New Magnolia Tea Towel Available

Southern Magnolia Tea Towel

Now available in my Etsy shop Paper Gumbo.Southern Magnolia


1 cotton linen canvas tea towel, measuring about 15.5 inches x 24.5 inches. This vintage botanical illustration of a Southern Magnolia has been retouched and is printed on a burgundy background with the words Southern Magnolia imprinted in white. The fabric is beautiful, looks like 100% linen. The printing on this dish towel is bright and vibrant, a true representation of the original illustration.

Washable in warm or cold water with a phosphate free cleanser. Dry low or line-dry. Iron on the back of print if necessary on medium setting. Fabric has been pre-washed but may still shrink slightly.

Makes a great gift. Looks great hanging in the kitchen as a decorative towel.

These items are ready to ship!


DIY Seashell Wreath

DIY: How to make a Seashell Wreath

As most DIY projects, this one starts at the craft store for a 16 inch dry foam wreath. It was shaped with a square edge on the top which I didn’t like. I wanted it to be more rounded without any real edges, so I used a serrated knife to cut off the corners and make the shape more rounded.

DIY Seashell Wreath


I sprayed it with a cream colored spray paint. I have been saving seashells for several years, many of them from Louisiana. They have an abundance of the chevron shaped shells. They’re pretty small, but good for filling in spaces. I also bought a few small bags at the craft store and I picked up some seashell jewelry at yard sales. I took them apart and washed everything in soapy water and let it dry for a few days. Then I used a clear gel tacky glue to stick the shells to the foam. If you glue the largest shells first then you can fill in the spaces with the smaller shells. I was surprised at how many shells it takes. As you can see, I’m not done yet.

Be Aware

It’s pretty heavy, I had it propped in a box so that I could glue the edges and the inside section, it fell on the floor and broke into 3 pieces, so I had to do a little repair job on it. Oh well! Not everything works out the way you want it too I guess. 🙂 I filled the cracks with white glue, reinforced the back with cardboard and covered the cracks in the front with shells. I think it should hold up pretty well.

Once it’s complete, I want to put a clear coat of polyurethane on it, just to help hold it all together and give it a little gloss.

What do you think?


Dye Your Jeans

Dying Clothes

As my son is getting ready for his Sophomore year at Berkeley, we decided to give some of his old jeans a new life. He had a pair of green ones that were very hard to match, but they were in good shape and he liked they way they fit. He also had a pair of white ones that no amount of bleach could salvage and his black ones were a little faded. My friend Pam is a costume designer and she dyes clothes all the time. With her advice we decided to give it a try. They came out great! They are all very dark black. I lightened the photo slightly so you could see more detail, but they dyed very even and dark. Here’s what we did:

  • You can do this in a top loader, sink or a container outside. Since we have a front loader, we went to the local laundromat and used their top loading washing machine.
  • Supplies: 1 box of salt and 2 bottles of liquid dye. We used Rit Black. 1 pair rubber gloves.
  • Wet all of the clothes you want to dye and ring out the excess water. Start a wash cycle with hot water, as the water runs add 1 cup of salt, and both bottles of dye (shake them first). Let the solution agitate a little, then add the jeans, 1 pair at a time. With your gloves on push all the fabric into the dye solution to saturate, close the top and let the cycle run.
  • Once they stopped, we took the clothes home and ran them through our front loader in a regular wash cycle and hung them to dry. If you dye them at home, you might want to run a cycle with bleach to clean your machine or you can wash a load of black clothes.

They came out great, very dark black,even color, thank you Pam!

Dye Your Jeans

How to create a white washed, pickled or limed finish on wood.

White Washed FinishI have a small, cute footstool made out of oak, it had a traditional brown stained finish. The brown was horrible, so I wanted to lighten it up. Since it was small I was easily able to take it apart and sand all the brown finish off of the wood. It came off rather easily, it was a really cheap finish. After sanding, I washed it down with a wet rag and Spin N Span in warm water. I let it dry completely.

Then I used a can of Picked Oak colored Minwax stain and brushed it on. I like the oil based stains, I think, for me, I can get a more even color on my piece. I find the water based stains dry too fast and then they look uneven. It could be because I live in a very dry climate, if you’re in a humid climate the water based stains may work well for you.

Minwax stain

I applied the stain generously and gave it a few minutes to absorb into the wood. Then I wiped the excess off. I finished the piece with a water based polyurethane. I normally like an oil based poly, but this piece is so small and won’t get handled much, so I think the water based is fine. I used a matte finish so, there is really no shine to the final coat. I used  2 coats to finish it.

I’m happy with the results. You can get a real coastal look with this color stain. What do you think?

DIY-Refinish a Dresser

Dresser Refinish

I salvaged this Thomasville dresser from my neighbor. It’s very well made with dovetailed drawers and solid wood throughout. The hardware is brass and although the top had some water damage, it was in pretty good shape. I cleaned it and used homemade chalk paint, glaze, gold paste, varnish and my bronze it technique for the hardware.

I will provide detailed instructions in part 2 tomorrow.

How to paint a bronze finish

How to Paint Something Bronze

You can easily create this bronze finish, here’s how. First you will need an item with some sort of texture or high and low points on the surface. This scroll edged mirror I purchased at a garage sale is perfect.

Scrolled Mirror


It’s original finish was not bad, it was silvery with a blackened antique look. But I wanted it more gold.

1. I cleaned it in a solution of warm soapy water with a little ammonia in it, dried it completely and taped off the mirror in the middle with painters tape.

2. I sprayed it with Rust-oleum, Metallic Flat Spray Paint in Burnished Amber. This is a great spray paint with the primer in it, it covers very well, but I sprayed 2 coats just to make sure I got it into all the little cracks and crevices. (Note: I’m not getting paid to promote this item.)

Rust-oleum Spray Paint Mirror Base Coated









3. I let the paint dry for several hours, maybe a day. I then added the golden highlights with rub n buff. Place a small amount on your finger and lightly rub the top of the item, trying to only hit the high points. Have a damp rag nearby and if you think it’s going on to heavy, try to wipe it off immediately, then just keep going. Even though you think you’ve used up all the gold, it will still rub onto the item. If you can’t clean off the excess with a damp cloth, try a little nail polish removed – gently so you don’t remove the paint layer underneath.

Rub n buff gold
I used antique gold for this product, but for the thermometer above, I used  gold. They both work very well for a bronze look. ( I am not getting paid to promote this item either, it’s just a great product).

If your item is going to live outside, I would spray it with a polyurethane, I’ve used this on some outdoor lanterns and it has all worn away from the weather.

Bronze Mirror Final Detail4. Here is the final product. Let me know what you think in the comments or if you have any questions about the process, I’m happy to answer them for you.

Bronze Mirror Final Product