french folding chairs.

The main reason that I ordered the aqua paint colors from Dixie Belle that I’ve been sharing this week was for this pair of french bistro style folding chairs that I picked up while garage saling last summer.

Here’s a photo that I took when I purchased them … when the grass was green and the ground wasn’t frozen …

I folded them up to store them and I have to tell you, I had a heck of a time opening them back up again!

As I was working on them, I discovered that one of them had an IKEA tag on it.  So, that explains the poor functioning.  They were cheap chairs to begin with, and time had not done them any favors.

Well, hopefully my custom paint job will make them more appealing to a buyer than the basic IKEA originals, and I’ll be pricing these pretty low since they aren’t vintage.

To prep I simply cleaned the chairs with a damp rag.  Then I painted the wood slats with two coats of Dixie Belle’s The Gulf.  I opted to not paint the metal because I felt that it would scratch far too easily, especially if anyone tries to fold the chairs up.  Once dry, I sanded the chairs to distress them.  Next I pulled out the leftover scraps of the new with prima Cosmic Roses transfer that I used on this dresser …

I had a 6″ strip left over at the bottom that didn’t fit on the dresser.  It was just enough to do both chair backs.

Initially I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this design on just two 1.75″ slats with a wide gap in between.  But after I had the first one in place I really liked it.

I also added some Tim Holtz number rub-on’s to the back of each chair.

I used Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat on the chairs just to give them a little bit more protection than my usual wax top coat.

These chairs are perfect for pairing up with a small farmhouse table to turn it into a desk.

I enjoyed staging these photos with all of my aqua pieces from this week.

I had loads of fun playing around with the three different shades from Dixie Belle.  As always, thanks to Dixie Belle for providing the paint and to with prima for providing the transfer.

If you’re looking for the perfect aqua, you can check out Dixie Belle paints here.

And if you’re local and need a pair of pretty french bistro style chairs, check out my available for local sale page to see if these are still available.

hello 2020.

Happy New Year everyone!

Well, here we are not only saying hello to a new year, but also a brand new decade.  At my age (I’m 56 now), it is shocking how fast time seems to fly by.  Who’s with me on that?

I like to take a moment at the end of each year and reflect back on my favorite pieces from the previous 12 months, so here, in no particular order, are my top five from 2019.

The Lovely Ledger dresser.

I painted this dresser in Fusion Mineral Paint’s Limestone.  This is a warm shade of off-white, which is generally what I lean towards when painting something white.  For that reason, I also love Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in Linen, Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, and Homestead House Milk Paint in Limestone.

The with prima transfer on this piece is called Lovely Ledger.  I have another of these in my stockpile of transfers and I’m hoping to find another tall dresser to use it on sometime this year.

The Romantic Prairie Style washstand.

The color on this washstand was inspired by a piece in Fifi O’Neill’s book, Romantic Prairie Style.  It’s painted in Sweet Pickins milk paint in one of my favorite shades of green, In a Pickle.

This is one of those pieces where the milk paint did exactly what I wanted it to.  After a little encouragement with some painter’s tape, it chipped in all the right places, not too little and not too much.

I’ve used this gorgeous shade of green on a few pieces now, and as I usually find to be the case, they take longer to sell than more neutral pieces.  Still, I can’t resist this gorgeous green.  This one ended up selling to an artist who wanted it for her warehouse style loft and she absolutely loved it.

My farmhouse table.

It’s not all that often that I work on a piece just for myself, but that was the case with this table.  The base is painted in one of my other favorite shades of white that I mentioned above, Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in Linen.  The top of the table is waxed with Fusion Mineral Paint’s Liming Wax.

The lines of text on the table base are part of an old Prima Marketing transfer that is no longer available.

This table sits out on my front three season porch (which is really just comfortable for part of one season here in Minnesota) and I mainly use it for staging photos.  I can’t tell you how many hours I spend out there freezing my butt off this time of year while taking photos like this one …

But the light is awesome out there, so I put on fuzzy slippers and a sweater and suffer for my art.

The flower power dresser.

I definitely had to include this piece in my top five from 2019.  I absolutely love this one.  It’s painted in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy and then finished off with with prima’s Cosmic Roses transfer.

I have been holding off on listing my pieces for sale on Craigslist and FB Marketplace until after the holidays.  I didn’t want to juggle being home to meet up with potential buyers and holiday parties.  So this dresser is still available.

I’m always a little nervous about how long pieces like this will take to sell, but that remains to be seen.  Fingers crossed that someone out there will fall in love with it.

My baby grand.

This list really wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the piano.  I had procrastinated on painting it for years thinking it would be a huge undertaking.  But I really couldn’t have been more wrong.  It didn’t take long at all to paint it using Dixie Belle’s chalk style paint in Midnight Sky.

The stencil I added on the top is from Maison de Stencils and is one of my favorites, mainly just because I love that pretty script font.

I painted the piano itself back in March, but I didn’t get around to painting the chair until September.

What can I say?  My own stuff is always at the bottom of the list.  But now that it’s painted I absolutely love it.

Well, there you have it.  My top five.

  Take a look at my ‘fab furniture‘ page to see all of my furniture ‘before & afters’ and let me know what your favorite was in 2019.

As always, thank you to with prima, Dixie Belle Paint Co, Fusion Mineral Paint, Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint and Maison de Stencils for sponsoring my blog by providing the products used in these projects.

flower power.

Have you guys heard?  The Pantone color of the year for 2020 is Classic Blue.

I think someone at with prima must have had the inside scoop on this because one of their new transfers that is being officially released today is a gorgeous floral design called Cosmic Roses that has lots of Classic Blue.  As soon as it arrived in my preview box I knew I had to find the perfect piece to put it on so I started surfing Craigslist.

I really couldn’t believe my luck when I snagged this piece.  Sure, it needed a bit of cosmetic work.  It also needed some small repairs including replacing some glides inside to help keep the drawers straight.  I also added a bit of glue here and there, in particular the veneer on the bottom of each side was loose and had been chipping off.  But for the most part it was in good shape, and it was exactly what I was looking for to showcase this gorgeous new transfer.

Once the repairs were done I also removed those drawer pulls from the bottom drawer and filled the extra holes with Dixie Belle’s Mud.  I also removed the casters.  They were handy for easily moving the dresser around, but obviously not original to the piece and they looked a bit weird to me.  They sort of make the dresser look like a kid playing dress up in mama’s high heels, right?

Next I cleaned the entire piece with TSP substitute.  I realized as I was cleaning it and my white rag was turning slightly orange-ish that this piece would likely be a bleeder.  So I painted a test spot to see what would happen.  Sure enough, the stain bled through my paint.  So I coated the entire thing with some Dixie Belle BOSS and let that dry overnight.

Then came two coats of Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy.

I’d call this color a pale greige.  It definitely has a warm grey undertone, but also leans a a bit beige … so, greige.  It’s one of those chameleon colors that really changes depending on what color is next to it.  I knew it would work beautifully with the blues and greens in the transfer though.

Overall the transfer was just a few inches wider than the dresser so I decided to wrap the ends around the sides, which worked out perfectly.

When I got to the bottom of the dresser I had about 5″ left over.  In hindsight, I think I would have been happier had I centered the design on my dresser vertically as well as horizontally.  But hindsight is always 20/20, right?  I did decide to bring the design all the way down to the bottom trim though.  I also carried it over onto the legs.

By the way, this transfer comes in 6 pieces.  To read more about how to apply these large transfers, check out my how-to post here.

Once the transfer was in place, I sanded the edges of the piece lightly to distress and then I waxed this piece with a new product coming soon from Fusion.

They are coming out with two versions of their furniture wax that are scented with pure essential oils.  The one I used is called Hills of Tuscany and is described as ‘citrus forward, balanced with beautiful herbal scents and a hint of floral’, and I have to say that description really hits the nail on the head.  It smells absolutely amazing.  I tend to be a bit particular about scents, and I have to say that I love this one.  This wax is a total pleasure to use.

The final touch for this dresser was to replace all of the knobs with these beautiful glass knobs from D Lawless Hardware.  These are their reproduction depression glass knobs that come in three sizes.

I used the largest size (1.5″) on this dresser.  I think this piece tends to look a little smaller in photos than it really is.  It is 45″ wide and 36″ tall (without its high heels), so it needed a larger knob.

I brought in my blue chippy chair for staging because it worked perfectly with the blues in the transfer.

But I also wanted to draw out the green, so I also used this old green garden tote that I usually keep in my pantry.

I think the Cosmic Roses transfer has a bit of a 70’s flower power vibe.  At least it takes me back to my days of daisy patches.  Make love, not war. Don’t trust anyone over 30.  Can you dig it?

It’s pretty groovy, don’t you think?

Now, not to worry, I haven’t forgotten that today is day 9 of my 12 days of giveaways.  I wish I could give away the Cosmic Roses transfers, but since it’s only just coming out today I don’t have a spare on hand.  Same with the Hills of Tuscany Fusion wax, which is also just being unveiled this week.  So instead today’s prize includes the Beauty of Life transfer, some unscented Fusion furniture wax, a Homestead House antiquing wax (which is the same formula as Miss Mustard Seed antiquing wax, just different branding) and a Staalmeester brush.  This is actually my favorite brush to use with the Fusion wax.

Thank you to Fusion/Homestead House for sponsoring this giveaway by providing the waxes and the brush, and to with prima for providing the transfer.

The rules:  to be eligible to win today’s prize leave a comment on this blog post.  If you can’t think of anything to say, just tell me if you remember the 70’s!  Your comment must be left on the blog, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Wednesday, December 18, 2019 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 $90, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, December 20, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!

And one last thing, if you’re local and in need of a dresser with flower power, be sure to check my available for local sale page to see if this one is still available.

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 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.