A while back my sister, niece and I took a Friday off work just for the heck of it.  We visited a few cute shops, had lunch at a fabulous spot in Stillwater (Brick & Bourbon where the whiskey & cola shaved beef was amazing), and ended up at Selma’s in Afton for some ice cream.  And all along the way we stopped at garage sales whenever we saw a sign.

We actually started out at a barn sale that we’d gone to last year as well.  It was one of the first sales I made it to last year after all of my regular spring neighborhood sales were canceled.

I bought a handful of things at the sale including this cool vintage camera to add to my non-collection (“non-” because I’m in denial that I collect anything) …

I get a little chuckle out of the ‘miniature’ name.  Here’s a comparison of this one to my truly miniature vintage camera …

The Falcon is about 5″ across.  For its day (1939), I’m betting it was considered quite small though.  I really just choose the additions to my non-collection based on looks.  I couldn’t care less about things like value, or how rare something is.  In this case, I loved the graphics around the lens.

I also picked up the frame to a dresser mirror at the barn sale.  It was pretty beat up, filthy dirty and the mirror was long gone.  But the price was right, so I grabbed it.  Unfortunately, once again I neglected to get a before photo.  Drat!  You’ll just have to use your imagination.

I cleaned it up, re-glued the joints, and as I was contemplating what color to paint it I realized that I kind of liked the look of the original dark stain.  So I decided to try something a little bit different this time around.  Instead of painting the frame, I gave it a light sanding to remove any loose bits of finish and then I refreshed it with some of Dixie Belle’s No Pain Gel Stain in Walnut.

I’d used this stain before on more of a bare wood surface, but this time I just wiped it right over the lightly sanded original finish on this frame using an old t-shirt.

This is the moment when I really wish I had a ‘before’ photo so I could show you the difference.  It was more of a subtle sprucing up rather than a dramatic change.

Gel stain sits on the top of a surface rather than soaking into it like traditional stains.  For that reason you can use it over an existing finish without removing every trace of the original top coat.  In this case it just sorted of blended everything a bit.

Once I’d let the gel stain dry for a couple of days (it’s an oil based product and takes longer to dry than water based products) I added part of re.design with prima’s Somewhere in France transfer to the bottom.

Then I used clear wax over the entire frame to give it a tiny bit of sheen.  I followed up by adding a piece of hardboard in place of the mirror.  I turned that board into a chalkboard simply by painting it with Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky, then sanding it with 220 grit paper and not adding any sort of top coat to it.

And there you have it …

What do you think?

Are you on board with my decision to leave this one unpainted?  Or would you have preferred to see it painted?

I really enjoy taking something that many people would have thrown in the burn pile and turning it into something worthwhile again.  It’s so satisfying.

I think it would be perfect for a kitchen or dining room.  You could write your menu on the chalkboard when entertaining.  Or maybe you could just keep your grocery list on it.  If I had the wall space, I’d keep it myself.  But since I don’t, it’s for sale.  If any of you locals are interested, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the No Pain Gel Stain and Midnight Sky paint, and to re.design with prima for supplying the Somewhere in France transfer.

the belles fluers suitcase.

Remember that I told you my neighbor, nnK, brought me some suitcases?  They were from her uncle’s estate sale in Iowa.

One of them was a simple (i.e. inexpensive) cardboard-ish suitcase with a plastic handle.  I’m not really sure how these were constructed, but they seem to be paper applied over a wood and cardboard sort of frame.

Anyway, here’s the before …

Technically that’s not a true ‘before’ shot because I had already cleaned it up before taking it.  But you get the idea, just picture it a bit dirtier.

After cleaning it up, I decide I really quite liked the look of the beat up paper surface and I didn’t want to paint this one.  So I decided to just play around with some new IOD transfers that I purchased recently.

So I pulled out the Floral Anthology transfer.

Sorry, I stole that image off the web and it doesn’t even come close to doing justice to these transfers.  But hopefully you get the idea.  With the Floral Anthology set you get 4 sheets of transfers and they can be combined any way your heart desires.  In my case, I just started cutting the different elements apart and then placing them on my suitcase to create a sort of floral border.

Once I had the floral pieces in place, I added the wording from the IOD Label Ephemera transfer.

The sort of faded look of the Floral Anthology transfer was just perfect over the beat up suitcase.

I struggled just a little bit with getting the transfer to stick to the flaking paper suitcase in some spots.  The paper would come up with the transfer, rather than the transfer sticking to the suitcase.  But I figured out that if I put down a coat of flat clear sealer from Dixie Belle, let that dry, and then tried again in those spots it worked like a charm.

So, in hindsight, I realize it would have worked better to seal the suitcase with the flat clear coat first and then add the transfer.  I’m going to try to remember that for next time.  You know, should I ever happen to be adding a transfer to an old cardboard-ish suitcase again.

But even though there might technically be a flaw here and there, overall it turned out fabulous.

I really don’t think anyone would even notice that it’s not precisely perfect.

This really is just meant as a decorative piece.  You could place it on top of a cupboard, on the floor at the foot of your bed, or just in front of your dress forms.  You could easily use it to store some of your off-season shoes, or maybe your Christmas decorations (that’s what I do with my vintage suitcases).

This was really just a super satisfying project to work on.  It just took adding a few transfers to really make this suitcase feel like something special.

As much as I’m tempted to keep this one, I’m going to be selling it.  If any of you locals are interested, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.


the farm fresh shelf.

My picker found this shelf for me at a garage sale earlier this year.

This is one of the those farmhouse/country/rustic style pieces where I feel like you just have to go with that style rather than trying to change it.  So I decided to just embrace it by using the Out on the Farm transfer from re.design with prima.

When I pulled the transfer out of the tube, I was surprised to find that it had changed since the first time I used this particular design.  That was back in June of 2019 when I used just half of the transfer on this washstand

At that time the complete transfer I had looked like this …

I had ordered another one of this design back when I was a content creator for re.design with prima, so I can’t say exactly how long I’ve had it in my stash, but this 2nd one looks like this …

So, go figure.  I guess they changed it.  Who knew?

Well, probably people who were paying attention knew, but clearly I was not paying attention.

I thought I’d share that little piece of info with you guys in case any of you weren’t paying attention either.  And by the way, I did find both versions of this transfer available from various vendors on Etsy.  So if you’re ordering one, that would be the time to be sure and pay attention to which one you want 😉

The one thing I wished I’d done differently on that washstand two years ago was to paint it in a shade of white that blended better with the background color of the transfer.

Not that it looked bad, but I would have preferred it to blend a little bit more at the edges.

However, that washstand came already painted and I simply added the transfer.  But this time around I chose to paint my shelf in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy.  It’s more of an off white with a very grey undertone, and it ended up working beautifully with the transfer.

Before we go any further, let’s address the elephant in the room.  That is, putting a transfer on the inside back of a cupboard.

I used to be rather opposed to that idea.  I felt like it was a waste since you’d be covering up most of the transfer with items on the shelves.  But then I put a transfer inside my own cabinet out on my front porch …

And I loved how that turned out.  Also, the usually suppressed minimalist in me appreciates having less clutter on those shelves.

Instead of filling up the shelves completely, you can showcase just a few special items while allowing the transfer to peek through.

I think it works.

As you can see in my photos, after painting and then applying the transfer, I sanded the edges of the piece to give them a worn look and then I added a topcoat of clear wax.

All that was left was to add knobs.  Back when the piece was in its original wood finish I kind of hated those knobs.  To me they were just too ‘in your face’ because the white ceramic was a bigger contrast with that medium toned pine.  So my original plan was to change them out for something different, although I wasn’t sure what.

But actually, once the piece was painted I thought the knobs worked.

They don’t jump out at you quite as much.

And with that, there you have it.  A farm fresh shelf.

Perfect for a dining room, kitchen, mud room, pantry, laundry room, and so on and so on.

If any of you locals have a spot for it, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supply the Sawmill Gravy paint, and to re.design with prima for supplying the Out on the Farm transfer.

wash, dry and fold.

T.G.I.F. everybody!

It has been another crazy week for me at the day job, to the point where I almost didn’t have a post again today.  But I managed to crank out this one little project to share with you guys.

This sign was the result of experimenting with a couple of different products.

But let’s start at the beginning.  One of my regular readers contacted me recently and offered me a whole bunch of old cupboard doors.  She was cleaning out her house and workshop in preparation for a move and decided she wasn’t ever going to get around to turning them into signs herself so she brought a bunch over for me.

Now I’m fully stocked for creating some more signs for the holiday season this year.  But the thing about these cupboard doors (and most of the ones that I find at the ReStore) is that they are usually new.  And that tends to make them just a little bit too pristine for my taste.  So I wanted to experiment with aging them up a bit.

Unfortunately, I totally neglected to take any photos of the process.  But perhaps I can explain what I did.  I started out mixing some of Dixie Belle’s Mint Julep paint with some of their Sea Spray additive.  The purpose of the Sea Spray is simply to add some texture to your paint.  Once I had mixed those to a brownie batter like consistency, I used a cheap chip brush to apply it to my door in a few spots.  I did not put it all over, just dabbed it on here and there.  Once that was dry, I added some swipes of Dixie Belle’s Rebel Yellow here and there (without Sea Spray).  Once that dried, I painted a couple of quick coats of Drop Cloth over everything.  Finally, again once dry, I sanded over the entire thing.

As you sand, that Mint Julep with Sea Spray texture really comes through the top coat of Drop Cloth.  You can also see bits of the Rebel Yellow here and there.

Next up I pulled out some leftover scraps from the Cosmic Roses transfer from re.design with prima and added them to the door.

Finally I pulled out the Laundry & Co stencil from Maison de Stencils.  I originally thought it would look great to just add the stencil in a dark blue paint color.  However, after I had it stenciled, it really just looked flat and one dimensional.

So I grabbed my Dixie Belle Gemstone Mousse in Golden Gem.

Then I used my trick of placing the stencil just up and to the left a tad so that a slight shadow would be left behind by the dark blue paint.  I used a stencil brush to add the Gemstone Mousse right over the dark blue.

The mousse was the perfect consistency for stenciling and the metallic Golden Gem color helps tie in the gold wording from the transfer.

Once the stencil paint was dry, I added a quick coat of clear wax over everything.

This was such a fun project to work on.  I tested out a couple of techniques that I’ve been wanting to try, using the Sea Spray and the Gemstone Mousse.  I’m definitely going to continue using that Sea Spray to add some texture, a.k.a. some faux age, to pieces going forward.  And I’m also sure to get lots of use out of that fabulous gold.

How about you?  Have you tried any of these products?  If so, how did you like them?  And what do you think of my sign?  Be sure to leave me a comment and let me know.

As for you locals, this laundry co sign is for sale.  Be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page to see more details.

random small projects.

This week I’ll be sharing a few random small projects that I’ve been working on lately starting with this fire house captain’s chair.  Here is how it looked when I purchased it …

You can’t really tell in that photo, but there was a rung missing from the bottom right (your right, chair’s left).  Ken replaced that for me some time last year, and then this chair just patiently sat in the photo cottage (which has now become the furniture storage cottage) awaiting its makeover.

I painted one of these chairs two years ago (you can see it here) and that’s when I discovered that this style of chair is called a fire house captain’s chair.  I wasn’t able to find any info online that explained why they are called that, but if you google it you’ll see many examples of the style.

I finally pulled it out last weekend and decided to paint it using Homestead House milk paint in Midnight Blue.  But before I started painting with the milk paint I needed to put a coat of something on that new rung.  It was bare wood and had I painted it right off with the milk paint, the paint would have soaked into the unfinished wood and given a much different look on that rung than on the rest of the chair.  So I simply gave the rung a quick coat of Dixie Belle’s Coffee Bean.

Once that was dry, I mixed up my Midnight Blue and gave the whole chair two coats of that.

Speaking of fire(s), sort of, you may notice a lovely golden glow in some of my photos.  We are getting a lot of smoke from the wildfires in Canada these days.  Like, seriously, ‘worst air quality on record’ sort of smoke.  I snapped a quick photo of the cottage to see if I could capture the smoke in the air …

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky when I took that, just a smoky haze.  You can also see my brown grass.  We’ve decided to let the lawn go since we are under a watering ban (we can only water on odd days, before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m.), instead I’m just focusing on watering the gardens and some of my plantings that were new this year.

The quantity of smoke in the air is quite surreal, but it does make for some pretty lighting for outdoor photos, making the golden hour even more golden.

Anyway, once again, I would have been fine with some of that milk paint chippy goodness on this piece, but the finish was super dry and thus didn’t really chip.  But I gave it a good, harsh sanding once the paint dried because I wanted a very worn appearance.  Especially on the arms of the chair that would have worn down naturally from use.

Since I’d chosen a navy blue color, I decided to go with a nautical sort of theme.  I pulled out a stencil that I had from Maison de Stencils called East Coast Yacht Club and used some Dixie Belle paint in Putty to do the stenciling.

Initially I wanted to use the full 12″ x 12″ stencil on the seat of the chair, but because the seat is fairly curved, I couldn’t get the stencil to lay flat enough to get a crisp, clean result.

So I went with just a small section of it on the seat back, and another on the seat itself.

I was totally stumped when it came to staging this chair for photos.  I really don’t have a stash of nautical-ish props lying around.  So I just went with a simple vintage suitcase and some old binoculars.

Wouldn’t this chair be absolutely perfect for a lakefront home?  Or maybe just for someone who wishes they had a lakefront home?

Next up today is this antique piano stool.

This was another garage sale find from last year.  The seat was not attached to the base properly, so every time I would pick up the stool, the seat would come off in my hands and the base would be left behind.  So, Ken fixed that up for me and then this piece sat in the photo cottage waiting for its makeover along with the firehouse chair.

I began the job by stripping the seat.  In hindsight, I’m not sure I really needed to do that.  It wasn’t in terrible shape.  It was maybe a tad too shiny for my tastes, but that probably wasn’t worth the effort to strip and re-stain.  None the less, that’s what I did.

I re-stained the seat in Special Walnut, and then added a very subtle stencil (also from Maison de Stencils) using Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky paint.

Once all of that was fully dry, I coated it with some of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.

I painted the base of the stool in the Midnight Sky as well.

Then I sanded the edges to distress and added a top coat of Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta, which I love using over a dark paint color like this one.

You may not have a piano, but this stool is perfect to pair with a desk or makeup table, but I also think it would make a nice small side table, just big enough to place a beverage on.

That brings me to a couple of mirrors that were due for a quick makeover.

As you all know, I like to remove mirrors from dressers.  Personally I prefer most of them without their mirror.  Then every now and then I pull out the mirrors, paint the frames, add hangers to the back and sell them separately.

These two each got a coat of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Typewriter on the frames.  Once again, I didn’t get much in the way of chipping.  I seem to be 0 for 2 on the chipping for this post.

Once painted, I cleaned the glass and added some old IOD transfers to them.

It is next to impossible to do justice to these in a photograph.  My camera refuses to focus properly on them.

But hopefully these pics give you some idea of how they turned out.

So that’s it for small projects today.  I have a couple more that I hope to have finished and shared with you by the end of the week.  In the meantime, all of these items are for sale and will likely eventually end up at the shop where I sell on consignment, Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater, MN.  But if any of you locals need a chair, piano stool or mirror, be sure to let me know (you can check out the details on my ‘available for local sale’ page or email me at qisforquandie@gmail.com).

sometimes you really just need something to go right.

Today, as promised, I’m sharing the desk from my neighbor’s uncle’s estate sale.

Here is how it started out.

Upon first glance, my plan was to strip the top of the desk and paint the base, but unfortunately there was some veneer damage on the top.  So I decided to just go ahead and paint the whole thing.

I began by washing the desk with some spray cleaner and then rinsing it with a damp rag.  As I did that, I noticed that I was wiping off some orange-ish colored stain.  That’s usually a sign that the stain is going to bleed through your paint.  So I decided to just head that off at the pass by using Dixie Belle’s BOSS on this piece.

First up though, I patched the chipped spots of veneer by gluing down the loose edges and then filling in with some Dixie Belle Mud.  Next I scuff sanded the entire piece, and smoothed out those Mud repairs.  Then I wiped away any dust.  After that I added a coat of BOSS.  Here’s a quick snap I took after adding the BOSS to the side of the desk …

Yikes, that stain is just bleeding orange all over the place.  Gruesome, right?  I definitely needed to boss this one around!  This is the clear BOSS, by the way.

It goes on milky looking but dries clear, in case you were wondering.

Once the first coat was dry I went ahead and added a 2nd for good measure.  Sometimes one coat of BOSS is enough, but I wasn’t taking any chances with this one.  After that 2nd coat, I left the piece to dry overnight.

The next day was Monday, and it was a particularly stressful day at the day job.  So when I got home that evening, I really just needed something to go right for me because nothing else had gone well all day.

And you know what?  The BOSS did its job perfectly.  I added a coat of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth over it and not only was there not one tiny spot of bleed through, but the Drop Cloth also covered beautifully.  It was just really gratifying to see that first coat of paint go on without a hitch.  I really needed a win on Monday, and being able to paint this piece white so easily was just the ticket.

I’ve noticed in the past that even the clear BOSS will improve the coverage of white paint, and that was definitely the case with this piece too.  I still needed a second coat of the Drop Cloth, but I call needing only two coats a plus when using white paint of any kind.

A couple of days later, I pulled out two of the smaller version of IOD’s Petit Rosier transfer.  I used most of one each on the drawer fronts down each side of the desk …

I did have to lose about an inch of the transfer on either side to get it to fit inside the trim.  If any of you can read French, you probably realize that, but for the rest of us I think it looks perfectly fine.

I used the top portion of just one transfer on the middle drawer.

I absolutely love this transfer and am really disappointed that it has been retired.  Why do they do that?  Do sales slow down after the initial excitement of a new transfer?  Really, some of these should just be considered a classic that people like me will buy over and over again.

You can still find it online from shops that have some remaining in their inventory, but they are getting harder and harder (and more expensive) to come by.

I sanded the edges of the desk to distress it, and followed that up with a topcoat of clear wax.  Then, I simply washed up the original hardware and put it back on (the pulls that were missing from the middle drawer in the ‘before’ photo were inside the drawer).

I staged the desk with some of my painted books.

Those of you who have been following me for a long time might remember when I did these.

I absolutely love how this desk turned out.

This look is totally ‘me’.  I’m going to list it for sale, but I won’t be sad if it doesn’t go.  In the end, I may just have to keep it for myself.  Although I have no idea where I would put it.  I’d have to move something else out, to move this piece in.  Maybe one of you can save me from that fate.

Being able to count on that BOSS to just do exactly what it was meant to do to on this desk was something that I really needed last week.  So I want to say a huge thank you to Dixie Belle for making a product that just simply works, and for their easy peasy paint that also just does what it’s supposed to do without requiring much effort or expertise on the part of the user.  Sometimes you really just need something to go right the first time, even if it’s just a paint job.  You know what I mean?

The next time you want to paint a piece that you suspect will be a bleeder, just save yourself some trouble and reach for the BOSS first.  You’ll be glad you did.

If any of you locals are in need of a desk, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details on this one.

an iowa estate sale.

A week or so ago my neighbor, nnK, traveled to Iowa to help clear out the old family farm.  Apparently her uncle (cousin twice removed?  something like that) had passed away after living on the family farm for his entire life.  And he liked to hold onto things.  In other words, the place was packed with stuff.

She promised to send me pictures of things that she thought I might like to purchase from the estate sale.  So as they were setting up, she sent me some texts with photos of items that were for sale …

Hello suitcases!

Good gracious, that’s a lotta suitcases.  I asked nnK why in the world her uncle would have had so many suitcases.  Did he love to travel?  But apparently the story goes that he thought if he kept his most treasured belongings inside suitcases, then if a tornado came the items wouldn’t get blown all around, they would stay intact inside the suitcase.  Well, I guess that would explain the need for 11 suitcases.

I purchased three of them, mainly sticking to the style that I like to paint …

Next up was this painted piece …

This piece totally spoke to me, so I said yes! to purchasing it despite its obviously poor condition (and luckily nnK was driving a truck back home).

Here’s how it looked once I got it home …

It definitely needs some work.  Ken is going to have to rebuild some parts of it, starting with the drawers.

I’m hoping I can figure out a way to salvage, or at least replicate, the color inside the drawers.

I have lots of idea swirling around in my head for this piece.  It may take some time, but hopefully with Ken’s help I can give it a new life.

We’ve tackled similar projects in the past and have been happy with the results.  Do any of you remember the In a Pickle farmhouse table?

Gosh, back in the day I even staged my ‘before’ photos, didn’t I?

Anyway, it started out in pretty rough shape too, but in the end it looked like this …

And then there was the primitive cabinet that I scored.  It started out like this …

And it actually stayed like that for quite a while until I got around to refurbishing it and putting it in my piano room.

I also said yes to this desk from the estate sale.

I’ve painted a couple of pieces like this in the past and really liked how they turned out.

I’ve actually already gotten this one painted, and now I’m working on the final touches.  I hope to share it with you guys on Monday, so be sure to stay tuned.

One last thing, in case you were wondering, although technically the Soldier Blue dresser is not officially sold, I do have someone who is away at her cabin that wants to see it when she returns.  And honestly, she wanted to pay me for it sight unseen via paypal or venmo but I said no to that.  Why?  Well, I just hate to sell things unless the buyer has seen them in person and is absolutely sure they want the piece.  Things can look different on the computer screen than they look in real life.  I’d hate for someone to pay me for a piece, then show up, decide they don’t really like it, yet feel like they are stuck with it.

So for now I’m not advertising it anywhere else, and just sort of hanging onto it until later this month when my potential buyer returns to town.  I’m not sure if I can count that as sold or not.  Either way, the black dresser and the floral dresser both sold more quickly than the blue, but I think we can just call all three a win!

OK, well, have a great weekend all!

the soldier blue dresser.

I think I already shared the story of how I acquired today’s piece.  My picker, Sue, found it at a garage sale that wasn’t too far from our homes.  I was at work at the time, so she texted me a photo and said she’d pay for it and ask them to hold it, if I could send Mr. Q to pick it up.  So after a few exchanges of text messages, Sue had purchased it, and Mr. Q had picked it up and brought it home.  And I never had to leave the office 😉

My handyman, Ken, repaired the runners inside the dresser and re-glued a few things.  Once he was done it was ready for me.

I’ve been watching a few furniture makeover experts on YouTube lately and so many of them just sand off old finishes rather than using a chemical stripper.  Especially when the piece is solid wood rather than veneer.  So I decided to give that a shot on the top of this dresser and it worked like a charm.  I started with an 80 grit paper on my orbital sander, then moved on to a 120 grit, followed by a 220 grit.  Easy peasy!  This sort of work is only possible for me in the summer when I can work in my carriage house workshop and I don’t have to worry about the dust (I don’t have one of those fancy sanders that suck up the dust).

It can also be a bit of a problem because I usually get up around 6 a.m. to start working out there this time of year.  I’ll work until the day heats up too much to be comfortable.  I don’t think my neighbors would be real excited about listening to my orbital sander at that hour.  Using a chemical stripper is much quieter.

By the way, as I was doing the sanding while wearing a mask I realized that this was one upside to COVID.  I used to absolutely struggle with wearing a mask while I worked, but now I barely even notice it.

Once I had the top sanded down, I pulled out the drawers and removed those porcelain knobs that came with the dresser yet were totally wrong for it.  You can see the knobs a tad better in this photo from a week or two ago …

White porcelain with yellow roses on them.  Totally wrong for this piece!

Once those were off, I also had to remove some ancient contact paper that was lining the drawers.  That is one of my least favorite tasks, and I think that plays a part in why I don’t like to line drawers myself.  I know that sometime down the road, someone is going to have to remove that stuff and I hate to do that to them.

Next up, I dug through my stash of knobs and was happy to find that I had 8 large wooden knobs that would be perfect on this piece.  I’m really glad that I kept all of those wooden knobs that I used to remove from dressers back in the day.

All that remained was to choose the paint.  I decided that this dresser was the perfect candidate for some milk paint.  There’s something about this particular style & age of furniture that just screams milk paint to me.  So I dug through my bin of already open milk paint thinking I’d have to create a custom mix using a couple of colors, not having enough of any one color for the entire piece, but then I stumbled upon the Homestead House Soldier Blue.

If you aren’t familiar, Homestead House milk paint is the same milk paint manufacturer that makes Miss Mustard Seed and Fusion milk paint.  This was their original line of milk paint and they have over 50 colors to choose from.  So if you’re looking for a new color to experiment with, check them out!

You guys have seen me use this color on a couple of smaller items including this wooden bucket.

But I still had quite a bit of it left, easily enough for this dresser.  And really, ever since I first cracked open this color I knew I wanted to use it on a full piece of furniture one day.  This was that day!

I cleaned the dresser, scuff sanded it lightly and then brushed on two coats of Soldier Blue.  I won’t go over my tips for using milk paint here, but if you aren’t familiar you can check them out in my milk paint basics post.

After two coats of paint were dry, I sanded to distress the edges with a 120 grit paper and then smoothed out the flat areas using a 320 grit paper.  I did not get a lot of chipping on this one, but much like with the black dresser that I shared a week or so ago, the existing finish on this one was quite dried out so I didn’t expect a lot of chipping.   So once again I created my own distressing by sanding down the edges of the piece.

I vacuumed away the dust and then topped it all off with Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta.

I’m really loving this product for use over dark shades of milk paint in particular.  It totally brings out the depth of color.  You can apply it with a rag, or use a waxing brush which is what I did here.  Simply apply with the brush, then wipe away any excess with a clean, lint free rag (the lint free is especially important over darker colors like this one).  After 12 hours you can buff the surface to create additional shine, but as we all know, I prefer a more flat look so I don’t do much buffing.  By the way, the Butta’ cures in about 7 days.

Today’s q tip:  If you’re using a brush to apply Butta’ over a dark paint color, be sure to scoop out the Butta’ onto a paper plate (or something more environmentally friendly like a pretty vintage china plate that you purchased at a garage sale for a dollar) first to avoid dipping your brush back into your full container of Butta’.  This way you can avoid contaminating your entire supply of Butta’ with dark flecks of paint.  This is especially important with milk paint that is more prone to chipping.

Initially I was planning to use some dark wax over the bare wood top of this dresser, but the more I looked at it, the more I loved the way the natural color of the wood played against the Soldier Blue paint.  So I decided to simply add Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat right over the bare wood.

I wasn’t worried about the imperfections because I love how that adds some history to a piece.  But at the same time, this top is protected for future use with three coats of flat clear coat.

I staged this piece with a painting that I picked up at an estate sale a couple of weeks back.

It’s an original oil painting, but I don’t think it’s valuable.  One of these days maybe I’ll find a lost Rembrandt at a garage sale, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t it.

I just thought this painting was really pretty.  The colors and subject matter are soothing.  I really disliked that frame though, so I used the Soldier Blue that was leftover from the dresser to paint it.

Now it pairs beautifully with the dresser.

So, what do you think of this makeover?

And if you had to pick, which of the three dressers I’ve shared recently is your favorite?  Is it the team player painted in Typewriter black …

Or the star of the show with its beautiful floral transfer?

Or is it today’s dresser painted in vibrant Soldier Blue?

Leave a comment and let me know which one you liked best.

If any of you locals are in the market for a dresser, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details on this one.  P.S.  the painting is for sale as well.

Thank you to Homestead House for providing the Soldier Blue milk paint, and to Dixie Belle for providing the Big Mama’s Butta’ and the flat clear coat used on this dresser.

the war of the styles.

Well, those of you who were paying attention may have noticed that the dresser I posted on Monday sold super fast.

I posted the blog post at 7 a.m., and the dresser was spoken for by 8 a.m.

The black dresser from last week was also posted at 7 a.m. and sold by 7:14 a.m.

so I guess technically it did sell faster!

But I think the moral of our story is that there is a market out there for both the team player and the star of the show.

There is going to be a part three to this battle next week when I unveil what I’ve done with this dresser …

This time I’m going on out on a limb with some color rather than playing it safe with a neutral.

I didn’t quite get it finished in time to post about it today though, so you’ll have to stay tuned until Monday to see how it turned out.

In the meantime, remember that experiment I was trying with saving peony buds in the fridge?  Here’s how the buds looked when I cut them back at the beginning of June.

I cut off most of the leaves, and then put the buds into a Ziploc baggie and tucked them into the fridge.

And there they stayed until last night when I pulled them out again.

The darkest pink one had opened while in the fridge, which is funny because it was one of the tightest buds going in.

Here’s how they looked immediately after pulling them out of the bag.

Pretty darn fresh looking for having spent about six weeks in the fridge, don’t you think?

I trimmed their stems and popped them into a vase of water, and about an hour later they opened up fully.

How cool is that?

And now I have some peonies from my own garden to enjoy on my desk at work today.  I call that a win.

I only wish I had saved more of them this way.  The weekend after I cut these we had a heatwave with temps in the high 90’s which was totally unusual for us for the first weekend in June.  The temps stayed in the 90’s for 9 consecutive days.  And as you may know, peony blooms do not handle heat well.  The peonies in the garden were pretty much toast within about 5 days.  Such a bummer when you’ve waited a full year for peony season and then it is cut short.

Next year I’ll have to remember that and save more of them in the fridge!

the star of the show.

First, an update on last Friday’s Typewriter black dresser. The majority who commented loved the simplicity and predicted that it would sell fast, and it definitely did.  The buyer picked it up yesterday.

In my area, black continues to be an excellent seller, especially black with a wood top.  And I pretty much agree that it’s easier for most people to work a piece like that one into their existing décor.  It’s more of a team player rather than the star of the show.

The decision whether to keep a piece simple, like the black dresser, or add a more dramatic personality is always tough.  But it’s even more difficult when, in addition to selling refurbished furniture,  you are also a blogger.  I’m not only thinking about whether or not a piece will sell, but also whether or not the process of refinishing it will be interesting to my readers.  How bored would you all get if I painted everything black or white with no color and no transfers/stencils/etc?  Yawn.

The other factor is that I refurbish furniture (and other vintage items) mainly for enjoyment.  It’s a hobby for me, not my livelihood.  So I really tend to lean towards deciding what I want to do, rather than what I should do.  Of course I want my pieces to sell (because otherwise what would I do with them?), but that’s not the ultimate goal for me.  For me, the ultimate goal is to take something that was cast off and create something that is beautiful.  And then hopefully it will sell.

That brings me to today’s piece.

My friend (and former co-worker) Bruce brought this piece to me.  It had been in his cabin up north and wasn’t being used.  Quick sidebar, when he delivered it he shared the video of the large black bear that was roaming around his yard up there with me as well.  Yikes!

Anyway, back to the dresser.  As you can see, the veneer at the bottom had come off, but Bruce had saved the pieces.  I planned from the start to put a transfer on this one though, and I knew it would distract from any wonky veneer, so rather than trying to re-glue it, I just peeled off all of the veneer along the bottom.  That tends to leave some rough wood behind, so I gave it a good sanding.  Then I stripped and sanded down the front legs, the knobs and the top of the dresser.

Next up after painting the body in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, I used Miss Mustard Seed’s white wax to finish those legs, knobs and dresser top.

I did not get a super perfect result with my stripping/sanding.  Personally, I’m OK with that.  I like a little age to show on my pieces.

I knew I was going to be using the Rose Celebration transfer from re.design with prima on this dresser, and that the white waxed wood would play really well with the beige background of this transfer.

What do you think?  The knobs don’t quite disappear, but they don’t really distract either.

Next I added the Rose Celebration transfer to the front of the dresser.  For more details on how to apply a large transfer like this one you can check out this post.

The transfer was a bit larger than the dresser front.  I wrapped it around the sides, and I had 5″ or so left over at the bottom.  I had originally contemplated centering the design both horizontally and vertically, thus cutting off about 2.5″ at top and bottom, but ultimately I decided I liked this look better.

I just love the colors in this transfer, aren’t they pretty?  And the background of script and those swirly thingies (I’m guessing there is an official name for those, but I have no idea what it is, do any of you?), so lovely.

If you look closely, you can see that there are seams where the different pieces of the transfer line up (this transfer comes in six pieces).  I’m not too bothered by those seams, but if you are avoiding the multi-piece transfers because you don’t like the look of the seams, you can mitigate that by trimming off the 1/4″ or so of clear transfer at the edge of each piece before you apply them, and of course, also line up your transfer more precisely than I did.

As you can see, the transfer really disguises the area at the bottom where I removed the veneer.

Once the transfer was applied, I sanded the edges of the piece to distress and then added a coat of clear wax.

I did one final thing before calling this piece finished.  I refurbished the insides of the drawers using Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta in the Orange Grove scent.

I sanded them lightly, cleaned them well, and then applied the Butta’.  It really freshened up both the look and the smell of the drawers.  This is the first time I’ve tried this on the inside of drawers, and I’ll definitely be doing this more often.  It’s such a simple way to freshen them up.  And you all know that I really don’t enjoy the process of lining drawers with paper so this is a nice alternative.

And there you have it.

The star of the show!

What do you think?  Now, I’ll just have to wait and see how long this one takes to sell.  I’ll keep you posted.

If any of you locals are in the market for a dresser, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for all of the details on this one.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle for providing the paint and the Big Mama’s Butta used on this project.  And thank you to re.design with prima for providing the Rose Celebration transfer.  Although I am no longer a Brand Ambassador for them, they did give me this transfer for free back when I was.