the farmers market basket.

This little wooden basket was another find from my picker.

I love the way it’s constructed with all of those little slats nailed in place.

This was a quick and easy makeover.  I painted the basket in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth and sanded to distress.

Then I added a few transfers including this new one from Dixie Belle.

This is from their On the Farm transfer set.

They also offer a Farmhouse silkscreen stencil with a couple of these same designs.

I put this transfer on the other side of the basket.

And then I added a section from re.design with prima’s Everyday Farmhouse transfer down the slatted side.

I finished it up with a quick coat of clear wax.

This would make an adorable Easter basket, wouldn’t it?

I wish I could say those tulips are from my own garden, but it will still be a few weeks before my tulips are blooming.  But a bunch of tulips from the grocery store is a great way to brighten things up and add a little spring to my surroundings until they get here.

Thank you to Dixie Belle for providing the paint and the transfers for today’s project.

stillwater library book review.

After finding so many great decorating books at my mom’s local library, and after listening to advice from many of you, I decided to get a myself a new library card.  I’d had one about 25 years ago, and in fact there used to be a good-sized library just down the street from us.  We could walk there, and often did.  That was back in the day when there was no such thing as a Kindle.  But eventually that library closed, I started reading ebooks rather than paper books, and then things like pinterest and decorating blogs became a thing, and really, who needed a library card?

Now that I have a little more time on my hands, I’ve decided to check out the various libraries in my area and see what they have in stock for decorating books.  So a few weeks back Mr. Q and I popped into the Stillwater Library and got signed up with library cards, and I brought home this stack of books …

One big difference that I noted at the Stillwater Library v. my mom’s library in Henderson, Nevada is that my mom’s library had some newer books.  The publication dates on those books ranged from 2007 to 2021.  The most recent of the books I found here was 2013.

Full disclosure, I didn’t do any sort of deep dive into what books could potentially be available to me, I just went through those that were currently on the shelves.

So let’s start at the top of the stack with Cath Kidston’s in print (2005).  I grabbed this one because I’ve always enjoyed Cath Kidston’s style.  It’s very floral and colorful, and I love her use of vintage fabrics.

This particular book has lots of ideas for ways to those fabrics in your home.  If you enjoy sewing, this might be a great book for you to check out.

If you’ve followed me for long, you know that I don’t sew.  However, I do iron.

I thought this idea was positively brilliant.  I’d never really seen an ‘ironing table’ before.  I have a couple of fabulous old farmhouse type tables hanging about, I could easily make an ironing table.

I don’t have a fabulous laundry room to put it in though.  But I can sure see the appeal of ironing vintage linens on a big table like this rather than a narrow ironing board.

What do you think of that idea?  Would you use an ironing table?

The next book in the stack is another Country Living book, Decorating with White, and it’s the most recent of the books I checked out.

I mentioned last time that I tend to really like Country Living books and this one is no exception.  Although it was published in 2013, decorating with white seems to be fairly timeless.

Isn’t this pair of twin beds fabulous?

And apparently decorating with green is a classic also.  I was paging through the March 2022 issue of Country Living and came across a photo that was recycled from this book.

It was just a coincidence that I had just seen it in the book.  Talk about a timeless look.

By the way, although the book is called Decorating with White, there is a big chapter on pairing blue with white, and another section on using other colors as well.  Such as green.

This was the only one of the books that I checked out that I would consider buying just to go back and admire the photos now and then.

The next book I looked at was Salvage Style for the Garden by Marcianne Miller with Dana Irwin (2003).

I thought this one would really appeal to me since it combines two of my favorite things, gardens and upcycling.  It features various projects using reclaimed items.

I like the bench made out of a door and spindles, but not sure about the feasibility of finding 18 spindles at a reasonable cost.

I did get one takeaway idea from this book, and that is using andirons to support a flower box …

I just happen to have a spare pair of andirons lying around.  I picked them up at last year’s Trash to Treasure day.  See them there in the center front?

So now I’ve got some ideas swirling around in my head on how to use these in the garden this year.

Tattered Treasures by Lauren Powell (2001) definitely contains some vintage eye candy.

Even though it was the oldest book in the stack, it was filled with timeless classics like vintage cameras …

and crackled ironstone and pottery …

Most of the projects in this book felt a bit dated to me though, but what can you expect from a book that is 21 years old?

I definitely went through a china shard mosaic period myself.

Lars Bolander’s Scandinavian Design by Heather Smith MacIsaac was published in 2010.

This book is a bit different than the others since it isn’t focused on vintage items, but rather on Scandinavian design in general.  Painted furniture is very much a part of this style, and although I imagine it wasn’t originally distressed, much of it has worn over time.

I would say that my own style is strongly influenced by Scandinavian design.

I love the sparseness, and of course I also love the look of the painted pieces.

Although most of the colors used are pale, you’ll also see a lot of this blue.

After a trip to Norway in 2017, I was inspired by this color and painted a little stool in Miss Mustard Seed’s Flow Blue to try and recreate the look.

I ran out of time to really study this book because it was due back at the library, but I may check it out again sometime.

Last up is For the Love of Old by Mary Randolph Carter, published in 2006.

As I just mentioned above that I love the sparseness of Scandinavian style, if you’re familiar at all with Mary Randolph Carter’s style, you may already realize that I don’t love it.

Although I like some of the individual pieces she uses, like that shabby painted office chair, the clutter in most of her photos makes my eye twitch a little.

All I can think when looking at these rooms is how much dust there must be, and as someone who is allergic to dust I feel a sneeze coming on just looking at the photos.

So, her style is not for me.  But hey, variety is the spice of life.  Even though I may not like it, some of you may love it.

Which of these books would be your favorite?  Be sure to share your own opinions with a comment.

mom’s canisters.

Hey everybody, I’ve gone to visit my mom in Vegas again this week.  But no worries, once again I’ve pre-scheduled a couple of posts to keep you entertained while I’m gone.  This time around my sister is joining us, and we’re going to take a little road trip to Sedona.  If anyone has any tips on what to see and do in Sedona, be sure to leave a comment today!

Meanwhile, it feels apropos to share this post about my mom’s canisters with you guys while I’m away visiting her.

If you’ve followed me for years, you’ll know that my sister and niece moved here to Minnesota from New Jersey nearly 7 years ago now (gosh time flies!).

When they initially moved here, my sister stored some unpacked boxes upstairs in my carriage house.  Once she bought her house a few years later she moved almost everything over to her place.  She just left behind a couple of things that she no longer wanted.  One of those things was my mom’s old canister set.

I have photographic evidence of this set when it was new.

That’s my mom, and she is pregnant with my sister in that photo, making it 1961.  That is my parent’s first apartment in Chicago, and there are the canisters.

My mom says they were either a bridal shower gift, or a wedding gift.  Seems like a canister set would be a more typical shower gift back in the early 60’s (it’s not fancy enough to be a wedding gift, those were more likely china, silver or crystal).

My mom used these canisters for 20+ years.  Until after my sister got married.  At some point my sister mentioned to her how much she liked them and my mom gave them to her (she has always been, and still is, my mom’s favorite!).  Then my sister used them for another couple of decades until they ended up in a box in my carriage house.  And she doesn’t want them back (and yet, she’s still the favorite, go figure!).

I am a little stunned by how well the canisters have held up after 60 years!

I gave them a good clean, and they look amazing.

A couple of little dents here and there, and one lid is missing its knob.

  But otherwise they are in really great condition.

It is a little obvious that neither my mom nor my sister drink coffee or tea,

those two canisters are in the most pristine condition.

It’s also obvious which one got the most wear at our house …

Duh.

I am a self-professed cookieholic.  Give me a fresh baked cookie and I simply can’t say no.  I’m sure my grubby little hands were into that one on a regular basis (given the state of my dress in the photo below one has to assume that my hands were pretty grubby!).

And hey, can I just note that I was rockin’ the beachy wave before it was even a thing.  These days I have to work really hard to get my hair to look that good.

I have to admit, it cracks me up a bit that these were called ‘BeautyWare’.

As though they were some sort of cosmetic product, or pretty clothing, rather than a functional kitchen item.  Seems like a blatant attempt to glamorize the drudgery of housework to me.

I wish mid-mod was my thing.  But it just isn’t.  I can appreciate the aesthetic, but it doesn’t work with the rest of my décor.

I know what Marie Kondo would say, that I should thank these canisters for the service they have done over the years and then let them go.  And I have to agree.

I would much rather see them go to someone who is going to appreciate them and give them another 20 years of use.  I did a little googling and found a never used, still in the original box, set of 4 of these canisters (it doesn’t include the cookie one) for $299.95 on Etsy.  Wowza!  I also found a set in similar condition to this one (also without the cookie one) for $129.99, also on Etsy.

So I’m going to price this set at $49, and include the cookie one, and hope that some mid-mod lover out there will want to purchase them and continue to use them.

How about it, are any of you locals in need of a mid-mod canister set?  If so, be sure to leave me a comment.

 

one last paint inlay experiment.

I wanted to share one last IOD paint inlay experiment with you today.

According to IOD, the paint inlays can be re-used up to three times.  So I thought I’d try using a sheet more than once to see how it goes.

I started with this trio of books that I had lying around.

I painted the middle book (Robinson Crusoe) in Dixie Belle’s Kudzu and stenciled the spine.

I thought it would be nice to have a coordinating color to go with my pair of floral books.

Next, I painted the smallest book on the top of the stack in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  I let the first coat dry, and then added a second coat and while it was still wet I applied the IOD Rose Chintz paint inlay.

As a reminder, you can find a how-to on using the paint inlays here:

It was fairly easy to apply the inlay to a book cover …

As you can see, the texture of the cover causes the inlay to not transfer perfectly.  But I think that is part of the charm of an inlay and it gives the book an authentically distressed look.

Finally, I painted the third book in DB’s Drop Cloth as well, and then I pulled out my used inlays.

For comparison purposes the inlays above are (from left to right) unused, used once over Kudzu, used once over Sea Glass.  As you can see, the inlay will pull some of the paint you are working with back off with it when you peel away the paper.

I decided to use the inlay that had been used once over Sea Glass for my 2nd book.

And here you can see the result.

That book on the bottom of the stack is the one done with a 2nd pass of the inlay.  The design is quite a bit more faint.  I rather like it, it’s as though it has faded over time like chintz fabric would.  In fact, I think I like the look of the used inlay even better than the fresh first time inlay.  I thought I would see more of that Sea Glass color transferring back off the inlay.  Had I used the Kudzu sheet, I think you’d see some of that green coming back off onto your project though.

I’ve had fun playing around with the paint inlays.  I think they will be great to use on various small projects like my watering can, flower crates, and now these painted books.

I also think they’d be awesome for collage style art projects.  Also, one packet of the paint inlays will go a long way on smaller projects.  I’m not so sure that I would choose to use them on furniture though, especially furniture that one intends to sell.  The cost is a bit prohibitive (and spoiler alert, as you’ll see in this coming Friday’s post, you may need more than one packet of paint inlays to cover a piece of furniture) and I’m not sure they add enough value to allow you to recoup that cost by charging more for the furniture piece.  Be sure to stay tuned for Friday’s post where I’ll explore this subject a bit more!

painted watering cans.

Continuing my experiments with the IOD Rose Chintz paint inlay, I pulled out this watering can to see how hard it was to apply the inlay to a non-flat surface.

Normally I don’t paint galvanized cans like this one, but I had attempted to add an IOD French Pots transfer to it a couple of years back and as you can see, that didn’t really work out very well.

The French Pots transfers from IOD were the first generation of this design, and they were a charcoal grey color.  The color wasn’t really dark enough to show up well on galvanized metal.  Although I can see where that faded appearance might appeal to some.

Just for reference, the newer black Classic Pots and Traditional Pots transfer show up much better on galvanized metal.

But for this watering can, I felt like my best option for ‘fixing’ it was to paint it.  The only way to get that transfer off would have been to sand it off, which would have compromised the patina in that spot.  It never would have looked right.

So I painted it with a coat of Dixie Belle’s Sea Glass.  Then I applied the Rose Chintz paint inlay (for details on how to apply a paint inlay click on the image below to see my how-to post).

It really wasn’t difficult at all to work with the inlay on the curved surface.

Rather than use a brayer to press the inlay into the wet paint, I just used a wet cloth to smooth it into place.  I was worried I would have problems with the design getting smudged, but even over the curved surface it was easy to get crisp results.

One sheet of the paint inlay was not quite enough to go all the way around one side of the can.  I wanted to be sure and share this with you because there is a very definite line where the inlay ended.

I wasn’t expecting the line to be quite so obvious, so just be aware of that.

Since a) I’m a total cheapskate, and b) I was doing this watering can just for myself and therefore knew that this wouldn’t be noticeable where I was putting it, I decided to just try to soften that line rather than use another sheet of the inlay to piece in that space.

Before you seal the inlays (with a spray sealer), the paint (because they are indeed just paint) can be manipulated when wet.  So you can use a small artist’s brush and some water to reactivate the paint and move it around a bit.

Hmmm.  I may need a bit more practice at that.  I think I succeeded at softening up that edge a bit, but clearly I need to work on my fine painting skills.

Regardless, I’m quite happy with how this project turned out.

This watering can is joining a few other painted versions that live above the shelves in my pantry.

The 2nd one in line is one that was already painted white when I found it, but I added the IOD Petit Rosier transfer to it.

The 3rd can in the lineup was also already green when I purchased it.

So far I’ve left it alone, but you never know, I may add something to it one day.

And the last one in line is one I painted in Homestead House milk paint in a color called Maritime Blue.

I just fell in love with that pretty shade of blue.

I’ve done one more quick project to show how the paint inlay looks when re-using a previously used sheet and I’ll be sharing that on Wednesday.  Otherwise, I still have quite a few sheets left and I’ll be on the lookout for more fun ways to use them!  Have you tried them yet?  If so, be sure to leave a comment and let us know if you liked them or not.

flower crates.

My picker found these wooden crates for me last summer … at least I think it was last summer.  Time tends to blend together for me these days.

Either way, last summer was when I added some stencils to the sides thinking that I would sell them that way.

But ultimately I decided that I didn’t like the dark stains on the wood, and I also didn’t think the stenciling in black worked well with the dark wood.  So I never did try to sell them, I just tucked them away and figured I’d give them a do-over sometime.

Well, that sometime is now!

I painted the first crate in Dixie Belle’s Caviar.

I just added one quick coat of paint and didn’t worry too much about completely full coverage.  I knew I wanted to sand the paint way back in the end to make the crate look super worn.

I re-stenciled the ends in the same ‘flowers’ stencil that I used on one of the crates last summer.  This is part of a larger stencil that I purchased on Etsy from The Stencil Market.

I used my normal process for adding a shadow to stenciled letters.  I stenciled the design first in Dixie Belle’s Putty, then moved the stencil slightly up and over and stenciled again in DB’s Drop Cloth.

It’s a small detail, but I think it adds so much depth.  I also filled in the bridges on this stencil using a small artist’s brush.

Once I’d sanded heavily, I added a coat of clear wax.  I happened to have this cool zinc liner that fit this crate almost perfectly so I’m going to pair them together.

Lastly I filled it up with some of my matte white pottery just for the photos.

For the 2nd crate, I went in a different direction color-wise.  I painted it in Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.  I really wanted to try that IOD paint inlay over the green.

I had a feeling those pinks would really pop over the green.

If you want a step by step on how to use the IOD paint inlays, check out my how-to post by clicking on the image below:

I’m doing a bit of experimenting with the inlays, and you’ll be seeing the results of that in the next week or two.  But in the meantime, after adding the paint inlay to the two ends, I stenciled the sides of the Kudzu crate with the same ‘flowers’ stencil.  This time I did not add a shadow.

The need to get photos of these crates was a really good excuse to go to my local nursery and pick up some flowering plants.  They didn’t have much to choose from, but I got a few pretty cyclamens.

And I always get sucked in by those Baby Tears plants, and I can never keep them alive.  I think it has something to do with forgetting to water them on a regular basis.  They look great while they last though.

As per usual, my decorating split personality loves both versions of the crate.  The simple, worn black version and the colorful floral green version both really appeal to me.

As for the 3rd crate, I had something different in mind.  I wanted to provide a container for that mid-mod china that I found while thrifting last week.  I’m going to try to sell it at the shop, so I thought it would be fun to package it somehow.

First, I asked my handyman Ken to re-size that crate to fit the dishes.  He cut it down and reattached everything to create a perfectly sized container.

I painted it in Dixie Belle’s Silk paint in Tide Pool, taking that color cue straight from the dishes.  Then I added the ‘Bon Appetit’ from re.design with prima’s Delicious Menu transfer.

Mr. Q was not a fan of the way I wrapped the wording around the two sides of the crate, but I rather like it.  What do you think?

I brought both flower crates (not including contents) and the crate of mid-mod china in to Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater on Wednesday evening, so if any of you locals need a fabulous flower crate be sure to stop by the shop this weekend (note: closed on Sunday).

Which crate is your favorite?  Or do you have a split personality when it comes to decorating like I do?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

we’re talking trash.

First up, thank you so much for all of the comments on Monday’s post.  I know Mr. Q appreciated all of the well wishes on his birthday, and I enjoyed reading all of your comments as well (although I wasn’t able to respond to all of them).  Remember, you have until Sunday to leave a comment on that post to be included in the drawing for the giveaway!

Today on q is for quandie we’re talking trash.  Well, my kind of trash anyway.  Vintage trash cans to be precise.

My picker Sue found a pair of old metal schoolhouse trash cans for me last summer.

That isn’t exactly a true ‘before’ shot.  I cleaned these up a bit last summer when I could hose them down out in the yard.  They were quite grungy.  I also gave the insides of the cans a quick spray paint.  I really thought I’d taken a ‘before’ photo before doing all of that, but I’ll be darned if I could find it.  After that clean up, I put them aside out in the carriage house to await their moment in the sun.

After being inspired by a vignette in one of the library books that I was studying while visiting my mom, I had an idea for the trash cans so I pulled them out of the carriage house and took that quick ‘before’ photo above.

Since I had two trash cans, I decided to give them each a different color scheme.  I painted one of them in a couple of coats of Dixie Belle Drop Cloth, and the other got two coats of their Caviar.

Once the paint was dry, I sanded them to distress.  I’ve learned the hard way to distress my painted pieces before adding a contrasting color to avoid dust from one color getting into the other.  This is especially important with red and white!

Next I taped off some swiss crosses.

I don’t get super precise with these.  I just sort of eyeball it, and measure a little to make sure they are even, and the lines are straight.

I painted a cross in Honky Tonk Red on the Drop Cloth can, and a Drop Cloth cross on the Caviar can.

Once the crosses were dry, I did sand them to distress them a bit, but I was very careful not to drag any of the dust into the neighboring color.

I’m quite happy with the results of both combinations.

But I bet you can guess which one is my favorite!

You know I love me some black and white.

You may have noticed that I left the rusty rims of the trash cans unpainted.

I felt like just that touch of rust and old paint around the edge lent some authenticity to the cans.  I sealed the insides of the cans and those rusty rims with a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s clear coat.  However, the painted exteriors received a topcoat of clear wax instead.  There’s just something about a waxed finish that feels more authentic to me too.

I really debated keeping this black one for myself, but couldn’t find a spot for it.  So I took them both into Reclaiming Beautiful last week.

Which one is your favorite?  Black and white, or white and red?

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the products used for this makeover.

winter isn’t over yet.

Spending last week in sunny Las Vegas and then returning home to sub-zero temps reminded me … winter isn’t over yet.  At least not here in Minnesota.  We still have plenty of winter left.

I don’t know about you, but I’m usually at a loss when it comes to decorating after the holidays are over.  As much as I’d like to jump right into gardening season, it just isn’t reflective of our weather reality in a northern climate.

So when I saw the Skate Rental stencil while perusing the Wallcutz website, I decided that although it’s listed in the Christmas stencils section, it’s really more ‘winter’ than ‘Christmas’.  It would be perfect for the part of winter that comes after Christmas, but before spring really arrives (which seems to last about six months in Minnesota).

My next task was finding something to put the stencil on.  I was super happy with how my Rudolph & Co. foot board sign turned out, so when I saw a headboard/foot board combo for sale on Facebook Marketplace I jumped at it.

I snagged this set for $35.  The seller didn’t have the side rails, and I suspect that’s why she’d priced it low.  So for a mere $17.50 each, I had the raw materials for two signs.  I think I’m going to hang onto that foot board for another Rudolph & Co sign, but the headboard was perfect for a Skate Rental sign.

As a bonus, the nice people at Wallcutz agreed to sponsor this post by sending me the stencil free of charge.  So I measured the headboard to determine what size would be best and sent in my request for the largest version of the stencil, 26″ high by 18″ wide.  One of my favorite things about Wallcutz is that you can order their stencils in a variety of sizes to suit your particular project.

I started by painting the headboard in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, my favorite warm white.  Then I started stenciling.  I knew that I wanted to use more than one color to give my ‘sign’ a more custom look.  I also knew that I was going to be hanging it on my dark olive green house, so I wanted to work with that color.

So I began by taping off various sections and stenciling them.  Most of the wording is done using Dixie Belle’s Caviar, except for “Pine Mountain” which is stenciled in the Juniper from Suzanne’s Fall Colors collection.  The pine boughs are also stenciled in Juniper, naturally 😉

Taking a cue from the example of this stencil on the Wallcutz website, I decided to paint in a block of the Juniper and then stencil the “Old-Fashioned Family Fun” over that in Drop Cloth at the bottom of the design.  I simply used the stencil as a guide to mark the area where I wanted my block, then taped it off and painted it in with two coats of Juniper.

Once dry, I removed the tape …

 and then I put the stencil back in place and stenciled the wording over it.

The blades of the skates were stenciled using Dixie Belle’s Gemstone Mousse in Diamond.

The skates themselves were stenciled using DB’s Farmhouse Green.  The laces are a separate stencil, and I added them once the Farmhouse Green was dry using DB’s Cotton.

I wanted a whiter white for the laces, so that’s why I went with the Cotton instead of Drop Cloth.

One last thing to note, I often fill in the bridges with a fine artist brush when stenciling.

Today’s q tip:  if you want a stencil to look like a hand-lettered sign, fill in the bridges.  If you want a more industrial, stenciled look, don’t fill in the bridges.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, bridges are the gaps in a letter (or other design element) that are necessary to hold the stencil together.

It’s fairly easy to fill those in with a small artist brush, and I think it makes a big difference to the end result.

Since I’m keeping this sign for myself, I’m being way less cautious (ie. more lazy) than I would be if I was selling it.  I just gave it a quick coat of Dixie Belle’s spray on wax to seal it.  For maximum durability, I probably should have used a clear poly sealer … but hey, whatever.  If it doesn’t hold up, no worries.  I’ll just re-do it.

I have the perfect spot to hang this on the side of my house next to the door.

This is the door that we use on a regular basis (rather than our front door), so I get to admire the sign every time I go in and out (which isn’t all that often in this cold!).

What do you think?

If you have any favorite decorations for this part of winter, be sure to leave a comment and share your ideas with all of us.

Thank you to Wallcutz for providing the stencil, and to Dixie Belle Paint Co. for providing the paint used for this project.

a visit to the library.

I gave up reading ‘real’ books quite a few years ago.  At least when it comes to fiction.  And by ‘real books’ I mean those made out of paper with a cover.  It’s just so much easier to read on my Kindle.  It lights up at night, I can make the font larger (good grief, I feel old when I say that), and I can take a bunch of books with me on a trip without weighing down my suitcase.

So I hadn’t stepped foot in a library in years.

My mom, on the other hand, is a regular patron of her local library.  She needed to return some books, and get new ones, while I was out there last week so I went along for the ride.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that her library had quite a lot of decorating books that appealed to me, so I used my mom’s library card to check a few of them out.

I spent a good part of my time out there pouring over these books, so I thought I would do a quick review on each for you guys.  Just in case you’re in the market for a new decorating book.  Or perhaps you want to go see if your library has some of these!

I’ll start at the top of the pile and work my way down.

Modern Farmhouse Made Easy by Caroline McKenzie was the newest of the books in my pile having been published in 2021.

If you’re one of those who is in agreement with the ‘farmhouse is out’ opinion out there lately, this book might be a good one for you.  There are lots of good examples on how to give the farmhouse vibe a more modern twist …

But with plenty of vintage appeal to keep me happy too …

I enjoyed the section on ‘how to get the look’ depending on whether your style is traditional, rustic, minimalist or cottage.

It was fun to see a couple of houses in my neck of the woods used as examples for exteriors, one in Stillwater and one in Ellsworth, Wisconsin.

My only problem with this book was that much of it felt unattainable to me (ie. way out of my price range) and most of the homes shown were new construction.  It was definitely worth checking out from the library, but doubt I would ever purchase this one.

Next in the pile is Restore.  Recycle.  Repurpose. by Randy Florke with Nancy J. Becker.

This one was published in 2010, and is a Country Living book.  I tend to really like the Country Living books, so even though this one is around 12 years old I thought it would be worth a look.

The focus of the book is on how to be ‘green’ through reusing vintage finds, which is right up my alley.  It included lots of practical ‘how to’ info, and I loved that many of the examples were from genuinely old homes.

Some of the décor shown was perhaps a bit outdated, but a lot of it felt timeless to me.

One piece that really jumped out at me was this desk …

We’ve all seen these old (super heavy) mid-century steel desks, and I love how this one is painted in that gorgeous turquoise.  The next time I see one of these for sale I may have to take a second look.

Flea Market Chic by Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell was published in 2012.

This one had a plastic cover over it, so it was tough to get a good photo of that cover.  I wasn’t about to deface a library book by trying to remove it.

This book has a distinctly UK vibe that always appeals to me.

I always keep an eye out for painted furniture inspiration too, and this book had plenty of it.

The Rachel Ashwell book, My Floral Affair, was published in 2018.

Are there any other Rachel fans out there?  I have to say, I still absolutely love everything she does, even if I no longer have much in the way of ‘shabby chic’ in my own home.  I actually own most of her books, but had never seen this one before.

It’s filled with gorgeous floral eye candy, whether it’s real flower arrangements …

pretty floral china …

or subtly flowered wallpaper …

There are a few examples of classic Rachel Ashwell shabby chic style painted furniture too.

I have to confess, it makes me a bit sad that this style is no longer as popular as it once was.  I’d love to still be creating pieces like the one above, but I fear that they wouldn’t sell well.  Any opinions on that?

Of all the books I’m sharing today, this is probably the only one that I would actually purchase.  And you know what?  The more I think about it, the more I think that the next time I see a gorgeous set of old floral plates at the Goodwill I’m going to buy them and start using them.  Who says you can’t have pretty mismatched floral china?  Who cares if it’s no longer trendy, right?

That brings me to the bottom of the pile and The New French Décor by Michele Lalande.

Published in 2007, this is the oldest of the books I checked out.  It’s translated from French, and thus it has a very authentic European vibe.

Much of the featured décor has that mad scientist feel, if you know what I mean.

Lots of taxidermy, animal sculls, labeled apothecary jars and creepy anatomy drawings.  If you’re into that look (and I know there are plenty of people who are), then this book is a good option for you.

There was some fabulous painted furniture inspiration in this book as well …

One of my favorites was this Swedish piece …

And I was inspired by this snowy garden photo.

Clearly I need some of these mini greenhouses to pop up out of the snow in my garden.  Although they’d have to be a bit taller, I think this size would mostly just be buried in snow in my garden.

My friend/picker/ex-coworker/garage sale mentor (she has a lot of titles!) Sue recently suggested that I check out our local library, so I might just have to head over there and see what kind of decorating books they might have.

How about you?  Do you have a library card?  Or maybe you own some of these books, or see one that looks like it could be a favorite?  Or maybe you have another favorite decorating book that you’d like to recommend.  If so, be sure to leave a comment!

just around the corner.

And just like that, I’m back from visiting my mom.  Isn’t it funny how trips fly by so quickly?  Oh, what am I saying?  Time in general just flies by so fast these days, am I right?

I had a lovely time visiting my mom.  The Las Vegas area was experiencing a warm spell last week and temps were above average while I was there, so I was able to enjoy five glorious, sunny days in the 70’s … only to return to -8 in Minnesota!  Jeesh!

That patio makeover that my sister and I gave Mom last year is really paying off.  I spent a fair amount of time sitting on the patio, soaking up that warmth with a cup of coffee and a good book from the local library.

I’ll be sharing reviews of those books later in the week, so be sure to stay tuned for that.

I also visited the Goodwill that is literally just around the corner from my mom’s place.

I usually stop in there when I’m visiting.  Although obviously it’s not like I can buy much, only items that I can fit into my suitcase.  But honestly, that’s not usually much of a problem since they don’t typically have much in the way of my kind of vintage out there.

This is a good example of the usual sort of thing I see …

Creepy, right?

But this visit was the exception to the rule.  I saw a couple of items that I wished I could purchase starting with this copper boiler …

It was $19.99 and I would have snatched that up in a heartbeat if I was at home.  It would have made a fantastic window box like the ones I have on my carriage house and photo cottage.

Of course, mine are just galvanized.  Copper would be so much more fabulous!

I also saw this adorable kid sized antique roll top desk.

It was also $19.99.  And it would be such a fun project!  Can’t you just picture it painted in some chippy milk paint?

By the way, my mom’s Goodwill offers a much better senior discount than mine here in Minnesota.

She can get 40% on Wednesdays, and 20% all other days.  At my Goodwill I get 25% on Wednesdays only.  I was surprised to find that these details were different in a different part of the country.

I did find one thing I could purchase, this set of canisters …

They were half off (with an orange tag), so a bargain price.  And to be honest, even more of a bargain for me since my mom insisted on paying for them!

There are actually three in the set (they were all stacked inside of each other at the store).

And being able to stack them meant I could fit them into my suitcase!

The wooden lids on these do not fit tightly, so I knew they would not be suitable to use for food storage.  But I thought they’d be great for storing art/crafting supplies.

Another great option would be to use them on your potting bench and fill them with seed packets, flower food, or garden tools.   Gardening season is also just around the corner!

They had lots of possibilities, so I brought them home and gave them a quick makeover.

I started by giving them a good cleaning, including using a Magic Eraser to get any scuff marks off.  Next up I added some of my favorite IOD Pots transfers to them.

These are the black ones from the Classic Pots version of the transfer, although the black ones in the newer Traditional Pots set look pretty much the same.

I ended up painting the lids black using Dixie Belle’s Caviar.

Originally I thought I would leave the lids ‘as is’ because I liked the sort of faded driftwood-ish appearance of them, but once the transfers were in place I felt like black was a better option.

I finished everything up with a coat of clear wax for some protection.

I’ll probably bring these into the shop on Wednesday, so if any of you locals need some canisters for your craft room or potting bench be sure to stop in.

I had a very relaxing get away at my mom’s.  I have to say, now that I’m retired it practically feels as though my mom’s place is just around the corner.  It’s a quick 3 hour flight, and I can generally find some pretty good deals on flights to Vegas.  Now that I don’t have to ‘use up’ vacation time to go, I think I’ll be visiting much more often.  In fact, my sister and I already have a trip out there booked four weeks from now and I’m already looking forward to some more of that warm weather!