a pair of motel chairs.

I showed you guys a terribly blurry photo of my haul from the Prospect Park sales last week.

I’m afraid this will have to do for a ‘before’ photo of the pair of motel chairs that I found there because I never took a better one.  It’s a bit hard to tell, but they were painted brown.  What’s with the brown anyway?  The planters I shared on Monday were originally brown too, but from an entirely different garage sale.

Anyway, I mainly snatched these up because they were super cheap and thus too good to pass up.  Once I got them home I realized I didn’t have a spot for them and would most likely sell them.

I knew I wanted to paint them, and I thought spray paint would be the easiest option.  Since I happened to have a bunch of black spray paint on hand, I decided to go black.  I also felt black would be a neutral choice that would sell well.

This is RustOleum Canyon Black in a satin finish.  And even with the satin finish I feel like they are just a bit too shiny for my taste.  Plus the sheen isn’t perfectly even, which bothers me.

But I went ahead and moved on anyway, adding one of my favorite stencils to the backs of the chairs.

I used my normal trick of stenciling in a color called Deep Taupe, which is actually a dark greige color but reads much lighter when used over black.  This worked beautifully on my baby grand …

But I think the sheen of the spray paint is messing with that combination.  At certain angles it’s hard to even tell that these chairs have a stencil on them.

I don’t know, maybe that subtlety works for them?

Or should I spray over them and try again with a lighter color?  or maybe a different stencil entirely?

It would be simple enough to do.

Or am I just being too critical of my own work (which has been known to happen)?

Go ahead and share your thoughts on that with me in a comment.

Fair warning though, I’m on the road today with my mom and sister.  My cell connection might be a bit spotty so I may not be responding to comments right away.  We are heading to South Dakota to visit my mom’s cousins for the 4th of July holiday.

Speaking of which, my simple staging of these photos was supposed to represent the holiday in question.

I’ve got the red, white and blue colors right, plus the Country Living American Style book.  But I have to laugh because I’ve paired it with French lemonade and a German stencil on the chairs.  What can I say?  I fully embrace all nationalities.

That being said, Happy 4th of July to my U.S. readers!

a pair of rusty planters.

Have you ever priced those fabulous rusty old cast iron planters?  Like this pair …

These are available online at The Garden Vault for $850.

So gorgeous, and so totally out of my price range.  That’s why I’m really excited about the Patina Paint products from Dixie Belle.  I got nearly that same look for a fraction of the price.

Of course, in my case it helped that I first found a pair of planters at a garage sale for $30.  But you can find similar planters at Wayfair for about $35 each.

These are made out of that molded composite stuff.  Here’s a close up so you can get a better look.

It looks like concrete, but it’s not.

Their existing blah brown paint job was definitely not doing them any favors, but the moment I saw them I knew they were the perfect candidates for a rusty finish using the Patina Paint.

For this project I used the Iron paint and the Green spray.

Since my planters were already painted, I didn’t need to give them a base coat.  However, if you are starting from bare plastic, wood, plaster or glass you’ll want to start with a base coat of any color of Dixie Belle paint.  If you’re using the Patina Paint over metal you’ll want to be sure to use the Prime Start instead of paint.  The Prime Start prevents the rusty finish from actually deteriorating your metal.

But I was able to skip those steps with my composite planters.  All I had to do was clean them and then paint the Iron paint right over the existing brown paint.Be sure to mix the paint well before applying it.  This paint contains actual flakes of metal that create the rusty finish.  They will settle to the bottom of the jar over time, so be sure to get them mixed up before you begin.

I painted one coat, let it dry and then added a 2nd coat.  While the 2nd coat was still wet, I sprayed the planter with the Green spray.  This can be messy and a little smelly, so I prefer working with these products outside.  If that’s not an option, keep in mind that this spray will drip so protect the surface you are working on and also protect yourself with any recommended safety equipment.

The next part is easy, (unless you’re the impatient, instant gratification sort, not pointing any fingers here, except possibly at myself) just wait.  It took about two days for my planters to look like this …

Kinda hard to tell these aren’t genuinely rusty iron planters, don’t you think?

I was able to snag a pair of matching flower baskets for my planters from my local nursery (Country Sun in Stillwater in case any of you locals are wondering) at their close out sale.

This late in the season it was a bonus to find a matching pair.

The planters are perfect for either side of the steps up to our deck.

If you look closely, you can see my favorite photo bomber (my cat, Lucy) peeking out the screen door.

You can also see the Adirondack chairs that my handyman/neighbor Ken makes.  Quite a few years ago nnK had the most comfortable Adirondack chair and she wanted another one like it but a little wider and with wider arms that could easily hold a beverage, so Ken simply took her chair apart and made a pattern from it with a few adjustments.  Now he cranks these chairs out all the time.  He hates to paint though, so he sells them unfinished.  I originally painted mine with a brush, but that ended up being far too putzy with all of those slats so now I spray paint them.

This is Rust-Oleum spray paint in a color called Eden.

This color works just beautifully with my house color, and also with my nearby plantings.

Especially the bright chartreuse of the Sun Power hosta (to the left of the fairy garden bird bath in this next photo) and the Guacamole hosta (lower right corner).

Since we’re out in the garden now, let’s take a look around.

Here’s how my fairy garden is looking this year …

For protection over the winter, I bury the entire top of the birdbath in the garden near the house.  Last winter was a rough one though.  So a few things in the fairy garden didn’t make it, including a couple of miniature hostas and miniature evergreen.

My gardening style can best be described as ‘jam packed’.  I figure if I don’t leave any space for them, the weeds won’t grow.  It really does work fairly well.  Not all plants are happy this way, so when one starts looking a bit peaky I’ll dig it up and move it somewhere else.  Or just dig it up and give it away.

Over the years I’ve gotten rid of plants that are just too persnickety for me too.  If they don’t grow well with little human intervention, then they have to hit the road.

I’ve written about the window box along the front of my house before.  Every year I try different combinations in it (here and here are a couple from past years).  This year I have a medley of coleus, some white impatiens, purple oxalis, and a fun new variegated sweet potato vine.

I stuck with some old favorites in my copper boiler planter though, lemon slice petunias and daisies.

Here’s a quick update for you on my picnic basket planter.

If you’ll remember, I added a Prima Marketing transfer to it and I’m testing out how well it holds up outdoors for the season.  So far, so good.  It was getting rained on as I took that photo, and it has also spent some time baking in the sun and the transfer still looks as good as new.  The basket itself is rusting quite a bit though.

And, P.S., as you can see I found a spot for one of the plates I purchased at the Prospect Park sales 😉

So, back to my pair of rusty planters.

How about some math?  Sorry, some of you probably hate math but the accountant in me can’t resist.  I could have spent $850 for the pair of antique planters from The Garden Vault, but instead I spent $30 on my pair of garage sale planters.  Dixie Belle provided me with the Iron Patina Paint and the Green spray for free, but had I purchased them they would have cost me $16.95 each.  So for around $64 I have a pair of rusty planters that look pretty spectacular.  Plus I used less than half of the Iron paint and probably not even 1/3 of the Green spray, so I have plenty left to create more rusty garden treasures!

If you’re looking to purchase some Patina Paint, you can shop online with them here.

Normally this is the time when I say ‘if you are a local and need a pair of rusty planters …’, but I’m definitely keeping these.  So I would encourage you to try the Patina Paint on some planters yourself!

the french peony bed.

My neighbor, nnK (that stands for ‘new neighbor Karen’ because when she moved in across the street we already had a Karen next door.  Granted, that Karen died a couple of years later and now there is just one Karen, but nnK stuck) found this bed free at the curb for me sometime last year.

I’m not a huge fan of waterfall style furniture, plus I always find that it’s rather cheaply constructed.  I think waterfall furniture was the IKEA of its day.  Inexpensive and mass produced.  But the price was right (ie. free) so I decided to see what I could do with it.

Before I started with the fun part though, Ken had to cut some replacement trim pieces for the bottom of the foot board.  He made quick work of that (that part was already done in my ‘before’ photo, see arrows in photo above).  Then we also worked together to re-glue the foot board because the sides were coming apart.

Next came the fun part.  I did my usual prep work and then painted the pieces in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth using my new favorite paint brush.

This is Dixie Belle’s Flat Medium synthetic brush and it costs $25 on their website.  I’m going to be honest with you guys, I’ve tried a lot of different paint brushes in a lot of different price ranges and so far none of them have particularly impressed me.  I like many of them for waxing, but not necessarily for painting.  But I really love painting with this brush.  I don’t know if it’s the ‘highest quality Dupont synthetic blend filaments’ or what, but I think this one is worth the money.  It just makes the paint flow smooth like butta’.

Anyway, next I taped off some 4″ stripes and painted them with Dixie Belle’s Sand Bar.  If you want more info on painting stripes, check out my more detailed how-to post.

Once the paint was dry, I added portions of two different Prima Marketing transfers, Somewhere in France and Lavender Bush.

The headboard got the lettering section from Somewhere in France and a little flower accent from Lavender Bush.

The foot board just got some flowers from Lavender Bush.  I cut out three different groupings of flowers from the transfer and overlapped them a bit to create my design.  I just wanted to point that out in case you are looking at that transfer and thinking ‘why do I not see that particular grouping of flowers?  Is this really the right one?’

I’m not at all sure why this transfer is called Lavender Bush.  I don’t see any lavender (to be specific, I mean the plant and not the color, but there is that pretty blue-purple color that could potentially be called lavender I guess).  I am thinking that some of those pink and white flowers are peonies though, so it seemed apropos to stage the photos with some real peonies from my garden.

I’m so glad I did because I took these photos last Sunday and since then the peonies have all fizzled out.  They come and go so quickly!

Initially I wasn’t planning to go quite so feminine and pretty with the design on this bed, but in the end I think I made the right choice.  It really turned out sweet, don’t you think?

Once again, as with most vintage beds, this is a full or double sized bed.  You could easily modify it to fit a queen bed with the extenders available at places like Rockler.  I do have the metal side rails and wooden slats that go with the bed, but I didn’t pull them out for the photos.

Thank you to Dixie Belle for providing the paint for this project and to Prima Marketing for providing the transfers.

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

If you’re wondering where to buy the Dixie Belle Drop Cloth or Sand Bar, you can shop with them directly online or find a retailer near you.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a pretty French peony bed, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

breakfast and lunch.

I purchased one of those IKEA Bekvam step stools at a garage sale a few weeks back.  Normally I’m not a fan of IKEA furniture, but in this case the price was right (at $3).  I knew it would be cute painted up.

I have to admit though, I wasn’t expecting to blog about this one.  I just thought I’d paint it quick and take it to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell.  Nothing fancy, it would be an easy project.  So I didn’t really take a ‘before’ picture of it, but then it turned out so fantastic that I had to share it with you guys.

So now I’m borrowing a ‘before’ photo from the web.  Try imagining this stool, but dirtier and marred with some spots of paint (it must have been used in a workshop) …

I wanted to paint the entire thing using Fusion’s Buttermilk Cream.  This is my favorite shade of pale yellow.

But when I pulled out my jar of this color it had only the smallest amount of paint left at the bottom.  So sad.

Therefore I just used the Buttermilk Cream on the tops of the stool, and I used Fusion’s Limestone on the legs.  These two colors make a lovely combo, I’ve used them before on a couple of pieces.

Once the paint was dried I pulled out Prima Marketing’s new Re.Design transfer called Delicious Menu.

I used parts of this transfer last week to dress up an old metal picnic basket and a couple of other things like this old enamelware coffee pot.

I simply pieced together different words that would fit on the stool and make some kind of sense.

Once I got started I couldn’t seem to stop.

What can I say, I just love adding words to things.

Super cute, am I right?

One last bit of info.  I often see people asking what is used to ‘seal’ the transfers.  I use different things depending on what paint I’ve used.  In this case, since Fusion is so durable and has its own built in top coat, I just add a little bit of Fusion clear wax over the transfer itself and over the raw edges where I sanded the paint away to distress the piece.

So how about you, are you a fan of things with words on them?  What do you think of this Bekvam stool update?

prospecting for gold.

I can’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but the weekend before last was a total bust for garage sale finds.  My sister and I went to the Nokomis neighborhood sales.  Usually Nokomis is fabulous for us.  Not only have I found amazing things there, like this haul of vintage cameras from 2015 …

But Nokomis is also the neighborhood where our parents grew up, so it has some sentimental appeal.

This year it was a total bust though.  I came home with very little.  Most of the sales were really junky.  I’m always tempted to hand out flyers for a trash hauling service when the sales are that bad.

After that experience I was a little reluctant to head out again this past Saturday, especially when the forecast called for rain.  Plus the only neighborhood sale I could find was Prospect Park and there were only 26 sales (not the 80+ of my usual neighborhood sales).

However, this was the last weekend of sales before the July hiatus.  Neighborhood sales won’t pick up again until mid-August.  So I thought we should just go for it.  As an added bonus, not only was Prospect Park having their neighborhood garage sale but they combined it with a free garden tour (there was also a home tour, but you had to buy a ticket of some kind so we skipped that part).

Basically not only did we get to dig through people’s cast off items looking for treasures, but we also had free reign to snoop around in their gardens too.

I can’t even think of a better way to spend the morning, can you?

Especially when the neighborhood in question looks like this.

And as it turned out, it never did rain.  Instead it was sunny and the perfect temperature (around 70).

Our strategy was to hit all of the sales first, and then take the garden tour.  That did have us retracing our route for some parts of the garden tour, but the early bird gets the worm at garage sales so we couldn’t be lingering in any gardens until after the sales.

We mostly filled up my sister’s SUV.  Unfortunately I only have one bad, blurry photo to share of everything we found.

I accidentally switched off the Auto Focus on my camera without realizing it.  Oops.

But you can sort of see that I found a pair of old motel chairs, a pretty little walnut washstand and some fun galvanized pieces.

I also purchased a trio old canning jars …

They didn’t actually have any lids, but I just happened to buy a set of 5 zinc Ball jar lids at the junky Nokomis sales the prior week.  It’s as if it was meant to be.

I don’t know much about old Ball jars, but I’m pretty sure these are quite old based on the shape and the quality of the glass.  I found an online article on how to date a Ball jar, but it only helped with one of my jars.

Apparently the block letters for “BALL” were only used from 1895 to 1896.

If there are any mason jar experts out there and you know anything about these jars, I’d love for you to leave a comment!

I also purchased this Perfection Clothes Drier.

If you aren’t familiar with what this is, you hang it on the wall as shown and then when you want to dry clothes, the ‘arms’ lift up horizontally to the floor and you can hang wet clothes on them.

I’m going to clean it up and then carry it around my house looking for the perfect spot to hang it.  If I can’t find one, then I’ll take it to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell.

I also couldn’t resist a random pile of pretty plates.  What can I say?  It’s a sickness.

I already have a stack of pretty plates that I don’t know what to do with out in the photo cottage.  Last year I sold quite a few plates with words on them at Reclaiming Beautiful, but this year they aren’t selling at all.  They look adorable tucked into a planter or window box, see …

This will be the 4th season that I’ve had this one in my copper boiler planter and it is holding up perfectly.

I may have to try coming up with some sort of marketing idea so people realize that these plates aren’t meant to display in a cabinet, but rather to stuff into a planter or hang outside in the garden.

I’ve already added words to one of them using Prima Marketing’s Words to Live By transfer set …

But I may just have to keep the platter with the simple blue edge.

Isn’t it pretty paired with some ironstone?

You may have noticed that oval framed photo on the chair in the first blurry photo of my haul from Prospect Park.  I’m generally not a huge fan of those typical old portraits that are framed like this, but take a closer look at this one.

Isn’t that awesome?  I kinda want to live there, don’t you?

I’m going to clean it up and possibly paint the frame and then we’ll see what happens with this one.  Will I find a spot for it, or will I have to let it go?

And more importantly, will I manage to avoid breaking that convex glass in the process?

After we filled up the SUV, we checked out the gardens and continued to admire this lovely neighborhood.

I also noticed that the map showed a Frank Lloyd Wright house in the neighborhood so we decided to check that out before heading home.

The Willey House was built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1934.  It’s a privately owned home, and unfortunately wasn’t participating in the garden tour so we couldn’t go snooping around like we wanted to.  It was still interesting to see just this much of it though and to read about it online.

My sister and I definitely had a great time prospecting for gold in Prospect Park.  We may not have found any actual gold, but we certainly came home with some fab finds.  This neighborhood is definitely going back on the list for next year!

the botanical cupboard.

I’ve been painting furniture for a very long time.  Since the early 90’s in fact, when Rachel Ashwell made painted furniture a hot commodity.  This was way before I knew about things like chalk paint or milk paint.  Back then I painted everything with plain old latex, including my black cupboard which has been used in a couple of different spots in my house, most recently on the front porch.

It made a great display piece for my vintage camera non-collection.

But then last winter I restyled my living room and I moved a bunch of my cameras into the shelves in there which left the black cupboard mostly empty.

That had me feeling all Marie-Kondo-ish.  You know, discard everything that doesn’t spark joy.  And I thought, gosh, maybe I’ll just touch up the paint and sell this cupboard because it no longer brings me joy.

Then Prima Marketing sent me those samples of their new Summer 2019 release transfers including this one called Beautiful Botanist.

Now let me preface this next part by saying I’ve never particularly been a fan of the idea of using a transfer inside a cupboard with glass doors.  I’ve always thought that doing so makes the cupboard less useful.  After all, the purpose of the glass doors is to allow you to display something inside on the shelves.  And putting stuff on the shelves pretty much blocks whatever is behind it, right?

But, as you know, my motto is never say never.  Just when I’m convinced that I’m right about something like this I generally manage to prove myself wrong.

So I decided to try this transfer at the back of the black cupboard to give it a little more personality before selling it.

First things first, I repainted the inside of the cupboard.  The shade of grey that I used the last time I painted it had a bit too much green in it.  I’m afraid I can’t really tell you what the color is that I replaced it with, it’s a custom mix of chalk paint that I had left over from a previous project.  I felt like this color would work well with the transfer.

Applying the transfer was just a bit complicated because the shelves in this cupboard are not removable.  The transfer comes in 3 pieces though, and I used it that way here.  I had to trim just a little bit off the middle piece and several inches off the bottom piece.  But because of those shelves, you really can’t tell that any of the design is missing.

Application was further complicated by the fact that the back of the cupboard is not flat.

I solved that problem by using a razor blade to slice the transfer vertically on either side of each raised section (like I did with the picnic basket I shared a while back).

The application of this transfer would have been a lot easier if I’d had Prima’s new Transfer Tool.

I didn’t get the package with the tool in it until after I’d already finished this cupboard though.  I have used it since I got it though and it’s pretty slick.

Once I had the transfer in place, I was contemplating what to use to stage the photos of the cupboard.  I wanted something that would work with the botanical theme of the transfer, and then I remembered my clay pots.  Perfect!

I also added a few old books, a rusty garden ornament and an old wooden radio.

As I was playing around with stuff, I was loving the way it looked more and more.

In fact, dare I say it?  It was even starting to spark a little joy.

And then I noticed the piece de resistance … did you already notice it?

Yep, there it is.  Our name.  Just like it was meant to be.

So, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m going to keep this cupboard on my front porch after all.

I added a couple of vintage suitcases to the lower shelves, and they fit perfectly.

I ended up having to take the glass out of the doors to get some good photos without glare, and I think I love it even more this way.

As for whether or not it’s worthwhile to put a transfer in the back of a cupboard, I’ll let you judge for yourself.

But personally, I am loving it so much that now I have to keep this one.

Thank you to Prima Marketing for sharing this new transfer with me.  If you’re wondering where to buy this transfer or the transfer tool, check out Prima’s ‘where to buy‘ page.

out to lunch.

I’m sharing another of the brand new 2019 Summer release transfers from Prima Marketing’s Re.design line today.  This one is called Delicious Menu.

This is definitely another one of those transfers that you can use on a ton of different projects, much like one of my other favorites, Everyday Farmhouse.

Just think of the possibilities!

In fact, I’ve already pulled together three quick and easy projects using this one, so let’s get started shall we?

First, I picked up this vintage metal picnic basket at a garage sale last year sometime.  I love these old metal baskets.

This one was in kinda rough shape though.  A bit rusty and crusty.  Which is probably why it was only $2.

Initially I thought I would just sell it ‘as is’ as a planter (because obviously, how cute would this be filled with red geraniums?), but after I received this transfer I knew I could add a little bit more.

It was super simple to cut out the sections I wanted to use and rub them onto the basket.

Next, I added some holes to the bottom of the basket so that it would have good drainage for plants.  It’s easy to do this with a drill, if you have one, but you can also just pound a nail in which is just as quick (or even quicker if the battery on your cordless drill is dead).

Then I just filled the container up with some potting soil and some pretty annuals.

I see a lot of people online asking whether or not the transfers will hold up outside, and also wondering whether or not you have to seal them with something.  I don’t like to give advice on that sort of thing without testing it first myself.  So, I’ve decided to keep this basket now and see how it holds up over the summer.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I’m keeping it because it’s frickin’ adorable.

I can already tell you that I’ve had this outside since the end of May and so far so good.  I didn’t seal it with anything.  In my opinion it’s more likely that the basket itself will rust out and fall apart sooner than the transfer comes off.  But we’ll see.  I’ll keep you posted on that.

But my philosophy is this.  I paid $2 for the basket.  The section of the transfer that I used on it would be about $2 too (assuming you use the rest of the transfer on other pieces).  So I’ve got a whopping $4 invested in the container.  Meanwhile, I spent about $30 on the annuals I planted in it and I know they are only going to last a year.  Therefore, who cares if the transfer doesn’t last?  Or if the metal rusts out?  I can toss the whole thing at the end of the season.

Next up is a super simple makeover.  I just added ‘Fresh Roast’ to a vintage enamelware coffee pot.

Doesn’t that just seriously add a lot more character?  And so quick and easy to do.

Last is another really quick and easy update.  I added the word ‘CAFE’ to this straw dispenser.

As it turns out, not so easy to capture that word on a curved surface with a two dimensional photo, but you get the idea.

I used this transfer on one more really cute piece that I’ll be sharing with you guys next week, so be sure to stay tuned.

Thank you to Prima Marketing for sharing the Delicious Menu transfer with me.  If you’re wondering where to buy it, check out Prima’s ‘where to buy‘ page.