Sewing, Refashioning, Repurposing & Thrifting Through Life

How to Clean Old Hardware

How do you decide whether to buy new hardware (handles, drawer pulls, knobs) or keep the existing?

There are some beautiful new pieces in the stores. I especially love anything made of glass. Seems the choices these days are silver, nickel, oil-rubbed bronze and black. What?! No brass? Of course not. There’s not a whole lot of selection out there if you like gold. Silver everything. Nothing could outdate your home more than having brass anything in your house, right? I hear it’s making (or made?) a comeback. I don’t know. I don’t really care.

Here’s my point. I think you should do whatever you like and whatever looks good with the piece you’re working with.

My first thought is usually to get new stuff but now that I’ve discovered how to clean the old pieces, I’m happy to keep them, even if they are gold.

Take a look at the before and after pics below. I think they’re brass. They’re solid and heavy and quite beautiful.

These are the pulls from the antique bedroom set I just painted. After on the top and before on the bottom.



And these pulls from some vintage end tables. Before on the left and after on the right.20160801_143718.jpg

Not gonna lie. It took some elbow grease. OK, a lot of elbow grease but when you stop and consider it’s all just years of dirty fingers (BTW, ewwww to that!) and you CAN get them clean, please don’t spray paint them or buy new ones. They’re gorgeous and you just brought them back to their glory days.

I used Bar Keeper’s Friend-amazing stuff!


What’s your preference? Clean up the old or buy brand new?

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Reader Inspired Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

I’m happy to say that this post is a reader inspiration! Mr. Restyle occasionally shares our projects with coworkers (I had no idea). He happened to share our kitchen makeover with a lovely lady named Cristina. You can read the original post on our DIY kitchen makeover here.

Cristina shared the post with her husband Dante and they decided to set out and redo their own cabinets using General Finishes Java Gel Stain. Cristina and Dante share a passion for restoring old furnishings to their former glory. Restaining their cupboards is a great way to achieve a brand new look.

Here’s the before of their cabinets. Ah yes, the good ole honey oak!

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Looks like their kitchen was already a happy place to be but look at the after below!


Here’s the after.


Gorgeous! So sleek and modern.


Great job guys! Here’s Cristina and Dante’s before and after for comparison. I am so happy to do be able to share our projects and more importantly, to hear that others can achieve something amazing from them.




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Projects I’m Working On

I hope everyone is enjoying a fantastic summer. I was able to escape on a camping trip “up north” as we say here in Ontario and enjoyed a few days of much needed R &R. Completely unplugged nevertheless! No choice! There was no cell signal where we were. It was a welcome break.

Mr. Restyle is working on building our basement bathroom. So far he’s tiled the shower. He even built in a little soap and shampoo niche with lights I might add and started the ceiling and painted the walls. Doesn’t look like much yet but it’s getting there. It’s been so incredibly hot that most nights we don’t feel like doing anything.


The mister insists on dropped ceilings in the basement. I don’t blame him as he has this house wired to the max and wants easy access. For this bathroom, he’s not using pre-fabricated ceiling panels but making them himself out of drywall. We’ve already purchased the shower doors and the toilet and sink. For the vanity, we will be installing this vintage dresser that I’ve painted white. The top will remain the original wood tone. It will be home to a cute little vessel sink. I cannot wait to show the finished room.


We decided not to build a closet but use a charming antique bookcase to house towels and toiletries.


Here it is after the first coat of white.


There are a ton of projects going on. Once the bathroom is complete, we will begin replacing all the bedroom carpeting with laminate, restaining the staircase, building a tray ceiling in our bedroom, redmodelling the master ensuite and building a system for our walk-in closet, all DIY/reclaim/repurpose style! So exciting.

We saw an antique bedroom set we liked so we scooped that up and I’ve already painted it and it’s been moved to our room. Yes, we do things backward. Not intentionally of course but that is the reality when you are reusing and redoing the way we do. There is no rhyme or reason.

Here’s a sneak peak. Excuse the mess but hopefully you can envision that ugly brown colour replaced with a soft blue-grey with a greyish wood toned floor.

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Oh, and I’ll be adding a diamond tufted headboard and creating a bench out of an old coffee table. I think I have enough on the go for now don’t I? Kinda explains why I never do any sewing or clothing related posts!




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How to Paint Yellowed Fridge Door Handles

Over time, you might notice that the handles on your refrigerator become worn and yellowed or even take on an orangey colour. Scrub as you might it just doesn’t go away. Rest assured this is not dirt. Those plastic handles have a special coating. What you’re seeing is the underside where the coating has worn off.

Mine were so bad it was embarrassing. What to do? I’d love to eventually replace the appliances with sleek stainless but there’s nothing wrong with the fridge and appliances are expensive!



You can easily pop those things off. I don’t know if all fridges are the same but I didn’t have to take the whole fridge apart. It was pretty easy to pry the parts off.

To paint the handles I used a special spray paint made for appliances from Rustoleum.


I couldn’t manage to remove all the parts for the ice and water dispenser so I covered up what I could and just used chalk paint for this area. We don’t use the dispensers anymore so water and ice exposure is not going to be an issue.

Here is the after. Looks brand new. Still not stainless but looking good.


Much better!

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DIY Pick up truck Bed Divider

Mr. Restyle got himself a pick up a while back and devised a way to separate the bed area so that smaller items like groceries don’t slide around.

Of course he got a bit of help from me with the sewing part. This is such a simple solution using 2 shower curtain tension rods and a bit of fabric.

He found some clearance waterproof material. All I did was sew 2 casings for the rods. That’s it!




Now boxes and bags don’t slide around!


Flower Pot Makeover with Spray Paint

Last weekend was a long weekend and as such, the traditional flower and vegetable garden planting time. Here’s an easy fix for old, white and dingy plastic flower pots. Mine were pretty bad. Here’s the before. You really can’t tell from the photo but it was looking rather grey and drab.


All I did was a couple of coats of Rustoleum Painter’s Touch spray paint in the colour Key Lime. Be sure to also spray the top portion. No need to paint the entire inside of the pot. This paint bonds to plastic so it was perfect for this project.

Here’s the after. The colour is more lime green than yellow as it appears in the photos:




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Another Cane Chair Makeover

Hello friends. Here’s another quick cane chair makeover. This one was done for my mom. Scored this velvet number a few months back and finally got around to reupholstery. While there was nothing wrong with it, the colour needed an update. Here she is before.


And here’s the after. Sorry for not having more pictures and closeups. I’ve been so busy with work that it’s left me with very little time in the evenings to do this properly but I thought you might like to see the transformation. The only thing I changed was the use of double-piping instead of single. I changed up the way the piping went around the base of the cushion as well. Sometimes these chairs are a pain to remove staples from as the groove is so tiny. It also makes it more difficult to put your staple gun in the right place. A good way to hide the imperfections is by doubling up the piping.


Before and After:



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Framing a Builder’s Grade Mirror

A very easy way to transform a Builder’s Grade vanity mirror is to add a frame of your own to it.

The mirror in the kids’ bathroom needed a little something to go with the restained cabinets and fresh paint.

All we did was purchase some pine moulding that we stained the same colour as the cabinets.

Our mirror is held to the wall by 4 clips on the outside. I forgot to take a before picture. Mr. Restyle wanted to add the frame to the outside of the mirror but the existing light fixture was in the way. Rather than rewire, move the fixture up and fill holes in the wall, he notched out the back of the frame so that the existing mirror clips would be covered smoothly and then he used a heavy duty glue to fix the frame to the mirror.


One thing to keep in mind if you do this is that once the frame is on top of the mirror you will see the back of the frame in the reflection. Don’t forget to stain or paint the back of the frame too!



Thrifted Home Decor

Some of my favourite recent thrifted home decor goodies today. This mantle clock. I’m not sure the age but it’s a wind up! We kept it on the fireplace mantle but the tick-tock became a little annoying for some people. It now occupies a space on our dining room sideboard.


These glass goodies-candy dishes and wine decanter. Notice the candy in the smaller bowl is all gone. Hmmm..wonder who that was! Gosh, candy dishes remind me of my youth. There were certain people our family would visit and you always knew they had candy in a bowl that you could dip your hand in if you asked politely first.


A couple of glass candle holders for the hallway.


This caged basket of fruits and nuts adds a pop of colour.


A glass and chrome lamp for the dining room.


The pig bank is a thrifted find too. I don’t know why I picked it up. Maybe because it reminds me of the delftware vase we purchased up during our honeymoon in Aruba almost 25 years ago! You can read more about delftware right here.

And finally, this print entitled “An April Storm.” I don’t know much about art at all nor do I care what’s in, what’s popular or how famous the artist is. I just really gravitated toward this. The artist is an American named Robert Duncan. You can find more of his work right here. The frame was in rough shape but a coat of paint quickly fixed that.




Pretty Little Thrifted Storage Box

I’m making a commitment to try and post more. Hopefully I can stick with it! Just a quick post on a few little thrifted items I picked up recently.

This storage box. It was originally a dark red wood. All I did was apply a couple of coats of chalk paint and clear wax.


The box sits on a dresser in our front hallway. The top is meant for a portrait of some sort. I don’t know what I’ll put in there just yet so I printed off this little quote for now.


It’s great for keys, workplace security passes and just odds and ends. Out of sight! Literally.



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