memory collectors.

Just before my occasional sale last year I had the idea to turn some vintage graters into photo holders.  I loved the way they turned out, so recently when I saw some graters at a garage sale I picked them up to make some more.

This time I decided to upgrade the idea a little with some more substantial clips.  I found these Tim Holtz Idea-ology clipboard clips at Hobby Lobby.

I pulled out the rest of the supplies I needed; some Little Billy Goat paint, Tim Holtz Idea-ology rub-ons, and some Homestead House Salad Bowl Finish (bees wax).

I started out with painting the clips.  Although they were OK as is, I wanted to ‘age’ them up with some paint.  I painted them with a couple of coats of paint, then sanded them to distress, added some rub-on designs and put a coat of Homestead House Salad Bowl Finish over it all.

I added various rub-ons to all of the graters themselves as well.

You know, at first I didn’t even realize that I’d used these Tim Holtz rub-ons in 3 out of 5 posts this week.  Sure enough, I used them on the yellow pots on Tuesday, the jewelry dresser yesterday, and now again today.  Obviously I love them.  I’ve always thought they would be so much fun to use on furniture if only they weren’t so very small.  I’m so glad that the ladies at Iron Orchid Designs started making their fabulous decor transfers in sizes suitable for furniture!

It wasn’t until I added the phrase ‘collector of memories’ to one of the clips that it hit me, that’s exactly what these are, memory collectors.

Although I have old photos clipped in place, you could also add some memorabilia like ticket stubs, old letters, greeting cards, old family recipe cards (that one is for you Meggan) … whatever.

This next one would be perfect for the family Christmas photo.

Since I’m not having an occasional sale at my house this year, I brought these in to Reclaiming Beautiful last night.  They are for sale at $12 each while they last!




storing the family jewels.

Way back last winter Mr. Q followed up on a Craigslist ad I sent him and he purchased this for me.

From the fuzzy pictures included with the Craigslist ad, I thought it was another old doll dresser.  When Mr. Q saw it in person he thought I would love it due to my love of tiny dressers, but he forgot to factor in that I am a bit of a tiny dresser snob.  You see, it’s not old.  Well, it’s probably slightly old … like 80’s old, but not the kind of old I like.  It’s also a bit bigger than I thought it would be.  I’m sure it was always intended to be a jewelry box.

So it sat.  First it sat in my Q Branch for a while, then it sat on my unused three season porch during the 4th season (winter), then it got moved out to my carriage house workshop where it sat all summer.

But I finally pulled it out and decided to give it a ‘quandie quickie Wednesday’ makeover.

First things first, I got out some sandpaper and gave the piece more of a distressed look.  That alone was a major improvement.  But then I swapped out the knobs on the front.  I just wasn’t loving either of the knob styles that the dresser came with.  The knobs on the tiny upper drawers were painted over metal and a bit too small, while the knobs on the lower drawers were plastic and just a bit too big.  So I replaced all of them with some white porcelain knobs that I had on hand.

I added some fun Tim Holtz rub-ons behind the lower knobs.

Next I added some more Tim Holtz rub-on numbers to the inside drawers.

But for me, the real pièce de résistance is the Iron Orchid Designs transfer I added to the top.

This is another of the designs that came with the “French Pots III’ set that I purchased for the cupboard in my bedroom.  Once again, even though these were meant for clay pots, this one worked beautifully for this jewelry box as well.

So, a few quick improvements added a lot to this piece, don’t you think?

This jewelry box found a new home with one of the Reclaiming Beautiful owners, Monique.  I hope she’s enjoying it!

taking a box from drab to fab.

I found this simple plywood hinged box at a garage sale this summer.

You might just see an ugly plywood box, but I see a blank canvas.

I knew that adding a little paint and some fun accents would dress this box up perfectly.

I started out by painting the box inside and out with a base coat of Fusion’s Algonquin.  The reason I did a base coat of Fusion paint was because I wanted to ultimately paint this with white milk paint.  If I painted over the bare wood with milk paint, the paint would absorb into the wood and be quite permanent, and not chippy at all.  That is definitely one of the great qualities of milk paint, but not necessarily what I wanted here.  Also, it would likely take quite a few coats to disguise that plywood texture since I’m using white.  I also like layering paint in this way because it adds a sense of age to the piece.

After the Algonquin was dry I added a little bit of Homestead House Salad Bowl Finish around the edges of the box to encourage chipping.  Since I’d recently been using both Homestead House’s Champlain and Sturbridge White milk paints and I had a little of each left over, I mixed them together for this box.  I painted two coats of the milk paint on the outside of the box only (I left the inside in Algonquin).

Once the paint was dry I sanded the box lightly all over which serves two purposes.  First it smooths out the milk paint surface.  You’d be amazed how much softer and smoother a milk painted surface feels with just a little light hand sanding with 220 grit sandpaper.  Second, it wore away the milk paint in the areas that had beeswax on them to reveal the base color.

Next I added the bottom portion of an IOD transfer.  This was left over after I used the upper portion on the foot board shelf I shared last month.

I love the bird on one side and the rat on the other side.  Did you notice them at first?

Once the transfer was rubbed on, I went over it ever so lightly with some 220 grit sandpaper.  The ladies at Iron Orchid Designs shared this tip with me for reducing the faint ‘halo’ that comes with the transfer.  After wiping it clean with a dry cloth, I used my new favorite top coat, Dead Flat Finishing Cream from the Real Milk Paint Co.  I applied that ever so quickly with a brush.  I feel like it also helps further diminish the look of that halo, mainly because it gives everything a consistent sheen.  In other words, the transfer is no longer shinier than the very flat milk paint.  They are both ‘dead flat’.

But wait, I’m not done yet!

I also added a really cool old door knob plate to the front of the box.

I have a stash of old hardware bits and pieces like this, so I went through it trying to find the perfect addition to the box.

Just so I wouldn’t see white box behind the openings in the door knob plate, I put an old Swedish bible book page behind it.  It’s a tiny detail that most people probably won’t even notice, but I will.

This box makes the perfect storage container for my old Jeanne d’Arc Living magazines.

This was such a fun project to work on.  Although there were a few steps, each one only took five or ten minutes.  I just worked on it a little bit each evening after work and by the end of the week it was done.

So the next time you see a plain and simple box, don’t pass it by.  Take it home and then take it from drab to fab!

laundry today or naked tomorrow.

My sister was off work last week, so on Friday she swung by my office, picked me up and we went to a few garage sales that were nearby on my lunch break.  We only had time to stop at about 5 sales and I didn’t find much, but my sister got a great deal on a leaf blower just in time for fall.

One thing I saw and debated buying was a vintage wooden ironing board.  I didn’t grab it because at $35 I thought it was a bit overpriced.  Plus I already had two of them in my carriage house.  However, it did inspire me to dig one of those out and turn it into a sign for today’s quandie quickie Wednesday post.

I used this ‘designer wall lettering’ to make my sign.  I can’t remember exactly where I found this, either Hobby Lobby or Joann Etc.

It couldn’t have been easier or quicker.  Simply remove the protective sheet, place the wording on your surface, rub with a plastic thingie (sort of like a credit card, it came in the package), and peel off the backing.

My only complaint about this product is how shiny the letters are.  The label says “appears hand painted”, but unless you are using some super glossy paint, I beg to differ.  They definitely look more like stickers than like hand painted lettering.

Next time I will opt for stenciling with actual paint.

Nonetheless, the ironing board laundry sign is pretty darn adorable.

I wish I had one of those gorgeous laundry rooms that other bloggers seem to have, with things like subway tile and vintage containers for the soap.

Oh, who am I kidding, even just having walls would be an upgrade.  My laundry facilities are in my cellar-like basement complete with cinder block walls, lots of spiders and perpetual dampness, so I had to stage these photos in the photo cottage.

But hey, I’m not complaining.  I’m lucky to have the photo cottage even if I have a less than stellar laundry room.

But if you happen to have a fabulous laundry room, or even just one with real walls, this fab vintage ironing board sign is available for local sale.  I’m planing to bring it down to Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater tonight so you can look for it there starting tomorrow. However, if you are local and want to call dibs on it for your laundry room, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details and send me an email asap.






a garden stool.

I grabbed this little stool a while back when I saw it at a garage sale.

I love to buy small pieces like this to paint.  They are fun, quick little projects that bring a lot of satisfaction with just a little bit of effort.

They are also perfect projects for milk paint beginners.  So if you’re thinking about trying milk paint for the first time, look for something like this to experiment on.

I mixed up about 1/4 cup of Homestead House milk paint in a color called Upper Canada Green.  If you’re a Miss Mustard Seed milk paint fan, this color is quite similar to her Luckett’s Green.  I like to let my milk paint ‘simmer’ (I say simmer, but no heat or cooking is involved) a bit to be sure all of the pigments have had time to dissolve.  This is especially important with the greens.  So while I was letting the mixed paint sit for a bit, I sanded the stool and then wiped it down with TSP substitute.  I was trying to avoid getting too much chipping that would show that white paint underneath.

My efforts paid off because I didn’t get any chipping at all!

After two coats of paint and some drying time, I sanded lightly to distress the edges and then I added an Iron Orchid Designs furniture transfer.

This little stool is the perfect height to use for weeding your garden.  I don’t know about you, but I’m at a certain age where I pay later for sitting, kneeling or bending over the garden for too long.  So I like to use a little low stool when I’m gardening.  It just makes it so much easier!

I added a topcoat of Homestead House furniture wax to this stool, but I’m second guessing that decision now.  I’m not sure how well the wax will protect the rub-on from frequent sitting.  I probably should have opted for a more durable sealer, but … well … hindsight is always 20/20.

At this point I would not try to put a water based topcoat over the wax.  I don’t think it would adhere well or go on smoothly.  I wish I hadn’t been quite so quick to add that wax!  Live and learn, right?



another do-over.

Did you happen to catch my blog post over on the Reclaiming Beautiful blog yesterday?


If not, you should pop over there and check it out!

I used Fusion paint and transfer gel to upgrade an old bucket.  But I didn’t want my own blog readers to feel left out, so I did a second paint & transfer gel project for you guys too.

Every once in a while I throw in the towel and decide something needs a do-over.  In this case, it’s a cutting board that I added a stencil to.  I probably did this two years ago or so.  I’ve had it for sale at my occasional sale, but there were no takers.  So, I decided to pull it out and try again.


First I gave the entire board a coat of paint in Fusion’s Limestone.  I was surprised to find that only one coat was enough to cover the black stencil.  Nice.

Next I taped off some grain sack style stripes using my favorite skinny tape (Painter’s Mate, .23″ wide).

I painted the stripes with some of Fusion’s Putty.

Next I used Fusion’s Transfer Gel to transfer a graphic I found on pinterest.

This time I tried a new technique.  Instead of adding the transfer gel to the cutting board and then placing the paper on it, I brushed the transfer gel onto the face of the paper and then placed it on the board. This was far less messy.

I did end up with a couple of spots where the transfer didn’t ‘take’ real well though.  Mainly the “C” and the “M” of cream.


It may be that I had air bubbles in those two spots, or perhaps I didn’t have enough gel in those spots, I’m not really sure.

But regardless, I am still quite happy with how it turned out.  I like a distressed look.


This little cutting board is perfect for leaning against the back-splash on your kitchen counter (and if you’re wondering, no, I would no longer use this as a cutting board, I don’t think it would hold up well to a sharp knife).


You can always check the “where to buy” page on the Fusion website to find a local retailer for both the paint and the transfer gel.

a thrifty makeover.

I’ve got a quick thrifty makeover to share with you guys today.

I picked up this item at the thrift store over a year ago.  I’m guessing it was meant to hang on the wall next to the phone (remember when phones were hung on the wall?) with a pad of paper for taking messages (remember writing messages down on paper?).


Sometimes I like to pick out stuff that is hideously ugly just to see if I can re-purpose it, and this one is an excellent candidate.

Especially when you notice that the sheep are textured.


I know that back in 1983 or so someone hand-painted those sheep and absolutely loved them, so my apologies to the 80’s crafter who made this.

First things first, I had to sand down those textured sheep.

That was pretty simple.

Next I just added a couple of coats of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Farmhouse White.  I sanded to distress and got a nice little bit of chipping.  Then I gave it a quick coat of Salad Bowl Finish (a.k.a. MMS 100% beeswax).  Then I embellished with a couple of rub-ons.


Rub-on’s can be tricky with milk paint.  The plastic sheet that the rub-on’s come on is just slightly tacky on the back and sometimes that will be enough to pull off some milk paint.  So if you are going to use a rub-on over milk paint, be sure that you have removed all chipping paint first.  You can see below where the top half of the “8” came off with a chip of paint.  In this case I think it just blends with the overall chippy-ness, but I have had rub-on’s take off an entire section of paint and leave nothing of the rub-on behind, which doesn’t look so good.


Also, rub-on’s can dry out and no longer work.  If you ever decide to pick up some to try, be sure to store them in their plastic sleeves so they don’t dry out.  The rub-on’s I used for this project all came from Hobby Lobby.  The “Cherish each Moment” is from the scrapbook sticker aisle and the numbers are from the Tim Holtz section (which for some strange reason is tucked way in the back of my store away from the scrapbook supplies so you may have to hunt around for them).

So, I’ve turned an outdated useless item into a unique photo holder.


Unless you still have a wall mounted phone and like to write down messages, in which case you can still use it for that purpose too.