Making a Jewelry Organizer From Junk

how to make a jewelry organizerHaving a teenage girl has definitely made me think more about jewelry than I have for a long time. I used to care about jewelry when I was still dating……a million years ago, but now I think my husband is just glad if I show up clean and not smelling of paint. To be completely honest, he’ll still take me out dirty and smelly but only because he doesn’t have many other offers……..not that I do. Anyway, back to the jewelry. I got an idea for a hanging jewelry organizer when I was rummaging through my junk and I thought I’d share the steps I went through to create it, just in case you have some junk laying around too…..oh, and some jewelry. In the above photo you can see what I started with. The frame and back board were originally together as a piece of “art” from Ross. The “art” was ugly so I pulled it out and used the back. I bought it at an estate liquidator place for $5, which is high (I think the guy thought it was “art” too) but he gave me two others for $1 so I’m telling myself I paid $2 for it. Ah, the rationalizations of the hoarder mind. The ugly metal knobs are in two pieces and I found them at a thrift store for 50 cents each.  I think the metal screen is used for radiators, but since we don’t have those in San Diego, that may be an urban legend. I found it in my friend’s garage and she let me take it for free. Yay! gilding size appliedI decided to gild the frame with metal leaf. The first step in gilding is applying gilding size and I always use Rolco Aquasize which is water-based and dries quickly. Gilding size is a watery adhesive that you brush on. The photo above shows the frame after the size was applied, which is why it’s shiny. The metal leaf I used is called Celestial Leaf and the color is Moonbeam. This is a variegated metal leaf, so the color is inconsistent, which I actually love. Celestial Leaf comes in books and each sheet is applied individually. metal leaf applied After the size has dried and become tacky, lay a piece of leaf on the surface and push it in to the crevices with a soft brush. Try to not touch the leaf with your bare hands as the oil from your hands can discolor the leaf. When you have the entire surface covered in leaf, smooth it out with a sheepskin pad. If you don’t have a sheepskin pad you can use a really soft rag, but just know that it may scratch the leaf if it’s not truly soft. frame gilded in Celestial leaf When the leaf is all shiny and pretty you can spray a coat of varnish on it to protect it from tarnish. I really recommend this step if it will be hung near a shower. Modern Masters and Faux Effects productsMoving on to the knobs….after cleaning them well, I primed them with Faux Effects Black SetCoat, but you could use any metal primer that works with water based paint. I painted them first with with one coat of Antique Bronze metallic paint from Modern Masters and then a second coat in Pale Gold. knobs painted in metallic paintMetallic paint can be fairly transparent which is why I used a black primer. I stippled (fancy word for blobbing on light layers of paint) a thin coat of each color with a small, badly, crumpled artist brush. Use a bad brush so that the pattern is irregular. Smooth brushes leave streaks if you just brush on metallic paint. You can get a better look by stabbing it on randomly, while allowing a little of the black primer peek through. Silk soft paint Now for the fun part; the backboard. I sanded the board to get rid of scratches but it was still a little uneven. I decided to hide the blemishes by using this Blue Pearl paint called Silk Soft, in the color Asian Silk. This is a metallic paint that actually has small fibers in it making it thicker and textured to the touch. To amplify this effect I applied it heavily with a rough chip brush in one direction. It looks very much like raw silk and it’s a great background for the next step. lace stencil from Royal Design StudioI used a new stencil from Royal Design Studio called Snowflake Lace. Royal Design just released a whole group of lace stencils that are really fun to use. I used Modern Masters metallic paint in Black Cherry and a brush from Royal Design Studio. Please don’t consider doing this with anything other than a stencil brush. Sponge brushes and artist brushes suck and should never be used for stenciling. You can use them, just don’t call me crying about it when it’s hideous. I told you not to use them. Dip your brush lightly in the paint, then rub off the excess paint in a swirling motion on a paper towel until there’s barely any paint on your brush. Swirl your brush lightly on the edges of the stencil openings, working your way into the center of each opening. Lift the stencil to check your progress as you go. It takes very little paint to leave an impression. beautiful job stencilingDo you see any blobs of paint? Any ooze under the stencil? No? That’s because I used a proper brush and a very light amount of paint.  It’s not rocket science. Just use the right brush for the project, and don’t go heavy with the paint. finished jewelry organizerWhen all the pieces were painted and pretty I put them together. The metal screen didn’t need to be painted, I just sanded off the dullness before attaching it to the backboard. The screen and the knobs were attached with bolts after I drilled holes in the board. necklace and ear ring holderSo from pieces of junk I created a great place to organize jewelry. I love how it all came together. It’s for sale in my Etsy shop now if you know anybody that could use a little help with corralling their accessories. This was so fun, I may have to make another one. Inventory used: Metallic paint

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Christmas Decorating without a Tree

Christmas focus wallI will admit that Christmas is not my favorite holiday. I don’t like spending endless amounts of money, or overeating and it seems senseless to buy decorations that sit in a box 11 months out of every year. I know you could say the same thing about Halloween, but Halloween is fun. There’s just so much guilt wrapped around Christmas. Did you spend too much? Not enough? Did you cook it right? Cook enough? Are you making it memorable? Are your kids disappointed? Spoiled? Ungrateful? The list goes on and on, mostly in my head, but it weighs so heavily on my heart as well.

I combat these feelings with making a lot of the gifts I give and the decorations we put up. For the past few years I’ve had an argument inside about the Christmas tree. I really don’t like putting them up. We had an ugly, fake one for a long time. We bought it because it was ugly. It made me feel like I was thrusting my middle finger at The Christmas Police. “You want me to have a tree? Here! Here’s your freaking tree!” A couple years ago it became too ugly, even for me. Ever since, I’ve had to figure out some way of putting up my ornaments, without buying a tree. This year’s solution is my absolute favorite because it was free and it used up four spray paint cans out of my stash.

branches painted blackI brought home five branches that I found on the ground at the park next to my house. I painted them first with black floral spray paint to make them stand out a little more since my wall is a little busy. To make it look like they had snow on them I sprayed them a few inches at a time with clear topcoat spray and while they were wet I sprinkled them with small mica flakes and then I coated them really well with more topcoat to get the flakes to stick. I had the flakes on hand from when I used to make countertops. (I didn’t want to use glitter because I was afraid my dog might eat it and get sick)

mica snowmy kind of ChristmasTo hang them I put four small eye hooks in the ceiling about 3 inches from the wall and about two feet apart.  I tied thread in two places on each branch and suspended them at different heights.

Christmas branchesOrnaments on highI love the way it really shows off our ornaments. Plus, unlike a tree, there’s no bad side, no broken lights and no need to water it. Way better than a tree, at least for me. Please don’t get me wrong, I think Christmas trees are beautiful and I love all the lights, I just hate doing it. My hats are off to all you Christmas tree decorators out there. I admire your tenacity. You’re a better man than me.

Creating a Craft Fair Display from Scratch

salvaged sanity displayThis past week I’ve been working furiously on the display I’ll be taking to A Gilded Life art retreat this coming Wednesday. I say furiously because anyone getting in my way or slowing me down has definitely experienced my wrath (sincerest apologies to my family). I finished it yesterday and I’m pretty happy with the results. I’ll take photos at the actual event….this is just what it looks like in my dining room.

mail organizer displaySalvaged Sanity mail organizers should ideally be displayed on walls, but since this venue doesn’t provide any, and I can’t fit those in a Prius, I had to come up with something else. The most important factor the display had to work around was that it had to break down into parts small enough to fit in my car, and be easy enough to put together by myself.

My husband came up with the designs for the table racks and I came up with the idea for using an IKEA $10 clothes rack for hanging the Design-Your-Own message center components. Other than the IKEA purchase all the other parts were salvaged either from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore or my studio.

standing display rackThe hanging table racks are made from two 1″ x 4″s and two 30″ sections of 1/2″ x 1″molding to fit a standard 30″ x 72″ banquet table. You could actually fit three of these racks on this size table, but I needed only two. I added hooks at the top of the 1″x 4″s for my boards to hang on. The rack fits right over the edges of the table and the weight of the hanging boards balances each other. They fit snug enough that if you remove one of them, the other side stays in place.

IKEA clothes rack display

To display the pieces that are for sale a’ la carte I used chandelier chain, s-hooks and gutter screens to hang everything from the clothes rack. All that stuff folds down to practically nothing and yesI had all that stuff in my studio.

craft show display tableFor the table top holders I got lucky at the ReStore when I found an old wooden sliding door track. I cut it into four equal pieces and my boards slide right on to them. I formed triangles out of two organizers tied together at the top and their bottoms stabilized in the wood tracks.

I had the fabric for the tablecloth (a thrift store find) and all the material for the signs in various corners of my home. So this whole thing came together for less than $20 and a lot of imagination.

Today I’m doing the hard part – figuring out how to get it all in my car and still be able to see out the windows. I’ve always loved a good puzzle. Wish me luck!

Marburger Farm’s Antique Show

(this is part of a series that began September 27th)

cream and brown design schemeThanks to my cousin letting us take her car first thing, (Thanks, Cheri!) Dianna and I got our Starbucks and headed out to the Marburger Farm’s Antique Show as fast as our loaner car could take us. Not as fast as the speed limit, however, which is 80mph in some places…….crazy Texans. You can see by the very first photo that it was totally worth going. Yummmmmmmmm.

dark and lovely displayI have been to a fair share of shows, but I’ve never seen one this big or with such a high caliber of display and merchandising all in one place. I’m used to going to big shows and seeing a handful of vendors who go all out with eye catching booths. This show didn’t have one display that was boring or uninteresting.

vintage crates and boxesEven the vendors who specialized in a certain thing made an effort to grab your attention. I loved these crates. The vendor adds the handles and varnishes them to really bring out their color. Love that.

vintage books and tinsThis was the first booth we saw, in the first tent we went to . They had a little bit of everything, so we took our time. My goal was to see as much as we could but not rush. It was hot so I didn’t want us perspiring anymore than necessary.  A sweaty shopper is an unhappy shopper.

antique chandeliersThey have several old houses and shacks on the property that were shared by a small number of vendors whose stuff complimented eachother. This one had lighting, coral and metal bins. Works for me.

columns and butterfliesThis booth made me want to cry it was so beautiful. I mean, come on! If you aren’t crying right now it’s because you have no soul and you might want to do something about that.

antlers, branches and busts, oh myThe way they displayed their wares also gave me new ideas for the stuff I already have. I love how this vendor used natural materials to enhance their architectural pieces.

mmmmmmmm...egg saladNow for an intermission: The heat outside made us steer clear of the bbq stands. We settled on egg salad on homemade bread with pickles, Lays potato chips and sweet tea. Scrumtious. The egg salad was cold and yummy and fortified us for the rest of the day.

deer head artI’m just now realizing that I probably shouldn’t put this photo of deer heads so close to the lunch picture……..too late.

Taxidermy is big right now. This will make my friend, Amy G., never speak to me again, but I am going to say that I really liked this display. I’m not saying I’m going to go kill one of my own, but if someone gave me one, I would probably hang it in a similar fashion, and I’d probably name it, and put hats on it.

taxidermy artSorry again, Amy. I really loved these, and if I had $450 burning a hole in my pocket I probably would have come home with one. She also had skunks that were really cute. Dead…….but cute. That doesn’t make sense, does it? Sorry.

dreamy bed displayOkay, sorry again, Amy. They’re friggin’ everywhere. This one’s pretty creative. Who would have thought that a deer head, old film reels, metal siding and branches would make such an awesome headboard. Obviously Amy wouldn’t think it’s awesome, but some people would. Someone like me, unfortunately. (I can almost feel her deleting me from her Contacts)

glamourous birdcageThis should make everyone feel a little better; the birds in this fantastic aviary are alive. But now that I’m thinking about it, caged birds make me sad. Dang it, I was so close.

Anyway, the lengths that some of these vendors went to was awe-inspiring. These people brought live birds all the way from somewhere. Sheesh. That’s committment. Bravo. I’m going to pretend they released the doves back into the wild after the show. Come join me in Fantasyland, will you?antique basket rackThis is one of those things that I truly wish I needed because it’s so dang cool. They had it filled with upholstery trim and metal junk.  I’m sure I could find a use for it, right after I find the $2000 I would need to make it mine.

antique letteringI hate to close with another deer head, but it was pretty hard to find displays with out them. This was outside one of the tents. There was so much good stuff that they couldn’t contain it on the inside.

Although we sweated a lot and were overwhelmed by this size of the show, we had a really good time. We didn’t buy hardly anything because everything was a lot more expensive than most shows we go to. I saw a lot of designers with clients, so I think the vendors were aiming for that lot. I don’t blame them. The cost of their booth, as well as shipping costs and lodging during the show had to be astronomical. I’m still really glad we went and loved looking at all the creativity. If you’re ever in Round Top around this time of year, definitely make time to attend. It’s totally worth it.

Nautical Style Mail Organizer

mail organizerThis mail organizer is my latest creation…..and I’m in  love with it! All the pieces of this message center came together over the last few months. Every time I found another nautical piece I put it in a little pile in the corner of my studio (a clean pile, I swear). Last week I found the final piece at the Mattson Co. sale, so I got to finally put all the pieces together. Ta Da!

cork boardThe brass key rack at the top of this message center was the little treasure I found last week. It’s so patriotic and kitschy, it’s awesome. The fabric I used for the bulletin board came from my friend’s house when we cleaned out her grandmother’s fabric stash. It’s got little anchors and ship helms running across it. The pushpins are covered button and are covered in fabric from my late mother’s stash. The notepad holder is upholstered with vintage fabric, again from my friend’s stash (I brought home so much fabric that it will take me years to use it all up). The notepad holder hangs from a hook screwed into a piece of plywood that I added some hand painted details to. It’s adorable. The pad holder itself is refillable, so you can keep it forever.

mail holderThe mail holder is the piece I love most. I found this book at an estate sale months ago. My daughter and I let out a little squeal when we unearthed it. The nautical symbols on the cover are so graphic and cool, I just had to bring it home. It of course hangs from a 3-ring binder spine, making it portable when you open the rings. I decorated it with red and white cording and a silver crab pendant that I picked up at a flea market. The old camping cup sits on an L-bracket and can hold all your pens and scissors.

So that’s my newest listing. Please check out my Etsy shop and pass this post along to anyone you know that needs help getting organized and has a thing for sailors. Have a great Wednesday……..Hump Day!

Inventory used: latex paint, acrylic craft paint, antiquing glaze

New Organization Tools

September is one of those months that I get really motivated. September and January I end up doing Spring Cleaning, which I know doesn’t make any sense, but there it is. I recently made a few new message centers that I’m particularly proud of. They go along with my seasonal organization disorder.

perpetual-calendarThis dark one has what I call a Forever calendar at the top. I’ve also heard them called perpetual calendar. The idea is, you write in the dates for each month with a dry erase marker. I left room around the edges so you have room to write other notes as well. I stenciled a calendar grid on canvas and hand painted the corners in grey and dark mustard colors. I installed it under glass in an old frame I picked up at an estate sale.

message centerThis organizer is pretty basic. It’s a calendar with IN and OUT file holders below. All the salvaged wood moldings are stained the same in a dark walnut finish.

mail holder out-boxThe vintage books I used are big enough to hold standard size file folders. The color palette is different but I think it works.

magnet boardThe other two boards I built are being sold as a set. The thing is, I had a bunch of pieces that I wanted together and I thought it would be too wide, so I split the board up. This gives the owner the flexibility to either hang them side by side or vertically, or in two completely different places.

This first one has a large book that can hold file folders. Beneath it is a magnet board covered in a vintage fabric and sports two magnets made out of antique looking bottle caps. On either side of this are two clothespins attached to the board to hold invitations and reminders.

message centerThis message board has a dry erase board with vintage tablecloth fabric under the glass. There’s a tin for holding pens and pencils right where you need them. Under that is a small mail holder and a hanging frame.

Both boards are painted in high gloss white which is different for me, but I really like how it looks. All of these can be viewed in more detail at my Etsy Shop. Have a great holiday weekend.

Inventory used: latex paint, Stain & Seal

Stuff that kept me busy last week

After my daughter’s bathroom renovation was finished, I had a lot of work to catch up on, namely, I closed the Destashio Etsy shop.  I moved any items related to storage and organization into the Salvaged Sanity shop. It’s been too hard to run two shops and I want to focus where my passion is……..organization and storage.

I made two new items for the shop last week:

DIY mail organizerThis is a Message Center Board as it comes…..no accessories. This board has two 3-ring binder spines, so it can hold two mail holders, frames, or notepads in a number of combinations. There are two magnet boards at the bottom covered in a beige/blue/green floral patterned fabric. The board comes with four magnets made out of decorative bottle caps. Flanked on either side is a set of clothespins stamped with the words, “save” “date” and “remember”, to help hold on to important notes.

DIY board with accessoriesThis is what it can look like with a few additions. This is just one example but there are other options available in the shop.

I also made this little beauty:

mail-organizerbee pendantAdorable, Ay?! It’s a mail holder for the DIY Message Center Boards. I had a ball making this one. Totally cool!

flea market findsWe made it to an estate sale on Friday. Really interesting sale. Let’s just say there were raw animal pelts hanging in the closets, slowly disintegrating, completely nasty. They also had a whole room of dolls, the creepy kind. I almost brought home one of those stuffed monkeys that freak me out in horror movies, but I couldn’t bring myself to touch it. I brought home the few treasures above. A couple cool frames and some neat illustrations that I can include in a new art wall I’m putting together. The little pieces of brass and the drawer pulls will end up on a board some day I’m sure.

But the best thing I found was this…..

Priscilla and FionaThis was a painting done by the former homeowner, Betty Sagan. She may have had a doll fetish and a few too many animal remains to host a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but she was also an artist.

This beauty was hanging over her fireplace and I just fell in love with her. I know there is a bit of a creepy factor in her, but that’s why I grabbed her. Her daughter was so glad to see her mom’s work go to a home that appreciated her. I have her hanging right in front of me when I watch tv. Her eyes definitely follow me when I leave the room, but I appreciate the company. I have named her Priscilla and I call her cat, Fiona, and I love them completely. Don’t come over if you can’t take it. They’re precious.

So that’s what I’ve been doing………what’s been keeping you busy?