About monica

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So far monica has created 155 blog entries.

Mail sorter & key holder

I bought this mail sorter on clearance at Target a couple years ago. It’s seen better days, and it’s not exactly the look I go for anymore. To quote my sister, it’s “really ugly.” So I gave it a makeover. A little paint, two label holders, and three cup hooks […]

2020-09-21T05:17:32+00:00September 21, 2020|

Lazy Susan = two wooden clocks

I wanted a big, bold clock to make a statement on my wall, but I couldn’t find anything like what I imagined, so I made my own. I started with a $7 Snudda Lazy Susan from Ikea (now $13). And — surprise — I got two clocks […]

2020-09-03T19:56:16+00:00September 3, 2020|

Fall pumpkin centerpiece ideas

For those of you who aren’t in a rush to decorate for Christmas, give your pumpkins one last hurrah before everything becomes tinsel and snowflakes. Remember: Fall isn’t over until December 22, and pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween. Finish your centerpiece with a fall-colored table runner, leaves, green boughs, or more […]

2020-09-14T04:56:32+00:00November 15, 2017|

Easy holiday ribbon wreath

I originally made this as a Christmas wreath, but now that I see it again, it works just as well as a Valentine’s Day wreath. It’s the easiest project I’ve done so far. Admittedly, it looks candy caney. But that’s the beauty of this project: You can choose any ribbons you […]

2020-09-04T19:10:17+00:00February 10, 2014|

Navy blue feature wall

Whenever people tell me they love painting, I’m suspicious. If you do the job right (protect the floor, clean and prep the walls, tape off moldings and edges, and start with primer), painting is anything but fun. And that doesn’t even count cleanup. But it’s worth the hassle because paint (or […]

2020-09-23T08:44:05+00:00February 1, 2014|

Beaded-glass-framed mirror

I removed this old, scratched, chipped mirror from an ugly plastic frame (which I turned into a bulletin board). Even though the mirror had seen better days, I couldn’t just throw it out. Despite it’s flaws, I loved the shape and thickness of the mirror. I wanted to […]

2020-08-30T00:51:55+00:00May 15, 2013|

House number tiles

Happy New Year, everyone! This is a project I finished more than two years ago. I finally got around to blogging about it. I hope you like it. A CN reader, Josie, emailed me quite a while ago asking for uses for leftover tiles. Subway tile nameplates […]

2020-09-22T20:32:22+00:00January 21, 2013|

Plain bookshelf = fancy china cabinet

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 up this bookshelf and […]

2020-09-25T00:03:57+00:00October 16, 2012|

Reupholster an 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 on the couch and use as a coffee table by merely adding a tray. I loved Pottery Barn’s striped Alexandria Ottoman (see […]

2020-09-22T20:21:09+00:00October 6, 2012|

Crafting with the Cameo: embossed numbers clock

Can you believe it? I finally took my Silhouette Cameo out of its box and fired it up last week. I seriously don’t know what took me so long. I have lots of projects I want to try, but I decided to start with this square clock […]

2020-08-31T03:24:53+00:00March 27, 2012|

Coffee filter snowball wall light

Lately I’ve been working with wire and wire mesh. First I made jewelry holders, then a jingle bell ornament, and now this decorative light fixture. I call it the Snowball light because it reminds me of the giant snowballs that terrorize Scrat, the acorn-obsessed saber-toothed squirrel in the movie […]

2020-08-31T03:44:26+00:00January 21, 2012|

Chicken wire jingle bell ornament

When I blogged about my wire mesh jewelry holders with beads, I mentioned that I planned to make a Christmas ornament out of wire. Here it is. But instead of ¼-inch hardware cloth, I went with chicken wire. Apparently, it’s called poultry netting these days, but my family raised chickens […]

2020-09-15T07:09:57+00:00December 7, 2011|

Recycled Christmas 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. […]

2020-09-15T07:28:51+00:00November 30, 2011|

Camp craft: wire mesh jewelry holders with beads

These jewelry holders were the one original camp craft idea I had this year. When I discovered the different types of hardware cloth and chicken wire stacked in the back of Home Depot, my mind started churning out all kinds of projects I could make with […]

2020-09-06T02:20:46+00:00October 9, 2011|

Bamboo orb pendant lights

Apologies for my long absence. A month ago I landed a full-time job (gotta pay the bills) along with a 3-hour round-trip commute. Ugh. It’s left little time for crafting. Not to worry, I’m still going to keep blogging, but it might be on a more infrequent basis. For now, it […]

2020-08-30T23:45:00+00:00September 25, 2011|

Camp craft: stitched leather bracelets

As a teenager, 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 […]

2020-09-02T09:34:50+00:00July 8, 2011|

Sylvania room-makeover challenge: the after

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 had procrastinated the job. Then Sylvania […]

2020-09-23T08:06:35+00:00April 11, 2011|

Drywall T-squares aren’t just for drywall

This tip was one of those aha! inspirations for me. Ever need a straight edge to measure and cut a large piece of fabric, cardboard, or paper? Forget cheap yardsticks (you’ll only slice slivers of wood off when cutting) or expensive T-squares (that for some reason are never really square) or […]

2020-09-02T10:23:28+00:00March 12, 2011|

Sheet music Christmas tree ornaments

Homemade ornaments are so much more fun, rewarding, and cheaper than buying them. Especially when they’re made of paper — in this case, sheet music. That’s why I included so many paper ornaments in my handmade holiday gift list. For this project, I made stars, but you […]

2020-09-12T20:39:02+00:00December 8, 2010|

Plastic wardrobe = spray-painting tent

Check out my new spray-painting “tent.” I don’t have a garage, and I don’t like to spray paint inside my apartment. Spray painting outside is also problematic because of the lovely ocean breezes. Then I found a plastic wardrobe discarded on the side of the road. It […]

2020-09-05T00:01:44+00:00November 15, 2010|

137 inexpensive, handmade holiday gift ideas, part 3

Anyone who knows me, knows cooking is not my specialty. That’s why I’m not one of those bloggers who takes a picture of whatever masterpiece she made for dinner and shares the recipe. I can, however, bake quite well. Maybe it’s because I’m good at following the directions in a recipe. […]

2020-09-22T04:29:34+00:00August 30, 2010|

137 inexpensive handmade holiday gift ideas, part 2

Handmade Christmas-themed gifts often double as decorations, so you might want to give these gifts early so they can be properly enjoyed during the holiday season. Or maybe the gift is making some of these together with family or friends. Either way, these crafts get in you in the holiday spirit, […]

2020-09-22T04:32:35+00:00August 27, 2010|

137 inexpensive handmade holiday gift ideas, part 1

Why Christmas when we’re in the throes of summer? I know. I worked six years in retail. In my experience, nothing incited more groans than Christmas being stocked on the shelves in August. However, I think this a worthy exception. After all, if you’re going to have a handmade Christmas, you […]

2020-09-22T20:32:47+00:00August 25, 2010|

Camp craft: subway tile nameplates

All you scrapbook fanatics are going to love these. The girls at camp took this idea and ran with it. I wish I had photos of all their great plaques. These subway tile nameplates to stick on your bedroom door were inspired by a reader, Josie, who asked me for […]

2020-09-16T09:05:58+00:00August 7, 2010|

Camp craft: duct tape wallets

I volunteered as a crafts director at a girls camp last month. So, for the past few months, I’ve been preparing all the crafts and buying supplies for about 90 teenage girls to make cool stuff. I’ve kept the projects secret in case any of the girls read my blog, but […]

2020-09-02T09:27:22+00:00July 6, 2010|

Sealing wine corks test

For the record, I’m against sealing my wine cork bath mat. I mean, corks are exposed to the moisture of wine for decades and seem to hold up fine, right? But several readers insisted cork needed to be sealed, so I did some research on sealing cork. […]

2020-08-27T07:18:11+00:00March 27, 2010|

Wine cork bath mat

I am evidently on a hot-glue kick lately. This bath mat requires just three materials: shelf liner, hot glue, and 175 wine corks. How did I gather 175 wine corks, you ask? Working at Sunset magazine had its perks. With all the wine tastings in that office, […]

2020-09-17T06:36:39+00:00March 24, 2010|

Salvaged patchwork bulletin board

Whenever I speak to my dad on the phone, he always asks, “Miss me?” This past month I’ve been getting concerned emails, so apparently some of you missed me—or at least my weekly blog posts. I’ve missed you too. I think I just needed a break. But I’m happy to say […]

2020-09-02T04:38:31+00:00March 16, 2010|

Two paper lanterns: flowers & pom poms

I planned to make a flower-covered paper lantern for months. Not until I found a white poinsettia garland at a Michael’s after-Christmas clearance did it become a reality. Normally, I’m not a fan of artificial flowers, but I think this is a great way to use them. […]

2020-08-30T00:45:44+00:00January 14, 2010|

Giant craft-stick snowflakes

I could hardly wait to show you this Popsicle stick craft! These snowflakes are fun, easy, and so inexpensive to make. The smallest snowflake is 12 inches across; the largest is 24 inches. I had some rhinestones left over from my Christmas tree advent calendar, so I glued some at the […]

2020-08-29T08:53:12+00:00December 8, 2009|

Craft-stick Christmas tree advent calendar with “origami” boxes

I was given a box of 1,000 craft sticks, and I had no idea what to do with them. I wasn’t about to start building 1980s Popsicle stick jewelry boxes. I eventually came up with some Christmas ideas. This is my first craft stick project. Click here for my giant […]

2020-09-12T22:54:19+00:00December 1, 2009|

Tank top totes — six pockets or gathered

Before you pack away your summer clothes for the winter, you might want to set one of your tank tops aside to make one of these easy totes. The best kind of tank tops to use for this project are ones that have front and back necklines that are the same […]

2020-08-27T07:30:27+00:00October 15, 2009|

Crafting tool station with wall organizer

This project is what Elizabeth would call “finding crap on the curb and making something fabulous.” I found this mint-green wooden railing (from a crib?) in a pile of debris. Add some galvanized wall-pocket planters (on clearance at Joann for $1.50 each), a […]

2020-09-15T07:26:28+00:00July 31, 2009|

Old dresser = rolling tool chest

I outgrew my toolbox end tables, but I refused to pay hundreds of dollars for one of those ugly, manly Craftsman tool chests. And the gorgeous white ones are even more expensive. This chest of drawers cost me $10 on

2020-08-29T08:21:12+00:00July 29, 2009|

Wine cork trivet

My sister Christy came up with this super easy idea, and I love it. Even better: I had all the supplies on hand. No, I don’t drink wine, but I have plenty of friends who do. They saved their corks for a big project I have planned. I could spare a […]

2020-09-22T20:42:02+00:00July 8, 2009|

Ugly plastic mirror = bulletin board

One of my friends referred to this as the “ugly mirror.” Another friend said, “Whatever you paid for it, you paid too much.” I get more excited about a project when I hear comments like that because I think, “Just wait till they see what I do with it. Mwahaha!” For […]

2020-09-02T10:33:59+00:00May 6, 2009|

Thrift-store plate mirrors

Happy Earth Day everyone! I found these artichoke plates at a thrift store while hunting for dishes with which to make cake stands. I loved the flower shape of them so much that I bought them all. I have plans for the rest, but these three were […]

2020-09-04T20:50:51+00:00April 22, 2009|

Paint a Van Gogh on a wine bottle

I am not an artist, so please excuse my painting skills. During my undergrad, one of my color class assignments was to copy an impressionistic painting on a wine bottle. It was the perfect assignment for a novice painter such as me. On a wine bottle, you can’t see the entire […]

2020-09-05T08:54:39+00:00April 9, 2009|

Reclaimed dining chairs makeover

I found these chairs curbside with a “free” sign taped to them. They have a nice shape but suffer from two problems: a shoddy paint job and cracked seats. I knew I could fix both issues. I wasn’t settled on the how part until I saw what Melissa did to her […]

2020-09-02T04:24:26+00:00April 1, 2009|

Heika’s hemp-string pendant lamps

Super talented Heika DeHart strikes again. These pendant lamps she made of hemp string are genius. Plus, don’t you love how they look with her wallpaper? Heika writes: “I fell in love with West Elm’s Abaca pendent lamps a few years ago but, as usual, my taste […]

2020-08-27T07:23:49+00:00March 25, 2009|

Bamboo veneer flowers + Ikea Lack tables

Last year I fell in love with Jason Horvath’s Sakura table from Uhuru (below). It was out of my price range, so I decided to make my own version using some bamboo veneer a friend gave me and two Ikea Lack tables I […]

2020-09-22T20:32:00+00:00March 11, 2009|

Decorated canvas tote bags

My apologies if you had difficulty with my site this week. I tried something that didn’t work. It’s back to the old design until I work out the kinks. While I do that, I thought I’d post a project from two years ago. I bought a bunch of

2020-09-04T21:09:42+00:00February 25, 2009|

Old flip-flops + bath towel = spa slippers

When I told my brother about this week’s project, the first thing he said was, “You know you can buy those, right?” Halfway into the project, I started to wish I did. My old shower slippers fell apart recently. I examined the shreds and decided that I could make my own—only […]

2020-08-29T08:47:41+00:00February 11, 2009|

Thrift-store candle sconces

I admit these thrift-store plastic sconces look pretty good in the before photo. But trust me, they looked dated and icky on the wall. Plus they’re broken. Luckily the pieces were broken off symmetrically, so you can’t tell after a fresh coat of paint is applied. I’m tickled that

2020-09-04T21:15:55+00:00February 4, 2009|

Mod tissue box cover

I’m fed up with ugly tissue boxes. Even the semi-cool ones never match my decor. I used to buy the white tissue boxes from Target, but they discontinued them. So I took matters into my own hands. I found this wooden tissue box cover at a thrift store for a couple […]

2020-09-04T21:05:05+00:00January 28, 2009|

Salvaged window frame = mirror

I saw this interior window frame at a salvage yard and coveted it for a few months before finally buying it. Instead of the opaque Plexiglass it came with, I inserted mirrors. I love mirrors because they can make a small space feel airy and bright. This one offers an added […]

2020-08-31T01:30:51+00:00January 14, 2009|

Basket drawer unit

My brother and I custom built this unit. I couldn’t find the right piece of furniture that had small drawers and deep drawers. I found these Branäs baskets at Ikea, but Ikea doesn’t make a unit like this to hold them. So, I drew up the plans to build this shelf […]

2020-09-02T22:35:21+00:00December 31, 2008|

Christmas doilies

I told you I have a lot of tatted doilies from my great-grandmother. I decided to frame a few more for Christmas. I bought these 12-inch square collage frames at Michael’s. I replaced the mats with $1/yard fabric from Walmart. I love how the doilies look […]

2020-09-04T22:56:21+00:00December 24, 2008|

Salvaged cupboard door = serving tray

I noticed this stash of cupboard doors at my local salvage yard. The white one was the perfect size to make a serving tray. The old drawer pulls — also found at the salvage yard — made ideal handles. Their swirly shape gave me the inspiration for the pattern I painted. […]

2020-09-15T03:02:47+00:00December 17, 2008|

Decorating: grouping like objects

Sometimes the easiest decorating project can be gathering scattered items around your house that are similar and grouping them together to create a focal point. In this sparkly vignette, I mixed my mom’s antique oval mirror with a couple of large mirrors I found on Craigslist. For […]

2020-09-04T22:57:43+00:00December 10, 2008|

Salvaged drawers = modular bookcase

I picked up these drawers on Freecycle. They were salvaged from the kitchen of a 1940s house that was demolished. My original plan was to put the drawers on wheels and use them as under-bed storage. Turns out, no two drawers are the same height, which would look […]

2020-09-22T20:30:46+00:00December 3, 2008|

Faux frosted glass doors

I got this idea from the plastic adhesive window coverings that Sarah Gaffney used in Sunset magazine’s 2008 Menlo Park Idea House. The window coverings (see below) from British designer Emma Jeffs are sold by Design Public. Sarah wrote […]

2020-09-14T04:30:41+00:00November 26, 2008|

Bookshelf makeover

Kelly and Sarah, two former Sunset magazine coworkers, planned to use this shabby bookshelf in Sunset’s Menlo Park Idea House last summer. After removing the doors, which were in a dire state of disrepair, they painted it. Paint: Benjamin Moore Aura Steam (AF-15) and Caliente (AF-290). Then they decided […]

2020-09-04T21:41:53+00:00November 19, 2008|

Hanging postcard collage

Last year, I asked for suggestions on ways to display my postcard collection. Everyone had great ideas. But this postcard “tapestry” idea came to me, and I had to try it. It would also work well for photos or Christmas cards. You can easily rotate in new ones whenever you like. […]

2020-09-15T07:21:55+00:00November 12, 2008|

First-aid tape = quick hem repair

I just had to share this: If you need to make a last-minute mend of a fallen hem or a temporary patch of a tear, reach for your first-aid kit. 3M Micropore first-aid tape works remarkably well in wardrobe mending emergencies. It even held through multiple washings […]

2020-09-05T00:03:14+00:00November 5, 2008|

Pumpkins carved with a drill

I’ve been dying to try drilling pumpkins for two years, and I finally did it. It’s fun, but after drilling three pumpkins, my hand got tired from holding the drill. But it was worth it. Those daisies are sitting in a jar full of water inside the pumpkin. How, then, did […]

2020-08-31T00:18:31+00:00October 29, 2008|

Food jars = hanging lanterns

Do you have a balcony or porch railing and some jam jars? This is a cheap and easy way to shed some light for trick-or-treaters, or just create a mood for nighttime porch sitting. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about the wind (or little feet) knocking them over. […]

2020-09-22T20:31:37+00:00October 22, 2008|

Repurposed dishes = cake stands

This one was my friend Kristi’s idea. While window shopping one day last spring, we saw a glass cake stand in a jewelry store window. She said, “You could make one of those.” I spent the next couple weeks scouring thrift stores for plates, candlesticks, vases — anything I could find […]

2020-09-04T22:31:54+00:00October 15, 2008|

Mini magnetic picture frames

Instead of chucking these old mismatched frames that I accumulated from thrift stores, I painted them all the same color, attached magnets, and gave them a whole new life. If only I could give this 1980s fridge a new life — in the junkyard. But because I’m renting my apartment, I’m […]

2020-09-04T22:30:27+00:00October 8, 2008|

Sofa table = piano keyboard stand

A few years ago, I achieved my dream of owning a Yamaha DX7 keyboard, the synthesizer behind that bell-quality sound of 80s pop music. But, I couldn’t just plop it on top of any keyboard stand. A former roommate gave me an old piano bench, and I found an unfinished […]

2020-09-04T22:08:47+00:00October 1, 2008|

Bathroom makeover on a budget

Living in a rental, there is only so much you can do when you want to upgrade your bathroom. With a wall-mounted sink and no storage to speak of, my small bathroom needed a little help. Paint isn’t an option, and the neutral tile colors limited my color choices, so I […]

2020-09-23T08:11:23+00:00September 24, 2008|

Pants hangers + drawer pulls = picture frames

Do you have drawer pulls, pants hangers, and photos (or your children’s artwork) lying around? With a few supplies, you can hang them on the wall in minutes — and easily swap them out when the fancy strikes. The best part is drawer pulls look like antique picture hangers — for […]

2020-09-04T22:18:11+00:00September 17, 2008|

Mini accordion books

My first guest nesters! Jessie and Dee Lorimer gave me the instructions to make these adorable accordion-style books. They’re a little more complicated than my bound books, but they don’t require any specialized tools or supplies. They’re well worth the effort. Besides, I made a video to show you how […]

2020-08-31T00:10:10+00:00September 10, 2008|

Bound books

Book binding can seem intimidating because it usually requires specialized tools and costly supplies. This is an easy and inexpensive way to bind books — and it requires minimal specialized tools. Plus you can make these books any size you want. Many thanks to my friend Jessie for helping me refine […]

2020-09-22T20:30:36+00:00September 3, 2008|

Painted mirror

Ever since I saw it hanging on Vanessa’s wall in a photo of her home, I adored Ikea’s plastic Ung Drill picture frame ($25), but the cost of replacing the glass with an oval mirror was prohibitively expensive. Then I found this carved […]

2020-09-04T22:10:24+00:00August 20, 2008|

Plant stand = tray table

I’ve seen many tray tables on the market recently. You know, the side tables with removable trays. They inspired me to make my own. My neighbor gave me this rusty old plant stand, and I knew it could make a perfect base for my round metal tray. All it took was […]

2020-09-04T21:46:17+00:00August 13, 2008|

Bulletin board with shutters

I found these shutters at a salvage yard. I loved their shape, but couldn’t decide what to do with them. Then it occurred to me that shutters were the perfect way to cover a bulletin board (which can look messy). It hangs right inside my entry — a great place for […]

2020-09-22T20:30:22+00:00August 6, 2008|

Fabric-covered lampshade & ball finial

I got this lamp for free from two sweet ladies on Craigslist. I love the base, but the shade had seen better days. I couldn’t find the perfect replacement, so I made my own. And I’ve been obsessed with round finials — which can be pricey. I […]

2020-09-04T21:33:53+00:00July 30, 2008|

Framed doilies

My great-grandmother lived to be 93. And she loved to tat. She made me and my siblings dozens of doilies, collars, and hankies over the years. Her tatted doilies are so beautiful that I hated to see them packed away in a box in my closet. But I wasn’t about to […]

2020-09-04T20:56:57+00:00July 23, 2008|

Furniture-nail clock

This is the easiest project I’ve attempted yet. It all started with an Ikea plant glide and furniture nails (which come in myriad colors and sizes). This clock is full of possibility. You could also glue on numbers or wood pieces, apply chalkboard paint,

2020-09-04T21:18:03+00:00July 16, 2008|

File cabinets = toolbox side tables

What do you do with an ever-expanding tool supply in a small apartment already packed to the gills? Answer: toolbox side tables. I found two of these locking file cabinets on Craigslist and loaded them up with all my tools and paint. For the smaller tools, I […]

2020-09-04T21:00:03+00:00July 9, 2008|

Odds & ends rack

Everyone knows necessity is the mother of invention. But, I’m here to say that mistakes can also be the mother of invention. My first spice rack attempt did not go so well. I used an old sketch and didn’t double-check the measurements. Consequently, the rack was too small to hold […]

2020-09-04T21:20:48+00:00July 2, 2008|

Spice rack

My old spice rack wasn’t cutting it. It only held 12 tins. I’m not a prolific cook, but even I quickly outgrew it. Still, I needed a compact storage solution because I share a small kitchen with my roommate, and countertop space is limited. I couldn’t find a spice rack to […]

2020-09-15T07:24:56+00:00June 25, 2008|
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