my picker’s finds.

It’s official, I have a picker!  What’s a picker, you ask?

Here’s the official definition.

pick·er ˈpikər/ noun

a person or machine that gathers or collects something. “a tomato picker”

a person who plays a plucked instrument, especially a guitar, banjo, or mandolin.

“banjo pickers”

My picker doesn’t play the banjo or pick tomatoes (although she does pick strawberries every year), but when she sees something at a garage sale that she thinks I might like she buys it for me.  My picker is my friend Sue, who is also my partner for the Carriage House sales (which are currently on an indefinite hiatus) and also a co-worker at my day job, and also a neighbor, but most importantly she is my garage sale mentor.  If it weren’t for Sue, I probably never would have even tried garage saling.  She taught me the ins and outs of finding the good stuff over 20 years ago.  I shared a tour of Sue’s beautiful home and garden back in the early days of my blog (you can see that here and here).  I’ve been wanting to update that house tour this summer but haven’t found time yet.

But today I’m sharing a couple of fun pieces that she picked for me lately.

The first is this cute little stool.

OK, well maybe not so cute in its ‘before’ state.  But it’s very sturdy and I like the little slot that can be used as a handle to carry it around.  This would make a great gardening stool.

I started by sanding it down, especially trying to remove all of those paint drips.  If you don’t get all of those off of there, they will come back to haunt you when you later sand to distress your paint job as you may notice in my ‘after’ photos below.

Next I mixed up the same custom color of milk paint that I used on the bookcase I shared on Monday.  Mostly Homestead House’s Craftsman with a little of Homestead House’s Loyalist mixed in.

After two coats of paint, I sanded it well to distress, then wiped the dust off and added my favorite Prima Marketing transfer.  This is the small version of the Seeds transfer.

For you hosta lovers out there, that one on the upper left is called Lakeside Dragonfly.  It’s perfect for the front of the garden because it doesn’t get huge.

 By the way, I had to cut the transfer in half to space it around the handle opening and I didn’t use the entire thing.  I’m sure I’ll find somewhere to use the rest of the transfer.

After the transfer was applied, I lightly sanded over the whole top again and then added a top coat of the Real Milk Paint Co’s Dead Flat Finishing Cream.

I really do love using this finish over milk paint.  It’s so easy to apply and it provides a little more protection than wax or hemp oil.  It has a thick gel-like consistency, so you don’t have to worry about drips.  It will also provide plenty of protection for the transfer.

Sue also found a simple wooden tote (or toolbox if you prefer) for me.  I neglected to get a ‘before’ photo of it though.  Drat.  But it was made out of fresh, new wood and had never been painted.

So I added a couple of coats of different colored paints to give it a little fake history.  First a coat of Fusion’s Laurentien, then a coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s French Enamel, and finally a coat of Homestead House milk paint in Raw Silk.

I sanded the edges to distress down to some of those other layers of color.

Initially I was going to stencil this tote, but the stencil I had in mind didn’t fit so I used a remnant of another one of my Prima Marketing transfers instead, this time the large Seeds transfer.  I’d already used the rest of this transfer on a dresser.

That’s one of the things I love about these Prima Marketing transfers, you can cut them up and create several masterpieces with just one of them.

I originally filled the tote with books for the photos, but then I thought ‘what the heck, it’s summer, let’s fill it with greenery instead.’

Plus, I used a portion of the transfer on both sides of the tote so I wanted to show the other side anyway.

By the way, that gorgeous purple flower is a purple astilbe.  It just started blooming last week.

Since both sides of this tote have a design, one could easily use it in the center of the dining room table.

In case you are wondering what in the world I do with all of this smaller stuff after I transform it, the answer is that I take it to Reclaiming Beautiful (a shop in nearby Stillwater) to sell on consignment.

The stool is already sold, but this week I’ll be bringing in the tote along with a few other fun things I’ve finished up lately.

Some stenciled buckets …

The blue bucket is painted with Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in French Enamel.  As I’ve mentioned before, milk paint works beautifully over dull galvanized metal (it may chip more if the metal has a shiny coating over it).

A vibrant aqua toy truck …

Yes, I painted it this color.  It had also been painted by the previous owner, so I wasn’t defacing a collectible toy or anything.  This is Cece Caldwell chalk paint in Santa Fe Turquoise.  Just for fun I also added a small rub-on transfer to the hood too.

My sister picked up that truck for me at a garage sale one of her neighbor’s was having, so technically I guess I have two pickers!

I also have another painted wood tote (this one I found at a garage sale myself).  It’s also painted in Miss Mustard Seed’s French Enamel and then stenciled with a warm white acrylic craft paint.

So if you’re local, be sure to swing by Reclaiming Beautiful this weekend to see what other fab items they have in stock (open Thursday – Sunday only).

20 thoughts on “my picker’s finds.

  1. You have given each of these items a great “encore life!”. I love the idea of using the tool tote as a centerpiece.


  2. These are so great! I love that all the pieces were improved so, so much, not to mention they are all blue! Love Sues finds and your updates to her finds. Smalls are so much fun cause they are quick and easy to transform – and a little paint and decoration makes such a difference!


  3. Nothing like a good “small”! Good job revamping everything…love your flowers too. And Ken gets a bit of a vacation!


  4. I would think a good picker has to see the beauty of the item in its before state or they would pass the “treasures ” by. So she has a good eye


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