what’s in your stocking?

My sister picked up a bunch of plain white linen-ish Christmas stockings for me at an after Christmas sale last year … or maybe it was the year before … I’m not sure, they all start to blend together when you reach a certain age, am I right?

I’d really forgotten all about them until I was pulling out a few other holiday projects this year and there they were.

So I decided to change them up a bit and see if they would sell at the shop.  I started by removing the red yarn balls that hung from the top (you can’t really see them well in the ‘before’ photo) because I wanted a more neutral, monochromatic look.  Then I pulled out my mini-stencils from JRV Stencil Co.

These were the perfect size to give these stockings a ‘grain sack’ style look.

Now, I have a confession to make.  Sometimes I get lazy, and this is one of those times.  I was going to put a grain sack stripe on each stocking, but I decided to skip it.  I have a grain sack stripe stencil (say that 10 times fast!), but it was just a tad too short for these.  That meant I would have had to tape all of the grain sack lines and that would have been time consuming.

So instead I just added the JRV stencils on their own.

I used Dixie Belle’s Gravel Road paint for all of the stenciling.

Whenever stenciling on fabric, you’ll get a more crisp result if you have a nice hard surface behind your fabric.  In addition, if you’re stenciling over something with two layers of fabric like these stockings, or a pillow cover for example, be sure to place a barrier between the two layers so that your paint doesn’t bleed through to the back layer.

For my stockings, I used an old chunk of wood that I also use to test paint colors on.

I just tucked it inside and that gave me a nice hard, flat surface for stenciling.

I also used that re.design with prima stencil brush shown above.  The 2″ diameter of this brush makes stenciling go much faster than using a smaller brush.  I did look around online to see if I could find this brush available for sale and I did find it for around $40.  That’s pretty steep unless you do a fair amount of stenciling.  But if you do, I’d say it’s definitely worth it.  Search for ‘redesign with prima 2″ round stencil brush’ if you’re looking for it.

In my opinion, these particular stockings are a bit too small to be functional as actual Christmas stockings.  In other words, Santa could only fit a few small things inside and in general you want to encourage Santa to bring you a few bigger things, am I right?  But I think they are well suited as just decoration.

So I added some greens and some old photos to one pair and hung them on my old ladder.

And this next pair contains greens and some bleached bottle brush trees.

I had fun playing around with different ideas for filling the stockings.

The sky is the limit.

I can picture these all hung along a stairway railing, can’t you?

Gosh, now I’m tempted to keep them after all.  Maybe I’ll just keep a pair of them, but sell the rest.  I can’t keep all of the things, right?

So tell me, what’s in your stocking?

ironing board makeovers.

So, first up today, I have to report back to you on the bench makeover that I shared a week ago Monday.  It has already sold!  So, to recap, painted in the pale blue it sat for what, nine months, and didn’t sell.  I painted it white, and bam!  Sold within a week.  I listed it for the same price as the first version.  Both versions had a transfer on them.  I did paint the legs this time, whereas I left the legs bare the first time around.  But I really believe it was my choice of paint color the first time around that was the problem.

I often feel like painting everything in the same creamy white color gets boring for you guys here on the blog, but the thing is, that’s what sells.  And ultimately, I do need to be able to sell my pieces.  I can’t just store them in my dining room forever.  So if you’re ever wondering why I seem to paint so many things in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, this is why.

Speaking of storing things that haven’t sold, remember a while back I brought home some painted ironing boards that didn’t sell at the shop?

Just to refresh your memory, the white one on the left is the only one that sold while at the shop (yes, also painted in Drop Cloth), so I brought the other 4 all back home again.

Then I listed them here on the blog, and I was able to sell the black one and the Laundry Co. one.  But I had no takers for the blue one …

and the Apricot one …

I have to confess, I really didn’t like the Apricot one myself, so it didn’t surprise me that it didn’t sell.  That design was just a mistake from the start.  Who hangs an ironing board in a nursery?  Apparently no one.

Anyway, I decided to salvage that board by cutting off the wonky end and turning the rectangle that was left into a sign.  So I sent it home with Ken and he cut off the end for me.

Next I sanded off the transfers.  That’s fairly easy to do with some 80 grit sandpaper and an orbital sander.  I gave it a fresh paint job, also in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, and then I added some stencils from Maison de Stencils.

So now it’s a Christmas themed sign.  It’s not even recognizable, right?

Wouldn’t it be adorable hanging over the bed.

I think this was a great way to do something with an old wooden ironing board that just wasn’t going to sell.  I’m still working on an idea for that wonky triangle shaped end, I may just come up with a use for that too.

As for the blue one, I decided to leave the shape of that one alone.  But again, I sanded off the transfer, repainted it in Drop Cloth and added some stencils.

This one would also be fabulous hung above the bed, or really anywhere that you have space for it.

I took these signs, plus a couple more, into Reclaiming Beautiful a couple of weeks ago so it’s possible they have already sold but as of last Wednesday they were still there.  So if any of you locals are looking for something fun to do in the next few days, be sure to head in to Stillwater.  Keep in mind that Reclaiming Beautiful is only open on Thursday – Saturday.

And for the rest of you, if you have a piece that isn’t selling, maybe it’s time to consider a makeover.

thin ice.

Do we all feel a little bit like we are on thin ice these days?  Some days watching/listening to the news is just too much.  I’ve started taking a break from it all on the weekends.  From the time I leave work on Friday until I return on Monday, I avoid the news.

I work on my painting projects, I listen to music, we stream TV or movies, we have my sister and niece over for game nights, and we just generally try to forget about all of the chaos that seems to be happening in the world right now.

I have to face reality again every Monday when I go back to work, but for a couple of days each week I enjoy a little peace and quiet while I paint things.

Speaking of thin ice, I just love the look of vintage ice skates, how about you?

My friend Sue sold that pair shown above at one of our Carriage House sales back in the day.

Unfortunately, I don’t often find really awesome vintage skates at garage sales, but I can usually pick up less attractive old skates for only a few dollars.  In fact, I think I paid $2 for this pair last summer.

They aren’t much to look at ‘as is’, but I knew I could dress them up.

A few years ago I painted a similarly grungy pair of skates pink.

And last year, rather than painting, I just added a re.design with prima transfer to this pair of skates …

This time around I decided to do both, paint and transfer.

I started out by removing the laces and soaking them in some OxyClean.  While they were soaking, I painted the skates in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

I didn’t want to use sandpaper on them because I didn’t want to remove too much paint, but I did want to smooth out the surface so I used the Dixie Belle Finishing Pad to buff them, which worked perfectly.

I then wiped away any dust and applied some left over bits from prima’s Violet Hill transfer.

I definitely don’t aim for perfection when doing this.  I try to place the bits and pieces in a way that looks purposeful and follows the line of the ice skates.

Whenever you are applying a transfer to a non-flat surface, you are going to get cracks and other imperfections.  I know some people fret about those cracks, but let’s get real, we all have far more serious things to fret about these days.  Who cares about a few little cracks in your transfer here and there?

Once the transfer is in place, I waxed the skates using clear wax.  Then after rinsing and drying the laces, I re-laced them.

Of course, I intend these skates as decoration only.  I don’t think that the paint and/or transfer would hold up to actual ice skating use.

Then again, I’ve seen plenty of people out there painting and adding transfers to shoes, so if you’re an ice skater and you want to dress up your skates, give it a shot and let me know how it holds up.

But if you’re just looking for a creative way to decorate for winter, try dressing up some skates.  If you don’t happen to have any, check out your local thrift store.

winter returns.

I’m so glad that I took advantage of our ‘second summer’ last weekend and finished up my bench makeover.  I have it posted on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, so hopefully it will sell soon.

I also sold that large cupboard that I refinished back in September on Monday.

I was really happy to sell that one before winter set in.  It was rather large, and really heavy, so I was storing it out in the carriage house.  I really didn’t want it to sit out there all winter.

And as it turned out, we got it out the door just in time because winter returned with a vengeance on Tuesday.

Second summer is glorious, but it’s also fleeting.  Winter always returns.

Another task that I was determined to take care of during our second summer weekend was filling all of my window boxes with evergreens.  The past several years I haven’t been able to get to this before the soil in the boxes froze rock solid, but this year luck was on my side.

Mr. Q and I popped over to our local Home Depot and we picked up a variety of evergreens.

No matter how many I buy, I still never have enough to fill all of my planters totally.  These really are just the background to which I add dried flowers harvested from my garden (or my neighbor’s garden).

The window box on the side of my carriage house is always my favorite.

In addition to the greens, I added some dried flowers from my Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea.  The flowers on this one turn a deep shade of pink/purple as the season progresses.  You have to cut them and dry them before you get a really hard freeze though, because eventually they turn brown if left on the shrub.

I added a few other dried flowers (astilbe and sedum), plus a few rusty ornaments.

I took all of these photos before Tuesday’s snow.  I really thought I’d have a little more time to enjoy my work before it looked like this …

But that’s OK.  This snow will melt soon.

I also dressed up the Farmer’s Market basket that hangs on the photo cottage.

I added some battery operated lights to this one which is pretty at night.  This planter is a bit more sheltered from the elements by the overhanging roof on the cottage.

Next up was the galvanized laundry tub that sits in front of my carriage house.  This is where I hung my painted sled.

It’s looking quite festive with the addition of some snow!

We share a mailbox post with nnK (our neighbor across the street) and quite a few years ago we added some planters to either side of the mailboxes.  nnK fills them up in the summer, and I fill them for the winter.  Last year I swapped out the plastic planter box on my side for an old metal toolbox (I’m still working on finding a good one for her side).

I used quite a bit more dried flowers in these arrangements, and many of them came from nnK’s garden.

If you’re wondering how well these things stand up to a Minnesota winter, well, the truth is they definitely don’t look this good all the way to spring.  But they usually look good at least through Christmas.

Some of you who have followed me for a few years are probably wondering about the big daddy of them all, my front window box.

Well, silly me, I managed to forget to take any photos of it before the snow.  But here it is after …

It’s a little hard to see the details 😉

I have some twig lights in here though, and it looks amazing lit up at night both from inside the house and from the street.

How about you?  Do you fill up your outdoor planters for winter?  Got any tips to share on what works well for you?  Be sure to leave a comment and let me know.

st. nick’s tree farm.

Well, so much for second summer.  I enjoyed it while it lasted, and then enjoyed watching the snow come down last night.  Looks like I’ll be getting the parka back out again.

I apologize to all of you who are not local.  Rather than an in depth how-to, today’s post is really just a sales pitch.

For this box.

I purchased this box back when my friend Sue and I were hosting occasional sales out of my carriage house.

Now that we no longer have a sale, the box has been wasting away up in my carriage house storage.  When we hauled all of our summer things up there to store them for the winter, I realized the existing green paint made this box perfect for Christmas.

And it’s big enough that you could put a full size Christmas tree in it.

So I brought it out and cleaned it up.  Then I pulled out a couple of stencils and some Dixie Belle paint in Drop Cloth and added a little design to one side.

This is a combination of two different stencils from Maison de Stencils, this one and this one.  I put a quick coat of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat over the whole side of the box and called it good.

I realized after taking my initial photos that the box looked deceivingly small in most of them, as though it’s just the size of a typical wooden fruit crate.

However, sitting as it is in the photo above, it is 14.5″ tall, 32.25″ wide and 23.25″ deep (front to back).  It’s big.  Plenty big enough to hold a tree.

I typically used it standing on its side during the sales to display items on top and inside.  Standing on its side the tall way, the box is 32.25″ tall, so a nice height for display.

I could also stand it on its side the other way and have it be 23.25″ tall.  Either way, it was quite versatile for display purposes and I loved the look of those slats of mismatched faded wood in the back.

That oversized jingle ball that I used as a prop really isn’t helping to show the size of the box at all, so I threw my Christmas tree farm truck on the top.

I’m not sure that’s helping either.  This is one of those cases where you’ll have to rely on the measurements.

By the way, Sue painted that truck aqua, added the Christmas tree label on the door, and gave it to me for my birthday one year (I told you she was good!).

Normally I would take something like this box in to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell, but this box is large enough to be a bit unwieldy.  So I decided to attempt to sell it on my own before dragging it down there.

So, if any of you locals are looking for an amazing, authentically aged wooden crate to put your tree in this year, this one is for sale for $45.  Email me at qisforquandie@gmail.com if interested.

too soon?

OK, OK, I know, it’s way too soon for Christmas.

But that snow we had a week or so ago really put me in the holiday spirit.  Then add on the fact that the shop wants to start putting out the holiday stuff this week, so I need to have things ready to go.  Plus it has been unseasonably cold here.  One morning last week I checked the temp to help decide which coat to wear to work and it was 18 degrees (that meant the parka, in case you’re wondering).  In October!

Anyway, all of that added up to me getting my holiday items ready to go before Halloween.

For the past several years I’ve been painting up sleds as Christmas decor.  Way back in the early days, my first few sleds were flops.  I tried to stencil over the existing finishes on the sleds and that didn’t work well at all.

The stencil designs that I used were too delicate, so you just couldn’t see them well enough.

When those didn’t sell, I realized I needed to paint the sleds first, then stencil with a contrasting paint color.

Ah, much better.  Although sometimes it still works to keep the original finish, especially when it’s a perfect chippy red like this sled that I stenciled last year.

You may remember that back in June I came across a stash of old sleds at a lunchtime garage sale.  I had resigned myself to not being able to find much at garage sales this year due to COVID (ie. no neighborhood sales), so it was a bonus to find 4 sleds all together at one sale.

I started out with the two taller sleds with black metal runners.  These were actually newer looking and they had some stickers on them promoting Special Export beer.  I suppose they were giveaways at an event or something.

I removed the stickers using Goof Off, sanded down the wood and painted one in Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky, and one in their Drop Cloth.

I followed my usual process of painting all of the wooden parts of the sled, front and back.  Then I added some stenciling.  I used an old favorite stencil on the white one (sorry, I’m not exactly sure where I purchased that one) and I used a new stencil I ordered this summer from Maison de Stencils on the black one.

After painting both of these, I realized that it was quite time consuming to paint all of the wood parts, front and back.  I decided to do a little experiment on one of the smaller sleds and just paint the front of the flat wood slats and then add a stencil.

Once I had it done, I realized it was perfectly fine this way.  In fact, I might even like it a bit better than the fully painted ones, and it was so much easier to accomplish.

However, I think this method of painting just part of the sled worked so well on the two smaller sleds because they were old and had nicely patina’d worn wood.  The two taller sleds with newer wood might not have looked as good with partial paint jobs.

By the way, if you’re looking for this exact stencil design on Maison de Stencils website, you won’t find it.  I pieced together parts from three different stencils to create that look (this one, this one and this one).  It’s difficult to find a stencil that works perfectly ‘as is’ on a sled.  You have to get creative to fit things to those narrow slats.

I just painted the wide slats on the 2nd smaller sled as well.

The stenciling on this sled is all from one stencil (it’s this one).

If you’re wondering about paint colors, I used all Dixie Belle paints on these including for the stenciling, and the colors I used are Honky Tonk Red, Evergreen, Drop Cloth and Midnight Sky.

Last year I kept the red, chippy sled for myself and hung it on my photo cottage.  But now I’ve kinda fallen in love with the Saint Nick’s sled and it looks perfect hanging on the carriage house, so I’m going to keep that one instead.

But the rest, include the chippy red one, will be going to Reclaiming Beautiful on Wednesday.

That is, unless one of you local readers wants to snatch one up before then.

I’ve listed the sleds, plus quite a few other Christmas things on my available for local sale page. Be sure to take a look and see if there is anything you are interested in.

If so, you can email me at qisforquandie@gmail.com to call dibs up until Wednesday morning.  First come, first served.  After that, I’m bringing most of the stuff to the shop.

 

better not pout.

Today I’m sharing the gift that I put together for my Secret Santa recipient at work.  Since we’ve exchanged our gifts by now, it’s safe to go public with this one.

I started out with another crusty old toolbox that my picker found for me.

When they start out this crusty, plus are an unappealing color like … hmmm … what can I call that color that is blog appropriate? … I like to give them new life with paint.

In this case I also decided it was a good idea to seal it (after washing it thoroughly of course).

This time I used the Dixie Belle BOSS as a sealer.  I gave it one coat inside and out and let it dry 24 hours before painting.  I probably could have gotten away with painting sooner this time, but the BOSS is most effective if given a day to dry.  Better safe than sorry, right?

Next I painted the entire outside of the box in two coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  Once that was dry, I taped off a red cross and then painted that plus the inside of the box in Honky Tonk Red.

I sanded the edges to distress and then added one of the newest re.design with prima transfers.

I bet you guys are going to love this new set of transfers as much as I do.  This one is called Classic Vintage Labels and contains a collection of 27 ‘labels’.  These are going to be perfect for use on clay pots, galvanized watering cans, glass jars … the possibilities are endless.

I decided to use a more durable top coat than wax on the inside of the box so that it would hold up to potential liquid spills (based on the contents, which you’ll see in a minute), so I pulled out Dixie Belle’s Clear Coat Flat.  I applied it using a new to me tool, their blue sponge.  To use, simply dip the sponge in the clear coat and wipe it on.  It worked really well for this project.

My red and white color scheme had a double meaning.  First, I wanted the box to look like a first aid kit (sort of an ‘open in case of emergency’ vibe) and second, it also has a peppermint theme.

I’ve included all of the ingredients for making Peppermint Patties.  In case you aren’t familiar, that’s basically hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps.

I threw in this pair of vintage shot glasses that I found at an estate sale …

Plus this cute mug from Hobby Lobby …

You might think I was super creative when I thought to add some broken candy cane stir sticks to my photos, but that wasn’t quite how it happened.  Actually, as I was setting up for my photo shoot I dropped the mug with the sticks inside.  Fortunately the mug survived the fall, but every single one of the candy canes broke.

Luckily I just happened to have a second package of them so my photo shoot was salvaged and I decided to put the broken sticks to use as props for my photos.

Hopefully my Secret Santa recipient loved her gift!

I know I really enjoyed putting it all together!

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and re.design with prima marketing for providing the products used in this project.

projects that didn’t make the cut.

A very merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate Christmas!

I wasn’t planning on having a blog post today.  In fact, I was actually planning to take a bit of a blogging break from Christmas through New Years.  But as it turns out, instead of running out of blog posts over the holiday season, I had too many.  I was so absorbed in my 12 days of giveaways that I never found time to blog about some of the projects I finished.

In addition, this year most of my friends and family have decided to move the Christmas celebrations to after the holiday.  Last night was just a quiet dinner at our house with my sister and my niece.  Today we have a family brunch with Mr. Q’s side.  But over the next week we have three more dinner parties and another brunch.  So, aside from the brunch, I actually have a little down time today so I thought I’d go ahead and post something.  Plus, I wanted to make a last ditch effort to share some of my holiday projects that didn’t make the cut.  So, get yourself a beverage and kick back, because this is going to be a long post.

First up is this pair of ice skates that I picked up at an estate sale.

I added sections from the re.design with prima transfer called Royal Burgundy to dress them up.  I posted these on some Facebook groups and on Instagram and several people asked if I sealed them.  I did not.  These are old skates, not skates someone would actually wear anymore.  At least I assume so.  I don’t actually ice skate, but I’m guessing that modern technology has vastly improved the ice skate since these were made.  So I meant these to be used for decor only, and therefore they don’t really need to be sealed in any way.

Next up is this vintage pink dust pan.

My picker found this for me a while back and as soon as I saw it I wanted to turn it into a holiday decoration.  The rusty, chippy pink finish works perfectly with vintage pink Christmas ornaments and some evergreens lightly dusted with snow.

Another project I worked on, and took lots of pictures of, but never really shared here was the galvanized bin in front of my carriage house.  When I put it together, it looked like this …

But it wasn’t long until it looked more like this …

Hmmm.  Most of the contents were completely buried in snow, but it still looks really pretty lit up at night.  One of the items I included in my arrangement was this …

I wanted to add a pop of color and I didn’t have a branch with red berries or anything like that, so I grabbed this … hmmm … do these things have a name?  This is one of the arms that would have held the mirror on a dresser.  I have a few of these lying around since I tend to take mirrors off dressers and not put them back on.

Anyway, I painted it in Dixie Belle’s Honky Tonk Red, sanded to distress and then waxed it.  Wax is not a durable enough top coat for outdoor use on a regular basis, but I don’t really care if the paint job on this doesn’t hold up beyond the holidays.

Another post I was planning to share, but never found time for, was the new way I found of displaying my non-collection of vintage glass tree toppers.  First, I was going to show how I store them in my vintage suitcases.

In the past I’ve displayed them in the window.

But they were literally held in place with some Stick-Um Candle Adhesive wax which wasn’t terribly secure.  I realized I was living dangerously and it was only a matter of time before one fell off (or, gasp, even several at a time).  So I needed to come up with a better plan.

I did a bunch of searching on Pinterest and found several ideas, but none that I loved.  It occurred to me that putting them over some kind of pointy stick that was somehow secured to something would be the best option.  So I decided to go with wooden skewers and floral foam.

I secured the foam in my wooden tote, added some silver platters and some greenery, then poked the skewers into the foam and placed my toppers over them.

It was easy to get the toppers to sit at just the exact angle I wanted them to.

I put the wooden tote back on the window ledge in my dining room.

After the holidays are over, the toppers will go back into their suitcases along with the floral foam and the skewers.  Easy, peasy storage.

I’m still not done with the rejects folks.  Next up are these sled ornaments.  Here’s the ‘before’ …

I purchased these after Christmas a couple of years ago for just a dollar each.  They looked pretty cheap and tacky, but I knew I could dress them up.

I painted them with Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, then I added various segments from some of the re.design with prima knob transfers.

I had initially planned to share these on the re.design with prima Facebook page as part of their 12 days of ornaments, but I was overcome with self-doubt.  I just didn’t think they could compete with the amazing ornaments that others were sharing.

To be honest, I often feel like my more simple, not so embellished, creations pale in comparison to other projects out there being shared.  I have to remind myself that I’m not the only one who loves a more simple, clean look.  Right?

Plus, it’s not a competition.  At least I hope it isn’t 😉

This brings me to my last reject for today, our Christmas tree.

You’ve normally seen it in the past filled with my huge non-collection (I swear I’m not a collector, remember?) of vintage ornaments (and there are those toppers in the window too).

In the past I haven’t had a great spot for the tree, and I also didn’t have a lot of room for a large tree.  So I have a slender, silver tree and I placed it in the corner of the piano room (above), and I also tried tucking it beside the pine cupboard in the q branch one year.

But now that I’ve changed up my living room, I’ve opened up some space in one corner that seemed like the perfect spot for a Christmas tree.

Unfortunately, my slim silver tree looks completely lost in this corner.

I have to confess, I am totally envying all of those big, full, flocked trees that everyone seems to have this year except for me.  I’m still debating whether or not I’m going to hit the after Christmas sales to look for a new tree.

But in the meantime, this year I decided to change it up and keep my tree monochromatic.  I also decided to play around a bit with some less than traditional ornaments starting with the brass horns that I purchased at a garage sale last summer.

I borrowed this idea from my friend Amy who creates the most amazing Christmas trees.  I simply tucked them in place throughout the tree.

Another unique addition was this old framed black & white photo of my mom.

Quite a few of my vintage ornaments made it onto the tree as long as they were silver or gold.

The sleds were added as well.

Well, that’s a wrap on the holiday season.  I hope you enjoyed seeing the projects that didn’t make the cut today.  Once my social calendar slows down a bit, I hope to get back to painting more furniture.  First I have to find some though, so I’m off to Facebook Marketplace to see what I can find!

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and re.design with prima marketing for providing the products used for some of these projects.

the stockings were hung.

I get a lot of my inspiration from pinterest, and I bet a few of you do too.  Quite a while back (probably at least 4 or 5 years ago) I pinned this …

I wish I could give credit for this photo, but there were no links or watermarks or anything.  I really loved the look of that painted and stenciled sock stretcher.

So I started snatching up sock stretchers when I saw them at garage or estate sales.

In case you’ve never heard of sock stretchers (or sock blockers), they are used to keep your woolen socks from shrinking as they dry.  You wash the socks, and then put them over the sock stretcher to dry.

Based on the numbers stamped on the backs, I’d say you must have been able to buy them in your size thus keeping your socks shaped just right for your feet.

The thing I can’t figure out is why every time I’ve seen them at sales, the seller has just one of them.  Wouldn’t you at least need to have a pair?  I don’t know.  But check out this article for more info on sock stretchers.

Anyway, I pulled out my selection of sock stretchers to give them a little makeover for Christmas.  I started by painting them in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy.  Turns out that a couple of them were bleeders.  This provided me with a great opportunity to show you what that looks like in a side by side comparison.

These were both painted in one coat of Sawmill Gravy. The one on top has an orange-ish stain that is bleeding through the paint.  This was easily fixed by adding a coat of Dixie Belle’s BOSS, letting it dry overnight, and then painting over it.  Then one more coat of Sawmill Gravy was all it needed.

Next I pulled out some of the new stencils that I received from Maison de Stencils.  This time I used Dixie Belle’s Gravel Road paint to do my stenciling.  I like using Dixie Belle paint for stenciling because it’s nice and thick.  People often ask for tips on getting a crisp look with stencils.  Using a thicker paint like the Dixie Belle paint, or re.design with Prima Marketing’s Chalk Paste, helps keep your paint from seeping under the edges of your stencil.

I didn’t use any of the stencils ‘as is’ exactly, instead I just placed portions of words where I thought they looked best on the sock stretchers.  I tried to space them out so they looked uniform, but also so that they filled in most of the space.

Once the paint was dry, I sanded lightly and then gave them a coat of wax.  Some of them needed holes drilled into the top so that I could hang them with string.

I think maybe I need to add some sprigs of greenery to the tops of mine like the one in the inspiration photo has.

In the meantime, the stockings are hung on the pine cupboard with care.  In hopes that St. Nicholas will … well, I guess he can’t really fill them up with any goodies, now can he?

Now, for today’s giveaway!  If you’ve been following along, today is day 10 of my 12 days of giveaways.  I’ve drawn names for the winners of prizes 1 through 8 so far.  You can still leave a comment to win prize 9 from Monday if you leave a comment on that post by midnight tonight.  If your name is drawn as a winner, I will notify you by email so be sure you’re checking your mail.

Today’s prize package includes lots of fun stuff to use when stenciling.

If I draw your name at random you will receive 4 stencils from Maison de Stencils including the very handy grain sack stripe stencil.  Plus these re.design with Prima Marketing products; the mini paint roller (which works fantastically when doing larger all over stencil work like on my velvet inspired wrapping paper), a 1″ stencil brush, their chalk paste in Iron Gate and Vintage Lace and their Decor Wax in Diamond Dust.  Did you know you can stencil with their Decor Wax?  Check out this post to learn more about that technique.

Thank you to Maison de Stencils for sponsoring this giveaway by providing the stencils, and to Prima Marketing for providing the roller, brush, chalk paste and decor wax.  Also, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the paint I used on my stockings.

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, have you seen any good pinterest inspiration lately?  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 Friday, December 20, 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 $100 if the prize is not claimed by Sunday, December 22, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!

one size fits all.

Welcome to day 6 of my 12 days of giveaways!  Gosh, how is it possible that we are already halfway through?

Before we proceed, congrats to Kim Moran the winner of day 3 and Jennifer Knopf the winner of day 4 (check out Jennifer’s shop here).

Each year I try to come up with a new idea for wrapping my Christmas gifts.

Last year was one of my favorites.  I had visited a workshop in Venice last November that made the most beautiful velvet …

And that inspired me to create some gift boxes and wrapping paper using paint and stencils.

In 2017 I went with a pretty in pink theme.

I painted boxes using Fusion’s English Rose and Little Piggy, then I used their Transfer Gel to add some Twelve Days of Christmas Graphics.

In 2016 I went with a more elegant approach using Fusion’s Studio Metallics paint in Copper combined with some old rolls of player piano music.

After painting the toolbox that I shared last week, this year I was inspired to try a rather muted neutral color scheme.  I pulled out some cardboard boxes and some brown paper gift bags.  Then I grabbed one of my Christmas stencils from Maison de Stencils, my Deer transfers from re.design with Prima Marketing and some Dixie Belle paint.

I started out simply by stenciling a grain sack stripe down the middle of the first box and then adding part of the Santa Claus & Co feedsack stencil in black.

I also used part of the stencil on some gift bags.

I have to confess, I flubbed up on stenciling the next box.  My stencil moved and I didn’t notice it until it was too late.  That’s what I get for not taping it down (remember, do as I say, not as I do).  So to salvage the box I pulled out my Dixie Belle paint in Putty and painted over the messed up stencil.

Then, rather than stenciling again, I decided to add a section of the Deer transfer.

I also added some deer to a couple of other boxes.

I have to admit, that one with the ‘fang-like canine’ is a little on the creepy side.  Maybe more suitable for a Halloween decoration, right?  It looks a little like Dracula Bambi.

My initial plan was to use some plain shipping tags as my gift tags, but I should have known I wouldn’t be able to just leave them plain.  When I found my box of shipping tags, there were a few photocopies of old photos nearby.

I also came across some rubber stamps that I forgot I had.

Next thing I knew I had totally fallen down a rabbit hole and was whipping up some gift tags to go on my packages.

Does this ever happen to you?  I completely lose track of time and forget about what I was planning to do (which was paint a dresser, coming soon).  Next thing I know I have made a huge mess and two hours have gone by in a creative haze.

I used some Tim Holtz rubber stamps on my tags  and the metal charms are also from Tim Holtz.  You can find his stuff at both Hobby Lobby and Michaels (at least that was true the last time I checked), and of course online too.

I know most people aren’t going to spend this much time on gift wrapping, and usually folks just throw away (or hopefully recycle) the boxes that their gifts came in.  But I hope my boxes inspire people to hang onto them and reuse them (less for the landfill).

Now, for the part you’ve all been waiting for, today’s giveaway.

Not only does the winner get a reindeer gift box and one of my tags, but you’ll also get a 10 oz. jar of Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta in the Orange Grove scent and a 10 oz. jar of their Clear Best Dang Wax.

But wait, that’s not all (said in my best game show host voice), you’ll also get a 4 oz. jar of each of Dixie Belle’s colored waxes.

So, if you’ve always wanted to try a colored wax but haven’t had a chance yet, this one is going to be perfect for you.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for sponsoring this giveaway by providing the waxes.

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 whether you wrap your presents ahead of time or do you want until Christmas Eve and then scramble to get them all wrapped?  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 11, 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 $100, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, December 13, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!