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!


Ideas for Handmade Romantic Gifts

So, it was just Valentine’s Day and we’re going to Steve’s sister’s wedding in a few weeks, so I’ve been busy searching for the perfect romantic gifts with a handmade touch.

Here are my favorite ideas. I’ve tried some of them and can’t wait to try the rest!

1. Printed pillowcases


I love this and all the other whimsical designs from ZCreate on Etsy, and how perfect that this business is run by a couple!
2. “I love you” collage


I made this collage for our family a few years ago. It took a lot of time and work, but it’s not technically difficult, and it’s almost free! You could customize this with a wedding date or other details.
3. A year of dates
This is what I actually ended up giving Steve for Valentine’s. One activity for each month, some at home and some out on the town, including some local adventures I have been waiting to try!

4. Personalized wine or bar glasses

I love these vintage monogrammed glasses I found for our Mad Men party a few years ago. You could also make your own with Glass Etching Cream.

5. Personalized wine labels


What a fun way to personalize a gift of wine, with these milestone labels available from Label the Occasion and other sellers on Etsy. Or design your own and print on blank labels.

7. Message written with paper mosaic

I used Chinese characters (love, double happiness, and family), but you could do this with an English phrase, too. I printed out the template in reverse, glued one inch squares onto the back side of the paper, then cut out the template and glued it on a background.

8. String art heart

string art heart

You can buy this from Etsy or make your own with some wood, nails, and red embroidery floss. I’ve been wanting to try this for a while!

9. Personalized luggage tags


I made these luggage tags and other art projects out of wedding invitations. I found the self-laminating tags here.

10. Framed wedding invitation art

You could also do this with a birth announcement. It’s  special way to preserve your friends’ favorite images.


Hope you’re in the mood to create something special for the ones you love!


Gifts Made by the Boys

The fact that I’m writing this when it is already Christmas morning in most parts of the world tells you what kind of crazy-busy December we had this year. I’m definitely looking forward to a few days of downtime with the family.

We don’t do a lot of shopping for Christmas. The adults in my family have generally agreed to not exchange gifts, and our kids get so much from their grandparents and aunts and uncles, that at most, we pick up one or two little things for them. However, on the night of December 23, I realized that I really wanted to have something to give to my dad and brother-in-law who are both celebrating Christmas with us this year. There was absolutely no way I was going to go near a mall on Christmas eve, so I wracked my brain and scoured my craft supplies to come up with a few meaningful projects that we could make at home.

We reprised the mugs that we made for Steve’s birthday and Father’s Day last year, and the boys also made these fun picture collages. We enjoyed going through old pictures to find our favorites, and I also added some extra copies of Christmas cards from the last few years. The boys did all the cutting and gluing themselves, as evidenced by the fact that there are duplicates right next to each other and other quirky touches. I think that our family is going to love these!

Gifts made by the kids: Hand-painted mugs | Jewels at Home

Gifts made by the kids: Family photo collages | Jewels at Home

Gifts made by the kids: Family photo collages using old Christmas cards | Jewels at Home

And for me, being able to stay in on December 24 was the best present of all.

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home
Merry Christmas!

Striped Felted Bag

I may need to have a new series called “Felting Fanatic.” Since raiding my mom’s stash of yarn over the Christmas holidays, I’ve been so excited to try making some felted projects. The first was a felted basket to my knitting. Steve calls it “Knitting Inception,” because of the yarn within the yarn thing… he’s a bit quirky that way. The next project was this felted shoulder bag.

Knitted felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

I was having a lot of fun with the big needles and chunky yarn, because everything came together so quickly. I had learned a little bit about the proportions from making the basket, and so I adapted my plans for this bag a little bit. It’s a simple shoulder bag. The main color is dark blue, and I used a mix of many colors for the stripes in between. Like the basket, I was able to mix different types of yarn by doubling or tripling the ones that were thinner.

Like with the basket, I knit on my chunky needles with a gauge of 3 stitches per inch.  I cast on 90 stitches and knit in the round with stocking stitch until the bag was 22″ high, finishing with 4 rows of garter stitch at the top of the bag, so it wouldn’t roll over.  The shoulder strap is 8 stitches wide in garter stitch, and I sewed this onto the top outside edge of the bag and started as 47″ long.

To assemble the bag, I sewed the handle onto the sides of the bag, overlapping the pieces by about an inch.  I used a whip stitch to close the bottom of the bag from the inside.

Before felting, the bag was 21″ wide by 22″ long, and the handle was 47″ long. It was comically enormous, as the boys modeled. K said, I should go into business making bags for giants. If I ever meet a giant, I’ll think about it.

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

Thankfully, the finished bag is a much more comfortable 13.5″ wide by 11″ high, and the strap turned out about 30″ long.

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes | Jewels at Home

As a finishing touch, I made a lining for the bag out of some vintage fabric, also from my mom’s stash.  I sewed a simple rectangular lining, with some pockets on one side.  I then folded down a hem along the top and hand-sewed it into the felted bag.Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes, lined in vintage fabric | Jewels at Home

Knitted and felted handbag with colorful stripes, lined in vintage fabric | Jewels at Home

I’m excited to use my new one-of-a-kind bag with all its fun colors!


DIY Paper Art – Heart and Butterfly Silhouettes

Just every once in a while, I plan a project, and then I actually do it!  Yes, really!  I recently collected some fun ideas for art projects involving paper, and now I’m excited to unveil my own paper creations.

I have a great weakness for pretty prints on paper and fabric, and these easy projects were a great way to display them and create inspiration in my craft studio.

Art Hearts

I was feeling girly when I collected these pink and red papers – a mix of scrapbook paper, origami paper, scraps from card, and even some paper I made myself! (second row, center) – and cut out rows of matching hearts.  Very easy – I made a heart template out of scrap paper and then traced and cut out this collection.  I glued them onto a plain background and popped them into this frame I already had.  I had also thought of folding the hearts and making them three dimensional, but I’m happy with how this turned out.

Simple and pretty DIY paper heart art.  A perfect way to enjoy your favorite pretty papers. {Jewels at Home}


Butterfly Collection

No butterflies were harmed in the production of this pretty display piece.  While I have fallen in love with pink and red only recently (some kind of reaction to having three boys), I’ve long had a love for the color blue – in fact, my dad still talks about how much I love blue (do your parents also remember you exactly as you were twenty years ago?).

Anyway, unlike all the identical hearts, I wanted to make each butterfly unique.  Again, I love the mix of papers many of which have stories behind them – an old stationery set, some wrapping paper, and more paper that I hand made (second row, left).  These are mixed with some more scrapbook and origami papers for a soothing and pretty work of art.




Simple and pretty DIY paper butterfly collection.  A perfect way to enjoy your favorite pretty papers. {Jewels at Home}


And now, there is finally something to adorn the blank wall in my “studio.”  Along with my new paper art, I framed a section of the hydrangea wrapping paper that I used for my desk accessories and added some botanical prints from a calendar.

Create an inspiring art gallery with a mix of DIY paper art, framed papers, and pretty prints. {Jewels at Home}


I love how putting something up on the walls makes a space feel like home!


Fabric Banding on Bath Towels

Do you have some plain towels calling out for a bit of interest?  Adding some ribbon or a beautiful fabric – or both – to some towels is an easy way to transform them. The finished products make great accents for your home and would be great housewarming gifts! The sewing is all straight lines, so a forgiving and doable project. These plush towels were lovely already, but I felt like dressing them up a bit. I used a band of fabric and some bias tape.

Before you start this project, prewash the towels and fabric, so they won’t pucker later, if they shrink unevenly.

I started by cutting strips of each fabric to the width I wanted and joined pieces end to end to make a long strip.

Make long strips of the fabrics you want for the towels

Make long strips of the fabrics you want for the towels

Then, I joined the strips of different fabric to each other and ironed down a seam allowance on the top and bottom.

Sew together the different fabric strips

Sew together the different fabric strips

Finally, I cut sections a bit wider than each towel and pinned it onto the towels, folding a seam allowance on the ends before sewing the fabric to the towel.

Adding fabric border to towels by Jewels at Home

Pin the fabric in place, turning under the raw edges.

This was really an easy project, and I think it makes a big impact! I used a little bit of the green and white fabric to decorate a basket in the vanity, to tie the room together.

DIY fabric border towels by Jewels at Home

Finished towels with new fabric border in our master bathroom.

DIY fabric border towels by Jewels at Home

New fabric border on master bath towels.

A funny story along the way: ever wonder what the kids think of all these craft projects? Our six year-old saw the fabric pinned to the towels in my sewing room and asked, “But won’t the pins hurt?” It reminds me that all my great ideas might seem a little crazy to others.

Now that I’ve decorated these towels for our master bathroom, I’d love to try some more. I’ve seen some very pretty versions of this idea on tea towels or burp cloths, all of which would make great and special handmade gifts.

And with these towels, our master bathroom is pretty much done, do that room tour will be coming up soon!