The Catt Box

'Decorating Ideas'

 

Once in a while I get inspired for a new decorating idea or tip and I'd like to pass them onto you. We all are inspired by something or someone and it's fun to share with each other. I hope you enjoy some of these ideas as much as I did. This will be a page that I add to over time. It's just a matter of taking the pictures needed.

 

'Suitcase Displays'

A short while ago a friend of mine in Florida gave me a brilliant idea for how to display treasures that might otherwise be packed away in a drawer or someplace else. You take an old suitcase, preferably a small one, or an old traveling hat box, and arrange things inside of it, leaving the lid open, in order to display various things.

It only took the making of my first 'suitcase display' in order to get those wheels moving in my mind for other ideas. Here are some 'before' pictures of a traveling hat box that I have had for years. I bought it at the Salvation Army for $2.00...and it's in 'mint' condition. It's been sitting up on a shelf in my bedroom for a long time, and now it's set up and displayed so it can be seen. 

'Before'

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'After'

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As you can see from the photos above, I used a variety of things to use as display. I have some cards that came from my husband, wrapped in blue ribbon....some old jewelry, a journal (with the Marilyn Monroe face), some slips and bras, make up, special little cases, and just other little things that have special meaning to me. 

This gave me the idea to re-create a suitcase from my teen years. In 1972 I went to Europe.....to Switzerland and areas of France, including Paris. So, I wanted to create a display case that looked as though I had just returned from Europe. I still have my pictures and passport and postcards, things of that nature. 

I didn't have an old camera, one like the one I took with me back then, so my husband went to the Salvation Army and found a camera exactly like the one I used to have ....and it only cost $1.00.

See, the idea, to me, isn't so much as having the original things that I had all those years ago, but a 'representation' of those things. Just the sort of things that will evoke memories. 

Then I began to think of other 'suitcase displays'.....like one from our honeymoon, or other important or fun times in my life. 

So I took it a step farther. I went to eBay in search of an old Steamer Trunk. I've wanted one for as long as I can remember, and I figured that I could get one and each drawer in it could contain the contents of different times of my life.

I found the perfect Steamer Trunk.....the auction ended with me as the highest bidder.........I bought that trunk for only $46.00, plus the $29.00 to ship it. That is an incredible bargain. 

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It arrived in excellent condition...I couldn't have been happier. Since re-building my website I've not had the time to fix the trunk up the way I want it to look, but I'll do that eventually and then post the pictures here. 

Also, another idea I had was to set up a doll trunk with favorite toys of my childhood. They won't be my own originals, but they will be 'representation' of what I used to have......like Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Barbie, Lisa Littlechap dolls (which I've already found and purchased through eBay), etc. 

It's fun to go back and see the toys that bring the fondest memories. I also want to do one of the drawers in the Steamer Trunk on my teen years, like with old Teen Beat Magazines and Partridge Family trading cards......old school papers and year books that I still have.....letters, records, pictures, things of that nature. 

This is a really fun project to do. And if you're looking for a special gift to do for a family member, this is a really nice idea.....even if you just remember some of what someone had in their youth and you buy or find the 'representation', the memories it evokes is the key. Just try shopping around on eBay, you'd be surprised what you can find.

 

'Primitive Stools'

An idea my ex-husband and I had a few years ago is to build our own deck stools and accent tables, using logs and branches. The thing I like about it is that if they are outside and exposed to the elements, which eventually leads to their demise, you can always make more....

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Another variation to these stools, and one that will allow them to last much longer, is to paint them. I took one of these stools and wrapped twine around the legs and then painted the entire thing with white paint. I keep it in my bedroom as an accent table and it looks great.

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'The Cabinet'

About 24 years ago I found an old 2 x 4 built shelving unit in the garbage behind a liquor store in Aberdeen, Maryland. It was being thrown away and I wanted it. 

For many years I used it as storage space for odds and ends, or canned foods. I have used it in many different rooms and in many different ways. 

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Well, years ago my ex-husband and I got the idea of making 'sides' to this unit, as well as doors, and that's exactly what we did. The basic structure of the shelving unit was very sound, and putting the sides and doors on it made it look like a huge cabinet. I painted it the shade of green I liked and then distressed it. Then I hand painted flowers down the front of the doors.

Buy the time we finished with this cabinet, it looked very old. It stands in my bedroom and I keep photo albums and odds and ends inside of the cabinet. I'll have to look through my photo albums one day and see if I have a good 'before' picture to show you.

 

'The Dresser'

Many years ago, or so, I decided that I didn't want my king-size waterbed anymore. I had slept on it for ten years and it had been a great bed, but as I get older, I want more support for my back. 

Well, I had a very nice bed. It was huge, and my ex-husband had made a canopy top for it. I wanted to buy a full size bed, but I also wanted a canopy.

I ordered a nice cherry wood canopy bed and tried to decide what to do with my waterbed. You can't get any money for them and the newspaper want-ads are always full of people trying to sell their waterbeds. Also, my waterbed had an 8 drawer pedestal around the base, and all those drawers were being used. What was I going to do?

Then it came to me......we stacked the pedestal drawers on top of each other to make two rows of drawers. Then we took the sides of the water bed and cut them down to make a 'top' for the pedestal. Next we lifted that huge head-board up and placed it on top of the drawer section......and voila!!....we now had a huge dresser. So, I was able to keep all that nice drawer space, plus, I had a nice dresser in which to display some things.

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'Misc. Ideas'

An idea that I had sometime last year was to take a large storage jar and fill it with sample products....extra toothbrushes, soaps, shampoos, just any of those small sample sized products. Not only is it attractive, but it's a good way to keep all of those small things in one place. Plus, it's good to have on hand if you have company and they need any of those things. 

And about six months ago I got the idea to get another storage jar, a large one, and fill it with special soaps that I love to collect. Again, it's a nice way to display your special soaps, without them becoming dusty.

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These jars were brought into the kitchen to photograph.

 

'Misc. Decorating Tips And Ideas'

The following are some ideas I've gotten from different places, like magazines and TV shows. Also, I recently raised a page on lots of household tips and ideas that I've collected for many years. Click here to see that page. I also have a printer-friendly version, so you can print out a copy of the ideas.

  • For pictures of the slate-top countertop that my ex-husband installed, go to The Catt House page. We also have pictures of a kitchen 'island' we built from an old work bench on that same page.

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  • Shaving cream can be used to clean upholstery. 

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  • Use a 'walnut meat' to help cover up scratches on furniture.

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  • If the drawers to a dresser are sticking or 'hanging up' on the slide sections, rub some candle wax on it and it will slide much easier.

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  • To help remove candle wax from carpeting and other areas, place a generous piece of paper over the wax and then place a warm iron on the paper. Applying the heat, carefully, will re-melt the wax and make it adhere to the paper. 

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  • If the pictures on your wall keep slipping out of place, place a drop of 'glue gun' glue on the bottom corners of the back of the frames and allow to dry. It will help hold your pictures in place.

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  • Use wicker cases and old stacked luggage for extra storage space.

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  • Use an old weathered window pane as a mirror by replacing the clear glass with mirror. Hang on the wall, or prop against a wall, for an interesting look.

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  • Attach a quilt to the wall by using VelcroŽ.

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  • Old cloth dishcloths make wonderful 'Country' curtains in the Kitchen or on odd windows.

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  • Use a small wicker basket in your refrigerator for small items.

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  • Hat boxes make great bathroom storage.

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  • If you have odd pieces of 'silver plated' items, you can use them in your bathroom for brushes and combs, or sit them on your vanity, to use for make up brushes.

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  • Not all furniture in a room has to match...mix it up and spread it throughout your house in different rooms.

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  • For a textured wall, take different sizes of torn strips from brown paper bags, glue them on a wall, and then 'milk paint' it. Makes for a great 'accent wall'.

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  • Remodel your kitchen in 1950's style.

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  • If you are using throw pillows stacked on beds and chairs, put the floral pillows behind the solid color pillows. Always make the pillows in the back point 'up'.

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  • Take your favorite vacation pictures and have them enlarged....frame them, and group them together. 

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  • For a nice display of photographs, keep all of the frames the same...which will make the viewer focus on the pictures, and not the frames.

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  • For your dining area, take menus from your favorite restaurants and frame them. Keep this in mind when you are traveling and going to different restaurants.

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  • Hang and display your pots and pans around your kitchen window, instead of curtains.

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  • If you have an out-of-the-way nook in your home, use maps from everywhere as wallpaper.

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  • Dig out your family treasures and display them...playbills, ticket stubs from favorite movies and moments. Old report cards? Hair clippings? Younger pictures of yourself? Favorite moments in your life? 

 

I will post more pictures and ideas on this page soon!