industrial meets farmhouse.

A while back I was headed home on my lunch hour (I live very close to my day job office) and I happened to see a garage sale sign.  Cue squealing brake noise.

I remembered having stopped at a sale on the same street a year or so ago, and if this was the same house they had some great stuff!

Sure enough, it was.  And once again, they had some great stuff.

I came home with a carload of fabulous finds.  I shared this photo on my Facebook page at the time.  Lucky I drive a convertible!


One of the items I picked up at that sale was this metal base (that’s it in the front passenger seat too).


I think this was probably the base to an old typewriter stand.  It likely had a wood top with drop leaves on either side.  I was really drawn to the chippy paint and to these cool industrial looking wheels.


I knew Ken would make short work out of cutting a new top for it out of some scrap barn wood that I had lying around.


Sure enough, I came home from work on Monday to find the finished product waiting for me in the carriage house.

I only had to do one more thing.  The newly cut raw edges of the barn wood looked pretty fresh.


We can’t have that!  So I rubbed some antiquing wax into those fresh cuts to ‘dirty’ them up a bit.


So shabby industrial metal base meets farmhouse salvaged barn wood.


I’m showing this little stand used as a small side table, but I also think it would make a great plant stand.  I’m also thinking about using it at Christmas as a tree stand.  I could put a small tabletop sized tree on it.


What do you think?

white is the new orange.

Forget about ‘orange is the new black’, this year white is the new orange.  Well, I suppose it’s been coming for a while, not just this year.  But these days it’s all about the white pumpkin.  Or perhaps the heirloom pumpkin in shades of grey or blue.

I hesitated about jumping on the pumpkin bandwagon this month, but then I saw this paper mache pumpkin at Target in the $1 aisle (although technically I think it cost $3).


It made me think of my painted hatboxes, so I decided to try the same technique on it.

I first painted the pumpkin with two coats of Fusion paint in one of their new colors, Raw Silk.  Then I used Fusion’s transfer gel and added a Paris Opera graphic.


You can see that I didn’t get a perfect transfer of my graphic, but I’m OK with that.  It just makes it look a little tattered which is a good thing in my book.  I finished my pumpkin off with a little raffia tied around the stem.

It’s a not-so-traditional fall decoration that is perfect for me.

For now I’ve added it to my doll bed centerpiece along with a ‘hello fall’ banner and my whisk brooms in cages.


It adds just the right seasonal touch to my dining room table.

a small cupboard.

I picked up this little cupboard at the St. Anthony Park garage sales a month or so ago.


I knew it could be so much better with just a few tweaks.

I had checked before I purchased it to be sure that it would be easy to get that wood inset in the door out of there.  I looked at the back of the door and saw that there were two stops holding in place.  In case you don’t know what that means, this is a ‘stop’ …


It’s a narrow piece of wood, usually nailed in place, that holds the glass in place … or in this case the wood inset.  It was easy to pry that out and then remove that inset.


Be sure to go slowly and pry gently if you are planning to re-use a stop, they are really easy to break (I’m speaking from experience on that one).


You are probably thinking that I removed the wood so that I could replace it with glass, or I could have gone with my favorite trick, grain sack material.  But no, this time I wanted to use old screening.  I just happened to have some!


Yep, I paid a quarter for it at a garage sale!

I cut it to fit and used my stapler to tack it in place.  Then I replaced the shiny brass door handle with this rusty, crusty one full of delicious patina.


And finally, I lined the back of the inside with the pages from an old Swedish bible.


I ended up going with ironstone inside …


But I also tried vintage cameras …


And old clocks …


But the ironstone was definitely what did it for me.


 How about you?

jackson’s cow fields.

Every now and then Mr. Q tells the story about the time he and his friend Jimmy set Jackson’s cow fields on fire.  Mr. Q was … well … let’s just say he was a bit of a rebel in his youth and leave it at that.


That spring he and Jimmy fashioned a ‘polish cannon’ out of Coke cans and made a practice of setting it off out in the cow fields behind Mr. Q’s childhood home in Marine on the St Croix.

Those fields were pretty dry in spring.  It was probably not the best plan to be playing with fire out there.  I’m not even sure I should share the part where the cans were overfilled with lighter fluid and Mr. Q dropped a match in them and swung them around shouting “hey look, it’s a flame thrower!”

Remember, I already admitted he was a bit of a rebel.


Once they realized they had set the field on fire, panic must have set in.  They tried to put it out themselves but eventually realized that wasn’t going to happen and they had to call the fire department.  This was absolutely a last resort because you see, Mr. Q’s dad was the Fire Chief and Jimmy’s dad was the Assistant Fire Chief.  Mr. Q was just hoping that his dad was still at his day job (the fire department was all volunteer) and that someone else would show up.  But no, the fire truck rolled up with both of their fathers riding up front.

The fire was put out and Mr. Q says that several weeks later the fresh new green growth was just lovely.

Back in those days Jackson’s cow fields were just that, cow pasture, but today they are Jackson Meadow.


You can read more about Jackson Meadow on their website.  Basically it’s a housing development based on the cluster-housing model.  Over 70% of the land is preserved as open space.  The houses themselves have a very Scandinavian feel, an homage to the early Swedish immigrants who settled in Marine.


Last Saturday Debbie and I decided to take a scenic fall drive up to Marine for lunch at the Brookside.  After lunch we headed up the hill and noticed a sign for a neighborhood garage sale at Jackson Meadow!  I’d always wanted an excuse to snoop around in there without looking obvious.


 Have you noticed something about Jackson Meadow?  All of the houses are white with galvanized metal roofs.  Their website states that you are not allowed to paint your house any other color than white, and I suspect that there is a huge long list of other requirements for buildings here as well.  Their website also mentions that only “native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plantings” are allowed.  So you can just forget about that Limelight hydrangea if you live here.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.  I definitely think that there is a kind of beauty in the austere buildings set into a natural landscape.  But it also kind of gives me the heebie jeebies.  That feeling of everything is beautiful on the outside, but controlled with an iron fist just beneath the surface.  You can live here, but only if you fit into their very narrow definition of what is acceptable.

It doesn’t help that the last time we were visiting old friends from Marine they mentioned that Jackson’s cow fields were always haunted.  Debbie and I had heard rumors of ghostly goings on in Jackson Meadow, so it was interesting to hear that these stories pre-date the Jackson Meadow development.

Maybe the fact that my sister and I stopped off at the cemetery next was really what left us in a spooky mood.


Not only is it a very picturesque cemetery, but I was betting my sister that they’d have a porta-pottie there and fortunately I was right.  That glass of wine I had with lunch had caught up with me.  Debbie scoffed when I first suggested it, “they don’t have porta-potties in cemeteries!”, oh yes they do!

This particular cemetery has some really cool old headstones too.  It looks like poor Sophrona was only 28 when she died.


After leaving the cemetery, we headed out of town the back way just to admire this stretch of road which is always gorgeous this time of year


By the way, I hope the residents of Jackson Meadow don’t take offense if they see this blog post.  They were all exceptionally friendly and welcoming.  I even came away from their garage sales with this fab vintage find …


But I do wonder if they ever see the ghost of Sophrona wandering around in those fields on spooky misty evenings, don’t you?

the midnight buffet.

Have you ever been on a cruise?  I’ve been on a few, but I rarely manage to make it to the midnight buffet.  I’m usually still full from dinner.  We’ve gone a few times just to look at the carved melons or chocolate sculptures.

But today I’m talking about a different kind of midnight buffet, this is a Midnight Blue buffet.


Here is where it started out.


I was rather undecided about those carved medallions.  Please share your opinion on those with me.  Are they hideous?  Or would they have been kind of fab painted?  Would you keep them, or take them off?  I really wasn’t sure.  So I decided to see how hard it would be to remove them.  As it turned out, not hard at all.  So I took that as a sign and off they came.

They left some glue behind though.  And although I tried my best to sand that off without ruining the veneer, I wasn’t totally successful.  If you look at this piece from just the right angle you can see the splotches.

But I moved on and painted the whole piece in one of Fusion’s new colors, Midnight Blue.


It is the perfect navy blue.  I’m so glad they came out with this color.  I have several chairs that I want to paint in this hue too.


I only used one coat of paint on this buffet.  I was going for a distressed look.  If I’d wanted really solid coverage I would have added a second coat.  I did sand the edges for that distressed look.


I swapped out the original drawer pulls on this piece for some grey knobs that I picked up at World Market.  I think they help give it a slightly updated look.

The top drawer of the buffet has a clever little tray inside for silverware (or whisk brooms).  I replaced the green felt liner with some navy blue fabric that I had on hand instead.


Have I ever mentioned that I have a stash of old whisk brooms?  It may seem strange, but I once saw a wreath made out of them.  So I started grabbing them whenever I saw them at garage sales and I think I may finally have enough for a wreath, but now I’m no longer so sure I want one.  The story of my life.


I particularly love blue handle on this one though.


I have a small confession to make.  Those leaves didn’t just gracefully fall on my buffet for the photos.  I raked up a pile under my maple tree and then sort of scattered them about over the buffet.  It was really kind of fun playing with fallen leaves.


If you happen to be in the mood for a little midnight buffet, this one is for sale.  Check my ‘available for local sale’ tab for updated info.

fall colors.


I took a much needed vacation day from the day job today to rest up after my sale.  I told Mr. Q that my plan was to just do whatever I felt like.  And apparently what I felt like doing was strolling around the garden taking photos to share with you guys.


Fall is such a lovely time in the garden.  Even though things are starting to die back (we’ve had two nights of temps right around freezing this week), the fall colors are just so vibrant.  My Tiger Eye sumac is looking particularly colorful these days.


I went a little ‘old school’ this year on my window boxes.  I found large-ish potted mums at Cub Foods (a local grocery store chain) for $3.33 each.  I wanted to use some in my ‘hello fall’ tool boxes …


and they were so affordable that I went a little crazy and purchased a dozen of them.

So all of my planters got some mums for fall.


With the addition of a little ornamental kale, some cut hydrangea flowers …


and maybe a ‘hello fall’ plate, they look pretty fab for $3.33.


In some cases I left a few of my summer annuals behind because I couldn’t bear to pull them out just yet.


The front window box got its share of mums also.  I’m realizing now that the red and white combo almost looks a little more Christmas-y rather than fall-like.  Lots of the annuals in the front window box are still going strong despite the cold weather including the Jester’s Crown ferns, the variegated ivy and the euphorbia.


The spot where I now have the mums was filled with a gorgeous pink and white caladium for the summer, but caladium can’t handle even the slightest cold weather.  As soon as the temps went below about 50 they started drooping and I had to pull them out.

The baby tears that I planted in this little teacup are still doing well though, I may have to bring this in for the winter because it just looks so sweet.


I bought that little fairy mailbox at a cute little shop in the Linden Hills neighborhood.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a few fall colors here today.  Usually the fall colors peak right about now here in the Twin Cities, but I feel like they aren’t quite there yet today.  Any day now though.


This weekend I’ll be working on a lovely sideboard and maybe a few other small projects, so be sure to check back next week.

vintage grater photo holders.


Over the course of the summer I happened upon five different vintage hand held graters at garage sales.  I love the patina on these old graters, so I thought it would be fun to turn them into something decorative.


I started by adding some Tim Holtz rub-ons.  If you aren’t familiar with those, you can usually find them at Hobby Lobby or Michaels (or other craft stores near you perhaps?) or just google them because I’m sure you can also find them online.


I just added random words, numbers and graphics to each one …


and then clipped on an old photo.


I feel fairly certain that these people ended up having a wonderful life, don’t you think?


I hung them above one of the chippy windows at my sale last weekend.


And they all flew out the door!

They were a fun and easy project, so the next time you see an old grater at a garage sale keep this idea in mind!