a trio of holiday chairs.

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

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

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

I did each chair in a different design.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the second plaid is positively adorable on this chair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

laden with a supply of toys.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

notice of decommission.

Who says you have to go over the top with pumpkins and spooky skeletons for Halloween?

How about a more subtle approach?  Like creating the head office at the Olde Salem Sanitarium.

To create my vignette, I started with the farmhouse table from my front porch …

and then I added the firehouse captain’s chair that I purchased at the Tangletown garage sales.

But first I painted the chair using Dixie Belle’s Caviar and then added a stencil to the seat. Dixie Belle’s chalk style paint is my paint of choice when I’m going to stencil over it.  The matte finish creates a surface that sort of grips the paint and helps keep the stencil crisp.  Stenciling over a shinier painted surface seems to allow the stencil paint to slide around a bit more giving it a tendency to seep under the edges of the stencil.

To add a little Halloween spooky-ness, I added this notice of decommission sign to the wall.

This is an old cupboard door that I painted with Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky, then added the stencil using a pale grey craft paint.

Once I had the door stenciled I decided it need a little more oomph, so I pulled out my Prima Marketing re.design molds and modeling material.  I used the crown from the Royalty mold and a laurel swag sort of thingie from the Sorrento Laurels.

One of the cool things about these molds is that you can customize them somewhat while the modeling material is still soft.  In this case I used the full swag coming down the side of my sign, but I only used half of it across the top creating a corner design.

I also adjusted the swag a little making it skinnier and longer to fit the trim on my door.  I glued it all in place (using a basic wood glue) while the modeling material was still a little bit pliable.  Once it was all fully dry (I waited a full day), I painted the molds black.

Did you notice that amazing vintage desk lamp in my photos?

That is one of my picker Sue’s (who, FYI, is celebrating her birthday today!) finds.  I absolutely love it.  The patina is amazing.  The wiring is original, but it’s still in great shape.  I was surprised to find that the lamp has two settings, dim and bright.

I’m not sure what the ultimate fate of the lamp will be, but for now I’m determined to find a spot for it at my house.  Or I may even just hang onto it for staging future furniture photos, I’m not sure.  As for the chair, it is already sold.

I meant to take the notice of decommission sign into Reclaiming Beautiful to sell but I never quite got around to it, and now it’s a bit too late in the season.  How did that happen?  That trip to Florida just totally threw me off.  I’m going to have to dive right into the Christmas projects next!


the cabinet of curiosities.

In early September I set a goal for myself of completing all of the large pieces of furniture that were being stored out in my workshop before the snow flies.

Here in Minnesota that could be sometime soon.  If you’ll remember, last year we had snow on October 14 …

It didn’t stick around for long, but still … that meant it was already too cold to paint in my workshop by mid-October last year and it looks to be going that way again this year.  Last I heard snow is in the forecast for Friday.

I had one especially large piece at the top of my to-do list.  Some friends of ours gave me this piece for free.  I meant to get to it last fall, but I never did.  Then it spent all winter being stored in the carriage house.  Then I spent all summer just looking at it and thinking ‘I really need to get around to that one!

Somehow the summer just flew by and I never managed to get ‘er done.

Here’s what was holding me back:

no. 1 – It’s really large.  This piece is just under 7′ tall and 42″ wide and for some reason I always procrastinate on larger pieces and then later wonder what I was worried about.

no. 2 – This piece needed quite a few repairs, although my handyman/neighbor Ken cranked most of those out pretty quickly.  But the veneer was in pretty rough shape and needed a lot of gluing (by yours truly) which just isn’t one of my favorite things to do.

no. 3 – I couldn’t decide how to paint it.  I went round and round trying to decide on a look for this piece.  Do I go with a color?  Do I play it safe with a neutral?  Should the inside be a different color or the same color as the exterior?  Should I use a transfer or stencils?  I just wasn’t feeling inspired by any of the ideas I was coming up with.

Before we get to the painting part though, I have to share this clever ‘fix’ that Ken devised.

  One of the shelves was absolutely loaded with cup hooks.

I was thinking it would be a colossal pain to unscrew each one of them by hand.  I mentioned that to Ken and he came up with a really creative solution.  He modified a wooden clothes pin to fit into his drill …

Then he cut a slit in the end of the clothes pin to fit over the cup hooks.

Throw the drill into reverse and it’s easy peasy to remove all of those hooks.  Seriously you guys, how clever is that?  And now I have a lifetime supply of cup hooks.

The top of this piece was in especially bad shape.  One corner in particular was completely broken off.

Ken did a fantastic job of repairing this spot, but I did a crappy job of smoothing it out with filler.  At that point I was starting to feel like this piece was going to be pretty quirky no matter what and it might be wise to just embrace the quirky-ness instead of trying to fight it.

And thus, the Cabinet of Curiosities was born.

I painted the entire piece in Dixie Belle’s Caviar and finished it with their Big Mama’s Butta.

I used several different stencils on it.

Including this Antiques and Curiosities stencil that I used in an attempt to draw attention away from my wonky filler job.

And I also used some of Prima Marketing’s knob transfers.

The glass doors have their original wavy glass.

One of the really cool features is the fold out desk top.  There is a support on each side that you pull out for the top to rest on.

Then you just flip it open.

So, yes, technically this is a secretary desk not a cabinet per se.  But somehow ‘the secretary desk of curiosities’ didn’t have the same ring for the title of this post.

And with the desk top folded back in, this just looks like your typical glass fronted cabinet.

I always have fun staging photos of black cabinets.

Pretty much all of my non-collections work well with a black background.

When we added the faux board and batten paneling in this room I figured it was up high enough to allow me to crop out the dark grey wall color for most pieces of furniture, but not the 7 footers like this one!

As always, many thanks to Dixie Belle for providing the paint and the Big Mama’s Butta, and to Prima Marketing for providing the knob transfers for this project.

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 Dixie Belle products, you can shop with them directly online or find a retailer near you.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a cabinet to house your curiosities, please check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

safe and reliable.

I brought this washstand home from the Mac-Grove sales back in August.

The finish was in pretty rough shape and it was missing a drawer pull.  The hinges on the little door were held on with nails instead of screws.  Otherwise, it was in fairly decent condition.

I started by removing the towel bar/harp thingie.  I find that leaving those in place really limits the usefulness of these pieces.  It also makes them look a little too 80’s country.  I do re-use these harps by turning them into shelves.  I’ll share a post on that soon.

Next I simply sanded down the top.  Most of the finish was already worn off and the wood was somewhat stained and beat up.  I was planning a rustic look for this piece though, so I simply sanded it well and then applied some of Miss Mustard Seed’s Antiquing Wax to the top.

I decided to paint the rest of this one in Dixie Belle’s Putty.

If you’ve never tried this color I want to encourage you to give it a try.  Just look how gorgeous it is.

If you’re familiar with other brands of paint, this color reminds me a lot of Annie Sloan’s Coco or Fusion’s Algonquin.  It’s a deep, rich, taupe and it pairs beautifully with a dark wood tone.  This is the first time I’ve tried it, but you can bet you’ll be seeing it again in the future.  It’s definitely a ‘safe and reliable’ neutral.

I thought it would be fun to play up the rustic nature of this little washstand by using Prima Marketing’s Fine Horseman transfer.  Here’s what the complete transfer looks like …

As you can see, I only used parts of it.  I cut out sections and re-arranged them where I wanted them on my piece.

Always keep this possibility in mind with these collage style transfers.

I was initially planning to use some clear glass knobs on this piece, but they really didn’t have the right look.  So instead I pulled out my stash of wood knobs and found 5 matching ones.  I filled the holes for the original pulls using Dixie Belle’s Mud before I painted and then drilled new single holes for knobs.

I really had some fun staging this one for photos.

That mesh dome on top of the books is actually a vintage horse muzzle.  I didn’t realize that when I purchased it, but later saw one in Flea Market Style magazine and realized that was what I had.  I have to admit, I never thought I’d actually have a specific use for a vintage horse muzzle but it sure worked well for these photos.

You also just never know when your non-collection of whisk brooms is going to come in handy.

What?  You don’t have a huge stash of old whisk brooms?  Actually, there’s a story behind mine.  I saw a wreath made out of old whisk brooms in Country Living magazine many years ago so I started grabbing them when I saw them at garage sales (and my picker, Sue, found quite a few of them for me too) so that I could make one for myself.  As it turns out, it takes quite a few brooms to have enough for a wreath.  Naturally, by the time I had enough, I no longer wanted to make the wreath.

But they look kind of cool piled into this canvas wine bucket.

I knew I had an old family photo or two with horses in them, so I dug this one out for staging as well.

My mom swears that is my Aunt Lu, but it sure looks a lot more like my grandmother to me.  She should know though.  Those horses certainly do look safe and reliable, don’t they?

It really was just a pleasure working on this piece.

If you’re a horse lover and a local, be sure to check my ‘available for local sale’ page to see if it’s still available.

As always, many thanks to Dixie Belle for providing the paint, the Big Mama’s Butta and the Mud, and to Prima Marketing for providing the transfer for this project.

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 Dixie Belle products, you can shop with them directly online or find a retailer near you.

the church sale desk.

A while back one of my local readers, Jackie, contacted me and asked if I wanted a spoon carved secretary desk that she found at a local church sale.  The price made the desk too hard for her to pass up, I believe it was $20, so she snatched it up and then offered it to me.

You guys met Jackie back when I toured her scented gardens (part 1 and part 2).

As you can see by the ‘before’ photo, I brought this desk home before my gardens even filled out last spring.  I don’t know why it kept getting shoved to the bottom of the pile over the summer, but for some reason it did.  Now that September is here, and I’m done with my magic wand decorating project, I’m trying my best to get all of the larger pieces in my workshop painted before the snow falls.  Wish me luck on that.

There were a couple of issues with this desk.  For one thing, someone had added wooden knobs instead of the original pulls.  I’m sure I’m going to offend someone here, but one of my pet peeves is when people put knobs in the two holes that originally accommodated a drawer pull, thus giving the drawer two side by side knobs (top two drawers).  IMHO, that just looks wrong.

They had also added a knob to the pull down section of the desk where the original key hole was.  This desk would have originally been opened only with a key.

Let’s start with the inside of the desk though.  Somehow I managed to miss getting a ‘before’ photo of it.  But basically Ken had to add a new chain to hold the drop down leaf, and then I used the RustOleum chalk spray paint in Charcoal to paint it.

Obviously there was no way I was getting inside all of those little cubby holes with a brush, and unlike the last secretary desk I painted, this time the insert was not removable.  So I simply painted it in place.

Once the paint dried I added a small section from Prima Marketing’s Beautiful Home transfer on the fronts of the little drawers.  This is a white transfer that’s perfect for using over dark paint.  Once the transfer was applied, I sanded over it lightly with 220 grit paper and then used a clear wax to seal it.

I lined these drawers with some scrapbook paper that I have stockpiled.

I painted the outside of the desk in Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.

I chose to wet distress this piece instead of using sandpaper.  First of all, Dixie Belle paint is really easy to wet distress.  Second, I think this results in more of ‘worn off over time look’ than sanding does.  If you’ve never tried it, you should give it a go on your next project.  Simply use a damp cloth to rub away some of the paint around the edges.

I have so many things I want to mention about the outside of the desk that I don’t know where to start, so let’s just start with those drawer pulls.   I just happened to have four matching antique pulls on hand.  What are the odds?  Trust me, not that great.  I usually just have a mishmash of mismatched hardware.  But this time it totally worked out, they even fit in the existing holes, so no more double knobs.

You might have noticed that the middle drawer on the bottom and the door were originally missing the trim around the keyholes (take a look back at that ‘before’ photo to see what I mean).  I basically stole the trim from around the keyhole on the drop leaf to use on that middle drawer, thus giving all of the drawers that same round trim.  By ‘stole’ I mean I carefully pried it off the drop leaf and then glued it onto that drawer instead.

Then I made new keyhole escutcheons for both the drop leaf and the door using one of Prima Marketing’s new molds called Grandeur Keyholes.

I used Prima’s Modeling Material to make the molds.  If you want to learn more about using the molds and the modeling material, check out my previous post on that.

I learned another valuable lesson about the molds while working on this piece.  As I’ve already mentioned in previous posts, the molds will shrink as they dry.  Now I’ve also learned that if you glue a mold on and paint over it before the mold is dry it will reveal some unpainted wood as it shrinks.  See that outline of unpainted wood around the keyhole?  That’s what I’m talking about.

Not a huge deal, but from now on I’ll wait for the mold to be completely dry and hardened before painting.

Still, isn’t this a completely fabulous way to make up for missing keyhole escutcheons?!  I love it!  I chose to downplay my molded keyholes by painting them to match the piece, but you could apply some metallic wax to make them stand out more which would also look great.

You may have noticed that I now have a key in that drop down leaf too.  Don’t be fooled, this is not a functioning key for that lock.  Instead, Ken came up with a way of permanently affixing the key so that it can be used like a ‘knob’ to open the drop leaf.

I was going to attempt to describe how he managed it, but honestly it’s over my head.  Suffice to say that somehow he made it so that the key has a threaded end now and is screwed on from behind.  Then he made a little trap door to cover that up from the back (which ends up being the top of the drop leaf when it’s open).

I filled around it with Dixie Belle Mud.  Once dry, I sanded it smooth and painted over it.

Now you’d barely know it was there.

Once again I used Big Mama’s Butta as a finish over the Midnight Sky paint.

I really like the look of this product over the black paint.

You may remember that in my post about my piano room makeover I mentioned that one reason I kept my faux board and batten so tall was so that I could crop out the dark gray upper wall in my staged furniture photos.

As you can see, it worked like a charm for this piece.

I feel like I was able to restore some of this desk’s former glory, what do you think?

As always, many thanks to Dixie Belle for providing the paint and the Big Mama’s Butta, and to Prima Marketing for providing the transfer, the molds and the modeling material for this project.

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

If you’re wondering where to buy the Dixie Belle products, you can shop with them directly online or find a retailer near you.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a secretary desk, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

chair no. 18

I’m so excited to share my piano room makeover with you guys, but I’m holding out until Wednesday in order to stick to my regularly scheduled room tour series, and because I haven’t quite finished writing that post yet.

But I am going to share just a small portion of the project with you today, the chair that I have paired with my piano.

This chair is obviously not one that came with the piano.  I don’t remember precisely, but I’m sure I bought it at a garage sale.  I love it’s sort of vintage industrial vibe.  You may remember that back when I painted the piano I was on the fence about what to do with the chair.  Initially I was going to leave it unpainted, but I really didn’t like how the wood tone looked with the black piano.  I was reluctant to paint it in a matching black because I thought that would be too matchy-matchy.

Obviously having a seat that matches your piano isn’t really a bad thing, but I wanted to have something unexpected and more unique than your typical matching piano bench.

I’ve been keeping an eye out for an alternative seating option for this spot, but haven’t found one yet.  I was really thinking I’d end up painting this one white and calling it good.  It wasn’t until I had the entire room finished that I decided that black was the right choice after all.

This couldn’t have been a quicker, easier makeover.  I simply sanded the chair very quickly (not thoroughly at all) and then wiped it down with a damp rag.

I used my cheater method to paint the cane seat of the chair.  In other words, I spray painted the cane with matte black primer.  Then, while I was at it, I did the same with the slats on the back.

Once the primer was dry I went over those bits with my final paint.  It doesn’t matter if I didn’t quite get every spot because the black primer makes that fairly unnoticeable.  It’s so much easier to make sure I get into all of the nooks and crannies with spray paint first, especially on that cane.

Next I painted the rest of the wood parts of the chair with Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky, the same color I used on the piano.  I just did one coat.

Since I planned on distressing the chair anyway, I didn’t need perfect coverage.  Plus the black paint over the dark wood covered quite well.

Because I was keeping this chair, I wanted to add a little touch of whimsy with a stenciled number.

What can I say, I love a good number.

I added the same stenciled number to the back of the chair too since the chair is seen from both sides.

I used a new product from Dixie Belle to topcoat this chair.  It’s called Big Mama’s Butta and it’s available in two scents, Orange Grove and Suzanne’s Garden.  Plus you can get it in an unscented version.  It contains all natural hemp seed oil, coconut oil, beeswax, carnauba wax and essential oils.

I would describe this product as a wax meets hemp oil sort of combination.  It has a consistency similar to vaseline, although not quite as soft.  It goes on much more easily than wax, but also leaves more of a greasy feel behind.  Sort of like … well … butta!

Not to worry though, that greasiness goes away as it dries.  Just be sure to wipe away any excess product after applying it.

I’m using the Orange Grove version and I love the smell.  I have heard some say it’s too overpowering, but I don’t think so.  The scent does dissipate over time as well.

Even though I went matchy-matchy with the color, I do think this vintage office chair is a bit unexpected when paired with a piano.  So in the end, I’m quite happy with it and don’t feel like I need to keep searching for an alternative after all.

Thanks to Dixie Belle for providing me with the Midnight Sky paint and the Big Mama’s Butta that I used on this project.  If you’re wondering where to purchase Dixie Belle products you can find their website here.

Be sure to check back on Wednesday to see the full reveal of my piano room makeover!