archive for 2011

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Stitched leather bracelets

As a kid, I was jealous of my brothers who got to do leather crafts at Boy Scout camp, while we at girls camp never did. So I was determined to teach these girls a leather project this year. We ended up doing two leather projects. This stitched leather bracelet is the first. We just used multicolored thread, but you can go crazy with your designs by adding ribbon, beads, buttons, etc.

(I know. I still owe you lots of tutorials from my craft room and dining room makeovers. Oh, and the paper lantern tutorial too. I’ll get to them soon, I swear. Girls camp crafts come first because they seem more timely. And fun.)

Stitched leather bracelet closeup

This bracelet was inspired by a souvenir my friend Kristi brought home from Mexico. Essentially, it’s a strip of soft, thin leather that’s folded, glued, punched, and sewn. The girls loved it. You should have heard the racket when all 12 hammers were going to town on those punches! They came up with some super creative designs. I wish I was able to take pictures of all of them.

Tutorial and photos after the jump! Read more »

Leather coffee sleeve from Ooh Leela!Leather coffee sleeve from Ooh Leela!

I’m happy to present our new Guest Nester: my friend Isabela! Her husband and I met at Sportivo Coffee Bar. (I don’t drink coffee, but my friend owns the place, so I visit often.) Isabela invented these leather coffee sleeves, which she sells at Sportivo. I adored them so much that I asked her to do a tutorial for Crafty Nest. I was ecstatic when she agreed!

You can buy these sleeves and other darling creations at Isabela’s Etsy shop. Isabela writes: “Hello Crafty Nest friends! My name is Isabela from Ooh Leela! I have been an avid reader for quite some time, and I have always admired Monica and her creativity. I am so excited to be here today. Thank you so much for this opportunity, Monica!

One of Isabela's cup coziesOne of Isabela's appliquéd coffee sleeves

A couple of Isabela’s handmade fabric cup cozies. Available through Isabela’s Etsy shop.

“I’m here to share a fun project with you: a leather coffee sleeve. It’s an earth-friendly alternative to the usual disposable cardboard sleeve. The leather stays cool and soft to the touch while keeping your beverage hot/cold. Every time I use mine in public, I get lots of compliments. This is a super easy and fast project—perfect for all skill levels.”

Isabela has offered to give away a leather coffee sleeve to one lucky Crafty Nest reader! Leave a comment to tell Isabela how much you love her coffee sleeves to be eligible to win. The deadline is in one week—Monday, July 4, 2011. Thanks, Isabela!

Tutorial and photos after the jump! Read more »

Dining room makeover - the table

Dining room makeover

American Express asked me to make over a social space using merchandise available through Membership Rewards points. I chose to make over my dining room. Deciding what to buy with 150,000 Membership Rewards points and dozens of fabulous merchants to choose from was a challenge. But I persevered!

Ok, so what are Membership Rewards? You earn points through everyday AmEx card purchases like gas, groceries, and phone bills and redeem them for things you need or want — it’s a world of possibilities, and the choice is yours.

AmEx has a Facebook page, where Cardmembers can share stories about what they bought with their Membership Rewards points. While you’re there, enter the Million Points a Day Giveaway (through the end of June)!

Now that I’m back from girls camp and all my dishes have arrived, my dining room is ready for the reveal. Because this is a social space makeover, I chose what I most needed for entertaining: tableware, table linens, and somewhere to store it all.

With my AmEx Membership Rewards points I bought: Oneida “Shaker” flatware, white Fiesta dishes, rattan placemats, yellow napkins, whitewashed wooden stands, drawer pulls, and Martha Stewart taupe curtains.

More photos after the jump! Read more »

Chandelier - after

old chandelier - before

I’m happy to report that most of the work is done on my dining room makeover that American Express generously sponsored. Unfortunately, however, I ran into a few snags. The dishes I ordered using my Membership Rewards points arrived broken, and other items were backordered. The replacements are due to arrive when I’m away at girls camp. So, my big dining room reveal is postponed until June 20.

Until then, I wanted to give you a peak at one part of the room: my sparkly chandelier. I bought this old chandelier years ago for $20 at a salvage yard in Berkeley. I cleaned it up, and my brother rewired it. I’ve never been a fan of brass, so it got a fresh coat of paint. Read more »

The plan…

Dining room makeover - the plan

UPDATE: Click here to see the “after” photos.

Wow. I should ask for reader input more often. You gals shared some great ideas! I didn’t think it was possible, but you changed my mind about some of my original ideas for this dining room makeover sponsored by American Express. After careful consideration, I chose products to buy with my Membership Rewards points, and I made a sketch of my plans—many of them inspired by you.

It’s amazing what you can buy with American Express Membership Rewards points. It was a difficult choice with so many great options. In the end, I chose items that I most needed for entertaining: tableware, table linens, and somewhere to store it all. After all, Membership Rewards points are intended as a social currency that helps bring people together. Read more »

Dining room makeover

An update…

First, I know I still have three tutorials to go to finish off my office/guest/craft room makeover series. But they’re going to have to wait, for a couple reasons. I’m once again planning new camp crafts for a girls camp in mid-June. Rest assured that I’ll also blog about the crafts when I get back from camp.

A before…

Second, I’m pleased to announce my next room makeover! American Express has asked me to make over a social space using merchandise available through Membership Rewards points. I’ve been an AmEx cardholder for years, but I didn’t know that American Express launched Membership Rewards 20 years ago as a first of its kind program. Today it offers rewards from over 500 brands.

Best of all, Membership Rewards points don’t expire and you can redeem them for anything from gift cards to movie tickets to travel. Now I buy everything with my credit card (and pay it off monthly, of course) to take advantage of the rewards. Read more »

Studded mirror

I have a history with tile mirrors. The house in which I grew up had a rustic fireplace with 1970s tile mirrors glued to the wall above it. Painted in the center of the grouping of mirrors was a tall ship. It had a face. I swear I could see eyes and a mouth peering out at me through the sails of that ship. As a child, I was afraid of it. You wouldn’t catch me alone in that room at night. (I’ll show you a picture as soon as my mother finds one.)

As a teenager, I discovered glass etching. I bought boxes of mirror tiles and used etching cream to transfer my designs onto each mirror. I etched everything from roses and ’34 Fords to the Statue of Liberty. My older brother, Aaron, was taking woodshop at school, so he built square frames for them. Together, we gave them as gifts to family members. I still have a stack of etched mirrors that never got framed.

Tutorial and photos after the jump! Read more »

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