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!


Kids’ Bath Grows Up – A Clean Slate – One Room Challenge Week 1

I’m really excited to be a Guest Participant in my first One Room Challenge! This is a great way to get inspiration and motivation for your home. For this challenge, I’ve decided to re-do our kids’ bath. It started out with a cute beach theme that seemed perfect when the boys were little, but now I am ready for it to grow up with them. Our new look features neutral colors, natural touches, and enough personality to stand up to three boys! Thanks for following along!

Fortunately, we renovated this bath when we moved into our house a few years ago, and all the “bones” are still good. Without doing a major renovation, I have a feeling I can still completely change our look! I’ve been so inspired by the clean palette of today’s most popular design styles – whether it’s “Scandinavian-inspired,” “California Casual,” or “Modern Farmhouse,” everyone – myself included – is loving white walls and lots of natural materials.

For week one, my task was make this room a blank slate! I took down all the decorations, touched up the existing vanity, sealed the marble, and got some help painting the walls from our friend Joe.

The new wall color is “Feather Down” from Benjamin Moore. I’ve used it in our master bath as well, and I love the warm neutral feel.

Here are a few “before” (or “old after”) and “after” (or “new before”) pictures. I am so excited to get to work rebuilding this space!

Go check out all the other exciting guest great projects over at the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge!

I hope you come back to see the rest of this room’s transformation!


one room challenge logo

Recipe for a Mod Metallic Christmas 

You know decorating for Christmas is a serious thing in our house, and to keep my sanity, I usually try to start planning early. This fall, though, every spare moment outside of work and basic survival has been consumed with stuff for the boys’ school and birthdays! Now, I’m starting to feel a bit of breathing room – or I’m forcing myself to maintain some sanity.

I honestly had so much fun with last year’s retro Christmas that I thought about recreating it. I’ve decided, however, to try a new variation I’m going to call a “Mod Metallic Christmas.”

Here is an inspiration photo (source):

Three years ago, I did simple white and grey Christmas theme, and I’m excited to add some glitter and glam this time around!

Taking inspiration from The Design Cookbook, I created a “recipe” to help me focus my vision for this project and keep it on track:

  • Color scheme: white, grey, black, gold, silver
  • Natural elements like branches
  • Glam/ mod touches, such as clean lines, geometric shapes, and faux fur

Some projects I’d like to work on include:

Metallic garland (source):


Tin can luminaries (source):

Dip-painted wooden ornaments (source):

Painted pine cones (source):

Felt garland (source):

And here are some more inspiration photos (source):


What do you have in mind for holiday decorating?




DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Graphic Modern Fabric

Happy New Year!

I am feel super-stoked about work this year. I have my long-time work “family,” and we have added some strong new staff as well. We are moving to new offices, and I am part of building a new clinic, which is a bit daunting but mostly exciting. To help kick off the new year at work, I decided to make myself a cute laptop sleeve.


DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home

I was inspired by this pattern from Mandi at A Beautiful Mess. I made a few adaptations, like a velcro closure, a sewn-in name tag, and a rectangular flap.

To make your laptop sleeve, you’ll need

  • half yard of outer fabric – I used this graphic modern print
  • half yard of inner fabric – I used dark red faux suede for extra protection
  • quilt batting
  • velcro
  • scrap fabric for label and reinforcement
  • bias binding – mine matches the red on the inside

Start by cutting rectangles out of all three materials. For the width, the fabric should be 1 3/4 inches wider than your laptop on either side. For the length, wrap the fabric around your laptop and add about 6 inches for the flap. I’m lucky the print on my fabric worked out perfectly to line up… I mean I carefully planned and lined up the pattern on my fabric!

I made a label out of scrap muslin and put my name and contact information on it, in case I should ever be so unfortunate as to lose my laptop by fortunate enough to have someone host find it… I sewed this onto the lining fabric, as show below.

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home

Next, I laid all three layers together and pinned them to keep them in place. I sewed quilting lines through all three fabrics for most of the sleeve, but I did want to sew across my name tag, so for the top section, I used some scrap fabric for backing and just sewed the outside fabric and batting to the scrap fabric, also shown below (folded over).

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home

Next, I added the velcro. For the velcro on the body of the bag, I sewed all the way through, since the velcro is on the outside fabric, and I didn’t mind having stitching on the inside. However, for the velcro on the inside of the flap, I didn’t want the stitching to show on the outside, so I used more scrap fabric for backing, and I sewed the velcro to the inside fabric, batting, and scrap fabric, as shown below.

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home

You can see the sleeve taking shape now! I finished one short end of the rectangle with bias binding (shown bel0w) and folded the entire piece to make the sleeve and trimmed some excess from the sides for a snug fit. I pinned the fabric in place to form the shape of the sleeve.

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home

I sewed the sides together with a zig zag stitch and then added bias binding to the sides of the sleeve and top of the flap.DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home
 This was a pretty quick and easy project, and I love how it turned out. I think Steve is eyeing the laptop sleeve, and I offered to make one for him, but he does work from home most days and so he has turned me down so far…

Here are some pictures of the finished product!

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home

DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home
DIY Padded Laptop Sleeve in Modern Graphic Fabric | Jewels at Home
Looking forward to many adventures both at work and “at home” in 2016!


Retro Mid-Century Ornaments Christmas Tree Skirt

I know it is only November, but I am already getting excited about the upcoming Christmas season. The last few years, I’ve changed up our decorations to have a different theme each season. This year, I decided to go with a retro mid-century Christmas theme. You may remember that I am a big fan of the TV series Mad Men, and I really wanted to have a party to mark the series finale this spring, but life is way too busy, so I decided to have some Mid-Century fun for Christmas. One of my inspirations was this Christmas tree skirt that I saw advertised on mod cloth last year.
It’s sold out now, and it was also smaller than I wanted, so of course I decided to make my own. If you are feeling inspired, here’s how I did it.

You’ll need:


  • I sewed the skirt with the same 60″ diameter as our grey and white tree skirt
  • I then cut out and appliqued the ornaments the way I made appliqued onesies. For the print fabrics, I just did a simple silhouette. For the more solid fabrics, I cut out some shapes, taking inspiration from the Mod Cloth original
  • I sewed the ornaments and ribbons in place, and ta-da!

Retro Mid-Century Ornaments Christmas Tree Skirt | Jewels at Home
Retro Mid-Century Ornaments Christmas Tree Skirt | Jewels at Home  Retro Mid-Century Ornaments Christmas Tree Skirt | Jewels at Home

I’m waiting a few more weeks to set up our decorations, and I am so excited to see this pretty skirt under our tree!

Update: Here are some pictures of the skirt under our tree!

Retro Christmas Ornament Tree Skirt | Jewels at Home

Retro Christmas Ornament Tree Skirt | Jewels at Home

Fleece-backed Baby Quilt

With two of my friends at work expecting babies, I realize I’ve crossed a strange line. Our family is complete, and while little J is just 3 years old, there is a part of me that feels a bit like a doting grandma, looking back on those long-gone days of pregnancy and first-time motherhood.

In any case, I wanted to make something special for my friend Kate’s baby boy, so I put together this patchwork of whimsical prints and backed it with warm fleece fabric.

Fleece-backed baby quilt with modern, whimsical design | Jewels at Home

Fleece-backed baby quilt with modern, whimsical design | Jewels at Home

Fleece-backed baby quilt with modern, whimsical design | Jewels at Home

Fleece-backed baby quilt with modern, whimsical design | Jewels at Home

Fleece-backed baby quilt with modern, whimsical design | Jewels at Home


Congrats, Kate and Rob.  You have a lot of fun ahead!  And try to get some sleep and date nights in…



Chippendale Chair Makeover

I’m a little crazy for these chairs. As in, I told Steve that if I go before him, he should feel free to get rid of most of my stuff, but could he please consider keeping these chairs?

I have a faux bamboo fetish that includes these Chippendale chairs. They are a good match for the chinoiserie theme in our living room. I had been scanning craigslist for a while when I scored these great chairs. They weren’t exactly cheap, definitely not free like the Queen Anne chairs I found, but they were still a good deal for well-made pieces in this classic style.

I still have four side chairs waiting for their Cinderella moment, but the three armchairs in this set are ready for the ball:

Sharp-looking Chippendale chair makeover with glossy black paint and a geometric seat fabric | Jewels at Home

Sharp-looking Chippendale chair makeover with glossy black paint and a geometric seat fabric | Jewels at Home

Sharp-looking Chippendale chair makeover with glossy black paint and a geometric seat fabric | Jewels at Home

Are you looking for your own chairs to transform? I’m excited to share that my friend Ari launched a slick new furniture re-sale site over at Check it out to participate in a curated online marketplace for great furniture finds!


Modern Gray and White Christmas Tree Skirt

For many years, I decorated for the holidays with the same traditional red and green Christmas color scheme.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course – traditions become traditions for good reason!  But after more than a decade of the same style, I decided it would be fun to change up our Christmas look.  Last year, I edited and updated our decorations for a red, turquoise, and silver Christmas.  And this year, I’m in love with a simple gray and white Christmas color scheme.  It makes me feel like I’m getting back to the tranquil snowy outdoors – even if I am in California!

Like last year, when I reinvented many of our decorations with silver paint and ribbons, I wanted to work with a lot of things I had, while adding a few new items.  I’ve also been trying to keep my fabric and craft stash in check, so I pulled out all the gray and white fabrics I could find around the house and started to sew!

First up was a new Christmas tree skirt.  I sewed our original tree skirt 18 years ago, when I was more fond of a cute and country look, and I took this year’s skirt in a complete different direction, making something very sleek and calming.  I started with a grey faux suede upholstery fabric sitting in a corner.  I had bought it to upholster our dining room chairs, and then I decided to make them more whimsical with a printed fabric.


  • Grey faux suede fabric, 60″x60″
  • White cotton fabric to make a wide bias binding (I forgot to measure, but I estimate I used a little over a yard of 42″ wide cotton)
  • Narrower white bias binding


  • Cut a 60″ diameter circle from the main fabric
  • Cut a 6″ diameter hole from the center
  • Cut a straight line from the perimeter to the center
Tutorial for a simple gray and white Christmas tree skirt | Jewels at Home

The basic shape for the Christmas tree skirt.

  • Make 5″ wide bias binding from the trim fabric
  • Iron the binding in half to a make 2.5″ wide strip
  • Sew the binding to the two straight edges that makes the opening of the skirt, sewing on the back side of the main fabric with the raw edges lined up
  • Wrap the binding around to the front.  Pin and sew to the front of the skirt
  • Add the binding to the outer edge of the skirt the same way, stretching the edges of the bias binding as you go.
  • Use the narrower binding to finish the inside circle
Tutorial for a simple gray and white Christmas tree skirt | Jewels at Home

Sew the doubled bias binding to the underside of the skirt. Then, wrap the binding around to the front and sew in place.

That’s all! Here’s our new Christmas skirt!

Tutorial for a simple gray and white Christmas tree skirt | Jewels at Home

Modern gray and white Christmas tree skirt.

Tutorial for a simple gray and white Christmas tree skirt | Jewels at Home

Tutorial for a simple gray and white Christmas tree skirt | Jewels at Home


Tutorial for a simple gray and white Christmas tree skirt | Jewels at Home

I’ve got a few more white Christmas ideas coming up, and you can start your holiday shopping over at Zulily:


Perfectly-Mixed (not Matched!) Contemporary Dining Spaces

A matched dining set is just fine. But sometimes, your chairs wear out, you come across the perfect table at a thrift store, you move house and your old things don’t fit… or you just want to create a fresh and creative look in your dining area. If you’re feeling inspired, look at these examples of mixed chairs and tables to see how you can create a space that is unique and beautiful!

You can make a big statement by using a furniture piece of a completely different style from the rest of the room, but usually, it works best to balance contrast and connection. That is, the contrast of different materials, colors, and forms creates visual interest, but connections, or common elements between pieces in the room will pull the look together.

Here are some examples that blend modern style with a comfortable, homey look. I look at more traditional spaces in a companion post.

Hanna’s Room

This is a fresh and airy dining area from Hanna’s Room.


  • The natural wood of the table stands out in a space that is otherwise all white.
  • Its simple straight lines form a backdrop for the curvy chairs.
  • The bare bulb pendants and modern white chairs feel crisp against the other soft, worn surfaces in the room.


  • White is the obvious theme in this room, found in the walls, floor, curtains, chairs, and other accessories.
  • The wood table is simple enough that it doesn’t overpower the rest of the room, and the material ties into the wooden floor planks.
rustic table with modern chairs

This wooden table works perfectly in a clean white space by providing a contrasting material and color. Its clean lines fit with the modern design, and the wood relates back the painted wood floor. From Hanna’s Room blog.

Go to Hanna’s Room


Here’s another example of a mixed dining set using mid-century modern elements. The photo is from Quiest-Brooke


  • The warm red of the chairs contrasts against the distinctive white tulip table.
  • Both the red and white provide interest against the wooden floor and wooden sideboard.


  • All the furnishings in this room have a mid-century style.
  • The round back and mid-century style of the chairs works perfectly with the tulip table and warms it up considerably from the cool space-age look of a complete tulip dining set.
  • The red color is echoed in the pot and vase, and the white blends with the white walls and ceiling.
tulip table with red chairs

This distinctive white tulip table was paired with red wooden chairs. The circular back of the chairs and the mid-century aesthetic tie them together. The chairs are a beautiful accent in this room. From Quiest-Brooke.

Go to Quiest-Brooke

Dad’s beach house:

The two rooms above were part of my inspiration in creating the dining space in my dad’s beach house. This home is built with modern straight lines, but with an emphasis on natural materials, like the mahogany trim. As a coastal vacation home, it should be warm and inviting, too. There are many wonderful sources for rustic wooden tables – flea markets, Craigslist, thrift stores, or furniture manufacturers that make tables from reclaimed wood. I ended up buying a new table that still has that aged look. It’s the Antique Honey Verona table from Cost Plus World Market. I like the trestle style for its looks and for easy of seating (no bumping up against the legs of the table!). You can see in the picture below that Cost Plus paired chairs with a bench, which is another great way to add interest to your dining set. It’s still a lot of wood in the same color, though, and the look is too heavy and rustic for our space.

Cost Plus World Market Verona dining set

Cost Plus World Market Verona dining set

I chose to pair this rustic table with Jake chairs from Room and Board. These are very similar to the ones in picture from Hanna’s Room. I’ve seen the same style for literally ten times as much money from other sources, but I couldn’t tell you why. I was inspired to add some color after seeing the red chairs in the picture from Quiest-Brooke, so I got the Jake chairs in coastal-inspired white and blue, with two orange chairs for a fun accent at the head of the table. I still haven’t decided of three different chai colors is too much, so I took some pictures with and without the blue chairs. I could spray those white. What do you think?

Jake Chair from Room and Board

Jake Chair from Room and Board

Here is the dining space in my dad’s beach house. I feel like it succeeded in blending modern features with a comfortable, coastal style. The chandelier is from West Elm. I don’t think the room needs anything more, though I might find or make a piece of art for the wall.


  • The antiqued wooden table adds a rustic touch to the new and modern space.
  • the orange chairs at the head of the table add interest next to the white chairs.
  • The modern lacquered chairs contrast with natural materials in the table, chandelier, and window trim.


  • The wood table echoes the wood in the trim.
  • The chairs are all the same style, although they have different colors, and those colors are found in other parts of the room as well.
  • The chairs, table, and chandelier all refer to the ocean in the material, color, or form.

Eclectic coastal dining room by Jewels at Home

Eclectic coastal dining room by Jewels at Home

20120529-152145.jpgEclectic coastal dining room by Jewels at Home

Jewels’ house:

Although the style is completely different, I also have a mixed dining set at our house, where I painted and reupholstered our Ikea chairs. I talk about examples from that room and other more traditional spaces in the companion post: Perfectly-Mixed Traditional Dining Rooms.

I hope you feel inspired and emboldened to create your own unique and exciting mixed dining set. As long as some elements – shape, material, color – tie into your space, you’ll end up with a look that’s striking and cohesive.