making it my own.

A bit before Christmas, my sister and I stopped in at Hobby Lobby.  While we were browsing around, I mentioned that I needed a bigger vessel for holding my colored pencils.  So I wanted to look at their galvanized containers.

I found just what I wanted, but unfortunately the storage & organizing pieces weren’t 50% off that day.  I think we all know by now that you should only buy things at Hobby Lobby when they are half off (or with a 40% off coupon).  Otherwise, they are simply 100% overpriced.

As luck would have it, neither of us had thought to bring a 40% off coupon with us either.

I was about to put the item back on the shelf when my sister took from me and said “I need one more thing to get you for Christmas.”  I tried to talk her out of it.  It just made me cringe to see her spend twice as much as she had to for it.  But she brushed me off, pointing out that she wasn’t too worried about the extra $12.50 (the container’s full price was $25).

Here it is …

Yep, definitely overpriced at $25.  But from the start I planned to add a little something to make it my own.

I started by painted the wooden parts of the handle black using Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.  Prior to being painted, the upper part of the handle was a cheap looking wood tone, and the lower part was a bronze color.  I knew black would be more my style.

I distressed the black and then added a clear wax finish.

Next I added a Classic Vintage Label from re.design with prima to the front.

It has so much more personality now, right?

This container is divided into 4 sections, so it’s perfect for organizing my pencils by color.

I was always searching for the different shades of a color with my last storage system, which was basically everything thrown together in a mish mash.

Coloring is entirely a winter hobby for me.  In the summer I’m usually busy out in my workshop in the evening, but this time of year I can’t be out there.  Plus, it’s dark and cold and I really just want to put on some fleecy pajama pants and watch TV on the sofa after working all day.  Unfortunately, that kind of behavior also leads to excessive snacking.  But I find that if I keep my hands busy with something, I’m not as tempted to snack.

The one downside to this plan is that it’s difficult to watch anything in a foreign language (and we do tend to watch a fair amount of foreign stuff).  You can’t really read subtitles and color at the same time.

My favorite coloring books are those by Johanna Basford.  Her World of Flowers book is probably my most favorite.

My niece gave me her Christmas book for my birthday this year, so it’s been fun working on some seasonal designs lately as well.

Now that I have my colored pencils organized properly, I’m sure I’ll be able to crank out a few more pages before spring.

And speaking of making things over in my style, this amazing antique bed is the next project I’ll be tackling.

So be sure to stay tuned to see how it turns out!

the ReStored armoire.

I promised you all a makeover of this armoire this week, and here it is!

I found this antique armoire at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and I fell in love with its potential.  It was in fairly rough shape.  The veneer was chipping off all over the place, one of the back legs was broken, the bottom was warped and coming apart, and the top was lifting off as well.

And here’s the inside.

It felt like this forlorn old armoire had been kicked to the curb.  It had been marked down at the Restore so I suspect that it had been there awhile because no one wanted to tackle a piece in such rough shape.  I just had to save it and give it a new life.

I started by getting Ken to come over for a consultation.  We came up with a two-step plan. First up was fixing the back leg and shoring up the bottom.  Ken added some new support pieces underneath the bottom.  He also repaired the back leg.  Meanwhile, I glued up a bunch of loose veneer and added some Dixie Belle Mud filler where needed.

The second part of our plan was to add shelves to the right side of the cupboard to make it more functional for storage.  I don’t think too many people really need an armoire with space for hanging clothes, shelves seem much more practical.

Now this piece is perfect for clothing.  You can keep your undies, socks, etc in the drawers and then stack your jeans, sweaters and t-shirts on the shelves.  I keep my clothing in a cupboard with shelves and I think it’s much easier to find things on the shelves rather than in a drawer.

As you can see, I painted the inside of the cupboard in Dixie Belle’s Apricot.  I thought it would be fun to have a pop of color on the inside.  At first I was a bit worried that this would make it too ‘girly’, but then I realized that the lines of this armoire were a bit girly anyway so why not go with it?

And if you’re going to go girly, you might as well go all the way and add a gorgeous floral transfer right?

This is just about 1/3 of the Wondrous Floral II transfer from re.design with prima.

By the way, I added two coats of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat to the interior of the armoire.  I wanted those shelves to have some extra durability.

Since my plan included painting the exterior in a shade of white, I decided to hedge my bets and add a coat of Dixie Belle’s BOSS to the outside first.  BOSS will block stains, and that original exterior stain looked to me like it could be a bleeder.  I did not use BOSS on the inside because it did not have the same dark reddish color as the exterior.

It only took two coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth to cover over the BOSS (and I used the clear version, not the white version).  It might be my imagination, but I always feel like the BOSS helps light colors cover better.

The Drop Cloth created a perfect neutral background for one of my old favorites, the Seeds transfer.

The front of this armoire definitely needed something to add a little interest.  Without the transfer it was just a large, flat, white space.  I finished the exterior with Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta.

If any of my newer followers are wondering about the dress form, I’ve shared it a few times here on the blog but here is the original post about how I decorated it.  I have to say, it remains one of my all time favorite projects.

I’ve suggested this armoire would be perfect for storing clothing, but really it would provide excellent storage in any number of settings.  It could hold spare bed linens, or you could use it in a large bathroom to hold extra towels and toiletries.  Of if you’re super fancy, you could use it to store your painting supplies in your workshop.

What would you store in this cupboard?

This is normally the part where I mention that this piece is for sale and that you can check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details, but this one is already spoken for.  One of my regular customers stopped by to pick up some other items and got a sneak peek at the armoire.  It will be perfect for her granddaughter’s room.  So yes indeed, I have given this formerly forlorn armoire a new life!

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the products used in this makeover!

talk to the hand.

Today’s post is going to seem totally out of context for January.  I started this small makeover last summer and I never shared it with you guys because quite honestly, I just wasn’t all that happy with the results back then.

But let’s start at the beginning.

I purchased one of these hand shaped signs quite a few years ago online.

I’m willing to bet that many of you have seen one of these yourself.  I think they might have been offered by Decor Steals at one time, and I also see them now and again at local boutiques.  They were a mass produced, reproduction sort of a thing.  One of those things that look really cool in photos, but under closer inspection they look a bit fake-y.

Anyway, I attached mine to the photo cottage and it looked pretty good there … at first.

However, the problem with buying something like this online is that pictures can be deceiving.  This looks like something that can be used outside, right?  And it looks like it’s paint on metal.

Well, that was not the case.  It is metal, but the design is printed on paper that was glued to the metal.  The photo above was taken in 2017 and the hand was starting to look a bit shabby then, despite my spraying it with a clear sealer every spring.

Flash forward to spring 2020, and the hand now looked like this …

Yep, not good at all.

So I decided it was more than time for a refresh.

I took it down, sanded all of the paper off and gave it a paint job using Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

Then I decided to decorate one side with some transfers, and the other with a stencil to see which I liked best.  I started with the stencil …

Nope, don’t like that look at all.

So I tried some transfers on the other side …

Nope.  That look isn’t really working for me either.

So recently I took it down again and started over.  I sanded off the transfer, and decided to go back to black.  So I painted it again, this time with Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.

Then I searched through all of my stencils (and I do have quite a few) and I simply couldn’t find anything that I thought would be perfect for the hand.  So I went online and looked around to see what I could purchase.  I ended up ordering the Fresh Honey stencil from Wallcutz that I shared a couple of weeks ago on the small chair.

It was a perfect fit for the hand.  Well, at least the way I placed it.

I placed the bottom portion of wording vertically, and the rest of it fit perfectly on the palm of the hand.

I’ll admit, I still don’t love this as much as the original look.  But I do like it much more than the first two refurbishments I tried.

I took the photo above the Sunday before Christmas and as you can see we had no snow.

According to MPR, we have around a 70% chance of having a white Christmas each year in the Twin Cities.  I really thought we were going to be in that other 30% this year, but at the last minute (December 23) we got around 5″ of snow during the Holiday Lights Howler (LOL, they just love coming up with clever names for storms, don’t they?) so we had a white Christmas after all.

I have to admit I have mixed feelings about the snow.  I do think it’s really beautiful, and I love nothing more than cozying up on the sofa with a warm blanket while watching it fall.  A layer of white snow on the ground also really brightens up the dark nights, especially if there is a clear sky and a full moon.  I also like how much more quiet my neighborhood gets when there is a little snow on the ground, I don’t know if that’s because the snow dampens sound or if people just don’t go out in it, or maybe it’s a little bit of both.

However, spending most of November and December without snow sure made me realize how much easier it was to get around without it.  I could still get to things I had stored in the photo cottage without having to drag out my boots.

So how about you?  Are you a fan of snow, or do you consider it a four letter word?

imported and domestic.

In my 2020 recap post I mentioned that you guys were going to see more signs made out of old cupboard doors this year.  Now that I know how easy they are to come by at the ReStore, I’ll probably be painting these up when I don’t have any other projects going on.

I picked up 4 cupboard doors that are approx. 13″ x 28″ the last time I was at the ReStore.

You’ve already seen one of them …

I painted up two more of them over the long holiday weekends.  One white, and one black.

The white one is painted in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

I stenciled it with another Wallcutz stencil (I have the 9″ x 20″ size).

Here’s a little tidbit I learned while googling to find that photo of the stencil.  The stencil from Wallcutz (shown above) has a border.  I had to tape that off to get the stencil to fit on my cupboard door.  But guess what, this exact same design is also available from Stencil Revolution, and their version does not have the border.

Interesting.

I’m curious about these two different companies offering what is nearly an identical design.  They obviously don’t create the designs themselves.  Do they buy them somewhere?  Are they using non-copyrighted images that are available to anyone?  I wonder.

Here’s some quick comparisons for you.  The similarly sized version from Stencil Revolution (8″ x 18″) is $18.99.  My Wallcutz stencil was $13.95.  Wallcutz offers free shipping if you spend over $50, Stencil Revolution offers free shipping if you spend over $35.

The Stencil Revolution version has more ‘bridges’ in the letters.  Take a close look at the “G” in each stencil.  The Wallcutz version doesn’t have any bridges, the Stencil Revolution version has three.

It’s a small detail, but if you aren’t a fan of that ‘stenciled’ look, or if (like me) you tend to fill in those bridges with a small paint brush after you’ve stenciled … well, you’ll be doing a lot more of that with the Stencil Revolution version.  Just sayin’.

I’m not affiliated in any way with either of these brands, I’m just sharing the info as I found it.  And I can say that I’m quite happy with the Wallcutz version that I purchased.

For the Drop Cloth sign, I added a small shadow to the words “GENERAL STORE” using Dixie Belle’s Hurricane Grey.  The black is their Midnight Sky.

Much like with the Christmas signs I did in November, I added a couple of wooden knobs along the bottom of the sign so that one could hang something from them.  This time I used the little piggy knobs that I painted up way back in August 2018.

  The transfers on the knobs are from the Farmhouse Delight set from re.design with prima.

Gosh, time flies!  I’ve had these knobs sitting around for 2 1/2 years just waiting for the right project to come along.  For those of you who have followed me that long, can you believe it was so long ago?  In some ways it seems like just yesterday.

I think they worked out rather well on the sign.

I painted a second cupboard door in Midnight Sky.  The stenciling is done with a Hurricane Gray shadow with Drop Cloth over it.

I think the pig knobs worked nicely with the black as well.

I’ll likely end up taking both of these in to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell (and until then they are available locally).

In the meantime, while at the ReStore picking up these cupboard doors I also purchased this …

Ken and I have been hard at work on this one and I hope to be ready to share it with you next week.  So be sure to stay tuned!

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the paint used on today’s signs.

don’t let the door hit ya.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like 2020 is going to be remembered as the year that wasn’t.  So many things were just ‘on hold’ for nearly the entire year, things like travel, neighborhood garage sales, social gatherings, dining in restaurants, and festivals of all kinds.

I think most of us will be happy to see 2020 in the rearview mirror.  So long 2020, don’t let the door hit ya in the ass on your way out.

But then again, as I’m looking back over my blog posts for 2020, I see that it wasn’t all bad.  Once again I managed to crank out a few projects here and there, so let’s review, shall we?

One thing that jumped out at me for 2020 was all of the things I painted white.  Not only do I find that white pieces sell more quickly, but white pieces just really appeal to me.  So I found myself reaching for the white paint quite a lot in 2020.

My current favorite white is Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth (on the bench lower right and the serpentine cabinet with the gold transfers shown above upper left) followed closely by their Sawmill Gravy (on the other two pieces).

Another trend for me in 2020 was working on smaller items rather than larger furniture pieces.  I tend to find the bulk of my furniture pieces on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, but I found myself avoiding interacting with too many strangers in 2020.  To be honest, it doesn’t really make any sense.  I probably encountered more strangers at garage sales than I would have buying furniture online.

None the less, that led to a lot of smalls.  And again, with lots of white!

I didn’t entirely abandon my other favorite color to work with in 2020, black.

And I did also use some color in 2020.

I may have had to dig deep into the archives to find it though.

I also shared quite a few do-overs in 2020.

I was trying to work on things that I already had on hand, and that included a few pieces that hadn’t sold in their original look like the bench and the dresser).  Both of those pieces sold quickly after a do-over.  I also took advantage of the time and made over a couple of my own pieces like my Welsh cupboard and that little folding chair that is now hanging on the wall in my living room.

Then there was also the bench flip that I shared on Monday.

So over all, 2020 wasn’t all that bad.  My storage areas are pretty well cleaned out now, so that means I have a clean slate for starting 2021.

Here’s what I know you’ll see a lot more of from me in 2021 …

Black and white.  Because let’s face it, they are classic and never go out of style.

Signs made out of old cupboard doors.  Now that I know how easy these are to find at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep making lots of them.

Stenciling on unpainted wood.  This was an experiment for me recently, but I really love how it turned out.  I think you’ll see more of this look from me in 2021.

Thrifted items given new life with paint, stencils and/or transfers.  I just love taking a worn out item and giving it a fresh new life.  It’s so satisfying!

And here’s what I dearly hope you’ll see more of from me in 2021 …

Great hauls from neighborhood garage sales.  Because surely the awesome neighborhood sales will be back in business for 2021, right?

Travel posts.  Please, please, please let there be travel in 2021.

Garden posts.  Even if the world opens back up again, I still hope to keep up on my gardening.

Home tours.  Because everybody enjoys an awesome home tour.

So, let’s all raise a glass and ring in 2021.  It has to be an improvement over 2020, right?!

Happy New Year!

a literal furniture flip.

Way back in March I shared this bed …

I’d gotten it at a neighborhood garage sale, and it did not come with its side rails.  But the former owners assured me it was a twin sized bed and that they used it with a twin mattress, they had just misplaced the side rails.

So after giving it a makeover with some Dixie Belle paint in Sawmill Gravy and the Cosmic Roses transfer from re.design with prima, I sold it as a ‘twin bed’.  One of my regular customers purchased it, and then purchased some metal side rails to use with it.  But after monkeying around with it to get a twin mattress to fit, she determined that this was not a twin sized bed but rather a 3/4 bed.

Lesson learned:  always measure myself.

If you aren’t familiar, 3/4 beds are somewhere in between the size of a twin bed and the size of a full (or double) bed.  It’s a little bit difficult to find a 3/4 mattress, although they can be found online.  I imagine it would be equally difficult to find bedding, especially if you want a fitted sheet that actually fits.  Jumping through those hoops might be worth it for a really spectacular antique bed, but certainly not for this one.

You can buy side rail extender thingies to turn a 3/4 bed into a full sized bed, and that probably would have worked out OK here.  You end up with a few inches of mattress sticking out past the headboard on either side.  I’ve done something similar with the bed in our own principle bedroom, I’ve converted an antique full bed to fit a queen mattress.

You could also modify some side rails to fit a twin bed, thus leaving a few inches of head board sticking out from either side of your mattress.

In this case however, my customer wanted a twin bed.  And she also wanted to place it in a corner so both the headboard and the side of the bed would be up against a wall.  That meant that having a couple of extra inches of width to the headboard would have left a gap between the mattress and the wall.  Not a good plan for a small child’s room.  Can you just imagine how many things would get stuck between the bed and the wall (including the child)?

So, long story short, I took the bed back.

Then I considered my options.  Re-market it as a 3/4 bed modified to fit a full?  Or turn it into a bench.

I’d chosen not to turn it into a bench initially because the footboard was far too low to work for creating sides to the bench like in all of the previous benches that my handyman/neighbor Ken has made.  Usually he cuts the foot board in half and creates arm rest type sides, like in this example …

But then I thought perhaps we (and by ‘we’, I mean Ken) could make an ‘armless’ bench using just the headboard.  That would have been OK.  But I really wanted to incorporate the foot board somehow.  Then a lightbulb went off in my head.  Why not flip the foot board the other way around, so that the flat part was at the top and the curved part at the bottom.  And then use it as the front of the bench.

My first job was to convince Ken that this was do-able.  He always doubts his ability, while I always believe he can work miracles.

So I sent the foot board home with him to see what he could come up with.  Sure enough, he was able to remove the center section from the legs, flip it around and re-attach it to the legs at just the right height for a seat.

Ta da!  See?  I knew Ken could do it.

After flipping the foot board, Ken added his usual planked seat.

  Don’t ask me how he does that, he just works his magic and I get to see the completed piece when he’s done.

I was able to retain the Cosmic Roses transfer on the headboard.  I just had to touch up the existing paint in a few spots and also paint the new portions of the bench.  I decided to paint the back of the headboard this time around too.  You never know when someone is going to want to place a bench in a spot where the back is visible.

I decided to play up the floral motif of the transfer when staging the photos for this bench.  Plus, Christmas is over, it’s time to start thinking spring, right?!

I added an old wooden berry tote with some pots and some lavender.  Then I painted up a cupboard door sign in a very similar shade of green.  The paint on the tote is original, but the sign is painted in Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.  I sanded it well to distress the finish, then added a coat of clear wax followed by a coat of antiquing wax.  It’s not exactly the same color, but it’s close.

So, the 3/4 bed is now a bench.  And it’s available for sale if any of you local readers are interested.

If you ever come across a 3/4 bed and you just don’t want to deal with trying to fit a mattress to it, you could consider turning it into a bench.  And if you have a piece that isn’t working ‘as is’, considering flipping it!

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint used on this bench, and to re.design with prima for providing the transfer.

good tidings of comfort and joy.

I thought I’d squeeze in one more holiday post before the big day.

On Monday I shared a sweet little chair that I revamped using a stencil from Wallcutz (you can find them on Etsy).  Well, when I ordered that Fresh Honey stencil, I also ordered a couple of others including some Christmas stencils.  I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get anything completed and out to the shop to sell before the end of the holiday season this year, but there’s always next year right?

Plus, I wanted to make something for myself.  Shocker, right?  Nine times out of 10, I’m making things to sell.  But I wanted a black, stenciled sign for my own house.  I made up this one earlier in the month …

I loved it, but the dimensions weren’t quite right for the spot I had in mind.  So I sold it.

Then I saw this stencil from Wallcutz.

North Pole Stencil – WallCutz

Pretty adorable, right?

So I went back to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and found some more cupboard doors that it would fit on.

I painted mine in Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky, and stenciled it using French Linen for a shadow (just around the words North Pole) …

and Drop Cloth for the 2nd layer of stenciling.

I sanded everything, and this is definitely one of those cases where sanding all of the edges really brought out a lot of detail.

I hung it in this spot for getting some suitable photos of it, but ultimately it’s going to go on the wall behind the piano.

You can catch just a glimpse of my non-collected Christmas village in the background of the photo above.  I put it up on my giant pine cupboard.  I love the way it looks all lit up at night.

I use things like vintage suitcases, old books and game boxes to create varying heights.

And this year I put Ebenezer’s house in a bird cage.

So, probably not your typical Christmas village set up, but I like it.

These pieces are all from the Dept 56 Dickens Village.  If you buy them new they are silly expensive.  But I’ve gotten all of mine at either garage sales or thrift stores.  I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $15 and usually it’s less.

I also want to share the throw pillow on my chair …

I found that at the Turn Style consignment store in Roseville for only $10.50.  They had quite a few of them when I was there last week.  I don’t know if they have a big post-holiday sale on Saturday or not, but some of you locals might have a shot at getting one even cheaper.

And on that note, I wish you all good tidings of comfort and joy!  Mr. Q and I will be enjoying a quiet Christmas this year with my niece and sister.  I have a couple of year-end wrap up posts planned over the next week, but other than that I plan to just chill out, rest up and get ready to ring in 2021.  It has to be an improvement on 2020, don’t you think?

an experiment.

This summer I picked up another kid-sized chair at the Lowry Hill & East Isles sales.

There it is on the right hand side of this photo …

My original plan was to paint it and put a Christmas stencil on it like the ones I did last year.  But as it turned out, the seat was a bit smaller on this one and I didn’t like the way any of the Christmas stencils fit on it.

Then I ordered some new stencils from an Etsy vendor called Wallcutz, including this one …

honey bee stencil farm fresh honey stencil reusable stencil image 0

I purchased it for another project (which I’ll be sharing soon), but I realized that in addition to being quite adorable, it was also the perfect fit for the chair.

So this past weekend I pulled the chair out of the carriage house.

And one thing that struck me about it was that the finish was in pretty darn good shape.

Normally I would automatically paint a piece like this.  After all, painting furniture is what I do, right?  Also, my experience tells me that painted pieces almost always sell better than unpainted pieces.  At least historically.  That being said, I’m noticing that more and more people are returning to wood finishes instead of paint (which frankly is kind of a bummer for me).

So I thought I’d try a little experiment with this chair.  Rather than painting it, I decided to just add the stencil to the seat leaving the wood finish ‘as is’.  Well, sort of ‘as is’, I did sand the seat lightly to make sure the stencil paint would adhere well.

I used my method for adding a little bit of a shadow to the word ‘honey’.  Basically I stenciled just that word first using Dixie Belle’s Putty, then once dry, I moved the stencil just a hair up and to the right and then stenciled the entire design using DB’s Drop Cloth.

It’s such a simple thing, yet it adds so much depth to the stencil, don’t you think?

Once the paint was dry, I sanded lightly over the seat with 220 grit sand paper to smooth out the surface.  Then I added a coat of clear wax to the entire chair.

I staged my photos with a couple of tiny pieces of ironstone.

As someone who loves both miniature versions of things and ironstone, these are a couple of my favorite things.  Especially that little tureen, it’s only about 4″ tall.

So, now it remains to be seen.  Will this chair sell?  I’ll keep you posted on that.

Or maybe one of you local readers wants to snatch it up?  If so, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page.

In the meantime, what do you think?  Do you prefer items that are painted?  Or do you think this chair works ‘as is’?

getting lucky at the restore.

My sister and I headed over to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore the other day.  I wanted to pick up a few more cupboard doors to use to make signs.  I found 4 good sized doors for $4 each, but before heading out we took a quick look around and I also found this fabulous little primitive cupboard.

I knew this would be a fun project to work on, and that a little paint and a transfer would really make it shine.

I started by sanding it lightly, then giving it a good cleaning.  Then I painted the inside in Dixie Belle’s Gravel Road and the outside in their Sawmill Gravy.

Once the paint was dry, I sanded heavily because I wanted a lot of distressing on this one.

Next I pulled out an old IOD transfer called Specimens and applied it to the front of the cupboard.

I only used the bottom half of the transfer, and that was perfect.

Next I added clear wax to the entire thing.  I also added some heavy duty D-rings to the back so that it could be hung on the wall.

This cupboard has a clever little latching mechanism for keeping the door shut (it totally reminded me of the one on the washstand I shared a while back).

I’m always a sucker for these sort of primitive details, how about you?

I was channeling my inner Nina Hartmann when staging this one.

Are any of you familiar with her work?  I’ve mentioned her a few times here before.  I have several of her books, and they can be hard to come by here in the U.S.  I ordered the latest one, Living with Swedish Antiques, directly from her website (to order click on webshop, then books).  Don’t be totally freaked out by the price, it is shown in Swedish krona.  That being said, her books aren’t cheap.  After converting krona to dollars, I ended up paying around $80 for this one, including shipping.

The book on the bottom of the stack, among vintage & friends, is also totally fabulous.  Here’s a page from that one …

I think you can probably see why it appeals to me.

But I think my favorite book of hers is My home with vintage & antiques.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any tips on how to acquire either of these older two books.  They are out of print and priced exorbitantly if you can even find them online.  So I apologize for telling you all about how amazing they are, and then following it up with ‘and by the way, you can’t get them anywhere.’  But you can get her newest book, so you may want to jump on that.

The primitive look of this cupboard, the color of the Sawmill Gravy (white with a hint of grey), the crackled ironstone and the mostly bare evergreen are all inspired by Nina’s style.

I love how this little cupboard turned out.  Once again, I’m tempted to keep this one.  Or maybe swap it out for some other piece I already have.

But then again, maybe I’ll just be happy to see it go to a good home.  So if any of my local readers are interested, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

So, how about you guys, are any of you already fans of Nina Hartmann?  or just simply fans of pale, painted wood pieces with lots of character?

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the paint used on this cupboard.

goldilocks and the 3 grays.

I purchased this sofa table at the Goodwill nearly a year ago.

I struggled to get a good ‘before’ photo of it.  You can’t really tell, but the top is that sort of yellow-ish, shiny wood finish that was popular in the 90’s and the base is a dark forest green.

I’m not really sure why I grabbed this piece, except that the price was right and I figured it would be a quick makeover.

I knew I wanted to strip the top, and that’s a summer job for me.  I prefer to avoid stripping pieces in the house during the winter.  So I set this table aside for a few months.  Then last summer I stripped the top.  After I had it down to bare wood, I decided I liked the pale color but it was still a bit too golden.  So I white washed it using Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth (check out this post if you want to learn more about white washing).

After white washing, I added a top coat of clear wax.

I loved how the top turned out, so next I moved on to painting the base.

I thought it would work well to stick with the pale color scheme, so I painted the base in Dixie Belle’s French Linen.  Normally I like French Linen, but for some reason it didn’t work on this piece.  It just looked strangely washed out.  I thought maybe the piece needed more contrast between the top and the base , so I pulled out the Gravel Road next and re-painted the base.

But you know what?  I didn’t like that either.  It was too dark.

So I did what I tend to do in this situation.  I threw a drop cloth over it and used it to stack stuff on out in the carriage house for a few more months.

Flash forward to a week or so ago.  I had ordered some more Gravel Road from Dixie Belle, but somehow they sent me their Hurricane Gray by mistake.  At first I was slightly bummed by this mistake, but then I realized that the Hurricane Gray might actually be just perfect for the base of this table.

Here’s a comparison of the these three shades of gray.

That’s French Linen on the left, Hurricane Gray in the middle and Gravel Road on the right.  If the French Linen was too pale, and the Gravel Road was too dark, maybe the Hurricane Gray would be just right.

So I pulled the table out of ‘storage’ and repainted the base once again.

Perfect.

I staged it up with a few of my favorite things.

I think it works to balance the cool tones of the black & white photo and the Hurricane Gray  with the warm golden tones of the lamp, clock, books and old wooden crate .

A little bit of paint gave a fresh new look to a rather tired, dated looking piece, don’t you agree?

Hopefully the neutrality of this piece will help it sell quickly.

Speaking of which, if any of my local readers are in need of a sofa table, be sure to check out the details on my ‘available for local sale‘ page.

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the products used for this project.