Around the World In a Briefcase

This little briefcase called out to me at the thrift store a while ago.  It reminded me of a vintage suitcase and I immediately knew what I was going to do with it.  I had a moment’s couple month’s pause about altering it because it had a vintage shoe company brand name on it (Wikler Shoes) and I wondered if it was a old salesman’s case or something.  Eventually, however, I just decided to dive in with my Mod Podge!

As I mentioned in my laundry room makeover post, I love anything travel-related, especially vintage designs of travel posters, advertisements, stickers, et cetera.  Knowing this, my parents have gifted me with two different sets of travel stickers over the years that were laying dormant in Craft Purgatory.

Sidebar – it’s so funny about things like these stickers.











I loved them so much I didn’t want to use them on anything.  So instead, they were languishing in a drawer, gathering dust.  Strange way to show love, don’t you think?  I do this with scrapbook paper, too.  Arrggh.

At any rate, I stuck the travel stickers on in what I perceived to be an attractive fashion, Mod Podged over them and here is the result!


Hope you like it!  Thanks for stopping by!

Happy New (Fiscal) Year!

What can I say, I’m an accountant at heart. :0)

Since I last posted, I have relocated back to my beloved Midwest. You should come to St. Louis and see me! Or, uhhh, see the Arch! Yeah! :0)

Here’s a little project that I couldn’t walk away from at my new favorite thrift store, St. Vincent de Paul. I got this sturdy, but kinda sad, little cart for THREE DOLLARS!

I administered the usual treatments (paint, bright fabric, elbow grease) et voila!


Hope you like it and are looking forward to a fantastic fiscal year!

Chic but Not Shabby

I’ve been at it again, and you won’t be surprised to hear it involved spray paint and colorful paper!  This little set of frames was hidden on a shelf at my favorite thrift store, and I didn’t even give them a second thought before I put them in my cart – I knew I could do something with them.  Plus, I think they were a buck each and it was 25% off day!

What’s really strange about the “before” frames is that the framed images were not paper or photos or needlework.  They were printed pictures on fabric, with a tiny little piece of foam behind them – like very shallow pincushions!  So I ripped that stuff out, took a toothbrush and some dish soap to them and then they headed for the spray booth.  As I was thinking of what to put in them to make the finished product SUPER cute, I opened my “patterned scraps” drawer of paper and right on top was this floral pattern with all the exact colors in it!  Craft kismet.  See for yourself!

They really make me smile now!  I think they’ll be in my (poor, sad, neglected) etsy shop soon – check them out!

Thanks for stopping by!

I’ve been posting . . . Periodically!

This is an oldie but a goodie.  At one point in time a few years ago, I was in search of a new coffee table.  It struck me at the time how boring most coffee tables are, and the ones that aren’t boring are usually hideous.  Neither option appealed to me or my living room decor!

So I got to thinking about making a unique coffee table and I just couldn’t stop thinking “Periodic Table.”  I considered creating a coffee table with the standard-issue chemistry class periodic table, but then I stumbled across this GENIUS project:, and I knew immediately what I would do.  I tracked down a super-boring but high quality oak coffee table and used paint, paper, and Mod Podge to transform it into my own Periodic Coffee Table of the Elements.  Behold!

And here are a few closeups of my favorite elements (well, not favorite ELEMENTS, because I love all the elements equally [doesn’t everybody?], but my favorite PRINTS of the elements):




















In the interest of education, I’ll leave it to you to discover what the more cryptic of these elements are.  Please visit the project website, too, for more information:  I believe they may even sell prints of certain of the elements.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

I otter post more often….

Hi there, everyone!  I hope everyone is enjoying a lovely fall.  It’s hard to tell it’s fall in Las Vegas, but the fact that my steering wheel no longer gives me third-degree burns when I drive to lunch is a good indication!

I have added another friend to my family of Ceranimals!  This little guy was patiently waiting for me at the thrift store and I scooped him up the instant I saw him.  And now you will, too!  Uhhh, SEE him, not SCOOP him.










I would love to visit this factory where they label each animal as it’s produced.  I don’t know why but I just think it’s so funny to turn over a creature and see its name like it’s an autograph or something!

Anyway, I’ve got lots of half-finished projects, so let’s be optimists and say that that means I’ll post another “Redo” sometime soon!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fill ‘er Up!

I’ll take “Blog Neglecters” for $500, Alex….

In honor of getting back on the blog radar, I’m pulling out one of my biggest projects to date.  When I first moved in to my townhome, one section of my living room looked like this:

Sooooooo, yeah.  A wee bit sad (and blurry – apologies for the pre-blog photo tragedy).  I know my electronics are completely old school, but I like them and didn’t want to spend money on new ones.  But that part of the room was just asking for something to fill it – the ceiling is vaulted and that’s near the highest point, so the emptiness soared to tremendous heights, too!

What happens when a girl wants to fill a tall gaping hole in her living room with a place for her TV and stereo system from the Pleistocene Epoch but doesn’t want a just-begging-to-be-outdated entertainment center?  She designs her own shelving unit (in Microsoft Excel, of all programs),



















then she tracks down a welder to make the frame, and creates wood inserts for the shelves, of course:

Lots of my favorite things on that thar shelving unit, with a tiny bit of cat tail for good measure (bottom left)!  I love the globe on the top shelf and the glass head on the bottom shelf just makes me laugh.

Now, lest you think we’re all basking in our post-shelf-creating bliss over here, let me tell you a couple things I learned from this process.  1)  Welders are NOT cheap!  2)  Measure, measure measure!  Once the unit was finished I realized how large the space is and it’s a bit of a challenge to fill!  3)  Drilling through your index fingernail may result in long-term loss of sensation.

The most astute of you out there will notice that something else has changed also (the floor, for the rest of you) – that’s a whole other post and a big part of the reason for my lengthy self-imposed blog exile!  I’ll tell you about it soon!


You’ve Got Mail

Collections are dangerous things.  They can push you precariously close to hoarding status, as well as bankruptcy, especially if you choose to collect something like Faberge eggs!  Holidays and birthdays are dangerous territory also, when your well-meaning friends and relatives give you items that they’re just sure “will be great in your collection!” but that you NEVER would have purchased yourself, collector or no.  It can be dicey!   

I’ve been pretty lucky and careful in my collecting life.  I can usually tell when it gets to the tipping point of buying for quantity versus quality of the collection, and I can rein myself in, in most cases.  One of those cases is my vintage mailbox collection.

Snail mail has always been a love of mine, starting back when it was just known as “mail.”  I love the look of stamps and postmarks and most things postal (except “going postal,” of course, to which I am opposed).  Years ago, just because it was cool looking, I bought a glass mailbox that has “Visual Mail” embossed on the front.  Little did I know it was a collection seed!

Most of my collection today resides in my small entryway, hanging on corrugated metal (another love of mine) within a homemade frame.  Yesterday, I finally got my entryway painted and am no longer ashamed to post pictures of it!  Behold!

Here are a few closeups of my favorite bits and pieces:

















The quail were thrift store finds, and they are salt and pepper shakers.  I think they single-handedly created the blood pressure problem in this country, because they are huge!  They could each hold about half of a salt container!  Perhaps we could just say they’re efficient, because you’d only have to refill them once a year.  Maybe you could even develop an annual family ritual – The Filling of the Quail.

I love the designs on the feathers and of course the plumes on their heads are awesome!

I have a few other mailboxes that may end up on a different wall.  One of my favorites was a gift from my parents, which was a homemade job that reads “We Shoot Every Third Salesman.  The Second One Just Left.”  Ha!  A simple No Soliciting sign would have sufficed!

Well, thanks for stopping by!  I hope your Spring is happy, healthy, and productive.

I’ll Get the Chair for This

Can you keep a secret?  I mean, really, like not tell ANYONE?  Cuz it looks like I may have committed a crime and I have to get it off my chest.  Can I trust you?

Oh geez, put the phone down, I’m just talking about a design crime.  And no jury in the world would convict me after it sees the evidence!  I’ll leave it up to you.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present to you Exhibit One:

An unassuming chair that had seen better days, but with fine lines and a proud lineage.

Suspecting a design icon in the rough, Ms. Palooza purchased this chair for the (what should probably also be criminal!) low price of $7.00 and spirited it away to a location she refers to as Craft Purgatory.  Ominous, no?

Her internet research turned up a very similar specimen, designated as a Saarinen office chair by Knoll.

However, the chair in her possession bore a brand name of Virco and had only four casters, not five.  Additionally, when Ms. Palooza viciously tore into the chair with a screwdriver and pliers, this is what she found:









The chair literally fell apart in her hands and spewed ancient upholstery foam debris (see second picture above) throughout her house.  After a halfhearted attempt at DIY upholstery, Ms. Palooza had it professionally reupholstered and now it looks like this!

Here endeth the Perry Mason (yes, I am 67 years old) bit.

So I bought this chair at a thrift store and it was disgusting.  I tell myself it’s a Saarinen knockoff so I can sleep at night, but I know there are design purists out there who are probably crying, “Sacrilege!”  In any case, I think it looks great!  i’d love to hear what you think, even if it involves design prison!

Thanks for stopping by!

Keepin’ it Clean

In my opinion, ANY en suite laundry room is a GOOD laundry room.  And in light of some of the damp, freezing, ammonia-scented places I’ve done laundry in my life, even my “before” laundry room was pretty dang good!

But a bunch of “before” pictures does not a good RedoPalooza post make!  And I wasn’t terribly fond of the exposed shelf as the only storage in the room – it seems to be a junk magnet, and once I do a few loads, it’s a lint-covered-junk magnet!  So I whipped out my paintbrush, picked up a few thrift store art pieces, and had a handyman install a couple cabinets, and now my laundry room is a happier place.

How about those wood finials on the shelf?  Those are more thrift store bargains – TWENTY BUCKS for the WHOLE SET!  I almost fell over when I saw those price tags and then I elbowed a couple people in the face on my way to the register to make them MINE.  I regularly toy with the idea of painting them each a different, bright, glossy color, but for right now, I think they look good in their natural state.



This is looking to the left in the room.  The two signs were resale bargains (of course).   The top one says “Believe in today – Your life is Now,” and the bottom one says “Hope for Tomorrow and Make Things Happen.”  Maybe the set originally had one about the past, too, but I’ll just keep looking forward!







On the right side of the room is this piece I made from an old travel calendar.  I just love all the colors in it and travel-themed stuff has long been a favorite of mine.  PS – Betcha didn’t know there’s an electrical panel behind it!  Mmm hmm – Camoflauge!!!








And just inside the door you’ll find one of the best purchases I’ve ever made – the litter box end table!  It is so handy for setting laundry baskets on, and it keeps the kitty box out of sight and the odor to a minimum.  I think I got mine here, but just search “litter box end table” and you’ll find all kinds of options.  Warning – they’re not cheap!  But this one is well-made and I’ve never regretted buying it.





I’ll leave you with a little tip if you’re redoing a laundry room.  When you install a shelf over your top-load washer, make sure you leave enough room for the top to open all the way!  I ended up scooting both my washer & dryer a little ways out from the wall ’cause I don’t want to worry about holding open the washer while I’m stuffing in my dirty duds.  After the adventure of installing the shelf where it is now, I preferred to lose a few inches of floor space rather than take it down and reinstall it.

So that’s the latest development at the Redo HQ – I’d love to hear what you think!  Happy New Year to everyone!