a blank slate.

If you’ve been following my blog for very long, you’ll know that I have horizontal grey and white stripes on the wall in what I call my ‘piano room’ (for obvious reasons).

It took me a long time to get to these stripes.  I’ve painted this room so many times since Mr. Q and I moved in.  Well, first I stripped the existing wallpaper and then re-wallpapered with a white on white damask (very trendy in 1988).  Then I stripped that and painted the walls red.  Didn’t everyone go through a red phase in the 90’s?  Next after painting the kitchen its current dark color, I tried bringing that color out into the piano room too.  It looked awful, which I blame on a difference in lighting and a different ceiling color.  At that time the ceiling was still both white and popcorn-ed.  Next I tried a mustard yellow.  That never even made it beyond just one wall before I realized it was a terrible choice.

That led to olive green horizontal stripes.

I loved the horizontal stripes, but it didn’t take long after starting my blog to realize that this particular wall in my piano room was where I would have to stage all of my furniture photos in the winter.  And the olive green was not going to cut it.  Especially paired with the Miss Mustard Seed Kitchen Scale that’s on that buffet!

So I switched to white and pale grey stripes.  Somewhere in between there we also had the dreaded popcorn ceilings scraped off and I painted them in a pale aqua blue.

I loved the pale grey and white.  And immediately my furniture photos were improved.

But here we are almost 4 years later and I am absolutely fed up with trying to make those horizontal stripes work as a background for all of my winter furniture photo shoots.

They worked OK for some pieces …

For others they just really didn’t cut it.

I tried covering them up by layering various things over the wall, which helped somewhat.

But this year I decided the stripes had to go.  I needed a clean, blank slate to use as a background.

So last weekend I pulled out the paint I used for the white stripes and after sanding the tape lines, I painted over the stripes.

Today’s q-tip:  If you have used tape to paint horizontal or vertical lines on something, always sand over that paint line before re-painting.  Otherwise you will have a visible ridge of paint along those lines.

I was worried that the paint wouldn’t match perfectly and I’d end up having to paint the entire wall from base board to crown molding, but no, it blended perfectly.

And now I have the white background that I have been craving.

Well, except for that electrical outlet, but look how easy it is to edit that out, and while I’m at it, also edit out the thermostat …

As you can see over at the right edge of the photo, I still have the stripes in the living room.  And actually, I even kept the stripes on the opposite side of the room for now.  I may ultimately paint those out as well, but then again I may not.  I’m going to live with it for a while and see how it feels.

In the meantime, I’m very happy with my blank slate.

By the way, are you wondering about how practical it is to move that large cupboard out of the way every time I want to take photos of a finished piece?

At the end of the summer, Ken came over and helped me add wheels to the bottom of it to make it simple as can be to move it in and out of that spot.

I have to say, I always learn something new from Ken.  This time it was that you can get these extended length Phillips drill bits for your drill.  It made it so much easier to get in there and attach those wheels.

It might seem a little crazy that I’ve painted a wall and modified my furniture just to accommodate blogging, but I’m learning that it pays off to find ways to make the ‘things’ in my life more functional for me.

So if that means a blank white wall and a cupboard on wheels, so be it.  Right?

 

 

 

french pumpkins.

When it comes to fall decorating, I’m not exactly a traditionalist.

Last year I made a French pumpkin using Fusion’s transfer gel and a printed French opera graphic.  And you’ve all seen my ‘hello fall’ book page banners.

This year I decided to add another white pumpkin to my line up.

I started out with this orange wooden pumpkin wall hanging with a decidedly 90’s country look.  In fact, I do believe I’ve probably owned this since the 90’s.

First I de-countrified it by taking off the heart and the “Autumn Greetings” top.

Next I painted it white with some Homestead House milk paint in Sturbridge White.  Once that was dry I sanded it to distress, vacuumed off the dust and then added a Iron Orchid Designs transfer.

I totally ignored the fact that pieces of the design got lost in the cracks.  It really doesn’t matter.  I was going for a very distressed look anyway.

Next I sanded lightly over the transfer with 220 grit sandpaper.

Since I was planning to hang this outside, I added a top coat of the Real Milk Paint Co’s Dead Flat to protect both the milk paint and the transfer.  However, you should note that Dead Flat is not intended for outdoor use.

I have it hanging on the carriage house where it is partially protected from the elements by an overhang and it will only hang here for a month or two, not year round of course.  Still, I’m taking a bit of a chance.  If it gets ruined I will only have myself to blame.

How about you, are you more of a traditional orange pumpkin sort of decorator?  Or do you also prefer some pumpkins with a french twist?

 

 

 

 

finally.

You might have noticed that I never really quite revealed our entire master bedroom makeover in one complete post.  That’s because I was waiting for one last detail, the light fixture.

I waited, and waited, and waited.

I had ordered it online from Menards because I thought that since I drive right past my local Menards on my way home from work it would be incredibly convenient to just stop and pick it up when it came in.

Ha, famous last words.

It was put on back order, and then it was put on back order again, and then the store lost it and had to re-order it.  But then they found it and said I could pick it up.  Although it probably wasn’t worth the wait, and I could have found a dozen similar light fixtures elsewhere, it’s finally in place and I love it.

You might be remembering that we had a ceiling fan in this spot before, and quite a few of you recommended replacing it with another fan.  We really planned on taking that advice.  For a house without central a/c, ceiling fans are a plus.  We did buy a ceiling fan, but it met with an unfortunate accident.  During installation it fell from a great height, that being the top of the ladder, and was irreparably damaged.

We took that as a sign, and that’s when I ordered the schoolhouse light fixture.

So, after all of that, we now have a light instead of a fan, and I am calling this room done.

One other detail I didn’t really share with you yet is my choice of window treatment, or probably more accurately, lack of a window treatment.

For now I’ve opted to go with privacy film on the lower halves of the windows.  It was perfect for summer, but I’m not yet sure about winter.  It might be nice to have something ‘warmer’ on the windows for winter.

By the way, remember that cool vintage farm photo I picked up while garage saling a few weeks back?  It found a home here in our master bedroom.

It fits in perfectly.

OK, let’s recap the entire project, shall we?

The budget for this room was $1,500 and as is typical, I went way over budget.  I lost track of the spending somewhere around the $2,000 mark.  But considering that in the end we really made over all three of our upstairs rooms, that’s not so bad.  Here’s a reminder of what we accomplished.

The floors were refinished, resulting in a lovely pale natural color and a matte finish.  This was by far the largest expense of the entire project.  I’m including the total cost of all of the floors ($1,000) on our upper level in the final tally although obviously a chunk of that expense was for other rooms.

The walls in all three rooms were painted and we put in a ship lap feature wall.  The paint cost around $70 and the ship lap materials were $55.  I love my ship lap wall and totally recommend adding just one feature wall to add some fixer upper style to one of your rooms.  I have to note that this task was super simple for us because we didn’t have to cut around anything (like electrical outlets, windows or doors).

I added a pair of wall sconce reading lights from World Market at $120 for the pair.

I updated our existing nightstands with a couple of coats of milk paint.

I’m not counting this as a ‘cost’ for the project since I used milk paint that I already had on hand.

We purchased a new bed frame for $40 and an antique full size headboard that I painted black. I purchased the headboard as part of a set.  I sold the other pieces from the set at a profit, thus making the headboard ‘free’ and again I used milk paint that I already had on hand to paint it.  We also purchased new bedding at a cost of $650.  Gasp!  I know.  The second largest item in the budget.  Bedding is just so expensive, but that does include new pillows, a new feather bed, a new down alternative duvet, plus two duvet covers and pillow shams.  I also added a DIY bedskirt made from a drop cloth at a cost of $15.

I added a vintage cane back bench with a European grain sack cushion at the foot of the bed.  I paid $125 for the bench and another $69 for the grain sack.

I painted my existing clothes cupboard, again with milk paint I already had on hand.  I added two Iron Orchid Designs transfers.  These transfers came in a set of 3 for $10.  I purchased two sets so that I had two of the same design, but I still have 4 more left to use on other projects (and you’ll see a couple of them next week). 

 A lot of the miscellaneous decor I used came from other parts of the house, like my faux dress form Lula, so they didn’t add to the cost.

Or they were just things that I already had on hand, like the vintage advertisement hangers.

I debated adding an area rug to the room, but in the end the floors are so pretty that I hate to cover them up.  Also, this room really is rather large and for a rug to not look lost it needs to be a good sized rug.  Since I’d already blown the budget out of the water I decided we could live without a rug for the time being.

As requested, I’ve updated this post to include some ‘before’ and ‘after’ comparisons.

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

So, it’s official.  Mission Possible was indeed possible after all.  And this time it didn’t take me three years to finish.  It helped a lot that I took an entire week off at the day job to get a lot of things done including the ship lap wall, painting all three rooms, painting all of the bedroom furniture and having the floors done.  Phew!  It was an exhausting week, but in the end it was totally worth it.  Now that we have all of the final details in place, we can kick back and enjoy our new bedroom.

goldilocks and the three yellows.

The other day I came across an ad on Craigslist for a vintage Jenny Lind style twin size headboard at a price that fit right into my current budget for the guest room, $40.  This one had all of the spindles in place, unlike the $5 garage sale one that I passed up a few weeks ago.

So, I sent an email to arrange to see it.  Every once in a while I find someone on Craigslist who would prefer to meet somewhere rather than have potential buyers come to their home.  This tends to be rare with furniture purchases.  After all, it can be rather inconvenient for the seller to load up some furniture to meet you somewhere else.  But I did once buy a nice cane backed chair out of someone’s trunk at a gas station.  The seller of this bed also wanted to meet somewhere and offered to let me name the place.  As it turned out, she was a young woman by herself so I commend her for being safe about it.

I asked her to swing by my office at the day job.  Since I work at City Hall, it’s pretty easy to find.  And I think she felt perfectly comfortable since the police department happens to be right there.  She showed up promptly at noon, I handed over the cash and transferred the headboard from her car to mine.  Easy peasy.

I’ve already shared the chippy cabinet painted in Homestead House’s Laurentien milk paint that’s in the room.  Yes, it’s the same name as the Fusion Laurentien I used inside my giant English cupboard and close to the same color.  Both of these paints are made by Homestead House, but one is milk paint and the other is acrylic paint.

I’ve also shared the pretty little chair that I painted in Miss Mustard Seed’s Apron Strings milk paint.  FYI, it’s also made by Homestead House.

Since the walls in this room are white, I felt like I could get as colorful as I wanted with the furnishings.  Plus, aside from the cupboard, everything in this room is an inexpensive garage sale find, so if I get tired of the colors I won’t feel bad at all about replacing a piece with something else.

So I decided to choose yet another cheery vintage-y color for the bed, one that would bring out another color in the quilt that I’ll be using.

I considered green, but ultimately I felt like yellow might just be perfect.  But what shade of yellow?

A while back the lovely people at Homestead House gifted me with some of their milk paint in several shades of yellow;  Buttermilk Cream (check out this dresser that I painted in the Buttermilk Cream), Ochre, and Garden Seed.  Since the Buttermilk Cream is the only one I’ve used before, I decided to mix up just a bit of each of the other colors and paint them on popsicle sticks to decide which one would be right for my bed.

That’s Ochre at the top, Buttermilk Cream in the middle and Garden Seed on the bottom.

Then, since I already had some paint mixed up, I decided to paint some clay pots too.  In case you haven’t already figured this out about me, I just love painting stuff.  If I have some paint sitting in front of me ready to go, I like to put it on something.

Then, since the pots were pretty plain I added some Tim Holtz rub-ons to them to dress them up a bit.

Nothing like getting a little distracted and losing sight of my original purpose.

But this little exercise did help me decide that Ochre (2) is the yellow I want for my guest room bed.  The Buttermilk Cream (1) is just a bit too pale.  Especially when compared to the other yellows.  It almost looks more like a creamy white in these photos.  But when it’s compared to white you can see that it is a very pale yellow.  The Garden Seed (3) , on the other hand, is just a bit too mustard-y.

That’s not to say that I didn’t love the Garden Seed, just not for my guest room bed.  And since I already had a brush wet, I decided to mix up some more and paint a sign.

I used the table leaf from a table Mr. Q and I picked up the other day and my Funky Junk Farmers’ Market stencil.  If you’re wondering how I gave it that two dimensional look, I first painted the stencil in a medium grey.  When that was dry, I re-positioned the stencil by just a hair and then painted it in white.  It’s a simple way to make your stenciled sign look just a tad more legit.

Well, so much for getting that bed painted last weekend.  But when I do get around to it, I’m definitely going to paint it in Ochre.

 

living with it.

Mr. Q and I invited my sister over for dinner one Friday evening a while back, but it was all part of a secret ruse to get some help moving my giant English cupboard into the house.

We followed the advice that Marilee gave me and removed the doors from the cabinet to both lighten it up and make it easier to grab onto (thanks so much for that piece of advice Marilee, it made this so much easier).  Of course we also took all of the shelves out.  Even so, this cupboard is still big, bulky and heavy.  We used some moving straps to lift it, Mr. Q on one end, my sister and me on the other.

It actually went more smoothly than any of us thought it would.  I gotta tell you, in person the size of this cupboard is pretty intimidating.

I’d asked all of you to give your opinion as to whether I should paint the cupboard, or leave it ‘as is’.  I totally expected the majority to say I should paint it.  After all, painting furniture is what I do and also I assume why most of you enjoy my blog.  In the end I only got two votes for painting it, one of them from my sister which really surprised me (after all, I’m pretty sure she reads this blog because she’s my very supportive sister, not because she loves painted furniture).  On the other hand, several of my fellow furniture painters voted for leaving it ‘as is’ which also really surprised me.  But the really unexpected result was how many of you suggested I consider adding a lime wax finish.  Eureka!  I hadn’t even considered that, and what a great idea.

But for the moment, the advice I decided to follow is to live with the cupboard for a while ‘as is’ and see how it feels.  At a minimum I wanted to at least bring it into the room to see how it looked in place.

So far, so good.  It fits perfectly into this space and I absolutely love it.  I still have the blue rooster cupboard directly across from it next to my desk.

I was worried the room was going to look a bit cupboard-heavy with two large cupboards, but I don’t think it does in person.

Of course, the inherent danger with this ‘live with it for a while’ plan is that I’ll grow complacent.  Now that the cupboard is in place, it will be a little bit more trouble to refinish it and I won’t be as motivated to get it done.  Will I end up just leaving it ‘as is’ because it’s the easiest option?  Or will it truly be because I love it ‘as is’?  We’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to fill ‘er up and see how well it functions for storing my many craft supplies.

Since I was transitioning from a dresser with drawers to a cupboard with shelves, I had to come up with containers for holding things.  In other words, I didn’t want to just pile my glue guns, craft paints, greeting cards and colored pencils in a jumble on the shelves.

Fortunately I already kept quite a few of my craft supplies in cool vintage tool boxes.

My glue guns and extra glue fit perfectly into the rusty aqua toolbox my co-worker Jodie gave me for my birthday last year (the same aqua toolbox that’s pictured in Vintage Holiday!).

And although they aren’t here yet, the green box and possibly one or two of the toolboxes I brought home from those lunchtime garage sales last week will probably make their way into this cupboard as well.

My unopened bags of milk paint can just line up on the shelves along with an ironstone pitcher full of wax brushes and some glass canisters full of knobs (I keep my opened bags of milk paint in an air tight rubbermaid bin to extend their shelf life, exposure to too much moisture can ruin the powder).

I’m still thinking about that lime wax that so many of you suggested, but for the moment I’m just happy to have this giant storage piece in my Q branch.  It holds so much stuff, and I know I’m going to get some great use out of it.

 

 

dinner music.

Where do you get your inspiration?  I’m hoping at least some of you get some inspiration right here!  I get a lot of my ideas from other bloggers, pinterest, magazines, books, and from touring other people’s homes.

Sometimes my ideas take a bit of time to come together.  When I came across a big box full of player piano music at a local antique shop last fall I remembered seeing this photo on pinterest …

I loved the way Alison at the Modern Cottage Co wove the strips of player piano music to create a background, and I especially loved the discarded rolls on the floor under the buffet.  So I was inspired to purchase a few rolls.

But then I didn’t want to just copy that exact idea for a furniture photo shoot.  That just felt … well … like copying.

So I ended up using one roll of the paper to wrap Christmas gifts last year …

And I used a single roll here and there in furniture photos …

Then my friend Meggan and I were talking about my dining room makeover, which still wasn’t completed after more than a year, and she suggested that I use the rolls on my dining room wall.  If you’ll remember way back to our tour of Meggan’s house in January 2015 she ‘wallpapered’ her study in book pages from an old dictionary.  So why not do the same with player piano rolls?

Initially we were thinking this would work well on the barn board wall.  I pulled a roll out and discovered it was exactly the right width to fit between the battens.  But I really didn’t like the way that looked, it was too stripe-y with the barnwood batten between each vertical strip of paper.  Instead, I decided to use the paper on the walls on either side of my window.  Then it only took me another 9 months or so to actually execute the idea!

I was finally spurred into action by finding some additional rolls of music at Oronoco Gold Rush.  It was my sister who pointed out one that was titled ‘Dinner Music’.  How perfect for the dining room!

I really just totally went with the easiest way I could think of to adhere the paper.  Staples.

I stapled each strip at the top, a couple of times down the sides and at the bottom.  I left a bit of the paper rolled up at the top of each strip.  It will be super simple to remove when I grow tired of it, but in the meantime I’m kind of loving it.

By the way, see that ‘Charles Strand’ sign above the giant clock?  That is the original sign from Mr. Q’s great-grandfather’s store in Marine on the St. Croix, MN.  I did a little research on the Minnesota Historical Society’s website recently and found a photo from 1910 that includes the sign.

Seriously, how cool is that?

On the opposite side of the window I hung an old military photo that we saved from Mr. Q’s dad’s house and an old banjo that we saved from my dad’s things (both of our fathers have passed away) above the Belgian bench.

 So what do you think of my player piano music walls, are you inspired to cover any of your walls?  Or maybe you’d like to stock up on some rolls for future present wrapping?  I had quite a few rolls left over so I’m sending some to Reclaiming Beautiful today to sell for $4 each, so if you are local be sure to swing by there this weekend to check them out!

 

coming soon.

You may remember that when we had our upstairs floors refinished we also made the decision to swap Mr. Q’s study with the guest room.  Prior to this, Mr. Q’s study was in the smaller room and the guest room was the larger room.  That set up really didn’t make a whole lot of sense for us.  After all, Mr. Q uses his study nearly every day and the guest room got used about once a year.

As an added bonus, swapping the rooms gave me an excuse to completely refurnish the guest room.  The furniture from the larger room was not going to fit in the smaller room.  But I’m giving myself permission to take it slow on this makeover.  I’m taking the time to find just the right antique bed frame and just the right light fixture, both of which need to be at bargain basement prices because I’ve run out of money for this project.

First things first though, I painted the walls white (using left over paint from the faux shiplap wall in my master bedroom).  I wanted the room to be nice and bright, and I also want to be able to switch the colors in the room on a whim.  Next I added the chippy farmhouse cupboard that I painted last winter using Homestead House milk paint in Laurentien.

I had this cupboard listed on Craigslist for months and it simply didn’t sell.  I had a few inquiries on it, but somehow they always fell through.  Maybe it was fate telling me that this piece was meant to stay with me.

The sweet little crocheted dress was made by my grandmother for my mom when she was little.  I shared it here on the blog once before back in August 2014.

Yep, that’s my mom wearing the dress.

When we refinished the floors upstairs we had to clear everything out of our closets, which led to a big purge of stuff we didn’t need to hang onto anymore.  My wedding dress ended up in the trash can (it was totally yellowed and ruined), but when I pulled this little dress out of the closet I decided to display it for a while.

I had initially talked about keeping my pretty floral plates in the master bedroom, but they didn’t work in there at all.  So I moved them all into the guest room.  I had enough to fill the entire space on the wall above the cupboard.

I also moved my vintage blue typewriter into the room.

As well as some blue toy phones and a few Rachel Ashwell books.

I plan to use the chippy white stool that used to be in our master as a bedside table in the guest room.

Hopefully the rest of the room will be coming soon.  I’m keeping an eye on Craigslist for the perfect bed, I have a fun idea for a window treatment and I’m searching for a budget friendly light fixture.  Be sure to stay tuned!