noel is a no for me.

Do you guys ever regret a purchase?  I suppose we all do sometimes, right?

Well, I have to admit that I feel a bit like I wasted my money on the I.O.D. Christmas themed paint inlay, Noel, that came out earlier this year.

It was a bit pricey at somewhere around $46 (depending who you purchase it from), but that would be OK if I was going to use it on lots of projects.

There are plenty of designs included in the set …

So I very much thought I could get many different projects completed with it.

But it seems like every time I pull it out to use it on something, the design isn’t quite right for some reason.  It’s too small, or it’s too large, or I just simply don’t like it.  Maybe it’s the grey color of the wording, it feels really bland.  I would prefer black.  It’s unlikely I’ll ever use the “NOEL” portion of the inlay, or those grey snowflakes.

It’s also not quite as easy to layer the paint inlay images as it is with transfers since you have to place them into wet paint.

I was hoping to be able to use some of the inlays on my sleds, but that didn’t really work out.

There weren’t many options for designs that would fit the narrow slats, but Mr. Q helped me come up with the above design.  The tree farm wording ‘on top’ of a set of three trees.  Not a bad layout, but I didn’t think it had enough impact.  Maybe it’s that grey color, or maybe the writing is just too delicate for the sled.  What do you think?

I ended up sanding the paint inlay off and repainting the sled using some stencils.

I then decided to use another section of the paint inlay on a simple wooden crate.

I’d painted and stenciled a couple of crates in a pretty aqua blue a few years ago, the one on the bottom sold but the one stenciled in white did not.

So that crate was slated for a makeover this year.

I repainted it in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth on the outside, and their Juniper on the inside.  Then I cut out and arranged various segments of the Noel paint inlay to fit the side and applied them (you can find full instructions for using a paint inlay here).

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I think the crate turned out pretty adorable.

And I love the paint inlay product from I.O.D. in general.  I’ve gotten lots of use out of the Rose Chintz

and Gregory’s Catalogue.

I just don’t think that I.O.D. hit it out of the park with the designs for Noel.  One adorable project for $46 isn’t good enough.  And frankly, I set the bar pretty high for I.O.D.  I usually absolutely LOVE their style.

In the end, you can get a lot more bang for your buck with a couple of reusable stencils like the one I used on this chair.

I’ve used this stencil over and over and over on so many things and it’s still going strong.

All of this being said, I haven’t completely given up on the Noel inlay.  I may find some more ways to use it between now and Christmas.

I’m curious, have any of you purchased the Noel paint inlay?  And if so, have you found lots of things to use it on?  Feel free to shout it out in a comment if you disagree with my assessment.

In the meantime, the crate is for sale at $38 (SOLD!).  If any of my local readers are interested in it, send me an email at qisforquandie@gmail.com.  Otherwise it will head into the shop next week!

a holiday sneak peek.

I’m gearing up to bring some holiday goodies into Reclaiming Beautiful, the shop where I sell on consignment in Stillwater, MN.  They will be having their annual Christmas open house on November 12, so I plan to have the bulk of my holiday items into the shop by then.

But I always like to give my blog readers a sneak peek at some of my things, and thus give local followers the opportunity to get the first crack at purchasing items before they go into the shop.  So, that’s basically the purpose of today’s post.

First up, I’m planning to sell a few things that I made for myself in previous years.  I enjoyed them in my own home, and now I’m ready to let them go to others.

I’m going to part with the Skate Rental headboard sign.

It is 43″ tall by 42.5″ wide and the price is $58.

The nice thing about this one is that you can leave it up all winter, it’s not Christmas specific.

Next up is the S. Claus & Co sign, perfect for hanging a pair of Christmas stockings.

It is 24″ wide x 11″ deep and the price is $28 (SOLD!).

I’m also selling my sock stretcher stockings.

Only two are pictured, but I have four of them.  They are going for $22 each.

I also have that pair of rusty cherubs going for $30 each.

The mid-mod most wonderful time chair will go to the shop unless a local wants to snatch it up for $40.

I’ve also got a few items that I’ve painted up to sell that I haven’t shared yet here on the blog.  For the most part, these are repeats of similar things I’ve posted about in the past so I’m not sure I’ll do specific blog posts about them.  But I want to give you guys a chance to potentially snatch them up, especially the sleds since I know a few of you are hoping to snag one this year.

I have four sleds for this year.

No. 1 – the tall black sled is 56″ tall and priced at $58 – SOLD!

No. 2 – the tall white sled is 50″ tall and priced at $58.

No. 3 – the short white sled is 42″ tall (or wide if you’re displaying it as shown below) and priced at $55.

No. 4 – the short putty sled is 41″ tall and also priced at $55.

The sleds can be displayed just leaning up against something …

or hanging sideways.

I also have another sweet kid sized chair for $40.

And I love my own Rudolph & Co footboard sign so much that I made another one to sell.

This one is 32″ tall by 41.5″ wide.  Although I show it just leaning in the photo, I will put some d-rings on the back so it can be hung up like I do with mine …

OK, so locals, first come, first served.  Send me an email at qisforquandie@gmail.com if you’re interested in any of these items.  Everything that isn’t sold by next Wednesday will be going into the shop.

I have plenty of fun Christmas projects planned that I will share in upcoming blog posts too, so be sure to continue to stay tuned!

it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

As I mentioned yesterday, we had our first snow here on Friday.  Go figure, we went from 80 degrees on Tuesday, to snow on Friday.  Lucky I finished getting my windows washed and the storm windows in place on Thursday!

There’s always something magical about that first snow of the season.  And what better way to celebrate than with a little Christmas project?

I’ve been plugging away at my pile of toolboxes, tackle boxes, and lock boxes.  As I was working on them, I decided it might be fun to give one a holiday look.  I have to admit, I chose one of the very simple lock boxes for this because I wasn’t sure I would like the results.  I figured if it didn’t turn out well, it was a small one and I could easily do it over.

Silly me!  How did I not realize how lovely a Christmas lock box would be?

OK, let’s start at the beginning.  Well, not precisely because I’ve gotten really bad at taking ‘before’ pictures lately.  But you can just picture your average putty colored lock box here.  Nothing special.

This one wasn’t really rusty or gross at all (that’s generally reserved for the toolboxes), so after washing it, I skipped over the B.O.S.S. step and went right to paint.  In hindsight, I won’t do that again.  Somehow that coat of B.O.S.S. just makes them easier to paint, although I can’t really explain why.

I went with Dixie Belle’s Silk paint in Fiery Sky on the inside.

It took three coats to get really good coverage, but red is just like that.

Next I painted the outside in two coats of Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy.  Then it was time to get creative.  I first pulled out Dixie Belle’s Evergreen and Holly transfer and added the pretty poinsettias and holly to the box.

But then I felt like it needed just a little something more.  You know how I love to use typography.  So I pulled out another new Dixie Belle transfer called Vintage Post.

I trimmed out a section here and a section there and added them to my box.

It was precisely what the box needed.

The typography doesn’t have anything at all to do with Christmas, but those fonts have a holiday look to me.  What do you think?

I finished off the outside of the box with a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.  I didn’t need to clear coat the inside because the Silk paint has a built in topcoat.

Wouldn’t this lock box be perfect for storing your most treasured vintage glass ornaments?

It would also make an amazing gift box!  If you have someone special you’re exchanging gifts with this Christmas, why not package it in a fabulous lock box?  Or simply fill it up with homemade baked goods, or Christmas candy.

I’m definitely going to do some more of these holiday themed boxes.  I just can’t get enough of ’em.  Well, I say that now, but by mid-December I’m sure I’ll be sick of anything that’s red and green.  But for now, staging these photos sure was a fun way to welcome the first snowfall of the year.

So tell me, is it looking a little like Christmas where you are?

This Christmas lockbox is for sale, so be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page if you are local (sorry, I still don’t ship my creations) and in need of a fabulous lock box.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and the transfers used on this project.

the most wonderful chair.

I recently pulled this schoolhouse chair out of my workshop to give it a fun holiday makeover.

In case it’s not obvious, this chair is child sized.  It has a bit of a mid-mod vibe, don’t you think?  I actually would have liked to strip and re-finish this one in that raw wood look, however it had some fairly significant damage to the veneer …

I feel like paint is the best way to disguise this sort of damage, so I decided to go ahead and paint the wood using Dixie Belle’s Caviar.  But I also decided to leave the legs in their rusty, worn state.  I think I’m taking a bit of a gamble with that, but I’m hoping that there will be a fellow rust lover out there who appreciates this choice.

My first step was to sand the chair all over, including those legs.  That’s just to remove any flaking bits.  Then I cleaned the chair well using TSP substitute.  Next I sprayed the legs and the metal parts of the chair back with a Rust-Oleum clear matte sealer.  I like to seal in the chipping paint and/or rust so it doesn’t continue to flake off.  So the legs are beat up and rusty, but they are clean and sealed.

Next I painted the seat and back with two coats of Caviar.  Once that was dry, I sanded to distress.

I specifically chose to sand the Caviar, and vacuum/wipe away any dust, before moving on to my next step, which is adding a stencil in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  That’s because I wanted to avoid getting any of that black dust smeared into my white lettering.  I’ve learned from experience to do this when using contrasting colors.  It’s just a good way to make sure the white stays crisp.

Next up I pulled out the Most Wonderful Time of the Year stencil that wallcutz sent to me when they offered to sponsor this post.

I added that to the seat of the chair using the Dixie Belle Drop Cloth.

It was a perfect fit.  That’s because I ordered it that way.  This stencil is available anywhere from 10″ x 10″ up to 21″ x 21″, so you can order the size best suited to your project.  In my case, that was the smallest 10″ x 10″ size.

I used a small artist’s brush to fill in the bridges in a few spots to give this a more hand-painted look rather than a stenciled look.

If, like me, you don’t particularly like to do a free-hand design on your chalkboards, this particular stencil would be perfect for that too.  It would mimic the look of a message that was handwritten in chalk.

On one of my recent posts about stenciling a reader asked me two things; what brush do I like to use for stenciling and how do I clean my stencils.  I figure if one person is taking the time to ask that in a comment, there are probably more of you wondering the same thing.

First up, my current favorite brush for stenciling is the Best Dang Brush from Dixie Belle.  I’ll admit, it’s not cheap at $25.95.  So if you don’t do a lot of stenciling, you may not want to invest in this brush.  However, if you do, it is one that won’t fall apart on you after six months of regular use like so many others.

It is a large brush, so it covers a lot of area quickly.  I like that.  The one downside to its size is that you may have to mask areas that you don’t want to accidentally hit with the paint, like over the edge, or a portion of the stencil that’s going to be a different color.  I just use painters tape for that.

Now, as for cleaning my stencils, the honest truth is that I don’t always clean them.  The only time I clean a stencil is if I’m just using it for one project at the moment and I’m about to clean my brush anyway.  That’s because I clean both at the same time under running water.  I use the Best Dang Brush to rub away the paint on the stencil, and then I finish with cleaning the brush.  This works great as long as you do it immediately upon completing your stenciling.  If you give the paint too much time to dry on the stencil it will be harder to get off.

This is certainly an instance where it’s better to do as I say, not as I do.  With a stencil that has some fairly fine details, like this one in particular, your results will remain crisp if you keep the stencil clean.  If you allow paint to build up on it, over time your edges won’t be as crisp.  So yeah, I really should clean my stencils every time I use them.  But hey, nobody’s perfect, right?

This chair just might be perfect though.  OK, well, perfection is in the eye of the beholder.  But if you love a mid-mod vibe and pieces that show a bit of history, then yes, you might call this perfect.

I think it would be adorable sitting next to the tree at Christmas, or maybe sitting next to your door to welcome guests as they arrive for the holidays.  It would also be perfect for adding to a child’s bedroom during the holiday season.  It is for sale, and if it doesn’t go to one of you local readers then I’ll be adding it to my growing stash of holiday items that I’ll take in to Reclaiming Beautiful (the shop in Stillwater, MN where I sell on consignment).

If you’re local and interested in more details, check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page.

Thank you to wallcutz for providing the stencil, and to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and the brush used for today’s project.

adding some fall color.

Before getting on with today’s post, congrats to Cynthia Goscinak.  I drew her name at random to win the giveaway of the white Silk paint colors (Cynthia, I’ve emailed you to get your mailing info, if you didn’t get my email check your spam folder).

Our temps are dropping, the nights are getting cold and the leaves are starting to turn pretty shades of yellow, orange and red.  We’ve had a couple of nights that dipped into the 30’s already and that killed off some of my coleus, so it was time to start pulling annuals out of the planters and replacing some of them with mums and ornamental kale.

Although I don’t really decorate inside the house for fall, I do like to change things up a little outside for fall.  You may remember the Fresh Flower Market sign that I made up last year using a stencil from wallcutz.  I had it hanging on the carriage house in 2021 …

And then this summer I had it hanging on the deck.

As I was looking at it earlier this week I thought it looked just a bit too summery for fall, so I decided to make it reversible.  I simply removed the hooks from the front, flipped it over, removed the hanging hardware from the back and then gave it a good clean.

Next up I pulled out some fall paint colors.  I started out with Suzanne’s Fall Colors from Dixie Belle.

However, I realized that I must have given away the Pumpkin Spice color because I couldn’t find it anywhere in my stash.  Hmmmm.  What was I thinking?  Well, no problem, Dixie Belle’s Mojave from their Silk line would work just as well.

I painted the flip side of the sign in a base coat of Juniper.  Then I pulled out my Farmers Market stencil, also from wallcutz.

By the way, this is not the sponsored project for wallcutz that I mentioned on Wednesday.  I had already purchased this stencil a couple of years ago and I’ve used it on several projects already including some old table leaves that I turned into signs last fall.

I had to make a few adjustments to the spacing and design of the stencil to work with my uneven surface.  I started by stenciling just the bottom line of wording on the raised border at the bottom of my cupboard door using Cashmere.

Next I stenciled the words ‘always fresh’ in Dixie Belle’s Cocoa Bean.  Then I adjusted the stencil slightly over and down and stenciled just the word ‘farmers’ also in the Cocoa Bean.  Thus I created a shadow behind that word when I moved the stencil back into place and stenciled over the Cocoa Bean with more Cashmere.

Creating a shadow this way is so, so simple and it adds a ton of impact.  I highly recommend it for the wording on signs especially.

I completed the rest of the stenciling just using Cashmere straight up.  If you look back at the image of this stencil, you’ll see that there is a box around the word “market”.  I left that out on my sign because I thought it would be hard to get that to look right going over that raised piece in the middle.

While we’re on that topic, you might be wondering how I stenciled over that raised section in the middle.  Basically I was just very careful to hold the stencil as flat as possible and to not get too heavy handed with the paint.  Then, once I pulled the stencil away I went back in with a small brush and touched up those letters that fell on the uneven surface and needed a little more paint.

Next up I stenciled the little do-dads on either side of the word ‘market’ in Mojave.  This is where I would have liked to have that Pumpkin Spice color on hand, but I think the Mojave substituted nicely.  Once that was dry I added a little swoop of Cashmere to give them a little more dimension too.

After all of the paint was dry, I sanded my new Farmers Market sign to distress the edges and make everything look a little more worn, and then I added a coat of Big Mama’s Butta to finish it off.

I added some mums, a faux pumpkin and a little wooden lantern to the bench under the sign.

That’s part of the I.O.D. Label Ephemera transfer on that bucket, and the pot on the right with the yellow mum is concrete, but has been given the faux rust treatment using Dixie Belle’s patina paint (you can check out how to do that here).

I absolutely love how this sign turned out!

And that might be a problem come spring when it’s time to turn it back around to the flower market side.  I may have to re-paint that side in similar colors now because these colors look great up against the dark green of my siding.  Plus, I also have to admit that my sign stenciling skills have improved greatly over time.

What do you think?  And how about you, do you change up your outside décor for fall?  Leave a comment and let me know.

sponsored by wallcutz.

A while back the people at wallcutz reached out and asked if I’d be interested in having them sponsor another post here on q is for quandie.  It was easy to say yes.  After all, I have purchased quite a number of their stencils in the past, and done many projects with them here on the blog.  But they were offering to send me another one, so I was hardly going to say no to that.

I’m still working on that new project, but in the meantime I thought this would be a good time to share some of my past Christmas projects created with wallcutz stencils.  OK, I know, it’s only October.  Way too early for Christmas!  But I also know that a lot of you sell your creations either in a shop, or at market events, or even online.  If so, then much like me, you’re probably already starting to work on holiday inventory.  If you’re planning some stenciling projects, you want to get those stencils ordered and have them available when you’re ready to start painting.  Shipping takes 2 to 7 days (and is currently free if you spend over $50), and I’ve found that they always ship my orders promptly.  Still, you don’t want to wait until the last minute.

I think my absolute favorite wallcutz stencil is the Rudolph & Co Reindeer Treats stencil.

I have this one in two sizes, and speaking of that, one of the things I really like about Wallcutz is that you can order their designs in multiple sizes.  This one comes in 7 different sizes ranging from 12″ wide to 29″ wide.  So when you’re turning a footboard into a sign, you can get a stencil that is big enough to not get lost on it.  And if you are working on smaller projects, you can get a stencil that fits those as well.

I’ve used the smaller version of this stencil when creating my own Christmas wrap …

on this antique grain shovel …

and also on this toy wooden truck.

Another of my faves is the North Pole stencil.

It was perfect on this painted suitcase …

and I also used it to create a craft paper scroll.

The Milk and Cookies Gingerbread Man stencil is a great choice if your project is more square rather than rectangular.  It was adorable on this pair of kid sized chairs.

I tried it two different ways, a colorful red and green version …

and a more monochromatic version.

I masked off the border and the gingerbread man with painters tape and then used this one on some Christmas wrap as well.

I’m planning to paint up a few more cupboard door signs for Christmas this year, like this one with the wallcutz Polar Express Train Depot stencil.

Stencils are a great choice for those of us who create multiple similar items for resale since you can use them over and over again making the cost per use incredibly affordable.  But even if you’re just working on a project for yourself, I find the wallcutz stencils reasonably priced.  Even the largest version of that Polar Express stencil, which is 20″ high x 11″ wide, is only $20.75.

So tell me, are you already thinking about Christmas projects like me?  Or are you rolling your eyes and thinking ‘it’s way too early for this!’?  And which of the above projects is your favorite?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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!