is painted furniture going out of style?

Every once in a while I wonder to myself ‘is painted furniture going out of style?  and if so, what will I do?’ and then I feel a little panicky.

First of all, our whole house is full of painted furniture …

I certainly can’t replace it all.  Or at least not all at once.  And would I even want to?

I still really love my own pieces of painted furniture whether they are ‘in style’ or not.

But the bigger question is ‘what about my hobby?’  I call it a hobby because I haven’t come up with a better word to describe what I do here.

/ˈhɑːbi/ (plural hobbies) ​an activity that you do for pleasure when you are not working.

‘Hobby’ doesn’t really quite do it justice, but based on the Oxford Dictionary definition, it does fit.

Hobbies have come and gone from my life over the years.  One of the first hobbies I took up after we bought our house way, way back in 1988, was making stained glass windows.  I wasn’t going to be satisfied with just making those little doo-dads that you hang inside a regular window, I wanted to make full blown windows.  But you have to start somewhere, and I did start with making those suncatcher type things.  And after I had developed some still very rudimentary skills, I made the window that is in our piano room.

But I eventually grew bored with that hobby and I moved on to cross stitch.  Who else remembers the hey day of cross stitch?  I even belonged to a club, the Stitch and Bitch club.  We spent weekends at a friend’s cabin listening to the oldies station and stitching and bitching away.

But cross stitch went out of style and I replaced it with scrapbooking.

I loved scrapbooking.  But after years of doing it, I have 30 or so scrapbooks in the guestroom closet that I rarely ever look at.  And really, scrapbooking has gone out of style too, although on occasion I still enjoy creating scrapbook alternatives like the index cards

Painting furniture and otherwise refurbishing vintage finds has really stuck with me though.  I started this particular hobby way back in the 90’s when the shabby chic movement was all the rage.

Back in the day I painted everything in the Rachel Ashwell palette of white, pink, pale green or pale aqua.  And I did all of that lettering by hand!  Isn’t that crazy?

Eventually I moved on and added more saturated colors into my work, like Miss Mustard Seeds’ Kitchen Scale.

Sometimes I cringe now when I look back at some of the pieces I painted in the early days of my blog though.

I mean really?  What was I thinking painting those trim pieces white?  I want to go back and paint them in the same color as the rest of the dresser so that they blend rather than pop now.  And by the way, that is Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Artissimo on that one.

But even though I’m cringing when I look back at some of my earlier work, what I’m also realizing is that my style has definitely evolved over the past 25 years.

Ahhh, so much better without that contrasting trim, don’t you think?

And stencils are so much better than my old hand painted lettering.

Yes, these pieces are still painted, but they are painted in a more current style than those shabby chic pieces from two decades ago.

And I’ve gradually leaned towards leaving more things unpainted, like knobs, and tops …

or even an entire chair …

So in the end, maybe it doesn’t really matter whether or not painted furniture is going ‘out of style.’  We can all just continue to grow and let our styles evolve naturally over time.  That’s my plan anyway.  How about you?

comparing shades of black.

After painting the spooky nightstand that I shared a while back, I had an idea that it would be worthwhile to compare the shades of black paint that are available from Dixie Belle Paint Co for you guys.  Be sure to read all the way to the end of this post because there’s a giveaway today too!

So, the thing is, much like with white paint, there are lots of options for black.

With the spooky nightstand, I painted it overall in Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky chalk mineral paint, and then stenciled over that in Dixie Belle’s Anchor Silk All-in-One Paint thus making this piece a good representation of the difference between those two black paints.

There are two factors at work here; color and sheen.  The Midnight Sky is what I would call an off-black, it has a slightly more faded look than Dixie Belle’s Caviar.  In addition, the chalk mineral paint is very flat.  The Silk All-in-One Anchor paint is a little bit darker than Midnight Sky and has a bit more sheen, thus creating the look above when it’s stenciled over the Midnight Sky (the diamond pattern and the damask pattern).

Now, I know the differences between the three are pretty subtle, but I’m hoping you can see them here.

That’s paint only, no added topcoat.  The Anchor clearly has a bit more sheen than the other two, and the Caviar is a bit darker than the Midnight Sky.

When I first starting using Dixie Belle paint, I originally fell in love with the Caviar.

I used it on so many pieces!

One of my favorites was this bed …

So gorgeous!

Caviar is a deep, rich black.

But then I discovered the Midnight Sky and I used it on my baby grand piano.  This is a slightly more faded version of black, still definitely black, but not quite as deep and dark as Caviar.

I feel like the Midnight Sky is just a tad more forgiving when it comes to dust and fingerprints.  My baby grand gets a fair amount of wear and tear because I basically use it as a workbench most of the time.  For that reason, I thought Midnight Sky would be a better choice for it.

I also used Midnight Sky on this Eastlake style bedroom set.

This shade of black is the perfect complement to brass or gold hardware.

This brings me to the new-ish Silk All-in-One black paint from Dixie Belle called Anchor.

First, to save you from the confusion that I experienced, I want to point out that the Silk color called Black Sands is not black, but a dark charcoal.I ordered it thinking it was black.  Even looking at it in the jar, you won’t immediately realize that it isn’t.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love the color.  It was perfect on this dresser

But it’s not black.

If you’re looking for a fabulous charcoal grey though, it’s perfect.  In fact I just ordered more of it to paint some wooden folding chairs for my porch.  I think it will be perfect on them.

But the Anchor is the true black in this line.  Aside from stenciling it on the spooky nightstand, I haven’t actually painted a full piece of furniture in this color so I don’t have a picture of one to share with you.  But I wanted to include it here in my line up anyway.  As you may already be aware, the Silk line is Dixie Belle’s version of a primer, paint and top coat all in one.

To recap, Caviar and Midnight Sky are more flat (but of course you can add sheen with a top coat).  Anchor has more sheen due to its built in top coat.  Midnight Sky is a faded black, while the other two are darker.

Now, please don’t read too much into the brush strokes in that Caviar example above.  I let my brush dry out, and then still tried to paint with clumpy bristles.  Rooky mistake, and something I would never do on a piece of furniture but this was just a practice board.

Now for the fun part.  I’m giving away a 16 oz size jar of all three of the Dixie Belle blacks, plus three of their brushes to use to apply them.  So one lucky winner can try out all three and decide which one is their favorite!

The rules:  Simply leave a comment on this blog post to be eligible to win.

Your comment must be left on this blog post, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Sunday, October 31, 2021 at the stroke of midnight (U.S. Central time).

The fine print: no purchase necessary, you must be 18 years of age or older to win, void where prohibited by law, the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning, approximate retail value of prize is $140, if the prize is not claimed by Thursday, November 4, 2021 another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Thanks to Dixie Belle for providing the paint and brushes I am giving away today.  Good luck!

cake and pastries, cakes and pastries, cakes and pastries.

As I shared last week, or was it the week before?  I don’t know, time flies so quickly these days it feels like the weeks all blend together.

Anyway, as I shared, I decided to take this bench back to the drawing board.

Again.

It started out as a bed, then it became a bench, and then it sat unsold for about 9 months.

I decided it was either the color, the transfer, or the price.  But I reduced the price and it still didn’t go.  Let me take a moment to reflect on that.  In all of my years of selling furniture I have found that lowering the price on a piece that isn’t selling almost never makes a difference.  My prices tend to be on the lower side anyway, so if a piece isn’t selling it’s not usually because of the price.  That being said, I do charge more for these benches because I pay Ken for the materials and for his time to turn them from beds into benches.  So I tried lowering the price, and still, no sale.

Ken thought the problem was those posts sticking up above the seat level on the front corners though.  Those has always bugged him, and he really wanted the chance to try something different.  So he brought it back to his workshop and cut the posts off the front corners, tapered the remaining top of each post to make it look more natural, and then replaced those two outer boards on the seat.

I do prefer this look over the old one, it’s definitely a little less fussy.

Next up I sanded off the transfer.

Today’s q tip:  when removing a transfer from something, you do have to fully remove it before painting over it.  Otherwise you will see an outline through your new paint.  I have found that the quickest solution is to put an 80 grit paper on my orbital sander and go to town on it.  I have tried using mineral spirits and that didn’t work for me.  After lots of elbow grease with a 3M scrubby pad saturated in mineral spirits, it still didn’t remove the transfer fully.

So, I sanded the transfer off, wiped away any dust and gave the bench a coat of Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky.  I had decided to just go back to basic black, which I know sells well.  And you know what?  I can’t really say why, but black just wasn’t working on this piece.  So once again, I decided to pivot (because that’s the trendy thing to do now).  I pulled out the Dixie Belle Drop Cloth and covered up that black.

The warm, almost creamy but not quite, off white shade of Drop Cloth just really does it for me.

The bench felt a little too plain without anything on that big framed rectangle on the back though, so I decided to add a fairly simple black transfer.

This is a section from a newer re.design with prima transfer called French Specialties.

The top section fit the space perfectly.  It went on super easily.  I love the ‘Paris 1889’ part in the middle.

It wasn’t until I was applying clear wax over it that I noticed a problem.

Do you see it?  Let me give you a minute.  I sort of gave it away in my blog post title.

Yeah.  It says the same thing three times over.  Top curved line, and bottom two lines.  Cakes and pastries, cakes and pastries, cakes and pastries.  What the what? Not that I don’t love cakes and pastries, and I’d be OK with the top curved line, and just one of the bottom lines.  But those two bottom lines did me in.

All I can think is that because the wording is French, I just simply didn’t take the time to ‘read’ the transfer.  I was too busy looking at the overall layout, admiring the fonts, thinking the scale of the design was perfect for my piece.  And frankly, assuming that the wording was vetted by re.design with prima.

Once you’ve seen it, you can’t un-see it, am I right?  Or maybe it’s just me.  Am I too particular?  Are any of you not bothered by the repetitive lines?

Since I’d already waxed over it, the process of removing just one of the bottom two lines becomes much more complicated.  If only I’d noticed before waxing.  I could have sanded one line off, touched up the paint, and moved on.  But with wax on it, and because those lines are fairly close together, I’m not sure I can successfully sand off that section and blend the touch up paint into the waxed areas that remain without damaging the rest of the transfer.

So tell me, what are your thoughts on this?

Would you …

a.  List it for sale as is because it’s just not that big of a deal and only neurotic perfectionists like myself are going to notice.

OR

b.  Try to remove one of those cakes and pastries lines from the bottom by sanding and hope that you can blend the repair seamlessly.

OR

c.  Shove this bench in the corner for 30 days while the wax cures and hope that you can paint over one of those lines without sanding (see q tip above before choosing this option!).

Leave me a comment and let me know what you would do!

the mini’s.

One of my readers recently gave me the idea of sharing a flashback post on all of my mini’s (thank you for that idea Connie).

Since I’m in the middle of working on a bunch of Christmas items, and my bench makeover isn’t quite finished, I thought this would be a great way to create some content that wasn’t hopelessly out of season for you guys today.

Plus, it doesn’t take much encouragement for me to share my favorites, starting with this one.

It’s the perfect spot to perch my mini camera.

That is actually the 2nd look for this piece.  I’d originally painted it in Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Eulalie’s Sky.  In fact, it was the first thing I ever painted in milk paint.  Eventually I re-painted it in Homestead House milk paint in Limestone when I unified my mini non-collection by painting them all the same color.

Adding the IOD transfer on the front was definitely the icing on the cake though.

Another of the mini’s that I’ve kept for myself is this one …

I use it as a jewelry box.

The third piece in the photo of mini’s above is one that I actually parted with.  I’d had it tucked inside a cupboard for a couple of years and decided that I wasn’t enjoying it enough to keep it.

So I brought it into the shop where I sell on consignment and sold it.

Even though I didn’t paint this next one, it’s still a piece that I haven’t been able to part with.

It’s perfect for holding all of my washi tapes.

This next piece is another one that I haven’t painted.

I haven’t really come up with a purpose for this one, so for now it lives inside a birdcage out on my front three-season porch.

Don’t even ask what possessed me to put it in a cage.  Who knows?  But I like it.  I keep debating whether or not to sell it though.

I also can’t really explain why sometimes I want to paint over these original finishes, and sometimes I don’t.  With the piece that I shared last week, I painted over its original yellow paint color.

This next piece is another one where I painted over the original paint …

mainly because the inside was a dark red, and the outside a really dingy cream color.  I just didn’t love it.

It turned out super adorable in a new color scheme though, and it sold quickly.

Here’s another hutch that I painted up.

I really wasn’t in love with those colors on that vintage wallpaper liner, but it was so perfectly vintage that I left it along and just painted the rest of the piece.  This one sold quickly as well, so someone must have loved it.

I’m not quite sure that this next one really counts as a miniature piece of furniture, but it definitely has the same flavor so I thought I’d include it.  This is another one that sold quickly, and who can be surprised by that?  Anyone can use an adorable button box to contain all of their mending supplies.

I’m not sure that this next one counts as a mini-dresser either, it’s more of a little storage box-ish thing really.  But I’m including it anyway.

I guess I can include anything I want to here, right?  It’s my blog, and I’ll post what I want to 😉

Anyway, that’s another one that I sold so that someone else could enjoy it in their own non-collection!

So how about, which one of these was your favorite.  Be sure to let me know in a comment.

the stuff that didn’t sell.

Even after more than 25 years of refurbishing vintage furniture, I don’t always know exactly which pieces will sell quickly, and which ones won’t sell at all.  Somehow I still sometimes manage to get it wrong when making decisions about the new look for a piece.

In general, I find that pieces painted in a neutral color such as white, black, dark navy or grey sell really quickly.

While pieces painted in a less neutral color tend to take longer to sell, and sometimes don’t sell at all.  For example, I originally painted this bench in a smoky pale blue …

I thought the transfer was really pretty, and had the perfect message for a foyer.  And although the color wasn’t quite neutral, it also wasn’t really bright.

But it did not sell.  I gave it 9 months, and then decided to re-paint it in my favorite Dixie Belle Drop Cloth.

And it sold right away.

Sometimes the pieces painted in neutrals don’t sell either though.  For example, this dresser did not sell despite its white paint job.

This one really surprised me, the white pieces usually sell easily.  Was it the toile transfer on those two upper drawers?  I loved it, but clearly it was not everyone’s cup of tea.

After months of trying to sell it, I ended up sanding off the toile and adding an IOD transfer over the entire front of the dresser instead.

And once again, it sold fairly quickly.

But there are always exceptions to the neutral color rule, my mid-mod pieces painted in Fusion’s Park Bench green have always flown off the shelf.

And even this vintage piece painted in a vibrant green milk paint (Sweet Pickins In a Pickle) sold, although it did take a little bit longer than the neutral pieces.

I do think that you have to get to know your own geographical area and what will sell best in your neck of the woods too.  I suspect that the floral pieces may do better in the south, while here in the upper mid-west, people are a little more conservative.  I’m not sure if conservative is the right word, but we’re maybe just a bit less frilly (correct me if I’m wrong about that Southerners).  So whenever I add a floral transfer to a piece, I always assume it will take a little longer to sell.

The exception to that rule is this one though …

That’s the Rose Celebration transfer from re.design with prima.  I’ve only used it twice, but both times the piece sold really quickly.

Then there was this piece …

For the life of me, I couldn’t sell this piece with the mirror attached. Generally, I find that it’s more difficult to sell a dresser with a mirror than without.  I think it’s because dressers are so much more versatile without their mirrors.  They can be used in a dining room, or a living room as a TV stand, or in the laundry room or home office.  You’d think buyers could just take the mirror off, but I think most people are reluctant to dismantle a piece like this.

But not me.  With my handyman Ken’s help, I removed the mirror and replaced it with some trim that I painted to match.

And that was all it took to get this one to sell.

Finally, I also find that certain pieces of furniture sell faster than others.  Dressers, nightstands and washstands are the easiest to sell for me.

Things like hutches, cabinets, buffets and chairs usually take a little longer.

And then we have desks and benches.

Desks have just never been a quick sell for me.  Perhaps it’s because people don’t really need desks anymore, or at least not in the traditional sense.  Still, I am a bit surprised that I haven’t found a buyer yet for this one …

At this point I plan to paint a mirror to match that can be hung on the wall behind it to turn it into more of a vanity/dressing table.  Then I’ll restage my photos and try again.  Maybe that will help, maybe not.  I will really be bummed if I eventually have to paint over it.  I absolutely love the IOD transfer I used.  I may have to figure out a way to keep it myself if I can’t sell it.

The benches that Ken makes out of old bed frames always take longer to sell as well.  Maybe it’s because I have to charge more for them to pay for the materials and for Ken’s time.  Some of them sold fairly quickly though, like this one in basic black …

Some of them took a fair amount of time to sell, but did eventually go, like this one …

and this one …

And that brings me to this piece.

This one started out as a bed frame.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be a 3/4 sized bed (the original owner swore it was a twin, but I should have measured myself).  Once that little detail came to light, I sent the pieces over to Ken’s workshop to be turned into a bench.

I thought he did a brilliant job of re-working that footboard, but Ken was not happy with how it turned out.  He didn’t like the fact that the footboard had those corner posts that stuck up on either side of the seat in the front.  I thought that would be OK though.  It was already mostly painted in Dixie Belle’s Sawmill Gravy and had the Cosmic Roses transfer from re.design with prima on the back.  I’d done this combo before, on this dresser …

and it was a success.  So I touched up the paint here and there and listed it for sale.

But this bench just hasn’t sold.  Is it the color?  Is it the floral transfer?  Is it those posts sticking up in the front?  Or is it a little bit of all three?

I’m not really sure.  So I’m going to change all three.  Last week it once again went back to Ken’s workshop.  He cut off the tops of those posts in the front, then he replaced the two outer boards on the seat.

Now it’s back in my workshop.  I’ve sanded off the transfer and am now giving some more thought to its new look.  Any ideas?  I’ve very tempted to just paint it black.

For those of you who also paint furniture, what do you find sells best in your area?  Do you have a magic formula that works every time?  Leave a comment and share your experience with the rest of us!

good things come in small packages.

My picker, Sue, knows me so well.  I’m sure as soon as she saw this tiny dresser she snatched it up for me.

Especially when she saw the price tag, which was $1.50.

I’m sure that there are some vintage lovers out there who would have preferred that I left it in its original yellow paint job (and P.S., that photo does not do the color justice, it was a bright yellow).  And I do agree that it has a certain aged charm about it.

But I tend to paint stuff.  In case you haven’t noticed.

So I cleaned it up, gave it a quick sand and then painted the insides of the drawers using a dark charcoal grey spray paint (because it’s quick and easy).  Then I painted the exterior in two coats of Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

To dress it up I added some wording from re.design with prima’s Paris Valley transfer.

I had to move things around a bit to avoid the knobs.  Seeing as I don’t actually speak French, I don’t know if the order I’ve put things in makes any sense at all.  French speakers everywhere are probably rolling their eyes.

But I think it’s pretty darn adorable.

I lined the drawers with some more October Afternoon scrapbook paper.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, October Afternoon was a local company here in the Twin Cities and they have been out of business for a while now.  You can sometimes still find inventory left over from various online retailers though.

I used to stock up at their annual warehouse sales, so I have a lot of their paper on hand still.  Since I rarely scrapbook anymore, I’m always happy to find other uses for it.  This particular design is from their 9 to 5 collection.

I staged this one up simply with my mini camera, a small photo and a little book.

That little book is a birthday reminder book.  It is inscribed to my grandmother from her grandmother on January 2, 1912.  My grandmother was born in 1898, so she would have been 13 at the time.

I’m fairly sure it must be in Norwegian, since that particular great, great, grandmother of mine was from Norway.

My grandmother must not have kept up the book, because I’m not listed on November 22.  For that matter, my mother isn’t listed on her birthday either.  Maybe my grandma didn’t need to be reminded of those 😉

This little dresser could be used to house all sorts of tiny treasures; jewelry, a coin collection, scrapbook supplies, mending supplies, etc, etc.

After all, good things come in small packages.

For now I think I’m going to add this little charmer to my own collection (or should I say non-collection?) of mini furniture.  I just need to find a spot for it somewhere!

the french linens box.

My picker, Sue, found this funky homemade wooden storage box for me a while back.

Here’s what it looked like on the inside.

I suspect it was meant for holding some particular item, possible a power tool of some kind?

Although I thought those built in features inside the lid were cool, I felt like the box would be more functional without them, so I removed them.

After giving the box a good clean, I painted the outside in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, and the inside in their Gravel Road.  Once the paint was dry, I took a step back and ultimately decided that I would prefer Sawmill Gravy on this piece rather than the Drop Cloth.  Especially since I planned to do another subtle tone on tone stencil design on the box.  So I painted over the Drop Cloth with Sawmill Gravy.  Then I pulled out the same stencils I used on the spooky nightstand and stenciled the outside of the box using Dixie Belle’s Fluff.

Next up I pulled out one of my French stencils and added some wording to the top of the box, and then a crown to the front of the box.

Once that was done, I sanded to distress and gave the outside a coat of clear wax.

Next up I decided to line the inside of the lid with some pretty decoupage paper that I’d purchased a while ago from Roycycled.  Someone here had left a comment once asking if I’d tried this paper, and I had not.  They have some really pretty designs, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Unfortunately, it was a complete failure.

I’m so used to using the re.design with prima decoupage paper, which is pretty much completely fool proof, that I never even considered that this paper would be so delicate.  I used my normal process for decoupaging, I cut the paper to size first, then painted on a layer of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat, then placed my paper down.  So far, so good.  Then I added a layer of the clear coat over the top of the paper, and it started to wrinkle.  As I tried to smooth out the wrinkles, I ended up tearing the paper instead.  Ugh.  So frustrating!  Then I tried to smooth the tear a bit, and tore the paper even more.

At that point I decided to cut my losses and pull the paper out of there before the clear coat had a chance to dry.

Well, live and learn.  Perhaps it was user error on my part, and I didn’t have quite the right technique for working with the Roycycled paper.  Regardless, I’m going back to using the re.design with prima decoupage tissue paper, and, FYI, they just came out with a bunch of pretty new designs (check them out here).  But for this box, I pulled out an old black & white design that I had on hand from back when I was a content creator for them.

Not a wrinkle in sight.

If you gave up on decoupaging because it was so finicky, or you didn’t like the wrinkles, you really need to give it another go using this stuff.

In addition to using the Dixie Belle flat clear coat over the decoupage paper, I also gave the entire interior of the box a couple of coats for durability.

And now this box could be used to store your favorite vintage linens.

Or maybe a few of your winter sweaters, or possibly some of your Christmas decor.

Really, who doesn’t just need a cool box to store their treasures in?

If any of you locals are interested, this box is for sale and the details can be found on my ‘available for local sale‘ page.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying their products used in this makeover.

 

and I’m back.

Why is it that vacations go by so quickly.  It feels like you’re anticipating it for so long, and then bam!  You’re already back home again.

My sister and I had a great time visiting our mom again.  After our last visit, I shared the makeover we did on her patio …

It was fun to be back to see how things were holding up.  Unfortunately, I totally dropped the ball on getting an updated photo for you guys.  But I can tell you that most of the plants I put in died (due to temps in the 100’s, and my mom in the hospital and unable to water regularly), but the bougainvillea (pink flowering plant in the pot shown above) was doing great and in fact we had to go out and get a trellis for it because it had gotten so big.

My mom was also doing great.  After my last visit in March I was really worried about her health, but she seems to be doing much better now (knock on wood).  I could tell that she was feeling better by the amount of cooking she did for us!  She made our favorite pork chops, corn casserole, egg bake, two kinds of strawberry desserts, homemade caramel rolls and lasagna.  It was awesome.

My sister and I also took full advantage of the fact that her new townhouse (my mom downsized from her 4 bedroom house to a two bedroom townhouse in January 2021) has a pool.  This was our view every afternoon …

It was in the 90’s with a perfectly blue sky every day we were there, and we pretty much had the pool all to ourselves (except one afternoon when two other people were there).  We just relaxed by the pool and did some reading each day.  It really was heavenly.

We also visited the Henderson Bird Sanctuary while at my mom’s house.

It was a lovely day, and we enjoyed the visit.  But I have to say we didn’t see very many birds … with the exception of the mechanical kind.  The sanctuary seems to be located right under a flight path to the Vegas airport and those airplanes kept coming in one after another, after another, like clockwork.

My sister and I also checked out Ethel M Chocolates in Henderson.  It’s a great place to buy some really expensive (and delicious) chocolates, but they also have a lovely botanical cactus garden, one of the nicest I’ve seen (compared to a couple I’ve been to in the south of France, like this one).

They had started putting up lights for Christmas already, and I’m just betting that they put on an amazing holiday display.

It was quite hot the afternoon we visited, and you might wonder how you can get your chocolate home safely in those kind of temperatures, but they put ice packs in your shopping bag along with the chocolate.  Isn’t that a thoughtful detail?

Probably the most fun part of our trip was heading off to Disneyland though.  My sister and I took a quick flight from Las Vegas to the John Wayne airport in Orange County, and then we spent 4 nights at the Grand Californian in Disneyland.

It had been a while since we’d visited the original Disney park.  I’d almost forgotten how much smaller it is, especially that castle.  See it down there, at the end of Main Street?

It’s almost comically small compared to the one at Disney World.  But hey, back in Walt’s day I bet it was totally magical, definitely something never seen before in an amusement park.

By the way, that gal driving the horse drawn carriage is Ashley, and she was super friendly and told us all about how they care for the horses that work at Disneyland, and how they used to have some stables on the land that is now part of Galaxy’s Edge, but now they have relocated them to a ranch that is about 30 miles away.

My biggest q tip for you today, if you ever visit a Disney park, is to always make a point of chatting with the cast members (that’s what they call the employees there).  They are always super friendly and informative, and on this trip in particular they were all really enthusiastic and welcoming.  I think maybe they are all just really happy to be back at work after the park was closed for more than a year due to covid.

One of the highlights of our visit was seeing the Haunted Mansion all decked out for Halloween.

My photo doesn’t really do it justice, but it was covered in candelabras that flickered as though loaded with 100’s of real candles, and there were jack o’lanterns everywhere.  It was perfectly spooky!

We also enjoyed having some drinks in Oga’s Cantina in Galaxy’s Edge.

We had some super geeked out Star Wars fans at the table next to us and they were wearing full on Star Wars costumes and brandishing their new light sabers.  So fun!

I’m back in the real world now though, and planning to spend the weekend out in my workshop starting work on some of my Christmas items (I know, I know, way too early, but it will be here before we know it).  How about you?  Are you starting to think about Christmas decorations already?  And tell me, have any of you been to both Disneyland and Disney World?  Which is your favorite?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

colors for fall.

Recently Dixie Belle was kind enough to send me all of the colors in their new Suzanne’s Fall Colors line.

They are all perfectly cozy colors for this time of year!

So I decided to use as many of them as possible on one project.  Well, lol, not really.  I didn’t make a concrete decision to do that, it just sort of turned out that I was able to use three out of the five colors on today’s project.

A while back one of my readers gave me a bunch of drop down table leaves that had been removed from tables.  A pair of them were the perfect size for my Farmers Market stencil from Wallcutz.

I decided to give them a little texture first using the Dixie Belle Sea Spray texture additive.  I mixed it with some of their Colonel Mustard paint and stippled it onto the surface of my table leaf.  Once that was fully dry, I sanded it back just a bit to take down the high peaks.  I’ve found that I prefer a slightly more subtle textured look, and this is a great way to achieve it.

Next up I painted the first leaf in one of Suzanne’s Fall Colors called Juniper.  Then I added a shadow of my stencil first using the Latte color.

I only ‘shadowed’ the word FARMERS and the little doo-dads on either side of MARKET.  Then I followed that up by painting the full stencil in Cashmere.

Full disclosure, I staged and photographed this sign before I left on my trip out to my mom’s.  So I didn’t really have any great fall color in my garden yet, although my Sweet Autumn clematis was blooming like mad.

So I had to fake the autumn vibes a bit with some pumpkins.

One of my regulars has already snagged this sign, so it’s not available for sale.

For the 2nd of the leaves, I painted it in Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky (over the mustard sea spray texture).  And to be completely honest, I can’t exactly remember which colors I used for the stenciling on this second one!

I may have used the same ones, but then again, I may not have.  I think I used Dixie Belle’s Putty on this one instead though.  I really should write these things down when I’m not going to get to blogging about them right away!

And this one is still available, so if any of you locals have a spot for it, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for all of the details.

Anyway, what do you think of my table leaf signs?  And how about those new fall colors from Dixie Belle?  Which one is your favorite?

inspired by.

One of my readers offered me this little cabinet a while back.  She’d planned to give it a makeover herself, but never got around to it and finally decided to give it up.  Hey, it happens to all of us, right?

If you look at the top, right side of the cabinet, you can see that this piece was formerly a built-in.  There isn’t any trim on that side because it was up against a wall.  So the first step with this piece was to have my handyman Ken work some of his magic on it.

He wasn’t aiming for perfection, I just wanted him to add a little bit of balance to that side of the cabinet.

So he added a 1″ x 2″ board to the side to ‘match’ the other side, and then he moved that tiny bit of trim (with the arrow pointing to it in the photo above) from the back of the cupboard to the side instead.  He also added a little piece of filler wood behind it so that there wasn’t a gap.

Then he added that little triangular piece of wood under the 1 by 2 to sort of fake your eye into not noticing the lack of trim there.

I used some of Dixie Belle’s Mud to hide some gaps too.  Then I painted all of the new wood in Dixie Belle’s Coffee Bean.  I did that because I knew I wanted to paint this piece in milk paint, and milk paint over raw wood looks a bit different than milk paint over finished (or painted wood) and I didn’t want that area to stand out.

I mentioned that last week’s spooky furniture was inspired by the Kabinet & Kammer book.  I’m often inspired by things I see in decorating books, and today’s piece is another example of that.  This time my inspiration comes from Patina Farm by Gianetti & Gianetti.

Specifically, this cupboard in Patina Farm …

I love that smoky blue grey color, along with the really worn and distressed look of that cabinet.

I thought that I could probably recreate that look using Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Aviary.  So I mixed up the rest of the Aviary paint I had on hand and started painting.

I really cut it close with the paint.  I’d already used some of the package of paint on both my sister’s trunk and a small chair, so I had less than half left.  Luckily I was aiming for a massively worn look because that helped disguise the fact that I didn’t really get perfect coverage with just two coats on paint on this piece, but that was all the paint I had left.

It was enough to give me the look I wanted though.

After painting the outside, I distressed heavily (by sanding with 220 grit paper) and then added a top coat of clear wax.  I ultimately decided not to paint the inside.  I think the smoky blue color works well with the tone of the warm wood interior, and with the door shut you really don’t see much of it.

I did clean it up a bit inside using Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta though.  This time I used their new scent for fall called Flannel.  It smells pretty much just like men’s cologne, so if you’re looking for a more masculine scent, this is it.  It would be perfect for freshening up the drawers of a gentlemen’s chest of drawers.

This cupboard would be a fun piece to tuck into a narrow spot in your home, and as you can see it looks great with some ironstone inside.

Although this is usually where I tell locals that they can check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details, but this sweet little cupboard is already spoken for!

Just a heads up to those of you who look for my blog posts on the regular, my sister and I are flying out later today to visit our mom.  We’ll be gone all of next week, so I’ll be taking a little bit of a blog break.  But I’ll be back with another post on October 4, so be sure to stay tuned!