simply fabulous.

I was online recently and saw that IOD has released another version of their ‘Pots’ transfers.  This time it’s called Traditional Pots and you get 4 sheets of the transfer designs; two in black, one in white and one in blue!

I’ve been a fan of these ‘Pots’ transfers going way back. The first few sets I had came in a grey color and were called French Pots I, II, III and IV.  Each set only included 3 of the various designs, rather than all of them.  I used one of those on a galvanized watering can once and that wasn’t such a good choice.

The grey really disappeared on that galvanized metal.

However, that being said, it did work great on other surfaces if you like this more subtle look …

Then they switched to black with their Classic Pots, which worked much better on galvanized metal.

But now, they’ve added white and blue with Traditional Pots.  How exciting is that?  Or am I the only one to find that thrilling?

A quick q tip for today.  When ordering online, be sure you are ordering the set you want.  I see all three versions of these transfers still available out there, so pay attention to which one you are looking at.

To recap; French Pots = grey (and only 3 designs in each), Classic Pots = black, Traditional Pots = blue, white and black.

Anyway, I ordered a set of the Traditional Pots online and while waiting for them to arrive I stocked up on potential transfer candidates at the thrift store.

Once I started looking for white porcelain, I found a fair bit of it.

Then it was as simple as washing it all up and applying some transfers.  As always, use care when applying transfers to glass/ceramics/porcelain.  They are attracted like a magnet and once any part of the transfer touches the glass, it is stuck.  Make sure you have it aligned properly before you get to close to the surface.

Doesn’t that blue look amazing?  It totally takes that cannister from boring to simply fabulous.

This next one is my favorite …

I even added just a couple of lines of blue text to this little ironstone dish.

Such a tiny detail, yet it adds so much.

This little pitcher was one of my picker’s finds, and the blue edges it already had made it the perfect candidate for a blue transfer.

I have just one complaint about this new set of Traditional Pots transfers … that they aren’t ALL blue!

In addition to the one sheet of blue, there is one sheet of white transfers.  I have to admit, I’ve never been much of a fan of the white transfers.  I’ve always felt like they left too much of a shadow around the edges (like on this piece).  But these look pretty darn good.

You might see a few more black toolboxes with white transfers from me in the future.  This toolbox contains a bunch of my scrapbooking supplies (why can’t I part with them?  I rarely scrapbook anymore) so it’s not for sale.

And then of course, there are two sheets of the black versions included in the Traditional Pots.  Not that I don’t like the black ones, obviously I do since I’ve been using them for a while.

Remember that adorable button box!

That’s one of the older Classic Pots transfers, and you do get this same transfer in black with the Traditional Pots.

Since I had a feeling about the blue transfers that was very similar to how I assume hoarders must feel, I decided to use black ones on the pair of cannisters (thus hoarding the remaining blue transfers).

I painted the wooden lids black using Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky to work with the black transfer.

I used a black transfer on the enamelware refrigerator box as well.

The question I’m always asked when I use transfers on glass, or on enamelware, is whether or not I put any sort of sealer over them, and I do not.  I find that the transfers really want to stick to these surfaces (sometime even more than you want them to!).  However, I would advise gentle handwashing only.  If you scrubbed on them, I’m sure they would scratch. But gentle washing with warm soapy water is fine.

So, what do you think?  Are you as big a fan of the blue transfers as I am?

I brought most of these items into the shop last week, so I’ll have to see whether they sell well or not.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

the barrister bookcase.

I shared the ‘before’ of the barrister bookcase that I found at the thrift store in Wednesday’s post.

I’ve always loved these bookcases with the glass fronts that drop down, so I snatched this right up.

I couldn’t remember off the top of my head what these were called, so I did a little googling and that landed me on the Wayfair site where these little babies go for over $700 for the two section version like this one!  I definitely did not pay that much at the Goodwill.  The finish on this one was quite beat up, but otherwise it is in good working order.  Nothing that some paint and a little imagination couldn’t cure.

After my usual prep, I painted the outside in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy and the inside in their French Linen.  Once dry, I sanded lightly to smooth out the finish and distress the edges and then I added a couple of coats of their flat clear coat.

Then came the really fun part.  I added some sections from with prima’s gold Flower Collector transfer to the glass doors.

FYI, here is the full transfer …

I tweaked it a bit to fit on my piece.  I removed some curlicues, and I tightened up the space between a few of the lines of text.

I also didn’t use any of the bottom 3rd of the transfer, so I’ll have that on hand for a future project.

I really struggle to capture the color of the Sawmill Gravy.  Dixie Belle calls it a ‘smooth beige’ on their website.  I’ve never really thought of it as a beige, it has the slightest hint of a grey undertone as well, a really warm gray.  Or maybe I just think that because I always pair it up with the French Linen.  Either way, I hope my photos do it justice.

I think the gold of the lettering plays really well with the warmth of the Sawmill Gravy.  I kept the original brass knobs for that reason as well.

Wouldn’t this piece be perfect for a little reading nook?  I can also see it being used under a window with plants on top.  I think it would work well next to a sofa too, it’s just the right height to function as a side table. Another idea would be to put it on top of a dresser to function sort of like a hutch.  So many possibilities with this one!

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

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and topcoat used for this makeover.


stuff for the shop.

Now that I’m retired from the day job, and the holidays are over, I’ve been doing a little more thrifting.  Most of the items I purchase while thrifting get a makeover and then go to the shop where I sell on consignment, Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater, MN.  Reclaiming Beautiful restocks and rearranges their shop every Wednesday evening, so when they open on Thursday everything looks fresh (they are open Thursday thru Saturday each week).  I’m hoping to make it down there tonight with a load of goodies, so I thought I’d share some of what I’m bringing with you guys today.

Starting with this collection of 6 well worn wooden croquet balls.

My picker Sue found these for me a while back and I’ve been hanging onto them trying to figure out how to display them.  Finally it occurred to me that I could just find a cheap wooden bowl at the thrift store, paint it black and voila!

I washed the bowl with TSP Substitute to make sure I was removing any oils first, then I sanded it lightly and painted it in Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.  I sanded to distress and finished it with some of their Big Mama’s Butta.  Then, while I had the Butta out, I also buffed up the balls a bit (I was really tempted to title this blog post “buffing my balls with butta'”, but I was fairly certain that would be attract the wrong crowd).

Anyway, the bowl of balls is priced $24.

This next piece came from the thrift store looking like this …

I’m not exactly sure what was meant by that ‘dig it’, maybe there were gardening tools inside originally?  Regardless, I didn’t really ‘dig it’ as is, so I sanded it down and painted it in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy and added some bits from one of my favorite IOD transfers, Label Ephemera.

It would make a fabulous gift basket filled with French themed items.

Another fun idea would be to put some potted herbs inside.  If I had some, I’d stage it up and photograph it that way, but I’m fresh out of potted herbs.  I’m pricing the crate at $24, without the contents.

On the same visit to the thrift store, I picked up this little wooden tote.

I really didn’t care much for that handle, so I replaced it with something from my stash with a bit more of a vintage feel.

Then I painted the whole thing in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth including the handle, sanded to distress and added a few transfers.

The black Flower and Garden transfer is one of with prima’s Classic Vintage Labels, and the flowers on the sides are from the Dixie Belle Vintage Floral transfer …

This little tote would be totally adorable as a gift basket, or even an Easter basket.  I can see it lined with faux moss and then filled with pretty Easter eggs.  Is it too early for Easter?

The flower crate is $18.

Next up, this lovely silver bowl.

It’s a little difficult to judge the size from that photo, but it’s a good sized bowl.  Maybe halfway between cereal bowl and punch bowl.  I love the embossed shield and crown.  I purchased this one at an estate sale last fall, not during my recent thrifting, but thought I’d share it here anyway.

I think this bowl would be gorgeous for a floral arrangement, maybe filled with peonies for example, like this smaller bowl I shared last summer …

The silver bowl is priced at $28.

Quick question for you guys; do you prefer to see silver freshly polished or with a bit of tarnish?  I’m a fan of the tarnished look, but I know it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.  Would you have polished that bowl before bringing it in to sell?

Next up is another item that I didn’t actually buy at a thrift store recently.  This … um, I have no idea what to call it …

Spiral thingie?  Does anyone know if these have a name?  I suspect it is some sort of desktop organizing item, and in fact that is what I had been using it for on my desk at the old day job.  I brought it home with me when I retired, but haven’t found a good spot for it at my house so I’m going to sell it on.

It’s perfect for displaying some old photos, and it’s priced at $12.

I brought in a couple of buckets as well.

I shared both of these back in December and was planning to take them in to the shop, but just never made it.

Although I staged them up for Christmas in these photos, these buckets can be used in so many different ways.  I use one as a trash can in my home office.  They also look great filled with peonies (clearly I’m craving spring).

The buckets are priced at $40.

Another item I’m bringing in is this mirror with a transfer …

I posted this one here a while back and I still have it, so I’ll bring it in and hope it sells for $40.

I’m also bringing in this trio of vintage blue books.

Books in similar colors are great for introducing different heights to your decorating vignettes.  The set of books is $10.

Of all my finds at the thrift store last week, I’ve saved the best for last.

I’m just putting the final touches on this barrister’s bookcase and I plan to share it here on Friday, so be sure to stay tuned for that.

Finally, in case you are wondering, I do sometimes bring things home from the thrift store and hang on to them.  I saw this old flour cannister that had lost its lid and I immediately thought ‘tulips!’

I suppose that the look of delftware automatically makes me think ‘Dutch’, which then makes me think ‘tulips’, but it does make an awesome vase for this bunch of yellow tulips that I picked up at Target.  It’s a great way to add a little touch of spring to these bitterly cold January days.  And spring is just around the corner … OK, maybe that’s optimistic thinking for January, but a little optimism never hurt anybody, right?

the turquoise tacklebox.

Some of you may remember way back in 2018 (gosh!  4 years ago!) when I dressed up some toolboxes with some prima marketing transfers.

I sold the black one and the green one, but the turquoise one … which actually is a tacklebox, rather than a toolbox … was one that had been gifted to me by my co-worker Jodie.  I wanted to keep it, it’s perfect for holding my hot glue gun and extra glue sticks.

I have to confess, those pink roses were never really ‘me’ though.  But somehow re-doing something that I keep inside a cupboard was never at the top of my to-do list while I was still working a full time job and blogging.  Now that I’m retired from the day job, I’m determined to get around to doing a few makeovers for myself, starting with this tacklebox.

The first step was to sand down the transfers a bit, just to smooth them out so that their outline didn’t show under a new coat of paint.

Next I cleaned the box with some soapy water.

I definitely wanted to keep that turquoise color, so I pulled out some Dixie Belle paint in The Gulf.

It was quick work to paint a single coat of paint over the box, and that was all it took to get the coverage I wanted.

Pretty good coverage for one coat, don’t you think?

After sanding to distress and vacuuming away the dust, I added a few words from IOD’s Label Ephemera transfer.

The number “05713” on the right is from a Tim Holtz transfer.

I added a topcoat of clear wax to bring out a little depth to the paint color, and to protect the paint job.

By the way, I did not paint that little plate that holds the handle in place, that’s the original color.  The Gulf was a pretty good match!

If I was planning to sell this one, I would have taken the time to paint the inside of the box as well.  But since I’m keeping it for myself, and since the color still works, I just left it alone.

This was such a quick and easy makeover.  I bet it only took me about an hour including dry time.  I guess I probably could have squeezed it in while I was still a working woman 😉

So, what do you think?  Do you prefer the ‘before’ or the ‘after’?  Are you a fan of the original rusty patina, or do you like the fresh paint job better?  And how about that color?  Should I do more toolboxes in vibrant colors, or do you prefer the more neutral look I usually do?  I’m curious about all of these things, so leave me a comment and let me know.

the primitive.

I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m rather drawn to primitive pieces.  It’s hard to find a definitive description of ‘primitive’ when it comes to furniture, but I’m referring to pieces of furniture that look like someone made it by hand, most likely out in their barn.  I’m also referring to pieces that have a very worn paint finish, and really just look like they have been around for 100 years.  That brings me to the inspiration photo for today’s piece.

I found this photo on pinterest when searching for ‘black painted dressers’.  I’m not sure where it originates from, so I don’t have any info on this piece.  But it was definitely the jumping off point for the dresser I painted last weekend.  I knew I could approximate this look with some black milk paint, and in case you are wondering I am going to forgo adding the dripping paint spill on that third drawer down.

I’m starting with this dresser that I purchased at my local ReStore a few weeks ago.

You’re probably not quite seeing any comparison to that inspiration photo just yet, but trust me on this one.

To start with, I really didn’t care for the knobs that were on this dresser when I bought it.

I don’t think that these knobs were original to the piece.  Usually this style of furniture has a pull that looks somewhat like this …

Or this …

Or this …

But this dresser only has one hole for a knob, so obviously it didn’t originally have drawer pulls that required two holes.  So I guess I’m really not sure if those knobs were replacements or not.  Either way, they had to go.

I wanted to get pulls similar to those on my inspiration piece, but have you guys tried to order things like this lately?  It felt like every affordable version I found online was out of stock, or only available in a shiny brass or chrome.  I ended up using some cup pulls that I found at my local Menards.

The other change I made to this dresser was to remove the wooden brackets on either side of that back piece.

I just didn’t like the look of them.  They were screwed in place from the back, so it was easy to remove them.  I took them off and then gave that back piece a wiggle to make sure it didn’t absolutely require them for support (which it didn’t).  I filled the holes where the screws went through the remaining back piece with Dixie Belle’s Mud.

Next up I cleaned the dresser using TSP Substitute.  This piece was pretty gross, so it required a good clean.  However, I did not sand it before painting.  I knew I was going to use milk paint, and I was willing to risk some (or even a lot) of chipping.

Today’s q tip:  Milk paint is intended to soak into the surface of bare wood.  When using it on a surface that isn’t bare wood, it will chip when it meets resistance to absorbing into the wood in the form of oils (such as grease, oily finger prints, furniture polish, etc) or previous finishes such as varnish, poly, paint, etc.  If you want to mitigate that chipping, you can be sure to clean off any oily residues using TSP or TSP substitute, and/or you can scuff sand your piece to break down previous finishes.

I chose to just clean my piece and not scuff sand because I’d be OK with some chipping.  If you’re worried about excess chipping with milk paint, do both.  Or use a bonding agent.

While cleaning the inside of the dresser, I found that it had been signed …

I think that’s definitely a clue that this piece was made by hand rather than by machines in a factory.

When I went to pull out my Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Typewriter, I found that I only had about 1/4 cup of the powder left in the bag.  Yikes!  I was really nervous that this wouldn’t be enough paint for this project, but it turned out to be plenty.  Mainly because I ended up needing only one coat of paint.  I was going for a worn look anyway, so it was perfectly fine if I didn’t end up with fully opaque coverage.

Milk paint dries really fast, especially when you’re painting inside a heated house with pretty much zero humidity.  So once the paint was dry, I sanded my piece with vigor to get the worn look that I wanted.  I focused on areas that would have received more wear over time, like around the key holes and the edges of the drawers.

Next, I pulled out some of my European grain sack style stencils (from Maison de Stencils).  I knew I’d have some that could give me a look similar to the inspiration piece.

I used Dixie Belle paint in Putty to do the stenciling.

Finally, after vacuuming away all of the dust, I used Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta to seal the dresser.  I usually describe this product as halfway between hemp oil and wax.  It provides a little more protection than plain hemp oil, but not quite as much as wax.  I love using it over dark colors in particular though.  I think it really brings out the richness of the color.

I chose to line the drawers of this dresser with some map themed wrapping paper.  They had some ink stains that were a little unsightly, so I opted to add this last detail.

This was a fun one to work on and the perfect project for milk paint.

I think I did a pretty good job of creating the same ‘look’ as my inspiration piece, what do you think?

This dresser is the perfect size to use as a nightstand, it’s not terribly large.  It is for sale locally, so please check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for the dimensions and other info if interested.


how to dress for cold weather.

I was googling up some good cold weather quotes to use for this post and I saw this one:


I never follow that advice though.  If I did, I’d probably have to stay in bed for about six months out of the year here in Minnesota.

I was exchanging emails with one of my readers over the past weekend and I mentioned to her that it was 11 below zero here.  She’s from Los Angeles, and she was wondering if anyone goes outside when it’s that cold (yes, I’m talking about you Connie!).

So the next day, when my sister, niece and I decided to go to Como Park for the afternoon I was thinking about Connie’s question.  As it turns out, yes Connie, we do go out when it’s that cold.  Sometimes we even go to the zoo.  We just have to dress accordingly.

That’s my niece Kris, my sister Debbie, and then me on the right.  I have to mention, that hat I’m wearing is the warmest hat I’ve ever owned.  It’s fleece on the inside and faux fur and knitted on the outside, and you can wrap those furry tails around under your chin to keep your neck warm.  Super toasty.

I found it rather comical that masks were required even in outdoor areas at the Como Zoo.  Do you think Covid can live in sub-zero temperatures?  Does anyone know?

Well, no matter.  The masks were great for keeping our faces warm.

One of the big benefits to going to the zoo on super cold days is that you have the place practically to yourselves.  Pretty much none of the benches are taken.

Another benefit is that the polar bear is really active.  He (she?  I don’t know which polar bear this was and the zoo has three of them) was in and out of the water (just look at that steam coming off of him), rolling around in the snow and trying to get that frozen hunk of meat detached from the ice.

And also apparently posing for photos.  My sister took that photo.

Other animals that seemed oblivious to the cold were the reindeer, the arctic foxes, the wolves, and the bison.  They were all out and about.

But for those humans that don’t happen to be cold weather lovers, you can always head inside the conservatory.

Once inside you’ll find lots of tropical plants …

not to mention lots of people trying to pretend like they live in a tropical climate in January.  I saw one girl meditating in the lotus position on a bench in the fern room.  I’m fairly sure she was chanting in her head “I’m in the Bahamas, I’m in the Bahamas, I’m in the Bahamas” or something like that.

But really the main reason I like to go this time of year is to see the poinsettia display.  I almost missed it, but it runs through January 9 so we made it in time.  They had an interesting display for 2021 with red, orange and yellow ones.

The red one in that photo is a new variety called ‘Christmas Mouse’ because of its more rounded bracts that resemble the shape of mouse ears.

I love that they change it up every year, but I have to admit that this particular color combination was not one of my favorites.  It was very cheerful and colorful, but I’m just not a a yellow and orange girl.  And definitely not for Christmas.

As we were heading out after our visit to Como Park, all three of us agreed that our favorite part of the day was having the outside mainly to ourselves.  I guess all three of us are truly Minnesotan’s at heart.  Not only do we prefer cool temperatures outdoors, but we also prefer cool colors in our poinsettias.

a little june in january.

Well, the hubbub of the holidays is over.  I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who take down and put away my holiday decorations starting December 26.  Except this year I didn’t start until December 27, because I had family over on December 26 to celebrate my nephew’s 40th birthday.  He was visiting from Philly, so it was fun to have him here for his big birthday.

But now I have all of my indoor decorations down and stored away for next year.

As for the outside stuff, well, that’s a different story here in Minnesota.  We had some sub-zero temps over this past weekend and there’s no way I’m braving that to take down decorations.

Plus, the bulk of them are frozen in place under a layer of snow now anyway.  They won’t be coming out for a while.

So I focused on a few indoor painting projects this past weekend instead, including this rather giant toolbox.

I don’t think that photo above does a good job of showing the size of this one, but here is the toolbox along with a few of the other things I purchased last summer.  Seeing it in relation to the chairs puts it in a little more perspective.

It’s really quite the beast.  And in its original state, it was also quite heavy even while empty.  I honestly don’t think I could have even lugged it around when filled with tools (or anything at all for that matter).  When you opened it, two layers of trays opened up accordion style on either side.

As much as that was pretty cool, I asked Ken to remove them for me.  For one thing, they added considerable weight and for another they would have been nearly impossible to paint without resorting to spray paint.  They also would have limited the possibilities for future use.  Sure, you could have used it for your fishing lures, or your socket set, but as you’ll see in a minute, I don’t think the new look screams tackle box or toolbox.

After it was gutted, I cleaned the toolbox with Dawn dish soap.  Once dry I painted the outside in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy, and the inside in their Silk paint in a color called Hampton Olive.

I chose this color for a few reasons.  First of all, it’s very similar to the original color of the interior, so I was paying homage to that.  Second, I thought it worked well with both the transfer I planned to use as well as the Sawmill Gravy.  I wanted to use a Silk paint because the sealer and topcoat are built in.  I thought I’d save myself a couple of steps this time around.  And this was the best option out of the colors of Silk paint that I had on hand.  Finally, I liked the idea of toning down the girly-ness with a more masculine color on the inside because as you’re about to see, this one is plenty girly on the outside.

Yep, I went full on floral for this one, with a few cherubs to boot.  That is the bottom half of the June, Ode to Henry Fletcher transfer from IOD.

I’ve had this transfer for a while and I really wasn’t sure I’d ever find the perfect piece for it, but it worked beautifully on this toolbox.  I love the way it has a bunch of flower names listed at the bottom.

I’m guessing that these are all flowers that bloom in June.  Does Jasmine bloom in June?

I added the wording on the top of the toolbox from a couple of other IOD transfers.

The “Les Roses” section is from their Petit Rosier transfer, and the “Les Fleurs” wording is from their Label Ephemera transfer (and in case you were wondering, yes, you can layer transfers in this way).

Once the transfers were applied, I sanded lightly along any edges and corners to give it a more distressed appearance.

Finally, I added a coat of clear wax.

I don’t know about you, but June feels far away to me just now.  So I thought I’d bring a little bit of June to January.

You could store all kinds of fun things inside this baby.  Art supplies, gardening tools, hats and mittens … lots of possibilities.  I am listing this one for sale (see my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details), but I have to price it a bit higher than usual.  Those IOD transfers are not cheap (but they sure are gorgeous).  In the end, if it doesn’t sell, I bet I’ll get over it and find a spot for it at my house.  If any of you locals need to bring a little bit of June into your January, be sure to email me at

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the paint used in this project.

one year later.

In preparation for my year end post, I went back and reviewed 2020’s wrap up post.  In that post I promised that you would see more of certain things in 2021.  Let’s see how I did.

Here are the things that I was sure you’d see more of in 2021:

Black and white.  Because let’s face it, they are classic and never go out of style. – Done!

This dresser that I painted in Miss Mustard Seed’s Typewriter back in July was one of my favorites in 2021.

But I also shared quite a few pieces painted in my favorite Dixie Belle Drop Cloth too.

Signs made out of old cupboard doors.  Now that I know how easy these are to find at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep making lots of them. – Done!

I painted quite a few cupboard door signs, but I think these General Store signs were some of my favorites in 2021.  And hey, they were black and white too!

Stenciling on unpainted wood.  This was an experiment for me recently, but I really love how it turned out.  I think you’ll see more of this look from me in 2021. – Hmmm, yeah, I dropped the ball on that one.  I don’t think I stenciled a single piece of unpainted furniture in 2021.  I did add a transfer to unpainted wood though, does that count?

Thrifted items given new life with paint, stencils and/or transfersI just love taking a worn out item and giving it a fresh new life.  It’s so satisfying! – Done!

I think toolboxes count, right?  Because I gave a lot them new life in 2021.

I painted a couple of tiny dressers in 2021 as well.

I refreshed a few other thrifted and garage sale finds in 2021, but I’m hoping to do more of that in 2022.

In addition to those items that I felt sure would remain in 2021,  I was also hoping that the new year would bring more of the things that fell by the wayside in 2020 due to Covid:

Great hauls from neighborhood garage salesBecause surely the awesome neighborhood sales will be back in business for 2021, right? – Well, not so much.

A few of them came back, but definitely not as many as I’d like.  We did check out one that was new to us as a result, Columbia Heights.  But as you can see, I didn’t have super impressive hauls from either one of these.  There were a handful of goodies though, so I shouldn’t complain.

Travel postsPlease, please, please let there be travel in 2021. – Done?  Sort of?  Not exactly what I had in mind though.

At the end of 2020 I was still hoping that our European cruise would take place in the coming fall.  That didn’t happen.  It has been re-booked once again to fall 2022.  We’ll see how that goes.  But we did get in a little more travel in 2021 than we did in 2020, mostly in the form of visits to my mom’s house and trips to Disney parks.

Garden postsEven if the world opens back up again, I still hope to keep up on my gardening. – Done!

I definitely focused more on gardening in 2021 much like I had in 2020.

And I’m looking forward to having even more time for that in 2022!

Home toursBecause everybody enjoys an awesome home tour. – Done!

OK, well to be fair, I didn’t really get to this one until the very end of the year.  Still, I think I can count it since I did end up sharing two home tours; mine and Amy’s.

Now that I’m retired, I plan to do more home tours throughout the year in 2022.  Those posts are fairly time consuming, but I’ll have time for them now.

And speaking of retirement, that is surely something that I did not see coming back at the end of 2020.  In fact, if you had told me I’d be retiring in the coming year back on December 31, 2020 I wouldn’t have believed it.  But here I am, and I plan to make the most of it in 2022, so I hope you’ll continue to join me here on the blog.

Let’s all drink a toast to continuing improvement in 2022, Happy New Year!

a simple lockbox.

I love doing simple little projects like this one that prove how much personality you can add with a little paint, some transfers and some decoupage paper.

My friend/picker, Sue, found this little lockbox for me last summer.

It’s just your basic metal box meant for storing important documents.  It’s obviously not particularly old, maybe from the 70’s or 80’s.  It’s not really anything special, but Sue knew I could give it a fun new look.

I started by scuff sanding the surface to give the paint a better chance to stick.  Then I cleaned the box with soap and water.  Once dry, I started painting.  I painted a strip down the center in Dixie Belle’s French Linen, and once that was fully dry, I taped a line on either side of the handle and painted the outer edges of the box in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy.

I love this combination of colors, these two play really well together.

Once all of the paint was dry, I sanded the edges to distress the box, wiped away any dust and then added some IOD transfers.

These were just bits and pieces that I had in my transfer scrap pile, all of them coming originally from the IOD Label Ephemera transfer.

I cut out each line separately and arranged them to fit the top of the box.

I’d also painted the interior of the box in the French Linen.  Once that was dry, I lined it with some with prima decoupage tissue paper called Washed Damask.

I used Dixie Belle clear coat in flat as a decoupage medium for the tissue, and I also gave the rest of the interior a couple of coats of the flat clear coat to provide extra protection to the paint.

I used clear wax as a topcoat on the outside of the box because I prefer the look it gives over the flat clear coat.

It leaves just a bit more sheen.  But it doesn’t provide quite as much protection, so that’s why I opt for the clear coat on the inside.  I also buffed up the lock using clear wax so that it’s nice and shiny now.

I wish I had the key to go with the box, but unfortunately I don’t.  I even went through my jar of random keys to see if I could find one that fit, but no luck.

So whatever is stored inside won’t be under lock and key.

But it will be stored in style.

This particular box is already spoken for.  One of my regular customers gave me a really fabulous, and really huge, cabinet in exchange for it.  I won’t be able to work on the cabinet until spring/summer when I can be outside in my carriage house workshop because there is no way I have room to do it in the house.  So you’ll have to stay tuned for that one!

In the meantime, let me know what you think of the lock box makeover.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle for providing the paint and clear coat used on this project.

copy cat table runner.

I think I’ve already established here that I’m absorbing ideas all the time, and I’m sure the rest of you are as well.  Whether by looking at design books or magazines, surfing Instagram or Pinterest, or following my favorite bloggers, I am regularly seeing pictures of things that inspire me.

Sometimes I pretty much copy them outright.  I see something and think “oh, I can do that!”, and that’s the case with today’s project.

I saw a table runner in Liz Galvan’s new book that I just loved.  Here’s a photo of the photo in her book …

How simple, right?  Just paint a Swiss cross in white on a drop cloth table runner.  Easy, peasy.

First I needed drop cloth that wasn’t splattered with paint, all of the ones I had on hand are well used.  So I picked up a new one at my local Menards.

  I went with the medium weight canvas in 4′ x 15′.  I ended up cutting it in half lengthwise to make a 2′ wide runner (and I’ll likely make the other half into a runner as well), and I also cut it down to the length that fit my dining room table.

Speaking of, Mr. Q made our dining room table and it’s a bit oversized.  Which means that the few times I have tried to purchase a ready-made table runner, they have always been too short.

First things first though, I washed and dried the drop cloth before I cut it, just in case it did any shrinking.  Then, after cutting it down to the width and length I wanted, I measured and taped off my cross.

Next I pulled out my favorite Dixie Belle off white shade, Drop Cloth, and a large stencil brush and started stippling on the paint.  I was surprised to realize that the Drop Cloth totally blended in with the color of the … well … duh! … drop cloth.

I don’t know why that surprised me!  In my mind, I thought the Drop Cloth paint was a little bit lighter than that.  So I switched gears and brought out Dixie Belle’s Cotton instead, which is their purest shade of white.

Ahhhh, much better.

It took about three coats of paint to get this level of coverage.  Mainly because I was stippling it on with a stencil brush, not painting it on directly with a regular brush.  I did three light coats rather than one or two heavy coats.

I was a little worried that I wouldn’t get crisp lines because the tape I used didn’t stick to the fabric that well.  In hindsight, this project would probably work better with regular painters tape rather than this yellow Frog tape that is meant for delicate surfaces.

But when I pulled away the tape, my lines were just fine, so it worked out alright in the end.

I ended up making my swiss cross a little bit larger than the one in the inspiration photo.  I’m not sure whether I like it my way, or if I’d prefer the inspiration version.

I opted to photograph it out on my front porch because it was fairly gloomy outside and I couldn’t get good light in my dining room.  But size-wise, obviously the table runner is more suited to a much larger table than this one.

Although I have to say, I am rather liking it on this table as well, so maybe it’s more versatile than I thought.

Measuring and taping off the cross was a bit putzy, but otherwise this little project couldn’t have been any simpler.  Or cheaper, for that matter.  For less than $20, I’ll get two runners and still have some additional drop cloth fabric left over.

You may have noticed that I didn’t bother to hem the raw edges of my runner.  Mostly because I don’t sew.  And because I’m keeping it for myself and I’m never as picky about such details when I’m keeping something.  I will note, however, that this runner probably would not wash up well as it is.  It would fray quite a bit at that raw edge, and the paint would wash out a bit as well.  One way to set the paint would be to tumble the runner in your clothes dryer on high heat, and another would be to iron it from the back with high heat and no steam.  And of course, you could hem the drop cloth to help prevent fraying.  I think using a serger to do the hem would give the best look (hmmm, pretty sure I have a friend or two with sergers, I may have to seek them out).

So, what do you think?  Kind of fun for a quick and easy project, right?  Will you whip one up for yourself?