How To: Revamp Tired Dishes

(Images Kathy Phan, Images of Kathy Phan by Tina Phan)

Sometimes I just get tired of the stuff I've used for years. What can I say? I'm bored. These dishes are still perfectly good, no cracks and no real reason to donate. After baking, painted dinnerware is both food safe and dishwasher safe. (Score!) Painted dinnerware makes a good gift or an inexpensive way to freshen up your table. 

Materials:
Pebeo Porcelaine paint marker(s)
Porcelain dish
Oven

Instructions:

1. Wash and dry porcelain dinnerware. You can find some cheap one-offs from a local thrift store or revamp some pieces from your cabinets.

2. Shake Pebeo paint marker well and depress tip several times until it becomes saturated with ink. I used a fine tip Pebeo in black. I bought this one at Michael's Arts and Crafts store. You can find them online with a wider color selection at Dick Blick.

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3. Draw. Draw carefully if you want a precise image. Pebeo is not very forgiving. If you're very quick you can wipe off small mistakes with a paper towel. I actually like how my drawings are imperfect.

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4. Let ink dry for 24 hours. 

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5. Turn on oven to 300°F (according to my conversion, technically it should be 302°F, the marker's instructions say 150°C).

6. Bake for 35 minutes.

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7. Remove and cool on rack.

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Ready for tortilla chips. This is Texas, after all.

How are you going to freshen up your dishware?

House Call: Katy and Lisa's Suburban Cool Home

(Images Lisa Skelton)

I met Katy three years ago when we were both interns at IKEA. She has amazed me with impeccable style and wit throughout the years. And her talent has graced the floors, tables, and conference rooms of Four Hands Home as a furniture designer. Katy and her sister Lisa bought a house together as a part bonding experience part smart investment. Their house expresses their personalities classic, glamorous, but still down to earth.

The Skelton sisters' house is light and crisp with bold splashes of color and dark woods. Treasures from around the globe lean comfortably against clean classic furnishings with a modern twist. Many of the pieces are Katy's creations while working at Four Hands, though I can spot a few IKEA influences -- the Ektorp sofa comes to mind. Against the Ektorp, a console table displays their collection of magazine books from the likes of Domino: The Book of Decorating and Andrea Linett and Kim France's The Lucky Shopping Manual are nestled against two bright pink Chinese lions.

Earlier this month Katy left Austin to pursue her Masters in Furniture Design at Savannah College of Art and Design leaving Lisa and the house in Austin. Lisa, the house, dog Trip McNealy, and I will all miss Katy while she's Georgia.

AT Survey:

Our style: We try to mix efficient design with classic styles. Great Northern Hotel (Twin Peaks) meets small space living.

Inspiration: Natural elements and materials; unique antiques; incorporating hand-me-downs in new ways.

Favorite Element: The river rock fireplace. Almost anything looks good next to it or on it. It also managed to keep us fairly warm and well-fed through a brutally cold winter.

Biggest Challenge: The shape of the room. It is a very large room, and has a half wall along one side. Its long and narrow and it was hard to figure out a good way to arrange the seating area. We finally pushed the chairs in front of the window and realized that we loved it!

What Friends Say: That we spend way too much time rearranging our furniture! Things look different every time someone comes over!

Biggest Embarrassment: The painting next to the TV isn't finished! I had to move to Savannah before I could finish it, so now it wont be done until I go home for Christmas! Sorry, Lisa!

Proudest DIY: All of our artwork! Its all either photos that we have taken, or pictures that we have painted.

Biggest Indulgence: That would be a question for Lisa, probably either the TV console or the TV itself...

Best advice: Keep moving things around until it feels right. You will know once you've got it in the perfect place. It took us a year and a half to figure out that we needed to push those chairs up against the window. Also, buy things for your house every time you go on a trip. We have vases from Egypt, bowls from Australia, and accessories from China. It makes your house tell a story about your life.

(Thanks Skelton ladies)