a treasure box.

Remember the plain simple wooden box that my picker found for me a couple of weeks ago?

I love little pieces like this because it’s fun and easy to turn them into something pretty.

For this box I mixed up some of Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in one of her prettiest shades of blue, French Enamel.

I painted the box inside and out.  One of the things I love about milk paint is that it dries quite quickly.  So when you’re working with a piece like this and you want to paint top and bottom, inside and out, the paint dries fast so you can keep flipping the box over to paint the bottoms.

Once it was fully painted and dry I added parts of a grain sack stencil to the top and front using a warm white craft paint.  Then I sanded to distress, wiped away the dust and added The Real Milk Paint Co’s Finishing Cream in Dead Flat.

Finally, I drilled a hole in the top and added a glass knob from Hobby Lobby.

Speaking of knobs, are you like me?  Do you buy knobs when you see them because they are on sale and you love them, but you don’t know what you’ll put them on?  I used to do that far more often, but I found that I always had 6 knobs, but needed 8.  Or I had 8, and only used 6, leaving two behind.  As a result, I have a big jar full of singles or pairs of knobs.

Now I try to just buy knobs when I have a specific project in mind for them but I still cave sometimes.

So it’s always good to find a use for a single leftover knob like this one.

I took advantage of the light outside on a gorgeous summer evening and set up a little photo shoot with some Annabelle hydrangeas, an old book and this funky little cigar tin that my picker Sue also found for me.

I’m already noticing that the sun is setting a little bit earlier these days, why does summer always fly by so fast?

Anyway, just imagine all of the ways you could use this pretty blue treasure box.  What would you keep in it?

Thanks to Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint for providing the French Enamel paint and to The Real Milk Paint Co for providing the Dead Flat Finishing Cream.

faux grain sack pillows.

The other day I was shopping in Home Goods looking for a birthday gift for my co-worker.  One thing you may have noticed about me is that I don’t shop in ‘real’ stores all that much.  Sure, I go to lots of garage sales and estate sales and I hit up Target every now and then for the basics, but I rarely shop retail home decor stores.

But there I was in Home Goods and somehow I ended up in the throw pillow aisle where I found these.

Before I knew it, they had jumped into my cart.

I loved the nubby linen in shades of cream and beige.  I thought they would look pretty awesome with some grain sack stencils on them.

One thing to keep in mind when choosing pre-made pillows to stencil is that they must have removable inserts.  Look for a zipper that will allow you to take the insert out before you stencil.

You’ll never get a crisp result trying to stencil on a pillow with an insert in place.

In fact, what I do is remove the pillow insert and replace it with a square of hardboard (the same stuff I use to make chalkboards in place of mirrors).  This gives me a nice flat, hard surface for stenciling, and also prevents any paint from bleeding through to the back side of the pillow.

In case you are wondering, I used Dixie Belle chalk style paint in Midnight Sky to do the stenciling.  The stencils came from Maison de Stencils, they have a fantastic selection of European grain sack style stencils.  When I last checked each of these designs were available for $8.50 to $9.

I am keeping a couple of these pillows for myself, but I’ll also be taking some in to Reclaiming Beautiful next week to sell.  Unless any of you locals want to snatch one up first.

In which case, be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page!

And don’t forget, you have until tonight at midnight (central time) to leave a comment on last week’s post to be eligible to win the Prima Marketing modeling material and molds.  So if you haven’t left a comment on that post go back and do it now!

uber chippy.

A while back I shared the chair that I recovered in anticipation of taking it to Reclaiming Beautiful (the shop where I sell on consignment in Stillwater, MN).  I had this chair in my own house for a couple of years so the seat needed fresh upholstery to make it shop-worthy, which was an easy spruce up … or so I thought.

I noticed while I was working on the chair that there were a few loose chips of paint here and there, so I just brushed those away and kept going.  After the chair was finished, I stored it in my non-climate controlled workshop in the carriage house for a few weeks before loading it up to go to the shop.

However, when I went to unload the chair from the van after arriving at the shop it was obvious that there were more than just a few loose chips.  It was shedding like gang busters.  I don’t know if it was the time spent in a damp workshop or what, but clearly it was in no shape to sell.  So I left it in the van and brought it back home to see what I could do with it.

I originally painted this chair back in October 2015 using Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in Linen.  I sealed it with clear wax.  It was slightly chippy from the beginning as you can see here …

I have found that any piece that starts out chippy tends to chip more over time if not sealed with something more durable than wax and/or hemp oil, like Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat Sealer.  Especially if it’s a piece that is handled/used a lot.  But I’ve never had a piece get this chippy over time.

Plan A was to sand the chair down and re-paint it using the same MMS Linen (or maybe technically this is Plan B since the original plan was to simply re-cover the seat).  In case you are wondering, yes, you can definitely paint over a waxed surface that has cured for 3.5 years.  Normally this would just require a quick scuff sanding.

However, I used a power sander to knock off as much of that loose paint as possible.  And a lot of paint did come off.  But then, as I was looking at the chair, I realized that I kind of loved it looking uber chippy and distressed.  I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (Betty, you may want to look away), but I also know there are fellow chippy lovers out there too!

So rather than re-paint,  I cleaned away the dust and then sealed the chair using The Real Milk Paint Co’s Dead Flat Finishing Cream.  This should help it hold up over time, and prevent it from shedding paint chips all over the floor again.

Also, in case you are wondering, I opted for the Dead Flat Finishing Cream rather than Tough Coat Sealer because it is a thick paste that doesn’t drip.  I’m not the greatest at avoiding drips with more fluid sealers, especially on a piece like this with lots of legs and details where a more liquid product will pool and then drip.

My q tip of the day:  Know your own limitations.  Products that work well for others may not suit you, so experiment with things and find what works well for you!

Hopefully someone out there will love this chippy chair as much as I do.  Although I put it up in our bedroom to take these photos, it’s really not practical to have it in front of my closet door on a permanent basis.

So I’ll be taking this one back to Reclaiming Beautiful again, and this time it won’t be sitting in a pool of paint chips.

Unless one of my local readers wants to snatch it up first (in which case, be sure to check my available for local sale page for more details).

Meanwhile, I’ll be back here on Friday to tell you a little bit more about that pillow on the chair, so be sure to stay tuned!

the only treasures in a pile of shit.

As you may know, I have a ‘picker’.  It’s my friend/co-worker/Carriage House sale partner/garage sale mentor Sue.  She has an amazing eye for treasures, plus she loves the hunt.

I keep saying that one of these days I’m going to do an updated tour of her home and garden here on the blog because you guys would absolutely love it.  Here’s just one quick shot from the last time I photographed her garden …

I did share it once already several years ago (here and here), but Sue is one of those people who is frequently changing things up.  I totally envy her ability to do that on a regular basis.  I tend to get too complacent.  She’s moved several rooms around, and redecorated most of her house since our last tour.

During garage sale season it’s always fun to come in to work at the day job on Monday morning to find a little pile of treasures in my office.

I never know what she’ll find, but it’s always good.  Sometimes the goodies are all packed inside a vintage suitcase!

Sometimes the stuff is completely random, but Sue knows that I’ll love it, like this black doctor’s bag that I added a stencil to.

Last fall I came in on a Monday to find this adorable pair of little chairs leaning against the wall in my office.

And Sue always knows to grab pretty much anything galvanized for me.

This past Monday I came in to find this simple little wooden box on my desk.

And nestled inside were three amazing vintage glass bird ornaments.

Both of the next two had their spun glass tails intact which isn’t always the case with this style of bird ornament.  I have a couple of them that are tail-less.

I do already have one similar to the one above in my non-collection of vintage ornaments, but I’ve never even seen one like this last one …

I have to include a photo of those last two birds together here so that you can see the size difference.

That last one is quite large.  He’s actually 9″ from the tip of his beak to the end of his tail.

Believe it or not, Sue paid only $1 each for the ornaments!

When I asked her about where she found them, she said she just happened to be driving past a garage sale over the weekend and decided to pull over and check it out.  Then she told me that the bird ornaments were ‘the only treasures in a pile of shit’.

I burst out laughing and said ‘that is the perfect blog post title!’

But seriously, that’s how it goes with garage sales.  Sometimes you have to pick through a lot of shit to find the occasional rare treasure.

everyday farmhouse.

I thought it would be fun to compile a post showing all of the pieces that I’ve used the Prima Marketing Everyday Farmhouse transfer on so far.

This is just one transfer, but it comes with about 25 different designs that can all be used separately.  So at around $30 for the set, you’re only paying a little over $1 for each one.

The first thing I used part of this transfer on was a rusty toolbox.

I used some of the numbers that are included as well as this portion …

Next I used a couple of the designs on an adorable pair of vintage kid sized chairs.

I used sections from the Sweet Apricot transfer for the seats.

I also added part of the Everyday Farmhouse transfer to this bucket, which is painted in Homestead House milk paint in Laurentien.

I used another section on another painted bucket …

Next I used a section of the transfer on the top of a vintage picnic basket.

I thought I’d quickly share the technique I used to work around the raised slats on the top.  I started by placing the transfer where I wanted it and then only rubbing the transfer well on the raised slats.

Next I used a razor blade to slice the transfer backing sheet on either side of each slat.

This way I was then able to press the transfer down between the slats as well.

If you want to try something similar, my advice is to go slowly, be patient and remember that perfection is highly overrated.

In the end you’ll have an adorable picnic basket ready to take on holiday.

Clearly I’m going to have to get another of the Everyday Farmhouse transfer sets because I’m pretty sure I can find 25 more items to use it on!

my big sister.

If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning then you already know that my sister moved to New Jersey shortly after getting married and having her first baby.  At the time our family lived in south Florida and I was only 18.  That was 37 years ago.

I have to say, my sister and I were very different growing up.  I was a total girly-girl.  I liked Barbie’s, makeup and dresses.  My sister was a total tom-boy.  She liked climbing trees, playing sports and … well … I don’t even know what else because we pretty much ignored each other most of the time.

I’m the blonde, she’s the brunette.

Even as adults we are pretty different.  My sister loves cooking & camping and she still wears absolutely no makeup.  I dislike cooking, much prefer a hotel and wouldn’t be caught dead in public without makeup.

You might be inclined to think that spending 30+ years living far apart combined with our rather different personalities might mean we don’t get along, or that we aren’t very close.

But despite those differences and the distance between us, we’ve always managed to get together at least one or two times a year (it definitely helped that our mom is a travel agent).

Then four years ago today my sister moved from New Jersey to Minnesota (her daughter moved here a month or two later as well).

I got to celebrate two things that year, my sister’s birthday and that we finally live within 10 miles of each other.

Now here it is four years later and I continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude at having my sister nearby.  Although it no longer seems unbelievable that we can get together and do things on a whim, like go shopping or out to eat, I don’t take her for granted for one second.

My sister is always incredibly supportive of everything I do.  She’s constantly up for pretty much anything I suggest.  She even sat through an hour long bra fitting at Soma with me recently (and FYI, that was amazing and if you haven’t had an official bra fitting in a while I totally recommend Soma for that).  I know that I can always call on her for anything at all and she will be there for me.

Lately we’ve been spending time planning our upcoming trip to Disney World.  It’s not until October, but we love to plan, plan, plan.  The planning is half the fun for us.  This time it’s just the two of us going and we’re going to focus on trying some new restaurants like O’Hana (which we already have reserved) and we’ll be taking another tour, the Marceline to Magic Kingdom tour, which includes some ‘behind the scenes’ looks at a couple of classic attractions.  We’ll also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of our first trip to a Disney park (yep, it was in 1969).

Why am I bringing all of this up today?  Well, not only is today the four year anniversary of my sister’s move to Minnesota, it’s also her birthday.  So I hope you will all join me in wishing her a happy birthday!  And if any of you are lucky enough to have a sister, take just a moment today to appreciate her.

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!