fab finds.

Last week was an amazing week for garage sales.

It seemed to be the week for enamelware, I found it everywhere I went.

I’m not a huge fan of enamelware just for the sake of collecting it …

But I love these pieces as planters for flowering annuals.

I also love dressing them up with some Prima Marketing transfers like these from the Everyday Farmhouse set.

Or some of the old French Pots sets.

I also found an awesome vintage scale …

I purchased this rice sack pillow from a mother/daughter duo who were having a sale together.  The daughter came up with the idea, and her mom did the sewing.

I purchased two of these wood totes from a guy who made them himself too.  And how convenient that they already have a base coat of paint.

I plan to give them another layer or two of chippy milk paint color, and then add either a transfer or a stencil to dress them up.

I also found some great furniture at garage sales this week starting with this mid-century piece.

It was too big for my sister’s SUV so I had to send Mr. Q to Minneapolis with our van to pick it up, but it was such a bargain that it was worth the trip.  It’s going to look amazing in Park Bench green.

This little washstand came from another lunch time garage sale.

I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with this industrial stool …

Its feet are quite rusty, and you know I don’t mind a little rust, but I’m afraid these will leave marks on the floor.  So I’m going to see how well I can clean those up and then possibly seal them in some way.

I also purchased a 2nd washstand at the neighborhood sales last Saturday.  Somehow, despite my good intentions, I managed to forget to take a ‘before’ photo of it individually.

You can sort of see it there though.  It was already painted and really in rather good shape.  I’ve actually already re-fabbed it, but I can’t show it to you quite yet.  That’s because Prima Marketing has sent me an early shipment of their Summer 2019 release of new transfers and I used one of them on this washstand.  I’m not allowed to show it to you until next week and the suspense is killing me.  It turned out amazing.  You’re just going to have to be sure to check back next week to see how it turned out!

How about you?  Did you find any amazing garage sale or thrift store bargains over the weekend?

the fresh flowers table.

Happy Friday everybody!  I’m taking a little break from the day job today to get some furniture painted in the morning and then I’m heading over to my bff’s new apartment for a little pool time.  It’s supposed to be 86 and humid here today, it finally really feels like summer!

  I’m motivated to get painting again because after many months of minimal sales, this week I sold 4 pieces of furniture, both matchy-matchy pieces, the green dresser and the boho desk which had been sitting around for a while …

You know, sometimes I feel like certain pieces are destined to wait for the perfect owner and this desk was one of those pieces.  If you’ll remember, last July I painted it with a blue grain sack stripe down the middle.  It didn’t sell.  So then in January I re-finished it, this time using that gorgeous Prima Marketing Passion Flower transfer.

Still, I had no takers.

Until this past Tuesday that is, when a lovely gal drove all the way from Menomonie, Wisconsin to purchase it from me.  She absolutely loved it.  She considers herself a gypsy at heart, so obviously it was perfect for her.  Plus the desk will be situated in such a way that the corner with the transfer on it will be most visible.  Clearly this desk was just patiently waiting for her to come and claim it!  I love it when that happens!

Some of you were waiting to see how quickly the green dresser would sell, so I thought I’d update you on that too.  I posted it on Facebook Marketplace a week ago Wednesday.  A potential buyer contacted me right away that day and set up a time to see it on Friday, so I marked it ‘pending’.  She then rescheduled for Saturday afternoon.  Then, when she didn’t show up at the appointed time, I messaged her and she replied saying that she decided she really couldn’t afford it.  Argh!  I don’t love it when that happens!

At that point who knows how many other potential buyers I missed out on because they saw the ‘pending’ status and moved on.  But unfortunately this kind of thing is part of the package when selling your furniture using online marketplaces.  It can be frustrating, but you have to just roll with the punches.

Anyway, my point is that there was a 4 day delay in selling the dresser because I was ‘holding’ it for someone who didn’t bother to show up.  So you have to factor that in.  But the next buyer did show up at the appointed time and purchased the dresser on Tuesday.  So, it still sold in under 1 week even with the 4 days in ‘pending’ status.

I’m telling you guys, that Fusion Park Bench green on mid-century pieces is a magical combination for me.  If you’re keeping track, this is the 7th piece in that color that I’ve done.

Finally, as I’ve said before, the black pieces are also still amazing sellers for me.  Both of the matchy-matchy pieces have gone to good homes this week too!

In other news, last weekend my neighbor, nnK, said someone she knows follows my blog and was wondering if I’d like a free drop leaf table.   I hesitated at first because I thought it was going to be one of those Duncan Phyfe drop leaf dining room tables, like this …

I already have one of these in my carriage house that has been sitting there for years.  I don’t think there is a great market for them so I’ve never gotten around to painting it (maybe I should try painting it in Park Bench, lol).

But nnK explained that the table in question was closer in style to the farmhouse tables that I like to do, so then I was picturing something more like this (only imagine that the drop leaves are still in place) …

Still, I hesitated.  Mainly because I have painted four of these tables and so far I’ve only managed to sell one.  I’ve tried off and on to list them for sale, but they just don’t seem to go so I’ve ended up keeping the other three.  I use one as a desk in my Q Branch and I have one on my front porch.  The third is out in the photo cottage and I really should try listing that one for sale again.

But, the table was free, so I went for it.

When I went over to nnK’s to pick it up I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually quite a bit more narrow than the other drop leaf tables I’ve worked on.  With the leaves down it’s only 14″ deep.

So really, it would work quite well as a sofa table.  But I also thought that it would be the perfect table to put in front of a window to hold your house plants.  And based on the water damage on the top, I’m guessing that might be what it was used for in the past.

I debated removing the leaves like I normally do, but then I remembered one of the Prima Marketing transfers that I just happened to have on hand called Fresh Flowers.

I realized that this transfer would fit on the leaves perfectly.

I started by sanding the table top and cleaning it well.  Normally I strip the tops of pieces and leave them wood and paint the bases, but this time I switched it up and decided to paint the top and leave the base wood.

So I added a coat of Fusion’s Limestone to just the top.  As the paint dried, I could see that I had a ‘bleeder’ on my hands.  In other words, the existing stain on the table was bleeding though the paint.  In case you’ve never dealt with this, you should know that no amount of paint will ever ‘cover’ bleed-thru.  The stain will just continue to bleed through each layer of paint as you add it.

Instead you have to seal your piece with a stain blocking sealer of some kind before continuing to paint.  I normally like to use Dixie Belle’s BOSS for this, but I had some spray shellac on hand and I was working outdoors anyway, so I decided to just use that.  It also works well, but isn’t an option for me in the winter when I’m painting indoors.

So, I sprayed a quick two coats of shellac over the initial coat of Limestone.  Once that was dry, I added a 2nd coat of Limestone and it covered perfectly.  Next I sanded the edges of the table a bit to distress.

I applied the transfer to the drop leaf and it fit like a glove.

Initially I was planning to put the other half of the transfer on the opposite side, but then I realized that it would really be a bit of a waste.  Wherever this table eventually ends up, it’s highly unlikely that both sides of it would be visible.  One side will either be up against a wall, or up against the back of a sofa.  So why put a transfer on it if it will rarely be seen?   Instead I decided to save that other half for another project.

How adorable would this table be under a window, filled with plants?

By the way, I just used a little bit of Miss Mustard Seed’s hemp oil on the legs to freshen them up.   They were in great shape, have a nice dark stain on them and the wood is really quite pretty.

I specifically chose to use the Fusion paint on this table in case the future owner does use it to hold plants.  The Fusion is very durable and water resistant once cured even without an additional top coat.

That being said, I still think I would opt to protect it a bit by putting a pretty silver tray or some other plate under each plant.

This tray was another of my finds from last Saturday’s neighborhood garage sale.  It was only $2 and it looks so pretty under a clay pot.

Thank you to Fusion Mineral Paint for providing the paint for this project, Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint for providing the hemp oil and Prima Marketing for providing the transfer.

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

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

If you’re wondering where to buy Miss Mustard Seed’s products, check out her ‘find a retailer‘ or ‘where to buy online‘ pages.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of the perfect table to hold your plants, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page to see if this one is still available.

protecting my rusty pedestal.

If you’ll remember back, last year I painted an ugly old plaster pedestal using Dixie Belle’s Patina Paint.

You can find all of the details on that original makeover here.

I used the Iron paint and the Green spray to get a rusty looking finish on my pedestal.

I promised to keep you guys posted regarding how well this product stood up to outdoor exposure.  The pedestal was out in my garden all summer last year and come fall I was pleasantly surprised to note that it held up quite well even without any sort of protective top coat.

If anything, it had gotten even rustier looking (which is a good thing in my book).

Normally I would have been content to just leave it alone and put it back out in the garden this year (I stored it in my photo cottage for the winter), but I wanted to test out a relatively new Dixie Belle product called Patina Guard.

This is a top coat that was specially formulated to do several things.  First of all, it halts the patina-ing (OK, not a real word, but whatever) process.  As I mentioned, my pedestal continued to ‘rust’ over time.  If you don’t want that to happen with your piece, Patina Guard will prevent that.  Secondly, it prevents the patina from rubbing off onto things it comes into contact with.  For example, if you’ve used it on a bench and you want to be able to sit on it while wearing white pants.  Finally, it provides a more durable finish.

You simply apply 2 to 3 coats with a brush.  It couldn’t be easier to do, but FYI, this is not an ‘indoor friendly’ product.  It was quite stinky, so if you’re going to use it I recommend only doing so outside.

To be quite honest, I really rather wish I hadn’t used the Patina Guard on my pedestal.  Here is how it looks with the finish applied.

I preferred the more textured looking flat finish that the patina paint had before it was top coated with the Patina Guard.  The ‘after’ is just a little too shiny for my taste.  In my opinion, it looks a little less authentically rusty and more ‘painted’.

I think this is a personal preference thing.  Plus, for a garden ornament I’m not too worried about the rust rubbing off onto other things, so that part wasn’t necessary for me.  And, as I mentioned, this pedestal held up quite well outdoors last summer without a top coat, so I’m not sure I needed the extra durability.

Next time I think I’ll just skip the Patina Guard.  And there definitely will be a next time.  I absolutely love the Patina Paint products and hope to be making a few more rusty garden ornaments this summer!

In the meantime, I found a gorgeous potted fuchsia to put on the pedestal and I’ve tucked it behind my Sum & Substance hosta.

It still looks great, don’t you think?

Thank you to Dixie Belle for providing the products used in today’s blog post!


First things first, the winner from last Monday’s drawing was Paulette.  Congrats to Paulette, and thank you so much to everyone else for all of your wonderful comments!

For today’s post I’ve done something I don’t do very often, I’ve painted a matching set.  If you’ve followed me for a while you might know that I’m not a fan of matchy-matchy furniture.  I prefer a more ‘collected over time’ look.  But, in this case I decided to paint both of these two pieces in the same color, just in case some future buyer wants to keep them together.

These pieces were originally part of a 3 piece set that I purchased a while back.  I’ve already painted and sold the matching washstand.

The bed is the one that didn’t fit in our van and I had to go back for it with nnK’s dad’s truck.

It’s a little hard to judge the scale of this piece by that photo, but that headboard is 73″ tall!

The foot board needed a little work after I got it home.  It had been inexpertly repaired in the past and had some drippy glue spots and some oddly placed nails.  My handyman/neighbor Ken loves these projects, he treats them like puzzles.  He takes the entire piece apart and then puts it back together again with fresh glue.  He’s a firm believer that glue (when used properly) holds better than nails any day.

Once those repairs were complete, I sanded the piece lightly and then painted it with two coats of Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.  Dixie Belle has two shades of black, Caviar and Midnight Sky.  I’ve used quite a bit of the Caviar, and I do love it.  It’s a deeper black than the Midnight Sky.  I used the Midnight Sky on my piano and was drawn to its slightly more subtle shade, so I decided to go with that on this set. Although honestly, you can’t go wrong with either color.

Once the paint was dry, I sanded the bed to distress and then added a top coat of Dixie Belle’s Best Dang black wax using one of Prima Marketing’s new wax/stencil brushes.

Let me tell you, that was a workout, talk about functional fitness!  That headboard is huge!

By the way, this is a full size (or double) bed.  However, it could be easily modified to fit a queen bed using an adapter (like this one from Rockler).

This bed would be an amazing statement piece.  I’d definitely keep it if we didn’t live in a 1 1/2 story house.  In case you didn’t know, the ‘1/2’ means that we have slanted walls in our upstairs rooms, which is why we had to cut down the headboard we used in our bedroom (and that is a full size headboard paired with a queen size mattress in our room) …

OK, enough about the bed, well, OK, here’s one more photo …

Let’s move on to the dresser.

That is not a truly legit ‘before’ photo of the dresser.  It actually came with a huge framed mirror attached that matches the headboard.  However, I find that dressers sell better without their mirrors, and mirrors turned into chalkboards sell really well too.  So I’ll be turning that mirror frame into a chalkboard down the road.  In the meantime, Ken had to do a few repairs on the top of the dresser where it was missing a couple of chunks of wood at the back.  The damage was hidden by the mirror, so once I removed it we had to do something to fix it.  I suspect that the weight of that mirror had done the damage.  Ken also added a new trim piece at the back to make up for the missing mirror.

Unfortunately, those fixes meant I had to paint the top.  Otherwise I definitely would have stripped and waxed it and just painted the body of the dresser.

I followed the same process to paint and wax the dresser that I did on the bed.

Then I cleaned up the original hardware and put it back on.

By the way, in case you were wondering, I did not find too much at the Kenny/Armitage neighborhood garage sale last weekend.  Just a couple of gems, including a set of old bugles.

Wouldn’t these be great for Christmas decorating?  Either added to a wreath or tucked into your tree?  I’ll probably hang on to these until the Christmas season and then take them to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell.

But in the meantime, I used one of them to stage my photos of this dresser.

The warm aged brass of the bugle worked perfectly with the dresser’s hardware.

I almost forgot!  These pieces came with the most fabulous original metal casters.

Even the bed has them, but I totally forgot to put them on before staging my photos.  Here are the casters for the bed, they are huge …

So, there you have it, a matchy-matchy set.

Thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for sponsoring this post with free product, and thank you to Prima Marketing for sharing their new wax/stencil brush with me.

If you are local and ready for a change in your master bedroom (I’m just talking new furniture here people), be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details on these pieces.

still loving that pig.

Remember when Prima Marketing came out with some knob transfers last year?  I fell in love with this one …

I don’t know what it is that I love so much about that design.  I think it’s the contrast between that big ol’ pig and the French writing, or maybe it’s just the graphic punch of black and white.

I still haven’t found the perfect piece of furniture for these knobs, but in the meantime I have found another use for this transfer.

I mentioned that I purchased some handmade vintage toys at the Bryn Mawr garage sales.  I’ve already shared the stinkin’ adorable elephant

Well, the 2nd piece I’ve redone is this chunky truck.

Unfortunately, I neglected to take a ‘before’ photo, drat!  But the truck was previously painted in red and green with the black wheels.  And one of the sides on the trailer was broken.  So my handyman/neighbor Ken fixed the side, and then I painted them and the cab with Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, and the base of the trailer got a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.  Once dry, I sanded to distress everything and added a coat of Dixie Belle’s flat sealer.

Then I added one of those fabulous pig transfers to each side of the cab.

Then, since that looked so cute, I added a few more transfers …

The Farm Fresh one is part of another knob transfer, while the ‘No 12’ on the front of the cab is a Tim Holtz transfer.

I also added some Tim Holtz rub-on numbers to the side of the trailer.

I thought this truck would be perfect to use on a shelf in a nursery with some books in the trailer.

But of course it was really just meant to be played with!

Monique, one of the owners of Reclaiming Beautiful (the shop where I sell on consignment in Stillwater), snatched the truck up as soon as I brought it in.  I just bet it’s destined for her adorable grandson.  Hopefully he’ll have lots of fun with it.

I’m heading out to some neighborhood garage sales tomorrow with my sister, so hopefully I’ll have some fun finds to share with you next week.  I’m also putting the finishing touches on a gorgeous spoon carved bed that I’ll be sharing soon.

And don’t forget, you have until midnight tonight to leave a comment on Monday’s post to be eligible to win the giveaway.  So if you haven’t already done that, you can use this link to get to that post and leave your comment.


stranded in paradise.

 A while back my friend Meggan suggested that I start titling my travel blog posts ‘stranded in insert current travel location here‘.  Some of you may not get the joke if you don’t realize that our last name is Strand.  Get it?  Strand-ed?

Well, little did I know that a title of that sort would be especially apropos for our latest trip.

But let’s start at the beginning of the story, shall we?

Last week Mr. Q and I were practicing ‘safe social media’.  In other words, we went out of town but decided maybe it was smarter to not announce that to the entire world via things like my blog, Instagram and Facebook.  I hope you guys will allow me a little subterfuge in this regard.

Anyway, we went to Punta Cana!

We really needed a relaxing vacation that didn’t involve expending a lot of energy.  We’d debated just doing a stay-cation, but the reality is that I can’t just unwind at home.   I’m always looking at all of the stuff that needs to be done and then I feel guilty not tackling it.  I really have a hard time not picking up a paint brush when I have a few extra hours at home.

So we decided to book a week at the beach.  I’d been told that Punta Cana has some of the most beautiful beaches, so we found a reasonably priced resort and booked a week long getaway.

The most energetic thing we did all week was get up just after sunrise each morning for a walk on the beach.

It was perfectly gorgeous.

Next we went to the coffee shop at our resort, conveniently named “Mike’s Coffee Shop” (Mr. Q’s name is Mike, in case you didn’t know) where we had pastries and fabulous coffee.

We managed all of this before 8 a.m. and practically had the entire place to ourselves at that hour.  Our only daily companion for coffee was this guy …

He’d just stand there about 5′ away mostly motionless.  I’m sure he was hoping for some scraps to be thrown his way.

I joked with Mr. Q that we were doing ‘rope drop’ at our resort.  Any other Disney park fans out there?  If so, you know all about rope drop.  It’s getting to the park before it opens so that you’re there as soon as the rope drops to let people in.  It’s one of the best ways to get on a few rides before the lines get too long and the crowds become unmanageable.

Well, FYI, it works at resorts on the beach too.

After breakfast we’d head for the beach where my view mostly looked like this …

and occasionally like this …

LOL, that’s looking straight up at the palapa  that we sat under to protect our fair Minnesota skin from the blazing Dominican sunshine.  We went through 4 cans of spray on sunscreen!

We’d periodically get up and go for a swim to cool off, or head to the bar for another drink, but mostly we just enjoyed some serious R&R.

The resort we stayed at, Ocean Blue & Sand, was pretty.  The grounds were immaculately maintained.  Our room was spacious and clean.  But the main thing that stood out for me was the staff.  Everyone we dealt with was so friendly and welcoming.  Despite the fact that Mr. Q and I couldn’t really understand any of their Spanish beyond a few basic words and phrases, their smiling faces spoke volumes.

I have to be honest though, aside from those pastries at the coffee shop, the food was not great (it was all-inclusive) and for that reason we probably would not return to this particular resort.  By the end of the trip our motto was ‘stick with the chicken’ because it was the only thing that was any good.

We’d certainly return to Punta Cana itself though!

I have to admit, seven days of relaxing was more than enough for both of us.  By the last day we were ready to come home and get back into our normal routines.  I was especially looking forward to getting some furniture painted over the remainder of the holiday weekend.  But remember when I said ‘stranded in paradise’ was a good title for this blog post?

Well … yep, we got stranded.

Our return flight was supposed to leave at 5 pm on Saturday.  We got to the airport by about 3 pm and made our way to our gate.

By the way, the airport in Punta Cana is really lovely.

That was a lucky thing since we ended up spending a fair amount of time there.

First we heard that our flight was delayed until 6:30 pm.  Then we heard 8 pm.  And then, it was rescheduled to 9 am on Sunday!  I had visions of trying to sleep on uncomfortable airport benches.

But it was a Sun Country flight, and I have to say they did an amazing job of taking care of us.  They loaded everyone onto a bus and put us all up at an all-inclusive resort for the night free of charge.  The resort they just happened to choose?  Ocean Blue & Sand!  Ha, seriously, what are the chances?  This was not a package vacation, we had booked our resort and flights separately and no one else on the plane had stayed at Ocean Blue so it was purely a coincidence.  Off we went back to our resort for one more night!

Even though we were really looking forward to getting home, we can’t really complain about being stranded in paradise for one extra night.

In the morning Sun Country bused us all back to the airport and our flight actually took off a few minutes early.  I guess when all of your passengers are arriving together it’s easy to make sure everyone is on board and ready to go on time!

So we returned home yesterday afternoon.  I’m all rejuvenated and read to get to work on some more furniture projects.

Oh, but wait, I almost forgot.  All of that extra time in the airport gave me a chance to stick with my travel giveaway tradition.  For those who aren’t familiar, after each of my last several trips I’ve brought back some foreign decorating magazines to giveaway.  This time I only found one, and comically enough it is seriously outdated which I didn’t notice until after I bought it.  And of course, it’s in Spanish.

I’m going to throw in a few Prima Marketing products as well.  I just happen to have a few extras.

Today’s prize includes:  the Micasa magazine, a Ruby Rose transfer, a stencil brush (which also works great as a wax brush), 3 jars of chalk paste and 3 decor waxes.

The basic rules:  to be eligible to win today’s prize leave a comment of any kind on this blog post.  Your comment must be left on the blog, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

Normally I make a point of answering every comment left on my blog.  If someone takes the time to leave a comment, I like to acknowledge that.  I usually only get 10 to 20 comments so it’s easy to fulfill that promise.  But I suspect I’ll get a few more comments on this post so I’m going to warn you up front that I may not be able to answer each one, so I hope you guys will cut me some slack on that this week.

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Friday, May 31, 2019 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 $110, if the prize is not claimed by Sunday, June 2, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!


trading up.

Remember this dresser that I painted last fall?

It simply wasn’t selling.

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

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

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

So we traded.

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?