have suitcase, will travel.

I really didn’t mean to have a ‘suitcase’ theme lately, but I seem to have been on a suitcase painting frenzy.

In addition to the two thrifted suitcases I brought home a week or two ago (I shared one of them last week), I also had a third suitcase waiting in the wings.  This is one that I shared a while back when my picker, Sue, found it for me.

I took into Reclaiming Beautiful to sell ‘as is’, and guess what?  It didn’t sell.

I wasn’t really surprised because this style of suitcase doesn’t appeal to many.  It was nice quality though, so I thought it was worth a shot.  But it hadn’t sold after months and months, so I brought it back home to give it a paint job.

When re.design with prima sent me some of their brand new 2020 transfers they included this one called Spring Flowers.

Wouldn’t that one on the lower right be perfect for a piano!

Anyway, it turned out that these were the just the right size for the suitcase from my picker.  So I chose the one on the bottom left to use on it.

I started out by painting it in Dixie Belle’s Sea Glass.  Once it was totally dry (I usually wait overnight) I applied the transfer and then distressed the edges of the case.  Then I added a thin coat of clear wax.

Super simple.  But so pretty.

The second thrift store suitcase was the same style, but a bit larger.

The makeover of this one could have been just as simple as the Sea Glass one, but oh no.  I decided to switch horses mid-stream, as you’ll see in a minute.

First I decided to use the top half of the Fresh Flowers transfer on it, the part with the pick up truck.

I had used the bottom half on a table last summer …

so I was waiting for something to come along that would be perfect for the top half.

I thought painting the suitcase black would be the perfect choice to work with that black pick up truck.  So, I started by painting the suitcase in Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.  The transfer itself is one solid sheet, but it’s not completely opaque.  So the color behind it will impact how it looks and I felt like black would be too dark.  Therefore I measured out where the transfer would go and painted just that area in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth (a creamy off-white).  Once dry, I applied the transfer.

Then I took a step back and looked at it.  Nope.  It wasn’t working for me at all.  I should have taken a photo, but it was evening and I didn’t have good light.

It’s possible someone else would have loved it, but I didn’t.

I decided it would look so much better if the whole thing was painted in Drop Cloth.

This project would have been SO much simpler had I just painted it Drop Cloth to begin with.  Instead I had to carefully paint around the transfer with two coats of paint.

In the end, I love how it turned out, but it could have been so much easier.

Not only did I have to go back to the drawing board while painting this one, I also had to start over not just once, but twice when trying to photograph it.  I felt like the first two attempts just didn’t do the suitcase justice.

I ended up setting up some garden themed staging just to create a backdrop for the suitcase.

Talk about overkill.

But, it was fun.  I love dreaming about gardening in the middle of January, don’t you?

I think I’m done painting suitcases for a while now.

On another note, by now you guys must be wondering ‘is Quandie ever going to paint another piece of furniture instead of all of these smalls?’

And the answer is yes!

I gave myself a bit of a break from the larger pieces over the holidays.  Then I got on a roll trying to finish up a bunch of smaller things that had accumulated over the course of last year’s garage sale season.  But I’ve been missing the furniture too.

First I had to find some though.  So over the last week or so Mr. Q and I brought home four pieces of furniture.  Here’s a couple of them …

I’ve also brought home another bed that my handyman Ken is working on turning into a bench.

The fourth piece is a dresser that I’m painting as part of a collaboration between the re.design with prima design team and a paint that I’ve never used before, Amulent Decor Paint from The Chippy Barn.

So, be sure to stay tuned, I’ll definitely have a few furniture makeover posts to share in the coming weeks.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and re.design with prima for providing the products used on the two suitcases I shared today.

so sweet.

I don’t know about you, but I am always amazed by the level of detail that went into some of the vintage linens that I find out there.  Especially the baby dresses.

Last weekend I pulled out a small stack of linens that I needed to clean and iron before taking them in to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell.  Most of them came from my picker, Sue.  But a couple are pieces I found at garage sales last summer.

I’m no expert, so I hate to give advice knowing that there may be some of you out there who are really careful when it comes to laundering vintage pieces.  But if you’re curious, I just soak mine in OxyClean for an hour or two, rinse thoroughly by hand, line dry and then press.

I’m guessing that this one was an undergarment rather than a dress just based on the simplicity of the top.  But check out this beautiful detail …

I think that is tatting (although I’m not sure).  If any of you know for sure, please leave a comment.

But can you imagine the hours that went into making that?  It bums me out that someone put that much love into handcrafting this piece and yet it was going for peanuts at someone’s estate sale.

This next baby dress is nearly as light as tissue paper.

It’s a bit on the longish side, which makes me think maybe this one was a christening gown.  It’s so incredibly delicate though.  Maybe it was meant for a baby getting baptized in the middle of August in a tropical climate.

It certainly wouldn’t be warm enough for Minnesota except on the balmiest of days.

I can’t imagine actually putting this on a baby.  Wouldn’t it be ruined in about 2 seconds flat?

What beautiful stitch work!

Even the back of the dress is beautiful with its tiny little pin tucks.

This last one is a bit shorter and little bit more sturdy.

Still, it seems far from being practical for a baby.

I wish I could think of a really fabulous and unique re-purposing idea for these beautiful pieces.  I’ve seen a few great examples of people just hanging them on wall including this one from Miss Mustard Seed …

And this one from Cedar Hill Farmhouse …

But aside from that I can’t really think of another fabulous use for them, how about you?

lula gets a makeover.

Way back when my blog was new I shared a ‘dress form’ that I cobbled together using an old Styrofoam mannequin and the base of a small table.  I’ve used her as a prop in quite a few photo shoots …

She was painted with black chalkboard paint and the writing was added using a white chalk pen.

She’s named after my Great Aunt Lu who’s picture is pinned to her above.

Recently I decided to give Lula a bit of a refresh.  She gets a bit banged up when I’m manhandling her for photo shoots which allows the yellow Styrofoam to show through my black paint.  So I wiped her down with a damp cloth and then gave her a quick coat of Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.

I polished up her black enamel door knob of a neck and put it back on.

Instead of writing on her with the chalk pen, this time I decided to break out one of the brand new re.design with prima transfers called Gilded Home & Nature.

I used two of the designs in the set (I circled them above), I added the flowery swag to Lula’s decolletage …

And I added the golden crown to her … well, I hate to say this but Mr. Q called it a’ crotch crown.’  Let’s not call it that though, let’s call that area her ‘skirt’.

The gold wording at the bottom is part of the Somewhere in France transfer set.

Now that Lula is refreshed a bit, she has rejoined her pal Collette in our principle bedroom.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and re.design with prima for providing the supplies used for Lula’s makeover.

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

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


stenciling gone bad.

You’ll remember that I picked up this already painted vintage suitcase while thrifting with my sister.

Before I say more, if by some crazy off-hand chance the person who painted this suitcase also reads my blog, then I apologize in advance for criticizing your work.  I’m hoping that the fact that this piece was donated to a thrift store means that the previous owner knew it was bad and just decided to unload it.  I hope it wasn’t a gift that someone ditched after receiving it.

When I saw this sitting there on the shelf I immediately thought to myself, I must rescue that suitcase from its bad stenciling job!

To be fair, I’ve shown you the worst of the stenciling in that ‘before’ shot above.  It’s also stenciled on the other side …

Slightly better, but still not good.

Mr. Q is always reminding me that I tend to make stuff look easy, and that for some people it’s not easy at all.  Maybe this is a good example of that.  Maybe the painter of this suitcase dove right in thinking ‘Q makes it look so easy, I’m sure I can just whip this up!’  So for those of you who also struggle with stenciling, I thought I’d share some tips for improving your odds for success.

No. 1 – First and foremost, pay attention to which items are good candidates for stenciling and which ones are not.  In this instance, the pebbled surface of this case will make it tough to get a clean result with a stencil no matter how good your skills.

No. 2 – It’s easier to get a crisp result if your surface has a little ‘tooth’ to it (tooth refers to the grain of your surface, it’s what allows paint to bind to the surface).  Slick, shiny surfaces like the semi-gloss aqua paint on this case have very little ‘tooth’ and will allow your paint to slid around a bit more.  A matte finish will work much better for stenciling, as will non-glossy fabric or paper.

No. 3 – Use a thick paint for the actual stenciling.  Dixie Belle paint straight out of the jar is perfect for stenciling.  I also use the cheap acrylic craft paint that you can buy at any craft store because it tends to be nice and thick.

No. 4 –  Use a proper stenciling brush.  It should have densely packed bristles that are a bit more stiff than your typical paint brush, but also have some flexibility.  I have used the inexpensive Martha Stewart brand stenciling brushes that you can find at Michaels, but you get what you pay for.  The ferrule has come unglued from the handle on most of mine (granted, they got A LOT of use).  The re.design with prima brushes are better quality, and I really love this large one for bigger stenciling jobs.

No. 5 – always, always, always off-load most of the paint on your brush before using it.  I know this feels wasteful because you’re leaving 75% of your paint behind on a paper towel, but trust me, it is crucial for a crisp result.  I probably should have made this tip no. 1 because it is definitely the mistake I make most frequently myself, especially when I’m feeling impatient.

In the end, if stenciling just isn’t your cup of tea, then my next piece of advice is to keep it simple and use a transfer instead.  That’s what I decided to do with this suitcase.

But first things first, I opened it up to look for hidden treasure.  I’m always hoping that I’ll find someone’s secret stash of cash, or maybe a long lost Van Gogh, inside a thrift store purchase.  So far no luck on that, but a girl can dream.

The lining of this case is actually in pretty good condition and kind of pretty.

The color isn’t really working with the aqua though, is it?

So as much as I love a good aqua, and as much as I loved it on this suitcase while it was closed, I felt like I needed to switch to a color that worked well with the lining.  I decided to stay neutral with Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

Inevitably someone is now going to ask me for a tip on freshening up the smell of an old suitcase, and I have to admit that I don’t have one.  I’ve found that since they generally are stored closed up tight, over time the smell returns no matter what I’ve tried.  As a result, I use my old cases for looks only.  Or for storing things that won’t pick up the smell, like my vintage glass Christmas ornaments or craft supplies.  I would never store clothing or other fabric items inside.

Once the paint had dried overnight, I pulled out the Royal Burgundy transfer. If you’re keeping track at all, this will be the 3rd small project I’ve done with this one transfer.  I’ve already used it on a wooden jewelry box and a pair of ice skates.  I still have a pretty good sized chunk of it left after doing this suitcase as well.  Just something to keep in mind when looking at these larger transfers that are one solid design.  You can always break it up for smaller projects.

I did have to line up a seam to cover the whole top of the suitcase and I didn’t get it exactly perfect.

But I don’t think too many people are going to focus on that when looking at the bigger picture.

Also, if you’re wondering, I trimmed the transfer to fit the circular top before removing the backing paper and then applying the transfer.

I ended up painting the handle of the suitcase in Dixie Belle’s Putty for a little contrast.

  The Putty is an almost perfect match to the color of the background words on the transfer.

I wanted to add just a little something more, so I added the word ‘Beautiful’ from the Hopeful Wishes transfer.

You may have noticed that I sanded the edges and the handle to distress the paint job a bit.  You’re always going to see hints of previous paint jobs when you do this, and sure enough you get glimpses of the old aqua here and there.

I finished off the case with a coat of clear wax to give it that subtle patina that only wax can impart.

I think you’ll agree that this vintage suitcase has been rescued from a bad stenciling job.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and re.design with prima for providing the supplies used for this suitcase makeover.

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

Both the Hopeful Wishes and the Royal Burgundy transfers are from re.design with prima.  If you’re looking for re.design with prima products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.

And finally, if you are local and in need of a gorgeous vintage suitcase, I’ll be taking this one in to Reclaiming Beautiful this week.

irony … the opposite of wrinkly.

Believe it or not, one of my favorite chores while growing up was ironing.  I started out with my dad’s hankies (yes, believe it or not, ironing hankies was a thing … in fact, hankies themselves were a thing … in the 60’s and 70’s).

I graduated to his shirts as my skills improved.  Back then employees of IBM were required to wear white button down shirts with their suits, which meant a lot of ironing.  They also weren’t allowed to have facial hair (which would be a problem for me these days, ha!).  I still remember when they finally relaxed that rule and my dad immediately grew a mustache.

Clearly my mom did a lot of ironing before I took over.  Here she is in 1961, pregnant with my sister, slaving away over the ironing board …

Looks like she ironed his weekend shirts too, huh?

Ladies, let’s all take a moment and breathe a collective sigh of relief that this sort of thing is no longer expected of wives shall we?

Funny, as I study that photo I’m realizing that is the same ironing board that I used later.  I bet my mom still has it!

Anyway, all of this leads me to today’s post.  A funny thing happens when you have a reputation for refurbishing vintage items.  In this case, a neighbor of mine showed up at our door one day.  She wondered if I wanted some old ironing boards.  She used to run a laundromat, but had sold the business.  The ironing boards had been used there as decor.  Mr. Q was the only one home, and he said yes to the ironing boards.

I’m not so sure that I would have.  I tend to shy away from taking on things if I don’t know what I’m getting into.  This tendency helps prevent me from becoming a hoarder 😉

I would venture to say that none of these ironing boards would meet today’s safety standards.  In fact, most of them seem like they would collapse in a stiff wind.  For that reason I would not recommend actually using them as ironing boards or using them set up at all (so that leaves out using them as a makeshift bar when entertaining too).

In the past I have turned a couple of old ironing boards into signs (you can see those here and here).  But I remember at the time thinking that they were fairly heavy and clunky for hanging on the wall.  I suspect that many of you out there have spouses who tend to be a bit persnickety about hanging heavy things on walls, am I right?

So I decided the best solution would be to remove the legs/bases entirely to lighten them up some.  Seems like a simple fix, doesn’t it?  But no.  As it turned out, the bases on 4 out of the 5 ironing boards in my stash were riveted on.  Only one of them was held in place with simple screws.  I had to recruit my handyman Ken to help at that point.  He had to drill through each rivet to remove it.

Once that was taken care of, the rest was simple.  I decided to go with a slightly different look for each one.

I used quite a few different paint colors, some stencils and some transfers from re.design with prima.

The first one got a coat of Dixie Belle paint in Midnight Sky.  Once dry, I stenciled it using Dixie Belle French Linen paint and my french laundry stencil (the Etsy vendor I purchased this from is no longer in business, but you can find similar stencils on Etsy).

I really don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of the look of a distressed black finish with a french stencil.

The next two were painted in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  I taped off some grain sack style stripes on one and painted them in Dixie Belle’s Yankee Blue.  Then I added re.design with prima’s Laundry transfer.  The 2nd Drop Cloth ironing board was stenciled using Dixie Belle’s French Linen paint and a stencil from Maison de Stencils.

Maison de Stencils gifted me with this stencil when they sent me the stencils I gave away during my 12 days of giveaways.  This was the first chance I’ve had to use it, and I absolutely love it.

The 4th ironing board received a coat of Dixie Belle’s Sea Glass, which seemed to be a top favorite among you guys when I shared my comparison of their shades of aqua.  Once that was dry and distressed, I added the Moment transfer from re.design with prima.

I painted the last ironing board in Dixie Belle’s Apricot.  Isn’t this a gorgeous color?  I think of it as halfway between a pink and a peach.  It’s not so pale as to be blush, but not too bright either.

I used one of the newer prima transfers on it called Hello Baby.

Aren’t those animals just adorable?

Rather than hanging this one in a laundry room, it would be perfect in a nursery.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co, re.design with prima, and Maison de Stencils for providing the supplies used for these ironing board makeovers.

And most importantly, thank you to Mr. Q for having the wisdom to say yes to these ironing boards for me!

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

If you’re looking for Maison de Stencils you can find them here.

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

And finally, if you are local and in need of a fabulous ironing board sign, check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

soldier blue.

As you’ll remember, a couple of the prize packages for my 12 days of giveaways included some Homestead House Milk Paint in a color called Soldier Blue.

I had never used this color before, and in fact never even really realized this color was available (see all of the Homestead House Milk Paint colors here).

Two things struck me.  First of all, it’s a gorgeous shade of blue.  Second, it’s pretty close to the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year, Classic Blue.  I knew I had to give it a try myself, so I mixed some up.

It looks a bit lighter as wet paint and I wasn’t sure I would get that gorgeous deep blue in the Homestead House photo.  But, as you know, paint always looks different once dry.  Especially milk paint.  Plus the top coat you use over milk paint can really change up the color.

So I pulled out this adorable little vintage kid-size folding chair that my picker Sue found for me.

I knew painting all of those slats was going to be a pain.  It’s so challenging to avoid drips when you have this many surfaces going on.  But one of the things that I love about milk paint is that it’s super easy to sand off any drips one the paint is dry.  Much easier than with other types of paint.

All I did to prep this chair was wipe it down with a damp cloth.  I was hoping to get some chipping, and the previous finish was fairly worn off so I was willing to gamble on getting just the right amount of paint to stick.

I painted the chair with two coats of the Soldier Blue, then once dry I sanded it lightly to distress.  Sure enough, I got some awesome chipping.

I knew that using hemp oil as my top coat would give me the deepest version of this color, so I pulled out Dixie Belle’s Howdy Do! Hemp Seed Oil.  This is another new-ish product from Dixie Belle that came out around the same time as their Big Mama’s Butta.

I usually apply hemp oil with an inexpensive chip brush, and that definitely would have been the smarter/easier option for this chair.  But, I was too lazy to dig out a chip brush so I just used an old t-shirt.  Clearly this is another situation where I have to say, ‘do as I say, not as I do’.  It’s a little harder to get the oil applied in all of those crevices using a rag.  It would have been much easier to brush the oil on, and then wipe away the excess with a clean rag.

Keep in mind that hemp oil will not add much sheen (if any), and it will also produce the darkest version of the color of your milk paint.  In this case, it was the perfect choice and it really brought out the richness of the Soldier Blue.

I had the perfect little piece of vintage toy china to use for staging this chair.

Isn’t it sweet?  I found it at a garage sale last summer.  It’s only about 2.5″ tall.

Remember when Mr. Q and I cleaned out our attic while getting out the Christmas decorations?  I came across some old stuffed animals in a box and decided to hang onto a couple of them for staging kid’s stuff.

Mr. Bunny still looks pretty good after 20 years in the attic.

I’m loving this shade of blue.  Now I just need to find a bigger piece of furniture to use it on.

I’ve put it in the stash of stuff that I need to bring in to Reclaiming Beautiful (the shop where I sell on consignment).  I probably won’t get it in there until next week though.

  But in the meantime, how do you like the little Soldier Blue chair?

As always, thanks to Homestead House Milk Paint for providing the Soldier Blue Milk Paint and to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the Howdy Do! Hemp Oil used for this project.

thrifting finds.

My sister and I braved the cold snap this past Saturday to do a little thrifting.  I came home with a fun pile of goodies to share with you today …

Some of the items will be left ‘as is’ such as the glass cloches, the vintage pudding mold and the cement garden bird.

Some of the items have a bit more work to be done on them, such as the suitcases.  I’ll be devoting a full post to the aqua suitcase with the bad stencil job later.

But a few of the items have already received their makeovers starting with this tray.

This one really didn’t need a makeover, but I wanted to tweak just a couple of details.  I painted the wooden handle thingie in the middle black instead of red, and then I added a transfer from re.design with prima’s Everyday Farmhouse collection.

Next up was this cute little box.

  Again, it didn’t need a lot of work, but I freshened it up with a coat of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth and then added a transfer from the Classic Vintage Labels.

It’s amazing what the addition of a simple transfer can do for something.

The little metal watering can also benefited from the addition of a Classic Vintage Label.

Finally, did you notice the set of stacking boxes?

Noah’s Ark on one side …

Halloween on the other …

These are classic 80’s country style, don’t you agree?

I gave them a little update with some fresh paint and more transfers.

The boxes are all painted in Dixie Belle paint from top to bottom, Drop Cloth, French Linen and Midnight Sky.

The top two boxes have Classic Vintage Label transfers on them, and the bottom black box has part of the Somewhere in France transfer on it.

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co and re.design with prima for providing the products I used to give all of these thrifty finds their makeovers.

I’ll be sharing more fun vintage makeovers this week, so be sure to stay tuned!