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!

my new favorite holiday stencils.

Welcome to day no. 5 of my 12 days of giveaways!

Way back last summer I ordered two new holiday stencils for myself from Maison de Stencils.  I had a feeling I would get a fair amount of use out of them when the holiday season arrived, and turns out I was right.

I used them on chairs …

And on sleds …

And on signs …

When my sister saw the Christmas Farm stencil …

she mentioned that she’d like to have a throw pillow with that design on it.

So I dug through my stash and pulled out a couple of pillow covers from re.design with Prima Marketing.

Their 18″ x 18″ pillow case is made with a nice and thick 100% cotton fabric that accepts paint beautifully and they have a zipper closure.

So I grabbed my stencils, some acrylic craft paint and a couple of re.design with Prima Marketing stencil brushes and got to work.

I started with the easier of the two designs.   I say ‘easier’ simply because I stuck with one color of paint which made it a quick stencil job.  First I placed a piece of thin hardboard inside the empty pillow case to give me a nice firm surface to stencil on and also to prevent my paint from bleeding through to the back of the pillow case.  Then I just taped my stencil in place and went at it with the red paint.

I love the graphic punch of the red on the white pillow form.

I know my sister is going to prefer the 2nd pillow though, and I’ll be giving this one to her for Christmas.  I warned her not to read my blog today, so hopefully I’m not ruining the surprise.

This one took just a little bit longer to do since I had to tape off the different areas for the three colors I used.  First the black, then the red, then the green.  It’s not hard to do, but you do need to wait a little in between each color to let the paint dry.

I loved both of these stencils so much that I reached out to Maison de Stencils and asked them if they’d be willing to send another of each that I could give away as part of my 12 days of giveaways.  And yee haw, they agreed!  Not only that, but they gave me a couple more to give away in the next two weeks, plus a couple for me to use myself on some upcoming furniture projects.

  Today I’m giving away both of the Christmas stencils plus  1″ and 2″ stencil brushes from re.design with Prima Marketing.

The larger 2″ brush makes quick work of larger stenciling projects, while the 1″ brush is better for more detailed work.

Thank you to both Maison de Stencils and Prima Marketing for sponsoring this giveaway by providing the stencils and the brushes.

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 which stencil is your favorite.  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 Sunday, December 8, 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 $65, if the prize is not claimed by Wednesday, December 11, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!

oh deer.

Congrats to Laura Hopwood, the winner of the day no. 2 prize.  I’ll be drawing a name for the winner of the day no. 3 prize tomorrow (is this getting confusing for you guys too?  I’m doing my best to keep track of it all), if you haven’t commented on that post you have until midnight tonight!

In the meantime, today is day 4 of my 12 days of giveaways, and I’m first sharing the transformation of this adorable (if I do say so myself) metal toolbox.

This toolbox started out looking like this …

My picker, Sue, found this for me.  She always grabs metal toolboxes when she sees them.  She knows I love to give these a new life with some paint.

To begin with I washed the toolbox using Dawn dish washing soap to cut any grease that might have been left behind by the former owner.  Next I added a coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat Sealer to prevent the rust from coming through my paint.

Today’s q tip:  Keep in mind that the Tough Coat Sealer does not block stain from bleeding thru (try the Dixie Belle BOSS for that), but I have found that it works well as a protective coat over rust.  It also works well as a top coat for a rusty piece when you want to retain the rusty look.

Next I pulled out a couple of new Dixie Belle paint colors, Sawmill Gravy and French Linen.  I can tell you now, both of these colors will be making their way onto my list of favorite neutrals.

I first painted the entire toolbox in two coats of the Sawmill Gravy.  Once dry, I taped off a wide stripe down the middle and painted it in the French Linen.  After that dried, I sanded the box lightly and then added a few sections from re.design with Prima’s Deer transfer.

I have to say, I totally underestimated the cuteness factor of this transfer!  When I first saw it I thought it was only going to be good for some sort of man-cave or hunting shack item.  But then I looked a little closer and realized it had a reindeer on it.

Seriously!  How cute is that?

If you have a few men in your life and you are looking for something that’s not feminine and flowery, be sure to check out the Deer transfer.  And if you really do need to dress something up for the hunting shack, this transfer would still be perfect for that too 😉

Now, for today’s giveaway.  I wish I had a spare Deer transfer, but unfortunately I don’t.  I do, however, have some Sawmill Gravy and French Linen to give away.  I also thought, why not give them away along with the toolbox itself?  They fit perfectly inside.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for sponsoring this giveaway by providing the paint, and to Prima Marketing for providing the Deer transfer that I used on the tool box.

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 what you would keep in this toolbox.  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 6, 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 $65, if the prize is not claimed by Sunday, December 8, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!

full service is our rule.

A while back one of my fellow Reclaiming Beautiful vendors stopped by and she happened to admire the yardstick shelves that I have in my living room.

After she left I realized that it had been a while since Ken and I teamed up to make these shelves.  So I dug through my stash out in the carriage house and I found six random yardsticks (I tend to grab them when I see them at garage sales).

I thought both the red one and the one with the green writing would be perfect for Christmas.  But the other ones needed a little something more, they didn’t have any color or that aged patina that I love so much.

So I decided to fake it with a little stain.

I just used an old t-shirt to wipe on a little Early American stain, and voila!  Aged patina.

Next I sent the yardsticks over to Ken to be added to some old bead boards to make shelves.  I shared all of the details on constructing these back in this post …

So be sure to go back and check that out if you want to make some for yourself.

Once the shelves were made up, I was trying to decide what sorts of things could go on the red shelf to give it a holiday look.  Santa and some green bottle brush trees give it a traditional look.

Then I remembered the really cool clock that my sister purchased at last year’s Holly Jolly Market.  I decided that I could replicate it using my Cricut machine, some red vinyl and one of my own vintage alarm clocks.

I want to reiterate that this clever idea is not my own.  I wish I had gotten the name of the vendor that my sister purchased her clock from so that I could give them credit, but I neglected to do that.

But I love the Christmas clock paired with the red yardstick shelf.  What a unique, vintage look for Christmas decor right?

Since I had the Cricut out, I decided to make up a 2nd clock to bring to Reclaiming Beautiful.

If you’re not so into red for Christmas, the plain yardstick shelves can also be dressed up for the holidays.

This monochromatic look is a little more ‘me’.  I purchased these little houses at my local Bachman’s store a couple of years ago.  They look great paired up with some bleached bottle brush trees.  I was hoping to add another to my non-collection (because I swear I don’t collect anything) this year, but when my sister and I stopped in there on Saturday all we could find were much bigger, more elaborate (and more expensive) ones.  So I guess I’ll just stick with the three that I already have.

I love the clever little sayings on some of the yardsticks like the “Full Service is our Rule” above.  These must have been fun customer giveaways back in the day.  And now they make unique shelves for displaying your non-collections!

I’m planning to head in to Reclaiming Beautiful this week with the clock, the shelves and a few more Christmas goodies that I threw together yesterday (unless our weather decides not to cooperate).  If any of you locals want to do some shopping over Thanksgiving weekend, please note that they are closed on Thursday but will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday & Saturday, and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

old school sign making.

Remember the foot board that I purchased at the St. Anthony Park sales last summer?

There it is peeking out from behind the little cupboard.

The sellers said they were using the headboard that matched this piece, but they had no use for the foot board.  I think I paid around $5 for it.  I’m sure when they put it out they wondered if anyone in their right mind would purchase a lone foot board.

My initial plan was to either add a shelf (like I did here) or turn it into a chalkboard (like I did here).  But if you’ve read my blog for very long you are probably beginning to realize that I rarely stick with my initial plan.

Instead I decided to turn it into a Christmas themed sign, adding hooks across the bottom for hanging stockings.

I started by painting the foot board in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  Next I had to go back to my sign making roots.  I dug out my alphabet stencils to use as a guide, but rather than stenciling each letter I just traced them with pencil …

then went back and painted them in by hand.

I have been totally spoiled with the larger scale furniture transfers from Prima Marketing.  Those are so easy to apply and usually go on pretty quickly.  Hand painting letters is a bit trickier, and I’m never fully satisfied with my work.

But I reminded myself that a rustic, hand painted look was what I was going for so it didn’t have to be perfect.

Once I had the lettering painted I decided to fill in the rest of the space with some sections from the Christmas Farm stencil that I’ve been using on lots of projects this year (FYI – last I checked this stencil was on sale for $11 at Maison de Stencils).

I doctored it up a little this time using a “25” on the truck door rather than the wreath that comes on the stencil.  I also just flipped it over to have the truck facing the other way on one side of my sign.

I pick up old hooks whenever I see them at garage sales, so I dug into my stash and found 4 that were similar.  I painted them using Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in Boxwood that was leftover from the chair that I’m going to share in just a minute.

As you can see, they got pretty chippy.  But I’m a fan of chippy.  So I knocked off all of the loose paint and then sprayed them with a shellac type sealer so they wouldn’t be leaving chips of paint everywhere.

I didn’t actually have 4 matching Christmas stockings to hang from the hooks so I experimented with a pitcher and towel for some of my photos …

but then I decided to hang a kid-sized chair from two hooks to see how that would look.

Speaking of which, remember the trio of holiday chairs I shared two weeks ago?  Well, they sold like hotcakes at Reclaiming Beautiful so I found another set of 4 on Facebook Marketplace, picked them up last weekend, painted them, and brought them to the shop on Wednesday.

Three of them got painted in the Dixie Belle Drop Cloth with the Christmas Farm stencil, similar to this one …

I figured those weren’t worth sharing here on the blog since they are basically just a repeat of the ones I shared two weeks ago.

But I decided to try a different look with the 4th one.  I painted it in Miss Mustard Seed’s Boxwood milk paint.  I should back up a minute and mention that these chairs had already been painted multiple times when I got them (in the close up photo below you can see blue and white peeking out beneath the green).  I always do more prep work when painting over existing paint.  In this case I sanded them very thoroughly and then cleaned them with TSP substitute.  I also opted to use the bonding agent in my milk paint because it’s always dicey whether or not milk paint will stick to a previously painted surface.

Normally I wouldn’t choose milk paint for a previously painted piece, but I really wanted this particular shade of green so I went with it.

I painted the chair back using the Dixie Belle Drop Cloth and added a section of the Prima Marketing Gingham Red transfer over that.  Finally, I stenciled the seat using a warm white craft paint.

Adding the stencil totally made this one work.  I used Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta as a final finish over everything including the transfer.

My friend, and fellow Reclaiming Beautiful vendor, Lisa, gave me the pitcher.  She’d been planning to sell it, but it has a crack in it.  She thought it would work well for photo shoots though, and I have to agree.  It was perfect for this one.

The battery operated lights came from Target last year.  I’m not sure if they have them again this year.

I’m really enjoying working on these smaller holiday projects lately.  I’m not sure when I’ll get back to painting ‘real’ pieces of furniture, it may not be until after the new year.  It’s always good to take a little bit of a break before coming back with fresh ideas, right?

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and Redesign with Prima Marketing for supplying the products used in these projects.

what’s hiding in your attic?

Last weekend Mr. Q and I took part in our annual holiday tradition of getting the decorations out of the attic.

We can access our attic two ways.  There is a small door to it inside the guest room closet, plus the doors in the dining room (shown below) also open into the attic space (which is technically just above the kitchen and not the rest of the house).  I should mention that our attic is only about 4′ tall at most, so you can’t actually walk in there.

Mr. Q is always gracious enough to take the crappy part of the job, which is crawling in through the guest room closet and then lying on his stomach to hand things down to me through those doors shown above.

As a result, I never actually see what all is up there in the attic.  So this time I asked him to look around and see if there was stuff up there that we could discard.  Turns out we’ve been shoving things in there and forgetting about them for years.  I couldn’t believe all of the boxes and boxes of stuff that he was pulling out.  We’re still in the process of dealing with all of it.

Mr. Q even pulled out two boxes of old books that I had completely forgotten about.  They came from my parents when they moved out to Las Vegas.

Mr. Q claims that he has read every single one of them.  He went through them one by one and read them on his lunch hour back in the 90’s and it took him the entire decade.  But really Mr. Q?  Did you even read the Freud?

Anyway, I decided that I would try painting a few of these as holiday decorations and see whether or not they sell.  I’ve painted books a few times in the past and I’ve always loved them.   Here are some I did way back when I first started blogging …

I usually paint and then stencil mine, but I saw quite a few of them at the Holly Jolly Market that were painted and then stamped with words on the spines like “joy to the world” and such.

So I pulled out some Dixie Belle paint in Drop Cloth and painted a few.  But instead of stamping them with holiday words, I decided to try adding some Prima Marketing holiday transfers.

I first used the leftover bits from the Gingham Red transfer that I used on the kiddo sized chairs that I shared a couple of weeks ago just on the spine of one book.

This is a great way to use up some of those leftover scraps!

Then I pulled out the Christmas Greetings transfer and used sections of it on the other books.  I started out just using the smaller portions of the design that I thought would fit well on the book covers.

But then I realized that I could use the bigger sections and just wrap them around the spines, or cut them off at the edges.  Even though it feels a little wasteful to not use the entire image, I often prefer the look of a design that goes edge to edge like this.

Once I had all of my transfers applied, I sanded the books lightly to smooth out the finish and distress the edges.  Then I used Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta to add a light coating of wax for protection.

The final step was to put them in bundles and tie them with ribbon.

I’m betting that a few of you will totally relate, but do you have some crafting supplies that you never use because they are just too precious and you don’t want to ‘waste’ them?

That’s how I feel about this gorgeous vintage velvet ribbon.  I have to laugh because I only paid $2.50 for it at a garage sale, but still … I treat it like it’s gold or something.

I’ve had it for years but have only used the smallest bits of it.  And in the end, I didn’t actually use it on the books because I felt like it covered up too much of the transfer.  It sure looked pretty for these pictures though 😉

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co and Prima Marketing for providing the products I used to restyle these books.

If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

If you’re looking for Prima Marketing products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.

And if you’re looking for my painted books you can find them at Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater, MN while they last.