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


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

The Bathroom Remodel is complete

finished remodelThe remodel of my daughter’s bathroom is finally complete. The studio and the downstairs half of my house is clean and I’m finally at peace. Let’s visit the Before shots for a moment shall we……….

BEFOREI shudder just looking at this. This was the starting point of our unplanned bathroom remodel. In our defense, it was this way when we bought it. But at the same time… was this way when we bought it……12 years ago.

ugly bathroom BEFOREThat nasty piece of terry cloth has been hanging there for 12 freaking years! Some model home designer stuck it there in a stroke of brilliance and I chose to ignore it for over a decade. Amazing what one can deny exists in our own homes. Now back to the pretty pictures:

beauty centralFirst thing to go was the wallpaper, which sucked to remove because the walls hadn’t be primed and they installed it right on the drywall. The glue really wanted to stay on forever but we washed it over and over and over and then primed. Dianna went with a great shade of blue on the walls and bright white on the cabinets. We raised the height of the vanity and added some new hardware on the drawers and doors which I love.

wood countertopWe removed the old counter top and tile backsplash and replaced it with a solid wood top and a backsplash made from “clear wood” which I think is code for “plastic with a faux wood veneer.” It’s light weight and cheap but I bought it because I thought it would be a good choice considering the risk of water damage.

Both the top and splash were stained with a Faux Effects product called Stain & Seal and three coats of C-500, a urethane product also from Faux Effects.

Lace flowersI know it looks like I put stickers on the backsplash, but this is a painted detail I swear. I used a Martha Stewart silkscreen design to create this border. This is my first time using a silkscreen. What I liked about it was that I could use much thicker paint than with a stencil, creating a more dimensional design, which is why it looks like a sticker. My daughter loves lace and she chose the design. She also has a connection to my mother through daisies, so she loves having these around.

union jack organizerThis jewelry organizer, complete with Union Jack design is one of our favorite additions. I can not take credit for the design. My friend Melanie created this design on an old IKEA door for a photo shoot, but then didn’t need it afterward so I got to take it home. Being huge fans of all things British, we had to incorporate it somehow. Thanks Melanie!

the new Assmaster 2000The new Assmaster 2000 has been installed and is no longer being crowded by 12 year old terry cloth (so nasty). My daughter decided that a door to the shower area was stupid since she’s an only child and no one walks in on her. She opted for a curtain in the doorway instead. Kind of like a dressing room.

The photo above also shows off the new floor. It’s vinyl planks which are really easy to install and extremely cheap. They look really nice and give the look of wood without having to take out a loan.

cool teen bathroomWe removed the giant sheet of mirror and replaced it with two new mirrors. We paid $15 for each of them but they came with ugly dark brown frames. We made them over with high gloss white spray paint. I filled the gap between them with two shelves I made from the scrap piece of MDF left over from the new footer on the cabinet. We also made over the clock and the light fixture with the high gloss white and they look brand new.

remodel on the cheapSo that’s our little project. We did get rid of some paint and stain from The Stash which is always good. Dianna loves her grown up bathroom and I love having my life back.

Inventory Used: latex paint and Stain and Seal

One Year Anniversary – Stash Inventory Update

Paint Stash 2013

From three shelves down to two

I’m a few days late, but I just finished taking inventory of my paint Stash. The One Year Anniversary of this blog is July 4th and I had intended to do my inventory in a timely fashion like the compulsive person that I am. Two things ended up pulling me away from achieving my goal. One: my husband decided at 10 am, on the Fourth, that we should have my family over for barbecue. Great idea, and totally fun, but that shouldn’t have taken me all day and I should have been able to get the inventory done. The nail in my coffin was that AMC started a Walking Dead Marathon at 10 am. Seriously, they’re killin’ me!

my obsession

How am I supposed to walk away from this? Dried up paint and plaster can not compete with this! The inventory took me a couple days to complete, in between commercials, it’s pathetic. Ask my family……if I’m into something that’s on tv, I’m completely paralyzed and I lose my ability to hear. Couple that with dead people and forget about it, my ass is glued to the couch and you no longer exist.  It doesn’t matter that I’ve seen it thirty times either. If they ever find me dead in my home, there was probably a really good movie on and I didn’t hear the smoke detector. At least I died doing what I love.


leftover paintThis blog was created to document my attempt to get rid of my large stash of paint, left over from my days as a decorative paint contractor, all before my husband and I move in a year. This is the halfway point for me. One year down, one year to go. This is the load of empty and rotten cans that went to the hazardous waste facility this morning after I finished my inventory.

It’s important to check your paint stock every year to check whether or not the products are still worth keeping. Regardless of when you bought them, the paint may no longer be usable. Sometimes you don’t close them completely or the container fails or something contaminates them and makes them rotten or solidifies them. The only way to check is to actually open them and stir them. Just listening for liquid isn’t good enough. I’ve opened fairly new paint that sounds liquid and good only to find a hard shell with oil on top and a lot of hard paint underneath. Sometimes you open the can and so much rust has built up on the lid and fallen in the paint and there isn’t enough good product to strain out. Always take your leftover cans to a hazardous waste facility. Please don’t even dream about putting this stuff in the trash. I think you go to a special place in Hell for that. Paint Hell.

The Stash page has been updated with the reduced inventory list. A lot of the oil-base stains had become rotten. Oil-base stains usually last well, but if the lid gets compromised or if the product gets contaminated it hardens like a rock. Many rocks unearthed today. It’s sad that I didn’t use them, but at least my goal is a little closer. I’m considering holding an event in the fall to give away products I can’t find a use for, stay tuned for that. Let me know if you’re local and want to be invited.

That’s enough chit chat…….I gotta get back to the marathon!

Vintage Table Makeover

retro magazine tableThis adorable table caught my eye a few months ago in the sad part of my favorite thrift store. The Veteran’s thrift store in Chula Vista has a section outside that you get to through the back of the store. The first section is still indoors and they keep bigger items, crappy glassware, furniture and hardware in big bins. If you push through that you end up outside and this is where the sad stuff is. I say it’s sad because the store puts pieces there when they’ve given up on them. They let them weather the rain and the sun and dust accumulation. It’s sad, but luckily this stuff is also marked down to real cheap. This is where this table was, in the sad zone.

vintage magazine tableSo this is the state it was in when I put it in my car. Pretty good shape, really. Some scratches, but no real dings or damage. The top was practically perfect. One of the reasons I picked it up is that I could see that you could unscrew the legs, top and post from the magazine rack portion, making it easier to paint. To start the paint process I  took it all apart.

Let me start by saying that, although this blog was created to document my using up my paint stash until it disappears, I did end up spray painting the primer and base coat. Yes, I bought spray paint. Here’s the thing…..when I started painting pieces like this years ago I did everything by hand, with tiny brushes. It took f*#king forever and it never looked good. Pieces with spindles need to be spray painted. That’s just my opinion, but I’m pretty sure most painters would agree with me. Except tole painters……I’m almost positive that they get some sort of sick pleasure in painting with brushes with 3 hairs in them and spending 6 months on a serving tray. Not judging, just saying.

prepping a wood table

When you spray paint an item it’s important to set the pieces up in a way that you can get at all angles, that you don’t have to touch them, and that they won’t stick to anything. In this photo I have them set up to do the undersides first. When they dried I turned them over and placed something small (in this case several pebbles) between the freshly painted underside and the work surface. You’ll also notice that I have screwed the legs into shoe boxes. This is so I can move them around with out touching them, and spray from all sides. The shoe boxes can go in the recycling bin when you’re done.

spray primer stepThis shows the pieces after they’ve been sprayed with primer. I used a Valspar primer. I tend to buy primers that claim they will work on everything, including plastic. If it can stick to plastic it will stick to anything.

When you buy vintage pieces you never know what kind of products were used on it before it got to you. Back in the day, they didn’t have the EPA, so all kinds of nasty stuff was used. Basic water-base primer doesn’t stick to everything, especially not nasty oil-based stuff. You also don’t know if wax has been used which is really hard to paint over. So I always go for hard core products to prevent my getting all the way to the last layer, pulling the tape, and the whole finish coming off (That happens and it’s ugly). When that happens my husband comes home and I’ve been drinking since noon (It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, people!) and he says things like, “You can just paint it again!” ……..and then I stab him in his sleep. Let’s just say it’s better to use hard core primers, OK?

green paint layerSo here are the pieces painted a nice green apple color. The thing is, I went in to Lowe’s with every intention of coming home with a nice cream color. I got to the spray paint cage and after they figured out I wasn’t a tagger, they opened the cage for me to grab my paint. I really did try to grab a can of white or vanilla or ivory but I ended up grabbing this green instead. It’s a problem. I’m addicted to this color. I’m sorry, but I love it.

stenciled tableI decided to stick with the era it was created in and went with a retro green, yellow and orange palette. The stencil I used on the top is from Royal Design Studio. I think it fits the style of the table perfectly. This stencil comes in a set with a bunch of different sizes and patterns and I’ve used them a thousand times. Totally worth it.

vintage side tableI hand painted the rest of the details with a steady hand and a small brush. I top coated it, again with a spray product because I wanted to make sure it got in all the crevices.

It’s an adorable piece and it’s for sale in my Etsy shop now, all ready to go to a new, loving home.

Inventory used: acrylic craft paints

Your Happy Place Realized

cottage chic organizerThis new mail organizer just makes me happy every time I look at it. The combination of a beautiful ribbon board, a bright red book and a big crate ready to hold anything just stimulates a stream of possibilities.

antique metal railThe metal detail at the crown is a piece of antique metal railing that I picked up at a barn sale. The ribbon board is really my favorite part. I think it’s because the floral fabric goes so well with the wood frame. It also has five linen covered pushpins to hold all your messages and inspiration. So cottage chic.

mail organizerI decorated the red book with a French flashcard that reads ‘la maison.’ I just thought it was super sweet. The faux leather hanging frames are the perfect size for school pictures, so you can keep your little ones close to you at all times.

The wood crate is actually made for a bottle of wine, but it can be used now for tons of things. Journals, office supplies, bottles of craft paint or spools of ribbon. There’s a turquoise metal label holder above the crate that you can slide your own label into. I’ve also included four clothespins for holding reminders.

message centerIt’s a great piece and I had so much fun making it. Please stop by my shop and check out the rest of my listings. Have a great weekend.

Inventory used: Latex paint, Stain & Seal