of mice and men.

And bam!  Just like that we’re back home from our whirlwind vacation.  Trips like these always go by in the blink of an eye.  One minute you are trying to make sure you remembered to pack everything, and the next thing you know you are back home in your own bed and wondering how it went by so fast.  But I have a confession to make, I’m always happy to be back home again in my familiar surroundings.  I’m also anxious to get back to my painting!

Don’t worry (although conversely, do worry if you aren’t into travel posts), I plan to share all of the details of our Adriatic Cruise much like I did last year with our Norway/Scotland cruise.  I’ll post about a different port each week until I get through them all.  I think some might even take more than one post because there was so much to see!

If you are one of those people who would rather poke your eye out with a sharp stick than look at someone’s travel photos you may want to avoid my blog on Wednesday’s for the next several months.

But for the rest of you, I’ll be saving one of the most awesome things we did for last.

We hired a private guide to take us on a tour of the Luigi Bevilacqua artisanal weaving workshop in Venice where they still make Soprarizzo velvet by hand using 18th century looms.  It was incredible and I’m looking forward to sharing more details of that with you guys.

I’ll start the travel posts this week with the details of our Street Food Tour in Genoa, so be sure to check back on Wednesday for that.

But in the meantime, today is a special day because it’s my fifth blogiversary.    I started q is for quandie on November 26, 2013.  At the time I remember thinking that if my blog lasted five years, I’d be lucky.  It seems like so many bloggers come and go, and believe me I can totally understand why.  Blogging is a time consuming activity and if you are hoping to make a bunch of money doing it, you are likely to be disappointed.

However, as it has turned out, I really enjoy blogging.  I love almost every aspect; the writing, the photography, the interaction with my readers, the brainstorming to come up with creative ideas for posts and of course the furniture painting and other projects that I blog about.  In the end, even if I wasn’t blogging, I would still be refurbishing furniture.  So as long as I keep that up, it seems to go hand in hand with blogging.

The one incredible benefit that I never anticipated when starting my blog has been the opportunity to work with some great companies like Homestead House Paint Co (which also includes Fusion Mineral Paint and Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint), Dixie Belle Paint Company and Prima Marketing.

So in anticipation of my blogiversary I reached out to all three of these companies and asked them if they would be willing to help me celebrate five years of blogging by providing some of my favorite products that I could include in a ‘give away’ today.

They all very graciously said yes.

However, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men.  Something always manages to go awry.  I was hoping that all of the items would arrive in the mail while I was gone on my trip.  My neighbor Ken was in charge of keeping an eye out for delivery trucks and bringing in any packages so they wouldn’t sit on the porch.  I told him to expect at least three boxes, if not more.

Unfortunately the only box waiting for me when I got home Friday night was the one from Homestead House, so that left me with a conundrum.  Even though I was planning to have just one giant, fabulous prize for my blogiversary post today, I didn’t have everything yet.  So, should I delay my blogiversary post?  Or should I break it down and have multiple giveaways?  Maybe one per week up until Christmas?  The more I thought about it, the more that sounded like a great solution.

And this way I can pay homage to each line of products individually and focus on why they made it onto my list of favorites.

It makes sense to start with the first paint line that I really fell in love with, Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.  One of the first pieces I painted with MMS milk paint was an antique oak buffet that I had in my piano room.

I painted this with Kitchen Scale and then used Miss Mustard Seed’s Hemp Oil as a finish.

That was the start of a long line of pieces painted in this same combination.  I love the way the hemp oil brings out the vibrant color of the Kitchen Scale.  I also love that hemp oil is so simple to use.  I apply it with a cheap chip brush and then wipe away any excess.  Another incredible feature of the hemp oil is that it is totally safe for both you and the environment.  In fact, it is even food safe and can be used to rejuvenate your wooden cutting boards.

Another MMS color that I absolutely love is Linen.  It’s the perfect creamy white.  Not so white that it makes other whites look dingy by comparison.  It’s a white that plays well with others.

I’ve used this color on a countless number of pieces over the years as well.

Another favorite of mine is the Miss Mustard Seed’s lavender scented furniture wax.  It really makes the work of waxing a piece so much more enjoyable when you’re surrounded by the relaxing scent of lavender.  And the MMS wax is so creamy and smooth, making it easier to apply.  I also love the fact that it does not contain aromatic hydrocarbons making it safe for indoor use in the winter.

This was a limited edition product and I’m not sure how readily available it is anymore, but I was able to snag a jar of it for my giveaway (thank you Miss Mustard Seed)!

I’ll also be adding a couple of things to this giveaway that I picked up on my trip including a Nadalina (a prize winning Croatian chocolate maker according to this article) chocolate bar in dark chocolate with Adriatic Sea Salt.

That little wrapped item that looks like a bon bon is actually lavender soap, also from Croatia.

Plus I’m including an Italian decorating magazine called Shabby Style.  You know I love checking out the foreign decorating magazines whenever I’m traveling.  I picked this one up at a news stand in Ravenna, Italy.  In case you are wondering, no, I don’t understand a word of Italian, but I still enjoy looking at the photos.  And apparently some things are universal, such as an admiration for vintage glass tree toppers.

And a love for worn, chippy, painted finishes on furniture.  As they say, it adds un tocco romantico e nostalgico alla stanza.

You could easily achieve this look using Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint and I think the color is very similar to her Grain Sack which is a white with a grey undertone.

So to recap, today’s prize includes:  the Italian magazine, the Croatian soap and chocolate bar, Miss Mustard Seed’s Kitchen Scale and Linen paint, a 7 oz. lavender scented furniture wax and 250 mL of hemp oil.

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 this week.

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Friday, November 30, 2018 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 $110, if the prize is not claimed by Sunday, December 2, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!

142 thoughts on “of mice and men.

  1. I love every part of your blog- the words, pictures, travel glimpses and the way that you stage your items! It’s always fun to read. Congratulations on your 5th year! Hope you are still enjoying the journey for many years to come!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That gorgeous house you opened with reminds me of Naples and Athens — I have a whole portfolio with “French balcony” photos! Thank you for so much inspiration! Could you direct me to (I hope I’m remembering this correctly) your piece called dark and stormy? I loved it!


    1. That is the Bar Vitelli in Savoca, Italy where a scene from the Godfather was filmed. Although it’s sort of a bar/museum now, it was initially a villa. Coppola turned it into a bar for filming the movie and then it became a popular tourist destination so the bar thing stuck. Savoca was beautiful, I’m really looking forward to posting more about it. In the meantime, I think {this} is the piece you are looking for.


  3. Thank you for sharing your travels with us! Yes, some pictures are universal – no translation needed! I am still learning about milk paint and need to purchase some samples!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Blogiversary and welcome back. I am looking forward to reading about your trip and seeing lovely pictures. I will say that I have missed seeing your painting projects and I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with next. I would love to try the Miss Mustard Seed products. Thanks for the inspiration.


    1. I’m looking forward to seeing what I come up with next too 😉 I have to confess, I don’t have a project waiting in the wings at the moment and I’m feeling a little stressed about that! But I’m sure something will come to me.


  5. Linda, your kitchen scale buffet was the inspiration for my buffet/TV stand that I still have in my house. Kitchen scale is still one of my favorite colors to use! I’ve missed your posts. Happy Blog Anniversary!


  6. AWESOME blog = AWESOME giveaway !!!! It would be wonderful to win and wishing you happy, merry Christmas and happy anniversary to you and your blog !

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, BAM is the word Miss Quandie! It always gives me a “moment” when I recognize my own thoughts in someone else’s words! Before leaving on a trip, whether I’m thinking it will be a fun or a not-fun one, I’ll say, I’m going to be back standing here in two seconds! My own little time warp! And without fail I’m itching to begin or continue a project the minute I get back. And don’t you feel grateful to be HAPPY to come home? That you don’t yearn to escape it? I’m glad you’re back and that I can look forward to your projects and travel stories…..(-:


    1. So funny Constance, we must be like two peas in a pod. Traveling does feel like a sort of time warp, doesn’t it? On the last day of our trip I mentioned to Mr. Q how happy I was to be heading home, and he said the same thing … how lucky that we are happy to go home again rather than dreading the return to our everyday life.


  8. Yours is the blog that I always open as soon as I see it. Love everything about your blog, from your decor style to your writing style! I’ve been inspired by many of your pieces.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Happy 5th Quandie Anniversary! I am currently on Holiday in Tuscany Italy……so Buon Quinto Anniversario! CIAO BELLA! 😘


    1. I hope you’re having an amazing time Jeannie! How long will you be there? On Wednesday I’ll be posting about a street food tour we took in Genoa. The company, Do Eat Better Experience, has tours all over Italy and they gave me a 10% discount code to share with my friends! Maybe it’s not too late for you to book a food tour!


      1. Ciao! I just spent 1 week in Pitigliano and now I am in Manciano, Italy for my 2nd week. I love to travel & have fallen in Amore’ with Italy, especially the Tuscan Regions! The food is incredible and of course the wine is too! This is my 3rd trip to Italy and I hope to have many more! Thank you for the suggestion, I will see if they offer it in this area, although I have met wonderful friends who take me to fantastic restaurants! Grazie & arrivederci ❤️🇮🇹🍝🍕🍷

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Welcome home and happy blogiversary Linda. (I didn’t realize we started our blogs around the same time!) Looking forward to seeing more of your vacation pics. 🙂


  11. Welcome home! The trip looked fabulous and I’m really intrigued to read about the velvet weaving workshop in particular. Sounds like that was a real treat!
    Happy Blogiversary! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Linda, congratulations on this milestone! I love your blog and have learned so much! Please continue to share your travel adventures too, your pictures and stories are informative! So generous of you to offer such a nice gift for your readers. All the best, Paula

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Happy 5th yr blogging aniversary
    As always I look forward to reading your blogs each morning at the stroke of 7:00 am
    “Ding” yep there it is..lol Glad you made it back safely and happy belated bday…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi!

    Do you have any ornaments you want to sell?

    Wendy Gimpel Keller Williams Realty 651-214-7796 wendygimpel.com

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. I brought a bunch in to Reclaiming Beautiful before my trip, but I don’t know if they have any left. I may come across some more between now and Christmas though, so I’ll be sure to keep you posted if I do.


  15. You are so inspiring, I cannot help but plan another piece of furniture to paint . Keep up the good work on your blog, it brings a bit of sunshine into my day!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Happy Anniversary..I love getting your newsletter in my email..I cringe sometimes at the furniture your going to paint but in the end you always blow me away..love all the hard work! Keep them coming 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I was sadly scrolling through my email – a total of 77 Ciber Monday emails to delete – wishing there was something interesting to see and read. BAM! There you were fulfilling all my wishes! I’m glad you had a safe and wonderful vacation and I’m glad to have you back in my inbox. I’m looking forward to your vacation posts. Happy blogoversary! I’ve been reading back through your entire blog (again) and enjoying each and every post again. I’m not surprised you’ve made it 5 years and I hope you continue for a long time to come. You bring a bit of joy to my day every Mon, Wed, and Fri. I hope you have a wonderful day and thank you (and your collaborating companies) for the giveaways!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I am so glad you are still posting 5 years later and look forward to your blog. I love the trips, the painting, thevscapbooking and the qtips thrown in along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. oh my gosh, I feel like I was on this heavenly Vacation with you. Love everything. Been dying to try Milk Paint. Please get me out of my clean painted funk. Good Luck to all and Happy Holidays

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi,
    I have decided that you should LEAD a bloggers trip next time. Your vacations are so well planned and sound so fun I wanna go too. I am sure having 20 others join you would take all the fun out of a trip. Just waiting for everyone to get out of the bathroom at every stop would be enough to end it….but it’s fun idea.


  21. Welcome back Linda! Looks like you had a fabulous trip. Looking forward to travel Wednesdays. If I remember correctly I found your blog on Christmas night 2013. And I was so excited. Almost didn’t see today’s post because of all those pesky Cyber Monday email ads in my in box. There I was cleaning those out when poof I got qmail. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging girl. It’s been so much fun.


  22. Welcome home. I am well over18 but would love to win this prize.Oh dear I live in Ontario, Canada so does that put me out of the running. I am looking very forward to the news of your trip.it sounds wonderful. Regards Betty


  23. I absolutely love following your blog and seeing your projects! So glad you had a great trip! Thank you so much for allowing peeps to enter your give-a-ways by comment. There are those of us who decide not to do Facebook and Instagram. We know how. We just don’t want to!!


  24. I am one of those people who LOVE your travel posts, thank you! Your blog is bookmarked for me, as I get way too many emails, but I check in several times each week. Love your work, style, writing, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Linda You were born to be wild/blog. All your vices garage sales, antique furniture, gardening, photography, furniture painting, traveling and writing are a perfect storm. Thanks for what u do.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Thank you for my early in the morning trip to Italy through you. Wonderful shots of the food walk as I’m eating breakfast. Your blog today is preparing me for my trip w the Beekmann 1802 boys and others on a Germany trip of a lifetime leaving tomorrow. You’re suggestions on travel are inspiring and have helped me prepare mentally. I’m excited! Glad you made it home safely.


    1. Oh my goodness Linda, that sounds like an amazing opportunity. I googled it, looks like you’re going to the Christmas Markets! How fun. I hope you’ll let me know how it went. Bon Voyage!


  27. Your blog was the first one I ever followed. I love your ideas. I initially was drawn to your stencil work and rub-ons. I also like that you use different kinds of paints and waxes. Love your Q-tips! Happy blog anniversary!

    Liked by 1 person

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