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!

a christmas eve tour.

I really wasn’t sure I was going to get around to a tour of our own home decorated for the holidays.  Mainly because I really don’t go all out with holiday décor, so I didn’t feel like my decorations were blog worthy.  I’m nowhere near in Amy’s league!

But then I thought, ‘why be so hard on myself?’  If I went to someone else’s home I would treat them much more kindly than that.  And as I would tell them, dust doesn’t show in photos, and I can always work around the less photogenic areas.  So I decided to apply all of that to myself and just go for it.

So, Merry Christmas and welcome to our home.

Although our house does have a ‘front door’, we don’t use that door for anything other than heading out to the front three season porch in the summer.  We don’t have a sidewalk leading to the front, so in the winter the snow makes it inaccessible anyway.

Instead we use our side door …

This is just off the driveway that leads to our carriage house …

You enter into the space we currently use as a dining room, and I’m afraid I can’t really share the entire room because this is also where I store my finished furniture.  So I currently have a bench and a desk in the room in addition to the usual pieces.  But I can share bits and pieces, like the Belgian bed bench that is next to the door.

I painted this bench way back in 2016 using Miss Mustard Seed milk paint.

I added some faux greenery, a garland of little striped stockings and some colored lights to the top of the bench.

I display my non-collection of vintage tree toppers in the window to the right of the bench.

I shared how I created this display back in this post.

This little vignette of silver items is right next to the toppers.

This year I put my Dickens village above my Welsh cupboard.

I love how it looks up there, especially when it’s lit up.

As a bonus, it’s out of the way and not taking up valuable space on a table top or shelf.  When your house is on the small side, I recommend taking advantage of space like this.  I plug it all in to a remote controlled power strip, so with one click of a button I can turn the lights off and on.

Normally the wooden trug (can I call that a trug? or is it more of a tote?  or a basket?  I’m not sure) contains ironstone, but I filled it up with some faux greens and some old silver.  I’m pretty sure my friend Jackie gave me that silver (does it look familiar Jackie?).

Next up is the kitchen.

There isn’t a whole lot of Christmas décor going on in the kitchen, but I do have this cute little spot next to the pantry door.

I just popped a little faux tree into one of my clay pots, and hung that little wreath on the cupboard.

I’ve always wanted to take the time to decorate the pantry itself for Christmas, but I’ve never quite managed it.  Maybe next year!

I also have this little folding chair that I turned into a chalkboard.  I used to change up the design every season, but I have to confess that the winter design has been in place for over a year now.

On the other side of the kitchen is the piano room.

If you look closely, you can see my garden tree outside the window.  You’ve also already seen most of the décor in this room including my craft paper scroll sign.

My friend Sue gave me this little ‘believe’ pillow and it fits perfectly on the piano chair.

I added just a little touch of Christmas with this little felt wreath on my tiny cupboard.

Over in the other corner I have my favorite chippy chair that has been dressed up with a holiday pillow that I found at Turn Style last year.

I’ve had the reindeer feed sack for years, but I still love it.

The piano room also has my Specimens cupboard in it, and I’ve already shared the decorations surrounding it, but here they are again in case you missed them the first time around.

Just off the piano room is the q branch (a.k.a. my study).

This is where I have my tree with my non-collection of vintage ornaments.

The tall skinny tree fits perfectly into that spot next to my English cupboard.

I tucked this little chair in next to it, although I’m thinking that maybe I need to paint up a Christmas themed chair for myself for next year.

I made the ornament wreath hanging over my desk years ago.  All it took was a lot of vintage ornaments, a styrofoam wreath form, a little hot glue and some patience.

The metal Christmas ornaments sign seems like the perfect addition to this room, since this is where all of my vintage ornaments are.  I’ve got it hanging on my rooster cupboard.

My friend Sue painted the vintage truck for me …

and she even added the little Christmas Tree Farm sign on the door of the truck.  Isn’t it adorable?

This finally brings us to the living room.

I had intended to put a tree in the living room this year, but the free faux tree I had was just a bit too big.  But I still have a few small Christmas details in this room including the beautiful wreath that Amy made for me.

I just love it, and I hung it from my mirror frame chalkboard.

Remember the unfinished wooden nutcracker that I found at Hobby Lobby?  I ended finding more of them at Michaels as well.  Two of them found a home on the living room shelves.

The shelf below them has a tree made out of old newspaper.

A few Santa’s are hanging out on the yardstick shelves with my clocks …

including my Christmas Time clock.

I added the words to the clock using some red vinyl and my Cricut after seeing the idea on some clocks at a vintage market.  So, to be clear, totally not my own original idea.  In fact, if you go up a couple of photos you’ll see the “Spend Time Wisely” clock that I purchased at that market.

I may not have a full size tree in the living room, but just over in the hallway I have a little tree in a bucket on an old chippy chair.

The window at the foot of the stairs has a row of unfinished nutcrackers that also came from Michaels this year.

Last up is the cupboard hanging on the wall at the foot of the stairs.  Do any of you remember this one?  It was really gross when I bought it (see the transformation here).  I ended up keeping it and hanging it here.

It doesn’t look very Christmas-y when closed, but when you open it up you’ll find a little wooden Christmas village.

Don’t tell anyone, but I leave that village in there all year.  I just pop open the door this time of year, and ta da!  Instant Christmas décor!

All of those little houses used to light up, but the batteries have died and I haven’t taken the time to figure out if they are replaceable or not.  But it’s still a pretty display, even when not lit.

Fortunately I didn’t do any decorating upstairs this year, because this post is already kind of long!  So I’ll conclude our tour here.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Merry Christmas!

stenciled Christmas wrap.

It’s probably not at all useful for me to share holiday wrapping ideas this late in the game, or at least not my sort of holiday wrapping ideas.  None of them are super quick or easy, making them not particularly helpful the day before Christmas Eve.

Although … wait a minute … this post could be helpful if you need to wrap just a few presents, you don’t have any Christmas wrap on hand and you don’t feel like braving the shops.  Especially if, like me, you tend to always have a roll of brown craft paper, paint and stencils lying around.

So, on that note, here’s what I came up with for this year.

I had all of those fabulous stencils on hand already, so why not make use of them for Christmas packages?  All of the stencils used came from Wallcutz, FYI.

The smaller version of the Rudolph and Co stencil was the perfect size for a shirt box.

And masking off portions of the Milk & Cookie stencil allowed it to fit on a slightly smaller box.

The even smaller boxes were stenciled using masked off portions of larger stencils too.

Here are a couple of q tips on stenciling Christmas packages.

First of all, stenciling on brown craft paper is fairly forgiving.  The texture of the paper makes it easier to get a crisp finish because the paint doesn’t slide around like it does on a smoother surface.  That being said, when possible I tape my stencil in place using yellow Frog tape (much like I did on the paper scroll sign I shared earlier).  The yellow tape for delicate surfaces won’t leave a mark on your paper when it’s removed.

Secondly, I stenciled my boxes after they were wrapped.  That can be a little bit trickier since the surface isn’t as firm.  These were heavy duty stiff boxes.  I would not attempt this with a flimsy box.  This also meant that in some cases I couldn’t tape the stencil in place, so I was just super careful to hold it firmly in place as I worked.  You could stencil the paper first, and then wrap the gift, but then you have to be careful to keep your design centered as you wrap the package which can also be tricky.  It’s a trade off.

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get a clean result stenciling on a gift bag, since they are a little lumpy when laid flat, but I think it worked just fine.

Looking back, this year’s custom Christmas wrap is not my all-time favorite.  I think that award goes to the wrap I created that was inspired by a tour of a velvet factory in Venice …

But I also really loved the simplicity of last year’s wrap that I created using some IOD rubber stamps.

And the year I painted everything pink and used transfer gel to add some really cool 12 days of Christmas graphics was pretty good too.

What do you think?  Can you pick a favorite?

Do you have everything all wrapped and ready to go already, or do you wait until the very last minute?

favorite Christmas projects revisited.

For the past month or so I’ve been meaning to put together a blog post revisiting some of my favorite Christmas projects from year’s past.  Somehow we’ve gotten down to the wire with Christmas coming up at the end of the week and I haven’t done it yet.  So, bonus!  I’m posting on a Tuesday just so that I can take a quick trip down memory lane with you guys.

I’ve made a few Christmas themed signs over the years, and some of my favorites were the cupboard door signs I made last year.

and hanging from that last sign are the linen stockings that I stenciled …

I’ve also stenciled a few sleds in my day.

So far my favorite is this one I painted last year.

In fact, I liked that one so much that I kept it for myself.

Back in 2019 I did some stenciling on pillow covers.

I gave that one to my sister for Christmas, so I get to see how it’s holding up each year.  So far, so good.

The other pillow I stenciled turned out pretty darn cute as well.

I had purchased a bunch of old handsaws at a garage sale back in 2017, so I dressed them up for Christmas with stencils.

Not all of my Christmas projects are stenciled.  I’ve also been known to use a few transfers on them.  One of my favorites was this tackle box that I made over.

I thought these painted books with transfers were really lovely too.

The paint job on this toolbox wasn’t especially holiday themed …

But it made the perfect container for a holiday themed gift basket.

I’ve painted my share of holiday chairs over the years, and this trio had a mix of stencils and transfers.

This pair of painted ice skates looked great with a transfer added to them.

And just in case you missed them, here are a few of my favorites from this year.

The North Pole suitcase.

The Rudolph and Co truck.

The Rudolph and Co grain shovel.

The craft paper scroll sign.

The foot board sign.

The Milk & Cookies chairs.

It’s always fun to take a trip down memory lane and revisit a few of the projects I’ve completed in the past.  Now that I’m unemployed, next year I hope to crank out even more unique Christmas decorations!  Fingers crossed that I can stock up on raw materials over the summer garage sale season.

In the meantime, I’ll be back tomorrow with the rest of the tour of Amy’s house, so be sure to stay tuned!

Amy’s eclectic Christmas home.

I have a really special post for you guys today!  I’m so excited to be able to share part 1 of a tour of my friend Amy’s house all decorated for Christmas.

Amy is also a vendor at Reclaiming Beautiful, the shop where I sell on consignment in Stillwater, MN.  I shared a Christmas tour of her house once before, back in 2016 (I’ll share a link to that at the end of this post in case you want to revisit that one).  Amy, her husband and their four kids have moved since then, so this is a different house altogether.

We’ll get to that fabulous greenhouse later this week in part 2 of our tour, but for today let’s start inside shall we?

First up in Amy’s foyer is this narrow wall that she wallpapered in a buffalo check.  What a great spot for some wallpaper with a lot of impact, right?  And I love the simple way she’s decorated the mirror with a delicate garland and a trio of tiny flocked trees.

From here you just get a glimpse of the light filled great room to the right.

Unfortunately, I managed to neglect getting one big overall photo of that space.  I tend to focus in on details and ignore the big picture, I’m going to have to work on that!

I’ll have to just try to describe the space, which is large, open and has a vaulted ceiling and includes a living room, dining room and kitchen.  The space is large enough in fact, that Amy has not just one, but two live trees flanking one of the sofas!

Isn’t that gorgeous?  I love that look, and I bet it looks beautiful at night.

Amy wanted me to be sure and tell you that she had to send the family to pick out the trees without her this year because she had Covid!  So she takes no responsibility for the trees that were chosen.  But seriously, did I need to tell you that?  No.  Because these trees are fabulous!  And how she managed to do all of this decorating despite being ill is mind boggling.

I think Amy is the master of the faux fireplace.  You’ll see a couple more of them on our tour, but here is the one in the living room.

Isn’t the idea of filling it with a snowy village just lovely?

I’ve stolen her idea of using vintage books to add different levels for my own Christmas village, and it worked great here inside her fireplace as well.

I’ve also been inspired to change up the walls in my own living room after seeing Amy’s gallery style wall filled with vintage goodies like this mirror …

and these fabulous old paintings of Minnehaha Falls …

As soon as the holidays are over, I’m going to get to work on my own wall.

I didn’t ask Amy about this next piece while I was at her house, but now that I look at it in photos I think it must have been vertical shelving with adjustable shelves meant for papers that she has turned on its side and placed behind her sofa.

It’s filled with vintage clocks, radios, books and a pretty Putz village.

The dining space is just off to the right from the living room …

Isn’t that light fixture amazing?  I was really focused on Christmas decorations rather than the day to day features of Amy’s decorating and in hindsight I wish I’d paid more attention to the fixtures because as you’ll see, they are pretty fabulous.  Ditto her furniture.

Amy is also a furniture painter.  Be sure to check out her Instagram at skrallan.7 to check out some of her work.  She is fairly new to Instagram, so please show her some love and follow her account.

Anyway, I wish I’d also gotten a better photo of that dining room table because it’s gorgeous.

And isn’t her tabletop Christmas vignette pretty?

I’m fascinated by the primitive look of this feather tree …

I love the simplicity of it.

This tall pine hutch fits perfectly in her space.

and it houses a Christmas village in white …

The kitchen is open to the rest of this space, and darn it, I didn’t get a good photo of the overall space.  Once again, I was focused on the details.

You have to forgive me since I was clearly distracted by her gorgeous vintage scales.

And her really awesome Magnolia wallpaper

Next up on our tour is the principle bedroom.

I love that Amy has put a live tree in front of the window, and when I looked at it more closely I recognized a few of the ornaments!

You’ll remember that I mentioned last week that I sold off a few pieces from my non-collection of ornaments.  Well, Amy purchased quite a few of them.  So it was fun to see them again on her tree.

I love the color combo that Amy has used in this room with it’s rich mix of green and gold.

And it’s carried over in the bottle brush trees on top of the hutch.

I neglected to ask if Amy died those trees herself, or if she just managed to find the perfect colors for her room.

Another faux fireplace fits in perfectly in the master bedroom.

It’s topped with a sparkling gold Christmas village.

Next on our tour is the bathroom.

I really wish I’d asked Amy where she found those letters, aren’t they awesome?

I think my favorite thing in the room is this cupboard though.

Amy has filled it with a bit of Christmas joy.

I hope you’ve been inspired by part 1 of our tour.  If you were inspired even half as much as I was by visiting Amy’s home, then my job here is done.  Well, it’s not really done, because I’ll be back on Wednesday with part 2 of our tour.  So be sure to stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you want to go back and check out Amy’s previous home, click these links for part 1 and part 2.

my vintage ornament non-collection.

Those of you who have followed me for any length of time know that I am in total denial about being a collector of any kind.  I guess I really don’t think of myself as one of those people who collect items because they are valuable.  Or rare.  I hope to never be one of those people who has spent tons of money on some sort of collection believing that the items will appreciate in value, and then when I die my heirs can’t even give it away.

But obviously I do have collections, I just prefer to call them non-collections in order to maintain my delusion that I am not a collector.

I really have just one absolute requirement for the items I collect, they have to be something that brings me joy (I followed that rule long before Marie Kondo came along).  And I guess there are a handful of additional rules that I generally follow as well:

Rule #2 – the items must be fairly cheap.  I think I’ve pretty much established that I’m a frugal person.  I’m never going to spend a bunch of money on something just because it’s considered ‘collectible’.

My non-collection of vintage Christmas ornaments totally meets this rule since I typically find my ornaments at garage or estate sales.  If I’m lucky enough to find them there, they are usually less than $1 each.  These baggies of ornaments for $10 each were probably the most I’ve ever paid for ornaments at a garage sale.

On occasion I have also been known to splurge on ornaments at antique shops, but in this case ‘splurging’ still means paying less than $10 each for really special ones, like this Santa ornament …

Quite a few of my favorite ornaments came from a shop that was in No. St. Paul called La’ Garage.  I’m sure some of my local readers remember that place.  The best way to describe it would be as an estate sale in a storefront.  The proprietors bought out estates to stock their shop.  They had amazing vintage ornaments each year at Christmas and I always stopped by at least once each season and purchased some.

They also sometimes sold the old boxes separately and I snatched those up whenever I saw them.

They really came in handy when I sold off a bunch of my ornaments a few years ago.

Sadly, La’ Garage closed up shop back in July 2020, and I still miss them.

Rule #3 – the items collected must be something that I display or use, not something to tuck away in a cupboard somewhere.

I pretty much broke that rule last year because I didn’t put up my tree.  Let’s face it, Christmas 2020 was a weird one.  Covid was putting the kibosh on most of the usual socializing, and I just wasn’t in the mood to put up a tree.  Plus the day job was really overwhelming me, and I didn’t have the energy left over to decorate much last year.

But this year I’ve pulled out my tall, skinny, silver tree once again and filled it up with my vintage ornaments.

I love unwrapping each one from its tissue paper and admiring how pretty it is as I add it to the tree.

Rule #4 – I mainly collect vintage items.  They just appeal to me more than reproductions, or new items.

With the ornaments, I especially love the old hand-painted ones.  They are always unique.  Doesn’t the one above have a 70’s vibe with those daisies?  I think that particular ornament artist was ahead of her time.

I’m really drawn to the unique color combination on this next one with its blue and green …

It just happens to perfectly match the gorgeous colors on that vintage book that my friend Sue gave me for my birthday.

I’m not precisely sure what the flowers on this next one are supposed to be, but to me they look like Lily of the Valley.  Certainly not a flower you typically think of at Christmas time, but how pretty are they on this bulb?

I also enjoy the more geometric patterns.

Don’t they have a sort of mid-century atomic vibe?

I’ve read that there was a trend towards space age themed ornaments in the 50’s and 60’s as Americans were caught up in the space race.  I’m still bummed about the really cool planet ornament I once had that I broke back in 2015 …

I used it in a furniture photo shoot and it rolled off the dresser and shattered into a million pieces (which tends to happen when these fragile ornaments hit the floor).  What was I thinking being so cavalier with that ornament?

So far the closest replacement I’ve found for it is this one …

And let’s face it, it’s nowhere near as cool.

So I’m still on the lookout for a replacement planet ornament.  Maybe one day I’ll find another.

Rule #5 – I’m also not one who believes my collections have to get bigger and bigger and bigger.  Over time, as I find fabulous pieces to add to my non-collections, I tend to start narrowing my scope in some way.  As I mentioned above, I sold off quite a bit of my non-collection of ornaments a few years back.

For example, if I had six of the same design, I sold five of them and just kept one.

And I also sold some that weren’t in my preferred color scheme of pink and aqua.

Those gold ones were so pretty boxed up with old book pages to cushion them.

What is it about these vintage ornaments that I find so appealing?  Maybe it’s that my grandparents likely used ornaments similar to these on their Christmas tree and subconsciously I am trying to recreate my childhood love of Christmas.  Or maybe I’m just drawn to shiny, pretty things.  Who knows?

But how about you?  Do you have any Christmas related non-collections?  Do you follow a similar set of ‘rules’ for collecting, or do you just go for broke?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

I have a special treat planned for next week.  I’m super excited to be sharing a tour of my friend Amy’s house, which is looking amazingly festive.

Her holiday decorations make me drool, and I bet you guys will love them too!  So be sure to stay tuned!

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 re.design 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?

remember that bed?

Remember that bed that didn’t sell?

I ended up repurposing the headboard into a Farmers Market sign

I was hanging onto the foot board for a similar purpose.  To make it into a sign.  Only this time one with a holiday theme.

And here it is.

I scuff sanded the foot board and gave it two coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  Then I added the stencil using their Honky Tonk Red, Evergreen and Midnight Sky.

I’d ordered the stencil from Wallcutz in just the right size for the foot board (sorry, can’t remember exactly which size it is, but the point is that you can order in a variety of sizes specifically to fit your item).

I love the way the curve of “Rudolph and Co” mirrors the curve at the top of the foot board.

And the classic red and green color scheme works beautifully on my red carriage house.

I debated adding a row of hooks in that bottom section, which would have made it the perfect spot to hang Christmas stockings, but I knew I’d be using this outside so I left them off.  And speaking of using it outside, I just used clear wax as my top coat.  I’ve done that on quite a few things that I use outside and I never seem to have much of an issue with it not adding enough protection.  Especially for seasonal items like this one.  It will be hung up for about two months each year, and the rest of the year will be stored inside the carriage house.

For those of you who may be newer-ish to my blog, this is my carriage house, a.k.a. the ‘garage’ a.k.a. ‘the barn’ a.k.a. my ‘workshop’ (in summer).  Technically it is a carriage house as evidenced by the doors which slide open to the side, rather than a barn.

Although our house was originally part of a dairy farm, the carriage house would have been used to store carriages and was never used to house animals like a barn would have been.

There is a 2nd floor that we use for storage.  In the summer it’s mostly empty, but in the winter we keep all of our patio furniture up there, plus a good bit of nnK’s garden furniture and pool parts.  I have thought about how fantastic it would be if I could use that space as a workshop, but carrying furniture up and down the steep staircase all the time wouldn’t be terribly practical.  And putting in an elevator wouldn’t really be practical either 😉  Also, heating it in the winter would not be cheap.  And I’m nothing if not cheap.

That’s an old photo, by the way.  We did get a little snow this week, but not quite that much, although more is coming this afternoon.  Maybe I’ll get a good opportunity to update that photo later today!

So, how do like my re-purposing of the foot board?

Although I’m starting to wind down on creating Christmas décor pieces to sell for this year, I’ll be keeping an eye out next year for more unique pieces that I can use this stencil on.

Next week I’ll share the rest of my outdoor Christmas décor, so be sure to stay tuned!

been there, done that.

I know, I know.  These craft paper scroll signs have been around for years.  As tends to be the norm for me, I’m the last one to catch on to a new (and by now, old) trend.

I really debated even sharing this project, fearing that you guys will all be thinking ‘been there, done that’.

But I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making one of these, and I never found the time when I was a 9 to 5’er.  Now that I am retired, I’m going to have time to get to more of these little side projects.

Not only that, but for me this project was completely free, only requiring supplies that I already had on hand.  Now that I’m on a fixed income, I’ll need to be watching my budget more closely.  Ha … who am I kidding?  I’ve always been a penny pincher, nothing has changed there.

First up, I gathered my supplies.  I always have a giant roll of brown craft paper on hand.  In addition, I pulled out my Dixie Belle paint in Caviar, my re.design with prima 1.5″ wax brush (which works great for stenciling larger designs), some stencils and some string (oh, and not pictured, some paper toweling and some Frog tape).

I rolled out a section of the kraft paper and weighted down the ends with heavy items that were close at hand to keep it from rolling back up as I worked.  Then I used yellow Frog tape to secure my stencil (I ended up going with my North Pole Trading Co stencil from Wallcutz).  I left about a foot of paper at the top and bottom to roll up later, and then cut this piece from the roll.

The yellow Frog tape is the one for delicate surfaces and I really recommend it for this project in particular because it won’t leave a mark on your craft paper when you pull it up.

Libby left me a comment last week suggesting I write a post about my stenciling technique, and I plan to do a more detailed one later, but for now, here is one of my most important q tips … always use a dry brush for stenciling.

What does that mean?  Well, basically you load your brush with paint and then dab most of it off onto a paper towel before using it.  It feels rather wasteful, but it’s the best way to get a clean result.

Another of my stenciling recommendations is to use a thicker paint.  In this case, I am at the very bottom of this particular jar of Caviar.  I’ve gunked up the threads on the jar so badly with dried on paint that the lid no longer seals tightly.  As a result, the paint has really thickened up, making it perfect for stenciling!

Patience is also key while stenciling.  If you aren’t getting immediate coverage with your dry brush, that’s OK.  Wait for the first coat to dry and then go back over it with a 2nd coat.  Just make sure your stencil hasn’t shifted in the meantime.

Once the paint was dry, I used my Carpenter Square to make a pencil line where I wanted to trim down the width of my craft paper.

After trimming off the excess on the side, I simply rolled the top and bottom and secured the rolls using paper clips.

Then I threaded my string through the top roll, tied it in a bow, and hung my scroll on the wall.

Ultimately I felt like it needed just a little something more, so I added a garland of faux greenery to the top to dress it up.

This project couldn’t have been more simple, or more cheap.

Have you ever tried making a craft paper scroll?  Am I hopelessly behind the times with this project?  Been there, done that?  Leave me a comment and let me know.