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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 a paper-recycling tote, originally published January 2008.

Recycling tote on shelf

Ever need something that you’re sure exists, but once you go looking for it, you come up empty? I searched for a bin in which to toss all my paper recycling (let’s face it: junk mail). And I wanted it to fit on the bottom pull-out shelf of my not-so-attractive-but-necessary microwave cart. I found zilch. So I made my own out of a cardboard box and fabric.

toteMobile

The tote is not exactly pretty, but it’s oh-so-handy for carrying paper products downstairs to the recycling bins, and it only cost me $16.

Tutorial and photos after the jump. 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 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 »

Greeting card advent calendar

Remember when I told you three years ago that I was going to make an advent calendar the same way I made my hanging postcard collage? Well, I finally did it! Apologies for posting so late in the season. You probably already made or bought an advent calendar this year. But you can start saving Christmas cards to make one next year. The beauty of this design is that it rolls up and stores easily to be used year after year.

Candy tucked behind each card

Slip a thin, wrapped piece of chocolate (Ghirardelli Squares work well) or note behind each card for a daily Christmas treat. I cut out a square from the inside of each card, including the signature, and pasted it on the back so I will always remember who gave that card to me. You could also decorate the cards with glitter, brads, eyelets, ribbon, etc. All you scrapbookers know what I’m talkin’ about.

Tutorial and photos after the jump! Read more »

Orange fabric flower headbands

Fabric flower headbands

As some of you may recall, I saved last year’s yo-yo crafts for this year’s girls camp. The girls with patience and determination loved making yo yos. For others, hand sewing was a bit arduous. So, I came up with an easier alternative: fabric flower headbands. It was a hit. (I just added pictures of some of the fabulous yo-yo headbands the girls made. Check them out here.)

Tutorial and photos after the jump! Read more »

Office makeover - view from the door

This is the first whole-room makeover I have attempted on Crafty Nest. What an undertaking! I had been planning to make over my office/guest/craft room for some time. The makeover involved a ton of DIY—which is definitely why I procrastinated the job. Then SYLVANIA invited me to participate in their blogger room makeover challenge—just the impetus I needed to get started. They sent me a $500 gift card to Lowe’s, a bunch of SYLVANIA’S new LED light bulbs and light fixtures, and gave me a weekend to get the job done.

At the start, I knew I needed to call in a reinforcement: my younger brother, Troy, who blogs about his construction work at Hardhat13. And it was a good thing I did. At the end of day two, we realized we were only halfway done. So, this is technically a two-person, two-weekend job.

Check out all the SYLVANIA blogger room makeovers over the coming weeks on their Facebook page. If you “like” the page, you can enter the daily sweeps to win your own SYLVANIA lighting products and Lowe’s gift cards so you can perform you own room makeover!

Here’s the “before” video. Let’s all make fun of how many times I say “love it.” One thing I do not love is making videos. My videos are unedited, so kindly forgive my rookie mistakes. It’s hard to believe that I stuffed so much furniture in that one little room, isn’t it? Amazingly, though, there is more furniture in the room after the makeover, yet everyone tells me the room looks bigger now. Mission accomplished.

The look I was going for is beach cottage meets industrial chic. The colors: blues, greens, whites, and silver—all cool, calming colors of the sea. I infused liberal doses of galvanized steel, paint, lighting, white fabric, and tassels. Now the room is serene, less cluttered, and oh-so-practical.

Dresser corner

I designed the studded mirror to echo the look of my riveted steel magnet board. It’s made from 12-inch mirror tiles. The mirror adds more light to the room and makes the potted plants look even more plentiful. Mirror tutorial coming soon. Click here for the mirror tutorial.

The pom-pom paper lantern you’ve seen before on Crafty Nest. The white twill curtain panels and the plush Wooly Bully accent rug are from Lowe’s. I made the tassels from yarn I had on hand. Curtain and tassels tutorials coming soon.

Here’s the “after” video. As I mention in the video, the room is now organized into three zones: the craft zone, the office zone, and the guest bedroom zone. Surprisingly, Troy is more versed in feng shui than I am. He informed me that the energy in this room was all wrong. Moving the fabric cabinet to the other side of the room made a world of difference.

More photos and videos after the jump! Read more »

Purse kit

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. This year I made myself my own Valentine’s gift. I loved the feel of this reversible fabric scrap that I got from FabMo. It’s woven but soft and thick like knit. The beauty of this craft project is it takes very little fabric. I started with a 15-inch x 17-inch piece, and I still have leftovers.

This purse set solves three common handbag problems: 1) I hate stuff rattling around loosely in my purse, 2) Digging things out of myriad purse pockets makes switching purses a chore, and 3) I own handbags that are perfect but utterly lack pockets.

At first I set out to make just a soft eyeglass case because my hard case is too bulky and heavy, but then the project grew as I thought of more and more cases I could make. BTW: I don’t actually use the change purse for coins (my wallet has one of those). I fill it instead with travel essentials: lip gloss, hair elastics, nail clippers, etc.

Tutorial and photos after the jump! Read more »

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