Console Table Makeover – Tall, Dark, and Handsome

I’m decorating our foyer and wanted to featured a beautiful console table. While I found some already-finished options I liked, I needed something very specific to help disguise a radiator – but not block it off – so I decided to dive in and customize my own!

I knew I wanted the feel of a lacquered Chinese table, but I couldn’t find one in the right size and shape. I looked for something else with simple lines and hoped that with a few tweaks, some paint, and new hardware, I could pull off a transformation!

I started by assembling the sideboard except for the lower shelf. I wanted to leave the bottom open for baskets or stools. I had to fill in a few holes with wood filler. I also filled in the holes for the hardware and drilled new ones to match handles I bought on Etsy.

After sanding for a smooth finish, I started painting. I really debated the color choice, because the hall is already quite dark. In the end, I just knew I had to go with the color I loved and (with credit to Tim Gunn on Project Runway) make it work!

The navy paint is Nocturne by Behr, which I also used to repaint our master bath vanity. After painting, I added several coats of a glossy varnish, both to create shine as well as protect the finish.

My plan is to use some light-colored and neutral accessories to balance out the darker table.

Finn, the rug model, and the new console.

Can’t wait to see the whole space put together!

“Jewels”

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It’s in the Bag – Stenciled Totes

Most years, I try to make something creative as holiday gifts for our teachers and coworkers. There’s so much joy in giving, but we’re also living in a time and place where it feels like everything is at your fingertips, so something handmade feels like a good way to express how much we appreciate those around us. When I can manage it, I make a few extra to last through the year as hostess and grown-up birthday gifts. I’ve linked to previous years’ handmade gifts at the bottom of the post, if you’re looking for more ideas.

This year, I decided to make stenciled canvas tote bags as our holiday treat. They’re so pretty and unique, yet also practical, as we’re trying to minimize our use of disposable shopping bags. I had so much fun trying different combinations of colors and patterns.

What you’ll need:

How to do it:

  • Prewash the bags
  • Choose a stencil and use blue painters tape to hold it in place
  • Put an eye md magazine inside the bag, so the paint won’t go through to the other side
  • Mix paint with textile medium according to the instructions
  • Use the spouncer to apply light coats of paint
  • Once thoroughly dry, iron the pattern using a press cloth to set the paint
  • That’s all! Unless you’re me and repeat it many, many times!

Here are just some of the combinations I made!

Tile stencil in navy and in ombré blues:

Arrows, with a contrasting accent color and (bottom left) ombré blues:

Feathers,with a contrasting accent color or (bottom) ombré blues and greys.

I really liked the feathers!

I loved the tile in this mix of copper and gold paint. The metallic paints were very thick and made very crisp designs.

A close up of the feathers:

The birds were fun to arrange in different patterns and colors.

My mother-in-law likes gingko leaves, so I made this one for her:

And I got to keep this one for myself!

No matter how I plan, the holidays are hectic. I definitely all felt worthwhile when I went to give out the bags. Our teachers and friends were so excited – it definitely put me in the spirit of the season!

it made me happy to make the people I care about happy. My friend Liane took this great photo of her bag:

Looking for more handmade gift ideas? Here are some from past years:

“Jewels”

DIY Ninjago Eyes T-shirts

Our Lego Ninjago birthday party is coming up, and I’m making t-shirts for all the kids as party favors.

I tried two different ideas for the shirts. First, I made stenciled ninja silhouettes for the older boys. Details on where I got the blank shirts and created the stencils are in that post.

Use contact paper and fabric paint to stencil your own T-shirts.  These are for a Ninjago birthday party.  {Jewels at Home}

Use contact paper and fabric paint to stencil your own T-shirts.

And for the younger kids, here’s how the cute Ninjago eyes T-shirts turned out:

Tutorial for easy-to-make Ninjago T-shirts for party favors or everyday! {Jewels at Home}

Instructions for DIY Ninjago eyes T-shirts:

  • Create a template for the eyes and trace it onto contact paper. Cut out the template, including the eyebrows and eyes. I used a circle cutter – you could also use a large circle punch – for the eyes. You can print this image and enlarge or shrink it as needed:

Stencil for Ninjago eyes to use on T-shirts or other projects.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Stick the contact paper onto yellow fabric, trace around the outside with a pencil and use black fabric paint and a stencil brush to paint the eyes and eyebrows.
  • When the paint dries, iron it on both sides to heat set the paint.

Stencil for Ninjago eyes to use on T-shirts or other projects.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Iron Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold Iron-On Adhesive onto the back of yellow fabric.
  • Peel the backing paper off and iron the yellow fabric on to the T-shirt.
  • I used black puffy paint to outline the fabric, which also seals the edges to help prevent peeling and fraying.
  • Your design will last longer if you wash the shirt inside out.

Stenciled Ninjago eyes to use on T-shirts or other projects.  {Jewels at Home}

Here are some close-ups of red Ninjago Kai and blue Ninjago Jay:

DIY Ninjago T-shirt.  Red for Kai. {Jewels at Home}

DIY Ninjago T-shirt.  Blue for Jay. {Jewels at Home}

Besides red for Kai, and blue for Jay, I also made heather gray (because I’m not crazy enough to make a white T-shirt for a little boy) for Zane, black for Cole, and green for Lloyd Garmadon, the birthday boy!

Charming handmade Ninjago T-shirts. {Jewels at Home}

Make these cute DIY Ninjago eyes T-shirts.  Tutorial from Jewels at Home.

Make these cute DIY Ninjago eyes T-shirts.  Tutorial from Jewels at Home.

Hope you’ll try some of these ideas and make shirts for your own little guys!

You can also always find great sales on Ninjago and other Lego shirts, games, and toys at Zulily.com!

“Jewels”

Vintage Find: Marble-topped Coffee Table

I think you know by now that I love a great vintage find – what a great way to add character to your home, save money, and keep things out of the landfill.

My latest treasure is a marble-topped coffee table I found on Craigslist. I looked for a few weeks before finding something the right size and style for our space. This table has just enough curves and details to show its history – the seller said, it was his grandmother’s from the 1950s – without being overly ornate or fussy.

Paint and some minor repairs brought this vintage table back to life!  {Jewels at Home}

A quick paint job in glossy black gave the base of the table an elegant new look, and there was a small chip in the marble top that I repaired.

Living room seating area with contemporary regency style.  Paint and some minor repairs brought the vintage coffee table back to life!  {Jewels at Home}

Living room seating area with contemporary regency style.  Paint and some minor repairs brought the vintage coffee table back to life!  {Jewels at Home}

 

I think our living room is finally complete, so I will post some more pictures of the space soon!

 

Living room seating area with contemporary regency style.  Paint and some minor repairs brought the vintage coffee table back to life!  {Jewels at Home}

“Jewels”

DIY Stenciled Silhouette T-shirts

Honestly, I don’t get tired of planning the boys’ birthday parties. This is different than saying I don’t get tired executing my own plans, which I do, but the ideas are so endless and inspiring, so I hang in there, and their happy faces are always the best reward!

This year, L wants a Ninjago birthday. I have to say that Lego’s marketing strategy is truly brilliant – combine Lego, a fantastic toy, with every possible boyish fad – Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pirates, Lord of the Rings, and Ninjas! It’s irresistible, as the clutter in the boys’ room will attest.

I’ve mentioned that I try to do a larger and reusable treat in place of a goody bag of small items. This time, I wanted to make the boys Ninjago T-shirts.

You can actually find T-shirts for sale for a reasonable price, if you keep your party small, but 1) I wanted long-sleeved shirts, since our weather is temperate year-round and 2) I think everything is more fun when you make it yourself!

I got the shirts at BlankShirts.com. I’m not affiliated with them or anything – I just figured I’d share my research in looking for inexpensive blank shirts. You can get short-sleeved shirts for as little as $2. I got these long-sleeved ones for about $8. I’ve also found some on clearance at Lands End for as little as $5, but you won’t get the same range of colors there.

I’m trying two different ideas for the shirts:

  • stenciled ninja silhouettes for the older boys
  • ironed-on and painted Ninjago eyes for the younger ones

Stencil your own T-shirts with contact paper and fabric paint. The ideas are endless.  These are for a boy's Ninjago birthday party.  {Jewels at Home}

Here are the instructions for the stenciled T-shirts.  I’m really thrilled with how well they turned out, and it was quite easy!  I’ll post the Ninjago eyes when they’re done.

  • Choose a ninja silhouette from the Internet and enlarge it.
  • Tape the printed silhouette over some contact paper and cut it out with a craft knife. I was able to do two layers at once, to make two stencils. (top row of pictures below)
  • Stick the contact paper stencil in place on the shirt, with a piece of cardboard inside the shirt. (bottom left picture below)
  • Use a stencil brush or sponge to apply black fabric paint. Remember to use small amounts of paint at a time and “pounce” up and down, so paint doesn’t bleed under your stencil.
  • Remove the stencil. I was able to reuse it a few times.

Stencil your own T-shirts with contact paper and fabric paint. The ideas are endless.  These are for a boy's Ninjago birthday party.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Once the paint is dry, heat set the stencil with a hot iron.  I used a thin press cloth on the front and then also ironed it from the inside. (pictured below)
  • Your pattern will last longer if you wash it inside out.

Stencil your own T-shirts with contact paper and fabric paint. Heat set the paint with an iron.  The ideas are endless.  These are for a boy's Ninjago birthday party.  {Jewels at Home}

Yay!  The pattern on these came out very crisp and looks great.  I’m already thinking of other patterns to try!

Stencil your own T-shirts with contact paper and fabric paint. Heat set the paint with an iron.  The ideas are endless.  These are for a boy's Ninjago birthday party.  {Jewels at Home}

Stencil your own T-shirts with contact paper and fabric paint. Heat set the paint with an iron.  The ideas are endless.  These are for a boy's Ninjago birthday party.  {Jewels at Home}

More ninja-themed T-shirts coming up soon!

“Jewels”

Mercury Glass Look-alike Ornaments

This post should be subtitled “The Accidental Artist.” When I set out on this project, I just meant to repaint some old ornaments I had. Along the way, some of them turned out with a lovely mercury glass look that was an unexpected and pleasant surprise, since I have been coveting those baubles but holding off on buying them, since glass and toddlers do not mix. I wouldn’t normally have bothered painting these inexpensive plastic ornaments at all, but since I had the supplies already, I thought I might as well, and it turned out to be a good thing!

This mercury glass look-alike finish is easy to create with spray paints and makes charming Christmas ornaments.  {Jewels at Home}

I had a lot of simple red and gold ornaments left over from the Chinese “Red Egg and Ginger” party I organized for J a couple of years ago. I’ll have to blog about that later! This year, I’m trying for a red, turquoise, silver, and white -themed Christmas, so I decided to repaint some of the gold and red balls to turquoise and silver. I had plenty of other red ones.

I taped the balls upside down on some scrap cardboard with painter’s tape, sprayed a coat of primer and then a few coats of paint. The turquoise paint was initially intended for an old wooden chest. This color was actually too bright for the chest, but it came in useful here. The silver (soon to be “mercury glass”) ornaments were painted with Rustoleum metallic paint in “chrome.” I’ve been in the lookout for Krylon’s “Looking Glass” paint, and I have yet to find it in a local store, but the Rustoleum metallic chrome seems similar and has a very reflective silver finish. I would have been happy to leave the ornaments silver, but I thought I would do a clear topcoat to help protect them from chipping. The clear spray I happened to have in the garage is a lacquer, which might have more solvent in it than a regular spray paint. In any case, it left tiny dull spots on the chrome, and for a split second, I was disappointed, but I’m now as pleased as (Christmas) punch, because they have a great faux mercury glass look!

Here’s how I painted the ornaments:

Tutorial on repainting your Christmas ornaments for a fresh look, including a faux mercury glass technique!  {Jewels at Home}

An easy combination of these two spray paints will give you a beautiful faux mercury glass look for your Christmas ornaments or other projects!  {Jewels at Home}

An easy combination of these two spray paints will give you a beautiful faux mercury glass look for your Christmas ornaments or other projects!

Here are some more pictures of the “mercury glass” ornaments. They are not perfect, and I’m eager to try more of the faux mercury glass techniques out there, but as accidents go, this one was very happy (much happier than some of the mishaps that have not ended up on the blog!).

Create this mercury glass look-alike finish using spray paints. {Jewels at Home}

Create this mercury glass look-alike finish using spray paints. {Jewels at Home}

Create this mercury glass look-alike finish using spray paints. {Jewels at Home}

I’m definitely getting that festive holiday feeling! How about you?

“Jewels”

Stairway Makeover – Step by Step

I give my hubby a lot of credit for seeing the potential in our current house. While I’m incredibly grateful to have a comfortable home to live in, it has been a long process for me to actually come to love the look of the place. There was a lot of pink, red, gold, and heavy ornate-ness that we’ve been slowly replacing. I think the recent work by our painters was the tipping point for me. I can now truly say that it is a pleasure to walk in the house and see these stairs.

Updating a stairway step by step from Jewels at Home.

As you can see, a lot has changed since the (blurry – sorry, I had to enlarge it to focus on the stairs) real estate picture was taken. We started by changing the light fixtures from crystal chandeliers and sconces to more architectural fixtures, and we replaced the red and grungy carpet with a brown textured wool with a sage green twill binding.

This fall, our painters Joe and Jose (yes, they know they have the same name), helped with a new wall color – Manchester Tan from Benjamin Moore – and painting the stair risers white to match the trim. After they were done, I also spray-painted the metal carpet rods, covering up the tarnished brass with satin black.

The easier thing would definitely have been to paint the risers before the carpet runner was installed, but sometimes inspiration does not come in an orderly way.. So Joe and Jose patiently taped off all the carpet, sanded the risers, primed and painted them.

20120823-213845.jpgTo paint stair risers after a runner is installed, you'll have to tape off the runner thoroughly.

To paint stair risers after a runner is installed, you’ll have to tape off the runner thoroughly, before sanding, priming, and painting the wood.

As for the carpet rods, I considered replacing them, but these innocent-looking pieces of metal are actually very expensive, at $40 plus a set, so a little but of work went a long way. I sanded, primed, and spray painted them a satin black finish to match the wrought iron balusters. I decided to leave the brackets on while painting, which held the rods off the cardboard surface. However, this did mean that I had to shift the brackets between coats, so no areas were missed, and it took a lot of coats. I would recommend lining the rods up very close to each other when painting, so each pass with the spray paint will cover multiple rods.

Update your carpet rods with a fresh coat of paint.  From Jewels at Home.

After I re-installed the carpet rods, the screws were still brass. Luckily, I had watched a wrought iron handrail get installed in our old house, and I saw that the installer painted the screws by spraying matching paint into a cup and then painting it on the screws. I used a cotton swab for this.

Tip for painting screws with spray paint.  Jewels at Home.

I did have a debate about whether to put the carpet rods back on at all. They’re decorative, not functional. I think they make the stairs look more formal and traditional, while they look a bit more contemporary without the rods. I put them back, at least for now, because they do a hide some staples and raw edges on the carpet. What do you think?

A bare runner looks more contemporary, while carpet rods give a more formal look.  Which do you prefer?

A bare runner looks more contemporary, while carpet rods give a more formal look. Which do you prefer?

Finally, we’re not really statue people, so I decided to fill the spaces on and around the stairs with orchids and houseplants instead. Here’s how our finished space looks. Ahhhh….

A classic stairway with a new look. Walls are Manchester Tan from Benjamin Moore. From Jewels at Home.

A classic stairway with a new look. Walls are Manchester Tan from Benjamin Moore. From Jewels at Home.

A classic stairway with a new look. Walls are Manchester Tan from Benjamin Moore. From Jewels at Home.

And one last before-and-after look, so we can put the memories of the old stairway behind us!A classic stairway with a new look. Walls are Manchester Tan from Benjamin Moore. From Jewels at Home.

“Jewels”

Faux Bamboo Fetish – Dining Room Sideboard

I recently became obsessed with the look of vintage faux bamboo dressers, like those made by Thomasville or Henry Link in the 60s and 70s. These dressers have come back into fashion, repainted for a gorgeous new look. I see them on eBay and Etsy regularly, but with the shipping costs from across the country, it doesn’t seem quite worth it. I’m also nervous about taking on such a big project. As Ibie, whose dresser is in the second picture below, chronicles on her blog, the painting process on such a large piece is not for the fainthearted.

Here are some of the beautiful makeovers that caught my eye:

Callie's black dresser featured on Little Green Notebook

Callie’s black dresser featured on Little Green Notebook. I love the glossy black finish, and the rest of this room is fantastic, too!

Go to Little Green Notebook

Ibie's grey Henry Link dresser on One Story Building

Ibie’s grey Henry Link dresser on One Story Building. This looks so sophisticated and elegant! I certainly believe her that it was a bear to paint, though.

Go to One Story Building

I still have this project in the back of my mind, and I occasionally look around on Craigslist, eBay, and Etsy for that perfect dresser to repaint, but for now, I’m happy with an easier update to our old dresser. This is actually an inexpensive piece that we bought a decade ago. We almost got rid of it a couple of years back, but no one on Craigslist even wanted it, so we decided to repair all the sagging drawer bottoms, and I’m so glad that it has a new life as the sideboard in our dining room.

BEFORE: Old dresser we are using as a sideboard.

BEFORE: Old dresser we are using as a sideboard.

The hardware we had on there is a little rustic for our space, so I decided to give those old knobs a new life down at my dad’s beach house and replace the hardware with – what else – faux bamboo pulls! I chose this Belwith Bamboo Collection black nickel cabinet pull
, and there were several others out there that also look great, and I put some of my favorites on Pinterest.

Belwith Bamboo Pull

Belwith Bamboo Pull

Since the new pulls need two holes, I had to drill new ones. TIP: I used a piece of a piece of painter’s taped marked with the distance between the holes, so I could quickly measure and drill.

TIP: mark the distance between holes for cabinet hardware on a piece of painter's tape.  From Jewels at Home.

TIP: mark the distance between holes for cabinet hardware on a piece of painter’s tape.

And here’s the “new” old dresser. No, it’s not as stunning as an old Regency dresser painted in an elegant new color, but it was quick, easy, and inexpensive.

New faux bamboo hardware gives an old dresser new life.

New faux bamboo hardware gives our old dresser new life.

New hardware gives an old dresser new life.

20120803-202021.jpg

I’m happy with the result of this little project, and will still keep my eye out for something perfect.

“Jewels”

 

Powder Room Reveal – Tiny Silver Gem

I am so pleased to finally show you our new powder room! It took longer than I anticipated, but it turned out just as I hoped. I used lots of silver in this small space, to make it feel brighter.

Powder Room by Jewels at Home 1

The finished powder room has lots of bright and elegant details, like the Imperial Trellis wallpaper and new chair rail.

We did not want the hassle or the expense of a full renovation, so I did not take out the walls or floor, even though they were far from perfect.  I worked with what we had and

I’m very happy with the result. Before, the room felt unfinished (because, as hubby points out, it was unfinished) and plain. I  would actually avoid it and go upstairs to a “real” bathroom. Now, it’s still small, but it feels polished and pretty, and I occasionally peek in just to take a look (okay, that won’t go on for long, I hope).

Vanity area before

BEFORE: The whole room was very white – blah – with dated gold-tone fixtures.

I got the help of a handyman to change out the old pedestal sink for this new vanity.  Our half bath is very small, so I looked for a long time to find a small vanity that didn’t feel undersized.  I am happy with the look and functionality of this Covus vanity found on Overstock.  The new towel bar and toilet paper holder add a shiny touch in polished chrome.  The art is a print from an Henry Evans calendar (more of those to see in upcoming posts, too).  I picked the color of the flower and picture mat to tie in the old floor colors.  The frame was a thrift store find and brings more silver into the room.

Here are some more views of the finished room:


Powder Room by Jewels at Home

Powder Room by Jewels at Home 3

Powder Room by Jewels at Home

I’m very relieved to have this powder room off the to-do list.  It was getting embarrassing!  Now, I can get on to some more fun projects that I’ll post soon.

“Jewels”

Stenciling on Fabric – Lampshade and Pillow

Have you seen these fabulous pendant light drum shades at Room and Board? I’ve been drooling over them for years, with all the gorgeous prints and colors. They’re a splurge at several hundred dollars a shade, but they are really beautiful. Go check out all the beautiful and funky prints they have!

Zinnia Cool Pendant

Galbraith & Paul drum shade from Room and Board in Zinnia Cool pattern.

As always, I was wondering if I could make something like this myself, and in browsing ideas, I found some great examples, including this one from Laura at Some Kind of Lovely Ride. She did a beautiful job on her shade and had great instructions that helped me conquer my apprehension about this project!

laura's lamp

Yellow floral stencils on a lampshade by Laura at Some Kind of Lovely Ride. A perfect DIY inpsiration!

I was so excited to get started, I rushed to the craft store to pick up my supplies and get to work! I stenciled the lampshade in my craft studio and while I was at it, I also stenciled a piece of fabric for a throw pillow. I used Laura’s basic instructions and discovered a few tips along the way, so here’s how it went:

Supplies:

20120517-164054.jpg

Supplies for stenciling on fabric.

  • Stencils – I used Mini Peony and Mini Mums by The Crafter’s Workshop.
  • Stencil brushes or sponges – These sponge “pouncers” are inexpensive, easy to use, and washable for reuse.
  • Paint – I had a variety of acrylic craft paint around, and I did mix some to get the colors I wanted. It’s optional, but I also added some “textile medium” to my paint, which makes the paint more flexible when dried. This wouldn’t be an issue for the shade, but I thought it would help on the pillow. I mixed the paints in paper bowls.
  • Tape – I used painter’s tape to hold the stencil in place and mask off any areas of the stencil I didn’t want to use.

Stenciling

Basic stencil:

  • Tape the stencil securely in place
  • Put a small amount of paint on your pouncer. If you load on too much paint, it will run under the stencil and smudge your pattern.
  • Lightly dab through the stencil, moving only up and down. Don’t brush side to side, as this will also make paint run under the stencil.
  • Carefully remove the stencil and blot the back on a clean piece of paper to remove any excess paint
  • Repeat!
20120517-164124.jpg

Tape your stencil in place and lightly dab on the paint.

Adding a color:

  • Wait until the first color is completely dry.
  • If you are going to overlap designs, like I did, think ahead about which color you want to be “on top” and start with the colors that are on the bottom.

Finishing the fabric:

  • This is not necessary for a shade, but for a pillow or other fabric that will be touched and possibly washed, you’ll want to set the paint. When the paint is thoroughly dry, iron the stenciled fabric from the reverse side with a dry iron on medium-high for three to five minutes to set the colors. You can repeat this on the front, laying a thin cloth over the stenciled fabric, so the paint doesn’t stick to your iron.

Finished stencils!

Here is how the shade looked before:

20120517-164114.jpg

A simple drum shade. Pretty, but I wanted to add some color!

And here’s the finished shade:

20120517-164139.jpg

Drum shade transformed with floral stencils in blue, green, and silver. I dare say, I like this better than the inspiration shade!

20120517-165842.jpg

The random pattern of stencils gives a different look from every side. And it makes it easier, because you don’t have to worry about lining up the pattern.

20120517-213651.jpg

Lit up at night. No, I’m not tired of looking at it. Can you tell?

Here’s the finished fabric. I’ve got a lot of pillow projects lined up, so I should work on those soon!

20120517-164150.jpg

The stenciled fabric, on the bottom, will be a throw pillow for the daybed. The colors coordinate with the hydrangea print paper I found. I’m making desk accessories and some other projects with the paper.

“Jewels”

This project is shared at:
The Shabby Nest