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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

One Kings Lane
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