Buzz Out and about

Nate Berkus challenges me with an upcycling mission

I’m finally getting around to writing about my day on The Nate Berkus show from my point of view. The previous posts about the day were by Reid and Josef.

On the show I reminded Nate he had given me one week to work on the challenge. That’s mostly true. Almost all the projects that you saw in the show sitting on set were finished during the week before the taping. You might have seen me on TV for 10 to 15 minutes, but it took weeks of intense preparation. To give you a bigger picture, I’ll take you behind the scenes and back in time.

I had decorated a bunch of Easter eggs, and Nate got hold of some photos I had on an earlier design blog. That got me on his radar. A few months later I officially launched Relevé Design’s blog and shop. My pendant lights made a few splashes here and there. I guess he thought I was ready after that, cause he threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to a duel (aka Design Blogger Challenge)! Make five upcycled items to decorate a living room.

I have sketchbooks full of projects and ideas from years of sketching and writing. I work in several sketchbooks at a time, cause I never know when inspiration will hit! I already had quite a few projects made. I thought I was pretty well-prepared. Design challenge? Bring. It. ON! It’s going to be a breeze! Boy was I wrong!

20 replies on “Nate Berkus challenges me with an upcycling mission”

Wanted to find instructions for making those pillows out of old dress shirts.

Watching a rerun of the Nate Berkus show and I loved the pillows and all the other things as well.


I watched this show and was amazed by your talent. Congratulations! Nate indicated that instructions to all of the projects were going to be on his website, but I haven’t been able to find them. Since watching the show, I’ve been collecting 6-pack rings and I’m hoping that you’ll share the instructions with me for making this light fixture. Thanks.


You have some amazing inventive decor – love your ideas! And best thing of all is that a lot of it is from everyday items that most people throw away (like dry cleaners hangers hehe). My favorites were the hangers picture frame hooks and the junk mail vase.

I’ll give them a shot 🙂

Thanks for sharing with us!


Hi Hester! I so glad. I really love that project too. Make sure to vote it up. I do my video tutorials based on the number of votes they get ( At the moment the project has 79 votes. In the mean time figure out what color t-shirts you want to use and start gathering and saving them. It takes quite a few for one mat. Thanks for taking the time to write!

Please send me an invite to pinterest. I am in love with your works and have made the projects you debuted on the Nate Berkas show challenge! I have turned on all my crafty friends to you. Please keep the projects coming.

Hi Sonja! I hope you had fun making the projects. I’ve sent you an invite. Thank you so much for your support!

Hello Bao,
I happened to catch you on Nate’s show the other day, and I must say you were terrific! I loved all of your wonderful upcycling ideas, especially the awesome door knob/jar lids! Genius!(Melissa is spot on with her description of you). I love old knobs, handles, etc and will absolutely be making these jars!
Thanks for the inspiration,

Hi Tia. Thanks for watching the show. I’m so glad you like my upcycling ideas. I’m working on the tutorial for the jars right now. It should be up in a few days. I love all that stuff too. Thank you so much for writing!

Hi Bao,

I have to say I think you are a genius! I love what you said on the show about keeping your eyes open for new ideas. I’m a photographer and that comment is so true! It is funny I have some piperlime boxes that have the coolest interior to them. I have been saving them because I told myself i’m going to do something with them. I just can’t throw them away because the interior of the box looks like wallpaper to me. You have given me some great ideas and thank you so much for describing how to do the fused plastic. That is going to come in so handy!!

I’m so happy for you and I know being on the Nate Berkus show is going to make you a household name. If Nate loves you, you must be doing something right and by the looks of it you really are!!

I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!!

Thanks for sharing all your ideas!

Hi Melissa! Genius? I don’t know if my IQ qualifies me for genius status, but I’ll take it!

I know what you mean about shoes boxes. I love brown paper, paper bags, brown cardboard. I turn my shoe boxes inside out to hide distracting graphics and reveal the plain brown cardboard. SO…since you appreciate the insides of the boxes so much, take them apart, and reassemble them inside out!

The fused plastic tutorial is in second place at the moment on the projects voting page. I’ll probably film it soon, if you need to see a step by step tutorial. But if you do start doing it and need any help at all, don’t hesitate to send me a note. I’m here to help you.

Thanks so much for writing and for your vote of confidence, Melissa! It means a lot to me! I’ll continue sharing my ideas as long as you’ll let me.

Hi Paige! GOSH! Thanks for watching the show! I am so glad you loved it! OOO…you must tell me more of this magic magic you speak of!

I had never heard of you/read your blog until I saw the segment today on the Nate show. Your projects and personal sense of style really caught my eye and I’ve enjoyed browsing your blog 🙂 Looks like you did a lot of prep for the segment and it showed. Keep up the good work!

Hi, Katy. I’m the new kid on the block. 😀 I just officially launched last August. I’m so glad you found me!

OH GOSH! It was a ton of work! Individually the projects are quite enjoyable to do, but imagine doing them all at once! It was tough!

Thanks for the watching my segment, thanks for browsing my blog, thanks for writing to me, thanks for the encouragement, and of course thanks for finding me! 😀

Do you have any photos of the stages in making this light fixture? I can’t quite get my head around what type of take out container lid you are referring to or how you are assembling. I would love to try making this if I can save up sixty six pack rings. I am with Nate in that up to now I ALWAYS cut them apart so the sea gulls at the dump don’t get their heads caught in them.

Hi Judy! Thanks for asking. I’ve added a photo of the the take-out container lid. I’ll have to work on those pictures.

Well, six-pack rings have been required by law to photodegrade, so if they do get stuck on an animal it should break apart with exposure to sunlight. I’m just not sure how long exactly that would take. But even if it photodegrades in a timely fashion the more serious issue is ingestion of little plastic bits by animals and also contribution to huge ocean garbage patches around the world.

Until six-pack rings aren’t on the market anymore, the best thing to do is not to treat them as disposable items but as reusable resources so they actually stay out of the waste system.

Thanks you so much for writing, Judy, and bringing up that really important issue! 😀

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