Once Upon a Midcentury: $7 Ceiling Fan Hack

For my first home DIY blog post, I thought I’d start with something easy and inexpensive that anyone could do.
My house is filled with ceiling fans and odd light fixtures.  They range from meh to gross to mostly broken–like this ceiling fan carcass left on my screened in porch:

The ceiling located in my soon-to-be studio wasn’t too terrible.  The color of the fixture itself was nice, but the blades were horribly dated and the glass portion was a bit uninspired.

I thought that the blades might look kind of steam-punkesque if I sprayed them metallic.  I decided to try spray painting the blades only, and see how a tone on tone would look.  I figured if I didn’t like it I could always opt to spray paint the entire thing.

For the glass portion, I looked online for replacements but then realized I had a bunch of random light fixtures and parts that I could salvage.
My kitchen had this stained glass fixture with a round glass ball that was just way too large for the shade.  (You can see it below in this oh so lovely before pic of my kitchen).

I purchased this Oil Rubbed Bronze Rustoleum Enamel Spray for $6.88 (before tax).  It stated that it was both paint and primer.

The blades got sprayed and I was thrilled with how the color looked against the existing fixture.

I replaced the boring glass shade with the more Midcentury globe and here’s the finished result:

I’ve been practicing my photo editing skills, so I could give you a nifty before and after:

The lesson here is that Rustoleum is basically magic.
I feel like the light fixture looks more high end now and fits in better with my planned décor.  You may not have as many old or broken lights to scrounge for shade replacements, but check out flea markets and garage sales.  You might not want the whole fixture, but it might have the perfect piece you can reuse.

Have you experimented with spray paint in your home décor?
How did it turn out?

Cannonball Collective: Torn & Frayed – Revival

For TGIF, I’ve got something extra special for the creative folks, the hipsters, and the lovers of more unusual boxes. The folks at Cannonball Collective were awesome enough to send me their introductory box, Torn & Frayed, to review for you. I’m going to confess this review has taken me awhile because I wanted to actually get creative with the contents and come up with something cool to show you.

Cannonball Collective bills themselves as “an experience in a box” and are a quarterly subscription, priced at $95.

Their description: “Each quarter, we serve up a curated collection of goods and inspiration delivered straight to your doorstep. Your ongoing subscription to our Cannonball Kits is a back-stage pass to fresh ideas and remarkable goods!”

Kits center around different themes and each includes a copy of the Cannonball Collective magazine which offers info on the box contents and ideas on how to use them. There aren’t step by step instructions, just ideas.

The first box had a theme of “Torn & Frayed” and “Revival” and was put together by their “Cannonball Ace” Luke from Darn and Dusted based in East London.
Now let’s see what’s in the box.
Open Box 1Inserts
We have our lovely idea magazine.
It gives us a breakdown of what’s in the kit: “We worked closely with our pal Luke on what to include in the Torn & Frayed Kit. In particular, we were hyper-focused on providing the highest quality tools and textiles like the ones he uses. They are the best on the planet. After all, if you don’t have best tools you can’t do your best work!”

Nestled inside the packing paper is an adorable little tin.
Open 2 Tin
Open Tin Stitches

Merchant & Mills Long Darners
(Estimated US Retail: $7.59)
Description: “These long needles have “long eyes” that can handle thick thread or yarn and are suited for all sorts of mending project. You know, like the kind you’ll be doing. There are three sizes including in the sweet turned wooden case”.
Verdict: Love!
I’m a crafty sort and I enjoy embroidery and applique so these needles will come in handy. They are high quality and I love the little wooden case. Just remember to put them in sharp side down (don’t ask me why I need to tell you that). This is a British brand so it’s extra nice to have it in a US sub box.

Merchant & Mills Wide Bow Scissors

(Estimated US Retail: $18.21)
Description: “4 inches long, tough and sharp, these suckers allow for pinpoint precision. Oh and they’re cool black steel. Awesome!”
Verdict: Love!
Good scissors can be super expensive and these are very high quality. I know I can use these for tons of sewing and crafting projects.

Merchant & Mills Dressmaking Pins

(Estimated US Retail: $6.83)
Description: “There’s nothing worse than crappy pins. So here is your very own little black box just brimming with the best nickel-plated dressmaking pins that nickels can buy.”
Verdict: Hit!
You’d think pins were inexpensive and decent ones were easy to find, but you’d be wrong. I needed a bunch to make some ornaments and let me tell you, they were way pricier than they should have been for junk made in China. These will definitely get plenty of use.

Merchant & Mills Tailor’s Thimble

(Estimated US Retail: $6.83)
Verdict: How didn’t I know these existed?
Description: “Nobody likes bloodstains so we thought it would be smart to provide you with a ‘proper” Tailor’s Thimble. Cool Fact: It offers both finger protection and helps dexterity because it’s capless. That means it has an open top, so you can still feel and control he fabric you’re working on Booyah!”
Where have capless thimbles been all my life? I didn’t even know these were a thing…and my mother is a seamstress. I tried this out and it is so much easier to use than a regular thimble. If you hand sew, you must get yourself one of these.

Marukawa Fuken Gum

(Estimated US Retail: .64)
Description: “A little somethin’ to sweeten the deal and pass the time (Grape is our favorite)!”.
Verdict: One of these things is not like the others..
Not quite sure why this is in here, but candy is always good.

Fabrich UnopenedFabrich Sealed
Japanese Fabrics

(Estimated US Retail: ???)
Description: “With the help of textile guru Kelly Stevens at Superbuzzy in Ventura California we’ve included an array of high quality Japanese fabric swatches for you to get started – some denim, some patterns, some stripes, some color. All wove and printed at the epicenter of the world’s most beautiful highest quality textiles.”
Verdict: Like
I’m not in love with most of the prints on these fabrics but I do like the idea of including some in the kit. I almost wish they’d had some more British inspired patterns to go with the Merchant & Mills products. I really couldn’t figure out a way to estimate the price on these, so they remain a mystery.

Moco Thread

(Estimated US Retail: 6.95 Each)
Description: “Crafted in Japan, FUJIX describes this thread as ‘fluffy hand-stitching thread that has a fluffy, thick feel.’ Uh, Ok. Frankly, we chose it because Luke really digs it. This stuff is made from six strands so depend on what you’re working on you can use just one strand or all six. Oh, and we included three colors to work with…cream, indigo, and a pop of color. Hint…they all go well with denim.
Verdict: Hit!
I like to embroider items and this thread sounds really similar to embroidery floss (where you have multiple strands). I think I’ll have a lot of fun using these for applique projects and ornaments.

Now, as I mentioned earlier I wanted to use these awesome items to make something, because what fun is an “experience in a box” without the experience to go with it.

I really dig mixed media jewelry so I decided to try my hand at an embroidered pendant.

I grabbed these items from the box:
Tools from Box
And from my own supply I grabbed a small embroidery hoop, embroidery floss and the pendant findings that I purchased https://www.etsy.com/transaction/193339940from Etsy. I opted for my own embroidery floss just because the colors of thread in the box weren’t quite what I wanted to use with the fabric I’d chosen.
My supplies
I put the fabric in the hoop and using the embroidery floss, stitched a freehand heart. Following the directions on the findings, I put it together and here is my finished project:
It looks homemade and sweet and I like the effect. With more practice I’m sure I can get it too look more polished.

Full Box

I love, love, love all the tools from Merchant & Mills and I wish they had a store in the US so I could order more at my heart’s content. The only reason this box has a “like” instead of a “hit” is because of the value. Excluding the fabric, we get a US dollar value of about $60.95. Even if you add on the fabric for $20, you still don’t reach the $95 pricetag. The fact that the bulk of this box is imported should also be taken into consideration since exchange rates vary and there are extra costs associated with bringing products in from overseas. It’s also packaged quite nicely in the tin, plus we have the cute magazine. I think a bit lower price would be more appropriate (like $85). I still really love the items in this box and even though I received this free in order to review it, if I paid $95, I still be satisfied with my purchase because of the tools included.  They will last forever and I’ll use them on a wide variety of projects.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this unique box? Would you be interested in this type of sub? What experiences would you want to see in it?

The next theme is Wonderland” and it will let you “embark on a frozen flavor journey”.

Cannonball Collective sends out quarterly kits centered around particular experiences.

“Each quarter, we serve up a curated collection of goods and inspiration delivered straight to your doorstep. Your ongoing subscription to our Cannonball Kits is a back-stage pass to fresh ideas and remarkable goods!”

$95 for each quarter (Shipping is free)

NEW FEATURE! Polished!: Ikea Helmer Hack for DIY Polish Storage

As my polish hoard, uh, collection, has grown I’ve been wanting to add a special feature so I can dish about polish outside of just what arrives in my subscription boxes. I’m kicking off my new Polished! feature with a topic that pervades every forum and group with serious polish collectors. Storage.
One of the most common storage solutions for expanding polish collections is the Ikea Helmer. Priced at a modest $39.99 it can house hundreds of bottles of your favorite hues in an itty bitty living space. With my collection currently clocking in at 365 bottles, this little guy would give me a spot for all my bottles, with room to add on to my collection.

Unfortunately, the Helmer looks like an office filing cabinet rather than a piece of cute furniture, so I decided to give it a transformation by decoupaging the drawers and replacing the handles. I’m creative and crafty but not the best with precision so I was crossing my fingers that the end result would be decent.


Hard Coat Mod Podge: After extensive research on the elventybillion types of ModPodge, I opted for the HardCoat.   It’s perfect since it’s designed to be used for furniture and doesn’t require a sealant.
Exacto Knife & Scissors: I recommend an exacto knife for precision.
Brush: For applying Mod Podge
Tongue Depressor or Popsicle stick:
For flattening out the paper
Paper: I went a bit spendy with my paper choice because I love the Rifle Paper Co. I opted to use their gift wrap in two different prints and alternate them on the drawer fronts. If you want to cover all the drawers with the same print, just be ready to spend a lot of time lining up the patterns correctly.
Rubberized Shelf Liner: You want to line the drawers with rubberized shelf liner otherwise the bottles are going to move around when you open and close the drawers.


The cabinet has slots for putting in labels. I had hoped they were an extra piece I could pry off, but unfortunately they are molded into the metal so I had to work around them. I also knew I wanted to switch out the handles that came with the Helmer, but I couldn’t get an adequate fix on the size until I had the cabinet in hand. Unfortunately, the handles are smaller than average (approx. 2 1/2 inches), and I needed either 6 matching handles, 2 sets of 3 matching handles, or 6 coordinating handles. Adding to the challenge, I really wanted something in a vintage brass since I thought that would match well with the style of the Rifle paper.

I came across these on Ebay and grabbed them for $14.88 including shipping. I was hoping the backplate would cover up the label slots, but unfortunately they were a bit small for the task.
Handles Handle


With some cursing and much annoyance, I constructed the cabinet with the exception of the drawers. It’s important to note that the cabinet has some weird tabs that you just “push” down rather than using actual screws. It tells you to use a screwdriver to push down the tabs. If I need a screwdriver, why not just use a damn screw? I’d feel a lot better if the thing was held together with actual metal screws instead of just a tiny piece of bent metal and some faith, but I digress.

Using the exacto knife, I cut out paper the same size as the drawer fronts. I applied a layer of Modpodge to the drawer fronts, carefully aligned the paper on top, then another layer of Modpodge. I used the tongue depressor to smooth out any bumps. I let that layer dry and then added an additional layer, focusing on the edges. Since you’ve now covered up the holes for the handles, you’ll just need to carefully poke the holes for the screws.

While the drawer fronts dried, I cut the rubberized shelf paper to size.
Then, I completed the drawers. I was still waiting on my handles, so I went ahead and finished the cabinet using the original handles in the box and added my plethora of polish.
Zoya Drawer Julep

Here’s a looksee of the version using the included Ikea handles:
with Ikea HandlesOnce my new/old handles arrived I replaced them. I used the same handle screws that came with the Helmer, but I plan to add some washers or pick up some slightly different screws so the handles are a bit tighter. They are serviceable but it would be better if they were snugger.

I already had the scissors,exacto knife set, brush and tongue depressor so I didn’t need to purchase those items. The cost to me for this IKEA hack is as follows (including tax & shipping):
White Ikea Helmer: $42.79
Rifle Paper Co Wrapping Paper:   $21.95
HardCoat ModPodge:     $6.22
Handles: $14.88
Rubberized Shelf Lining Paper:$4.74
TOTAL   $90.58

I opted for expensive paper in two different prints so if you use cheaper paper, or just one print, your cost will be lower. In addition, you could always skip adding your own handles as another way to get the cost down.

With Vintage Handles

The Helmer is perfectly sized to hold polish, but not taller items like Nail Polish remover. I have a vintage train case that I use to hold my swatch sticks, tools and taller items.  So just be aware you’ll probably need to make room elsewhere for other polish related paraphernalia.
Train Case

The cabinet isn’t the sturdiest thing in the world, and I was super concerned when putting it together, but now that it’s all in one piece it’s much stronger than I thought it would be and better than I expected at this price point. I’d like handles that can do a better job of covering the bump (see below) where the label would be inserted. I’m going to keep my eyes open and see if anything pops up on Ebay or Etsy.

I’d love to hear your opinions on my IKEA hack and whether you’d like to see more DIY or polish posts!

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