Friday, August 17, 2012


Custom Jewelry Storage Cabinet Built in Wall

Custom Jewelry Storage Cabinet Built in Wall

After moving into our new home, we hired a contractor to replace all the wire shelving in our closets with wood shelves and metal bars.  We also had a few custom shelves and drawers added to our master closets along with this recessed jewelry cabinet.    It’s great to be able to see everything all at once, and it’s super easy to keep it all organized.

Custom Jewelry Cabinet Built in Wall - Mirror Door

The jewelry cabinet is located behind the closet door – a space tough to make use of anyway.    Here is what they did… I started with the wall mirror and asked them to use it as the door (it’s one of those cheap wall mirrors you find just about everywhere).  They mounted the mirror onto a piece of thin board for added stability.  Then they cut a section of drywall out between two studs inside the closet (the mirror was just about the perfect width for a door to accommodate the space between the studs).  Next, they framed out the interior of this space to match the size of the door and attached the door with piano hinges.  So . . . what was left was a door covering an unfinished inset box in the wall.  The rest I did myself. . .

1.       To plan out the location of all the hooks – I started by measuring the size of the inset box in the wall and cut out a piece of paper the same size and laid it on the ground.    
2.       Then I took out all my jewelry and started organizing it on the paper to determine where I would need to hang hooks for rings, bracelets, and necklaces of various lengths.  It ended up looking something like this . . .
Jewelry Cabinet Plan

3.       Once I had a plan, I took scrap 1x2’s and cut them to size.  These 1x2’s are what hold the cup hooks. 

4.       I primed and painted the inside of the cabinet and the individual pieces of 1x2’s.  I used the same high gloss white paint used on the rest of the trim/shelving in the closet.  I’m a big advocate of using primer, especially on spaces that can use the added durability.  It’s an extra step, but will prolong the life of any painted area. 

Custom Jewelry Cabinet Cup Hooks

5.      I installed the cup hooks on the 1x2’s before mounting them inside of the cabinet.  I was sure to leave enough space between each hook (about 1 inch).  I would not recommend try to paint after applying the cup hooks - this would be very tedious work and would be difficult to keep the paint off the hooks. 

6.      Liquid Nails was used to attach the 1x2’s to the inside of the cabinet. 

7.       Finally, I caulked all the edges with white calk to give it a finished look (tedious but worth it).

I have seen cabinets like this that can be purchased and mounted on a wall.  (Perhaps you can even figure out how to recess these, I’m not sure.)  Either way, it’s wonderful having all your jewelry within view when getting dressed and choosing an outfit and accessories.  A later addition was a magnet clasp to keep the door completely shut.

This jewelry cabinet is just one of the elements I incorporated into my closet.  If you are interested in some of my other closet organization ideas - see my post here: CLOSET ORGANIZING TIPS

See my ORGANIZE page for more storage and organization ideas.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Laundry Room Storage and Oranization
I'm a bit obsessed about laundry, and I find laundry rooms are never quite big enough for all the tasks we use this space for.  This was one of the first spaces I tackled after moving into our new home.  In addition to adding extra cabinetry to our laundry room for storage, these three tips have helped out immensely in keeping it organized.  I focused on these three items because they are relatively inexpensive (low cost – high impact, my favorite kinds of solutions), and can help make the most of small spaces.
Laundry Room Wall Hooks

These two simple hooks have been a big help in our laundry room.  I installed one for my husband and one for myself.  The ‘ready-to-go-into-the-closet’ items hang here.  They keep finished laundry items out of the way, and if my husband passes by the laundry room and see’s clothes on his hook – he knows they are ready to be put away. Tip - install them on studs if you can - they will be more sturdy and able to handle a larger amount of clothes.


Laundry Room Storage - shoe rack and baskets

I used to have a catch-all laundry basket with shoes and shopping bags cluttering up the laundry room floor.   I had dreams of a custom piece of cabinetry with a shoe rack and shelves to hold baskets, but I’m pretty sure I would not have gotten ‘budget approval’.  Solution - a store bought shoe rack and stackable baskets.  Benefits – (1) we always know where our shopping bags are now that we have a place for them (2) I no longer have to be creeped-out by the dish towels mingling with the cleaning rags (3) When a basket is full – it’s easy to see when a load of laundry needs to be done.  (4) Shoes are out of the way and are not cluttering up the laundry room floor. (5) Random laundry items and dry cleaning also has a home of it’s own.
The tags on the baskets are: laundry, dry cleaning, shopping bags, dish towels, microfiber, and cleaning rags.  Note - the 'laundry' basket was not intended to hold all our laundry.  Most of it can be found in the hamper in our bedroom.  Here we place just random laundry items - socks picked up off the floor, the sweaty t-shirts I make my husband remove upon coming into the house...
The baskets were purchased from Target and the shoe rack was purchased from Lowe’s.  The tags are made from scrap pieces of white cardboard and tied with ribbon.

Laundry Room Hanging Bar

Every laundry room needs a hanging bar.  The dryer can be so rough on your clothes.  I hang dry a lot of items (with some of them getting warmed up just a couple minutes in the dryer to get eliminate wrinkles).  The use of this bar is somewhat limited, as only short items can fit directly over the washer/dryer area, but the sides provide enough space to hang shirts and pants.  I supplement this with a drying rack placed on the floor (for small items and others not suitable for hangers)
You can purchase these types of bars at Lowe's or Home Depot.

For more tips see my ORGANIZE page.


Hanging Table Frame on Wall - 3M Command Strips

Ever had a cute table frame you want to hang on a wall and found it had no hanger on the back?  I used to buy the saw-tooth hangers and tack them onto the back, but 3M has made this process much easier – 3M velcro-like strips.  There are a number of advantages to using these…

Hanging Table Frame on Wall - 3M Command Strips

·         No nail hole required = no damage to wall.

·         Easily removed from frame when you want to use it as a table frame again.

·         Easily removed from wall – no nail holes to fill.

·         Pictures stay put – no more re-leveling when pictures shift over time.

·         Forgiving when hanging – you have some leeway to make adjustments if the strips are not perfectly placed.

·         Also - these are great to hang items on doors.  If you put at least one strip on top and one on the bottom, it will prevent the frame from knocking when the door swings open/closed.   In addition – you don’t have to make a hole in your door with a nail.

Hanging Table Frame on Wall - 3M Command Strips

1.       Take the time to figure out the best place for the placement of the strip on the back of the frame – you want a flat surface.  Do this first – I made the mistake once of starting with the strip on the wall, only to find out the corresponding spot on the back of the frame was not a good place. 

Hanging Table Frame on Wall - 3M Command Strips

3-17-2013 I revised these next steps slightly after using this product some more.  My best advice is to follow the instructions on the package and be patient.  :o)

2.     Next, figure out where the corresponding spot is on the wall to place the frame exactly where you want it.    Again, this needs to be flat surface.  On a wall this is easy, but if you are applying to something like a paneled door - you need to make sure you are working with a spot with a flat surface.

3.     Put the strips together and expose one sticky side, and apply the 3M strips to the frame per the instructions.  This is important - you will need to apply pressure for a certain amount of time.  Be patient and don't just stick it on there.  They will fall off the surface if you don't take your time and do this right.

4.   Remove the other sticky side and apply to the surface (wall/door).  Apply a little pressure to make sure it is stuck and pull off your frame.  Then put pressure on just the strip per the instructions.  Don't apply the frame right away.  Follow the instructions and wait the specified period of time before hanging your frame.  Once again - be patient.

5.     When you apply the frame to the wall you will hear a ‘thunk’ when the strips are locked together.  Easy-peasy.

Hanging Table Frame on Wall - 3M Command Strips

(If anyone is curious, the photos were taken on our honeymoon in Cortona, Italy)    :o)

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Painting Glazed Ceramic Vase DIY Before and After

I purchased this vase for about $3 on clearance.  I wanted a table accessory to go with our newly painted avocado green accent walls in our bonus room.  Clearly this mauve pink was not going to work, but for the price, I thought spray painting it was worth a shot.

Bonus Room Accent Walls. Lowes - New Avocado Green

Painting Glazed Ceramic Vase DIY

Let me start by saying that this vase is used for decorative purposes only.  If you want something that will be waterproof or is durable enough to be handled regularly – perhaps this is not the right method for you.  To be honest, I’m not sure how this finish would stand the test of time if it was touched/used regularly.  But for decorative use (setting on a table or shelf) – I think this method works just fine.

I read information and posts all over the web on painting glazed ceramic vases.  The challenge is the glossy ceramic glazed finish will not accept paint very well.  I saw all sorts of suggestions ranging from using sandpaper or chemicals to break down the shiny finish, to using special paints, and also the idea of re-firing the piece after painting if you own a kiln (as if all of us have a kiln in our back pocket!).  I was looking for an easy option and the ability to use the regular spray paint I had already purchased to paint accessories for this room.  Here is what I did and what you need:

Painting Glazed Ceramic Vase DIY Before and After


·         Glazed Ceramic Vase
·         Cleaner and old toothbrush – I used Oxyclean
·         Spray paint – I would suggest satin or high gloss.  Matte paint is typically not as durable.
·         Spray primer
·         Spray varnish (optional)


1.       If you have any felt pads on the bottom of the vase remove them, and re-glue them onto the piece when finished painting.

2.       Clean the piece – I used a solution of powdered Oxyclean and water, and scrubbed the vase well with a toothbrush. I let this dry overnight.  I have also read that rubbing alcohol can be a good option for cleaning as well.  The point is the piece needs to be very clean for the primer/paint to stick.

3.       If you don’t want to overspray on the inside of the vase – stuff the vase with paper and cover the inside edges with tape.  I did this to make a clean line of paint inside the vase.

4.       Spray the vase with spray primer.  This is just regular spray primer made by Valspar purchased at Lowes.  Let dry completely.

5.       Spray the vase with multiple thin coats of spray paint, allowing it to dry between coats.  This is just regular spray paint in a satin finish by Valspar purchased at Lowes.

6.       Let the paint dry completely overnight before using.  This will allow the paint to cure and become more durable, and help avoid any inadvertent scratches.

7.       You can use a spray varnish if you are looking for a shiny finish.  I elected not to as I liked the somewhat muted satin finish of the paint.
UPDATE 2-6-2016
This post is one of my most popular posts, and the funny thing was I almost didn't write it.  It just seemed too simple to me, but clearly others have questions about this simple task, so I am very glad this post is a part of my blog.  Recently I was perusing pinterest and noticed this post here:
Cake Stands:
What caught my attention is that they used the frosted glass spray paint as a base for painting glass.  Given that this product is specifically for glass - it made me wonder if such a product would be a good base for ceramic pieces as well, and perhaps better than basic spray primer?
I confirmed that at least some spray paint designated for frosting techniques, can be used on ceramic as well (this link refers to Martha Stewart's product).
Although I have not tried this yet - I thought I would offer this as an alternative suggestion for the spray primer mentioned in this post.  If anyone tries this, I would love to hear about it in, so if you try it, please leave a comment.
This painted vase is just one example of how a simple coat of paint can transform a piece, and many times it is even easier because you are not dealing with a surface like glazed ceramic.  Here are some posts showing some examples of how paint can provide for significant change.  OK, I have to admit - some of these are a little more involved that a simple single coat of paint, but really - paint (whether it is sprayed or brushed on) is the primary source of these transformations...







For a general overview of some distressing techniques - see my post here:


Paper Daisy Wall Art

I love daisies.  They are such a beautiful, simple flower.  If there is any question of how much I like them, see my wedding page.  For our wedding, these paper versions were used for invitations, place cards, gift tags, etc…

This particular frame was purchased awhile back and had previously held three photos.  I decided to switch out the photos and do something different.  Three different types of scrapbooking paper were utilized for the backgrounds.  Any three coordinating types of papers can be used in this type of setup.  Utilizing different pieces of fabric would look great as well.

Paper Daisy Wall Art - Background Scrapbooking Paper
Supplies to Make Paper Daisies

Making the Daisies – 3 flower punches of white printer paper and a hole punch of yellow for the center. Tip: bend petals upward before gluing them together to give them dimension. Note: I think printer paper is better than cardstock – much easier to punch and results in a softer petal effect. I used the Elmer’s Craft Glue to put these together.  Ignore the strands of raffia as this photo is re-used from the wedding invitation post (I had placed the raffia behind the daisies on our invitations).

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


DIY Travel Picnic Blanket - Gingham.

I love picnics.  Just the idea of one makes me smile.  On our honeymoon to Italy, I knew we would have many great picnic opportunities, and I wanted to be prepared.  A large picnic blanket was not entirely practical when walking or hiking, so a smaller travel version was needed.  I came up with this one that is light-weight and packs up small to be carried in a totebag, backpack or purse.

This is super easy to make with just a square of gingham fabric from the local fabric store.  I bought the biggest square I could, based on the width of the bolt. (example: if the fabric is 36” wide, then buy 36” of fabric)

(1)    Trim the edges to give you a perfect square.  Use the pattern of the gingham fabric as your guide.  Gingham is great to cut because the ‘grid’ pattern gives you an exact cutting and hemming line.

(2)   Preparing the edges and corners: First, identify the point represented by the red dot below and use this as a guide to fold in the corners.  Then turn each edge over ½” and press with an iron. 

How to make the perfect corner - fabric

(3)    Turn each edge over ½” again and press.  This should give you perfect corners (where the red dot ends up being the location of the finished corner).

(4)    Hand stitch the edges.   You can do this on a machine of course, but the hand stitching made it a little more special for me.

DIY Gingham Travel Picnic Blanket

(5)    Fold the finished piece into a small square suitable for rolling into a small package for carrying.  Find the spot in the center of the outside edge to attach a 24“ piece of ribbon or trim.  Attach in the middle of the ribbon with a few stitches to secure.

DIY Gingham Travel Picnic Blanket - Tie

This turned out to be a great little picnic blanket for our honeymoon.  We used it to set our food on while sitting on a park bench or as a tablecloth for our balcony table.  Looking at it brings back memories of picnics of bread, cheese, prosciutto and fresh fruit.

(view from our balcony in Positano, Italy)

(picnic in a park in Cortona, Italy)

Since our honeymoon, I find myself packing this for hiking, climbing, car trips, picnics in local parks, etc.   You never know when it will come in handy.   It’s so small that it barely takes up any space. 

I think this makes a good gift.  My brother and his wife were talking about a trip to Italy so, as a gift, I made one of these and included the Rick Steve’s travel book on Italy and Rick Steve’s Italian Translation Dictionary.   (Tip – also include 3M tabs so they can mark their favorite locations).  The Rick Steve’s books were recommended by friends and given to us as a wedding gift and these were our ‘go-to’ books for our trip (despite the others we had also acquired).   You can’t go wrong with any book in the Rick Steve series of travel books!