what’s hiding in your attic?

Last weekend Mr. Q and I took part in our annual holiday tradition of getting the decorations out of the attic.

We can access our attic two ways.  There is a small door to it inside the guest room closet, plus the doors in the dining room (shown below) also open into the attic space (which is technically just above the kitchen and not the rest of the house).  I should mention that our attic is only about 4′ tall at most, so you can’t actually walk in there.

Mr. Q is always gracious enough to take the crappy part of the job, which is crawling in through the guest room closet and then lying on his stomach to hand things down to me through those doors shown above.

As a result, I never actually see what all is up there in the attic.  So this time I asked him to look around and see if there was stuff up there that we could discard.  Turns out we’ve been shoving things in there and forgetting about them for years.  I couldn’t believe all of the boxes and boxes of stuff that he was pulling out.  We’re still in the process of dealing with all of it.

Mr. Q even pulled out two boxes of old books that I had completely forgotten about.  They came from my parents when they moved out to Las Vegas.

Mr. Q claims that he has read every single one of them.  He went through them one by one and read them on his lunch hour back in the 90’s and it took him the entire decade.  But really Mr. Q?  Did you even read the Freud?

Anyway, I decided that I would try painting a few of these as holiday decorations and see whether or not they sell.  I’ve painted books a few times in the past and I’ve always loved them.   Here are some I did way back when I first started blogging …

I usually paint and then stencil mine, but I saw quite a few of them at the Holly Jolly Market that were painted and then stamped with words on the spines like “joy to the world” and such.

So I pulled out some Dixie Belle paint in Drop Cloth and painted a few.  But instead of stamping them with holiday words, I decided to try adding some Prima Marketing holiday transfers.

I first used the leftover bits from the Gingham Red transfer that I used on the kiddo sized chairs that I shared a couple of weeks ago just on the spine of one book.

This is a great way to use up some of those leftover scraps!

Then I pulled out the Christmas Greetings transfer and used sections of it on the other books.  I started out just using the smaller portions of the design that I thought would fit well on the book covers.

But then I realized that I could use the bigger sections and just wrap them around the spines, or cut them off at the edges.  Even though it feels a little wasteful to not use the entire image, I often prefer the look of a design that goes edge to edge like this.

Once I had all of my transfers applied, I sanded the books lightly to smooth out the finish and distress the edges.  Then I used Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta to add a light coating of wax for protection.

The final step was to put them in bundles and tie them with ribbon.

I’m betting that a few of you will totally relate, but do you have some crafting supplies that you never use because they are just too precious and you don’t want to ‘waste’ them?

That’s how I feel about this gorgeous vintage velvet ribbon.  I have to laugh because I only paid $2.50 for it at a garage sale, but still … I treat it like it’s gold or something.

I’ve had it for years but have only used the smallest bits of it.  And in the end, I didn’t actually use it on the books because I felt like it covered up too much of the transfer.  It sure looked pretty for these pictures though 😉

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co and Prima Marketing for providing the products I used to restyle these books.

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

If you’re looking for Prima Marketing products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.

And if you’re looking for my painted books you can find them at Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater, MN while they last.

 

instagram takeover.

Hey everybody!  For those of you who have Instagram accounts, I thought I’d give you a heads up.  I’m taking over the @redesignwithprima account today.

Each of us on their Design Team were given the opportunity to do a 24 hour takeover and today is my day!

I’ll be sharing some of my favorite projects using Prima Marketing products throughout the day, like this one …

And this one …

I had a hard time narrowing down which pieces I should share.  I figured nobody wanted me to be posting something every 30 minutes.

But they have so many gorgeous transfers, and I’ve done quite a few pieces with them over the past couple of years.

Plus, I’ll also be hosting an amazing giveaway of Prima products (you’ll have to go to Instagram to sign up to win).

Not only that, but many of the other Design Team members are also hosting giveaways on their takeover day.

So, if you haven’t yet drunk the kool-aid and joined Instagram, today might be a great day to do that.  And if you already have an Instagram account but you aren’t following @redesignwithprima (or, heaven forbid, me @qisforquandie) be sure to check them out.

painted hydrangeas.

This past Saturday morning my sister and I headed up to the Holly Jolly Market in Otsego, MN.  The market is held in a greenhouse so not only are there really fab vintage holiday goodies (and trust me, if you are local you shouldn’t be missing this one each year), but they also sell spruce tips and other evergreens at great prices.  I bought a dozen spruce tips for $21.99 plus a few random greens for $5.99 per bunch.

If you’ll remember back, last year I didn’t manage to get my front window box decorated for winter.  We were on our Adriatic cruise for two weeks in November and when we got back on the day after Thanksgiving the dirt was frozen rock hard so I just decided to skip it.

This year I was determined to get on it early, before the dirt was too frozen to work with.  I really thought November 9 would be early enough.  Nope.  The dirt was already partially frozen.  So I followed a tip one of my readers shared with me and I poured hot water on it to thaw it out a bit.  It worked like a charm and I was able to get those spruce tips sunk into the dirt.

While at the Holly Jolly Market I was admiring some deep red dried hydrangeas in one of the booths, so I asked the vendor how she managed to retain that rich color.  Her trick?  Spray paint.  As soon as she said it, I remembered that a couple of years ago one of my readers also recommended spray painting my dried hydrangeas.

Funny enough, in addition to red, the vendor also had some sprayed some with the Rust-Oleum color called Eden which just happens to be the same color I used on my Adirondack chairs, remember?

So when I got home from the market I dug into my spray paint stash and came up with a red, and the left over Eden from the chairs.

While we were at the market it was a beautiful, sunny morning and the temperature was above freezing.  The forecast wasn’t great though.  It was supposed to start raining by 3 pm, then turn over into a wintry mix.  The temps were predicted to start going down and keep going down with a high only in the teens Fahrenheit expected by Monday.

I knew I needed to get the window box done that afternoon or my dirt would be even more frozen.  By the time I got to the spray painting step it was drizzling and getting colder by the minute.  So if you’ve ever wondered if you can spray paint dried flowers that are wet with rain, in temps just above freezing … well, turns out you sure can.

In fact, it created a kind of cool effect, don’t you think?  Although I don’t suggest trying this on furniture 😉  I also don’t suggest doing this while wearing your favorite new parka, especially if you accidentally shake a wet and freshly painted blossom 😦

I’m quite sure that my neighbors thought I was nuts standing out in the rain cutting flowers off my hydrangea bush, holding them up and hitting them with the spray paint.

But it was definitely worth it in the end.  I got most of the spots off my parka, and the hydrangeas look fantastic.

Once I had the spruce tips, the hydrangeas and some twig lights in place, I added this giant jingle bell that my sister gave me a couple of years ago.

Things still looked a little bare, so I threw in three galvanized snowflakes that I’ve had for years.

They have battery operated lights in them and I always used to hang them on either the house or the carriage house, but honestly they always looked a little odd at night.  If all you can see are the lights, well … they just look like a random collection of oddly placed lights.

By the time I got to this point I was soaked through, starting to get cold, and it was starting to get dark so I called it quits for now.

I think I still need to add some twigs with red berries or something to add another layer of color up high.  I may have to take a walk in the woods and see what I can find for that.

But in the meantime, I’m feeling pretty good about filling up my giant front window box for less than $40.

How about you, are you rushing to get some outdoor decorating done before the temps plummet even further?  Or are you lucky enough to live in a warmer climate where you can decorate outdoors at your leisure?

sleds.

For the past couple of Christmas seasons I have found that painted sleds sell fairly well for me at Reclaiming Beautiful.

I started out with a pair of black and white sleds back in 2017.

I sold one and I kept the one shown above for myself.

Last year I did another pair of painted sleds, one in black again and one in more traditional Christmas colors.

and they both sold.

You’d think, knowing that I wanted to do some more this year, that I would have grabbed all the sleds I saw at garage sales this past summer.  But no.  I only bought one of them even though I saw quite a few.  I have a tendency to do stuff like that, because who is thinking ‘sleds’ in the middle of summer?

I was kicking myself over that recently, so I went to Craigslist to see if there was anyone selling them online.  Sure enough, there were quite a few.  But almost all of them were way above my price range.  Some ridiculously so, like this one listed at $225.

I’m sure that is a ‘highly collectible’ sled because of the rocket ship motif.  And I hope it goes without saying that I would never paint over that sled.

But even the more beat up and less unique versions were mostly listed in the $45 and up range.  However, I did come across someone selling three sleds for $15 each.  They were appropriately roughed up to justify painting them, and as an added bonus they weren’t very far away.  So I sent Mr. Q to pick them up, thus giving me four sleds to work on this year.

I set up a bit of a sled painting assembly line in my dining room in order to get all of the sleds done in one weekend.  I started with the black one.  I painted the wood parts of the sled using Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.  Then I stenciled it with a warm white craft paint.  Finally I added some of Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta.

I know black and white aren’t traditional Christmas colors, but I love the look.  Two years ago I wrote a whole blog post about Christmas in black and white.

Be sure to check it out if you like that look too.

The smaller black sled above is the one I kept two years ago, but this year I gave it a fresh coat of Big Mamas Butta and took it in to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell.  You’ll see why in a minute.

The other taller sled got the same paint job that I used last year.

That is Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth on the sled, and red, green and black craft paint for the stencil.

I painted the handle and sides of the smallest sled using Dixie Belle’s Barn Red.  Well, wait, let me back up a minute.  I started out painting it with the same shade of red I used on the chairs I shared last Friday, Honky Tonk Red.  I painted the slats in Drop Cloth as a base for the Gingham Red transfer.

Once I had the transfer in place though, I felt like the Honky Tonk Red was just a bit too bright with the transfer so I pulled out the Barn Red and went over it with just one coat of that.

I really should have taken a picture of a chair and the sled side by side to show you the difference because I’m sure you’re thinking that this red looks the same.  But trust me, in person there is a difference.

This is the 2nd version of a red plaid that comes with the Prima Marketing re.design Gingham Red transfer set.  For this sled I only used one sheet of this plaid so I have another one left to use on something else.

When I got to the final sled from my Craigslist purchase I decided that the patina of the existing chippy red paint was too good to cover up with fresh paint.  I often work so hard to create this chippy look and here was a genuine version of it.

So for this one I simply sanded the surface lightly to remove any loose paint, added the stencil, and then gave it a wax job (again using the Dixie Belle Big Mamas Butta) to freshen it up and to protect it from the elements a bit.

As I was just finishing up my sleds, my sister stopped by for a visit.  I was telling her that I really loved how this last one turned out but I wasn’t sure I had a spot for it.  She suggested hanging it on the photo cottage door.

Sure enough, it looks freakin’ adorable there.  And once we get some snow on the ground and it starts looking more like a winter scene and less like a fall one, I think it will really look fab.  It has even motivated me to put some Christmas lights on the photo cottage this year.  I’ll be sure to share a photo of that if we get some measurable snow.

So the red one is staying with me, and that’s why I decided to sell the little black and white one.

And next year, remind me to grab those sleds when I see them at garage sales, OK?

a trio of holiday chairs.

If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you know that I love painting small kid sized wooden chairs.  I’ve done about a bazillion of them.

But it never occurred me to to paint any with a Christmas theme … that is, until now.

I picked up three of these chairs last summer at a garage sale.  Apparently I forgot to take a separate ‘before’ picture of them, but here they are with the rest of the haul from that day.

I did each chair in a different design.

The first chair started out getting a paint job using Dixie Belle’s Honky Tonk Red.  I sanded it to distress the edges and smooth out  the finish, then I added a stenciled design using Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

I think this one has a sort of Scandinavian look, don’t you?

The red in that first photo looks just a little bit brighter than it does in person, this next picture is a little more true to color.

The Honky Tonk Red is the perfect cherry red, just right for Christmas.  I’ve always loved pairing red and turquoise so I staged it next to a wooden crate painted in Fusion’s Laurentien.

The second chair received two coats of Honky Tonk Red on everything except for the seat.  The seat got two coats of Drop Cloth. I have to say, I’m very impressed with the coverage I got with both of these colors.  Reds and whites can both be really tricky and often require 3 or even 4 coats to get good coverage, but two coats were plenty with these.

Once the paint was dry, I sanded to distress the edges and then added Prima Marketing’s Gingham Red transfer to the seat.  For those of you who may be wondering, the transfer is the black and red lines, the white that you see is the Drop Cloth paint on the chair.  So if you want this look you do need to paint your item white first.

The Gingham Red transfer set comes with two different red plaid designs.

There are two sheets of each plaid in the package, and each sheet measures 8.5″ x 22.5″ for a total of 17″ x 22.5″ of each plaid.

And the second plaid is positively adorable on this chair.

I used the other version of the plaid on a sled that I’ll be sharing next week, so be sure to stay tuned for that.

Last, but definitely not least, I painted the third chair using Drop Cloth and then added another Christmas stencil.  By the way, I purchased both of the stencils I used at Maison de Stencils.

Seriously.  How adorable is that?  Had I done that one first I think I might have been tempted to do all three chairs the same.  I predict that this chair will get snapped up quickly at Reclaiming Beautiful.

It did take a bit more time to do the stenciling on this one.  I had to mask off the sections of the stencil for each different color using painter’s tape.  I used black, red and two shades of green craft paint for the stenciling.

I used Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta for the final finish on all three of the chairs.

At first glance you might wonder why I’d paint furniture with a seasonal theme like this, but these chairs are small and would work great as holiday decor.  Any one of them would be absolutely adorable sitting beneath your Christmas tree.

Or possibly placed in the foyer to welcome your Christmas guests.  Maybe with a small boxwood wreath hung from the chair back.

They’d be super cute hung from a nail or two up on the wall.  Even if you don’t have any small kiddos at your house I bet you could find a way to decorate with one of these chairs!

Normally I try to post my furniture items here on the blog to see if any of my local readers want to purchase them before I take them to Reclaiming Beautiful.  However, this time I had a bunch of holiday stuff ready to go and I took it all in on Wednesday evening.  Reclaiming is gearing up for a holiday open house that is coming up on Nov. 16 so I wanted to get the bulk of my holiday merch down there.  If you’re local, be sure to pop in this weekend and see the rest of the stuff I brought in!

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and Prima Marketing for providing the supplies used for these chairs.

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

If you’re looking for Prima Marketing products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.

So tell me, how would you use one of these adorable chairs?

by popular demand.

Welcome to the final post in my weekly Wednesday tour of our own home.  By popular demand, if you can count about five people as ‘popular demand’, today I’m sharing Mr. Q’s home office space despite the fact that it is not terribly picturesque.

I have to admit, while I was in there taking these photos I realized that there are a few more Q touches in the room than I thought.

One of my favorite things is the framed trio of old plat maps that are hanging on the wall.

I found the frames at a garage sale and they just happened to be exactly the right size for the maps.  The maps came from an old Washington Co plat book that Mr. Q’s dad had for some reason.  When he died, we inherited the book.

I framed the three that I thought would have the most meaning for Mr. Q.  Lake Elmo, since he worked in the park there at the time.  Marine on the St. Croix, since he was born and grew up there.  And Stillwater, where he now works and spends a lot of time at his favorite coffee shop, The Daily Grind.

Another of my favorite things in the room is the union jack desk.

This was one of my earlier painted pieces from long before I had a blog.  And this was the 2nd time I painted it.  I originally painted it in a pretty aqua blue.  At that time this piece was in our guest room.  I probably wouldn’t have chosen to stage it with a yoda mug and an orange disc golf can cozy, but hey, you guys wanted to see this stuff!  Or at least five of you did.

Comically enough, the union jack desk is only one of three desks in the room.  I guess you could say Mr. Q likes desks.  He also has a library table style desk opposite the union jack desk that is devoted to setting up his various games.

This desk was a hand me down from my friend Terri.  I think it would look amazing painted, but when I suggested that to Mr. Q I believe his response was something along the lines of “it’s fine like it is”.  In other words, Mr. Q really only cares about function and couldn’t care less about form.  Lucky he’s married to me, right?  Otherwise our house would still have all of its original wallpaper in country blues and mustard yellow.  And he’d also still be wearing the same jeans he had in 1989.

Here’s the game that he’s playing at the moment.

Yep, I have no idea what that is or how to play it.  But if you really want to know, leave a comment and I’m sure that Mr. Q will be happy to enlighten you.

The third desk in the room is a fabulous secretary desk that we purchased while picking up a mid-mod set of bedroom furniture.  The sellers were an older couple that were moving out of their home of 40 years and into senior housing.  We were there for the mid-mod set, but they mentioned that they were also selling this antique desk.  I jumped at it because I knew it would look amazing painted, and I love painting empire style pieces.  If I remember right it ended up taking us three trips to get all of the furniture back to our place.

But as you can see, this desk never made it to my workshop either.  Mr. Q commandeered it for his office to hold his massive computer screen.  The library chair is another piece that I purchased to paint, but never got there.

The real pièce de résistance in the room is the recliner.

I’m sorry.  There just isn’t any way to make this chair any prettier.  Although I have to admit it isn’t quite as bad as Frasier’s dad’s recliner (does anyone else remember that show?)

There is a back story to this chair too.  It originally belonged to my husband’s grandparents, Bud & Mickey.  Mickey died when she was 98, and Bud almost made it to 101.  Mr. Q was very close with both of them.  When they moved to some senior housing near his work in their early 90’s, he made it a habit to have lunch with them every day.  And he continued that right up until Bud died.

Bud and Mickey were quite honestly two of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  Mr. Q inherited many of Bud’s best qualities including his gift of the gab.

Anyway, when they started getting more frail they purchased this recliner.  It’s actually one of those lift chairs.  Press a button and the thing will lift you right out of it.  Although they paid a lot of money for the chair, neither one of them ever really liked it and they rarely sat in it.  But Mr. Q loved it.  He insists that it’s one of the most comfortable chairs he’s ever sat in.  He would always sit in it when he spent time with them.  So Bud & Mickey insisted that when they were gone they wanted Mr. Q to have the chair.

Well, I guess you just can’t say no to that, can you?

But you can insist that it go upstairs in Mr. Q’s office 😉

Well, this concludes the updated tour of our house.  I hope you enjoyed it.  I wasn’t sure I would make it all the way through.  It seemed like an awfully big task, but like so many things, if you just take one step at a time the next thing you know you’ve got ‘er done.

If you missed any of the posts, here are the links back to all of them.

the deck.

the photo cottage.

the front porch.

the living room.

the piano room.

the q branch.

the kitchen.

the pantry.

the world’s smallest bathroom.

the dining room.

the principle bedroom.

the guest room.

Be sure to check back on Friday, I have the most adorable trio of painted chairs to share with you guys!  See you then.

 

laden with a supply of toys.

This time of year always gets a little tricky for me.  Up here in the north we really see a swing in the hours of daylight throughout the year.  In the summer we enjoy those June days that last until almost 10 p.m.  But by the time daylight savings time ends (as it did yesterday) the sky is dark when I leave for work in the morning and dark when I get home in the evening.  Plus our weather grows cold and we have lots of overcast, gloomy days in November.

As a result, I just want to put on some comfy fleece pajama pants and curl up on the sofa most evenings.

But last week I made an effort to fight that urge and I got some painting done every night after work.  So now I have a few fun smaller painting projects to share with you guys over the next couple of weeks.

Starting with this sweet little piece.  You may remember that I purchased this little cupboard at the Tangletown garage sales this fall.

Step one was to replace the existing back.  I’m pretty sure it was not original to the piece, especially since it wasn’t actually quite big enough to cover the entire back (notice how you can see through the bottom shelf?).

Naturally my handyman Ken made quick work of cutting me a new back out of hardboard.

Then I painted the whole thing pink.  I thought it would be pretty in pink.  But in the end, the pink just wasn’t working for me.  So I decided to repaint it using Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth and then seal it using their flat clear coat.

I sanded the surface to make it smooth and to distress the edges somewhat.  Then I pulled out the Christmas Greetings transfer from Prima Marketing.

I didn’t use very much of it, just that section in the center that says ‘laden with a supply of toys, novelties and fancy goods’ which seemed perfect for this piece.

What kiddo wouldn’t want this adorable cupboard laden with a supply of toys?

I added some molds from the Prima Marketing Sorrento Laurels set to jazz it up a bit (to learn more about using the molds, check out this post).

I worked a little bit of Dixie Belle’s Grunge Wax into the molds to give them a little more definition.  Keep in mind that I had already sealed the paint using the Dixie Belle flat clear coat, so that meant I could more easily work the grey Grunge Wax into the crevices and wipe away most of the excess without staining my creamy white paint.

Before re-attaching the back, I lined it with some old October Afternoon scrapbook paper.

I staged my photos with this adorable tiny folding chair that my picker Sue found for me while I was off in Disney World a couple of weeks ago.

It’s pretty adorable ‘as is’, but I think I’ll eventually paint it before I sell it.  It will likely sell faster painted.

Speaking of selling, for those of you who are local, here’s a head up.  I’ll be taking this piece plus a bunch of other holiday merch to Reclaiming Beautiful on Wednesday.  So if you’re local and you want the best selection, be sure to head in to the shop this weekend.  They are open Thursday thru Sunday each week.

The supplies used for this project were graciously supplied by Prima Marketing and Dixie Belle Paint Co.

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

If you’re looking for Prima Marketing products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.

In the meantime, let me know what you think of this tiny cupboard laden with toys!