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Ballard Designs with a Twist

I finished a small project today.


It’s one of those little projects that tickles me because I was able to repurpose something I already owned and make it “new.”

Several years ago I purchased one of these 2-pocket embossed organizers from Ballard Designs…

…only mine has the optional embossed fleur-de-lis instead of the quilting pattern you see above.
(Sorry, I tried to copy and paste the fleur-de-lis pattern from Ballard’s website,
but it would not cooperate…)
6 years ago when I purchased the organizer, my home was more Tuscan-style colors,
lots of deep reds and yellows…
so the copper was a beautiful complement.
Now, though, in our new house, my decorating has taken a decidedly
lighter, fresher turn.  Coating my main dining/kitchen/living room in Benjamin Moore’s
Bone White was a drastic change from the wall colors we used to know and love.
So creamy, so warm, so inviting…so CLEAN.
But as creamy and warm as the kitchen/dining/living area is,
there was a small, very unclean problem of paperwork.


With three elementary-aged children, we honestly have more papers than we know what to do with.  When a family adds mail and receipts and coupons to that list, one can quickly become quite overwhelmed.

Because of where we enter our house, until now our family papers have negligently been piled in this convenient “resting spot” on the kitchen counter:


See, even now in this spot you can see the box I still need to mail to my brother,
the needle-nosed pliers I used earlier today to pull my sample labels from my project,
and the paper I used to make the labels that are in there now.
I really don’t like to see stuff piled here as soon as we come up the stairs, and also, we have had
more than one unfortunate “soaking” of paperwork that came too close to sink overspray.
So here’s what I decided to do:
My solution was to take advantage of the wall just to the right of this counterspace,
the wall that houses our fridge.
I think many families today call a spot like this “command central.”
Here is the Coon Family’s Command Central:


Do you recognize a familiar-looking, Ballard Designs 2-pocket organizer??
Let me do a close-up so you can see the


Isn’t this a nice alternative to the copper?


What I did was wash and lightly sand the original piece (I very lightly sanded because….well…I knew I was using Kilz primer and it’s the bomb 🙂 and then I sprayed it with two coats of Kilz primer.  Because of the original metallic finish, I knew a good primer would be important.


I then sprayed on 2 coats of Valspar’s creamy white spray paint (there is not a name for this, but I have noticed that there are two different whites based on the lid color so be careful you pay attention to whether you want a cooler white or a creamy white.)
After painting, I took a small scrap of sandpaper and lightly sanded over all the edges, and over each fleur-de-lis, to give the organizer a slightly distressed look and to bring out the pattern a little.


I then sprayed on a Milwax Polyurethane to seal it.
Next, I knew I wanted to put labels on the front, but I had the hardest time finding
the little labels I had in mind.
 I asked at both Michael’s and Jo-Ann Fabrics and neither of the ladies could find what I needed.  Finally, racking my brain for an alternative solution and coming up with nothing, I solo-ed over to the scrapbooking section of Jo-Ann’s and, lo and behold, there I found exactly what I was looking for:

Did you know these little label-holders are called “bookplates?”  I didn’t, until I saw the label on the package 🙂

At first I thought I might want to spraypaint these a darker color, maybe a bronze or something, but then I decided to just leave them silver since we already have several silver/nickel finishes throughout our home.


I superglued the sides and bottom, and held in place to the count of 30.  This seems to be the
perfect number for curling hair, applying tattoos to kids’ arms, waiting for a spoon of soup to cool 🙂
I highly recommend counting to 30.
I suppose I could still glue the heads of some nails in the holes to really finish it off,
but the holes are not bothering me yet.  Which means they will probably stay that way.
I used some ivory cardstock and Microsoft Word to print off the labels,
and my little project was done:
So far the new system is working great, although I realized I will need to find
some folders to insert in both the MAIL and the KIDS pockets
because the paperwork has already been falling to the bottom and getting somewhat
squished and out of sight.
Folders would help organize things even further, maybe Mom and Dad folders
in the MAIL pocket
and Gabriel, Isaac and Amaya folders in the KIDS pocket.
But not just any folders, since they will easily be seen.  Manila folders will not do.
I’ll be on the lookout for some cute natural-looking folders, maybe with a little texture to them.
But definitely natural-looking.
Don’t you love to finish even one project?  What project are you excited about finishing next?





Reader Interactions


  1. Jaimee,
    You are such an inspiration. I am so excited to start decorating and finishing a home, once we finally plant some roots. Your home is beautiful.
    ~Niki Bradshaw and family

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