A Craft From the Heart -The Leininger Threads

Today we get personal with a project just for fun, but super close to my heart.  Determined to continue hoarding my collection of my grandmother's old sewing supplies, I found a way to actually make use of the pieces that are no longer functional for sewing…

Growing up my grandmother taught me about basic sewing, garment construction, and repair. She encouraged and inspired me to create things and helped me to bring my visions to life, so when she passed away a few years ago her collection was handed down to me. She was a child of the depression and one of nine children, she never wasted anything and could always find a second use for items others might throw out. She appreciated all the small things in life and had the most intriguing sense of creativity.

That being said, part of her sewing collection included baskets of threads that are so old and brittle they break with any amount of tension. But I refuse to get rid of them because the threads in those baskets are a lifetime of handmade memories, small pieces of all the things she made over the years and while they are no longer functional they are still beautiful and extremely sentimental to me. Using a shadowbox, I arranged the threads in a visually appealing way and then used a hot glue gun to secure spools in place.

So today in honor of my Grandmother—creative muse and mentor—I present The Leininger Threads

Now these colorful old spools grace my walls and allow me to keep a treasured piece of my grandmothers collection for display (instead of sitting in a box near the sewing machine).  I hope this project inspires and encourages you to look at things in a new way and to challenge yourself to make something old new again. How do you show off your favorite & sentimental collections?

Modernizing A Vintage Spice Rack

One thing I notice on many wedding and gift registries are spice sets/racks. Every couple starting out needs a staple set of spices and seasonings to get their kitchen in gear. I love cooking and enjoy gifting kitchen related items from registries and spice racks are usually a part of my go to gift package for the bride. With multiple weddings this summer, I decided to get creative when I noticed a spice rack on my sister’s registry. I figured for about the same price as your average rack I could create a unique piece that could save counter space in her small kitchen and have a big impact on style at the same time.

So I set out on a thrift adventure to find an antique wooden spice rack that I could modernize and personalize. Spice racks can be so boring and bulk up countertops in small kitchens. So I knew I had found the perfect one for this project when I came across this cabinet style spice rack. It had a great door and featured beveled detailing on front and a vintage diagram of “Herbs & Spices — How To Use Them” on the inside.

With its large picture space on the outside and a latching door to keep all those spice jars out of sight and organized, I saw the opportunity for this to be transformed to something that could be both pretty and functional. 

Knowing my sister’s kitchen style made it easy for me to envision modernizing this dated 1970’s style rack to work in her home. I chose a dark espresso wood stain and a paper that had a very classic laurel leaf motif but felt bold and modern. The pretty cream and gold color is balanced by the dark wood stain and keeps it elegant. I decided to edge one of the bevels in gold leaf to better tie elements together.

Supplies: thrifted spice rack, pretty patterned paper (like this), wood stainsand paperclear wood finishspray adhesive, masking tape, tape measure, razor blade, liquid gold leaf

  1. Take apart cabinet and sand off old finish. If you have any areas that need to be taped off when staining/painting do so now with masking tape. I needed to cover the center image area so used newspaper and masking tape to cover.
  2. Stain or paint sanded wood with chosen color, I used 3 coats of stain and this process took about 3 days doing 1 coat per day.
  3. For extra detail, I decided to rim one of the bevels in the front of the cabinet with liquid gold leaf. (this is an optional step)
  4. Seal with a clear wood finish.
  5. Carefully cut paper to size needed and remove masking tape and newspaper to apply spray adhesive.
  6. Adhere paper to cabinet and smooth flat.

For a beautiful and unique Bridal Shower / Housewarming gift, this project took about a week to complete and materials cost less than $40. To complete the gift, I’ll fill this cabinet with a starter spice set, like this one for a complete gift under $100.

A re-finished cabinet like this one could also be a perfect addition to bathroom or laundry room and used for storing essential oils or as a medicine cabinet.