Fall Tea Bag Display

I did a blog previously about putting up the industrial looking wood shelves at my husband's store in the Short North. We recently decorated it for fall with dyed tea bags and painted branches so I wanted to share some quick tips and pictures!


Step 1//

My first step was to enlist the help of my sister Esther who is a fabulous artist and all around crafty superhero. Naturally, when sourcing materials she hacked down giant branches in her own backyard and spray painted them gold on the patio along with some big leaves. Other than that we just needed fishing wire, needles, lots of tea and food coloring. 

Step 2//


We bought large boxes of tagless tea bags (way more than we needed) and a set of food coloring. I filled three bowls with hot water and added red food coloring to one, yellow to the other and in the third mainly yellow with a drop of red. We did this project around thanksgiving so I couldn't find any orange food coloring. 

Make sure you prepare the space where you're going to dry the tea bags. We used the dining table and a towel that we didn't care about staining. Even so, we put a large trash bag under the towel just in case. After letting each batch of tea bags soak for about three minutes we pressed the excess water out and laid them to dry. They were able to set out for about 20 hours, I flipped them halfway through and in the morning took about 10 minutes with the blow dryer to really dry them out. I also read that you can put them on a cookie sheet and bake them but we weren't in that big of a rush and had so many. 

Step 3//


We installed hooks into the ceiling above the display wall on the side facing the street. Using the fishing wire we looped it through the hooks and around the branches until they were secured at the height we wanted. We then began stringing the tea bags. Using a needle I threaded it with the wire, pierced the top of the tea bag and pulled it down the line. Once it was placed properly I tied a knot on the other side of the first tea bag, added another, pulled it down the line, tied a knot, and continued the process until a I had a string full of different colored tea bags. Make sure you leave enough empty wire at the top to hang with and then cut the excess off after. On the left side where there were less branches we made lots of long busy strands and on the right we hung lots of singles or sets of two and added the painted leaves throughout. 

If you're in the Short North make sure you stop by and check out STORE 5a on 765 N High beside Hubbard Grilled across from Pint House. They have pre-owned and vintage handbags, bridal and fashion jewelry and watches! 

Retail Display Wall

Originally, this blog was going to be about the shelving I worked on for a retail display... but it may end up being about handbags. I'll do my best to keep on topic! First, if you live in Columbus, Ohio and have not been to Store 5a in the Short North you are truly missing out. It is a pre-owned luxury store that carries all kinds of jewelry, timepieces and yes, handbags.

Step 1//

Supplies - We decided to do four staggered shelves on the plaster wall which meant we needed two pipe supports per shelf. At Lowes in the plumbing section, we found 8 black iron pipes that were 1/2" wide and 10" long. For each pipe we bough a matching floor flange and a round cap. We also picked up the wood there, a light wood that we stained ourselves with Minwax and that was 9" wide so it would sit snug in between the wall and the cap without needing to be cut so we only needed to cut the length. 

Step 2//

Installation - The guys who created the plaster wall had marked for us where the studs were so we had to place our pipes accordingly. We marked one spot, drilled a hole first and then attached the first flange. Using a level and measuring tape we repeated this for the corresponding flange. The pipes simply screw/twist into the flange and then the cap screws onto the exposed end! I took all of the materials and scrubbed them in a slop sink with palmolive to get off as much grease as I could. They still leave a little black residue but cleaning them first makes a big difference!

Once all of the piping was in place and the wood had been stained on both sides and had time to set, we simply put the shelves in place, added the handbags of course and it was a beautiful display of purse heaven!

For more info on the handbags check out www.store5a.com! Working on this retail space was so much fun, it was truly a transformation and Jesse Johnson (my husband and the store director) had a very clear vision for the space. To see a glimpse into the process take a look at the gallery below!


I leave you with the most beautiful pre-owned handbag of all time - Celine, you slay me...


{Re}purposed Card Holder

I found this red metal antique pet carrier on Craigslist and thought it could be a great card holder at events as an alternative to the ultra trendy bird cage card holders that are out there. It even looks kind of like a mailbox to me! Just a few quick steps and the repurpose was complete.

Step 1//

I used wire cutters, pliers, a metal file and my superior arm strength (with lots of breaks) to remove a section of the wire in the front where cards could be placed without opening the cage.

Step 2//

Prep and Paint! The piece has some rust so I sprayed some Rustoleum and sanded to prep the surface to be painted. As per usual, I used Annie Sloan chalk paint - Pure White to cover the piece inside and out. I used a small angle tip foam brush to paint the wires - hindsight - spray painting the bars would have been easier. After a few coats, I finished with the soft clear wax to coat and protect the piece and give it a nice finish!

I am on the lookout to replace the handle on top, but for now I just painted it white as well and kept it. I added some foam cushion pads on the four corners on the bottom so it wouldn't scratch surfaces and that was it! Note that the cage does open for easy retrieval of the cards after the event or for entering larger items.

Before and after!

Re{purposed} Graphite Bar Cart

I was itching to make a bar cart for a while and was hunting for the perfect base piece, when I saw this old school wooden microwave cart I knew it was something I could work with!

Step 1//

My first step with this piece was deconstruction. I removed the two front facing pieces, the doors and the main shelf base to replace with raw, better quality stainable wood. 

Step 2//

I purchased aspen birch 2x4s for the main shelf piece and the X shaped wine bottle shelf on bottom. I also purchased two pieces of T-wood molding for the front facing piece above the drawer and to make the slats to hold the wine glasses. Using a circular saw I (my husband may have helped) cut the wood to fit, sanded it and painted with Annie Sloan graphite chalk paint. 

Step 3//

I coated the original piece with two coats of the graphite paint. Annie Sloan chalk paint requires a wax top coat. I really wanted this piece to be dark so I decided to be brave and experiment with the dark wax. I mixed 3/4 dark wax with 1/4 clear soft wax for blending and used that to wax and buff the whole piece. I took all of the new apsen birch wood and stained it with Minwax ebony wood stain followed by a few coats of clear sealant. I lost a lot of the pictures for this project when my phone broke so I don't have much but here is a picture of what the wax mix looks like on the graphite paint, before on the left and waxed version on the right:

Step 4//

Reconstruction - I replaced the old main shelf base with the newly stained beautiful aspen wood and used wood glue to adhere on the t-wood pieces on the front directly above the drawer. The rest of the new wood went to make the X shaped wine bottle holder on the bottom. There is one long piece with two shorter pieces and I ended up using right angle brackets to hold them in place. There are many ways to make this, most include using a router which I didn't feel up for on this project. I replaced the original pull with a gold gem that I found at the Columbus Architectural Salvage!

Phase two of the reconstruction was to add the wooden slats to hold the wine glasses along the top. I modeled this after the wine rack that I did and made them further apart on the left than on the right for red wine glasses and white wine/champagne glasses. I adhered them with really intense wood glue and a wood screw in the center for extra security. When I put the first two on I had a little trouble keeping them parallel all the way through. I decided to flip the whole piece upside down, put blue tape along the edge to measure the gap on the front and then I cut wood spacers the same gap size and put them in the back to keep it perfectly even all the way through!

After I flipped it right side up and began to stage everything it really came together. Below are the final pictures, enjoy!