enjoy the journey.

I know, I know.  I share a lot of painted suitcases.  I probably sound like a broken record.  I really enjoy painting them though.  It’s probably the traveler in me.

I have found that certain styles of suitcases will not sell ‘as is’, but usually sell well painted.  This is one of them.

It’s rather blah.  It’s also a bit on the cheap side with a plastic handle rather than leather.

But a little Dixie Belle paint in Caviar and one of Prima Marketing’s new gold Somewhere in France transfers give it an entirely new look.

It was just a happy coincidence that the transfer fit the suitcase perfectly.  And FYI, this is another of the transfers from the yet to be released Spring 2019 line.  They should be hitting retailers in mid-April or so.

There are 3 designs included in the Somewhere in France set …

As you can see, I’ve used the top section on this suitcase.

I used just the bottom two lines of the bottom section on the toolbox that I shared last week.

And again, as on the toolbox, the gold looks amazing over black.

 I took the suitcase in to Reclaiming Beautiful (the shop where I sell on consignment in Stillwater, MN) on Wednesday evening, so if any of you locals are in need of a fabulous painted suitcase be sure to head to Stillwater!

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co and Prima Marketing for providing the materials used for my painted suitcase.

somewhere in France.

Here’s a sneak peek at another of the fabulous new transfers coming soon from Prima Marketing called Somewhere in France.  Well, technically, I used only a small part of one of the three transfers that come in this set.

When I unboxed the transfers I immediately wondered how they would look over black.

Although it was a bit difficult to capture in a photo, they are a subtle metallic gold.

Since I wanted to give that a quick test before I planned an entire piece of furniture around one, I decided to try it on an old toolbox that I have.

I got this toolbox from my friend (and picker) Sue.  It’s bigger than it might look in that photo at 22″ wide by 7″ tall.

Each of the three sections of this transfer set are about 24″ wide x 9″ tall.  So I just used the bottom two lines of one.  I simply cleaned the surface of the toolbox and then applied the transfer as per usual.

I wanted to show you guys a close up of how the transfer looked freshly applied.

See that sort of halo or white filmy look around the letters?  Well, look what happens when you apply just the smallest amount of Fusion’s Beeswax Finish over the transfer.

It totally disappears.  Keep that in mind if you end up purchasing this transfer.

And I have to say, the gold looks positively amazing over black, doesn’t it?

This toolbox sits on a shelf in my living room.

And here’s a little secret, it actually holds all of my waxes and other top coats.

It’s a great way to store my painting supplies, sort of hidden in plain sight.  Since I paint in the piano room during the winter, it makes sense to have all of my supplies nearby.

I’ve seen pictures of this transfer used over white and that creates a beautifully subtle look, so I’m definitely going to try that sometime too.

The Somewhere in France transfer is not yet available to purchase.  However, this design should be shipping to stores in mid-April so be sure to look for it then.

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

elevating a hankie drawer.

I was surfing around on Instagram the other day and I saw a post by @deerrunvintage of a hankie drawer that she re-purposed by adding little legs to it.  I thought it was a great idea, and I just happened to have an orphaned hankie drawer in my workshop so I decided to give it a try.

But first, what is a hankie drawer?

It’s a small drawer, or in this case more of a hinged box, that sits on the top of a dresser.  They were meant to hold handkerchiefs (hence the name) or gloves.

I often remove them from dressers when I restyle them because I feel like a flat top is more versatile than one with hankie drawers on it.  For example, you can now use the piece to hold your wide screen TV, or use it as a buffet in the dining room.  Plus, who actually uses hankies anymore?

In the case of the above dresser, they didn’t even look like they belonged on top of that piece.  So when I painted it last March I took them off.

You can just barely see it in the photo above, but this pair of hankie drawers were connected to each other by a trim board that went all the way across the dresser.  So after I removed them, I had Ken cut the trim board off …

Next I purchased some parts from my local craft store to turn into little legs for the drawer.

I glued two different pieces together to make this …

And then I glued these to the bottom of my hankie drawer.

Next I painted it inside and out with Miss Mustard Seeds milk paint in Apron Strings.  It took three coats to get good coverage over the original dark finish.  I have to say, this color always seems to lean more towards pink in other people’s photos, while for me it always looks very coral.  Once the paint was dry, I added a section of Prima Marketing’s Overflowing Love transfer to the top of the box.

Once I had that in place I decided the box needed just a little something else on the front.  So I pulled out some of Prima Marketing’s Modeling Material and the Etruscan Accents mold.

I glued the mold in place before the modeling material was set up.  Once it dries it becomes very brittle and hard.  But when it’s fresh out of the mold you can curve it to fit your piece.  In this case the front of the box is a bit curved, so I gently pressed the mold into place while it was still pliable.  This mold was much easier to work with than the little bees I used on the cake plates I shared Monday with their tiny little legs.

Once it hardened up (probably about an hour or so later), I painted it as well.

Once that was dry, I sanded the box to distress it and then added a couple of coats of The Real Milk Paint Co’s Dead Flat Finishing Cream.

I lined the inside with some pretty scrapbook paper.

As you can see I got quite a bit more chipping on the inside of the box than I did on the outside.  I suspect that’s because the original finish was more protected (ie. less worn away) on the inside than it was on the outside.  So that original finish resisted the milk paint more.

To be honest, I’m not sure whether or not the feet were worth the effort.

Not that they required a ton of effort, just an added $10 or so in expense plus some glue.

I don’t know, maybe they do elevate the box just a bit in more ways than one.  What do you think?

the blue plate special.

A while back I shared a quick and easy craft project using unfinished wooden chargers (or plates) from Prima Marketing …

You can do so many different things with these plates and they are an easy, quick project to have fun with.

Here’s how the plates look when you buy them.

They come in three sizes, 10″, 12″ and 14″ and they are basically a blank canvas for getting creative.  Once finished you could use them as chargers, display them in a china cabinet or maybe just hang them on the wall.  They are light enough that you could easily do that with some 3M Command Strips.

Prima Marketing had sent me 3 of each size, so in addition to the ones I already shared, I’ve now finished up the rest of them.

First off, I made this coordinating set of three.

I painted them with Dixie Belle paint in Dropcloth.  Then I used 4 different Prima Marketing transfers.  French Ceramics (on the top plate shown above), French Ceramics II (on the bottom plate) and Floral Lover (the gingham on the middle plate, and why this is called Floral Lover is beyond me because the set consists of the gingham pattern and a striped pattern, no florals in sight).

To dress up the gingham plate a little bit more I also added one of Prima’s French Pots IV transfers over the gingham transfer.  Yes, you can layer transfers like this.  Just be sure that your first transfer is well adhered before adding the second one by lightly burnishing it with a clean, dry cloth.

After the transfers were in place I sanded lightly to distress them a bit and then sealed the plates with The Real Milk Paint Co’s Dead Flat Finishing Cream.  I think this set would be perfect to hang on the wall.

Next, I tried something just a tad different with a couple of the plates.  I turned them into cake plates by adding some wood pedestals that I picked up at my local craft store for about $6 each (or in my case, I took my sister with me and we each had a 40% off coupon, so they were $3.60 each).

I used Elmer’s Wood Glue to attach the pedestals.  Once that was dry, I mixed up some Miss Mustard Seeds milk paint in Curio, which is a deep brown.  I don’t know that I would ever choose to paint something in this color and leave it that way, but Curio works great as a base color.  Especially over unfinished wood.  Unlike chalk paint or acrylic paint (Fusion or General Finishes), milk paint soaks into unfinished wood rather than sitting on the surface.  That makes it perfect to use as a stain too.

In my case, I just wanted a layer underneath my final color so that when I distressed these you wouldn’t see fresh new wood under the paint.

Once the Curio was dry, I sanded the plates lightly and then I added just a little beeswax to the edges to encourage my next coat of paint to distress just down to the darker layer.  Then I painted them with Miss Mustard Seeds milk paint in Linen, my favorite warm white shade.  It took several coats to get good coverage with the white over the dark brown.

In hindsight, I’m not sure it was worth taking all of this effort.  I didn’t get much chipping.  I did distress down to the Curio layer around the edges though, so maybe it added some depth.

After sanding the plates, I added the same two transfers that I used on my original pair of plates, Simplicity (which is the toile pattern) and Never Ending Story.  Once again I sealed them with The Real Milk Paint Co’s Dead Flat Finishing Cream.

But instead of stopping there I decided to have a little fun with a some new products that Prima Marketing sent my way, Modeling Material and a mold called Regal Findings.

I made a couple molds of the little bees (see them there in the middle row?) and added them to the bases of my cake stands.

I glued them on with wood glue before the molds had hardened which allowed me to form them to the curve of the base.  Once they hardened, I painted them with the Linen milk paint, allowed that to dry, topcoated it with the RMP Co’s Finishing Cream, allowed that to dry, then added a little Miss Mustard Seeds Antiquing wax to give them some definition.

I’m still practicing with the molds.  These tiny ones are a bit trickier than the larger designs.  Especially those fragile little bee legs.  As you can see, this bee lost a leg.

But after I get a little better at it, I plan to share a tutorial post on using the Modeling Material and the molds, so stay tuned for that.

Meanwhile, although I’m not a baker and never have need for a cake stand, these also work well to provide varying layers of height to a display.

Funny side bar story, I never even knew these vintage opera glasses of mine say “PARIS” on them.

It wasn’t until I was editing the photos for this post that I noticed that!  Cool, huh?

Anyway, these were just a few ideas of the ways you can use the wooden plates. I’ve got one more set of them that I’ll be sharing later in the week so be sure to check back!

Special thanks to Prima Marketing, Miss Mustard Seeds Milk Paint, Dixie Belle Paint and The Real Milk Paint Co for providing products used on these projects.

time flies.

I can’t believe it was over two years ago that I shared this newel post …

It seriously boggles my mind to realize it wasn’t just a few months ago, but when I went in search of that original post about the post I found it in January 2017!

That’s not at all the point of today’s blog post, but I just had to say that out loud.  Time really does fly.

So, apparently I painted this post two years ago.  It ended up with a fabulously chippy patina.  I just had it leaning in the corner of a room as a sort of architectural salvage decor piece.  Sometimes it was in the piano room, and sometimes the living room.

While I was stenciling the piano last weekend I saw it and thought it could use a stencil or two as well.

I started with this ‘antiques’ stencil at the bottom.

Then I used the same stencil that I used on the little Mariner’s chair that I painted a couple of weeks ago to do two more sides of the base.

Finally, I added a portion of another stencil to the top.

I think the post has just a little more character now and it looks great just hanging out next to the cupboard that holds the ‘good junk’.

What do you think?

made for each other.

One question that comes up rather frequently on my blog is ‘where do you get your inspiration?’  I’m betting that most of us find inspiration on pinterest, Instagram, in magazines and home decor books, and even in our friend’s homes … oh, and hopefully on your favorite blogs too 😉

But I want to add one more thing to that list for me, my travels.

Back in 2017 I was inspired to paint some things in what I called Norwegian Blue after a trip to Norway.

That’s actually Miss Mustard Seeds Flow Blue on that stool, which I thought made the perfect Norwegian Blue.

I was inspired to make my own Christmas wrapping paper after seeing some gorgeous velvet fabrics in Venice on our recent Adriatic cruise.

I also found some inspiration in Montenegro.  On Wednesday I shared our visit to Our Lady of the Rocks in Perast where I was very much enamored by the painted trim inside the chapel.

I love that combination of blue and gold.  It provided the perfect inspiration for revamping this thrift store frame that I picked up last year.

Naturally that slightly creepy picture of a girl was the first thing to go.  But the frame needed a little work too.  Here’s a close up ‘before’ photo …

The gold paint on the inner frame was barely hanging on by a thread.  Initially I was just going to brush off the loose paint, seal the rest, and call it good.  But most of the paint came off when I touched it.

So plan B was to give the frame a new look inspired by the chapel at Our Lady of the Rocks.

I used a small piece of sandpaper to remove as much of that flaking gold paint as possible and then I repainted the middle section of the frame using Prima Marketing’s re.design chalk paste in a color called Buxton Blue.

Are you wondering what exactly chalk paste is?

It’s basically a very thick version of chalk paint.  It is more commonly used in combination with a stencil to create dimension, but it can also just be used as a thickly textured paint.  It was the perfect choice for this frame because it left behind a textured, layered, aged looking finish with just one thick coat.

Once the Buxton Blue was dry, I pulled out the re.design decor wax in a color called Eternal, which is a gorgeous metallic gold.

Using a q-tip, I applied the wax to the inner-most section of the frame to brighten up the gold a bit.  Then I also used it to highlight the detail on the outer-most silver part of the frame to tie it in with the gold.

The final step was to toss the creepy girl picture and replace it with this water color over a Minneapolis plat map.  This was also a thrift store find, but it came framed in a really cheap and tacky modern metal frame.  And by the way, this is a print not an original artwork.

But it looks so much better (and more authentic) in this vintage frame, and can you believe how perfectly it fit!  It’s like they were made for each other.

So, what do you think?  Can you see where the inspiration from Our Lady of the Rocks played a role in this makeover?  Anyone else tempted to try a blue and gold color scheme on something?

coloring as therapy.

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

As it turns out, I really enjoy coloring!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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