleurs” on the back of the chair.

Next I sanded to distress and then added a coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat Sealer to protect the paint from the elements.

When I went to add a hanging basket to the chair for photo purposes, I discovered that the hole in the chair was larger than the typical hanging pot size.  So I added a couple of straps to hold the pot in place.

And ta da!  There you have it, a planter chair!

 I took this chair and another I had on hand in to Reclaiming Beautiful this week to sell.  So if you’re local and you don’t feel like making your own planter chair, be sure to stop in and see if they have any left!

spring beauty.

One year ago today Mr. Q and I were in Copenhagen about to board our cruise ship to sail off to Norway, Scotland and England.

We had such an amazing time on that trip (to see all of my travel posts click on ‘travel.’ over to the right under ‘stuff.’).  We loved it so much that we tried to do something similar again this year.  We had a British Isles cruise all picked out.  In addition to visiting some ports in Scotland, it also stopped at several ports in Ireland, a couple of spots in England and even one port on the coast of France.

We were literally minutes away from booking it when Mr. Q remembered that he had some other obligations in May this year that meant the timing wasn’t going to work.

We next looked at the option of going later in the summer, but the price was more than $2,000 higher for the same trip.  Yikes!  We just couldn’t justify that.

Since then we have tried four more times to book a trip for this year and each one has fallen through for some reason or another.  So we decided maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.  At least for now.  Our travel agent (a.k.a. my mom) is keeping an eye out for some last minute deals, but otherwise maybe we’ll just try again next May.

But in the meantime, I’m feeling a little sad that we aren’t heading off to Ireland this month so I thought I’d re-live our last trip today by sharing some of the beautiful spring gardens that we saw.

Just before we left on our trip last year I was lamenting the fact that I would most likely miss seeing the lilacs bloom in my garden.  They last for such a short time, and sure enough I did miss it.  But in hindsight, it was really ridiculous to be worried about that.  Of course the gardens that I saw on my trip were spectacular, and I saw plenty of lilacs in bloom starting with these in Copenhagen

And these in Stavanger

I needn’t have worried about missing the last of the tulips either.  I saw plenty of tulips everywhere we went.  Hot pink tulips in Copenhagen …

Yellow tulips in Kristiansand

And these gorgeous red and white tulips at Dunrobin Castle.

I’m guessing that the growing climate in Norway, Denmark and Scotland is very similar to ours in Minnesota because I saw lots of plants that I recognized and that I grow in my own gardens, like hostas and allium.

But there were a few I wasn’t sure about, like this blooming shrub in Stavanger …

I’m guessing that is some sort of rhododendron or azalea?  Does anyone recognize it?

Here’s a close up of the flowers, which grow in a cluster.

I also didn’t recognize this blooming tree I saw in Kristiansand, Norway.

And I’m not at all sure what this pretty wildflower in Flåm is, but I think it might be called Spring Beauty.

Some flowers were unique to the areas we were in, like the Scotch broom.

and the Scottish Bluebells.

Although we saw this flower in Bergen too, so I don’t think Scotland can totally claim it as their own.

We enjoyed fields of wildflowers everywhere, like this one in Flåm, Norway.

We saw huge formal gardens in the French style at Dunrobin Castle.

And a little smaller but still formal garden at the Beamish.

 And charming little kitchen gardens at the Beamish also.

You know what I just realized?  Writing this blog post is not helping.  Now I’m wishing even more that we were heading off to sail around the British Isles this week!  Dang!

Well, at least I won’t miss seeing the lilacs bloom in my own garden this year.  How about you, any fantastic summer travel plans for 2018?  I’d love to hear about them, so be sure to leave a comment so I can live vicariously through you!

I just can’t help myself.

First a quick update.  I sold both the flip top bar and the Millennial Pink dresser this past weekend.

I had to laugh when chatting with the couple that purchased the pink dresser.  They knew all about Millennial Pink!  Apparently they are fans of John & Sherry over at Young House Love , and YHL is all about the pink.  Their beach house is painted in it.

And they even have a vintage Millennial Pink stove in their beach house kitchen.

So my Millennial Pink dresser was a big hit.  I’m sure you’ll see more pieces in this color from me this year.

But for today I’m going back to my other proven seller, Fusion’s Park Bench.  In case you are keeping track, the credenza that you are about to see is the fifth mid-century piece that I’ve painted in this color since January.  But seriously, I just can’t help myself.  These pieces are selling so well.  People are loving this gorgeous green on the mid-mod stuff.  I’m so sorry if I’m boring you with yet another one, but this is what I’m working on at the moment.  So it’s this or nothing.

I’m also going to share the non-chemical process for stripping paint off metal hardware in this post so be sure to keep reading if you’re interested in that.

Mr. Q picked up this mid-century credenza at the same time he picked up the Millennial Pink dresser.

I’m still working on training Mr. Q in the fine art of furniture purchasing.  The ad for this piece said it was in excellent condition except for the finish.  It neglected to mention that one of the drawers behind that center door was missing!  Although Mr. Q has really improved when it comes to noticing other details such as bad smells, loose joints and missing hardware, it never even occurred to him to look behind door number one to make sure all of the drawers were there.  Well, to be specific, he didn’t even realize there might be drawers behind that door.  He thought it would be shelves.

Keep this in mind if you are ever purchasing furniture on Craigslist.  Open all of the doors and drawers!

Well, no use crying over spilled milk.  I decided to ask my handyman/neighbor Ken to finish off the uppermost section as a shelf instead of a drawer.  There was already a hole cut at the back to feed electrical through, so I suspect the reason the drawer was removed in the first place was so that someone could put a DVD player in this spot so why not make it official?

Once Ken had the shelf in place, I sanded the piece thoroughly, cleaned it with TSP Substitute and then painted it with two coats of Fusion’s Park Bench.

Initially I’d planned to keep the hardware silver on this one, even though I used gold hardware on all four of my previous Park Bench pieces.  I threw the handles in some soapy water to clean them up first though and that ended up removing some paint.  Turns out they were originally an aged brass color and had been painted silver (I’m guessing with spray paint).  That nixed the idea of leaving them as is.

I’d never stripped paint off metal hardware before, but I’d heard that simmering it in a crock pot of water first will loosen up the paint leaving it easy to remove.  Well, I didn’t want to wreck my crock pot (adding ‘cheap spare crock pot’ to garage sale shopping list), so I grabbed an old crusty pot and tried simmering them on the stove.

And you know what?  This worked exceptionally well.  No dangerous chemicals required.

Here is the method that worked best for me.  First, simmer the hardware for about 30 minutes.  I never brought the water to a boil, just a low simmer.  Remove one handle at a time using tongs.  Run it under warm water until you can touch it without burning yourself (important precaution).  That only took a couple of seconds.  Finally, rub off the loosened paint using one of those green scrubby pads.

I show a paint scraper in my photo above, but using that lasted about two seconds.  The green scrubby did a much quicker, better job and didn’t scratch the finish.

Today’s q-tip:  Leave the remaining handles in the simmering water until you’re ready to work on them, just take one out at a time and scrub it.  If you pull them all out at once the paint hardens up again before you can get to all of them.  If the paint isn’t coming off easily, pop them back in the simmering water for 10 to 15 minutes and try again.

Once I had the paint off, I really didn’t like the aged brass look of the handles so I added my favorite metallic wax, Prima Marketing’s Metallique Wax in Vintage Gold.

I like to apply the wax with a q-tip, let it dry overnight and then buff it to a shine.

 So there you have it.  My latest Park Bench green mid-mod piece.

If you’re just not a fan of mid-century modern, don’t worry.  I’m moving on to some different styles next.  I have a few pieces underway in the workshop, plus I ordered some Sweet Pickins milk paint to play around with.  So be sure to stay tuned!

flippin’ the flip-top.

A couple of weekends ago nnK (that stands for ‘new neighbor Karen’ because when she moved in across the street we already had a Karen next door.  Granted, that Karen died a couple of years later and now there is just one Karen, but nnK stuck) called me and said there was a huge garage sale a couple of blocks away, did I want to check it out?

So I jumped in her SUV and we headed over there.  It was about 3:30 on a Saturday afternoon though, so my expectations were low.  Usually by then all of the good stuff is gone.

I was wandering around the sale, which truly was huge, when nnK flagged me over to look at a mid-century piece.  She’s a big fan of mid-century modern and she knows I’ve been doing more and more mid-mod pieces lately.

It wasn’t really ‘me’, but I could see the appeal for mid-century lovers, so I bought it.

It’s a flip top bar made out of walnut with a black melamine surface that is exposed when open.  It’s in great condition and even has the original casters.

Initially I was going to paint it with my favorite aqua, Fusion’s Laurentien.  But then I did a little research and found the exact same piece on 1stDibs where it sold for $2,450.

Now I take the prices on 1stDibs with a grain of salt.  I’m not sure who the people are who are paying that much for stuff.  I suspect they are all designers in places like New York City or L.A.  People who have wealthy clients who don’t bat an eye at the cost.  I certainly can’t get those amounts myself.

Nonetheless, seeing the piece listed there and also knowing that the finish on mine is in really good condition made me realize I probably shouldn’t paint it.

So I decided to simply flip the flip-top.

I cleaned the piece well first, and then freshened up the finish with some of Miss Mustard Seed’s hemp oil.

Then I staged some photos using some of the fab mid-century props I found while out garage saling last weekend.

I can’t decide which is my favorite prop, the fake ice cubes or the atomic themed glasses.

I’m not generally a flipper, but I have flipped a few mid-century pieces in the past like this  American of Martinsville pair.

I also flipped these two mid-mod pieces.

When I come across pieces like these and they are just staring me in the face and daring me to flip them … well, how can I resist?

tangled up in Tangletown.

Last weekend my sister and I packed pretty much everything we love about summer into one weekend; garage sales, patio dining, gardening, and ice cream.

We started out at the Tangletown neighborhood garage sales.  This neighborhood got its name from its windy, curving streets.  Most Minneapolis streets are laid out in a grid pattern, so Tangletown stands out because it’s not grid-like at all.  I have to admit, those very structured grid-like streets in other neighborhoods make garage saling easier.  Numbered streets go one way, named streets go the other and are in alphabetical order … Aldrich, Bryant, Colfax, Dupont.  It’s so simple to find your way around in those neighborhoods.  Tangletown is a different story.  We found ourselves tangled up in Tangletown quite often, driving past the same intersection multiple times before realizing we’d gotten turned around again.

But that’s OK because it’s a very pretty neighborhood full of gorgeous houses.

We didn’t mind doing a little sightseeing.  In addition to the beautiful homes, we also stopped at the Washburn Water Tower to get a closer look.

The original water tower in this location was built by Cadwallader (seriously, can you imagine that name?  did they call him Cad for short?) and William Washburn in 1893.  It was replaced with this art deco version in 1932 which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The tall ferocious looking dudes with the swords are the eight ‘guardians of health’ that protect the water supply.

After checking out the water tower and hitting all of the sales in Tangletown we stopped off at a local restaurant, Wise Acre, for lunch.  I have to admit we mainly picked this spot because it had patio seating.

The atmosphere was fantastic, the service was friendly and made us feel right at home, but I’m not gonna lie, neither of us really cared for the ‘farm to fork’ style food.  We probably ordered the wrong things, or perhaps the simple fact is that we just aren’t hipster enough for this place.  The fries came with a homemade beet ketchup … yep, you read that right … ketchup made from beets.  It pretty much tasted just as you would expect it to, like beets.  It worked on the burger, but not so much on the fries.

After lunch we drove home, unloaded our garage sale finds and then headed off to my favorite spot to buy my summer annuals, Country Sun Farm in Lake Elmo.  Debbie and I both found lots of gorgeous flowers and we filled up the SUV again.

Buying garden supplies is exhausting work, so we headed to Nelson’s Ice Cream in Stillwater next.  I didn’t manage to get my own photo, but I found this one online which pretty much shows the average serving size of ice cream at Nelson’s.  This was much more our style than the beet ketchup.

I went with the Blueberry Cheesecake and Debbie chose Peppermint Stick, both of which were amazing.

The next morning we got up and headed to the Bryn Mawr Festival of Garage Sales.  And Festival really does belong in the name.  They have all of the ingredients required for a festival; live music, food trucks, portable toilets and lots of people.

I didn’t come home with much from either of these neighborhood sales, but I did find another amazing vintage ironing board that I plan to turn into a sign.  The woman who was selling it mentioned that her daughter found it in the attic of the house she recently purchased.

I love that the label shows shows someone ironing while seated.  Hey, even if you can’t stand for long periods of time you can still do the ironing with this adjustable ironing board.  How convenient!

I also found some mid-century barware and some faux ice cubes that I plan to use for staging a piece of furniture that I’ll be sharing on Friday.

I also brought home a couple of piles of miscellaneous small stuff.

I found some odds and ends to turn into signs or chalkboards.

Well, technically this one already is a chalkboard.  But I’m going to see what I can do to refurbish it.

I suppose the fact that I chose the fake ice cubes as the ‘find of the day’  speaks volumes about my finds (or lack thereof).

 But then again, the ice cubes really are realistic and I’m going to have so much fun using them for staging future furniture photos.

All in all, it was an awesome kick off weekend for garage sale season 2018.  I hope you’ll stay tuned to see what I do with some of my garage sale finds.

the millennial pink dresser.

Have you heard of Millennial Pink?  Did you know it was a ‘thing’?

As is typical for me, I am only just discovering this trend while the cool kids are already saying it has to go.

Seriously, I am never on top of these things.

But before we get to the Millennial Pink, I first have to admit with some embarrassment how I learned about it.  You see, I have a secret guilty pleasure.  I watch the Trackers on YouTube.  I can hear many of you now asking, ‘um, who?’

Tim & Jenn Tracker are YouTube vloggers.  They live in Orlando, Florida and they mostly vlog about the various theme parks in that area including Disney World.  I came across them while looking for Disney info prior to our trip down there last October.  I started watching a few of their vlog posts and bam!  I was hooked.

I really can’t explain why.  Of course, I enjoy watching their excursions into the parks.  And I love that they share insider tips as well as honest reviews of everything from the food to the rides.  They share the real thing, not doctored up versions designed to look good on camera.  But I have to confess that I also sometimes watch their vlogs about shopping at Target, or cutting up left over pizza, adding it to eggs and frying it up in a pan to make ‘pizza eggs’.

They are just so darn adorable!  Somehow I now feel like I know them and am invested in their lives.  So I’ll admit it, I’m a vlog lurker, and apparently so are about 364,000+ subscribers to their YouTube channel.

And this brings us back to Millennial Pink.  Lately Tim & Jenn (see?  it’s as though we are on a first name basis) have been frequently mentioning Disney goods that are available in Millennial Pink, especial the Mickey ears.

So the last time this came up, I turned to Mr. Q  – because, oh yes, he sometimes indulges in this guilty pleasure with me, even though he’d rather poke his eye out with a sharp stick than go to Disney World – and said “what is this Millennial Pink they keep talking about?  Is it just a Disney thing?”  So he googled it for me and said, “I guess it’s just a color thing, and it applies to home décor too.”

Who knew?

Well, probably everyone but me … and Mr. Q.

Obviously the next step was to paint something in Millennial Pink so I could be one of the cool kids, so I started keeping an eye out for just the right piece.

And then I found it …

a beat up mid-century piece that I thought would look amazing in Millennial Pink.

Luckily I already had a jar of Fusion’s English Rose on hand.  I hope they don’t mind that I took the liberty of renaming it just for this post.

Before I started painting though, my handyman Ken and I shored up the base of the dresser because it was a little wobbly.  Ken is one of those people who like to do things the right way.  So we removed the base, re-glued and clamped the cross piece, and then once that was good and sturdy we re-glued the base back onto the dresser.  Now it’s rock solid.

Once again, the top of this mid-mod piece was plastic laminate so I painted that with a coat of Fusion’s Ultra Grip and let it dry overnight before moving on to the rest of the painting.

It took three coats of the English Rose to get good coverage on this one.  I’d already used about 1/4 of my jar of paint on something else, so it took every last bit of paint I had left to complete the job.

I used Prima Marketing Metallique wax in Vintage Gold to add a little glam to the original drawer pulls.

If you haven’t tried this stuff you should.  I use a q-tip to apply it, wait overnight for it to dry and then buff with a clean cloth.  Easy peasy, and it looks amazing.  It’s also super affordable (it’s available online for about $6).

It comes in a tiny little tin, but a little goes a very long way.  I’ve barely made a dent in mine and I’ve used it on countless knobs.  I much prefer the packaging of this version over others like Rub ‘n Buff.  The tin it comes in has a screw on lid that is easy to open and close tightly, so your wax doesn’t dry out.  I had nothing but trouble with those little tubes that the Rub ‘n Buff comes in.

I pulled out some vintage mid-century wallpaper, some aqua and cream pottery and my cream colored Remington Ten Forty for staging.

Isn’t this dresser much prettier in pink?

Let’s talk for a moment about the (pink) elephant in the room.  You may have noticed that I seem to be doing more mid-century pieces these days.  That’s because I’m finding that mid-century is selling really well for me while many of my more farmhouse style pieces are taking a bit longer to find the right buyer.

I feel like I’m walking a bit of a thin line between producing pieces that will sell and producing pieces that my blog readers want to see.  I hope that most of you enjoy seeing the mid-century makeovers even if it isn’t quite your thing.  There are going to be more of them to come, I brought home two more mid-mod pieces last weekend.  But don’t worry, I’ll still mix it up with some of the chippy, farmhouse style pieces that I love.  And hopefully they’ll start selling a little better now that the weather has improved here in Minnesota.  I did sell both the spring fling dresser and the indigo desk this past weekend, so I think that’s a good sign.

That being said, what do you think of Millennial Pink?

This dresser is available for sale, so if any of you locals are interested check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.