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A little skill, a lot of ideas

June 30, 2005|Maryann Hammers

Even if you're a klutz with crafts, says decorator Kitty Bartholomew, you can embellish your surroundings with these easy, do-it-yourself decorative touches.

Easy projects: It's relatively easy to turn a carpet remnant into a fun area rug, Bartholomew says. Turn the piece upside down, draw a shape -- heart, star, question mark -- then cut with a utility knife. Or turn an old bedspread into custom curtains: Just sew a pocket for the rod.

Reuse and retool: Start with what you have. Linen tablecloths can get a second life as shower curtains, she says. Need a desk? Put an old door on two file cabinets and cover with translucent plastic.

Smile: If an item makes you happy, find ways to use it. Bartholomew came across a collection of croquet balls at a swap meet. They look cool displayed in a glass bowl.

Try a face-lift: Hardware-store staples such as Briwax can give a wonderful patina and add richness and depth to surfaces, she says. Spray paint comes in matte, semigloss, satin, crackle and chalkboard finishes. Oil-based felt-tip paint pens are good for beginners.

Sources: Bartholomew recommends Wertz Brothers in Santa Monica for its extensive selection of used furniture from every era. She says Country Curtains ( has window coverings and inexpensive fabric, so you can make matching napkins and placemats.

-- Maryann Hammers

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