Before & after category

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Tank top totes - after

Tank top totes - before

Before you pack away your summer clothes for the winter, you might want to set one of your tank tops aside to make one of these easy totes. The best kind of tank tops to use for this project are ones that have front and back necklines that are the same height—or very close. Otherwise, your tote bag will be lopsided. The brown tote is reversible, so the pockets can be on the inside or outside. I made that tote small because the straps were thin and wouldn’t hold a lot of weight. The magenta tank top had a gathered neckline in front and back, so a gathered bottom was ideal. A pink store-bought flower pin finished it off. Read more »

Blue & white sunburst mirror

Sunburst mirror - before

What a difference a little color makes! I decided my white sunburst mirror was a little boring. It only looked good from an angle, where the shadows would emphasize the shapes. Straight on, it looked more like a plain white circle. So I grabbed some paint samples and started painting the sun’s rays. I’m happy how it turned out, but I think black would have looked good too. I really wanted to add some teardrop-shaped gems for a hint of bling, but couldn’t find any. Read more »

DIY magnetic picture frame - after

Supplies for DIY magnetic frame

What can I make with an old picture frame that’s missing glass, a free fabric sample from FabMo, and an 8- x 10-inch LoRan magnet board that my friend Chris gave me? Another friend, Kristi, had an idea: a mini magnetic board. If you add a few more magnetic boards, frames, and coordinating fabrics, you could hang a whole collection of magnetic frames on the wall. They’re perfect for school photos, business cards, or other small ephemera. And you can easily swap out the fabric to fit the season. Read more »

Salvaged window shadowbox - after

Salvaged window - before

Why anyone would paint over window panes is beyond me. But that’s exactly what someone did to this window that I bought at a salvage yard for $20. It took a couple hours to scrape away all the stray paint and caulking, but the effort was totally worth it, considering I now have a fun beach-themed shadowbox. I tore all the tropical photos out of travel magazines. I can think of many other uses for salvaged windows, so there might be more window projects to come. Read more »

Library table makeover - after

Library side table - before

I love metallic finish furniture, and I thought this little library table was the ideal piece to try my own metallic finish. I bought the table on Craigslist last year for $15. I adored its cute shape, but it needed lots of repairs. I pulled 21 (mostly bent) nails out of this thing—and filled twice as many holes. Then a few coats of shiny silver paint and a handmade stencil gave it an instant update. Like the stencil? Download the pattern to make your own. And the pink books? I covered a few beloved paperbacks with coordinating 12- x 12-inch scrapbooking paper.

UPDATE 5/5/11: I’ve just been informed that the stencil is based on an original Orla Kiely design. Check out their fab signature bags here!

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Bistro table and café chairs - after

Bistro table and chairs - before

The secret to painting this faux-mosaic table top? Dot stickers. Plus some white paint followed by a few coats of fabulous French blue paint. Add matching French bistro chairs (don’t you just adore these café chairs and these Fermob bistro chairs?) and an old Ikea chandelier, and you’re ready for an al fresco candlelight dinner. But not just any dinner. Snag a copy of Julia Child’s cookbook and whip up a tasty French recipe for you and your honey. (If you haven’t seen Julie & Julia yet, go see it now!) Bon appétit. Read more »

Rolling tool cabinet - after

Drawer organizers and trays

$10 Craigslist dresser - before

I posted a sneak peek of this project in May. It took me a couple months, not a couple weeks, but my tool cabinet is finally finished. I outgrew my toolbox end tables, but I refused to pay hundreds of dollars for one of those ugly Craftsman tool chests. Handles on both sides make this bureau easy to pull around. Ikea’s mini drawers form dividers and lift-out trays. What about the mini chests left over? I have a plan for those (coming soon). Please come back Friday to see my complete tool/craft corner. Read more »

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