a pair of library chairs.

To all of my American readers, Happy almost 4th of July!  I can always tell when this holiday is coming because I don’t get any sleep.  The 11 p.m. fireworks keep me up at night, plus I’m getting up at 6 a.m. to get some painting in before the day heats up too much.  So I think it’s fair to say that this is not really one of my favorite holidays.  Regardless, I’m going to celebrate with a giveaway at the end of this post, so be sure to read all the way to the bottom!

When I said I was going to post every day this week, I hope you guys realized that I meant just the weekdays.  Which brings me to the final post of the week.

I brought home a pair of library chairs from a garage sale a couple of weeks ago.

When you get up close and personal, you can see that the finish on the chairs was pretty tired.

But that was a pretty quick fix using some paint.

I cleaned the chairs using some TSP substitute, then I brushed on two coats of Dixie Belle’s Caviar.  Once dry, I sanded to distress the edges and then added a small section from a stencil to the chair back.

I’m always amazed by how much character such a simple detail can add.

I added a topcoat of clear wax to protect the finish and to give them that perfect subtle glow that comes from waxing.

This pair of chairs is no longer tired looking, and they are ready to head to a new home.  So if any of you locals are in need of a pair of library chairs, be sure to check out my available for local sale page.

So tell me, which garage sale makeover from this week was your favorite?

The button box …

The bird cage …

One of the buckets …

Bessie the cow …

The shoe forms …

Or the library chairs …

Let me know which one you liked the best!

And just to make it more fun, and because I haven’t done a giveaway in a while, today I’ll draw a name from all of those who leave a comment here on today’s blog post and the winner will receive a red, white & blue themed prize.

Included is 16 oz of Honky Tonk Red, Antebellum Blue and Fluff (white), plus one of my favorite decorating books, American Style by Country Living.

Thank you to Dixie Belle for providing the paint I’m giving away today!

The rules:  to be eligible to win today’s prize leave a comment on this blog post.  If you can’t think of anything to say, just let me know which of my garage sale makeovers was your favorite.  Your comment must be left on the blog, not on Facebook or Instagram.

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Wednesday, July 8, 2020 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 $90 if the prize is not claimed by Friday, July 10, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

P.S.  You do not have to be an American to win my Independence Day themed prize!  I have no idea if they are letting packages across the borders these days, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

Good luck!

old bessie.

Even though today’s projects are really basic, I still wanted to share them with you guys.

Let’s start with a quick photo of a pile of some of the smaller items I found at last weekend’s sales …

I haven’t gotten to everything in this photo quite yet.  The sock stretcher that is underneath everything will be tucked away until the holiday season (in the meantime, check out these sock stretchers I upgraded last year).

I’m still on the fence about the little child’s pull toy with the yellow ducks on it.  I’m tempted to paint it sort of like I did with the elephant pull toy last year.  I’m just not fond of those original colors.  They seem a bit garish, what do you think?

The wooden recipe box is the perfect size to hold my recipe card scrapbook project unlike the last one that I found that was too small, so that will get a custom makeover especially themed for those cards.

The rolling pin wasn’t anything special, I just thought it would be fun to give it some green handles.  I painted them with Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.

Oh, the bucket above is another garage sale find from last weekend that I simply dressed up with another Classic Vintage Label transfer.

I did makeover the remaining two items though, starting with the wooden cow.

Sometimes you guys must really wonder what in the world I’m thinking.  I mean, seriously, why would I grab this old thing?  At some point someone must have thought this cow should have blue eyes because they blobbed a bit of blue paint on both sides of her face.

Honestly, I don’t know what it was, but something about old Bessie appealed to me.

After taking a closer look at her base, I realized that it screwed off so that made it easy to decide on a two tone paint job for her.  I started by painting the base with Dixie Belle’s Caviar, and then painted the cow with their Drop Cloth.  Once both were dry, I sanded them lightly to distress and then added a transfer from re.design with prima’s Classic Vintage Labels to the cow.

I finished everything off with a coat of clear wax and then just screwed the base back on.  That was it.

I think she’d be pretty cute on a kitchen counter, don’t you?

The shoe stretchers received a very similar makeover.  I simply painted them with Drop Cloth, sanded to distress and added some transfers.

How fun are those?  Once again I was torn about keeping one, or both of them.

But seriously you guys, I can’t keep everything!  I get a little twitchy if I have too much stuff in my house and I already have a buyer lined up for them so they didn’t stick around long.

Tomorrow is a holiday at the day job, so I’ll probably get up early and get some more painting done before the heat sets in.  We’re expecting lots of humidity and a high in the 90’s.  Yuck!  I’ll take 3′ of snow over heat and humidity any day.  I’ll also be posting one last daily post tomorrow featuring some restyled garage sale finds, so be sure to stay tuned.

there’s a hole in my bucket.

OK, so I promised a post every day this week, but I never said each post would be extensive, did I?

Today I’m sharing the quick and easy makeover of this pair of buckets.

You may remember that I picked these up at those back to back barn sales I found back at the end of May.  They have obviously been around the block a time or two.  I don’t think either one could actually hold water at this point.  But that makes them perfect to use as planters, or just as decor somewhere in your home.

I started with the smaller of the two buckets.  I rather liked the original patina on it, so I simply cleaned it well using Dawn dishwashing soap, and once dry I added a section from the Paris Valley transfer from re.design with prima.

It’s definitely a more subtle look, which I like personally, but fully realize would not be everyone’s cup of tea.

For bucket no. 2, I decided to paint it white first, thus allowing the transfer to take center stage.

Once again, I washed it well and this time I also sanded the outside lightly to give the surface more gripping power before painting.  Then I mixed up some of Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in Ironstone, which is her brightest white.  I ended up painting three coats on the bucket to get good, solid coverage.  Milk paint tends to be a little more sheer than other kinds of paint, so if you’re using the white or very pale shades it can take up to three coats.

Once fully dry, which happens pretty quickly with milk paint, I sanded the paint to distress the finish.  Then I added another section from the Paris Valley transfer to this bucket.

The milk paint worked perfectly.  It mostly adhered, but got chippy in just a couple of spots giving this an authentically aged look.  I find that milk paint will adhere to a dull metal finish (like galvanized metal), but it won’t adhere well to a shiny, smooth metal finish.

I filled the bucket with some Annabelle hydrangeas which have just started to bloom here in my Minnesota garden.

By the way, I added a coat of clear wax to each of the buckets after applying the transfers.

It’s so easy to add just a little something extra with some paint and a transfer!

Which one is your favorite?

la cage.

As promised, I’m back again today with another revamped garage sale find.

I purchased this metal cage at a sale being held by a woman who said she used to sell in a shop, but the shop has not been open due to COVID.  I wasn’t really clear on whether the shop has permanently gone out of business, or is just closed for the time being.

Either way, she had lots of goodies at her sale, including this cage, and they were priced to move.   So I was happy to help her out by buying quite a few things.

Initially I wasn’t planning to do anything more than clean this cage and re-sell it.  But once I washed it up I realized that the existing finish was rather tired looking, and not in a good, vintage, sort of way.

So once again I broke out the Rustoleum spray paint in Heirloom White.  It takes a while to spray paint something like this.  Mainly because you have to make sure that you’ve gotten to every angle.  So it’s a lot of spraying and waiting for it to dry, flipping it around, spray some more, waiting some more, etc.

In the end, I’m really glad I lightened this one up.  Going white gave me the opportunity to add some transfers to it.

The bee on the door is from re.design with prima’s Classic Vintage Labels, and the ‘1888.’ on the drawer is from IOD’s Classic Pots.

I used a vintage French invoice to line the drawer.

It’s from a packet of ephemera that my friend Terri gifted to me a while back.

You can see the paper even when the drawer is closed, so I definitely needed to use something pretty.

As pretty as this one turned out, I won’t be keeping it.  I already have a few birdcages, any more and I’m in danger of starting another non-collection.  So I’ll be bringing this one into the shop to sell.  If any of you locals are in need of la cage, be sure to head in and check it out.  Or if you want to call dibs on it in advance, let me know.

the button box.

It seems like there are wildly varying reactions to the COVID situation these days.  Some people are still wearing masks everywhere, avoiding social gatherings like the plague (can we use that expression anymore, or does it hit too close to home?), and continuing to work from home.  While others are having weddings with buffet style dinners (Mr. Q’s nephew, in Wisconsin) and heading to the casino for bingo night (my mom, in Nevada).

Here in Minnesota, I’m measuring the decreased vigilance against COVID based on the number of garage sales happening.  For most of May, garage sales were few and far between.  I happened upon a couple of barn sales out in the country at the end of May and that was about it.  Since then it seems like the number of sales each weekend has been growing steadily.

The weekend before last, my friend Sue texted me about a sale happening just a few blocks away from me.  I hopped in the car and headed over.  I ended up having to run back home and get the van to haul away my finds.

Then during this past week, the number of garage sale signs in my area seemed to explode.  I went to several sales on my lunch hour.  At one of them I had to once again go home and get the van and come back.  I came home with four sleds and several iron trellises.

I was especially excited to find the sleds.  I revamp them and they tend to sell really well as winter decor.  I usually find 3 or 4 at various sales each summer, but I did not have high hopes for this year.  So I was really tickled to find 4 of them in one go.

This past Saturday my sister and I drove around randomly looking for garage sale signs and I ended up coming home with lots of great vintage pieces.  Here’s just the big stuff.

I also brought home several boxes of smaller items that will get a quandie-style makeover.

I spent most of yesterday working on a few of them, so I thought it might be fun to share one per day for the rest of this week.  Yep, you read that right.  I’m planning to post every day until Friday.

I’m going to start with this adorable little button box.

I found it at an estate sale on my lunch break.  It was the only thing I purchased at that particular sale.

If you know me at all, you probably realize that the fact that it looks like a miniature dresser is what really appealed to me.  But I was also drawn to the pretty colors of all of the spools of thread.  Whoever owned this must have been fond of colorful things.

It was still full of old buttons and other sewing supplies.

I felt a little bit sad knowing that someone once used this button box when mending clothes or replacing a lost button.  Do people even do that anymore?

I also knew it would be adorable with a few little tweaks, and maybe someone will love it once again.

To begin with, I decided to spray paint it.  Painting around all of the little pegs for the spools of thread would have been putzy using a brush.  I had some Rustoleum spray paint in Heirloom White on hand, so I just used that.

Next I pulled out an IOD transfer that I recently ordered online.  Lest some of you get confused, IOD is no longer associated with re.design with prima.  I am a brand ambassador for re.design with prima, but that doesn’t mean I can’t occasionally check out the competition.  Back in the day when IOD and prima worked together, they had a series of transfers meant for clay pots.  I totally LOVED them and used them on pretty much anything that wasn’t nailed down.  So when I realized that IOD had re-issued them on their own in a collection called Classic Pots I simply had to have them.  They arrived in the mail on Saturday, and you’re going to see them on a couple of the things I share this week.

I cut apart one of the 14 different designs on the transfer to add to the front of the box.

I also added part of the transfer to the trim piece behind the spools …

Seriously, how cute is that?

The spools of thread that came with the box were the old fashioned wooden ones, not those darn new-fangled plastic ones.

I don’t know how much a spool of thread costs today, but I’m guessing it isn’t 15 cents.

And why does it say ‘fast to boiling’?  Why would you want your thread to boil quickly?  Oh … wait, I get it.  They mean the thread is color fast even if you boil it, don’t they?

I had the perfect paper for lining the drawers.

This paper is from October Afternoon’s Farmhouse collection and was called Button Box.  Sadly, they went out of business so you’ll have a hard time finding any of it.

The 12″ x 12″ sheet of paper has three rows of four different button package graphics.  One row of 3 fit perfectly in each drawer.

Sweet.

Now comes the hard part.  Do I keep this for myself, or do I sell it?

I’m planning to head in to Reclaiming Beautiful on Wednesday with a few things, so I guess I have until then to decide.

What would you do?

Nancy’s house.

Every once in a while life just presents something kind of magical.  I think that’s what happened a week or so ago when I had the opportunity to tour Nancy’s house.

Nancy is a frequent shopper at Reclaiming Beautiful, the shop where I sell some of my creations in Stillwater, MN.  I’d heard that she was a fan of my items and once I’d followed her on Instagram (@eike_nancy) I realized that she has quite a few of my ‘smalls’ in her home, like the black toolbox below.

So, I reached out to Nancy and asked if I could come and tour her home and take some photos to share with all of you here on my blog.  She graciously agreed, and I drove out to her place on a pretty much perfect summer afternoon.  Even just driving there was a total pleasure, motoring along beautifully curvy country roads with the top down on my car.

As soon as I turned onto Nancy’s street, I knew I was in for a treat.  What an amazing setting.  I love how just the grass immediately surrounding the house is mowed and the rest is left natural.  I’ve recently been watching Gardener’s World on BritBox (any other fans out there?) and they had a segment that suggested this technique.

In my small suburban garden, this wouldn’t work at all, but I love it for a larger property like this.

Nancy and her husband, David, just moved into this house last August so this will be their first full summer.  They didn’t have time to focus on much of the landscaping last year, but hope to get more planted around the house this summer.

In the meantime, who needs anything more than these beautiful rolling fields?

Walking up to the front door, I just knew I was going to be in for a treat once I got inside.

Just check out the old mop bucket with the fern, it has a section from re.design with prima’s Lovely Ledger transfer on it.

That’s not my work, but I love it!

I did spy some of my work on the porch though …

Remember when I added part of the Fresh Flowers transfer to that suitcase?  It looks perfect next to the bench on Nancy’s porch.

Once inside I was immediately struck by the view out the back.

The house is perfectly situated on the lot to give the feeling that there isn’t another neighbor around for miles.

But I was quickly distracted from the view by Nancy’s decorating.  Obviously she and I both love the same sort of look, which explains why she buys so much of my stuff 😉

Although that bench is not my work, I would guess that many of you might think it is.  It’s totally me.  But Nancy applied the Finicky Fox transfer to the bench herself.

Isn’t this sideboard fabulous?

I recognized a few things on top of it including the little bird cage that I revamped a while back.

Nancy’s home has an open concept, so the living room, dining room and kitchen are one big open space.  But let’s start in the living room.

It’s super cozy.

Her dog Lucy seems to agree.

I love how Nancy has styled her built in shelving with fab vintage finds including a few of my favorite non-collectibles (because I’m in denial that I collect things) like old clocks …

and cool old shoe forms.

Including this one which was dressed up with some transfers by yours truly …

This just goes to show that I don’t include all of the smaller projects I work on here on the blog.  I whipped this shoe form up one day, took a few photos, decided none of them were blog worthy, and I moved on to selling it.

Those of you who shop at Reclaiming Beautiful might also recognize this …

it’s one of their hand poured candles.  Nancy has added her own touch with the cow tag.  At least I’m assuming that’s a cow tag.  Can any of you farmers out there verify that for me?

Nancy has quite a few old scales scattered about …

I love this little square one …

Nancy’s kitchen is just simply gorgeous.

It looks fresh out of a magazine, doesn’t it?

It has some beautiful personal touches though, like the framed family recipes hung on the wall.

I absolutely love that they are written on old numbered ledger paper.

I also spied a couple more of my creations …

I even spotted the apron that I stenciled!

I have to admit I’m a little envious of Nancy’s light filled laundry room.

It’s probably quite pleasant to do laundry here.

And hey, she has one of my ironing board signs!

Just out in the hallway, you might also recognize one of these chalkboards

Here’s a quick look into Nancy’s master bedroom.

It was so fun to wander around Nancy’s beautiful home, and I have to admit I was pretty tickled to find so many of my pieces there.  It’s really awesome to know that my things are being enjoyed by someone.  It inspires me to continue giving old pieces a new lease on life.  I’ve even managed to get to a few garage sales this past week, so I’ll have a few updated garage sales finds to share with you guys next week.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this tour of Nancy’s house.  If you’re an Instagram user, be sure to give her a follow @eike_nancy!

touring in the time of COVID, part 2.

Welcome back to the rest of the garden tour from last week.  Today I’m sharing my garden with you.  You might want to grab a cup of coffee, this is going to be a long post.

I always think the garden looks best right about now in mid-June.  We haven’t had any hail storms yet, so the hostas are looking fabulous.  Well … except for the ones that have been munched on by deer.  The other evening I looked out the window to see a momma deer strolling up to my garden with her little fawn trailing behind her.  That fawn was adorable, but I shooed them away nonetheless.  Now I’ve started calling this part of the garden the ‘salad bar’.

They seem to especially love the Sun Power hosta, which is the bright chartreuse one on the left.  If you look closely you can see that the ends have been munched off quite a few of the leaves.

My fairy garden is in the cracked birdbath that is poking out of the hostas in the photo above.  I found the bird bath at a garage sale, and since it no longer held water due to the crack, it was super cheap.  That made it perfect for my fairy garden because it provides for drainage.

I lost a few of the plants in there over last winter (we bury it for the winter next to the house in a pile of leaves to protect it), but some came back.  The big clump of bright chartreuse on the left is a miniature hosta called Feather Boa.  I divided it last year and it has come back stronger than ever.  The much smaller blue-ish colored clump on the opposite side of the path is another miniature hosta called Blue Mouse Ears.  Just behind the buddha is Berberis thunbergii ‘Concorde’, I gave it a little pruning and it’s looking good.  The rest of the plants are new and they are annuals, so they won’t come back next year.

I had some trouble finding fairy garden plants this year.  Usually Bachman’s has a great selection, and so does Rose Floral in Stillwater but this year it was slim pickins.  I have to assume that somehow the whole COVID thing made them hard to come by.

Much like my friend Sue, a good chunk of my garden is in the shade.  But I’ve learned to love shade gardening.  For one thing, working in the garden is much more pleasant when you aren’t roasting under the hot sun.  Also, a shady garden doesn’t need to be watered nearly as much as a sunny one.

Of course hostas are perfect for a shade garden …

But other shade loving perennials that do well for me include ferns of all kinds, bleeding heart, lily of the valley, wild ginger and foam flower.

If you’ll remember, last summer we lost two trees in front of the house so now there is a bit more sun in that garden.  Luckily all of the plants I have in that bed seem to be enjoying the extra sunshine.

In addition to the hostas, I have some Purple Palace heuchera, some white and some purple astilbe, and a variegated sedum that is really happy to finally get some sun.

I try to change up the front window box every year.  This year I went with a chartreuse and white theme using coleus, sedum, white New Guinea impatiens, white trailing verbena and Diamond Frost euphorbia.

Since it’s getting a little more sun this year, I think this bright lime green sedum will do really well here.

I added one of the Classic Vintage Label transfers to my watering can, doesn’t it look fab?  And it’s holding up perfectly well outside.

I’m a big fan of adding pops of lime green foliage to the garden, especially either in the shade or planted next to darker green plants.  This ‘Lemon Frost’ lamium is a perfect example of that.

Most of the ‘decor’ in my garden has come from garage sales including this sweet concrete bunny.

The gal who was selling it had several concrete garden items and said that her son had been experimenting with making them using molds.  I only paid $8 for it, and it has held up quite well.

This fountain was from a garage sale …

It sits just below the galvanized boiler window box which is also from a garage sale.

Well, or at least the boiler was from a garage sale.  It had a rusted out bottom, so I only paid a couple of dollars for it.  Handyman Ken added some wood slats to the bottom so that it would hold soil, but still allow for drainage and then he devised a way to hang it on the wall.

And all of the pretty china I use to decorate my garden is from garage sales too.

While the ladies were touring my garden, they asked if I don’t have problems with breakage having china in the garden.  But really, I don’t.  I think I’ve had one or two plates break over the years, but since I get them dirt cheap at garage sales it’s not really a big deal.

Both of these planters were garage sale finds …

Although I have doctored them up with Dixie Belle’s patina paint to make them look like rusty iron planters (see how to do that here).  In reality one is black plastic and the other is made out of that foam faux concrete looking stuff.

Even Cossetta, my large statue, is from a garage sale.

She manages to make her way into the background of quite a few of my furniture photos …

Many of my plants are also from garage sales including that variegated sedum that I shared earlier.  Another of my favorite garage sale plant finds is Sweet Woodruff, it’s the ground cover that is under this concrete planter …

It’s nearly done blooming now, but a couple of weeks ago it was a carpet of delicate white flowers.

A quick q tip about garage sale plants, there is a good chance that plants you buy at a garage sale are considered invasive.  There is a reason the seller has enough extra to sell some.  For me, invasive isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It just means that you need to control it by planting it in spots with natural borders.  In this case there is a tree at the back, large hostas on either side and a stone border in the front.  When the plant starts expanding beyond those borders, I just yank it out.  You have to be a little brutal about it.

I have many ‘invasive’ plants in my gardens including a rather large bed of ferns that has taken over the space to one side of our driveway.

This area is in deep shade though, and prior to adding the ferns I really had trouble getting anything to grow well in that spot.

Another favorite plant of mine is the clematis.  I added three new ones this year, bringing my total to 7.  They don’t all bloom simultaneously.  I wish I could say that I planned it that way, but it really just happened.

This one goes first …

Then a week later, the blooms on this one start to open …

The rest haven’t yet started to bloom.  One of the new ones I planted is Sweet Autumn, which blooms in late summer to early fall.  So now I should have clematis blooming for most of the season.

I have one last thing to share with you guys, my cutting garden.  It’s tucked away behind the carriage house.  The sole purpose of these plants is to cut the flowers and bring them in the house, so the plants don’t have to look pretty in place.

In case you haven’t noticed, I really love peonies so most of the space back here is taken up by them.

You might remember that about a month ago I shared the idea of using an old chair to support your peonies …

.  As you can see, the peony has grown quite a bit since then …

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this tour of my gardens even though it got a bit long.

And I also hope you’re a fan of these sort of ‘tour’ posts, because on Friday I’ll be sharing another tour of a really lovely home in Stillwater.  Here’s a little sneak peek …

So be sure to stay tuned!

touring in the time of COVID, part 1.

Two years ago I shared Jackie’s garden here on the blog (part 1 and part 2).  At the time I promised to return the favor and let Jackie and her friend Netti tour mine.

It took me two years to get around to it, but I finally reached out to Jackie a week or so ago and asked if she was still interested.  She jumped at the chance, I believe her exact words were ‘finally … something to look forward to’ and ‘we’ll mask up and be over.’

My sister stopped by to join in the fun as well, and we all donned masks so that we could get within 6′ of each other.

To make up for my two year delay in reciprocating a garden tour, I threw in a tour of my friend Sue’s garden too.  Sue is my picker/garage sale mentor/co-worker/Carriage House sale partner and friend, and she only lives a few blocks away from me.

That huge lush thing growing on her arbor is a Hardy Kiwi vine (Actinidia).  The leaves have white tips on them.

Sue focuses on white and green in her garden, so this vine is perfect for her.

I love the feeling of serenity that is created in her garden with its white color scheme and her use of vintage pieces scattered here and there.

Everywhere you look you can find some unique touch that has been tucked into the garden.

Sue’s garden is mostly shaded.  Although the sun peeks through to certain spots as it moves across the sky, it is fleeting.  So she uses a lot of shade loving plants like ferns, hostas and bleeding hearts.

No garden is quite complete without a water feature, and I remember when Sue found her fountain at a garage sale.

Sue’s garden isn’t completely green and white, she does have some lovely peonies scattered about as well.

Over the years Sue has divided and shared quite a few of her plants with me, including some anemone that look fantastic interplanted with my hostas.

And although that glimpse of my garden makes it look like I also stick with green and white (and I do in some spots), I also have a bit more color in my garden.

But you’ll have to come back on Monday to see that.  I hope you’ll stay tuned!

the summer house.

As many of you know, I have a small outbuilding in my backyard.

Over the years it has been a storage shed, a potting shed and a summer house.  But back in 2014 I turned it into the photo cottage.

Initially I thought it would be the perfect spot for staging photos of my furniture.  However, I was never really totally happy with the results.  It seemed like the lighting was always wrong.  At certain times of the day the giant red carriage house that is about 20′ away casts a pink light into the space (those walls above are white, not pink), at other times the sunlight poured in … but a little too much, which cast weird shadows.

Plus, over time that painted floor started looking really beat up.

I began using it less and less for staging photos.  Last summer I realized I’d need to re-paint if I still wanted to use it that way, but I never did get around to doing that.

So this year I’ve decided to turn it back into a summer house.

What’s a summer house you ask?

sum·mer·house
/ˈsəmərˌhous/
noun: summer house
  1. a small, typically rustic building in a garden or park, used for sitting in during the summer months.

It’s small, it’s rustic, and it’s in the garden, so I think it qualifies.

Just so you have a starting point for reference, here’s how much I had let the place go …

Yikes!  That’s embarassing.

Since I was having some ladies over to tour my garden this past Saturday (you’ll read more about that later in the week), I made a last minute decision to clean up this mess and turn the photo cottage back into a summer house using things I had on hand.

First I emptied everything out and used a shop vac to get rid of cobwebs.  Next I scrubbed the floor and then hosed it down.  One of the benefits to a wonky old shed like this is that you can just put the hose on the ‘jet’ setting and blast away.  Wouldn’t it be convenient if we could clean our houses that way?

At this point, I admit that the paint is peeling and chipping everywhere and it really could use a fresh paint job.  But since I won’t be using it for photos, it doesn’t need to be perfect.

Next up is the fun part, furnishing and decorating the space.

I had purchased this charming old strawberry basket at Reclaiming Beautiful last week and that was the inspiration for going with a green color scheme.

I have a few fabulous vintage green items to use as decor such as these crusty old garden tools …

And this chippy old bird cage …

So I started with re-painting the inside of the chippy cabinet that’s out there using Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.

It’s such a gorgeous green, and it created the perfect backdrop for the couple of pieces of chintzware that I hung on to after selling most of my non-collection 😉

You can read about the last time I gave this cabinet a makeover, and why the bottom is the original chippy paint and the top isn’t by checking out this post.

Next, I dug through the remaining stash of furniture out in my carriage house and pulled out a table.  I purchased it back in 2016 at a garage sale.  Back then I took a vote here on the blog and everyone thought I should leave the green legs ‘as is’.  So I did that, but stripped the top and my sister gave it a coat of clear wax.  We used it to display merchandise at the carriage house sale.

Once again I was tempted to leave the legs ‘as is’, especially since I was going with a green color scheme.  But I didn’t love that precise shade of dark forest green.  So I painted the base of the table with the Kudzu also.  I sanded the heck out of it though, so I ended up with a distressed look that reveals a little bit of the darker green underneath.

Next I sanded the top of the table lightly and then used Fusion’s Liming Wax to brighten it up.

By the way, this is what I love about using wax on bare wood.  After a few years of wear and tear you can sand it a bit, add a fresh coat of wax and it looks like new.  If this were poly, you’d have to either strip it, or sand it all the way back to bare wood to re-coat it.

I used a chair that I already had on hand.  It’s one that I use as a prop in many of my furniture photos.  It’s not exactly the look I was going for, but for now it will do.

I had hung onto the chandelier that was out here before it became the photo cottage, and now I’m really glad I did because I still love it.  It’s not actually wired up (there is no electric out here), but it’s still pretty to look at.

I used spray adhesive to glue photo copies of old black & white photos to the candle tubes.  I had done this before, but the photos were badly faded after six years in storage, they needed to be freshened up.

I have to say, I have no idea if this would be a fire hazard on a functioning light fixture.  However, since this one is just for show it doesn’t matter.  But use caution if you’re going to try this on a real chandelier.

Finally, I dressed up some terracotta pots with a couple of Classic Vintage Label transfers and added some white geraniums.  Somehow potted geraniums on a window ledge always make me happy.

It’s still looking somewhat empty in the summer house, but it’s a start.

Hopefully once I can get out there and find some garage/estate sales, I can add a few more pieces.  I definitely need to find some things to hang on the walls.

But for now, it’s presentable.  And it didn’t cost me a thing.  Well … actually the geraniums were $1.68 each at Home Depot.

How about you, do you have a space at your house that you can refresh using things you already have on hand?

abandoned hankie drawers.

I’m continuing to clear out the Carriage House.  Today’s project is this abandoned set of hankie drawers that I removed from a dresser some time in the distant past.

In fact, I searched back through my archives and for the life of me I can’t find a ‘before’ photo of a dresser with this section on top.  So it might even date back to the ‘pre-blog’ era.

Well, anyway, if you’ve followed me for a while you know that I’ve always liked to remove the hankie drawers from dressers.  I feel like a flat top makes the dresser more versatile so it can be used as a TV stand, or as a buffet type piece in the dining room.  I always save the cast off drawers though and turn them into a stand alone item (like this, and this, and this).  Usually they end up as individual drawers (like in those linked examples), but this one is a solid piece all the way across.

I painted the outside of the box in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, and then I painted the insides of the drawers in their Apricot.  I used the DB Flat clear coat over the Apricot to give the insides of the drawers a little extra durability.

Apricot is quickly growing to be my favorite shade of pink.  It’s a peachy pink to be sure, and I really love the warmth of it.

Once the painting was done, I sanded lightly to distress and then added a section from the Violet Hill transfer from re.design with prima.

Isn’t that just gorgeous?  I have to admit, I felt a little guilty not saving this transfer to use on a full piece of furniture.  But what the heck?  I knew it would be perfect for this, and now I have a bunch of the transfer left over for more projects.

I have absolutely no recollection of what happened to the original drawer pulls.  Maybe I never had them?  Maybe I took them off to use on something else?  Who knows.  But I found a set of 3 vintage pulls in my stash of old hardware that ended up working out perfectly.

At this point you’re probably thinking ‘ok, well, that’s real pretty, but what would you do with it?’

I’ve got a couple of ideas.  The most obvious, put it on top of a dresser and use it as a jewelry box.

If you have lots of jewelry, this would be a great option because it would hold quite a bit.

Another idea, add it to your desk under your computer monitor to store office supplies and to give your monitor a little extra height.

For those of you still working from home due to COVID, this would be a lovely way to organize your work space.

Finally, this would be a great addition to a craft room to hold all sorts of various crafting supplies.

I brought this piece to Reclaiming Beautiful this week, so I guess we’ll see if anyone out there has just the right purpose for it.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and to re.design with prima for providing the products used for today’s projects.

If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

If you’re looking for re.design with prima products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.