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.

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

Vintage Patchwork Curtain

Mollie Makes Magazine

Mollie Makes is my favorite magazine right now. It’s a British publication, but you can either subscribe (it’s my annual birthday present from my husband) or pick it up at Barnes & Noble. It’s not shown above, but it always comes with a little gift like a crafting kit or a spool of ribbon, it’s adorable. It has lots of crafting how-to articles, and highlights artists and stores both in Europe and America. I love it.

Anyway, in one of the issues this summer they showed an idea for making a patchwork curtain out of vintage handkerchiefs and napkins. I tried to find that image (I gave the magazine away) but I can’t find it, so sorry for that. The image energized me to make one for my studio.

Inspired by my husband’s aunt Crystal and her craftiness, I’ve collected quite a few vintage hankies, tea towels and napkins with the intention of turning them into pillows. Crystal makes these beautiful patchwork pillows out of vintage pieces and they’re so pretty. However, since my husband and daughter can’t deal with texture (don’t ask) I never attempted to make any. (I also noticed that some of my pieces were a little stained, which when you consider they’re hankies, is kind of gross and who wants to rest their head on that?) So I had a collection, but nothing to do with them. Then Mollie Makes gave me a new idea.

vintage patchwork curtain

First of all, forgive me for the quality of the photos. I have photoshopped the crap out of these images. Taking photos of windows still has me baffled.

Anyway, this is the curtain I made from my collection. Making this up are tea towels, napkins, handkerchiefs and pillow case edging, all vintage. It’s nice because even though I mounted it all on a lining of sheet fabric, it’s still transparent enough to let the light in, but protects me from the searing afternoon sun that hits my window every day. I am not complaining about the sun in San Diego……it’s perfect compared to everywhere else in the world………I’m just trying to minimize the skin damage.

patchwork hanky curtainsThis is what they look like when they’re tied back. Again…adorable. I don’t know why, but they remind me of curtains in old Airstream campers. So cute.

hanky tie backI made tie backs out of embroidered napkins……..also……..adorable. I love them. I used up my entire collection, which fits the Destashio mission statement, so I feel pretty good about it. It didn’t cost anything, except time and backache from hunching over it while I pieced it together on my floor (no table big enough). So that’s another plus.

Well, that’s what I made last week. It was a bit of a brain teaser, but I love the results. Thanks, Mollie Makes!

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?

The New Assmaster 2000 is Here!

The Assmaster 2000Today we welcomed a new addition to our family……a brand new Assmaster 2000. This will be our second Assmaster. We’re still happy with our first one that’s in the guest bath, that is, except for it’s tendency to rip the skin off your thighs if you stand too close when you’re flushing it. It’s better than liposuction.

The unplanned bathroom renovation is moving along at a fairly steady pace, regardless of my wishing I was doing something else. The paint is done on the walls and the cabinets. The new floor is down and I’m happy with it……..happy that I’m done with it! The baseboards are painted and I’ll put those in tomorrow. The counter top turned out beautifully and we’ve figured out the backsplash today so that will get done tomorrow…or the next day. I sanded and refinished the light fixture and it looks cool and modern rather than rusted and cheap. So, it’s moving along, but there’s still a lot on the list if we’re going to complete it before my daughter starts back to school……..in 6 days. No pressure!

awesome wood paletteBONUS: The Assmaster was delivered on a wood palette and the delivery guy said I could keep it. Awesome! He actually said, “I’m sure you don’t want the palette so I’ll take that away………….(long pause)…….or maybe you DO want it.” I say, “you mean, I can keep it?” Needless to say, I’m the proud owner of a trashed palette with touches of old blue paint. So exciting! I’m sure the boards will find it’s way into something cool like this:

message centerI use salvaged boards in all my message centers and craft organizers, so you’ll see this palette artfully rearranged soon. Don’t forget…….everything in both my Etsy shops (Salvaged Sanity and Destashio) is on sale through the end of the month. Use the coupon code: XMAS20 to receive a 20% discount on all your purchases. Only a few days left till the prices get put back to normal, so buy your favorites NOW!