sign, sign, everywhere a sign.

A few weeks ago my picker, Sue, sent me an ad for an estate sale that was just a few blocks from our office at the day job.  The ad included a photo of a gorgeous dresser that would have been beautiful painted.  I had some other things on my to-do list for my lunch break that day though, so I didn’t think I’d be able to get there.  And can I just add in, it’s super frustrating that so many estate sales are only open 9 am to 3 pm on weekdays, thus making it impossible for any of us 9 to 5-er’s to get there!

I didn’t pay too much attention to the location of the sale thinking that I didn’t have time for it anyway.  As it turned out, I did have an extra 15 minutes after running my errands, so I decided to swing by after all.  Except then I couldn’t find it!  It should have been easy, just look for a sign right?  And I mean an actual sign, not a sign from above.

I knew the general vicinity, just not the exact location.  Except there was a garage sale sign at the corner of every single street along the way!  So.  Many. Sales.  Which one was the right one?

After stopping at three sales, none of which were not the right sale, my fifteen minutes ran out and I never did find the sale I was looking for that day.

The next day was Saturday though, so I decided to try again and just see if the beautiful dresser was still there.  I recruited my neighbor, nnK, to keep me company.  When we got there, there were quite a few things in the driveway, but not the furniture I was looking for.  I assumed it was gone, so disappointing.  Then I noticed the sign that said “more furniture inside”.  Eureka!

Sure enough there it was, inside the house.  Unfortunately, it was part of a set.  The bed was also gorgeous and I would have loved to have it.  The third piece to the set was a dressing table.  I could have made that work.  Then I saw yet another sign.  This time it said “bedroom set – $500”.

After all of that, the dresser was ultimately way, way out of my price range.  True, there were three pieces, but that still would have made each piece $167.  I just can’t justify spending that much on pieces when I know I can find other pieces to work on for much less.  And in case you are wondering, yes, I do sometimes ask if a seller will take less for something, but in this case it would have needed to be much less and I was getting a definite ‘antiques are valuable’ vibe from these sellers.

I was about to just walk away from the sale empty handed when I noticed they had a couple of mid-century pieces for sale as well.  And guess what, they were only $35 each.  Clearly they did not consider them ‘antiques’.  This price was much more in line with what I like to pay for things.  So they came home with me instead, sort of like a consolation prize.

This past week I painted one of them.

It’s your typical Bassett mid-century tall boy, but what I really loved about it was the hardware.  Aren’t those awesome drawer pulls?

I decided to go with one of my favorite colors for mid-century pieces, Fusion’s English Rose or as I like to call it, Millennial Pink.

I did my usual prep, a light scuff sanding following by a good cleaning with TSP substitute.

It took three coats of paint to get good coverage.

I spruced up the hardware by cleaning it with dish washing soap, then once dry I added some of Prima Marketing’s Art Alchemy Metallique wax in Vintage Gold.

Normally I stage my mid-mod pieces with more period appropriate props (say that 10 times fast!), but this time I went vintage using this adorable baby dress.

I used to have several of these, they all came from Sue originally.  She tried to sell them at one of our occasional sales …

But they didn’t go.  So I purchased several of them myself.  They were all hand stitched and absolutely beautiful.

I’ve sold most of them over the years though and this is the only one I have left.  I hang onto it just for staging photos.  It’s hanging from a vintage hanger that I dressed up with one of the Prima Marketing knob transfers.

Can you just imagine the patience it takes to stitch that?

I tried to replicated that amazing original paint color on the hanger on the little chair that is also pictured.

This is a custom mix of milk paint that I couldn’t recreate if I tried.  I just kept throwing in a little of this and a little of that, using leftovers of both Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint and Homestead House milk paint that I had on hand.

The chair is also dressed up a bit with some Prima Marketing transfers from their Delicate Fleur collection.  I’ll most likely take the chair to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell.

I tend to have good results selling these pink mid-century pieces on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, so fingers crossed that this one sells quickly.

As always, thanks to Prima Marketing for providing the transfers and metallic wax.  I purchased the Fusion paint at Reclaiming Beautiful this time around though.

If you’re local and in need of a millennial pink mid-mod dresser, be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

modeling material give away.

I’ve been experimenting a bit lately with Prima Marketing’s Modeling Material and molds.

I am still a total newbie at using them and am learning as I go.  I don’t want to attempt a full on tutorial with you guys because I’m definitely not an expert.  Instead here is a link to a YouTube video by CeCe ReStyled which is very in depth.

I do have a few tips for you that I’ve learned so far though.

My first tip is to sprinkle a little corn starch into your mold before using it.  This will help ensure that the molded clay pops out easily.

My next tip is to be aware that the clay shrinks a bit as it dries.

Most of the time this isn’t going to be an issue, but it came into play for me when working with the Regal Filaments mould.

When I took my modeling material out of the mould the long pieces came apart in a few spots.

I didn’t think that would be a problem, I could just glue them in place and no one would ever know.  However, as they dried the gaps grew larger because the pieces also shrunk.

If I had let these dry before gluing them in place, I could have tightened up those gaps.  However, you should also know that the clay becomes hard and brittle once fully dry.  It may also warp a bit.  In other words, you won’t be able to shape it, and it may not lay flat.  So it might work better to glue your clay in place before it dries fully.

I believe the best solution is to let your material dry for about an hour before taking it out of the mold.  It will still be somewhat pliable at that point, but also it will have firmed up just a bit.  You can then glue it in place before letting it dry fully.

Despite that shrinkage, I still think this particular piece still turned out nicely.

It’s an old cupboard door that I painted in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth, then added the clay molds along the sides, some Hobby Lobby knobs at the bottom and one of Prima Marketing’s Floral Home transfers.

So far I’ve used a small bee mold on this raised cake plate …

I’ve used a decorative flower mold on this small jewelry box …

And I used the Seawashed Treasures mold on the cupboard doors I shared with you on Monday.

I’m having lots of fun playing around with these molds, but I don’t want to hog all the fun just for myself.  So today I’m giving away the 2 lb. bucket of Modeling Material, plus 5 molds, Baroque Swirls, In Bloom, Italian Villa Scrolls, Leafy Blossoms and Greco Crest.

Thank you to Prima Marketing for providing all of the goodies for today’s giveaway!

The rules:  to be eligible to win today’s prize leave a comment on this blog post letting me know what kind of project you would like to use these molds on.  Your comment must be left on the blog, 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 Friday, July 26, 2019 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 $75, if the prize is not claimed by Sunday, July 28, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!

the only treasures in a pile of shit.

As you may know, I have a ‘picker’.  It’s my friend/co-worker/Carriage House sale partner/garage sale mentor Sue.  She has an amazing eye for treasures, plus she loves the hunt.

I keep saying that one of these days I’m going to do an updated tour of her home and garden here on the blog because you guys would absolutely love it.  Here’s just one quick shot from the last time I photographed her garden …

I did share it once already several years ago (here and here), but Sue is one of those people who is frequently changing things up.  I totally envy her ability to do that on a regular basis.  I tend to get too complacent.  She’s moved several rooms around, and redecorated most of her house since our last tour.

During garage sale season it’s always fun to come in to work at the day job on Monday morning to find a little pile of treasures in my office.

I never know what she’ll find, but it’s always good.  Sometimes the goodies are all packed inside a vintage suitcase!

Sometimes the stuff is completely random, but Sue knows that I’ll love it, like this black doctor’s bag that I added a stencil to.

Last fall I came in on a Monday to find this adorable pair of little chairs leaning against the wall in my office.

And Sue always knows to grab pretty much anything galvanized for me.

This past Monday I came in to find this simple little wooden box on my desk.

And nestled inside were three amazing vintage glass bird ornaments.

Both of the next two had their spun glass tails intact which isn’t always the case with this style of bird ornament.  I have a couple of them that are tail-less.

I do already have one similar to the one above in my non-collection of vintage ornaments, but I’ve never even seen one like this last one …

I have to include a photo of those last two birds together here so that you can see the size difference.

That last one is quite large.  He’s actually 9″ from the tip of his beak to the end of his tail.

Believe it or not, Sue paid only $1 each for the ornaments!

When I asked her about where she found them, she said she just happened to be driving past a garage sale over the weekend and decided to pull over and check it out.  Then she told me that the bird ornaments were ‘the only treasures in a pile of shit’.

I burst out laughing and said ‘that is the perfect blog post title!’

But seriously, that’s how it goes with garage sales.  Sometimes you have to pick through a lot of shit to find the occasional rare treasure.

the nautical desk.

Before I get into today’s post, congratulations to Debbie (not my sister, another Debbie) as the winner of my Out on the Farm giveaway last week.  Luckily she is a country girl at heart so she’s sure to enjoy the farmhouse decor magazines!

Lately I’ve been steeling my resolve and not looking at Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.  When I look, I tend to buy.  But what I really need to do right now is get through some of the pieces that have been stored out in my workshop/carriage house too long.  Like this one …

I purchased this waterfall desk at the thrift store way back last October, before the leaves had all fallen but after our first dusting of snow (as evidenced by the ‘before’ photo).

I had actually passed this one by the first time I saw it, as we know I’m not a huge fan of waterfall style furniture.  But when I went back a 2nd time and it was still there I decided ‘why not?’  I thought it would make a good winter project, ha!  And here it is July.

I mainly loved it for those fabulous handles.  Aren’t they awesome?

Had I painted this one over the winter I would have painted the entire thing.  However, since I procrastinated, I decided to strip the top.  I don’t really like to strip furniture inside the house during the winter.  It’s just too messy.  Plus, even though the citrus stripper I use doesn’t have a toxic, chemical smell, it does still have a kind of icky smell.  Sort of like wet dog mixed with oranges, or in this case, wet old furniture mixed with oranges.  Ewww.  So I save most of my stripping for the summer (please don’t quote me out of context on that, lol).

I felt like this waterfall style would be better served by a more traditional treatment on the top rather than my typical antiquing wax over bare wood, so I stained it with Varathane Premium Fast Drying stain in Dark Walnut.  Then I made a bit of a boo boo and purchased MinWax Fast Dry poly in satin to go over it.  I rarely use poly, and I hadn’t bought it in forever, so I mistakenly selected this oil based poly.  By the time I had it on the brush it was too late to go back, so I just went with it.

It certainly turned out pretty, but I had a heck of a time with drips and runs on that curved edge!  I’d think I had them all and then look back and find that more had developed.  I also ended up just tossing the brush I used because I hate cleaning oil based products using mineral spirits.  Next time it’s back to either the Wipe On Poly or the Polycrylic.

That gorgeous shade of navy blue on the desk is Dixie Belle’s In the Navy.  I used two watered down coats of paint because I find that is the best technique for getting really full and smooth coverage with the Dixie Belle paint.

After distressing the edges by lightly sanding them, I used clear wax for the top coat over the paint.

I spruced up the handles just a bit using my favorite Prima Marketing Art Alchemy Metallique Wax in Bronze Age.

The color looks more gold in that photo, but really it’s a warmer, more brownish color.

This time, rather than using a q tip, I wore some disposable latex gloves and applied it with my finger tip.  This worked much better on the larger surface of these drawer pulls.

Once it was dry (several hours later), I buffed the pulls with a piece of old flannel sheeting to give them a little shine.

You may have noticed that I moved my staging back indoors for this one.  That was mainly because I really wanted to stage my photos with these cupboard doors hanging on the wall above the desk.

These are some old cupboard doors that I purchased at a garage sale for $2 each.  I usually snatch up doors like these because they make great signs.  In this case I painted them white and then added two of the designs from Prima Marketing’s Seaweed transfer set.

The set comes with 4 designs total, and obviously I only used two.  I may do something similar with the other two, or I may hang on to them until I find a piece of furniture that they will look good on.

The detail on these transfers is absolutely gorgeous.

Their nautical theme, plus the fact that they are navy blue, made them perfect to pair up with this desk.

In addition to the transfers, I also used the Prima Marketing Seawashed Treasures mold and some of their Modeling Material to add the shell detail at the bottom of each door.

I feel like I got just a bit too carried away using dark wax to highlight the details of the mold this time.  I’ll have to practice a bit more to make that effect more subtle.  I’ve been playing around with the molds quite a bit and working on perfecting my technique.  I plan to share what I’ve learned soon, and will also have a fabulous giveaway in conjunction with that, so be sure to stay tuned for that one.

In the meantime, what do you think of this nautical style desk makeover?

Both the desk and the cupboard door wall art pieces are for sale.  The desk includes the chair, by the way.

It was one that I just had on hand.  I gave it a quick rub-down with Miss Mustard Seed hemp oil and now it works quite well with the dark wood top on the desk, even though it’s not a perfect match.

As always, thank you to Dixie Belle for providing the paint for this project and to Prima Marketing for providing the transfers, the Art Alchemy wax, the mold and modeling material.

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

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

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

the romantic prairie style washstand.

Are any of you guys familiar with the book Romantic Prairie Style by Fifi O’Neill?

It came out in 2011, but it continues to be one of my favorite decorating books.  It’s one that I still refer back to periodically.

I was paging through it the other day and I came across this photo …

I was totally drawn to that green cupboard in the foreground.  Isn’t it fab?  So perfectly chippy, and that green is gorgeous.  As I was admiring it, I thought about the washstand that I brought home from the Prospect Park neighborhood sale a couple of weeks ago.

I thought I could possibly create a similar look on it using Sweet Pickins In a Pickle milk paint.

I started out by stripping the top.  As you can see in the ‘before’ photo, the stain on this thing was pretty dang dark.  The top also had several water marks on it.  I wasn’t sure I would have the patience to see this one through, but after two passes with the stripper, lots of rubbing with steel wool, then cleaning, then sanding, then more sanding … phew … I got ‘er done.

Once I had the top down to bare, unblemished wood I simply waxed it with Miss Mustard Seed’s Antiquing Wax.  You won’t get much sheen with this treatment, but it creates a wonderfully rustic look.

Then I moved on to paint the rest of the piece.  Since I was hoping to end up with a chippy finish, I opted to skip scuff sanding this one and instead just wiped it down with a damp cloth.  Sometimes this can backfire on you, so I don’t necessarily recommend it if you are someone who isn’t comfortable with an unpredictable outcome.  You do run the risk of having all of your paint chip off if there is something on the surface of your piece that resists the paint.  Scuff sanding will help prevent that from happening.

But I was feeling lucky, so I skipped the sanding and went right for the paint.

It took three coats of the In a Pickle to get good coverage over that really dark stain.

Initially I really didn’t get much chipping, except at the very bottom of the piece.  So I forced it by using painter’s tape to rip off chips here and there.

If you’ve never tried this trick, it’s similar to getting lint off your black slacks using masking tape.  Just press the tape down and then rip it back off.  This technique won’t always pull some chips off, but it often works pretty well (and sometimes too well, so use caution).

Once that was done, I sanded the piece with 220 grit to make it nice and smooth.  I finished it up with Fusion’s clear furniture wax.

I love the cut out detail at the bottom of the washstand, isn’t that pretty?

The bottom on the sides has a similar look, but I didn’t do a very good job of getting a photo of that.

I have to admit, I’m pretty pleased with how this one turned out.

Aside from not having a marble top, I think it looks quite similar to the inspiration piece, don’t you?  Although perhaps mine could look just bit more roughed up, huh?

I hesitated a bit before going with the green on this piece.  Historically pieces in this color have taken a bit longer to sell for me, which always surprises me because I absolutely love it.  Check out a few of my fave In a Pickle pieces here, here and here.

But I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this one finds a forever home soon!

If you are local and would love to have a romantic prairie style washstand (they make perfect bedside tables), be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page to see if this one is still available.

the cart before the horses.

First off, thank you all so much for your comments on Monday’s post.
There was a good mix of city slickers and country bumpkins with a few suburbanites plus one ‘lake lassie’ thrown in for good measure.  It was fun to read all of your various reasons for your choice of country v. city!

Don’t forget, if you didn’t already comment on Monday’s post, you have until Friday to leave a comment on that post to be in the running for the prize.

You’ll remember back in May I purchased some handmade vintage wooden toys at a garage sale for $1.  They weren’t marked and there was a sign at the sale that said everything that wasn’t marked was a quarter.  But I really thought the seller would say “Oh, but not those …” when I asked about them, but instead she said “you can have them all for $1.”

My first makeover was the adorable pull-toy elephant whose head bobs up and down when you pull him along.

My handyman Ken had to do a few repairs on him before I gave him a milk paint makeover.

Next up was the truck.

Ken fixed the gate on the truck bed, and then I used Dixie Belle paint and some Prima Marketing knob transfers to dress it up.

I’ve saved the best for last though.  I called this one the Find of the Day when I bought it.

I just love those horses.

But I didn’t love the faded shades of red and green on the wheels and the wagon bed.  So I painted the wheels using Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky and the wagon bed using Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  Initially I had also planned on repainting the horses, but in the end I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to recreate those faces adequately.  So instead I just gave them a good scrubbing to clean them up.

I mean really, how sweet are those faces?

And the Drop Cloth on the wagon was a pretty good match for the existing color on the horses.

Once the cart was painted I added some portions of the smaller Prima Marketing Seeds transfer to each side.

They were perfectly suited for it.

I filled the wagon with a set of Wonder Books of the World’s Progress.

I purchased them at a garage sale too.  There were quite a few sets of vintage books for sale and another shopper was scrutinizing them all, I’m sure looking for publishing dates and trying to figure out if they might be valuable.  But I just grabbed these because I thought they were pretty.

They are such a lovely shade of blue.  And they just happened to fit perfectly in the cart being pulled by these horses.

Small projects like these aren’t great money makers for me, especially considering the amount of time that goes into them.  I’d be much better off spending that time working on a piece of furniture.  But I love taking cast off things like these toys and bringing them back to life.  I know my handyman Ken really enjoyed working on these toys as well.

How about you guys?  Do you enjoy the blog posts about small projects like this, or would you prefer it was all furniture, all the time?

out on the farm.


A while back I shared the adorable little washstand that I restyled using Prima Marketing’s Out on the Farm transfer …

That was a super popular piece on social media, and it also sold within 12 hours of posting it on Facebook Marketplace.  The gal who purchased it loves barns and was so excited about it, I love those kinds of sales, don’t you?  I suspect that retailers are going to have a difficult time keeping this one in stock.

But today’s blog post isn’t really about the Out on the Farm transfer, instead it’s about literally being out on the farm.  Last week my mom, sister and I drove out to Arlington, South Dakota to the family farm for the 4th of July.

Currently my cousin Travis and his wife Deb own the farm.  They’ve recently added on to the house to have a little more space (and more bathrooms) for their six kids.

However, this is still the farm that my grandmother, Carrie Moe, was born on in 1898.

Wasn’t she a little cutie?

I always seem to come back home from these trips with a few more old photos to add to my growing pile.  This visit was no exception and I brought home the one above and this fantastic wedding photo of my grandparents.

They were married in the 1920’s and I think the style of my grandmother’s veil was particularly popular in that time period.  Check out her shoes too, some designs are just timeless (the shoes, not the veil not so much).

They’ve had quite a lot of rain in South Dakota this year, so everything is as green as can be.

But they also have a lot of standing water.  In fact, my cousin now has ‘lake front’ property and he even put in a dock.

Unfortunately, it also means that sections of the road he lives on are entirely underwater.  Here’s a close up of that view showing the road, or at least the markers that indicate where it is.

It was rather entertaining to watch people deciding whether or not to chance driving through the water.  Some turned around in Trav’s driveway and went back the way they came, but others made their way through creating a wake behind them.

We always have the best time visiting the cousins out on the farm.

Although I consider myself a die hard city girl, there is something about those wide open spaces that really speaks to me.

When I saw a couple of farmhouse decorating magazines while doing a little shopping out there I realized I needed to continue my tradition of giving away some magazines here on the blog upon my return from traveling.

Sure, this was just a short trip to South Dakota, but why not?  And this time the magazines are in English!

To add a little bit extra while sticking with my farmhouse theme, I’m also going to throw in some Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in Farmhouse White.

The rules:  to be eligible to win today’s prize leave a comment on this blog post letting me know whether you are a city slicker or a country bumpkin.  Your comment must be left on the blog, 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 Friday, July 12, 2019 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 $45, if the prize is not claimed by Sunday, July 14, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!