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My SYLVANIA craft room makeover taught me a few things that I wanted to share with you. Here are my top five decorating and lighting tips:

1. Combining up and down lighting

Most homes—especially older rentals like mine—don’t have enough built-in lighting. And one lamp will not do the job, even in small rooms. To brighten up your space without much effort, combine up lights (table or floor lamps) with down lights (pendants) and spotlights (under/inside cabinets and closets or hung over a piece of art).

Up lighting

Up lighting

Down lighting

Down lighting

FOR EXAMPLE: My small office/craft/guest room now has eight light sources: three up lights, two down lights, two spot lights, and one night light/flashlight. All of them use SYLVANIA LED bulbs, which are so energy efficient I can afford to have all of them on at once. With multiple light sources, I have more control over the level of light in the room. And SYLVANIA’S ULTRA Aline LED light bulb is dimmable, so my main light is now on a dimmer switch, giving me even more control. 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 »

Matchbook box - after

Match box open with matchbooks

Unfinished cigar box - before

When I discovered that my matchbooks fit perfectly into this old unfinished cigar box, I knew it was a DIY matchbox in the making. I wanted to step up the fancy in a subtle way, so I could leave the dingy box out in plain site. I’m all about pretty and practical—and simple—crafts these days. And this matchbox was definitely simple.

Ok, I admit covering each individual matchbook with colored paper is a little bit obsessive, but in my defense, I did that part of this project years ago when I must have had more time on my hands. The match box itself was a breeze. If you don’t want to cut and paste colored paper onto each matchbook—and let’s face it: who does?—you can buy these gloriously pure white matchbooks at Amazon.com.

In case you’re wondering, a friend of mine made that little Dutch couple kissing. She gave them to me expecting that I would paint them the traditional blue and white, but I like them plain white. (I know: You’re shocked.) And, yes, that is my bizarre kitchen counter from the 60s. Boomerangs must have been big then. Read more »

DIY reusable gift canisters

Chocolate canisters - before

Here’s a last-minute idea for us last-minute gift wrappers. I felt guilty about discarding those round, sturdy cardboard canisters that hold nuts, cocoa, and other foods. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think they can be recycled (aluminum + cardboard?). But they definitely can be reused! Here, I covered them in gift wrap and tied on ribbon—and they can be reused year after year to hold anything from cookies to socks. Or you could wrap them in everyday decorative paper and use them as pencil holders or storage containers. I just thought they were too cute to toss. (The blue and green is for you, Carolyn!) Read more »

DIY paper organizer

I told you I had a plan for the mini chests that were leftover from my DIY rolling toolbox. I had a plethora of printer paper and envelopes and nowhere to store it all. The solution: stack three mini chests together, add molding, casters, and paint—and voilà a paper organizer. The casters were leftover from Ikea plant glides that I used to make my starburst mirror and nailhead clock. What can I say? I’m a very organized pack rat. I get it from my dad. Read more »

Craft and tool station

This project is what Elizabeth would call “finding crap on the curb and making something fabulous.” I found this mint green railing (from a crib? shelves?) in a pile of debris. Add galvanized wall pocket planters (on clearance at Jo-Ann for $1.50 each), daisy hooks (thanks, Kristi), spice rack ($3.50 at a thrift store), paper/pen bin (thanks, Jim), dowels and wire for hooks (Freecycle), and I’ve got a cheap craft organizing solution. A power strip and a salvaged bench vice (thanks, dad) attached to the rolling toolbox make it complete. Can’t wait to use it! Read more »

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