mistakes were made.

I picked up a pair of wooden boxes while thrifting a week or so ago.

After sanding and cleaning them, I painted them with Dixie Belle’s Endless Shore, which is from their Silk paint line (ie. an acrylic paint with a built in primer and top coat).

I pulled out I.O.D.’s Floral Anthology transfer to decorate box no. 1.

After applying the florals, I added some French wording from the I.O.D. Label Ephemera transfer.

Full disclosure, I have only the vaguest idea of what these words mean so it could be total nonsense.  But it looks good to an English speaker.

After decorating the first box, I was about to do something similar with box no. 2.  But then I remembered a customer who once told me that she wished I didn’t put French words on everything!  So, I decided to go in a slightly different direction on the second box.

I first added some grain sack stripes using Dixie Belle’s French Linen.  Then I added the sheep from the I.O.D. Brocante transfer.  The little “No. 1120” and the date in the corners are from a Tim Holtz transfer.

I also added a farm name to the side of the box from the Everyday Farmhouse transfer from re.design with prima.

Finally, I applied one of the re.design with prima knob transfers to the top of the box.

I didn’t paint the insides of either box for a couple of reasons.  First of all, they aren’t real roomy inside and getting in there with a brush would have been a pain.  Second, they are clean inside, so they didn’t really need to be painted.

So far, so good, right?

But this is where I made my mistake.  As you can see in the photos, I distressed the edges of my boxes quite a bit.  Although the Silk paint has that built in topcoat, the transfer still needs some sort of sealer.  In addition, because I sanded the edges down to the bare wood, the Silk paint finish is compromised and will benefit from some protection on those edges as well.  Unfortunately, I decided to topcoat with Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.  As I’ve learned in the past, sometimes a water based sealer will draw tannins out of the wood.

Honestly, I should have known better.  Look back at that ‘before’ photo, this wood was very orange-y red.  The Silk paint has a built-in stain blocking primer, and it was working quite well up until I added that flat clear coat.  All of the preceding photos were taken before the clear coat was added.

But about 24 hours after adding that clear coat, the boxes started to show bleed thru.

It’s much more obvious on the back of the boxes, but if you’re familiar with the look of bleed thru you can see it on the front as well.  Especially in the area I’ve circled below.

Also, FYI, the bleed thru continued to worsen over time.  Be forewarned, that can happen with bleed thru.  It has been about two weeks since I finished these and they seem to have stopped getting worse now.

If I could go back and start over I would opt to give these boxes a coat of Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S., followed by their chalk style paint in Drop Cloth, and then a top coat of clear wax after applying the transfers.

But I can’t go back in time, so now what?

If these were pieces of furniture there is no way I would feel good about selling them ‘as is’, but these boxes?  Maybe?  I don’t know, what would you do?  Leave a comment and let me know!

the naturalist’s box.

My picker, Sue, found this box for me.

As you can see above, the top half of the latch wasn’t attached.  However, it was inside the box so I was able to re-attach it as you’ll see in a minute.

After sanding and cleaning the box, I painted it in two coats of Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy.

I have to say, after painting the other two boxes from my thrift haul in their Silk paint (an acrylic paint, and you’ll see the results of that in a coming post), I think I prefer working with the chalk style paint on these sorts of items.  It adheres better, it distresses more easily, and since I will be adding transfers that have to be sealed anyway the fact of the built-in topcoat in the Silk paint is irrelevant.

That brings me to the fun part, adding bits and pieces of transfers.

The wording on the top is from the I.O.D. Label Ephemera transfer.

The floral bit on the front that flows up onto the top is from the I.O.D. Brocante transfer.

As are the bee and the butterfly (on the top).

That smaller wording is all from a Tim Holtz transfer called Specimen.

After sealing the box with some of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat, I reattached the original latch.

I then lined the inside of the box with some scrapbook paper and called it good.

Now it’s ready to hold some field notes, specimens, curiosities or evidence … or whatever one wants to keep inside a box.

If you are local and have need of a box to store your specimens in … wait, that sounds gross … but you know what I mean … be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page as this box is for sale.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and sealer used on this box.

faux enamelware.

Remember the galvanized hanging bucket thingies (I don’t really know what to call them) that I found while thrifting a week or so ago?

They have a black rolled rim and handle, so I thought that if I painted the galvanized part white they would look just like vintage enamelware.

One of my readers suggested I leave them as is and just add a transfer to the front, and I did consider it.  After all, I do like the look of galvanized stuff.  But these had that blotchy look that feels a little faux to me.  In addition, my ‘before’ photo doesn’t really show how dark they were.  I knew I wanted to dress them up with some transfers, and the black wording of most transfers doesn’t show up very well on the darker galvanized stuff.  Here’s an example of that.

It can create kind of a cool aged look, but I wanted to go for that enamelware look with these.

So I washed them first, and then painted them in Dixie Belle Silk paint in Endless Shore.

They really do look like classic enamelware now, don’t they?  Although not quite as shiny.

Next I started thinking about which transfer I wanted to use on them.  I considered going with more color and adding some I.O.D. florals, but then I decided to stick with the black and white theme.

You might be surprised to learn that I used transfers from two different companies on these.

The one on the right has a portion of the I.O.D. Astoria transfer on it, with some wording from the re.design with prima Paris Letter added above it.  The one on the left has a portion of the Lovely Ledger transfer from re.design with prima on it.  All three of these transfers combine beautifully.

My next challenge was to try and think of things to put in them.  Of course, you could always go with the classic florals.

This silk lavender stems came from Hobby Lobby a few years back.

Since the bucket itself is rather neutral in color and style, you could change them up seasonally and it would still work.

When you see evergreens like these, do you think they are strictly for Christmas, or would you leave them out until Spring?

I’d love to get some feedback from you guys on that.  Are you sick of evergreens and ready to see them go by the end of December, or do you leave them out until the end of February?  Leave a comment and let me know.

You could also put a small glass vase inside for the water, and fill these with real flowers.

But I wanted to try and think outside the box a bit.  How about filling them with old altered paint brushes?

Definitely unexpected.

You could also fill one with your non-collection of whisk brooms.

Or am I the only one with things like whisk brooms and gunky old paint brushes lying around?

How about you, what would you put in one of these buckets?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Meanwhile, I’ll be taking these into the shop later this week so if any of you locals are interested, you’ll have to head to Stillwater later this week and do a little shopping.

flower crates.

My picker found these wooden crates for me last summer … at least I think it was last summer.  Time tends to blend together for me these days.

Either way, last summer was when I added some stencils to the sides thinking that I would sell them that way.

But ultimately I decided that I didn’t like the dark stains on the wood, and I also didn’t think the stenciling in black worked well with the dark wood.  So I never did try to sell them, I just tucked them away and figured I’d give them a do-over sometime.

Well, that sometime is now!

I painted the first crate in Dixie Belle’s Caviar.

I just added one quick coat of paint and didn’t worry too much about completely full coverage.  I knew I wanted to sand the paint way back in the end to make the crate look super worn.

I re-stenciled the ends in the same ‘flowers’ stencil that I used on one of the crates last summer.  This is part of a larger stencil that I purchased on Etsy from The Stencil Market.

I used my normal process for adding a shadow to stenciled letters.  I stenciled the design first in Dixie Belle’s Putty, then moved the stencil slightly up and over and stenciled again in DB’s Drop Cloth.

It’s a small detail, but I think it adds so much depth.  I also filled in the bridges on this stencil using a small artist’s brush.

Once I’d sanded heavily, I added a coat of clear wax.  I happened to have this cool zinc liner that fit this crate almost perfectly so I’m going to pair them together.

Lastly I filled it up with some of my matte white pottery just for the photos.

For the 2nd crate, I went in a different direction color-wise.  I painted it in Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.  I really wanted to try that IOD paint inlay over the green.

I had a feeling those pinks would really pop over the green.

If you want a step by step on how to use the IOD paint inlays, check out my how-to post by clicking on the image below:

I’m doing a bit of experimenting with the inlays, and you’ll be seeing the results of that in the next week or two.  But in the meantime, after adding the paint inlay to the two ends, I stenciled the sides of the Kudzu crate with the same ‘flowers’ stencil.  This time I did not add a shadow.

The need to get photos of these crates was a really good excuse to go to my local nursery and pick up some flowering plants.  They didn’t have much to choose from, but I got a few pretty cyclamens.

And I always get sucked in by those Baby Tears plants, and I can never keep them alive.  I think it has something to do with forgetting to water them on a regular basis.  They look great while they last though.

As per usual, my decorating split personality loves both versions of the crate.  The simple, worn black version and the colorful floral green version both really appeal to me.

As for the 3rd crate, I had something different in mind.  I wanted to provide a container for that mid-mod china that I found while thrifting last week.  I’m going to try to sell it at the shop, so I thought it would be fun to package it somehow.

First, I asked my handyman Ken to re-size that crate to fit the dishes.  He cut it down and reattached everything to create a perfectly sized container.

I painted it in Dixie Belle’s Silk paint in Tide Pool, taking that color cue straight from the dishes.  Then I added the ‘Bon Appetit’ from re.design with prima’s Delicious Menu transfer.

Mr. Q was not a fan of the way I wrapped the wording around the two sides of the crate, but I rather like it.  What do you think?

I brought both flower crates (not including contents) and the crate of mid-mod china in to Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater on Wednesday evening, so if any of you locals need a fabulous flower crate be sure to stop by the shop this weekend (note: closed on Sunday).

Which crate is your favorite?  Or do you have a split personality when it comes to decorating like I do?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

blame it on the cabin fever.

First things first, congrats to Patty.  I drew her name at random to win my Shades of White giveaway.  There were a couple of Patty’s who commented, but I have been in contact with the winning Patty so I apologize to the other Patty’s who may have momentarily thought they won and now realize they didn’t.

My friend Sue and I went out thrifting on a cold, but sunny, day last week and I managed to fill up the trunk of her car.  That’s saying something, because as Sue likes to say, she originally purchased her car for the size of the two-body trunk (yep, you could easily fit two bodies in there, or a ton of garage sale/thrift finds).  On the other hand, my car (the VW bug convertible) has a trunk about the size of a bread box.

Anyway, I came home with A LOT of stuff.  And not my typical haul, I have to say.  I don’t think I purchased a single item that needs to be painted.  Want to see what I found?  That’s rhetorical, I know you do.

Let’s start with the clear glassware.  Normally I totally steer clear of glassware (lol, pardon the pun), but for some weird reason I was just drawn to it this time.

Ideas came to mind for most of these items.

For example, I added transfers to a few of the canister type pieces.

These two glass vessels would be great for holding gardening tools, or kitchen utensils (or paint brushes for that matter).

I initially thought this next one would just make a great vase, but I also like it filled with vintage silverware.

You can’t quite see it in the group photos, but I purchased a clear glass hobnail jar.

I’m keeping it to use for casual bouquets of flowers from the garden next season … or maybe even just tulips purchased at the grocery store while it’s still bitter cold outside.

Sue suggested I try turning the larger vase I purchased into a cloche.  She’d seen it done on White Cottage Co’s YouTube vlog just that morning.  So I gave it a shot.

All I did was flip it upside down and use E6000 to glue a glass knob to the top (former bottom).

I’m always looking for cute little jars to put in metal baskets or wood totes that I find, so when I saw this trio I thought I’d tuck them away for the next container that comes along.

They fit pretty nicely into this one, for example …

And speaking of containers, I purchased this metal one separately from the jars that are in it.  I only bought the jars for their zinc lids.  I needed lids for some older, cooler lid-less jars that I had at home.

Instead of filling that wire basket with jars, I decided it would make a fantastic windowsill herb garden.

My local Bachmans just happened to have these potted herbs on sale for $3.99 each so I grabbed four of them and put them in clay pots and then in the basket.  This is my feeble attempt to bring a little summer to my wintery world.

Last up in the glassware category are these corn on the cob dishes.

I purchased these just for myself.  Probably the last thing in the world I need is specialized dishes just for corn on the cob.  But as I stood in the aisle at Goodwill looking at them, I could just picture a summer BBQ on the deck with steaks sizzling on the grill, a delicious cocktail in my hand, and fresh picked corn on the cob swimming in melted butter in those dishes.

What can I say, there’s a foot of snow on the ground and it was about 9 degrees outside that day.  I’m totally blaming that decision on the cabin fever!

I was lucky this time out and came across the holy grail of thrifting … ironstone.

I rarely find ironstone at our thrift stores here in the mid-west.  I am separating the pitcher from the bowl.  I think a pitcher in a bowl has that 80’s country antique vibe, but separately they are both great pieces.

You can’t tell from that photo, but the pitcher is a big one at about 8.5″ tall.  I’m probably going to end up adding it to my non-collection.  It was definitely the find of the day.

The bowl is 14″ across and would be perfect to use as a fruit bowl in the middle of your kitchen table, it’s going to go to the shop to sell along with a couple of other large ironstone bowls that came from my picker.

I wasn’t planning to keep the gravy boat, but I just happen to have the perfect spot for it on my Welsh cupboard so I may just have to.

That tall piece in the background of my ironstone haul photo is not ironstone.  It’s a sort of faux, crackly … I don’t know what material it’s made out of.  But I knew it would look great with a transfer on it.

I came across a few galvanized items that day as well.

The two pieces on the left are from the Hearth & Hand line.  And all three of these are much bigger than they look in the photo.  The tallest one is 2′ tall, and the squat one is 16″ across.

I had to dress up the two tall ones with some transfers, but I left the short one unadorned.

I also came home with some dishes.  I seem to be a sucker for these sets of decorative plates.

They are perfect for tucking into a gift basket.

I happened to have purchased another cute metal basket and a book called The Cheese Course while thrifting that day.

I added some cheese knives that I had on hand.  Now all it needs is a couple of fancy cheeses, and it’s the perfect hostess gift.

In the ‘fail’ department, I also purchased this fabulous cheese baker that I was going to include in my cheese themed basket …

But I made a rookie mistake.  The cheese baker was in a box when I picked it out, and I never pulled it out to look it over.  When I got it home and out of the box, I discovered it was chipped.

Drat!  Now what do I do with it?  I certainly can’t sell it like that.  Is there a simple way to repair that chip?  Do any of you have any ideas?  I may just have to toss it.

I also grabbed this set of china as a sort of experiment.

I thought the colors on them were lovely.

They were in perfect condition, and there were six dinner plates and six salad plates.  And hey, they say right on the back that they are ‘vintage fine china’, so who am I to argue?

I googled them and found some interesting info on them.  They were manufactured from the 1950’s through about 1964.  In addition, according to antigotrunk.com “this was an exclusive pattern for Max Schoenfeld (that’s the MS on the back stamp). Max was was a California distributor of china and pottery in the Los Angeles area and distributed for many different porcelain houses.  Some designs were given to him as “exclusives” only he could sell them, and the initials MS would be added to the back of the each piece.”

Anyway, I thought I’d give it a shot and see if a set like this will sell at the shop.  I’ll keep the price very affordable and see what happens.

So there you have it, a bunch of fabulous finds from the thrift store.  Which one is your favorite?

stuff for the shop.

Now that I’m retired from the day job, and the holidays are over, I’ve been doing a little more thrifting.  Most of the items I purchase while thrifting get a makeover and then go to the shop where I sell on consignment, Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater, MN.  Reclaiming Beautiful restocks and rearranges their shop every Wednesday evening, so when they open on Thursday everything looks fresh (they are open Thursday thru Saturday each week).  I’m hoping to make it down there tonight with a load of goodies, so I thought I’d share some of what I’m bringing with you guys today.

Starting with this collection of 6 well worn wooden croquet balls.

My picker Sue found these for me a while back and I’ve been hanging onto them trying to figure out how to display them.  Finally it occurred to me that I could just find a cheap wooden bowl at the thrift store, paint it black and voila!

I washed the bowl with TSP Substitute to make sure I was removing any oils first, then I sanded it lightly and painted it in Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.  I sanded to distress and finished it with some of their Big Mama’s Butta.  Then, while I had the Butta out, I also buffed up the balls a bit (I was really tempted to title this blog post “buffing my balls with butta'”, but I was fairly certain that would be attract the wrong crowd).

Anyway, the bowl of balls is priced $24.

This next piece came from the thrift store looking like this …

I’m not exactly sure what was meant by that ‘dig it’, maybe there were gardening tools inside originally?  Regardless, I didn’t really ‘dig it’ as is, so I sanded it down and painted it in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy and added some bits from one of my favorite IOD transfers, Label Ephemera.

It would make a fabulous gift basket filled with French themed items.

Another fun idea would be to put some potted herbs inside.  If I had some, I’d stage it up and photograph it that way, but I’m fresh out of potted herbs.  I’m pricing the crate at $24, without the contents.

On the same visit to the thrift store, I picked up this little wooden tote.

I really didn’t care much for that handle, so I replaced it with something from my stash with a bit more of a vintage feel.

Then I painted the whole thing in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth including the handle, sanded to distress and added a few transfers.

The black Flower and Garden transfer is one of re.design with prima’s Classic Vintage Labels, and the flowers on the sides are from the Dixie Belle Vintage Floral transfer …

This little tote would be totally adorable as a gift basket, or even an Easter basket.  I can see it lined with faux moss and then filled with pretty Easter eggs.  Is it too early for Easter?

The flower crate is $18.

Next up, this lovely silver bowl.

It’s a little difficult to judge the size from that photo, but it’s a good sized bowl.  Maybe halfway between cereal bowl and punch bowl.  I love the embossed shield and crown.  I purchased this one at an estate sale last fall, not during my recent thrifting, but thought I’d share it here anyway.

I think this bowl would be gorgeous for a floral arrangement, maybe filled with peonies for example, like this smaller bowl I shared last summer …

The silver bowl is priced at $28.

Quick question for you guys; do you prefer to see silver freshly polished or with a bit of tarnish?  I’m a fan of the tarnished look, but I know it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.  Would you have polished that bowl before bringing it in to sell?

Next up is another item that I didn’t actually buy at a thrift store recently.  This … um, I have no idea what to call it …

Spiral thingie?  Does anyone know if these have a name?  I suspect it is some sort of desktop organizing item, and in fact that is what I had been using it for on my desk at the old day job.  I brought it home with me when I retired, but haven’t found a good spot for it at my house so I’m going to sell it on.

It’s perfect for displaying some old photos, and it’s priced at $12.

I brought in a couple of buckets as well.

I shared both of these back in December and was planning to take them in to the shop, but just never made it.

Although I staged them up for Christmas in these photos, these buckets can be used in so many different ways.  I use one as a trash can in my home office.  They also look great filled with peonies (clearly I’m craving spring).

The buckets are priced at $40.

Another item I’m bringing in is this mirror with a transfer …

I posted this one here a while back and I still have it, so I’ll bring it in and hope it sells for $40.

I’m also bringing in this trio of vintage blue books.

Books in similar colors are great for introducing different heights to your decorating vignettes.  The set of books is $10.

Of all my finds at the thrift store last week, I’ve saved the best for last.

I’m just putting the final touches on this barrister’s bookcase and I plan to share it here on Friday, so be sure to stay tuned for that.

Finally, in case you are wondering, I do sometimes bring things home from the thrift store and hang on to them.  I saw this old flour cannister that had lost its lid and I immediately thought ‘tulips!’

I suppose that the look of delftware automatically makes me think ‘Dutch’, which then makes me think ‘tulips’, but it does make an awesome vase for this bunch of yellow tulips that I picked up at Target.  It’s a great way to add a little touch of spring to these bitterly cold January days.  And spring is just around the corner … OK, maybe that’s optimistic thinking for January, but a little optimism never hurt anybody, right?