Things That Are Awesome: Manhattan Nest

There are plenty of home improvement-focused blogs out there, but so many of them are just product/brand-placement in disguise and/or feature such pricey projects and objects that they are completely out of my world. Not so with Manhattan Nest!

Manhattan Nest

This home blog has it all. Manhattan Nest is the story of a DIYer, Daniel, working on his home (and other projects), learning by doing, and putting it all out there – successes AND projects that didn’t go quite as planned. Throughout everything, he provides a hilarious narrative and manages to maintain a positive attitude regardless of what happens.

It’s so refreshing to see a blogger post pictures of their yard when it’s a complete mess, full of weeds and all uneven – EXACTLY like every yard I’ve ever had has started out! Maybe because so many other blogs are heavily sponsored, they’re afraid to post the ugly before pictures? Or the bloggers start out with something professionally landscaped and then just change it up? Well, in the world I live in, we start out with a neglected or at the least imperfect mess – and so does Daniel. And he manages to incorporate sponsors with ease, so it’s not obtrusive at all.

He’s got an immense appreciation for restoring and salvaging historical details BUT he also balances this with a realistic approach. Not every awesome detail can be saved, no matter how much ones loves it, and he provides a ton of examples of situations where he figured something out to preserve the character if not the original materials. He’s also not afraid to do things the way he wants them. Not sure the neighbors will love your black-stained fence, but truly believe it’s the best choice? DO IT.

Most of all, his candor about that feeling one gets partway into a big project – you know the one, where you feel like you have taken on far too much and the idea of it ever being completed or even just salvaged back to a usable state seems impossible? He gets that feeling! And he admits it! And he sees the humor in it, which helps me, as the reader, to feel a bit better when I have that feeling myself.

If all this isn’t enough, he also has adorable dogs. Just go look at any post – you won’t regret it!


Stray Sock Sewing

stray+sock+sewing+cover Stray Sock Sewing: Making One-of-a-Kind Creatures from Socks by Daniel, photography by Liao Chia Wei

We’re all familiar with the ever-popular sock monkey, but these critters are a different animal (ha) altogether. Daniel has created a sweet collection of cuddly creatures made from socks, thread, buttons and a variety of fun findings. He uses embroidery floss to add details, almost the same way an illustrator would use a line of ink. There are cats, bears, pigs, elephants, and even a punk zebra. My favorites might be the Sock Doll Tweens, who are emo, slouchy, and sort of reminiscent of The Doubtful Guest (though his scarf is striped and their bodies are).

While the stray socks you’ll find around the house will certainly not measure up in cool-looking-ness, the projects pictured here are definitely very doable for anyone who has (or is willing to learn) some basic hand sewing skills. As far as craft materials go, shelling out a few bucks for some cute socks isn’t bad. Add a Stray Sock Creature to my crafty to-do list.

Reviewed from library copy.