in a sea of white.

Last Friday I posted about my struggles finding pieces to work on these days and based on the comments I received, many of you are feeling the same.  As I mentioned though, I was ultimately able to find this dresser on Facebook Marketplace …

This one was listed at $100, which seemed high to me based on the condition of the mirror frame.  But, it was close to home (and I always take those mirrors off anyway) plus I haven’t been finding much else, so I decided to bite the bullet and set up a time to take a look.

The seller had mentioned in her ad that this piece belonged to her grandmother and she was reluctant to part with it, but it had to go.  So many of us fall victim to ‘family heirloom syndrome‘.  We think we have to keep something, even though it’s not at all our style and we have nowhere to put it.  And I often find that sellers base the price of these items on the sentimental value it has for them rather than the actual condition and/or value of the piece.

After taking a look at the dresser and testing out all of the drawers, I realized that I really couldn’t justify paying $100 for it.  The drawers are a bit on the flimsy side and the bottoms of them had been replaced with old paneling.  The top of the dresser is warped (which you’ll see in a side shot soon) and the original wooden casters were totally worn down …

Those won’t be going back on.

I was fully prepared to just walk away from this purchase, so I said “I’m sorry but I just can’t pay $100 for this dresser.”  The seller then asked “Well, what would you pay?”  I knew that I wouldn’t be able to charge top dollar for it no matter how pretty it might look in the end, the quality just wasn’t there.  So I came in low at $60.  But the seller accepted that, so the dresser came home with me after all.

I really had been thinking I’d play it safe and paint it either white (and add a transfer) or black (and add a stencil).  But for some crazy reason, I ended up deciding that it needed a pop of color to brighten it up so I pulled out Dixie Belle’s Flamingo.

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I know, right?  It’s not for the faint of heart.

When I read the comment from Sherry on last Friday’s post, “I get so unnerved bringing a piece into the store and being the only teal or red piece in a sea of white furniture (with a loud “what were you thinking?!resounding in my head)!” I had to laugh because that was exactly how I was feeling about this color choice.

Seriously, what was I thinking?  This piece is definitely going to stand out in a sea of white.

Well, let’s review the nuts and bolts of this makeover.

Of course I removed the damaged mirror harp and tossed it.  I’ll save the mirror and refurbish it separately in some fashion or other.  I also had to remove those worn out wooden casters.  Then I also removed the wood knobs and added them to my stash (as you know, I like using the wooden knobs on signs).  I felt like this color required some pretty glass knobs, sort of like adding jewelry to a party outfit.

knobs

Those are the 1 1/2″ antique clear glass knobs from D. Lawless Hardware, in case any of you are wondering.

After prepping the piece with some light sanding and cleaning, I started painting with the Flamingo.  After coat number one I was wondering if I had lost my mind choosing this color.  After coat number two I was reminding myself that this particular color does not cover well at all, I knew that from using it before.  By coat number three I was seriously considering getting out the white paint and starting over.

I decided to sleep on it instead.  The next morning I got up and realized that it was just the sides of the dresser that really needed a 4th coat.  So I added that, and then started sanding the drawer fronts to distress the edges a bit.

I know there are many furniture painters out there that don’t distress their pieces, and probably just as many who don’t like the look of distressing, but I feel like it adds tons of character to an older piece of furniture.

Finally, I added a coat of clear wax and decided that maybe Flamingo wasn’t such a bad choice after all.

full coral dresser

I still had to deal with those drawers with paneling bottoms.  I was hoping I’d have some sort of decorative paper on hand to cover that up.  It feels as though fate much have stepped in because I went through my paper stash and found this …

It was perfect!  I’d forgotten I even had this paper, and luckily I had enough of it for all three drawers.

Not only did I happen to have just the right paper, I also happened to have enough old wooden casters to replace those worn out versions.

Here is that side view showing the warp to the top of the dresser.

side view

It’s not massively warped, but there is a bit of a gap in the middle where the top doesn’t meet the side.  It wasn’t bad enough that it warranted taking the whole top off and trying to flatten it out and reattach it though.

I’ve staged this piece as a buffet.

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But this sort of dresser can be so versatile.  You could use it in a nursery as a changing table, you could use it in your home office to hold your office supplies with a printer on top of it, you could use it in a bedroom to holding clothing … or, you could use it as a buffet in your dining room!

Now, about that color.  I know it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.  But I’m hoping that someone out there is searching for just that perfect pop of coral to brighten up their home.  In the end, it’s just paint after all.  I can always re-paint it down the road if it doesn’t sell.  That will just remain to be seen.

collage

It certainly has a totally new look, don’t you think?

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle for providing the paint used on this dresser.  If any of you locals need to add a pop of coral to your home be sure to check out my available for local sale page for more details.

 

a ReStored bed.

My sister and I popped back into the ReStore last week and this time I picked up this bed.

Sorry for the poor quality of that photo.  As you may be able to see, my driveway was pure ice that day and it was really cold out.  I took a quick snap and called it good.

Anyway, I’m not especially trying to find beds these days.  I was actually hoping to come home with a dresser or a buffet maybe.  But, I didn’t find any of those sort of pieces that day, so another bed it was.

Compared to the gorgeous details on the bed I shared last week, this one seems a bit plain in comparison doesn’t it?  I’m afraid that bed is going to be a hard act to follow.  Still, I liked the fluted legs on the foot board of this one as well as the curve to the top of both pieces.

Lately I have been binge watching YouTube videos by Crys’Dawna at Bella Renovare.  I became familiar with her work when I was a brand ambassador at re.design with prima.  I also see a lot of her work on the Dixie Belle sites.  Now, any of you who might also be familiar with her work are probably thinking to yourself that Crys’Dawna’s style and mine are drastically different, and that is absolutely true.  I’ve seen her use as many as five or six colors on one piece, and we’re talking the brightest colors available.  For example …

I’m pretty sure that you’ll never see me painting a piece quite like that (although I’ve learned to never say never).  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t admire her work.  Her blending of colors is flawless.  Even though I probably won’t ever copy her exact style, I can still learn from Crys’Dawna’s videos and possibly modify her techniques to suit my own style a bit more.  Or that’s what I was hoping anyway.

So I thought I’d give blending a try on this bed.  The first step was to gather my supplies.  I decided to go with shades of grey, so I pulled out Dixie Belle paint in Gravel Road, Hurricane Grey and French Linen.   I also needed a brush for each color, plus a brush for blending them, and finally a spray bottle.

You can get a spray bottle like this from Dixie Belle Paint Co.  It sprays in a continuous fine mist which works well for blending paint.

Now, let me stop here and say that this post is not going to turn into a tutorial on blending paint for two reasons.  First, you’d be much better off just watching some of Crys’Dawna’s videos to learn how to blend paint.  And second, as it turns out, I kind of suck at it.

Crys’Dawna makes it look so easy.

I spent half a day painting, spraying, and then blending, and then adding more paint, and spraying, and blending, and letting it dry, and then deciding it was awful and adding more paint, and spray, to try and blend it, and then letting it dry … you get the picture.  No matter how much I sprayed and painted and blended, I just never liked the end result.  It just looked like a splotchy paint job to me.  And for the life of me, I could not get rid of the obvious brush strokes.

So why am I sharing this failure with you?  I’m just keeping it real.  Sometimes things just don’t work out for me.  I definitely don’t have the patience to keep working at a finish like this.

After giving up on being able to achieve anything even closely resembling a smoothly blended look, I decided to go back to techniques that I’m good at.  I re-painted the bed in a solid coat of Gravel Road (the darkest gray) and then I pulled out the French Damask stencil from re.design with prima.

I placed the stencil horizontally, rather than vertically as shown above, and I used the Hurricane Gray to do the stenciling.  I just wanted a hint of the pattern, not something that was totally in your face.  Using a color that is just a bit lighter or a bit darker is perfect for creating that look.

I added a faint ‘1902’ to the bottom of the foot board as well.

I was going for a very faded, imperfect look with the stencil so I wasn’t too particular about thoroughly painting every little detail.

Once the paint was dry, I sanded over everything and then added a coat of clear wax.

So what is the moral of our story?  I’m not really sure.  Of course we should all try new things and push ourselves outside of our comfort zone periodically.  But at the same time, every technique out there isn’t for everyone.  In this case, Socrates was right, “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”

Sometimes you try something new and realize it’s just not for you.

How about you?  Have you tried this blending technique?

Well, if you’d like to give it a shot, I’ve decided to give away my gently used spray bottle because I’m pretty sure I’m never going to use it again.  To give you something to blend, I’m also throwing in a couple of shades of green that I think would be lovely blended together, Kudzu and Palmetto.

Who wants to give it a try?

The rules:  I’m going to make you work for it just a little today, so to be eligible to win today’s prize please leave a comment telling me about a failed experiment of your own and what you learned from the experience.

Your comment must be left on this blog post, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Sunday, January 31, 2021 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 $54, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, February 5, 2021 another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle for providing the paint I used on this bed as well as the items I am giving away.

In the meantime, this bed is for sale.  If you are local and in need of a twin bed, be sure to check out the details on my ‘available for local sale‘ page.

the st. paul hotel bed.

I recently saw the ad for this twin bed on Facebook Marketplace and I just knew I had to have it.  Just check out those curves …

My sister and I headed out on a gorgeously frosty day to pick it up.  The seller shared a bit about its history with us when we got there.  Apparently her grandmother purchased this bed when a hotel in St. Paul was selling off their old furniture.  Unfortunately, she didn’t know which hotel.  Later, the seller herself used it as her bed as a child.  Eventually it ended up in storage because no one had a use for it.  The seller was hoping that when her own kids grew up one of them would want to restore the bed, but no such luck.  None of them were interested.  So she decided there was no point in continuing to store it.  It should go to someone who would put it to use.

And that’s where I come in.  I’m not actually going to put it to use myself, but I am going to refurbish it so that someone else can put it to use.

I started out by giving it a light sanding, vacuuming away the dust and then giving it a good cleaning with some TSP substitute.  As I was wiping away the cleaner, the water was slightly tinted orange.  That’s always a clue that the stain is going to be one that bleeds through your paint.  So once again, out came the Dixie Belle BOSS.  Over the years I’ve learned that it’s just easier to be safe rather than sorry and go ahead and use BOSS when I even slightly suspect the stain will bleed.

So, everything got a coat of BOSS and I let that dry overnight.  The next day I added two coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  Once that was dry, I sanded the edges lightly to distress, once again vacuumed away any dust, and then went over it with a clean microfiber cloth.  I followed that up with a top coat of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat (and if you’re wondering, yes, I did add the clear coat before applying the transfer).

Have I mentioned yet how much I love that foot board?  The curve!  The scrolly legs!  The perfectly framed space for a transfer!

IOD’s Le Petit Rosier transfer was practically made for this bed.  It was just a tad long, so I cut about 4″ off the bottom that I’ll save for another day, but the width was perfect.

And the top section of the transfer looks gorgeous on the headboard.

I have to tell you guys, applying this particular transfer is not for the faint of heart.  Because each little letter is a separate piece you have to be sure that you’ve got each one rubbed on individually.  I really thought my arm was going to fall off after finishing that foot board.

But it was absolutely worth the effort.

The bed does have side rails and slats.  I really don’t have enough space in my house to get good photos of complete beds, but I gave it a shot so you could see the full effect of the bed put together.

This bed feels super sturdy to me once assembled.  I think having four feet on the foot board adds a lot of stability.

I think I’ve given this bed a totally fresh new look.

What do you think?

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint for providing the BOSS, paint and clear coat used on this bed.  If any of you locals need a fabulous twin bed, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

the ReStored armoire.

I promised you all a makeover of this armoire this week, and here it is!

I found this antique armoire at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and I fell in love with its potential.  It was in fairly rough shape.  The veneer was chipping off all over the place, one of the back legs was broken, the bottom was warped and coming apart, and the top was lifting off as well.

And here’s the inside.

It felt like this forlorn old armoire had been kicked to the curb.  It had been marked down at the Restore so I suspect that it had been there awhile because no one wanted to tackle a piece in such rough shape.  I just had to save it and give it a new life.

I started by getting Ken to come over for a consultation.  We came up with a two-step plan. First up was fixing the back leg and shoring up the bottom.  Ken added some new support pieces underneath the bottom.  He also repaired the back leg.  Meanwhile, I glued up a bunch of loose veneer and added some Dixie Belle Mud filler where needed.

The second part of our plan was to add shelves to the right side of the cupboard to make it more functional for storage.  I don’t think too many people really need an armoire with space for hanging clothes, shelves seem much more practical.

Now this piece is perfect for clothing.  You can keep your undies, socks, etc in the drawers and then stack your jeans, sweaters and t-shirts on the shelves.  I keep my clothing in a cupboard with shelves and I think it’s much easier to find things on the shelves rather than in a drawer.

As you can see, I painted the inside of the cupboard in Dixie Belle’s Apricot.  I thought it would be fun to have a pop of color on the inside.  At first I was a bit worried that this would make it too ‘girly’, but then I realized that the lines of this armoire were a bit girly anyway so why not go with it?

And if you’re going to go girly, you might as well go all the way and add a gorgeous floral transfer right?

This is just about 1/3 of the Wondrous Floral II transfer from re.design with prima.

By the way, I added two coats of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat to the interior of the armoire.  I wanted those shelves to have some extra durability.

Since my plan included painting the exterior in a shade of white, I decided to hedge my bets and add a coat of Dixie Belle’s BOSS to the outside first.  BOSS will block stains, and that original exterior stain looked to me like it could be a bleeder.  I did not use BOSS on the inside because it did not have the same dark reddish color as the exterior.

It only took two coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth to cover over the BOSS (and I used the clear version, not the white version).  It might be my imagination, but I always feel like the BOSS helps light colors cover better.

The Drop Cloth created a perfect neutral background for one of my old favorites, the Seeds transfer.

The front of this armoire definitely needed something to add a little interest.  Without the transfer it was just a large, flat, white space.  I finished the exterior with Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta.

If any of my newer followers are wondering about the dress form, I’ve shared it a few times here on the blog but here is the original post about how I decorated it.  I have to say, it remains one of my all time favorite projects.

I’ve suggested this armoire would be perfect for storing clothing, but really it would provide excellent storage in any number of settings.  It could hold spare bed linens, or you could use it in a large bathroom to hold extra towels and toiletries.  Of if you’re super fancy, you could use it to store your painting supplies in your workshop.

What would you store in this cupboard?

This is normally the part where I mention that this piece is for sale and that you can check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details, but this one is already spoken for.  One of my regular customers stopped by to pick up some other items and got a sneak peek at the armoire.  It will be perfect for her granddaughter’s room.  So yes indeed, I have given this formerly forlorn armoire a new life!

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the products used in this makeover!

a literal furniture flip.

Way back in March I shared this bed …

I’d gotten it at a neighborhood garage sale, and it did not come with its side rails.  But the former owners assured me it was a twin sized bed and that they used it with a twin mattress, they had just misplaced the side rails.

So after giving it a makeover with some Dixie Belle paint in Sawmill Gravy and the Cosmic Roses transfer from re.design with prima, I sold it as a ‘twin bed’.  One of my regular customers purchased it, and then purchased some metal side rails to use with it.  But after monkeying around with it to get a twin mattress to fit, she determined that this was not a twin sized bed but rather a 3/4 bed.

Lesson learned:  always measure myself.

If you aren’t familiar, 3/4 beds are somewhere in between the size of a twin bed and the size of a full (or double) bed.  It’s a little bit difficult to find a 3/4 mattress, although they can be found online.  I imagine it would be equally difficult to find bedding, especially if you want a fitted sheet that actually fits.  Jumping through those hoops might be worth it for a really spectacular antique bed, but certainly not for this one.

You can buy side rail extender thingies to turn a 3/4 bed into a full sized bed, and that probably would have worked out OK here.  You end up with a few inches of mattress sticking out past the headboard on either side.  I’ve done something similar with the bed in our own principle bedroom, I’ve converted an antique full bed to fit a queen mattress.

You could also modify some side rails to fit a twin bed, thus leaving a few inches of head board sticking out from either side of your mattress.

In this case however, my customer wanted a twin bed.  And she also wanted to place it in a corner so both the headboard and the side of the bed would be up against a wall.  That meant that having a couple of extra inches of width to the headboard would have left a gap between the mattress and the wall.  Not a good plan for a small child’s room.  Can you just imagine how many things would get stuck between the bed and the wall (including the child)?

So, long story short, I took the bed back.

Then I considered my options.  Re-market it as a 3/4 bed modified to fit a full?  Or turn it into a bench.

I’d chosen not to turn it into a bench initially because the footboard was far too low to work for creating sides to the bench like in all of the previous benches that my handyman/neighbor Ken has made.  Usually he cuts the foot board in half and creates arm rest type sides, like in this example …

But then I thought perhaps we (and by ‘we’, I mean Ken) could make an ‘armless’ bench using just the headboard.  That would have been OK.  But I really wanted to incorporate the foot board somehow.  Then a lightbulb went off in my head.  Why not flip the foot board the other way around, so that the flat part was at the top and the curved part at the bottom.  And then use it as the front of the bench.

My first job was to convince Ken that this was do-able.  He always doubts his ability, while I always believe he can work miracles.

So I sent the foot board home with him to see what he could come up with.  Sure enough, he was able to remove the center section from the legs, flip it around and re-attach it to the legs at just the right height for a seat.

Ta da!  See?  I knew Ken could do it.

After flipping the foot board, Ken added his usual planked seat.

  Don’t ask me how he does that, he just works his magic and I get to see the completed piece when he’s done.

I was able to retain the Cosmic Roses transfer on the headboard.  I just had to touch up the existing paint in a few spots and also paint the new portions of the bench.  I decided to paint the back of the headboard this time around too.  You never know when someone is going to want to place a bench in a spot where the back is visible.

I decided to play up the floral motif of the transfer when staging the photos for this bench.  Plus, Christmas is over, it’s time to start thinking spring, right?!

I added an old wooden berry tote with some pots and some lavender.  Then I painted up a cupboard door sign in a very similar shade of green.  The paint on the tote is original, but the sign is painted in Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.  I sanded it well to distress the finish, then added a coat of clear wax followed by a coat of antiquing wax.  It’s not exactly the same color, but it’s close.

So, the 3/4 bed is now a bench.  And it’s available for sale if any of you local readers are interested.

If you ever come across a 3/4 bed and you just don’t want to deal with trying to fit a mattress to it, you could consider turning it into a bench.  And if you have a piece that isn’t working ‘as is’, considering flipping it!

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

an experiment.

This summer I picked up another kid-sized chair at the Lowry Hill & East Isles sales.

There it is on the right hand side of this photo …

My original plan was to paint it and put a Christmas stencil on it like the ones I did last year.  But as it turned out, the seat was a bit smaller on this one and I didn’t like the way any of the Christmas stencils fit on it.

Then I ordered some new stencils from an Etsy vendor called Wallcutz, including this one …

honey bee stencil farm fresh honey stencil reusable stencil image 0

I purchased it for another project (which I’ll be sharing soon), but I realized that in addition to being quite adorable, it was also the perfect fit for the chair.

So this past weekend I pulled the chair out of the carriage house.

And one thing that struck me about it was that the finish was in pretty darn good shape.

Normally I would automatically paint a piece like this.  After all, painting furniture is what I do, right?  Also, my experience tells me that painted pieces almost always sell better than unpainted pieces.  At least historically.  That being said, I’m noticing that more and more people are returning to wood finishes instead of paint (which frankly is kind of a bummer for me).

So I thought I’d try a little experiment with this chair.  Rather than painting it, I decided to just add the stencil to the seat leaving the wood finish ‘as is’.  Well, sort of ‘as is’, I did sand the seat lightly to make sure the stencil paint would adhere well.

I used my method for adding a little bit of a shadow to the word ‘honey’.  Basically I stenciled just that word first using Dixie Belle’s Putty, then once dry, I moved the stencil just a hair up and to the right and then stenciled the entire design using DB’s Drop Cloth.

It’s such a simple thing, yet it adds so much depth to the stencil, don’t you think?

Once the paint was dry, I sanded lightly over the seat with 220 grit sand paper to smooth out the surface.  Then I added a coat of clear wax to the entire chair.

I staged my photos with a couple of tiny pieces of ironstone.

As someone who loves both miniature versions of things and ironstone, these are a couple of my favorite things.  Especially that little tureen, it’s only about 4″ tall.

So, now it remains to be seen.  Will this chair sell?  I’ll keep you posted on that.

Or maybe one of you local readers wants to snatch it up?  If so, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page.

In the meantime, what do you think?  Do you prefer items that are painted?  Or do you think this chair works ‘as is’?

goldilocks and the 3 grays.

I purchased this sofa table at the Goodwill nearly a year ago.

I struggled to get a good ‘before’ photo of it.  You can’t really tell, but the top is that sort of yellow-ish, shiny wood finish that was popular in the 90’s and the base is a dark forest green.

I’m not really sure why I grabbed this piece, except that the price was right and I figured it would be a quick makeover.

I knew I wanted to strip the top, and that’s a summer job for me.  I prefer to avoid stripping pieces in the house during the winter.  So I set this table aside for a few months.  Then last summer I stripped the top.  After I had it down to bare wood, I decided I liked the pale color but it was still a bit too golden.  So I white washed it using Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth (check out this post if you want to learn more about white washing).

After white washing, I added a top coat of clear wax.

I loved how the top turned out, so next I moved on to painting the base.

I thought it would work well to stick with the pale color scheme, so I painted the base in Dixie Belle’s French Linen.  Normally I like French Linen, but for some reason it didn’t work on this piece.  It just looked strangely washed out.  I thought maybe the piece needed more contrast between the top and the base , so I pulled out the Gravel Road next and re-painted the base.

But you know what?  I didn’t like that either.  It was too dark.

So I did what I tend to do in this situation.  I threw a drop cloth over it and used it to stack stuff on out in the carriage house for a few more months.

Flash forward to a week or so ago.  I had ordered some more Gravel Road from Dixie Belle, but somehow they sent me their Hurricane Gray by mistake.  At first I was slightly bummed by this mistake, but then I realized that the Hurricane Gray might actually be just perfect for the base of this table.

Here’s a comparison of the these three shades of gray.

That’s French Linen on the left, Hurricane Gray in the middle and Gravel Road on the right.  If the French Linen was too pale, and the Gravel Road was too dark, maybe the Hurricane Gray would be just right.

So I pulled the table out of ‘storage’ and repainted the base once again.

Perfect.

I staged it up with a few of my favorite things.

I think it works to balance the cool tones of the black & white photo and the Hurricane Gray  with the warm golden tones of the lamp, clock, books and old wooden crate .

A little bit of paint gave a fresh new look to a rather tired, dated looking piece, don’t you agree?

Hopefully the neutrality of this piece will help it sell quickly.

Speaking of which, if any of my local readers are in need of a sofa table, be sure to check out the details on my ‘available for local sale‘ page.

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the products used for this project.

always believe.

Last summer my sister-in-law texted from a garage sale to ask if I wanted this doll cradle.

I thought it was crying out for a paint job, so naturally I said yes.  Look at all of those flat surfaces, they would be perfect for some stenciling.

Not only did my s-i-l purchase it for me, she also delivered it which was pretty darn awesome of her considering they live way over on the other side (and then some) of the Twin Cities.  Thanks again for doing that Tracy!

I’m still not quite sure about the direction I chose to go with this one because I decided to paint it black, Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky to be precise.

Maybe I should have gone with a color that was more traditionally baby-dollish like pink or yellow.  Or even just kept it light with my favorite Drop Cloth.

But no, I went black.  Maybe it’s a metaphor for this holiday season.

No, no, of course it isn’t.  I just thought it would pack a graphic punch painted black and then stenciled.  And I added an uplifting message to ‘lighten’ it up a bit.

I painted the entire cradle in Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.  Once dry I sanded to distress the edges, and then I added a mish mash of my favorite holiday stencils from Maison de Stencils using Dixie Belle’s French Linen paint.

I finished all of that off with some clear wax.

I also upgraded the bedding itself.  The stuff it came with was looking a little tired.

So I added a ‘sheet’ made from an old curtain with some tatted trim and my friend Sue sewed up a sweet little chenille blanket to add a little coziness.

The pillow case is actually a vintage hankie holder.  Back in the day one would have kept all of their pretty handkerchiefs inside this little cloth envelope (here’s one on Etsy to give you an idea of what I’m talking about).  I just stuffed it with fill to make it a pillow.

I have to tell you guys, I’ve had this thing lying around for years.  It was one of those things that I picked up at a garage sale because it was so sweet, but then had absolutely no idea what to do with it.  I’m sure I tried to sell it at my occasional sales and never had a taker.

Isn’t it funny how it ended up being just the perfect thing for this cradle?

You just never know when you might find a new use for something.

Speaking of alternate uses, the obvious use for this cradle is as a doll bed, but there are a few other ways you could use it.  Take the bedding out and replace it with evergreens for a unique table display.  Or fill it with wrapped presents under the tree.

I’ll be heading in to Reclaiming Beautiful with this on Wednesday, but if any of my local readers want to snatch it up before then be sure to send me an email.  The details can be found on my ‘available for local sale’ page.

So I’m curious, what do you think of the black?  Or would you have gone with a more traditionally girly color?

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle for providing the paint used on today’s project.

a day of rest.

I don’t know how things are going where you are, but here in Minnesota our governor recently announced a ‘four-week dial back’ in response to sky-rocketing COVID cases.  As part of that plan, ‘in-person social gatherings with individuals outside your household’ are prohibited.

That meant it was time to re-evaluate the plans for my birthday yesterday.  We were initially planning to have a wild party with 50 of my closest friends.  OK, not really.  But we were thinking about having a few people over for Chinese takeout.  Instead, we canceled those plans and I decided to treat myself to a day of rest.

Do I know how to have a good time or what?

Actually, not only do I not know how to have a good time, I also don’t know how to have a day of rest.  The previous Sunday I had also planned to have a day of rest but instead I painted the inside of my Welsh cupboard.

Quite honestly, this is something that I have been putting off since I first painted this cupboard back in 2015.

I originally painted the outside in Miss Mustard Seed’s Linen, and the inside in Fusion’s Linen.  And I never really liked the Fusion Linen (and this color has been discontinued, so maybe I’m not alone in that).  I always felt like it had a sickly greenish cast to it.

So finally, five years later, I’ve gotten around to painting over it.  This time I went with Dixie Belle’s Gravel Road, a gorgeous, deep, charcoal grey.

I’ve used this color on the insides of a couple of cabinets lately and I loved the way it made my ironstone pieces pop when I used them to stage the photos of those cabinets.

So I emptied all of the ironstone out of my cupboard and gave just the inside two quick coats of Gravel Road (I left the outside as is), followed by a coat of flat clear sealer.  While waiting between coats for the paint to dry, I washed up my non-collection of ironstone.

At least I chose the appropriate dish towel for my day of rest 😉

I’m fairly sure that it took me longer to wash all of the ironstone than it did to do the painting.

I broke all kinds of rules by putting my ironstone back in the cupboard without giving the paint enough time to cure.  In this case, do as I say, not as I do.  You really should give your paint a week or so to cure before loading it down with lots of heavy china.  But hey, it’s just my own cupboard, I don’t care if it’s not perfect.  I probably won’t move any of these ironstone pieces for another five years (or more).

I re-styled the contents a bit as I put them back in.  I chose not to put everything back, this time I wanted to keep the look just a tad cleaner.

I recently pulled out my Cricut machine and added some holiday-ish words to plates to bring in to the shop.  I hadn’t planned on keeping any, but ‘joy’ and ‘peace’ looked so good in my newly painted cupboard that I had to keep them.

Since I was on a roll with the holiday decorating, I added some greenery to the top of the cupboard to snazz it up for Christmas.

I love the fresh new look of the cupboard, and I love the way that ironstone really pops now.

How about you, do you like the new look or did you prefer the old one?

second summer.

I’ve been wondering lately whether the term Indian summer is no longer politically correct.  I think you have to go back to the origins of the term and see if it was meant to be derogatory to determine that.  So I did some research and found a few good articles including this one on MPR.

It seems that no one knows for sure why early Americans called it Indian summer but the term has been around for well over 200 years.  I always thought that it was an exclusively American thing, but recently our Venetian tour guide, whom I follow on Instagram, posted a lovely photo of the Grand Canal and mentioned their Indian summer temperatures.  So apparently the term has caught on outside of the U.S. as well.

Since the jury is out on whether or not it’s offensive, I think I’ll start calling it ‘second summer’ instead.  Sort of like in The Lord of the Rings when they have second breakfast (two of Mr. Q’s favorites; the movie and the 2nd breakfast).

And boy did we ever have a second summer here this past weekend!  Beautiful, sunny days in the 70’s.  Since we’d had temps in the teens and measurable snow just a week or two ago, it was quite a change.

I took Friday off at the day job so I could enjoy the weather, and I tried to cram as many of my summer favorites into second summer as I could.  We had my niece and sister over for a BBQ, nnK and I helped Ken’s wife Arlene clean up her garden and then we ate lunch on the deck (albeit without furniture, since that was already put away for the winter), I hung my laundry out on the clothesline, I did some work in my own garden (mostly planting bulbs) and best of all, I was able to work in my unheated carriage house workshop for three days in a row.

I took advantage of the opportunity to do a makeover on the bench that Ken made out of a headboard way back in January.

Here is the bench before I painted it.

And here is how the bench looked up until this past weekend.

And it did not sell.  I tried reducing the price, but still it didn’t sell.  Ken was convinced that the problem was that I left the legs and that piece on top unpainted.  Maybe he was right, but I think the bigger problem was my color choice.  No one is really decorating with pale, smoky blue these days are they?  I also wasn’t entirely happy with my transfer choice.  It looks like the very top of it was cut off a bit.

Regardless of the reason, I decided it was time for a do-over on this one.

So I took advantage of the nice weather and moved the bench back out into my workshop where I attacked it with an orbital sander and 80-grit paper.  It took a fair amount of elbow grease, and several sheets of sandpaper, but I sanded off the transfer and then I re-painted the bench in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

And this time I painted the whole thing, legs and all.

Once it was fully painted, it really looked rather boring.  Up until that point I hadn’t decided whether or not to add a different transfer, but the plain-ness of the bench unadorned convinced me that it needed a little something more.

So I added part of re.design with prima’s Parisian Letter transfer to the back.

And I added another section of the transfer to the lower part of the bench.

That little bit of trim at the top of the bench definitely needed something too, so I went with the bee from the Classic Vintage Labels transfer.

One bonus to having to re-paint this piece is the layered effect I got when I distressed the edges.

You can see hints of the pale blue underneath the white.  Having a couple of layers of color always gives a bit more ‘age’ to a piece, and I like that.

So now the question is, will this piece have as amazing a ‘second summer’ as we had here in Minnesota this weekend?  Will it sell now that it’s painted in a more neutral color?  Or will it continue to linger unsold?

Which version is your favorite?

Thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the paint and wax, and to re.design with prima for providing the transfer used on this project.

If you’re local and you have just the spot for a bench, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details on this one.