the travel bug.

I didn’t really see the irony in that blog title until I actually typed it.

I guess there are two ways of looking at having the ‘travel bug’ these days.  Fortunately, so far, I only have the traditional travel bug.  That is, a strong desire to travel.  I do not have COVID-19, the other ‘travel bug’.

I’d go on here about how it seems like once you no longer have the opportunity to do something, that’s when you really want to do it.  That doesn’t really fit though, because I always really want to travel and that hasn’t changed as a result of COVID-19.  Although now that I can’t go anywhere, not even to my favorite thrift stores, I have been daydreaming more about traveling and all of the places we would like to go.

Mr. Q and I actually have already booked our next trip.  I still remember when we decided on it way back last summer.  We were dining on the deck and Mr. Q was perusing the latest Princess cruises brochure.

At the time we weren’t even really thinking about another cruise, but he came across one that really looked intriguing.  As we studied the ports of call I realized that we could check out several places I’ve always wanted to see; Bruges, Giverny (to see Monet’s gardens) and Madurodam (seriously, check this place out, especially if you’re into miniature things like I am).

The itinerary is called European Capitals, which is a little bit of a misnomer.  It sails round trip from London and the ports of call are:

Hamburg, Germany – theoretically for Berlin, which is a capital, but is really rather far away from the port.

Aarhus, Denmark – not a capital

Copenhagen, Denmark – OK, finally, a real capital

Gothenburg, Sweden – again, not the capital (and in this case, I really wish it went to Stockholm instead)

Oslo, Norway – another real capital

Rotterdam, Netherlands – not a capital

Bruges, Belgium – not a capital

Le Havre, France – also not a capital, but much like Berlin, you can get to Paris from here but it’s a lengthy trip

So technically speaking, only two of the eight ports are actual capitals.  Maybe they should have named this itinerary the A Handful of European Capitals, or Close, but No Cigar to European Capitals.  But we don’t care, we are just as interested in seeing these non-capital cities.

Only two of them are repeats for both of us, Copenhagen

and Oslo

both of which we love and are happy to return to.  I’ve also been to Aarhus, but that was 25+ years ago on my very first trip to Europe with my mom (it was also my first ever visit to an open air museum and I loved it).  I’m betting it has changed a bit since then.

We got a great deal when we booked.  Free tips, a $300 ship board credit and we only had to pay a $200 deposit.  We were also given a free upgrade a couple of months ago, from a balcony to a mini-suite.  That has never happened to us before!

So we’d been feeling pretty excited about this trip.

And then COVID-19 happened.

And in the early days all of the bad press seemed to be focused on cruise ships … even specifically Princess cruise ships.

Still, we figured our trip was far enough out (it’s in September) that we’d be fine.  I’m starting to wonder about that a little bit more now that things have really gone downhill.  But, we have almost six months before our trip.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all will be well by then.  Or at least well enough for people to begin traveling again.

In the meantime, all we can do is day dream about travel right now.  If you need some help with that, check out all of my travel posts by selecting the travel category under ‘stuff.’ over on the right side of your screen (if you’re using a computer to view the blog, if not, try this link).

So tell me, if this COVID-19 thing wasn’t happening and you could go anywhere right now, where would it be?


a tad boring.


This has been a crazy week, I’m sure most of you can relate.  As many of you know, I have a day job working in municipal government.  I don’t share much about that here because that’s part of my boring, 9 to 5, accountant persona.  It’s not terribly exciting to share, but I do love my work there.

Here in Minnesota, our governor has finally issued an order for non-essential workers to Stay at Home starting tonight at midnight.  We were anticipating that he would do so, so I spent most of the week preparing for the possibility that I would have to work from home.  I won’t be able to do all of my work from home, but I can do a good portion of it here.

So this week has been spent scrambling to put things in place in preparation for the Stay at Home order over the next two weeks.  It has been a strange combination, being really busy at the day job and then going home and feeling like I had absolutely nothing to do.  Even though not all of our businesses have been closed yet, I’ve been trying to avoid public contact whenever possible so Mr. Q and I have been staying in and binge watching M.A.S.H.

I’ve also been at a loss for a good blog post for today.  All I worked on this week was a simple pair of candlesticks from the thrift store.

I purchased these because I liked the beefy size of them.  They weren’t horribly ugly or anything, maybe just a tad boring.

I decided they might look pretty fab with a rusty finish, so I pulled out some Dixie Belle products.

I started by painting them with a base coat of Dixie Belle’s Caviar, a basic black.  Once that dried, I added two coats of the Iron paint from their Patina Collection.  Before the 2nd coat of the Iron paint had a chance to dry, I sprayed them with the Green spray.

After waiting about 24 hours, they had developed some rusty patina.

It’s definitely an improvement, but I wanted a little bit more rust.

But I have found that when using these products, the rust continues to develop over time.  So last night I checked them out to see if they had gotten any rustier since last weekend.

They look a little rustier for sure.

I’m debating putting them outside to encourage even more rusting, like I got with the planters I painted last summer.

Hmmm, watching candlesticks turn rusty … seems like ‘a tad boring’ is a bit of theme today.

How about you?  How are you coping with the pandemic?  Working from home?  Having to close your business entirely?  Missing your family?  Running out of toilet paper?  Got any great ideas for relieving the boredom?

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the Patina products used for today’s project.  You can find their products here.


the spring flowers bed.

I hope that all of you are surviving the pandemic.  We had my sister and niece over for a game night on Saturday.  We did our best to practice safe socializing.  First off, I thoroughly cleaned the house including using sanitizing wipes on all of the door knobs and handles.  Next, I used individual plates and small bowls for the game night snacks so that no one was sharing from one bowl.  My niece refrained from tasting my Jose’ Cuervo Cherry Limeade Margarita (although normally she would have).  No hugs were exchanged, and my sister and niece stayed on their side of table and we stayed on ours.

Naturally we played Pandemic.

We’ve been playing this game since before it was trendy.  If you aren’t familiar, it’s a co-operative game, which means that everyone works together for a common goal.  In this case, saving the world from diseases.  Either we all win or we all lose.  Each player takes on a role such as Quarantine Specialist, Medic or Researcher and has specific skills to use in trying to defeat four diseases before they multiply uncontrollably.

Sadly, we aren’t that good at the game.  We lost every single time on Saturday.  I hope that’s not a sign.

Earlier on Saturday, I worked on a bed that I brought home from a garage sale last summer.

It was a freebie.  I had considered having Ken make it into another bench but the foot board is too short for that to work.  So, it stays a bed.

I started by sanding it down, cleaning it with TSP substitute and then painting it with two coats of Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy.

Once dry, I sanded to distress and then waxed the foot board with clear wax.  I held off on waxing the headboard so that I could add a transfer.

Always remember, don’t try to apply a transfer over freshly applied wax.  You’ll end up with a sticky mess as the friction from rubbing the transfer heats up the wax.  You can wait until the wax cures (about 30 days), but that’s not terribly practical.  I prefer waiting to wax over the entire piece after the transfer is added.

Next I pulled out with prima’s Cosmic Roses transfer.

The full transfer was a bit too tall for the headboard, so I decided to just use the floral bunches in the two opposite corners.  I’ll save the middle cluster of flowers for another project.

I simply trimmed around them before removing the backing paper.

I also changed the placement of some additional segments, like the Spring Flowers above.

Always keep in mind that you don’t have to use these transfers exactly as they come out of the tube.  You can get creative with trimming and re-arranging them to customize them for your piece.

Unfortunately this bed did not come with its side rails.  I have two pair of spare side rails in my carriage house (left over from beds that became benches), and sadly neither one of them fit the existing slots on the bed.

I’m going to try and sell it without the rails first, but if that doesn’t fly I’ll order a set of bolt-on rails from Amazon (like this one which is only $34).  I know some people will only purchase an item that is ready to go, while others are OK with having to add the rails themselves.  I’ll just have to see how that goes.

By the way, remember the bookshelf I shared last week?  Wouldn’t it be a great companion piece for this bed?  The Antebellum Blue on the bookcase works beautifully with the blues in the Cosmic Roses.  Plus, both pieces have a touch of gold.

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and to with prima for providing the transfer for this project.

If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

If you’re looking for with prima products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.

And if you are local and in need of a twin sized bed, check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page.

the thrift store lamp.

A couple of weekends ago, before the world shut down, my sister and I hit up the thrift shops again.  We didn’t find much.  Debbie found some colorful plastic drinking glasses for using on the patio this summer, and I brought home just a handful of things.

I always pick up the glass canisters when I see them at a good price.  I love using them to store my craft supplies.

The fact that you can see what’s in them makes it so much easier to locate the item you need.

I’ve already added a Classic Vintage Label transfer from with prima to the little galvanized bucket.

It’s perfect for a small plant, but also works great for holding paint brushes … if you happen to have a lot of them, which I do.

I’ll be painting the candlesticks eventually, but didn’t get to them in time for this post.

But my favorite find was the mid-mod desk lamp.

It was a little beat up, and the felt bottom had seen better days.  But I checked it at the store and it still worked.  I’m not sure about every Goodwill store, but the one we were at had a strip of outlets near the electrical goods so that you can plug something in to make sure it works.  Handy.

The first thing I did after cleaning the lamp was rip off the grungy old felt bottom and replace it with some new felt.  I simply cut it to fit and stuck it in place with spray adhesive.

Next I wanted to spruce up the gold finish on the lamp just a bit, so I pulled out a selection of metallic waxes to see which one would best match the existing color of the lamp.

The Bronze Age (bottom), which is one of my favorites, was clearly too brown.  The Eternal (middle), also a favorite, was a bit too bright.  But the Vintage Gold (top) was just right.

I used a piece of cloth to apply the wax all over the lamp.  It was pretty much a perfect match, and it helped even out some dings and other imperfections.

If you’ve never used this wax before, I’ll tell you that a little goes a long way.  It comes in a rather small container, but look how much I still have left in mine and I’ve used it on countless projects including this lamp …

I will let the wax cure for a full 30 days before using the lamp just to avoid melting it with the heat from the bulb.

I really wanted to add just a bit of an industrial vibe to the lamp to finish it off, so I pulled out the Everyday Farmhouse transfer from with prima and added a little wording to the base of the lamp.

Adding just a little graphic punch to something always makes me happy.

I’m really loving the mid-mod vibe of this lamp, how about you?

Once the wax is cured and life has gone back to normal, I’m sure I’ll be bringing this one in to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell because I don’t have a spot for it myself.

As always, thank you to with prima for providing the Vintage Gold wax and the Everyday Farmhouse transfer used on this project.

If you’re looking for with prima products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.

is anyone else rationing the t.p?

Today I’m sharing yet another item drawn from the pile in the carriage house.  I have to confess that I don’t exactly remember where this one even came from, but I think my picker, Sue, found it for me.

It’s just an old wooden fruit crate, and at some point someone replaced the bottom with new wood.

So I decided to see if I could use some Dixie Belle No Pain Gel Stains to create a faux finish that would age those boards just a bit.

As soon as I opened the can of Weathered Gray I knew it was going to be too light on its own.  It would be perfect for giving fresh wood a pickled or lime waxed look, but it was too light to match the rest of my crate.

So I decided to start by darkening up the wood with a coat of Walnut.

Once again, much like the last time I used this stain on some dresser knobs, I forgot that I wasn’t working with a quick dry, water based product.  So I tried to add the Weathered Gray before the Walnut was fully dry.  That just ended up blending the colors together, and I wanted a more layered look.  So I stopped working for the day and left the Walnut to dry for 24 hours.

The next day I used an old t-shirt to add some Weathered Gray over the Walnut.

It’s not a perfect match, but it certainly looks less like a brand new bottom on an old wooden crate.

Once I had that finished I decided to add one of the with prima’s Sweet Apricot transfers to the blank side of the crate.

If you aren’t familiar with this transfer, it comes with 9 different fruit labels.  Each one is approximately 6.5″ x 9.25″.

I chose the one on the upper right and applied it, and then lightly sanded it to give it a more weathered look.

After I had the crate finished, I was trying to brain storm a way to stage it for photos.  I thought of filling it with clay pots and maybe a plant or two.  But then I thought, hey, wouldn’t this be a great way to corral your toilet paper supply!

Especially since apparently everyone else has stocked up with a year’s supply of toilet paper … except us.

It was at this point that I discovered we only had 3 rolls on hand.  So Mr. Q went off to the grocery store, only to return saying that they literally had no t.p. on the shelves.

Seriously you guys, has the world gone mad?

I confess I thought it was pretty ridiculous when I heard that people were stocking up on t.p.  Why in the world would you be worried about running out of such a simple and readily available commodity?  In fact, we even purposely did not buy t.p. a week ago because we didn’t want to contribute to the ‘panic buying’ problem and we didn’t need it then.

So now here we are one week later, rationing our remaining 3 rolls of t.p.

Well … not really.  Fortunately both my sister and our neighbor nnK are stocker uppers.  We have a standing joke with nnK that in the event of a zombie apocalypse or some other catastrophe, we’ll be heading to her house because she has enough food stocked up for all three of us.  Both Debbie and nnK have a healthy supply of tp and have offered to share.  So maybe we don’t have to ration it after all.

How about you?  Are you rationing the tp?

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the No Pain Gel Stains I used on this project, and to with prima for supplying the transfer.  I also especially want to thank Debbie and nnK for providing us with toilet paper.

If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

If you’re looking for with prima products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.

a parisian bookcase.

I’m continuing to pull old pieces out of the pile in the carriage house.  A friend of mine passed this bookcase on to me a while ago … dare I even say, it was probably a couple of years ago.

It was pretty in the existing white, but the paint that was used was a little too shiny for my taste.  Also, I snapped the ‘before’ photo above after I sanded it to prep it for painting.  So it wasn’t really distressed when I got it either.

Because this is a smaller piece, I decided to go big with color.  I’d recently ordered Antebellum Blue from Dixie Belle Paint Co and I was dying to try it out.

It took two coats of the Antebellum Blue to cover the white.

Once I had it painted I wanted to add just a little something extra inside the bookshelf.  I considered using a transfer, but I didn’t have one that was a good fit.  So instead I decided to add a stencil.  I had a feeling that a metallic gold would pair beautifully with the Antebellum Blue, and I had also recently ordered the Moonshine Metallics paint in Gold Digger (also from Dixie Belle).

By the way, I used that Mini brush shown above to paint the bookcase.  It’s so much easier painting inside a bookcase with a short brush like this that let’s you get in there without knocking the end of your brush into the underside of shelves.

But back to the stenciling.  I hadn’t used the Gold Digger before, and I wasn’t sure how it would work for stenciling so I decided to do a test board first.  I always recommend doing this when you’re trying out a new product or technique for the first time.

So I painted a piece of board in the Antebellum Blue, and then stenciled it using the Gold Digger.

So far, so good.  You’re going to see that test board again in a minute.  But first, I went ahead and added the stencil (the stencil is from Maison de Stencils) …

I then left everything to dry for about 24 hours.

The final decision I needed to make was what top coat to use.  I was debating between hemp oil or clear sealer when I remembered the Easy Peasy Spray Wax (also from Dixie Belle).  I’d forgotten I had that in my arsenal.  So I pulled out both the Spray Wax and the Dixie Belle flat sealer and once again grabbed my test board to try them out and decide which one I liked best for this project.

What I discovered was that the Easy Peasy Spray Wax smeared the Gold Digger just a bit, so I was glad I tried this on the test board first and not directly on my bookcase.

And remember, this was after 24 hours of dry time, so it was quite dry.  It’s just something to keep in mind if you are ever using these two products together.

Despite that, I still decided to use the spray wax because it really is easy peasy.  Simply spray it on, let it sit for 10 – 15 seconds and then wipe with a clean cloth.  I just avoided wiping across the gold stenciled area with my cloth so as not to smear the metallic paint.

I really love the pairing of the gold and the Antebellum Blue, don’t you?

This shade of blue also pairs beautifully with the Sawmill Gravy that I used on the chair I shared last week.

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and the Easy Peasy spray wax, and thanks to Maison de Stencils for providing the stencil for this project.

If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

The stencil I used can be found here.

And if you are local and in need of a petite Parisian bookcase, check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page to see if this one is still available.

oh, shoot.

Do any of you guys remember when I participated in the Index Card Art Project?  It was one year ago yesterday that I posted about it, gosh time flies.

Instead of oil painting or drawing, my artistic medium of choice is scrapbooking.  In this case, I used photos from the Adriatic Explorer cruise that Mr. Q and I had taken back in November 2018.

At the time I mentioned that I was going to be on the lookout for the perfect vintage recipe box to keep my cards in.

Now normally, it seems like these sort of boxes are a dime a dozen and I see them everywhere.  But of course, once I specifically wanted one I couldn’t seem to find one.

Then last week my picker, Sue, brought me a few goodies from an estate sale she went to including this box …

Eureka!  The perfect box to contain my index card art!

But oh, shoot!

My cards are too big for the box.  Drat!

I even thought for a moment that maybe I could cut the cards down to fit, but I had gone all the way to edge on most of them …

I’m glad I checked that before I started work on the box.  Had I been keeping this box to store my cards I would have given it a travel theme.  Although I don’t have a specific plan for pulling that off yet, I know I’ll come up with something when the right box comes along.

But in the meantime, I went ahead and gave this box a makeover anyway.

I started by painting it in Dixie Belle’s Sea Glass.  Then I sanded the edges and added one of with prima’s Classic Vintage Label transfers to the front.

Once I had that in place I felt like the top needed just a little something too.  That’s when I noticed that I had this portion of another Classic Vintage Label

I had cut out the center of this one to use on something else.  Coincidentally that made this leftover part perfect for this box.  Seriously, what are the chances?

It turned out so darn cute …

that now I’m doubly disappointed that my cards don’t fit 😉

Well, it’s back to the drawing board for something to store my index cards in.  Now I just have to decide if I’ll keep this box for something else, or send it in to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell.

In the meantime, as always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint for for supplying the Sea Glass paint and to with prima for supplying the Classic Vintage Labels transfer for this project.

If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

If you’re looking for with prima products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.