my walk-in fridge.

Have I ever mentioned my huge walk-in fridge/freezer here on the blog?  Yep, I’ve got one.  Every winter.  It’s super handy for Thanksgiving leftovers.

OK, it’s really my front three-season porch.

There are three seasons when you can enjoy the porch as a porch, and in the 4th season it makes the perfect place to keep leftovers.  Or on days like today, when the wind chill is supposed to be in the -20°F range, we can even make ice cubes out there.

I’m always surprised at how cold it gets on the porch despite being attached to the house, and filled with sunlight on a sunny day.  It does face northwest though, so I suppose it would be slightly warmer on sunny days if it faced south.  It also probably has zero insulation.  It was never meant to actually be occupied in the winter.

I have to admit that in years past I’ve treated the entire space like cold storage in the winter.  After putting up all of my Christmas decorations, I would leave the empty bins out on the porch.  I’d also put newly thrifted items waiting to be painted out there.  By spring it would be a big mess with piles of stuff to sort through.

But now that I have a little more time on my hands, I decided that I would put things away properly rather than shoving them out on the porch, and then I could decorate my walk-in fridge, a.k.a. the porch, for Christmas.

Part of the reason I made this decision was because I thought my silver tree and vintage ornament non-collection would look pretty out there with all of its pinks and aquas.

Over that past couple of years I’ve been paring down my vintage ornaments and keeping just the ones I really love, mainly in shades of silver, pink and aqua.

I have to admit that sometimes I feel a tiny twinge of regret for selling the gold ones.

Hmmmm.  What was I thinking?

Well, water under the bridge now.

In addition to the tree, I also hung my ornament wreath on the cabinet out there.

I made that years ago.  I started with a foam wreath form and just started attaching ornaments with hot glue.  If you want to try this yourself, be forewarned, it takes A LOT of ornaments.  I counted for you, there are about 75 of them.  So make sure you have a big stash before you dive in.

I added a pop of pink to the chaise with a pretty Christmas package.

Some of you may remember the year I painted cardboard boxes with Fusion’s English Rose paint and then added graphics using their transfer gel.

I gave all of the boxes away except for one.

There are just a handful of other little touches of Christmas on the porch.  I have a pair of old Ball jars filled with aqua and white light bulbs in the cupboard …

my Christmas tree truck filled with little ornaments …

and I added some evergreens to my French flower bucket.

I suppose it seems a bit excessive to decorate a space that isn’t even used in the winter (except as a walk in fridge), but you can see into the porch from our living room so it’s not a total waste.

Plus I do actually go out there a lot.  I have a small table at the other end of the porch where I stage all of my close up photos in the winter.

The lighting is fantastic.  Sometimes I throw on an extra sweater before heading out there, but I usually don’t.  I have learned over the years that it’s wise to at least put shoes on first though.  I tend to just snap my photos quickly and return to the warmth of my desk, which is handily situated right next to a radiator.

In the end, I really just enjoyed the process of decorating out there, even if no one will see it but me.  I suspect I may not enjoy taking the decorations back down nearly as much though.

How about you?  Do you have any spaces that you decorate for Christmas just for your own enjoyment?  Leave a comment and let me know.

the return of the potting shed.

Finally!  Today I’m sharing the transformation of the photo cottage back into a potting shed.

It’s done!

Well, as done as any room ever is at our house.  I’m always making little tweaks here and there.

As a recap, we scraped and painted the walls, then sanded and painted the floor.

Then I brought the old chippy cabinet back in.

There is a little backstory to this piece.  When we purchased our house the lower portion of this cabinet was in the carriage house, and had the very chippy paint you see on it.  I moved it out to the shed early on, and I replaced the insets in the doors with chicken wire.  The upper portion was in the kitchen.  The previous owners had built a surround around the radiator and added that top section to it to give it a hutch-like look.

Here’s some photographic evidence that I have been painting furniture for a very long time.

Yep, that’s me circa 1989.

Along with all of my other cupboards, I painted it a peach color the first time we redecorated the kitchen (don’t judge, it was the late 80’s, and hey, I was covering up mustard yellow).  The most startling thing to me about that photo (aside from my mullet-like hairstyle) is that I still use those blue plastic buckets!  Jeesh!  I have 33 year old plastic buckets.

Anyway, I later painted it white when I redecorated the kitchen again.  Eventually we ripped out that radiator surround and I decided to pair this top with the chippy cupboard in the shed.  It wasn’t until we went to put it in place that I realized it belonged there all along.  The chippy cupboard has grooves in the top and this hutch piece fits in them perfectly.

But that sort of explains why the bottom half of this hutch is in the original chippy paint, and the top half isn’t.  I suppose some people would opt to paint the bottom too, but not me.  I love that authentic chippy paint!

When I turned the shed into the photo cottage, I repainted the inside of the upper cabinet in Annie Sloan’s Duck Egg and I added vintage wallpaper to the lower shelf and inside the drawers.  You can read all about that here.  Then back in 2020 I re-painted the interior in Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.

I’m still keeping some of my pretty floral china in the top, and the bottom is perfect for storing clay pots.

Some of you might remember the primitive dollhouse I purchased at a garage sale back in May.

I ended up deciding to keep that for the potting shed, and now it resides on top of this cabinet along with a chippy green bird cage.

Opposite the hutch is the green wicker chair I revamped a few weeks back, and the first aid chest I shared last week.

I have a reading lamp on the window ledge next to the chair.

But I’m faking you out a bit with that.  I don’t have electricity in the shed.

I initially rewired this lamp intending to sell it at the shop, and then never did.  It’s still listed on my ‘available for local sale‘ page (if any of you locals need a cool lamp in a location that actually has electricity), but in the meantime the green base works perfectly in the potting shed.

The potting bench I created last month is opposite the door.

It will be a great spot for storing all of my less attractive gardening supplies like fertilizer and such.

As you can see, I’m gearing up for fall bulb planting!

Hanging on the wall to the left of that window is the pie safe that I shared earlier this summer.

I was going to bring that in to the shop, but once again, it never made it in there.  I do still have it listed on my available for local sale page though.  I would part with it as well if anyone wants to purchase it, but in the meantime it looks great in the shed.

I have this old vintage fly swatter hanging on the wall next to the pie safe.

I don’t know why I’m so drawn to this thing, but I love it.  It seems like an appropriate thing to hang in a potting shed.

On the other side of the window is a pair of bug prints (there is likely a fancier name, but I’m calling them bug prints) that I found super cheap ($10 ea.) at Michaels.

It is slightly ironic that they are hanging opposite the bug swatter.

You may have caught a few glimpses here and there of the very utilitarian rug that I have on the floor near the door.

Although I initially considered removing the rug for photos, I decided to keep it real and leave it in place.  The thing is, over the years I’ve come to realize that I am going to walk into this shed with muddy shoes.  It’s inevitable.  No matter how many times I tell myself not to do this, I will do it.  I debated going with one of those washable Ruggables, but ultimately I just couldn’t pull the trigger on a $129 rug for that spot (you already know I’m a bit of a cheapskate, right?).  So I grabbed this rug at Target.  Hopefully it will save my painted floors from some wear and tear.

And that does it.  The shed has been transformed back into a potting shed.  I think I’ll hold off on painting the exterior until next summer, but that is something on my radar.  In the meantime, what do you think?  Would you use a potting shed?  Or would you rather have a summerhouse or a photo cottage?  Leave a comment and let me know!

the first aid chest.

I know I said I would share the completed potting shed project with you guys today, but I’ve been a bit under the weather this week.  No worries, it’s just a cold, but rather than try to push through and do a half-assed job of sharing the final reveal I decided to put that off until next week.  So I’m sorry, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that once again.

In the meantime, I had one last small makeover project to complete my furnishings for the shed so I thought I’d quickly share that today.

My friend/picker Sue found this little plywood chest somewhere.  She initially purchased it for herself and was going to put it on her front porch, but she ultimately found a piece better suited for that spot so she passed this one on to me.

I wasn’t planning on keeping it, it was in the pile of things to makeover and sell.  But as I was completing my work on the potting shed, I decided I needed something next to the wicker chair.  As it turned out, this chest was the perfect size for that spot.

So the next task was to decide what sort of look I wanted for it.  I didn’t want it to compete with the potting bench, and thus, I didn’t want it to be too busy.  So no florals.  I also didn’t want it to match the floor, so I decided no grain sack stripes in the Dried Sage color from the floor.  It will sit next to the green wicker chair, and I didn’t want to match that either, so no green.  After studying the space, I decided that I wanted it to be plain white (ie. Dixie Belle Drop Cloth), but I also wanted to pull in a little of the red from the florals on the bench and the chair seat.  So I went with the ol’ first aide cross in Dixie Belle’s Honky Tonk Red.

After painting the chest with two coats of Drop Cloth, I taped off the cross and gave it two coats of Honky Tonk.

I then added some scraps of wording left over from an old Seeds transfer to the top, and the small ‘1871.’ to the bottom front to give it just a little more detail.

I sealed the piece with a few coats of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat to protect it.  The spot where it sits is below a window with a screen only, so it will be somewhat exposed to some weather.

Had I been making this chest over to sell, I would have done something with the inside too.  However, I never go the extra mile for my own pieces (are any of you like that?).  I’m just planning to store extra potting soil inside, so no need to get all fancy.

This was really a super quick and easy makeover, accomplished in an afternoon (and despite not feeling well) and I’m quite happy with how it turned out.

It’s a perfect fit for the spot next to the chair, and I think it adds just the right touch.


What do you think?

the evolution of a space.

I was digging through old photos the other day looking for a picture of my front porch floor for Monday’s post, and I realized that our front porch was a great example of how a space changes incrementally over time.

When we purchased our home way back in 1988, the front porch was very utilitarian with white walls, trim and ceiling and a grey painted floor.  The previous owners had mainly seemed to use the area as a place to stash stuff.  I was so excited to have an old fashioned three season porch!  And obviously it required wicker furniture!  In addition to the purchase of a set of wicker furniture that included a chaise lounge, a chair, a coffee table, a small round stool and a console table, my friend Sue helped me add a stencil just below the ceiling.

Don’t judge, it was the 80’s.  Stenciling like this was all the rage.

Unfortunately, that’s the only picture I have of the front porch until we got around to giving it a full makeover in 2001.  That was when I painted my first checkerboard floor.

Ahhh, who else remembers Martha Stewart’s Everyday Green paint color?  It was one of my favorites.  Oh, and by the way, this was before I went digital so I only have photos in a scrapbook from this timeframe.  As for that floor, my method was simple.  Paint the entire thing in one color, then measure and mark out the squares with a yardstick and a pencil (this is the trickiest part), then hand-paint in the darker squares.

After painting that floor I realized that the walls looked dingy, so I painted them in Paris Pink.  It was left over from the living room … yep, we had a pink living room back in the day.  What can I say, I was (and really still am) a big fan of the shabby chic movement.  And as you can sort of see in the photo below, I kept the stenciling ‘as is’.

My bff sewed the floral slip covers for the cushions.

This was clearly before I developed my aversion to matchy-matchy furniture sets, although I think I was beginning to realize it wasn’t a good look because I swapped out the wicker console for a china cabinet that I painted white.

These were the early days of my furniture painting, I’m sure I used a latex paint on that cupboard.

Flash forward a decade now to 2011.  I was totally done with the pink.  I’d already repainted the living room, and it was time to get around to the front porch again.  So after repainting the walls and ceiling in a pale aqua blue, and adding a fresh coat of white to the trim, we sanded the floor and gave it a base coat of white followed by black squares.

I remember specifically wanting to make the squares bigger this time around, for some reason I thought those initial green squares were too small.

I was also continuing to whittle away at that matched set of wicker.

The coffee table, small round stool and console table are gone, and I’ve added in a little washstand that I painted myself.

I’d also cut way back on the shaggy, trailing houseplants in favor of a simple orchid and a small fern.

The cushions on the wicker were recovered in a slightly less floral vintage bark cloth.

I also painted over that stenciling in favor of one of my first uses of a transfer when I added this phrase to the crown molding.

Jumping forward to 2014, Mr. Q decided he wanted one of the green Adirondack chairs from our deck on the front porch instead of the wicker chair.

I can’t say that I blame him, it’s certainly far more comfortable.  Our handyman/neighbor Ken went through an Adirondack chair making phase.  He made two of these for us for our deck.  He also made a bunch of them for our neighbor across the street, nnK, one for my sister, a couple for my friend Terri, some for Sue, and we sold a few at our occasional sale too.  I wonder if he kept track of how many he made?  But I digress.

I tried to make the lime green work by adding a throw pillow covered with vintage bark cloth that pulled together the lime green and the aqua, but in reality the color was always a bit jarring.

I’d also changed out the washstand at this point.  It’s not a very obvious change, but if you look at the drawer pulls above you’ll notice that this is different one than the one that was in this space in 2011.  I’ve also swapped out the piece in between the chairs for a chippy old trunk, and recovered the chaise lounge cushion in something more neutral.

Ultimately I just couldn’t live with the lime green though, so the next year I asked Ken to make another Adirondack for us.  I moved the green one back out to the deck and painted the new one white.

That throw pillow is from H & M Home.  They used to have the best stuff in this sort of style, but now they’re leaning heavily towards a mid-mod sort of aesthetic.  Just go look at the throw pillows on their site to see what I mean.  So disappointing.

At this point I also moved my black cupboard into the spot where the washstand was.

In 2019 I added a transfer to the inside back of the cupboard.

I had been contemplating selling this cupboard, but I liked it so much with the transfer that I decided to keep it.

At that time I had swapped out the china cabinet with the fretwork for a small farmhouse table with the base painted in a custom milk paint blend.

I’ve considered placing this desk (that refuses to sell) in that spot …

It would be a perfect fit.

However, this is the spot where I take most of my close up photos in the winter.  It gets great light for that purpose, so I need a neutral surface that I can move around and a small table with casters works perfectly for that.

However, the table top on that original table was less than ideal for that purpose, so I swapped it out for this one.

And that brings us up to the current day.

I do occasionally think I should get rid of that one last remaining wicker piece and find something more comfortable for myself.  Maybe we’d actually sit out here more often if I had a cozier piece of furniture in that spot.  I also should refresh the paint on the floor, I still love the black and white checkerboard but it’s getting pretty dinged up.  No amount of scrubbing with my new Norwex mop is doing the trick.

(that pic is for you Mary, LOL!)

That might be a job for next spring at this point though.

Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with how this space looks for now.

I hope you enjoyed this journey through the evolution of a space over 34 years.  If nothing else, I think this post proves that it takes time to decorate a room with vintage décor.  In addition, I always say that you’re never really ‘done’ decorating your home, it just keeps evolving.  I hope to do some decorating projects over the winter this year, but I haven’t quite decided which space will get priority.  Maybe the bathroom … or the dining room … or possibly we’ll turn the guest room into something more functional.  You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.

coloring inside the lines.

As I shared earlier this summer, the small structure in our backyard has seen a number of different ‘uses’ in the 34 years that we’ve lived here.  For a brief while it was even a smoking lounge.  That was back when my brother lived here and we wouldn’t let him smoke in the house, even in January (he has since moved out to Nevada, where he still smokes outside but the weather is a lot more accommodating).

After he moved away, it became a potting shed, and look, I found some old photos of it in my scrapbook.

Yikes!  If that isn’t scary, I don’t know what is.  That was before I painted the ceiling and floor (and developed a more refined aesthetic apparently).  Gosh!  Sometimes I have to look back at these photos to remember how far I’ve come.

Next up, I turned it into a ‘summer house’.

The walls were painted pink, the ceiling got painted white, but the floor was still unpainted.

Obviously I was heavily into my shabby chic period at that time.

That cane back sofa was not terribly comfortable, and I bet I could count on one hand the number of times I actually went out there and sat on it.  Although … forgive me if I digress for a moment … but I did take a nap on that sofa once.  This was shortly after my dad died and while napping there I dreamt that he came into the cottage, sat next to me on the sofa and gently stroked my hair.  I think he was saying goodbye, he always was a man of few words.

Anyway, ultimately I restyled that sofa like this …

and I sold it at one of my occasional sales.

In its latest incarnation, the shed became the photo cottage.

Back in 2014 I completely repainted the interior with a plan for using this space to stage furniture makeover photos.  I went with white walls this time thinking it would create the perfect bright lighting for photos.

I painted a checkerboard pattern on the floor, but I purposely kept it a little more on the subtle side with very pale gray and white squares so it wouldn’t compete with the furniture in photos.

Although I sort of made it work for a little while, ultimately it just didn’t.  I could never get the white balance right.  Red light reflected in from the carriage house turning the walls pink.  The floor would end up looking lavender if I corrected for the walls.

There really was only one very specific time frame in the mornings when the lighting was right to get good photos in there, so in the end I gave up trying to make it work.

For the last several years we have just used the space as a dumping ground.  But we don’t actually ‘need’ it to provide storage space, we have the entire upstairs of the carriage house for that after all.  So I decided to once again turn it back into a potting shed.

It’s unlikely that I’ll actually pot things up inside, but it will make a convenient space for keeping all of my gardening tools and supplies together and easy to find.  Right now they share space with my workshop, so this will also free up some space in there.

Plus, let’s face it, it will just be a fun space to decorate!  I’m thinking I may even decorate it for Christmas this year.  Why not?  I’ve got the time (well, we’ll see about that, I already have three trips planned for this fall/early winter and I may try to squeeze in one more).

The first step was to empty all of the junk back out.  Once I’d done that it became apparent that I’d have to scrape the chipping paint off the walls and re-paint.

I had really hoped to get by without that step, after all, I love chippy paint, right?  Well, maybe not so much on walls.  That’s when things stalled for a bit because I really don’t enjoy scraping paint.  Ugh.

But luckily my friend Annie offered to come over and help with this project and that motivated me to keep going.  Between the two of us we got all of the walls scraped and ready for paint, while also getting caught up on each other’s lives.

As they say, a job worth doing is a job worth doing right.

Once the walls were scraped, I also sanded them with my orbital sander.  Then I primed them with a stain blocking primer and finally painted them with some paint left over from previous projects inside the house.

Fortunately I did not need to repaint the ceiling, it was still in pretty good shape.

And that leads me to the floor.  At this point I realized that this was the perfect time to replace a board in the floor that was weak.  Every time I walked on that board I envisioned falling through the floor and breaking an ankle or something.  It made sense to take care of it.  So I asked my handyman/neighbor Ken to take a look, and he was able to replace the board fairly easily.

I then asked Mr. Q to pretty please sand the floor for me, which he did.  And really, once the floor was sanded it looked pretty good.  It had a nice aged, worn appearance that I liked.  Except of course there was now the problem of that one unpainted board.

It may have been OK if I had the same paint I used originally and could have painted just that board, but of course I couldn’t find this paint anywhere in my stash.  Also, as I thought about it, although I really wanted to retain the checkerboard, I never did like that shade of pale gray I used the first time around.

I’m a huge fan of checkerboard floors.  As you know, I have black and white on my front porch …

And I also have a stained wood version in my kitchen.

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound right?  I may as well do it up right.  As my friend Annie mentioned while helping me scrape, I always was good at coloring inside the lines.  So repainting the checkerboard floor in the shed should be a no-brainer.

This time around I decided to use Dixie Belle chalk style paint.  I knew it would adhere well over the latex having painted over latex many times on furniture.  Rather than start over entirely from scratch with a base coat of white, followed by measuring and outlining all of those squares again, instead I carefully painted over all of the white squares in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth using a good angled brush.

Today’s q tip:  when trying to paint a straight line by hand, without using tape, it’s really important to use a good, angled brush and go slowly.  I purchased a Zibra 2″ angled sash brush at Home Depot and it worked beautifully.

One coat of Drop Cloth was all it took to refresh all of the white squares.  Once they were dry I moved on to picking a color for the grey squares.  After using Dixie Belle’s Dried Sage recently, I totally loved the color.  Rather than looking like a green (which I assumed it would based on the name), it’s really more of a gray with a green undertone.  But just to be sure I would like it, I painted one corner of a square with Dried Sage and one with DB’s French Linen which is more of taupe gray according the the Dixie Belle website.

Ultimately I felt like the Dried Sage was a little dark full strength, so I lightened it up by adding some Drop Cloth and then it was perfect.

To be honest, it kind of surprised me how easy it was to repaint this floor.  Now that I know how simple it was to ‘color inside’ those lines, I’m much more motivated to touch up that black and white porch floor too.

After letting the paint dry for 72 hours, I protected it with several coats of Varathane clear matte water-based poly letting each coat dry for 24 hours in between.  Some of you may remember that we had our upstairs floors refinished a few years ago.  We used a matte finish on them and I still absolutely love them, so I wasn’t afraid to go matte on this floor.  I did a little quick research online and found this article which explains that basically matte poly provides the same durability and protection as shinier versions.  In addition, the higher the sheen, the more scuffs, scratches, and footprints will show.  So hopefully this matte finish will hide a multitude of sins in the potting shed.

Now that I have the painting finished, this week we’ll be moving the furniture back in and getting the potting shed styled.  I’m a little bit nervous to see how my potting bench is going to look with that floor.

Fingers crossed that they work well together.  Be sure to stay tuned for a final reveal post later this week!

getting unstuck.

As I’ve mentioned recently, my furniture is not selling very quickly (or at all) for me these days.

I had a really strong start to 2022.  I sold a number of pieces in January and February including the nightstands made by separating the two sides of a vanity …

this gorgeous armoire …

the barrister bookcase …

a primitive chippy dresser …

and the botanical cupboard …

But since then the only piece of furniture I’ve sold is the dry sink.

Well, and also the rusty garden furniture, which I suppose does count as the sale of furniture.

I’ve been selling refurbished furniture for a long time, and if there is one thing I can say for sure, it’s that it is very difficult to predict what will sell and what won’t.  Mainly because it changes all the time.

For a while there, dressers were a sure fire seller for me while more unique pieces like dry sinks, armoires, book shelves or restyled radio cabinets were likely to be more difficult to sell.  Now the opposite seems to be true.

One of the problems I have when unsold pieces start backing up is that I have nowhere to store them safely.  Sure, I could put them out in the carriage house, but it is damp and dirty out there (not to mention the bugs and critters).  Definitely not a great environment for storing my finished pieces.  They really need to be inside the house, so I line them up in the dining room.  And currently I’m out of space out there.

But really, the bigger problem I have when pieces aren’t selling is that I get stuck creatively.  I totally lose my motivation for working on more furniture.  I just can’t continue to add to the pile.  It starts to weigh me down.

So I took some time this past holiday weekend to try and brainstorm some potential solutions to this problem and I came up with a few ideas.

First up, I have this washstand that hasn’t sold.

I decided that I really liked this piece myself, and it could possibly work in my front hallway.  So I put it out there just to see how it would look.

It turned out to be a good fit.  So at least it’s out of my dining room and freeing up some space in there for now.  I’ll continue to list it for sale, but in the meantime I’ll enjoy it in my hallway.

Next up is the bench.

As you may remember, this is look number 3 for this bench.

If it still doesn’t sell in the next month or so, I may possibly take it into the shop where I sell on consignment.  I don’t usually take big pieces of furniture to them, and I have to wait until they have space for it, but maybe I can reach a wider audience … or at least a new audience … there.

I’ve also decided to try something a little more trendy on this piece …

I’m going to strip the drawer fronts and then either leave them as raw wood or add a white wax.  Then I’ll repaint the rest of the shell in a closely matching chalk paint, maybe Dixie Belle’s Putty or maybe the Burlap that I used on those nightstands.  Or maybe I’ll just strip the whole thing.  I’m not sure yet.  But it will be getting a new, raw wood sort of look.

If that ends up helping it sell, I may have to rework the other two dressers that aren’t selling.  This one …

and this one …

Another idea I had is to try going in a little different direction with the style of pieces I work on, starting with this set of modern end tables.

I’ll be sharing their makeover with you tomorrow.  And then we’ll see if these sell quickly or not.  If so, maybe I need to change up my inventory and focus more on mid mod pieces?

And finally, I’m also going to spend some time working on a couple of projects for myself.  I have a cabinet that I’ve been meaning to get to that will be part of a makeover of my shed/photo cottage, and I also have a headboard that I’m making into a sign to hang on the carriage house.

So hopefully in the end some/or all of these options will help me get unstuck.

I’d love to hear from any of you that are furniture refurbishers.  What is selling for you these days?  And when you get stuck, how do you get unstuck?  Leave a comment and let me know.

and just like that.

There’s nothing like a good snow day to fill you with holiday spirit.  Last week I mentioned that we could use a little more snow for good outdoor holiday photos, and just like that, we got a perfectly picturesque snowfall last Friday afternoon and evening.

Some parts of the Twin Cities got up to 21″, but we probably got somewhere closer to 8 or 9″ here at our house.  Just the right amount to be festive, but not totally overwhelming.

And I’m sure some of you are tired of hearing about it, but boy, how fabulous to be retired and not have to commute in a snow storm!

Mr. Q and I stayed home and watched it come down.  He made his famous secret family recipe brownies, while I watched And Just Like That.  Any other Sex and the City fans out there?  I was a huge fan of that show.  I knew that they were coming out with a reboot, but I wasn’t quite clued in to the fact that I could watch it on HBO Max, which we just happened to add to our channel line up when Dune came out.  So, I’m a little behind (what’s new there?) and two episodes are out already.  Spoiler alert!  Don’t read the rest of this paragraph if you haven’t seen the show yet!  But wth?  I wasn’t expecting them to kill off Big in episode one.  Then again, it makes sense.  What would be the ongoing story line in ‘happily ever after’?  I love the fact that the characters are all around my age, and their lives have changed accordingly.  I can totally relate to Carrie trying to stay relevant with Instagram and podcasts.

But I digress.

I got up early on Saturday morning as the sun was just coming up so that I could get some photos before shoveling out.

On the one hand, the snow is gorgeous.  On the other hand, it covered up a lot of my outdoor decorations!

Hmmmm.  You can’t even see the arrangement of greens in my various containers.

But not to worry, that snow will melt later in the week and my greenery will be revealed once again, including my garden Christmas tree (I’ll share the details on that soon).

Since I knew the snow was coming, I took some time on Friday morning to finish up my front window box.

Well, more accurately, to almost finish it up.  You see those stars?  One of my readers (thanks again Connie!) sent me three of them.  I only had enough lights on hand for two of them on Friday though.  I’d like to get the third one in there too, hopefully I’ll get to that this week.

In the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy this snowy wonderland for a bit.

There’s nothing like that first good snowfall of the year.  I absolutely love it.  How about you?  Are you a fan, or are you in the ‘snow is a four letter word’ camp?

a pair of folding chairs.

A week or so ago my neighbor, nnK, came over with a present for me.  She’d found a pair of vintage folding chairs that she thought I’d like being given away free on Marketplace .

Yep, they look right up my alley don’t they?

They were pretty grungy though, but what can you expect for ‘free’?

So I gave them a good scrub using the Dawn Powerwash that I shared on Monday.  Then I gave them a quick coat of Dixie Belle paint in Drop Cloth.  Once dry, I sanded them vigorously because at this point I had decided that I was going to keep these for the summer house and I like my stuff distressed.

Next I dug through my stash of transfers looking for just the right thing for these chairs.  Ultimately I pulled out two of the old Prima Marketing transfers that were originally designed by IOD (before they went their separate ways).  These were both favorites of mine, so I decided this was the perfect time to use them.

The Seeds transfer on the left is the small version.  It also came in a large size (and I’m still hoarding two of those).  I did a little search while working on this post and I couldn’t find a single source for the small version of the transfer.  Bummer, this was my last one.

The French Pots II transfer on the right can still be found here and there online.

The two chairs were the perfect addition to the summer house.

As was the little vintage green lamp that I purchased at a garage sale recently.

Once again, I snazzed it up with a little section from a transfer.

I don’t actually have electricity out in the summer house, so this lamp is really just for looks.  But its green base made it the perfect addition to the space.

I also purchased that vintage fly swatter at a garage sale.  There was just something about the old-fashioned simplicity of it that appealed to me.

And since there aren’t any screens on some of the windows out there, it makes sense to have a fly swatter handy.

I’ll continue to keep an eye out for more garage sale finds to add to the summer house.

But in the meantime, it’s coming along nicely I think.

cheap, temporary art.

I shared my summer house makeover with you guys a few weeks back …

It looked a tad under-dressed at the time.  It was a spur of the moment decision to re-do it and I only used things that I had on hand.

Since then I’ve added a few more pieces to the mix that I’m going to share with you over the next couple of days.

I still need to find some awesome things to hang on the walls, but for now I decided to whip up a cheap and easy temporary solution until I find things I like better.

I found a couple of clip boards at a garage sale for 75 cents each.

I cleaned them up, gave them a quick light sanding and then painted them with Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.  I’d already used Kudzu on the table base, and also inside the cabinet, out there so it was the obvious choice for the clip boards.

Next I pulled out some transfer scraps and pieced them together on the clips.

I have to confess that I did not let my paint dry long enough before adding the transfer.  That combined with the fact that I was painting over a glossy metal, meant I had a little bit of trouble with my transfer pulling up paint instead of putting down a transfer.

So, do as I say, not as I do.  In this case, make sure your paint is fully dry and adhered before adding a transfer to a questionable surface like this one.

That being said, I’m always less perfection-y when I’m making something for myself.  I don’t mind a few flaws.  Especially since these were just going out in the summer house which is really just a glorified shed.

Next I had to search high and low for a book called Medicinal Plants that my picker Sue had found for me a year or so ago.  I knew I had it somewhere … but it wasn’t in the stack of books on the front porch, it wasn’t in the cupboard in the q branch, it wasn’t in the workshop … dang, where did I put that thing?

Oh yeah, ha, I put it out in the summer house.  Duh.

Sue knew I would want to scavenge the botanical prints inside the book for future projects like this one.

There are plenty to choose from, so I’m sure I’ll be using them for years to come.

Although that rose print would have been perfect with the rose themed transfers on the clips, instead I chose two prints with more subdued colors for the summer house.

Initially I planned to hang them on the wall, but once I got them out there I decided I liked the look them sitting on the ledge instead.

So for now, that’s where they will stay.  I’ve got a couple more items that I worked on for the summer house coming your way this week, so be sure to stay tuned.

the summer house.

As many of you know, I have a small outbuilding in my backyard.

Over the years it has been a storage shed, a potting shed and a summer house.  But back in 2014 I turned it into the photo cottage.

Initially I thought it would be the perfect spot for staging photos of my furniture.  However, I was never really totally happy with the results.  It seemed like the lighting was always wrong.  At certain times of the day the giant red carriage house that is about 20′ away casts a pink light into the space (those walls above are white, not pink), at other times the sunlight poured in … but a little too much, which cast weird shadows.

Plus, over time that painted floor started looking really beat up.

I began using it less and less for staging photos.  Last summer I realized I’d need to re-paint if I still wanted to use it that way, but I never did get around to doing that.

So this year I’ve decided to turn it back into a summer house.

What’s a summer house you ask?

noun: summer house
  1. a small, typically rustic building in a garden or park, used for sitting in during the summer months.

It’s small, it’s rustic, and it’s in the garden, so I think it qualifies.

Just so you have a starting point for reference, here’s how much I had let the place go …

Yikes!  That’s embarassing.

Since I was having some ladies over to tour my garden this past Saturday (you’ll read more about that later in the week), I made a last minute decision to clean up this mess and turn the photo cottage back into a summer house using things I had on hand.

First I emptied everything out and used a shop vac to get rid of cobwebs.  Next I scrubbed the floor and then hosed it down.  One of the benefits to a wonky old shed like this is that you can just put the hose on the ‘jet’ setting and blast away.  Wouldn’t it be convenient if we could clean our houses that way?

At this point, I admit that the paint is peeling and chipping everywhere and it really could use a fresh paint job.  But since I won’t be using it for photos, it doesn’t need to be perfect.

Next up is the fun part, furnishing and decorating the space.

I had purchased this charming old strawberry basket at Reclaiming Beautiful last week and that was the inspiration for going with a green color scheme.

I have a few fabulous vintage green items to use as decor such as these crusty old garden tools …

And this chippy old bird cage …

So I started with re-painting the inside of the chippy cabinet that’s out there using Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.

It’s such a gorgeous green, and it created the perfect backdrop for the couple of pieces of chintzware that I hung on to after selling most of my non-collection 😉

You can read about the last time I gave this cabinet a makeover, and why the bottom is the original chippy paint and the top isn’t by checking out this post.

Next, I dug through the remaining stash of furniture out in my carriage house and pulled out a table.  I purchased it back in 2016 at a garage sale.  Back then I took a vote here on the blog and everyone thought I should leave the green legs ‘as is’.  So I did that, but stripped the top and my sister gave it a coat of clear wax.  We used it to display merchandise at the carriage house sale.

Once again I was tempted to leave the legs ‘as is’, especially since I was going with a green color scheme.  But I didn’t love that precise shade of dark forest green.  So I painted the base of the table with the Kudzu also.  I sanded the heck out of it though, so I ended up with a distressed look that reveals a little bit of the darker green underneath.

Next I sanded the top of the table lightly and then used Fusion’s Liming Wax to brighten it up.

By the way, this is what I love about using wax on bare wood.  After a few years of wear and tear you can sand it a bit, add a fresh coat of wax and it looks like new.  If this were poly, you’d have to either strip it, or sand it all the way back to bare wood to re-coat it.

I used a chair that I already had on hand.  It’s one that I use as a prop in many of my furniture photos.  It’s not exactly the look I was going for, but for now it will do.

I had hung onto the chandelier that was out here before it became the photo cottage, and now I’m really glad I did because I still love it.  It’s not actually wired up (there is no electric out here), but it’s still pretty to look at.

I used spray adhesive to glue photo copies of old black & white photos to the candle tubes.  I had done this before, but the photos were badly faded after six years in storage, they needed to be freshened up.

I have to say, I have no idea if this would be a fire hazard on a functioning light fixture.  However, since this one is just for show it doesn’t matter.  But use caution if you’re going to try this on a real chandelier.

Finally, I dressed up some terracotta pots with a couple of Classic Vintage Label transfers and added some white geraniums.  Somehow potted geraniums on a window ledge always make me happy.

It’s still looking somewhat empty in the summer house, but it’s a start.

Hopefully once I can get out there and find some garage/estate sales, I can add a few more pieces.  I definitely need to find some things to hang on the walls.

But for now, it’s presentable.  And it didn’t cost me a thing.  Well … actually the geraniums were $1.68 each at Home Depot.

How about you, do you have a space at your house that you can refresh using things you already have on hand?