Decorative Paper Storage Boxes Inspired by Antoinette Poisson

Making these decorative paper storage boxes makes me so happy! Like many of my other creations, it started by seeing something beautiful and wondering “how could I make that?!” In this case, it started by seeing these gorgeous Antoinette Poisson … Continue reading

Making a Spring Floral Wreath

I don’t do that much seasonal decorating (except for my very over-the-top Christmas decorating, of course!). Maybe, it is because San Francisco does not have traditional seasons? Anyway, after our cool and wet winter, I really felt like celebrating Spring … Continue reading

Favorite Fall Decorating Ideas

Between the start of school, two boys’ birthdays, and Halloween costumes, I’ll confess that many years I skip right over any fall decorating. This year, we are in the middle of moving, so I’m not sure how much decorating I’ll do.

But when I do decorate for fall, I’ve found you can create a lot of atmosphere with a few changes. I set the mood with some pumpkins and candles, creating something neutral yet festive.

Here are some of favorite pictures from years past. Projects seen in this post include

Here’s to crisp fall days!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Macrame Plant Hangers- Now in Color!

I’ve decided to call my crafting style “serial crafting monogamy.” I definitely go on streaks where I fall in love with a new technique and can’t get enough of it. Right now, I’m sure you have noticed, I am addicted to macrame. Once I got the hang of it, I have so many ideas to try!

Today’s post is about adding color to your plant hangers – I did this with dyeing an ombre pattern as well as with adding colorful embroidery floss.

If you want to go back and see other posts on macrame, here are the links:

First, check out these beautiful ombré plant hangers. I made them with cotton clothesline and created the ombre pattern with navy fabric dye.

To get the ombré effect, I dipped the plant hanger in a container of dye solution and then pulled it out and hung it with just the bottom sitting in the dye for 20-30 minutes.

The other way I added color to the plant hangers was by adding gathering knots in different colors of embroidery floss.

And I just recently discovered Bobbiny cotton rope from Poland. It’s so soft, recycled, and beautiful, so I’m definitely scheming to add more color to my macrame projects that way!


Macrame Mania – Square Knots and Beads!

“At first I was afraid… I was petrified…” and now I’m totally obsessed with macrame! With apologies to Gloria Gaynor… once you learn a few basic knots, there are so many possible macrame projects!

You might remember that for my first plant hanger, I used heavy rope and simple overhand knots. I added gathering knots in colored yarn. For my next projects, I learned the square knot and added some beads.

This project uses some silver-colored beads, and the hanger is formed with short stretches of three square knots. I used sport weight cotton yarn (similar to this yarn) which I already had. The advantage is that it’s thin enough to thread the beads onto, but the result is quite thin, so it will be best for a smaller plant.

This next project uses some braided candle wick. It lies flat, which makes the square knots much easier and neater. I did two longer stretches of square knots at the top and then shorter stretches to form the hanger. The twine is heavier than the cotton yarn, and I really like how it lies flat. I’ll definitely be doing more projects with this string!

By the way, you may have noticed the same (fake) plant in both these hangers. We’re on vacation in Toronto, and I ended up buying a “plant model” to help with my projects. 😂

Next macrame projects coming up: wave knots, colored string, and dip-dyeing (I think I will save that for when I get home…)! I always need to have a project to work on, and this has turned out to be a great one for traveling, because it is so compact. Hope you will give it a try.


Macrame Madness: A Simple Plant Hanger

Everything old is new again! I’m visiting my dad and fantasizing about magically unearthing some old macrame projects from the 70s. Meanwhile, I’m trying my hand at making some plant hangers. This macrame obsession pairs perfectly with my newfound love of plants!

Tying knots in string shouldn’t be that complicated, but I was nervous getting started, so I chose the simplest project I could. Using some heavy cotton rope leftover from hanging a birthday piñata, I based my plant hanger off of these instructions.

Because the rope was so thick, I chose to use a gathering knot in blue cotton yarn rather than tie a heavy knot with the rope at the top and bottom.

Being a busy mom, the first chance I had to work on this project was on a plane! Luckily, the tab that holds up the tray table works perfectly for attaching the loop at the top;)

Here’s how the plant hanger looks empty:

And here’s how it looks planted with Golden Pothos.

Stay groovy and green!


Onesie Decorating Party

When I first saw the idea of doing appliqué onesies at a baby shower at the Cutting Table, I immediately thought of doing this project at Nicola’s baby shower. I did have some trepidation about having to stitch around the appliqués, but thankfully my co-host Maura convinced me that it would be worthwhile, and it certainly was.

Here’s what you’ll need to do this at your party:

  • blank onesies. I was unable to find these in any color besides white in local stores, but I ended up getting a good selection between Rock Bottom T-Shirts and these Disney solid bodysuits. These MoonTree Kids Bold Colors Bodysuits are very cute as well! I got a range of sizes from newborn to 18 months, because we all know how fast babies grow!
  • fabric – I pulled a bunch from my stash, and Maura brought an adorable charm pack
  • fusible webbing – I used Heat ‘n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive
  • iron and ironing board
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • optional: stencils or objects to trace (cookie cutters are good for this), examples of appliqued onesies

Supplies for a DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

Supplies for a DIY Onesie Party.

I wrote up a set of instructions with a storybook theme that you can download here: DIY Onesie Instructions from Jewels at Home. It also helped to show the first people step by step, and then they helped the next group. It all went quite smoothly, and there were just two that I needed to fix up afterward, because the Heat ‘n Bond didn’t stick. I’ll show you the “rescue” tips later in the post, but first, here are the step-by-step instructions for decorating the onesies.

DIY Onesie Tutorial

  • Choose a design and fabrics.
  • Sketch your design onto the paper side of the iron-on paper. Note: your drawing will be reversed when the design is finished, which is important for letters.

Sketch your design onto the paper side of the Heat 'n Bond.

Sketch your design onto the paper side of the Heat ‘n Bond.

  • Cut out the paper with your design with a small margin around it
  • Place the sticky side of the Heat’n Bond Lite facing the back side of the fabric and iron for just 2 seconds.

Cut out your design and iron it to the backside of the fabric.

Cut out your design and iron it to the backside of the fabric.

  • Cut out the design exactly along the lines you sketched
  • Peel off the paper backing
  • Place your design on the onesie and iron for 8-10 seconds
  • Optional: Add words or details with the fabric markers. We signed the “bums” with our names!

Sign your DIY onesie.

Sign your DIY onesie.

DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

Onesie decorating party. I love how each one is unique!

DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

Finishing the Onesies

After the party, Maura and I split up the onesies to take home and sew the edges. For the simple outlines, I used a small zig-zag stitch, which I think is the most secure. For the ones with fine details, I used a straight stitch, so I could follow the shape more neatly.

DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

Finish the onesies by sewing around the appliques with a zig-zag or straight stitch.  I used a zig-zag for the simple shapes, as I think this will be the most secure.

DIY Onesie party from Jewels at Home

Finish the onesies by stitching around the edge of the fabric. I used a straight stitch for more detailed designs like this one.

If you end up with some onesies with appliques that didn’t stick, I thought of two ways to rescue them.

  • Pictured below, place the fabric on the sticky side of the Heat’n Bond Lite. Use some glossy paper (this is from some contact paper) face down on the fabric, and iron. Cut out carefully.
  • You could also place the fabric on they sticky side of the Heat ‘n Bond, trace around the design with pencil, and cut out the paper. Then iron the fabric onto the cut-out paper.

Adding Heat 'n Bond to the fabric, after it is already cut out.

Adding Heat ‘n Bond to the fabric, after it is already cut out.

This was a lovely project – it was wonderful to see so many people try it, even those who don’t usually do craft projects, and it was fun to see how each onesie reflected a little bit of the artist’s personality.

Can’t wait to see these on the new baby!


Diaper Cake Using Cloth Diapers

I had a great time co-hosting a baby shower for my friend Nicola’s baby shower last weekend, and I’m working on getting all the pictures together to share on the blog.  I started with the tea party, and I’m still wrapping up some of the activities, but here are some pictures and a short tutorial on the diaper cake!

I used cloth diapers for our youngest through a lot of his first year, but I’ve fallen off the wagon lately. It really wasn’t that difficult, and I am so glad we did it.  Cloth diapers do, however, mean a few extra loads of laundry each week, and I was losing buy-in from hubby and the toddler himself. So, despite my feelings of guilt, I have given it up. We’re slowly starting to introduce him to the potty, so hopefully our days of diapers are numbered. In any case, the timing works out well for me to pass these diapers on to Nicola and Victor.

There are many ideas out there for beautiful diaper cakes. Most of them use disposable diapers or plain cloth ones. The diapers I had were the all-in-one or pocket diaper style, and I’ll write about how to use those diapers in another post for Nicola and the rest of you who want to get started. Since these diapers are bulkier than disposables and come in a variety of colors, I had to get creative with the design and owe thanks to Ari and Monica for their artistic input.

The technique for all diaper cakes is similar. You’ll need:

  • cardboard and fabric or wrapping paper for the base
  • diapers
  • small elastic bands
  • extra large elastics – I used sewing elastic knotted into a loop
  • ribbon – wired ribbon gives extra strength
  • decorations – more ribbon, toys, diaper cream, etc.

Prepare the base

I cut a large circle out of corrugated cardboard. It’s about a foot and a half in diameter, and I didn’t have a large circle to trace, so I taped a piece of string to the center, taped a pen about 9″ out from the center, and drew around the string to make a neat circle.

I used a piece of scrap fabric to wrap the cardboard and taped it to the bottom. You could also use a cute wrapping paper.

Draw a large circle on cardboard by taping a string to the center and a pen to the perimeter.

Draw a large circle on cardboard by taping a string to the center and a pen to the perimeter.

Wrap the cardboard circle in fabric or paper and secure it on the bottom with tape.

Wrap the cardboard circle in fabric or paper and secure it on the bottom with tape.

Prepare the diapers

Start by rolling up each diaper and securing it with a small elastic

Making a diaper cake using cloth diapers by Jewels at Home

Roll up each diaper and securing it with a small elastic.

Constructing the cake

Group your first layer of diapers together inside a large elastic band. I used sewing elastic knotted into a loop. Once you have them tied together, you can rearrange them to get the look you want (this picture was taken before I arranged them).  Because there were so many different patterns, I tried to group them by color (blues on the bottom; yellows in the middle; greens on top), and I hid the diapers that stood out too much in the middle (the tiger stripe diaper, the dark blues).

Make a diaper cake using cloth diapers by Jewels at Home

Make the first layer of the cake by grouping the rolled diapers inside a large elastic band.

Put something tall in the middle of the first layer to help attach it to the next layer. I used a roll of diaper liners (these are amazing, by the way. The poop sticks to the liner, and you just dump the liner in the toilet and flush it, leaving you with a much cleaner diaper to wash).

Making a diaper cake with cloth diapers by Jewels at Home.

Put something tall in the center of the first layer to help attach the next layer.

Add your second and third layers, keeping something that projects upwards in the middle, to secure the layers to each other.

Add a second and third layer, using something like this chopstick in the middle to keep the layers steady.

Add a second and third layer, using something like this chopstick in the middle to keep the layers steady.

When each layer is done, you can tie a decorative ribbon around the diapers and remove the large elastic.  I used two layers of wired ribbon, and it made the bundles of diapers very secure.

Decorate your cake

You could add little toys, bottles, diaper cream, etc..  I just added some ribbons to the top and around the edges.  I folded pink and blue ribbons and secured them with a paperclip before stuffing them in the top.

Gather some ribbon and secure it with a paperclip for decorating your diaper cake.

Gather some ribbon and secure it with a paperclip for decorating your diaper cake.

And here it is, the finished diaper cake!

Diaper cake using cloth diapers.  From Jewels at Home.

Finished diaper cake using cloth diapers.

In retrospect, I will have to say that this is not as fast a project as it looks, mostly because I had to fiddle with the arrangements and colors to make all those different diapers work together, but it was a very cute addition to the baby shower, so definitely worth it.

I’ll try to get the information on using the diapers up on the blog soon, as well as some more baby shower projects!


DIY “Tie” T-shirt Tutorial

We’re not formal people… this is how my son showed up to Kindergarten graduation:

Tie T-shirt

Kindergarten graduation. The tie T-shirt is about as dressed up as this kid will get.

I love these tie “Fat Tie” T-shirts that I bought on Zulily. The boys have worn them for a wedding, too, and they seem to strike the right note of respect and whimsy. After getting lots of comments on them, I decided to make some for our boys and to give as gifts.

"Fat Tie" shirt

Another cute “Fat Tie” shirt.

This is not the only tutorial around for this project, but each of us approaches it a little differently, so here’s what I did:

I started with plain long-sleeved T-shirts from Lands’ End. Lands’ End is really hard to beat when you are looking for good quality basics. Their sales are great, and I got these shirts for about $5-$10 each.  I prewashed the shirts and the fabric for the ties.

Plain long-sleeved T-shirts from Lands' End.

Plain long-sleeved T-shirts from Lands’ End.

I made a template with a piece of scrap paper, using a bit of trial and error to get the shape I wanted.

Paper template for "tie"

Paper template for “tie”

To make the tie,

  • I cut a piece of Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive a bit larger than the template and traced the tie pattern onto it
  • I cut a piece of fabric a bit larger than the Heat ‘n Bond.
  • After folding down a finished edge for the top of the tie, I ironed the Heat ‘n Bond onto the back side of the fabric.
  • After it cooled, I cut out the tie.

Preparing a fabric "tie" for ironing onto a T-shirt

Preparing a fabric “tie” for ironing onto a T-shirt

I ironed the “tie” onto the shirt, lining up the top to the collar of the shirt and using a tape measure to make sure it was centered.

Center the "tie" on the shirt

Center the “tie” on the shirt

I’ve seen people describe iron-on projects where they don’t sew down the edges, but it never seems to work for me (the fabric peels off), so I sewed a straight stitch about 1/8″-1/4″ from the edge of the tie.

Sew a straight stitch around the edge of the tie.

Sew a straight stitch around the edge of the tie.

And here are the finished shirts!  Next time, I think I will try some with a false “knot” at the top, like these shirts by Erin at Lemon Tree Creations.  I’d also like to try experimenting with a bow tie!

DIY Iron-on "tie" T-shirts by Jewels at Home

DIY Iron-on “tie” T-shirts

I’ve also made onesies with these appliqued ties, because even babies need to get dressed up sometimes!

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So many ways to have fun with this idea!


DIY Custom Gift Bags

Here’s another easy idea to make a gift that is unique and meaningful from things you might already around the house. We just celebrated my twin nieces’ first birthday, and I wanted to make them cute gift bags. They were born in the year of the rabbit, so this paper that hubby bought for me in Japan years ago was perfect.

I almost always make my own gift bags by reusing paper shopping bags or party treat bags. I add decoration (and cover up the writing) with wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, or art paper. I finish off the packaging with coordinating tissue paper and ribbon. It’s easy to make matching cards with the same paper, too.

DIY gift bags by Jewels at Home

Custom gift bags for my nieces’ first birthday.

DIY gift bags by Jewels at Home

Custom gift bags

While I started making these bag to make good use out of paper bags I already had, I’ve also done it by buying a group of plain bags from the craft store. Not only are you conserving resources, the handmade result will be one-of-a-kind and beautiful!