the laundry co.

Here it is mid-April in the Twin Cities and winter is still going strong.  I’ve been so patiently waiting for signs of spring.  But lately it seems like just when enough snow melts for us to see the ground, another round comes in.

This past weekend the snow started Friday night, we had blizzard conditions by Saturday afternoon and the snow continued to fall until sometime after midnight last night.  I believe we broke some records and got well over a foot of snow.

But on the bright side, it was a weekend.  So we didn’t have to go anywhere, which left us with plenty of time to just hang out at home and binge watch some Norwegian TV.  Mr. Q and I got through all of season 1 and halfway through season 2 of Okkupert (Occupied).  Somehow it seemed appropriate to be watching this show while the snow came down.  But the weather also gave me a great opportunity to work on some projects.

One of the projects I worked on was updating an old wooden ironing board.  I’d painted it several years ago with black chalkboard paint and tried to sell it at a couple of my occasional sales, and there just weren’t any takers.  So it ended up shoved in the back of the carriage house.  Out of sight, out of mind.

But then Prima Marketing sent me some of their new transfers including the design called ‘Laundry’ (in the middle).

It was the perfect size to add to the old ironing board and turn it into a sign.

I started out by painting over the black chalkboard paint with a coat of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Shutter Grey.  Then I used some Homestead House Salad Bowl Finish to create a resist (read more about that technique here) and then added two coats of Homestead House milk paint in Raw Silk which is a white with a grey undertone.

Once the paint was thoroughly dry, I added the transfer following the directions provided in the packaging.

 After the transfer was in place, I sanded it very lightly with 220 grit sandpaper and then added a top coat of Miss Mustard Seed’s Furniture Wax.

The transfer was the perfect size for my ironing board.

I set up a little laundry folding scene against the designated blank wall in my piano room.  Some bloggers might have been able to stage a laundry sign in their fabulous, light filled laundry rooms.  Not me.  My laundry facilities are in my ancient 100+ year old dark basement complete with damp concrete walls and cobwebs we can’t keep up with.

I wish I had a pretty spot like this for folding my laundry down there.

I have so many tablecloths to fold …

Don’t these vintage linens have the most gorgeous colors?

I won’t be hanging on to the laundry co ironing board since I don’t have a spot for it that will do it justice.

If you’re local and you have a nice blank wall in your laundry room that would be perfect for a vintage ironing board turned sign, be sure to check out my available for local sale page for more details.

In the meantime, we’ll be here shoveling out from the storm, watching the rest of Occupied and hoping that spring really is coming this year.  Eventually.

winner, winner, chicken dinner.

First thanks so much for all of the many comments you guys left last week during milk paint madness!  I appreciated every single one and I wish you could all be winners.

But, I only had six prizes to give away.

I say only, but seriously, how incredible were my sponsors in giving me so much fabulous product to give away to you guys?!  I’d like to once again say thank you to Homestead House, Miss Mustard Seed, The Real Milk Paint Co and Sweet Pickins.  They made this all possible.

I used a random number generator to choose a winner from among the comments left on each day’s blog.  Yesterday I notified each winner by email, so if you didn’t get an email, I’m sorry to say that you didn’t win.

But here are the people that did win!

Jeanne R. won the milk paint basics prize.

Constance C. won the milk paint topcoats prize.

Sharon V. won the milk paint chalkboards prize.

Paula G. won the milk paint advanced techniques prize.

Paris B. won the milk paint magic prize.

And Laura W. won the bonus Sweet Pickins prize.

I hope I inspired a few of you to get out the milk paint and start painting something! with prima.

A while back the folks at Prima Marketing contacted me and asked if I’d like to try some rub on transfers from their new line.

After I danced around the room with glee for a few minutes, I promptly responded with um, yes!

One of the designs they sent to me is called L’Amour Et Des Reves.

As soon as I saw it I knew it would be perfect for the blank wall above my guest bed.  Normally I use the rub-on transfers on furniture, but did you know that they can also be adhered to walls, windows or even mirrors?

So last Saturday I decided to get to work and apply it to the wall.

The first thing you’ll notice when you remove the transfer from the tube it came in is that it’s in separate pieces.  If you’re used to the IOD transfers that come on one big sheet, this is going to be different for you.  The L’Amour transfer came in four sections.

I laid them out on my guest bed to get a better look at them.

First of all, let me point out that I have the floral section upside down in that photo.  Oops.

But what kind of clicked in my brain at this moment was that I could pick and choose which sections of the transfer I wanted to use quite easily.  Also, this would be super handy if you’re putting the transfer on the front of a dresser and you want to put each section on a separate drawer front.

Initially I didn’t think the full design was going to fit on my wall centered above the bed.  I had to contend with that slanted ceiling.  So I thought I might not use the floral section (as shown above), or maybe just remove that one narrow section of wording (as shown below, with the flowers still upside down).

However, as I studied the design I bit closer I realized that I could overlap the sections a bit and then the entire design would fit my wall.

Make sure you notice that at this point I still have the waxy backing paper in place so that my transfers aren’t sticking to the wall yet.  I wanted to be able to play around with the layout first and make sure it was going to fit.  And apparently this was also fortunate since I still had the floral section upside down, duh!

Once I had the entire design placed where I wanted it, I removed the lower three sections and put them out of the way on the bed.  Then I moved my yellow tape from the side of the transfer to the top.  That makes it easy to keep the transfer in place while you carefully lift the top sheet and remove the waxy backing paper from behind it.

 Next I just followed normal procedure for applying a rub on transfer.  Using the flat stick that came in the package, just start carefully rubbing over the design while lifting the clear sheet slowly making sure that everything is sticking to the wall.  This is really the trickiest part of the entire process.  Just go slowly watching to make sure that each part of your design is sticking before lifting away the transfer sheet.

And remember, if you mess up in a couple of spots you’ll probably be the only one who notices.  I messed up in about 4 different places on this one.  I challenge you to find them.

Once the first section was applied, I kept going.  Putting each section in place, carefully removing the waxy backing paper and then applying the transfer to the wall.

And hey, look, I got the flowers right side up finally.

I didn’t time it, but I would say it took me about an hour from start to finish to get the entire transfer onto the wall.  That includes frequent stops to take the photos for this post.

Isn’t it gorgeous?  Seriously.  Every time I walk past the room I have to stop for a moment to admire it.

By the way, were you able to pick out my mistakes?

I lost the bottoms of a couple of S’s, and the very bottom of the F.  My point in showing you these is to show that it doesn’t matter if your application isn’t perfect.  The designs are meant to look distressed a bit, not new and shiny, but old world aged.

That’s just my kind of design!

If you want to order your own transfer, you can order online from Red Posie.  You can also find them on Etsy.  In addition, currently both the How to Paint Like a Pro and the Paint it Beautiful Facebook groups are hosting giveaways from the line so be sure to check those out too.


putting your eggs all in one basket.

You’ll remember that I shared my co-worker Jodie’s house last December (here, here, here & here) and her decor was fab.  She has done some really clever things in her home.

Recently she mentioned to me that she wanted to make some Easter eggs similar to some she’d seen on Pinterest.

Initially she tried decoupaging old sheet music onto plastic colored eggs, but she wasn’t happy with the results she got.  So she and I were discussing other options and I mentioned that I had a few rubber stamps that looked like old printed pages.  Maybe she could stamp some tissue paper and then decoupage it.  But we both decided the ink would probably run when the tissue paper came into contact with the glue.

Then Jodie was shopping at JoAnn Etc and she found some plain brown cardboard eggs.

She thought maybe she could stamp right onto the eggs and get the look she wanted.

The flexibility of one of my Tim Holtz stamps worked perfectly for that.  Normally this stamp is meant to be adhered to an acrylic block before using it, but in this case the ability to curve the stamp around the eggs was an advantage.

Jodie just inked up the stamp and then wrapped it around the egg as best as she could.  I think the design of the stamp, which is full of random styles and sizes of fonts allowed her to blend and overlap the stamp which created the perfect look on the eggs.

I love Jodie’s choice to have some rather non-traditional looking Easter eggs, don’t you?

She stamped about half of her eggs and left the other half plain.

She loaned them to me so I could take photos to share with you guys, but when I return them I think she plans to keep them all in one basket (well, OK, it’s really a bowl).

But do you think she’d notice if I nabbed just a few of them to display in my little ironstone tureen?

Or maybe I need to make my own stamped eggs for Easter.  What do you think?

what took you so long?

I don’t normally post on a Sunday, but this morning I wanted to thank you for your support after my post on Friday regarding Tom & Naomi’s fire.  Every comment and/or donation was greatly appreciated.  The ash has settled and Tom & Naomi are considering their options on how to proceed from here.  I’ll be sure to keep you all posted as their plans progress.

Also, I wanted to let you know that Mr. Q’s grandpa Bud passed away early this morning.  You might expect us to be a house in mourning, but that isn’t the case.  Bud had an amazing long and full life.  He was always telling stories about his experiences such as helping his dad run bootleg liquor down from Canada during prohibition. He also told many tales about serving in WWII as an interpreter.  Having been around for over 100 years, Bud had seen a lot.  Can you imagine having been born at a time when only 35% of homes had a telephone and then living to see that come full circle to cell phones that can be taken with you everywhere eliminating the need for a home phone?

Recently though Bud was basically just patiently waiting to join his wife who passed away two years ago.  When someone asked him what he thought she would say when he joined her in heaven, his answer was ‘what took you so long?

So rather than being sad, we are celebrating the fact that Bud has gotten his wish to join his wife and that after two years apart they are finally back together again now and can both rest in peace.

highs and lows.

The radio station that I regularly listen to used to have listeners call in on Monday mornings with their ‘high’ and their ‘low’ from the weekend.  It was amusing to hear what kinds of things people called in with.  But it also made you think about life and how it really is all about the highs and the lows, and how often they happen in the same week.

But this week the balance got a little out of whack around here.


Mr. Q’s bff (I’m pretty sure they don’t call each other bff’s, but I can, right?) came to visit from New York to help him celebrate his birthday.


Mr. Q’s 100 year old grandpa’s health has been steadily declining and this week they officially put him on hospice care.  Grandpa Bud has been ready to go for a while now.  He hasn’t had much quality of life for the last couple of years.  Mr. Q has breakfast and lunch with him every day, which is an awesome thing and I know Bud enjoys seeing him, but nonetheless Bud has made it clear that he is tired and ready to be done with this thing we call life.  He says that no one should live to be 100.  So although it’s hard to see Bud declining, it is not unexpected and it will ultimately be a blessing when Bud goes.

And another low:

And then while my mother-in-law was in town to attend a meeting about her dad going on hospice care, her husband’s incredibly amazing workshop burned down.

You might remember when I blogged about Tom’s fabulous workshop about two years ago.

When Tom & Naomi moved back to this area from New Orleans several years ago they bought a fixer upper property.  Their plan was to fix it up over time doing all of the work themselves.  They live on a very modest fixed income, so they have to space the work out over time as they can afford the supplies.  It’s absolutely nothing like an episode of Fixer Upper where the work is done by a team of people in the space of a month or two.

Their initial priority was to build a workshop for Tom to work in.  He is an amazing woodworker.  I showed you the trim he made for the front of their house …

But before he got to that trim, Tom spent several years getting his workshop up and running.  He’s been continuing to work on it while also working on the house.  The upstairs of the workshop was nearing completion.  Naomi had just called me last week to ask if I would help them stencil the ceiling (which I thought would make an awesome future blog post).

They heated the workshop with a giant wood burning stove.

They thought it was safe.

They were wrong.

Although there is no official word on the cause of the fire, it’s likely that it was a spark from the wood burning stove.

Not only did Tom lose his workshop, but he lost everything in it.

His tools and supplies, his books, his photos of past projects.

What used to look like this …

Now looks this …

But worse yet, he also lost some of his most precious things like this amazing miniature train chapel car that he built many years ago for Naomi.

Which now looks like this …

Remember the tiny boats that he carved …


Yes, these are just things.  And no one was hurt, which is absolutely the most important thing here.  We haven’t lost sight of that and we feel totally fortunate that this wasn’t so much worse.

But I know many of you are fellow artisans and can probably understand the loss that we are all feeling, most especially Tom.  Many of the pieces in that workshop were ones that he put his heart and soul into crafting by hand.

My sister-in-law Heather has set up a Go Fund Me page for Tom & Naomi.

So today I am doing something I’ve never done before (and hopefully won’t ever have to again).  I’m asking you to consider showing your support for my blog with something more than just a comment.  Even if all you have to give is $10 or $20, if even just 100 of you can give a small amount … well, you can do the math.  It will add up.

It will also go a long way towards helping Tom & Naomi rebuild.  Although they are insured, the insurance is never going to pay out enough to replace all of the equipment that was in the shop, and certainly never enough to replace the handmade details that made the workshop what it was.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart if you are able to help.  And even if you can’t help with a donation, just knowing that people care would be a big boost to Tom & Naomi’s morale, so please leave a comment that I can share with them.

a pretty darn good year.

Happy New Year!

I’m back from my blog hiatus and I have to say, it was a little weird.  I’ve taken some breaks from blogging before, but usually I take them while I’m traveling so my time is pretty much occupied.  This time I was just at home, and although I was busy with holiday gatherings, taking down the decorations and even painting a couple of pieces of furniture, I really missed interacting with you guys!  Plus, it was frigidly cold here in Minnesota.  Yesterday we woke up to a windchill of -37.   Funny side story, Mr. Q told me that when he was a kid he thought it was the “windshield factor” and they were talking about how cold the windshield of the car would feel.  Well, either way, -37 feels cold and I was not motivated to go out much.

But that gave me a good opportunity for reflection, and thinking back I realized that 2017 was a pretty darn good year.

In March Mr. Q and I went looking for bald eagles along the Mississippi River with my sister and niece, and we found plenty of them.

I still thank my lucky stars almost daily that my sister and niece moved to Minnesota over two years ago.

Mr. Q and I took an amazing trip in May that started in Copenhagen.

Then there was Norway.

And Scotland.

And finally, England.

I inherited my travel bug from my mom who still works as a travel agent at the age of 77.  Mr. Q and I have been fortunate in being able to travel to some amazing places over the years.  Check out the ‘travel’ category under ‘stuff.’ over on the right side of the page to read some of my travel posts.

My sister bought her house and we helped her move in June.

I feel like this really made it official.  My sister will definitely not be deciding that she hates Minnesota (even though the windshield is -37) and wants to return to New Jersey.  Not that she ever was considering that, but it still feels good that she has put down permanent roots here.

In late summer we redecorated our master bedroom.

We had the floors refinished, added a faux ship lap wall, new light fixtures, a new to us headboard, and I painted all of the furniture in the room (except that bench).

We had help from Ken on the ship lap and the bed, help painting from my sister and help from nnK finding some college kids to do the floors.  I really couldn’t do these things without help from friends and family!

Although we missed a few of our favorite neighborhood sales while I was gone on my trip in May, my sister and I did score some hauls in the fall.

My sister has become the perfect garage saling companion.  She drives, she brings snacks, she’s an expert at packing stuff into the vehicle (all of that stuff fit into her SUV), and most importantly she doesn’t really compete with me for the good stuff.  We have very different styles, so that works out quite well.

I met my idol, Miss Mustard Seed, in October.

Much like many of you, I have been following the Miss Mustard Seed blog for several years.  Earlier this year when Marian announced that she was moving to Minnesota I thought that maybe, just maybe, I’d get a chance to meet her in person.  So it was super exciting to not only get the opportunity to meet her, but also to spend a day at a painting workshop she co-hosted with Carver Junk Co.

That was followed by a fun trip to Disney World with my sister and my niece over Halloween.

I was included in my first magazine just before Christmas which was pretty exciting.

I celebrated my 4th blogiversary in November.

And sprinkled in between all of that I did some painting.

A few of my faves from 2017 include the antique headboard that we used in our master bedroom makeover.

I discovered the Iron Orchid Designs transfers last year and immediately fell in love with them.  One of my favorite pieces with a transfer was this gorgeous Eastlake style dresser.

 A friend of mine suggested using Fusion’s Mustard on this union jack desk, and I loved how it turned out.

My next favorite also included an IOD transfer.  The sizing of the transfers is just about perfect for a typical piece of furniture like this linen press.

My final fave for 2017 isn’t exactly just one thing, and it isn’t exactly a piece of furniture.  It’s more of a … well … what should I call it?  It’s the idea of turning a mirror frame into a chalkboard frame with a shelf instead.  This was one of my greatest discoveries in 2017.  Well, technically I did the first one in November 2016.  I love re-purposing these beautiful frames into something that people want to have in their home.

So there you have it, 2017 was a pretty darn good year.  In fact, I’m beginning to suspect that there is no way I can top it for 2018.  Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.  I did paint some fab pieces during my blog hiatus so be sure to check back later this week to see them.

But in the meantime, did you have a favorite from among the pieces I painted in 2017.  Check out my ‘fab furniture’ page and let me know which one was your favorite!