don’t let the door hit ya.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like 2020 is going to be remembered as the year that wasn’t.  So many things were just ‘on hold’ for nearly the entire year, things like travel, neighborhood garage sales, social gatherings, dining in restaurants, and festivals of all kinds.

I think most of us will be happy to see 2020 in the rearview mirror.  So long 2020, don’t let the door hit ya in the ass on your way out.

But then again, as I’m looking back over my blog posts for 2020, I see that it wasn’t all bad.  Once again I managed to crank out a few projects here and there, so let’s review, shall we?

One thing that jumped out at me for 2020 was all of the things I painted white.  Not only do I find that white pieces sell more quickly, but white pieces just really appeal to me.  So I found myself reaching for the white paint quite a lot in 2020.

My current favorite white is Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth (on the bench lower right and the serpentine cabinet with the gold transfers shown above upper left) followed closely by their Sawmill Gravy (on the other two pieces).

Another trend for me in 2020 was working on smaller items rather than larger furniture pieces.  I tend to find the bulk of my furniture pieces on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, but I found myself avoiding interacting with too many strangers in 2020.  To be honest, it doesn’t really make any sense.  I probably encountered more strangers at garage sales than I would have buying furniture online.

None the less, that led to a lot of smalls.  And again, with lots of white!

I didn’t entirely abandon my other favorite color to work with in 2020, black.

And I did also use some color in 2020.

I may have had to dig deep into the archives to find it though.

I also shared quite a few do-overs in 2020.

I was trying to work on things that I already had on hand, and that included a few pieces that hadn’t sold in their original look like the bench and the dresser).  Both of those pieces sold quickly after a do-over.  I also took advantage of the time and made over a couple of my own pieces like my Welsh cupboard and that little folding chair that is now hanging on the wall in my living room.

Then there was also the bench flip that I shared on Monday.

So over all, 2020 wasn’t all that bad.  My storage areas are pretty well cleaned out now, so that means I have a clean slate for starting 2021.

Here’s what I know you’ll see a lot more of from me in 2021 …

Black and white.  Because let’s face it, they are classic and never go out of style.

Signs made out of old cupboard doors.  Now that I know how easy these are to find at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep making lots of them.

Stenciling on unpainted wood.  This was an experiment for me recently, but I really love how it turned out.  I think you’ll see more of this look from me in 2021.

Thrifted items given new life with paint, stencils and/or transfers.  I just love taking a worn out item and giving it a fresh new life.  It’s so satisfying!

And here’s what I dearly hope you’ll see more of from me in 2021 …

Great hauls from neighborhood garage sales.  Because surely the awesome neighborhood sales will be back in business for 2021, right?

Travel posts.  Please, please, please let there be travel in 2021.

Garden posts.  Even if the world opens back up again, I still hope to keep up on my gardening.

Home tours.  Because everybody enjoys an awesome home tour.

So, let’s all raise a glass and ring in 2021.  It has to be an improvement over 2020, right?!

Happy New Year!

getting lucky at the restore.

My sister and I headed over to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore the other day.  I wanted to pick up a few more cupboard doors to use to make signs.  I found 4 good sized doors for $4 each, but before heading out we took a quick look around and I also found this fabulous little primitive cupboard.

I knew this would be a fun project to work on, and that a little paint and a transfer would really make it shine.

I started by sanding it lightly, then giving it a good cleaning.  Then I painted the inside in Dixie Belle’s Gravel Road and the outside in their Sawmill Gravy.

Once the paint was dry, I sanded heavily because I wanted a lot of distressing on this one.

Next I pulled out an old IOD transfer called Specimens and applied it to the front of the cupboard.

I only used the bottom half of the transfer, and that was perfect.

Next I added clear wax to the entire thing.  I also added some heavy duty D-rings to the back so that it could be hung on the wall.

This cupboard has a clever little latching mechanism for keeping the door shut (it totally reminded me of the one on the washstand I shared a while back).

I’m always a sucker for these sort of primitive details, how about you?

I was channeling my inner Nina Hartmann when staging this one.

Are any of you familiar with her work?  I’ve mentioned her a few times here before.  I have several of her books, and they can be hard to come by here in the U.S.  I ordered the latest one, Living with Swedish Antiques, directly from her website (to order click on webshop, then books).  Don’t be totally freaked out by the price, it is shown in Swedish krona.  That being said, her books aren’t cheap.  After converting krona to dollars, I ended up paying around $80 for this one, including shipping.

The book on the bottom of the stack, among vintage & friends, is also totally fabulous.  Here’s a page from that one …

I think you can probably see why it appeals to me.

But I think my favorite book of hers is My home with vintage & antiques.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any tips on how to acquire either of these older two books.  They are out of print and priced exorbitantly if you can even find them online.  So I apologize for telling you all about how amazing they are, and then following it up with ‘and by the way, you can’t get them anywhere.’  But you can get her newest book, so you may want to jump on that.

The primitive look of this cupboard, the color of the Sawmill Gravy (white with a hint of grey), the crackled ironstone and the mostly bare evergreen are all inspired by Nina’s style.

I love how this little cupboard turned out.  Once again, I’m tempted to keep this one.  Or maybe swap it out for some other piece I already have.

But then again, maybe I’ll just be happy to see it go to a good home.  So if any of my local readers are interested, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

So, how about you guys, are any of you already fans of Nina Hartmann?  or just simply fans of pale, painted wood pieces with lots of character?

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the paint used on this cupboard.

such a slacker.

First up, I want to say congratulations to Ruth H for winning my blogiversary giveaway.

I drew her name at random to win a few of my favorite Dixie Belle paint colors and a couple of other things.  Mr. Q has shipped off her prize and I hope she gets it in time to whip up a few things for the holidays.

What I didn’t mention in my original post about the giveaway was that I also had another complete package of all the same stuff to give to someone.  But rather than drawing a name at random for the 2nd set, I decided to give it to the person who left the most comments on my blog to date in 2020.  So I pulled up my blog stats and quite honestly I wasn’t at all surprised to find that that person was M. Constance Colvin.

Connie is a regular commenter, and she always sends the most lovely little messages, like this one …

“Well now……this post captures the essence of quandification (-: A pretty makeover of something that already looked great! “

and this one …

“A Quandie a day keeps the blog blahs away!!!”

Her comments always make me chuckle …

“Miss Quandie! Only TWO BUCKETS to share today? What a slacker!!!”

I’m super grateful to Connie for taking the time to leave comments.  They always make my day!

But speaking of being a slacker, I feel a bit like one this week.

Now that we are approaching the shortest day of the year, it’s dark when I leave for work in the morning and dark when I get home in the evening.  That means that if I want to photograph a project to share here on the blog I have to do it on the weekend.  If it’s not done by Sunday afternoon, then I am s.o.l.

Last weekend I spent some time finishing up my Christmas shopping, did my Christmas wrapping, and just enjoyed some down time.

I didn’t get a single thing painted.

Let’s hope I do better this weekend!

it even lights up!

A few weeks back I shared the birthday gift basket I put together for my friend Sue.

As I mentioned in that post, Sue has mastered the art of presentation and she always makes up the most amazing gift baskets for me on my birthday, so I knew she would appreciate my gift to her.

So today I thought I’d come full circle and share what she presented to me recently for my birthday.

She always leaves her gift in my office at the day job, and this time when I walked in I exclaimed, “it even lights up!”

I didn’t capture it well in these photos, but there is a string of battery operated lights woven throughout.  If any of you are putting together holiday gift baskets and you want a wow factor, consider adding some lights!

There were all kinds of other goodies tucked inside, like these vintage clothes pins in an old enamelware refrigerator container.

It probably seems silly, but I was really happy to see the soap too.

Funny story, last year my sister and my neighbor nnK both coincidentally got me a four pack of this exact brand of hand soap.  And that was before COVID and frequent handwashing were even a thing.  I had just cracked open the final bottle of that soap a couple of weeks ago, so it was perfect timing to get another!

Sue also threw in a candle from the White Cottage Co.

She and I have both been watching Mary Yoder’s YouTube channel for a while now.  If you haven’t seen her, you should take a look.  She shares lots of DIY and trash to treasure projects, and she’s very down to earth.  She makes a lot of things using a Silhouette machine, so if you’re looking for inspiration on that front, be sure to check her out.

Aren’t the vintage glasses Sue included fantastic?

I feel like one should drink things like a Manhattan, a Rusty Nail or a Sidecar out of these.  I may have to give that a try.

There were also a couple of magazines tucked inside the basket.

Sue has recently started sharing these American Farmhouse magazines with me, and I really like them.  The style is right up my alley, and they are chock full of great decorating inspiration.  The amount of content in each issue is almost overwhelming.  If you haven’t seen this one, I definitely recommend it.

And of course, no gift would be complete without some wine and chocolate!

This sweet little ‘believe’ pillow cover was wrapped around the wine bottle.  I just added some filler and voila …

That’s a lotta stuff all tucked into one package!  You can see why I so look forward to getting a birthday gift from Sue.  There were so many fab things that I can’t even begin to pick a favorite.  How about you?  What would have been your favorite item to receive?

the art of presentation.

My friend Sue has a lot of titles here on q is for quandie.  She is my picker, my co-worker, my garage sale mentor, my occasional sale partner, my garage sale spotter, my garden advisor and of course, my friend.

She is also the master at putting together amazing gift baskets.  Every year she gifts me with a spectacular collection of stuff for my birthday.

A while back when my sister and I were shopping in Excelsior, I came across this book …

and I immediately thought of Sue.  She loves the art of presentation, and this book is all about that.

The book also provided a jumping off point for creating a cheesy themed gift basket to give Sue for her recent birthday.

I started out by pulling out a galvanized container that I used to give a gift to Ken a couple of years ago.

Although he enjoyed all of the contents, as is his style, he returned the container for me to re-use.

So I started by sanding down the chalkboard paint on the front, and then painting the entire box with Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.

Then I added some transfers from prima’s Somewhere in France.

They don’t quite have a cheesy theme, but I thought they would do.

While I was out thrifting with Meggan last week, I asked her to help me keep an eye out for some items that I could add to my cheesy themed gift and she helped me spot a couple of good options.

I like finding things that I can add my own touch to using paint.  The wooden handle of the cheese knife got a coat of Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky, and the wooden wedge shaped gift set got a paint job in Drop Cloth.

Then I added a JRV stencil to the front using the Midnight Sky.

Here’s the inside …

Next it was just a matter of adding some edibles.

Hopefully Sue will have fun putting together some cheese plates that will change lives!

the ugly, old, rusty, crusty ones.

I’ve long been a fan of old metal toolboxes.

But I have to say, it’s rather rare to find them with an original painted finish in a good color.  The ones in nice colors tend to be priced a bit higher too.

So I’ve been known to make do with the ugly, old, rusty, crusty ones that no one seems to want.  I clean them up and give them a paint job, like this fun one that I painted as a gift for my Secret Santa recipient at work last year.

That was such a fun one to fill up!

Another of my favorite painted toolboxes of all time was this one that I also did last year just before Christmas.

Over the summer my friend Sue found a nice little pile of the rusty, crusty toolboxes for me to work some magic on.  I’ve been hanging onto them until the weather got too cold to paint out in my workshop, thus requiring me to move my painting production indoors.

Well, it snowed this past weekend, so I decided that meant I could get going on these.

But wait a minute, back up a bit … a week ago Friday it was 80 and sunny here in Minnesota  (yep, we went from sunny and 80 one week, to snow the next, that’s how we roll here in the Midwest where there aren’t any moderating influences from a nearby ocean).  Knowing that cold weather was coming, I prepped all of these by washing them in the yard using my garden hose and spray on Dawn dish soap.  I let them air dry and then gave them a coat of Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S. in clear.  I’ve used B.O.S.S. to seal up rusty toolboxes before and it seems to work well.

Today’s q tip:  Only use B.O.S.S. as a sealer if you’re going to paint over it.  If you want to just seal a rusty toolbox without painting it, use one of the clear top coats.

I worked on toolbox no 1 first.  It was definitely the rustiest of the lot.  I started out by painting it in Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky on the outside, and Sawmill Gravy on the inside.  If you’re going to try this at home, I have to warn you, painting a toolbox inside and out can take a while.  Not because you’re spending a lot of time painting, but because you’re spending a lot of time waiting for paint to dry.  You have to let the top dry before you paint the bottom, let the inside dry before you can shut the lid, and so on.

Anyway, once I had it painted I added some bits and pieces from the Somewhere in France transfer from with prima.

I also added a gold bee to the top from their Gilded Home & Nature transfer.

As you can see, I did leave some bits in their original rusty condition.

Finally, I lined the inside of the box with some of with prima’s decor tissue paper.

The inside of the box is sealed with Dixie Belle’s Gator Hide, which is also the product I used to decoupage the tissue paper.  The outside of the box got a coat of clear wax (Gator Hide can leave black looking filmy or streaky).

I also completed toolbox no 2 over the weekend.  This one is painted in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth on the outside and Peony on the inside.

Isn’t that pop of pink brilliant?  I just love it.  I used some decor tissue to line this one too.

Next I pulled out the IOD Label Ephemera transfer and added some wording to the outside.

The bees are from the Classic Vintage Labels transfer from with prima.

The crown is from the Lovely Ledger transfer, also from with prima.

I ended up adding a quick coat of Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky to the handle to clean it up a bit.

Initially my plan was to take both of these in to the shop to sell.  I need another painted toolbox like I need a hole in my head … but … I really love how this 2nd one turned out!

I liked it so much that I rearranged my living room shelves in an attempt to accommodate it.  But no, it really didn’t work there, so I will take it off to the shop after all.  Probably on Wednesday.

You can check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for pricing info.

As always, if any of my local readers want to snatch it up first just let me know by either leaving a comment or emailing me at

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and with prima for providing some of the products used in today’s makeovers.

a thing for boxes.

I really seem to have a thing for boxes.  Not cardboard boxes, but wooden boxes.  Preferably old wooden boxes.

Sometimes I just leave them as I find them because they are the perfect shade of green and have a deliciously shabby patina.

But most of the time I like to give them a makeover.

My favorites are those with hinged lids like old recipe card boxes …

They are quick and easy to paint and then dress up with transfers, or stencils, or old hardware …

They are the perfect project for a rainy afternoon.

I went to an estate sale with my sister a couple of weeks back and picked up a simple wooden box with a curved lid.  I didn’t even take a ‘before’ photo of it because it didn’t feel like something that would be special enough to share here on the blog.

But then I added some paint, followed by a couple of transfers, and just like that it was transformed.

I started by giving it a base coat of Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy, and then added a stripe of their French Linen down the center.  These two colors are the perfect companions.

Once dry, I sanded to distress and then added a Classic Vintage Label transfer from with prima to the top of the box …

and a couple of bits and pieces from the IOD Label Ephemera transfer to the front.

If you’re still keeping track, this is the 8th piece I’ve done using just the one Label Ephemera transfer.

I didn’t stop there either.  I also used some of with prima’s decoupage tissue paper to line the inside of the box.

I adhered it using Dixie Belle’s Gator Hide, which works like a charm.

Once it was all done I loved it so much I wanted to keep it.  But then I decided it would be even better to gift it to my bff.  This way I can visit it every now and then at her house 😉

So I’m curious, which of these boxes is your favorite?

As always, thanks to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and the Gator Hide used on this project, and thanks to with prima for providing the Classic Vintage Label transfer used on the top of the box.

abdicating the throne.

I’ve always been fascinated with British history.  Somehow their stories of kings and queens, princes locked in towers, and wives who lose their heads have always been far more interesting to me than our plain old American history.

One bit of English history that I’ve found interesting was Edward VIII’s abdication of the throne.  It all seems so romantic.  He falls in love with a twice married American woman and gives up being the King of England in order to … gasp, the horror … marry her.  But that’s just one way of looking at that particular story.  I watched the Wallis Simpson:  The Secret Letters documentary a while back and that film seemed to imply that Edward simply didn’t want to be King and having a relationship with Wallis provided him with an excuse to get out of it.

  But I don’t suppose we’ll ever really know the truth behind that, will we?

Speaking of kings and queens, when I posted my painted pumpkins a week or so ago, Kathy M left a comment calling me the Queen of Transfers.  The timing was ironic since I was right in the middle of deciding whether or not to sign a new contract with with prima.  This time around they were asking me to commit to using their transfers, molds and stamps exclusively.  In other words, I couldn’t use any of their competitor’s products.  Ever.

Ironically, I had just placed an order for over $100 worth of IOD (ie, their competitor) transfers when their email arrived.  So, after some long, hard thinking, I made the decision to abdicate my throne.  I am not renewing my contract with them and thus giving up my spot on their Brand Ambassador team.

But I can’t help but draw a parallel to Edward.  Maybe my refusal to commit to exclusivity is my own ‘Wallis Simpson’.  In other words, it’s just an excuse I’m using to get out of something I no longer wanted to do.

Lately I was struggling with feeling obligated to use new release products even when I didn’t feel inspired by them.  I was also finding it difficult to juggle the re-scheduling of my posts when release dates were changed at the last minute.  I also wasn’t really loving any of their latest designs.

There are lots of florals, and color.

But what there aren’t a lot of are words.

Simple, black or dark grey, words …

Or even just gold words …

I love words.  And I love adding them to furniture.

To be honest, I feel like a weight has been lifted.  Now I can just create what I want to, when I want to.  I don’t have to worry about when my posts are scheduled and whether or not I’ve used products that are new or not.  And I don’t have to feel guilty about using the competitor’s products.

Now, you’re still going to see plenty of with prima transfers on my pieces going forward.  I have a stockpile that includes quite a few of my wordy favorites like Parisian Letter …

and Somewhere in France

And Fresh Flowers

and Laundry

I also have a few Classic Vintage Labels to use up.

You’ll also still see me using the with prima metallic waxes too.  Those things are amazing.

But you’re also going to see more IOD transfers, because I just can’t get enough of their Label Ephemera transfer …

which is why I ordered two more of them and am waiting for them to show up so I can finish the amazing cupboard I’ve been working on.

You’re also going to see me working with more stencils going forward including some fun German stencils that just arrived from Daggi at Gonepaintin’ (you can check out her blog here, and her Etsy shop here).

And who knows what other products I might explore using in the future.  Any recommendations?

for sale.

I’m afraid this post is mainly intended for my local readers, so I hope I’m not annoying those of you who don’t live in the Twin Cities.  But to cushion the blow for everyone else, I have a small giveaway at the end that is open to everyone, so be sure to check that out.

Last week I brought home a few items from Reclaiming Beautiful that haven’t sold there, so I thought I’d take a shot at selling them to my local readers via my blog

First up are the ironing board signs I made late last winter.

The white one in front, 2nd from left, was sold.  The other four all came back home with me.  These are vintage wooden ironing boards with the bases removed (to make them easier/lighter to hang on the wall as signs).

I’m planning to rework the apricot colored one, and possibly also the blue one.  But the black one is available in its original form with that gorgeous french laundry stencil for $40 …

Although the obvious place to hang these would be the laundry room, I think you could also hang it in your mud room, or even a bedroom.

It might also be fun hung outside, on a fence or on the side of your potting shed.

The Laundry Co version (left, below) is also available for $40 (sale pending)

For now, the blue one is also available for $40 so if you’re interested let me know.

If it doesn’t go I plan to re-do it as well.

Next up is one lonely yard stick shelf.  I’d brought in several of them to sell and for some reason this lonely last one didn’t sell.

I use a couple of these shelves in my living room to display my vintage alarm clock non-collection.

This unique shelf can be yours for a mere $12 (sale pending).  I suppose if it doesn’t sell I can always add a third shelf to my living room, which will give me an excuse to look for more clocks!

Next up are some vintage lamps that I had in my pile to bring in to the shop, but then, as I mentioned on Monday, the shop put a moratorium on vintage electrical items.  That’s totally understandable, they don’t want to be liable for faulty electrical wiring.  But now I have a handful of really cool vintage light fixtures that need to find new homes.

Starting with this fabulous green number …

I added some french words to the metal shade, and the green base is fantastic.

The original wiring on this one was definitely a bit dicey though, so I re-wired it.  It’s actually relatively simple to re-wire a lamp like this.  Just a question of taking the lamp apart, removing the old wiring, feeding new wiring up through the stem, and re-attaching everything.

It works great now and is perfectly safe …

This lamp is available at $22 for anyone local who can pick it up here at my house.

Next up, another vintage desk lamp.  This one is a traditional brass desk top lamp …

This time I added a fun Tim Holtz metal tag to the shade.

Although vintage, the electrical cord looks to be in good condition.  No fraying or cracks.

The lamp works well, and it provides a nice downward beam of light perfect for working at a desk.

This lamp is available to anyone that can pick it up for $20.

And finally, we have this little beauty.

This one also has its original wiring, which looks to be in good shape.

I tested this lamp as well and it fired up perfectly.

This one can be yours for $15.

If you are local and interested in any of these items, please email me at

OK, so as promised, I’ll wrap this up with a little giveaway.  I also recently came across four of my old ‘hello fall’ book page banners that didn’t sell in previous years.

You can drape them just about anywhere to add a little Fall decor to your space.

So I’d like to give them away.  And they are super easy to ship (unlike lamps and ironing boards), so this giveaway is open to anyone.

The rules:  to be eligible to win today’s prize leave a comment on this blog post.  Your comment must be left on the blog, not on Facebook or Instagram.

I will randomly draw the name of four winners of ‘hello Fall’ book page banners from all of the comments left on this post by Sunday, September 20 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 $8, if the prize is not claimed by Sunday, September 27 , another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.


painted pumpkins.

I have mixed feelings about the color orange, how about you?

I love wearing it.  Over the years, some of my favorite articles of clothing have been orange.

I also tend to like orange foods.  Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, oranges, Dreamsicles … all good.

But I’m not a big fan of decorating with orange for fall.  At least not inside the house, outside might be a different matter with all of those beautiful fall colored leaves accented with some orange mums or pumpkins.

But inside, I want to go in a different direction so I decided to paint up a few pumpkins to match my decorating style a bit more.  I actually purchased these faux pumpkins last year after the fall season when they were 75% off.  I was thinking ahead for once!

I decided to give these a base coat of grey primer spray paint because I felt that would be easier to cover with my Dixie Belle colors than the orange.  Once I had them fully coated in the primer, I painted each one a different color.  I used Dixie Belle’s Sea Glass, Sawmill Gravy, Drop Cloth and French Linen (from left to right).

Next I added some transfers to each pumpkin.  This one got some bits from the IOD Label Ephemera transfer …

A couple of them got Classic Vintage Label transfers from with prima …

and this one …

And this one got a section from their Paris Valley transfer …

Once the transfers were in place I pulled out some of my metallic waxes from with prima to add to the pumpkin stems.

I used Eternal, which is a brighter gold, on two of them …

And I used Bronze Age on the other two, which is a little more subdued.

So, how about you?  Do you prefer a more traditional approach to decorating with pumpkins in the fall?

or would you be happier with something a little bit different?

You can find a recap of my less traditional fall decorating projects from previous years here.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and to with prima for providing the products used for today’s project.

If you’re looking for Dixie Belle products you can find them here.

If you’re looking for with prima products you can find local retailers here, or online sources here.