Before & after category

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View from dining room to living room

Living room - naval wall

Whenever people tell me they love painting, I’m suspicious. If you do the job right (protect the floor, clean and prep the walls, tape off moldings and edges, and start with primer), painting is anything but fun. And that doesn’t even count cleanup. But it’s worth the hassle because paint (or wallpaper) has the biggest influence on the mood and light of any room. Read more »

House exterior

I’m sorry to have neglected Crafty Nest for so long. But this time I have a great excuse. I bought my first house!

Here are some “before” pictures of my “new” house. It’s a 1927 Mediterranean bungalow, with loads of charm including original light fixtures, push-button switches, built-ins, and gorgeous hardwood floors.

Living room

It was a long process: house hunting for months, making offers and getting outbid, finally getting an offer accepted on my favorite house (yay!), signing hundreds of papers, and waiting for 60 days for the sale to close. I thought I’d never hold those keys in my hand.

View from dining room to living room

Then the home repairs started. The washing machine leaked, the refrigerator stopped working, the dryer was leaving marks on my clothes, the pipe in the bathroom leaked, ants invaded the garage and kitchen, and on and on.

I haven’t even gotten to the fun part, like choosing paint colors and decorating. I’m still unpacking. But I’m blissfully happy to be living in my own home. Read more »

Glass bead mirror

Oval mirror

I removed this old, scratched, chipped mirror from an ugly plastic frame (which I turned into a bulletin board). Even though the mirror had seen better days, I couldn’t just throw it out. Despite it’s flaws, I loved the shape and thickness of the mirror.

I wanted to glue on some sort of frame and either hang it or use it as a vanity tray. The leftover glass gems from my studded tile mirror were the perfect solution. And they cover up most of the mirror’s flaws. But all the glass gems had popped off of my studded mirror, one-by-one, so I hunted for a better glue. After trying three other glues, I found it. For the tiered jewelry tray tutorial, click here.

Tutorial and photos after the jump. Read more »

Tiered jewelry trays & glass bead mirror

This one is for Alyson. She’s been asking me to blog about jewelry storage ideas for, um, years. I’ve had this tiered jewelry tray idea in the back of my mind for a long time. The delay came down to finding the right glue. I think I’ve found it—well, almost. This is the best glue by far for gluing glass to glass or ceramic to glass—and I’ve tried just about all of them. But there’s one caveat. (More on that later.)

The large tiered jewelry tray is great for watches, bracelets, brooches, and rings. The smaller one is ideal for earrings. Or you could just make the larger one and use it for both purposes. Next week I’ll show you how to make the beaded mirror in the photo above.

Plates, candlesticks, drawer knob

The three small plates are from a salvage yard. The medium plate is from Ikea. The large plate is from Crate & Barrel. If the Crate & Barrel plate looks lopsided, that’s because it is. I’ve had the salvaged plates for years. It took me a long time to find larger plates that were the same bluish-white color and the same basic shape. It wasn’t easy. The candlesticks were a thift-store find. And the knob is from The Home Depot.

Tutorial and photos after the jump. Read more »

My first ever DIY blog posts appeared in Sunset magazine’s now defunct blog, homebysunset.com. Because Sunset is no longer hosting these projects, I’m making revised and updated versions available here at Crafty Nest. This post comprises Dressing up a boring bookshelf, Part 1-3, originally published August 2007.

DIY china cabinet - after

Bare bookshelf - before

This small unfinished pine bookshelf was shuffled from room to room. I planned to paint it, but never did. I was on the verge of kicking it to the curb. Then, after unsuccessfully searching for a china cabinet for my tiny dining room, I decided to dress this bookshelf up as a china cabinet.

I started with a sketch (see below). I wanted to lift the shelves off the ground, hence the legs. I also added crown molding and trim boards on each shelf. After a friend cut and routered all the salvaged wood I had piled in my car, I was ready to start building.

I bought the molding and other pieces of wood (for trim and reinforcement) at a nearby salvage yard. I love salvage yards (two others that I frequent are Urban Ore and Omega Salvage). But beware: Most salvage yards are for-profit businesses, and they often aren’t cheaper than buying brand new, so compare prices first.

Tutorial and photos after the jump. Read more »

My first ever DIY blog posts appeared in Sunset magazine’s now defunct blog, homebysunset.com. Because Sunset is no longer hosting these projects, I’m making revised and updated versions available here at Crafty Nest. This post comprises Making the perfect ottoman, Part 1-5, originally published May-June 2007.

Reupholstered ottoman - after

Reupholstered ottoman - before

Pottery Barn Alexandria ottoman

Inspired by Pottery Barn’s Alexandria Ottoman.

Lately I’ve been coveting a coffee-table ottoman. You know: one of those oversized ottomans that you can kick your feet on from nearly any seat in the room and use as a coffee table. I loved Pottery Barn’s Alexandria Ottoman, but $700 was more than I wanted to pay.

Then I found this ottoman on Craigslist, and bought it for $60. The only thing it had going for it is its size and sturdy frame, so I gave it a makeover. I had never attempted reupholstering anything before, so with a little trepidation, I forged ahead.

After several weeks and copious amounts of stray threads strewn about my apartment, the ottoman was finished. People asked me if it was worth all the work. The answer is yes. The total cost (including the price of the original ottoman) was only $137.

And now, five years later, I concede that white fabric is impractical—even for a single gal with no kids. So this footstool needs to be recovered again. Someday. Next time, I’m thinking slipcover.

Tutorial and photos after the jump! Read more »

Chandelier - after

Chandelier - before

My heartfelt apologies to everyone who has been waiting since last summer’s blog post for me to share this chandelier tutorial! A few detours and roadblocks delayed my ability to pass on this information.

First there was girls camp, and then I got a new job, and then I moved. I’m still waiting for Troy to help me hang the chandelier in my bedroom. Yes! I’m moving it from the dining room to the bedroom. Meanwhile, the chandelier sits on the floor in the corner. I gave up waiting for my brother and slung it over the bar in my closet to take some photos.

And then the hooks I used were so old that I could not remember where I purchased them. I searched Michael’s, Jo-Ann Crafting Supplies, and every online bead store that I knew of and came up empty. Nobody seems to sell the exact hook-and-eye that I used. I finally found some that are close enough at Fire Mountain Gems, to which I linked in the supplies list. I sincerely hope they work for you.

Tutorial and photos after the jump! Read more »

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