A Boy’s Room in Blue Full of DIY Treasures

Sometimes, milestones are measured in unusual ways. I know my kids are getting big, because it’s finally possible to take a picture of JJ’s room that is not a total disaster! We (I) were focused on finding a new house … Continue reading

DIY Posts for Hanging Patio String Lights

I have been in love with patio string lights for so long. Unfortunately, our last house didn’t really have a respectable outdoor entertaining space, but our rental house last year and our new house both have great patio spaces! I have been waiting to do this project creating posts to hang our lights, and I am so excited that we finally did it! It’s not hard (you do need some muscles!), and I am excited to share the how-to and our results!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • String lights: I love these solar-powered lights
  • String light hanging hardware kit
  • 8′ Wood posts – I used cedar landscaping lumber that I found at the hardware store. I found them easier to handle than fence posts
  • Planters – I used these square plastic planters I already had
  • cement mix – I used Quickcrete, which is fast-setting and very easy to use. I used 1.5 bags per planter, but your quantity will depend on the planter that you use
  • gravel
  • soil
  • plants
  • Tools: drill, screwdriver, wire cutters, spirit level
  • Optional: exterior paint

Here’s how to do it:

  • Attach the hanging hardware to the top of your posts
  • Place a post in the center of an empty planter
  • Pour in the concrete mix and add water according to the instructions
  • Use the spirit level to check your post is vertical
  • With the fast-setting Quickcrete, we didn’t have to use any extra supports for the post. We did check the level a few times as it set, but it pretty much held in place on its own
  • Repeat for the other posts
  • I painted my posts black to blend into our patio decor
  • Drill drainage holes in the planters just above the line of the concrete
  • Add gravel, soil, and plants
  • Install the patio lights according to the instructions with your hanging kit

Of course, we had a warm spell last week and it’s cooled off again, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer to hang out here!

Julie AKA “Jewels”

From Thomasville Dresser to Dining Room Bar Cabinet

Remember when I told you that painting a vintage mid-century dresser was on my DIY bucket list? I love how that first project turned out. And then! When I was moving and definitely should not have been accumulating more stuff, I found something I couldn’t resist: a Thomasville faux bamboo bedroom set for free on Craigslist! This included a twin bed frame and a little desk and dresser. The desk had a bookcase hutch, which I put on top of the dresser to make a hutch/ bar for our dining room.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Rags
  • gloves
  • TSP or other deglossing solution
  • Sandpaper – fine grit
  • Bonding primer designed for slick surfaces
  • Amy Howard Spray Lacquer. I previously used this to lacquer a small entry cabinet, and I’m really impressed with how it looks and holds up
  • As needed, new hardware or metallic spray paint for your old hardware
  • If you need new holes for your hardware, some filler material for the old holes
  • Wallpaper for the back of your hutch. This Cherry Blossom Peel and Stick wallpaper had everything I wanted – a pretty design that was subtle enough to not be too busy when the shelves were filled, and a little bit of sheen.
  • Hardware to attach the hutch and anti-tip hardware, especially if you live in earthquake country, like we do

Here’s how to do it:

  • Clean off dirt and dust
  • Remove hardware
  • If you are changing hardware, fill in the old holes and drill the new ones
  • Sand the surface lightly with fine grit sandpaper
  • Wipe with surface with deglosser such as Gloss-off or TSP
  • Apply the primer and let it dry thoroughly overnight
  • Sand lightly with 400 grit sandpaper and wipe off dust with a lint-free rag
  • Apply the spray lacquer – Amy Howard has some videos on YouTube with details on how to use this product. Overall, I really like it, but it is a bit finicky. Luckily, the little imperfections aren’t noticeable now that it is inside and decorated.
  • I let the lacquer cure for a week in the garage, and then I applied the wallpaper to the back of the bookcase
  • The last steps were to put the hardware back on, secure the hutch to the dresser and add anti-tip hardware to the top of the whole thing
Here are the cool details from the back of my dresser – it is 55 years young!
Before and after!

This new dining room bar is the perfect place to display our collection of vintage bar glasses. I collected them back when we threw a Mad Men party, and I still love them all!

The days off for New Year’s allowed me to finish this project, so of course, I decorated for our at-home countdown to the New Year!

There is still the bed frame, a little corner desk, and some mirrors that came with the bedroom set. It was a silly indulgence to bring them all home, but I still hope to find a home for them some day somewhere!

Julie aka “Jewels”

DIY Botanical Print Ring Dishes

A couple of summers ago, when I was addicted to macrame, I started describing my crafting style as “serial crafting monogamy,” and that was definitely true with these little polymer clay ring dishes! My latest variation is botanical prints! If you want to look back at other versions, check out the stamped white and gold dishes and the marbled clay dishes. I am sharing this post in time for those of you looking for DIY holiday gift inspiration!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Premo Sculpey in white (approximately 2oz per bowl)
  • Rolling pin or smooth glass jar
  • Plant cuttings. I used lavender, nasturtium, and crocosmia from our garden
  • Parchment paper or wax paper
  • Circle to trace (approximately 4″)
  • Bowl or other oven-safe mold
  • Optional: sandpaper
  • Paint brush
  • Gold paint
  • Paint to color plants
  • Clear glossy varnish

Here’s how to do it:

  • This white clay collects and shows dust and lint very easily, so try to keep your hands, tools, and work surface as clean as possible
  • Using a parchment or wax paper work surface, knead your clay and roll it flat – about 1/4″ thick
  • Place your plant cutting and roll over it to make an impression in the clay
  • Place your circle on your mold
  • Bake according to the instructions for the clay
  • Let it cool, and sand rough edges
  • Paint the leaf imprint green and lavender flowers purple
  • Paint rim with gold paint
  • Coat with clear varnish

This is what the bowls looked like out of the oven, before paint and varnish. I like the matte look, but I suspect they’d get dirty over time.

Next step: paint the flowers, add gold paint to the rim, and finish with clear gloss varnish!

I’ve got at least one more variation I want to try making!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Favorite Fall Decorating Ideas

Between the start of school, two boys’ birthdays, and Halloween costumes, I’ll confess that many years I skip right over any fall decorating. This year, we are in the middle of moving, so I’m not sure how much decorating I’ll do.

But when I do decorate for fall, I’ve found you can create a lot of atmosphere with a few changes. I set the mood with some pumpkins and candles, creating something neutral yet festive.

Here are some of favorite pictures from years past. Projects seen in this post include

Here’s to crisp fall days!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Pastel Christmas Village

So, I actually did this project in January, being the Christmas decorating nerd that I am. It’s strange to think of all the things that have happened this year since I started planning our Christmas decorations. It will be our … Continue reading

Nightstands with Faux Bone Inlay Stencils

Here is the third and final (for now) installment of my dresser painting trilogy. First was the mid-century dresser; next came the faux campaign dresser; and last but not least is this faux bone inlay project! If you are thinking … Continue reading

Faux Campaign Dresser Makeover

I’m on such a furniture makeover kick right now! Even as I was still finishing up my mid-century dresser makeover, I was already planning my first attempt at a faux campaign dresser! I had my eye out for an actual … Continue reading

Mid-Century Dresser Makeover – How to Paint Laminate Furniture

Do you have a DIY bucket list? Finding a vintage dresser with mid-century details has been on my list for years, and finally, the perfect project came along! It started when I was browsing NextDoor and came across a dark … Continue reading