The Evolution of a Painted Fireplace


When we bought our house, I loved everything about it except the fireplace and my kitchen counters.  I’m still living with the counters, but I’ve been working on the fireplace.  (Note:  This is not a decorating blog, and this house is lived in and loved on by a family of four, plus three cats and two dogs.  In other words, nothing here is perfect and it’s always a work in progress.)

By the time I took this picture several years ago, I’d already painted the family room walls, including the backs of the built in bookshelves.

Family Room

Still, I had such an urge to paint the brick fireplace.  I know painting brick is a big step, but it wasn’t in great shape and I really didn’t like it.  My best friend felt the same about her brick fireplace,  telling me that it was so ugly — but if she painted it, she couldn’t ever have the old fireplace back.  Yes, exactly!  Never having that old, ugly fireplace back sounded like a huge plus to me, so I painted.  She moved.  :)

Fireplace After

This helped, but the brass fireplace surround irked me and anything I put on the mantel always felt like clutter.

So, more paint.


I used Rustoleum High Heat brush on paint on the fireplace insert.  I’d heard about high heat spray paint ages ago, but I just did NOT want to deal with plastic and taping and trying to spray paint inside the house.  The brush on paint was a little more expensive (about $15 a quart instead of $5-ish for a spray can), but I was much happier with the method.  With just one coat it has a smooth, satin finish and NO BRASS.  (That’s my favorite part, no brass!)

The backs of the bookshelves are actually five shades of gray, lightest at the top and darkest at the bottom.  There’s an earlier post about the birds and branches painted above the mantel.  (Ignore my little basket of knitting to the left on the mantel, that’s my attempt to keep it away from the cats.)

Have you painted a fireplace, or something else around the house someone told you not to paint?  Did you love how it turned out?  I was told that painting the backs of the bookshelves would “ruin them” and that they wouldn’t look like built-ins anymore.  I totally disagree.


Pinch Pot Holders/Oven Mitts


I was looking around on Pinterest for a small random gift ideas to sew for friends and family when I stumbled across “pinch” style pot holders like these and these.  I realized I’m still using ordinary (boring!) pot holders myself, so I made a test one for our house, using cute Hello Kitty fabric my friend Kaori sent me from Japan.

Pinch Pot Holders

Love those little faces!  (Thank you again, Kaori!)

If you decide to make some of your own, be sure to use two layers of Insul-Bright along with a layer of batting to really protect you from the heat.  Here’s my finished pot holder beside the materials for my second one.  (Gotta protect both hands, right?)

Pinch Pot Holder and Supplies

I was surprised just how much batting gets packed into those little mitts!  A walking foot is essential, along with lots and lots of pinning to keep everything from shifting during stitching.

Pinch Pot Holders Batting

When I showed these to a friend, she warned me to make a “Pot Holder” tag for them if I mailed them to people as a random gift.  She said if I’d sent her one without explaining it first, she’d have never known what in the world that little puppet thing was for.  :)

Happy sewing!