crafting a.d.d.

I think it’s possible that I have crafting attention deficit disorder (a.d.d.).

On a rainy day during my staycation last week I decided to organize the q branch, and most especially my giant English cupboard.

It hasn’t looked that neat and tidy since I first brought it into the room.

I started going through my supplies and deciding what to keep and what to throw.  I came across a couple of scraps of vintage wallpaper from past projects and decided to toss them.  I was trying to be merciless about getting rid of stuff I’ll never use.

But then I also noticed a couple of my scrapbooking punches that needed to be put away.

And I had a thought.

Why not create a little vintage wallpaper flag banner for my pretty green birdcage?

That would be so much more fun than continuing to organize my cupboard!

So I punched some flag shapes out of the wallpaper scraps …

Then I punched some holes in them and strung them up on some pink and white butcher’s string.

Easy peasy.

I started out with a banner that had two sizes and shapes of flags …

But after studying it for a bit, I realized I didn’t like the larger flags so I swapped them out for all small.

Ahhhh … much better.

I never really did finish organizing that cupboard.  That’s just how it goes when you are afflicted with crafting a.d.d.  Anybody else out there with this condition?

quickie garage sale makeovers.

I was hoping to have a fabulous vintage painted dresser to share with you guys today.  And actually, the dresser itself is done.  However, I haven’t had the chance to take photos of it yet.  I could have raced through some not very well staged photos in the driveway, but this particular dresser deserves better.  I kind of love how it turned out and I want to do it justice, so you’ll have to wait until next week for that.

Instead I’m going to share a few quickie garage sale makeovers today that I’ve finished in the the last couple of weeks.

I purchased this trio of goodies at the Tangletown sales back at the beginning of May.

The vintage chalkboard was the easiest makeover.  The chalkboard portion itself was in pretty rough shape from what I can only imagine were years of abuse.

So I sanded that down with my orbital sander and repainted it with Rustoleum chalkboard paint.

You might be wondering why I didn’t use milk paint for this chalkboard and the simple reason is that I wasn’t sure it would stick to this surface.  I’m not even really sure what the surface of this chalkboard is.  The label calls it a ‘slated blackboard’, but it didn’t feel heavy enough to actually be slate.  What is a ‘slated’ chalkboard anyway?  Do any of you know?

The Rustoleum chalkboard paint worked well on this surface, regardless of what it is.

Aside from cleaning it a little, I left the frame of the chalkboard ‘as is’.  I love how worn and well used it looks.

Once the chalkboard paint was fully dry, I seasoned the chalkboard by rubbing chalk all over it and then wiping it away with a dry cloth.  Next I used one of my favorite stencils to outline some lettering and then filled it in with chalk.  I added some butcher’s string to hang it, and that was it.

While I had the chalkboard paint out, I also added some to the kid-size folding chair.

Here it is before.

In addition to turning the seat into a chalkboard, I also added some Tim Holtz number rub-ons to the chair back.

Then I used one of my favorite methods for adding a chalk drawing.  Check out my ‘how-to’ post on that by clicking the photo below:

You may recall the chair in that post hanging on the wall in my kitchen …

I just love it, so when I saw the nearly identical little chair at the Tangletown sales I knew I had to buy it and make another.

Last up is the random piece of paneling that I purchased for a dollar.  I really don’t know what this came from, but I thought it would make a great sign.

I started off giving it a paint job.

I was playing around a bit with using water and chalk paint and blending two colors into each other.

I used Dixie Belle’s Stormy Seas and Savannah Mist which work beautifully together.  I don’t think I’m ready to attempt this technique on a piece of furniture yet, but it was fun to practice with it on this paneling.

Once I had achieved a look I liked with the paint I let it dry and then added a Prima Marketing transfer.  You can find this particular transfer on for $10 right now.

Part of the reason I purchased this piece of paneling in the first place was because I already had this transfer and I thought it might just fit perfectly … and it did.

In fact the design of the transfer mimics the raised detail on the paneling almost exactly.

I could not have planned this better if I’d tried.

Now I just have to head to my local hardware store and figure out some way to add hangers to this piece.  It’s pretty thin so my normal options won’t work.  It’s also pretty light, so I don’t need something heavy duty.  I’m thinking some sort of adhesive hanger will do the trick.

Be sure to check back next week when I promise I really will share that dresser, and as a bonus I might also have a gorgeous sideboard that I’ve been working on finished too!







clip board art.

I spent part of last week digging out my carriage house workshop after the long winter.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, this is my carriage house.  I park my car on one side in the winter and store future projects on the other side.  In summer, I paint out there.

Awww, it looks so pretty in pictures.  Especially winter pictures when the red pops against the white snow.  Now don’t be confused, it really isn’t still winter here in Minnesota, I just didn’t have a summer photo of the carriage house handy.

But the reality behind the pretty photo is that the carriage house is not at all weather or critter proof.  In the winter I mostly just shove stuff in there to store it until spring because it’s far too cold to spend any time at all out there.  When the weather starts warming up again I have to sort through all of that stuff and get my workshop situated so I can bring my painting supplies back out and resume painting out there.

While doing that this spring I encountered a possum, a chipmunk and a robin inside the carriage house.  Eeeeeek!  I’m telling you, it’s not critter proof at all.  And clearly my cat Lucy is not doing her job properly.

Well, the critters will soon figure out that I am taking back my workshop and hopefully find somewhere less busy to hang out.

In addition to the possum, I also came across a stash of clipboards that I’d been acquiring over the course of last summer’s garage sale season.

At the time I thought it would be fun to paint these up and use them as ‘frames’ for some prints but I never got around to it last year.

The vintage book of Audubon bird prints I found at the Tangletown sales had some perfect candidates for the clipboards though, so I decided to whip something up.

Since the prints had a lot of shades of green in them, I decided to go with green on my clipboards.

I pulled out an old jar of Little Billy Goat chalk paint in a color called Porch Swing.  A couple of years ago Little Billy Goat sponsored a few projects with me and sent me some of their paint to try.  I loved most of it, but I was quickly reminded that I didn’t love the Porch Swing while working on this project.  For some reason the Porch Swing ends up looking weirdly splotchy for me once I add a top coat.  The first time I used it I painted an entire dresser, and ending up having to paint it over again with something else when I got this splotchy look.

In the case of the clipboards, I tried to use Miss Mustard Seed wax on the first one and it looked terrible (sorry, I neglected to get a photo).  I tried Miss Mustard Seed hemp oil on the next two and got better results, although still slightly splotchy.  So I repainted the first one (after using mineral spirits and a green scrubbing pad to remove the wax) and then used hemp oil on it also so that all three would match.

Next I added some Tim Holtz rub-on numbers to the clips.

Then I just simply added my Audubon prints and they were good to go.

These would be perfect for hanging above your potting bench.

Or maybe just hanging on the wall in a sunroom.

What a simple, inexpensive way to add some interest to your walls!

more fun with rust.

You may remember the recipe box that I painted last fall.  It started out looking like this …

Then I painted it with a sample of Miss Mustard Seed’s Bergere, added an IOD rub-on transfer and a metal key-hole escutcheon.

But I have to admit, that shade of blue just wasn’t doing it for me so I decided to start over.

I took my inspiration from the stool I painted when I first sampled the Dixie Belle chalk paint …

I repainted the box with the same Dixie Belle paint in Drop Cloth, with grain sack stripes painted in Dixie Belle’s Yankee Blue.  I even added a smaller version of the same Milk and Cream graphic using Fusion’s Transfer Gel.

I used some Tim Holtz rub-on numbers to add the “1953” to the front of the box.  This was to become a birthday present for my friend Terri, and I think you can all now guess what year she was born.  Then, instead of putting the key-hole escutcheon back on, I decided to add a little clasp to the front of the box.

I debated spinning a yarn here about how I found this old rusty hardware in a coffee can full of rusty bits and pieces that I picked up at an estate sale held in a big ol’ red barn out in the countryside, and I bet you guys would have believed it, right?  That would have been an awesome story.

But the real story is that I purchased a pack of 3 of these at Hobby Lobby for $2.50 during a half off sale and they were a sort of ugly ‘antique gold’.

So I used the Dixie Belle Patina Collection to add some rusty goodness.

I used the Prime Start first again since this little clasp is made out of metal.  Then I painted it with the Iron paint, followed by a spritz of the Green Patina spray (for more detailed instructions on using these products check out this post).  And now the little clasp looks like this …

I love that I can take something new and make it look old and rusty with this stuff!

Yep, I am much happier with the outcome this time and I’m pretty sure Terri liked it too!


painted books.

It’s been a while since I’ve painted some books.  Unless you’ve followed me from the beginning, or gone back and read to the beginning, you probably haven’t seen my painted books.

The first batch I painted were all done in Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Typewriter, then stenciled in a pale grey acrylic craft paint and finished with some hemp oil.

Then I branched out and added some grey books (painted in Miss Mustard Seed’s Trophy)…

and some pale minty green books.

For a while now I’ve been thinking it would be nice to have some white painted books.

So I pulled out some old hardcover books (find them at your local thrift store for as little as .15 ea when they are having a sale) and started by painting the covers with Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth and sealing them with The Real Milk Paint Co’s Dead Flat.

Then I pulled out a bunch of my stencils.

Don’t worry about the stencils being larger than the books.  I think it just adds to the look to have the design running over the edges.

This is a great way to get a bunch of decorative books to fill up some shelves on a budget.  Displaying things en masse always has more impact.

It seems that the Drop Cloth goes particularly nicely with some old ironstone.

The painted books also make great props for furniture photo shoots.

If nothing else, it’s just a fun project for a cold winter day!



Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

I don’t have a pretty, frilly pink or red filled post for you today.  Valentine’s Day just isn’t a holiday that I decorate for.  I’m pretty much heartless, at least when it comes to decor.

A while back my thrifting friend Meggan and I were at our local favorite thrift store (Arc Value Village on White Bear Ave, for those of you locals who might be curious) and I was laughing over the plethora of items with hearts on them.  I pointed them out to Meggan, and we both agreed that hearts are pretty much out these days from a home decor point of view (thus they end up in thrift stores by the dozens).  I mentioned to Meggan that I have a couple of tricks for dealing with them though and she suggested that would be a great idea for a blog post.  So I filled my cart with some hearts …

The easiest way to get rid of a heart is to just simply cover it up.  That’s what I did with the heart cut out on this little wall shelf.

But first I transformed the shelf with Dixie Belle’s Patina Collection.  You may remember that they sent me some of their Iron paint and Patina Spray to play around with a couple of weeks ago.  At the time I mentioned that I wanted to try this stuff on wood to see how it looked, so this shelf was the perfect candidate for a little experimentation.

Since the shelf is made of wood, you don’t need to use the special Prime Start primer (you just need that if you are painting over metal).  Instead you can just start with a layer of any color paint.  I used Dixie Belle’s Gravel Road since I happened to have it close by, but the color really doesn’t matter since you’ll be covering it up entirely.  Once that dried I added a coat of the Iron paint and allowed that to dry.  Then I added a second coat of the Iron paint and while it was still wet, I sprayed it with the Patina spray.

Next I just dug through my stash of random bits and pieces and found this back plate to a drawer pull.  It was already rusting on its own, plus it was just the right size, so I thought it was the perfect cover up.

Both Meggan and I simply couldn’t resist this next item.

It’s got both a heart and a cow … a classic.

And actually, in the end I didn’t get rid of the heart cut out, just the cow with her heart shaped face and the country welcome.

I removed the glued on words, sanded the entire thing down and then painted it in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  I added the grain sack stripe in Dixie Belle’s Driftwood.

Then I added an Iron Orchid Designs rub-on from one of the French Pots collections.

A vast improvement, even if it isn’t totally heartless.

Unfortunately I ran out of steam (and straight into that cold that I’m still getting over) before I could get to the rest of those heartfelt pieces from the thrift store.  I may have to hang onto them until next year.

But to prove that perhaps I’m not entirely heartless after all, I couldn’t leave the thrift store without this sweet Dinner for Two cookbook.

It has some great illustrations …

A candlelit dinner for two served on a gondola in Venice would be my idea of the perfect Valentine’s celebration.

So sweet.  This is much closer to my idea of a little Valentine decor.

How about you?  Valentine’s Day decorating, yeah or nay?



jodie’s box.

Hello!  I’ve been down for the count with a cold since last Friday, so I don’t have anything earth shattering to share on the blog today.  Instead I pulled together a post on this quick project I worked on a while back.

You probably don’t recognize this box, but it has been shared here on q is for quandie once before.

It belongs to my friend Jodie, and the box made it into the photo of Jodie’s dining room back in December when I shared a tour of her home.  There it is on her dining room table …

Recently Jodie decided the box needed just a little more oomph, so she asked me if I would stencil it for her.

Of course I agreed.  Stenciling is just so quick and easy, and really cost effective once you already have the stencils (and I have quite a few).

Jodie was pretty flexible and said I could use whatever stencils I thought would look good, so I went with some french stencils that seemed appropriate for a dining room.  I used a different one on each side.

By the way, both of these are just portions of a larger stencils.  I just used sections that would fit and looked good on the box.  I purchased both of these stencils via Etsy which is a great place to find them.  You might recognize the first one I showed, it’s the same stencil I used on the Windsor chairs last Friday.

Jodie asked me to use white paint for the stencils, but I suggesting going with a pale grey instead.  I think a crisp white would have been too stark and would not have worked with the rustic, aged look of the wood.  The pale grey (this is Martha Stewart Multi-Surface acrylic craft paint in a color called Wet Cement) reads as white next to the wood.

How’s that for a quick and easy update?

Hopefully I’ll get my energy levels back up to normal soon and be able to share something a little more exciting with you.  Until then, be sure to stay tuned!