You might have noticed that I never really quite revealed our entire master bedroom makeover in one complete post.  That’s because I was waiting for one last detail, the light fixture.

I waited, and waited, and waited.

I had ordered it online from Menards because I thought that since I drive right past my local Menards on my way home from work it would be incredibly convenient to just stop and pick it up when it came in.

Ha, famous last words.

It was put on back order, and then it was put on back order again, and then the store lost it and had to re-order it.  But then they found it and said I could pick it up.  Although it probably wasn’t worth the wait, and I could have found a dozen similar light fixtures elsewhere, it’s finally in place and I love it.

You might be remembering that we had a ceiling fan in this spot before, and quite a few of you recommended replacing it with another fan.  We really planned on taking that advice.  For a house without central a/c, ceiling fans are a plus.  We did buy a ceiling fan, but it met with an unfortunate accident.  During installation it fell from a great height, that being the top of the ladder, and was irreparably damaged.

We took that as a sign, and that’s when I ordered the schoolhouse light fixture.

So, after all of that, we now have a light instead of a fan, and I am calling this room done.

One other detail I didn’t really share with you yet is my choice of window treatment, or probably more accurately, lack of a window treatment.

For now I’ve opted to go with privacy film on the lower halves of the windows.  It was perfect for summer, but I’m not yet sure about winter.  It might be nice to have something ‘warmer’ on the windows for winter.

By the way, remember that cool vintage farm photo I picked up while garage saling a few weeks back?  It found a home here in our master bedroom.

It fits in perfectly.

OK, let’s recap the entire project, shall we?

The budget for this room was $1,500 and as is typical, I went way over budget.  I lost track of the spending somewhere around the $2,000 mark.  But considering that in the end we really made over all three of our upstairs rooms, that’s not so bad.  Here’s a reminder of what we accomplished.

The floors were refinished, resulting in a lovely pale natural color and a matte finish.  This was by far the largest expense of the entire project.  I’m including the total cost of all of the floors ($1,000) on our upper level in the final tally although obviously a chunk of that expense was for other rooms.

The walls in all three rooms were painted and we put in a ship lap feature wall.  The paint cost around $70 and the ship lap materials were $55.  I love my ship lap wall and totally recommend adding just one feature wall to add some fixer upper style to one of your rooms.  I have to note that this task was super simple for us because we didn’t have to cut around anything (like electrical outlets, windows or doors).

I added a pair of wall sconce reading lights from World Market at $120 for the pair.

I updated our existing nightstands with a couple of coats of milk paint.

I’m not counting this as a ‘cost’ for the project since I used milk paint that I already had on hand.

We purchased a new bed frame for $40 and an antique full size headboard that I painted black. I purchased the headboard as part of a set.  I sold the other pieces from the set at a profit, thus making the headboard ‘free’ and again I used milk paint that I already had on hand to paint it.  We also purchased new bedding at a cost of $650.  Gasp!  I know.  The second largest item in the budget.  Bedding is just so expensive, but that does include new pillows, a new feather bed, a new down alternative duvet, plus two duvet covers and pillow shams.  I also added a DIY bedskirt made from a drop cloth at a cost of $15.

I added a vintage cane back bench with a European grain sack cushion at the foot of the bed.  I paid $125 for the bench and another $69 for the grain sack.

I painted my existing clothes cupboard, again with milk paint I already had on hand.  I added two Iron Orchid Designs transfers.  These transfers came in a set of 3 for $10.  I purchased two sets so that I had two of the same design, but I still have 4 more left to use on other projects (and you’ll see a couple of them next week). 

 A lot of the miscellaneous decor I used came from other parts of the house, like my faux dress form Lula, so they didn’t add to the cost.

Or they were just things that I already had on hand, like the vintage advertisement hangers.

I debated adding an area rug to the room, but in the end the floors are so pretty that I hate to cover them up.  Also, this room really is rather large and for a rug to not look lost it needs to be a good sized rug.  Since I’d already blown the budget out of the water I decided we could live without a rug for the time being.

As requested, I’ve updated this post to include some ‘before’ and ‘after’ comparisons.







So, it’s official.  Mission Possible was indeed possible after all.  And this time it didn’t take me three years to finish.  It helped a lot that I took an entire week off at the day job to get a lot of things done including the ship lap wall, painting all three rooms, painting all of the bedroom furniture and having the floors done.  Phew!  It was an exhausting week, but in the end it was totally worth it.  Now that we have all of the final details in place, we can kick back and enjoy our new bedroom.


yardstick shelves.

I’m sure some of you locals have heard of the Bachman’s Ideas House.  Bachman’s is a local floral, gift and garden chain of shops.  They have been in business since 1885, and their first retail location was opened in the 1920’s on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis, which is also where the family home was located.

Quite a few years ago (I think it was 2010, but I’m not totally sure) they began the Ideas House.  Basically they decorated the family’s historic home (which is no longer occupied) on their property on Lyndale for the season and then the public was welcome to tour it for a donation of $5 which went to charity.  In addition, everything in the home was for sale.  You just had to come back after the season to pick it up.

At that time, the mastermind behind the decor was none other than Ki Nassauer, now of Junk Bonanza fame.  Her upcycled junk style was evident in every room and I loved all of it.  In those first couple of years the house was full of one-of-a-kind authentic vintage items re-purposed in really clever ways.  The Ideas House is still around, and in fact Linda over at Itsy Bits and Pieces has just blogged about the 2017 Fall version.  Linda has blogged about the Ideas House since the beginning, and you can find all of her Ideas House tours {here}.  But, I have to say that I miss the good ol’ days when they had more vintage pieces and less mass-produced items.  Since Ki moved away to California, I feel like they don’t have quite the same re-purposed vintage edge that they did in the beginning.

Today’s idea came from those early days of the Ideas House.  One year they had narrow shelves made with old yardsticks on the front to hold wine glasses above a bar cart and I loved them.  So the next time I saw some old yardsticks at a garage sale I snatched them up, and Ken (my handyman neighbor) made them into shelves for me.

They are perfect for displaying a non-collection of vintage alarm clocks if you don’t happen to need them for wine glasses.

I still grab awesome yardsticks whenever I see them at garage sales and every once in a while Ken helps me make up some more shelves.  So today I thought I’d show you guys how we do it.  It’s a super simple project that you could handle in an afternoon.

step 1.  cut a narrow board to the same length as your yardstick (um, that would usually be a yard, but the ruler I used this time is not technically a ‘yard stick’).  I use old sections of bead board that I salvaged from the bead board ceiling that my neighbor nnK tore out a few years ago.

step 2.  attach the yardstick to the board.  I’m not gonna lie, my handyman neighbor Ken did this part not me.  He drilled little pilot holes and then used small headless nails to adhere the yardstick.

Today’s Qtip:  If you don’t already know this, a pilot hole is a small hole drilled as a guide for the insertion of a nail or screw.  A pilot hole will help prevent the wood from splitting as you drive in the nail.  It will also help make sure that you get the nail in the right spot.  Your pilot hole should be just a tad smaller than the nail, if it’s too large then your nail won’t grab hold.  Ken taught me the secret of pilot holes and I use them all the time now.  I know this might seem like a simple tip for some of you, but I’m sure there are more people like me out there who didn’t know about this nifty trick.

step 3.  add L brackets to mount your yardstick shelf to the wall.

Seriously, it doesn’t get any easier than this!

I bet you have some awesome non-collection that would look great displayed on some yardstick shelves!







night and day bookcase.

A while back my sister and I were out and about in downtown North St. Paul, which is basically right down the street from me.  There are a couple of antique shops along the main street, as well as a couple of thrift shops so we were just meandering around doing a little window shopping.  We were walking into the larger antique mall when I noticed this bookcase in the window.

It was missing its shelves entirely, and one of the drawer pulls was broken.  Overall, it was just in pretty shabby shape, and not shabby in a good way.

But the price was right and I could see it had tons of potential.  So I bought it, and Debbie and I loaded it into the back seat of my VW bug.  Luckily it was a beautiful day and we were able to have the top down.  Plus, we only had to drive a few blocks with it.

Later I purchased a couple of inexpensive pine boards and Ken trimmed them down to create new shelves for it.  And then it was just a matter of adding some paint and some new knobs.

The lovely people at Fusion recently sent me a few more of their paint colors to try (plus a couple of favorites).  So I pulled out two colors from their Tones for Tots line for the bookcase, Little Lamb and Little Piggy.

I’ve used Little Piggy before (here, here, here and here).  It’s the most delicate pale pink.  I had never used Little Lamb, but I thought the two would make a great pairing.

I added two coats of Little Lamb to the outside of the bookcase, and two coats of Little Piggy to the shelves and inside of the bookcase.  Once dry I used some 220 grit sandpaper to distress the edges of the Little Lamb.

I know not everyone is a fan of distressed edges, but I think it serves to highlight the details like those pretty corners.  This bookcase was a little bland until I added the distressing.

Although my color choices make this bookcase perfect for a nursery, I didn’t really have any cute baby things to use while staging it for photos.  So I just went with some random items in the right colors.

And of course, you wouldn’t have to use this in a nursery.  It could be used anywhere that you happen to need a pink and grey bookcase.

I really struggled to capture the color of this piece.  I feel like the Little Lamb looks too blue, or too lavender in most of my photos.  Although in person it does have almost a periwinkle undertone to the grey.

This is just one of those colors where you really have to see it in person.

But truly, isn’t the difference between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ like night and day?

What a difference a little paint can make.

Be sure to check my ‘available for local sale’ page if interested.



the mystic midnight blue dresser.

At midnight, in the month of June, I stand beneath the mystic moon.
– Edgar Allen Poe

OK, wrong month.  If only that quote said ‘in the month of October’, but that doesn’t quite rhyme, does it?  Nothing really rhymes with October, which was rather unfortunate for Edgar since October is the spookiest month of the year.

Well ‘midnight’ works with this dresser because I painted it in Homestead House milk paint in Midnight Blue, so I’m sticking with that quote.

Before I did any painting though, I sent this one over to Ken’s workshop where a simple repair job became a tad more complicated.  I thought I just needed a few drawer stops replaced, but as it turned out Ken had to replace a couple of the drawer glides as well.

Once the dresser came back from Ken’s workshop I stripped the top.  After sanding it smooth, I once again waxed with Miss Mustard Seed Antiquing Wax.  Gorgeous!

Next I painted the rest of the dresser with the Midnight Blue.

I probably could have gotten away with one coat (dark color over dark wood), but I went with two since I had the paint already mixed up and I wanted that deep, rich color.  I also used Miss Mustard Seed hemp oil as my top coat to get the darkest shade possible of this color.

Today’s Qtip:  hemp oil will darken up your colors more than wax or other top coats.  For this reason I love using it when I want a deep, rich color like this Midnight Blue.  I also prefer using hemp oil over black milk paint.  However, hemp oil does not provide quite as much protection as wax or poly.

I had a couple of people mention how much they liked the drawer pulls that came with this piece, but I didn’t put them back on.  I didn’t like the way the pulls on the top drawer hung down below the bottom of the drawer itself.  It makes me wonder if they were even original to the dresser.  I’ll save that set to use another time.  I added these glass knobs from Hobby Lobby instead.

The top drawer of the dresser was pretty grungy.  I think it stored greasy tools at some point in its life.  So I lined it with some pretty fabric.  I purchased this fabric at a garage sale a couple of years ago and I’ve used it to line quite a few drawers.  But I’m starting to run low, so only had enough for the top drawer which was really the only drawer that needed it.

The drawers in this dresser are really quite shallow.  I can’t imagine it being very practical for holding clothing.  But I think it would make a fantastic bedside table.  It would also be perfect for use in a home office with your printer on top and the drawers filled with office supplies.  I can also imagine someone using it to hold a TV, you could fill those drawers with DVD’s.

If you are local and you happen to need a dresser like this, be sure to check my ‘available for local’ sale page for more info.


the green alligator farmhouse table.

Before I get on with today’s post about the Green Alligator farmhouse table, two things.  First, the Vintage Holiday magazine with the article about my vintage Christmas ornaments is on stands now!

I was so excited to see my name in print for the very first time!

But in addition to my feature, the magazine is jam packed with great vintage holiday decor including an article featuring Pam Kessler from House of Hawthornes (if you aren’t familiar with Pam, you should check her out).  If you want to pick up a copy, I’m told they can be found at Target and Barnes & Noble.  If you’re a local, I found my copies at Cub Foods.  I picked up a couple of extra copies and plan to have a giveaway later this month, so stay tuned for that.

Second, I have to report that my ‘product differentiation‘ really paid off.  I sold my sleigh bed yesterday afternoon.  So, just over 24 hours!  Possibly a new record.  I truly believe it was the paint that made the difference, don’t you?

And now, on with today’s regularly scheduled post …

A while back I mixed a custom color that I called Blue Alligator.  Not because blue alligators are a real thing, but because the surface of the piece I was painting was ‘alligatored’ and the color was a pretty blue-green.  I found a lot of conflicting information on the web about what causes an alligatored finish and I don’t want to contribute to that further by pretending like I’m an expert.  All I know is that sometimes the finish on old pieces will crack and separate leaving a bumpy surface similar to that of an alligator’s hide.

Well … anyway … I really loved the color I mixed for that dresser which was a combination of Miss Mustard Seed’s Kitchen Scale, Homestead House Upper Canada Green and Loyalist.

So I knew I wanted to use this color on something I was keeping for myself someday.

Flash forward to a week or so ago when Mr. Q and I brought home this drop leaf table.

Technically, that’s not a true ‘before’ photo.  I’d already removed the leaves and added new casters.  I’ve done a few of these tables over the past several years (here, here and here).  I’ve kept two of them for use in my own home.  One is being used as the desk in my Q branch, and the other is now being used as a desk in Mr. Q’s study.  The one that Mr. Q is using used to be on my front porch.

I found it so handy to have it in that spot because it made the perfect surface for close up photos for the blog, like this one …

But it was easy to move out of the way when I wanted to take a photo of something larger, like a piece of furniture, in that spot.

So after Mr. Q commandeered that table for his study I quickly realized how much I missed it and started looking for another.  I find that tables like this are fairly common in my area, but prices for them on Craigslist can be all over the place.  I was holding out for a bargain.  When I saw the ad for this one at $25, and only 15 minutes away, I jumped on it.

After I got it home I started by removing those leaves.  I’ve already turned one of them into a sign, and I’ll do the same with the other.  And as I mentioned, I added some new casters to the legs.  As much as I love the look of old metal or wood casters, I will be rolling this table in and out of position frequently.  And I have a painted floor on my porch.  So I decided it would be wise to add new rubber casters to this one to save my floor.

Next I stripped the finish off the top of the table and then waxed it with Homestead House white wax.

Qtip of the day:  when using white wax on bare wood you need to decide how much white you want to see before you start.  Full strength white wax on bare wood will leave obvious white areas in the grain.  If you want a more subtle look you can either wax first with clear wax and then add white wax over that, or mix some white and clear wax together to get a ‘reduced strength’ white wax.  For this table top I started with one coat of mixed wax, and then followed up with a 2nd coat of straight up white wax.  White wax will be easier to blend over a base coat of clear or mixed wax rather than on bare wood.

This particular tabletop had some black spots.  Had I planned to sell this piece I would have probably opted to go with dark wax on the top.  But since I’m keeping it, and I wanted a lighter surface for taking photos on, I just chose to ignore them.

My next step was to mix up some Blue Alligator milk paint based on my recipe.  That’s when I discovered that I didn’t have much Miss Mustard Seed Kitchen Scale paint left.  So my ratio this time was a bit off.  I used a little more Upper Canada Green and a little less Kitchen Scale.  The resulting color is just a bit more green than the Blue Alligator.  Thus, I give you, Green Alligator!

Fortunately, I love this color just as much as the Blue Alligator.

Possibly even just a little bit more.

I used clear wax as my top coat over the paint which darkened up the color just a tad.

By the way, I took all of these pictures on a rather gloomy day so you can see why I love this spot for photos.  I get great light here even on the most dismal days.  With November and December just around the corner, I know I’ll be using this spot a lot in the next couple of months.  Since this porch isn’t heated it can get pretty chilly mid-winter, but you’ll still find me out there taking photos even when I can see my breath in the air.

The chalkboard is made out of the framed mirror from a dresser Mr. Q picked up the other day.  You’ll see more of that dresser and it’s mirror harp soon, but in the meantime I whipped up this chalkboard.

I simply removed the back panel, took out the mirror, flipped the panel over to its smooth side, painted it with black Rustoleum chalkboard paint, and reattached it.  Easy peasy.

I freshened up the wood frame with a little of Miss Mustard Seed’s hemp oil.

It wasn’t until I was editing the photos for this post that I remembered that I had planned to embellish the frame with an old metal number plate, so I added it quickly and took one more photo.

It’s a small detail, but I love the small details, don’t you?


st anthony park.

Gosh, I’ve had so much to post about this week that I almost forgot to share my finds from the last big neighborhood garage sale of the season, St. Anthony Park.

Last Saturday was a beautiful, sunny fall day.  The day started out crisp, but we were able to ditch our sweatshirts by about 10 a.m. as it warmed up.

We were savoring every minute as the garage sale season will really start to dwindle here in Minnesota now that it’s October.

Our first stop of the day was a sale that had lots of great free stuff last year.  This year was the same, we had to take a trip to the car to unload our free stuff before going back to look at the priced stuff.

This junkalicious box of nails was the first thing I grabbed from the free pile.

Not only is the box awesome, but I’m always hunting around for nails!  You will almost definitely see this box being given a new life down the road though, I’ll find another spot for storing the nails.

One of the things I purchased from the sale was this really cool school cross-guard sign.  It’s made out of metal and is quite heavy.  I think it would be adorable hanging on the wall over a desk in a kid’s room, don’t you?

I also nabbed a couple more boxes of vintage ornaments.  Aren’t these colors just devine?

I purchased this trio of vintage cookbooks because I have a petite antique secretary desk (yet to be painted) and these will be perfect for staging it.  When I brought the desk home I tried to sell my sister on the idea of putting it in her kitchen and filling it with cookbooks.  She declined, but I still love the idea.

I found several other old books as well, including another old Swedish bible.  I love when they have old writing on the flyleaf.  This one seems to have been presented to Hilda Johansdotter on the occasion of her confirmation in 1892.

It came with the added bonus of some pressed flowers.

I wonder how old those are?

The binding on the bible has detached on one side and I found this really interesting.

The spine is lined with a … what is that?  a bookpage?  a flyer of some kind?  Since it’s in Swedish, I can’t read what it says.  And it’s upside down.  Did someone add this at some point to protect the spine of the book?  Or did they make books this way?  If any of you have seen anything like this before, please let me know in a comment.

Did you notice our Funky Junk signs in that first photo?

The gal who was selling these mentioned that she had been planning to open a shop, but her plans fell through so she was selling off all of her stuff.  She had piles of signs made with stencils from Donna at Funky Junk.  The Farmhouse sign is for me, and the Bakery sign is for Debbie.  It’s going to look cute hung in her kitchen.

Another item I just couldn’t resist was this adorable vintage nursery light switch cover.

Whenever I bring home a really wobbly dresser for Ken to repair, I tell him it’s another humpty dumpty in honor of the first dresser that Ken totally disassembled and put back together again.

I think I might hang onto that photo of the light switch cover to use every time I share another humpty dumpty with you guys!

One last thing I’ll share today is this sweet little dresser.

You aren’t going to believe the price tag on this one.  It was FREE!

I know, crazy, right?  Near the end of our morning we passed a house with a pile of furniture at the curb.  As we were looking it over, the owners came out with another piece of furniture and said “everything is free!”  Seriously?

Of course at this point we had limited space in our vehicle, we had room for just one piece.  I think I picked the cream of the crop.  It has already been over to Ken’s workshop for a few little repairs, I’ve stripped and waxed the top, and last night I painted it.  It’s looking pretty amazing so far, so be sure to stay tuned to see how it turns out!




product differentiation.

As part of our recent master bedroom makeover, we replaced our 90’s sleigh bed with an antique headboard.  Mr. Q was not a fan of having a foot board, so he’s much happier with our foot-board-free bed now.  Here’s our new bed

Initially I was going to post our old sleigh bed on Craigslist ‘as is’…

Then I did a little research.  I found nearly 100 similar sleigh beds listed ranging from $95 all the way up to $579.  That’s a lot of competition.  I thought about listing mine for $75 just to stand out in the crowd.

But then I stopped myself.  Why in the world wouldn’t I paint it?  After all, painting furniture is my thing.  And out of those nearly 100 beds only a handful of them were painted.  Painting it would definitely help differentiate (that’s a fancy term I learned in my marketing class) my bed from those of my competitors.  It will also make my bed more attractive to my target market.  I already had all of the product on hand that I needed, some Fusion Ultra Grip and Coal Black paint, so the only additional investment into this project would be my time.

If you are considering selling items on Craigslist, I encourage you to do your research first.  Take a look at what else is out there and at what prices.  Keep in mind that just because you see an ad for a sleigh bed at $579 doesn’t mean it’s going to sell for that price, especially if there are 99 similar beds priced much lower.  Look at how long the ad has been posted.  Keep an eye on it over time.  Even if the ad disappears eventually, that doesn’t necessarily mean the item sold.  The seller may have given up and donated it to a charity.

One factor that still made me hesitate about painting our sleigh bed was the slick factory finish on the bed and not knowing how well the paint would stick to it.  So I decided to prep the heck out of it.

I started by sanding it well.  Not enough to totally remove the original finish, but enough to rough it up and give the paint something more to stick to.  Next I cleaned the surface with TSP substitute. Then I added a coat of Fusion’s Ultra Grip.  This product is designed to increase the adhesion of Fusion paint.

Today’s Qtip: do as I say, not as I do.  I should have read the instructions before I applied the Ultra Grip.  I really don’t know what I was thinking, but I used a big clunky paint brush that ended up leaving some pretty heavy brush strokes.  That was entirely user error on my part.  The Fusion website suggests applying it ‘thin and sparingly’.  After doing both the headboard and foot board, I did get out a better suited brush for the side rails and as a result the finish on those looks much better.  I can definitely see a difference.  So when using Ultra Grip, be sure to follow the directions!

I let the Ultra Grip dry the required 12 hours before painting over it though, so at least I got that part right.

The next step was to paint the bed.  I used just one coat of Fusion’s Coal Black.  Once dry I had to touch up just a couple of spots that I had missed the first time around, but I did not need a full-on second coat of paint.  When using a dark paint color over a dark wood, you can often get away with just one coat.

Next I sanded the edges to give the bed a distressed, pottery barn-ish look.  I added a little hemp oil to the areas where distressing had revealed the wood. This serves two purposes; it darkens up the fresh wood to make it look as though it was more naturally distressed over time and it also protects the bare wood from moisture.

Here are those side rails I mentioned.

As an added precaution I decided to hang onto this bed for the full cure time of the Fusion paint, which is 21 days, before offering it for sale.  If you aren’t familiar with the distinction, dry time is how long it takes for paint to be dry to the touch but cure time is how long it takes for the paint to reach maximum hardness and durability.  I wanted this bed to reach maximum durability before someone starts to use it, and probably even more importantly before they try to load it into a truck and get it home without dinging it up.

So, that was three weeks ago.  The cure time is up and this sleigh bed is ready to go.  I’ll be sure to let you guys know whether or not my ‘product differentiation’ paid off.

Any of you locals need a queen sized sleigh bed in black?  If so, be sure to check my ‘available for local sale’ page.