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5 Minute DIY

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.

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7 Oscars DIYs That Bring the Red Carpet to Your Living Room

Posted by Melissa Massello February 28, 2014 05:54 PM

7_DIY_oscars_party_ideas.jpg(L-R) Jeff Lahens, Amanda Maciel-Antunes & Joselin Mane at Shoestring's 2013 OscarUp Boston. Photo: Carly Gillis

Unless you're dolling up in your red carpet best for the annual Ellie Fund party this Sunday night, chances are you'll be watching the Oscars at home in front of the television with a few of your nearest and dearest. That doesn't mean that you can't still channel some of the glitz & glamour of Old Hollywood with these seven DIY projects we made for last year's #OscarUp party, which instantly transformed our South End co-working space into (well, nearly into) the Chinese Theatre. Add some thrifted black tie duds, et voila! Pure silver screen magic.

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5 minute DIY: How to make a stovetop smoker

Posted by Melissa Massello February 26, 2014 09:00 AM
DIY-stovetop-smoker.jpg The warm weather over the weekend had me daydreaming of summer foods, mainly barbecue. While it's not exactly grilling season just yet, you can recreate that pit-smoked richness on your stovetop with just a few things you probably already have lying around your kitchen. FULL ENTRY

9 DIY projects to make your Olympics party feel like an authentic athlete experience

Posted by Melissa Massello February 6, 2014 11:16 AM

9_sochi_winter_olympics_DIY_ideas.jpgPhotos (clockwise from top left): One Charming Party; Bow & Drape; New Dress a Day; Savannah Smiled.

When I was 14, I had the distinct honor of representing my country on the first ever Team USA for synchronized skating, traveling to Helsinki, Finland with Lexington's Ice Mates & Haydenettes, where we took home the international gold. There's nothing quite like standing center ice with your teammates, medal draped around your neck, watching your country's flag raised while the arena fills with your national anthem. I still get goosebumps & leaky eyes whenever I think about that moment, the pinnacle achievement of my athletic career, especially when I watch it happen for others.

Which is probably why, in the (cough, cough) 20 years since, I'm so passionate about hosting epic Olympics viewing parties. My friends know that, for the 17 days from opening to closing ceremonies, I will be glued to the TV or my laptop or both, cheering on every major and minor sport, rocking my best red, white & blue getups and recruiting others to do the same with me.

If you've also got Olympic fever, here are nine awesome DIY projects that feel authentic to the timeless athlete experience & that you can easily make at home in time for Opening Ceremonies tonight.

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20 Last-minute gift wrap ideas using paper grocery bags & other household items

Posted by Melissa Massello December 24, 2013 08:17 AM

sweetest_occasion_duct_tape_ribbon.jpgPhoto: Duck tape ribbon, The Sweetest Occasion

It's Christmas Eve and all your presents are purchased, but suddenly you realize nothing is wrapped. No reason to run to the store when these 20 elegantly modern and eco-friendly gift wrap ideas cleverly use paper grocery bags (aka kraft paper) and other household items in festive designs, spreading holiday cheer without spending a cent — or leaving the house!

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How to turn paperback books into cheap, chic Christmas trees

Posted by Melissa Massello December 18, 2013 10:38 AM

DIY_paperback_christmas_trees.jpgPhotos: Melissa Massello/Shoestring

As more and more Americans turn to Nooks and Kindles and iPads to read their favorite novels, paperbacks are turning into little more than craft paper — to the tune of tens of millions of books donated to Goodwill each year, much to the delight of resourceful holiday makers.

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5 minute DIY: Festive food gifts using BNTO

Posted by Melissa Massello December 13, 2013 10:00 AM
bntogifts1.jpg

We clearly support DIYing holiday gifts and shopping small with local makers. So when we can combine the two into a fun, fast, and festive food gift that anyone can whip up, we're happier than kids on Christmas morning.

Here we have two options for seasonally sweet "in a jar" gift trends using BNTO, the latest innovation from Somerville-based Cuppow that turns a mason jar into separated compartments. We came up with a cozy hot cocoa mug and a twist on the Pinterest-popular baking-mix-in-a-jar gift. Here's how to make them in under 5 minutes:

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How to make clothespin reindeer ornaments, a classic holiday craft for all ages

Posted by Melissa Massello December 12, 2013 09:02 AM

how_to_clothespin_reindeer_ornaments_shoestring.jpgPhotos: Melissa Massello/Shoestring

Like many children, the first crafts I remember making with my mom were around Christmastime — specifically, dough ornaments and these clothespin reindeer ornaments, which I broke out en masse for nostalgic adults at last year's Cookie Swap for a Cause hosted by the Boston Food Swap. The reaction blew me away. Dozens of 20- and 30-somethings gathered around the activity table to make their own clothespin reindeers, cooing at tiny pom-poms and recounting their own holiday memories of crafting these and other ornaments with parents and grandparents.

If you're looking for a snow day activity for kids of all ages, or just a nostalgic nod to Christmases past to add to your tree this year, here's how to make an army of clothespin reindeers in virtually no time at all.

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5 minute DIY: Homemade Halloween makeup

Posted by Melissa Massello October 24, 2013 11:22 AM

DIY_halloween_makeup_recipe_shoestring.jpgPhoto: Shoestring

Inspired by a trip to Tulum, Mexico in late October a few years ago for a friend's wedding, I've been longing to do a Day of the Dead doll costume for Halloween but was totally intimidated by getting the sugar skull design just right. Thanks to the magic of Pinterest searches and this simple 5-minute homemade Halloween makeup recipe, using just water and two common household ingredients, I found everything I needed to give it a try.

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Spa Week: 6 DIY beauty treatments using coconut oil

Posted by Melissa Massello October 19, 2013 08:50 AM

DIY-spa-week-coconut-oil-beauty-recipes.jpgPhoto: Melissa Massello/Shoestring

Spa Week, the bi-annual event where thousands of beauty salons and spas across the country offer a range of treatments discounted to $50, is in full effect through Sunday (October 20th) — but, with just a fraction of that budget, you can create an at-home spa, pampering yourself from head to toe, using just one main ingredient and these six DIY recipes. Meet coconut oil, the new Duct Tape of craft kitchens: a single miracle product with seemingly endless uses. FULL ENTRY

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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