Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A kitchen linens basket

There's a spot in our kitchen that's been bugging me for quite a while.  Ever since we switched to using only cloth napkins, we've been piling the dirty ones on top of the microwave.  The result?

Nice.  No small child home is complete without tomato sauce stains.  Basically, it made that whole side of the kitchen look like a dumping ground.  I've tried a few things to corral the unsightly mess, but nothing was really doing it for me.  After a few bowls and other things from around the house failed the prettiness test, I decided to find a basket to fill the spot.  Most unfortunately, the one I fell in love with was, umm, too tall to fit.  Guess I should have measured before buying.  Oops!

After returning the original basket, I found this one at 40% off at Michael's (ended up being about $8):

A perfect fit for the space, but it felt a little drab.  Let the fix up begin!

I love baskets made from natural materials, but the sea grass of this one was a bit too bright and shiny for my taste.  To solve that problem, I did a light wash of AS Chalk Paint in French Linen.  I didn't want to turn this into a painted basket, so I really watered the paint down.  Maybe equal parts water to paint.  The look is very subtle, so I had a hard time capturing it in pictures.  These shots show the difference between the finished and unfinished parts of the inside of the basket.

Doesn't that look nice?  I love the soft grey over the natural sea grass!  It cuts down the yellow tint without taking away all the grass's warmth.  Perfect.

To finish out this mini makeover, I wanted to dress up the front of the basket, too.  There's a line of baskets at Target by Smith&Hawken that have little slate chalkboards tied to the front that I've been drooling over, so I decided to give that a try.  Being fresh out of small slate chalkboards around here, I used a little piece of 1/4 inch plywood to fake it!

After cutting it to size and drilling holes in each end, I painted the plywood (with the same paint I used on our bedroom sign) and then traced my chosen lettering.  After all the painstaking labor of my last lettering effort, I tried a new (and much better) method this time around.  I printed out the word "linens" (in the font Lavenderia) onto some regular computer paper, and once I covered the backside in pencil lead, it worked just like carbon paper!  I simply lined the paper up over the piece of plywood and wrote over the lettering with a pen, which left a perfect outline on the the wood.  See?

I decided to simply use chalk to fill in the letters, and much to my surprise, it worked perfectly and comes off easily, too!  My handwriting is atrocious, so it took a few tries to get it just how I wanted, but the chalk came right off with a damp cloth.  After getting the lettering just right, I tied the sign to the front of the basket with a bit of jute twine.

I'm completely in love with how this turned out!  The basket fits perfectly in the space and even looks pretty while doing its job :)

Hooray for quick and lovely fixes to annoying problems! 


  1. That is really a very wonderful idea to add a basket in your kitchen linens. This basket can be used for to place some knifes, spoons, tea towels and much more.
    Just love your idea.

    1. I'm glad you liked my idea, Daisy! Thanks for stopping by :)