it ain’t over til it’s over.

Here I was thinking that garage sale season was over.

We’ve had snow and everything.

What kind of crazy people are still having garage sales in this sort of weather?

Well, apparently the Minnesota kind.  We’re a hearty bunch.

Besides, last Thursday and Friday were sunny and in the low 60’s.  Perfect weather for a sale.  Never mind that we had flurries again by Saturday.  We seem to be on a weather roller-coaster.

Nonetheless, I made hay while the sun was shining.  In the last week I brought home five pieces of furniture.

First, another bed frame that Ken can turn into a bench.

Then a pair of dressers from an estate sale.  There were literally only 20 minutes left before the sale closed when my friend Sue (a.k.a. my picker) and I showed up and the sellers were definitely in the mood to slash prices.  I got these for 75% off the originally listed price.

Also, I have to mention here that sometimes the staff at estate sales are not the most helpful.  I had to send Mr. Q back to pick these up and none of the staff would help him load them.  He literally had to get these down a flight of stairs, out of the house and into the van by himself.  All the while the staff just stood around watching.  Earlier in the day when I paid for them and said I would have my husband come back later to pick them up, I wish they would have mentioned something along the lines of “oh, by the way, we don’t help load so he may want to bring a friend,” but no, they didn’t.

Had I not already paid for them, and taken a drawer from each piece as security, Mr. Q would have walked away from the whole deal.

I purchased the next two pieces at the thrift store (where they were more than happy to help us load them).  A week ago Sunday both Meggan (a.k.a. the thrift doctor) and Sue (a.k.a. my picker) texted me to say that I should head over there to look at a piece of furniture.

I figure if two of your best spotters tell you to head to the same thrift store within an hour of each other, it’s time to throw a coat over your painting clothes and get over there.

Sue gave me a heads up on this dresser …

And Meggan gave me a heads up on a sewing desk.  I didn’t actually buy the sewing desk, but purchased this waterfall desk that was sitting right next to it.

I’d actually seen this desk that last time I thrifted with Meggan, but I passed on it then.  But there is just something about those fab old cup pulls that kept drawing me in, so when I saw it again this time I bought it.  I’m planning a simple makeover for this one, something that will allow those handles to be the center of attention.

And while I’m doing this sort of ‘show and tell’ post, I thought I’d also share this amazing pair of kid sized vintage folding chairs that Sue found for me.

They are so adorable.  It’s a little hard to tell the scale from that photo but they are only about 22″ tall.

I’m not yet sure what I want to do with them.  Do I paint them?  Or leave them in their kinda fab original patina?  Do I keep them, or sell them?

I haven’t made up my mind, but in the meantime you’re going to see them again on Friday when I share the makeover of this dresser …

and there’s going to be a giveaway along with that post, so be sure to stay tuned!

the french ceramics linen press.

I’m so excited to share today’s makeover with you.  I put a lot of effort into this piece.  I really think it paid off and I’m hoping you think so too.

I’m a big fan of linen press dressers, so when I saw this one on Craigslist it was a no-brainer even though it was at the very top of my usual price range.

What makes this a ‘linen press’ are the interior drawers.

Every time I see one of these I want to save it, even though I know it’s a bit more work than a traditional dresser.

This one didn’t require much in the way of repairs, just a little adjusting for one of the doors that was sticking.  I simply sanded the bottom of the door a bit, tightened up the hinges and now it works fine.  You’ll also notice that some of the detail trim has broken off, but I’m OK with that.  I think it just adds to its vintage charm.

As soon as I brought this piece home I knew I wanted to use the French Ceramics transfer from Prima Marketing’s re.design line on those interior drawers.

I thought Dixie Belle’s In the Navy would be the perfect compliment to the transfer.

I began by stripping the top of the dresser with Citristrip.  Next I lightly sanded the entire piece and then cleaned it with a damp cloth.  Then I painted the shell with Dixie Belle’s In the Navy and the interior drawer fronts with Fusion’s Limestone.

The Limestone took two coats, but believe it or not I got away with just one coat of the In the Navy.

I waxed the top of the dresser using Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Brown.

That walnut burl wood veneer is kinda gorgeous, so I wanted to bring it back to its former glory.

I waxed the areas painted in In the Navy with Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Clear.  By the way, you can feel perfectly safe using DB’s Best Dang Wax inside your home.  It has almost no scent at all and it contains no petroleum distillates.

Once that was done I got out my Bronze Age art alchemy metallique wax from Prima Marketing …

and applied that to the details on the fronts of the doors using a q-tip.

The Bronze Age provided just the right look.  I think a brighter metallic would have overpowered the piece.

And now for the really fun part.  Yep, there’s more!  I applied the French Ceramics transfer over the Limestone on the inner drawers.

Yowza!  I absolutely love it!

Let’s talk logistics for a minute.  I needed two sets of the transfer for this project.  I used the entire first set and just the left 6″ from the 2nd set.  The transfer comes on three sheets that are 22″ wide x 10″ tall each.  The pattern has a repeat both horizontally and vertically.  Meaning that you could line up the design into perpetuity going either across or down. Since the drawers are 28″ wide that meant that I could add another 6″ to the width by lining up the sheets from the 2nd set for that remaining 6″.  Boy, that was about as clear as mud, right?

Suffice to say that you can line this pattern up fairly easily both across and down and it will look seamless.

I gotta say, whoever ends up owning this lovely linen press might find it difficult to keep the doors closed.

Maybe that makes it perfect for a messy person who never quite gets doors shut.

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

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

If you’re wondering where to buy the Dixie Belle In the Navy paint or any of their waxes, you can shop with them directly online or find a retailer near you.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a gorgeous linen press dresser, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

Many thanks to Dixie Belle, Fusion and Prima Marketing for sponsoring this project by providing the paint, waxes and transfers.  As always, although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

caviar with a vodka chaser.

Have you ever tried caviar?  I’ve tried it a couple of times.  The most memorable was when Mr. Q and I were in St. Petersburg, Russia where we we tried on fur hats, ate caviar and then washed it down with shots of vodka.

But even with the vodka chaser, this delicacy is pretty much lost on me.  Give me a bag of potato chips instead any day.

But there is one kind of Caviar that I just can’t get enough of …

Dixie Belle’s Caviar!

I’ve shared several pieces painted in this color over the past year starting with a pair of Windsor chairs that I painted back in February.

They were followed by a lovely vintage dresser.

Then in July I painted a gorgeous vintage bed in Caviar.

And more recently I painted the simply beautiful hutch in this color (although the inside is painted in Fusion’s Coal Black which is a pretty good match, just a little different sheen).

On Monday I shared the latest collaboration between me and my handyman Ken, the black bench.

And I still haven’t had enough Caviar!

In addition to the bench, I painted several more items in Caviar recentlyAnd I played around with some other ‘chasers’ including clear wax, black wax and black glaze.  I started with this vintage train case (do you call it train case?  or a vanity case?  or a makeup case?) …

  

I cleaned the case first with soap and water.  Then I painted it with two coats of Caviar and stenciled it with craft paint.

I finished it with Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Black.

I find it easier to apply an appropriately thin coat of wax using a brush rather than a rag.  Once applied, I go over the waxed surface with a clean cloth right away to remove any excess wax.  You can then wait 10 or 15 minutes and buff to a shine, but I’m not a super shine lover so I don’t do very much buffing.  The brush pictured is one that I reserve exclusively for use with dark wax.

Today’s q-tip:  usually I advise adding a coat of clear wax prior to adding dark wax, but with pieces painted in black that isn’t necessary.

Next I painted a library chair in Caviar, and then finished it with Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Clear.

I have to admit that I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference between using the clear wax versus the black wax over the Caviar.  Also, as an FYI, I used Dixie Belle Best Dang Wax in Brown on the vintage dresser above which worked beautifully as well.  So if you have a particular color of wax on hand already you could just use that over the Caviar, no need to buy a special wax.

Next I painted this rather heavy wooden tool box in Caviar, stenciled it and then tried something different for the topcoat.  I used the Dixie Belle Black Glaze.

I applied the glaze using a cheap foam brush.

It went on so easily and the glaze seems to add just a tad more sheen than the wax does.

I actually finished this toolbox before I finished the bench that I shared on Monday.  It was my guinea pig for the glaze.  It went on so easily and looked so good that I went ahead and used the black glaze on the bench too.

One thing to keep in mind is that some of the water based poly’s are not recommended for use over black because they can become streaky.  For that reason I tend to stick with wax, glaze or hemp oil when adding a top coat to black.

If you haven’t tried Dixie Belle’s Caviar, you absolutely should.  And although I wouldn’t recommend following it up with a vodka chaser, I do think clear wax, black wax or the black glaze are all great choices!

the black bench.

Well, I guess it’s lucky that I moved my painting operations indoors last week.  Here’s how things were looking at my house yesterday.

October 14th is maybe just a tad early for this sort of thing, don’t you think?

Cossetta seems to agree with me, can’t you see the faintest hint of annoyance on her face?

You know what?  It wasn’t until I was editing the photo that I noticed that her tiara is missing.  Do you suppose the squirrels stole that too, along with my mini pumpkins?

Not to worry, I popped outside after writing this blog post and located her tiara on the ground under all of those snowy ferns.

Well, fortunately things were warm and cozy inside and despite the snow on Sunday, we did get a few hours of sunshine on Saturday and I was able to get some photos of a few pieces that I finished up last week.

Remember the twin headboard and foot board that I picked up at a garage sale where everything was a quarter (yes, absolutely everything, including this bed)?

I pretty much knew from the get-go that I wanted to have my handyman Ken turn this into another bench.  But first I had to sell him on that idea.  You see, the first bench he made hadn’t yet sold at that point.  He wanted to wait and see if that one sold before committing to another.

But of course it sold!  It was awesome.  And as soon as that happened I carried these pieces over to Ken’s workshop to be made into another bench.

I heeded some advice given by Laura who commented that I should cut a little off the legs of the headboard this time to make the back of the bench a bit shorter.  Ken cut about 3″ off those back legs before assembling the bench.

And as you can see, I also took the advice that Meggan (a.k.a. the thrift doctor) left in her comment and painted it black.  Specifically, Dixie Belle’s Caviar.

I did a bit of distressing with sandpaper, especially around the spoon carving.

Instead of waxing this piece (which, let’s face it, would have been a workout) I top-coated it with Dixie Belle’s Black Glaze.  That couldn’t have been easier to apply using a foam brush.

I also painted the back of the bench this time.  Since it’s lower, it could conceivably be used at a dining table, in which case the back needs to be painted.

This time the pillow shown in the photos won’t be included with the purchase.  I have a pair of these pillows that I think I purchased from Restoration Hardware, or maybe it was Pottery Barn, several years ago and they are my favorites.

The boots won’t be included either 😉

I just picked those up at DSW last week and honestly I’m not even sure yet if I’m keeping them myself, but clearly I’m going to need some boots this winter if this weather keeps up.  I need to try them on again with some heavier socks to see if they really are going to work.  But when you wear a size 11 shoe, you pick stuff up when you see it because they’ll be gone the next time you go back.  So you buy them first, and then think about them later.

But I digress.

How do you like the bench?

It’s pretty sweet right?

If any of you locals could use a black bench for your foyer, mud room or possibly even your dining room, be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

Many thanks to Dixie Belle for sponsoring this project by providing the paint and glaze.  As always, although this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

If you’re wondering where to buy Dixie Belle products you can shop with them directly online or find a retailer near you.

brrrrrr.

In the past I know that I have been able to continue painting in my unheated carriage house workshop well into October.  Usually October is one of my favorite months weather-wise; cooler, but not too cold.  Perfect for painting outside.

But for the last two weekends in a row we haven’t made it out of the low 50’s.

Despite the temps, I had some pieces out in my workshop that I really needed to get painted.  Since I planned to use Dixie Belle paint on them I reached out to my contact there to find out if it was OK to use their paint in the cold.  The official answer is yes, you can apply the paint outside if the temps are in the 50’s.  However, it will take longer to dry.

And of course, I’d have to pile on the fleece to be comfortable myself too.  Plus keep in mind that Dixie Belle paint should not be allowed to freeze.  Freezing and thawing again may affect the integrity of the paint.

So in the long run, even though I could have painted in my workshop, I opted to move my painting operations back indoors.  Luckily Dixie Belle paint is non-toxic and has zero VOC’s, so I’m perfectly comfortable with using it indoors with the windows closed to keep out the cold.

Since low temps below freezing are predicted for this coming weekend, I realized it was time to move all of my painting supplies back inside the house too.  This seems like a good opportunity to remind everyone of some cold weather painting tips for the three types of paint that I use most.

Milk paint is probably the most cold weather hearty paint that I use.  I’m referring to authentic milk paint that comes as a powder that you then mix with water when you’re ready to use it (Miss Mustard Seed, Homestead House, The Real Milk Paint Co and Sweet Pickins are all true milk paints).  General Finishes Milk Paint is not a true milk paint, but an acrylic paint, FYI.

Although I can’t find any definitive information about it online, I’m sure I could get away with leaving the milk paint powder packets out in the workshop in temps below freezing as long as I warmed it back up a bit before mixing it with water.  I wouldn’t choose to store it out there all winter of course, but if I forgot it out there for a few freezing nights I’m betting it would be fine.

Once mixed milk paint only has a shelf life of a few days.  Plus it is recommended that you store it in the fridge overnight if you aren’t going to use it right away.  So leaving mixed milk paint in a chilly workshop would be OK, but don’t allow it to freeze at that point.

Also, it’s OK to paint with mixed milk paint outside all the way down to freezing.  Just keep in mind that it will take longer to dry and you’ll freeze your butt off while doing it.

Fusion Mineral Paint is freeze/thaw stable.  It has been formulated to withstand freezing and then thawing up to three times without affecting the integrity of the paint.  So if you forget to bring your paint inside when the weather turns, you have three chances to get it inside before it starts to feel the effect.

Well, that makes sense eh?  Fusion is a Canadian company and they know cold.

Also, much like the Dixie Belle and milk paint, you can apply the paint in temps down into the 50’s but it will take longer to dry.

As for safety, all three of these paints are perfectly safe to use indoors with the windows closed.  Each one has zero VOC’s, and all three have very little odor.  Since I typically spend nearly six months out of 12 painting inside (more like seven this year apparently) this is an important quality to me.

This is a good time to remind you guys that not all waxes are created equal when it comes to safety.  If you didn’t see my previous post about that, you can find it {here}.  Please stay safe, especially when working indoors with little ventilation!

And if you’re wondering what I did get done last weekend, I finished up five pieces all painted with Dixie Belle’s Caviar.  I’ll be sharing them with you next week, so be sure to stay tuned!

 

foul weather friends.

Every so often my friend Meggan, the thrift doctor, and I get together on a Thursday evening for what we call Thrifty Thursday.

This tends to be a winter activity for us.  Meggan and her family have a cabin up north that they spend time at in the summer (one of these days I’m hoping she’ll write a guest blog post for us about her cabin, hint, hint Meggan), and I tend to do more garage saling rather than thrifting in the summer.  We hadn’t gotten together for a Thrifty Thursday since some time last winter!  Instead of ‘fair weather friends’ I think it would be more fitting to call us ‘foul weather friends.’  When the weather isn’t suitable for anything else, we go thrifting.

So last Thursday, which was chilly and rainy, Meggan picked me up and we headed to our local thrift store.

We always manage to come home with at least a few goodies.  Meggan has three outdoorsy boys at home and she always finds gear for them at bargain prices, but both she and I are on the lookout for fun vintage decor pieces too.

I always dig through the racks of hangers looking for any with old advertising on them.  I only found one this time …

But I also grabbed several plain vintage wooden hangers.

I thought it would be fun to see if I could add a little faux ‘advertising’ to them.  I started with some old 7 Gypsies rub-on’s that I had in my stash.

These are all from their set called Nomenclature and they ended up being perfect for these narrow hangers.

I pulled out some of the Prima Marketing knob transfers to use on the other two hangers I purchased.

I keep finding fun new ways to use these transfers.  They have just the right vintage vibe for the hangers don’t you think?

While I was digging around in my stash of Prima Marketing transfers I came across one that was a perfect fit for the enamelware refrigerator box that I also found while thrifting.

This is the bottom portion of the smaller sized Seeds transfer.  I’d used the rest of it on a chair recently and this bit was left over.

This box is the perfect size for storing all of my Prima Marketing waxes and chalk pastes.

That reminds me that I never did share that chair here on the blog.  It’s one that I painted, photographed, and then took to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell.  I didn’t get around to looking at the photos until after I’d taken the chair away.  In the end I had taken only one photo that was blog worthy, so I never blogged about it.

So now you know, I only share the cream of the crop here on the blog 😉

Speaking of which, I painted three pieces of furniture last weekend but we’ve had nothing but dreary weather unsuitable for photography since then.  Hopefully the sun will come out again soon.  Sometime before next spring would be nice.  Otherwise Meggan and I will have no choice but to continue thrifting every Thursday.

Linking up with the Vintage Charm Party at My Thrift Store Addiction.

it’s officially fall.

I tend to not do a whole lot of seasonal decorating.  How about you?  I find as I get older that time goes by so ridiculously fast that it doesn’t feel worth it to get out the Halloween decor because in five minutes it’s going to be time to get out the Christmas stuff.  Do any of you feel that way?

Plus, nature does such an amazing job of decorating for fall that it feels silly to have to add anything more!

Apparently nature is trying to reinforce my opinion on that because the tiny pumpkins I added to my fairy garden last week have already been stolen.

I suspect that squirrels are to blame rather than klepto fairies though.  The white pumpkin disappeared first, and the orange gourd followed a couple of days later.  So much for that plan.

I have done a few fall craft projects in the last couple of years though, so I thought I’d recap them for you today in case any of you want to do some fall decorating yourselves.

I’ll start with my ‘hello fall’ book page banner.

Last year I shared a quick tutorial on how to make one using old book pages and your printer.

You’ve also already seen my french pumpkins.

The one above was made using a cardboard pumpkin, paint and some Fusion transfer gel.  Get all of those details here.

My second french pumpkin looked like this …

It’s an old wooden pumpkin transformed with some paint and a Prima Marketing transfer (details here).

Then there were the ‘hello fall’ toolbox planters.  The one on the bottom is painted in Fusion’s Mustard.  The one on the top is in its original red.

I used my Cricut machine to cut the words out of adhesive vinyl.  These are perfect for just popping in some mums and calling it good.

While I had the Cricut out that year, I also made some ‘hello fall.’ plates …

They are fun to add to planters full of mums, kale and hydrangea flowers.

I did whip up one more quick fall decoration this year.  I had a fake plastic pumpkin in my stash so I painted it white using Fusion’s Limestone.  Then I pulled out some Prima Marketing supplies; decor wax in a color called Eternal and a transfer called Simplicity.

Rather than try to apply the transfer as one whole sheet, I just cut out sections of the design to place randomly on my pumpkin.

It was a little tricky to place the flat designs onto a curvy pumpkin, but I’m OK with a little imperfection.

I used the Eternal wax to give the pumpkin a gold stem.  This was the first time I tried the Eternal, but it definitely won’t be the last.  It’s the perfect gold, and it was so easy to apply using a q-tip.

My new toile pumpkin pairs nicely with my french pumpkin, don’t you think?  OK, maybe not the most traditional looking fall decorations but they suit my style for sure.