Saturday, July 5, 2014

Do you want to build an Elsa Dress?

If you know a girl between the age of 2 and 10, you've no doubt seen Frozen. If you live with that girl, you've probably seen it so many times you know all the words to every song. Since it came out on home video in March, girls everywhere have pretty well had this film on repeat and clamored for all of the Frozen merchandise that Disney can make. This stuff is popular. So popular, in fact, that Disney ran out. Queen Elsa's gown became an underground commodity, selling for hundreds of dollars on Ebay.
In light of this catastrophe moms have been forced to do something they haven't done since the 80's: Make their own Disney princess dresses. But, unlike the baby boomers who at least had mandatory home ec to fall back on, Gen X is struggling with this one a bit. They don't all have the know-how to cobble together their own dresses. They don't have sewing machines. They have full-time jobs and no time for sewing. They are cutting up bridesmaids dresses from the Goodwill. They are sewing t-shirts to blue skirts. They are making some seriously unattractive and rather risque dresses then posting photos of them on the internet. And I, from my childless apartment, have been laughing at them.

So, when a friend mentioned that her daughter had her heart set on an Elsa dress, but they simply don't exist in the Northern hemisphere, I took it upon myself to help out. After all, I'm sick to death of writing and I never get to buy sparkly fabric. Also, I thought a tutorial would offer some karmic retribution after all of my laughing at others. 

I began by pulling out my stack of accumulated patterns. The most savvy moms (like Grace Hepburn) have been using Simplicity 2463 as a base for Elsa dresses, because of the pointed bodice and sheer yolk. But, I didn't have Simplicity 2463, and patterns weren't on sale this weekend. So, I pulled out Butterick 5458 from when I made flower girl dresses a few years back for my sister's wedding. Then, I set to work adapting it. 

First, I added 3 inches to the bodice front and back to make it a natural-waist instead of a empire-waist. Then, I added a "V" shape to the front of the bodice. Lastly, I used this tutorial from Syl and Sam for how to make a regular sleeveless top into a sheer sweetheart neckline (please just ignore the image of Snoop Dogg and imagine making this for your child). 

While 2463 has set in sleeves that other people have been lengthening, I hate setting in sleeves more than just about anything else in the world, so I went with (I'd like to think a more true to character) raglan. I pulled out an old pattern for children's pajamas (Simplicity 5271) and used this as a template for my yolk and sleeves. The sleeve had to be taken in a bit for fit, and also made pointy at the end to give that distinct queenly look. The neck line also had to be altered from a crew neck to a boat neck. So I matched up all of my pieces (accounting for seam allowance) and altered the neck to be sure it would all match up.

Since I had added substantially to the bodice, I removed 3 inches of length from the skirt back, and for the front I both removed the 3 inches, and cut the top edge into a very slight "V"to fit into the "V" added to the bodice. 

In the end, my pattern pieces looked like this. 
Then, I went off the LA garment district to seek out some machine washable, sparkly fabric. I came home with $20 worth of beautiful. For a size 6 I needed:

2 yards of blue satin
1/3 yard of sequins**
1/3 yard of sheer**
1 yard of "cape" sheer
1 14" invisble zipper
7 snaps***

**Note. Sheers and sequins are itchy. Children hate itchy. The sequins will be fully lined, so go nuts, the sheer will be against tiny skin, go soft!
***Note. I had planned to use velcro for this, but an experienced mom mentioned that Velcro on costumes gets stuck to everything and is upsetting. So, I went with snaps. If you prefer velcro, be by guest. You'll need about 16"
Cut

Of the heavy blue satin, cut 1 skirt front (on the fold), 2 skirt backs, 1 bodice front (on fold, for lining) and 2 bodice backs (for lining). 

Of the sequins, cut 1 bodice front (on fold) and 2 bodice backs. 

Of the sheer for the yolk/sleeves cut 2 sleeves, 1 yolk front (on fold) and 2 yolk backs. 

Sew

The most brutal part of this process was, luckily, the first. Carefully pin the sheer front yolk fabric to the heavy satin front bodice lining. Baste. (You could start by sewing the sheer to the sequins. But do note that you will be sewing sheer to sequins, and you'll want to quit right then and there.) Carefully pin the sequin front bodice to the basted lining/yolk. Stitch.

Repeat this process with the back lining, yolk, and bodice. 

Pin sleeve fronts to bodice/yolk fronts. Stitch. Pin sleeve backs to bodice/yolk backs. Stitch. 
Gather skirt backs (separately) and pin to bodice backs (separately). Stitch gathers in place. Gather bodice front, making note of the deepest "point and marking with a pin. Match "pin" that marks the center to the "point" on the front of the bodice. Gather evenly on both sides. Pin. Stitch gathers into place. 

Starting at armpits to ensure everything matches up right, pin bodice front to bodice back on both sides. Then, pin up both sleeves (armpit to wrist). Then, pin down both sides of the skirt. Starting at the wrist of the sleeve, run one long row of stitches down the sleeve, bodice and skirt. Reinforce armpits with a second row of stitching.
At this point, I did a fitting with my little Queen. Screams broke out. No, not pins. Itches! It itches! Oh the agony. I felt awful and went home with head hung low. That was a rookie mistake. As a little girl I wouldn't even let my dad wear itchy clothes in my presence, much less wear them myself. So, just like my dad did when I complained of something itchy, I touched the sheer sparkly fabric to my face. It did indeed feel like a million tiny needles. It was terrible. So, back to the fabric store! I came home with 1/3 yard of cheap sheer-ish jersey knit (nice and soft), ripped back some seams, and did it again.**
From here, I set the zipper in the back seam (below the sheer yolk) and stitched up the back. I serged the inside edges (to avoid both itchies and fraying satin) and used a rolled helm on the neckline, sleeves, and back yolk. Also, add a snap (or button) at the top of the back yolk at the nape of the neck.
Cape

Before finishing the hand stitching on the lining I set to work on the cape (capes are critical). First, I installed 6 snaps across the back of the dress, being sure to get at least one layer of the heavy satin in the snap as I installed it. The sheer or sequins just don't have the body to handle a snap. Don't do it. Then measure from the snap at the left armpit to the snap at the right armpit. Cut a piece of ribbon this length, plus one inch.*** This is where you'd sub the velcro. Attach the "loop/fuzzy" side to the dress and the "hook/scratchy" side to the cape. 

I bought textured/"3D" fabric paint at JoAnns and made a snowflake template out of waxed paper and tape. I wouldn't suggest it. See the mess I made. Make a better stencil. Do keep in mind when you do this that your cape fabric is sheer this means that both light and paint will go right though it. Put down a clean piece of something under it or you will paint snowflakes on your porch... just saying....

I cut the cape down to size, serged the edges, and gathered the upper edge onto the ribbon. Then, being careful to match the spacing of your snaps on the ribbon to your snaps on the back of the dress, attach 6 snaps to the cape. 
Finishing

Then, all that you'll need to do is hand stitch the lining in place inside and hem to length (you may consider doing this while watching Frozen for motivation). 
As soon as I get a photo of her majesty in the dress, I will update to include it. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Apothecary Jars

One of my very sweet students this semester made me this jar as a gift because it "Seemed sort of Pinterest-y" so she thought I would like it. Naturally, I do.
My initial instinct was to use it as a paperclip holder on my desk in my office. But then the semester had just ended, and waiting for next August to use it was simply requiring more will power than I had. Also, before I announced by big move across the country a friend had offered me a just about empty candle jar and suggested that I "make something pretty out of it, like on Pinterest." I'm noticing a theme, guys... But, naturally, I accepted the jar. I realized that I was well positioned to create a set of apothecary jars, which is even better than one full of paperclips.

First, I followed Yellow Brick Home's directions for removing the wax from an old candle. I boiled water and poured it into the jar, then let it sit and watched the gross lava lam of wax float to the top. In the end, it took a little bit of Goo-gone, a good wash with soap and water, and a final wipe down with rubbing alcohol to get it clean.
Then, I spray painted the lid silver (from it's former gold shade) to match the one I was given.
Next came the real challenge, finding the hardware. I started at the Hobby Lobby where they have a whole aisle of knobs and pulls! Lovely as they are, they all come with the screw stems permanently embedded in them, so they can't be glued onto something (unless you've got a hack saw, which I don't... I'll have to ask Santa). So, next I tried Home Depot, where I found a similar, sparkly nob for about $5. 

I looked high and low for a metal plate like the one under the knob on my prototype, but the craft store people sent me to the hardware store, and the hardware store people sent me to the craft store. Finally, I found an ambitious and helpful associate at Michael's who helped me scour the store for something similar. We wound up in the bead aisle with these, which I can only imagine were intended to be pendants of some sort, which are pretty close to the original. 
I brought home my spoils and pulled out my hot glue gun to get to work. Hot glue, I learned quickly, will not affix cheap metal to spray painted cheap metal.
Luckily I had some hard core mosaic glue left over from a Christmas project I never posted about (sorry) which seemed to do the trick. 
Overall, I think my student's version might still be prettier. But, I feel pretty good about my matched set.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fixin' Chips

My friend Kelly and I bonded over a love of overpriced paint your own pottery studios. The worst part about these places, though, is that just about any thing that you "make" at one will chip. Ask around. I challenge you to find one piece of "hand panted" pottery that gets used regularly and isn't chipped.
But, they're special, because they're hand made. So, while they're the first to chip, they're also they hardest to get rid of when they do.

Over the years I've accumulated a little collection of chipped pottery (both hand-painted and otherwise) that I just can't bear to part with. And now, as I prepare for a cross country move, I am getting rid of things with a vengeance! If I don't love it and don't use, it's going to goodwill. Chipped dishes included. Gulp.

So, a little online sleuthing and I found a solution I could get behind, and seemed like it just might work. Miss Beatrix gives a suggestion for fixing chipped pottery that I put into action.

Step 1: Fill the chip
With a little white Fimo clay, fill in the shape of the chip. Remove any extra from around the edge. You want the smallest filler you can use. I started with the cat dish, for practice, and worked my way up.
Step 2: Bake
Put the piece in the oven (do not preheat!) Heat the oven to 250˚F for about 30 minutes to harden the clay. Turn off the oven and let the piece cool.

Step 3: Sand
Using ultra-fine grain sand paper (I used 600 grain) sand down your clay "fills" to make them flush with the rest of the ceramic. Smooth the surface until your finger doesn't feel it anymore.
Step 4: Paint
Acrylic paints are cheap and available in every color. You'll only need a dab, but it's worth the 69cents to match the color well (unless you're fixing the cat dish). Let the paint dry overnight. Use as many coats as it takes to cover the clay.
For the mug, I didn't need white paint for the background, but pulled out a black Elmer's "Painter" marker to fix the missing parts of a word.

Step 5: Seal
Cover the chip with a durable varnish of the same sheen. DuraClear Satin Polyurethane Varnish (next to the acrylic paints at the craft store) worked great as a varnish for this project and was just as glossy as the original surface.
Step 6: Bake again
Put the piece in the oven (do not preheat!) Heat the oven to 250˚F for about 30 minutes to set the varnish. Turn off the oven and let the piece cool. I have hand washed these a number of times with no problems.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DIY (and really DIY) Beaded Headbands

As a girl with a lot of unruly hair, I have always had a love-hate relationship with headbands. I love that they keep my hair out of my face and deal with the seriously horrifying fly-away situation I usually have going by the end of the day (my brother once told me, during a particularly image absorbed time in my adolescence, that my hair looked like a blowfish, and I have yet to shake that thought). But, I hate that when I wear headbands I look like a child. Even in work clothes, headbands give me an unmistakable "take your daughter to work day" allure that I cannot rock in the classroom. So as of late, headbands are out, unless I'm going to the gym.

Naturally, this means that the only headbands I get to use are functional elastic bands. Cheap, easy, and boring. Of course, now that they're really not practical for me to own, I have been lusting over those sparkly beaded ones at the trendy little gift shops. You know the ones: hand beaded sparkly little numbers attached to an elastic wrap that are purely decorative and really scream boho-chic? You love them, admit it.
A few months back, against my better judgement, I bought one. I was so pleased with myself that I did something bold and wore it on a trip to the beach. And by noon it was gone forever, lost to the sand or surf. That figures. Decorative little headbands are for girls who spend their days sitting around looking proper; they're not for gym going or sand castle making. No, the sad reality is that girls like me need the heavy-duty line of headband with the stick-em on the back and that you have to peel out of your hair. And frankly, fancy little gift shops don't get that.

But you know me. I'm not going down without a fight. So I said those dangerous words, "I could make that."

My first stop was Target for a pack of Goody Slide-Proof headbands (about $5). Then, I treked out to the LA garment district in search of some sparkly beaded trim to adorn them with. At my fifth stop I finally found a place willing to sell me a little bit (rather than an entire yard of) beaded trim. I paid another $5 about 5" of sparkly rhinestone trim.

I went home, pulled out my hot glue gun and set to work. I was excited about my project for the evening, and really amped myself up about it. Headbands, lets do this!
Step 1: cut a small piece of felt (the only thing white and no-fray I could think to use) about the same size as the trim.
Step 2: glue trim to headband.
Step 3: glue felt to trim.
Three minutes after I began, I unplugged my glue gun and felt utterly let down. That was it?  I didn't make that. That was like the frozen pizza of crafts. And worse yet, what happens when I want to make more in 6 months and I live far, far away from the LA garment district?

So, to JoAnns I went for 2 bags of beads, beading needles, and 1/4 yard of woven interfacing. I came home and found a few patterns I liked online, a quick tutorial on how to bead, and my embroidery hoop. In about 2 hours, I made mt first "feather" style appliqué. Starting with the seedbeads in the middle, I made "veins" of 5 beads each close together until the feather was about 1" long, then went around the outside with the longer beads.

Feeling sort of on a roll, I next made a floral pattern, starting with the 5 long beads pointing out like a star (to give me a base to work from) and working 2 lines of seedbeads around each one to make each petal.
I'll admit, my own beaded creations don't have the sparkle-factor of rhinestones, but they were much more rewarding to make (and I did find this website where you can order rhinestones for beading, so watch out...)

Once the appliqués were prepared I carefully cut each one out using sharp scissors (yes, you need sharp scissors). I used a little Aileen's Tacky Glue to cover and secure any threads on the back and to attach the appliqué to some "blackout" curtain lining I had kicking around. Again, this is a no-fray, white fabric that I thought would work better than the bulky felt.

Once the appliqué was secured to the blackout fabric, I carefully trimmed around each one (carefully, you cut one thread and your hours of work will dissolve in your hands), and cut a second piece of blackout fabric that was roughly the same size and shape. As you can see, I use the term "same" very loosely (bottom right)
Out came the hot glue gun for the same process as in my first: glue on appliqué, glue on backing.
But this time I was far more satisfied by the spoils of my labor. Look, world, I made this!
And if you were wondering, taking photos of your own head is a far more humbling experience than one might expect.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Totes Amazing at Procrastinating

It's spring break at two of my four schools so I am supposed to be writing my dissertation. But dissertating is just plain no fun. Worse yet, last weekend while not dissertating I just made myself all melancholy. So, this weekend I decided to just let myself craft and clean and do the non-academic and non-alcoholic things I haven't been making time for lately.

Spring break, at least in Southern California, means the official start of swimsuit and laying on the beach season. All of the stores are out in full force with bikinis and beach bags. I have no need for a bikini, these days, but I do love me some beach bags. My canvas totes that dutifully lug gym clothes, term papers, class project supplies, and double as overnight bags and grocery bags among other things, are all starting to show their age. My favorites, one from the Banana Republic clearance rack, and another stolen from my mom, are both almost gross enough I should retire them.

But, why would I buy Old Navy's $10 canvas totes that say "I mustache you a question" (facepalm) when I could just as easily make one. Besides, I have a walk-in closet full of fabric to use up. Naturally, the first place I stopped was JoAnn's, for more fabric. Then, started with a basic canvas tote, using my old reliable as a pattern (you can see why I needed some new totes, right?).
Before I got started, I made the accessories: a little pouch for pens and pencils (a teacher must) from a strip of coordinating duck that was 6" by 16" and 2 handles from the same fabric 4" wide and 22" long. The pouch was just 2 quick seams up either side and flip. The handles I ironed up a'la double fold bias tape and ran a row of stitches down the edge.
Once the cheap home-decorator fabric was cut to size (45 x 22; the cutting was minimal) I folded over the top edge about 1" until it was 4 thicknesses of fabric on one side. Tucking both ends of one handle and the pouch into the folds and pinning them in place, I stitched across the bottom of the folds, getting as many layers as I could into the stitches. Then, I repeated this process on the other side of the length of fabric, making sure to match the size of the "hem" to the other side, and tucking the handles into the corresponding spots.
Taking a hint from the construction of my favorite tote, I then folded the fabric in half (right sides together) and tucked in the fabric on the fold about 2 inches, accordion-file style. So, at the bottom, I had 2 folds visible, and one fold tucked inside. One zip of the serger down each end (yes, I could have done french seams, but it's a tote bag, who cares?) and the first project was done.
I don't know how I've never though to do this before, but I might be about to have a tote bag problem on my hands. That was too easy. Naturally, since that was not enough of a challenge and I still really couldn't bring myself to work on my dissertation, I set to work on my next project: a more structured tote, using up some orange pleather from the stash (see, I did use something from the stash!)

In order to give the bag more structure, I gave it a solid rectangular bottom. With no pattern to work from, because patterns are for chumps, I'm pretty proud of the outcome, so here's the tutorial:

Cut:

Orange Pleather:
one 4" x 15" (bottom)
two 7" x 20" (front/back)
two 2.5" x 30" (straps)

Gray Duck:
one 4" x 15" (bottom)
two 16" x 20" (front back)

Floral Cotton:
36" x 20" (lining)

Sew:

Step 1: Attach the orange pleather panels to the bottom of each front/back duck piece. The pleather doesn't fray, so just run a line of top-stitching across the top edge.

Step 2: Center the bottom panel (both pieces, pleather and duck) on the front panel and sew, with right sides together. Then, center the bottom panel (now attached to the front) on the back panel and sew with right sides together. Run these seams twice, for reinforcement. I use 3/8" seam allowances throughout, unless otherwise noted. 
Step 3: Sew side seams (with 1" seam allowance), right sides together. Then flatten bottom edge of side panels down onto the raw edge of the bottom panel, and sew across. Run these (painful and not fun to do) seams twice, for reinforcement. In the photo below the side seams have been sewn. Pull on each corner to flatten the side seam against the raw edge of the bottom panel.
Step 4: Prepare the lining by folding it over accordion-file style (as done in the simple tote above). Folded in half "hamburger style" with right sides together, tuck about 2" from each side up into the fold. This means rather than one crease at the bottom, you'll have 2, and about 4" will be tucked inside of the creases. Sew up both sides with 1" seam allowances (with right sides together) to make a "bag."
Step 5: Iron over 1.5" at the top of the duck bag, turning it to the inside (i.e., putting wrong sides together). Then, with the duck/pleather bag inside out  so that you can see the turned down 1.5," and the cotton lining bag right side in, stuff the lining inside of the duck/pleather bag so that right sides are together. Unfold your neatly folded and ironed 1.5" (you've got to trust me) and sew around the top to attach the duck to the lining, right sides together. Leave a 4-5" opening in the seam to turn the bag through. Turn the bag through. 

Step 6: Hand stitch the 4-5 opening closed so the lining is completely attached. There should now be no raw edges at all. Re-iron down the 1.5" fold over. Top stitch around the lining/duck seam to hold this fold in place. 
Step 7: Locate the strips of pleather set aside for the handles. Starting about 5" from the end, fold up the strips a'la double fold bias tape and stitch along the edge, stopping about 5" from the end. This will not be fun, but should create something like this...
Step 8: Mark where on the outside bag you want to place your handles. Pin carefully and well so that the don't wobble out of place or get crooked (like mine did) and attach well, reinforcing stitching. Note: you could probably do this step earlier in the process to avoid having to attach your handles through the lining, I did it this way because of poor planning, and I own that. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Water Rings and Blow Dryer Magic

I did a ton of really impressive crafts in December and January, honestly, I did. But, as my life explodes with new opportunities and lots of work, I don't have much time to write about them at the moment. In fact, since school started 5 weeks ago I have had no time for any crafting at all. But today, with a Sunday afternoon to myself I decided to do a little house cleaning and I learned something so impressive I had to share it.  

My task list for the day was nothing spectacular (really, it was time to throw away my dead Rosemary Christmas Topiary) but one goal was to deal with a water ring on my kitchen table. Now if you have any wood furniture in your life, or like me, were raised in a house where just about every surface was made of wood, you know the terror of lifting up a glass to find a white chalky water ring. Horror of horrors, the furniture is ruined! Hide before Mom sees it!

I have this wooden kitchen table circa 1990 which I use primarily for crafting and grading that is a reject hand-me-down from one of my grandmother's moves (yes, it is the sibling of the ugly couch). I don't worry much about this table. It has seen more than its share of hot glue and Mod Podge and stood up surprisingly well. But, in January a big mug of hot tea sat on it too long left a pretty serious scar. 
Based on internet suggestions I tried scrubbing it with "non-gel toothpaste"and buffing it with "equal parts olive oil and vinegar" to no avail. My friend suggested leaving mayonnaise on the ring over night, so I was about to break down and go buy a bottle of that filth (mayo and I don't get along) when I stumbled across the Homemade Mama's blog suggesting that one possible solution is to go at the ring with a blow dryer. Yes, a blow dryer, on hot at full blast, holding the blow dryer just an inch or so from the surface. Sounds like lies, right?

Well, mostly because I didn't want to put on jeans on a Sunday, I pulled out my trusty blow dryer, set it to hot and held it really close to the water ring. In less than 2 minutes the ring had faded to this. What!?
Still feeling a little bit like this was a hoax, I kept at it for another 2 minutes. Then, because I was sort of trying to see if it would "undo" this "fix", I wiped down the whole table with a some Old English furniture polish I found in the dark crevices of my cleaning supply cabinet (did I buy this? If so, when?) But the ring was gone, 100% gone. I even waited for the table to cool back to room temperature, to make sure it didn't show back up, before snapping this photo.
I have no idea why this works. Logically, a blow dryer should not be able to accomplish what a month in very dry, but warm winter weather couldn't. But it did. So, there is your magic trick for the day. Abracadabra. Blow dryers cure water rings. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Chasing The Ugly

Now 6 months into a lease, I'm still not exactly happy with my apartment. Despite the painting, and art hanging, and pillow covering, and color coding of books, I'm still, as my sister would say, "chasing the ugly." A sane person would obviously say, "You're probably moving across the country in 8 months, you shouldn't keep decorating." But then, there's ugly, and I hate ugly.

You may recall a couple years back when I tried to revamp my jewelry hanging system. Even after the revamp I was still a little disappointed. But, I tried to cope with the ugly, even when I moved. 

Then, it fell (I'm noticing a theme here. Things just fall in this apartment. Middle of the night, thud, crash, bang). So, I rehung it. And it fell. I rehung it. It fell. And for the last 2 months, my once organized jewelry collection has looked like this. This is no way for a lady to keep her jewelry. 
So, I spent some serious time on Pinterest looking for a new contraption on which to hang my necklaces. And while there are many to choose from they all have in common? They're ugly. Ugly, ugly, ugly! As my mom would say, they just look, crappy, and then she'd shake her hands in the universal sign of disgust. Finally, I identified the problem: No matter how you hang it, you can see the mess of jewelry and unless you have 5 necklaces, or keep it organized by color, that will always be ugly. What these things really need are doors hide the ugly. 

After a good deal of contemplation on just how one might fashion a door onto an existing structure, I decided that it was time to give up and start over with a pre-existing long skinny cabinet. So, to the ReStore I went in search of a cheap medicine cabinet. (If you have never been to a ReStore, you are missing out on one of the great treasures of the DIY world. I urge you to find one, go there, and buy all of the things.) I came home with this little gem that set me back $15.
The first task was to take it apart and prep it for painting. I removed sticky, cruddy hinges, masked off the mirror, and roughed the whole thing up with sand paper. I used very fine grain sand paper, which took off a thin layer of someone else's bathroom grime and leveled it out, but I recommend something a little more gritty (fine rather than ultra-fine) to get the paint to stick well to a varnished surface.
Next, I gave the whole thing three coats of my favorite Peacock blue paint. Yes, yellow would have been a more intuitive and neutral choice, but turquoise is trendy right now, and the best part of knowing that you're moving in a year is that you can make your apartment trendy as hell, and start over when you move.

The backing on this cabinet is one very thin sheet of particle board. When I tried to put a thumb tack in it, it went right through the back. So, to give the tacks something to stick into I cannibalized my old jewelry hanger and taped it up to fit into the cabinet. (If you don't already have something like this: take a sheet of standard 1/8" foam core, cut it in half. Sandwich the 2 sheets together with some strong glue to make a 1/4" thick sheet. Then, cut to size).
Sticking with my theme of too trendy to function, I found this turquoise chevron fabric in my stash and wrapped it around the board. Knowing that no one would ever see the back, and it would be well attached inside the cabinet, I just used a couple of pieces of duct tape to hold it together. Are there tidier ways? You bet. Do I care? Not so much. If you find the fabric doesn't fit snugly around the foam core with only tape on the corners, add some to each of the 4 edges too.
The hinges needed some TCL, so I soaked them in vinegar for about 10 minutes, scrubbed them up with a toothbrush, then rinsed them and gave them a serious work over with a paste of baking soda and water. They didn't come back to their full glory, but they look much, much better, and they're not sticky anymore.
Finally, I reassembled the cabinet (and I'll have you know it only took me 2 tries to learn how to reattach a cabinet hinge). I gave the old knob a couple of coats of white spray paint for now. But, I may replace it next time I lust after a beautiful knob.

I put some clear push pins in neat rows into the foam core (chevrons help with neat rows) and started in on my jewelry collection. Things were in knots and strewn across the counter. My favorite necklaces were wrapped up around my other favorite necklaces. It was really a catastrophe. But, half an hour later I had a case full of necklaces (and even found my missing Tiffany necklace, whew!)

Then, I realized, it needed to be hung on the wall. Why didn't this occur to me an hour before? I'm not certain. But, let this be a lesson to you if you are thinking of trying this project yourself.
Paint the cabinet, reassemble the cabinet, hang the cabinet on the wall, then move on to the pretty part. So, out came my nicely organized jewelry. I used 2 beefy screws (one in a stud, the other just for balance) straight through the back of the cabinet. Might I recommend finding a friend to help with this step, as balancing a heavy mirrored cabinet while drilling holes in the wall is not much fun. Then, just slide the foam core back into place and the screws are hidden. If your foam core doesn't fit snugly into the cabinet, try sticky back velcro to hold it in place, this way you can always take out the jewelry panel if you need to unscrew the cabinet from the wall.
The best part about this project? Ugly concealed.