Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Boot Holders
I have been holding onto a lot of scraps from my upholstery fabric projects for awhile now, and was delighted to come up with this project.  Prior to sewing these boot holders – I had been using rolled up magazines inside my boots to prevent them from flopping over on the floor of my closet.  These were very functional but didn’t look all that nice, and when I wore a pair of boots I would have these curled up magazines lying in my closet.

My idea evolved out of a few sources:
  1. The use of rolled up magazines for boot holders I’ve seen posted on pinterest.
  2. The boot holder my sister-in-law showed me, which was basically a stuffed tube with a loop on top for placing the holders in and out of the boots.
  3. Some examples of boot holders I’ve seen for sale on etsy.com that had the same stuffed tube concept covered by a bag made of fabric and tied at the top.
Boot Holders
Boot Holder with Rolled Up Magazine
The original thought was trying to make boot holders like the example my sister-in-law showed me.  She had noted these were a little too wide of a tube and didn’t fit well in the ankle area of some of her boots.  It made me think – the rolled magazine works well because it can adjust to different size boots – so . . . perhaps the magazine just needed a cute cover – this is when I came up with my creation.  I made bags made out of upholstery fabric to hold the rolled up magazines.  The top is tied with any sort of ribbon.  The gathered area on top gives you something to grab onto when removing the holder.

Boot Holder
I like this solution for a number of reasons. (1) It looks better than just a rolled up magazine.  (2) I’m up-cycling some old magazines (3) I’m making use of scrap pieces of fabric I had lying around. (4) I’m also using some leftover ribbon from my ribbon stash.

Please note – I used all upholstery fabric scraps in my holders and I think this type of fabric worked pretty well.  The great thing is that there is not much fabric needed and only a small amount of ribbon so (if you are a sewer like me) it is likely that you may have enough supplies on hand and make these for free.

Because this is such a simple pattern and sewing project – I decided just to post the simple instructions instead of a lengthy tutorial.  *Remember you will want to cut and make two of these to make a set  :o)

(You can double-click on the graphic below to see a larger view.)

Boot Holder Instructions


Friday, February 8, 2013


Antique Silver Paint Finish

This was a project for a friend to refinish a cedar chest.  The corners had been damaged by some furry friends and re-staining wasn’t really an option.  We decided to try an antique paint finish.  The original plan was do have it more “antiqued” looking, but we stayed with the shiny silver paint and went with just antiquing the grooved areas.  The final finish is silver spray paint and the grooves were antiqued with a 50/50 mixture of black and silver acrylic craft paint. 

The corners were repaired with many layers of wood filler. This is what they started out looking like…


I applied layers of wood filler over the course of a week; I would do a couple coats a day, letting each coat dry and then adding another layer, and some sanding to shape the wood filler to the original form of the corners as best as I could. They are not perfect, but here is what I was able to do...


The time consuming part was the prep work.  Building up the corners with wood filler and sanding the whole chest with all of the nooks and crannies, including sanding the inside cedar lining to reactivate it (even though I was not paining this part).

I also added some picture frame molding to the back of the piece to add some interest.

I primed the whole piece with spray primer.

Then I spray painted it silver.

Antique Silver Paint Finish

Then the antiquing with an artist brush with the 50/50 black and silver acrylic paint mixture.

Antique Silver Paint Finish
Antique Silver Paint Finish
Antique Silver Paint Finish

And finally coating it with a satin spray varnish.

Antique Silver Paint Finish

Saturday, February 2, 2013


As part of a family room redo for a friend I reworked an existing photo wall.  My friend and her mom made a good attempt at originally setting it up, but we decided to add some non-photo items and adjust it a little bit.  Included here are some general guidelines I followed to come up with the final design.

Let me start by saying there a lot of online examples of photo walls where you can buy particular sizes of frames and go with a pre-set configuration.  This is a great fool-proof way to approach a photo collage.  However, if you already have a bunch of random frames you want to use – here are a few guidelines to help you create your own custom configuration.  I call them “guidelines” and not “rules” because I don’t think they are absolute, but if you have a configuration that feels “off,” they might help you tweak it and make it a little more appealing.

(1) Start with a large piece of paper.  This needs to be at least as large as the estimated space to be taken up by the photo collage on the wall.  Lay the paper on the floor.   You have probably seen this method on design shows or perhaps from purchased photo wall sets that provide a paper template.  (My choice for this method are large pieces of graph paper from an office supply store.  They come in those giant size pads that can go on an easel.    I tape them together for larger configurations.  They make it super easy to keep everything level and allow for easy spacing between frames.)  You will be drawing an outline of the frames onto the paper once your configuration is complete, as well as marking the location of the hanger(s) for each frame.  Last, you will label the outlines of the frames by photo to make hanging a breeze. (Side-note: the large graph paper is also perfect for making patterns for pillow covers.  No measuring required – just count squares and cut!)

Here is the photo of the template we made for the photo wall redo.  This is made up of four giant pieces of graph paper taped together.  Each frame is outlined, labeled and marked exactly where the nail holes need to be.  In addition - for those frames requiring two holes, I used the "tape method" found on the following pin on Pinterest. ( 1-Put a piece of tape on the back of a frame covering both holes.  2-Mark the holes on the tape.  3-Mark the middle of the frame on the tape.  4-Transfer tape onto the paper lining up the center point of the frame outline, with the center point on the tape.)


(2) Begin laying out your photos.  Here are some tips I have found helpful:

a) Distribute photo sizes across the collage for balance.  Start placing your frames out on the floor on top of your large piece of paper.  Keep in mind that you want the overall collage to feel "balanced".  If you put all the large frames on one side, and all small frames on another – it may look lopsided.  In addition, if you put all the large frames on top and the smaller ones on the bottom, it can appear top heavy.  I laid out the large frames first and filled in the smaller and medium frames around them until I was happy with the overall balance of the collage.

b) Make sure the spacing is relatively consistent between frames: not too far apart nor too close together.  In the original collage they were just a little too far apart.  A couple inches for spacing worked out well here.  If they are too far apart, the frames appear too separate and might look more like clutter; rather than a cohesive collage that the eye can focus on.

c) Distribute non photo items within the collage.  If you are using non-photo items like the few examples in this photo wall, I found that a couple things worked here (1) having them evenly distributed within the collage and also (2) having them completely surrounded by photos, I say this because if I set it up to leave one of the non-photo items on the “outskirts” of the collage, it looked sort of “stranded" out there.

d) Avoid having negative space that completely “slices” through your collage.  Here is what I mean – can you draw a line completely through the collage with negative space?  In the original collage there was a couple places where the negative space sliced the collage into sections (see photo below).   Alternatively, in the final product, you can’t draw a straight line through the collage without something stopping it.  An important note – I’ve seen some pretty neat looking photo walls out there that deliberately use negative space as part of the overall photo wall composition, and therefore this guideline wouldn’t apply.  Once again – this a guideline and not a rule.

e) Don’t hang the overall collage too high.  This particular photo wall was kept higher than what design standards might dictate to prevent little ones from getting to it from the sofa.  However, we did bring the height down slightly from the original photo wall. To hang the frames, tape the paper to the wall (verifying that it is level) and nail directly through the paper on the locations you marked for each frame.  You can pull the paper off once all the nails are in place.  Then use your labeled template to help interpret which photos go on which nails.

Here's another photo collage I created using the same general guidelines.  I was very happy to have the paper template as I ended up moving this collage from one room to another - it was so easy to just place the template on the wall in the new room and hammer the nails in.  The moral of that story - save your paper templates :o)