mistakes were made.

I picked up a pair of wooden boxes while thrifting a week or so ago.

After sanding and cleaning them, I painted them with Dixie Belle’s Endless Shore, which is from their Silk paint line (ie. an acrylic paint with a built in primer and top coat).

I pulled out I.O.D.’s Floral Anthology transfer to decorate box no. 1.

After applying the florals, I added some French wording from the I.O.D. Label Ephemera transfer.

Full disclosure, I have only the vaguest idea of what these words mean so it could be total nonsense.  But it looks good to an English speaker.

After decorating the first box, I was about to do something similar with box no. 2.  But then I remembered a customer who once told me that she wished I didn’t put French words on everything!  So, I decided to go in a slightly different direction on the second box.

I first added some grain sack stripes using Dixie Belle’s French Linen.  Then I added the sheep from the I.O.D. Brocante transfer.  The little “No. 1120” and the date in the corners are from a Tim Holtz transfer.

I also added a farm name to the side of the box from the Everyday Farmhouse transfer from re.design with prima.

Finally, I applied one of the re.design with prima knob transfers to the top of the box.

I didn’t paint the insides of either box for a couple of reasons.  First of all, they aren’t real roomy inside and getting in there with a brush would have been a pain.  Second, they are clean inside, so they didn’t really need to be painted.

So far, so good, right?

But this is where I made my mistake.  As you can see in the photos, I distressed the edges of my boxes quite a bit.  Although the Silk paint has that built in topcoat, the transfer still needs some sort of sealer.  In addition, because I sanded the edges down to the bare wood, the Silk paint finish is compromised and will benefit from some protection on those edges as well.  Unfortunately, I decided to topcoat with Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.  As I’ve learned in the past, sometimes a water based sealer will draw tannins out of the wood.

Honestly, I should have known better.  Look back at that ‘before’ photo, this wood was very orange-y red.  The Silk paint has a built-in stain blocking primer, and it was working quite well up until I added that flat clear coat.  All of the preceding photos were taken before the clear coat was added.

But about 24 hours after adding that clear coat, the boxes started to show bleed thru.

It’s much more obvious on the back of the boxes, but if you’re familiar with the look of bleed thru you can see it on the front as well.  Especially in the area I’ve circled below.

Also, FYI, the bleed thru continued to worsen over time.  Be forewarned, that can happen with bleed thru.  It has been about two weeks since I finished these and they seem to have stopped getting worse now.

If I could go back and start over I would opt to give these boxes a coat of Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S., followed by their chalk style paint in Drop Cloth, and then a top coat of clear wax after applying the transfers.

But I can’t go back in time, so now what?

If these were pieces of furniture there is no way I would feel good about selling them ‘as is’, but these boxes?  Maybe?  I don’t know, what would you do?  Leave a comment and let me know!

typography transfers.

By now you all know that I have a love of typography.

I like putting words on things.

Sometimes that’s with a stencil.

Or sometimes with an I.O.D. paint inlay.

But most often it’s with a transfer.

My all-time favorite is the Label Ephemera transfer from I.O.D.

I do have one complaint about this one though, that the designs overlap each other.  It can be challenging to cut them apart, and some sections are simply unusable on their own.  In addition, this transfer has been retired, so it’s going to be harder and harder to get my hands on it.

I also really love I.O.D.’s Traditional Pots transfer.

However, all of the designs in this set are curved to fit on a cylindrical kind of object, ie. a pot.  So I think they look a little wonky on flat objects.

This button box is a good example of what I mean by that.  Here’s how it looks on a flat object.

And here’s how it looks on a curved object.

Yep, definitely better on a curved object.

I find that the Classic Vintage Labels from re.design with prima are a little more versatile in that regard.

Although many of them have some curve to them, they also have some straight lines so they tend to work well on flat or curved surfaces.

I just ordered two more sets of these, so I’m looking forward to updating more thrifted finds with them.

But they are rather small.  They are perfect for little stuff, but don’t really have enough impact for bigger projects.

Speaking of small, I also sometimes use Tim Holtz transfers which are even smaller, or the knob transfers from re.design with prima.

That’s one of the knob transfers on that miniature toolbox above and the dresser has a combination of Tim Holtz and I.O.D. Traditional Pots transfers.

Dixie Belle has recently come out with a typography transfer that works well for smaller items called Vintage Post.

I’ve used bits of it on various things like this tackle box.

But again, there is a lot of overlap of designs on this one that makes it challenging to cut out specific elements to use on their own.

Dixie Belle also has their On the Farm transfer that has some typography in it.

I particularly love that one.

And speaking of a ‘farm’ theme, re.design with prima has Everyday Farmhouse.

It’s fairly basic.

Nonetheless, I’ve used it on lots of items.

I keep hoping that someone will come out with more designs similar to the Label Ephemera from I.O.D., whether that’s I.O.D., re.design with prima, Dixie Belle, or some other manufacturer of transfers.

In the meantime, for a change of pace I recently ordered some of the new French Labels Middy transfers from re.design with prima.

I picked up a no-name crock at the Goodwill recently.  I call it ‘no-name’ because it doesn’t have any markings on it anywhere, it’s just plain and not a collectable antique.  So I tested out one of the French Labels on it.

It dressed it up perfectly, taking it from drab to fab!

If you’re just starting out using transfers and you want something easy to apply, these Middy transfers are a great option.  They come on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet and for around $16 you get three sheets of them, so you aren’t making a big financial commitment and you have plenty to play around with.

As far as quality goes, I find that all of these brands I’ve mentioned work quite well.  I can’t honestly say that the quality of any one brand is better than the others.  The I.O.D. transfers come on a gridded sheet that makes it easier to keep them straight which is nice.  But basically I tend to choose based on the look of the graphics themselves.

You have some options for purchasing transfers.

You can try to find a brick and mortar shop near you that carries them.  Here are links to the ‘find a retailer’ page for I.O.D., Dixie Belle and re.design with prima.  I will warn you though, many of the brick and mortar retailers don’t have a full inventory of products so it can be very hit or miss.  Before driving very far, I would call to see if your nearest retailer has the item you want.

I almost exclusively order my transfers online.  There are lots and lots of options for purchasing from online sellers.  One resource is Etsy.  One caution there, make sure you are looking at transfers.  You’ll also find decals, and digital prints and other things that look like transfers, but aren’t.  Read the fine print before placing your order.

Initially ordering via Etsy has led me to retailers that I now order from directly.

For I.O.D. products, I like The Painted Heirloom.  She always ships items super fast, however, you will pay $6.95 for shipping if you spend less than $60.  She doesn’t offer free shipping until you’ve spent $150 or more.  She also doesn’t have any back inventory of retired designs, so I’m out of luck on getting any more Label Ephemera from her (check Etsy for retired designs, there are usually people out there with back stock).

For re.design with prima products, I ordered my Middy labels from Flipping Fabulous.  She also ships super fast, and offers free shipping for orders over $75.  The Classic Vintage Labels I ordered recently came from Sweet Pickins.  That can be a handy way to order if you also happen to need some of their In a Pickle milk paint!

I always order my Dixie Belle transfers directly from their website, but they do charge shipping.

As for small Tim Holtz transfers, you can find some of his stuff at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, although I don’t know what their current inventory looks like.

I hope I’ve answered a few questions about transfers today.  Now how about you?  Do you have a favorite brand of transfer?  And if so, why?  Leave a comment and let us know.

the naturalist’s box.

My picker, Sue, found this box for me.

As you can see above, the top half of the latch wasn’t attached.  However, it was inside the box so I was able to re-attach it as you’ll see in a minute.

After sanding and cleaning the box, I painted it in two coats of Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy.

I have to say, after painting the other two boxes from my thrift haul in their Silk paint (an acrylic paint, and you’ll see the results of that in a coming post), I think I prefer working with the chalk style paint on these sorts of items.  It adheres better, it distresses more easily, and since I will be adding transfers that have to be sealed anyway the fact of the built-in topcoat in the Silk paint is irrelevant.

That brings me to the fun part, adding bits and pieces of transfers.

The wording on the top is from the I.O.D. Label Ephemera transfer.

The floral bit on the front that flows up onto the top is from the I.O.D. Brocante transfer.

As are the bee and the butterfly (on the top).

That smaller wording is all from a Tim Holtz transfer called Specimen.

After sealing the box with some of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat, I reattached the original latch.

I then lined the inside of the box with some scrapbook paper and called it good.

Now it’s ready to hold some field notes, specimens, curiosities or evidence … or whatever one wants to keep inside a box.

If you are local and have need of a box to store your specimens in … wait, that sounds gross … but you know what I mean … be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page as this box is for sale.

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

a pottery predicament.

About 20 years ago, Mr. Q and I took a cruise in the Baltic.  It was an amazing trip with lots of fabulous ports of call like Oslo, Copenhagen, St. Petersburg and Stockholm.  I think Mr. Q’s favorite city though was Helsinki.

We made our way to the Tourist Info office there and picked up a brochure for a self-guided walking tour from the Market Square to Kaivopuisto Park.  Eventually the tour would take us past the Mannerheim Museum where we got a personalized tour of the exhibits, likely because absolutely no one else was visiting the Mannerheim Museum that day.  Mr. Q was in heaven chatting with our unofficial guide about … well … you know, historical military stuff.

But before we headed out from the Market Square, we checked out the open air market stalls there.  Mr. Q ate some reindeer paella, and tried on some fur hats.

And I purchased a mid-century vase.

In my mind it had that quintessential Scandinavian look, and I loved the colors.  I thought it made a great souvenir from our trip.

I have no idea how much I paid for it.  I’m sure it wasn’t terribly much (because we all know I’m pretty cheap).  Plus, 20 years ago mid-mod stuff was not all that hot.

We’ve displayed it in various spots over the years, and most recently it has been on the window ledge at the bottom of our staircase.

Over Christmas I replaced it with a row of nutcrackers.  After taking down my Christmas decorations, I went to put the vase back in place and I thought (as I often do) that it really doesn’t jibe with the rest of my décor.

All this time I’d been hanging onto it because I thought it reminded Mr. Q of the awesome time we had in Helsinki.  But when I asked him about it, he said “What vase? I just remember the fur hat.”

So I thought I’d go ahead and bring it into the shop to sell it.  I was just about to make out a price tag of $25 for it when I thought, gee, maybe I should make sure it isn’t valuable.  After all, it was signed on the bottom.

Maybe Google would have some clues.

Turns out that my vase was made by Pirjo Nylander, probably in the 1960’s.  I found quite a few examples of her work online including this vase …

It has that same motif of rectangles, so I’m sure I’m on the right trail.  This one is listed for €475 at vntg.com.  I found another of her vases on Etsy for $475, but it’s still available so I’m not sure what that means.  There is also a Pirjo Nylander vase listed on 1stDibs for over $1,000.  But then, we all know that the prices on 1stDibs are horribly over-inflated (called ludicrously expensive by some), right?

Well, even so, now I feel like putting a price tag of $25 on my Nylander vase would be a mistake.  But I’m fairly sure a price tag of over $100 would be puzzling to most of the shoppers at Reclaiming Beautiful.  And that brings me to my pottery predicament.  What to do with this vase?

How many of you remember my blog post about the ‘death star’?

This goes back to 2014.  I had purchased some mid-mod furniture at an estate sale, and on a whim I asked about this metal sculpture that was hanging on the wall above the credenza.  The sellers threw it in for free.  After some research, I discovered that it was a signed Curtis Jere, and the exact same piece was listed at 1stDibs for $5,900!

Again, that’s a 1stDibs price, so you have to take it with a grain of salt.  But I did do some further research.  I sent inquiries to two auction houses that specialize in mid-century modern.  Palm Beach Modern Auctions said they would love to take it.  They estimated it would sell for $800 to $1,000.  But, I would have to ship it to them in Florida (and it was extremely heavy and large), and then they take a 20% commission.  So that was a no go.  I also contacted Wright in Chicago.  They estimated its value at $2,000, but they felt it wouldn’t be worth it to ship it to them and pay their auction fees (they did not elaborate on what those are) so they suggested I try to find a local buyer.  I did eventually find a local mid-century dealer who offered me $300 for it, and I took it.

You know what?  I actually kind of hate finding out that something I have is ‘worth something’.  I really regard most home décor as discardable.  I enjoy it for a while, and then I sell it onward or take it to the Goodwill when I’m tired of it.  I don’t have any collectibles that I consider valuable in any way (one of the many reasons I call them non-collections).  Or at least, not that I know of.

One of these days I’m probably going to buy a Rothko for $20 at a garage sale and then sell it on to someone else who will make millions on it (if you’re as fascinated by art that sells for millions as I am you might want to watch Made You Look, it’s a documentary on Netflix about the largest art fraud in American history, to the tune of $80 million).

In the meantime, what am I going to do with my Nylander vase?  Keep it?  Try to find a mid-century lover who will pay what it might or might not be worth?  Or just go ahead and bring it to the shop, maybe with a price tag just a tad higher than $25?

What would you do?


a rose window.

I picked up an old window at a garage sale last year.  I tend to grab chippy old windows, especially when they have a unique shape like this one.

This particular one was in pretty rough shape with the glass practically falling out before I got it home.

So, I started out by giving the window a good clean, and then I re-glazed the glass.  Now, you should be forewarned that I have very little talent for glazing and I really don’t know what I’m doing.  But, I need to get it figured out because we have quite a few windows at our house that need re-glazing and I want to do it myself.  So this seemed like a good way to get some practice in.

However, I’m pretty sure I picked the wrong product.

I saw the words ‘window’, ‘clear’ and ‘paintable’ on the label and thought it was what I needed.  I also thought a ‘sealant’ was what I needed.  In the end, this worked OK for my purpose here, which was basically to hold the glass firmly in place.  But it’s not really the right product for glazing windows, so I’ll be going back to the drawing board before I attempt to work on my house windows next summer.

In the meantime, here’s how my totally imperfect sealant looks on the back side of the window.

Fortunately it’s on the back, and it’s clear, so it really isn’t noticeable from the front at all.

Next up I debated re-painting the frame.  But the thing is, I like the authentically chippy look.  So rather than paint it, I sanded off any loose paint and then added a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat to seal it.

Next up I pulled out two sections from the I.O.D. Ladies in Waiting transfer to add to the glass.

I cleaned the glass well before starting and then applied the transfers to the front of the window.

I have to confess that I nearly applied the first one to the back of the window before coming to my senses.  The transfers do not work that way.  Here’s how that would have looked …

Yep, I dodged a bullet on that one.  Don’t know what I was thinking.

Ultimately the Ladies in Waiting transfers were the perfect fit for this window.  One on each side (the full set includes four of them).

I added a number to the side of the window frame too.

That came from my pile of transfer scraps, so I’m sorry, but I don’t know which particular transfer it was from originally.

One question I get frequently is whether or not I use a sealer over transfers that are applied on glass, and I do not.  The transfers stick to glass extremely well.  However, they can be removed using a razor blade, if one should ever want to remove it down the road.

As for cleaning, I would simply dust it using a soft cloth.  I would not recommend using a spray glass cleaner of any kind on a transfer.

This window looks great hung on the wall over a desk.

But you could hang it anywhere.

What do you think?  Are you a fan of transfers on glass?

If so, here are links to some other projects I’ve done with transfers on glass; this one is on a mirror, this one is on a barrister bookcase, and this one features glass cannisters with transfers on them.  Check them out!

In the meantime, this window is for sale.  Check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

hidden in plain sight.

In my humble opinion, the month of January is good for precisely two things.  Traveling somewhere warm, or cleaning out closets.

Since I won’t be traveling anywhere warm until February when my sister and I head out to visit our mom, that leaves cleaning out closets.  Or really, just basically organizing things.

I don’t think I’m alone in this.  Do you guys tend to use these cold winter months for things like sorting through your crafting supplies, or alphabetizing your seed packets while dreaming about next year’s garden, too?

Lately I’ve been spending some time putting away Christmas decorations, sorting through closets, and making piles of things to take to Goodwill.  So that means I haven’t really been working on projects to share here on the blog.  And I figure it would be pretty boring for me to show you my ‘before & after’ closet clean outs.

So instead, I thought I would revisit some fun ways to use vintage items to organize and store things, and to basically hide them in plain sight.

One of my favorite vintage items for organizing small things is the enamelware refrigerator box.

I use some for organizing my ink pads and paper ephemera.

I added the wording using some old alphabet rub-on letters from my scrapbook supply stash.

I use another of the enamelware boxes (also updated with a transfer) to keep all of my mailing supplies handy.  I have stamps, my return address labels, and a small address book inside.

Another of my favorite items for stylish storage is the vintage suitcase.  This is a great way to add more storage to a room, while also adding some fun vintage style.

You’ve already seen that I store some my tree toppers in one.

And I also store my embarrassingly large supply of scrapbook stickers in a vintage suitcase.

My spare photography equipment fits nicely into a vintage vanity case.

One thing that I’m frequently asked about when it comes to old suitcases is how to get the smell out.  I have to admit, I haven’t really found a permanent way to get rid of a musty smell (you can read more about the various methods I’ve tried here).  In the end, my advice is to use musty suitcases to store things that won’t pick up the odor, like those camera lenses.  I recommend avoiding storing clothing or other linens inside old suitcases.

Another great item for storing bits and pieces is an old toolbox, tackle box or lock box.  Before I paint these, I seal them inside and out with Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S. which blocks stains and odors.  So no worries about musty smells.

I use a toolbox to store all of my furniture wax.

It sits on a shelf right in our living room.

Talk about hidden in plain sight.  It fits right in and no one would know that it contains some of my painting supplies.

Toolboxes are also great for holding things like ribbons …

Or your sewing kit.

I keep my two hot glue guns and all of the related supplies in an old tackle box.

Those trays for the tackle are the perfect size for glue sticks.

Tackle boxes are great for storing random crafting supplies too.

An old roller skate case makes the perfect container for storing your pile of black and white photos while keeping them nice and flat.

All this talk of storing things in vintage containers brings me to my first ever after Christmas sale!

I have a couple of items that haven’t sold, so I thought I’d mark them 25% off for the month of January (sorry, still local sales only).  So if you’re looking to get organized, maybe you can use one of these items for stylish storage.

First up is the roller skate case shown just above, and here …

Sale price is $26.25 (skates not included)

Next up is the classic blue & white toolbox.

It includes a removable tool tray inside.

Sale price is $41.25.

And finally, the dark side lock box.

This one is that pretty Scandinavian pink on the inside.

Sale price is $30.

If you’re local and interested in any of these ‘storage boxes’ be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

the traders market 2022.

Last weekend my sister and I drove down to Elko, MN for the Traders Market.

I have to say, after having just been to the Gold Rush at Oronoco, this market is much more my style.  There were tons of fabulous things to look at, so I took a few snapshots to share with you guys.

Many of my favorite things were available, like cameras and clocks …

blue ball jars …

vintage scales …

(now that I’m looking at this photo, I wish I had considered purchasing that turquoise colored one on the bottom shelf, that would have been a great addition to my pantry)

and there were even quite a few toolboxes!

I have to say that many of them were even reasonably priced.  I’ll admit, I mainly didn’t buy any of them because I didn’t want to carry them around the market.  The next time we go, I’m definitely bringing a cart.

We saw quite a bit of the red, white and blue.

It gave me a 4th of July vibe, which was confusing in September, but then I thought maybe Labor Day is also considered a patriotic holiday by some?  Or maybe Americana is in style all year long.  I don’t know, what do you think?

Remember the swanky swigs I found last March?  There was a vendor with an entire table full of them.

There were quite a few vendors with more traditional collectibles, like military stuff.

There were also vendors with more unique items like this cow with a milk can head.

Some hanging lights made out of old globes …

Or this really cool, chippy, model ship.

You can’t really see the scale in that photo, but that thing was probably close to 4′ long.

Once again I came across some roller skates in a metal carrying case.

Now that they’re on my radar I’ll probably see them everywhere.

Speaking of seeing things everywhere, these Halloween buckets seem to be all the rage these days.

I’m curious, do any of you know someone who makes these?  Is there some sort of laser cutting machine that cuts out those faces?  They all seem to be exactly the same, although I have seen other versions (like the Frankenstein monster face on the one my sister purchased at Oronoco).

I did purchase a couple of things at the Traders Market that are a little more interesting than the mop I purchased at Oronoco, and they both went into my potting shed.  I picked up an addition to my watering can non-collection (in the background of this photo).

I didn’t have a watering can in that style, and it was only $12, so I snatched it up.

And I also picked up this mint colored step stool to serve as a plant stand.

But I have to say, my sister got the find of the day.  It’s a bit obscure, but a couple of years ago she started collecting pieces from the Dept 56 Disney Parks Village Series.  Now, this is not to be confused with the Disney Christmas Village, or the Disney Pumpkin Town.  Although she does have some pieces from them as well.  They are much more readily available.  But the Disney Parks series features actual buildings from the parks themselves.

A couple of years ago we found several of the buildings at a 2nd hand store for a reasonable price, but if you try to buy these online they are usually priced quite high.  She is currently coveting the new Haunted Mansion piece, but the cheapest I’ve seen it is $249 on Amazon.

I’d love to say that we found that piece, but not hardly.  But she did find two other pieces for $10 each, so we were both pretty excited about that.  Unfortunately, I neglected to get a photo of her finds.

The Elko Trader’s Market is held three times per year, Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day weekends.  I’ve only been to the Labor Day version, but I told Debbie that we have to make a note to go over Memorial Day weekend next year to see what kinds of summer/garden sorts of goodies they might have.

So, I’m curious.  What kinds of things do you usually buy at a market like this one?  Leave a comment and let me know!

you had me at rusty.

My local readers are probably familiar with the Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush, but for those of you who aren’t, it’s an antique show & flea market that has been taking place for 50 years!

I hadn’t been to the Gold Rush for several years (you know, the whole Covid thing), but this past Sunday my sister and I decided to head to Oronoco to check it out.  The forecast called for a sunny day in the upper 70’s, so it was the perfect day to wander around amongst the various booths to see what people had.

I really didn’t snap a lot of photos, and this certainly isn’t going to be a comprehensive review of the event, but I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things.

Of course I was drawn to the vintage ornaments, and there were a few to be had.

The prices were reasonable, but I really don’t need to add to my already sizeable collection.  Plus I thought it would be a little challenging to carry them around without breaking them.

I saw quite a few vintage sleds …

I would never paint those two, they have a fabulous vintage patina ‘as is’, and they were priced in the $80+ range, so clearly out of my price range.  I did see another vendor selling painted sleds, but they were hand-painted with snowmen and things like that (not quite the same as the sleds that I paint), but I neglected to get a photo of her stuff.

There was no shortage of chippy spindles …

and all kinds of vintage everything …

And in another case of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, look what I saw …

roller skates along with their black metal carrying case.  I’m sure I wouldn’t have even noticed them had I not just worked on one myself.

I opened up the case and it was very similar to mine inside, so this certainly proves that mine was originally meant to be a roller skate case just as the seller claimed.

There are always plenty of quirky items at Gold Rush too.

and certainly lots of seasonal stuff.

To be honest, I snapped the photo of that ‘pumpkins’ sign so that I could try and make my own version of it.  Seems like it would be simple enough, right?  We’ll see if I get around to that.

I thought the fall colors in this little vignette were nice too.

I hate to say it, but this year the event did not have many booths that spoke to me.  There were really only a handful of vendors that had things styled in a fashion that appealed to me.  The last time I went to Gold Rush there were so many fabulous vignettes to admire.  I thought maybe it was my imagination, but then I went back and looked at my pictures from 2017 and that confirmed it.

This year there was really only one booth that impressed me with their styling, this one from Old Soul Vintage.

She had a fun vintage camp theme going on.

Complete with fishing gear.

But my favorite item in that booth was this one …

How perfect would that be for me?  Unfortunately, she did not have my size.

Now, you are probably wondering what I did purchase at Gold Rush, and if so you’re going to be really disappointed.  I’m kind of embarrassed to admit to my purchase, but it was a Norwex mop.  Seriously, they’re going to vote me off the vintage lovers island.  But I find my Norwex window cleaning cloth really functional, and I like the idea of being able to mop my wood floors with plain water too.  So after going through the booths of around 200 vintage dealers and finding nothing that I absolutely had to have, I went back to the Norwex booth and bought a mop!  What can I say?  I guess I was feeling practical.

So how about you?  Do you have any fabulous antique shows where you are?  And if so, do you usually window shop, or do you always find something fabulously vintage to bring home (or would you bring home a mop)?  Or maybe you have a favorite find from the past that you’d like to share.  Leave a comment and let us know!

thrift find makeovers.

Whenever I’m out thrifting I’m always on the lookout for simple wood items that I can give new life to with paint.

I’ll readily admit that none of these are spectacular finds, certainly nothing to write home about.  But all three were fun makeovers.

Let’s start with the basic cutting board.  After sanding it down and cleaning it with a grease cutting cleaner, I painted it with Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy, and then added some grain sack style stripes using their French Linen.  Once dry, I sanded to distress and then added the farm animal transfer from Dixie Belle’s On the Farm transfer set.

The “Precious Stone Farm” wording is from re.design with prima’s Everyday Farmhouse transfer set.

I just love how it turned out, so cute.  It’s no longer food safe, but would make great decor.

Next up is the rooster shaped cutting board.  Once again, I prepped as usual and then painted it with two coats of the Sawmill Gravy.  Then I pulled out some scraps from the I.O.D. Floral Anthology transfer and pieced them in around the edges of the rooster.

Finally, I added some wording from their Label Ephemera transfer and now he’s a funky french floral rooster.  Again, no longer food safe, but perfect for decorating the kitchen counter top.

By the way, I top-coated both of these pieces with clear wax.

Last up is … well … I really don’t know what to call this thing.  I’m thinking it was originally a napkin, or paper guest towel holder, maybe?  Do you have any idea what this might have been used for?

Well, regardless, I painted it in Sawmill Gravy and then I decided to do a little experimenting with stamping once again.  Take note that I did not use any kind of sealer over the paint before stamping, and this is a chalk style paint.

The last time I tried stamping on paint I wasn’t terribly happy with the results.  But a couple of my readers gave me some tips including Teri B. who specifically recommended VersaFine Clair ink for stamping over paint.

So I went out and purchased some from my local craft store (I can’t remember, it was either Hobby Lobby or Michaels).

First up, I have to say that no matter how good the ink, nothing can help if you’re a clumsy stamper … which apparently I am.  On my first go around, after applying the stamp semi-perfectly, I then dropped it right back down on my surface.  Ugh.  So I wiped it back as much as I could, re-painted with the Sawmill Gravy and then gave it another go.

The 2nd time around I ended up not liking the stamp I chose (and by the way, all of these stamps are from the I.O.D. Crockery set), so once again I wiped it off using a damp cloth.

At that point it occurred to me that I rather liked the washed out look I achieved when wiping off the ink right away so I took a quick photo to share with you.  At some point I may want to use this technique on another project.  But for this piece I once again painted back over it with the Sawmill Gravy.

I will say that this is one of the benefits of stamping over paint, you can re-do it multiple times at no extra cost.

The third time is sort of the charm with this one.

I say ‘sort of’ for a few reasons.  I didn’t apply even pressure to the stamp, and I also managed to smear the ink just a little bit by accidentally brushing over it with my hand.

But those are pretty fine details, and unless you are an uber-perfectionist (which may, or may not, apply to me) this is good enough.  And really, if you’re an uber-perfectionist, stamping probably just isn’t for you.

I also achieved decent results with the stamp at the bottom too.

Teri was definitely right, the VersaFine Clair ink is the way to go if you’re stamping over chalk paint.

After 24 hours, the ink appeared to be dry enough to add a top coat over it without fear of smearing, but I chose to hold off on adding a coat of clear wax.

Why?  Well, I may keep this piece to corral some flashcards and maybe a pair of readers or two and I’m not sure I love this look.  I may decide to give it an entirely different look next, so I’m holding off on waxing in case I decide to paint over it one more time.

After working on all three of these thrift find makeovers, I have to say that I still think transfers deliver a lot more punch than stamps.  But of course, you can only use a transfer one time, while stamps can be used over and over.  So tell me, what do you think?  Do you prefer transfers or stamps?  Leave a comment and let me know.

unintentionally accumulating.

I’ve had a little pile of vintage laundry items unintentionally accumulating this summer.  Some of them are items my picker has found for me, and some are things I found … or already had on hand.  They were all pretty random finds, but in the end they have a laundry related theme.

Meanwhile, I was skimming through the April 2022 issue of Country Living and they had an article on exactly this sort of thing.

They featured vintage clothespins, washboards, and these cool retractable clothes line reels …

I kinda wish I had one of those for my basement in the winter.

Anyway, after seeing that article I decided I should figure out a good container for grouping all of these items together for sale.  I had a couple of baskets on hand, but I didn’t like the size and/or shape of them for this particular use.

Then while garage saling a while back I found this wooden box.

I thought it would be the perfect size for my accumulation of stuff, and it was priced right at only $3.  So I nabbed it.

After giving it a good scrub with soap and water and then letting it dry in the sun for a day, I painted it with just one coat of Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.  Once the paint was dry I sanded it heavily to give it a really worn appearance.  Then I added the Laundry & Co stencil from Maison de Stencils using Dixie Belle’s Putty.

Today’s q tip; I highly recommend doing any sanding before adding your stenciling when working with highly contrasting colors like black and white, or red and white … if you wait until after adding the stencil you will get a mess when the fine sanding dust from the black paint works its way into the white (or, in this case, Putty) stenciling.

So, I sanded first, wiped away the dust and then added the stencil.

FYI, I usually use a small paint brush to fill in the bridges on these kinds of stencils, and I did do that on this one except for the word “AND”.  I must have missed that one!

After the stenciled design was dry, I used DB’s Big Mama’s Butta to finish off the box.

Next up, I gathered up all of my vintage goodies to fill it up including the Watkins Household Hints book I picked up a while back …

the washboard …

some vintage wooden clothespins …

and hangers …

and finally this adorable vintage embroidered clothes pin bag.

I filled up the box, and I even threw in the magazine for good measure.

Sweet, right?

It would make a fantastic house warming or wedding shower gift for someone who appreciates vintage.  One could also just add all of these items to their laundry room for some instant vintage flair.

I’ll be taking this one in to the shop where I sell on consignment and we’ll see if it goes, unless of course one of my locals wants to snatch it up first.  If interested, be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.