a handful of stragglers.

First up, congrats to Jeanne Raway!  I drew her name to win my blogiversary giveaway.

Now, on with today’s post.

Way back before I went to Disney World in early November, I brought a load of Christmas items in to the shop where I sell on consignment, Reclaiming Beautiful.  At the time, I definitely thought I’d be painting up many more things and bringing them in.  And then life intervened and I spent a bunch of time and energy on arranging to retire from the day job.  And somehow I just haven’t quite managed to make it back down there again.  Now I feel like the Christmas decorating season is winding down and I may have missed the boat on that.  Do most people buy decorations well before the holiday so that they can enjoy them for a while?  Or is that just me?

Either way, I have a handful of stragglers that haven’t made it into the shop, and I thought I’d share them here today and see if any locals what to snatch them up (must be able to pick them up at my house in Oakdale, MN).

First up is one more stenciled sled.

It looks pretty cute on my deck …

but I have another very similar sled that I’ve kept for myself for this spot.  So this one is up for grabs.  It is 46″ tall by 22″ wide.  It’s for sale at $50.

Next up is this bucket (tree not included).

The bucket itself isn’t especially Christmas themed, but it’s the perfect container for a small tree.  And as a bonus, you can use the bucket year round for other things.

The bucket is $40.

And I have a 2nd bucket …

The buckets work well with a Christmas floral arrangement too.

This one is also available for $40.

I completely missed bringing this pair of ice skates into the shop this year.

I actually created these last year, but they didn’t sell.  So I put them away, and then forgot all about taking them back in to the shop again.

They would be fabulous filled with greens and hung on the door instead of a more traditional swag.

The skates are $28 (greens not included).

Last up is one more cupboard door sign.

It would be perfect for holding a couple of Christmas stockings.  Or maybe hang some mittens from those knobs.

It is 25″ wide x 10.5″ tall and is available for $28.

If any of you locals are interested in these items, be sure to shoot me an email at qisforquandie@gmail.com.

milk and cookies.

Unfortunately, I neglected to get a ‘before’ picture of the pair of kid sized chairs that my picker, Sue, found for me last summer and I’m sharing here today.  Gosh, I’ve really been bad about that lately, especially with these Christmas items.

Anyway, I don’t have a ‘before’, but here is the after.

These chairs were a little bit smaller than the kid sized chairs I’ve painted in the past …

So the Christmas Farm stencil wasn’t going to fit on their seats.

I measured the seats of the chairs and determined that the 9″ x 9″ version of the Milk and Cookies stencil from Wallcutz would fit perfectly though.  So I ordered it a while back and had it ready and waiting.

I painted the chairs in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth first.  Then I decided it would be fun to do one of the chairs in traditional red and green, and the other in a more neutral palette so that you all could see a comparison.

To give the design a little more depth, I added a shadow to the ‘milk & cookies’ wording on the neutral version using Dixie Belle’s Coffee Bean.

To accomplish that, I simply stenciled just that portion first in the Coffee Bean.  Then I moved the stencil just a hair up and over and stenciled the entire design in Dixie Belle’s Putty.

So cute!  And perfect for those who aren’t necessarily fans of the traditional Christmas colors.

For the red and green version, I decided not to add a shadow.

I wasn’t sure what color I could use that would look good, so I went without.

Still super cute I think.

They are the perfect size to tuck under the Christmas tree, and a great spot to leave out the milk and cookies for Santa!

I took these chairs into the shop back before I went to Disney World (gosh, that seems like forever ago now!), so I’m fairly sure they are no longer available.  But which one would you choose?  Traditional red and green, or the more neutral option?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

once in a blue moon.

If I do say so myself, I think I’m pretty good at letting go of the things that I create.  Many of you often leave comments saying that you wouldn’t have been able to part with this or that, and I know what you mean.  But for the most part, I am happy to sell my items on for someone else to enjoy.

But every once in a blue moon I finish something and realize that I don’t want to part with it.  Such is the case with today’s project.

I purchased an old wooden grain shovel (or at least that’s what I was told it is) at a barn sale last summer.  I paid a little more for it than I usually would spend on such items, mainly because it had the perfect surface for a stencil.  I was immediately able to picture it dressed up for the holidays!

Unfortunately, once again I neglected to get a ‘before’ photo … I’m going to work on being better about that.  If I had one, I’d insert it here 😉

I had purposely purchased the Rudolph & Co stencil (from Wallcutz) in a size that would fit on the toy truck that I shared last week …

and coincidentally, it also just happened to be the perfect size to fit on this shovel.

As you can see, once again I went with my black and white color scheme.  I painted the background in Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky, and then stenciled using their Drop Cloth.

Next up I used clear wax on the entire thing, which freshened up the remaining unfinished wood without taking away from its vintage patina.

I hung it on the wall next to the cupboard in my piano room.  It works perfectly with the rest of the black and white Christmas décor that I use in that room.

Is it weird that I use a perpetual calendar as Christmas décor?

I know that a lot of people would be tempted to dress up the handle of the shovel with some greens and maybe some ribbon, but I like the simplicity of it without that.

Maybe I’ll grow tired of the grain shovel, and next year I’ll sell it on.  But for now I think I’m going to hang onto it.

How about you, do you have a hard time letting go of things?  Or are you more like me, keeping only the really special ones, and letting the rest go to be enjoyed by someone else?

birthday treats.

Believe it or not, one of the things I’m going to miss most about the day job is celebrating my birthday there.  That might sound a bit odd, I know a lot of people prefer to take their birthday off work.  But my co-workers have always been so generous about bringing in birthday treats, or planning a special lunch.

I’ll never forget my 40th birthday when my co-workers arranged to have me pulled over on the road just outside City Hall where I was presented with a ‘ticket’ for going 40 birthdays over the limit.

Gosh I have some fond memories of those days, it was always so fun to be at work on my birthday (right up until this year when it was just awkward since I’d given my notice by then and management wasn’t speaking to me.)

Another of my favorite things about celebrating my birthday at work was getting some fabulous gifts from my co-workers, especially the one from my co-worker/picker Sue.  She always finds the coolest vintage things.  But really it’s her presentation that is so special.

Remember last year?

This year was no exception.  She presented me with an old galvanized bucket full of a few of my favorites things like some ironstone platters, and some old books.

Aren’t the colors on these books fabulous?

She also included a salt cellar this year.

I’ve always wanted one of these.  Somehow it makes one feel so much more chef-like to grab a pinch of salt from a salt cellar instead of using a shaker, or even just the container the salt came in from the store.

Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I’m about as far from chef-like as one can get.  But still, I love the idea of a salt cellar.

Of course, that plain wooden lid was crying out for some quandification.  So I sanded it down a bit, and then painted it in my favorite off white, Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  I sanded the paint to distress the edges and added a Classic Vintage Label transfer from re.design with prima.

Easy peasy.

I filled it up with the salt that Sue also gave me, and voila!

I’m practically a real chef!

OK, really, not even close.  But it looks great on my kitchen counter.  And I’m going to feel like a real chef every time I need to salt my scrambled eggs.

time flies when you’re having fun.

When it rains, it pours.  There seems to be a lot going on in my world these days.  This week I’ll have celebrated my birthday, Thanksgiving, my niece’s birthday, and next Tuesday I’ll be celebrating my retirement!

And with all of that celebrating going on, I almost completely forgot about my blogiversary!

Wowza, can you believe that 8 years ago today I posted my first blog post?  Time really flies when you’re having fun.

Over the years, I’ve gone from this header …

to this header …

to this one …

And then last February I gave myself a fresh, neutral look with this header …

In 8 years, I’ve written 1,271 blog posts.  My posts have been viewed 875,743 times.  And you guys have left 31,782 comments!  Thank you for that!

My furniture painting style has certainly evolved over the years too.  My color choices have definitely changed.  Early on I used a lot more color overall, especially that pale aqua/sea glass sort of color.

And who remembers all the pieces I did with vintage wallpaper?

That was a fun phase.

Lately I’m doing a lot more neutral pieces.

I’m not entirely sure if that’s because neutral is more marketable, or just because my own preference is leaning more towards the neutral.

Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

Up until the last couple of years I shared far more vintage garage sale/thrift store find makeovers.

They are still one of my favorite things to post about.

But COVID did a number on garage saling, with barely any sales in 2020 and things just starting to come back in 2021.  Hopefully going forward I’ll have a lot more vintage find makeovers to share, especially now that I’ll be able to garage sale on weekdays!

For that matter, COVID messed with my travel posts as well.

I’m happy to report that after meeting with our financial planner, it appears that we’ll still be able to afford to travel in retirement.  I’ll admit that I was willing to give it up if that meant I could leave the day job, but thankfully we won’t have to.  So hopefully I’ll have more travel posts to share in the future too.

I’ve shared a few home tour posts over the years, including Nancy’s house

And Amy’s house at Christmas …

I really need to get back to doing more of those.  After all, Amy has since moved and has another fabulous home that I’d love to share (hint, hint Amy)!

I’ve done quite a few room makeover posts from my own house over the years as well.

Since beginning the blog I have made over the living room, the piano room, the dining room, the pantry, the principle bedroom, the guest bedroom and the q branch (ie. the study where I write this blog).

Now that retirement is going to free up a bunch of my time, I hope to tackle a few more redecorating projects going forward too.

And let’s not forget the garden tour posts!

Sue’s peaceful garden is one of my favorites.

And Jackie’s scented garden is amazing as well.

And of course I like to share my own garden on occasion too.

I think that being retired from the day job is going to result in a renewed enthusiasm for blogging, and I’m really looking forward to it!

So I want to express a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have supported my blog over the past 8 years whether it was with a purchase of one of my pieces, becoming a follower, leaving a comment, or simply just clicking on a post and reading it.  I appreciate every single one of you!

It wouldn’t be a blogiversary without a giveaway, would it?  Since this one sort of snuck up on me, I didn’t have a lot of time to compile a super fabulous giveaway.  But recently someone commented on how they scrutinize the books I use to stage some of my furniture photos looking for clues on what decorating books I like.  She also suggested I write a blog post about my favorites, and I still might get around to that.  But in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to give away a couple of fabulous decorating books by two of my favorite bloggers.

First up is Liz Marie Galvan’s new book, Cozy White Cottage Seasons.

Who doesn’t need 100 ways to be cozy all year long?  And has anyone else noticed that even her dog matches her preferred color scheme of whites and pale wood tones?

I’m also including Marian Parson’s (a.k.a. Miss Mustard Seed) new book, Feels Like Home …

which is filled with the beautiful photos that we have come to expect from Marian.

I have to be honest though, I still miss the old days when she painted furniture on the regular.  I don’t think we’ll ever see that from her again though, more’s the pity because her painted furniture pieces were to die for.

Her work, especially her photo staging, has totally influenced my own style.

And her new book is fabulous and definitely worth a read.

I’m also going to throw in this gorgeous Staalmeester brush, just in case the winner wants to do a little painting.

The rules:  Simply leave a comment on this blog post 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 Tuesday, November 30, 2021 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 $60, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, December 3, 2021 another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Thanks to Mr. Q for ordering the books for today’s giveaway from amazon.com 😉  Good luck!


keep on truckin’.

It’s Wednesday!  I’m posting!  And I’m not even retired yet!

But I’m anticipating having plenty of projects to share with you guys from here on out, so I’m planning to go back to posting three times a week starting now.  Hopefully I can keep it up throughout the winter.  Now that we’re both retired, I’m planning some thrifting dates with my buddy Sue (yep, in case I didn’t already mention it, both Sue and I are retiring from our day jobs with the same employer), so fingers crossed that we find good stuff for me to work on.

I picked up this wooden toy truck last summer at a garage sale.

I knew it would be a fun one to paint, and that I wanted to turn it into a Christmas decoration.

I took some measurements and ordered a Christmas themed stencil from Wallcutz in a size that would fit.  Last weekend I pulled it out of storage and gave it a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

Then I added my stencil using Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.

You might recognize that design.  I used a larger version of the same stencil on my drop leaf signs.

You’ll be seeing it a couple more times before the end of the season!

I debated using the same red, green and black color scheme on the truck, but ultimately decided to go with a more neutral palette.

I used the top portion of the stencil on one side …

and the bottom portion on the other …

The number 25 stencil on the front bumper is part of another stencil.

I have to admit, I don’t find the black and white to be quite as festive as red and green.  But I’ve been known to decorate for Christmas in black and white, so I went with it.

The truck is open on the top, making it perfect to use as a table centerpiece when filled with greens, pinecones and fairy lights.

How do you like the nutcracker?

I just picked him up at Hobby Lobby for $5 (he was half off).  He’s meant to be a craft project, you’re supposed to paint him.  But I rather love him as is, so I’m planning to use him just like this.  Once I have my Christmas decorations up, I’ll share where I put him.

They had two sizes.  This is the bigger one.  The smaller one came packaged with some cheap paints, and I think was only about $4.

As much as I love this one, I am going to sell it ($45, SOLD).  So if you’re local and want to snatch it up before I take it into the shop, you’ll need to act fast and send me an email at qisforquandie@gmail.com.

As for the rest of you, what do you think?  Would you have gone traditional with red and green?  Or do you like more of a neutral Christmas like me?

sleigh rides since 1932.

Before getting on with today’s post, I want to express my very heartfelt thanks to all of you for your congratulatory comments on my retirement post.  I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have such a supportive group of blog followers.

Quite honestly, having this blog is one of the factors that made it easy for me to make the decision to retire.  I’m so excited about moving forward and having more time to devote to bigger and better projects on q is for quandie!

But for today, I’m just sharing a simple chair makeover.  I purchased this pair of chairs at a garage sale last summer.

If you’ll remember, I painted up one of them with a Halloween theme back in October …

It was the perfect canvas for stenciling.

At the time, I purposely kept the 2nd chair knowing that I wanted to give it a Christmas look.  I’d recently been at a planning meeting for the vendors at Reclaiming Beautiful and they had mentioned wanting Christmas items with a Scandinavian look.  I remembered the small chair I painted back in 2019, I thought it had a bit of a Scandi look at the time.

So I decided to do something similar with this larger chair.

But before I got Dixie Belle’s Honky Tonk Red out of the cupboard, I first gave the chair a coat of their B.O.S.S. in gray.  I’d read somewhere that a base coat of gray will make it easier to get good coverage with red.  If you’ve ever painted anything red, you’ll know that it often takes 3 or more coats to get good coverage.  So I thought I’d give that a shot.  After one coat of the gray B.O.S.S., I did get great coverage with the Honky Tonk Red,  although I did still need two coats.

I think going forward I’d also use the gray B.O.S.S. under Dixie Belle’s Flamingo.  I found that it took 4 coats to get good coverage with that color on a dresser a while back and I bet I could have saved myself some effort, and some paint, had I used the gray base coat.

After the Honky Tonk Red was dry, I sanded the chair down, focusing on the edges for a distressed look.

Here’s an important q tip regarding stenciling with white paint (in this case it’s Dixie Belle’s Fluff) over red.  Do not plan to sand much after adding the white.  Your sandpaper will drag the red sanding dust into your white stenciling, and that’s not a good look.  That’s why I did most of my sanding before moving on to the stenciling.  After stenciling I used a very light hand and 220 grit paper to sand the white just ever so carefully to smooth it out a bit.

I used portions of a couple of different stencils on the chair.  On the chair back, I used the Santa Claus and Co Feedsack stencil from Maison de Stencils.

Next up I added the Sleigh Rides stencil from Wallcutz to the seat.

I followed all of that up with a top coat of clear wax.

It doesn’t get more festive than that!

I love the graphic punch of the white on red.

Wouldn’t a chair like this be cute placed in your foyer to greet Christmas guests?  Or maybe just tucked next to the Christmas tree.  I can also see it being used in the guest room as a substitute bedside table, how fun for your holiday houseguests!

This chair is one of the items that I took into Reclaiming Beautiful before I left for Florida, and it has already sold!  I usually find that red items aren’t quick sellers, with the exception of Christmas items.

So which is your favorite?

Christmas red or Halloween black?

my big announcement.

I have big news to share with you today.  I’m retiring from the day job!

Honestly, I can hardly believe it myself.  It hasn’t really sunk in yet.  But November 30 will be my last day as a 9 to 5’er.

Most people plan months, or even years, in advance for retirement.  They have a target date in mind and they count down the remaining months, and then days, until the big day.  They have plenty of time to wrap their heads around the idea of being retired.

It didn’t quite happen that way for me.

Up until recently, I always said that I would work until 65 to avoid paying the high cost of health insurance.  After all, I loved my job.  It was my home away from home.  I had a beautiful office, tasks that I enjoyed doing, great benefits and pay, an easy commute, and co-workers that were like family to me.  Why wouldn’t I keep working?

But then the uppermost management position turned over.  Things started to go downhill, and then people started leaving.  One by one, people that I had worked with for decades were handing in their notices.

The atmosphere has grown increasingly stressful and I have never seen such low morale throughout the entire workforce in all of my 34 years with my employer.  It got to the point where the stress was causing me to toss and turn at night, and to dread Monday mornings.  When I found myself crying in my car in the Target parking lot over my lunch hour, I realized that it was time to move on.  Life is too short to spend it this way.

Fortunately, I am eligible for a pension and Mr. Q and I have been putting money away for years in anticipation of retirement.  Both of which will make it possible for me to retire so much earlier than I ever planned on.

And that brings me to the fun part of this post.  As of December 1, I am FREE!  No more full time job.  No more struggling to cram blog projects into the weekend.  No more alarm clock.  No more commuting in a snow storm.  No more feeling inadequate because I can’t meet unreasonable demands.

I am super excited to discover whatever the future might hold, the possibilities are endless.  And I’m also really looking forward to having more time to devote to painting furniture, repurposing vintage finds and posting here on q is for quandie!


flipping a switch.

Well, I’m back from a week at Disney World.  I had planned to be able to share a blog post or two about Disney at Christmas-time, but in the end I took a grand total of about a dozen photos on the entire trip.  Anyone who knows me well is now thinking ‘What?!  How is that even possible?!’  Usually I take at least 200+ photos on a trip.

What happened?

Well, first of all, I found it really challenging to get good photos on the fly.  I would have needed to take much more time with the composition to get anything good, and I didn’t want to make my family stand around waiting while I did that.

Also, the parks were super crowded!  Supposedly early November is one of the ‘least crowded’ times to visit.  If so, I can’t even imagine what it’s like during peak season!  There were very few opportunities to get photos without a ton of people in them.

The only times the parks were a little emptied out was at the very end of the night right before closing, at which point I was exhausted, my feet were killing me, and the last thing I wanted to do was take photos.

That being said, the parks were definitely dressed up for the holidays and it was fun to see that.  I especially loved the window displays along Main Street.

We attended the Disney Very Merriest after hours event while we were there.  We saw the Christmas parade with Santa at the end and the holiday fireworks show.  We ate the cookies and drank the hot chocolate that was included.

But in the end, I had a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit while wearing shorts and a t-shirt.  Palm trees and sunshine just don’t scream Christmas to me.

We returned home on Saturday evening to a snow storm though, and when I got up Sunday morning and saw an inch or so of snow on the ground it was like flipping a switch.  There it was!  The Christmas spirit.

I guess to me Christmas is all about cozying up on the sofa with a furry blanket and watching the snow fall outside.  It’s good to be home!

I’m looking forward to sharing a few more Christmas projects with you over the coming weeks, and I also have an exciting announcement to share later this week.  So be sure to stay tuned!

where did the time go?

First up, congratulations to Lisa K.  I drew her name at random to win my paint giveaway from last week.  I wish I had a prize for everyone who left a comment.  I don’t know if you guys realize how much your comments mean to me, a big thank you to each and every one of you.

I have to say, I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that it is already November.  How did that happen?  In my head it’s still summer.

We’ve certainly had a mild autumn here in Minnesota this year, so I think that’s part of it.  It has been relatively sunny and warm and I’ve barely even needed a jacket up until this week.  I was even able to keep working out in my unheated carriage house workshop until this past weekend.

And then there was my trip to visit my mom back at the end of September.  It was still in the upper 90’s at her house in Henderson, NV.

So that certainly extended the season for me.

Although in my head it’s still summer, I’m now working on Christmas projects!  The shop where I sell a lot of my small items (Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater, MN) is preparing for their Christmas Open House which is taking place on Thursday, Nov 11, so I wanted to have some things ready to go for them.

One of my favorite items I finished up over the weekend is this suitcase.

You may remember that my neighbor brought home a couple of suitcases from her uncle’s estate sale for me this summer …

This is the cream colored one just in front of the green one in the photo above.

I cleaned it up, gave it a coat of spray primer in flat black and then added a quick coat of Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky over that.  You may be wondering why I opted to use a spray primer this time, and really it was mainly just laziness.  I knew I wanted to paint the entire thing, hardware and all, black.  I had black spray primer on hand.  And I knew I could get into all the nooks and crannies with spray easier and more quickly than with a brush.  So I just went for it.  I followed up the primer with just one coat of Midnight Sky, which was totally sufficient.

I used Dixie Belle’s Cashmere, one of their fall colors, for the stencil (which is from Wallcutz, if you want to find it).

I love how it turned out!  It would be perfect to just place in the foyer somewhere to greet your holiday guests.

I also painted up a couple of sleds.

Nothing super exciting to share on these.  If you’ve been following me for long you’ll know that I’ve done a bunch of these sleds over the years.

I brought both of these into the shop, but I do have one more to finish up.

I also painted up a few cupboard door signs.

Isn’t the detail on that stencil fabulous?  It’s another one from Wallcutz, and so is this one …

Those are a couple of old table leaves that I’ve turned into signs.  Wouldn’t they be adorable hung on the wall outside your front door?

I totally ran out of time to get these properly staged and photographed, but I wanted to share them here today in case any of you locals want to head to Reclaiming Beautiful this weekend to check them out.

Also under the heading of ‘where did the time go?’, in other news my sister, niece and I are heading to Florida today for our 2nd Disney trip this year.  In some ways it feels like we just got back from our Disneyland trip, while in others it feels like that was ages ago.  Either way, we fly out today and return a week from tomorrow.  Once again, I’ll be taking a break from blogging while we’re gone.  But stay tuned, I’ll be back soon and I plan to share a few more Christmas projects over the next month or so.  Hopefully I’ll have more time to stage them and get proper photos for you!