Cheery Warm Dining Room and Pattern Play with “Art Deco Swans” by Kate Rhees

A lot of people groan when they think about moving, and while I plan to stay put for many years to come, I actually love the excitement and challenge of arranging a new space. I’ve had a lot of fun … Continue reading

Elegant Patio Chair Makeovers

I am so excited for our new patio space and have already enjoyed time out here eating lunch, reading, or catching up on some work. I started looking for some lounge chairs, but I couldn’t quite find what I wanted – or more accurately, what I wanted was way too $$$. But this story has an happy ending! I found these used chairs and made them over for $ to complete our patio space!

It’s no secret that I love anything with the look of cane or faux bamboo and also that I have a weakness for Craigslist finds! I spotted this set on Craigslist for $50, and when I showed up, the woman said I could have it for free. She also let me take the chairs without the table, so my karma of giving things away when we moved last year came back to me! I also picked up the chairs near my old neighborhood hardware store, so I stopped by to get some supplies and painting tips.

Here’s how to do it:

  • I started by cleaning off as much rust as possible. I used an old screwdriver, sandpaper, and steel wool
  • I prepped the chairs with deglosser and metal primer
  • I then finished them off with white gloss spray paint
  • The cushions were in decent condition, just faded, so I found these new slipcovers to freshen them up!

Here are some more pictures of our “new” chairs.

I feel they came pretty close to my inspiration pics, and all with the satisfaction with saving some money and a good DIY!

Everyone loves a good before and after pic:

I look forward to many more hours enjoyed out here with friends, family, or curled up with a good book!

Julie AKA “Jewels”

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

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”

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

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

DIY Felt Pennants – Travel Themes

About once a year, my friend Ariana (of Act 2 Decor) and I get up early go to the Alameda Point Antiques Fair to browse and look for treasures.

I’ve been working hard to clean out the house this year, so I kept my shopping restrained, but I was looking for a vintage felt pennant to finish up a new gallery wall in JJ’s room. I found the perfect piece, and it was definitely meant to be, because it was sold by the family of a former coworker!

When I got home, I was inspired to make some more pennants of my own. I made one for my home town, Toronto, and one for my sister-in-law’s family in New Jersey.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Felt for pennant, lettering, and trim
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Paper for templates
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread

Here’s how to do it:

Create a template for your pennant – mine is on two sheets of scrap printer paper. It is 7.5″ high x 21″ long.

Cut out the pennant from a large piece of felt

I sketched the images freehand in reverse on the paper side of the Heat ‘n Bond

For the script lettering, create a word processing document, print out the words, and trace them in reverse onto the paper side of the Heat ‘n Bond

Choose your felt colors for the letters and design and fuse Heat ‘n Bond to one side

Cut out your letters and designs

Arrange on the pennant and iron in place

Cut strips of felt for the binding (optional) and ties and sew in place

Here are my finished pennants. I should make one for San Francisco next!

Here’s a picture together with my vintage find:

And here’s how JJ’s new gallery wall came together!

I had so much fun! What city do you want to celebrate and what image would you use?

Julie aka “Jewels”

Festive Boho-ho-ho Christmas Stockings

Yup, I have become one of those people who does a themed Christmas each year. I am still not sure if this is a sign of greatness of madness! While I admit to having accumulated many boxes of decorations, I … Continue reading

Hudson Bay Stripe Throw Cushions

I planned this project a while ago and got motivated to finish in time for our ex-pat Canada Day party.

While it was fun going a bit over-the-top with Canadiana for the party, I appreciate classic Hudson Bay stripes for providing a more sophisticated touch of Canadian culture. This iconic pattern has a great retro homey feel.

I used cloth napkins with Hudson Bay stripes for the front of the pillows and denim for the back. You can find my favorite throw pillow pattern back in this post.


Happy Canada Day, eh!

“Jewels”