simply beautiful.

As much as I love the gorgeous pieces I’ve done lately using those beautiful Prima Marketing floral transfers, or the really cool buffet that I shared last Friday stenciled with the decor wax, sometimes I like to just keep it simple.  So that’s what I decided to do with today’s piece.

I picked this one up a week ago at the Lynnhurst/Fulton garage sales.

It was ridiculously bargain priced, but it also was in pretty rough shape.  I didn’t get a good ‘before’ shot that shows how badly warped the top was so you’ll just have to trust me on that.  But my handyman Ken had to literally cut it into strips and then glue them back together again to attempt to flatten it out.  He made several other repairs that I neglected to get photos of too.

Once Ken was done with the repairs, it was my turn to make it pretty again.

I started by painting the inside in Fusion’s Coal Black and the outside in Dixie Belle’s Caviar.  You might be wondering why I didn’t go entirely with one or the other, and the honest answer is that I didn’t have enough of either one to paint the entire piece!

So I opted for the Coal Black on the inside because it will be fully washable once cured which is really nice on a shelf.  Plus it’s rather putzy to wax the inside of a cupboard.  The Fusion paint doesn’t need a topcoat, so I avoided that task.  I went with the Caviar on the outside because I just slightly prefer the look of distressed and waxed chalk paint over the look of Fusion.  The Fusion paint has just a little bit more shine (although it is still considered matte) than the waxed Dixie Belle paint.  And by the way, I waxed over the Caviar using Fusion’s Black Wax.  I absolutely love all of the waxes from that company whether it’s Miss Mustard Seed, Fusion or Homestead House.  It’s soft and creamy smooth, so it goes on easily.  Plus it’s perfectly safe and doesn’t contain any aromatic hydrocarbons (if you don’t know about those, check out my wax post).

I added a simple little ‘1918’ stencil above the door.  You know me and my numbers, I’ve got a thing for them.

You may also have noticed that I chose to remove the fretwork from behind the glass.  I really feel like I could have gone either way with that.  Some people love that look, and others prefer a more simple look.  Since I was going for simple with this one, I took it off.

Then finally, the pièce de résistance, I used some of the Prima Marketing knob transfers on the knobs!

This design is from the Cursive Letters set.

Let me explain how this style with the black background works.  These are black rub-on’s.  The portion that shows as white in the picture above is clear, these are not white rub-on’s.  So if my knobs were painted solid black, the design wouldn’t really show up much.

Instead I painted my knobs black on the ‘stem’ of the knob, but a creamy white on the face.  Then I applied the transfer.  Once that was in place, I sanded around the edges of the knob to remove any excess white paint and to give them a distressed look.  I followed up with a topcoat of Fusion black wax.

It may appear like the entire knob was painted black and then the transfer was applied over the black, so I just wanted to make that clear (pardon the pun).

I love how the knobs add just a little touch of the unexpected to this cupboard.

I feel like this piece is a great example showing how you don’t necessarily have to do something fancy or use complicated techniques to salvage an old piece of furniture.  Sometimes all it takes is a little paint  …  and maybe some cool knob transfers … and your piece will turn out simply beautiful.

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Prima Marketing knob transfers, check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Fusion paint in Coal Black or their black wax, check out their ‘where to buy‘ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Dixie Belle Cavair paint, you can shop with them directly online or find a retailer near you.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a simply beautiful cabinet, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

a galaxy far, far away.

Sometimes I take on a piece that I think is going to be a fairly simple makeover and it just ends up taking forever.  Today’s piece is one of those.

First off, we drove to a galaxy far, far away (to the opposite side of the Twin Cities) to pick this one up.  I’m really not sure what possessed me.  Normally I won’t go that far for a piece of furniture.  And it wasn’t particularly bargain priced either.

I guess something about it just spoke to me.  I also thought it would be a quick paint job, but that ended up not being the case.

My initial plan was to strip and wax the top, but then I discovered that it’s full of really deep scratches.  So deep they seem to go right through the veneer in some spots.

So that scraps that idea.

Next, one of the pulls was missing and one was broken.  Sigh.  You know what that means.  All new hardware.  Then as the icing on that cake, when I removed the rest of them I found that they had all left big gouged out rings around the holes.  Those had to be filled before I could move on because the new knobs I selected wouldn’t cover up those rings entirely.

Next, as Mr. Q and I were moving this piece around to get that ‘before’ photo taken I realized that one of the back legs was a bit wonky.  So I had to ask my handyman Ken to take a look at that and do some repair work.  That required taking the back off the piece so that Ken could get to some nails that were holding the leg in place.  He removed the nails, then the leg, and then added fresh glue and new screws to hold the leg in place.  It’s much sturdier now.

Finally, my initial plan was to paint this piece either white or pale grey and then use a Prima Marketing transfer on the front.  However, I quickly realized that the mahogany stain on this piece was going to be difficult to cover with a pale paint color.

So at that point I re-evaluated.  It was time to consider using a dark color to save myself further headaches, and that meant no transfer.

Then I remembered a tutorial by Brandy from Brushed by Brandy  I believe you have to join the How to Paint Like a Pro Facebook page to watch that video though, so if you aren’t already a member I encourage you to become one.  Brandy used the new Prima Marketing decor wax with a stencil.  Eureka!  If I hadn’t seen her video, I don’t think it would have ever occurred to me that I could stencil with these waxes.

And it just so happened that Prima Marketing had provided me with a bunch of their new waxes, as well as some of their amazing stencils.  So I had all of the necessary ingredients to try this technique.

So I started  with some test boards.  These were just scrap chunks of unfinished board.  I painted them with various Fusion paint colors and then stenciled them with the different wax colors.

From left to right the paint colors on the boards are Ash, Bedford and Midnight Blue.  I tried several wax colors over each paint color.  This was a great way to both practice stenciling with the wax, and also to see how I liked the various colors together.

I quickly realized that my two favorite combos were the Diamond Dust wax on the Bedford paint …

and the Galaxy wax on the Ash paint.

Obviously I’m a fan of the more subtle combinations, but there are many different looks that you can get using these waxes with a stencil.

Since I wanted to keep my paint color dark, I decided that the Ash would be my best bet, paired with the Galaxy wax (now are you getting my galaxy far, far away title?)  Some black knobs with a matte finish that I found at Hobby Lobby would be the perfect finishing touch.

After my usual prep of light sanding followed by cleaning with a damp rag, I painted the buffet with two coats of the Ash.

Once that was dry, I used the Imperial Damask stencil and the Galaxy Decor Wax (both from the Prima Marketing line) to add the most subtle textural-looking design onto just the door and drawer fronts.

Isn’t that a cool look?  Although it looks fairly pronounced in that photo, it actually looks a little bit more subtle in real life.  In a dimly lit room you can barely even see the damask pattern.  And it also shows up better at certain angles more than others.

In case you are wondering, once it has dried/hardened the wax does not smear or rub off.

I couldn’t resist adding a gorgeous pop of color to the inside of the buffet with Dixie Belle’s Peony.

I just love this beautiful vibrant pink.  Using this color on the outside might scare off some of my more conservative mid-western buyers, but having it on the inside is a whole different story.  It’s just there to make you smile when you open those doors.

I debated adding some of the wax to the carved details on the buffet to highlight them, but in the end I just distressed them and left them alone.

This next photo gives you a better feel for how subtle the waxed stencil pattern is from straight on.

In the long run, I’m very happy with how this piece turned out!

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Prima Marketing stencils or decor wax, check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Fusion paint in Ash, check out their ‘where to buy‘ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Dixie Belle Peony paint that is inside the buffet, you can shop with them directly online or find a retailer near you.

The knobs came from my local Hobby Lobby but you can also find them online.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a gorgeous dresser, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details on the buffet from a galaxy far, far away.

lynnhurst/fulton 2018.

Last Saturday my sister and I had several neighborhood sales to pick from.  I wish these neighborhood organizations would get together and divvy up the weekends so that we wouldn’t have to choose between several good ones one week, and then have none the next.

But alas, we chose the Lynnhurst/Fulton neighborhoods because they had a nice online list and map available while the others didn’t (or at least not that I found).

And I think we chose well.

Once again we filled up my sister’s SUV, and once again there were lots of lovely houses to admire as we made our rounds.

The day started out with a bang when the second sale we went to was giving away free Mimosa’s with a $10 purchase.

What an awesome combo, Mimosa’s and garage sales.  You can’t go wrong!  Somehow I easily managed to spend enough for a free drink, but Debbie was driving so she had to pass.

I finally got lucky and found a few vintage ornaments this time.

But I think everyone is shaking their heads in bewilderment at my purchase of the Mary statue.

But as soon as I saw her I was picturing all of those Jeanne d’Arc Living magazines …

A beautiful statue of Mary seems to be a staple in those gorgeous French Nordic homes filled with brocante.

I thought she was beautiful despite her missing arms.  I’m debating trying to find a way to make that look more intentional instead of just broken.  We’ll see.

My sister and I each purchased a rusty metal obelisk for the garden.  The only odd thing about them was that someone painted just the tops with silver spray paint …

That looked kind of tacky, but I knew that would be an easy fix using the Dixie Belle Patina paint that I used on my rusty garden pedestal.

I also came home with a couple of pieces of furniture.  I’m calling the china cabinet my find of the day.

Mainly because it was an incredible bargain, and it was a bit of a miracle that we fit it into the back of my sister’s vehicle.

It needs a bit of work, but my handyman Ken has already started on it, and once he’s done I plan to give it a completely new look.

My sister and I always stop somewhere for lunch on our way home from the sales, and last Saturday was no exception.  We had stopped at Applebee’s and were just starting to enjoy our peach sangria’s when my friend (and official picker) Sue texted to tell me about a sale near my house where everything was a quarter.  She said they had a nice twin size headboard and foot board and I should check it out.

So Debbie and I stopped there on our way home and sure enough they had the bed …

And as advertised, everything was a quarter.  Including this bed!

It’s missing its side rails though, so now I’m debating, do I try to find side rails that will work and keep it a bed?  Or do I team up with Ken and turn it into a bench?

Our other bench still hasn’t sold, so I’m a little hesitant to go with another bench.  But this would make a nice one, wouldn’t it?  Hmmmm.  Decisions, decisions.



the imperial garden dresser.

You probably remember this beautiful dresser that I shared a couple of weeks ago with its amazing … and huge … Prima Marketing Rose Celebration transfer.

Prima had sent me several of the new transfers in their line and this was the first one I tried.  What I didn’t mention when I shared this was that I chose my ‘least favorite’ of all the transfers they sent to try first, just in case I got it wrong and wrecked it somehow (which obviously didn’t happen).

Now, before you take that wrong, that definitely doesn’t mean that I didn’t love this transfer.  What that really means is that the rest of them are even more fantastic.  If that one was my ‘least favorite’, just imagine what the rest of them are like!

As soon as I finished that dresser I was on the hunt for another dresser to add a mammoth transfer to .

To be specific, this time it’s the Imperial Garden transfer (this one is 44″ wide x 30″ tall) and it looks like this.

If you look closely at the background you might guess why I fell in love with this transfer at first sight.  Do you see it?  It’s Venice!  See the gondola (lower left)?  And those classically Venetian buildings?  Since I’ll be spending my 55th birthday in Venice this year, this transfer felt special.

I wanted to find a dresser that would accommodate most, if not all, of the design.  If you’ll remember I had to trim about 6″ off of the sides of the transfer on that previous dresser.

So when nnK sent me the Facebook Marketplace ad for a dresser that someone she knew was selling, I jumped at it.  It looked right about the perfect size.

Mr. Q picked it up while I was at work one day last week, but as soon as I got home I took some measurements and discovered I was right.  It’s the perfect size!

The next step was to pick a paint color.  There were so many possibilities.  I could have gone with an off-white, of course.  But I also could have chosen a pale pink, either Dixie Belle’s Pink Champagne or Fusion’s Little Piggy (both of which I had on hand).  Either of those would have been gorgeous.  I also debated using Fusion’s Lichen, which is a pale green grey.  It was a perfect match for some of the greens in the leaves.

But I ended up choosing Fusion’s Inglenook.  I absolutely love the pale blue green color and I thought it would work beautifully with the colors in the transfer.

I also made the decision to leave the top ‘as is’.  I think this is a first for me.  But the dresser had been recently refinished and although the finish is a bit shinier than I would have chosen, it was in really good shape so I left it.

I figured that if I didn’t love the way it looked after finishing the rest of the dresser, I could always paint it later.

I also made the decision to remove the existing hardware and not put it back on.

These pulls might work for another piece down the road, but they would have fought with the design of the transfer.  So I filled the holes for the original hardware using Dixie Belle’s Mud before painting and I added glass knobs instead.

I followed my usual protocol of sanding lightly and cleaning with a damp rag, then I added two coats of Fusion’s Inglenook.  Once the paint was dry, I distressed the edges of the dresser by hand sanding them with 180 grit sandpaper.

Next I applied the transfer.  I used the same method I used last time (find that here).

Once the transfer was applied, I sanded over it very lightly by hand with 220 grit sandpaper to give it a more faded, vintage look.  That’s totally optional and just a matter of preference.  Some of you may prefer the look of the transfer without sanding it.

Adding the transfer completely transformed this dresser.

Although it was in nice shape before, it was kind of ho hum.  The previous owners did a nice job refinishing it, but I think they robbed it of its character.

But now it has plenty of personality again.

The little chair in the photos is from the Mac-Grove sales.  I started out painting it grey, but it ended up being a bleeder (ie. the red stain bled through the paint) so I zapped it with some spray on shellac and then ended up giving it a coat of the Inglenook while I was painting the dresser.

Then I used the left over remnants from another Prima Marketing transfer to dress it up a bit.

I love the petite size of the chair.

I also used a few of my hydrangeas to stage this piece.

They are looking pretty much amazing at the moment, so it was hard to resist getting them in a few photos!

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Prima Marketing products, check out their ‘where to buy‘ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Fusion paint, check out their ‘where to buy‘ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Dixie Belle Mud that I used to fill the old drawer pull holes, you can shop with them directly online or find a retailer near you.

If you’d like to order the glass knobs I used on this piece, you can find them at D Lawless Hardware.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a gorgeous dresser, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details on the Imperial Garden dresser!


waste not, want not.

Remember the bed bench that my handyman Ken made out of a headboard and foot board?

When I posted about it, I mentioned that he didn’t use the entire foot board.  He cut a chunk out of the middle because we only wanted the bench to be about 20″ deep, so we only needed about 21″ off each end.

He was going to just toss that middle section, but he always checks with me first before he throws any excess pieces in the trash because he knows me pretty well.  He knows how much I enjoy salvaging things.  It’s so much fun to take something that seemed like trash and turn it into something new.  After all, waste not, want not, right?

So I took a look at the chunk of foot board that was left and and then asked Ken to add some trim pieces onto the sides for me, and here’s what he came up with.

And just coincidentally, it happened to be about the perfect size for one of the new transfers that Prima Marketing sent my way from their Always Fresh set.


I painted the piece using Fusion’s Plaster first.  I think Plaster is an underappreciated color in the Fusion line.  I feel like I hardly ever see anyone using it, but I love it.  It’s the perfect cream.

Once the paint was dry, I lightly distressed the edges and then added the transfer.

These solid transfers are incredibly easy to apply.

I also painted some wooden knobs in Plaster, and then added some of the Farm Fresh knob transfers from the Re.Design line.

And it was that simple to take a piece that would have been thrown away and turn it into an adorable Farm Fresh sign.

I hung it on the door to my photo cottage to get some photos.

That actually does seem somewhat appropriate since our property was originally a dairy farm until suburbia grew up around it.

I’m not at all sure how well these transfers would hold up to outdoor use though, so I don’t want to give the impression that this could be hung outdoors.  I’m planning to do a bit of an experiment on that down the road though, so I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

But in the meantime, I took the sign to Reclaiming Beautiful on Wednesday and hopefully it will go to a new home soon!

east isles and lowry hill 2018.

Last Saturday my sister and I headed out to side by side neighborhood garage sales; East Isles and Lowry Hill.  Both are Minneapolis neighborhoods just off Hennepin Avenue.

It was the perfect day for garage sales.  Temps in the upper 60’s with a brilliant blue sky.

And both of these neighborhoods are worth the trip just to enjoy the gorgeous houses.

I had to snap a photo of this one with its German schmear finish.  Do you suppose they did that before or after Joanna Gaines made that technique more popular?

Either way, I kind of love this look.

Here’s one of my sister’s favorites …

She loves anything in Tudor style.

We didn’t come home with a huge haul this time.

I know, it doesn’t look like much.  My sister’s amazing girl scout packing skills were not required.  But it was still worth the trip for a handful of fab finds.

My first buy of the day was a pile of gorgeous ‘french’ dishes.

I put the ‘french’ in parentheses because even though those café au lait bowls look fabulously french, they are actually from Williams Sonoma.

There are no markings on the bottom of the little pitcher, so it’s hard to say if it’s authentically french or not.

But I do think this little plate is gen-u-ine.

It is marked with a Paris address on the back.

I know these little plates are sometimes called Bistro Tip Plates, but I can’t seem to find any information online about exactly how they were used.  Do any of you know?  I’d love to know more of the history behind them so be sure to leave a comment if you do.

I also grabbed this set of small plates with European cities on them.

And a lovely rectangular ironstone platter.

I’m guessing that those metal number thingies are from an old cash register.  I was hoping to find one with my lucky ’22’ on it, but I had to make do with a ’20’ and a ’02’.  I thought they might be fun to add to my lavender plants.

What can I say?  I just like numbers.

I’m sure you noticed the sweet little washstand with the very orange finish.

It will definitely be getting some sort of makeover in the near future.  It’s calling out for some chippy milk paint.

There are two more items that I didn’t include in that first photo.  First, this fountain …

I took a chance purchasing it.  It has a repaired crack.  The seller promised me it doesn’t leak, but you’re always taking a risk with garage sale buys.  But it was pretty cheap at $25 and I figured it would look fab in the garden even if it doesn’t function as a fountain.  I filled it up with water when I got it home and it does leak if the water is filled to the brim, but once it got down to the level it’s at now it stopped leaking.  So, my next step is to put the pump in and see if it actually functions OK as a fountain.

And finally, the item I’m considering the ‘find of the day’ …

A beautiful vintage glass tree topper to add to my non-collection (because I swear I’m not a collector!) …

Last year I found tons and tons of vintage glass Christmas ornaments at garage sales.  I’m fairly certain I brought some home from almost every sale …

Remember them all?

Boxes, and boxes of ’em.

This year I have found almost none.  I think I purchased two individual ornaments and that’s it.  So it was fun to find that gorgeous tree topper this time out.

Next Saturday we have a couple of neighborhoods to choose from for garage sales, but after that things are going to start to dwindle here in the Twin Cities.  It’s definitely starting to feel like fall around here and I have mixed feelings about that.  I love the cooler weather, but I am not a fan of the shorter hours of daylight.  How about you?

I went to sh*t, and the hogs ate me.

My mom was in town last week.  She was officially here for her 60th class reunion, but when she comes out she always tries to make time to go visit her cousins in South Dakota.  So for the first half of last week my sister, mom, niece and I drove out for a visit.

My mom’s mother, Carrie, was born on the family farm in Arlington, South Dakota in 1898.  If you’re trying to make some sense of dates and ages, Carrie was 42 years old when my mother was born in 1940.  My mom is now 78, thus the 60th class reunion.

Anyway, Carrie was born on the Moe farm and that farm is still in the family.  It’s now run by my cousin Travis.

The farm was passed down from Carrie’s parents to her brothers Gerhard and Knute Moe, and from there to Knute’s daughter Elaine and from there to her son Travis.  Travis has six really adorable children so I hope that at least one of them will be willing to continue on with the farm one day, thus keeping it in the family.

These days Travis just has goats, and a couple of llamas.

And currently quite a few adorable kittens who would not hold still for photos.  The beautiful grey one was my favorite.

I’m always tempted to take one home with me, but I’m pretty sure my cat Lucy would not approve of an interloper.

Although my mom grew up as a city kid in Minneapolis, she would spend several weeks every summer out at the farm so she developed some very close relationships with her cousins.  So whenever it was possible, my mom sent us out to stay in Arlington when we were kids too.  That was where I learned that potatoes grew in the ground, not on bushes or trees.  I definitely was a city kid.

These days we still love going out to visit the cousins.  They are the nicest people and we always have so much fun with them.  We tend to do a lot of laughing when we’re there.

While we were out there this time we were playing cards with a bunch of the cousins and at one point one of them looked at his hand and said ‘Well, I went to shit, and the hogs ate me.’  I burst out laughing, wondering what in the world that meant.

Apparently that translates to something along the lines of ‘things went from bad to worse.’  A trip to the outhouse being bad, being eaten by hogs even worse.

After I quit laughing I said ‘that would make an awesome blog post title, if only I could remember it’, so my niece whipped out her phone and texted it to me.  So now I have a record of it for posterity, or at least as long as I have my current phone.

Speaking of which, I took all of the photos for today’s post with my new phone.  I hadn’t really played around with that yet, and now I’m realizing I might want to change the picture size setting … at least the ratio.  But these long skinny photos were fun for today’s post.  They certainly do a good job of emphasizing the wide open spaces of the mid-west’s farmland.

Maybe I will just leave it on this setting after all.

And the next time I have a colossal fail while painting a piece of furniture, I’m going to try to remember to use that blog post title again!