the bedford linen press.

Way back in April, I purchased this dresser via craigslist.

As you can see, it was in pretty rough shape with splotches of white paint here and there.  There was also a broken leg that you can’t quite see in the photo.  Depending on the brightness of your computer screen, it may almost look black in this photo, but it’s just a really dark stain.

I call pieces with doors that open to reveal inner drawers a ‘linen press’.  I can’t find an authoritative source online that confirms that, but if you google ‘linen press’ you’ll get lots of images of pieces like this.  So let’s go with it, OK?

I’m a big fan of the linen press.  This is the 4th one I’ve done (you can see the others here, here and here).  However, they do tend to be a bit more work because you have to paint the inside too.

In this case, I painted the inside in a custom mixed Navy Blue Fusion paint (equal parts Liberty Blue and Coal Black).  I love using Fusion paint on the interiors of pieces for a couple of reasons.  First, it doesn’t have to be top-coated (adding wax or another topcoat inside a cupboard can be a real pain) .  Second, it’s fully washable which can be handy with both drawers and shelves.

You’ll notice that I didn’t paint the outside sides of the inner drawers …

I purposely chose not to do so because these drawers fit pretty tightly.  Adding paint to them would have likely caused them to stick.  In addition, the paint would have gotten pretty scratched up over time.  I don’t care how durable your paint is, having it rub against another surface like this will scratch it.

I love these drawers for storing pretty vintage linens.

But I bet you are wondering what I did with the outside.  You’ve gotten a little glimpse of it so far just to tease you.

OK, OK.  I painted the outside with Homestead House milk paint in Bedford (paint provided compliments of Homestead House).  This color is a lovely pale greige; not quite grey, not quite beige, but a perfect blend of the two.

Then I added another gorgeous Iron Orchid Designs rub-on furniture transfer (you can find these from various sources online).

This is a good time to caution you about mixing chippy milk paint and a rub-on.  If your milk paint is fairly chippy, or in other words it’s not well-adhered to your surface, it may come off with the transfer backing sheet.  Basically, instead of the rub-on sticking to your dresser, the paint will stick to the rub-on … does my explanation of that make sense?

You can see where I had a little trouble with that on the bottom of the door on the left (in the above photo).  The key to using a rub-on with milk paint is to make sure you prep your piece really well (scuff sand and clean with TSP substitute) to limit how much the surface resists the paint.  Especially in the area where the rub-on will go.

Oh, by the way, I switched out the original pulls on the bottom two drawers because I was missing one of them.  I chose glass knobs because I wanted them to fade away and let the transfer be the star of the show.

One more comment about applying the rub-on.  For the bottom two drawers, I cut the transfer apart and did each drawer separately.  I did that because I needed to adjust the spacing vertically just a tad to fit the drawers.  For the top half of the dresser, I placed the full transfer over the shut doors and applied it that way.  I debated cutting the transfer in half down the middle, but I think that would have messed with the design.  I didn’t want a weird space down the middle.  It was a little putzy to do it this way, but I’m glad I did.

My advice to you if you are going to try this is to be patient, go slowly, and don’t remove your taped on transfer sheet until you are sure you have the entire design transferred.  I usually leave mine taped to the surface at the top of the sheet so that I can pull it up slowly, and potentially let it fall back in place if I find I missed something.

By the way, I used Miss Mustard Seed furniture wax as my top coat on this dresser.  I waxed right over the transfer using a light touch and it worked beautifully.

So there you have it, the Bedford Linen Press.

Massive improvement, right?

And of course, this piece is for sale locally (while it lasts).  Be sure to check my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

Sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays!




dear time.

Terri left a comment on my post about the Norwegian blue stool suggesting I use it as a plant stand on my front porch.  What a great idea!  It fits perfectly in this corner …

Placing it out there and getting some decent photos meant I had to get the front porch cleaned up for summer.  Usually I do this much earlier in the spring, but I’d never gotten around to it this year.

Now that everything is shipshape perhaps Mr. Q and I will make the time to sit out there and do some reading.

Recently my 12 year old neighbor told me that her favorite thing at school was ‘dear time’.  Huh, I said.  Dear time?

Drop everything and read!

Don’t you just love that?  I definitely need some more ‘dear time’ in my life.

I hate to say it, but more ‘dear time’ does not bode well for you guys because more reading inevitably leads to less painting.

And the front porch is pretty inviting now that it’s all fresh and clean.

The black cupboard is filled with my vintage cameras.

Here is the other end of the porch, in case you were wondering what it looks like these days.

I’ve been known to use this spot for staging photos of finished furniture.  The small table is easy to move out of the way, and it also provides a great surface for taking close up photos of smaller items.  I get good light here since it’s surrounded by windows.

But boy, I’ve been really tempted to just keep this dresser in that spot.

I haven’t managed to sell it yet, so maybe that is a sign.

Speaking of signs, here’s one that reminds me to not take life too seriously and instead spend more time relaxing on the porch …

Not to worry though, I’ve been managing to get in some painting time this week as well as some ‘dear time’.  I have a lovely linen press dresser I’ll be finishing up this weekend, so be sure to come back next week and check it out.


the barn chic vintage sale.

Hi everybody!  This is a public service announcement especially for my local readers (Twin Cities, Minnesota), although the rest of you may enjoy it as well.

You may remember that last year I shared a tour of Kim’s fabulous home, Stone Hill Farm (here, here and here).

Kim and her friends Lisa and Susan host the fabulous Barn Chic Vintage Sale out of Kim’s barn and this year they are having their sale a little earlier than usual.  In fact, it starts tomorrow!

They let me swing by last night for a little preview, so I thought I’d share a few photos with you all!

They have tons of lovely painted furniture.  So much that I can’t possibly share it all with you in a blog post.  This french provincial vanity/desk is so pretty, I love the colors on it paired with the natural wood top (which is a little hard to see in this photo).

There is also a matching nightstand (and you can see that wood top better in this photo) …

Although not french provincial in style, this next dresser looks equally lovely in the blue and white color scheme.

 Here’s an adorable wicker sofa reupholstered in vintage chenille.

I didn’t ask what paint color was on this petite desk, but it looks a lot like the MMS Flow Blue on my Norwegian stool from the other day, doesn’t it?

I love the hot pink bird on the fabric on this vanity bench.  The green and white waterfall style vanity that it’s paired with would be an awesome addition to a girl’s bedroom.

There are many, many more pieces of furniture!

But there are also plenty of smaller decor items too, like this rustic folk art house.

And as you can imagine, this miniature dresser has my name all over it!

I was also really tempted by these adorable banners made out of remnants from vintage embroidered linens.

What a great use for those pretty vintage linens, right?

You know I have a weakness for floral china, and they had a lovely set.

I think most of my favorite colors were well represented.

Aqua …

Green …

Yellow …

Red …

Oh, and guess what?  This is just the stuff that was inside.  They also have a ton of stuff outside!  They didn’t quite have that stuff set up yet, and I was distracted by the chickens, so I didn’t get any photos out there.  You’ll just have to take my word for it, there was a lot of great stuff!

Here are the details for the sale.

When:  Thursday, June 22 – Saturday, June 24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

Where:  2946 Oakgreen Avenue, Stillwater, MN

Please note, they do not take credit cards, so come prepared to pay cash.

If you are local, you won’t want to miss this sale!




Do you ever think about the origins of the word ‘blog’?

It’s a shortened version of ‘weblog’, or web log.  Blogs started out as a sort of online log or diary and can be public or private.

I’m bringing this up today by way of explaining that sometimes I look at my blog as a way of conveniently keeping track of my life.  I refer back to my blog all the time.  If I can’t remember exactly what color I used on a particular piece of furniture, or what topcoat I put over it, I look it up on the blog.  I also go back and look at the various different combinations of plants I’ve used in my window boxes and remember which ones worked well and which ones didn’t.

But I also enjoy looking at posts about trips I took and reminiscing about the experience.  When I went on the Danube River cruise a couple of years ago I sort of dropped the ball on posting about it.  I managed a couple of posts, but I definitely left a lot of stuff out.  So I’m determined this time to feature each of the ports of call on my last trip in a blog post.

I’ll admit, it’s pure selfishness on my part.   But based on the comments I’ve received, I know that at least some of you are enjoying these posts too!  I plan to post these travel posts every Wednesday for the rest of the summer, so if you are bored by them you can avoid Wednesday posts!

But for the rest of you, today’s post is about our third port of call, Kristiansand, Norway.

I have to admit, Kristiansand was not my most favorite stop on this cruise.  But keep in mind we visited 11 ports of call, and they were all pretty amazing.  They can’t all be the most favorite!

Maybe it was the public toilets that required a coin I didn’t have?  Or maybe it was the tiny historic area, or Posebyen, that I had such high expectations for but was rather disappointed by.  I don’t want to imply that Kristiansand was bad, it definitely wasn’t, it just wasn’t as incredible as the other ports we visited.

However, there was this door in the most perfect shade of aqua …

And another thing in Kristiansand’s favor was that it had an awesome antique shop.  Let’s see, vintage garden chairs with chippy paint …

and a stack of old suitcases?  Yeah, this place drew me in like a magnet.

If I could have just purchased this vintage luggage tag I would have!

It only took us about an hour or two to wander around the town, antique shop included, then another 30 minutes to sit and have a cup of coffee and use the free toilet at the coffee shop (two fancy coffees, $11.21 paid with Mr. Q’s phone app; two uses of the toilet, free).

Then we started to wonder what we should do with the rest of our day.  I had grabbed a tourist brochure after getting off the ship though and noticed that there was a park, Ravnedalen, with hiking trails just at the edge of the old town.  So we headed over there to check it out.

This turned out to be a great choice.

Mr. Q takes a break and enjoys the view!

It was beautifully serene in the woods, and the hiking trails were amazing.

And they led to beautiful views of some small lakes.

For you local Minnesota readers, looking at these photos you can see why so many Norwegian immigrants felt right at home in Minnesota, right?

After hiking around for a bit, we headed back through town towards the port and of course we had to stop for a moment to check out the Neo-Gothic cathedral in the middle of town.  It was entirely surrounded by construction that was taking place (and this actually was the case in many of the places we visited on our trip), but I managed to get a nice photo of it anyway.

All in all, Kristiansand was a lovely little town, but not terribly exciting.  As you continue to follow along with my Wednesday travel posts and see some of the other stunning places we visited, you’ll understand that Kristiansand had some pretty fierce competition for ‘most favorite’ port.  Hope you’ll stay tuned!

a garden stool.

I grabbed this little stool a while back when I saw it at a garage sale.

I love to buy small pieces like this to paint.  They are fun, quick little projects that bring a lot of satisfaction with just a little bit of effort.

They are also perfect projects for milk paint beginners.  So if you’re thinking about trying milk paint for the first time, look for something like this to experiment on.

I mixed up about 1/4 cup of Homestead House milk paint in a color called Upper Canada Green.  If you’re a Miss Mustard Seed milk paint fan, this color is quite similar to her Luckett’s Green.  I like to let my milk paint ‘simmer’ (I say simmer, but no heat or cooking is involved) a bit to be sure all of the pigments have had time to dissolve.  This is especially important with the greens.  So while I was letting the mixed paint sit for a bit, I sanded the stool and then wiped it down with TSP substitute.  I was trying to avoid getting too much chipping that would show that white paint underneath.

My efforts paid off because I didn’t get any chipping at all!

After two coats of paint and some drying time, I sanded lightly to distress the edges and then I added an Iron Orchid Designs furniture transfer.

This little stool is the perfect height to use for weeding your garden.  I don’t know about you, but I’m at a certain age where I pay later for sitting, kneeling or bending over the garden for too long.  So I like to use a little low stool when I’m gardening.  It just makes it so much easier!

I added a topcoat of Homestead House furniture wax to this stool, but I’m second guessing that decision now.  I’m not sure how well the wax will protect the rub-on from frequent sitting.  I probably should have opted for a more durable sealer, but … well … hindsight is always 20/20.

At this point I would not try to put a water based topcoat over the wax.  I don’t think it would adhere well or go on smoothly.  I wish I hadn’t been quite so quick to add that wax!  Live and learn, right?



norwegian blue.

Kim left a comment on one of my posts about my trip asking if I’d been inspired by any of the colors I saw in Norway or Scotland, and the answer is a resounding yes!

As I mentioned in my post about Oslo on Wednesday, I loved the vibrant blues that I saw at the folk museum.  The bright blue on this bed is stunning.

While the faded blue on this trunk may not be as bright as it once was, it’s still lovely.

And in fact, beautiful shades of blue were everywhere, like on this door in Stavanger.

I don’t think I even realized just how much blue had caught my eye until I started going through my photos.

Even the Norwegian posters were blue!

I just love the perfect chippy, worn blue on this chair.  If I could have brought this home as a souvenir, I definitely would have.  Do you think I could have shoved this into the overhead compartment on the plane?

Probably not.  Instead, I had to create my own version of it at home.

I purchased this little stool at my ‘breakfast meeting‘ the other day and it was the perfect candidate for a Norwegian blue paint job.

Funny enough, Behr actually makes a color called Norwegian Blue (N470-5), but nope, not the color I wanted at all.  So I chose to use Miss Mustard Seed’s Flow Blue milk paint, it’s the perfect Norwegian blue.

I followed my usual m.o.  A little sanding, followed by a cleaning with TSP substitute, followed by two coats of paint.  And this time I finished with Miss Mustard Seed furniture wax.  I got just the right amount of chipping/distressing on this adorable little stool.

Although it looks pretty great paired with the desk in my Q-branch, it’s definitely not comfortable enough for the amount of time I sit here writing my blog.  So it won’t be staying in this spot.  But I’m going to carry it around my house for a while and see if I can come up with a spot for it.  Just a little something to remind me of the beautiful blues of Norway!

By the way, did you notice?  There is a little sneak peek of one of my upcoming travel posts on my computer screen.

We’re not going to get to Flam until sometime in July though, so you’ll just have to stay tuned for that one!



The first port of call on our recent Northern European cruise was Oslo, Norway.  There is nothing quite like waking up in your stateroom, looking out the window and seeing that you are silently sailing through the mist down the Oslofjord.

An hour or so later our cruise ship pulled up to dock in the most convenient location directly across the street from the Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle that was built sometime around 1290.

We were on the starboard side of the ship and right from the get go it seemed like this was the best side to be on.  It was so thrilling to just look out the window of our stateroom and see this amazing old stone fortress right there in front of us.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted to visit the Norsk Folkemuseum on the Bygdøy peninsula while in Oslo, and that couldn’t have been any easier.  We simply walked off our ship and over a couple of piers to the Båtservice ferry.  We purchased two tickets (for about $15.50 total) at the kiosk and paid with a credit card.

Quick sidebar:  we paid for everything in Norway using a credit card.  They are accepted nearly everywhere, as long as you have either a card with a chip and a pin number or an app on your phone like Android Pay.  We never got any Norwegian cash and were simply able to use either a card or Mr. Q’s phone.  It was so convenient.  The only time this backfired on us was when we found that the public toilets in Kristiansand were coin operated, but it was easy enough to find a coffee shop, enjoy some delicious brew and use the free toilet located within.

A quick ride on the ferry took us over to Bygdøy and from there it was just a short, well-marked walk to the Folkemuseum.

We purchased our tickets and headed in.

This open air museum has 160 historic buildings relocated from all over Norway.  The area is laid out with sections representing an old town, the countryside and a stave church.

We started in the old town and pretty much had the place to ourselves.

As you can see, it was a little drizzly on our day in Oslo.  The sun would peek out periodically though and it never really poured rain so we were perfectly fine walking around and never really even needed an umbrella.

The countryside areas were separated by region such as Telemark, Hallingdal, Ostlandet, Hardanger, Sunn-og Nordfjord, Tondelag, Osterdal, Numedal and Setesdal.  It was interesting to read the information plaques about the different styles of building in the different regions.  To me they all looked the same, but there are subtle differences that help identify which region each style belongs to.

Many of the buildings were open and were furnished with traditional pieces from the time period or region.

I noticed a lot of blue painted furniture.  Hmmm, it inspires me to get out some blue milk paint.

The stave church is probably considered the crowning jewel of the museum.

It’s also where we found all of the other tourists.  Apparently the bus tours of Oslo take people to this museum and then just to the stave church and not the rest of the grounds.  I felt a little bit bad for those people because they were missing so much!

After we’d seen all we wanted to of the museum, we just walked back to the ferry dock and used our round trip tickets to head back to the port where our ship was docked.  There was a ferry schedule posted, but they seemed to run rather frequently and we didn’t have to wait long for the next ferry.

I’m going to take a moment here to tell you my one of my biggest complaints about cruising.  Any cruise line in the industry is going to work hard to convince you that the best, most convenient, safest and sometimes even ‘only’ way to see things in port is via a ship sponsored shore excursion and this is just simply not true.  This is one of the places where they make a good chunk of their profits (well, this and liquor sales).  The ship’s shore excursions are sadly overpriced and frankly not usually that great unless you enjoy riding around in a bus with 60 other people and only getting to see the stave church and not the rest of the museum.  It’s not really in their best interest to tell you about the inexpensive, convenient options that are easily available as an alternative to their overpriced shore excursions.  I’m not saying this to scare you off cruising, I’m saying that if you are aware of this and do your homework in advance you can avoid falling into this trap.  I’d say that nearly every port I’ve ever been in has offered some sort of independent transportation and/or tours.  I’ll be sure to share a lot of that info in my upcoming posts about this cruise.

Cruising is a fantastic way to see Europe and we had an amazing time on our trip.  If you just keep some simple tips in mind you can really make a cruise work to your advantage!

We sailed past this picturesque spot on our way back down the Oslofjord as we left Oslo behind …

It’s the Dyna Lighthouse, built in 1875 (or 1874 depending on where you look).  In addition to being a functioning lighthouse, it’s also available for rent as a banqueting facility.  Check out their website {here}.  Wouldn’t that be a fun place to attend a party?

Two ports down, nine to go!  I hope you’ll stay tuned to hear more about my trip each Wednesday.  Or check back on Friday to hear more about an Oslo inspired milk paint project I finished up this week!