getting a little rusty.

First things first, the winner of last week’s blogiversary giveaway no. 2 was Melanie from Virginia.  She and I have already exchanged emails and I’ll be getting her prize in the mail this week.  Congrats Melanie!

I was looking back this weekend and realized that I haven’t shared a furniture makeover since this pretty little washstand that I shared way back on October 29 (and the outdoor photos have the fall leaves to prove it).

Between taking a two week vacation, taking two more weeks to get over the jet lag (I’m finally starting to feel normal again), holiday and birthday dinners, holiday decorating, holiday shopping, holiday baking and working on a huge project at the day job that required some overtime, I just haven’t had the time (or energy) to get the paint out.  I totally feel like my painting skills are getting a little rusty.  I’m really suffering from withdrawal too.

You might think this little intro means that I’m finally sharing another piece of painted furniture with you today, but no.  I still haven’t found the time for that.  However, my painting skills aren’t the only thing that’s getting a little rusty around here.  So are my blogiversary giveaways!

Yep, in case you’ve forgotten, it’s time for blogiversary giveaway no. 3!

Today’s giveaway features one of my very favorite unique products, the Dixie Belle patina paint.

I don’t know about you, but I love rusty stuff.

If given the choice between brand new or rusty, I’ll choose rusty every time.  But sometimes you just can’t find the right rusty piece.  Or maybe you’ve got some piece that would be just perfect with a rusty finish, but it’s not actually metal.  In the past I’ve tried some of the painting kits that are designed to mimic the look of rust, but to me those always end up looking fake.

Dixie Belle’s Patina Paint kit creates actual rust.  The paint contains metal flakes and the spray reacts with the metal to create rust (or a copper verdigris, depending which paint and spray you are using).

Last summer I used the Iron paint and the Green patina spray to turn a rather hideous painted plaster pedestal into a rusty garden masterpiece.

Which reminds me, at the time I promised to report back to you at the end of the summer to let you know how well this finish held up outdoors.  I posted something on Instagram, but I don’t think I ever mentioned it here.  Here is a photo I took of it in October …

Even without a sealer, the pedestal held up incredibly well.  If anything, it got even a little more rusty looking … which is a good thing in my book.

There was just one little spot near the base where I thought the finish had worn away, but when I got closer to inspect it … well … I think something had been trying to eat it!

Seriously, don’t those grooves look like tiny little teeth marks?

How bizarre.  I’m trying not to think about what kind of critter was eating my garden pedestal!

Dixie Belle just came out with a new product called Patina Guard that is meant for sealing your patina’d pieces, so even though my pedestal held up well without a sealer, next spring I may just go ahead and seal it for good measure.

In the meantime, if you want to read more step by step instructions on how to use the Patina Paint, check out my how-to post here:

And if you’d like to win today’s giveaway prize, be sure to leave a comment today!

Today’s prize includes:  an Italian decorating magazine, Croatian soap and chocolate bar, Dixie Belle Patina Paint in Iron and Bronze, Prime Start, and Patina Spray in Green and Blue.

Thank you so much to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the Patina Paint collection that I am giving away today!

The basic rules:  to be eligible to win today’s prize leave a comment of any kind on this blog post.  Your comment must be left on the blog, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

Normally I make a point of answering every comment left on my blog.  If someone takes the time to leave a comment, I like to acknowledge that.  I usually only get 10 to 20 comments so it’s easy to fulfill that promise.  But I suspect I’ll get a few more comments on this post so I’m going to warn you up front that I may not be able to answer each one, so I hope you guys will cut me some slack on that.

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Friday, December 14, 2018 at the stroke of midnight (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, approximate retail value of prize is $100, if the prize is not claimed by Sunday, December 16, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!

blogiversary giveaway no. 2

First things first, congrats to Jamie, the winner of last Monday’s giveaway.

As you may recall from last week, a little snafu resulted in my turning what was supposed to be one big blogiversary giveaway into four smaller giveaways that I’m stretching out to one per week until Christmas.

Today I’m giving away some amazing products from Fusion Mineral Paint.

First off, you’ll receive a jar of their gorgeous shade of green called Park Bench.

I absolutely love this color, especially on mid-century pieces.

Revisiting these pieces makes me realize I need to do some more Park Bench pieces this winter!

You’ll also receive a jar of my favorite shade of Fusion white which is Limestone.  It seems to me that most people go for one of the brighter whites like the Raw Silk or Casement, but I love using the Limestone.

It’s a warm creamy white that you can bring into a room without suddenly making the other whites look dingy.

You’ll also receive a 7 oz. jar of Fusion’s Clear Furniture Wax along with the Staalmeester Series 3600 #20 brush.

I initially thought this brush was for painting, but as it turns out I love it much more for applying Fusion wax.  Because the Fusion wax is a little bit softer than some of the other waxes on the market, you don’t need to apply as much pressure with your brush.  I feel like the longer bristles make it easier to avoid over-applying the wax.

Fusion has also included a tube of their Brush Cleaner for the giveaway.  This is my favorite product for cleaning brushes.  I use it all the time and have gone through countless tubes of it.  This is what my tube looks like most of the time …

It works for cleaning paint brushes and wax brushes.  If you haven’t tried it, you really need to ask Santa to put some in your Christmas stocking this year (here’s a handy link to give Santa so he can find either a local retailer or an online retailer).  That’s assuming you’ve been good of course and aren’t going to be just getting coal.

And of course, today’s prize includes new and unused versions of these things not my well-used versions that I’ve pictured above.

Finally, I’m also including some goodies I picked up on my recent trip including another gorgeous Italian decorating magazine, some Croatian chocolate and fantastic smelling soap.

So to recap, today’s prize includes:  the Italian magazine, the Croatian soap and chocolate bar, a 500 ml jar of Park Bench, a 500 ml jar of Limestone, a 7 oz. jar of Fusion’s Clear Wax, a tube of brush cleaner and the Staalmeester brush.

Thank you so much to Fusion Mineral Paint for supplying all of their products that I am giving away today!

The basic rules:  to be eligible to win today’s prize leave a comment of any kind on this blog post.  Your comment must be left on the blog, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

Normally I make a point of answering every comment left on my blog.  If someone takes the time to leave a comment, I like to acknowledge that.  I usually only get 10 to 20 comments so it’s easy to fulfill that promise.  But I suspect I’ll get a few more comments on this post so I’m going to warn you up front that I may not be able to answer each one, so I hope you guys will cut me some slack on that this week.

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Friday, December 7, 2018 at the stroke of midnight (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, approximate retail value of prize is $110, if the prize is not claimed by Sunday, December 9, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!

a holiday play list.

Oh boy you guys.  I have been struggling to pull together some kind of blog post for today.  I so wish I had a beautiful piece of painted furniture to share.  Or even just a simple painting project of some kind.

And actually, I do have a couple of small completed projects that I could share if only I had good pictures of the finished pieces.  But these days I go to work before the sun comes up, and I return back home after it sets. I have to either take all of my photos on the weekend, or try to get home on my lunch break to take photos with natural light.  I’m playing catch up from my trip at the day job though, so that just hasn’t happened.

I was working on trying to pull together a post without good photos, but I just couldn’t do it.  I do have some standards after all 😉

In the meantime, I had gone back through my blog archives looking for something from last year and I was reminded that I did quite a few crafty projects last Christmas.  So I thought, hey, why not just recap all of them today and include links back so that you guys can revisit them as well.  Maybe you’ll get some ideas for things you want to play around with this weekend.  Let’s call it the blog version of a holiday play list.

Let’s start with the Cut & Carry Saws.

I’d picked up a bunch of old hand saws at an estate sale earlier in the year.  I transformed them into Christmas decor with some paint and a stencil.

I sold some of them at Reclaiming Beautiful, I gave one to my sister and I kept one for myself.  If only I could remember where I put it now!  I’ve been looking around for it, but so far it has not appeared.  I’m sure I’ll find it this weekend when I get serious about decorating for Christmas.

Updating a more traditional tree wall hanging was a quick and easy project last year.

The original red and green color scheme wasn’t really me.

So I painted the ‘branches’ white and added a Prima Marketing transfer.

Another black and white project involved revamping some vintage sleds.

I had simply stenciled over the original wood slats the year before, and that just didn’t have quite the right impact.

So this time I painted first and then stenciled.  I kept one, and sold one at Reclaiming Beautiful.

I also painted and stenciled some faux wooden skis.

It was another simple project that made a big impact.

Adding some Christmas spirit to a vintage wooden sock stretcher with some IOD Decor Stamps was a simple project too.

I was hoping to find more of these stock stretchers at garage sales last summer, but no such luck.

I might re-work this one this year.  I like it, but I have another idea for it too.  We’ll see if I get around to it.

And then there were the pretty in pink projects that I did using what was then a new color from Fusion called English Rose.

I painted cardboard gift boxes in English Rose and a paler Fusion pink called Little Piggy.

Then I used Fusion’s transfer gel to transfer some 12 Days of Christmas graphics onto the boxes.

Finally, I also painted a pair of ice skates in English Rose.

This was such a fun makeover, I think mainly because the skates started out so grungy …

but they ended up looking so gorgeous.

I hope you enjoyed revisiting some of these holiday projects and that maybe they’ve inspired you to create your own holiday play list this weekend.

I’ll definitely be working on a few things and hopefully I’ll have some new projects to share with you next week!

of mice and men.

And bam!  Just like that we’re back home from our whirlwind vacation.  Trips like these always go by in the blink of an eye.  One minute you are trying to make sure you remembered to pack everything, and the next thing you know you are back home in your own bed and wondering how it went by so fast.  But I have a confession to make, I’m always happy to be back home again in my familiar surroundings.  I’m also anxious to get back to my painting!

Don’t worry (although conversely, do worry if you aren’t into travel posts), I plan to share all of the details of our Adriatic Cruise much like I did last year with our Norway/Scotland cruise.  I’ll post about a different port each week until I get through them all.  I think some might even take more than one post because there was so much to see!

If you are one of those people who would rather poke your eye out with a sharp stick than look at someone’s travel photos you may want to avoid my blog on Wednesday’s for the next several months.

But for the rest of you, I’ll be saving one of the most awesome things we did for last.

We hired a private guide to take us on a tour of the Luigi Bevilacqua artisanal weaving workshop in Venice where they still make Soprarizzo velvet by hand using 18th century looms.  It was incredible and I’m looking forward to sharing more details of that with you guys.

I’ll start the travel posts this week with the details of our Street Food Tour in Genoa, so be sure to check back on Wednesday for that.

But in the meantime, today is a special day because it’s my fifth blogiversary.    I started q is for quandie on November 26, 2013.  At the time I remember thinking that if my blog lasted five years, I’d be lucky.  It seems like so many bloggers come and go, and believe me I can totally understand why.  Blogging is a time consuming activity and if you are hoping to make a bunch of money doing it, you are likely to be disappointed.

However, as it has turned out, I really enjoy blogging.  I love almost every aspect; the writing, the photography, the interaction with my readers, the brainstorming to come up with creative ideas for posts and of course the furniture painting and other projects that I blog about.  In the end, even if I wasn’t blogging, I would still be refurbishing furniture.  So as long as I keep that up, it seems to go hand in hand with blogging.

The one incredible benefit that I never anticipated when starting my blog has been the opportunity to work with some great companies like Homestead House Paint Co (which also includes Fusion Mineral Paint and Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint), Dixie Belle Paint Company and Prima Marketing.

So in anticipation of my blogiversary I reached out to all three of these companies and asked them if they would be willing to help me celebrate five years of blogging by providing some of my favorite products that I could include in a ‘give away’ today.

They all very graciously said yes.

However, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men.  Something always manages to go awry.  I was hoping that all of the items would arrive in the mail while I was gone on my trip.  My neighbor Ken was in charge of keeping an eye out for delivery trucks and bringing in any packages so they wouldn’t sit on the porch.  I told him to expect at least three boxes, if not more.

Unfortunately the only box waiting for me when I got home Friday night was the one from Homestead House, so that left me with a conundrum.  Even though I was planning to have just one giant, fabulous prize for my blogiversary post today, I didn’t have everything yet.  So, should I delay my blogiversary post?  Or should I break it down and have multiple giveaways?  Maybe one per week up until Christmas?  The more I thought about it, the more that sounded like a great solution.

And this way I can pay homage to each line of products individually and focus on why they made it onto my list of favorites.

It makes sense to start with the first paint line that I really fell in love with, Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.  One of the first pieces I painted with MMS milk paint was an antique oak buffet that I had in my piano room.

I painted this with Kitchen Scale and then used Miss Mustard Seed’s Hemp Oil as a finish.

That was the start of a long line of pieces painted in this same combination.  I love the way the hemp oil brings out the vibrant color of the Kitchen Scale.  I also love that hemp oil is so simple to use.  I apply it with a cheap chip brush and then wipe away any excess.  Another incredible feature of the hemp oil is that it is totally safe for both you and the environment.  In fact, it is even food safe and can be used to rejuvenate your wooden cutting boards.

Another MMS color that I absolutely love is Linen.  It’s the perfect creamy white.  Not so white that it makes other whites look dingy by comparison.  It’s a white that plays well with others.

I’ve used this color on a countless number of pieces over the years as well.

Another favorite of mine is the Miss Mustard Seed’s lavender scented furniture wax.  It really makes the work of waxing a piece so much more enjoyable when you’re surrounded by the relaxing scent of lavender.  And the MMS wax is so creamy and smooth, making it easier to apply.  I also love the fact that it does not contain aromatic hydrocarbons making it safe for indoor use in the winter.

This was a limited edition product and I’m not sure how readily available it is anymore, but I was able to snag a jar of it for my giveaway (thank you Miss Mustard Seed)!

I’ll also be adding a couple of things to this giveaway that I picked up on my trip including a Nadalina (a prize winning Croatian chocolate maker according to this article) chocolate bar in dark chocolate with Adriatic Sea Salt.

That little wrapped item that looks like a bon bon is actually lavender soap, also from Croatia.

Plus I’m including an Italian decorating magazine called Shabby Style.  You know I love checking out the foreign decorating magazines whenever I’m traveling.  I picked this one up at a news stand in Ravenna, Italy.  In case you are wondering, no, I don’t understand a word of Italian, but I still enjoy looking at the photos.  And apparently some things are universal, such as an admiration for vintage glass tree toppers.

And a love for worn, chippy, painted finishes on furniture.  As they say, it adds un tocco romantico e nostalgico alla stanza.

You could easily achieve this look using Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint and I think the color is very similar to her Grain Sack which is a white with a grey undertone.

So to recap, today’s prize includes:  the Italian magazine, the Croatian soap and chocolate bar, Miss Mustard Seed’s Kitchen Scale and Linen paint, a 7 oz. lavender scented furniture wax and 250 mL of hemp oil.

The basic rules:  to be eligible to win today’s prize leave a comment of any kind on this blog post.  Your comment must be left on the blog, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

Normally I make a point of answering every comment left on my blog.  If someone takes the time to leave a comment, I like to acknowledge that.  I usually only get 10 to 20 comments so it’s easy to fulfill that promise.  But I suspect I’ll get a few more comments on this post so I’m going to warn you up front that I may not be able to answer each one, so I hope you guys will cut me some slack on that this week.

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Friday, November 30, 2018 at the stroke of midnight (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, approximate retail value of prize is $110, if the prize is not claimed by Sunday, December 2, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!

an unassuming old suitcase.

You all know of my love for vintage suitcases, right?

I put them into two categories.  First there are those that are charming ‘as is’ and should not be altered.

Like these …

And then there is the 2nd category, those unassuming old suitcases that just don’t quite have enough personality on their own, like this one …

It’s rather beat up and just not terribly attractive (in my opinion).

I have used milk paint, chalk paint and Fusion acrylic paint on suitcases in the past.  I find that Fusion doesn’t always adhere well to vinyl.  Milk paint works perfectly well, but you don’t get the chippy quality that makes milk paint shine, so I feel like it’s rather wasted here.  So these days my go-to paint for a suitcase like this is chalk style paint.

Before I started painting, I cleaned the suitcase with Krud Kutter Kitchen Degreaser.  I then rinsed it down with a damp cloth.  Then I gave it two coats of Dixie Belle’s Caviar.

Once that was dry I added a French Laundry stencil using a warm white craft paint.

Somehow it seemed appropriate to put a laundry advertisement on a suitcase.

I used parts of the stencil on top of the suitcase too.

You’ll notice that I painted every bit of this suitcase including the handle and the clasps.  I don’t always do that, but this time I’ll admit I was feeling a bit too lazy to cut around those things.  Plus, I rather like this look.

Once painted I went over the surface ever so lightly with some 220 grit sandpaper just to smooth it out a bit.  I followed that up with some of Fusion’s Clear Wax.

Boy, I wasn’t planning on keeping it, but it sure does look great paired up with Collette and Lula.

I never planned to keep Collette either (the one on the left), but after I finished giving her a makeover I couldn’t part with her.

So now I have two dress forms in my bedroom.

And even though the suitcase looks fabulous with them, I don’t really need another suitcase at my house!

In fact, I already brought it in to Reclaiming Beautiful to be sold.

Plus I still have a couple more suitcases in this style waiting in the wings to be painted, so if I change my mind I can always paint up another one to keep for myself.

it’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas.

I know, I know.  It’s only Halloween.

But when you blog about fun craft projects for the holidays, today is far too late to blog about Halloween.  And almost even too late for autumn decorating ideas.

And then there’s the fact that I’m leaving for a cruise on the Adriatic in less than two weeks and I won’t be back home again until after Thanksgiving.

Yep, it snuck (hmmm, that’s not a real word, who knew?) up on me too.

I suddenly realized last week that I had to get all of my Christmas projects (at least the ones I want to sell at Reclaiming Beautiful) finished this past weekend.  Yikes!

So I got out my favorite stencils and some paint and I got busy.

I started with a pair of vintage sleds that I purchased at a garage sale over the summer.

Once again I totally neglected to get ‘before’ photos.  Drat.

But both of these started out with red metal runners and plain wood.  I painted just the wood parts on the first one using Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth (that same fabulous cream color I used on Monday’s washstand).  Then I added the stencil using craft paints.  I sanded vigorously to distress and then added a topcoat of Fusion’s Clear Wax.

The second sled got painted in Dixie Belle’s Caviar.  I painted the metal runners as well as most of the wood except for that cross piece at the top.

I stenciled this one in a french stencil that says something like ‘friends and family gather here’ which seems like a good sentiment for the holidays.

It’s a little less traditionally Christmas and could be displayed all fall and winter.

I also painted a couple of drawer front signs.  These drawer fronts came from the dresser that I turned into the farmer’s market kitchen island back in July.  If you remember back, I removed the lower two drawers from that piece because one of them wasn’t in great shape.  So I saved the drawer fronts and discarded the rest knowing they would make awesome ‘signs’ using my farm fresh Christmas trees stencil.

These are also painted in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth and stenciled with craft paint.  One has plain wooden knobs, but the other has knobs with Prima Marketing re.design knob transfers added.

While I had the stencil out I also added it to a cute little wooden box that my picker found for me.

And speaking of my picker, she also came through on the vintage Shiny Brites.  Remember I mentioned that I just wasn’t finding many vintage ornaments at garage sales this year?  Well Sue found a whole slew of them for me!

Last but not least, I did another painted suitcase.  I started by painting the suitcase black and white using Dixie Belle’s Caviar and Drop Cloth, and then added the stencil.

To make it more versatile I added a more summery stencil to the other side, so now it’s reversible.

I did one of these last year at Christmas too and it was a big hit.

I also pulled out some of my other vintage Christmas goodies to take into the shop today like this festive Tom & Jerry set.

So, it may be Halloween at your house, but it’s definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas at mine!

it’s officially fall.

I tend to not do a whole lot of seasonal decorating.  How about you?  I find as I get older that time goes by so ridiculously fast that it doesn’t feel worth it to get out the Halloween decor because in five minutes it’s going to be time to get out the Christmas stuff.  Do any of you feel that way?

Plus, nature does such an amazing job of decorating for fall that it feels silly to have to add anything more!

Apparently nature is trying to reinforce my opinion on that because the tiny pumpkins I added to my fairy garden last week have already been stolen.

I suspect that squirrels are to blame rather than klepto fairies though.  The white pumpkin disappeared first, and the orange gourd followed a couple of days later.  So much for that plan.

I have done a few fall craft projects in the last couple of years though, so I thought I’d recap them for you today in case any of you want to do some fall decorating yourselves.

I’ll start with my ‘hello fall’ book page banner.

Last year I shared a quick tutorial on how to make one using old book pages and your printer.

You’ve also already seen my french pumpkins.

The one above was made using a cardboard pumpkin, paint and some Fusion transfer gel.  Get all of those details here.

My second french pumpkin looked like this …

It’s an old wooden pumpkin transformed with some paint and a Prima Marketing transfer (details here).

Then there were the ‘hello fall’ toolbox planters.  The one on the bottom is painted in Fusion’s Mustard.  The one on the top is in its original red.

I used my Cricut machine to cut the words out of adhesive vinyl.  These are perfect for just popping in some mums and calling it good.

While I had the Cricut out that year, I also made some ‘hello fall.’ plates …

They are fun to add to planters full of mums, kale and hydrangea flowers.

I did whip up one more quick fall decoration this year.  I had a fake plastic pumpkin in my stash so I painted it white using Fusion’s Limestone.  Then I pulled out some Prima Marketing supplies; decor wax in a color called Eternal and a transfer called Simplicity.

Rather than try to apply the transfer as one whole sheet, I just cut out sections of the design to place randomly on my pumpkin.

It was a little tricky to place the flat designs onto a curvy pumpkin, but I’m OK with a little imperfection.

I used the Eternal wax to give the pumpkin a gold stem.  This was the first time I tried the Eternal, but it definitely won’t be the last.  It’s the perfect gold, and it was so easy to apply using a q-tip.

My new toile pumpkin pairs nicely with my french pumpkin, don’t you think?  OK, maybe not the most traditional looking fall decorations but they suit my style for sure.