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Home & Decor

How to make a Mason jar night light with Lauren Elise Crafted

Posted by Melissa Massello March 27, 2014 09:04 AM

mason_jar_crafts_night_light_DIY.jpgPhoto: Mason Jar Crafts (Ulysses Press)

In this post-Recession age of upcycling and Pinterest projects, Mason jars might just be the new duct tape: a versatile base easily transformed into everything from coffee mugs to bar shakers to chandeliers. All around town — notably at Diesel Cafe and Bloc 11 in Somerville, Darwin's and Puritan & Co. in Cambridge — Mason jar lights feature prominently in hip interior decor.

In her new book Mason Jar Crafts (Ulysses Press), author Lauren Elise Donaldson shares more than 30 innovative projects using this heirloom kitchen essential, with more than 150 step-by-step photos — and she shared with DIY Boston one easy and whimsical spring lighting project to update any room of your home: how to make a Mason jar night light.


Creative ways to display books

Posted by Melissa Massello March 24, 2014 11:00 AM

Photo: Tara Bellucci for Apartment Therapy

Chances are, you have a lot of books. I know I do. They're mostly stacked predictably on bookshelves, but I recently decided to get a little creative. So, some of my cookbooks are now displayed front-facing, which encourages actually picking them up, and even (gasp!) cooking from them more often.

Want to mix it up? Check out more of our favorite ways to creatively display your favorite books:


Pick a penny project: 9 trendy DIYs for your loose change

Posted by Melissa Massello January 23, 2014 10:25 AM

shoestring_DIY_penny_letters.jpgPhoto: Melissa Massello/Shoestring

In these penny-pinching times, cleverly using whatever you have on hand for project materials has become more popular than ever — including using actual pennies as the unorthodox base for everything from kitchen countertops to subway tile-style bathroom floors, DIY jewelry to tap shoes.

As of 2011, it costs the U.S. Mint more than 2.41 cents to produce each 1 cent penny thanks to the rising cost of metals used to make pennies (such as copper and zinc), creating an interesting crafting conundrum: Keep the pennies in circulation, thereby decreasing the need to mint more coins (to the tune of 4.3 billion pennies at a cost of $100 million dollars per year), or use them as a project supply more valuable for the metal they contain than as currency?

If you choose the latter, here are my 9 favorite penny projects — with dozens more on my Pinterest board: Pennies for Thought.


Door decor: Yarn-wrapped wreaths with rosettes

Posted by Melissa Massello November 11, 2013 12:30 PM

Keon's Custom Wreaths

What's your holiday decorating style? Whether your home is a celebration of the changing seasons or you keep it minimalist, most everyone loves a good wreath. Even the most shockingly small city apartment storage can accommodate this bit of festive door décor. So even if you're not the type to pull out cornucopias or Christmas trees, a yarn-wrapped wreath is a fun project and a great gift for the seasonal decorator on your list.

Our awesome tutorial comes from Keon Ruiter, a Ware, MA teacher by day and wreath designer by night who recently launched an Etsy shop. Check out Keon's step-by-step instructions for yarn-wrapped wreaths with felt rosettes:


SXSW Eco: How to make a rag rug from recycled T-shirt yarn

Posted by Melissa Massello October 10, 2013 12:21 PM

crochet_tshirt_rag_rug_onedogwoof.jpgPhoto: Courtesy ChiWei Ranck,

SXSW Eco, the sustainability satellite conference to the famous SXSW interactive, music, and film festival, was in full swing down here in Austin, Texas this week, and yesterday we spent the day hanging out in the Maker Space expo — learning about 3-D printed food, upcycling initiatives, and the manufacturing challenges facing the Made in USA clothing movement, just to name a few.

After some deep conversations about climate change and technology, it was great to joke around with Nerds for Nature and roll up our sleeves for some crafty DIYs with the ladies of Stitch Labs Austin at their sewing tables, even pitching in for a few rounds on a collaborative crocheted rag rug project.


5 minute DIY: Spraypainted ceramics

Posted by Melissa Massello August 23, 2013 10:30 AM
dantecatbefore2.jpg Awhile ago, I spotted this life-size ceramic cat statue at my favorite Goodwill. Her flowing mane reminds me of my own longhaired cats, and despite her kitschy cartoon eyelashes, she came home with me. This week, I set out to transform her the best way I know how — with gold spray paint. So grab an outdated piece and a can of your fave color, and let's make some chic ceramics. FULL ENTRY

5 minute DIY: Painted stick art

Posted by Melissa Massello July 12, 2013 12:00 PM
5-minute-diy-stick-art2.jpg Look in your cabinets. You probably have some empty vases. That's a missed opportunity: your home could be brighter and more colorful if you kept those glass vessels out and full. While flowers are ideal, maybe bringing home blooms weekly isn't your preference. You can add a fun touch of whimsy to your space, and it all starts by stepping outside and grabbing some sticks. FULL ENTRY

How to start an urban garden with Niche Urban Garden Supply

Posted by Melissa Massello June 27, 2013 10:00 AM
niche-garden1.jpg A new local business has sprouted on Tremont Street in the South End. Lindsey Swett opened Niche Urban Garden Supply a few months ago, and it is quickly becoming the go-to resource for horiculturists in the 'hood. A landscape architect by trade, Lindsey offered up 5 steps for starting an urban garden, whether you're naturally green-thumbed or not. FULL ENTRY

Rainy day fun: Host a crafternoon

Posted by Melissa Massello June 13, 2013 05:00 PM
crafternoon-mess.jpg This weather, am I right? If your weekend plans get rained out and you've exhausted your Netflix queue, gather friends and kids for a fun crafternoon. On a recent gray Saturday, I met some pals at the Porter Square Michaels where we picked up some extra supplies, then walked to a friend's apartment, and got crafty! FULL ENTRY

Décorganization: DIY jewelry corkboard

Posted by Melissa Massello January 17, 2013 12:00 PM
diy-jewelry-cork-boardNEW.jpg There's no such thing as too many closets. Living in an old city apartment, there's more often a distinct lack of them, just a small one in each of the bedrooms, in my case. Half of my 8-drawer dresser used to house random storage, from extra contacts to craft glue. My jewelry was shoved in one, as well. But going through a major redecorating, I decided to reclaim my dresser for clothes, and that meant the jewelry had to find a new home, out in the open.

How do you store stuff without hiding it? Make it a décor element! That's the key behind décorganization, open storage that's a visual part of the space. My DIY jewelry corkboard is chic and solves my storage issue, plus it's super simple to make.


About the Authors

Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out More »
Tara Bellucci is a Boston-based writer that lives for fonts, food, and flea market finds. Whether decorating jars of her homemade jam for The Boston More »

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