a tale of two washstands.

It was the best of garage sales, it was the worst of garage sales …

Sorry, I couldn’t resist a little play on classic literature there, but actually it was just the best of garage sales because I found two fab washstands a week or so ago.

I purchased this one from a lunchtime garage sale first …

Looks pretty fab in that photo, but the finish was dried out and there were quite a few stains on both the top and the sides of the piece.

When I brought it home, I had just gotten a shipment of Prima Marketing’s newest transfers from their 2019 Summer line-up which debuts today!  There was one design included in my shipment that I thought would be perfect on a piece this size and style, Out on the Farm.

  I planned to put just the top half of the transfer (the photo of the barn) on the front of the washstand.  To prep for that, I stripped the top of the washstand and painted the body in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

But then, I hesitated.  The transfer wasn’t quite large enough to fill in the entire front of the washstand.  I wasn’t sure I would be happy with the results.  So I hemmed and hawed, and then delayed some more.

And then I found a second washstand!

Unfortunately, I neglected to get a good ‘before’ photo of this one alone, but you get the idea.  It was even already painted, and better yet, it was nearly the perfect size for the transfer.

What luck that I had hesitated on applying the transfer to the first one, it was going to work so much better on the second one!

Ta da!

Oh my gosh you guys, I totally felt like I was cheating with this project.  I didn’t even have to paint it!  I just went with the existing paint job and simply added the transfer to those lower doors.

It was a little bit tricky getting it applied because of the raised trim, but not too bad.  I did trim a bit of excess from the top of the design so that it would fit.

I also swapped out the brass knob that came with the washstand for a glass knob on the door.  I wanted the knob to disappear allowing that fabulous barn to get all of the attention.

As you can see, the design was not quite as wide as the doors on the washstand.  I sanded those edges quite heavily to help them blend a bit more.  If I was good with custom mixing paint colors, and if I was aiming for perfection, I could have painted the uncovered edges of each door to blend even better.  But no, I didn’t need to make it perfect.

I think it looks pretty sweet as is.

Oh, by the way, the ‘1871’ on the top drawer was a remnant left over from one of the Prima Marketing Seeds transfers that I used on a piece a while back.

I sort of neglected to get a good photo of that trim piece at the back of the washstand, which is pretty unique.  You can see it a little bit better here …

As for the other washstand, I went back to the smaller version of the Seeds transfer (it came in two sizes, and I say ‘came’ because they are no longer making this one, so if you love it you should order as many as you can online and then hoard them because that’s what I did).

And, funny enough, I swapped out the original wooden knob that came on the door with the brass knob from the other washstand (that I replaced with a glass knob).  It worked beautifully with the original brass drawer pulls.

If you remember, I mentioned that I had stripped the top of this one.  I have to confess I did a rather imperfect job of it and I had trouble eliminating some of the stains.  So I decided to try using white wax on it to help mask some of those imperfections.

It’s definitely still not perfect, but I still think it looks pretty.  This washstand had a fairly heavy grain to the wood which really catches that white wax.

I used a mishmash of products on this one.  The paint is Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, the top is waxed with Fusion’s white wax, the body is waxed with Fusion’s clear wax.

You guys are probably getting tired of seeing my clay pots, but I’m digging the ‘gardening’ theme these days (pardon the pun).  So you’re going to be seeing them again at the end of the week too!

I’ll probably be over it about mid-August.

In the meantime, what do you think of my two washstands?

Which one is your favorite?

Many thanks to Prima Marketing for choosing me to help them reveal their new transfers.  I’ll be sharing a couple more of them later this week too.

If you’re wondering where to buy them, check out Prima’s ‘where to buy‘ page.

And if you are local (in the Twin Cities), these washstand pieces make amazing bedside tables.  Check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page to see if either of these pieces are still available.

baring your legs.

Here in Minnesota, I always feel a bit self conscious the first time or two that I bare my legs in the spring.  Oh, who am I kidding, spring?  As if!  I don’t let those suckers see the light of day in public until at least June.  This year I had a bit of a head start because we took our trip to Punta Cana in May.  I was able to get a little color on them before I had to expose them to the world back home.

But this post isn’t about that kind of bare leg, it’s about the furniture kind.

I’m sure you’ve seen the bare leg look on other people’s pieces.  They paint everything but the legs, or the legs and the top.  Katie of Katie & Co. furniture is a master at this look (check out some of her work here).  She paints some really lovely pieces.

I have mixed feelings about the bare legs though.  Personally, I love the way they look, but I wonder if the average buyer will be saying ‘um, I think you forgot to paint the legs.’  But when I picked up this dresser at a lunch time garage sale a month or so ago, I thought it might be the perfect candidate for trying out the bare leg look to see how it goes.

The first thing I did was strip the top.  The wood veneer on the top was in really great condition, but the finish was shot.  Once stripped, I sanded the top smooth and then stained it with Varathane wood stain in Dark Walnut.  Once that dried, I added a top coat of Fusion’s Tough Coat.

Next I prepped the body of the dresser, and then painted it in Fusion’s Midnight Blue.  Once that was dry I added the top 2/3 of Prima Marketing’s Somewhere in France transfer.

I should note here that this color and transfer combo was inspired by a similar piece by Denise at Salvaged Inspirations (you can see her piece here).

The gold transfer over a dark blue paint color was so striking on her piece, I just had to try it on my dresser too.

Before I move on here, I have to add that I’ve also seen this transfer used over a burgundy color and over a creamy white, plus I’ve used it over black …

and it looks gorgeous over all of these colors!  This really is a versatile transfer.

The Fusion paint doesn’t require a top coat for durability, but I like to go over the transfer itself with a little bit of their clear furniture wax which I think helps blend the edges of it more.

Next came those bare legs.  I wasn’t really sure if I needed to strip them entirely, or if I could get away with just sanding them down a bit and then staining them.  So I decided to just give it a try and see how it went.  It seemed to work great.  I sanded them, cleaned them and then wiped on the Varathane stain with a rag.  Once dry, I added a coat of Tough Coat Sealer.

I think they turned out pretty good, don’t you?

Honestly, there isn’t a huge contrast between the dark stained legs and the dark painted body of the dresser.

So, it doesn’t totally jump out at you that the legs are bare.

Next time I might go for a more pronounced contrast between the body and legs.

I brightened up the original hardware by adding some of Prima Marketing’s Vintage Gold Metallique wax.

The gold drawer pulls work beautifully with the gold transfer.

By the way, I don’t know if you noticed, but in the ‘before’ photo the drawer with the little raised detail on the front was at the bottom of the dresser.  That just looked wrong, so I moved it back up to just under the side by side top drawers which looks a lot more appropriate.

So there it is.  A gorgeous French themed dresser in Midnight Blue.

What do you think of bare legs?  Do you allow your’s to see the light of day before June?  Have you left any legs bare on your furniture, and if so, did anyone point out that you forgot to paint the legs?  Curious minds want to know!

Thank you to Prima Marketing for providing the Metallique wax and transfer and to Fusion for providing the paint and Tough Coat sealer.

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Somewhere in France transfer, check out Prima’s ‘where to buy’ page.

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

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a French themed dresser, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page to see if this one is still available.

the fresh flowers table.

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

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

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

Still, I had no takers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s move on to the dresser.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

trading up.

Remember this dresser that I painted last fall?

It simply wasn’t selling.

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

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

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

So we traded.

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

finding balance.

So, here’s the deal.  As I’ve mentioned many times, my blog is not monetized.  I prefer not having any ads to bog you guys down.  To fund the blog (ie. my hobby), I sell my furniture.  My main goal is to not lose money, and my secondary goal is to have enough left over to fund our travel habit too.

But that means, I have to actually be able to sell my furniture.

That can sometimes be the tricky part.

I frequently find myself torn between painting something in a unique, artistic way, perhaps using a new technique or product that I can share here on the blog, or painting something in a way that I know will sell.

The first option is always more fun.  Who doesn’t love getting creative and trying new things, especially pretty paint colors?

Or trying a new technique with a transfer?

I also think sharing a new color or technique here makes my blog more interesting and gives you guys a reason to keep following me.

The problem is that these pieces tend to take much longer to sell for me.  I’m in the mid-west.  In general people here tend to be a bit on the conservative side when it comes to decorating.  They don’t embrace loud florals, bright colors or lots of frou frou details.

Note that I specified ‘in general’.  I’m not saying that nobody here likes those things, just that the market for those things is smaller and thus they take longer to sell.  Maybe that’s true everywhere, I don’t know.  If you’re in another part of the country, or even the world, you tell me.  What sells in your market?

I have to admit, I was relieved when my latest milk painted washstand sold right away because no matter how much I loved it, I was worried the color was going to make it a tough sell.

Of course there are always exceptions to every rule.  The mid-mod pieces I’ve painted in Fusion’s Park Bench have all sold like hotcakes too.

However, typically it’s the pieces in neutral colors that sell quickly for me.  In other words, white …

Or black.

Both of which tend to sell almost instantly.

I also have pretty good luck with dark grey …

And navy …

So I’m always trying to finding some balance between getting a little more daring with my color choices or new techniques and falling back on tried and true styles and colors.

I had a real dry spell over the past six months when it comes to selling furniture.  Things are starting to pick up, but are still somewhat slow.  As a result, I’m feeling the need to go back to my time tested neutrals.  Hence the Laundry Co dresser painted in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth from a week or two ago.

Later this week I’ll be sharing another piece painted in the Park Bench green, and then the following week I’ve got some more Dixie Belle Midnight Sky black pieces.  I hope I won’t be boring you guys with repeats and neutrals, but I’m feeling the need to stick with what sells for a bit.  Here’s hoping you’ll stay tuned!

wash, dry and fold.

Recently my bff, Vonda, and her husband downsized.  They moved out of their huge four bedroom home into a two-bedroom place.  As a result, they had to downsize their belongings as well.  I’d always admired this vintage dresser, so when Vonda offered it to me I jumped on it.

I have to say, that is a terrible ‘before’ photo.  I don’t always follow my own outside photo taking rules when doing a ‘before’ photo, and this one is particularly bad.  You can barely tell that the dresser was green.  Well, mostly green with some drips of white here and there.  I thought the floral decals were pretty sweet though.  Funny enough, it wasn’t until I sanded them down a little that I realized the decals were covering up key holes as well as extra holes where there were once drawer pulls with two screws instead of knobs.  Now that I know that, when I look at the ‘before’ photo I think ‘duh, of course they were.’  Just look back at that photo, see what I mean?

Anyway, when I brought this piece home the top of the dresser had split at a seam and a couple of the drawers had seen better days.  My handyman Ken made quick work of repairing those problems.  He removed the top, glued it back together and then re-attached it with dowel pins which makes the entire piece much sturdier.

He also re-glued both of the bottom drawers.

Once that was done, I sanded the piece well and then painted it with two coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, which is a warm, creamy white.  When the paint was dry, I sanded the edges to distress.  I wanted to allow some of that pale green to show through, as well as some of the light blue that was under the green.

There’s nothing like layers of color to lend a sense of age to a piece.  In this case, the layers … and the age … are genuine.

Next I added a coat of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.  Once that was dry, I added Prima Marketing’s Laundry transfer.

Once that was in place I felt like the bottom half of the dresser looked really plain, so I pulled out a leftover bit from the Seeds transfer and added that to the bottom drawer.

Over time this dresser had gotten a little beat up, been a bit neglected and thus had lost some of its original charm, but I think I brought it back (what do you say bff?).

It would be a great piece for a laundry room (if you are blessed enough to have a size-able laundry room that is pretty, mine is a dingy corner in my cellar-like basement).

But it could just as easily work in a bedroom.

Or really anywhere!

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

If you’re wondering where to buy the Dixie Belle Drop Cloth or flat clear coat, 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 an adorable cottage style dresser, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.