From Curb to Chic: Side Table Makeover

You may know that doing the Avon 39 Walk for Breast Cancer is an annual tradition for me. The two-day walk gives lots of time for long talks with my friends. Last year, an old friend asked our group to think about what our “dream job” would be. I already have my dream job, but I took the opportunity to reflect on what an alternate or next career could be… something I love doing, but which is not so practical… the easy answer was that I’d love to refinish old furniture with fresh looks.

It makes me so happy when I can take a piece of furniture with great classic style but a little (or a lot of) wear and turn it into something beautiful and full of personality. I’ll list some of my favorite past projects at the bottom of this post.


Now on to today’s post… It has been a while since I picked this little end table up off the side of the road. My oldest was with me and remarked, “There’s mom being mom” in the affectionate way you talk about a lovable, quirky relative.

While I loved the Chinese/ Chinoiserie style of this little table, I was a bit intimidated by its poor condition. You can’t really appreciate in the picture how water-damaged, chipped, and uneven the wood was. Still, it was sturdy enough, and with my newfound love of gardening and greenery, I thought it would make a great plant stand.

I sanded the table aggressively, used wood glue on one of the legs that was cracked, and then painted it with three coats of white latex enamel (leftover from the interior trim of our house). I didn’t even try to fully even out and fix the surface, letting a lot of the dents and scratches show and add character.

The white paint did a good job brightening up the table and made it look more finished, but it was kind of plain… time for a touch of gold spray paint to cap the legs, and I love the finished product!

Here is my new old table in our living room. I think I’ll probably move it up to my bedroom later, but I’m still experimenting with how to use this handsome accent piece!

If you like this project, check out some of past “fabulous furniture makeovers”:

Wow, that was a longer list than I expected. I guess I have a good start on that next career, when I’m ready!

Happy furniture hunting and painting!

“Jewels”

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DIY Patterned and Laminated Recipe Cards

I recently posted about the hand-painted Bamboo Cooking Utensils we are giving the boys’ teachers this year.  To make the gifts even more personalized, I am including recipe cards with the boys’ favorite recipes.

DIY laminated recipe cards.  Pair these pretty cards with something for the kitchen to make a lovely hostess or teacher gift  | Jewels at Home

Each of the boys chose a recipe from our home that he loves.  I originally asked them to write out the recipes on cards, but it turned out that it was hard to fit the recipes onto the cards, so I ended up typing the recipes, but I included their hand-written titles.  I also added this cute mixing bowl clipart.

I fit four recipes onto a 8.5″x11″ template, and I printed them out on heavy cardstock.

To decorate and laminate the cards, I used a patterned contact paper (Marise Charcoal by Laura Ashley) on the back and a clear contact paper on the front.  I laid the full sheets of recipes onto the contact paper before cutting them out, and it went pretty smoothly (literally and figuratively).

DIY laminated recipe cards.  Pair these pretty cards with something for the kitchen to make a lovely hostess or teacher gift  | Jewels at Home

DIY laminated recipe cards.  Pair these pretty cards with something for the kitchen to make a lovely hostess or teacher gift  | Jewels at Home

Finally, I punched a hole in the corner of each set of cards and used a ribbon to tie them onto the spoons.

Reminder: here are the painted kitchen utensils.  I love how they look, though my tip would be to not paint as far up the handle, so the utensils can be used for all kinds of cooking and prep.

DIY dip-painted wooden kitchen utensils | Jewels at Home

And here are our finished gifts: painted utensils with our personalized recipe cards attached.

DIY laminated recipe cards.  Pair these pretty cards with a DIY dip-painted wooden utensil to make a lovely hostess or teacher gift  | Jewels at Home

DIY laminated recipe cards.  Pair these pretty cards with a DIY dip-painted wooden utensil to make a lovely hostess or teacher gift  | Jewels at Home

DIY laminated recipe cards.  Pair these pretty cards with a DIY dip-painted wooden utensil to make a lovely hostess or teacher gift  | Jewels at Home

It can’t be said often enough how hard-working and dedicated our teachers are.  We played Santa and ran around the boys’ schools giving these out today, and I hope that our gifts show our teachers how much we appreciate all they do.  And as I mentioned, before, I’m glad this year’s gifts were a lot lighter to carry around school than last year’s pancake and hot chocolate mixes in glass jars!  I’m bringing a wagon if I do those again next  year!

“Jewels”

Dip-Painted Wooden Kitchen Utensils

I’m sure you’ve noticed that dip painting is very popular these days. I’m not sure that I like the look on everything, but some of those dip-painting projects do look really great.  For holiday gifts this year, I decided to make some fun dip-painted kitchen utensils. I’m going to add some recipe cards hand-written by the kids to make special gifts to give their teachers.

DIY dip-painted wooden kitchen utensils | Jewels at Home

And a while back, I used a reverse dip-painted look when I repainted a mid-century nightstand for the boys’ room.

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To make your own painted utensils, you’ll need:

  • Wooden or bamboo utensils.  These Oceanstar Bamboo Cooking Utensils worked very well, with their flat finish and a broad handle to show off the paint.
  • Paint – I used leftover house paint from a variety of projects
  • Polyurethane to protect the painted finish
  • Paint brush and sandpaper for touch-ups

With three kids, there are a lot of teachers in our lives, so I set up a dip painting center in our backyard.

I dipped the handles of the utensils in a variety of paint leftover from other projects.  For some, I partially dipped in a second color.  Finally, I added two coats of clear polyurethane.  Between coats, I laid the utensils with the painted edge hanging off of the work table.  The cardboard under the table caught any drips.  I did use a brush and sandpaper to touch up occasionally, but for the most part, the paint went on quite smoothly and easily.

DIY dip-painted wooden kitchen utensils | Jewels at Home

One small modification that I would recommend is to not paint too far up on the handle. The way I did it would be fine for stirring things in a pan, but hubby, who cooks a lot more than I do, pointed out that the painted handles would be harder to use when stirring a big pot of soup or stew.

DIY dip-painted wooden kitchen utensils | Jewels at Home

I started with one color of paint on the handles of the utensils.

DIY dip-painted wooden kitchen utensils | Jewels at Home

For some of the utensils, I added a second color of paint. So many options!

Dip-painted wooden kitchen utensils | Jewels at Home

These are the utensils from our kitchen. Hubby pointed out that it would be better to have painted just the very tips of the handles, so the paint doesn’t get into big pots of soup, etc.. I guess I owe him some new utensils for Christmas.

DIY dip-painted wooden kitchen utensils | Jewels at Home

You can mix and match colors and patterns to make great-looking sets to give as gifts.

DIY dip-painted wooden kitchen utensils | Jewels at Home

To make our gifts more personalized, I asked each boy to pick a favorite recipe and write it out by hand. I’m going to copy the recipes and tie them to the handle of the utensils with ribbon.  I love all the variations, and I hope each of our teachers will find a choice that’s perfect for her or him.

Teachers' gifts.  Dip-painted wooden utensils with your child's favorite recipes on cards | Jewels at Home

Teachers’ gifts. Dip-painted wooden utensils with your child’s favorite recipes on cards.

I’m looking forward to sharing our gifts with the wonderful teachers in our lives, and I’m also glad these wooden utensils will be a lot lighter to carry around school than last year’s pancake and hot chocolate mixes in glass jars!

“Jewels”

 

Fireplace Makeover: With a Little Help from my Friends…

This is one of those projects that I meant to do myself, but I’m glad that I didn’t. It had all the makings of dragging on for a ridiculously long time like our powder room, and I didn’t want dust, plaster, and paint to be lying about the living room and accessible by the kids for several weeks.

Many thanks to Joe and Jose, a painting team that do a great job and are enjoyable to have around the house, this job was done more quickly and better than I could have achieved myself. They worked on this at the same time they helped paint our stair risers.

The fireplace has been my bane since we moved in – with its cheesy faux finish and disturbing disembodied heads, it was impossible to ignore and clashed with everything I wanted to do with our living-dining room. On the other hand, we didn’t have the budget to completely redo it, and I felt it was a part of our 85 year-old house’s history and personality that I wanted to respect.

Updating an ornate fireplace.  Before and after.  From Jewels at Home.

Updating an ornate fireplace. Before and after.

Enter Joe and Jose with some saws and chisels, a bit of plaster, and a lot of paint, and this old eyesore became a unique focal point that doesn’t frighten young children (and their parents).

Updating an ornate fireplace.  Before and after. Jewels at Home.

Updating an ornate fireplace. In progress… excuse the severed head!

And here is the newly painted fireplace in Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray (HC-168).  The solid color really tones down this massive piece and allows us to appreciate the design, and I don’t miss those little heads at all!

Updating an ornate fireplace.  Before and after. Jewels at Home.

Updating an ornate fireplace.  Before and after. Jewels at Home.

And since the seasons are changing, I also took some pictures of the mantel decorated for fall.  I’d like to add some branches as well, but this is a good start.

Warm fall mantel with metallic pumpkin!  Jewels at Home.

Warm fall mantel with metallic pumpkin!

Warm fall mantel with metallic pumpkin!  Jewels at Home.

Fall mantel arrangement.

Doubtless, this new fireplace is a hundred times better than the way it was, but I am actually thinking of repainting it an even lighter shade of grey. I was inspired by this picture from House and Home magazine in January 2012.  WIth such a large and ornate fireplace, I think the color can be very subtle and still stand out.  What do you think?

Light grey mantel makes a subtle statement.  House and Home magazine January 2012.

Light grey mantel makes a subtle statement. House and Home magazine January 2012.

I’m glad we didn’t spend a ton of money nor throw out this historical piece… I’m also glad my hubby didn’t go along with Joe’s suggestion of putting one of the severed heads in our bed as a surprise! Eeeek!

“Jewels”