Paint Something ~ An Outdated Treasure

by Kimba on March 22, 2010

in Seasonal Projects

Do you have a sentimental treasure that’s sitting in a box because it’s ugly? Meaningful…but ugly. I do too.

ceramic owls before

My dear Granny made these crazy ceramic owls with her very own hands in 1968. I know this because it’s written on the bottom of each owl. When Granny was cleaning out her closets a few years ago, she asked me if I wanted them.

I snapped them up because they’re sentimental to me. They may look a little scary, but I remember being fascinated by them as a little girl. They were Granny’s owls and they always sat on the middle shelf of her kitchen hutch.

owls after

My Granny is a fun chick (pun intended), so I know she won’t mind that I painted her owls with some white spray paint to update them a bit.

I’m sure someone out there just had a coronary because I painted such a sentimental treasure. But for me, I’ll take a sentimental treasure that’s displayed in my home over one that sits in a box because it’s ugly.

owls after 2

Do you have a sentimental treasure that’s hidden in a closet? Could it be updated with a little paint?

PS – I’m fully aware that my owls are still a little weird and crazy. But now that they’re white, I think they’re kitchy instead of just plain ugly.

PPS – Please don’t be offended if you have (and love) a set of crazy brown owls. If they work for you, then work it!

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{ 55 comments }

1 Pat Allen March 22, 2010 at 9:34 am

Kimba, kitchy is okay! Yes, they are still a little weird but I think it shows you don’t take yourself too seriously! Sentimental trumps weird anyway. Imagine how awesome they’ll look around Halloween!!
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2 Teri March 22, 2010 at 9:41 am

Loving the white! The dark owls are a little dated and creepy…they remind me of the dark, musty homes of grandparents (ones you love, but who need some sunshine!!). They look lovely now! And yes – displaying them beats keeping them in the closet any day! :)

3 Gina March 22, 2010 at 9:44 am

I love the owls-and I’m so glad for you that you have a little piece of something from your grandma. Too many of my grandmother’s things were given away or garage saled-I regret that. I think they’re pretty cool owls-much less scary with a nice coat of white!
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4 Kelli March 22, 2010 at 9:44 am

They are much cuter painted white! I just spray painted an oversided wooden fork and spoon! They weren’t a family hand me down, but they sure are retro! Now, instead of ugly and brown they are shiny and black with gingham fabric on them!
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5 Tammy@InStitches March 22, 2010 at 9:46 am

I think they look much better ! I painted my brown monkeys white.
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6 Pink and Polka Dot March 22, 2010 at 9:47 am

they look great! how funny…my grandma did ceramics too! yes they’re packed up in a closet. thanks for the inspiration!
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7 TidyMom March 22, 2010 at 10:00 am

I love what you did with them Kimba!!….my hubby is the one who FREAKS out if I want to change something…we have a trunk at the end our bed that was his grandmothers…..it’s in bad shape and I want to paint it and he wont let me! {stomp}……..but he trumps because it’s from HIS side of the family…….

I was just thinking about some oak furniture that I have from when I was a kid……I’m SO sick of it, and I was wondering if I had the guts to PAINT my oak furniture?????????? Want to come help? lol
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8 Get Your Martha On March 22, 2010 at 10:00 am

I think you did right by grandma and the owls! ;)

We have a mounted set of antlers hanging in our garage that were my father-in-law’s. When he downsized, he gave us the antlers because he didn’t have room for them (and, uh, I wasn’t present to kindly reject the offer). Anyhow, I’ve been dying to spray them white and hang them a la Z Gallerie, but I’m afraid my FIL would have a coronary the next time he visited. But hey, it’s not as though HE wanted them anymore …
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9 sarah may March 22, 2010 at 10:01 am

A long time ago you posted about a giant fork and spoon you painted white and I commented that my Granny had almost the exact same ones in her kitchen that she had promised me. My Granny passed away after a fight with lung cancer and that fork and spoon are now hanging in my kitchen. However they are now updated with a BEAutiful coat of white paint! They make me smile every time I look at them.

10 Vanessa March 22, 2010 at 10:11 am

I have lots of sentimental things siting around… I’d love to spray paint them. I bet they’ll look great!
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11 Teri March 22, 2010 at 10:23 am

I totally agree with you…if they mean something, you should display them…if you need to change ‘em up a bit so they work for you…do it! I think they look great!
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12 Beth March 22, 2010 at 10:46 am

Sentimental is what is great about them…kinda whats in the inside of the owls…I know I am weird…so just knowing they were handmade is what it’s all about and being from your grandma even makes it more loved. As far as grandma she would probably have added the update also if she was around.

They are strange but they do remind me of those weird fish that people had in their bathrooms back in the 60′s also…I have a set of those and I think I need to do some spray painting of them…now what color is the question…the candy apple green that is so pretty. What cha think?
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13 Kathy C. March 22, 2010 at 10:50 am

Kimba, that’s a great idea…neat way to update something that just doesn’t “go”. :)
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14 Stacey @ The Blessed Nest March 22, 2010 at 10:51 am

Super fun! I imagine your Granny would be happy that you’re enjoying them no matter what color they are! :)
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15 Tonya March 22, 2010 at 10:55 am

Oh this cracks me up! My mom, who is just sweet as honey, has some decor that could stand a good updating, but I think she’s too stuck on the sentimental-ness of some things. I know she’s got some rockin’ ’70′s owls that would be less spooky w/a fresh coat of white too!
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16 Bird March 22, 2010 at 10:58 am

Totally agree! And don’t they look much happeir weraing new clothes?! :)

17 Shannon March 22, 2010 at 11:06 am

they look so much better white. Now I need to hunt through my garage to find something ugly that I have saved…. :-)
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18 Heather March 22, 2010 at 11:08 am

I think it’s a great idea. I have some things that I’ve had packed away for awhile because I didn’t know how to make them “work” in my house. I’ve thought out of the box a bit and now have items that have special memories out for me to see. I still worry if they are going to get broken, but at least I get to see them and enjoy the memories they conjure up instead of them sitting in a box doing absolutely nothing.
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19 Jessi @ Yankee Belle Home March 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

I adore your sentimental owls! I also recently painted something that was my Granny’s. It meant a lot to me, but as it was it was sititng hidden in a drawer. With a paint makeover I now see it everyday! You can see it here:
http://yankeebellehome.blogspot.com/2010/03/useful-kitty-cat.html
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20 Molly March 22, 2010 at 11:26 am

Short of a valuable piece of vintage furniture, I totally agree that I would rather paint something and use it than let it sit in a box. I turned a clock into a cloche a while back – I felt a little guilty because it was a wedding gift, but then I realized that the ugly brass clock was just sitting in the dark… but the cloche is on the shelf in my living room!
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21 Brittney March 22, 2010 at 11:39 am

I think they look fabulous! Not to mention they’re something special to you. I don’t think they’re kitchy-they look like you bought them from this ZGallerie! Very cute!

22 randee March 22, 2010 at 11:40 am

i would pay money for those owls now! they are too cute (or would that be three cute?)

i have a lane cedar chest that was my high school graduation present from my mom. it was my “hope” chest. now, it’s still beautiful but the wood is a little faded & scratched. i wish i had the courage to paint it. i think it would be beautiful. guess i’m a scaredy cat.

who me? (pun intended)
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23 Mary Beth @ Live. Laugh Make Something March 22, 2010 at 11:43 am

absolutely adorable! … plus oh-my-gosh sentimental!
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24 the BLAH BLAH BLAHger March 22, 2010 at 11:54 am

Those look GREAT! I need to try to bring something back from the brink, too. : )

25 Denise March 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm

They look awesome!

26 Elizabeth March 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm

You post made me smile. I loved your story and your creepy-painted-and-now-kitchy owls are definitely a treasure.

27 Marie March 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Hello sweet Kimba,

I love, love your crazy owls! I can see why you were mesmerized by them as a kid. Now they are Sentimental yet kitchy. What a difference a little bit of white paint can do. I have a set of little green garden elves that my Grampa bought my Gramma in the 50′s. She had them sitting in her garden window. I was blessed with them – they are very sentimental and remind me of my fave Gramma. But I don’t know what to do with them. You’ve inspired me to at least take them out of the box.

Blessings,
Marie
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28 Stacie@HobbitDoor March 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm

LOVE them painted white! Makes me think of my great grandmother–she had this ugly owl wall hanging in her bathroom. Not sure whatever happened to them. Thanks for the memory!
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29 Amanda March 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm

This would be a great way to keep those things that have been passed down to me and NOT hide them in a closet or attic! Thank you!

30 the chatty housewife March 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Just recently I thought about doing this to a carousel horse. It is painted porcelain, and not the highest quality, but it has been mine since I was a little girl, and I figure I can do what I want with it! It has a wooden base and a chrome pole. I pictured it all white just like your owls. Thanks for the inspiration. I am a little less scared to paint my horse now, but we’ll see!
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31 Meredith March 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Owls are totally back in style this year, anyway! I like the sculptural details but I really love the story behind the owls.

32 Heather March 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm

i am deeply offended that you don’t like brown owls – haha JUST KIDDING!! I like the white, they are much more funky. I wonder what hot pink or turquoise would look like….
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33 Amanda @ Serenity Now March 22, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Much better in white! :) I have an old doll trunk in the addition that the girls keep their dress-up in. It is SO beat up, but I haven’t painted it b/c it’s an “heirloom” and I didn’t want to mess it up. More and more I’m realizing that maybe it’s okay to update it some to make it fit in MY home. :)
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34 Brenna March 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm

They look so much better now. Its so neat to see something special come back in style!
Nice job.

35 Colleen March 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm

I think they look terrific in white AND I thought they were cute before they got a makeover. Either way, the fact that they have the sentimental value that they do makes them priceless.

36 amber lerwill March 22, 2010 at 5:58 pm

I would have to say.. I love this blog, and I display your button proudly on my pages..
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37 grannyann March 22, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Now that is a great idea!
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38 Christine@designingbliss.blogspot.com March 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Isn’t it astonishing the ugliness a little paint can wipe away? Something you hated becomes an object of affection with a few swipes of a brush. Love it!

39 Kimberly Knoess March 22, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I completely understand feeling sentimental about something that is not too cute! My mom and her sister were into the ceramic craze too and I still love the things they made because I saw them sitting around AND because they made them. I like your owls in white ’cause those golden eyes were a bit sketchy looking!

40 Oonafey @ Little Pink Houses March 22, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I just posted yesterday about a mirror from my grandparents that I spray painted! I never would have displayed it in it’s original condition, not it is front and center when you walk in the front door! I also have an old faux-leather suitcase from my grandmother. She used it to travel to her first job in Stuttgart when she was 17 and she was just going to throw it away! I use it to hold our liquor bottles on out buffet now…

41 Audra Lynn March 22, 2010 at 8:07 pm

oh, my goodness. the bug eyes are still weirding me out a little bit. i have a crazy quilt that my great great great grandmother made that i’ve always just hung over the stair banister. i love it, and i wish i could come up with a better way to display it. i should definitely NOT paint it, though. ;)
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42 Megan March 22, 2010 at 9:33 pm

I love them! I am one of those crazy people with a owl collection (it started in college because of the sorority and never quit). Some are so ugly they’re cute. I completely agree with you – it’s better to use/see things than let them sit in boxes – no matter what!

43 Morgan March 22, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Ok these totally are not creepy at all I absolutely LOVE how they turned out I also LOVE that they were your granny’s!

~Morgan

http://meetvirginiaandroo.blogspot.com/
http://www.etsy.com/shop/MeetVirginiaShop
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44 Sabrina March 22, 2010 at 10:17 pm

LOVE those charms!
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45 Jennifer Allwood March 22, 2010 at 10:38 pm

You should paint their eyes with glow in the dark paint!!!! Bwahahahaha…. just kidding!
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46 Traci March 22, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I think it is great that you painted them and now they are being displayed. Much better than in a box! :)
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47 The Little Brown House March 22, 2010 at 11:06 pm

I have several pieces of antique furniture that my Mom has given me. I know she would be disturbed if I painted them- she loves the stained wood look. I have decided that I will leave them as is for now. I may work up the courage to ask about painting some of the smaller ones! But I completely agree – it is the sentiment of the piece that is important, and I like your owls much better after!
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48 Carolyn March 22, 2010 at 11:27 pm

I actually really love the old kitchy owls. But those have creepy eyes~ painted or not!!
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49 Nessa March 22, 2010 at 11:33 pm

I think that changing them was a great idea. I don’t know when people decided that changing something to better suit our life was dishonoring the memory. My grandparents had quilts made of pieces of suits from weddings and baby clothes. You honor her by using it and loving it everyday.
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50 Laura @ PARING DOWN March 22, 2010 at 11:34 pm

WHOOO loves those owls? I do! I do!
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51 AmberLee March 22, 2010 at 11:57 pm

I love how they turned out. i think they’re charming.

52 tiina March 23, 2010 at 5:19 am

they look cool and funny to me, and lovely to have the sentimental value!
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53 Lindsay March 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Ha! I just picked up an owl this past weekend to re-paint… So cute!!
http://adesignstory.com/nifty-thrifty/

The results to come this week!!

~Lindsay~
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54 Lindsay March 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Ha! I just picked up an owl this past weekend to re-paint… So cute!!
http://adesignstory.com/nifty-thrifty/

The results to come this week!!

~Lindsay~

55 Victory April 2, 2010 at 1:53 am

How cool! I have an owl exactly like those that I found at a thrift store a few months ago, and guess what… spray painted white! Great minds…
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