Changing out or adding new cabinet knobs or pulls is an easy,
and often low-cost way of updating the look of your kitchen, bath
or a piece of furniture. I’ve pulled together a few styles
that are trending right now, to inspire you to make this
happy little improvement to some corner of your home.
Acrylic. This crystal clear option would look
so fresh and modern in the bathroom or kitchen. I absolutely LOVE
the smoke-colored version too. So sophisticated!
Natural Stone and Concrete. These are two
materials you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find on a cabinet
knob. They are each textural and expressive, sure to make a
Extra Long Pulls. This is a classic, no fail
way to make old cabinets feel more modern. I suggest
mounting them horizontally on cabinet doors as well as drawers, for
a cohesive look.
Mismatched and Eclectic. I’m generally a fan of
mixing patterns with fabrics, so why not knobs? Purchase various
styles of a certain color or finish, or vise versa.
Ring Pulls. These little pulls work great for
small drawers and doors. I could seem them on a reinvented vintage
desk or hutch.
Around the holidays, I like to switch up my decor scheme just a
touch, for added Christmas flair. I wanted to do a few
changes this year, that might carry through into winter, so I
wouldn’t have to take it all down right away. As I was searching
for inspiration, I kept seeing images of cozy cabins festooned with
tartan plaid prints and layered with Pendleton wool blankets and
shearling accents. To capture a woodsy feel, but not go gung-ho log
cabin, I bought some plaid flannel fabric at
JoAnn, and made pillow covers.
Possessing the ability to sew a straight line is such
a game changer when it comes to quickly updating your home decor.
You can make pillow covers, hem curtains and do basic upholstery
too. I’ve had my sewing machine since I was a senior in high
school. I’m not a talented seamstress by any measure, but I’ve got
the straight line thing mastered.
After I cut my fabric last weekend, I headed down to my studio
to set up my sewing machine. I got the bobbin loaded, the thread
through the needle and positioned a pillow cover under the presser
foot. And go! Only it didn’t. It got all hung up, and I tried and
tried to trouble-shoot the issue, but I couldn’t figure it out.
I’m sure it is high time I had my sewing machine serviced, but I
just don’t have the time to deal with it this month. What’s a
determined decorator to do then? Well, I just happened to have some
Stitch Witchery fusible web tape on hand, and to my great
surprise, it worked like a charm! While I wouldn’t normally
substitute sewing with this method, since I’m not planning on using
these covers indefinitely, I wasn’t too concerned about long-term
wear. This is also not a 100% no-sew project, because I closed
up the pillow covers with hand-sewing. Here is what I did.
Cut two pillow cover pieces one inch larger than the size
of your pillow form. Example: My forms were 18″ x 18″, so I cut my
pieces 19″ x 19″ for a 1/2″ seam allowance on each side. I use a
Fiskars cutting mat,
O’Lipfa Lip Edge Ruler, and Fiskars rotary cutter for this
task. It makes very quick work of the job.
Lay your pieces right sides together. Pin around the sides.
Now cut strips of Stitch Witchery fusible web tape
to match the length and width of your pillow. You’ll want
them to overlap at each corner. My tape was too wide for the seam
allowance I had planned on, so I cut the strips in half,
length-wise. You’ll also need to leave a gap on one side, to
slide the pillow form into the cover when it is finished.
Sandwich the tape in between the cover pieces, making sure to
keep the strips nice and straight and overlapping at the corners.
Leave a decent-sized opening to put the pillow form inside. I think
mine was around 10″.
Heat up your iron, and press! Set your iron to wool, or another
high setting. You’ll want to use either a damp pressing cloth, or a
damp piece of plain cotton between your iron and the pillow cover,
to protect your iron in case some of the fusible web tape escapes.
Hold the iron in one spot for 10 seconds, then move on, until
all the edges of the cover are adhered.
Turn the pillow cover right-side out. Now you can gently stuff
your pillow into the opening. You can either sew it closed by hand,
with a needle and thread, or try to add a strip
of fusible web tape inside the seam allowance, and iron it
closed. This can be difficult to do, with the pillow form
And there you have it, a pretty simple pillow cover, no sewing
machine required! I made three covers in all, in two different
plaid prints. They joined two blue tweed pillows on the couch for a
super cozy vibe. My cat Teddy can attest to that!
I do love trimming up a gorgeous Christmas tree, and over the
years I have amassed a beautiful collection of glittering, festive
ornaments. The tree usually takes a prominent spot in our living
room and we rearrange the furniture to accommodate it. My
favorite part is how Thomas helps us put the ornaments on, and the
tree ultimately ends up feeling very bottom heavy. Then we sit and
watch Christmas movies in the twinkling glow of the tree’s tiny
white lights. Magic!
Well, this year, we decided to change our approach for several
reasons, most of them having to do with our adventurous
ten-month-old baby. Lucy is an explorer by nature and would rather
get into things she should not, than say, play with baby toys.
As our house is small, the main play area is our living room,
and for the most part it is baby-proofed, so she can be free to
roam and be safe while doing so. Adding a Christmas tree into this
environment sounded like a recipe for constant headaches and
countless “No, Lucy, don’t touch that!” moments.
Instead of heading out to cut down a traditional Christmas tree,
we went to Bremerton
City Nursery and chose a five-foot-tall Leyland Cypress in a
pot. We asked the gal on duty that day, Alex, lots of questions,
and learned that if we were careful, we could keep this tree alive
and use it again next year or plant it in the yard this spring.
We left feeling very encouraged that we could make
it work. The following tips just about sum up her advice, but
if you decide to do this yourself, I would certainly consult the
experts in person, since I am not an authority.
The tree can survive indoors for around three weeks, given the
care it needs.
For a few days after you bring it home, leave it on a covered
porch, next to the house, or in a daylight garage to ease into
acclimating it to life indoors.
Place the tree near a window, so it can get natural
Give it lots of water, since the air in your home is much drier
than it is outside, especially with the heater running.
Speaking of heaters, if you must place it near a heat vent,
position the louvers on the grate to point the air
away from the tree, or close them to block the airflow
Get it back outside after Christmas, under cover for a few
days, then it can be out on the patio, soaking up the winter
There are many varieties to choose from. Our Leyland Cypress has
sort of a Charlie Brown feel, but we dressed it up with various
metallic ornaments and a
vintage paper garland that I made. I tried putting lights on
it, but they looked a bit bulky. I just might order a
string of those teeny, tiny “micro” lights, and see if they
blend in any better.
I put the tree’s pot inside a plastic garbage bag, to hold the
excess liquid from watering it, then disguised that with a burlap
coffee sack. Now it sits on our buffet in the dining room,
and adds lots of holiday charm to the space. We eat in
the dining room three times a day, so we get
many opportunities to appreciate the tree’s simplistic
beauty. I hung cedar garland with white lights in the living
room, and decorated every surface with something Christmas-y, so we
aren’t want for a festive feel at all. While I did miss the ritual
of going to the tree farm with friends to select the perfect tree,
I thoroughly enjoy our potted tree and the house doesn’t feel any
Tuesday on the blog, I shared instructions on making a wreath
using vintage book pages, and today, I’m going to walk you through
the steps to make a festive garland and decoupaged holiday message.
Both of these projects are very easy, and could be changed to
suit your personal decor style.
Vintage book pages
Twisted Jute Garden Twine
Cardboard and pencil for making your pattern
While I contemplated cutting
snowflakes or ornament shapes for this garland, ultimately I wanted
this to be not only quick and easy, but to have a simple aesthetic.
The 2″ circle design that I decided on was all of those
things. I made three 5′ garlands in about 15 minutes.
Design and cut your pattern out
Trace your pattern onto the book
pages. Fit as many on one page as possible to make less work of it.
I traced the circle onto the bottom of one page, then stacked four
pages on top of eachother, because my pages were a very thin paper.
Then I folded the pages into thirds and cut out my circle. I was
able to get twelve circles out of one cut.
Fold your circles in half, three
or four at at time. Punch a hole so that when you are done, the
circle looks like a button with two holes.
String them onto the jute twine.
I found that about eighteen circles fit onto a five foot length of
twine, which was a manageable length for dressing my little
This project couldn’t be any easier,
and if you have never worked with decoupage medium, don’t worry.
The technique is extremely flexible and forgiving. Choose any
holiday message, and spell it out with any manner of these letters.
You could go all capitals or stick with lower case letters.
Fabrics and Crafts has a great selection, and they are
frequently on sale. The process took me around 30 – 45 minutes per
Rip up your vintage book pages into
random sized pieces.
Brush glue on the letter, and on the
back of a book page piece. Then place the piece on the
Brush more Mod Podge over the top of
the piece. Now just repeat that process, overlapping and layering
pieces for a textured effect.
There are countless ways to display
your holiday message, on a mantle, hanging on the wall, or resting
on top of a bookcase or buffet. For the photos I styled for the
Sunday feature in the
Kitsap Sun, I nestled them among some cedar branches, on top of
an old white dresser in our living room.
You may have had the chance to read my feature in
Sunday’s Kitsap Sun, but I will bear the risk of sounding
repetitive: this wreath is just gorgeous. This year I was inspired
to use vintage book pages to make a few holiday crafts with
timeless appeal. This wreath was a big project, but it was totally
worth the work. Plan on this taking you about four hours. I had to
work on it in shifts, since I rarely have a big block of
Supplies you will need:
Straw or foam wreath form. Mine was an 18″ form, but a
smaller one would take less time and material. I left the plastic
wrapping on my straw form, for less mess.
A vintage book. Mine was about 500 pages, and I used every
single one, plus a few pages from a larger old book, to create
longer cones at the back of the wreath. The smallest pages measured
roughly 8 1/4″ by 5 1/4″.
Glue gun and glue sticks
Metallic gold craft paint (optional)
Paint brush (optional)
Twine or ribbon for hanging
I wanted my wreath to feel a bit festive, so I painted a
shimmery gold stripe down the middle of each page. This added to
the overall time, to allow the pages to dry, so you can skip this
step if you want to simplify.
Roll a bunch of cones until you have a huge stock pile. This is
a step I should have done, but I just rolled, as I went. It surely
would have saved time to just have a big pile of cones to grab
from, then glue onto the form. Play around with your rolling
technique until you find a cone shape that you like, whether wider
and more open or tighter and longer. Use a stapler or the glue gun
to secure the cone at the bottom. I wasn’t very methodical with
the rolling, so my cones ended up being sort of random widths
and lengths, but I like the effect. If you painted the gold stripe,
you can roll the page with the paint facing out or facing in, your
choice. You’ll see it either way.
Lay down your wreath form on a large work surface. Tie a length
of twine or ribbon around the wreath form, to use for hanging
later. I forgot to do this at the start, and it was a bit difficult
to get it on at the end!
The first layer you do will become the back of the wreath. Begin
gluing cones, so that their ends are pointing in, and the openings
are pointed outward. Cover the entire back surface of the wreath.
Flip it over.
Next, you’ll want to glue a row of cones on the inside of the
form. They will look like they are standing up, with the
openings pointing out.
Now, you are going to fill it in. Bend down the end of a
cone and fold it. Glue a row, with the ends folded in, close to the
Continue to fold the ends and glue the cones to cover the whole
wreath. You’ll notice holes to fill in with cones as you go.
This process is a bit free form.
Hang your wreath! You might even notice a few holes once it’s
hanging, so just stick a cone in where you can to fill it out!
Next up: directions for making the decoupage letters pictured
above and the book page garland, both from Sunday’s column! Stop
back later this week for those project directions. Happy
I love making things by hand around the holidays, and although
it is hard to find the time, I always try. For my column in
this Sunday’s Life section of the Kitsap Sun, I’ve written
about some beautiful holiday decor projects, using
vintage book pages. Next week on the blog I’ll do detailed
instructions for each project, so you can recreate them. I
hope that they will inspire you to do something creative this
Christmas season, too.
Many of you might love the look of a salon-style gallery wall,
with a cozy mash up of art and family photos, but may feel
intimidated by how to get the right look. My friend Kim was in the
same boat. She had all of the pieces she wanted, but needed help
coming up with the right configuration, so that the wall would feel
balanced. Here is the process we went through to get it right.
Lay out all of the pieces on the floor in front of the wall they
will hang on. Play with the configuration until you achieve a
sense of balance. Consider the largest pieces first, they will
naturally be your anchors. If you have just one larger piece, it
might look best in the center, with the smaller pieces surrounding
it. Kim had two larger pieces, so we split them up, essentially
dividing the wall into three equal zones. Also
scrutinize the use of color in the pieces. Kim had dashes of
red that we wanted to sprinkle through-out.
Now use a roll of butcher or art paper and trace around each
piece, then cut it out. Make marks on the front of the paper that
indicate where the hooks or hangers are located. Using painter’s
tape, adhere these to the wall in roughly the same configuration
you had on the floor.
Move them around until they look and feel right. You want to
consider the negative space between just as much as the pieces
themselves. Keep the spacing as equal as you can. Use a ruler if
you need to, or just eyeball it. Step back and look at it from a
Allow for the furniture that will be under the pieces. Kim’s
sofa was 36″ high. We left nine inches of space between the top of
the sofa and the bottom of the art work. You need a bit of
breathing room so you won’t knock a piece down, but you don’t want
your art so far above that the furniture, that it feels
disconnected and un-grounded.
Once you have the paper exactly where you want it, check that
your marks for the hangers are level and centered before driving in
any nails. Use picture hooks or regular nails for smaller things,
and larger picture hooks or drywall anchors and screws for heavy
pieces. Hang a couple of the larger pieces as you go to make sure
you like where the grouping is headed. Remove the paper once you
have the nails or hooks in place.
Hang your art!
While making the paper mock-ups is a bit laborious, I think it
saves time in the end. It also saves you from making too many
errant holes in the wall. We ended up only needing to move one
piece up a few inches from where our first hole was, due to its
weight once hanging. The red “R” though, was another story.
The hanging holes were in odd spots, and it was extremely
difficult to get that letter level! Lots of holes for that one, in
fact, I lost count. Good thing Kim was already planning on giving
that room a new coat of paint, after our hanging day! She can patch
the holes then.
The salon-style wall is such a good looking way to fill a big
blank wall with character and to display a collection of art or
photos. You can match all of the frame and mat styles, or go rogue
and make it an artful mix. I just love the way a wall like this
adds a layer of coziness and personality to a room.
So, this dining room table refinishing project has been years in
the making. And by that I mean, it’s been needing to be refinished
for years. Poor table. Our family was totally abusing it. The
protective finish wore off a few years ago, and stains were
settling into the bare wood grain. With lots of messy baby feeding
days looming in the not-so-distant future, I finally tackled it
I’ve painted lots of furniture in the past, but this was my
first time refinishing and staining a piece. I’ve been known to
bite off way more than I can chew, so I spent lots of time
researching exactly what stain and finish I wanted and studying the
steps carefully. I learned a lot, and I’m proud of my results. I’ll
share my process with you.
First I cleaned the table with a water and vinegar solution, so
as to remove any stuck on goo and help neutralize any grease or
oils. I used about a half cup of white vinegar to a half
gallon of warm water. The wood grain was already starting to open
at this point, so I didn’t want to completely saturate the
table, and used a light touch with the solution.
Next I started sanding. I would recommend using a small belt or
power sander, but my workshop is in the basement just underneath my
daughter’s nursery. She’s usually asleep when I am working on
projects, so a loud sander wasn’t an option for me. Whether you use
a palm sander or do it manually, cover up anything nearby that you
don’t want to get dusty. Wear safety goggles and some type of
protective face mask. If your table still has a good layer of old
varnish on it, you’ll probably want to strip it before sanding.
With sandpaper, the lower numbers have a coarser
grit and as the numbers get higher, the finer the
granules are. This table is a soft wood, perhaps fir, so I
didn’t want to bite into the wood too deeply with a super coarse
sandpaper. I started with 100, stepped up to 150, and then
finished with 220, so that the surface was a smooth as possible. Be
sure to sand with the grain of the wood, so as not to scratch or
In between sanding stages, I removed the saw dust with a tack
cloth. Be sure to do a very thorough job of it after the final
sanding. You don’t want the dust to mar your stain and top
Fill any cracks or holes with a stain-able, sand-able wood
filler. Use a plastic spackling knife and follow the
directions on the tube. I used Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Filler
An optional next step would have been to apply a wood
conditioning product, which helps the stain soak into the wood
grain more evenly. In retrospect, I should have done this step, but
chose to skip it in the interest of time.
I wanted my table to end up with a slightly white-washed look. I
Wood Finish in Pickled Oak. (FYI, don’t bother looking for this
color at Home Depot, just stop by Ace Hardware in Bremerton.) I
applied the stain, going with the wood grain, with a synthetic
brush and let the first coat sit for 15 minutes for maximum
absorption. I removed any excess stain with a soft, dry rag. After
letting it dry for five hours, I repeated this
process one more time. Make sure to have proper ventilation in
your work space for this step.
For my top coat, I used Minwax
Water Based Polycrylic, in a satin finish, for low odor during
application and easy clean-up. Wait 24 hours after applying your
last coat of stain before you layer on the top coat. Apply a
thin, even coat with a synthetic brush. Don’t over brush. Let it
dry for two hours, and lightly sand with a 220 grit sandpaper.
Remove all dust. Repeat this process, as many times as you see fit.
Since this is our main dining table, and I wanted to ensure extra
protection, I did five coats.
I’ll admit that this project was very time consuming, and took
me the better part of a week, because I needed to care for my
children and run a household in between steps. That said, I am so
glad I did it, and am very happy with the way it turned out. Our
table is now ready to withstand our daily wear and tear for quite a
few more years. Next up- refinishing the dining bench to match!
If it’s time to refinish your dining table, you might just be
able to squeeze it in before you host Thanksgiving!
Living in a 1920’s house has its charms and drawbacks. Storage
space is tight, and rooms are small. I have two small children, and
as you might know, they come with lots of stuff, and more
specifically, lots of LEGO. My basement is mostly unfinished and
therefore, I have no dedicated play room. My oldest is very nearly
five years old and my youngest is eight months old. LEGO and
babies don’t mix. So, the house rule is that LEGO bricks stay
in Thomas’ bedroom.
Since Thomas’s bedroom is pretty tiny and floor space
is limited, I needed to come up with a solution that could, quite
literally make the LEGO bricks disappear at night. My theory
is that creating a dedicated play area for these tiny pieces,
makes their migration into common areas of the house a little less
The under-bed space is largely underutilized as storage in
general, and Thomas’ room is no exception. Since most LEGO play
time happens on the floor anyway, I had it in my mind to create
some type of surface that could slide under the bed at night. This
is what I came up with.
Using a scrap piece of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), I had on
hand, I crafted a rolling LEGO table. It was pretty
simple to make, and you could make this piece just about any
size you want. It took four easy steps.
Screw in four
swivel casters with brakes. I used casters with brakes so the
table won’t slide away from Thomas as he is playing on it. The only
down side to this is that they are a bit tricky, so I have to help
him set and unlock the brakes.
Use a miter box to cut trim for the edges of the table. The
last thing you want is for the LEGO creations to go careening
off the side of the table when you push it under the bed at night.
Meltdowns will ensue… I used a 1″ square cedar trim from Home
Depot, but almost any type of decorative trim or quarter-round
Adhere the trim to the table. I used Gorilla Glue with clamps,
then secured the trim with finishing nails.
Paint it. I used two coats of Behr’s Ultra
White primer and paint in one. Of course, I had help, I’d be
nowhere without my little shop assistant! If you wanted to, you
could paint some streets on the surface, or glue down a few of
LEGO building plates. We are not quite
so sophisticated yet.
Done! The only challenge left was getting it to fit under the
bed. Thomas’s bed is low to the ground, so I spray painted a set of
bed risers that were collecting dust in the basement. We
effectively gained a few more inches to accommodate those
taller LEGO structures.
I know that the LEGO obsession is likely going to last at least
another nine or ten years, if not more, according to my teenage
nephews. In that time, we may very well move to a different home
with more room to set up for hobbies and play, but this
solution is working just beautifully for now.
Paper mache letters are a playful and low-cost accessory
that can really add a fun element to any room. With limitless ways
to hang, embellish and use these letters, you can personalize them
to perfectly complement your decor. Easy to find at most
craft stores, they are priced well and come in a variety of
sizes and fonts. Decorating paper mache letters can even be a great
craft to do with your kids.
At my house, I’ve used them in the nursery, in Thomas’ room, and
in the living room, above the hook where Thomas hangs his coat.
Each one was decorated with a different technique, and Thomas even
helped me with both of his.
In the baby’s room, the letters are hung above her crib. I spray
painted them gold, and used garden twine and hot glue to make
hanging loops. Because they are light-weight, I don’t have to worry
about them hurting her, if they were to fall off the wall.
The “T” above Thomas’ coat hook was made by layering torn
pieces of scrapbook paper with lots of Mod Podge. Thomas
helped me with this, and really enjoyed it. To hang this one, I
looped a single length of garden twine under the crux of the
letter, knotted it and hung it over a small nail.
Thomas did all the work with the letter in his room,
covering it with plain old craft paint. He did this one when
he was about 2. Seeing it reminds me of the fun he had while he was
making it, and how much he has changed in the last two
Cover these letters in glitter, paint, or paper, or wrap them in
yarn or twine. You could even just leave them plain. Hang
them from the ceiling, on the wall or set them on the mantle.
Letters as decor can quite literally, make a statement, or just
add a touch of whimsy to your space.