What to do about faded color on fabric boxes

Cute little fabric boxes, like this, seem to be pretty easy to come by at garage sales and thrift stores.  Only problem is that the fabric on the lids is usually quite FADED, and just doesn’t look right with the brightly colored base.

It’s hard to tell in the photo, but the lid is considerably lighter than the base of the box. 


You can really see the difference in this picture.   So, what’s a shabby gal to do???

“Grubby” it up, of course!  I just lightly spritzed the entire surface with my grubby stain, and let it dry overnight.

If you like the look of watermarks and want to create them, just add water!  Just a drop of water here and there will spread to make nicer size watermarks.  You can do this while it’s still wet OR once it has dried.    And IF the sun is shining and you can put it outside to dry, you’ll get lots of color striations.

Don’t forget to do the bottom of the box!

To pretty it up before putting it out for sale, I add a crumpled piece of tissue paper.  And sometimes I’ll spritz a smidge of fragrance spray on the paper.  BE CAREFUL ABOUT FRAGRANCES THOUGH!  A lot of people are allergic to some fragrances, including me!  Anything floral smelling is OUT for me.  Triggers an asthma attack!  I only use vanilla or cinnamon fragrances.  Baking smells are usually pretty safe. 

Just BE SURE to mention any added fragrance ESPECIALLY is you are selling on-line, where the buyer won’t be able to smell it in person.

New at our space in Camas Antique Mall

Cute little cubby cabinet.

Old black suitcases.

Handcrafted angel doll.

Another angel doll.

Silver plate vases.

Little ‘window pane’ shelf.

Fun little ‘step’ stool!

Aqua wall shelf and peg rack.

White wicker bench/coffee table;  just $30.00!

Oval stools.

Rectangle stools.

Stacking stools.

Wall signs.

Small framed signs.

Dried botanicals and cinnamon bun fragrance oil to make your own potpourri.

Cinnamon bun ‘room spray’ air freshener.

AJ’s own grubby stain; use on paper or fabric.

Cinnamon bun tart melts in vintage canning jar.



Book pages wreaths ~ revisited

LOVE all the different stuff bloggers are doing with old book pages these days!  It saddens me a tad to rip old books apart, but the end results just make you love the written word on a whole new level! 

It seems to have started with the ones with pages rolled into cone shapes and attached to a backing in a circular shape.  I passed on making any of those.  While I LIKE them, they just weren’t quite ‘my thing’.  THEN I saw (STILL cannot remember where!!) someone who had cut leaf shapes out of old book pages to make a wreath like this:

And I KNEW I had to make one.

Quite simple really; quick and easy.  The most time consuming part was covering the foam wreath form with paper!

Michael thought it needed ‘more color’.  That it was too plain.  So, I didn’t make any more for a looooooooooooooooooong time.  Decided to ‘get back into it’ on Monday, while I was resting up from setting up at our new space.  Cutting out leaves while watching TV was sedate enough to get rested, but productive enough to not feel like I’d wasted a day.

I came across a batch of leaves that I had TORN instead of cutting; and inked the edges.   My old arthritic hands did not like tearing out all those little leaves very much!  But this batch was done, so I worked with it.

Glued strips of pages to my green foam wreath from Dollar Tree.

Then hot glued the leaves to the wreath, one by one.

It DOES have more color and texture than the plain cut leaves one, but it still was not quite right.  And I actually liked the PLAIN one better than this one!  Was wishing I had some really OLD yellowed pages to work with!  HEY!!!  I can MAKE them look old with my grubby stain!!!

So I cut out a bunch more leaves.  Lightly spritzed my cookie sheet with some water so the paper leaves would ‘stick in place’.  Then I sprayed the whole sheet with my grubby stain.  (this is my own special recipe and does NOT use coffee or tea.  Can be made unscented or lightly scented.)   Turn the oven on to it’s LOWEST setting.  As soon as it reaches temp, TURN IT OFF!!!  Put your pan of wet stained leaves into the warm oven.  Don’t turn the oven back on!!  There will be enough heat to dry up your ‘leaves’ in about 10-15 minutes.

Look how beautifully they dry up.  Various shades of brown, some with darker edges and some nicely curled; just like REAL leaves do when they dry up!

Then I just get out my trusty hot glue gun and glue them to my covered wreath form!!

Love, love, love how these turned out!!!

And I couldn’t stop making them!!!

I didn’t even have to add any kind of ‘hanger’ to them.  The wreath part sticks out enough on the back to plop onto a nail.

I’m going to ‘go out on a limb’ and predict here and now that tea stained book pages wreaths will be the next ‘big thing’!  I wonder if I’m really the first one to think of this???  I know I haven’t seen it anywhere else before and came up with the idea all on my own.  But that doesn’t mean lots of other creative folks haven’t come up with the very same idea! 

Will be interesting to see!

* The inked edges wreath has gone to Stars.  The stained ones will be going to Camas.

Another shabby angel doll

Another variation of the two I showed a few posts back.  For this one I painted the eyes.  You can view my “Making Eyes” tutorial HERE.

And purchase my stain recipe from HERE in the blog; or from my etsy shop.

My stain recipe is for use on fabric OR paper.

I painted her eyes according to the tutorial.  Her nose/brow line was made with a fine line Sharpie; and her cheeks are stipple painted acrylic paint.

I gave this one a big fluffy tutu.  Read some directions on a blog ‘somewhere out there’ and followed those simple instructions (scaled down to doll size!)   With her tutu being so big, I decided to NOT give this one the angel wing supports that tie around to the front.  Just glued on a little hand stitched felt heart and little key.

Her wings were done the same as the previous angels; burlap covered cardboard.  I just used a lighter colored burlap this time.

And I left her barefoot.

I didn’t get a very good picture of her halo, but you can see it in the pic below.  Just three little strands of burlap thread, braided and placed around her like a head band.

And here she is, awaiting her new home in my space at Stars Antique Mall.

I’ll be heading out to Stars today to pull any leftover Valentines product and restock with LOTS of new goodies; including a huge stash of frames.

Old doll

 Got this ‘nekkid’ cloth body doll at the thrift store.  Stained her body using my special grubby stain recipe.  Then made her a pretty ruffled collar our of some wire edged ribbon.  For the collar I just hand sewed a running stitch through one side of the ribbon, then tied the ends together at the back of her neck.  She is in our space at Stars Antiques.

OUR WEBSITE: www.cscrafts.com/aj.html

VISIT OUR ETSY STORE: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5876981

~ primitives ~ trash to treasure ~ shabby chic ~ cottage ~ Paris apartment ~ repurposed home goods ~ repaired ~ restyled home decor ~ reused ~ recycled art ~ handcrafted gifts ~ one of a kind ~ artist originals ~ second hand style ~ junk market style ~ flea market style ~ beautiful junk ~ beach cottage décor ~ unique home décor ~ vintage home décor ~ unique gifts ~ custom made gifts ~ custom made home décor ~ personalized signs ~ Sophie’s Cottage ~ grubby candles ~ how to craft books ~ Shabby Paris apartment ~ baby gifts ~ personalized gifts ~ AJ Finsand ~

Published in: on August 22, 2008 at 7:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Grubby angels

I made these for Valentine’s day, but kept them plain and simple enough that they could be left out year round.

I started with purchased plain muslin ‘doll body blanks’ from a craft supplier, and stained them up real good with my special recipe.

For the wings, I used pages from an old hymnal which I also stained.  Once they were dry, I Mod Podged them to some leftover cardboard from picture frames.

* A note about Mod Podge.  I hear so many other crafters say they use it for adhering paper to paper in all types of altered art, so I decided to try it.  And I really did NOT care for it.  I have a jar of ‘MATTE’ and it had too much sheen in it to suit me.  Also, when I brushed it over the top of the stained pages, it left streak marks on my paper.  Guess I’ll go back to using tacky glue and then my matte varnish if it needs a top coat!

I tried tying the wings on with the string criss crossing in the front between the arms, but I just didn’t like how that looked.  So I ended up just using a big safety pin to attach the wings!  This way they could be removed and the doll body used in a different way if desired.

And I tied little keys with heart shaped cut outs in them around their necks.

pRiMiTiVe GrUbBy gRuNgY sTaiN ReCiPe

I’ve tried the rest and this one is




Sure, there are LOTS of free grubby stain recipes out there, but honestly, you ‘get what you pay for’!  And in the long run, the ingredients you buy for those free recipes cost more than what I recommend, they are more labor intensive to make and they can be sticky and stiNky!

I’ve purchased and tested many of the other stain recipes out there and this one really is the best.

I make a LOT of stained products to sell in our retail store and shows, and this is the only recipe I use.

* No smelly coffee or tea used!

* No other ‘stiff and sticky’ kitchen products.

* Make it scented or UNSCENTED!

(Stained muslin doll head shown in photo has one coat of ‘full strength’ solution.  You can make yours darker or lighter.  Unstained one shown for comparison)

Recipe also includes how to’s for:

 -> Making ‘bordered’ tags and cardstock.

-> Making oval bordered cardstock.

-> How to get that ‘mottled watermark’ look on your items if you wish.

-> Buy inexpensive flags and stain them yourself.

Fourteen color pictures with complete instructions.

To purchase this e-book, send $4.00via PayPal to folkartoriginals@yahoo.com 


***BE SURE to make a notation on your PayPal invoice as to which e-book it is that you are sending the money for.



Your e-book, in the form of a password protected Picturetrail album, will be emailied to you within 48 hours of receipt of payment.