DIY cloth napkins

When I needed cloth napkins for my Easter table setting, I couldn’t find the right ones. But I had the ideal fabric. So I examined the perfectly mitered corners on my Williams-Sonoma napkins and figured out how to miter the corners on my own DIY cloth napkins. After one minor misstep that involved repairing with an iron-on patch (oops!), they turned out better than expected. Once you figure out the first one, the rest are a breeze. BTW: Handmade cloth napkins make a great Mother’s Day gift.

Sew

When making napkins, choose a soft, lightweight 100-percent-cotton fabric. Personally, I hate it when you dab your mouth with a cloth napkin and it feels rough. Most cheap, poly-blend, store-bought napkins are too rough for my taste.

Tutorial and photos after the jump. Read more »

Hotel Monaco entrance

In case you haven’t noticed, my day job has been eating up my blogging time for the last year and a half. So, I thought I’d share a little of my day job with you. Recently, I took a business trip to Salt Lake City, and I stayed in a lovely hotel, Hotel Monaco. Always on the lookout for great DIY and decorating ideas, I snapped a few pictures of the trendy decor with my mobile phone.

This white leather cocoon loveseat was one of my favorite pieces—and it makes a statement right inside the front door of the hotel.

Hotel Monaco fireplace

This reminds me of decorating walls with empty picture frames and and ceiling medallions, but on a grander scale. Notice that the starburst mirrors are actually all one piece. And I’m always a sucker for decorative moldings and big white fireplaces.

More 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 Long-lasting cut flowers, Part 1-2, originally published July & November 2007.

CarnationsPhoto by rangerx/iStockphoto.com

I have a love-hate relationship with cut flowers. I love how beautiful they look and smell the first couple days. Shortly thereafter, love turns to hate. That’s when the wilting and stinking phase kicks in.

Worse, my former roommates never changed the water, and they kept the poor, dying blooms around long past their prime. Inevitably, I faced droopy flowers in mucky, reeking water on the dining table while I ate my morning oatmeal. Not appetizing.

Chrysanthemums in a vase

Then I discovered that some flowers last much longer than others. I received a mixed bouquet for my birthday. Over the next few days, I removed each dead flower and changed the water. Soon, all that was left were a bunch of lavender mums. I checked them day after day, and they continued to look beautiful. After I had them for a month, I took the picture above.

That got me thinking. What other flowers are long lasting?

Tips and photos after the jump. Read more »

DIY checkers game

This checkerboard is made from two free carpet samples. By the way, if you can’t find carpet samples to make any of these crafts, FLOR modular carpet tiles work just as well, and they come in better colors.

Two carpet samples

I’m excited that my DIY checkerboard rug idea actually worked. I was a little trepidatious about cutting carpet. I thought it would be difficult and require special tools. I was wrong on both counts. Cutting the carpets was the easiest part of making this checkers set.

Sure, a black and ivory checkerboard would be more classic and classy, but I already have plans for those carpet samples. Plus, the blue and green is fun and unexpected.

Checkerboard at an angle

A carpet checkerboard and felt checkers makes for the quietest checkers game you’ve ever heard. And it’s transportable because the felt doesn’t slide off of the carpet. If you’re more of a chess person, you can buy chess pieces or make your own.

I made the entire game from supplies I already had on hand. I love it when it works out that way. And it only took half a day to make.

Click here for carpet-sample craft number one. Five more carpet crafts coming soon.

Tutorial and photos after the jump. Read more »

Carpet sample placemats for Easter

This stack of carpet samples has been hanging around my apartment for three years. I picked them up for free on Craigslist. My original plan was to let the girls at camp paint them to make fun prayer rugs. The problem was that cheap craft paint didn’t work, and we didn’t have the budget to spring for something better. Plus, many of the carpet samples are puke-ugly colors (at least to young girls).

Stack of carpet samples

So I hung on to the little carpets—planning to create area rugs out of them. And they sat. And sat. And then I moved. And the carpets came with me. I finally got tired of storing them, so I broke them out of the closet last week and started planning. This is the first of seven projects I have planned for these rugs. And I can’t wait for you to see them!

Carpet sample placemat

These soft wool carpet samples made excellent placemats. The size was perfect, but the colors were a little drab and mismatched. I fixed that with bright-colored pom-pom fringe. Then I made matching pom-pom napkin rings, which, of course, meant that I had to make napkins for them. Luckily, I had the perfect fabric on hand. (Mitered-corner napkin tutorial coming soon.)

Pom-pom Easter eggs

Then I noticed that my brown eggs looked gorgeous with the colors of these placemats, so I decided to create an Easter centerpiece. A footed bowl, candlesticks, and several more pom poms scattered and glued onto eggs finished the fuzzy tablescape. Happy Easter, everyone!

Tutorials and photos after the jump. Read more »

DIY house number tiles

Happy New Year, everyone! Sorry for my long absence. One of my New Year Resolutions is to blog more often, so here it goes. This is a project I finished more than two years ago. I finally got around to blogging about it. I hope you like it.

ohmeganumbers

Inspired by house numbers spotted at a salvage yard.

A reader, Josie, emailed me quite a while ago asking for uses for leftover tiles. Subway tile nameplates was the first idea that came to mind, but I also thought 4-inch tiles would make excellent house numbers.

The idea was inspired by the house number tiles (at left) that Sarah from Sunset magazine found at a salvage yard years ago. She described them as “sunny and Parisian,” which is the look I tried to achieve with my Santiago numbers (above).

I had so much fun creating DIY house numbers that I got a little carried away. I finally stopped at 10 different sets. I based my Santiago house numbers on Karen Barbé’s gorgeous handcrafted textiles. I designed Stanford for the university town in which I used to live. Apple is a tribute to the late Steve Jobs, modeled after the classic keys of an Macintosh computer keyboard. Treehugger is for all you folks who love natural wood. New York is based on the actual colors and numbers of the NYC subway lines (except, of course, that an 8 line and 0 line don’t actually exist). Any guesses on what Squirrel is based?

10 House number designs

Download all these designs below 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 »

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