I went to sh*t, and the hogs ate me.

My mom was in town last week.  She was officially here for her 60th class reunion, but when she comes out she always tries to make time to go visit her cousins in South Dakota.  So for the first half of last week my sister, mom, niece and I drove out for a visit.

My mom’s mother, Carrie, was born on the family farm in Arlington, South Dakota in 1898.  If you’re trying to make some sense of dates and ages, Carrie was 42 years old when my mother was born in 1940.  My mom is now 78, thus the 60th class reunion.

Anyway, Carrie was born on the Moe farm and that farm is still in the family.  It’s now run by my cousin Travis.

The farm was passed down from Carrie’s parents to her brothers Gerhard and Knute Moe, and from there to Knute’s daughter Elaine and from there to her son Travis.  Travis has six really adorable children so I hope that at least one of them will be willing to continue on with the farm one day, thus keeping it in the family.

These days Travis just has goats, and a couple of llamas.

And currently quite a few adorable kittens who would not hold still for photos.  The beautiful grey one was my favorite.

I’m always tempted to take one home with me, but I’m pretty sure my cat Lucy would not approve of an interloper.

Although my mom grew up as a city kid in Minneapolis, she would spend several weeks every summer out at the farm so she developed some very close relationships with her cousins.  So whenever it was possible, my mom sent us out to stay in Arlington when we were kids too.  That was where I learned that potatoes grew in the ground, not on bushes or trees.  I definitely was a city kid.

These days we still love going out to visit the cousins.  They are the nicest people and we always have so much fun with them.  We tend to do a lot of laughing when we’re there.

While we were out there this time we were playing cards with a bunch of the cousins and at one point one of them looked at his hand and said ‘Well, I went to shit, and the hogs ate me.’  I burst out laughing, wondering what in the world that meant.

Apparently that translates to something along the lines of ‘things went from bad to worse.’  A trip to the outhouse being bad, being eaten by hogs even worse.

After I quit laughing I said ‘that would make an awesome blog post title, if only I could remember it’, so my niece whipped out her phone and texted it to me.  So now I have a record of it for posterity, or at least as long as I have my current phone.

Speaking of which, I took all of the photos for today’s post with my new phone.  I hadn’t really played around with that yet, and now I’m realizing I might want to change the picture size setting … at least the ratio.  But these long skinny photos were fun for today’s post.  They certainly do a good job of emphasizing the wide open spaces of the mid-west’s farmland.

Maybe I will just leave it on this setting after all.

And the next time I have a colossal fail while painting a piece of furniture, I’m going to try to remember to use that blog post title again!

faking it with a little bit of faux.

While my sister and I were driving around the Mac-Grove neighborhood looking for garage sales the other day, my sister admired the window boxes at one house that were full of blooms.  I looked over to see what she was looking at and immediately knew they were fake.  Mainly because I know that you can’t have wisteria flowers coming right out of the dirt in a window box, and you also can’t have them in late August.

Aside from that, they looked pretty good from a distance.  Obviously good enough that my sister thought they were real.

I’ve always been a bit of a plant/flower snob.  Having fake ones just feels like cheating to me.

But for the past several months I’ve been trying to decide what to do with this amazing old toolbox that I display in my dining room window.

I found this at a garage sale several years ago, and I added the stencil to the side.

Last year around this time I filled it up with flowers from my Limelight hydrangea.  They were fresh when I took that photo, but they dried in place and looked really pretty for the most of the winter.  But when summer came, I felt like they were starting to look pretty dusty and drab and I needed to come up with another plan.

I thought about putting a row of three small topiaries in the box.  That probably would have looked amazing, but I have a history of killing off topiaries.  And those thing aren’t cheap.

Then I saw some lavender plants at my local Bachman’s (plant nursery) and thought they would look gorgeous in the toolbox.

But I knew that I would never be able to keep these blooming over the winter, even in a south facing window.  In fact, I’ve even tried growing these outside over the summer and haven’t been able to keep them blooming.  After all, lavender likes hot, sunny, dry weather.  We don’t have much of that here in Minnesota, especially in the winter.

So initially I nixed the idea of lavender.  But then I mentioned this conundrum at work and my co-worker Jodie suggested I add a couple of fake flower stems to the real plants.

Eureka!

It had never occurred to me that you could supplement real plants with a few fake flowers.  As long as I can keep the plants themselves alive, I’ll be good to go.

So I waited for the fake flowers to go on sale at Hobby Lobby and then I picked some up for around $2 each.  Then I went back to Bachman’s and purchased three lavender plants for $12.99 each.

I brought them home and popped them into the toolbox.

Perfect fit.

Then I cut the faux flowers down a bit …

and simply added them to the real plants.

One benefit to using real plants is that they smell amazing.

I think the fake flowers look pretty good, although of course anyone who knows plants is going to realize they can’t possibly be real.  Especially in the middle of January.

It also remains to be seen whether or not I can at least keep the plant itself looking good through winter, but I have read up on it and I should be able to grow lavender indoors in a sunny south facing window, even in Minnesota.

If I can pull it off, I think it’s going to be nice to have something ‘blooming’ in my window all winter long.

 

going someplace.

For those of you who aren’t from around here, today is a holiday here in the U.S.  It’s Labor Day.  Most of us have no idea why we have this holiday, and there really aren’t any traditions associated with it that are practiced across the board (like a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, fireworks on the 4th of July, or visiting the graves of loved ones on Memorial Day).

Usually it’s just a good excuse for squeezing in one more barbecue before summer is over.

I did a little research and apparently Labor Day was initially brought about by workers organizing and fighting for shorter work weeks.  Now that’s an idea I can get behind!  In fact, I’m honoring the spirit of Labor Day by taking this entire week off work.  Well, to be honest, mainly that’s really because my mom is in town for her 60th class reunion.  She graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1958.  My sister, mom, niece and I will also be driving out to South Dakota for a few days to visit our cousins while Mr. Q stays home to man the fort.  So if I’m not responding to comments with my usual speed, it’s because I’m busy admiring the cattle on the old family farm.

Even though I’m taking a break from my labors, I have a quick project to share today that I finished up a couple of weeks ago.

Have you been wondering what I did with the mirror that came with the dresser that I shared last Monday (and by the way, that dresser sold in less than two days and I attribute that entirely to the gorgeous transfer from Prima Marketing)?

 Obviously I didn’t put the mirror back on the dresser.

That’s because I love turning mirror harps like this into chalkboards that can be hung on the wall.

I started by removing the inner framed mirror from the harp.  Comically enough, the mirror was the only thing holding that harp together.  As soon as I took it out the entire thing fell apart.  Believe it or not, that’s actually a good thing.  My handyman Ken prefers it that way because it gives him the opportunity to completely re-glue all of the joints.

So he glued it all back together and then cut a piece of hardboard to fit the opening so I could turn it into a chalkboard.  He sent it back like this.

I opted to paint the frame in a pale grey using Homestead House milk paint in Bedford.  I took a calculated risk and did very little prep work.  I wiped it down with a damp rag and that was about it.  If you do this, keep in mind that you are taking a chance that your paint won’t adhere.  With milk paint it’s even possible that all of the paint will flake right back off, especially if there is furniture polish or something similar on the surface of your piece.

But I was willing to risk it since it was just a frame, not an entire piece of furniture.  Worst case scenario I would have to sand it down entirely and re-paint.  Plus I wanted to get some chipping.

As it turned out, it was a good call.  I got the perfect amount of chippy-ness.

As you can see, I chose black for the chalkboard.  I was planning to paint it using black milk paint (you can find my tutorial for using milk paint for chalkboards here).  I thought I had plenty of it on hand, but as it turned out I couldn’t find it.  So I went with Rustoleum’s black chalkboard paint.

To give the piece a little extra something, I used a couple of sections from Prima Marketing’s smaller Seeds transfer at the top …

and bottom of the frame.

I used one of my favorite techniques for adding a chalked design to the chalkboard.  I print the design out on paper, rub chalk all over the back of it, and then trace it onto the chalkboard (you can read the full tutorial on that here).

I’m sure that many of you could do this free-hand, but I’m never happy with my free-hand work so this is how I fake it.

I often have my handyman Ken add a shelf across the bottom of the mirror frames that I turn into chalkboards, but this frame came with its own little shelves already.  They make the perfect spot to display a vintage camera …

or a charming old photo.

I’ll likely take this piece in to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell, unless any of my local readers want to snatch it up first.  See my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

waxing on.

A couple of months ago when Prima Marketing sent me a bunch of transfers to give away, they also threw some extra Metallique waxes into the box.

I’ve been using these waxes since late last year and I gotta say, I love them.

I used to use Rub ‘n Buff for all of my metallic waxing needs, but I really didn’t care for the little tubes that it comes in.  The plastic screw tops always cracked on me and then the wax dried out and clogged the tube.  I also felt like it didn’t dry as hard as the Prima Marketing wax does.  It seemed like more of the wax rubbed off again when I tried to buff it.   Maybe that’s just my opinion though (or user error on my part), I didn’t do any scientific testing or anything.

Regardless, I’ve gotten great results using the Metallique wax.

My favorite use for metallic wax is sprucing up old metal knobs and drawer pulls.  It’s such an easy way to refresh them.  Simply clean your knobs with soap and water, let dry and then apply the wax with a q-tip.  Let the wax harden for a few hours and then buff to bring out the shine.

The Bronze Age on the knobs shown above is a nice warm bronze-ish brown color.  I love pairing this color with Fusion’s Ash or Dixie Belle’s Gravel Road, both dark charcoal greys.

I also love the Vintage Gold which looks a lot like gold leaf to me.

The wax works well on the clean lines of mid-century hardware …

but also on more ornate knobs or pulls …

I had yet to try some of the other colors that are available, so I pulled out some spare hardware to test them out.

From top to bottom they are Old Silver, White Gold, Aged Brass and Rose Gold.  Aren’t they pretty?  I’m patiently waiting for just the right piece to come along for that gorgeous Old Silver, and I just used the White Gold on a mid-century piece that I’ll be sharing in another week or so.

There are plenty of other ways you can use the wax besides just on drawer hardware.  It also works beautifully to add a little shimmer to ornate frames.

The Bronze Age was perfect for disguising the shiny chrome ‘neck’ on my dress form, Collette.

Now for the fun part, Prima Marketing sent me a dozen of these waxes in various colors to give away!  I’m going to give them away in sets of four (approx. value:  $30).  So, we’ll have three winners today.

The basic rules:  to be eligible to win today’s prize leave a comment on this blog post telling me which one of the colors you like most.  Your comment must be left on the blog, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although if you don’t already follow me, it would be awesome if you did!

I will randomly draw the names of three winners from all of the comments left on this post by Sunday, August 26, 2018 at high noon (U.S. central time).

The fine print: no purchase necessary, you must be 18 years of age or older to win, void where prohibited by law, the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, August 31, another name will be drawn at random to win, yada, yada, yada … good luck!

decor textiles.

In addition to their amazing transfers, Prima Marketing has also recently added Decor Textiles to their re.design line.  Decor Textiles are 100% white cotton and can be dyed, painted, stenciled or stamped (or who knows what else, I’m sure you guys can come up with even more possibilities).  I’ve even seen a technique for using the transfers on them, but I haven’t tried that out yet for myself.

They have pillow covers, napkins, placemats, table runners and curtains.

The folks at Prima sent me some samples to play around with, so I pulled out a few pillow covers and placemats the other day to see what I could do with them.

First things first, I washed all of them in cold water and then dried them on the low setting.  I probably should have ironed them before moving on as well, but I was too lazy for that step.

Next I pulled out my Fusion Mineral Paint in Putty and Prima Marketing’s French Trellis stencil (also new from the re.design line).  I centered the stencil over the pillow cover and then used a small foam roller to apply the paint.  I used the roller because of the all over design.  I knew it would be much quicker to fill all of that in with a roller than it would be with a stencil brush.

On the reverse side I used an old stencil that I had on hand for the Paris design.

I chose to use Putty because I’m going to include these pillows with the french bench that I shared on Monday which is also painted in that color.  What a great way to perfectly coordinate your throw pillows with your decor, right?

Some q tips for stenciling on fabric; be sure that you have a very hard surface under your fabric, press hard enough for the paint to adhere but not so hard that it is pressed under the stencil, don’t use a goopy roller (ie. remove some of the excess paint from your roller by rolling it on a paper towel a couple of times after loading it with paint).

Another important tip, to keep your paint from bleeding through to the other side of something like this pillow cover, put a piece of cardboard inside before you stencil.  That will catch any paint that soaks through the fabric before it gets to the other side.

According to Fusion, fabric stenciled with their paint should be washable once the paint has cured (after about 30 days).  They have a great tutorial on their website about stenciling pillow covers, you can find that here.

Since I already had a roller full of Putty paint, I decided to stencil a few of the placemats as well.

I used Prima Marketing’s Basket Weave stencil on one side and a Cafe de Paris stencil that I purchased on Etsy a while back on the other (sorry, the Etsy shop that I purchased it from is no longer in business, so I can’t give you a source for it).

I definitely plan to try a few more techniques with the Decor Textiles.  I’m thinking about trying to dye some of the napkins using chalk paint, and I also want to get out my Decor Stamps and try them on some pieces.  I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted when I do.

What do you think?  Got any other ideas for dressing up the new Decor Textiles?  If so, be sure to let me know in a comment.

in love with a pig.

I’ve mentioned before that Prima Marketing has sent me their products in the past to try out and share here on the blog.  I’ve hosted a few giveaways featuring their products as well (and I have a giveaway of their metallic wax planned for next week).

Well last Saturday a giant box arrived on my doorstep.  I wasn’t entirely expecting it, although I had mentioned to Cari at Prima that I would love to try some of their new products.  She’d said she would see what she could pull together to send out, but I wasn’t sure if anything would be coming my way.

Then the giant box arrived.  It was filled with cool products for me to play around with and I’m looking forward to doing some experimenting.  Prima has some amazing new transfer designs coming out so you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for those, as well as a few other fab items.

Among the goodies were several loose sheets of tiny transfers.

The transfers themselves are about 1.25″ across each.  I instantly loved all of the different designs, but I wasn’t sure what they were for.  Then it occurred to me, knobs!

Yep, sure enough, these are their brand new re.design knob transfers which are being released to stores today!

I couldn’t wait to give them a try, so I pulled out my stash of wooden knobs.

One could say that I have a lot of wooden knobs.  I tend to take them off things and replace them with glass knobs instead (although that’s definitely going to change now that I have these transfers).

First I decided to test out whether or not the transfers would be very visible applied over a typical wood knob.

It’s a subtle look, but I think it works.

But I wanted to experiment with something that had a little more impact so I painted a bunch of the knobs using Fusion’s Limestone, my favorite warm white.

And that’s when the fun really began.

I started out with the Bees & Queens design from the Cursive Letters collection.

It didn’t take me long to realize that these were going to be amazing.

Next I tried a design from the Paris Cottage collection.

I had a couple of pink knobs in my stash so I decided to give them something floral.  This design is also from the Paris Cottage collection.

How sweet are those?

Finally, I had a set of six knobs that were all the same size, so I decided to do them all the same.

I have to admit, I was not expecting to like these as much as I do.  Dare I say it?  I’m in love with a pig!  How amazing would these be on a black dresser or hutch in a kitchen or dining room?

The pigs are from the Farmhouse Delight collection.

Now I just need to find some furniture to use these knobs on!  Or maybe come up with some other creative uses for them.  I’ll definitely be working on that.

In the meantime, what do you think?  Do you love these as much as I do?

You may have to wait until closer to the end of the month to find them.  I found just one of the designs available for pre-order at  Red Posie, and I also saw some pre-order options available on Etsy (search for Prima Marketing knob transfers) for $7.99 per sheet.  I’m sure they will become more readily available over time!

 

resistance is futile.

For a while now people have been telling me that I really need to get on Instagram.  I’ve resisted up until now for a couple of reasons.

First of all, it’s not like I have a bunch of spare time on my hands to learn a new medium.  I’m pretty busy with the day job, the gardening, the garage saling, the socializing (thanks again for that amazing pool day bff), the furniture painting and of course the blog writing.

Second of all, I needed to upgrade my phone first.  It’s embarrassing to admit, but I had an ancient windows phone that was not very compatible with Instagram or anything else for that matter.

OK, it wasn’t quite that bad, but close.

So not only did I have to learn how to use Instagram, but I also had to learn how to use a new phone.

And then there is the square photo format.  Not really a big deal, unless you are used to composing all of your shots for a rectangular format.  Suddenly you have to start thinking about how they will look as a square.  Lots of my photos are totally wrong for turning into a square.

But I bit the bullet last week and purchased a new phone.  Once I had the basics down, like being able to answer a call, I decided to download the Instagram app.  Just to explore what it was like.

I set up my account, qisforquandie, and then I followed some of my favorites; missmustardseed, vibekedesign, dreamywhiteslifestyle, savvycityfarmer, lizmariegalvan and frenchcountrycottage.

And you know what I discovered?  Turns out Instagram is like porn for blog readers.  Let’s face it, it’s all about looking at the pictures with very limited text.  It’s total eye candy.

And it all looks so pretty on my new phone, it was hard not be sucked in.

As they say, #resistanceisfutile, #youwillbeassimilated, #wearetheinstagram.

Any other trekkies out there?

Anyway, it’s official, I’m on Instagram.  No worries at this point, I have no plans to give up blogging.  If you still want some substance with your pretty pictures, you need more than Instagram.

But if you are already assimilated, I hope you’ll follow me on Instagram.  And if any of you have favorites that you follow, let me know.  I can always use a little more eye candy in my life.