Blinged Out Rhinestone Pillows

Blinged Out Pillow
A couple of Christmases ago I got a text from Jared with a picture of a pillow. It was from a designer Orange County boutique super expensive and ridiculously overpriced and his sister fell head over heels in love with it. CAN U MAKE THIS? It said. :scoff: :pshaw: Can I make this. Please. Don’t make me laugh. Not only can I make this, anyone can make this.

Step 1
Cut your fabric to the size of the pillow you want to make. I think mine is 18 x 18, but literally any shape can be made without trouble. Then draw your pattern on it by tracing circular dishes. I like how it looks with large and small circles overlapping together.

Step 2
Use a heat tool to set your rhinestones in place. There’s no magic whatsoever. Just lay out your rhinestones along the circles you’ve drawn, space them out evenly, and use the heat tool to stick them down.

Step 3
To make the envelope closure for your pillow, cut two pieces of fabric the same length as your pillow front and half the width, plus two inches. Hem one side of each of those pieces, then lay them right sides on top of the right side of your pillow front. Line up the edges with the front piece so that the hemmed sides overlap, and sew all around all four sides. Turn them right side out and stuff your pillow form inside.

Step 4
These work best as decorative accents in places where they won’t get a lot of use. The rhinestone glue is far from perfect and the rhinestones can pop off over time or with a lot of wear and tear. Leave the netflix binges to the knit pillows and let these just add the bling.

Rhinestone Pillow
This is one of my favorite parts of being a craft educator. People act like it’s magic to know how to do things yourself, when really it’s just about knowing what tools exist and what they do. If you can curl your hair you can make some blinged out pillows. You just had to know that a heat tool exists. And now you do, so there’s no limit to the bling you can bring into your life.


How to make a cable knit pillow

Cable Knit Pillow
I asked Lion Brand to send me some of their gorgeous Hometown USA yarn in Cape Cod Tweed for the next pillows for my elegantly masculine bed. I love a big man in a sweater, so I wanted to put that influence right up next to all my suits, and I knew the Hometown USA would be bulky enough to work up fast but not so bulky I’d have to make enormous pillows to have a pattern show up. I loved how this yarn looks in a cable. If you’ve never knit cables before it can be intimidating, but just pay close attention to the pattern, recognize you’re going to have to rip out some mistakes, and just go for it. A little pillow like this one is a great first cable project because it’s as close to instant reward as you can get.

Step 1
In the video I made below, I walk you through the knitting in laborious detail. Give that a view if you’re a newer knitter or have never had to knit from a graph before. If you’re cool working with a graph, than here you go:Cable Pillow Chart
The graph starts on a right side row. Blank rows mean you just knit in pattern. Knit the knits and purl the purls.

Cast on 57 stitches.
Repeat the pattern three times to make a row, ending with a purl 3

To do the crossover:
sl 4sts to needle and hold in back
k 2
bring needle front
return 2 p sts to needle and p them
k2 from cable

Knit in pattern until the piece is roughly square. Weave in ends.

Step 2
My knit pillow measured 16″ x 16″, so to make my envelope closure I cut two pieces of fabric 16″ tall and 10″ wide. Hem one end of each of the pieces of fabric.

Step 3
Lay the fabric pieces on to the knit piece, right sides together. Match the edges up so that the hemmed sides overlap across the middle and sew around all four sides.

Step 4
Stuff with a pillow form and give the whole thing a fluff.

Knit pillows are a revelation. They’re so snuggly!! I think I might have to make versions of these for the living room, because these pillows are begging to be smooshed up and laid upon for a weekend long binge watch.


Turn old suits into pillow shams

Pillow Shams

I’m going for elegant masculinity in this room, and there is little that is more elegantly masculine than a suit. I already made the bed pinstriped in honor of it and it looks like a million bucks, eh? But I didn’t want the bedding to be slick and matchy matchy. That seemed like it would venture too far into the clinical and be too sterile. So I wanted to add a bit of a hodgepodge to the pillows, but still working with the elegant masculinity suit theme. So I decided to use the suits in a homespun way by piecing them together to make the shams. First step: To the thrift store!


Step 1

I bought a bunch of sportscoats and suits and took them straight to the washing machine. Suits are the worst for hanging on to the thrift store funk, so you might want to give them a couple washes. I’d avoid any wool suits for this project because they’ll felt before you can get the funk out, and won’t hold up to any future washings. Tear these apart on the seams and cut them into 3″ x 3″ squares. I tried to include any cool details like pockets or buttons and even some exposed interfacing because I think it’s cool to see all the stuff that these suits are made of, and I wanted to preserve the suit look through the pillow.


Step 2

I didn’t want to come up with a pattern for how the different fabrics were used. Different suits yielded different numbers of usable squares, and I didn’t feel like doing a lot of math, so I just threw all the pieces into a bag and shuffled. Pick out two squares and sew them together. Do that over and over until they’re all used up.


Step 3

Throw the pairs back into a bag and pull them out to sew together in a chain 10 squares long. Make 6 of those chains of 10 squares.


Step 4

Iron the chains flat. Depending on the fabric content of your suits this can be tricky, but iron all the seams in one direction. The flatter you can get these the neater the finished product you look, which will be important if you used some super heavy weight fabric mixed in with a lightweight one. Take one of the chains and flip it in the opposite direction before pinning it to the long side of another of the chains. This should let all those seams nestle up next to each other instead of on top of each other and decrease some of the bulk you can get working with these fabrics.


Step 5

For the front of a king sized sham I used 10 squares across and 6 squares down. Give the whole thing a good ironing.

Step 6

For the back I used an envelope closure. So that means I made two pieces of 6 x 6 squares and hemmed one edge of both of them. Lay them out on top of the front piece right sized together and match the edges, letting the hemmed sides overlap. Sew around all four sides.

Step 7

Trim the corners before turning it right side out and you’ll get nice sharp points in your pillow.


Suit Shams

I love how all the details look once it’s all pieced together. The little bits of pockets and cuffs and buttons make it obvious these are suits and not just a bunch of fabric pieced together. Just be sure when you’re laying it out that the buttons wind up on the sides and not right in the places you’re likely to lay your head.



Build a DIY Hanging Lamp

Drum Shade Lamp

This corner of my bedroom needed some help. It’s furthest away from the light, and it’s right where I read. Plus, every time I looked at the furniture in my room, I just knew something tall needed to be in that space. I’m sure there’s a design principle I should reference, but I wasn’t going off of one. I just knew this space seemed to beg for something to take up space near the ceiling and I knew a fabulous light would solve both those problems.


To make this light fixture here’s what you’ll need:

2 16″ macrame hoops
a roll of floral mesh
3 rolls of rhinestone bling
thick wire
a lamp kit
lamp harp
fabric for lining

Step 1

Cut a piece of the floral mesh long enough to wrap all the way around the outside of a hoop with a few inches overlapping. Wrap the long end around the hoop and sew in place. I found using a zipper foot really helpful so I could get right up to the hoop easier. This project does take a bit of wrestling with the machine, between sewing materials that aren’t flexible and the mesh that is so open it can get caught on things easily, so maybe don’t do this with small children around so you can swear as necessary. Sew the other hoop around the other end the same way.


Step 2

Pin the center together, folding the edges to the inside as you do. Sew in place. Doing this in a different order might make more sense to you, so by all means, do it in the way that works. I went this route for two reasons. 1) My math skills are shaky and determining circumference is not second nature to me, so this method means I don’t have to do that and 2) It helped me to keep the top and bottom the same size so I made a drum shade and not a cone.

Step 3

I cut my rolls of rhinestones into a bunch of strips and arranged them onto the mesh. When I was happy with where I put them, I sewed them in place by sewing over the layer of rhinestones and mesh with my sewing machine, just going around each side of the rhinestone rectangle. After making a bunch of mistakes I hit upon this method and I’m so happy it worked out this way because I like it so much better. Mistakes for the win!

Step 4

I didn’t want the naked bulb to show through, so I decided to line my shade. I died this fabric with Rit Dye Pearl Gray so it would match a bunch of other stuff I was doing in the room, including the bedskirt. I folded the fabric in half and then cut it 26 1/2″ long and as wide as the drum shade with room enough to hem both edges. Sew the ends of the fabric together at 25″ to leave 1 1/2″ seam. Make a french seam by rolling that extra fabric in twice to encase the raw edges and then sewing it down.

Step 5

Attach the lining by sewing it to the drum shade just below the hoop. Sew on both ends.

Step 6

With your shade finished, it’s time to assemble the lamp. Run the wire through the lamp harp before attaching any other lamp parts.

Step 7

Follow the package instructions to finish installing the lamp kit.

Step 8

For the shade to be suspended, we have to give it something for the electrical works to hang on to. Run a piece of wire from one end of the shade to the other, wrapping it around the hoop and then twisting it over itself to make it extra secure. Keep the wire as tight as you can.

Step 9

I repeated this until there were four wires crossing over each other, and then fed the plug up through the center of that criss cross. The wires will hang on the lamp harp nice and sturdy.

Step 10

Hang in place and run the cord down to a convenient plug.


I think this looks so elegant and brings such a great bit of class to that spot of the room. Bedroom chandeliers were so in for a second there and those were never quite my thing. But a midcentury inspired drum shade with rhinestones reminiscent of a city skyline? Oh yeah, that’s got my name all over it.


How to make a custom bedskirt


If you put all the effort into a gorgeous bed like this one, you can’t just throw old dorm sheets on it. I have spent way too many years with my mattress on the ground and my comforter dragging on the floor, but now it’s time to do things right, which means I don’t want an old mattress with pet stains around the bottom poking out from my beautiful bed. The solution is to use a bedskirt, which is a layer that sits between the mattress and the box spring just to cover up the box spring. You could buy a bedskirt as part of a bedding set, but you all know I’m not going to be content with that.

Step 1

Because most of the bedskirt will be covered by the mattress, you don’t want to use a fancy fabric. You could use anything cheap, but I went with muslin because it’s pretty much the cheapest you can get, but I’d avoid a lining fabric or something slick so that it doesn’t move around on you too much. Depending on the size of your bed you might need to sew a couple pieces together to get the fabric the right size. Box spring manufacturers save money too, so the muslin should be the size to cover the cheap fabric the manufacturer uses because that’s the part that won’t ever be visible.

Step 2

The fabric you want to be visible will need to be the same length as your muslin piece, and about 17″ wide. 17″ is what will be long enough for hemming, seam allowance, the side of the box spring, and the couple of inches of the top of the bed it will have to cover. Sew your side fabric to the muslin piece.

Step 3

Hem the three sides that aren’t sewn to the muslin.

Step 4

The corners of your box spring will poke out if you only have the four sides covered, so you need a corner piece to bridge that gap. Mine measures 8″ wide and 17″ high, although if I was making it again I would make it a few inches wider, so I had plenty of room to overlap. Hem the three sides that won’t be sewn to the muslin.

Step 5

Find the center of your corner piece and pin that to the corner of the muslin. Pin the rest of the corner piece down so that it overlaps the side pieces. Snip the corner piece right in the middle, just to the seam allowance. This will give you more room to change directions easier around that corner. Sew it in place.

Step 6

That’s all the sewing there is, it’s pretty simple. Now you can lay it out on top of the box spring and place your mattress on top.

Step 7

Here’s a closeup view of that corner piece. It’s a little confusing to write out, but it’s really simple in practice. You just need to make this piece bridge the gap.

Step 8

I still have a lot of bedding work to do on this bed, but I am super happy to have the mattress completely covered up. Now I can go crazy with quilts and pillows and I won’t have my relaxing oasis marred by the eyesore of something as functional and unattractive as a box spring.


How to make an upholstered wingback headboard

Wingback Headboard

So, I promised this a couple weeks ago already, but travel and doctors appointments and first days of school have foiled all my good intentions. But I’m getting my feet back underneath me, so let’s pick up where we left off in this bedroom makeover, shall we? I made a bedframe, and now we’re going to make the over the top fabulous headboard that goes with it. To recap, the theme for this bedroom was feminine masculinity. So in keeping with the upholstered bedframe, I knew I wanted an upholstered headboard that would look like a pinstriped blinged out suit, and evoked the big wingback armchairs of an old-fashioned library or smoking lounge. The only problem is that the one I wanted cost over 10 thousand dollars. So what was a girl to do? Make it myself of course.

This does require a bit of woodworking, but it’s my kind of woodworking where you can be a little sloppy with things and it won’t matter because it will all get covered up with fabric. Even if you’ve never cut a piece of wood, I think you can do this.

All the lumber I used were simple 2×4’s. You might also see them labled as “studs” in the lumber aisle. Since this is all getting covered up, save yourself some cash and use the cheap stuff. All the screws I used were 2 1/2″ wood screws.

Step 1

The headboard is made up of three pieces: the two wings and the center piece. Each are built pretty much the same way, just build a box with a cross piece to keep things square. The crosspieces go inside the long pieces, and everywhere two pieces meet gets secured by drilling pilot holes for two screws and then attaching the pieces with the wood screws. Build two boxes exactly the same to be the two wing pieces.

Step 2

Because the center piece is so much bigger, it needs some more support on the inside. Pay special attention to how the pieces are arranged because that would really mess up all your measurements. Build the box part first, with the top and bottom pieces inside the side pieces. Then add the center vertical post. Measure so that you’re installing it right in the center because that will matter in a couple of steps. Pilot holes and two screws in each spot where they join. Then you need the two cross pieces, but they need to be offset so you can attach them to the center post.

Step 3

Here’s the three pieces all framed out. Attaching them altogether won’t happen until they’re upholstered.

Step 3a

And a closeup on how those screws are used to keep the crosspieces in place. Drilling pilot holes with a drill bit the same size or just smaller than your screw will keep the wood from splitting and save your sanity from trying to screw in a screw that refuses to go where you want it to.

Step 4

Next each of these framed boxes you’ve made need to be covered with plywood. I could not find plywood big enough to cover my center piece in one piece, so I had two pieces of plywood cut just wide enough to meet in that center post and then screwed them into that.

Step 5

Wood screws all around the sides until the plywood is stuck for life.

Step 6

From this point on I brought it in the house to upholster. You don’t want to attach anything yet because that will make upholstering a million times harder, but you do want to know *where* you’ll be attaching things when it’s time for that. So it’s time for more pilot holes. Drill four holes along each side where the wings will attach to the center. Line the side of the wings up flush with the back of the center headboard piece, and drill a hole through at the top, two throughout the center, and one more at the bottom. Put more pilot holes along the bottom of the headboard where the bedframe will attach. One hole on the left, a couple straddling that center beam, and one more on the right. REMEMBER: Don’t use wood screws yet. You’re just leaving a mark to upholster around.

With the holes drilled, upholstering can begin. I neglected to take pictures of this part of the process. Sometimes I get on a role with the making and forget that some parts of this aren’t common knowledge. Each of the three pieces needs to be covered with a layer of batting. This adds a layer of softness to the whole thing while keeping the fabric from wearing out by rubbing against the unfinished wood. Lay the batting out and then place your wood piece on top of it, plywood side down, bringing the extra batting around to the back and then staple it in place.  Remember, the batting will not be visible so it can be ugly as ugly in there and as long as it’s not lumpy no one will ever be the wiser.

For the center piece, upholstering with the final fabric is done in the exact same way. Lay out your pinstripe fabric and place the center piece over it, flat side down. Being careful not to pull so hard you warp the fabric pattern, pull the extra fabric to the back of all four sides and staple it in place. For my king size bed and the fabric pattern I chose, I had to sew a couple pieces together to get it wide enough to cover the whole piece. For a bonus technique you could sew three pieces of fabric together so that the seam doesn’t run right down the middle of the headboard. Two seams are better than one if they are off to the sides and out of the way.

Step 7

To upholster the wings, it looks best if you do a little sewing. This tutorial might help if you’ve never had to do this kind of thing. You’re basically just sewing a bench cushion while leaving one end open. For each wing, you need to sew two side pieces to the gusset, which is the piece that runs down the middle. Sew each side to the gusset on the top, a long side, and the bottom, leaving the other long side open. When you’re done you’ll have a little cover ready to slide right on to the wing.

Step 8

If you press your fingers over the fabric, you’ll find the pilot holes you created. Cut out a square of fabric and batting to reveal the hole without any fabric in the way. Drills and fabric are mortal enemies, so you want to make sure you’ll be able to get the wood screw in place without any of the fabric snagging and ripping your beautiful creation. These holes will be sandwiched behind the other pieces and won’t be visible. Cut the same holes in the headboard where it will join the bedframe.

Step 9

Now that the upholstery is on all three pieces, you can attach them together. It takes a little bit of wrestling, but pull the outside wing upholstery back just enough to get the drill in and screw through all your pilot holes. When the piece is attached, you can then bring all the extra fabric around to the back and staple it in place. Remember, if you’re using a pattern like pinstripes you don’t want to pull so hard you pattern gets out of alignment, but you do want it nice and snug.

Step 10

Now it’s time to address the back. Theoretically, you can leave this alone, but my brain will never allow that to happen. On the sides without plywood I like to add a layer of muslin to add another layer the wood has to wear through before it makes a mark on my pretty fabric. So with a piece of muslin, and a piece of suiting material, both wide enough to cover the entire back piece, I take the top edge and staple it along the whole back of the headboard. But! You can do it in a way that hides all your staples if you lay your fabric out right. Lay the patterned piece over the front of the headboard, right side touching the right side of the front. Then lay your muslin over that and staple away. Flip the fabric towards the back and all your staples will be on the inside.

Step 11

For the other three sides you could get some fancy upholstery tools involved, or you could just neatly fold the edges in and neatly staple it in place. I went for the neat staples. This will be facing my wall, after all.

Step 12

I wanted to finish off my headboard with a row of nail head trim along the wings. The trim comes in a long roll that you bend in to place and then nail every 4th nailhead. It saved me a ton of time and looks great.

Step 13

With my headboard finished we brought the bedframe back in and attached it through the pilot holes we created.

Upholstered Headboard

I’m pretty much obsessed with it. It is such a grand statement and super comfortable, and I saved myself about $9500 off my dream bed. Now I need to outfit this bed with more pillows than a person needs.


How to make an Upholstered Bedframe

Upholstered Bedframe

My bedroom makeover project has been finished for a while now, but with all of the horrors of the last couple of years, I couldn’t do the work to share it. There’s a tremendous amount of work to pull together a decent tutorial with video, and seeing how I’ve been pingponging between fertility procedures driving me to the mental hospital to surgeries for my baby and then more fertility procedures that ended badly and more surgeries for my baby, there has been no brainspace available for things like describing furniture builds. But now that I’m feeling like I’ve got my feet back underneath me (BRB gotta find some wood to knock), I can finally commit to sharing the big bedroom makeover I’ve been wanting to get to for over a year. I have A LOT of projects to share for this bedroom makeover, and I am THRILLED with the result. So buckle up, because I have tons and tons of ideas for you. Starting today with the centerpieces of any bedroom, the bedframe.

I wanted this room to be a kind of masculine take on a feminine bedroom. An androgynous bedroom. Something peaceful and restful and beautiful, that actually looked like it didn’t just belong to one or the other of us. I wanted to blend our styles. So if I was going to do something as soft as an upholstered bedframe, I wanted to do it in a fabric that would read masculine. So I bought myself 100 yards of suiting material and decided to make myself a pinstripe wingback bed.


Step 1

Because we have a California King bed, I needed to make a giant bedframe. Beds can be surprisingly non-standard in their measurements, so since you’re building yours from scratch, the first thing you should do is measure your bed. I’ll give you the measurements I used, but unless you also have a giant bed, you’re going to need to customize them.

You’ll start by building yourself a great big box. Measure the length and width of your bed. I added an inch on each side to give myself room to maneuver. That extra inch means 1/2″ on each side so you don’t have to squish your bed into position. My bed measured 72″ x 83″, so the finished size I was shooting for was 73″ x 84″, except I made a bunch of mistakes with my measurements so learn from my example and measure everything three times and double check your math. Luckily as long as your mistakes are consistent, this project is pretty forgiving.

You need 2 2×4’s to make the top and bottom of your box, and those should be the finished width of your bed. I cut mine 74″ long, which was a mistake but one that was no biggie. Then you need 3 2 x 4’s to make the sides and middle of your box. These should be the finished length of your bed, minus the width of the 2×4’s you’re using for the top and bottom pieces. Those top and bottom pieces sandwich all the vertical pieces, so you need to take their width into account to get your finished length. 2×4’s usually measure about 1 1/2″ wide, so if you subtract 3″ from your finished size, you’ll know how long to cut your side and middle pieces. I cut mine 81″ long.

Set the pieces up together and drill pilot holes where they’ll be joined. Screw them all together with 2 1/2″ wood screws.

Those other pieces of wood you see outside the box are the pieces that you’ll be upholstering. Given how loosey goosey I was being with my measurements I had to make sure they’d be cut the right size so I laid them right up next to my 2×4 box to make certain. I cut 2 1×8’s 84″ long for the sides, and then one more 76″ long for the bottom. The side pieces should be the same size as the finished 2×4 box, and the bottom piece should be the same length of  the 2×4 box plus the width of the 1×8’s which is about 3/4″ each. If I was being careful I would have cut it 1/2″ shorter, but I think I’ve already shown I was not being careful.


Step 3

Set up your 1×8’s next to where you’ll be installing them on the box. They should be standing upright so that the wide sides of both pieces of wood are touching. Once they’re lined up, drill a hole from the inside of the box, through the 2×4, and into the 1×8. This pilot hole will tell you where you’ll need to keep the upholstery out of the way so you can screw the pieces together without ripping through your fabric. Fabric and drills are not friends.


Step 2

Wrap batting around the entire 1×8 piece, securing it with staples.


Step 4

Wrap your upholstery fabric around your 1×8 pieces, continuing to secure it with staples. I wanted to keep the staples as hidden as possible, so I wrapped the wood like a present, keeping all my seams where they would be hidden by being attached to the 2×4 box. Fold your corners neatly and tuck raw edges under before stapling. Feel through the fabric for where those pilot holes are and cut the fabric away neatly to leave yourself room to attach it. Use 2″ wood screws to attach the 1×8’s to the 2×4 box, screwing through those pilot holes you drilled. Make sure you use wood screws that aren’t too long or you’ll go all the way through your 1×8 and have a screw poking through your fabric. I attached the 1×8’s in six different spots to make sure they’d be attached super strong and stand up to kids and pets climbing all over them.


Step 5

Now you need to add slats across the bed. Nobody likes sleeping on a saggy mattress, so you need to make a nice firm foundation. I used 1×3’s and cut them 74″ long so they’d fit nice and snug on top of my 2×4 box.


Step 6

I attached six slats total, spread out across the length of the bed.


Step 7

Now we need to get this thing up off the floor and add the legs. There’s many ways to do this, but the way I went with was to use this straight plate. I screwed it into three corners but if you add a little block of wood into the corner of the 2×4 box you can attach all four sides. I didn’t think it was necessary because I’ve got some extra steps coming, but if these legs are all you’re using to hold up all the weight of the bed and the people and jumping kids and pets in them, you probably should.


Step 8

I found these great midcentury inspired legs online. These just screw into the straight plates.


Step 9

Now, a California King is heavy. Two tall grown adults are heavy. Wrestling kids who jump on the bed are heavy. And a California King is wide, so without a middle support, you’re going to end up eaten by a sagging bed. But a middle support is also hidden under the bed and doesn’t have to be pretty. So I took the scrap pieces of 2×4 and made two middle legs that will keep this thing so stable that a parade could march through and the bed would be rock solid at the end of it. The middle piece should be the height of the legs, including the straight plate. Basically the distance from the floor to the 2×4 box. Then the two outside pieces should be 2 1/2 – 3″ taller so that it can fit onto the middle beam and leave you room for screws. Use wood screws to stick those pieces together, making sure they’re flush on the bottom.


Step 10

Slide those legs around the middle beam and use wood screws to attach it from both sides.



If you aren’t making a headboard, you’d probably want to finish the top of this bedframe with another upholstered piece at the top, but I didn’t want it to get in the way of the giant headboard I’ll be building. And that I’ll be showing you how to build next week.



Make a windchime from dollar store supplies

Windchime In my quest to outfit this superstar backyard of mine, as is my duty as Park Ranger of this place, I’ve been searching for a windchime that was both 1) not obnoxious and 2) not so outrageously expensive I would resent it every time I heard it’s gentle chime. So as usual, I knew I had to make what I was looking for. I love the sound of bamboo windchimes because they’re so light and subtle and not glaringly high pitched, so when I found bamboo windchimes at the dollar store I knew they were exactly what I needed. Now I just needed to make them grand enough to fit into my very grand backyard. I bought five of the windchimes, a bowl, and used some rope I had on hand, so for $6 plus tax I’m making something that would have cost me a fortune otherwise.


Step 1 If you are a regular blog follower, by now you are a pro at drilling through glass and pottery. But in case you’re coming to this tutorial fresh I’ll give you a nutshell version of how to drill through a bowl. 1) Get yourself a drill bit made for the job. It will say so on the packaging. I like the ones that come in a spade shape because they’re easier to control as you drill. 2) Set up a drilling station. I have here a plastic tub, an old towel, and some cool water. You really just need the cool water and a way to keep your bowl from sliding around. The towel gives you a nice non-slip surface and the tub keeps the water where you need it, but there are a million variations on this. 3) Make sure you’ve got water on both sides of what you’re drilling, then go steady and slow without a lot of pressure. If you push on the drill you could crack the bowl. If it gets too hot you could crack the bowl, and if you create too much friction through heat or non lubrication (which the water also takes care of) you could crack the bowl.


Step 2 Here’s my bowl with the hole drilled through, and  you can see that it is off center. Really not a big deal. I’m showing this as proof that perfection is not worth the stress.


Step 3 Run your rope through the hole you’ve made. Ropes fray, so wrapping the end with some tape will save you some major frustration.


Step 4 Now it’s time to deal with your bamboo windchimes. Lay them out to make you’re new configuration. At first I thought I was going to cut them all apart and start from scratch, and then I decided it would be enough just to attach them all together. Do some experimenting and see what works for you. I ended up stringing three sets across the top, and then two more hanging down from the middle. It makes a kind of inverted pyramid shape. Remember to leave enough room between the pieces for them to move around and make that lovely noise.


Step 5 With all your decisions made, drill holes where you need to attach them together.


Step 6 Tie them together with rope or string. Remember the tape trick, this can get frustrating.


Step 7 Tie the top of your newly assembled wooden pieces onto the rope and make a big giant secure knot. Remember, this is going to stand up to wind, so triple knot that baby.


Step 8 Pull the rope all the way through the bowl so the knot catches. Then tie the rest of the rope into a loop you can hang the whole operation from.


Windchime hanging I made my windchime super long, so I hung it from a high point on my roofline. I wanted the look and the sound, but I also didn’t want anyone to get wrapped up in it as they walked around the yard. Fittingly enough, the day I hang this up it was super crazy windy, which you’ll hear on the video, but you’ll also hear how great this sounds. Even better, each time I hear it I am reminded that it only cost me $6.



Mosaic Birdhouses for Fancy Birds

Mosaic Birdhouses Every time I go to a craft store, from March until September, they feature a giant bin full of wooden birdhouses right outside the front door. They call to me every year and every year I think, eh, I don’t have anything to do with them. And I leave them in their bin as I walk on by. But since I’ve been so fixated on outdoor crafts this year, I knew it was finally time to listen to that siren song and make something adorable with those cute wee little bird houses.

Step 1 I wanted a selection of different shapes, but it does make mosaicing a little tricky. That octagonal roof in particular. So keep that in mind when you buy them. If you don’t also want to buy a tile snipper, stick to the roofs that don’t ask you to trim anything.

step 2 Paint your birdhouses, or at least the parts that won’t be covered in tile. I used spray paint to put on a solid color, and then contrasting colors of spray paint to mist over the top and create a mottled effect.

Step 3 Since this will be outside, we have to use glue and grout that can stand up to the elements, particularly changing temperatures. Heat and cold are notorious glue busters, so instead of using a traditional tile adhesive, I used a silicone caulk like you would use to seal a tub or a window. It works great as a glue, but also has the flexible rubbery consistency to expand and contract without breaking.

Step 4 Glue your tile all over the roof and around the bottom, leaving a fraction of an inch between each tile. You can buy mosaic tiles at the craft store, but I find it way cheaper to buy it at the hardware store. In the tile section you can find 12 x 12 tiles of smaller tiles glued to a piece of mesh so it’s ready to adhere to a backsplash or something, and you can pop those smaller tiles right off to use for a smaller project like this.

Step 5 Once the caulk is good and dry, you need to grout your tile. Make sure you buy grout that is ready to go outside, or buy a sealer to put over the top of it. Mix it up according to the instructions on the package. A good consistency is like thick cake batter. Spread it all over the tile, making sure you get deep into the nooks and crannies. Use your finger to smooth the edges where the sides of the tiles are visible. Scrape off the extra and let it dry for a couple hours, then use a barely damp sponge to remove the extra.

Step 6 No matter how carefully you sponge the grout off, you will leave a film behind. In the sponging the goal is just to remove the clumps of grout, not make it clean. You can wipe and wipe until you remove all your grout and you won’t get it clean at this stage, so resist the temptation. Instead, let it dry again for a few more hours, and then it’s time to buff. The best tool for this job is this little foam piece, which is a piece from a pool noodle. This has a great texture to buff the grout film off the tiles without harming the rest of the grout that needs to stay. Rub it over the dry tile until the film is gone, then let it dry for at least 24 hours.

Birdhouses I now have these scattered all around the yard and I’ve already seen squirrels playing with them. It’s so fun to see these sweet little spots of color throughout the yard and making a home for my little outdoor neighbors. So far I haven’t seen any birds around them, but I suppose squirrels need a home too.


Make an Outdoor Chandelier

Outdoor ChandelierOnce you start drilling through glass, it apparently gets pretty addictive. Because here I am back at it again. I spent so much time in thrift stores looking for glass dishes for the flowers, that I couldn’t stop collecting when I found a deal I couldn’t pass up. So I wound up with a whole bunch of these tealights I knew I had to do something with. Tealights and drilling, it had to end up with a chandelier.

Step 1First you’ll need to drill a hole through all your dishes so you can hang them together. We’ve covered this a whole bunch lately, so I’m going to be brief. You need a drill bit made for glass, a tub of cool water to reduce friction and prevent cracking, and a towel to hold the dish in place. Drill with slow and steady pressure.

Step 2Maybe you have better aim than I do and will put a hole through the dead center, but if you don’t, it’s far from the end of the world. It will just make your dishes hang quirkily and give your chandelier some character.

Step 3To hang the dishes together, you need some chain and some wire. I got both at the hardware store because you’ll need it to be strong enough to carry the weight of the dishes. The best wire I’ve found for this is the kind they use for fencing, which you can find in spools next to the rolls of chain link. Cut a piece of wire around 2 inches long and use pliers to roll one end into a loop. Connect that loop to a piece of the chain.

Step 4Feed the straight side of the wire through the dish and then roll that end into another loop. Depending on how you want your chandelier to look this loop can be the end point that holds the dish in place, or you can attach another piece of chain onto that loop and keep it going.

Step 5You’ll also need something to hang the chains from. I found this piece at my thrift store. It started as a decorative candle holder, but I snipped off the candle parts and it became just a decorative piece of wrought iron. I used the same wire with eye loops to connect the chain on to it, and then added three more chains arranged in a triangle to hang the whole piece from. Loop one end to the iron piece, and one end to the chain, just like all the others. If you don’t luck into an iron piece, you can use just about anything. I’ve seen fancy shops use auto parts, baskets, pieces of fence, anything you can hang up and wrap a wire around.

Chandelier FinishObviously this chandelier doesn’t produce light, but I don’t need it to. I need it to provide some glamour to my outdoor life. I’ve developed an appreciation for the outdoors, but everything is better with a little glamour.