the pie safe.

I found this vintage metal pie safe at a garage sale earlier this summer.

I liked the chippy original paint job, but it needed to be cleaned up, and the inside was in pretty rough shape.  It was also missing the shelves.

I wanted this piece to be functional for storage, so I asked Ken to cut a piece of wood to use as a shelf.  Then I cleaned the interior and followed that up with a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.

I love that pop of vibrant green, don’t you?

As for the outside, I decided to retain that original chippy finish.  I gave it a good clean, then I sanded it lightly to remove any flaking paint and then I sprayed it with some Rustoleum matte clear spray sealer to reduce further chipping.

Finally, I added some bits from I.O.D.’s Label Ephemera transfer to the door, and then gave that another coat of the spray sealer.

I’m happy that I was able to keep the authentic look of this piece, while also giving it a little more pizzazz (and functionality) with some paint and transfers.

I suppose if you bake a lot of pies, you could actually use this as a pie safe, but I think it would be perfect in a potting shed.

It would also be awesome hung on the wall in a bathroom and used to store toiletries and such.  If only we didn’t have the world’s smallest bathroom at our house!

It has some holes at the back of the top that would make it easy to hang.

No matter where you use it, I think it would make a fabulously unique storage solution.

This piece is for sale, so if you’re local be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

if it’s broken.

If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.  But if it is broken, well … sometimes you still can’t quite fix it.

A few weeks back my handyman/neighbor Ken and his wife asked me whether or not I would like to have their cast iron garden furniture.  It’s your typical set that includes a bench (not pictured below), two chairs and a little round table, all in the classic grapevine pattern.

By the way, the giant pot is not from the neighbors, I only put it in the ‘before’ photo because I was working on it at the same time.  Kinda wish I hadn’t done that, but that’s water under the bridge now.

Ken and Arlene have had this set for decades.  I’m sure at least 40 years or more.  Every year they would haul it into their shed for the winter to save it from the elements.  But over the years, Ken has found that task more and more difficult because these pieces are pretty heavy.  For the last few years my other neighbor (the athletic trainer at a nearby high school) has gotten some football players to help with that task.  Still, Ken wanted to be rid of the furniture.  He’s tired of storing it in the shed every year (and I also suspect he’s tired of re-painting it bright white every few years), but his wife won’t have it any other way.

When they offered the set to me, I had to point out that I would leave it out in the winter.  Not only would I leave it out in the winter, but I would purposely make it rusty.  So if they couldn’t handle seeing that, they shouldn’t give it to me.

But they were still willing, so I took it!

There were a couple of issues though.  Both the bench and one of the chairs have broken legs that Ken wasn’t able to repair.  If you’ve followed me for long, you know that Ken is my fixer.  So if Ken can’t fix it, well, I’m not even going to try.  Apparently he even went so far as to have a welder attempt to weld the legs in place, and that didn’t work.

So basically, neither of those two pieces are suitable for actual sitting.

Well, that’s OK with me.  I planned to use the Dixie Belle Patina Paint to make them rusty, and unless you seal them, that makes them unsuitable for sitting on anyway.  Plus, let’s face it, it’s not like this furniture is comfortable, right?  Does anyone ever actually sit on it?  This is definitely one of those form over function sort of situations.

So I made them rusty.  The bright white just wasn’t ‘me’.  As per usual, I started off in the wrong direction.  I decided to give them a dark base color so there wouldn’t be any patches of white poking through the rust.  I also decided to use spray paint for this, simply because it would be way easier than painting them with a brush.  I had a couple of cans of gloss black on hand, so I thought it would be OK to use that.  So I sprayed them up … and boy was that gloss spray paint SHINY.  Like so. very. shiny.

I didn’t want to see super shiny black spots behind my rust, so I switched directions and gave the pieces a base coat of flat red spray primer.  Much better.

One caveat re: the primer, if I was concerned about these pieces rusting for real I could have used the Dixie Belle Prime Start.  It contains an acid blocker that prevents the activator (green spray) that you apply later from eating through the paint and degrading your metal item.  But I’m OK with these pieces rusting away for the next decade or two.

Next I followed the normal process with the Dixie Belle Patina Paint in Iron, followed by the green spray (you can get detailed info on that process by clicking on the image below).

For reference, it took most of the 8 oz. container of the Iron paint to do the two chairs and the round table (I haven’t gotten to the bench yet).  So if you’re planning a rusty project, maybe this gives you an idea of how far the paint goes.

I really loved the rusty look I achieved on these pieces.

Yep, rusty is much more to my taste than the bright white … or the glossy black for that matter.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the rusty patina can take a while to fully develop.  I’ve also noticed that a little rain falling on the items will speed up that process.

Dixie Belle does make a sealer specifically for use over their patina paint called Patina Guard.

You may want to consider using this sealer to protect a rusty finish, or more importantly to protect yourself from sitting on a rusty finish.  But personally I don’t like the sheen it imparts, so I prefer to leave my rusty pieces unsealed.  You can read more about that in this post.

I’ll be splitting up all of these pieces rather than keeping them together as a set.

One of the chairs has found a home in my front garden next to the fountain.

I also have a spot picked out for the bench (once it’s done).

I did have a plan for the other chair and table, but ended up not liking them in the spot I picked out.  So now I’m going to attempt to sell those two unbroken pieces.  So if any of you locals are in need of a rusty table and chair for your garden, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

As for that pot, I made that rusty too, and here is how it turned out …

The pot also has a grape vine motif that looks great rusty.

It’s also available for local sale.

While I’m at it, I also have this pair of tall rusty planters and obelisks available.

These are quite tall and would look amazing flanking a door, or maybe a path in your garden.

Be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for the details on all of these rusty items.

Have I gone overboard with the rusty look?  I don’t think so.  In fact I have another pair of planters that are going to go rusty next, and I still have to get to that bench!

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle for providing me with their Patina Paint products.

the upholsterer’s toolbox.

I picked up this wooden box while out at garage sales a few weeks back.

I knew it would be a fun painting project, and swapping out that blue plastic handle would be super easy.

As I was paying for it, the seller told me that her dad was an upholsterer and this was his toolbox.  Inside the lid was this contraption, which consisted of some steel wool covered by some felt and held in place with upholstery tacks, and then filled with big pins with round loops on the end.

Apparently those are upholstery pins or skewers.

Of course, I’m not keeping any of that.  I think it might seriously limit my ability to sell this piece if my target market only includes upholsterers.

So I removed all of that, and pulled off the ugly handle.  Then I gave the box a base coat of paint in Dixie Belle’s Dried Sage.  That was just to build on though.  I decided to try my hand at paint blending once again.  Some of you may remember that I tried this once before and wasn’t happy with the results (on this bed).  I ended up painting back over that attempt with a solid color.

But you know what they say, if at first you don’t succeed …

So I pulled out a couple of colors that I thought would blend nicely for the outside of the box, Dixie Belle’s chalk mineral paint in Sea Glass and Juniper, and their Silk paint in Cactus for the interior of the box.

I have to confess that I did cheat a little, or maybe it would be fair to say that my technique was a little different than that of the experts.  I started by mixing my two colors together in a plastic cup to create a third mid-range color.  I then painted the centers of each surface in Sea Glass, the outer edges in Juniper, and used the mixed paint to blend in between.  I used the Dixie Belle Continuous Mister Bottle to keep my paint wet thus allowing me to blend the colors together as I worked.

I kept my blending a little on the more subtle side, and I love the results.

Once I had the paint blended on the outside, I painted the inside in two coats of Dixie Belle’s Silk Paint in Cactus.

You might be wondering why I didn’t just use the Juniper again on the inside, and that’s because I wanted to use a Silk paint for the interior.  It has a built in stain blocker, and a built in top coat.  There were some stains that I thought might bleed through, and I wanted the inside to be durable without having to add several coats of sealer.  Two coats of Silk paint and I was done.

Next came the fun part, adding some transfers.

The wording is from the I.O.D. Label Ephemera transfer, the florals and that adorable row of birds is from the I.O.D. Brocante transfer, with a couple of florals from their Floral Anthology thrown in as well.

And as you can see, I swapped out the original handle for a drawer pull from Hobby Lobby.  In fact, it was the drawer pull that inspired the color scheme.

The little moth on the latch is a Tim Holtz transfer (the 1858. is from Label Ephemera).

Once I had all of the transfers in place, I sanded over everything lightly with 220 grit sandpaper and then added a coat of clear wax.

This box would be perfect for storing art supplies.

Or maybe your bird watching materials.

I really enjoy working on these sorts of projects.  When I’m working on furniture I feel much more limited in what I can do.  I’m always trying to walk that line between creating art and creating furniture that is marketable.  Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong with the furniture?  I might have to give that some thought.

But in the meantime, it doesn’t even feel fair to make a before and after comparison on this one.

I can’t imagine that anyone would prefer the ‘before’ version.  Except possibly an upholsterer.  What do you think?

This former upholsterer’s toolbox is for sale locally, be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and mister I used on this project.

stencils by ellen j goods.

Mr. Q and I can be opposites in some ways, but there is one thing that we share a common love for … office supplies.

I know, that’s kind of weird, right?  Or is it?  Maybe lots of you also have a secret passion for pencils, fresh tablets of paper and those old heavy tape dispensers.  Do you?

My love of office supplies goes all the way back to my childhood.  I can clearly remember visiting my grandpa Quist (dad’s side) and spending time in his home office.  He had one of those big old steel desks, sort of like this one …

And he had lots of cool drafting pencils, little boxes of pencil lead, and various other old office supplies in his drawers.  I remember that he had the coolest sharpener for his mechanical pencils, like this one …

I loved sharpening all of his pencils.  I would pretend that I was a clerk in an office somewhere, taking calls on his old rotary telephone.

Really, it’s no wonder that I ended up becoming an accountant, is it?

I wasn’t really thinking about those memories when working on today’s projects, but as I was staging my photos they were brought back to mind.

Which brings me to the projects at hand.

Recently Lynne from ellen j goods reached out to me to ask if I would like to try out her new line of stencils in designs that are based on old German grain sacks.  I don’t think I could say ‘yes’ fast enough.  Even without my recent resolution to say yes more, I would have said ‘yes!’

Just a few days later I received the stencils in the mail.  I love that she offers a variety of sizes, I especially like the smaller 8″ x 8″ versions.

I wanted to give them a try right away, so I pulled out a small wooden box that my friend Sue found for me.

It was super simple to paint up the box in Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky, and then add a portion of one of the 8″ x 8″ stencils to the top and front of the box using Gravel Road.

I love the subtle look of the dark grey stenciled over black.

In fact, I liked it so much that I pulled out a 2nd box that I’d found while garage saling and gave it the same treatment using part of another of the 8″ x 8″ stencils.

I think these look totally legit, don’t you?  These pencil boxes would have looked right at home on my grandpa’s desk next to his funky mechanical pencil pointer.

I lined both of the boxes with some Paris map paper from October Afternoon (no longer in business).

The black and white paper worked perfectly with my color scheme.

As I was staging the pencil boxes for photos, I decided that a drop cloth would create a better background than the white waxed wood of my table top.  And of course, I couldn’t just leave it completely plain.

So I stenciled it with the Koch Lions 1871 stencil from ellen j goods.

Isn’t that gorgeous?  It would be perfect for pillow covers, or on the seat of a chair.  Hmmmm … that has me thinking about a chair I’ve been meaning to get to, I may have to try that.

But in the meantime, those 8″ x 8″ stencils are perfect for use on smaller projects and I know I’m going to get lots of mileage out of them.

Be sure to check out the stencils at ellen j goods, and if you’ve got some time you could also check out Lynne’s YouTube video featuring the stencils here.

So tell me, do you share our fondness for office supplies?  Or are we the only ones?

everything’s coming up daisies.

The day before I left for my mom’s house, Mr. Q and I drove out to my in-law’s place to see their daisies in bloom.

I just had to share their field of daisies with you guys, so even though I forgot my camera that day I snapped a few photos with my phone.

Mr. Q’s mom and step-dad, Naomi and Tom, purchased this old farmstead in Wisconsin a few years back.  One spring their lawn mower was on the fritz and they weren’t able to get it fixed right away, so the front lawn didn’t get cut.  That was when they discovered that it wasn’t just a weedy lawn, it was actually a field of daisies.

Since then they have left it to bloom every spring.

Once the daisies are done blooming, they mow it all down to normal lawn height.  But before then, they get to enjoy this beautiful field of daisies for several weeks.

There are a few other wildflowers mixed in with the daisies, but the daisies are definitely the star of the show.

This is such a great life lesson.  You never know when a broken lawnmower might lead to the discovery of a field of daisies!

While I was out there, I thought I’d also get a few pics of one of Tom’s fairy houses.

This makes my fairy garden look like child’s play, does it not?  I’m going to have to consider expanding.

The creeping thyme was just starting to bloom while we were there as well, isn’t it perfect for a fairy garden?

Tom built this fairy house from scratch, carving all of the wood elements by hand, cutting stone for the roof and even making the leaded glass windows.

It’s furnished inside and even has electricity, see the lights burning in the windows?

It does not, however, have indoor plumbing.  That’s what the outhouse is for.

Usually when I share photos of this fairy house people ask if Tom sells these creations, but I have to say that if he did the price would have to be exorbitant.  He puts so many hours of labor into them.  This is one of those things that you can’t really put a price on.

I hope you enjoyed this visit to see Tom & Naomi’s field of daisies as much as I did!

the peak of peony season.

I’ve returned from my visit out west a little blonder (thank you Sun In), and with a bit of a tan.  I wasn’t sure I would survive the heat (well over 100 degrees most days), and the sunshine feels a bit relentless to me out there (I love a good drizzly day in the garden).  My mom is doing much better though.  My sister and I helped her out with a few things while we were there, and her broken ankle is healing nicely according to the doctor we spoke with.

When we weren’t ferrying mom to appointments, replacing her screen door, and re-planting her pots (I seem to do this every time I visit, flowering annuals don’t last long in her climate, I’m trying moss roses this time around), we just floated in the pool at her townhouse complex.  It was definitely too hot to do any hiking, or really even much sight seeing.

Although it was relaxing, I was definitely ready to come home and get back to my painting projects!  And my garden!

When I scheduled the visit to my mom’s, I wasn’t really thinking about what I would be missing in the garden.  It wasn’t until shortly before we left that I realized I would likely miss the peak of peony season (which was a little late this year).

Jeesh!  I wait all year for the brief blooming period of those babies!  And I planned a trip smack in the middle of it.  What was I thinking?!

Before I left I grabbed a quick photo of my cutting garden …

My cutting garden, by the way, is out back behind the carriage house.  It’s a nice sunny south facing spot, and you can’t actually see any of it from the rest of our yard.  That makes it perfect for a cutting garden because you never feel guilty about cutting all of the flowers to bring inside.

Before I left for mom’s, the peony buds were just beginning to show some color.

And the siberian iris were just starting to open.

But I knew that some hot weather was headed for Minnesota while I was gone, and hot weather is the kiss of death for peony blooms.  Also apparently for the iris, because they were pretty much done when I returned.

So I decided to try a couple of peony saving measures.  First of all, I cut those few things that were already open.

I popped them into a jar of water, and put that in the fridge next to my peach sangria.

That actually worked quite well, when I got home the flowers still looked just as good as when they went in.

I also decided to save some peony buds in the fridge.  You may remember that I experimented with this process last year (for the full details, you can read that post here and the results of the experiment six weeks later are here).

So once again I cut stems with buds that were at the ‘soft bud’ stage, in other words they feel like a large marshmallow when you squish them a bit.

After removing all of the leaves, I simply popped them into a large Ziploc bag and then put them at the back of the fridge.  I’ll pull them out sometime in July and be able to enjoy peonies again then.

The first thing I did when I got up in the morning after returning home was check on the peonies.

Sure enough, quite a few of them were already spent.

But luckily I have a lot of peony plants, and quite a few of them still looked pretty good too.

Since the forecast for yesterday was hot and humid with a high of 96, and by today we’re supposed to have a high of 99 (ugh, did I bring it home from Nevada with me?), I decided to cut all of the open flowers and bring them in the house ahead of the heat wave.

I ended up with three very lovely arrangements.

The vibrant dark pink peonies went into an aqua vase, and I added in the irises that I’d saved in the fridge.

This arrangement is perfect for those who love a big pop of color.

I put the medium pink peonies into my paint inlay watering can.

Those medium pink peonies were growing in the garden here when we bought our house 34 years ago, and I suspect they’d been here for quite some time even then.  I eventually had to move them to a sunnier location, but they are still going strong.

Finally, I put mostly white peonies into one of my buckets.

I say ‘mostly white’ because in addition to the solid white peonies, I also have these gorgeous peonies that have just the tiniest hint of pink.

Personally, these are my favorite.  I love that delicate little bit of pink in the centers.  So pretty!

Unfortunately, I haven’t retained knowledge of most of the peony varieties that are in my garden with the exception of that one.  It’s called Raspberry Sundae.

My advice to you if you’re looking to add some peonies to your garden is to shop for them while they are in bloom.  Photos of the blooms seem to vary wildly, you want to be sure you know what you’re getting.

I’ve been toying with the idea of adding a yellow peony to my line up, maybe that will happen next year.

In the meantime, I’m going to bring all of these arrangements inside my air conditioned house and see if I can keep them looking good for another 4 or 5 days.

How about you?  Do you grow peonies?  Have you tried saving them in the fridge?  Have you got any other peony tips to share?  If so, be sure to leave a comment.

saying yes.

I am a little startled to realize that I don’t actually have a ‘real’ blog post for today.  Apparently I have been slacking off.

Well, not exactly.  I had hoped to share a dresser that I’m working on with you today.  But then after I added the last coat of clear sealer and waited for it to dry, I realized that the sealer was drawing the tannins (or maybe it’s the red stain, I’m not sure) through my paint.  Sometimes this can happen (more on that in this post).  Your paint job looks great before you add a topcoat, no bleed through, but shortly after applying a water based sealer, bang!  bleed thru!  Ugh!  So frustrating.  Even after 25+ years of furniture painting experience, I still don’t always judge the bleeder situation correctly every time.

So it will be back to the drawing board on that piece.

I’m also working on two pairs of planters that are getting the rusty treatment from Dixie Belle’s Patina Paint.  But I ran out of paint and had to order more.  I’m waiting for that to arrive.

And then there is the set of wrought iron garden furniture I’ve been working on.  A couple of the pieces are done, but one isn’t finished yet.

So after all of that, I’ve managed to leave you guys high and dry for a post today.  On top of that, I’m heading back out to see my mom tomorrow.  She fell recently and broke her ankle, so she is in need of some help.  Both my sister and I are going, and neither of us is looking forward to the forecasted 112 degrees we’re going to find there.  Yikes!

But I also don’t have any blog posts lined up in advance for next week, so that means the blog will be silent all week.

Here’s the thing though, since retiring I’ve decided to say ‘yes’ to more things.  When my neighbor wants me to help her put a new liner in her pool, I say yes.  When Ken’s wife needs help getting her garden planted, I say yes, I can help.  When my mother-in-law invites us out to see her field of daisies in bloom, I say yes to that too (that’s what I’m up to today).

And when my sister and niece ask if I want to head to a state park and hike to the waterfall, I definitely say yes.  Even though it might will rain.

We headed to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park last Sunday.  According to our guide book this park is known for it’s spring wildflowers, and we did see a lot of pretty woodland flowers.

It may have been cold and rainy, but that meant that everything was green and lush.  The pitter patter of drizzle on the leafy canopy of the woods was really peaceful as well.

The weather also meant that there weren’t a lot of hikers out that day, so when we arrived at the falls we had them all to ourselves.

That was fun for picture taking.

That’s my niece and her dog, Jade.

On our way back home we decided to stop at another waterfall, Vermillion Falls in Hastings, MN.

Viewing this one didn’t require much in the way of hiking, it’s in a bit more of an urban setting.  It was still fun to see though.

We wandered around the area and I was surprised to discover that they have a love lock bridge near the falls.  Who knew?!

I’ve written about this phenomenon before.  Mr. Q and I locked up our love in Prague way back in 2011 and so far it’s still working.

I feel like Tim & Stacy might be taking things a bit too seriously though …

They’ve doubled up their locks, just in case … and added a bit of a morbid P.S.

I wonder if they are still together?

Ultimately, I figure you guys will forgive me for deciding to prioritize spending time with friends and family over blogging.  Right?

I should be back to posting on June 20th, so be sure to stay tuned!

for the birds.

Last weekend was a big garage sale weekend around here.  There were multiple neighborhood sales to choose from, and I went out three days in a row (this retirement thing kicks ass).

I went to three different neighborhoods; Roseville, Highland Park and Nokomis (Minneapolis).

On day no. 1, which was Thursday, I went to Roseville with a fellow Reclaiming Beautiful vendor, Lisa.  Lisa has been flipping vintage finds for decades and she’s a pro.  I figured if nothing else, I could learn from her.

Actually, I should give a shout out here, Lisa is having a sale at her own home in Houlton, Wisconsin this week starting today!  For more details on that you can check out her Facebook page for Dahlia Cottage.

As it turned out, Thursday was absolutely the best day for finds.  I came home with loads of toolboxes!

I may not get to making these over any time soon, but I’ll have a great stash to tide me over with winter projects this year.

I also found some fun garden items.

It’s a little hard to see details in that photo, but those two tall pots are metal and I’ll be giving them the rusty treatment.  I also found two tall metal obelisk trellises that are going to fit perfectly in those pots.  That was pure kismet because they came from different sales.  The shovel in front will get cleaned up and then I’ll turn it into a Christmas decoration by adding a stencil to the bottom (sort of like I did with this one).

There is also a cast iron birdbath buried in that photo.

It has been drilled with holes because the former owner used it as a plant stand, so it doesn’t hold water.  It’s a bit shallow to plant directly with most plants I think, but I have a plan to give it a rusty patina and then plant some creeping thyme in it.  I think it’s going to look amazing.

I also brought home some smaller items on day one.

Some of these are seasonable sorts of things that I’ll hang onto until the appropriate season such as the lamb mold, the hunting dog platter and the wrought iron angel.

I always nab those glass cannisters when I see them at a reasonable price (in this case, $3).  I use them to store craft supplies.  And copper is a really good seller for me currently, so I try to pick up good copper pieces.

I had to purchase that little enamelware bucket.  It has a blue rim, which makes it perfect for adding a blue I.O.D. label transfer.

I also purchased a larger enamelware coffee pot and added a transfer to that as well.

There happened to be an estate sale going on in Roseville that Thursday as well, so Lisa and I stopped in.  She found a big pile of amazing goodies.  I ended up with a few fun things including some old Christmas ornaments.

And this totally adorable set of vintage toy kitchen items …

We had such good luck at Roseville on Thursday that Lisa and I decided to head back there on Friday.  Not all of their city wide sales were open on Thursday, there were over 20 that weren’t open until Friday.

We had a slow start on Friday, but once again Lisa found lots of stuff.  I came home with some fun items too including this old metal pie safe.

I like to pick up certain craft supplies when I see them such as pretty ribbon …

and of course I snapped up a pile of wooden knobs for $2 total.  These will make their way onto cupboard door signs (like these).

After starting out in Roseville on Friday and not finding as much as the previous day, Lisa and I moved on to Highland Park where I found this set of books in a homemade horse head bookshelf.

We also ended up at a sale that had Department 56 Dickens Christmas Village pieces for $5 each.  Although I swear I don’t collect these, and I’d never pay full price for one, I do have a growing non-collection of them that I’ve purchased exclusively at thrift stores and garage sales.

Five dollars was such a fabulous price, so I couldn’t resist picking up a few more.

And speaking of non-collections, I also picked up this pretty vintage tablecloth on Friday.

The price was right ($3) and I loved the combination of the teal blue and chartreuse.  I’ll add this to the stack in my pantry.

On Saturday my sister and I headed to one of our favorite neighborhood sales, Nokomis.  This was the site of the amazing vintage camera find of 2015.  But it’s also the neighborhood that our parents grew up in, and we have fond memories of visiting both sets of grandparents here.  We always swing by both of their old houses while we’re in the area.

But this year Nokomis was a total bust.  I made one purchase of a small metal plant stand that’s not even worth a photograph.  My sister purchased three Disney pins (for pin trading when we visit the parks again this fall, those of you who are Disney park fans will know what I mean).

And that was it.  I would say that 95% of the items were simply junk, and the 5% that were things I might have purchased were way overpriced (for me anyway).  Since when did $10+ become the average garage sale asking price?

I have a rule of thumb when purchasing items to flip.  If I can’t re-sell it for triple the price I paid, it’s a no go.  I’m pretty sure I couldn’t sell this copper tea pot for $45.

What can I say, sometimes garage saling is for the birds.  We called it quits early, went and got some donuts at Mel-O-Glaze and then ate them on a bench overlooking Lake Nokomis.

My friend/picker Sue also found a little pile of goodies for me last week, including a much more reasonably priced copper tea pot.

This brings me to the finds of the day and there seems to be a bit of a bird theme.

For day no 1 in Roseville, the find of the day was a pair of brass pheasants.

I couldn’t seem to get a photo of them that did them justice.  They have long sweeping stylized tails, and they are heavy brass.  I’ll be taking them into the shop and someone is going to just love them.

For day no 2 in Highland Park, the find of the day is also a pair of birds.  In this case, some vintage folk art wooden whirligig birds.

If you aren’t familiar, a whirligig is basically an object that moves or spins in the wind.  In this case the wings on these birds will spin around, and if they are mounted properly the bodies can spin around as well.  They are often mounted on the roof of a shed, or on a pole in the garden.

All of these birds will be making their way into the shop where I sell on consignment this evening.  Unless a local wants to snatch them up first (sorry, no shipping available).  The pair of brass pheasants is $58 (SOLD!), the whirligig birds are $55 each.  But you’ll have to let me know quickly (you can email me at, or if you want to see them in person you can head down to Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater tomorrow.

What would you have called find of the day?

the flower and grain tote.

I purchased this large green wooden tote at the Linden Hills sales.

I love reviving these.  This one wasn’t a terrible shade of green, but it was a bit too shiny for my taste.  So I sanded it thoroughly and then gave it a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

Next I pulled out a small section from the I.O.D. Gregory’s Catalogue paint inlay that I used on the bench I shared last week.  They say you can re-use the paint inlays up to 3 times, so I thought I’d give that a try.

I’m not sure if you can tell in the photos, but the 2nd time around the color fades to more of a dark grey rather than the original black that was on the bench …

It’s just a bit more washed out.  That’s not a bad thing, but just something to be aware of.  Especially if you’re thinking about trying to use a paint inlay over again on the same piece.  Some areas would look more faded than others.  Still, not necessarily a bad thing, but something you want to be aware of.

I also found that the backing paper was a little flimsier the 2nd time around, and in fact I couldn’t keep one section from tearing into pieces, so a 3rd use is out of the question for this section of my paint inlay.  Keep in mind that I had trimmed the inlay down to fit on this tote, had I kept the entire sheet intact it would likely have held up better for a 3rd use.

I simply had to stage my photos with the last of my lilacs.

They are about done for this year.

If you’ve been following me for long you may remember the story of my lilac hedge fail (you can read all about it here).  Looking back at that post I realize that I’ve been working on my lilac hedge for 11 years now.  Man, talk about determination!  Or maybe I’m just unwilling to admit defeat.  Either way, this year we ripped out one more of the non-performing lilacs and then added three new ones at the end of the row.

But the lilacs in the middle of the hedge are looking great.

They are about 10′ tall, and a couple of them have filled in nicely.  Now I just have to get the rest of them to look as good.  Maybe in 11 more years it will be as I envisioned it.  A tall, dense hedge that completely blocks the view into our neighbor’s back yards.  Fingers crossed on that one.

Well, even if my hedge isn’t providing the privacy we want quite yet, it is providing some pretty lilacs for staging photos.

This tote is for sale locally, so be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and sealer used on this project.

go big or go home.

First up, congrats to Mary from Glass Horse Studio.  I drew her name to win my patina paint giveaway!

I don’t know how many of you check out my ‘available for local sale’ page on a regular basis, but if you do, you may have noticed that my furniture is not exactly flying off the shelf these days.

I’m not sure what the hang up is.  Earlier this year I thought maybe it was just the cold weather, but I can’t blame it on that anymore.

Then I thought, maybe white just isn’t ‘in’ anymore.  Several of my pieces are white including this stenciled dresser …

Or maybe the problem is that ‘farmhouse style’ is on the way out.

I’ve sold so many of these washstands, they are perfect as nightstands or side tables.  I can’t imagine why this one isn’t going.

Desks are always a bit of a tough sell, most people simply don’t use desks in their homes anymore, so not being able to sell the desk isn’t a complete surprise.

Black has always been a quick seller for me, so I went with simple black on this next one.  No transfers, no stencils …

And I still have it.  What’s up with that?

This pretty shade of blue green has always been one of my personal favorites, but maybe it’s no longer so popular?

Or maybe it’s the french writing that’s holding this one back?

I have all of these pieces advertised on Craigslist and on Facebook Marketplace and I’m not getting even a nibble.  On any of them!

And that brings me to the bench.

This bench goes all the way back to December 2020 when Ken created it out of an old 3/4 bed frame.  I had painted it in DB’s Sawmill Gravy and added with prima’s Cosmic Roses transfer.

I had it listed for about 9 months, and then in October 2021 Ken and I decided to revamp it a bit to see if we could get it to sell.

Ken cut down the posts at the front of the bench because he’d thought they looked weird from the start.  Then I repainted it in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth and added that french transfer to the back.  If you’ve been following me that long, you may remember that I wasn’t happy about the repetitiveness of the transfer (cakes and pastries, cakes and pastries, cakes and pastries).  I didn’t even notice it until I already had it half applied.

Anyway, another 7 months have gone by and I still have the bench.

So I decided to give it one more try.

I consulted with Ken and we decided to remove the circular do-dad from the bottom of the bench.  It kind of draws the eye and looks a little … well … kind of nipple-y really.  It popped off fairly easily, then I sanded that area a bit and touched up the paint.

Next up I sanded off the transfer and re-coated that area with more Drop Cloth.  Then I applied I.O.D.’s Gregory’s Catalogue paint inlay.

Go big or go home, right?

This paint inlay isn’t playing around.  It’s big and it’s in your face.  And I love it.

I actually purchased this particular paint inlay to create a sign for myself, something that would hang on my carriage house … or maybe on my front window box.  I still plan to pursue that project, but for now, the inlay was kind of perfect for this bench.

Several of you have commented that the paint inlay process seems putzy or complicated, but I have to say that applying this one to the bench was easier than applying a transfer of the same size would have been.  Or at least it took far less arm strength (all of that rubbing with transfers!) and less time (not including dry time, but less actual working time).

As long as you pay attention and follow the directions (see my tutorial here), these are quite easy to apply.

Before I let you go, we just have to talk about that gorgeous purple petunia for a minute.

That is the Proven Winners Supertunia Mini Vista® Indigo.  The color on this thing is so gorgeous.  It’s probably going to entirely take over that pot and consume the topiary behind it, but I don’t care.  It makes me smile every time I see it.  I just had to share that with you guys.  I’ve seen lots of photos of this plant online and they seldom do justice to the actual color of it.

So the question remains, will this bench finally sell?

That remains to be seen, but I’m cautiously optimistic.  I think it turned out pretty fabulous and I really wish I had a spot for it myself.

If any of you locals are interested, be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for the details on this bench as well as the other pieces that are still in my inventory.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for the paint and clear coat used on this piece.