chair no. 18

I’m so excited to share my piano room makeover with you guys, but I’m holding out until Wednesday in order to stick to my regularly scheduled room tour series, and because I haven’t quite finished writing that post yet.

But I am going to share just a small portion of the project with you today, the chair that I have paired with my piano.

This chair is obviously not one that came with the piano.  I don’t remember precisely, but I’m sure I bought it at a garage sale.  I love it’s sort of vintage industrial vibe.  You may remember that back when I painted the piano I was on the fence about what to do with the chair.  Initially I was going to leave it unpainted, but I really didn’t like how the wood tone looked with the black piano.  I was reluctant to paint it in a matching black because I thought that would be too matchy-matchy.

Obviously having a seat that matches your piano isn’t really a bad thing, but I wanted to have something unexpected and more unique than your typical matching piano bench.

I’ve been keeping an eye out for an alternative seating option for this spot, but haven’t found one yet.  I was really thinking I’d end up painting this one white and calling it good.  It wasn’t until I had the entire room finished that I decided that black was the right choice after all.

This couldn’t have been a quicker, easier makeover.  I simply sanded the chair very quickly (not thoroughly at all) and then wiped it down with a damp rag.

I used my cheater method to paint the cane seat of the chair.  In other words, I spray painted the cane with matte black primer.  Then, while I was at it, I did the same with the slats on the back.

Once the primer was dry I went over those bits with my final paint.  It doesn’t matter if I didn’t quite get every spot because the black primer makes that fairly unnoticeable.  It’s so much easier to make sure I get into all of the nooks and crannies with spray paint first, especially on that cane.

Next I painted the rest of the wood parts of the chair with Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky, the same color I used on the piano.  I just did one coat.

Since I planned on distressing the chair anyway, I didn’t need perfect coverage.  Plus the black paint over the dark wood covered quite well.

Because I was keeping this chair, I wanted to add a little touch of whimsy with a stenciled number.

What can I say, I love a good number.

I added the same stenciled number to the back of the chair too since the chair is seen from both sides.

I used a new product from Dixie Belle to topcoat this chair.  It’s called Big Mama’s Butta and it’s available in two scents, Orange Grove and Suzanne’s Garden.  Plus you can get it in an unscented version.  It contains all natural hemp seed oil, coconut oil, beeswax, carnauba wax and essential oils.

I would describe this product as a wax meets hemp oil sort of combination.  It has a consistency similar to vaseline, although not quite as soft.  It goes on much more easily than wax, but also leaves more of a greasy feel behind.  Sort of like … well … butta!

Not to worry though, that greasiness goes away as it dries.  Just be sure to wipe away any excess product after applying it.

I’m using the Orange Grove version and I love the smell.  I have heard some say it’s too overpowering, but I don’t think so.  The scent does dissipate over time as well.

Even though I went matchy-matchy with the color, I do think this vintage office chair is a bit unexpected when paired with a piano.  So in the end, I’m quite happy with it and don’t feel like I need to keep searching for an alternative after all.

Thanks to Dixie Belle for providing me with the Midnight Sky paint and the Big Mama’s Butta that I used on this project.  If you’re wondering where to purchase Dixie Belle products you can find their website here.

Be sure to check back on Wednesday to see the full reveal of my piano room makeover!

thankful autumn.

I know it’s a bit early to be thinking about Thanksgiving itself, but this year I’m going to take some inspiration from one of Prima Marketing’s newest transfer collections and practice gratitude for the entire fall season.

On Wednesday I posted about the tree that came down in our yard and how thankful we were that nothing else was damaged, no one got hurt, and the entire mess was cleaned up before 9 a.m. by some tree guys that were already in the neighborhood.

Just the other day I mentioned to Mr. Q how blessed I am to have my sister and niece living nearby now.  For those of you who might be new here, my sister got married and moved away to New Jersey when I was 18 years old.  We didn’t live in the same state for over 30 years until she and my niece moved here to Minnesota 4 years ago.

Now I can’t even imagine them not living here.  We have so much fun together.  How did I ever get by without them for so many years?

I regularly give thanks for my neighbor/handyman Ken too.  Never more so than this past week as we’ve been working on a little home improvement project together.  I’m going to share it next Wednesday, so be sure to check back for that.

I also feel incredibly lucky that Prima Marketing chose me to be a member of their design team.

It’s so fun to get a sneak peek at the designs each time they come out with a new release, which brings me to today’s quick and easy project.

I started with a pile of vintage plates and platters.

Then I pulled out one of Prima’s newest transfer collections called Thankful Autumn.  This collection will be available to purchase on September 15.  You can find a retailer near you, or an online source for Prima’s transfers here.

Then I just cut out the various designs and added them to the plates.

A quick q tip for you:  when working with the transfers over glass (or china in this case) be forewarned that they stick like mad to these surfaces.  As soon as that transfer touches the surface, it is stuck there.  So be sure you get your placement right before allowing contact.

I was a little off on this next one.

But the sentiment is still there.  Even if it’s a little wonky, there’s no place like home sweet home.

the q branch.

Yesterday my handyman/neighbor Ken and I worked on a project in my piano room that is almost finished, and I’m so excited to share it with you guys.  I’m planning to have that room ready for next Wednesday’s room tour.

In the meantime, before I get to today’s room tour, I have to tell you all that we’re feeling pretty fortunate here at our house.  We had a ferocious (Mr. Q’s word) storm blow through here on Monday night and the maple tree in our front year came down.

I’m a bit bummed because this tree had finally gotten to the right size to block the street light from our bedroom window.  I also really enjoyed listening to birds singing in this tree in the early morning hours.  However it missed our front porch by about a foot, which is incredibly lucky.  It didn’t do any damage at all except to one little corner of my front garden.

As you can see, there are plenty of bigger trees around our house that would have done much more damage if they had come down.

Not only that, but when we got up in the morning there was a tree service company working a block over so I asked them if they’d look at my tree too.  While they were at it, I also asked them to take down the pear tree in my front yard.  It didn’t do well over last winter and was looking pretty sad (you can just see it to the left in the photo above).  I had been thinking about having that one cut down anyway.

They had both trees down, everything hauled away, and my entire yard cleaned up by 9 a.m.

So although our front yard feels a little barren now, and we feel a little more exposed,  we’re definitely going to have fewer leaves to rake this fall.  Overall we are counting our blessings because this certainly could have been much worse.

  OK, on with today’s normally scheduled programming.  We are heading inside to tour a branch of a different kind, the q branch.

This room is directly off the piano room and I have no idea what purpose it was originally meant to serve.  Possibly it was just small sitting room all along, or it could have been a very small main floor bedroom at one time.

We’ve tried a number of different looks for this room.  It once housed my dollhouse, which basically took up the entire space.  Then we turned it into a small dining room, which we never actually used.

Now it is the q branch, or my study, and it gets more use than it ever did before.  I last redecorated this room back in January 2015 (oh my gosh, can you believe that was over four years ago!).  Mr. Q is the one who thought it should be called the q branch.  If you’re not a James Bond fan, the q branch is the fictional research and development segment of the British Secret Service in the Bond movies.  Clearly it was the perfect name for the room where I write this blog.

The biggest change to this room since I originally finished it in 2015 was the addition of my giant English cupboard.  I purchased this via Craigslist back in August 2017.

When I brought it home the inside was completely empty, but handyman/neighbor Ken kitted it out with shelves for me and then I painted the inside.

I was on the fence about whether or not to paint the exterior at the time, but now I’m really glad I didn’t.  I love the patina of the bare wood.

I only recently moved my stack of vintage suitcases into this room (and clearly I need to move my paint brushes up a bit on the wall).

They used to be in the dining room.  I think they fit better here though.  Some of them house my vintage Christmas ornaments, and some of them are just empty.

The opposite side of the room contains my rooster cupboard.  It is painted in Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in a coat of Flow Blue over a coat of Artissimo then finished with her antiquing (dark) wax.

This cupboard is one of my favorite pieces.  I love the chippy paint and that fabulous rooster grain sack that I used to line the glass doors.

The room does feel a bit ‘cupboard heavy’ though, with two cupboards in a fairly small space.  They are really great for storage though.  Some of you ask how I can bear to part with some of my pieces, well, this is one that I just can’t seem to let go of.  I do wish I had a better spot for it though.

My giant ‘q’ still hangs on the wall above my desk.

My sister gave this to me for Christmas several years ago and I gave it a chippy paint job.  I think I’m going to re-do it soon though, I have another idea in mind for it.

I’m realizing now that I could have done a much better job staging this room for these photos.  A professional would have hidden all of those cords coming down behind the desk, and straightened out the lambs wool throw on the chair.  Maybe found a cuter mouse pad too.

But this is real life guys.  This is where I sit in the early morning hours writing my blog posts and editing my photos.  There are cords, and messes, and usually a cup of coffee next to that unattractive mouse pad.

I hope you enjoyed today’s tour.  Be sure to check back next Wednesday to see what Ken and I were up to in the piano room!

the traders market.

Happy Labor Day to those of you in the U.S. … or maybe other countries too, I don’t know.  Do you celebrate Labor Day (or some similar holiday) where you are?  This year it truly does feel like the long Labor Day weekend is signaling the end of summer.  We’ve had cool, somewhat cloudy weather all weekend.

But that ended up being perfect weather for the Traders’ Market in Elko, MN.

I had heard about this event over the years but had never actually gone to it.  My friend/picker Sue gave me a heads up that it was taking place this past weekend and it’s only about 30 minutes or so south of the Twin Cities, so my sister and I decided to check it out this past Saturday.

I would say that this event is a scaled down (more manageable?) version of Oronoco Gold Rush.   We were able to see the entire thing in about 3 hours.  There were your typical ‘antique’ dealers with piles of old stuff thrown on tables.  Plus a handful of artisans with things made out of metal or wood.

But there also was a smattering of booths that really appealed to me.

I’m afraid I didn’t get names to go with the vendors who had most of the booths.  I mentioned to my sister that it seemed odd that many booths seemed to be unmanned.  I’m sure the vendors were around somewhere, but they weren’t hovering.  I generally like to ask permission before taking photos, but I wasn’t able to for some of these.

There were a couple of stand out displays, like this one …

I love the way they used the colors of the book jackets to play off the colors on the toy trucks.

These next two photos are also from the same booth.

Gotta love the old books.

This next booth was my favorite of the day though …

Their display was gorgeous.  I loved the creamy white color scheme.

I debated purchasing these grain sack pumpkins, but I rarely decorate much for Fall.

Check out the stems on those pumpkins.  It’s hard to tell in my photo, but they are made out of old tools.  How fun is that?

They had a lot of vintage tarnished silver mixed in with the creamy white too.

This wreath made out of old silver trays reminded me of a similar one that was at the 2011 Bachman’s Holiday Idea house.  That was one of my favorite versions of the Idea House, if you’ve never heard of it or want to see more of it, check out Linda’s tour at Itsy Bits and Pieces here.

If you have a large dining room, this would be an incredible statement piece for the wall.

I did manage to pick up a card and chat with the vendors at this booth and it turned out they were from Urban Revival, a shop in Farmington, MN.  Their shop had been recommended to me by several people in the past but I’d never made a trip out there, so since it was just a little bit out of our way Debbie and I decided to stop off there on the way home.

Farmington was a bit of a ghost town when we got there.

Maybe because it was a holiday weekend and everyone was out of town.  And I suppose those that weren’t out of town were at the Traders’ Market at Elko!

The shop was adorable, I love the way they had everything displayed by color … much like their booth at Elko.

They had a few fun items made with some Funky Junk stencils.

By the way, they also carried both Dixie Belle paint and Miss Mustard Seed milk paint, so for any of you locals on the south side of the cities this is a great spot to pick up those products.

You might be wondering if I purchased anything on Saturday.  I have to confess, being an avid garage saler has pretty much ruined me for these events/shops.  I’m so used to finding things for a couple of dollars, so I cringe at real price tags.  I mainly go to these places to get ideas and to see what other people are doing.

However, I did pick up an adorable set of ‘days of the week’ dish towels at the market.

I had initially looked at a vintage set that was $45, but that was a bit steep for me.  Plus, I buy these towels to use them not to just display them somewhere.  Ultimately they get worn and stained and … well … used.  So I passed on the vintage set and later found this set for $35.  The lovely older woman (gosh, I hope she’s not a blog reader of mine, she was clearly in her 70’s at least, but nobody likes to be called ‘older’) who was selling these made them herself.  Kudos to her for her fine stitching skills!

Before we left the market, Debbie and I posed for a selfie with a new friend.

We had a great time exploring the Traders’ Market and Urban Revival.  The Traders’ Market is held three times a year on the summer holiday weekends; Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.  We’d definitely go back again next year!

the midas touch.

I purchased this mid mod piece at a garage sale earlier this season.

It had been lingering out in the workshop all summer because it’s so huge.  I felt worn out just looking at it.  Plus the top is laminate, so I knew that would require some extra steps.  So I procrastinated a bit.

But much like painting my baby grand piano, I am now wondering what in the world I was waiting for.

In fact, this is the perfect sort of project for a working gal like me.  Each step only took about an hour or so and then needed dry time in between.  Perfect for fitting in after work each evening.  By Friday you suddenly realize that you’ve finished the piece and it didn’t take long at all.

I started by removing the drawer pulls and sanding everything a little more thoroughly than usual.  Then I cleaned the entire piece using TSP substitute.  I was extra diligent with these two steps because I wanted to make sure I would get good adhesion with my paint.  Next I added a coat of Fusion’s Ultra Grip to the laminate top of the piece.  The directions on the Ultra Grip say to let it dry for 12 hours for best results, and since I wanted the best result, that’s what I did.

While that was drying, I painted the drawer fronts and the base of the piece with Fusion’s Park Bench.

The next evening I added a 2nd coat of green on the bottom and the first coat of Park Bench to the top.  I then let that dry for 24 hours before adding a 2nd coat to the top the next evening.

Again, I wanted to allow for maximum durability of the paint over that laminate.  It’s always a good idea to do two light coats of paint rather than one heavy coat, and to make sure the first coat is totally dry before adding the 2nd.

Next I washed the drawer pulls using Dawn dishwashing soap.  Once they were dry I ‘golded’ them up a bit using Prima Marketing re.design’s Decor Wax in Eternal.

To apply the wax to pieces like this I just put on some latex gloves and rub the wax on with my finger.  Somehow I just can’t seem to stop the theme to Goldfinger from running through my head while I’m doing this.  Goldfinger.  He’s the man, the man with the Midas touch.

I like to give the wax a couple of hours to harden and then I buff the pulls lightly with a soft cloth to bring out a little more shine.

The paint totally updates the look of this credenza.  I think it simplifies some of the detail that is going on with those raised panels on the drawer fronts and makes them look less ‘busy’.

You’ll remember the pair of quail I purchased at the Mac-Grove sales last weekend, here they are again with their new paint job.  They tie in nicely with the gold hardware.

I think they look a bit more fresh and updated now.  I used the same RustOleum spray paint in gold that I used on my living room lamp and the hardware on the cobalt blue dresser.  I seem to be getting a ton of use out of that one can of spray paint.

In the past these Park Bench green pieces have sold really well for me so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this trend continues.

Thank you to Prima Marketing for providing the Decor wax and to Fusion for providing the Ultra Grip.

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Decor Wax, check out Prima’s ‘where to buy’ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Fusion products, check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a fabulous green credenza, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page to see if this one is still available.

the photo cottage.

Today I’m continuing the Wednesday tour of our home.  Today’s stop, the photo cottage.

This is a little building that’s out in our backyard.  I feel like it would be selling it a bit short to call it a shed, but it’s a little overkill to call it a summer house.  The people who owned the house before we did used it as a playhouse for their kids.

It has undergone several transformations since we’ve lived here.  It went from a storage area to a potting shed to a summer house, all of which were sadly underutilized.

Then in 2014 I decided to put it to use as a photo staging area.  I started by painting the interior walls and ceiling white, then painting a white & grey checkered pattern on the floor.

I have a cupboard out in the photo cottage that came with the house.  It’s a great spot for storing some of my photo props.

Although that chair stayed out there for a little while, I’m actually using it inside the house now.

I did quite a few furniture photo shoots in here originally.

But I really struggled with the lighting, and with getting the white balance right.  At certain times of the day the sun reflected off my red carriage house next door and turned everything pink.

Plus, the photo cottage isn’t really big enough to get shots from every angle.

Also, over time the painted floor started to really show its age.

I realized last summer that I needed to repaint it if I was going to continue to use it for photo shoots.  But time ran out and I never got it done.  Then I planned to paint it this summer.  And guess what?  It’s the end of summer and once again I still haven’t done it.  At this point, I’m giving up trying to accomplish it this year.  Also, I’m just not sure it’s worth the effort for a building that isn’t optimal for photo shoots anyway.

So the truth of the matter is that this little outbuilding has reverted back to its original purpose, as a storage area.  We’ll probably store our deck furniture out there this winter.  Maybe next Spring I can refresh this space once again.  Honestly, I give it a 50/50 chance of getting done.

I’m curious, what would you do with this little cottage if you had it in your backyard?

 

 

 

mac-grove 2019.

We had the most beautiful day for garage saling on Saturday.  It was sunny with low humidity and cooler temps in the 70’s.

I didn’t come home with tons of treasures, but I found a few good things.  You might be surprised by the item I’ve chosen as my ‘find of the day’, but you’ll have to read to the end to find out what it is.

Before I get to the ‘finds’ though, I have to tell you guys that the garage sales themselves are really only part of the reason why I love these neighborhood garage sales.  The other part is getting to drive around these gorgeous neighborhoods and snoop.

This particular neighborhood is in St. Paul and is bordered on one side by the Mississippi River.  The homes along Mississippi River Boulevard are especially fab.  Isn’t that row of hydrangeas spectacular?

I was totally envious of the hydrangea tree (on left) in front of this next house.

Who wouldn’t love to live in a pretty little cottage like this next one?

But let’s get back to the finds.

First up, Shelly suggested I show you my sister Debbie’s finds this time.  I aim to please, so here they are.

She spent less than $10 and came home with some Scandinavian style Christmas linens, a cookbook and a piece of blue carnival glass, which she non-collects 😉

I think it’s fair to say that Debbie comes along for the sight-seeing and the scintillating company more so than the actual garage saling (right Deb?).  But she usually finds a couple of things to buy.

I came home with a couple of things to add to my own non-collections.

Including just one solitary Christmas ornament and some bluebird china.

I also purchased a gorgeous vintage tablecloth.  The colors in it were just so vibrant.

You may remember that I pared down my non-collection of these earlier this year, so it was silly to buy another … but at $10, I just couldn’t pass it up.

Somehow I also can’t seem to resist sweet painted china like this plate …

There’s really no market for these pieces right now and as a result they tend to be dirt cheap.  I paid $1 for this one.  I was thinking it would be pretty hung on the wall in my guest room.

I also picked up another enamelware coffee pot.

These have been selling well for me with the Prima Marketing transfers added to them, so I added some on this one too.

I also nabbed this mid-century glassware …

I think I’m going to use them as a prop for the mid-mod credenza that I’ll be sharing later this week.

Speaking of things one can’t resist, who can resist heading to a garage sale that uses the poop emoji on their sign?

I didn’t end up buying much from these ladies, just a pair of quail.

I’ve already given them a fresh new look with a coat of spray paint.  You’ll also see them again as props on that mid-century credenza, but here they are with their new paint job …

I also bought a few bigger pieces at Mac-Grove.

The three kid-sized wooden chairs will get makeovers eventually.  I have some ideas for those swimming around in my head.  Of course the washstand will also get a paint job and probably some new hardware since one pull is missing.

The bucket on the right would make a fantastic large planter, don’t you think?  It is really quite heavy and the seller told me that it’s an old ash bucket.  It would also be a great container for firewood if you’re lucky enough to have a wood burning fireplace.

Remember the secretary desk I shared last week with the Prima Marketing Parisian Letter transfer on it?  I mentioned that I couldn’t quite fit the entire transfer on the desk.  The remaining portion was perfect for this bucket.

It looks pretty awesome filled with Limelight hydrangeas, doesn’t it?

Now, you’re probably wondering, what about that ‘find of the day’?  Well, it’s actually not included in any of the photos so far but here it is …

Oh my gosh you guys, these cookies were so delicious that I just had to call them my find of the day.  The gal selling them is going to be opening a bakery in Northfield, MN.  She said that she uses a lot of old Swedish recipes for her baking.  These cookies might not look like much, but they had the most delicate crisp texture on the outside, with a chewy interior.  Plus they were the perfect almond flavor.  The gal also mentioned that she crushes the almonds by hand to make these.  If any of you are ever near Northfield, keep an eye out for this bakery.  You’ve got to try these cookies!

So, what’s your favorite among my finds this week?  Were you surprised that my ‘find of the day’ was a cookie?  Did you have your own fab finds last weekend?  Leave me a comment and let me know.