trading up.

Remember this dresser that I painted last fall?

It simply wasn’t selling.

I’m not sure if it was the color, or the floral transfer, or the mirror, or simply a combination of all three.  But after six months of watching it gather dust in my dining room I was ready to give it a makeover.

I mentioned it in front of my niece one day and she said ‘nooooo … I love that one.’  Then she asked if I’d be willing to trade her for the dresser that I painted for her a couple of years ago instead.

I thought about it for about a second and then said ‘sure, why not?’  As much as my niece loved the Miss Mustard Seed’s Luckett’s Green paired with purple flowers, I didn’t think that combo would be a big seller in my market at large.  But I was going to be repainting a piece either way, so why not repaint this one?

So we traded.

The teal blue dresser went to my niece’s house, and the green one came home with me.  To prep this piece for a fresh paint job I sanded it fairly heavily to make sure I’d get good adhesion.  Then I cleaned it and painted it with two coats of Fusion’s Park Bench.

I’ve had great success selling mid-mod pieces painted in this color.  Although this dresser isn’t classically mid-century modern, I knew I could pump up the modern quotient a bit with new hardware.

These knobs are all from Hobby Lobby.  I’ve used them before on pieces painted in this gorgeous shade of green, so I knew they’d be perfect on this one too.

I staged this piece super simply with some postcards that I bought in Montenegro when we were there last November, my green Collier’s World Atlas and some vibrant impatiens.

Now don’t tell my niece, but I think I just may have gotten the better end of the bargain in this trade.

What do you think?

finding balance.

So, here’s the deal.  As I’ve mentioned many times, my blog is not monetized.  I prefer not having any ads to bog you guys down.  To fund the blog (ie. my hobby), I sell my furniture.  My main goal is to not lose money, and my secondary goal is to have enough left over to fund our travel habit too.

But that means, I have to actually be able to sell my furniture.

That can sometimes be the tricky part.

I frequently find myself torn between painting something in a unique, artistic way, perhaps using a new technique or product that I can share here on the blog, or painting something in a way that I know will sell.

The first option is always more fun.  Who doesn’t love getting creative and trying new things, especially pretty paint colors?

Or trying a new technique with a transfer?

I also think sharing a new color or technique here makes my blog more interesting and gives you guys a reason to keep following me.

The problem is that these pieces tend to take much longer to sell for me.  I’m in the mid-west.  In general people here tend to be a bit on the conservative side when it comes to decorating.  They don’t embrace loud florals, bright colors or lots of frou frou details.

Note that I specified ‘in general’.  I’m not saying that nobody here likes those things, just that the market for those things is smaller and thus they take longer to sell.  Maybe that’s true everywhere, I don’t know.  If you’re in another part of the country, or even the world, you tell me.  What sells in your market?

I have to admit, I was relieved when my latest milk painted washstand sold right away because no matter how much I loved it, I was worried the color was going to make it a tough sell.

Of course there are always exceptions to every rule.  The mid-mod pieces I’ve painted in Fusion’s Park Bench have all sold like hotcakes too.

However, typically it’s the pieces in neutral colors that sell quickly for me.  In other words, white …

Or black.

Both of which tend to sell almost instantly.

I also have pretty good luck with dark grey …

And navy …

So I’m always trying to finding some balance between getting a little more daring with my color choices or new techniques and falling back on tried and true styles and colors.

I had a real dry spell over the past six months when it comes to selling furniture.  Things are starting to pick up, but are still somewhat slow.  As a result, I’m feeling the need to go back to my time tested neutrals.  Hence the Laundry Co dresser painted in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth from a week or two ago.

Later this week I’ll be sharing another piece painted in the Park Bench green, and then the following week I’ve got some more Dixie Belle Midnight Sky black pieces.  I hope I won’t be boring you guys with repeats and neutrals, but I’m feeling the need to stick with what sells for a bit.  Here’s hoping you’ll stay tuned!

everyday farmhouse.

I thought it would be fun to compile a post showing all of the pieces that I’ve used the Prima Marketing Everyday Farmhouse transfer on so far.

This is just one transfer, but it comes with about 25 different designs that can all be used separately.  So at around $30 for the set, you’re only paying a little over $1 for each one.

The first thing I used part of this transfer on was a rusty toolbox.

I used some of the numbers that are included as well as this portion …

Next I used a couple of the designs on an adorable pair of vintage kid sized chairs.

I used sections from the Sweet Apricot transfer for the seats.

I also added part of the Everyday Farmhouse transfer to this bucket, which is painted in Homestead House milk paint in Laurentien.

I used another section on another painted bucket …

Next I used a section of the transfer on the top of a vintage picnic basket.

I thought I’d quickly share the technique I used to work around the raised slats on the top.  I started by placing the transfer where I wanted it and then only rubbing the transfer well on the raised slats.

Next I used a razor blade to slice the transfer backing sheet on either side of each slat.

This way I was then able to press the transfer down between the slats as well.

If you want to try something similar, my advice is to go slowly, be patient and remember that perfection is highly overrated.

In the end you’ll have an adorable picnic basket ready to take on holiday.

Clearly I’m going to have to get another of the Everyday Farmhouse transfer sets because I’m pretty sure I can find 25 more items to use it on!

stinkin’ adorable.

Last week I told you guys that I picked up a set of vintage handmade wooden pull toys at the Byrn Mawr sales.  I only shared the horses and cart because the other pieces had already gone over to Ken’s workshop for some repairs.

The horses and cart are super adorable, but I think my favorite piece is the elephant.

That’s not a true ‘before’ because Ken had already made some repairs.  When I bought this, the elephant was broken off his platform.  Ken replaced the little wooden blocks holding him in place and re-attached him.

I really wasn’t fond of the muddy, dark colors that the elephant was painted in.  I wanted to lighten him up a bit.

I started by sanding him down lightly, cleaning off any dust and then painting him with a base coat of Dixie Belle’s Pink Champagne.  Although I planned to go with a chippy milk paint look ultimately, I knew I’d probably have some difficulty getting milk paint to stick over that shiny existing paint. I could have just added bonding agent to my milk paint, but I had the Dixie Belle paint handy so I started with that.

Next I mixed up some of Miss Mustard Seed’s Farmhouse White for the elephant’s body.

I used two coats of the Farmhouse White.  I would likely have needed a third coat had I not already given him that light base coat color with the Pink Champagne.

Next I mixed up some of Miss Mustard Seed’s Shutter Grey for the elephant’s cart.  However, after I painted it on I felt like it was too dark.  I wanted to keep the whole look really pale. So I mixed the remainder of my Farmhouse White in with the Shutter Grey to make it a bit lighter.  I’d say this is about a half and half mix.

As you can see, I got some great chipping.  Just enough to look authentic.

Finally, I added part of a grain sack stencil to the elephant’s body.

Once that was dry, I sanded the elephant to add some distressing and then gave him a topcoat of clear wax.

I’ve left out the most amazing part of this elephant.  When you pull him along by his string, there is a mechanism attached to the front set of wheels that makes his head go up and down.  Seriously, it is the most stinkin’ adorable thing I’ve ever seen.

I’m tempted to keep this piece just to stage future pieces of furniture, but in the end I will most likely take him to Reclaiming Beautiful (the shop where I sell on consignment in Stillwater).

 I think he might just be too darn cute to keep in a cupboard somewhere.  What do you think?

wash, dry and fold.

Recently my bff, Vonda, and her husband downsized.  They moved out of their huge four bedroom home into a two-bedroom place.  As a result, they had to downsize their belongings as well.  I’d always admired this vintage dresser, so when Vonda offered it to me I jumped on it.

I have to say, that is a terrible ‘before’ photo.  I don’t always follow my own outside photo taking rules when doing a ‘before’ photo, and this one is particularly bad.  You can barely tell that the dresser was green.  Well, mostly green with some drips of white here and there.  I thought the floral decals were pretty sweet though.  Funny enough, it wasn’t until I sanded them down a little that I realized the decals were covering up key holes as well as extra holes where there were once drawer pulls with two screws instead of knobs.  Now that I know that, when I look at the ‘before’ photo I think ‘duh, of course they were.’  Just look back at that photo, see what I mean?

Anyway, when I brought this piece home the top of the dresser had split at a seam and a couple of the drawers had seen better days.  My handyman Ken made quick work of repairing those problems.  He removed the top, glued it back together and then re-attached it with dowel pins which makes the entire piece much sturdier.

He also re-glued both of the bottom drawers.

Once that was done, I sanded the piece well and then painted it with two coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, which is a warm, creamy white.  When the paint was dry, I sanded the edges to distress.  I wanted to allow some of that pale green to show through, as well as some of the light blue that was under the green.

There’s nothing like layers of color to lend a sense of age to a piece.  In this case, the layers … and the age … are genuine.

Next I added a coat of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.  Once that was dry, I added Prima Marketing’s Laundry transfer.

Once that was in place I felt like the bottom half of the dresser looked really plain, so I pulled out a leftover bit from the Seeds transfer and added that to the bottom drawer.

Over time this dresser had gotten a little beat up, been a bit neglected and thus had lost some of its original charm, but I think I brought it back (what do you say bff?).

It would be a great piece for a laundry room (if you are blessed enough to have a size-able laundry room that is pretty, mine is a dingy corner in my cellar-like basement).

But it could just as easily work in a bedroom.

Or really anywhere!

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

If you’re wondering where to buy the Dixie Belle Drop Cloth or flat clear coat, 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 an adorable cottage style dresser, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

bryn mawr 2019.

My sister and I always kick off the neighborhood garage sale season with Bryn Mawr.  This sale is always held the first weekend in May and they seem to have incredibly good luck with the weather (which definitely can be dicey this time of year).

This past Saturday was glorious.  Ideal garage sale weather.  Sunny and in the 60’s.  And this year my niece was available to join us as well, so it was the perfect day.

I have to admit I don’t usually find much at Bryn Mawr.  It’s far too popular, and thus the competition for an amazing find is steep.  Check out some my past year’s finds here:  2015 and 2016.

Once again this year I didn’t find a lot, but I nabbed a few gems.

This rustic wooden crate with a handle was $4.   I didn’t love the muddy green color it was painted in, but I knew I could fix that.  And I already have.  I whipped out my Dixie Belle paint in Midnight Sky and quickly painted it.  It only took one coat to cover the green.  I added some stenciling, sanded lightly to distress and finished with black wax.

Ahhhh, so much better, right?  And so easy to do.  If it feels familiar, that’s because this is the same paint color and stencil that I used on my piano.

It was the handle that made me decide on black.  I definitely wanted to keep that ‘as is’ because it has the most deliciously aged patina.

I couldn’t fit the entire stencil on the front of the crate, so I used part of it on the sides.

I just love the delicate flowing font of this stencil.  So perfectly simple, yet it has a massive impact.

I also grabbed this antique child’s rocker.

It’s in great shape and the price was right.  The seller had lowered her price twice already because it just wasn’t moving.  It’s in great shape and will look amazing with some milk paint.

I couldn’t resist the vintage hardware apron from a lumber shop in Milwaukee.

These aprons were featured in the March issue of Country Living magazine.

So I snatched it up.  Not sure what I’ll do with it yet, potentially just clean it up and sell it.

I’m giving ‘find of the day’ status to an adorable collection of vintage handmade wooden pull toys.  One of the pieces is signed on the bottom and says it was made by Uncle Karl in 1943.

Believe it or not, I paid $1 for the set and it includes the horses and wagon shown above, an elephant whose head goes up and down as you pull him, and a truck with a trailer.  Those last two pieces have already headed over to my handyman/neighbor Ken’s workshop for some minor repairs.  Once that’s done I’m going to paint them.  I’m just not loving that dull red and green.  I have some fun ideas for turning these into gorgeous, unique decor pieces that would be perfect for a nursery.  You’ll have to stay tuned to see how they turn out.

In addition to a ‘find of the day’, it seems like I always have a garage sale regret too.  Maybe I need to add a ‘regret of the day’ category as well.

As I was lying in bed Saturday night trying to fall asleep, I couldn’t help but think that I was a fool for passing up another dress form.  It was marked $45, but when the seller offered to let it go for $40 I still passed on it.  Why didn’t I snatch that up?  What was I thinking?  I could have easily made another of these …

Have you had some garage sale regrets?  If so, be sure to share them in the comments so I don’t feel like I’m the only one who has walked away from a good deal!


into the woods.

I’ve been seeing a lot of articles recently about the mental health benefits of spending a little time communing with nature.  I don’t know about you, but I’m 100% on board with that idea.  I always feel more centered after a walk in the woods.

Mr. Q and I are lucky to have a beautiful wooded park just a few blocks away.  It is 200+ wooded acres and has a couple of miles of walking trails.  We try to get out there at least 4 or 5 days per week.  We made a special effort to stick with it this past winter and with the help of some good long underwear, an ankle length down coat and some great Sorel boots I made it through most of the winter (until I fell on the ice in February and we decided we should wait until the ice on the paths melted to return).

I have to say it is kind of magical to be out there when there is a full moon and some snow cover to reflect it.  Our park has some Great Horned Owls in residence and we would hear them calling to each other while we walked.  One evening we even saw one perched in a tree just over our heads.

I wish I could claim taking that photo, but no, I grabbed it from  Plus it was dark and we couldn’t really see him in much detail, but I’m sure he looked pretty much like that 😉

I will admit that it’s much easier to get out walking now that the days are getting longer, the snow is gone and I don’t have to wear four layers of clothing though!

At this point you might be wondering how I’m going to segue this into a post about painted furniture.

Well, the Fusion paint I used on today’s piece is in a color called Lichen and the Prima Marketing transfer is called Fern Woods.  So it definitely has a woodsy theme.

Here is the ‘before’ version of the table.

It’s just your basic 60’s end table.

It’s another piece that I picked up last summer at a garage sale on the cheap.  After I brought it out to work on it, I decided that the finish on it was really in pretty good shape and it might be fun to leave the tops alone and just paint the rest.

So I sanded the sides and legs lightly, cleaned them and then painted them with two coats of Lichen.

Then I pulled out the Fern Woods transfer.

You could use this transfer as one solid design, but instead I randomly cut out various leaves and applied them to the table wherever I thought they looked best.

I also swapped out the knob on the little drawer.  The original knob seemed a bit small to me.  I happened to have a wood knob that matched the table top perfectly.

I think the size works much better than that dinky original knob.

I couldn’t help nestling the table in my blooming Scilla to get some woodsy looking photos.  The Scilla is always the first thing up and blooming in my garden in the spring.  I have the white version shown above, and also the gorgeous deep blue version that you saw last week in my post about white washed clay pots.

Anyway, I think this is the perfect little side table for someone’s cabin.  It makes a great spot to stash your bird watching paraphernalia.

What do you think?

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

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

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a woodsy themed side table, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page to see if this one is still available.