Having been a tad under the weather recently, I haven’t been terribly energetic.  Which means I haven’t exactly jumped into working on my next piece of furniture.  That’s OK though, January doesn’t tend to be a great month for furniture sales anyway.

Instead I’ve been playing around with some awesome products that Prima Marketing has sent my way.  So I thought I’d share a few of those with you today starting with these wooden plates.

They come in three sizes, 10″, 12″ and 14″ and they are basically a blank canvas for getting creative.  Once finished you could use them as chargers, display them in a china cabinet or maybe just hang them on the wall.  I have another idea for them too, but I’ll be sharing that in a separate post.

But for today’s project, I started by painting a pair of them with Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, which is a fantastic warm creamy white.  Once they were painted I pulled out a few of my favorite Prima Marketing transfers including Never Ending Story and Simplicity.

I covered the entire surface of each plate with these.

Then I thought it would be fun to try the new Adhesive Transfers and Decor Foils that Prima Marketing has come out with.

These work a bit differently than their other transfers.  The Adhesive Transfer itself is bright yellow and is sticky on both sides.  The Decor Foil is then used over the adhesive transfer.  This gives you some versatility since you can use any of the different colored foils with any of the different transfers.

So, let’s go over the process step by step.

Step 1.  Choose the portion of the adhesive transfer that you want to use.  These transfers have multiple designs in each package and they retail for around $20 or so.  For example, here is the sheet that comes with the Nature & Scripts set.

I’m going to use that floral section in the upper right on my first plate so I cut that section out from the rest of the transfer.

Step 2.  Apply the transfer using the flat stick that is provided just like you would any transfer (see this post if you don’t know how to do that).

Yep, at this point it’s bright yellow.  It’s also sticky on top.

Step 3.  Choose a Decor Foil.  They come in lots of pretty metallic colors such as Relic Copper, Dark Slate and Moon Water. There are six 6″ x 12″ sheets of foil in each tube and the tubes sell for less than $6.  I chose to use Stardust which is a matte gold.

Step 4.  Place the Decor Foil metallic side up over the sticky yellow adhesive transfer.  Press the foil into the adhesive using that same flat stick you used with the transfer.

Step 5.  Pull away the sheet of Decor Foil leaving the foil behind where it adheres to the sticky adhesive transfer.  It’s important to note here that you may not get complete coverage with the first pass.  See …

Any spots that still show as bright yellow need more of the foil applied.  It’s super simple to just keep going over those areas by pressing unused sections of the foil into them with your fingers or the stick until they are fully covered.

By the way, I used the script portion from the same set of adhesive transfers for the smaller plate.

I think the Decor Foils have a look similar to gold or silver leaf, and I love how they look layered over the black and white transfers.

This look would translate well to furniture.  I can see doing something like this on the drawer fronts of a dresser or vanity.  I will warn you though, I used Miss Mustard Seed’s furniture wax as a top coat over my finished plates and that did not work well over the Decor Foil.  It seems to rub away some of the foil and make it sticky.  I would suggest either skipping a top coat, or using a water based top coat like Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat or the Real Milk Paint Co’s Finishing Cream instead.

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Prima Marketing products, check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

Prima Marketing has been so generous in sharing these new products with me, so I want to pay it forward by giving away the Spring Radiance Adhesive Transfer set along with the Decor Foil in Boudoir Rose today.

The basic rules:  to be eligible to win today’s prize leave a comment of any kind on this blog post.  Your comment must be left on the blog, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

Normally I make a point of answering every comment left on my blog.  If someone takes the time to leave a comment, I like to acknowledge that.  I usually only get 10 to 20 comments so it’s easy to fulfill that promise.  But I suspect I’ll get a few more comments on this post so I’m going to warn you up front that I may not be able to answer each one, so I hope you guys will cut me some slack on that.

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Sunday, January 20, 2019 at the stroke of midnight (U.S. Central time).

The fine print: no purchase necessary, you must be 18 years of age or older to win, void where prohibited by law, the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning, approximate retail value of prize is $25, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, January 25, 2019 another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!


an offer you can’t refuse.

When Mr. Q and I were planning out what to do in the various ports of call on our Adriatic cruise last November we tried to schedule in a bit of variety.  As we were researching our options, it seemed like we were ending up with lots of visits to ancient archaeological sites like Herculaneum, Diocletian’s Palace in Split and the temple of Hagar Qim in Malta.  So when it came to Messina, Sicily we wanted to do something a little different.

We narrowed it down to either a wine tasting tour or a ‘Godfather tour’.  I would have opted for the wine tasting, but Mr. Q doesn’t drink wine so that seemed a tad selfish on my part.  So the Godfather tour it was.

Ironically, neither of us are fans of the Godfather movies.  In fact, we could barely even remember having watched them.  But the tour went to two small hill towns in Sicily that looked absolutely charming and that’s what drew us in.  We did watch The Godfather a few weeks prior to our trip just in case we needed any context for the tour, which as it turned out we did not.

The first stop on our tour was the town of Savoca, a tiny hilltop village that was reached via a narrow, winding road.

This was the rainiest day of our entire trip and going up that wet, narrow road in a huge bus was maybe a tad nerve wracking.  I kept imagining the newspaper headlines at home, American tourists die in tragic Italian bus accident.

I’ll admit, I had to close my eyes a few times.

But it was definitely worth it.  Savoca was utterly charming.

The first site in Savoca was the Bar Vitelli.

In the film this bar is owned by Apollonia’s father.  Our guide told us that at the time of the filming this wasn’t a bar at all, but rather a villa.  Francis Ford Coppola turned it into a bar just for the movie.  Once the movie became a blockbuster, Bar Vitelli was there to stay.

It now functions as both a bar and a small ‘museum’ (ie. tourist trap) with a collection of photographs taken during the filming.  It was a tiny little place though, and there definitely was not enough room for both a bus load of tourists looking at photos and patrons trying to get a drink.  Since it was raining cats and dogs at the time, the crowds were struggling not to spill out onto the patio.  Mr. Q and I gave the inside of the bar a pass and headed to the next site while huddled under our umbrella.

Maybe the rain was a good thing because as you can see, we had the place pretty much to ourselves.

We headed uphill to the Chiesa di San Nicolo/Santa Lucia where the wedding scene between Michael Corleone and Apollonia was filmed.  If you scroll back up the beginning of this post, this is the building that can be seen at the top of the hill in my first photo.

After seeing inside the church we had a very short time to stroll around the tiny village before returning to the bus to head to our 2nd stop, Forza d’Agrò.

Forza d’Agrò is another charming little hilltop village, and it required traveling even more super steep and winding roads to reach it.  Once there we trooped around after our guide for a bit, first visiting the Church of Sant’Agostino.

To be honest, I haven’t found any reference to this church actually having been used in the film.

  It was a lovely spot though.

Next we stopped in front of the Cattedrale Maria S. Annunziata e Assunta which was another filming location for the movie.

Isn’t that a gorgeous old church?

I was also fascinated by this building opposite.

There is just something about that crumbling stucco and those old wooden doors that appeals to me.

We were getting more wet and cold by the minute at this point though, so I made Mr. Q an offer he couldn’t refuse.  I suggested we stop in at a little cafe for a cappuccino.

I left him there enjoying a 2nd cup while I wandered around and took a few more photos of this picturesque little town before we had to head back to the bus and return to our ship.

No need for faux finishes here, these are genuinely chippy or rusty!

They definitely provide some inspiration for creating a faux finish though, don’t you agree?

I loved this fountain that was in the middle of the town square.

I wish I could get moss like this to grow on my own fountain.  I suspect it would require a slightly warmer climate than we have here in Minnesota.

I hope you enjoyed this visit to Sicily and some of the filming locations there for the Godfather films.  I’m hopefully back on track with my Wednesday travel posts and next week we’ll be heading to Malta!


the chair with a heart.

Last week was a rough one for me.  I won’t go into the details, but I was camped out on the sofa for nearly 5 days.  I had time to watch the entire Outlander series from the beginning through the current episode, and that is no small feat.  Luckily I had finished today’s project prior to getting ill so I had something to share with you guys today.  I’m still working on regaining my strength though, so I can’t promise I’ll be back to my regular posting schedule just yet but I’m sure you guys will cut me some slack.

I picked up this chair at a garage sale last summer … well, really last spring, as evidenced by the tulips blooming in the background of my ‘before’ photo.

It was in decent shape, just terribly outdated.  I apologize to grandmothers everywhere, but there isn’t much of a market for these needlepoint seats anymore.  But this chair had some lovely lines to it, and a rather unique look to the back, so I snatched it up.

I knew I could give it an entirely new look with some chippy milk paint.

Now I have a small confession to make.  I actually painted this chair last summer.  And then somehow it got shoved to the back of the workshop and I forgot about it, so I’m a little spotty on the details regarding exactly which products I used.

I know I painted it with a layer of blue paint first but I can’t remember for sure which blue, I think it was Miss Mustard Seed’s French Enamel.  Then I added Miss Mustard Seed’s Ironstone over that.  You can just see the blue peeking through in a few spots where I’ve distressed the carving at the top of the chair.

And as you can see, I got some great chipping!

I pulled this chair out of the workshop at least a month ago or so thinking that all it needed to finish it up was some new fabric for the seat.  My vision for this piece was to use a fabulous vintage European grain sack for that.  But I didn’t actually have one.  I shopped around a bit for one, but those things are not cheap.

Finally I realized I was being foolish.  I know how to create something nearly as fabulous at a fraction of the price.  Duh!

Just stencil some drop cloth material and ta da!

The stencil is from Maison de Stencils.  If you are looking for European grain sack style stencils, they have a fantastic selection.

And just like that, the chair was finished.

I don’t know what took me so long to finish it off!

the aviary chair.

For quite some time now I’ve been wanting to try the newest Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint color, Aviary.

Let’s see.  I think this color came out about a year or so ago, right?  Hmmmm.  Why am I always so hopelessly behind the times?  Well, better late than never I hope.

One of my strategies when working with a new paint color is to paint a practice board first so that I can get a feel for how the color looks with different top coats before moving on to a large piece of furniture.  But this time I decided it would be more fun to paint a little schoolhouse chair to test out this color.

As you can see, the finish on this chair was in pretty rough shape.  Parts of the finish were so dried out that I really didn’t think I would get any resistance at all (and thus no chipping).  I wanted to end up with a chippy, beat up, authentically old looking finish, so I didn’t do much prep work to the chair at all.  OK, let’s be honest, I did absolutely zero prep.  I may have wiped away a cob-web or two, but that was it.

Sometimes that can backfire on you, and had this been a larger piece of furniture it would have been a mistake.  But for this little chair, it was a calculated risk.  It’s a small piece, so it would be easy enough to fix if the paint didn’t adhere at all.  Sure enough,  I ended up getting quite a bit more chipping than I expected on the legs of the chair, but very little chipping on the seat.  So I simply sanded down the super chippy legs and painted them again.  Problem solved.  The sanding helped the next layer of paint stick.

Today’s q tip:  If you’re comfortable with taking a chance and rolling the dice, you can skip the prep on your project like I did.  But if you’d prefer to exercise a little more control over the amount of chipping you get with milk paint then do proper prep first.  Sand your piece lightly all over and clean well with TSP Substitute (or similar).  For more tips on painting with milk paint, check out my milk paint basics post.

The coverage with Aviary was really good.  Two coats of paint was plenty.

Once my paint was dry I sanded heavily for two reasons; first, I wanted to be sure I removed any chipping paint (more on that in a minute) and second, I wanted a very distressed look for this vintage chair.  I still had some chipping, but it was just the right amount this time.

Once sanded, I vacuumed the chair with my shop vac.  Then I used a clean, dry, nubby cloth to wipe the chair vigorously.  I wanted to be sure that I had all of the chipped paint and dust off before applying a transfer to the seat and back of the chair.

This project was a great way to use up the leftover pieces of the Prima Marketing French Ceramics transfers that I used on a dresser that I painted last year.

When using a transfer over chippy milk paint I have found two options that work well.  Sand the chippy paint really thoroughly and be sure to remove all chips and dust first; or seal the milk paint with Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat Sealer (or another water based sealer) before applying the transfer.  If you don’t do either of these things, you may find that the transfer backing paper removes your chipping paint rather than releasing the transfer onto your piece.

Also, do not try to apply a transfer over freshly applied wax.  It will become a sticky, gooey mess as the friction from rubbing on the transfer will heat up the wax and it all just goes downhill from there.  Been there, done that.  Remember transfer first, wax second.  However, you can apply a transfer to a waxed surface that has cured for 30 days or more.

Once I had my transfer in place, I sanded over it with 220 grit sandpaper.  I wanted a distressed look, so I wanted the transfer to look worn away in spots too.

Next I wiped the chair down with a clean cloth again and then applied Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Wax in the special edition lavender scent.

I applied it using a new wax brush that my friend Terri gave me for my birthday.  It came in a kit with three brushes, some brush soap and a few other little things like a pair of plastic gloves and one of those sanding blocks.

I haven’t tried the brush soap yet, but it smells divine.  I’d be tempted to use it as a regular hand soap it smells so good.  I think that smaller non-tapered brush might work well for stenciling.  And the pointy brush just came in handy for getting at a hard to reach spot on the bench I shared last Friday.

I used the largest brush at the bottom for waxing this chair though and to be honest I think the bristles are just a bit too long and too soft for really effective waxing.  I prefer my waxing brushes to be a little bit more stiff.  It was hard to work the wax into the surface with this brush.  It might be better suited to painting rather than waxing (and fyi, it is meant for either painting or waxing).

I haven’t had the milk paint out in a while, and now I’m reminded of why I love it so much.  It really does provide the most authentically aged looking chippy finish.

And isn’t the Aviary a lovely shade of grey-blue?  I’ll be keeping an eye out for the perfect dresser to put this color on next!

Thank you to Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint for providing the paint and wax, and to Prima Marketing for providing the transfer for this project.

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Prima Marketing re.design French Ceramics transfer, check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy Miss Mustard Seed’s product, here is where you can ‘buy online.’

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of an adorable little chair, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page to see if this one is still available.

dreaming of spring.

OK, I know I’m jumping the gun a bit with the garden theme of this piece.

I just couldn’t help myself though.  I’m already dreaming of spring, how about you?

I wasn’t especially looking for another bed frame to turn into a bench, but I came across this bed while garage saling on my lunch break last fall.  Luckily I was with my co-worker Jodie and she was driving a pick up truck so we were able to load it up.

There were no side rails included, so that made this one a great candidate for a bench.  If I’d wanted to sell it as a bed I would have had to replace the side rails.

In addition to adding a seat and the lower front trim piece to the bench, this time my handyman Ken also had to insert boards into some gaps in the headboard and foot board in order to make this piece work.

This is the third bench that Ken has made out of an old bed frame (here is the first and the second if you want to see them).

Once the bench was constructed, I painted the old wood with two coats of Fusion’s Bedford, while the new wood on the seat only required one coat.  Bedford is a medium warm grey.

I let the paint dry overnight, and then I added Prima Marketing’s Seeds transfer.

I didn’t quite use all of the transfer, although I did put some of it on the lower section of the bench too.

I also sanded the edges of the piece to distress the paint job.  With Fusion paint I recommend doing this within a few days of painting the piece.  Fusion is more difficult to distress once the paint has cured.

Although Fusion paint does not require a top coat for durability, the bare wood that I exposed by sanding could use a little protection.  So I added just a little bit of Miss Mustard Seed’s furniture wax to a cloth and wiped it over all of the distressed areas of the bench.  I didn’t add a lot of wax, just a bit.

I did the same over the transfer, just rubbed it lightly with a waxy cloth to give it a little extra protection.

I couldn’t resist staging the bench with plants and gardening supplies.  Sure, it’s January and everything outside my window is frozen solid.  But inside I can pretend it’s practically spring!

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Prima Marketing Seeds transfer, check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Fusion paint in Bedford, check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a fabulous bench, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page to see if this one is still available.


In the year 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius erupted.  At the time it had been dormant for 800 years, so I imagine that the residents of the nearby towns had no idea what was happening or how to react.  Following the eruption, the town of Herculaneum was buried under 50 – 60 feet of ash.

You can see Vesuvius in the background of that photo, the mountain that has blown its top.  You can also see that Herculaneum sits about 60′ below the ground level of the current town around it.

While our ship was docked in Naples last November, we toured Herculaneum.  We were happy to be out enjoying the sunshine for this tour!  Plus, there is just something amazing about walking around a town that was last populated almost 2,000 years ago.

Did you know that fast food is not a modern invention?  Herculaneum’s residents could visit the thermopolium to purchase ready made hot food and beverages served from counters.

Public baths were also very popular at the time.  Few people could afford a private bath in their home.  The public baths were open to everyone regardless of class and the one in Herculaneum had separate areas for men and women.

In last week’s post I mentioned that most of the mosaics, furnishings and other artwork from both Herculaneum and Pompeii have been moved to the archaeological museum in Naples, however some mosaics are still intact like the Neptune floor in the public bath.

And the amazing mosaics surrounding the garden court of the House of the Neptune.

Many structures were also decorated with beautiful frescoes.

Sadly, many of the residents of Herculaneum fled to some underground boat sheds to shelter from the eruption.  They thought they would be safe in these cave-like structures.

But nothing could have protected them from the surges of extreme heat from the volcano.

These skeletons weren’t excavated until 1982.  Prior to their discovery it was thought that the people of Herculaneum had managed to escape.

It’s sad that the people living around Mount Vesuvius met with such a terrible fate, but at the same time it created such a unique opportunity to study what life was like 2,000 years ago and it was fascinating to tour Herculaneum.  If you ever are in Naples, Italy I highly recommend taking the time to see it!

that’s a wrap.

Happy New Year!

Where in the world did 2018 go?  It just flew by for me.  Overall it was an awesome year, except this last part got a little rocky.  I had some dental work done just a couple of weeks before Christmas and it was a rough recovery.  My body just doesn’t adjust well to having foreign objects installed (it was a crown, in case you are wondering what in the world I’m talking about).  I’m only just starting to feel more like myself again.  Have any of you had this experience with a crown?

It required four trips to the dentist, and I do not enjoy the dentist (even though my dentist and her assistant worked really hard to make me comfortable).  Honestly, the whole thing just threw me for a loop.  Mr. Q was concerned because I completely abandoned my paint brush during this time frame.  I find it difficult to be creative when I’m not feeling well, how about you?

Next time remind me not to schedule this sort of thing just before the holidays!

I’m starting to feel much better now though and I’m putting the whole experience behind me, along with the rest of 2018.  But before we move on, let’s take a look back at some of the projects that I shared with you here on the blog this past year.

Photo collages wrapping up your work for the year are all the rage on Instagram these days, so I thought it would be fun to create one myself for this blog post.  But as I started looking back through my 2018 posts I realized that I needed more than just one.  How about more like seven?

Starting with some of the pieces I did with Prima Marketing transfers …

In fact, I had so much fun using transfers during 2018 that I have to share a second collage of transfer projects.

I was going to do a collage with just pieces painted with Dixie Belle paint, but I soon realized I could do an entire collage of just those painted in Dixie Belle’s Caviar

This deep, rich black has turned out to be one of my favorite colors to work with.

Next, here are many of the mid-century modern pieces I painted last year.  It’s obvious that Fusion’s Park Bench (green) was my go-to paint for the mid-mods in 2018.

Those are four different dressers painted green, not just different shots of the same piece.  I also did a few dark grey pieces usually using Fusion’s Ash, but the one on the lower right is Dixie Belle’s Gravel Road.  Fusion’s English Rose is the perfect Millennial Pink for this style of furniture too.

And then there are the milk paint pieces from 2018 …

Hmmm, it would seem that I have a definite preference for using milk paint in shades of blue.

Next up are some of my favorite smaller projects that I did in 2018 …

Smaller projects like these are one of my favorite ways to try out new techniques or new paint colors.

And let’s not forget my favorite garage sale finds of 2018.

Is anyone else starting to experience garage sale withdrawal?  Spring is just around the corner, right?

Well, that’s a wrap on 2018.  If you’re looking for more details on any of the pieces of furniture featured in the photos above just visit my ‘fab furniture‘ page where you can see ‘before’ & ‘after’ photos with links to blog posts with all of the details.

I hope to have many more inspiring projects to share with you in 2019, and perhaps I’ll experiment with a couple of new products here and there too.  Be sure to stay tuned!