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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 »

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 »

Stitched leather bracelets

As a kid, I was jealous of my brothers who got to do leather crafts at Boy Scout camp, while we at girls camp never did. So I was determined to teach these girls a leather project this year. We ended up doing two leather projects. This stitched leather bracelet is the first. We just used multicolored thread, but you can go crazy with your designs by adding ribbon, beads, buttons, etc.

(I know. I still owe you lots of tutorials from my craft room and dining room makeovers. Oh, and the paper lantern tutorial too. I’ll get to them soon, I swear. Girls camp crafts come first because they seem more timely. And fun.)

Stitched leather bracelet closeup

This bracelet was inspired by a souvenir my friend Kristi brought home from Mexico. Essentially, it’s a strip of soft, thin leather that’s folded, glued, punched, and sewn. The girls loved it. You should have heard the racket when all 12 hammers were going to town on those punches! They came up with some super creative designs. I wish I was able to take pictures of all of them.

Tutorial and photos after the jump! Read more »

Leather coffee sleeve from Ooh Leela!Leather coffee sleeve from Ooh Leela!

I’m happy to present our new Guest Nester: my friend Isabela! Her husband and I met at Sportivo Coffee Bar. (I don’t drink coffee, but my friend owns the place, so I visit often.) Isabela invented these leather coffee sleeves, which she sells at Sportivo. I adored them so much that I asked her to do a tutorial for Crafty Nest. I was ecstatic when she agreed!

You can buy these sleeves and other darling creations at Isabela’s Etsy shop. Isabela writes: “Hello Crafty Nest friends! My name is Isabela from Ooh Leela! I have been an avid reader for quite some time, and I have always admired Monica and her creativity. I am so excited to be here today. Thank you so much for this opportunity, Monica!

One of Isabela's cup coziesOne of Isabela's appliquéd coffee sleeves

A couple of Isabela’s handmade fabric cup cozies. Available through Isabela’s Etsy shop.

“I’m here to share a fun project with you: a leather coffee sleeve. It’s an earth-friendly alternative to the usual disposable cardboard sleeve. The leather stays cool and soft to the touch while keeping your beverage hot/cold. Every time I use mine in public, I get lots of compliments. This is a super easy and fast project—perfect for all skill levels.”

Isabela has offered to give away a leather coffee sleeve to one lucky Crafty Nest reader! Leave a comment to tell Isabela how much you love her coffee sleeves to be eligible to win. The deadline is in one week—Monday, July 4, 2011. Thanks, Isabela!

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 »

ReSew cover I am pleased to offer my first book review and giveaway here at Crafty Nest! And what a worthy title to start with: ReSew: Turn Thrift-Store Finds into Fabulous Designs by Jenny Wilding Cardon.

In her book, Jenny turns secondhand basics (i.e. sweatshirts, sheets, pants, etc.) into adorable new fashions and home decor. She offers 20 beginner-friendly projects, including tops, dresses, skirts, hats, bags, and a rug—all made from thrift-store cast-offs. You’ll never look at a boring sweatshirt on the rack at your local Goodwill the same again. BTW: Her projects remind me of my own thrift-store tank-top totes.

Jenny’s instructions are easy to follow (she hand-drew all the illustrations herself!), which makes any beginning sewer feel confident that s/he can tackle her projects with success. And she includes instructions for basic sewing techniques, such as shirring, along with helpful tips and tricks. Her designs are so inspiring that it makes you want to run to your nearest thrift store and start hunting. Here are some of my favorite projects from her book:

Shirred Sheet Dress

Shirred Sheet Dress

This dress makes me long for warm summer days. Sigh. 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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