a thrift store haul.

My sister and I were out the other day and just happened to be driving past the Goodwill, so we decided to pop in and see what they had.  We had actually been in the same Goodwill store about a week earlier and didn’t find a single thing.  But this time I managed to fill up a shopping cart with goodies.

Nothing earth shattering, but I did find some simple things that made for fun small projects that I’m going to share with you today.

First up, the chicken box.

You’re probably wondering why in the world I picked that up, but what you can’t see in that photo is that it’s really just a simple box made out of old barn wood with an ugly chicken on the front.

I cut off the broken rafia handle, sanded down the chicken and re-painted just the front of the box in Dixie Belle’s French Linen.

Then I added just part of the Farm Fresh Honey Bee stencil that I purchased from Wallcutz.

My q tip for today is to always remember that you don’t have to use a stencil in its entirety.  You can tape off sections to fit on a smaller item like this little box.  Stencils have tons of versatility!

Once the paint was fully dry, I sanded to distress and added a clear wax finish.  Then I used some decorative cording to replace the handle.

And as I was writing up this post I realized that you still couldn’t see the barn wood that makes up the rest of the box, so here’s a shot that shows it off a little bit better.  Sort of.

Next up is the blue box.

The very flat finish on this box makes me think it was painted in either chalk paint or milk paint.  The color reminds me quite a bit of Miss Mustard Seed’s Flow Blue, or maybe Dixie Belle’s Antebellum Blue or Annie Sloan’s Aubusson.  Although I really like all of those colors, I felt that the color wasn’t really working on this box.  However, the real problem for me was the hideous black wrought iron handle more than the color.

OK, maybe ‘hideous’ is too strong a word, but I really didn’t like that handle.  So much so that I tossed it in the trash as soon as I removed it and I never really got a good photo of it.

Anyway, after removing that handle, I painted the entire box, inside and out, in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy.  Once dry I added one of the Classic Vintage Label transfers from re.design with prima to the front.

To jazz up the inside of the box, I added some of prima’s decoupage décor tissue papers to the inside of the lid.  This one is called Floral Wallpaper.

I luckily just happened to have a scrap of this tissue that was the perfect size leftover from another project .  It’s always good to hang onto those scraps!

By the way, I really do love these decoupage tissue papers.

They go on beautifully using Dixie Belle’s Gator Hide (check out this post for more details on that).  They don’t wrinkle or get bubbles because they are made out of a porous material, and at the same time they are really strong and don’t tear when wet.  Now that I’m no longer a brand ambassador for re.design with prima, I am totally out of the loop on new designs that come out.  However, I happened to do a little googling, and I found some new ones to purchase online.  I’ll keep you posted on those when they arrive and I find something to use them on.

Finally, I pulled out this pretty distressed mirror knob that I had in my stash of singles and added it to the top of the box.

I have a whole jar of single knobs.  I used to buy a lot of knobs when they were on sale at Hobby Lobby.  You know, sort of on speculation.  I figured I’d eventually have a piece to use them on.  But what I discovered was that nine times out of ten I would need 8 knobs for a piece, but I’d only have 6.  Or I’d need 6 and have 8, so now I had two left over.  It rarely seemed to work out perfectly, and as  I result I have a whole pile of single (or maybe a pair of) knobs.  Now I’ve sworn to only buy the knobs when I need them, and when I know exactly how many I need.

Still, it’s always a good feeling when I find a use for one of those singles!

You can see that a little of that original blue color is peeking through my distressed edges.

OK, the next makeover was the cold, black heart of love sign.

I really shouldn’t make fun.  The person who created this could very possibly be a reader of my blog, in which case, I apologize.  The bones of this sign were fantastic, but I’m just not sure about that big black heart.

Not that I have anything against black, because in the end I repainted the entire sign black.  Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky to be exact.

I added a stencil using Dixie Belle’s Putty and then sanded to distress.  Unfortunately I can’t share a source for this stencil because I purchased it on Etsy from a seller that isn’t out there anymore.

It looks pretty good hanging in my piano room, but I won’t be keeping it.  It’s going in the pile of stuff to sell.

Next up, I always debate picking up these reproduction-ish decorative watering cans.  To me they always look just a bit too faux.

This one has an antiqued copper paint job that I didn’t particularly care for, but I liked the shape of it and the  style of the spout.  Plus the price was right, so I grabbed it.

Paint doesn’t always want to stick to a surface like this metal, so I usually spray paint something like this.  That was the plan here, except I didn’t have enough spray paint on hand.  So instead I gave it a quick base coat of spray paint, and then topped that off with some of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  I really prefer to make do with supplies that I already have rather than buy something more.

If you’re wondering how I spray paint in the winter in Minnesota even though I don’t have a heated workshop space, here’s my trick.  I take the item outside in a big cardboard box lid with low sides, spray it quick, and then bring it all back in.  It’s probably not ideal, but it does seem to work and my house doesn’t end up filled with spray paint fumes.

Once the paint was dry, I sanded to distress and added another Classic Vintage Label.

Then I added clear wax as a finish.

A bit of an improvement I think.

Alright, so out of the six items I picked up at the Goodwill, I’ve made over four of them.

That leaves the little rocking chair, which I’m going to save for another day.  I purchased that chair because it has awesome, authentic, chippy green paint.  However, it’s filthy dirty.  Rather than try to clean it up in the house, I’m going to wait until I can give it a good bath with the hose out in the yard.  That’s gonna be a while.

And last up is the little wooden recipe box.

I purchased it fully intending to paint it up (like this one or this one), but after I got it home I started to second guess that.  It has that fab vintage decal on the front, and although it’s a little beat up, the patina on the wood is quite lovely.

So now I’m torn.  Should I paint it up, or should I just clean it up and otherwise leave it alone?  Let’s take a poll, what do you think?

And what do you think of the rest of my thrifted item makeovers?

39 thoughts on “a thrift store haul.

  1. I vote for cleaning the recipe box & calling it good. Loved how the other projects turned out! Proves( once again), very possible to take drab to fab with a bit of vision & a bit of work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love all of them. I have a small recipe box like this one. What do you use to give it a good cleaning? Dawn or Murphy’s or ? Thanks.


    1. I use Dawn dish soap, and lately I’ve been specifically using the spray on version. Mainly because that’s what we use on our dishes so I have it on hand. It’s very convenient, although I doubt it’s cost effective.


  3. Leave unpainted. Clean it up and boost the stain. It reminds me of my grandmothers recipe box❤️ which I wish I had but my sister grabbed it first☹️
    The other projects are really lovely. I was surprised at the watering can transformation. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love all of them! Just bought that same little rocker at a thrift store so can’t wait til you transform it. I say just give the box a little spruce up and leave as is. Love that little decal and the wood may be lovely once it gets a drink of moisturizer! I thoroughly enjoy your small makeovers and thrift store redos.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gosh, I’m really surprised that so far everyone is voting to leave that little box ‘as is’. I totally expected the opposite result. Of course, the real test will be whether or not it sells ‘as is’. I often find that something has to be painted to sell no matter how great the original wood finish looks.


    1. I agree on the “sellng” part. My bet is it will just sit and you’ll bring it back and re-do. I think it looks tired as is. Hemp oil does amazing things though.


  6. You did some great makeovers on all of these pieces! You have such a good eye for taking things from “drab” to “fab.” I love the recipe box. I would not paint it, but I know if you did, it would turn out fabulous! It’s a preference. 😊


  7. Great makeovers on all four pieces. I have a watering can with a “copper” finish and that copper finish is literally peeling off. Of course there is still some of that “copper” that is on it in a really solid way…was trying to figure out what to do with it this past summer – we’ll see what happens this next summer. I really like what you did on yours!
    Keep the recipe box as is – the dove tailed corners are so nice. Maybe paint the inside to freshen it up?
    Fun stuff!


    1. Great idea Suzy, I could dress up the inside of the box! As for your watering can, it might be a great candidate for the patina paint from Dixie Belle. Give it a rusty finish, or a verdigris copper finish.


  8. Since I am partial to vintage little wooden boxes (I have a non-collection) I say don’t paint the box. The details are wonderful. Just clean and shine it up. But if you’re selling it you have to do what you think will sell. Love what you did to the other pieces. Can’t wait for the chair makeover. I know it will be great!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love seeing the nice dove tailing on the recipe box. I would clean it and see what happens. There might be someone out there who has been looking for an unpainted recipe box. Your other items turned out great.


  10. I am all about painting things too, but I also like the patina on the recipe box. I would leave it and see if it sells first. My favorite makeover was the watering can because I would have passed on it for the same reasons you stated. I love that you’re always inspiring me!


  11. You’ve been busy Miss Quandie…….lots of good-looking re-dos to sell! Hope you’ll be able to use your accumulating proceeds to book a trip sooner rather than later (-:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well … we actually do have a trip booked in the fall. But the real question is whether or not we’ll actually be able to go. It’s going to depend a lot on whether or not Europe is letting tourists back in!


  12. I love all 4 makeovers, but REALLY love that dark paint on the walls of your piano room! May I ask what brand and color that is? Thanks!


  13. As always, I love each of your makeovers, but that recipe box! I have an identical recipe box except for the decal on the front is the name of the maker. I cracked it out this afternoon, before seeing your post, and started sanding it. My husband had set a flower planter on the top that leaked and ate through the topcoat and stain and dripped down the front. Whatever topcoat and stain used was strong stuff. I sanded it for over an hour with my mouse sander and still wasn’t able to evenly remove all of the stain – or all of the dark area on top from the water damage. What I did find was that the top was made out of tigerwood with the most gorgeous grain. I’m hoping to find some way to accent that while still masking the dark water stain. I think I’m going to try your trick of using dark wax instead of stain. I just don’t know if I’ll be able to even out the look to make it consistent on all sides. I’m eager to see what you do with yours. Maybe yours will inspire me the way all of your other work does. I’m sitting on pins and needles waiting to see what you do!


    1. I used a water-based gel wax that isn’t manufactured anymore as a stain and performed a tiny miracle! I was able to blend the wax so that it looks perfectly stained! The blotchiness is gone. The stained and unstained areas look teh same. I was even able to blend the black water stain on top with the gel wax until it disappeared, yet the stain accents and highlights the tigerwood. Now I’m down to deciding if I keep it as is – as it was when it was originally found or if I want to do more to it. I’m leaning toward leaving it as it is now and am deciding on a topcoat – either water or oil-based. I do think an oil-based wipe on poly would be more authentic because the ambering would accent the color and grain while providing more protection. I’m open to your advice! I still don’t know how I was able to blend the wax so the wax/stain turned out perfectly even!


      1. I never add another topcoat over wax, so I’m afraid I can’t really offer any advice on that. Sounds like you’ve done a great job restoring your recipe box so far though.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. All the makovers are awesome! If i were you i would keep that sign by your piano. I think if you put hemp oil on the recipe box and maybe put one of your single knobs on it, you should keep as is.


  15. Keep the box as is-I use the Dixie Belle butta for things like this and it hides some of the scratches(shallow ones) Everything else looks great!


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