this furniture is permanized.

So here’s the truth.  July was a complete bust as far as selling furniture is concerned.  I sold one piece in the entire month, and that was a small table that sold at Reclaiming Beautiful.

I’m not gonna lie, lack of sales is the biggest drain on my creativity.  Sounds mundane and prosaic to depend upon sales for the motivation to get creative, but that’s just how it works for me.

I also tend to start questioning the entire thing when nothing is selling.  Should I give up on the furniture painting hobby completely?  Or am I just painting the wrong pieces?  Is vintage farmhouse style out already?  Should I switch over to entirely mid-mod?  Maybe it’s my color choices.  Should I forget about shades of blue and move on to green?  Should I just paint everything black?


I suspect the answer is a combination of things, but mostly the fact that July is typically just a slow month for furniture sales.  People are spending time at the cabin or taking family vacations, not decorating.

Nonetheless, I decided to make a concerted effort to add a few more mid mod pieces to my line up because the mid-century stuff was selling really well for me for earlier this year.  My friend Sue forwarded a Craigslist ad to me for a 3-piece mid mod bedroom suite, so I contacted the seller and made arrangements to pick it up.

This past weekend I got started on the headboard and the tall dresser.

I wonder how many of you are looking at those photos and thinking yuck!

I have to admit, after I brought these home and took a proper look at them I was sort of thinking I’d made a mistake too.

But paint can perform miracles.  You’ll see.

Although I’m normally not a fan of matching suites of furniture for any room, I decided to keep these two pieces together and paint them as a pair.  I was thinking they’d be perfect for a kid’s room.  They have a bit of a masculine feel to me, so I chose to paint them in Fusion’s Ash (thank you to Fusion for supplying me with the paint).

Let’s just jump right to the ‘after’ and then I’ll share the details of how I got there.

Amazing difference, right?

And here is my little secret.  This makeover was incredibly simple.  I prepped the pieces by removing the hardware, sanding them lightly, cleaning them with Krud Kutter Kitchen Degreaser, and then rinsing with clear water.  Once they dried out, I started with one coat of the Ash.  I almost could have gotten away with just one coat but there were a couple of spots that needed some additional touch up so I added a 2nd coat of paint.

The beauty of Fusion Mineral Paint is that it doesn’t require a top coat.  There is no additional step after prep and painting.  Ta da, you are done.  Well, unless you count putting the hardware back on.

Once the Ash was dry, I taped off the inner cubbies on either side of the headboard and painted them with Fusion’s Mustard.

I know not everyone loves Mustard, although it does pair beautifully with this dark grey (and corn dogs), so I only painted the two sides.  The sliding doors can be pushed to each side creating a solid dark grey piece.

Or, slide the doors to the middle for that pop of Mustard.

I took that photo from a fairly low position which makes those holes for electrical wires look kind of obvious.  In person they aren’t noticeable at all.  They do make it convenient for an alarm clock and a phone charging station though.

The beauty of the sliding doors is that you can move them around any way you like.

The dresser is also painted in Ash.  The insides of the drawers were in pristine condition and there was no need to line them, or paint them Mustard.  Maybe that’s because this dresser was permanized by the world’s largest furniture manufacturer!

Ha!  I don’t know what ‘permanized’ means, but I suspect the real reason that the drawers are so clean inside is because they were all lined with paper.  Not sticky, gross, contact paper but just sheets of loose paper that came right out.  Nice!

 Have you noticed that the knobs and pulls on this piece look just a little bit different in the ‘after’ photos?  Scroll back up and check them out again in the ‘before’ photo.  See?  They were a bright, shiny gold.

To tone them down a bit I sanded them to give them some tooth, and then I coated them with Prima Marketing’s art alchemy Metallique wax in Bronze Age.

This color looks gorgeous next to the dark grey and gives the hardware a more industrialized or masculine look.

I’ve got some of this wax to give away, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.  I’ll try to get it on the schedule for next week, so be sure to keep an eye out for that post.

By the way, the forest fires out west were creating a bit of a haze for us here in Minnesota last Saturday morning when I took these photos.  We were under an air quality alert and that haze definitely affected the quality of the light in my photos.

Anyway, there you have it.  A mid mod makeover that took about one day to accomplish.

Now let’s see if it sells!

If any of you local readers need a mid-mod dresser and headboard, be sure to check my available for local sale page for more details.

the method to my madness.

Whenever I share photos of the haul from a Saturday spent garage saling I get lots of comments from people who say they wish they could find such great stuff themselves.

So I thought I’d share some garage saling tips with you guys today.  Because there definitely is a method to my madness.

Tip no. 1 – shop neighborhood sales.

This is a biggie.  It’s my number one tip because it’s definitely the most important one.

I like to focus on neighborhood sales for the simple reason that it’s efficient.  My sister and I can often hit 50 – 60 sales in one morning at a neighborhood sale because they are all close together.  The more sales you visit, the greater your chances of finding something good.  I’d say there is about one good sale for every 10 or so lame ones.  You know, the ones where you wonder why the people didn’t just rent a dumpster.

If you don’t know whether or not there are any neighborhood sales in your area, try checking the Craigslist garage sale postings frequently.  Some of our neighborhoods are still really old school and post ads in the newspaper too.  Once you find them, be sure to keep track of when they are held.  Most neighborhoods stick with the same weekend (like the 3rd weekend in August for example) every year.

There are two distinct neighborhood garage sale seasons here in the Twin Cities.  The spring season starts the last weekend in April and runs until the end of June.  The sales totally dry up by the 4th of July and tend to not resume again until late August and then run through the end of September.  I’m trying to wait patiently for them to kick in again this year.

Tip no. 2 – the early bird gets the worm.

I can’t stress this one enough.  The good stuff goes fast.  You have to get out there as soon as the sales open.  In general we usually find our best buys before 10 a.m.  After that the finds are hit or miss.

Tip no. 3 – shop the first day.

Everything I said above also applies to shopping the first day of a sale.  As you all know, I have a day job.  Every once in a while I can take a Thursday or Friday off work to get to one of the sales that starts on those days, but for the most part I stick with ‘Saturday only’ sales.

Tip no. 4 – going back for something.

At the Linden Hills sales earlier this year I purchased three large pieces of furniture plus two chairs at the very first sale we stopped at that morning.  Clearly all of that would have filled up my sister’s SUV and we would have been done for the day, which was not an option.  So instead I asked the proprietor if I could come back for everything later in the day.  I’ve done this quite a few times and I have yet to have anyone refuse to allow it.

However, if you’re worried about whether or not your stuff will still be there when you come back I have a great tip for you.  Take just one drawer (or shelf) with you.

Brilliant, right?  I learned that tip from my garage sale mentor’s sister.

If you take a drawer there is no chance the person can sell the piece out from under you.

Also, be sure to make note of the address and get the proprietor’s phone number.

Tip no. 5 – study the map ahead of time.

Most of the neighborhood sales around here provide a map and a listing of the sales.  Oftentimes they also include either a little blurb from the seller about what they have, or a chart of some kind indicating whether they have kid’s clothes, baby stuff, furniture, antiques, etc.  In most cases (although not always) the map and listing is available online in advance of the sale, usually at the neighborhood’s website.

For an example, check out this link to see the map and listing from the Linden Hills sales last May.  The sale we went to first was the one that listed “Vintage furniture, linens & books. Some small antiques.”  And that’s where I scored all of that furniture!

So if possible, study the map ahead of time.  Find the sales that have the sort of items you are looking for and be sure to head to those first.

Tip no. 6 – when all else fails.

When all else fails, money is no object, and you just can’t find any neighborhood sales, it’s time to head to your favorite outdoor antique market instead.  We have quite a few of these in our area and next weekend is one of the best, Oronoco Gold Rush.

My sister and I plan to head there again this year.  We don’t usually buy a lot because the prices are definitely higher than garage sale prices, but we do enjoy checking it all out.

And if nothing else, we’ll definitely come home with some homemade fudge.

I hope some of these tips were useful to you.  Do you have a favorite neighborhood sale in your area?  Or maybe an outdoor antique market that you always like to visit?  Anybody else going to Gold Rush this year?  If so, I’d love to hear from you in a comment.

the scented garden, part 2.

Welcome to part two of our tour of Jackie’s beautiful scented garden (if you missed part one, you can find it here).

Today I thought we’d start at the front of the house and then work our way back to the potting shed and greenhouse.

Right out at the street Jackie has a ‘free library’.  Do they have these where you live?

The basic concept is simple.  People put books in, people take books out.  Anyone can just help themselves.  My neighbor nnK has one and it’s amazing how many people stop off to exchange books.

I love the way Jackie’s fountain is surrounded by different varieties of hosta.

And check out this guy hanging out on the edge …

We don’t generally have a lot of gators here in Minnesota, but that one looks pretty content.

I have to admit that I felt quite a bit of envy when I saw Jackie’s amazing front porch.

Jackie mentioned that when they added this porch on they wanted it to be spacious enough, but when it was finished it seemed a bit too expansive while still empty.  But once she had some furniture in place, it was just right.

Doesn’t that look like the ideal spot to sit and have your morning coffee?

I love that she has that giant glass front cupboard out there.  She says it stays out there year round.  It’s somewhat protected from the elements because the porch is covered.

The porch makes a great spot in summer for plants that can’t handle full sun.

You’ll pass lots of beautiful flowers on your way from the front of Jackie’s house towards the back.

You can just see the edge of the potting shed from the sidewalk.

I absolutely love those white spiky flowers.  They are called Actaea racemosa, or Fairy Candles or Black Cohosh or Bugbane (boy, this one has a lot of names!)  I think I need to add some to my own garden.

As you’re about to find out, Jackie doesn’t really use her potting shed for potting.

Instead it is filled with many of Jackie’s vintage goodies.

Besides, in addition to the potting shed, Jackie also has a greenhouse where she can do her actual potting.  I didn’t do a great job of getting photos of it though because I was distracted by the Black & Blue Salvia that she had growing all around it.

There was a hummingbird flitting around these plants too, so it was hard for me to focus on the job at hand.

You can catch a glimpse of it off to the right in this next photo though.

If you follow that brick pathway around the corner you’ll end up at this lovely spot.

And this is where our tour concludes.  I hope you enjoyed seeing Jackie’s garden as much as Debbie and I did.  A big thank you goes out to Jackie for letting me share it here on the blog!

it’s a million miles from the morning light.

It’s the darkest hour
Of the darkest night
It’s a million miles
From the morning light

Anybody else remember that song by Gary Moore, Midnight Blues?  I’m probably dating myself again.  Well, if you’re in the mood for some bluesy guitar riffs check it out on YouTube.

But if you’re in the mood for some bluesy furniture, stick with me.

Let’s start at the beginning with a ‘before’ photo.

If you’re paying attention to details in the photo you might guess that I brought this dresser home last spring before there were any leaves on the trees.  But actually I brought this dresser home in spring of 2017.

I initially wanted it for its mirror frame.  I turned that into a chalkboard way back then, but I’ll be darned if I can find the blog post about it!  I’ve done so many that they are all starting to blend together in my mind.

But anyway … that left the dresser.  Which then sat in my carriage house for over a year.  I hate storing furniture that long.  It’s not good for the furniture.  My carriage house is damp, stinky and full of critters like spiders and mice and possums, oh my!

However, as you can see from the photo, this one was already in terrible shape so I suppose another 16 months or so in storage didn’t do too much additional damage.  I finally pulled it out a few weeks ago to get started on it.

First my handyman Ken had to do some work.  The top of the dresser had split its seam, so he took it off and repaired it with glue and dowel pins.  Then reattached it to the dresser.  Ken wasn’t entirely happy with the repair because he wanted the seam to be invisible.

I try to explain to him that I like the rustic look.  As long as the piece is sturdily glued and isn’t going to fall apart, I’m happy with a non-perfect look.

Once the repair was done, I stripped the finish from the top, sanded it down and then waxed it with Miss Mustard Seed’s Antiquing Wax.

I painted the rest of the piece with Homestead House milk paint in Midnight Blue.

I’d say this color is certainly a million miles from the morning light.  It’s the most gorgeous deep, rich, navy blue.  The color of darkest night.

You might be wondering why I chose the milk paint version of the paint rather than the Fusion acrylic version of the paint, because both come in Midnight Blue (and if you didn’t already know this, Fusion Mineral Paint and Homestead House Milk Paint come from the same company, as does Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint).  However, I wanted a more aged looking finish on this dresser.  Something that looked more authentically old to match the age of the dresser itself.

Plus, there was quite a lot of texture left on this piece from the previous finish.  I could have sanded that down to bare wood, or stripped it, but I like the look of that texture.  Especially with milk paint.

I also wanted to distress the piece and that is easier to do with milk paint.  You can do it with Fusion, but it just doesn’t have quite the same look and it takes just a little bit more elbow grease (or pre-treatment with Homestead House Salad Bowl Finish, but that’s another subject altogether).

After two coats of the milk paint were dry, I sanded with 180 grit paper and then added a coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s Hemp Oil to give me the darkest version of the color.  Hemp oil will give you a deeper, darker version of your milk paint color while wax will leave the color a little bit lighter.

Also, keep in mind that most water based sealers like the Miss Mustard Seed Tough Coat or The Real Milk Paint Co’s Finishing Cream may look cloudy or streaky over dark colors and neither product is recommended for use over deep, dark colors like this one.

The final obstacle in the makeover of this dresser was the drawer pulls.  Looking at the before picture you might be tempted to think that the originals were pretty fab and could be put back on.  However, in reality they were pretty beat up; bent out of shape, rusty and crusty.  Plus one was missing its bail.  I wanted to replace them with some brass cup pulls but I had a heck of time finding just what I wanted at a reasonable price.

I found what I thought was a great option on Amazon until I realized they came in a five-pack.  Ugh.  A five-pack?  What are they thinking?  Who needs an odd number of pulls?  Well, maybe for a kitchen I suppose.  But I would have had to order two packs at around $25 each and then would have had 4 left over.  I may have been able to use 4 pulls down the road, but who knows.

So instead I ended up with these pulls from Target.  These came in a six-pack which was perfect.  They were $27.99 plus tax.  They also happened to fit the existing holes from the original hardware.

The drawer bottoms for this piece weren’t in really awful shape, but they did show some signs of their age.  So I opted to line them with some fabric that I purchased at a garage sale a couple of years back.

I didn’t have enough of either fabric for all three drawers, so the top drawer got the paisley and the bottom two got the coordinating stripe.  To line drawers with fabric I simply cut the fabric to fit and then use some spray adhesive to hold it in place.  If the future buyer wants to remove it down the road, it will be easy for them to pull it back out and clean off the adhesive residue.  It comes out much more easily than contact paper or, heaven forbid, paper that was decoupaged into place.

I think it goes without saying that this piece was definitely improved.

The cup pulls give it an updated feel.  It’s all spruced up and ready for a new home.

If you are local and need a Midnight Blue dresser check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details!

I’ll be sharing the rest of the tour of Jackie’s garden on Wednesday this week, so be sure to stay tuned.

Please note that Homestead House provided the milk paint used on this dresser, but all opinions are my own.


the scented garden.

A while back one of my readers, Jackie, contacted me to ask if I wanted a free dresser.  After a few messages exchanged and life intervening a bit, Mr. Q and I finally drove to St. Paul to pick it up a little over a week ago.  You guys saw the dresser itself in its ‘before’ state last Friday …

When we pulled up to Jackie’s house to pick it up I immediately knew I was in for a treat.  Her gardens were spectacular.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera with me at the time.  But it didn’t take me long to convince Jackie to let me come back the next day with my camera so that I could share her garden with all of you.

Not only did I bring my camera when I went back, but I also brought my sister so that she could take notes and ask questions while I took photos.  Plus I just knew that Debbie would really enjoy meeting Jackie and seeing her lovely gardens.

That is a breadseed or opium poppy above.

We’d actually been wandering around Jackie’s garden for quite a while before we realized that there was an underlying theme to most of the plants … scent.  Jackie is partial to plants that are known for their scent.

For example, the plant in that no. 8 crock is Popcorn Cassia, and guess what it smells like … yep, hot buttered popcorn.  It really does!

Some of Jackie’s other scented plants included Lemon Verbena, Soapwort (or Bouncing Bet), a variety of herbs and a fantastic collection of scented geraniums.

Much like the common white garden geraniums in my photo of the dresser above, scented geraniums are also not true geraniums.  Both are actually Pelargoniums, but while the common garden geraniums are grown for their flowers, the scented versions are grown for their amazing fragrance.  Some of the scents include rose, lemon, mint, apple and cinnamon.

Pelargoniums are not hardy enough to face a Minnesota winter outdoors, but you can easily overwinter them in the house.

But lest you think that Jackie’s garden is all about smell, there is also plenty to delight the eye as well.

I fell in love with quite a few of her beautiful statues, planters and other garden ornaments.

And I quickly realized we were kindred spirits because her most frequent answer when asked where she got something was ‘an estate sale’.

Jackie also clearly shares my love of all things rusty …

as well as all things vintage …

I love the way she has used indoor pieces outside like this stool that holds a potted plant.

She has several mirrors placed strategically throughout the garden that make the view seem expansive.

She has a couple of old bikes in her garden which reminded me that I’ve always wanted one myself.  I need to be on the lookout for one of my own.

Jackie has some unique plants in her garden that I’m definitely going to look into adding to my own too.

I have no idea what that plant is called, but Jackie is fairly sure that she purchased it at Tangletown Gardens so next year when Debbie and I hit the Tangletown neighborhood garage sales we’re definitely going to stop in at the nursery and see if they have this plant.

I’m not sure what this next flower is either, but the bees sure loved it.

I’m totally envious of the bricks that Jackie has used throughout the garden, both as pathways and as edging.

Once upon a time all of the streets in Minneapolis and St. Paul were made of brick.  Over the years those brick surfaces were either simply covered over with asphalt or ripped up and redone.  When they were ripped up, the bricks were just up for grabs.

There has been some effort made lately to salvage and restore some of the few remaining brick streets in the cities though, which is a fabulous thing.

If you pay attention, you may see a few other interesting items interspersed throughout Jackie’s paths and patios too.

There is so much more to see, but I’m going to have to break this out into two separate posts because I’m running out of time to get this post finished.

But I’ll be back next week to share Jackie’s potting shed, front porch and green house so be sure to stay tuned!

And in the meantime, have a fabulous weekend.  I hope to get some furniture painted and maybe I’ll get in a little gardening too, how about you?

you’re gonna need a bigger boat.

A week ago Monday evening Mr. Q and I were chilling out watching Jaws.  Did you know that Jaws was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry?  They deemed it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.  Some people consider it one of the greatest movies of all time.

I think it’s the whole ‘summer at the beach’ vibe of the movie that really appeals to me.  It’s certainly not the incredibly hokey looking shark.

The beach scene with Chief Brody looking tense as he scans the water for shark fins while everyone else is laughing, playing and simply enjoying the day is one of my favorites.  I bet we can all relate to feeling like the one person who is responsible, who can’t just sit back and have fun but has to make sure that everyone else is safe.  Or is it just me?

Or maybe it’s just simply all of the 70’s details that really speak to me.  The can of Tab that someone is drinking, the floppy hats, all of those people totally unconcerned about skin cancer and the sound of Olivia Newton John singing “I Honestly Love You” on the radio in the background.  Ahhhh, those were the days.

Whatever it is, Mr. Q and I tend to watch Jaws every summer.  That fact really has very little to do with today’s blog post except that while we were watching the movie I got an email from one of my readers, Monique, who was offering me a free bed frame and mirror.  Not only were they free, but she was willing to swing by with them if I wasn’t busy.

I figured watching Jaws didn’t really constitute being busy, so I said sure!

Monique and her husband pulled in the driveway right as Richard Dreyfus was being lowered into the sea in the shark cage.  So we hit the pause button and went out to see what I was getting myself into.

Fortunately it was nothing nearly as scary as shark infested waters.

In fact, I was a little speechless as Monique started hauling this amazing bed out of her vehicle.

Granted, at that point in time the headboard was actually in two pieces.  The top half had come unglued from the bottom half.  But I knew my handyman Ken would make quick work of using fresh glue and dowel pins to put them back together again.  As it turned out, he was so quick about it that it was already done before I could get around to the ‘before’ picture.  So technically this isn’t a true ‘before’ photo, it’s more of an ‘in between’ shot, post-repairs.

I’m guessing that there are a few of you who are looking at that photo and thinking ‘oh no, she’s not going to paint that bed!’  Yes, it had beautiful veneer.  Yes, I think it’s probably burled walnut.  But the finish was not in good shape and there are a few bits of trim here and there that are missing.  This bed could have been stripped and refinished, but that would have been a fair amount of work due to all of the carved detail.

Plus, the reality is that this bed will most likely sell much more quickly painted than it would refinished (I hope, fingers crossed).  Dark reddish stained pieces are just not popular right now.

Bottom line, I paint furniture, so this one got painted.  It’s not life and death, there aren’t any giant man-eating sharks involved, it’s just paint.  Down the road when painted furniture is back out, and stained furniture is back in, someone can strip this bed and it will still be gorgeous.

But in the meantime, I’ve painted the bed black using two coats of Dixie Belle’s Caviar.

Once the paint was dry, I sanded to distress the details and then finished it with Fusion’s Black Wax.  I have to tell you guys, Fusion wax is my favorite.  I think it’s the creamiest and easiest to apply of all the waxes I’ve tried.  I apply the wax with a brush, remove the excess with a cloth (or in this case, an old pair of black yoga pants cut into rags) and then wait an hour or two and buff slightly to bring out just a little sheen.  I use a cut up flannel shirt for the buffing.

The carved details on this bed are simply beautiful.

I think a distressed paint job helps make those details more noticeable.

I threw in a few vintage suitcases along with Collette, the dress form, for the photos.

Collette is wearing some lovely vintage jewelry for the occasion.

By the way, the bed does include side rails and slats.  It didn’t come with slats, but I happened to have some on hand and nnK cut them to size for me.

Personally I love the look of a black bed against a white wall … in my case preferably a white ship lap wall like in my own bedroom.

Check out my pinterest board devoted to ‘a pop of black‘ for more inspiration on using black pieces in your home.

For those of you who are local, this bed is for sale.  Be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details!

resistance is futile.

For a while now people have been telling me that I really need to get on Instagram.  I’ve resisted up until now for a couple of reasons.

First of all, it’s not like I have a bunch of spare time on my hands to learn a new medium.  I’m pretty busy with the day job, the gardening, the garage saling, the socializing (thanks again for that amazing pool day bff), the furniture painting and of course the blog writing.

Second of all, I needed to upgrade my phone first.  It’s embarrassing to admit, but I had an ancient windows phone that was not very compatible with Instagram or anything else for that matter.

OK, it wasn’t quite that bad, but close.

So not only did I have to learn how to use Instagram, but I also had to learn how to use a new phone.

And then there is the square photo format.  Not really a big deal, unless you are used to composing all of your shots for a rectangular format.  Suddenly you have to start thinking about how they will look as a square.  Lots of my photos are totally wrong for turning into a square.

But I bit the bullet last week and purchased a new phone.  Once I had the basics down, like being able to answer a call, I decided to download the Instagram app.  Just to explore what it was like.

I set up my account, qisforquandie, and then I followed some of my favorites; missmustardseed, vibekedesign, dreamywhiteslifestyle, savvycityfarmer, lizmariegalvan and frenchcountrycottage.

And you know what I discovered?  Turns out Instagram is like porn for blog readers.  Let’s face it, it’s all about looking at the pictures with very limited text.  It’s total eye candy.

And it all looks so pretty on my new phone, it was hard not be sucked in.

As they say, #resistanceisfutile, #youwillbeassimilated, #wearetheinstagram.

Any other trekkies out there?

Anyway, it’s official, I’m on Instagram.  No worries at this point, I have no plans to give up blogging.  If you still want some substance with your pretty pictures, you need more than Instagram.

But if you are already assimilated, I hope you’ll follow me on Instagram.  And if any of you have favorites that you follow, let me know.  I can always use a little more eye candy in my life.