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.

 

the faux family heirloom.

My neighbor, nnK (that’s short for new neighbor Karen, because when she moved in we already had another Karen next door) offered me an antique dresser a while back.  Her style is very mid-mod.  She loves blonde, Heywood Wakefield furniture in particular.  If you know what Hey-Wake looks like, you’ll quickly realize that this dresser is basically the direct opposite of her style.

However, she had been hanging on to this piece for years even though it really didn’t suit her style.  Why?  Because she got it from her grandmother and she thought it was a family heirloom.  Right up until her mom recently told her that no, grandma actually purchased this dresser at a garage sale.  It had never been a treasured family heirloom at all.

Suddenly nnK had the freedom to get rid of it, so it came my way.

Initially I thought I would just paint it black rather than trying to fight with covering that dark stain with a lighter color.  But I kept hesitating.  Finally I realized that even though it was going to take an extra step or two, I really wanted to lighten this one up.

I felt there was a good chance that the dark stain was going to bleed through my paint, so I started out by giving this piece a coat of Dixie Belle’s BOSS.

This product comes in Clear and White, and will block bleed through.  I had Clear on hand so that’s what I used.

I’ve learned that BOSS works best if you let it dry for a full 24 hours before painting over it.  This is one product where the recommended dry time really can make a difference.

I got amazing coverage with Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy over the BOSS.  I barely even needed a 2nd coat.

Once the paint was dry, I sanded to distress and then pulled out the Fresh Flowers transfer from re.design with prima.

Because this dresser is somewhat petite and only has two drawers, I didn’t want to overwhelm it.  So I just used the wording portion of the transfer.

I really tend to gravitate towards a more simple look.  In this case, I kept the hardware simple too.  If you look back at the ‘before’ photo, you’ll see that only three of the pulls matched.  I decided to even that out a little by finding another matching pull for the odd one out.

I wish I had four of the originals because I do like them a little bit better than the replacements.

But ultimately I doubt anyone is going to really pay that much attention.

The final touch was to coat everything including the drawer pulls with a light coat of clear wax.  A little bit of wax does a nice job of freshening up old drawer pulls like these.

This little dresser would be perfect as a TV stand.  It’s fairly low, and the size would balance out your average flat screen TV.

Or, you could just use it as a plant stand of sorts …

  filled with plants, or buckets of fresh peonies!

Speaking of which, it’s peony season!  It’s a short one, so we have to enjoy every second while it lasts.  It helps that my neighbor Arlene’s peonies bloom just a tad earlier than some of mine, and she’s super generous with them so that extends the season a little.

The white one and the pale pink one at the top of the photo are mine, the deeper pink ones are from Arlene’s plants.  I also have a really deep magenta colored version, and another variety of white, but those aren’t quite open yet.

So, I’m curious, how many of you are hanging on to a piece of furniture that’s not your style simply because it’s a ‘family heirloom’?  If so, maybe you should check the provenance on that thing 😉

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.

the queen’s glory chalkboard.

Chalkboards, are they in or are they out?

I’ve heard others say that they are definitely out, but I still love them.  I have five of them decorating my house.  My favorite still being the one that hangs over my sofa.

I’ve made quite a few of them in the past because they are my favorite way to upcycle a mirror that isn’t being returned to its dresser.

Recently one of my readers, Suzy, came across a mirror that she thought I might like to have and she dropped it off for me.

Initially I was planning to keep it a mirror.  But as I started working on it I changed my mind.

To begin with, it had a bit of water damage at the bottom.  The damage was worse on the particle board backing, so that got ripped off and thrown away.  At that point the mirror came right out, which made the frame much easier to paint.  I simply sanded it down a little, cleaned it with a damp rag and added two coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

Next I added the bottom section of re.design with prima’s Parisian Letter transfer to the space at the top of the frame.

Once I had that in place I realized that it would really pop with a black chalkboard in the frame rather than the mirror.

So handyman Ken cut a piece of hardboard to fit and I painted it with some black chalkboard paint and voila!

You have some options when it comes to creating a chalkboard.  You can use milk paint to create a chalkboard

You can also just use chalk style paint, like Dixie Belle paint.

But I already had some of the Rustoleum black chalk board paint on hand so I just used that.

It made for a quick and easy afternoon project.

I’ve got a couple of more detailed projects underway that I hope to complete this weekend.  How about you?  What’s on your agenda this weekend?

back to back barn sales.

I’m sure most of you have been hearing about the civil unrest that started in Minneapolis last week and has now spread to many other cities as well.  I’m not going to comment on that situation here on my blog because I like to keep this space positive.  Usually I’m a ‘glass half full’, ‘look on the bright side’ kind of person.  But I truly can’t find anything positive to say about what is happening in the Twin Cities.  The entire situation is simply heartbreaking.

After watching things go from bad to worse over several days, my sister, niece and I decided to literally put the city in the rear view mirror and head out into the country on Saturday.  It was a gorgeous, although a bit cool, sunny day.  We grabbed sweatshirts and hopped into my convertible VW bug and headed east.  We then drove north along the St. Croix River to Mr. Q’s home town, Marine on the St. Croix, where we stopped off to score some snacks at the general store.  Restaurants are still not open here in Minnesota, so we have to improvise.

Next up was The Garden Gate at Crabtree’s, a cute little shop with lots of garden ornaments.  From there we headed back west to the Gammelgården Museum in Scandia.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know how much I love open air museums.  I’ve visited them in Stockholm, Oslo, Aarhus and of course there was The Beamish, in County Durham, England.

The Gammelgården in Scandia doesn’t really hold a candle to any of those, but it’s still fun to check it out.  Unfortunately, although we escaped from rioting and looting, we couldn’t escape from COVID.

The giant Dala horses all wore masks, and none of the historic buildings were open.  We were able to wander around the grounds and admire them from the outside though.

The Präst Hus was built in 1868 and I find the construction fascinating.  Just look closely at the corner of the building …

It’s dovetailed, like a giant piece of furniture!

After leaving the Gammelgården, we stopped at another historic site, the Hay Lake School.

Once again, the site was not open due to COVID, but we did peek in the windows.

This one room schoolhouse was built in 1896 and was in use until 1963!

As we started to make our way back home, we spotted a sign for a barn sale.  I can’t tell you how excited I was to see that!  A barn sale!  Of course we had to stop.

We followed the signs, made our way down a dirt driveway, and behold …

A legit barn sale!

I found a few goodies to purchase including a set of 4 old cupboard doors that I’ll turn into signs …

Some old buckets that I’ll dress up with transfers to be used as planters …

And this fab old shoe form.

And then, as if that wasn’t good enough, the proprietors of this sale told us there was a 2nd barn sale just up the road.  Back to back barn sales!  It was our lucky day.

This 2nd sale was actually more of an occasional sale, although it was technically in a barn.  They were selling pieces that have already been given a face lift, lots of painted furniture and other goodies.  As the guy at the first barn sale put it, he was the K-mart of barn sales and they were the Macy’s of barn sales.

None the less, I found a few things to buy including a glass jar and an old coffee pot that will both get dressed up with transfers.

Also, I had been looking for something to perch my Lunch Menu planter on and this $10 stool looked just about right.

I know it won’t hold up well outdoors forever, but for $10 it’s OK if it just lasts a season or two.

Our escape to the country on Saturday provided a much needed getaway for all of us.  We were able to forget about the world’s problems for a while and just enjoy some peaceful scenery on a beautiful sunny day.

Capping it off with back to back barn sales was the cherry on the sundae.

While normally Debbie and Kris would have stayed at our place afterwards for a bonfire, or a game night, they had to get home before the 8 pm curfew that was in place over the weekend.  That being said, we are all safe and healthy and I hope you are all the same!

sizing up your drawers.

Back in March when our governor issued a Stay at Home order, I decided to forgo making Craigslist or other online purchases for a while.  Of course, back at the beginning we all thought that was going to last just a few weeks.  Now, here we are in week 9 and although the official order has loosened up a bit, things are most definitely not back to ‘normal’.  Recently our State Fair (which takes place in late August) was canceled, and that has led me to realize that there very likely won’t be any neighborhood garage sales this summer.

Sure, there will be a handful of sales here and there, but I don’t think many local governing bodies will want to publicly endorse large gatherings by organizing a neighborhood sale.  And usually there are some pretty huge turnouts for those sales.

I would admit that I’m in mourning over the loss of my beloved neighborhood garage sales, but of course I know that in the scheme of things that are important in this world, this is pretty insignificant.

So instead, I’m continuing to dig deep looking for projects to share with you guys.  I suppose I should face facts at this point and admit that I may have a few more piles of stuff in my carriage house than I realized because I seem to keep hauling things out of there to ‘improve’.

This past weekend I pulled out two orphaned drawers …

For the life of me, I couldn’t remember which piece of furniture these came from so I did a little searching in my blog history only to discover that I purchased a pile of random drawers at a garage sale back in 2016.

Good grief, that means these have been sitting around out in the carriage house for almost 4 years!  Yikes!

I started out by asking my handyman, Ken, to cut them down to half their original size … depth-wise.

He basically removes the back, cuts down the sides and bottom, and then reassembles with the back.  For someone with the proper tools and skill (Ken, not me), this is fairly simple.  He had them finished and back to me in an afternoon.

Next I sanded them lightly, cleaned them up with a damp rag and then painted one in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy (top) and one in their French Linen (bottom).

For some reason the hardware would not come off easily.  I’m not sure if it had been glued in place somehow or what, but I decided that rather than fight with it, I’d just paint over it.

The Sawmill Gravy drawer was missing its keyhole escutcheon so I added an unpainted one from my stash at the end.

I had some fun dressing each of these up with some scraps of transfers leftover from previous projects.

The French Linen drawer has a section of the Cosmic Roses transfer that was left over from the bed I painted back in March.

I pulled out the Paris Valley and the Classic Vintage Labels transfers to use on the Sawmill Gravy drawer.  I simply cut out each element I wanted to use individually and then placed them on the drawer where I wanted them.

I just love playing around with transfers in this way, and I especially love being able to use up leftover scraps whether it be transfers or drawers.

Now, at this point you might be thinking to yourself ‘well, that’s all well and good, but what in the world are you going to do with a re-sized drawer?’

I have a few ideas.

First up, use it as a planter box for a row of faux topiaries, these are from IKEA.

Or how about using it to corral your collection of blue canning jars.

Fill it up with a bunch of ironstone …

or some old books …

Or maybe just fill it up with some of your favorite flowers.

Although I took that photo outside, I should clarify that this drawer would not really hold up well outside.  Mainly because it’s made of wood, the inside is not sealed at all and I used wax as the topcoat which isn’t suitable for outdoor items.

However, you could use it this way on a covered porch.  You would need to keep the plants in liner pots and take them out to water them though.

Do you have any ideas for using a re-sized drawer?  Be sure to let me know in a comment!

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.

a trio of milk cans.

A few weeks back my neighbor, nnK, spotted some old milk cans that were being given away, so she grabbed them for me.

I feel like milk cans often come dangerously close to looking like bad 80’s decorating.  Like if they are painted in a black and white cow hide pattern, or maybe with a goose or something on them.

But I think I was able to give these a bit of an update, and now they’d be perfect in the garden.

To start out, I scrubbed them up with some dishwashing soap and then left them to dry.  Once dry, I sprayed all three of them with some clear, matte finish spray sealer to seal any remaining flaking paint and rust.

Next, I started with the black can and simply stenciled it with a stencil from Maison de Stencils and some Dixie Belle paint in Sawmill Gravy.

I moved on to the smaller, really rusty can.  This time I used a white transfer from re.design with prima.  This is just a section from their Beautiful Home transfer.

I recently discovered that quite a few of their transfers are being ‘retired’ and this is one of them.  You may still be able to get it from a retailer who has it in stock, but once they are gone there will be no more.

The white really popped on that rusty can.

The final can had some great chippy remnants of green and blue paint.  To dress it up a just a little, I added a section from one of my all time favorite transfers, Everyday Farmhouse.

Sadly, this transfer is being retired as well.  Boo hoo.  I’m definitely going to miss it.  It added just the right touch to the final milk can.

For all three of the milk cans, I added another coat or two of the matte spray sealer after stenciling/adding a transfer.  I wanted to give them just a little extra durability for use outside.

So, what do you think of my upgrades?

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