my bronze buddha.

First up, congrats to Sue Pagels.  I drew her name at random to win my giveaway from last week.  Not to worry if you didn’t win, I have another fab giveaway today!  Be sure to read all the way to the end of today’s post for the details.

You may have seen my buddha statue in previous posts about my garden.

I’ve had him for years … possibly even decades.  I have absolutely no memory of when or where I purchased him.  He’s just been hanging around in the garden for a long time.

I’ve always left him outside year round, and over the last couple of years he’s been looking pretty rough.  The last two, or maybe even three, springs I’ve said to myself “I really should do something about that.”  But, I never got around to it.

Well, now that I’m retired from the day job, this is going to be the summer of getting around to it!  Starting with buddha.

So here’s how he looked this spring, prior to his makeover.

I believe he is made out of some sort of pinkish/orange concrete.  I had once thought he was terracotta, painted to look like concrete, but he’s far too heavy to be clay.  He must be concrete of some kind.  He’s heavy and solid.

Anyway, I lugged him out of the garden and brushed the dirt off a bit before I brought him inside.

But before I got started on him, I decided it would be wise to practice my technique on a smaller item first.  So I pulled out this acorn finial.

You may remember that I found this while thrifting a while back and I was going to leave it ‘as is’.  But I decided this piece would be a good guinea pig.

So I pulled out my Dixie Belle patina paints in Bronze and Iron, the Green spray and some of their gilding wax in Bronze.

I started out by painting the acorn in a coat of Bronze paint.  Once dry, I added a 2nd coat and while that coat was still wet I sprayed it with the Green patina spray.

To add a little more authenticity to the look, I then dabbed some of the Iron paint just on the corner and sprayed it (while still wet) with the Green spray to add a little rust.

Lastly, I used my finger to rub some of the Bronze gilding wax on some of the high points on the piece to bring some of that bronze back out again.

Yep, perfect.  This is the look I wanted for my buddha.  So I followed the same process; base coat of Bronze, allow to dry, 2nd stippled coat of Bronze, spray with Green spray while paint is still wet, allow to dry, stipple some Iron paint to add patches of rust, spray again with Green spray while wet, allow to dry.  Step back and evaluate the results.  Add some more rust spots.  Allow to dry and then bring out some highlights with the Bronze gilding wax.

I applied the gilding wax using my finger, just rubbing it on to add some highlights on his nose and brow for example.

He turned out fabulous.

I put him back out in the garden a couple of weeks ago, and here’s how he’s looking now.

He’s looking pretty genuine, right?

Here are some q tips for you on using the Dixie Belle patina paints.

no. 1 – the verdigris patina develops a lot more quickly than the rust patina.  The rust patina can take days to fully develop in fact, so if you don’t see as much rust as you want right away just be patient.  If a couple of days go by and you still want more rust, you can always stipple on more Iron paint and spray again.

no. 2 – whether shaken or stirred, be sure to mix your paint thoroughly, and often, as you’re working with it.  There are actual metal flakes in the paint that create the patina and they tend to settle to the bottom of your jar of paint rather quickly.

no. 3 – if you have distinct brush strokes in your paint, the spray may settle in those lines making them more apparent.  For that reason, I recommend stippling the 2nd coat (or any subsequent coats) of paint.  Stippling is just pouncing the paint on with an up and down motion.

no. 4 – you don’t have to seal your patina projects.  However, if you’re adding patina to something that will come into contact with people’s clothing you may want to seal it (the patina will likely rub off on clothing).  In addition, the patina will continue to develop over time, so if you want to halt that process, you can seal it.  Dixie Belle does make a sealer for the patina paint called Patina Guard, but I find that it adds a bit of shine and I personally don’t like that look.  That’s just my personal preference though, you may be just fine with it.

no. 5 – if you’re working on a flat surface, you may find that the verdigris looks like droplets on your piece (because you sprayed it on in droplets).  I think this product gives a more authentic look on items with some texture and detail.  The spray settles in the crevices and looks amazing.

I definitely think my buddha benefitted from a little patina.

And now you can benefit too!

I’m going to draw the name of one lucky winner to receive all of the products I used to create my bronze buddha.  You’ll receive Patina Paint in Bronze and Iron, the Green Spray and some Bronze gilding wax.

The rules:  To be eligible to win, simply leave a comment on this blog post.  Maybe let me know what item you would turn into bronze!

Your comment must be left on this blog post, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Sunday, May 29, 2022 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 $69, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, June 3, 2022 another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the Patina Paint I’m giving away today.

garage sale regret.

Do any of you suffer from garage sale regret?

You get home from a day of garage saling and suddenly realize that the painted wooden chicken feeder you passed up on would have been awesome hung up somewhere in the garden and filled with plants.  It was only $6, why didn’t you buy it??

Or you wonder why in the world you refused that 3rd vintage sled.  Sure, it was priced higher than the other two that you did grab, but still …

And you really should have snatched up all of the Rocket Ligularia that were $1 each, why did you only take two (because it felt greedy to take them all?!).

For me, it’s inevitable that after a day spent at a fabulous neighborhood sale, I will realize there were things I should have grabbed but didn’t.

And on the opposite side of that coin, sometimes I regret the things that I did buy.  Like this toy cash register.

I mainly bought it because I thought the little note attached, ‘I bet your grandpa can fix it!’, was clever.

Sure, it’s adorable.  But red isn’t my color, so I don’t have anywhere to display it myself.  So I added a little transfer scrap to it and I’ll bring it in to the shop and hope someone else will give it a good home.

Garage sale regret is simply part of the deal, right?  That’s the difference between garage sales and shopping retail.  If you don’t grab something right away, it will likely be gone five minutes later.  And you also can’t go back and return something if you decide you shouldn’t have purchased it.

These items were all from the Linden Hills neighborhood sale last Saturday.  Linden Hills is such a pretty neighborhood, lots of old craftsman style bungalows and tudor style cottages.  And it feels as though nearly every house has a fabulous garden!  It’s really just a pleasure to drive around (especially when your sister is doing all of the driving, thanks again for that sis!).  It’s a bonus to also bring home some fabulous finds.

In addition to the two sleds, the plants and the toy cash register above, I also brought home a few more goodies like two vintage totes.

The green one is wood, the pink one is metal.  I wonder if it was originally red and had faded to that pink shade.  Or was it always pink?  A mechanic’s tool tote in pink?  What do you think?

I also purchased these bits of wrought iron salvage …

These are really fun to add to a planter in the garden.

I bought this headboard for $5.

It’s fairly non-descript, but I have a plan for turning it into a sign.  The price was right, so I grabbed it.

It’s basically an automatic reaction to pick up any ironstone pieces that I find, apparently even chamber pots.

This one is pretty filled with some lobelia though.

I don’t believe this casserole is actually ironstone, but it would still be lovely displayed with ironstone pieces.

I picked up this teapot as a gift for my m-i-l.

I think she’s going to love it.

I googled it and found a little more info about it online (here), and prices ranging from $67 on Mercari to $339.95 on (yikes!).  I paid $3!  But, shhh, don’t tell my m-i-l it was only $3.

I picked up a pair of watering cans at Linden Hills.  Usually I’m thrilled to find just one watering can, so it was pretty exciting to find two.

This first one is pretty dinged up, has a broken plastic sleeve on the top handle and no rose on the spout.

In case you aren’t familiar, the ‘rose’ is the piece that fits on the end of the spout and allows you to sprinkle the water.

Vintage/antique watering cans are often missing their rose.  They tend to be more valuable with a rose, than without.  My personal theory is that it’s quicker to water a potted plant without the rose.  Also, the rose tends to get clogged up by debris.  So people often removed them, and then they were lost.

Funny enough though, my friend/picker Sue had recently found a rose that she gave to me.

This rose from Sue just happens to fit on this can.

So I added the rose, pounded out the dents a bit, removed the broken plastic sleeve on the handle and added a transfer.

This one will be heading into the shop as well.

And this brings me to my find of the day.

You’re probably wondering, what makes this watering can so special that it deserves find of the day status?  Well … as you know, I have a bit of a non-collection of watering cans.

And the truth of the matter is, most of them don’t actually hold water!  I’d say 99% of the time these old watering cans have rusted through in spots on the bottom and they are leaky.  So while they are great as décor, they don’t actually function.

As a result, I still use an ugly plastic watering can from IKEA when I apply water soluble fertilizer to my potted flowers.

But this watering can does hold water!  It also has a nice big spout (without a rose).  I’m looking forward to using it this year to feed my flowers.

So how about you?  Do you have any garage sale regrets that you still think about?  And what would you have chosen as the find of the day?  Leave a comment and let me know.

an old favorite.

Remember I mentioned that I purchased a vintage dry sink at a garage sale a few weeks back?  Well, here it is in its ‘before’ state.

How could I resist that?  It even had the old green pump still attached.  Well, part of it anyway.  The handle is missing.

This one was definitely the perfect candidate for some milk paint.  I just happened to have some Homestead House milk paint on hand in a color called Stone Fence.  I’d used this color quite a few years ago and I really liked it, so I’d ordered more of it recently.  It was just waiting for the right project.

I went very minimal on prep because I knew I’d be OK with some chipping.  So I simply cleaned the beadboard on all four sides with some TSP substitute, and then rinsed with clear water.  Next I painted the beadboard with two coats of the Stone Fence leaving the top of the dry sink unpainted.  Once dry, I sanded with 220 grit paper.

I then vacuumed away any dust, gave it a wipe down with a clean, dry microfiber cloth, and then applied my old favorite transfer called Seeds.

That transfer could not have been any more perfect for this piece (although I didn’t use the entire transfer, there were a couple more lines at the bottom that I cut off and will save for another project)!

This is an old Prima Marketing transfer from before they parted ways with the I.O.D. sisters.  I was just looking back at one of my blog posts about a pair of twin beds that I put this transfer on back in 2018, and I mentioned in that post that the transfer cost $17.99!  Dang, what happened to those prices?!  Now you can’t find transfers this size for less than $29.99.  That’s a 65% increase in 4 years.  What’s up with that?

(Sidebar:  that urn planter on the left is another that I used Dixie Belle’s patina paint on to give it a rusty iron look, it’s really just plastic!)

The Seeds transfer came in a larger size (which is what I used on this dry sink), and a smaller version.  I used part of the smaller one on this chair …

I used this design on A LOT of pieces, and I was hoarding this last one for something special (the transfer is retired, so no longer available).

Just a quick q tip to say that I don’t necessarily recommend storing (a.k.a. hoarding) transfers for more than a couple of years.  They can dry out and then become difficult to apply.  I’ve also had them come unstuck from their backing and stuck to the protective sheet instead, and then they are worthless.

But I was ignoring my own advice and hanging onto this one until just the right piece came along.  Luckily, the transfer was still in good shape and went on fairly easily.

That being said, it can be a little more challenging to apply a transfer over an uneven surface like beadboard …

You just have to go slowly and continually press the transfer down into those grooves.

As for the top of the dry sink, I decided to just clean it up a bit.

I sanded it with 220 grit paper to remove some smudges of paint left on it by a previous owner, and then revived the finish with a coat of Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta.

It’s not perfect, but that was my point.  I didn’t want to totally remove the patina that showed its age.

The remainder of the piece received a top coat of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.

As for the inside, I cleaned it and that’s it.  I like that it looks authentic inside with original chippy paint.

I think this piece would be adorable as a plant stand.  You could fill the ‘sink’ area with potted plants and store all of your plant supplies underneath.

In the end, this was the perfect piece for my last precious Seeds transfer, don’t you think?

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

a pair of benches.

I picked up this rather non-descript pair of benches at the Bryn Mawr sales earlier this month.

They were literally the first thing I saw as I stepped out of the car.  I think I was a little over-excited at the prospect of returning neighborhood sales when I snatched these up.  They really weren’t anything special.  They certainly aren’t vintage.

They are pretty sturdy though.  So after I gave them a good cleaning, I hoped I could give them each a new personality with a little paint and some transfers.

I painted the first one in Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.

I added the I.O.D. Rose Chintz paint inlay to the shelf underneath.

And then I added the Fresh Cut Flowers stencil from The Stencil Market to the top.

It was a perfect fit.

I followed all of that up with some sanding to distress the edges, and then a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.

I painted the 2nd bench in my favorite warm white, Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

I covered the shelf underneath in a black and white gingham transfer from with prima.

Then I added a portion of their French Specialties transfer to the top of the bench.

Once again, I finished it off with a couple coats of DB’s flat clear coat.

As a sidebar, I took all of the photos for this post yesterday morning, and then yesterday afternoon this happened …

That white stuff?  It’s hail.

We had a massive hail storm.  It sounded like rocks were being dropped from the sky.  And really, they may as well be rocks … except they melt eventually.  Many of my hostas were totally shredded.

Just when they were starting to look really fabulous.

I have to steel my nerves to head out there this morning, survey the damage, and start the clean up.  But, on the bright side, I have lots of time to spend in the garden this summer.  Looks like I’m gonna need it.

So anyway, two somewhat different looks for a pair of formerly matching benches.

Which one do you prefer?

If any of you locals are in need of a small but sturdy bench, both of these are for sale.  Check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the paint and clear coat used on the benches.

they’re a real hot item.

“Give shy persons the strength they need to get up and do what needs to be done. Made from whole wheat raised by Norwegian bachelor farmers, so you know they’re not only good for you, they’re pure, mostly.”

Were any of you fans of A Prairie Home Companion?  The radio show on public radio?  OK, this one makes me sound older than I am because I was a fan of a radio show (as if I was around before TV).  But it was on the air from 1974 through 2016.  It originally started at a local college here, Macalester.  If that name sounds familiar to some of you non-locals, maybe it’s because I regularly go to a neighborhood garage sale in that area, MacGrove.

Anyway, one of the fictional sponsors of the show was Powdermilk Biscuits.  When I mentioned how fast Monday’s toolbox sold, Mr. Q started singing the Powdermilk Biscuit jingle.

Has your family tried them, Powdermilk?
Has your family tried them, Powdermilk!
Well, if your family’s tried ’em,
You know you’ve satisfied ’em,
They’re a real hot item, Powdermilk!

Which brings me to the 2nd toolbox that I transformed last week.  If you’ll remember, here is the ‘before’ photo.

This is one that my friend Sue found for me.

I started out with my usual prep; a good cleaning with a grease cutting cleanser (Dawn dish soap in this case), a light sanding to remove any flaking paint and to scuff up the surface, then two coats of Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S. to show this toolbox who’s boss.

Next I painted the inside and the tray in Dixie Belle’s Bunker Hill Blue.  I chose that color because I thought it would be gorgeous with the Cobalt Flourish decoupage paper from with prima.

Before decoupaging this paper to the bottom of the tray, I had to paint just the part I was covering up in DB’s Drop Cloth in order to provide a white background for the tissue paper design.

Once I had the inside finished, I painted the outside in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy.  I then used this toolbox to experiment with my new I.O.D. stamps, and you’ll see those details in a later post.  Suffice to say, spoiler alert, I didn’t love the results.  So I ended up painting over them with a stripe of Dixie Belle’s French Linen down the center of the toolbox.

Next I pulled out some wording from I.O.D.’s Label Ephemera transfer and added that to the toolbox.

Then I took a step back and thought it was still just a little bare looking.  It needed something more.

So I pulled out the I.O.D. Brocante transfer.  As I was looking through the various designs in that transfer, this botanical one with a blue flower caught my eye …

I realized it would wrap around from the front of the toolbox to the top of it perfectly, plus the blue flower would tie in with the Bunker Hill Blue on the inside.  Not to mention, the butterflies would tie in perfectly as well.

Then I saw a 2nd botanical design with a blue flower in that set.

It was also nearly the perfect size to wrap up and over, it just covered up a tiny bit of the “N” in Naturalist’s.  Of course, it would have been better to put the florals on first, then layer the wording over them.  Had I planned this out, I would have done that.

But this design was continuously evolving as I went along.

In fact, when I then put the tray with the Cobalt Flourish paper lining back inside it was all wrong.  I meant to take a photo so that I could show you what I mean, but completely forgot.  You’ll just have to imagine it.  It just didn’t mesh with the botanicals on the outside of the toolbox.

So I made the decision to remove the decoupage tissue and just leave the inside plain.

If you’re wondering how hard it is to remove the prima decoupage paper that was applied with DB’s clear coat, it’s not that hard.  I misted it with water, let it sit for a minute, and then it scraped right off with a paint scraper.  Of course, it hadn’t had a chance to cure, I think it had been about 24 hours since I put it on.  I’m sure it would become more difficult to remove over time.  But once I had it off, I sanded the tray down a bit and added a fresh coat of the Bunker Hill Blue.

I love the rich, pop of navy blue inside …

but the outside is the real star of the show.

This toolbox is for sale locally, and they’re a real hot item, so if any of you locals (I don’t ship my items) are interested, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the B.O.S.S., paint and sealer I used for this project.

loving life on the edge.

First up, congrats to Cyndi.  I drew her name to win the paint giveaway from my previous post about Charleston.  Today I’m sharing the last post from our trip.  Be sure to read all the way to the end for another paint giveaway!

While the first half of our trip to Charleston was spent exploring historical sites and admiring beautiful homes and gardens, the 2nd half was spent at the beach.  Folly Beach, to be specific.  We packed up all of our stuff, checked out of our first hotel and drove about 20 minutes to hotel #2 so that we could stay right on the beach.

Here is how describes Folly Beach …

Folly Beach, South Carolina is one of America’s last true beach towns. Just minutes from historic downtown Charleston, Folly Beach is a 12 square mile barrier island that is packed with things to do, see and eat. This is a funky, laid-back, come-as-you-are kind of beach. The pace is invitingly slow, the people are captivatingly unique and the shops and restaurants will receive you with good old fashioned Southern charm and hospitality. It won’t take long for you to feel right at home.

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Folly River, visitors enjoy six miles of wide beaches, surfing, fishing, biking, kayaking, boating, eco-tours, and sea wildlife including several endangered species. The sunsets on Folly are legendary, so make sure you have plenty of space on your camera or smart phone … seriously, free up lots of space!

A few steps from the beach, downtown Folly features an eclectic array of locally owned stores and restaurants. Fun bohemian clothing, beach knick-knacks and surf shops are mixed with fantastic seafood restaurants, casual cafes and one-of-a-kind bars. With live music coming from all directions and fruity cocktails calling your name, your cares will melt away as you become lost in the Folly lifestyle. And when the sun goes down, Center Street becomes a lively mix of beach-casual nightlife and rooftop dance clubs.

Whether you need a beach front home for 20 or a romantic room for the two of you, Folly Beach is the perfect spot for vacations, reunions, beach weddings, or just a quick weekend getaway. Come visit us at ‘The Edge of America’ … you’ll love life on the edge.

I have to say, for a marketing blurb, it’s fairly accurate.  Folly absolutely felt like a funky, laid-back beach town.  We had some great seafood, some delicious cocktails and listened to some live music.  Everyone we met there was friendly and welcoming.  The staff at our hotel were exceptionally good (and after the really awful staff at our first hotel, this was a welcome change).

Speaking of our hotel, we stayed at Tides Folly Beach.

What I thought was really unique about this hotel was that every room was truly ocean-front.  In the photo above you’re looking at the street facing side of the building.  This is where the open air hallways and doors to the rooms are.  I’ve put a little arrow on the photo to show the location of our room, we were on the 7th floor.

Once you step into the room, all you’ll notice is the wall of glass looking out the opposite side onto the Atlantic Ocean.

Full disclosure, I did not take that photo.  I borrowed it from the web.  However, that is basically what our room looked like with the exception of the pretty aqua colored bed spreads.  We had some really drab beige colored spreads that were itchy and kind of gross.  Also, our room never looked that tidy.  One of the outcomes of COVID is that most hotels no longer clean your room during your stay.  I’ve stayed in … let’s see … five hotel rooms over the last year and none of them offered maid service every day.  The Disney hotels cleaned your room every 3rd day, but the rest did not clean the room at all regardless of duration of stay.  The Tides staff did say that you can request maid service, but you have to do so 24 hours in advance.  We probably should have done that because by day 3 there was so much sand on our floor that we may as well have been sleeping on the beach.

But … that view!

That view was worth having a little sand on the floor.

While lying in bed you couldn’t even see the beach, just the water, so it felt a lot like being on a cruise ship with the vast ocean outside your window (minus the motion of the ship).

I was fascinated by the pelicans that would glide silently past our balcony.  Since we were on the 7th floor, they were right at eye level.  I was never quick enough with my camera to get a photo of them from the room, but I did snap this one from the beach.

Looking down from our juliette balcony (if you aren’t familiar, this is a balcony that is only about 2′ wide, no space for chairs) you’ll see the pool.

I took that photo in the early morning before it was full of screaming children playing.  For the remainder of the daylight hours the pool was packed full.  As a result, we never went there, choosing instead to spend our time on the beach.

If you step out the door from your room into the open air hallway, you’ll see Center Street which basically ends at the hotel.

This street is lined with restaurants, bars and souvenir shops.  I’ve put an arrow on the photo showing our favorite place to eat, Rita’s Seaside Grille.

We ate there three times … no wait … four times.  Three of which were breakfast.  They had the most amazing Belgian waffles and a delicious peach bellini mimosa.

In the end, our favorite thing to do at the beach is to get up early and walk along the shore.

In my experience not all beach locales are conducive to this activity.  For example, we once stayed at La Jolla de Mismaloya in Puerto Vallarta which is situated in a cove that didn’t allow you to walk much in either direction.

But you can walk quite far on Folly Beach (the beach is six miles long).  We walked to the southern-most tip of the island where the Folly River meets the Atlantic one morning, and as you can see we pretty much had it entirely to ourselves.

We debated walking up the other direction to see the Morris Island lighthouse, but in the end we decided we weren’t up for the 8 miles round trip.

We enjoyed checking out some of the beachfront homes while we were out walking.

Mr. Q and I dreamed about how amazing it would be to live right on the beach.  We don’t even need a big ol’ fancy house like that one.  We’d be happy in a little cottage by the sea.  But as seems to be the trend in most waterfront locations, there are only a handful of small vintage cottages remaining.  I suspect that they get torn down to make way for the huge, expensive homes.  Although, to be fair, Hurricane Hugo did blast through Folly Beach in 1989 damaging many of the homes.  That may also explain why there are so few small, older beach cottages left.

One last thing.  Before you get the impression that the beach always looked like this …

Let me clarify.

That’s how it looked at 7 a.m. before anyone showed up.  Later in the day this beach was positively packed with people.

If you’re looking for a quiet, peaceful beach vacation, this may not be the spot for you.  However, it’s a great spot for families, and for those looking for more of a party atmosphere.

As we realized at the end of our beach stay, Mr. Q and I are really rather lame.  We could have done so much more in Folly Beach, rented bikes, taken surfing lessons, played volleyball, danced all night at the rooftop bars, but instead we mostly just relaxed on the beach, ate delicious seafood, and enjoyed a few cocktails.

FYI, that shrimp was delicious, and the cocktail was called ‘And Just Like That’, so clearly I had to have one (it was your basic Cosmopolitan with the addition of POM juice).

As you can probably tell from my photos, we were blessed with absolutely perfect weather the entire time we were in Folly.  This was a great way to end our Charleston vacation.  Although we stayed right there on the beach, you could also easily plan a day at Folly Beach while staying in Charleston as well.

Before I totally wrap up my Charleston blog posts, I have another paint giveaway for you guys.  Obviously, this one is inspired by the colors of Folly Beach; Stormy Seas, Endless Shore and Wharf.

The rules:  To be eligible to win, simply leave a comment on this blog post (you could tell me about your favorite beach.  Folly Beach was fabulous, but my all-time favorite beach is definitely White Bay on Jost van Dyke.)

Your comment must be left on this blog post, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Sunday, May 22, 2022 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 $95, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, May 27, 2022 another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint I’m giving away today.

stuff is happening.

Now that spring has finally sprung here in Minnesota, stuff is happening.  I have to admit, those last couple of months of winter were tough ones.  I’m going to have to adjust to being retired and figure out what to do with all of my time in the winter.  But that’s a (first world) problem for next winter.

Now that the weather has warmed up, the gardens are growing, garage sales are everywhere, and I can work out in my carriage house workshop … so, as I said, stuff is happening!

In fact, I have so much stuff to share with you guys this week that I’m going to post daily, at least on the weekdays.

First up for today, the garden.  I would say that this time of year is when my gardens are the most work.  I keep them packed full with perennials that don’t require much maintenance throughout the summer.  If I get everything pruned, weeded and mulched with compost now, before the plants get too big, the rest of the summer just involves occasional watering and deadheading.  If you want my top q tip for gardening, I think this is it.

If your plants take up every available space and you add a good layer of mulch, weeds have a much harder time taking over.

Here’s what my garden looks like once it has filled out (early June).

See?  Jam packed.

Of course, I know this isn’t easy if you’re starting from scratch.  Plants can be expensive (and the prices are going up this year, just like with everything else).  But you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg.  I recommend buying plants at garage sales, getting divisions from friends, or keeping an eye on Facebook Marketplace for people dividing their perennials.  You can often get them free, or in exchange for helping to dig them up.

My tulips seem to have done really well this year.  For the last several years, deer have treated my spring garden as a salad bar, munching all of the flower buds right off the tulips before they could even open.  As a result, I decided to give up on planting tulip bulbs again last fall.

So now, of course, we seem to be having a really good year for tulips.  The red ones in my photo above are tulips that I planted at least 20 years ago.  They literally hadn’t bloomed in years.

Now I wish I’d planted more tulips!

Here’s another q tip for you.  Take photos of your garden regularly throughout the season, and keep notes regarding where you’d like to add things like tulip bulbs.  I plan to get more in this fall, especially since my neighbor has one of those fancy garden augers to make planting easy.

But wait a minute, this post isn’t supposed to be about gardening.  It’s actually supposed to be about sharing last week’s garage sale haul.

I went out on Thursday with my friend/picker Sue.  Now that we are both retired we can take advantage of sales that start on Thursday.  We went to a small neighborhood sale around Como Park in St. Paul.  Not all of the participating homes were starting their sales on Thursday (some started on Friday, some were Saturday only), but we were able to hit up all of the ones that were.

Although I didn’t bring home a huge load of stuff, I did get some really cool finds.  Plus Sue had a box load of stuff for me as well.

I found the mini dresser on the left (below) at Como, Sue found the rest of the items in this photo including that really, really tiny dresser.

I’ve already added an I.O.D. white transfer to the tiny oil can.

It’s hard to judge the size of it from my photos, but in total it’s only 6″ tall, but the can part is only about 2″ tall.

I like to add little clips to these and use them as photo holders.

And of course I’m going to give both of the small dressers a new look.

I feel like the combination of the cup pulls plus the scrolly embellishments on this one is too much.  I may remove those embellishments.  Or, I could remove the cup pulls and replace them with little glass knobs. What do you think?  And of course I’ll be painting both of them.

I also picked up these things.

I thought Mr. Q might like to have the books, since he tends to be a Goethe fan, but no, he didn’t want to keep them, so I’ll be selling them on.

They are a nice looking set to add to someone’s décor, even if they don’t want to read them.

Sue spotted the glass vessel at one of the sales we visited and handed it over to me.

Neither of us really knew what this was, we just liked the ‘writing’ on it.

I googled it later and discovered it would have been part of a butter churn like this one.

Isn’t that kind of cool?  I think it would make a great vase, or one could fill it with pens and pencils on a desk, or use it to corral your paint brushes.

I purchased the camera from a guy who was a collector.  He was refining his collection and thus getting rid of some.

I’m not sure why this one didn’t make the cut for him.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to show you guys how these cameras work, and especially how to identify them if you see them and they are closed up (as this one was when I found it).

They really don’t look like much when they are closed, right?

There is always some sort of lever or catch that opens it up.  In this case, I had to ask the seller how to open it because it wasn’t obvious.  I was trying to slide that little lever on the lower right in the photo above, but you had to lift up rather than slide.

The case opens up and then the lens can be pulled out all the way.

So the next time you see a closed case like this, be sure to take a closer look.

Sue had also brought me a camera, along with this little train case.

Check out the back of this camera …

Doesn’t that look complicated?  Imagine having to putz with that before each shot.  We’ve got it so easy now!

In true Baader–Meinhof phenomenon fashion, I came across another stoneware pitcher.

If you aren’t familiar, the Baader–Meinhof phenomenon “is a cognitive bias in which, after noticing something for the first time, there is a tendency to notice it more often, leading someone to believe that it has a high frequency of occurrence.”

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that I found a similar stoneware pitcher at the thrift store back in April …

but we’ll see if finding these pitchers really has a ‘high frequency of occurrence’ this summer!

I’m still picking up nice copper pieces when I see them.  They seem to be selling like hotcakes at the shop.  If only I could raid my handyman Ken’s kitchen!  His wife has a serious collection of vintage copper … and when she originally purchased it, it was not vintage.  I’m sure those pieces have been in her kitchen since they built their house 50 years ago.

That gorgeous ironstone platter is one that Sue had and is now passing on to me.  It’s a nice big heavy one, and just check out the mark on the back …

I sometimes will hang an ironstone piece on the wall backwards just to show the mark because they can be so pretty.  I’m not sure if I’ll keep this one, or sell it on.  I have to look around to see if I have a spot for it first.

I’ve saved my ‘find of the day’ for last.

Now, I’m sure this primitive dollhouse made out of an Old Dutch Cleanser crate isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I found it totally charming.

I just love that someone made this out of simple items they had on hand, and they took the time to paint a couple of the ‘rooms’ in different colors.

And add those shaky looking windows painted onto the sides.

But I bet some little girl absolutely loved it and spent hours playing with it.

I’m not sure what the fate of this piece will be.  I may keep it, I may let it go.  Those little cubbies (rooms) could be used for all kinds of things …

I like the idea of using it on a potting bench.

Hmmm, yeah, I may not be able to part with this one.  I’m considering turning my photo cottage back into a potting shed this summer, so this is going to go in the pile of potential décor for the potting shed.

So tell me, what is your favorite from amongst my finds this week?  And if you’re local, did your tulips do especially well this year, or is it just me?  Also, are you OK with five posts this week, or will it seem like I’m flooding your in box with blog posts?  Oh, and P.S., there will be a giveaway included with one of them, so be sure to stay tuned for that!

annie’s toolbox.

I promised to share some toolbox updates with you this week, and here is the first one.

My friend Annie gave me this toolbox.

She’s seen some of my toolbox makeovers here on the blog, so she thought I could do something with this one.  And she was right!

I started out with my usual prep; a good cleaning with a grease cutting cleanser (Dawn dish soap in this case), a light sanding to remove any flaking paint and to scuff up the surface, then two coats of Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S. to slow down any rust or other things bleeding through the paint.

Once I had that done, I painted the interior and the tray in two coats of Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.  Then I added the I.O.D. Rose Chintz inlay to the bottom of the tray.

I just love this green!  And I love how the pinks in the paint inlay pop in contrast.

Next up, the exterior got two coats of DB’s Drop Cloth.

Initially I planned to use just transfers to dress this one up on the outside, but ultimately I decided to add some of the paint inlay to the top also.

This required a fresh coat of paint in each of the areas where I wanted the inlay, but that was no big deal.  To accomplish this, I cut the inlay sheet to size for those two strips before applying.  For more details on using the inlays, check out my how-to post.

Once the inlay was dry I coated those areas with Rustoleum spray matte sealer.  Keep in mind that paint inlays are re-activated with water, so using a water based sealer with a brush may cause the inlay to smear.  Also, sanding the inlay without sealing first will allow the colors to smear as well.  So always seal your paint inlay after it’s dry and before moving on to your next step.

I sanded fairly heavily over the inlay to give it a more faded appearance.  It also would have worked well to use a section of the inlay paper that had already been used once, but I didn’t have any that were long enough for these two strips.

I absolutely love the authentically distressed look I ended up with.

Next up I added some bits and pieces from I.O.D.’s Label Ephemera transfer,

and a couple of tiny bees from with prima’s French Maison knob transfers.

I absolutely adore the shabby chic vibe of this toolbox now.

Isn’t it pretty?

This is normally the part where I say, if any of you locals are interested, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.  However, this toolbox was spotted by a different Annie and it seemed meant for her.  So this one is already spoken for.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the B.O.S.S., paint and sealer I used for this project.


not tired of toolboxes.

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of painting toolboxes.

I totally enjoy the process.  Well, most of the process.  I don’t enjoy the initial cleaning.  They tend to start out pretty gross; rusty, greasy, dirty, and smelly.

But after I give them a good cleaning with Dawn dish soap (or you could use any grease cutting cleaner), a light sanding to remove any flaking paint, and a coat or two of Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S., we are good to get started with the fun part.  Painting and embellishing.

One of my favorite paint combos on a toolbox is Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy and French Linen.

These two colors pair up beautifully, and it’s easy to add a wide stripe to the outside of a toolbox using some yellow frog tape.

Lately I’ve been loving a more floral look on toolboxes as well.

Most of those are I.O.D. transfers, although the floral portion of the one on the bottom right (and below) is a with prima transfer.

I personally prefer the more muted colors of the I.O.D. florals …

But that’s just me.  I know there are those of you that love a vibrant, brighter floral as well.

My go-to favorite neutral for toolboxes is, of course, Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

I just love that warm white shade, it has a very vintage look.

Even though I keep these Drop Cloth toolboxes neutral on the outside, I really enjoy adding a pop of vibrant color on the inside.

I find this a great way to use some of those gorgeous colors without feeling like it’s going to limit the marketability of my piece (top row colors: Peony & Flamingo, bottom row colors: Blueberry and Mint Julep).

I often line the bottom inside with decoupage paper.

I find that the Decoupage Décor Tissue Paper from with prima is the easiest ‘paper’ to use for this purpose.  I put ‘paper’ in quotes because this stuff has a texture similar to dryer sheets.  It’s not at all like a flimsy tissue paper.  It doesn’t tear easily (in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever torn it), and it doesn’t wrinkle when you decoupage it.  I use the Dixie Belle flat clear coat as a decoupage medium, but there are lots of options out there including Mod Podge, Fusion’s Decoupage and Transfer Gel, and others.

I don’t always keep the color on the inside.  I’ve painted color on the outside of a few toolboxes too.

Does black count as a color?  Well, maybe not.  But it isn’t white so I’m going to count it.

I didn’t always keep the tray inserts with my toolboxes, but after one of my favorite customers requested that I paint one up I decided why not?

They aren’t that hard to paint, and they do add more functionality to the toolbox.  Especially if you’re using it for artist paints and brushes, or a glue gun with glue sticks.  Plus it adds another layer that I can decorate with transfers, decoupage paper or stencils.

I’m currently working on a couple of toolboxes that I’ll be sharing here next week.  Both came with trays that I’ll be painting up to match.

This one was one of my friend Sue’s finds …

And this one came from my friend Annie …

Both will be for sale locally, so if any of you locals are in the market for a toolbox be sure to stay tuned next week to see how these turned out.

As I was putting this post together, I realized just how many toolboxes I’ve painted in the past and decided that I needed a ‘category’ on my blog devoted solely to toolbox makeovers.  So if you want to see the details on any of these, just look on the right side of the page (if you’re viewing this on a computer) and under ‘sorted.’ where it says ‘Select Category’ simply choose ‘toolboxes’.  I think I may have missed a few, but for the most part you’ll see all of my toolbox makeover posts there.

So tell me, do you have a favorite from amongst them all?  If so, do share in a comment!

when biscuits get vicious.

Whenever I travel, I like to look up local brick and mortar shops that carry the products I like to use such as Dixie Belle Paint, or I.O.D. or with prima transfers.  If a shop carries those products, they also tend to have other things that appeal to me.

So when I was planning our trip to Charleston, I visited the ‘find a retailer’ pages on the Dixie Belle website and the Iron Orchid Designs website.   I ended up finding a shop in Summerville, South Carolina called A Brush of Color that carried the I.O.D. stuff, and another called Antiques & Artisans Village that carried Dixie Belle products.

In addition to that, one of my lovely readers, Victoria, lives in South Carolina and when I asked her for recommendations on things to do she suggested eating at a place called Vicious Biscuit.  I looked them up online and found that they had a location in Summerville as well.

Then I did a little more research on YouTube and learned that Summerville has a self-guided historic homes tour and that you can get a guide and map at their Visitor’s Center.

Well, it seemed like a day trip to Summerville was a no-brainer.  It was also easily accomplished because we had a rental car.  It’s about a 40 minute drive from Charleston, so a car was necessary.

Our first stop in Summerville was Vicious Biscuit so that we could fortify ourselves for the day.

Having lived in the south for a decade or so when I was younger, I developed an appreciation for a good biscuit.  So I was super excited about this place.

There was a bit of a line to get in when we got there, so we knew it was going to be good.

I ordered what I consider one of the quintessential southern breakfasts, and also one of my personal favorites, biscuits and gravy with a scrambled egg on top.

Yum, it was delicious!

By the way, for those of you who have always wondered about the Dixie Belle paint color called Sawmill Gravy, this is what it’s named after.  The sausage gravy that goes over biscuits.

Mr. Q ordered the Vicious Beignets.

He was a little disappointed that these weren’t authentic beignets, but instead were deep fried biscuit dough.  But once he got over that, he loved them.

All I can say is that it seems to be a good thing when biscuits get vicious!  Thanks for that recommendation Victoria!

After filling up on biscuits, we headed to the Summerville Visitor’s Center to grab that historic homes guide.  While we were at it, we picked up a couple of other visitor guides as well.

As it turned out, we had missed their Flowertown Festival by one week (it was the previous weekend).  Judging by the number of porta-potties they still had in town, I’m guessing we dodged a bullet there.  I’m not sure we would have enjoyed dealing with those crowds.

Instead, we pretty much had the place to ourselves for the self-guided home tour.  And that was just fine with us.

All of the homes on the tour were built in the 1800’s including the one above which dates to somewhere around 1885.

One of my favorite houses on the tour was the William Prioleau House.  This house was built in 1896 in the Queen Anne style.  I just love that metal roof, although I’m guessing the rusty-ness of it is probably a bad thing (I’m sorry, but the practical, accountant side of my brain is now thinking how crazy expensive it would be to replace that roof, if you could even find someone willing to tackle the job!).

The Oliver House (below) is well known for its mansard roof and the distinctive circular wrought iron gate leading to the front walk.  It was built in 1888.

The Samuel Lord/Elizabeth Arden House (below) was built in 1891 and is considered more representative of Charleston homes.

This house was purchased by Elizabeth Arden in 1954, and that red door is the door that inspired her Red Door perfume.

I was a little confused when Mr. Q read from the guide and told me this next house was a crack house.

It seemed like a strange thing to put on a historic home tour.  But no, it’s actually the Kracke House and was built in 1886.

The Blake Washington House (below) was built in 1862.

This is a typical plantation style house with wide open porches both up and down that wrap around the house.  I am green with envy over those porches, wouldn’t they be fun to furnish?  If you look closely you might be able to see that the ceilings of the porches are painted in a pale sky blue.

Painting your porch ceiling blue is a southern thing, and I’ve heard two explanations for it.  The first, more pragmatic, reason is that it confuses wasps and/or birds into thinking the ceiling is really the sky so they don’t build their nests there.  But the second explanation I’ve heard is that painting your porch ceiling the color of water was supposed to keep ghosts away because spirits can’t cross water.  In fact, this color is called ‘haint blue’ for that reason, ‘haint’ being a Gullah term for a ghost, or more specifically, a restless spirit.

So, hey, that explains another Dixie Belle color, Haint Blue.

And as a sidebar, my own porch ceiling is painted in this color because I always loved the blue porch ceilings when I lived in the south.

Little did I realize that I was also keeping restless spirits at bay.  It’s a win/win.

After checking out the historic homes, we headed to the first shop on my list, A Brush of Color.

Just from the setup outside, I knew this shop was going to be right up my alley.

And just inside the door I knew I was in the right place.

Doesn’t that look just like something I would do (for those who don’t recognize it, that is a portion of the IOD transfer called Label Ephemera).

And isn’t this buffet gorgeous?

That is the IOD Midnight Garden transfer, and since this shop sold Annie Sloan chalk paint, I’m sure those are Annie Sloan paints.  But you could create a similar blended look using Dixie Belle’s Collard Greens, Kudzu and Spanish Moss.

The shop owner here was super friendly and welcoming.  I chatted with her for quite a while.  Unfortunately her shipment of the newest IOD release hadn’t come in yet, so I wasn’t able to find the newest paint inlay that I am obsessed with (I did order it online when I got home and you’ll see it here eventually).

After checking out a couple of other shops on the main street of Summerville, we hopped into the car and headed to the second shop on my list, Antiques and Artisans Village.  I neglected to take any photos of that one.  It was your typical strip mall location with a big space divided into ‘booths’ for various vendors.  It was mostly antique dealers, which I only enjoy in very small doses (high prices, lots of knick knacks, etc).  They did have a fairly good selection of Dixie Belle products though.

One last thing before we leave Summerville.  I just had to share this …

We saw this near the park, and I have to admit it brought a tear to my eye.  What a sweet gesture and a lovely way to remember a beloved pet.

After drooling over the window boxes, taking the hidden alley tour, walking around south of Broad, and visiting Middleton Place and Summerville, the last half of our Charleston vacation was spent at the beach.  I’ll have one last post next week about that, so stay tuned for that.

Typically in the past when I’ve traveled I’ve brought home something to give away here on the blog, but I neglected to do that this time.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t still have a Charleston themed giveaway!

It was easy to find lots of options in the Dixie Belle paint line that were appropriate.  I debated including Haint Blue, Sawmill Gravy, or Collard Greens but I ended up with these three colors; Kudzu, Antebellum Blue and Spanish Moss plus one of their flat medium brushes.

The rules:  Simply leave a comment on this blog post letting me know what has been your favorite post about Charleston to be eligible to win.

Your comment must be left on this blog post, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Sunday, May 15, 2022 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 $95, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, May 20, 2022 another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint I’m giving away today.