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 »