a rose window.

I picked up an old window at a garage sale last year.  I tend to grab chippy old windows, especially when they have a unique shape like this one.

This particular one was in pretty rough shape with the glass practically falling out before I got it home.

So, I started out by giving the window a good clean, and then I re-glazed the glass.  Now, you should be forewarned that I have very little talent for glazing and I really don’t know what I’m doing.  But, I need to get it figured out because we have quite a few windows at our house that need re-glazing and I want to do it myself.  So this seemed like a good way to get some practice in.

However, I’m pretty sure I picked the wrong product.

I saw the words ‘window’, ‘clear’ and ‘paintable’ on the label and thought it was what I needed.  I also thought a ‘sealant’ was what I needed.  In the end, this worked OK for my purpose here, which was basically to hold the glass firmly in place.  But it’s not really the right product for glazing windows, so I’ll be going back to the drawing board before I attempt to work on my house windows next summer.

In the meantime, here’s how my totally imperfect sealant looks on the back side of the window.

Fortunately it’s on the back, and it’s clear, so it really isn’t noticeable from the front at all.

Next up I debated re-painting the frame.  But the thing is, I like the authentically chippy look.  So rather than paint it, I sanded off any loose paint and then added a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat to seal it.

Next up I pulled out two sections from the I.O.D. Ladies in Waiting transfer to add to the glass.

I cleaned the glass well before starting and then applied the transfers to the front of the window.

I have to confess that I nearly applied the first one to the back of the window before coming to my senses.  The transfers do not work that way.  Here’s how that would have looked …

Yep, I dodged a bullet on that one.  Don’t know what I was thinking.

Ultimately the Ladies in Waiting transfers were the perfect fit for this window.  One on each side (the full set includes four of them).

I added a number to the side of the window frame too.

That came from my pile of transfer scraps, so I’m sorry, but I don’t know which particular transfer it was from originally.

One question I get frequently is whether or not I use a sealer over transfers that are applied on glass, and I do not.  The transfers stick to glass extremely well.  However, they can be removed using a razor blade, if one should ever want to remove it down the road.

As for cleaning, I would simply dust it using a soft cloth.  I would not recommend using a spray glass cleaner of any kind on a transfer.

This window looks great hung on the wall over a desk.

But you could hang it anywhere.

What do you think?  Are you a fan of transfers on glass?

If so, here are links to some other projects I’ve done with transfers on glass; this one is on a mirror, this one is on a barrister bookcase, and this one features glass cannisters with transfers on them.  Check them out!

In the meantime, this window is for sale.  Check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

that four letter word.

I’m just sharing a quick Sunday morning post from the garden today.

I thought it might be fun to give you guys an update on the ‘winter interest’ in my garden.

For the most part, it’s buried under several feet of snow.

And so much for my Christmas decorations, they also got kind of buried.

Well, except for the ones that are hanging higher up on a wall.

They still look good.  Which is lucky because there is a huge snow bank in front of that scene, so I won’t be getting in there any time soon to take them down.

Cossetta (my statue) has snow nearly up to her waist.

Fortunately, she is impervious to the cold so she’s perfectly fine.

In other words, like much of the northern half of the country, we’ve gotten a lot of snow already this year.  I found one source that says we’ve gotten over four feet so far, and another that says 45″.  I’m not sure which one is correct, but they are close enough.  It’s a lot.

Since I like to look on the bright side, how about I list the benefits of that four letter word, snow.

  • It’s picture postcard pretty.
  • It covers up a multitude of sins.  Suddenly every yard looks beautiful and you can no longer see the debris that your neighbor piles up next to your fence.
  • It adds a layer of insulation to the garden, so subsequent sub-zero weather is not as damaging to dormant perennials.
  • It provides lots of moisture to the ground when it eventually melts.
  • People who enjoy winter sports like snowmobiling, skiing and snowshoeing are in heaven.
  •  It lights up the sky at night.  Have you ever noticed that?  It’s never too dark to see outside at night when there is snow cover.
  • It provides a reason to get outside and get some fresh air and exercise (because you have to shovel off the walkway).
  • You might get a snow day from school or work (although since Covid those have mostly become ‘e-learning’ or ‘remote work’ days).

Can you think of any I’ve missed?  Are you enjoying the snow where you are?  Or are you blessed with warm, sunny weather?  Leave a comment and let me know!


hidden in plain sight.

In my humble opinion, the month of January is good for precisely two things.  Traveling somewhere warm, or cleaning out closets.

Since I won’t be traveling anywhere warm until February when my sister and I head out to visit our mom, that leaves cleaning out closets.  Or really, just basically organizing things.

I don’t think I’m alone in this.  Do you guys tend to use these cold winter months for things like sorting through your crafting supplies, or alphabetizing your seed packets while dreaming about next year’s garden, too?

Lately I’ve been spending some time putting away Christmas decorations, sorting through closets, and making piles of things to take to Goodwill.  So that means I haven’t really been working on projects to share here on the blog.  And I figure it would be pretty boring for me to show you my ‘before & after’ closet clean outs.

So instead, I thought I would revisit some fun ways to use vintage items to organize and store things, and to basically hide them in plain sight.

One of my favorite vintage items for organizing small things is the enamelware refrigerator box.

I use some for organizing my ink pads and paper ephemera.

I added the wording using some old alphabet rub-on letters from my scrapbook supply stash.

I use another of the enamelware boxes (also updated with a transfer) to keep all of my mailing supplies handy.  I have stamps, my return address labels, and a small address book inside.

Another of my favorite items for stylish storage is the vintage suitcase.  This is a great way to add more storage to a room, while also adding some fun vintage style.

You’ve already seen that I store some my tree toppers in one.

And I also store my embarrassingly large supply of scrapbook stickers in a vintage suitcase.

My spare photography equipment fits nicely into a vintage vanity case.

One thing that I’m frequently asked about when it comes to old suitcases is how to get the smell out.  I have to admit, I haven’t really found a permanent way to get rid of a musty smell (you can read more about the various methods I’ve tried here).  In the end, my advice is to use musty suitcases to store things that won’t pick up the odor, like those camera lenses.  I recommend avoiding storing clothing or other linens inside old suitcases.

Another great item for storing bits and pieces is an old toolbox, tackle box or lock box.  Before I paint these, I seal them inside and out with Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S. which blocks stains and odors.  So no worries about musty smells.

I use a toolbox to store all of my furniture wax.

It sits on a shelf right in our living room.

Talk about hidden in plain sight.  It fits right in and no one would know that it contains some of my painting supplies.

Toolboxes are also great for holding things like ribbons …

Or your sewing kit.

I keep my two hot glue guns and all of the related supplies in an old tackle box.

Those trays for the tackle are the perfect size for glue sticks.

Tackle boxes are great for storing random crafting supplies too.

An old roller skate case makes the perfect container for storing your pile of black and white photos while keeping them nice and flat.

All this talk of storing things in vintage containers brings me to my first ever after Christmas sale!

I have a couple of items that haven’t sold, so I thought I’d mark them 25% off for the month of January (sorry, still local sales only).  So if you’re looking to get organized, maybe you can use one of these items for stylish storage.

First up is the roller skate case shown just above, and here …

Sale price is $26.25 (skates not included)

Next up is the classic blue & white toolbox.

It includes a removable tool tray inside.

Sale price is $41.25.

And finally, the dark side lock box.

This one is that pretty Scandinavian pink on the inside.

Sale price is $30.

If you’re local and interested in any of these ‘storage boxes’ be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

spending time.

You know, it’s funny, but when I initially was thinking about putting together a year end recap blog post I felt like I hadn’t really done that much in 2022 and it would be hard to come up with something that wasn’t lame.  After all, what did I spend my time on last year?  Now that I’m retired from the day job, I have to admit that I feel a little bit like I’m spending too much of my time doing unimportant things like reading a book, taking a nap or watching YouTube.

Then I started looking back at my blog posts for 2022 and I realized I did do some things.  For one thing, I traveled quite a bit.  I visited some old favorites like my mom’s place near Vegas, Disney World and Puerto Vallarta.  Plus I saw some new places like Sedona …

and Charleston.

I also did a lot more gardening last year than I have in the past, and that led me to start a weekly ‘Sunday mornings in the garden’ blog post.

I also did plenty of thrifted item makeovers.

And garage sale item makeovers.

And even some makeovers of my own stuff.

Of course, there were countless toolbox makeovers!

And lock box makeovers.

And tackle box makeovers.

Speaking of tackling, I also tackled a project I’d been putting off for a couple of years, turning the photo cottage back into a potting shed.

I learned a new technique in 2022 with the I.O.D. paint inlays.

I also got my first paid magazine feature in 2022.

And my first paid blog post sponsorship (Dixie Belle Paint Co does not pay me, but they do provide me with free product, fyi).

Looking back over all of these things, I realize that I did a lot more in 2022 than just nap, read and binge watch YouTube.

I guess I tend to focus on furniture makeovers when trying to decide whether or not I’ve accomplished something, and 2022 was definitely not my best year in terms of productivity or profit when it comes to furniture.

However, I did create some really cool pieces like the fritz kohnen armoire.

And the raw wood experiment dresser.

The botanical cupboard was one of my favorite pieces in 2022.

And the splitsville nightstands created from a dressing table were a fun project to work on too.

My motivation for working on furniture stalled a bit over the last year because my stuff just hasn’t been selling as quickly as it used to.

At this point I can’t promise that I’ll be ramping back up when it comes to furniture makeovers, but I hope to have plenty of projects of all kinds to share with you guys along with a smattering of gardening and travel posts (we’re going back to Norway!) in 2023.  So I hope you’ll all stick with me for another year.

Happy New Year!


getting crafty with gift baskets.

Those of you who have been following me for a while may have noticed that I didn’t create my own Christmas gift wrap/packaging this year.  Over the past several years, I’ve come up with some sort of handmade gift wrap each year.

Last year was the stenciled packages.

And the year before I used some I.O.D. stamps to decorate my packages.

One of my favorites was in 2018 when I was inspired by Venetian velvet.

But this year I just didn’t come up with any super creative ideas for wrapping all of my packages.

However, I did put together a couple of gift baskets that I thought would be fun to share.  Neither of them have a predominantly Christmas look to them, so I figured it would be OK to share them even though Christmas is over.

Here’s what I started out with.

Did you know that they have these cute little cardboard pots at Hobby Lobby?

I did not.  Until I saw them there that is.  And if you shop when the paper goods are half off, they only cost $1.  That’s cheaper than a gift bag.

Plus there is the added bonus of being able to get crafty and decorate it however you want to.

I went fairly simple with mine.  I first painted it in Dixie Belle’s Silk paint in Anchor, and then I added one of I.O.D.’s Traditional Pots transfers.

This made the perfect container for a gardening themed gift.  I just tucked in some garden gloves and gift card to our local nursery.

I added a star shaped tag that I purchased ages ago on Etsy.

I wish I had kept track of who the Etsy vendor was so that I could share that with you (and so that I could order more myself, this was my last one), but unfortunately I did not.

Next up is this fall themed metal basket that I found at the thrift store.

I don’t know where this came from originally, but my guess is Hobby Lobby, or somewhere similar.  Have you noticed that items like this from Hobby Lobby often look like they were created by someone for whom English is a 2nd language?  Is it just me?  Do you know anyone who calls it a “pumpkins patch”?

Well, regardless, the graphic itself was a little cheap looking anyway.  So I sanded it down and then painted the bucket using Dixie Belle’s Anchor.  I then added one of the JRV mini stencils to the front of the bucket.

My neighbor asked me to help her put together a gift basket for her boss.  She provided the fillings.

I decided to work with the gorgeous amber color of the bourbon by adding some brown tissue paper.

I dressed it up a little using the I.O.D. Crockery stamp and some VersaFine Clair ink in Pinecone.

There were a few gift cards and smaller items to be included so I decided to tuck those into a drawstring burlap bag.  My friend Sue had given me a stack of these bags knowing that I could dress them up.

I used a few of the 6″ x 6″ stencils that I’d purchased for the kid sized shovel that I shared a week or so ago.  They ended up being the perfect size for these bags too.

With the addition of a cheese serving plate and a book with tips on pairing wines and cheeses, the gift basket was complete.

I always enjoy pulling gift baskets like this together, how about you?

I hope I’ve given you an idea or two for your next gift basket!

embracing the dark side.

Phew!  I don’t know about you, but I am so done with Christmas projects.  Part of my problem is that I have to start really early (usually in September) in order to get everything done by November.  Well, at least for projects that I am planning to sell.  I always feel like I need to have everything ready to go by the first week in November or I’ve missed the boat.

So by the time Christmas actually gets here, I’m more than ready to move on.  I know many of you probably leave your decorations up through the New Year, but I tend to start taking them down right away.  I’m always champing at the bit to get everything cleared away.

So, while I’m working on that, I thought I’d share my latest lock box makeover.

This one started out pretty rusty and crusty.

I gave it the usual prep; a good sanding to remove any chippy bits and smooth out the rusty spots followed by cleaning with a grease cutting detergent.  Once it was thoroughly dry, I coated it inside and out with Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S. to block any future bleed thru of rust or dark stains.

Next I painted it inside and out in Dixie Belle’s Silk paint in Anchor.  The Silk line of their paint has a built in primer and top coat, so although I usually prefer to use their chalk style paint on metal, I thought I’d give the Silk paint a go this time.

I have to admit that I was planning to go in a totally different direction with the embellishments on this one.  I was going to use the I.O.D. Rose Chintz paint inlay on the top.  But first I pulled out a left over scrap of gold lettering from the re.design with prima Flower Collector transfer and added it around the bottom of the box.

I have to admit that initially I didn’t like the look at all.  I was even considering just sanding it down and starting over.  I definitely felt like I was stepping outside my comfort zone of Dixie Belle Drop Cloth and black typography.  But then I decided to just keep going and see what happened, and I’m glad I did.

The first thing I did was add a coat of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat over the gold lettering.  That went a long way towards toning down that halo around the letters that always shows up so much more distinctly over dark colors.

Next, I changed my mind about the Rose Chintz inlay.  I felt like it just wouldn’t work with the gold lettering.  I needed something a little darker, a little moodier.  Maybe a little less sweet.

After going through all of my floral transfers, I decided that I.O.D.’s Floral Anthology was the best option.

The florals in this transfer are outlined and shaded with fine black lines and cross hatching which makes it work perfectly over black paint.

After adding another coat of the Dixie Bell flat clear coat to the exterior for protection, I decided that I needed to add a pop of color to the interior rather than leaving it black.  So I painted it in a custom mix of Dixie Belle’s Silk paint.

I mixed this paint up quite a while ago.  At the time I was trying to come close to Annie Sloan’s Scandinavian Pink.

I’d seen Scandinavian Pink on a dresser at a shop out in Henderson, NV while visiting my mom and I thought it was so pretty.  I think I came fairly close with my custom mix of Dixie Belle Silk paint.  I didn’t measure, I just kept adding a little of this and a little of that until it felt right.  I started with mainly their Desert Rose, but it had a slightly cooler/bluer undertone.  So I added some of their Mojave to warm it up.  Then I added a little Drop Cloth to lighten it up just slightly.

I was planning to use the color on the interior of a cabinet that I painted back in February, but I ended up going with an olive green on that instead.  So I pulled out my faux Scandinavian Pink for the lock box.

Since I’d used Silk paint with its built-in top coat on the inside, I didn’t feel that I needed to add an additional top coat.  However, I did end up top coating the exterior because of the addition of the transfers, so I could just as well have used the chalk style paint for the outside.

I staged this as a sewing box.  It would be a convenient place to store your extra buttons, needles and thread, and other sewing paraphernalia.

In the end, I’m glad I decided to go ahead and embrace the dark side.

It’s always good to try something different and just see where it takes you.

That being said, I’ve already gone back to using Drop Cloth. as well at that Rose Chintz paint inlay, on the next toolbox I’m working on.  I’m sure I’ll be sharing that one soon, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, this lock box is for sale.  Be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale’ if you are interested.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint and top coat used on this lockbox makeover.

a beautiful white Christmas.

Merry Christmas dear readers!

Since Christmas just happens to fall on a Sunday this year, I thought I would take advantage and bring you a holiday greeting from the garden.  Once again, not technically my garden, but a garden.

The Sunken Garden in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park does a different holiday display every year.  This year they went all white.

Well, white and green anyway.

Of course there were lots of white poinsettias, plus other flowers that I think of as typical Christmas plants like paperwhites …

and amaryllis.

They also used plants that I think of as typical summer annuals in our area like euphorbia and dusty miller.

Plus, there were plants that I think of as potted plants like the little lemon cypress trees, and white kalanchoe.

I find an all white color scheme very serene and peaceful.

I’ve often thought about adding a white garden to my yard.  White flowers really pop in a shady area, or in the moonlight at night.  Some options for white flowers in a shade garden include impatiens (of course), white bleeding heart, lily of the valley, astilbe, snow drops, bloodroot, sweet woodruff, foam flower and anemones.  There are so many to choose from!

But if you’re not a lover of the all white look, you might enjoy last year’s red, orange and yellow theme at the conservatory a bit more …

What do you think?  Are you a fan of the serene all-white look, or do you prefer a lot more color?

Leave a comment and let me know.  But in the meantime, happy holidays to you and yours.  I hope you are enjoying a serene and peaceful holiday season, or possibly a vibrant, colorful one … whichever one works best for you!

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.

sometimes size matters.

I hate to say it, but sometimes size really does matter.  Especially when it comes to using stencils.

I do most (all?) of my stenciling on vintage items, like this kid sized shovel …

or old wooden boxes.

Old doctor’s bags …

or vintage suitcases.

One of the things I often struggle with is finding the right size stencil to fit on my item.

This is especially a problem with the sleds.

Trying to find a stencil where the typography fits onto those narrow slats can be a real challenge.

My solution is to use bits and pieces of wording from various stencils for those.

I also often mask off stencils and use a smaller section of the stencil on something, like I did on this toy truck.

One of the reasons I really like wallcutz stencils is that you can order them in different sizes to fit your item.  I especially appreciate the larger sizes which work really well for turning headboards or foot boards into signs.

But I couldn’t find just the right thing from wallcutz to fit onto a vintage kid’s snow shovel that my friend Sue found for me.  I only had about 7″ square to work with.

I also looked through all of the stencils I already owned and none of them were quite right.  I debated using one of my mini stencils from JRV Stencils.  I really like the Kroger stencil, and that would have fit nicely.

But the theme wasn’t right for a snow shovel.

So I decided to head to Amazon and see what I could find that would fit.  There were lots of options for really small stencils that would fit a 3″ x 3″ wooden ornament, and I found a few stencils that I liked that were 8″ square, or 10″ square.  After a bit of time searching, I ended up finding a packet of 6″ x 6″ stencils that included one that said ‘let it snow’.

I did a little prep work on my shovel before stenciling.  I cleaned it well and then added a couple of coats of spray sealer to the blade.  It was pretty rusty and since I planned to use this as outside décor, I wanted to protect the remaining green paint.

I stenciled the design using Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  Once it was done, I decided it needed just a little oomph of something to give it more depth so I added some shading free-hand using DB’s Putty.

I haven’t actually done it yet, but I plan to add a couple of coats of flat sealer to protect the stenciling too.

When I shared the first kid sized shovel I painted back in November, I mentioned that I had this second shovel that I planned to keep for myself.

For now I’ve staged it out on the deck, but I plan to find a spot where I can hang it from the handle … maybe on the potting shed.  Since this is more of a winter decoration, rather than strictly a Christmas decoration, I can certainly display it for several more months.  I think I’ll hang it in place of the Christmas themed sled that is currently hanging on the door.

What do you think?

winter interest in the garden.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the movie A Christmas Story.  You know that scene where Ralphie wakes up on Christmas Day and looks out the window to find it has snowed over night to create a magical winter wonderland?  I always feel that same sense of magic when I wake up to find that it snowed overnight, as I did last Wednesday night (and Thursday night, and Friday night).

This was the view from our bedroom window when I got up on Thursday.

I’m not sure my photo does it justice, it really was magical.  It got even better on Friday.

So I thought this might be a great time to bring you a Sunday morning in the garden post, winter version.

Most of the garden vloggers that I watch on YouTube have been talking about adding winter interest to the garden lately.  I have to admit that I’ve never really given ‘winter interest’ much thought in the summer when I’m planting.

So most of my winter interest plants are totally coincidental.  The many hydrangeas that I’ve planted for their fabulous flowers, also look quite pretty after a snowfall.

Even my dismal failure of a lilac hedge adds some decent winter interest.

Otherwise, most of the ‘interest’ in my winter garden comes from the trees.

Or the garden ornaments.

Things like statues, trellises, and obelisks are a quick and easy way to add interest to the winter garden, although not necessarily the cheapest way.

Another recommendation for adding winter interest is to leave attractive seed heads on plants like echinacea (coneflower), astilbe and bee balm.  I have those perennials, but in our climate they pretty much first get battered by a heavy snow, and then buried in it.  They work better for autumn interest rather than winter interest here.

We need to rely on sturdier options in Minnesota like evergreens, or shrubs with winter color like winterberries or red twig dogwood.  They can stand up to a couple feet of snow.  And the red of the winterberries and dogwood look especially amazing in the snow.

But until I get some red things planted, I will have to just admire how the red paint job on the carriage house really pops in a snowy landscape.

How about you?  Do you have any recommendations for adding winter interest to a garden?  Or perhaps you enjoy living in a perpetually green climate.  Leave a comment and let us know!