how to dress for cold weather.

I was googling up some good cold weather quotes to use for this post and I saw this one:


I never follow that advice though.  If I did, I’d probably have to stay in bed for about six months out of the year here in Minnesota.

I was exchanging emails with one of my readers over the past weekend and I mentioned to her that it was 11 below zero here.  She’s from Los Angeles, and she was wondering if anyone goes outside when it’s that cold (yes, I’m talking about you Connie!).

So the next day, when my sister, niece and I decided to go to Como Park for the afternoon I was thinking about Connie’s question.  As it turns out, yes Connie, we do go out when it’s that cold.  Sometimes we even go to the zoo.  We just have to dress accordingly.

That’s my niece Kris, my sister Debbie, and then me on the right.  I have to mention, that hat I’m wearing is the warmest hat I’ve ever owned.  It’s fleece on the inside and faux fur and knitted on the outside, and you can wrap those furry tails around under your chin to keep your neck warm.  Super toasty.

I found it rather comical that masks were required even in outdoor areas at the Como Zoo.  Do you think Covid can live in sub-zero temperatures?  Does anyone know?

Well, no matter.  The masks were great for keeping our faces warm.

One of the big benefits to going to the zoo on super cold days is that you have the place practically to yourselves.  Pretty much none of the benches are taken.

Another benefit is that the polar bear is really active.  He (she?  I don’t know which polar bear this was and the zoo has three of them) was in and out of the water (just look at that steam coming off of him), rolling around in the snow and trying to get that frozen hunk of meat detached from the ice.

And also apparently posing for photos.  My sister took that photo.

Other animals that seemed oblivious to the cold were the reindeer, the arctic foxes, the wolves, and the bison.  They were all out and about.

But for those humans that don’t happen to be cold weather lovers, you can always head inside the conservatory.

Once inside you’ll find lots of tropical plants …

not to mention lots of people trying to pretend like they live in a tropical climate in January.  I saw one girl meditating in the lotus position on a bench in the fern room.  I’m fairly sure she was chanting in her head “I’m in the Bahamas, I’m in the Bahamas, I’m in the Bahamas” or something like that.

But really the main reason I like to go this time of year is to see the poinsettia display.  I almost missed it, but it runs through January 9 so we made it in time.  They had an interesting display for 2021 with red, orange and yellow ones.

The red one in that photo is a new variety called ‘Christmas Mouse’ because of its more rounded bracts that resemble the shape of mouse ears.

I love that they change it up every year, but I have to admit that this particular color combination was not one of my favorites.  It was very cheerful and colorful, but I’m just not a a yellow and orange girl.  And definitely not for Christmas.

As we were heading out after our visit to Como Park, all three of us agreed that our favorite part of the day was having the outside mainly to ourselves.  I guess all three of us are truly Minnesotan’s at heart.  Not only do we prefer cool temperatures outdoors, but we also prefer cool colors in our poinsettias.

a little june in january.

Well, the hubbub of the holidays is over.  I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who take down and put away my holiday decorations starting December 26.  Except this year I didn’t start until December 27, because I had family over on December 26 to celebrate my nephew’s 40th birthday.  He was visiting from Philly, so it was fun to have him here for his big birthday.

But now I have all of my indoor decorations down and stored away for next year.

As for the outside stuff, well, that’s a different story here in Minnesota.  We had some sub-zero temps over this past weekend and there’s no way I’m braving that to take down decorations.

Plus, the bulk of them are frozen in place under a layer of snow now anyway.  They won’t be coming out for a while.

So I focused on a few indoor painting projects this past weekend instead, including this rather giant toolbox.

I don’t think that photo above does a good job of showing the size of this one, but here is the toolbox along with a few of the other things I purchased last summer.  Seeing it in relation to the chairs puts it in a little more perspective.

It’s really quite the beast.  And in its original state, it was also quite heavy even while empty.  I honestly don’t think I could have even lugged it around when filled with tools (or anything at all for that matter).  When you opened it, two layers of trays opened up accordion style on either side.

As much as that was pretty cool, I asked Ken to remove them for me.  For one thing, they added considerable weight and for another they would have been nearly impossible to paint without resorting to spray paint.  They also would have limited the possibilities for future use.  Sure, you could have used it for your fishing lures, or your socket set, but as you’ll see in a minute, I don’t think the new look screams tackle box or toolbox.

After it was gutted, I cleaned the toolbox with Dawn dish soap.  Once dry I painted the outside in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy, and the inside in their Silk paint in a color called Hampton Olive.

I chose this color for a few reasons.  First of all, it’s very similar to the original color of the interior, so I was paying homage to that.  Second, I thought it worked well with both the transfer I planned to use as well as the Sawmill Gravy.  I wanted to use a Silk paint because the sealer and topcoat are built in.  I thought I’d save myself a couple of steps this time around.  And this was the best option out of the colors of Silk paint that I had on hand.  Finally, I liked the idea of toning down the girly-ness with a more masculine color on the inside because as you’re about to see, this one is plenty girly on the outside.

Yep, I went full on floral for this one, with a few cherubs to boot.  That is the bottom half of the June, Ode to Henry Fletcher transfer from IOD.

I’ve had this transfer for a while and I really wasn’t sure I’d ever find the perfect piece for it, but it worked beautifully on this toolbox.  I love the way it has a bunch of flower names listed at the bottom.

I’m guessing that these are all flowers that bloom in June.  Does Jasmine bloom in June?

I added the wording on the top of the toolbox from a couple of other IOD transfers.

The “Les Roses” section is from their Petit Rosier transfer, and the “Les Fleurs” wording is from their Label Ephemera transfer (and in case you were wondering, yes, you can layer transfers in this way).

Once the transfers were applied, I sanded lightly along any edges and corners to give it a more distressed appearance.

Finally, I added a coat of clear wax.

I don’t know about you, but June feels far away to me just now.  So I thought I’d bring a little bit of June to January.

You could store all kinds of fun things inside this baby.  Art supplies, gardening tools, hats and mittens … lots of possibilities.  I am listing this one for sale (see my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details), but I have to price it a bit higher than usual.  Those IOD transfers are not cheap (but they sure are gorgeous).  In the end, if it doesn’t sell, I bet I’ll get over it and find a spot for it at my house.  If any of you locals need to bring a little bit of June into your January, be sure to email me at

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the paint used in this project.

one year later.

In preparation for my year end post, I went back and reviewed 2020’s wrap up post.  In that post I promised that you would see more of certain things in 2021.  Let’s see how I did.

Here are the things that I was sure you’d see more of in 2021:

Black and white.  Because let’s face it, they are classic and never go out of style. – Done!

This dresser that I painted in Miss Mustard Seed’s Typewriter back in July was one of my favorites in 2021.

But I also shared quite a few pieces painted in my favorite Dixie Belle Drop Cloth too.

Signs made out of old cupboard doors.  Now that I know how easy these are to find at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep making lots of them. – Done!

I painted quite a few cupboard door signs, but I think these General Store signs were some of my favorites in 2021.  And hey, they were black and white too!

Stenciling on unpainted wood.  This was an experiment for me recently, but I really love how it turned out.  I think you’ll see more of this look from me in 2021. – Hmmm, yeah, I dropped the ball on that one.  I don’t think I stenciled a single piece of unpainted furniture in 2021.  I did add a transfer to unpainted wood though, does that count?

Thrifted items given new life with paint, stencils and/or transfersI just love taking a worn out item and giving it a fresh new life.  It’s so satisfying! – Done!

I think toolboxes count, right?  Because I gave a lot them new life in 2021.

I painted a couple of tiny dressers in 2021 as well.

I refreshed a few other thrifted and garage sale finds in 2021, but I’m hoping to do more of that in 2022.

In addition to those items that I felt sure would remain in 2021,  I was also hoping that the new year would bring more of the things that fell by the wayside in 2020 due to Covid:

Great hauls from neighborhood garage salesBecause surely the awesome neighborhood sales will be back in business for 2021, right? – Well, not so much.

A few of them came back, but definitely not as many as I’d like.  We did check out one that was new to us as a result, Columbia Heights.  But as you can see, I didn’t have super impressive hauls from either one of these.  There were a handful of goodies though, so I shouldn’t complain.

Travel postsPlease, please, please let there be travel in 2021. – Done?  Sort of?  Not exactly what I had in mind though.

At the end of 2020 I was still hoping that our European cruise would take place in the coming fall.  That didn’t happen.  It has been re-booked once again to fall 2022.  We’ll see how that goes.  But we did get in a little more travel in 2021 than we did in 2020, mostly in the form of visits to my mom’s house and trips to Disney parks.

Garden postsEven if the world opens back up again, I still hope to keep up on my gardening. – Done!

I definitely focused more on gardening in 2021 much like I had in 2020.

And I’m looking forward to having even more time for that in 2022!

Home toursBecause everybody enjoys an awesome home tour. – Done!

OK, well to be fair, I didn’t really get to this one until the very end of the year.  Still, I think I can count it since I did end up sharing two home tours; mine and Amy’s.

Now that I’m retired, I plan to do more home tours throughout the year in 2022.  Those posts are fairly time consuming, but I’ll have time for them now.

And speaking of retirement, that is surely something that I did not see coming back at the end of 2020.  In fact, if you had told me I’d be retiring in the coming year back on December 31, 2020 I wouldn’t have believed it.  But here I am, and I plan to make the most of it in 2022, so I hope you’ll continue to join me here on the blog.

Let’s all drink a toast to continuing improvement in 2022, Happy New Year!

the garden Christmas tree.

Do any of you remember the free Balsam Hill Christmas tree that I found back in the spring?

The photo above shows my haul from the White Bear Lake Trash to Treasure Day, where residents leave items at the curb for anyone to take.  The tree is in two boxes at the back.

At the time, I knew enough to know that the Balsam Hill brand is generally good quality, and I googled this particular style and found that it was their most popular seller.

And it was free.  So I grabbed it.

It’s a pre-lit tree, and I had a sneaking suspicion that the lights wouldn’t be working properly.  Why else would someone be getting rid of an expensive faux tree?  So I can’t say that I was surprised when I got it all set up and plugged in and only about 1/3 of the lights worked (although I was maybe just a tiny bit disappointed).  None the less, I still thought I’d use it in my living room until I dragged it in there and realized that it was really too big for my space.  I’ve mentioned a few times here that our house is not large.  It’s a 1904 farmhouse, and back in 1904 they didn’t see the need for huge rooms.

At that point I debated just boxing the tree back up and putting it at the curb with a ‘free’ sign on it, but then decided why not use it outside?  I’ve done this before and really enjoyed having a Christmas tree in the garden.  So I lugged it out to the garden and Mr. Q helped me weight it down with some sandbags (crucial for an outside faux tree, to avoid having it blown over in a storm).

I knew that trying to remove the non-functioning lights would be a frustrating, time consuming exercise, so I opted to just add new lights on top of the old.  Then I set about decorating the tree with garden items that I already had on hand, including most of my watering can non-collection.

I didn’t attached the cans with anything, I just basically tucked them in between branches.

And by the way, I should throw in here that one of them has an IOD transfer, and one of them has a with prima transfer, and both brands of transfer have held up perfectly on these watering cans that I leave outside year round.

Most of the decorations, including the big galvanized snow flakes, are just tucked in.

I harvested dried flower heads from the garden and tucked those in here and there too.

Along with some birch logs, vintage garden tools, and even some clay pots.

I topped the tree with a rusty crown that usually lives in the garden.

I really wasn’t sure how this haphazard approach to decorating the tree was going to hold up outside, but we had a fairly blustery storm a few days later and nothing fell down, or fell off.

So I think it’s good to go.

I do like the spot I put it in, it’s outside my kitchen window and it’s fun to see it out there, especially at night when it’s lit up.

All of the preceding pictures were taken before our big snowfall last Friday.  Now the tree looks more like this …

Still pretty, but a lot of the smaller details have been lost under the snow.  It does make me realize what a good choice those bigger items such as the watering cans and the big galvanized snowflakes were for outside though.

But I’ve been thinking that maybe next year I’ll put the tree in the photo cottage.  If I left the top half of the door open, you could see the tree inside there all lit up.  Hmmmm.  Well, I have another year to think about that idea.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the tree where it is.

Do you put any Christmas trees up outside?  Or decorate ones that are already there?

and just like that.

There’s nothing like a good snow day to fill you with holiday spirit.  Last week I mentioned that we could use a little more snow for good outdoor holiday photos, and just like that, we got a perfectly picturesque snowfall last Friday afternoon and evening.

Some parts of the Twin Cities got up to 21″, but we probably got somewhere closer to 8 or 9″ here at our house.  Just the right amount to be festive, but not totally overwhelming.

And I’m sure some of you are tired of hearing about it, but boy, how fabulous to be retired and not have to commute in a snow storm!

Mr. Q and I stayed home and watched it come down.  He made his famous secret family recipe brownies, while I watched And Just Like That.  Any other Sex and the City fans out there?  I was a huge fan of that show.  I knew that they were coming out with a reboot, but I wasn’t quite clued in to the fact that I could watch it on HBO Max, which we just happened to add to our channel line up when Dune came out.  So, I’m a little behind (what’s new there?) and two episodes are out already.  Spoiler alert!  Don’t read the rest of this paragraph if you haven’t seen the show yet!  But wth?  I wasn’t expecting them to kill off Big in episode one.  Then again, it makes sense.  What would be the ongoing story line in ‘happily ever after’?  I love the fact that the characters are all around my age, and their lives have changed accordingly.  I can totally relate to Carrie trying to stay relevant with Instagram and podcasts.

But I digress.

I got up early on Saturday morning as the sun was just coming up so that I could get some photos before shoveling out.

On the one hand, the snow is gorgeous.  On the other hand, it covered up a lot of my outdoor decorations!

Hmmmm.  You can’t even see the arrangement of greens in my various containers.

But not to worry, that snow will melt later in the week and my greenery will be revealed once again, including my garden Christmas tree (I’ll share the details on that soon).

Since I knew the snow was coming, I took some time on Friday morning to finish up my front window box.

Well, more accurately, to almost finish it up.  You see those stars?  One of my readers (thanks again Connie!) sent me three of them.  I only had enough lights on hand for two of them on Friday though.  I’d like to get the third one in there too, hopefully I’ll get to that this week.

In the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy this snowy wonderland for a bit.

There’s nothing like that first good snowfall of the year.  I absolutely love it.  How about you?  Are you a fan, or are you in the ‘snow is a four letter word’ camp?

the war of the styles.

Well, those of you who were paying attention may have noticed that the dresser I posted on Monday sold super fast.

I posted the blog post at 7 a.m., and the dresser was spoken for by 8 a.m.

The black dresser from last week was also posted at 7 a.m. and sold by 7:14 a.m.

so I guess technically it did sell faster!

But I think the moral of our story is that there is a market out there for both the team player and the star of the show.

There is going to be a part three to this battle next week when I unveil what I’ve done with this dresser …

This time I’m going on out on a limb with some color rather than playing it safe with a neutral.

I didn’t quite get it finished in time to post about it today though, so you’ll have to stay tuned until Monday to see how it turned out.

In the meantime, remember that experiment I was trying with saving peony buds in the fridge?  Here’s how the buds looked when I cut them back at the beginning of June.

I cut off most of the leaves, and then put the buds into a Ziploc baggie and tucked them into the fridge.

And there they stayed until last night when I pulled them out again.

The darkest pink one had opened while in the fridge, which is funny because it was one of the tightest buds going in.

Here’s how they looked immediately after pulling them out of the bag.

Pretty darn fresh looking for having spent about six weeks in the fridge, don’t you think?

I trimmed their stems and popped them into a vase of water, and about an hour later they opened up fully.

How cool is that?

And now I have some peonies from my own garden to enjoy on my desk at work today.  I call that a win.

I only wish I had saved more of them this way.  The weekend after I cut these we had a heatwave with temps in the high 90’s which was totally unusual for us for the first weekend in June.  The temps stayed in the 90’s for 9 consecutive days.  And as you may know, peony blooms do not handle heat well.  The peonies in the garden were pretty much toast within about 5 days.  Such a bummer when you’ve waited a full year for peony season and then it is cut short.

Next year I’ll have to remember that and save more of them in the fridge!

the seed tray tamper.

I shared this garage sale find a few weeks ago …

I thought perhaps it was a seed tray tamper, like the one that Monty Don uses on Gardener’s World.

But as a couple of you pointed out, it’s much more likely some sort of trowel and I think you’re right about that.  But I can still pretend it’s a seed tray tamper, can’t I?  And in fact, one could absolutely use it for that purpose.  Especially now that I’ve dressed it up accordingly.

I gave it a coat of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, sanded it back and then added a Classic Vintage Label transfer from with prima.  I followed all of that up with some clear wax.

And voila, a seed tray tamper is born.

While I was at it, I doctored up a couple of old wooden crates that my picker found for me.

This was simply a matter of stenciling them with some garden themed designs.

And now they make great trays for starting seeds in … or for just about anything for that matter.

These items are joined by a vintage watering can that my handyman Ken found while cleaning out his shed.  He was going to just toss it, but thought maybe I might want it.

That was a pretty good bet I’d say.

I added another Classic Vintage Label to the watering can.

I piled all of these things on top of a dresser that my picker found for me last week to get these photos.

She found it at a garage sale near us (we live less than a mile apart), she texted me a picture of it, paid for it after I said ‘yes’, and then I texted Mr. Q to go pick it up.  Talk about team work!

I’ve got two other dressers that I’ll be sharing with you before I can get to this one though, so you’ll have to stay tuned to see how it turns out.

But in the meantime, I’m bringing these some of these items in to the shop where I sell on consignment, Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater, MN.  So if any of you locals are in need of a seed tray tamper, be sure to stop in!

mid-season garden update.

For those of you who are gardeners, I just thought I’d check in with a mid-season garden update.  I suppose that early July is not technically the middle of summer, but I always feel like we’re about halfway through our short gardening season on the 4th of July.

I have to warn you up front, this post got long.  I tend to want to share all of the details about every plant, and that’s probably a mistake.  So here’s your chance to just click out of this post and get on with your day if you’re not interested in gardening.  Run now, while you still can!

Although we have lost five trees in the last two years, we still have quite a lot of shade in our yard.  I much prefer gardening in the shade, so I am glad we still have some big maples that block the heat of the sun.

I’ve learned to rely on foliage more than flowers to provide interest in my shade garden although currently there are some Asiatic lilies blooming, and the Evening Primrose is just at the tail end of its bloom time.  A week or two ago there was a solid swath of yellow flowers right through the middle of this garden.

The hostas are still looking fabulous, which is kind of amazing for July.

We haven’t had any hail (knock on wood!) so far this summer, and it has also been quite dry so the slugs haven’t taken over.  I’ve had to do quite a bit of watering, and our lawn has lots of brown patches, but the trade off seems to be no slugs so I’ll take it.  It’s also been a bit warmer than usual for us (although nothing like the heat that has been hitting other parts of the country) so everything is growing like gangbusters.

FYI – I’m fairly sure that the hosta above is montana ‘Aureomarginata’ and it’s perfect for adding a bright pop in a shady area.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

I’m working on a curb appeal refresh in the front and I’m going to share that with you when the Limelight hydrangea is blooming.  But for now, I’ll share the window box.  I try to change up the plants I use in it each year so that I don’t get stuck in a rut.

I absolutely love this combination of plants.  I am relying almost entirely on foliage to provide the color this time around.

I’ve included several varieties of coleus including Ruby Slippers (the deep red one with the lime green edge), Blackie potato vine, a chartreuse potato vine, a red caladium, and some Lemon Coral sedum anchoring both ends.  I also threw in some white New Guinea impatiens, but they are totally getting crowded out by the other plants.  I’m thinking I will pull them out of there and put them somewhere else at this point.

Back at the end of May we had a really late frost and the coleus really took a hit.  I cut it back and hoped for the best, and now it looks great.  In fact, I think cutting it back so early made it bush out really nicely.  I’ll have to remember that next year.

By the way, since starting to watch Garden Answer on YouTube, I have been using the Espoma Bio-Tone Starter Plus and I did add that to the soil in this window box before I planted everything.  I think it’s safe to say that it’s working quite well.

And while we’re on the subjects of gardening and YouTube, I thought I’d share my latest YouTube favorite, The Impatient Gardener.  There is a long list of the things I like about Erin.  First of all, she gardens in a similar climate to mine (she’s in Wisconsin).  She’s also been in the same house for 20+ years, plus she drinks wine with ice cubes in it (I don’t think you can get any less pretentious).  But I really like the fact that she does all of her gardening herself (with occasional help from Mr. Much More Patient, but no paid staff), and she has a day job, and she has a blog, so the gardening she does is a realistic example of what someone like me can do too.  Check her out if you’re looking for more garden inspiration.

Anyway, back to my garden.

The garden beneath the window box is looking good right now too.

It contains a variegated upright sedum, some Purple Palace heuchera, red and white varieties of astilbe, several hosta varieties and some Lemon Frost lamium.

I never used to grow lamium because I thought it was kind of ugly.  But that was back in the day when all I knew was the variety that was medium green with silver veining.  I still think that variety looks more like a weed than a purposely grown plant.  But this Lemon Frost variety is so much better, and again, excellent for providing a bright pop of color in a shady area.  Lamium is super hardy and can be semi-evergreen even in our Minnesota climate.  When the snow melts away in the spring, it often reveals lamium that is still green.  Use caution with this one though, it is a ground cover that will take over if you let it.  Be prepared to beat it back if you have to.

I tried something new to me this year with the upright sedum.

In years past this sedum has always gotten really tall and then flopped over.  There are a couple of reasons this can happen; the plant needs to be divided, or it doesn’t get enough sun.  And in this case, these upright sedums just have a tendency towards flopping.  So last year I divided it and replanted so that I have multiple clumps together instead of one big plant.  The loss of those trees I mentioned means it gets a bit more sun now (although this is a north facing garden, so it still doesn’t get anything like full sun).  But this year I also gave it the Chelsea Chop which encourages the plant to bush out more and not get quite so tall.  Check out Erin’s YouTube video on the Chelsea Chop if you want to learn more about it.

One of the bonuses to the Chelsea Chop with sedums is that you can take all of the tops you cut off and root them giving you more plants (Erin explains this in her video too).  So I rooted up five cuttings and they are looking great.  I just potted them on to individual pots.

I am super excited to finally have flower buds on my fairy candles this year.  Some of you may remember the tour of Jackie’s garden that I shared back in August 2018 where she had these amazing tall, spiky, white flowers blooming …

These are one of those plants with many names, they are Actaea racemosa, or Fairy Candles, or Black Cohosh, or Bugbane.  I prefer to call them Fairy Candles myself, because really, who wouldn’t?  Anyway, Jackie kindly shared some with me and I planted them next to Cossetta, my garden statue (a garage sale find).

I’ve been waiting for them to bloom ever since, and finally this will be the year!  They aren’t quite open yet, but I’m watching and waiting.

In the far background of that photo above you can just see the Annabelle hydrangea that is in the garden under the kitchen window.

The Annabelles are in full bloom now.  I have two of them (there is another one in the cutting garden behind the carriage house) and they both come from one original plant that I purchased at least 25 years ago.  Personally I would not purchase/plant an Annabelle these days.  There are so many better varieties, like my favorite Limelights for example.  The problem with Annabelles is that they have weak stems and the once the heavy flowers appear they tend to flop, especially after a rain.  Although you can prune these down to the ground in late winter or very early spring and still have flowers (they bloom on new wood), I have read that it’s better to leave at least 18″ of old wood to help support the plant.  Now I just prune out any dead stems, remove the dried flower heads and otherwise pretty much leave it alone.  It has made a little bit of a difference and they don’t flop quite as much as they used to.  But I also have an old brass bed headboard mounted just in front of it to hold it up off the path.

 I don’t currently plan to pull this plant out of the garden, but like I said, I wouldn’t plant it again.  It does make a great backdrop for the occasional furniture photo shoot though.

And it looks pretty good when provided with some support or placed somewhere that you don’t mind it getting a bit floppy.

Remember the galvanized chicken feeder that I picked up at a garage sale earlier this summer?

I mentioned at the time that I wanted to turn it into a flower planter, and here is the result.

I removed the old label and added a stencil.  Then Ken helped me drill some holes in the back so that I can hang it from a couple of nails.  Easy peasy.

I have one last thing to share before I end today’s post.  Remember the fairy garden from this spring?

That’s how it looked back at the end of May, and here it is now …

Everything has totally filled out except for the little green and pink plant next to the angel statue.  That one appears to have barely grown at all, go figure.

Well, I’d better end this post now.  I need to get out in my workshop and finish painting some furniture.  I hope you enjoyed this mid-season update on my garden.  How is your garden growing this year?

a garden rocker.

Do you guys remember the little rocking chair that I picked up at the Goodwill last January?

At the time I said I was going to hang onto it until I could give it a bath with the hose out in the yard because it was filthy.  Well, that day has finally arrived!  Or at least it arrived last weekend.  I scrubbed the chair down using some Dawn dishwashing soap.  I let it dry thoroughly and then re-evaluated the situation.  And you know what?  That chippy original paint was just too good to cover up.

I mean seriously, how hard do we work to create a fake version of this chippy look?

Plus the green color was pretty good.  Especially for a garden chair.

So, in keeping with that theme, I added a garden themed transfer from with prima’s Classic Vintage Labels to the back.

Then I topped the whole thing off with a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s Flat Clear Coat to seal that chippy paint.

How cute is this rocker just tucked into the garden?  It won’t last forever outside in the elements, but you could probably get a couple of summers out of it.

Or of course you could always choose to keep it on a covered porch or in some other protected location if you wanted it to last longer.

I’m not planning to keep this one, but then again, if no one snatches it up I just might.  It looks awfully sweet there in my garden.

If any of you locals have just the right spot for it, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details!

fresh cut flowers stool.

A little while back one of my readers offered me a step stool (thanks again Brigitte!).  It was one of those projects that she thought she’d get around to, but she never quite finished it.

It needed some repairs before paint, so I initially sent it over to Ken’s workshop.  Unfortunately, once again I neglected to get a proper ‘before’ photo, drat.  But basically the wooden rung that held the steps in place was broken.  Ken made a replacement using a dowel rod.  He makes these things appear so simple, he just whisks something off to his workshop and returns it a few days later completely fixed.

This step stool had been stripped of its original paint (maybe Brigitte did that?), I could still see remnants of light green paint here and there.  I felt a tiny bit bad painting it again after someone (Brigitte?) had gone to all of that work to strip it.  But I suspect this piece was always intended to be painted because the wood isn’t especially pretty.

I started out thinking I would use Dixie Belle’s new Silk paint for this project thus saving myself the trouble of adding a top coat of some kind.  So I pulled out the three shades of white I had, Salt Water, Whitecap and Oyster.  I decided to try the Salt Water since that one is described as an off white.  After one coat of the Salt Water I quickly realized that it was still far too ‘white’ for my taste.  But not to worry, I had another project that was perfect for the Salt Water that I’ll be sharing soon.

In the meantime, sometimes you just gotta stick with what you know.  In this case, I know that I love the combination of DB’s Drop Cloth and Midnight Sky.  So I painted over the Salt Water with Drop Cloth on the base and then I painted the steps and seat in Midnight Sky.

So just in case you were wondering, yes, you absolutely can paint over the Silk paint with the chalk style paint.

I followed that up with a stencil on the seat, also painted used Drop Cloth.

The Fresh Cut Flowers stencil from Wallcutz was the perfect fit.

I used clear wax as a topcoat over the chalk paint.

This stool is one where the steps can be folded in.

And then it can be used simply as a stool.

I have to point out that the steps aren’t super sturdy.  I’m not sure I would trust them with a full grown adult’s weight on them.

Instead I think this step stool would make the perfect plant stand.

It would also work really well as a side table.

If any of you locals are in need of a fun side table or plant stand, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

Thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying their products used in today’s makeover.