the index card art project.

I am betting that many of you also follow Marian at Miss Mustard Seed.  If so, you may have seen her recent post about an index card art project that she is doing.

In her case she has 31 index cards and she’ll be painting one per day for the month of March.

As soon as I read her post the idea of changing it up and scrapbooking on the cards instead of painting on them popped into my head.  What a great way to do just a quick bit of scrapbooking every day, and in the end have a fun keepsake.

And I just happened to have a great set of vintage index cards in my stash.

Fun fact, these old cards were from Smead Manufacturing.  I’m sure many of you are familiar with Smead office supplies.  They began manufacturing in 1906 in St. Paul and then moved to Hastings, Minnesota in 1908.  It’s kind of interesting to read their history.  Funny to note that according to them, in 1906 only 2% of the population had telephones.  Can you imagine?

Anyway, back to my index cards.  I don’t quite have the complete alphabet, but oh well.  I also don’t have 31, but that’s OK, I’m getting a late start anyway.  Also, keep in mind that I have a day job so it may not be feasible for me to work on a card every single day, but I’m going to try and keep up.  I’ll also admit that I am working ahead on some days.  So far I’ve completed 8 cards.

The photos from our Adriatic cruise are the perfect subject matter for this project, so it made sense to start with ‘A’.

‘A’ is for Adriatic.  ‘A’ is also for Atlas.  The map I used on this card is from a very old Atlas, from back when Yugoslavia was still a country that included what are now Croatia and Montenegro.

The photo I used on this card is of the Saint Domnius cathedral in Split, Croatia.

I shared my ‘A’ card on Instagram last Sunday and have been sharing a card a day since.

I made two cards for the first port of call on our trip, Genoa.  I used a couple of my favorite October Afternoon papers on this first one.  The orange totally related to the color of the building in the photo, and the background color of their map paper matches my vintage index cards perfectly.

October Afternoon has always been my favorite brand of scrapbook supplies.  They were also a local company here in the Twin Cities, but I think they have gone out of business (does anyone know?).  They haven’t posted on their Facebook page since 2016, so I’m assuming they are defunct.  Luckily I stocked up at a couple of their warehouse sales and now have a lifetime supply of their stuff.  I love that all of their papers and ephemera can be mixed and matched and they always work well together.  My favorite product line was called Travel Girl; it couldn’t have been more perfect for me.

Initially this next photo of Genoa wouldn’t have made the cut for this project.  It really wasn’t my favorite shot from that port of call.  But then I tried printing it in black & white.  Suddenly I loved it.  It now has a gritty, mysterious look which is totally appropriate for Genoa.

Next up was Eze.  If you’ll remember, we visited Eze in the morning of the day we were docked in Monaco.

Hey, guess what?  I painted those cardboard letters with Fusion paint in Inglenook.  Not only is Fusion a great paint for furniture, it’s also perfect for crafting.  Once the paint was dry I stamped over it using a rubber stamp and some grey ink.

The card I made for Monaco has a simple message.

The “Cherish each Moment” is a rub-on applied to a French book page.  I purchased this particular set of rub-on’s at Hobby Lobby but I’m not sure if they still have them.

I used one of the ticket stubs from the Museo Archeologico for the Naples card.  I’m planning to include a few more tickets stubs and other small items on future cards too.

For the Herculaneum card I simply used a rubber stamp right on the index card and then added a couple of photos.  This one was super simple and quick, but sometimes simple and quick creates the best look.  It definitely allows the photos to be the stars of the show.

I loved the look of that stamp on the card so much that I used it again for this one.

But this time I left a bit more of it showing.  The black and white photo worked perfectly with the grey ink.  You can find a less cropped, color version of that photo in my post about our Godfather Tour in Sicily.

By the way, I’m fairly sure I purchased that rubber stamp at a garage sale for around a dollar.

Working on this project has reminded me how much I miss scrapbooking.  But I’m hoping that spending a spare hour here and there to throw together a couple of index cards is going to work well for me and I’ll be able to keep it up.  At least long enough to finish this project.

  Once I finish with this set of index cards, I may go back and insert a few more cards for each port of call on our trip.  We’ll see if I stick with that plan or not.  And naturally I will be on the lookout for a recipe box to revamp to hold the cards one they are completed.  Maybe something along the lines of this one that I made for my friend Terri …

I’ll be sure to share with you when the entire project is completed, but in the meantime if you want to follow along with each card as I complete it you’ll have to follow me on Instagram!  Or if you want to follow everyone who is creating art on index cards, be sure to check out #indexcardartproject.

Are any of you guys scrapbookers?  Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say ex-scrapbookers since I haven’t work on a scrapbook for at least two years.  Maybe you should look for some index cards and try this approach too!

coloring as therapy.

I mentioned last week that while I was sick a while back my sister and niece brought me a get well gift that included an adult coloring book and some colored pencils.

As it turns out, I really enjoy coloring!

Did you know that coloring can be incredibly therapeutic?  Just google it, there are tons of articles out there about how it is similar to meditation in that it allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus on the moment .

According to this article, ‘researchers have discovered that coloring activities help relax the amygdala – the section of the brain that is activated in situations where you feel stressed or scared.’

Do you suppose people would look at me funny if I brought a coloring book to my next dentist appointment?

In addition, according to that same article, coloring ‘opens up the frontal lobe of the brain- the home of organizing and problem solving – and focuses the mind.’

I don’t know about you, but I can certainly use more of all of the above.  And I have to admit, I do feel more relaxed and less stressed while coloring.  I suspect that painting furniture has a similar impact on the brain.  It’s just a bit more physical labor than coloring.

Recently my niece got a new job as a manager at a Barnes & Noble, so last weekend my sister and I visited her at work.  While there I found some great coloring books, like the Secret London one pictured above (and below).

I also purchased a set of 75 colored pencils.  At 75% off, they only cost a little over $8 … a bargain.  Although to be honest, as I’ve been using them I think I got what I paid for.  The leads are broken in many of them, so as I try to sharpen them the points just keep falling off.  I think I’m going to have to invest in some better pencils if I keep this up.  After all, it’s supposed to be relaxing, not frustrating.

But meanwhile, the pencils came in a huge, tacky, molded plastic case.  Obviously that was not going to cut it for me.  So I pulled out this toolbox I picked up last summer at a garage sale.

It just needed a bit of a re-do to make it perfect for storing my ‘art supplies’ (I can call them that even though I’m just coloring, right?)

I started out by painting it with the same Homestead House Laurentien milk paint that I used on those adorable little folding chairs from last week.  I had a bit leftover from that project so this was a great way to use it up.  But first I added a bit of Miss Mustard Seeds’ Bonding Agent to make sure the paint would adhere well to the metal toolbox.  I wasn’t sure what kind of oily residue might still be on the box, although I did scrub it down with some grease cutting dish soap first.

Once it was painted, I sanded it down to both make it smooth and to distress the edges.  Then I pulled out the same Overflowing Love transfer that I used on the last toolbox I revamped.

I still had quite a few designs left in this set to choose from.

I added a section of french wording (at least I’m assuming that is French) to the front of the toolbox, and a little butterfly above it on the lid.

Then I wrapped a floral section of the transfer around the opposite corner of the toolbox.

Once I had the transfers in place I sealed the entire box inside and out with The Real Milk Paint Co’s Finishing Cream in Dead Flat.  Then I used some scrapbook paper to line the inside.

So much better than a molded plastic case, don’t you agree?

If, like me, you’re looking for a way to turn off the noise in your head for a bit, consider giving coloring a try.  You’ll probably need a cool toolbox to keep your supplies in too!


Having been a tad under the weather recently, I haven’t been terribly energetic.  Which means I haven’t exactly jumped into working on my next piece of furniture.  That’s OK though, January doesn’t tend to be a great month for furniture sales anyway.

Instead I’ve been playing around with some awesome products that Prima Marketing has sent my way.  So I thought I’d share a few of those with you today starting with these wooden plates.

They come in three sizes, 10″, 12″ and 14″ and they are basically a blank canvas for getting creative.  Once finished you could use them as chargers, display them in a china cabinet or maybe just hang them on the wall.  I have another idea for them too, but I’ll be sharing that in a separate post.

But for today’s project, I started by painting a pair of them with Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, which is a fantastic warm creamy white.  Once they were painted I pulled out a few of my favorite Prima Marketing transfers including Never Ending Story and Simplicity.

I covered the entire surface of each plate with these.

Then I thought it would be fun to try the new Adhesive Transfers and Decor Foils that Prima Marketing has come out with.

These work a bit differently than their other transfers.  The Adhesive Transfer itself is bright yellow and is sticky on both sides.  The Decor Foil is then used over the adhesive transfer.  This gives you some versatility since you can use any of the different colored foils with any of the different transfers.

So, let’s go over the process step by step.

Step 1.  Choose the portion of the adhesive transfer that you want to use.  These transfers have multiple designs in each package and they retail for around $20 or so.  For example, here is the sheet that comes with the Nature & Scripts set.

I’m going to use that floral section in the upper right on my first plate so I cut that section out from the rest of the transfer.

Step 2.  Apply the transfer using the flat stick that is provided just like you would any transfer (see this post if you don’t know how to do that).

Yep, at this point it’s bright yellow.  It’s also sticky on top.

Step 3.  Choose a Decor Foil.  They come in lots of pretty metallic colors such as Relic Copper, Dark Slate and Moon Water. There are six 6″ x 12″ sheets of foil in each tube and the tubes sell for less than $6.  I chose to use Stardust which is a matte gold.

Step 4.  Place the Decor Foil metallic side up over the sticky yellow adhesive transfer.  Press the foil into the adhesive using that same flat stick you used with the transfer.

Step 5.  Pull away the sheet of Decor Foil leaving the foil behind where it adheres to the sticky adhesive transfer.  It’s important to note here that you may not get complete coverage with the first pass.  See …

Any spots that still show as bright yellow need more of the foil applied.  It’s super simple to just keep going over those areas by pressing unused sections of the foil into them with your fingers or the stick until they are fully covered.

By the way, I used the script portion from the same set of adhesive transfers for the smaller plate.

I think the Decor Foils have a look similar to gold or silver leaf, and I love how they look layered over the black and white transfers.

This look would translate well to furniture.  I can see doing something like this on the drawer fronts of a dresser or vanity.  I will warn you though, I used Miss Mustard Seed’s furniture wax as a top coat over my finished plates and that did not work well over the Decor Foil.  It seems to rub away some of the foil and make it sticky.  I would suggest either skipping a top coat, or using a water based top coat like Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat or the Real Milk Paint Co’s Finishing Cream instead.

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Prima Marketing products, check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

Prima Marketing has been so generous in sharing these new products with me, so I want to pay it forward by giving away the Spring Radiance Adhesive Transfer set along with the Decor Foil in Boudoir Rose 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 Sunday, January 20, 2019 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 $25, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, January 25, 2019 another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!


toolboxes playing dress up.

Recently Prima Marketing sent me a few of their newest transfer designs.  To be honest, it might have been the best thing I received for Christmas this year!

They’ve got a couple of new kinds of transfers; foil transfers and adhesive transfers which are used with metallic foils.  I’ll be experimenting with both of those styles down the road, but for today I’m sharing some of their newest transfer collections.

I’m calling them ‘collections’ because these sets aren’t meant to be used as one large design on a single piece, but instead they have a bunch of smaller designs on each sheet that are meant to be cut up and used separately.  This makes them perfect for smaller projects, like dressing up some old toolboxes.

I’m guessing that I’m not the only one here who likes a rusty old toolbox.  Sometimes I re-paint old toolboxes, but when they are already a fab color I like to leave their original rusty patina alone.

But adding a little something extra is good too.

I started with this collection of transfers called Overflowing Love.

This one comes with two sheets of transfers, the one shown above which has several different designs and is meant to be cut apart and used individually (on the right below) and a second sheet with a full design meant to be kept together (on the left below).

It’s like getting two for one!

I added a couple of the big roses to the top and side of my turquoise toolbox.

They were super easy to apply.  I made sure the toolboxes were clean and dry first, and then I just rubbed them on.

Next I pulled out the Everyday Farmhouse collection.  This one comes with three sheets inside, all with various wording or numbers.

This is perfect for giving something a less flowery, more farmhouse-y rustic look.

You could literally do dozens of small projects with just this one set of transfers.

Finally, for a definitively industrial look, I pulled out the Industrial Mechanics transfer.

This set comes with three sheets that could be joined up together to create one large design.  Or you could use just part of it like I’ve done on this last metal case.

It has a chalkboard-ish sort of look to it, don’t you think?  This transfer would be perfect on a desk.

I use these toolboxes to store my craft supplies.

They work great for holding my hot glue gun or other crafting tools too.

Got any ideas for things you could use these new transfers on?  If so, please share in a comment.

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Prima Marketing transfers check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

wishing you a very merry.

As I’ve mentioned before, I use an online random number generator to choose the winners for my giveaways.  There is just no way that I could simply ‘pick’ a winner based on merit, or how much I liked that person’s comment.  If I did that, I’d have to choose every one of you and I just don’t have enough prizes for that!

Imagine my surprise when the number generated this time was number 1!  I guess it does pay to be first in line sometimes 😉

So congrats to Stephanie, and a huge thank you to everyone who left a comment on the four giveaway posts for my blogiversary.  You all said so many kind things.  At one point I told Mr. Q that maybe I should have said something like “you’re not required to say something flattering to win”.  I felt a bit like I was fishing for compliments, when in reality I just wanted to thank all of you for your continued support of my blog.  I couldn’t do it without you!

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a very merry holiday with friends and family.

Don’t forget to leave some cookies out for Santa!

And for those of you who don’t, I hope you at least get to enjoy a couple of days off work to rest and relax.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with the next port of call from our Adriatic cruise, Naples.  I’ve also got some fun quick projects to share with your on Friday.  See you then!

blogiversary giveaway no. 4

Congrats to Ellen, the winner of last week’s blogiversary giveaway.

Back at the end of November I promised to give away a few of my favorite things from some of the companies that have provided me with products to try and share with all of you here on the blog.  I’ve already given away Miss Mustard Seed’s products, Fusion products and Dixie Belle products.  Today will be the final giveaway and it features transfers from Prima Marketing.

I have to say, discovering these transfers has been a game changer for me.  I absolutely LOVE them and really can’t say enough good things about them.

I will put them on just about anything including dress forms …

or ironing boards …

or walls …

or on wooden tool boxes …

or galvanized watering cans …

or foot boards made into shelves.

But my favorite thing to put them on is furniture.

My first transfer project was fairly simple.  I added the Specimens transfer to the primitive cupboard where I store my painting supplies in the winter …

This Specimens transfer also looked amazing on a bench that my handyman/neighbor Ken made out of a bed …

There are a few transfer designs that I’ve only used once …

That’s not because I didn’t love them, but simply because there are just so many to choose from.

But I quickly grew attached to the Seeds transfer and used it on numerous pieces.

There is just something about the typography on this one that appeals to me.

So I keep using it, over and over again.

It was the perfect choice for the ‘garden beds’.

It comes in the large size, but also in a smaller size that is perfect for smaller pieces of furniture.

or for small stools.

And then Prima Marketing came out with some more elaborate and more colorful designs earlier this year like the Rose Celebration transfer.

And the Imperial Garden transfer.

The French Ceramics transfer was perfect on the inner drawers of this linen press dresser.

They keep upping the game and coming out with even more fabulous transfers.

I totally fell in love with their new knob transfers the minute I saw them.

I’ve done a couple of projects with them.

If you haven’t already tried the transfers you really should!

I’ve found them quite easy to apply, although you do have to be somewhat careful with them.  Here are some q-tips for working with the transfers.

  • If your transfer is stuck to the waxy backing sheet, try popping it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so first.
  • If your transfer isn’t sticking to your surface, try warming up the surface first with a blow dryer just a bit.
  • Don’t allow the transfer to fold over on itself, that can create a mess as it will stick together.
  • Don’t apply a transfer over a freshly waxed surface, wait until after applying the transfer to add wax.
  • When working with a transfer that comes on multiple sheets like the Imperial Garden or the Rose Celebration transfers, lay them out and make sure you have them in the right order before removing the backing and placing them on your piece.
  • It’s tricky to apply a transfer over really chippy milk paint that hasn’t been sealed.  The milk paint chips will stick to the transfer sheet rather than the transfer sticking to your piece.  If you want to use a transfer over chippy milk paint, seal your milk paint first with something like Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat and then apply the transfer.
  • When applying a transfer on glass be sure that you have it positioned exactly where you want it before it gets too close to the glass.  Once the transfer and the glass meet, the transfer is there to stay.

And now, here’s your chance to give them a try without having to buy them.  Today’s giveaway includes these three Prima Marketing transfers.

And I say three because there are three packages, but you’ll really end up with 7 transfers because the Dairy set comes with 2 versions of the word ‘Dairy’ and the Always Fresh set comes with 4 designs.

Of course, I’m also including another Italian decorating magazine and some Croatian soap and chocolates with this prize as well.

Thank you so much to Prima Marketing for supplying the transfers 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 21, 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 23, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!

velvet inspired wrapping paper.

On Wednesday I shared our incredible tour of the Luigi Bevilacqua velvet weaving workshop in Venice.

The gorgeous velvet fabrics they create are filled with rich colors and many of them have metallic threads shot through them as well.  I especially loved this combo …

A vibrant pink with a metallic gold background.

Although their fabric is well out of my price range, I decided I could easily make my own Bevilacqua velvet inspired wrapping paper for Christmas.

I started by gathering my supplies.

I’ve got plain brown wrapping paper, Dixie Belle’s Peony, Fusion’s Pale Gold, Prima Marketing stencils in Imperial Damask and French Damask and a small foam roller.

Next I added gold ‘threads’ to the brown wrapping paper by using a cheap chip brush to dry brush Fusion’s Studio Metallics Pale Gold over the paper.  The texture of the cheap brush made it perfect for this technique.  Just use a small amount of paint and lightly brush it over the paper.

It didn’t take long to do the entire roll.  I just kept unrolling the paper as I went and stretching the roll across the room to dry.

By the time I got to the end, the beginning was dry enough to start loosely rolling the paper back up again.

Next, in an ‘it was meant to be’ sort of way, I found that the Prima Marketing Imperial Damask and French Damask stencils fit almost perfectly across the width of the brown paper.  The design portion of the stencils is about 22″ x 26″.

I like to use a small foam roller when working with these larger stencils because the paint goes on much more quickly than it does with a stencil brush.

I just pour the paint onto a paper plate and then apply it to the roller.  As always with stenciling, I used a fairly dry roller so that my paint wasn’t too sloppy.

I just kept going down the length of the paper, lining up the pattern at the edge of the previous pattern each time.  I wasn’t super careful about that, this was only wrapping paper after all.  But even so, I can’t really tell where the edges were in the finished paper.

I think the matte finish of the Dixie Belle Peony paint was perfect for recreating the look of velvet, and the Fusion Studio Metallics Pale Gold underneath adds just enough shimmer and mimics gold threads perfectly.

You aren’t limited to just wrapping paper with this technique, it also worked beautifully on a cardboard hatbox …

and also on brown craft paper gift bags.

So even if we can’t quite afford that beautiful velvet fabric from Venice, we can certainly make our own knock-off faux velvet wrapping paper at a fraction of the price!

The only problem is that these presents are so pretty no one is going to want to unwrap them!

If you enjoyed this post and you like the idea of making your own gift wrap, be sure to check out the copper gift wrap I made a couple of years ago.  I paired it up with some lengths of old player piano music rolls …

And then there are last year’s pink gift boxes.

It seems like it’s turning into a bit of a tradition for me to create my own gift wrapping each year.  I suspect it’s a bit of a luxury to have the time to get this elaborate with my gift wrapping.

How about you?  Do you take time with your wrapping, or are you up until midnight on Christmas Eve just hoping you don’t run out of tape?