Mudroom Locker DIY: Bookcase Makeover

With our recent renovation, we finished the basement and garage – yay! The garage entry gets used quite a bit when the boys are playing out back or running in after school, so I wanted to create a little mudroom area to corral their jackets and shoes. I especially love this project, because it’s made entirely with things we had in the house already!

Mudroom locker made from a repurposed bookcase | Jewels at Home

I got the idea for turning a bookcase into a mudroom locker from Melissa at Polka Dot Chair, who did this great project using IKEA Billy bookcases. I was going to do the same thing, when I realized we had all the parts I needed at home.

I started with this big heavy bookcase I bought off Craigslist ages ago. I never want to move it again! I shifted the shelves towards the top and bottom – which was perfect, since the bookcase was already missing a shelf, and added hooks for coats and the dog leash. The hooks were from two over-the-door racks we were no longer using. I cut off the hangers and just screwed them in place.

The two baskets on top were also repurposed and fit perfectly, holding all the extra soccer cleats and other shoes waiting to be passed down from one brother to another. Finally, we’re lucky to have pretty mild weather here, so I don’t need my boots too often, and the space on top is the perfect place to store them for a rainy day – haha!

A bamboo doormat finishes off our garage entry!

Mudroom locker made from a repurposed bookcase | Jewels at Home
I’d love to spruce up this area even more by painting the back of the bookcase and the door, but if you could see all the boxes that are half unpacked upstairs, you’d believe me that I’ve got bigger fish to fry!

“Jewels”

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“Stainless Steel” Contact Paper Tray

Okay, so I just discovered this faux stainless contact paper, and I’m sure this project is just the first of many projects!!

Remember the tray project that took less time than writing the post? Here it is again with faux stainless contact paper.

I’m sure this beer-themed tray has its uses, but it’s not the look I’m going for. I did, however, like the teal blue color of the edges and the price ($5.49!! at Ross). A quick addition of the metallic contact paper totally transformed it, don’t you think?

Transform a decorative tray with stainless steel contact paper | Jewels at Home

Transform a decorative tray with stainless steel contact paper | Jewels at Home

Transform a decorative tray with stainless steel contact paper | Jewels at Home

Transform a decorative tray with stainless steel contact paper | Jewels at Home

Transform a decorative tray with stainless steel contact paper | Jewels at Home

There’s also Brushed Pewter contact paper, which I already bought, and Brushed Copper contact paper, which is next on the list. I already have ideas for those!

What are you going to make with these fun finds?

“Jewels”

Overlapping Circles Tray in Blue and Silver

A while back, my friend Ari got the inspiration to paint decorative trays, and I caught the bug. She finished painting her tray some time ago, and it turned out beautifully with gold spray-painted stripes. I definitely took longer to finish my tray, but at last, it’s done!

Elegant overlapping circles painted tray in silver and blue | Jewels at Home

The inspiration for my latest project was actually a tray that Ari found after I wrote my earlier post on ideas for decorating trays. This gorgeous Circles Silver Round Mirror made by Beaux Maison and was my inspiration piece!

Circles Silver Tray

Circles Silver Round Mirror Tray. This is a beautiful inspiration!

I love the pattern and silver glow, which I thought would be perfect for an old round tray I had lying around. My original tray was from Target, and while I love the shape and the pattern of the bamboo, it had nicks and scratches in the finish, and the color doesn’t work with our current living room.

The tray had a very glossy finish, so I started by sanding it with a coarse (100 grit) sandpaper and using heavy-duty Zinsser Bulls Eye Primer.

I could have painted the tray in matte and glossy silver paint, to come closer to the Beaux Maison version, but I thought that might be a bit dressy for our living room, so I used a base of pale blue paint. The leftover can of Swept Away by Benjamin Moore has worked for several other projects already, like these painted screens.

Making a contact paper stencil:
To get the overlapping circles design, I found a simple graphic by searching the internet for images. This pattern actually came from a picture of a doormat!

I enlarged it and printed several copies to fit the large tray. After joining the pages together, I taped the whole template to a piece of contact paper. I then used a craft knife to cut out the design. This took a long time, but it made a good activity for a quiet evening, or should I say many quiet evenings!

When it was cut out, I used the stencil with some silver craft paint and created the design.

To finish the project, I applied several coats of a clear spray finish.

Elegant overlapping circles painted tray in silver and blue | Jewels at Home

Elegant overlapping circles painted tray in silver and blue | Jewels at Home

Elegant overlapping circles painted tray in silver and blue | Jewels at Home

Elegant overlapping circles painted tray in silver and blue | Jewels at Home

I’m still trying out ways to style this pretty addition to our living room. What arrangements do you like?

Elegant overlapping circles painted tray in silver and blue | Jewels at Home

Elegant overlapping circles painted tray in silver and blue | Jewels at Home

Elegant overlapping circles painted tray in silver and blue | Jewels at Home

Yay! Very happy to have this one off the project table and into the living room! Just in time for an icy winter holiday theme?

“Jewels”

Milestones: A Korean First Birthday

When you welcome a baby into your life, you can’t help but think a lot about his roots and his future.  One special tradition that Steve’s parents introduced us to was the Korean first birthday celebration – the Tol (also called Dol).

Even before our oldest son was born, his Harabuje and Halmoni (Korean grandfather and grandmother) were planning K’s Tol.  This is a special celebration that originated in a time when infant mortality was high, and a baby reaching his first birthday was an important milestone.

I didn’t know much about the Tol at first, but it became a sweet tradition that we continued for all three of our boys. With a few simple and meaningful elements, you can add this special event to your family’s memories, too!

Hanbok:

Steve happened to have gone on a business trip to Korea while I had been pregnant and he had brought home a traditional outfit (hanbok) for baby. Steve’s parents searched high and low and found the special socks and shoes to match. You can buy these in the US, too.  Here is a link to a baby boy Hanbok and a baby girl Hanbok.

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

Harabuje (grandpa) helps birthday boy L adjust his Hanbok.

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

Baby J wore a mix of his older brother’s outfits.

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

There are even special socks and shoes!

 

Tol table:

Harabuje and Halmoni hosted our first Tol in a private room at a Korean restaurant. It was a small event with family and a few close friends. The ritual of welcoming and honoring our young baby and his family seemed more important than putting on a display for others.

The main features at a Tol are the table set with an abundance of fruit and special rice cakes (called “duk”) and the Toljabee.

After the restaurant party for K, we hosted L and J’s Tol celebrations at home. While the restaurant had a set of fake fruits and accessories, I opted for something more simple, setting the table with red and blue decorations and fresh fruit and rice cakes. Simple, familiar flavors always go over really well with a crowd (especially if there are some picky eaters among you).

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

The Korean restaurant’s elaborate Tol table. Half those cakes and fruits are plastic – haha!

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

Our home Tol table was more modest – but everything was real!

 

Toljabee:

In the Toljabee, the baby is presented several items that each symbolize some characteristic, and the items that the baby chooses are a prediction about his future.

That’s a lot of pressure for a one-year-old! Luckily, the Toljabee is definitely rigged for success. Some examples of things a baby could choose are:

  • A book, showing he will be intelligent
  • A pen, showing he will be well-educated
  • A bundle of string, symbolizing long life
  • A Korean metal bowl of rice, meaning he will have enough to eat
  • Grapes, predicting many offspring
  • Money, representing wealth

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

L was kind of hungry, and kept trying to eat the grapes. I wonder if that really means I have a lot of grandchildren to loo forward to!

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

 

For our Toljabee at home, I assembled some symbolic items on a decorative tray. Embroidery floss or ribbon makes a pretty string!

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

 

Sharing the tradition:

All of our Tol celebrations were small. We kept to a small group of family and close friends. A big party can be overwhelming for a little baby, and there will be plenty of bigger parties to come. If you are having trouble tailoring a guest list, try writing everyone’s names down. This can help you to see who really needs to be there.

When L had his Tol, I mentioned it to his older brother’s preschool teachers, and they asked if I could teach his class of three-year-olds about this tradition. L became a living show-and-tell presentation, and we let each of the kids pick an item as part of the Toljabee.

I also made a picture book for the class to teach them about the Tol tradition. This was easy to do with a photo book and some simple text. Shutterfly has lots of options for customizing a book to make almost anything you can imagine. I made an extra copy for our family, which I put out during J’s Tol, and it was very cute to see L request a reading from every adult in the family.

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

I made a photo book to teach our kids and their friends about the tradition of the Tol.

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

The first page of our photo book about the Tol.

 

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

 

Looking back, we have a lot of special memories from these parties. Our kids tend to be more involved with their Chinese heritage, since they’re in a Chinese immersion school, and above all, their lives revolve around North American culture and interests, so I’m particularly glad to have included this Korean tradition in our family. While it was very important to Steve’s parents, it seems like a lot of other families didn’t know about the Tol, so it was also fun to share this tradition with our friends, and now, I’m excited to share it with you!

Milestones: A Modern Korean Tol | Jewels at Home

Do you have a baby with some Korean roots? This would be a beautiful event to hold for him or her. A lot of Korean restaurants are equipped to host a Tol, or it’s easy to do something simple at home. When I get a chance, I also want to tell you about our Chinese Red Egg and Ginger parties, and I’d love to hear about your traditional celebrations from other cultures, too!

“Jewels”