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.

planter chairs.

I know I’ve shared planter chairs before, but I whipped up a couple of them last weekend and I couldn’t resist sharing these with you as well.

If you aren’t familiar, a planter chair is basically a chair turned into a plant holder.  I particularly like them for holding big baskets of flowering annuals, as you’ll see in a minute.

But first, I start with chairs that have seen better days.

Typically they are chairs that have ruined cane seats and I can usually pick them up super cheap at garage sales.

Let’s face it, repairing cane is probably best left to the professionals.  Or at least to people with far more patience than I have.

It takes all of my patience just to remove the bad cane, I can’t imagine sticking with it long enough to also replace it with new cane.  So instead, I turn them into planter chairs.

Once I’d removed the cane from both of these chairs (using a utility knife and a pair of needle nose pliers), I painted one in Dixie Belle’s Bunker Hill Blue and one in Kudzu.

Once the paint was dry, I sanded the chairs to distress and then added a topcoat of Dixie Belle’s Gator Hide.

Gator Hide is their most durable topcoat option, so it’s a great choice for outdoor pieces.  I will point out that the Gator Hide has a bit more sheen than I normally like for furniture, which is why I tend to stick with either clear wax, hemp oil or the flat clear coat.  But in this case, I thought I’d go for durability.

Here’s a  q tip for you on finishes.  The more shine to your finish, the harder it is to achieve perfection.  Drips, brush marks, streaks and imperfect coverage will all show up more readily in a satin or semi-gloss finish.  Shhhh … don’t tell anyone, but this might be the real reason why I usually go for a flat finish.

For these planter chairs though, I wasn’t concerned about perfection.  The gorgeous flowers will draw attention, not any possible flaws in the finish.

These chairs would be perfect as is for peony cages, much like the non-painted chair in my own garden that I shared last week.

But they also make great plant holders.  Just buy a big hanging pot of your favorite flowering annuals and pop it in the hole where the seat once was.

If your pot is smaller than the hole, you can staple a strap in place to hold it.

I added a big pot of Wave petunias and one of my wordy plates, and ta da …

I add words to pretty plates using adhesive vinyl and my Cricut machine (for more details on this process, check out this post).

It works great on old enamelware pot lids too.

And if you don’t happen to have a Cricut machine, the Classic Vintage Labels transfers from re.design with prima work beautifully for this purpose as well …

This pair of planter chairs, and some more wordy plates and enamelware lids are going into the growing pile of stuff that I’ll be taking in to Reclaiming Beautiful this week.  I’m so glad they’ll be able to open back up again on Thursday!

With some warmer weather finally here, and lots of plants coming up in the garden, it’s finally starting to feel like summer is coming this year after all.

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the products used on my planter chairs.  If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

the seed store rocker.

First, under the heading of ‘whatever happened to …’, here are some updates in case any of you are even remotely interested.

  1. Princess officially canceled our European Capitals cruise this week.  Of course, I didn’t really think there was much chance of that still taking place, but it was a little disappointing to have it made official.  At this point I think we are all realizing that it’s going to take a lot longer than we thought before we can return to traveling the world.
  2. My progressive bi-focals came back in and work much better than the first version.  I still can’t really wear them for computer work, but I think they’ll be great for garage saling … if we ever get to do that again.  I’m also pleasantly surprised to find that they work quite well for working on painting projects, as well as for gardening.  Again, thanks to all of you who left comments suggesting I should take them back in for adjusting.
  3. After a couple more visits to the Endodontist, I think I might finally be recovering from my 2nd round of root canal problems.  Phew.  I’m glad to put that behind me (although I still have to get the crowns done, my regular dentist is not opening until June).

I know that compared to much of what’s going on in the world, these were all very minor things.  I feel a bit guilty even mentioning them here.  Everyone in the q is for quandie family is healthy including handyman Ken (who I do worry about with this COVID thing, since he is 80+), and I’m very grateful for that.  I hope all of you are staying safe and are also staying well.

Hopefully I can take your minds off world problems for just a few moments today by sharing a small project I worked on.

While I had the Dixie Belle Sea Glass paint out for the piece I shared on Monday, I decided to also use it on this little vintage rocker I purchased ages ago at a garage sale.

I’d been waiting for inspiration to strike before painting it.  I thought it might be fun to use another of the Vintage Seed transfers on it.

I started by painting and distressing the rocker.

Then I added a section of the Vintage Seed transfer to the seat.

But I felt like the chair back was crying out for a little something too, so I pulled out the Classic Vintage Labels transfer and found the perfect thing.

Once the transfers were applied, I waxed the entire thing with clear wax.

I feel like I could create an full back story on how this little rocker came from a seed store in Pella, Iowa.

Can’t you just picture it in the window of an old fashioned Main Street general store?  One that not only has basic goods, but also has a full section of gardening implements and seeds?

Maybe one like the old general store in Marine on the St. Croix that my husband’s ancestors owned in 1907.

I’m planning on taking this little chair in to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell once it re-opens.  In fact, I’m building up quite the pile of smalls waiting for the Stay at Home order to be lifted.  I feel a little bit like we’re going to totally miss the spring/garden season this year and I have all kinds of fun goodies waiting in the wings.  Fingers crossed that shops can open up again soon!

In the meantime, as always, thanks to Dixie Belle for providing the paint and to re.design with prima for providing the transfers for this project.

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 flower collector secretary.

Finally, I have a piece of furniture to share with you guys today!

I purchased this secretary desk/hutch last fall, as evidenced by the fall colors in the ‘before’ photo which I took right away when I brought it home …

I partially chose this piece because the price was right, but I also thought it would be a fun challenge to totally change it up.

I’ve been storing this one in the carriage house all winter, so it feels good to have it out of there now.  When I first started to work on it, I pulled out the little drawer inside the drop down desk section to find that the previous owners hadn’t emptied it out.

Once again, I was disappointed when I didn’t find a wad of cash or maybe a lost Van Gogh.  Instead I was gifted with Hannah Montana tattoos and some questionable film negatives.  But I did find it slightly magical that the owner of the handmade drivers license and I share the same birthday.  It feels meant to be.

Step one with this piece was to remove that header on the top.  I think this may end up being a controversial approach, but I feel like that colonial sort of look is pretty dated … and not in a good way.  I also removed the fretwork in front of the glass, the faux key hole escutcheons and the drawer pulls (also decidedly colonial in style).  Finally, I removed those very 80’s looking round ball wheels.  I’ll admit, they worked really well … but they looked totally out of place on this piece.

I painted the interior of the piece in Dixie Belle’s Sea Glass, and the exterior in their Drop Cloth.

This is such a pretty combination.

It was seriously putzy to paint the interior of the drop down desk portion using a brush.  But back when I started on this piece it was only in the 30’s outside, so I had to paint inside the house which meant I couldn’t spray it.  If only I had known that it was going to warm up to the 70’s within a week or so.  I may as well have waited just a bit longer to work on this one.

By the way, I’ve totally cheated on these photos by taking them before putting the glass back in those doors.  I always get so much glare from glass doors.  But I will be putting the glass back in before listing it for sale.

Once two coats of Sea Glass were dry, I added a small section from one of the newest re.design with prima transfers called Paris Valley to the little drawer.

The Paris Valley transfer is a collage style mix of various graphics …

Once again, this is one that you could use as is, but I’ll definitely be cutting it up to use various bits and pieces on lots of different projects.  I circled the little bit that I used on that drawer above.

Then I coated it all with Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.  I chose to use the clear coat rather than my usual wax for more durability on both the writing surface of the drop down desk and the shelves.

Next I pulled out another of the new Spring 2020 re.design with prima transfers.  This one is called Flower Collector, and I’m fairly sure it’s going to end up being one of my favorites.

It’s another gold transfer, and for this piece I chose to put it over the Drop Cloth for a more subtle look.  These gold transfers also look amazing over dark colors (like this piece).

I’ll point out that I switched up the layout of this transfer, using the bottom section of it on the drop down desk and the rest on the drawers.

That was a much better fit for my piece.  Always keep in mind that you don’t have to use a transfer ‘as is’ out of the package.

Once the transfer was applied, I added a coat of clear wax to the exterior (all of the Drop Cloth parts).

I was planning to put clear glass knobs on the drawers, but then I discovered these knobs in my stash.  I had just the right amount, and they were the perfect color.  I’m pretty sure I bought these at Hobby Lobby, but it was at least a year ago or more.

One last little detail to share, I did put the brass key hole escutcheon back on the upper door.  But first I used Dixie Belle’s patina paint in Copper with their blue spray to give it a verdigris sort of finish which worked beautifully with the Sea Glass color.

It feels so good to have this piece finished at last!

I absolutely love how it turned out.  I’m tempted to keep it for my front porch.  If it doesn’t sell right away, I might just have to do that.

So, now I’m curious.  How many of you wish I had left those original colonial elements in place?  And how many of you prefer my slightly modernized version?

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and to re.design with prima for providing the transfers for this project.

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.

And if you are local and in need of a flower collector’s secretary desk, check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page.  Although our ‘Stay at Home’ order has now been extended another two weeks, I am willing to set up a physically distanced appointment if anyone local is interested in this or any other pieces I have for sale.

a buffet of buffets.

Oh no, you guys.  Although I’ve been trying to minimize the time I spend watching COVID-19 related bad news these days, I made a huge tactical error the other night and started watching some YouTube videos about its impact on the cruise industry.

In case you hadn’t heard (and maybe many of you don’t actually care), on April 9 the CDC extended its ban on cruise ships sailing in U.S. waters to 100 days.  In addition, the cruise lines are going to have to make some fairly significant changes to the way they operate before they can resume business.  At least in U.S. waters.  I don’t know if the E.U. or other areas will follow suit.  Nonetheless, it seems like the chances of Mr. Q and I actually going on our European Capitals cruise in September are looking slimmer and slimmer.  If you’re an avid cruiser and want to learn more about this, check out this guy on YouTube.

One of the many expected changes for cruise ships is an elimination of buffet style food and drink on board.  So no more self-serve ice cream, no more taco bars, and no more midnight buffets.

So, as a sort of fond farewell to the buffet, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite buffets starting with one I actually called ‘the midnight buffet.’

I painted this one back in October 2016.  It’s painted in Fusion’s Midnight Blue.  It only required one coat of paint (thanks to the dark color over a dark existing stain), plus Fusion doesn’t require a topcoat.  So this was a definite plus when working on such a large piece.

I had so much fun staging the midnight buffet outdoors using some funky whisk brooms in cages and taking advantage of the falling leaves.

I painted another buffet in dark blue, this time using Dixie Belle Paint Co’s Bunker Hill Blue.

This blue is a little bit brighter than Fusion’s Midnight Blue, but I toned it down by adding a black glaze over it (if you want to see this color without a black glaze, check out this piece).

Another option for achieving a similar color using Dixie Belle paint is to make a 50/50 mix of their Bunker Hill Blue and In the Navy.

This time around I stripped and refinished the wood top with Fusion’s furniture wax in Espresso (a dark brown wax).

Just for fun I added a bright pop of color to the interior using Fusion’s Coral.

Not all of my buffets have been dark blue.  When I first starting painting with Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint I went through a definite Kitchen Scale phase starting with painting my own buffet (at the time, I have since sold it) in this color.

I loved it so much that I painted two more buffets in Kitchen Scale.

This next piece was so pretty, but it was quite large and since I painted it in the winter I wasn’t able to do my photos outside.

Plus this was back when I first started blogging and my photo skills were in need of practice.  So, I don’t feel like my pictures did this one justice.

But the chippy finish of milk paint was perfect on this piece.  Just check out those chippy legs!

If you’re wondering why those three pieces all seem to be a slightly different color, there are a few factors at play.  First of all, as per Miss Mustard Seeds blog, there can be as much as a 15% variation in the color from one bag of milk paint to the next.  In addition, milk paint tends to be a little less opaque than some paints so the color you are covering up can make a difference in your final color.  Finally, the white balance in my photos isn’t perfect in any of those photos.

Not all of my buffets have been left as buffets either.  I turned this one into a wine bar with the help of my handyman, Ken.

I had finished it just prior to one of my Carriage House sales, so I was in a hurry to get photos taken before the sale.  The hemp oil topcoat was freshly applied when I took these, and that’s not really a good look for photos.

Another fun piece was this buffet re-styled as a TV stand.

Ken cut holes in the back behind each of those center shelves so that one could run the electrical cords for a DVD player or other components out the back.

I’ve done a few more buffets in varying shades of grey.

A few years back I decided to try the General Finishes Milk Paint.  I think this product did more to confuse people about milk paint than any other product out there.  That’s because it’s not really milk paint.  Here is what they say about that on their website:  We named our product Milk Paint with the intention of putting a clear, bright, contemporary spin on an old fashioned furniture paint tradition. With that said, GF’s Milk Paint is not a true Milk Paint as it does not contain any milk powder.

Instead, General Finishes is a mineral based acrylic paint.  I found it very similar to Fusion paint.  Much like Fusion, it does not require a topcoat, although you can add one if you want to.  If you like using Fusion, you’ll like General Finishes Milk Paint and vice versa.

Anyway, this next buffet is painted in their Queenstown Gray.

On this next piece I used a fun technique.

  I started out by painting it with Fusion’s Ash.  Then I used the Imperial Damask stencil and the Galaxy Decor Wax from re.design with prima to add a subtle design.

This one has a fun pop of color on the inside too, this time using Dixie Belle’s Peony.

This last grey piece is really more of a dresser, but I think it would work beautifully as a buffet so I decided to include it in this post.

That one was painted in Homestead House milk paint in a color called Bedford.

Although I usually call them credenzas, I always enjoy doing the mid-mod version of a buffet using a bit more color.

There’s my absolute favorite green, Fusion’s Park Bench.

And this next one was a fun combination of turquoise and warm white.

I did some color blocking on this next mid-mod piece in grey, yellow and white.

And although this next piece is meant to be a dresser, I think it would work really well as a buffet too.

In fact, I staged it that way for the photos.

That pretty shade of green is a Sherwin Williams color called Aloe from their Vintage Moxie collection.

I hope you enjoyed this ‘buffet of buffets’ with me.  On the plus side, it was calorie-free!

Let me know what you favorite buffet was.  And if you’re also fond of cruises, are you also going to miss the buffet?

the humble washstand.

I felt like I needed a bit of a break last weekend.  Although I had a number of projects I could have worked on, I just wasn’t in the mood.

I think the trip that Mr. Q and I took to Target on Saturday morning threw me off.  There was just something so disconcerting about people making an obvious effort to stay 6′ away.  Of course I know why people are doing it, but I still somehow feel rejected when someone takes a big detour around me as though I am giving off a bad odor.  And then there were the people with bandannas over their faces.  Are they about to rob the place, or are they just out hoping to find toilet paper like I was?

The world has turned completely upside down, and I needed some time to process it.  So Mr. Q and I played some board games, went for a walk in the park and then binge watched Travel Man on Hulu.

But I didn’t want to leave you guys hanging today, so I decided to do a compilation post.

Thus, I bring you the humble washstand.

I’ve painted quite a few of these over the years.  They are perfect for a quick makeover because they are smaller than a dresser or desk and you can easily whip one up in a day.  They are also fairly versatile pieces.  You can use them as a bedside table, an end table, in the foyer … I’ve even seen them with sinks added to the top and used as a bathroom vanity.

Another possibility is to use them as a coffee bar.

Looking back, it seems that my favorite color to use on washstands is white.  I’ve painted several of them, including this next one,  with Dixie Belle Paint Co’s Drop Cloth, which is a warm white.

Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Linen is also a lovely warm white, and it worked beautifully on this washstand

Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Grain Sack is also a good choice if you want a cooler, grey undertone to your white (and if you aren’t a fan of milk paint, I recommend Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy as a substitute for this color) …

Grain Sack was the color I chose for the washstand that I inherited from my grandparents.  We use this as a nightstand on Mr. Q’s side of the bed.

If you want more of an almond color, Miss Mustard Seed’s Marzipan is a great choice.

I’ve done two in Marzipan, this next one being one of my favorites.

I didn’t even have to paint this next washstand, it was already white when I bought it.  But I did add the Out on the Farm transfer from re.design with prima.

Every once in a while, I break out some more vibrant colors.  This washstand is painted in Sweet Pickens In a Pickle and turned out perfectly chippy.

This next washstand is painted in a custom mix of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint, 1/3 Boxwood to 2/3 Kitchen Scale

In general, I’m more of a neutral lover though.  Dixie Belle Paint Co’s Putty was perfect on this one along with re.design with prima’s Fine Horseman transfer.

So, there you have an even dozen of my favorite washstand makeovers.

Which one is your favorite?  Or have you painted some washstands yourself?  What is your favorite color to use on them?

As always, thanks to my blog sponsors Dixie Belle Paint Co and re.design with prima for providing many of the products used on these washstands. 

the spring flowers bed.

I hope that all of you are surviving the pandemic.  We had my sister and niece over for a game night on Saturday.  We did our best to practice safe socializing.  First off, I thoroughly cleaned the house including using sanitizing wipes on all of the door knobs and handles.  Next, I used individual plates and small bowls for the game night snacks so that no one was sharing from one bowl.  My niece refrained from tasting my Jose’ Cuervo Cherry Limeade Margarita (although normally she would have).  No hugs were exchanged, and my sister and niece stayed on their side of table and we stayed on ours.

Naturally we played Pandemic.

We’ve been playing this game since before it was trendy.  If you aren’t familiar, it’s a co-operative game, which means that everyone works together for a common goal.  In this case, saving the world from diseases.  Either we all win or we all lose.  Each player takes on a role such as Quarantine Specialist, Medic or Researcher and has specific skills to use in trying to defeat four diseases before they multiply uncontrollably.

Sadly, we aren’t that good at the game.  We lost every single time on Saturday.  I hope that’s not a sign.

Earlier on Saturday, I worked on a bed that I brought home from a garage sale last summer.

It was a freebie.  I had considered having Ken make it into another bench but the foot board is too short for that to work.  So, it stays a bed.

I started by sanding it down, cleaning it with TSP substitute and then painting it with two coats of Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy.

Once dry, I sanded to distress and then waxed the foot board with clear wax.  I held off on waxing the headboard so that I could add a transfer.

Always remember, don’t try to apply a transfer over freshly applied wax.  You’ll end up with a sticky mess as the friction from rubbing the transfer heats up the wax.  You can wait until the wax cures (about 30 days), but that’s not terribly practical.  I prefer waiting to wax over the entire piece after the transfer is added.

Next I pulled out re.design with prima’s Cosmic Roses transfer.

The full transfer was a bit too tall for the headboard, so I decided to just use the floral bunches in the two opposite corners.  I’ll save the middle cluster of flowers for another project.

I simply trimmed around them before removing the backing paper.

I also changed the placement of some additional segments, like the Spring Flowers above.

Always keep in mind that you don’t have to use these transfers exactly as they come out of the tube.  You can get creative with trimming and re-arranging them to customize them for your piece.

Unfortunately this bed did not come with its side rails.  I have two pair of spare side rails in my carriage house (left over from beds that became benches), and sadly neither one of them fit the existing slots on the bed.

I’m going to try and sell it without the rails first, but if that doesn’t fly I’ll order a set of bolt-on rails from Amazon (like this one which is only $34).  I know some people will only purchase an item that is ready to go, while others are OK with having to add the rails themselves.  I’ll just have to see how that goes.

By the way, remember the bookshelf I shared last week?  Wouldn’t it be a great companion piece for this bed?  The Antebellum Blue on the bookcase works beautifully with the blues in the Cosmic Roses.  Plus, both pieces have a touch of gold.

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and to re.design with prima for providing the transfer for this project.

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.

And if you are local and in need of a twin sized bed, check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page.