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

The Evolution of a Girl and her Room

My daughter and I just finished making over her room for the fourth and final time (whew!). Her room has had more ideas splashed on its walls than any other room in the house. I swear her room has decreased in square footage from all the plaster and paint we’ve added over the last 12 years. Each makeover reflected her growth and her latest and greatest dreams. I’ve loved trying to bring her ideas to life and it’s been worth every bruise and back spasm to give her a space that’s all hers.

first day homeOur house was a model home, so when we moved in, her room had already been given a theme – butterflies (the caterpillar came with the room as well). I can’t even believe how little she was when we first got there.

butterfly roomThe paint job had been poorly done so we repainted it with a slightly different palette and expanded on the butterfly theme to include all sorts of insects (those butterflies came with the room as well). Dianna was a tomboy and wanted more bugs than beauty so we added ants and spiders to keep it from being too precious. The fun part was having my paint friends come help. We figured out how to do raised stenciling and then we added little jewels to the wings for a little sparkle. So totally fun!

I searched forever for pictures of the raised stenciling and all I’ve figured out is that they’re gone and this computer is refusing to do anything with the pile of negatives I have in a shoe box. I’ve tried cramming them in the disc drive, but my husband says that’s not good for the computer. Negatives! Can you even remember those?

Gryffindor room In 2003 I was fully entrenched in my faux finishing business and had been introduced to a product that created a stone-like finish in two easy steps. That sparked the idea for a Harry Potter themed room. We’re both huge fans (friends will tell you that huge does not describe our obsession accurately) of the books and the movies, and had traveled to Oxford, England just to visit some of the spots where the movies were filmed. I incorporated some of the architectural elements into the room including a carved window looking out toward the Whomping Willow (she has kept this mural through all the other makeovers).

Hogwarts muralThe room reflected Dianna’s love of dragons and magic without going to that girly side where glitter and unicorns usually spring up. Most of her friends were boys at this age so a feminine room would have been less than inviting. Thankfully all the work we put in to this room was rewarded by her loving it for six years……an eternity in kid-time.

graffiti on2009 was the year she decided to move on. She was loving rockers like Hayley Williams, Avril Lavigne and Green Day and the Potter room just wasn’t working any more. She really didn’t know what she was looking for, but she knew she wanted it to be dark. We dove in to that makeover with a gallon of nearly black paint. It was awesome.

metallic foil guitarWe experimented with spray painting through stencils and a lot of metallic foil. The foil guitar image was one of Dianna’s own designs and gave the room a focus wall.

the writing on the wallAfter wallpapering photos, maps and posters everywhere, we decided to let her and her friends fill in the blank spaces. So one afternoon I taught 5 junior high boys how to stencil, gave them paint and brushes and then let them all go. They created a graffiti masterpiece. I think the boys’ mothers thought I was crazy, but that really was one of the funnest things we’ve ever done and I know Dianna will never forget it.

All through high school Dianna’s friends added to the walls whenever they were inspired. It was like living inside a yearbook with all your friends’ comments and inside jokes. I kept the base colors in little cans so she could subtract things like old boyfriends or bad memories….you can paint over almost anything.

This summer Dianna decided she needed a change. Heading in to her senior year was moving a little too quickly. With friends leaving and her trying to figure out what to do after graduation, she was feeling the need for a small refuge from all the changes going on outside. The graffiti and the darkness of her room seemed to be dragging her down and she was searching for calm and light.

The graffiti room had a lot of stuff that had to be removed, patch and plastered. It was definitely a suck job and I’ll tell you all about it some other day, but for now, just know that Dianna finally has some peace, and a quiet place  to slow down in.

peaceful room

A Gilded Life – Spellbound Event


Welcome Dinner
The Spellbound Event hosted by A Gilded Life Studio was one of the funnest things I’ve ever done. Forgive me for taking so long to post this, but the amount of photos I had to go through was a little overwhelming. I want to take you through the event, but I don’t want this to be a never ending post so I’ve made collages to keep the photos to a minimum length.

Pre-Event SoireeFor people that were able to get to the hotel one day early, they were treated to a Pre-Event Soiree at A Gilded Life studio in Santa Ana. A bus collected all of us for free and took us to a place where my kind of dreams are made of. They really should have handed out napkins at the door because the drool was seriously flowing.

The studio hosts classes and is also a retail shop for the most beautiful things you can imagine. They primed us with an amazing buffet, ridiculously beautiful desserts and of course champagne. Then they taught us a craft with a brand new embossing/cutting machine that’s yet to be on the market. Crafting AND Champagne?! I was giddy. So of course I went shopping.

A Gilded Life purchaseThis was my first night, so I really tried to reign it in because I knew there were going to be many other shopping events throughout the week. I bought this remnant of ruffled fabric that I plan to make a skirt with for Dianna. The two yards of lace are also for Dianna, but the lime green, velvet leaves are for me. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them, but I just had to have them.

The French General StoreThe next day a local store called The French General hosted a free crafting/luncheon for those attendees who could drop by. I have loved French General products for years so to have a chance to craft in the store was so exciting. The store did not disappoint. They have an incredible assortment of fabric, beads, buttons, ribbon and paper ephemera. I ate my lunch, made a couple bracelets and scanned the store for what was going to have to go home with me.

French General NotionsMy restraint had started to weaken, obviously. So, so many pretty things.

We rushed back to the hotel with all our goodies and got ready for the Welcome Dinner in the ballroom of the Pasadena Langham Hotel.

Gift Tote bagThe first thing I noticed was that every chair had a really beautiful tote bag hanging on the back. We took our seats and tried to be grown ups and not the little kid inside who wanted to dump out the bags on the floor and check out all the candy. It took a couple glasses of wine to quiet that desperate impulse. I was able to keep a handle on it, which was difficult considering that this is what the inside looked like:

gift bag treasuresThe hosts and sponsors of this event were extremely generous with their products. There were so many cool new products in this bag that I think I’ve returned to  square one on my destashing efforts. But wait………there’s more……….

Spellbound embossing machineAfter dessert they surprised us by giving every single attendee a brand new, not on the market yet, Spellbound Artisan machine and a ton of dies and plates to go with it. I thought Oprah was going to come out and hand out car keys next. If you haven’t heard a room full of grown women squeal before, you’re definitely missing out. It absolutely made my heart race.

embossed bookThere are lots of embossing and die cutting machines on the market. This new machine’s advantage is that it can do both at the same time. The little book above is what we made the night before. We inked the plate before running the linen covered paper through the machine so not only was it embossed, it was stained in the low areas as well. So beautiful and so easy. It works on paper, fabric and leather. You have to get one.

When I got to my room with my new machine and bag full of awesome crap I totally dumped it all on my bed like a little girl and looked at every little treasure one at a time. It was awesome.

mixed media classesThe four classes I took over the next two days were amazing. I would love to show you all the finished products but I’m going to give a couple as gifts, so they have to remain a secret. The teachers were great and I learned so many new techniques that I’m still pumped up with ideas.

mercantile displayFriday night was the Dreamland Mercantile, and with a lot of help from my roommate I got my display set up with enough time to shop the other vendor tables.

Dreamland Mercantile vendorsThey had about 30 vendors, all real different, but all so beautiful. I sold enough to pay for my table and make a little profit. The feedback I got was very valuable so I’m definitely glad I did it.

Saturday night they hosted an Up All Night Craft Party that was a total blast. The vendors set up about six different craft stations with a different project at each of them. More free stuff!

They also provided late night munchies like sliders and mac n cheese, which was followed by an amazing display of desserts. I should have taken a picture but I was in a chocolate coma.

Craft party projectsThese are the things I made. They taught us how to make flowers with our new machines and we cut flowers out of a bunch of different fabrics and glued them all on an apron. It’s adorable. I made a mixed media tag book that’s so cute. I also stenciled a canvas bag to hold all my new stuff. The long necklace laying on top was the name tag every one wore. They made 150 of these, and each metal bezzle has our name floated in the resin inside. It’s stunning and actually one of my favorite things from the event.The Rose Bowl Flea MarketThe event was topped off with a Sunday morning trip to the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena. I had always wanted to go, and it was definitely worth the drive. They have a huge number of very good vendors with a vast array of antique and vintage finds. I loved the fabric stall at the top which specialized in vintage fabrics and trim. Very good prices and a large selection.

I have to say sorry to my good friend Jerry for not picking up the clown painting. I know it would go great over your bed, but I just didn’t have any more room in my car.

Rose Bowl purchasesThis is what came home with me. I’m going to use the vintage runners on my Thanksgiving tables this year and they’ll be so cute.

From there I drove home with a car full of treasures and a brain buzzing with ideas. The event was more than I could have dreamed of and I will definitely be returning next year. The generosity of the hosts and sponsors was overwhelming, but it was their attention to every detail that really pushed it over the top. It was obvious that they understood what makes a woman’s heart sing, and they were just so willing to make it happen.

A big Thank You to the women at A Gilded Life and the people at Spellbound. You gave me more than you’ll ever know.

Creative Wood Repair

Okay, so I haven’t posted anything for two weeks. It’s not because I’ve been lying on the couch, watching General Hospital. Is that even on anymore? Anyway, I’ve been working on a decorative painting job, which is something I don’t do anymore, unless you’re my favorite client, and unless I feel artistically obligated, and I happen to really need some extra cash.

Mystical forces converged and caused a slab leak in my favorite clients home, which caused the kitchen to need removal, which caused damage to all the paintwork I had applied to his walls over 10 years ago, which caused him to ask me to come back and repair the damage to my work. So that’s where I’ve been.

wood replaced with gray stuffThe first job at hand had nothing to do with flood damage. My client is a contractor and he came upon this large, beautiful wood carving in his client’s dumpster. He said it was in many, many pieces as it had been broken by the movers. His client didn’t think it was worth saving. My guy picked up all the pieces and put it back together but there were three pieces missing. I asked him to try to fill the holes as best he could and I would take it from there.

damaged tail carvingSo the grey parts in these pictures were made with a product that’s supposed to work like metal solder. Please forgive the grainy photos, it’s a dark house. His assistant tried to form the missing pieces out of this clay-like substance and then stuck it on. It was pretty rough but I guess the stuff hardens in five minutes so you don’t have much time to perfect it.

after carvingI started by carving and sanding the pieces. Please understand that I had told my client I could faux finish the pieces, not carve them. But when I saw them, they needed a little help. Too bad all I had was an exacto knife and sandpaper. I decided to make lemonade.

Ta Da!Here it is all finished. Can you find the pieces I fixed?

repaired tail tipSo here’s the tip of the tail. The carving was difficult and I definitely could have used other tools. But I think most people won’t be able to pick out the non-wood dragon tail.

repaired carvingThese two repairs were easier and are a little hard to find. I think it turned out pretty well. He’s really happy with it.

I didn’t take pictures of the wall repairs because they’re not interesting. What is interesting is this house and this client. He’s the first person that ever hired me and doing his house was a total blast.

stenciled parrotThere’s only two rooms in the whole house that I didn’t paint and they’re just bathrooms. He gave me free reign so I put birds, lizards and bamboo everywhere. It pretty much looks like Margaritaville, but he loves it.

underwater stair railingWhen he ran out of walls he added a stair railing he had a guy make out of random pieces of metal and then had me paint it.metal fishHow cool is that?! I’m pretty sure this isn’t up to code, and that small children would definitely kill themselves here, but they don’t have any kids so it’s just fun.

stenciled muralI was pleased to see that my work had held up so well, and to be completely honest, surprised that he hadn’t painted all of this out. I’m not saying it’s not good, I’m just saying I can’t believe he isn’t bored with it. I’ve painted my house three times since I did this.

faux finished mahoganyThe other thing I worked on all week was turning this tan painted door into a mahogany door. I’m not great at wood graining, but I’m pretty happy with how this came out. 

So anyway, I’m glad to be getting back to my new, normal life and off the job site. I miss my studio and my dog. How could I not?

belly rub time

 

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…..it 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

How did I get here?

I’m coming up on the one year anniversary of my blog and find myself needing to take stock not only of my Stash, but of the evolution of my artistic life.

One year ago I was emotionally and physically depleted. Closing my decorative paint company was what I wanted but I hadn’t figured out what to replace it with. I had also lost my passion for painting which had usually been my cure for depression (that and a lot of meds).  I started this blog to challenge myself to get rid of the large amount of paint products before 2 years was up and my husband and I downsize. We plan to move closer to downtown San Diego after our daughter graduates high school.

master bedroom projectI had thought that I would be able to find uses for all the paint and plaster either within my home or the homes of my friends and family. The paint has been easy to use up and I have very little left. The plaster is another story. In the past year my preferences have changed and I find myself wanting calm. The plaster feels too busy for me and I have avoided using it. I will have to come up with another plan to get rid of it.

message center

The organizational boards I’m making have become my new passion this year. Every single piece is different. It’s like putting together a puzzle and I love the challenge of fitting all the pieces together. What’s even funner is shopping to find the pieces. The boards I’m making not only allow me, but require me, to shop at flea markets, junk yards and estate sales. I have always wanted a good excuse to do it and am loving each and every treasure hunt. It’s become something my daughter and I do together and has brought us even closer. In a year when we’re not under the same roof, these outings will be something to keep us connected.

I’m so grateful for the changes this past year has brought. I am more able to give my all to my home and my family and I’m definitely more at peace.

Tomorrow I’ll be taking inventory of The Stash and reporting back my findings. Talk to you tomorrow.

My Bench is Way Better Than Your Bench!

adorable benchI can hardly bear to look at this photo because it’s so freakin’ adorable!

So I finished my bed to bench project today when I finished sewing the cushion cover and planted my new bench on the front porch. This started out as a bed I picked up at a thrift store. Can you even stand it?!

distressed paintTo catch you up………..I sanded the paint and slathered on some crackle medium before I glazed it. I was going for a finish similar to what you’d find on old toys in a Paris flea market. If you haven’t been to a Paris flea market, I feel really bad for you and recommend stealing from your child’s college fund to pay for the experience. You know your kid isn’t going to go to college and you’re going to be there at the end of your life having never been to Paris, sitting next to your under educated child on the couch, watching other people shop in Paris on TV. Loser!

Crackle medium is basically glue and makes paint crack when it’s applied over a layer of the medium. Now in this case I was planning on applying glaze over the crackle and not paint. Crackle medium won’t cause glaze to crack, unless it’s applied thickly but it will make the glaze rumple and look cruddy, which is exactly what I was looking for.

antique wood finishSee how cruddy this looks? It’s like it’s been sitting behind a house in Provence for a good 50-75 years. Perfect! I really wanted this bench to look like I picked it up behind an old barn and dragged it home. You can almost smell the manure through the photos. mmmmmmm

cottage porchSo here’s my new porch. I used the bench to reference the orange and blue of the sewing table planter and the grey of the porch beams.

If you’re wondering why I angled the bench rather than plant it in front of the window, it’s because of Percy. My dog sits in the window and guards the house with all 20 (should be 18) pounds of his substantial girth and I don’t want to block his view. Yes, my life revolves around the happiness of my dog. I know it seems lame, but let’s just say, like my bench, my dog is better than your dog.

Percy(This is Percy meditating on his awesomeness)

Inventory used: acrylic craft paint, Latex paint, crackle medium, Stain & Seal, glaze