Monday, January 26, 2015

Hidden Gems

As a chronic collector (and the owner of an ever-expanding number of vintage baubles), I always have an eye out at thrift stores for old jewelry boxes like these to house my precious non-precious gems:

The good news is: There are tons of old jewelry boxes out there. The bad news is: Even the most mild-mannered-looking ones on the outside generally look something like this on the inside:

(Sorry, I should have warned you not to look directly at the photo; I'm pretty sure prolonged exposure to all that red satin can burn your retinas.)

Needless to say, I am not a red satin kind of girl. It's way too loud and Hollywood glam for my Midwestern sensibilities.

After seeing dozens of red-satin-lined boxes, I didn't have high hopes when I found this beat-up old box at a thrift store.

But when I opened it up, I was happily surprised...

... to see a beautifully restrained blue velvet lining.

(Pretend you don't notice the stained white pleather and just focus on the Restrained Blue Velvet for a moment.) Miraculously the velvet was clean and in almost perfect condition -- and it was a pretty close match to the blue tones in my bedroom, where the jewelry box would live.

On a side note, I would like to point out the sneaky, out-of-focus photobombing cat in the lower right corner of the above picture. He has clearly made it his mission to appear in as many posts as possible.

But back to the jewelry box. I hemmed and hawed about whether to buy it because eventually I did notice the stained white pleather, and it was pretty disgusting. I wasn't sure if the stains would come off or if paint would adhere to pleather or how I could fix the chipped corners. As I was walking through the store debating whether the box was a lost cause, I happened upon a remnant of wallpaper...

Williamsburg blue

... that was the same shade of blue as the Restrained Velvet. Clearly it as a sign.

I'm guessing the wallpaper is from the 1980s because that's when everybody was wallpapering everything in that Williamsburg blue color. (Then in the '90s everybody covered their Williamsburg blue wallpaper with hunter green paint.)

I for one am back in love with Williamsburg blue again. So I bought the stained jewelry box and the wallpaper remnant and put the two together, so this once shabby box....

... now looks like this.

And I'm happy to report the inside cleaned up very nicely.

As a bonus, the original tag/guarantee was still inside the box in all its 1950s glory. Here's the cover:

And here's the inside:

Fortunately, I still had a remnant of the remnant wallpaper left when I was done covering the box, because a few months later I found two more ugly-on-the-outside but velvety-blue-on-the-inside cases. They started out looking like this ...

... and now look like this:

wallpaper over old jewelry box

Their interiors went from looking like this...

... to looking like this...

Mod Podge

I lined the inside covers with some white tissue paper with faux handwriting printed on it.

And because I still had a tiny remnant of the remnant of the original remnant left over when I was done with covering all of the jewelry boxes, I dug this Williamsburg blue vintage suitcase out of storage ...

...and pasted a plaid liner on its inside cover.

He's full of Christmas ornaments right now.

I love storage that's pretty and practical.

So all together, here are my four Williamsburg blue boxes:

jewelry boxes

And this is what the three jewelry boxes look like inside* now that they're in use:

*Jewelry collection may have been edited to include only tasteful silver, white and blue baubles. Actual collection may be much larger and louder and considerably less photogenic.

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