a holiday play list.

Oh boy you guys.  I have been struggling to pull together some kind of blog post for today.  I so wish I had a beautiful piece of painted furniture to share.  Or even just a simple painting project of some kind.

And actually, I do have a couple of small completed projects that I could share if only I had good pictures of the finished pieces.  But these days I go to work before the sun comes up, and I return back home after it sets. I have to either take all of my photos on the weekend, or try to get home on my lunch break to take photos with natural light.  I’m playing catch up from my trip at the day job though, so that just hasn’t happened.

I was working on trying to pull together a post without good photos, but I just couldn’t do it.  I do have some standards after all 😉

In the meantime, I had gone back through my blog archives looking for something from last year and I was reminded that I did quite a few crafty projects last Christmas.  So I thought, hey, why not just recap all of them today and include links back so that you guys can revisit them as well.  Maybe you’ll get some ideas for things you want to play around with this weekend.  Let’s call it the blog version of a holiday play list.

Let’s start with the Cut & Carry Saws.

I’d picked up a bunch of old hand saws at an estate sale earlier in the year.  I transformed them into Christmas decor with some paint and a stencil.

I sold some of them at Reclaiming Beautiful, I gave one to my sister and I kept one for myself.  If only I could remember where I put it now!  I’ve been looking around for it, but so far it has not appeared.  I’m sure I’ll find it this weekend when I get serious about decorating for Christmas.

Updating a more traditional tree wall hanging was a quick and easy project last year.

The original red and green color scheme wasn’t really me.

So I painted the ‘branches’ white and added a Prima Marketing transfer.

Another black and white project involved revamping some vintage sleds.

I had simply stenciled over the original wood slats the year before, and that just didn’t have quite the right impact.

So this time I painted first and then stenciled.  I kept one, and sold one at Reclaiming Beautiful.

I also painted and stenciled some faux wooden skis.

It was another simple project that made a big impact.

Adding some Christmas spirit to a vintage wooden sock stretcher with some IOD Decor Stamps was a simple project too.

I was hoping to find more of these stock stretchers at garage sales last summer, but no such luck.

I might re-work this one this year.  I like it, but I have another idea for it too.  We’ll see if I get around to it.

And then there were the pretty in pink projects that I did using what was then a new color from Fusion called English Rose.

I painted cardboard gift boxes in English Rose and a paler Fusion pink called Little Piggy.

Then I used Fusion’s transfer gel to transfer some 12 Days of Christmas graphics onto the boxes.

Finally, I also painted a pair of ice skates in English Rose.

This was such a fun makeover, I think mainly because the skates started out so grungy …

but they ended up looking so gorgeous.

I hope you enjoyed revisiting some of these holiday projects and that maybe they’ve inspired you to create your own holiday play list this weekend.

I’ll definitely be working on a few things and hopefully I’ll have some new projects to share with you next week!

rainy days and mondays.

The very first port of call on our recent Adriatic cruise was Genoa, Italy.  If you know your geography, you’ll realize that Genoa isn’t on the Adriatic at all.  Instead it sits on the northwest coast of Italy south of Milan on the Ligurian Sea.

We arrived in Genoa on a rainy Monday morning and I’m not gonna lie, we still hadn’t quite recovered from the almost 20 hours of travel we endured the day before and the overcast, wet conditions didn’t help matters much.

Nonetheless, we were not going to let rainy days and Mondays get us down!

If you’ve been paying attention to my posts about this trip you may realize that initially we were planning to visit the aquarium in Genoa.  However, a few weeks before we left I’d been doing some web surfing and I discovered a company called Do Eat Better that was offering street food tours.  Although Mr. Q and I are hardly ‘foodies’, we thought a street food walking tour might be a great way to see Genoa with a local, so we booked it.  For just under $65 each, we got a 3.5 hour walking tour with five stops for food and/or drink included.

Can I just say, thank goodness we did this.  This tour probably saved our day in Genoa.  As Lonely Planet says, “Italy’s largest sea port is indefatigably contradictory, full at once of grandeur, squalor, sparkling light and deep shade” and that is a very apt description.  On a gloomy November day, the deep shade of Genoa’s narrow, dark alleyways is not terribly inviting.

I’m not sure we would have enjoyed wandering around Genoa on our own in search of that sparkling light.

But we didn’t have to.  Our lovely and personable guide, Marina, met us near the Neptune Galleon which was just a short walk from where our ship was docked.  There was just one other couple at our meeting point and they were also from our ship, although we hadn’t met them yet.

Here’s a little q-tip for you regarding cruising.  After you’ve booked a cruise, check out the roll call page for your specific cruise on cruisecritic.com.  You can post messages for other passengers that will be on your ship.  When I initially found this street food tour I saw that it required a minimum of 3 people to operate, so I posted the info about it on cruisecritic.com hoping that I would encourage other passengers on our ship to sign up.  Sure enough, Sharon and Bill saw my posting and booked the tour.

So the five of us headed into town and to the first stop on our tour, a local focaccia place.

We started with the simple olive oil and salt-based focaccia alla genovese which originated in Genoa.  It was warm and fresh out of the oven.  We tried the plain version rather than the focaccia with cheese and olives shown above.  Since my stomach was only just starting to wake up and get used to the time difference, this was the perfect thing for beginning our tour.

Our next stop was a local Sciamadda where we tried something called Socca or Farinata.

Farinata is made with chickpea flour, water, salt and olive oil.  Marina explained that it starts out as a fairly liquid batter that solidifies as it cooks and turns this lovely golden yellow.  The bottom gets nice and crusty.  It is served plain or with pesto or Stracchino cheese.  I have to admit, I wasn’t particularly a fan of this dish.  But it was interesting hearing how it was made and giving it a try.

Our next stop was back towards the waterfront where we tried the local seafood.

Keep in mind that this was specifically a ‘street food’ tour.  Most of the dishes we tried were things a local would buy from a small shop and then eat on the go.  This was fried calamari and shrimp that was served in a paper cone with some lemon wedges and it was delizioso.  Mr. Q loves seafood, so he really enjoyed this stop.

After the seafood, we headed uphill towards the Porta Soprana, or one of the gates into the city.

Sidebar to my local readers, I’m not sure what the TC logo on top of that building was for, but it sure did make me feel at home 😉

Nearby we found Locanda Tortuga which was our next stop where we tried focaccia col formaggio, or cheese stuffed focaccia.

Oh my gosh you guys, this stuff was so good.  You could have it plain, with some thinly shaved Parma ham on top, or my favorite, with pesto alla genovese.

Yum.  This was by far the most delicious pesto I’ve ever eaten.  As it turns out, Genoa is known for having the best pesto in the world and that is because there is a specific variety of basil that grows in that region and it gives the pesto alla genovese its superb flavor.  Apparently the basil we grow here in the U.S. is simply not the same at all.

I loved the pesto so much that I later purchased several jars of it to bring home.  I’m obviously going to have to hoard it and ration it out as long as possible!

We did sit down at this restaurant and enjoy a glass of wine with our focaccia col formaggio.  We also were able to watch the focaccia being made by this guy.

After leaving Locanda Tortuga we headed towards some of that grandeur that Lonely Planet was talking about.  Via Giuseppe Garibaldi is lined with palaces that were build by the Genoese aristocracy during the Renaissance.

This street is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Many of the palazzos are open to the public as museums, but unfortunately like many museums throughout the world, many are closed on Monday’s.

This is definitely something to keep in mind when planning a trip, especially if it’s a cruise and you’ll be in port for one day only.  Make sure that the things you want to see are open.  In addition to many museums being closed on Monday’s, in Europe most shops and other things are still closed on Sunday’s too.

Despite not touring any of the palazzos, we did get to admire some glimpses of their beauty like this one.

I couldn’t resist getting just a little bit closer …

Naturally the final stop on our food tour was for gelato and coffee.

If you’ve ever been to Italy you know that gelato beats ice cream hands down.  It’s creamier, more dense and has a richer flavor even though it’s actually made with less cream or more milk so has a lower fat content.  Regardless of the technical details, it’s yummy.  I had Pistachio and Almond.

By the time we finished our Street Food Tour we were stuffed!  The jet lag was rapidly catching up with us, and it was starting to get dark (it gets dark early in November), so we headed back to our ship on foot.  Marina gave us directions and we were easily able to find our way.

If you are planing a trip to Italy any time soon, I can’t recommend the Do Eat Better Experience enough.  In addition to the tours they offer in Genoa, they also offer tours in many other Italian cities.  At the conclusion of our tour, they sent me an email with an offer of a 10% discount for my friends.  Just use the code DEB4FRIENDS when booking.

This post was not sponsored in any way by Do Eat Better, I paid full price for the tour and all opinions shared here are my own.

Be sure to tune in next Wednesday when I’ll share our 2nd port of call, Monte Carlo!

of mice and men.

And bam!  Just like that we’re back home from our whirlwind vacation.  Trips like these always go by in the blink of an eye.  One minute you are trying to make sure you remembered to pack everything, and the next thing you know you are back home in your own bed and wondering how it went by so fast.  But I have a confession to make, I’m always happy to be back home again in my familiar surroundings.  I’m also anxious to get back to my painting!

Don’t worry (although conversely, do worry if you aren’t into travel posts), I plan to share all of the details of our Adriatic Cruise much like I did last year with our Norway/Scotland cruise.  I’ll post about a different port each week until I get through them all.  I think some might even take more than one post because there was so much to see!

If you are one of those people who would rather poke your eye out with a sharp stick than look at someone’s travel photos you may want to avoid my blog on Wednesday’s for the next several months.

But for the rest of you, I’ll be saving one of the most awesome things we did for last.

We hired a private guide to take us on a tour of the Luigi Bevilacqua artisanal weaving workshop in Venice where they still make Soprarizzo velvet by hand using 18th century looms.  It was incredible and I’m looking forward to sharing more details of that with you guys.

I’ll start the travel posts this week with the details of our Street Food Tour in Genoa, so be sure to check back on Wednesday for that.

But in the meantime, today is a special day because it’s my fifth blogiversary.    I started q is for quandie on November 26, 2013.  At the time I remember thinking that if my blog lasted five years, I’d be lucky.  It seems like so many bloggers come and go, and believe me I can totally understand why.  Blogging is a time consuming activity and if you are hoping to make a bunch of money doing it, you are likely to be disappointed.

However, as it has turned out, I really enjoy blogging.  I love almost every aspect; the writing, the photography, the interaction with my readers, the brainstorming to come up with creative ideas for posts and of course the furniture painting and other projects that I blog about.  In the end, even if I wasn’t blogging, I would still be refurbishing furniture.  So as long as I keep that up, it seems to go hand in hand with blogging.

The one incredible benefit that I never anticipated when starting my blog has been the opportunity to work with some great companies like Homestead House Paint Co (which also includes Fusion Mineral Paint and Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint), Dixie Belle Paint Company and Prima Marketing.

So in anticipation of my blogiversary I reached out to all three of these companies and asked them if they would be willing to help me celebrate five years of blogging by providing some of my favorite products that I could include in a ‘give away’ today.

They all very graciously said yes.

However, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men.  Something always manages to go awry.  I was hoping that all of the items would arrive in the mail while I was gone on my trip.  My neighbor Ken was in charge of keeping an eye out for delivery trucks and bringing in any packages so they wouldn’t sit on the porch.  I told him to expect at least three boxes, if not more.

Unfortunately the only box waiting for me when I got home Friday night was the one from Homestead House, so that left me with a conundrum.  Even though I was planning to have just one giant, fabulous prize for my blogiversary post today, I didn’t have everything yet.  So, should I delay my blogiversary post?  Or should I break it down and have multiple giveaways?  Maybe one per week up until Christmas?  The more I thought about it, the more that sounded like a great solution.

And this way I can pay homage to each line of products individually and focus on why they made it onto my list of favorites.

It makes sense to start with the first paint line that I really fell in love with, Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.  One of the first pieces I painted with MMS milk paint was an antique oak buffet that I had in my piano room.

I painted this with Kitchen Scale and then used Miss Mustard Seed’s Hemp Oil as a finish.

That was the start of a long line of pieces painted in this same combination.  I love the way the hemp oil brings out the vibrant color of the Kitchen Scale.  I also love that hemp oil is so simple to use.  I apply it with a cheap chip brush and then wipe away any excess.  Another incredible feature of the hemp oil is that it is totally safe for both you and the environment.  In fact, it is even food safe and can be used to rejuvenate your wooden cutting boards.

Another MMS color that I absolutely love is Linen.  It’s the perfect creamy white.  Not so white that it makes other whites look dingy by comparison.  It’s a white that plays well with others.

I’ve used this color on a countless number of pieces over the years as well.

Another favorite of mine is the Miss Mustard Seed’s lavender scented furniture wax.  It really makes the work of waxing a piece so much more enjoyable when you’re surrounded by the relaxing scent of lavender.  And the MMS wax is so creamy and smooth, making it easier to apply.  I also love the fact that it does not contain aromatic hydrocarbons making it safe for indoor use in the winter.

This was a limited edition product and I’m not sure how readily available it is anymore, but I was able to snag a jar of it for my giveaway (thank you Miss Mustard Seed)!

I’ll also be adding a couple of things to this giveaway that I picked up on my trip including a Nadalina (a prize winning Croatian chocolate maker according to this article) chocolate bar in dark chocolate with Adriatic Sea Salt.

That little wrapped item that looks like a bon bon is actually lavender soap, also from Croatia.

Plus I’m including an Italian decorating magazine called Shabby Style.  You know I love checking out the foreign decorating magazines whenever I’m traveling.  I picked this one up at a news stand in Ravenna, Italy.  In case you are wondering, no, I don’t understand a word of Italian, but I still enjoy looking at the photos.  And apparently some things are universal, such as an admiration for vintage glass tree toppers.

And a love for worn, chippy, painted finishes on furniture.  As they say, it adds un tocco romantico e nostalgico alla stanza.

You could easily achieve this look using Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint and I think the color is very similar to her Grain Sack which is a white with a grey undertone.

So to recap, today’s prize includes:  the Italian magazine, the Croatian soap and chocolate bar, Miss Mustard Seed’s Kitchen Scale and Linen paint, a 7 oz. lavender scented furniture wax and 250 mL of hemp oil.

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, November 30, 2018 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, December 2, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!

q is for quandie, unplugged.

Oh my goodness, I can hardly believe it’s finally here!  Mr. Q and I are off on an adventure.  Way back in June I posted about booking a cruise on the Adriatic Sea.  It felt like it was a long way off then, and I didn’t want to wish the summer away being too excited for our trip.  But as we all know, time flies … and here we are in November!

Our itinerary mainly features smaller ports that we haven’t been to like Valletta (Malta) and Kotor (Montenegro).  Plus a couple of favorites that we are happy to return to, Venice and Monte Carlo.

The day in Venice also just happens to be my birthday.  Who wouldn’t want to spend their birthday in Venice?  Even if it is just a tad flooded at the moment.

This is the off-season for travel in Europe, so that made the trip much more affordable.  Plus not as many crowds, and definitely cooler weather.  Hopefully those things will work in our favor, but if you’ve been following the news you’ll know that the weather has been a bit crazy lately in Italy.  So we’ve packed our umbrellas and are just hoping for the best.

Here are the ports we will visit.

Genoa, Italy where we have booked a street food tour and we also plan to visit the aquarium.

Monte Carlo, Monaco where we’ve booked a side trip to Eze, France.

Naples, Italy where we’ll visit Herculaneum.

Messina, Italy  where we’ve booked a Godfather themed tour.  We’re not really big Godfather fans, but the tour itself goes to some small hillside towns that look really charming.

In Malta we’ve hired a private guide for the entire day.  It looks like such a fascinating place and we really want to see it all.  We had such an amazing time with the private guide we hired in Scotland, so we’re going to splurge this time as well.

We’ll see the famous balconies of Valletta …

Hagar Qim, a megalithic temple complex dating to 3,600 – 3,200 B.C.  How in the world did they move those huge stones back then?  I hope we’ll learn more about that …

Marsaxlokk, a small fishing village known for its colorful boats …

And Mdina, a medieval fortified city.

Mr. Q is looking forward to Kotor, Montenegro where we plan to do some exploring on our own.

But we also plan to take a boat over to Our Lady of the Rocks …

Split, Croatia is another spot that will be easy to navigate on our own …

Ravenna, Italy is famous for its Byzantine mosaics so we plan to take a look at them.  Just look at those beautiful colors!

And finally, our cruise ends in Venice, Italy.  We’ve spent time in Venice before, so we’ve seen all of the major sites.  This time I want to do something special, plus since it’s my birthday I get to choose what we do!  So we’ve hired another private guide who will take us to some unique spots in Venice that are off the beaten path.  Hopefully we won’t have to wade through too much water to get to them.

We’ll be back home just in time for my 5th blogiversary!  I’m planning an amazing giveaway after we return to celebrate five years of blogging.  I’ll be giving away a bunch of my favorite products plus I hope to find a few goodies to include while on my trip.  So be sure to check back for that in two weeks.

In the meantime, I’m going to take a bit of a blogging break.  I tend to mostly ‘unplug’ when I’m on a cruise.  I definitely won’t splurge and pay for the expensive WiFi on the ship.  My sister Debbie will be in charge of everything while we’re gone.  She’ll be house sitting and watching over our cat Lucy, and maybe I can convince her to occasionally check for blog comments too.  But I doubt I can get her to paint any furniture or write any blog posts for me 😉

I do plan on posting the occasional quick picture or two to Instagram on the fly though (when I have cell service), so if you don’t already follow me on Instagram be sure to do it now!  Otherwise, I’ll be back in a couple of weeks, so be sure to check back then!

your choice of toppings, on the lighter side.

On Monday I shared my favorite technique for using a dark wax over bare wood.  Today I thought I’d focus on using other colors of wax over bare wood (or white washed wood).

Once again, all of my favorite wax brands make a version of white wax.

Starting at the top and moving clockwise that’s Miss Mustard Seed White Wax, Homestead House White Wax, the Real Milk Paint Co Soft White Wax, and Fusion Liming Wax.

That brings up the first question, are white wax and liming wax the same thing?

I don’t have a definitive answer from the experts, but I’m pretty sure they can be used interchangeably.  One may have a slightly different color, or maybe a little more or less pigment, but as you can see all of the white waxes that I have are slightly different in color anyway.

You can apply white wax to bare wood in just the same way as the dark waxes that I talked about on Monday.  If you need a refresher you can refer back to that post.  However, I often choose to apply a coat of clear wax before applying the white.    The purpose of that is to soften the look of the white wax and allow it to blend a little bit more.  But if you want that cerused or lime waxed look to be more pronounced and you really want to see those streaks of white that catch in the grain of your wood, go ahead and just use the white wax right over your bare wood.

The tabletop below has a coat of clear wax followed by a coat of white wax.

As does the top of this washstand.

These days I almost always apply my wax with a brush and then remove any excess wax with an old t-shirt.  The large Miss Mustard Seed wax brush is a favorite of mine (you can find it online at Carver Junk Co if you need one).  Mine is well used …

Another favorite light wax of mine is grey wax.  I used to make my own grey wax by mixing black and white wax together.

But now when I want grey wax I just use Dixie Belle’s Best Dang Wax in Grunge Grey.

I used this wax on a coffee table last winter.

It gives that sort of driftwood appearance.

Finally, there is always the option of just using a clear furniture wax over bare wood.  That’s what I did on this buffet top.

Just keep in mind that clear wax won’t alter the color of your wood like the tinted waxes will, it also won’t help blend any discolorations that your wood might have.

But if you love the natural color of the wood on your piece, try just using clear wax.

Before I let you go I want to mention that besides being an incredibly easy and relatively foolproof technique to use, I think wax provides the most natural looking finish for beautiful wood.

It isn’t the most impervious finish, nor is it the shiniest.  If you’re looking for a perfect looking finish, maybe wax isn’t for you.

But if you like to embrace the imperfections in old furniture and bring them back to life just a bit, definitely give this a try!

Also, if you’d like to learn more about lime waxing or white washing, check out this post …

your choice of toppings.

I can still remember that ‘eureka moment’ when I realized it was possible to strip the old finish from furniture and then just use wax to refinish it.  Prior to that I had no idea that it could be just that simple.

I thought that you had to stain wood and also then finish it with some sort of poly topcoat, but I was wrong.  You don’t have to do it that way.  You can choose to just strip off the old finish and then wax it.  If you use a colored wax, the wax itself will give a beautiful color to the wood, so there’s no need for stain.

This is pretty much the most fool-proof method for refinishing a wood top that I’ve found.  No need to worry about your stain not taking evenly, or your poly topcoat looking streaky.  Anyone can wax.

And it doesn’t matter if your piece is solid wood or a wood veneer, this technique works beautifully for both.

Solid oak:

Burled walnut veneer:

Step 1:  Strip off the old varnish using Citristrip (or your stripper of choice).  Clean the piece well and sand it smooth using 220 grit sandpaper.

Step 2:  Apply the wax using a brush or a lint free cloth.  Remove any excess wax using a clean cloth.

Step 3:  Wait 10 or 15 minutes and then buff to bring out some shine.  If you prefer a more matte or rustic look, you can do very little buffing or even skip it altogether.

Are you wondering which wax product to use?  Here are my favorite dark waxes …

As you can see, they are all very well loved.  They are also all non-stinky and safe for indoor use (to read more about wax safety, be sure to check out this post).

All of the various wax brands that I use have dark and/or brown versions and they are all just slightly different in color.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to show you some options so you can compare.

First up, Miss Mustard Seed Antiquing Wax.

MMS Antiquing Wax is the color of dark chocolate.  I’m not a fan of eating dark chocolate (give me milk chocolate or white chocolate every time), but I love this wax.  It’s very creamy, has almost no smell, and it works beautifully.

Fusion also sells wax under their brand name.  Keep in mind that Fusion and Miss Mustard Seed are both from Homestead House Paint Company, so their waxes come from the same wax manufacturer.  As does the Homestead House brand wax.  It’s all museum quality, safe for you and the environment, non-smelly and I think it’s the creamiest wax out there.  It’s a bit softer than some of the others which makes it much easier to apply.

I’ve included the Cece Caldwell Aging Cream in my line up today because that was one of the first dark waxes I used over stripped wood.  I don’t tend to use it anymore mainly because the local shop where I used to buy it went out of business.  It has a bit more of a reddish tone than the others, so if you’re looking for that color this wax is a great choice for you.  Here it is on a dresser top …

I’ve only recently started using the Dixie Belle Best Dang Wax.  Their Brown wax is perfect for finishing bare wood tops.

It is just a bit harder (more firm, less soft and creamy) than the others.  So it takes a little more elbow grease to apply.  However, I think I’m also less prone to wasting product because I don’t accidentally get too much on my brush.  I also think it buffs up to more of a shine than the others.  I have a feeling that there is a relationship between how soft/hard the wax is and how much shine you can get out of it, but that might just be my own perception.

  One caveat regarding wax, it should be reapplied periodically to maintain the finish.  The good news is that wax is super easy to refresh, simply clean the surface and then apply more wax.  If you get a water ring or a scratch or two, just spot sand lightly, clean and re-wax.  It couldn’t be easier.

Personally I would not choose to use wax on a surface that is going to get a lot of wear, be exposed to a lot of moisture or require regular scrubbing such as kitchen cabinets or a bathroom vanity.  For those surfaces I would opt for something more durable like a poly finish or Fusion paint (which is very durable and washable once cured, even without a top coat).  However, I think wax is quite durable enough for a dresser or desk top.  I even have a wax finish on my dining table that has held up very well (although we do use coasters for sweaty glasses).

So if you haven’t already tried refinishing some pretty wood with wax, give it a go next time.  I’ll add a link for this post to my ‘how to‘ page so you can always find it for future reference.

And in the meantime, be sure to check back on Wednesday to learn about more choices in toppings!

an unassuming old suitcase.

You all know of my love for vintage suitcases, right?

I put them into two categories.  First there are those that are charming ‘as is’ and should not be altered.

Like these …

And then there is the 2nd category, those unassuming old suitcases that just don’t quite have enough personality on their own, like this one …

It’s rather beat up and just not terribly attractive (in my opinion).

I have used milk paint, chalk paint and Fusion acrylic paint on suitcases in the past.  I find that Fusion doesn’t always adhere well to vinyl.  Milk paint works perfectly well, but you don’t get the chippy quality that makes milk paint shine, so I feel like it’s rather wasted here.  So these days my go-to paint for a suitcase like this is chalk style paint.

Before I started painting, I cleaned the suitcase with Krud Kutter Kitchen Degreaser.  I then rinsed it down with a damp cloth.  Then I gave it two coats of Dixie Belle’s Caviar.

Once that was dry I added a French Laundry stencil using a warm white craft paint.

Somehow it seemed appropriate to put a laundry advertisement on a suitcase.

I used parts of the stencil on top of the suitcase too.

You’ll notice that I painted every bit of this suitcase including the handle and the clasps.  I don’t always do that, but this time I’ll admit I was feeling a bit too lazy to cut around those things.  Plus, I rather like this look.

Once painted I went over the surface ever so lightly with some 220 grit sandpaper just to smooth it out a bit.  I followed that up with some of Fusion’s Clear Wax.

Boy, I wasn’t planning on keeping it, but it sure does look great paired up with Collette and Lula.

I never planned to keep Collette either (the one on the left), but after I finished giving her a makeover I couldn’t part with her.

So now I have two dress forms in my bedroom.

And even though the suitcase looks fabulous with them, I don’t really need another suitcase at my house!

In fact, I already brought it in to Reclaiming Beautiful to be sold.

Plus I still have a couple more suitcases in this style waiting in the wings to be painted, so if I change my mind I can always paint up another one to keep for myself.