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It’s a stool standoff for September’s sweepstakes! Excuse the alliteration, as I introduce the latest High/Low Challenge from the new issue of HGTV Magazine. September hits newsstands August 5th, but this will give you a taste of what’s to come.

These tufted stools may look similar, but the prices tags are where they differ. Which is priced lower than the other? Enter for a chance to win a prize package that includes a copy of the September issue, a HGTV Magazine iPhone 5 case, and a HGTV Magazine umbrella. All you have to do is leave your best guess in the comments below (i.e. Right: low, Left: high or vise versa). You must answer correctly to win. The answer will be revealed on the blog tomorrow.

teal bar stools

Two great buys! Two different budgets.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C., age 21 or older. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Sweepstakes ends at 2:00 p.m. ET on August 2, 2014. Full official rules are available here. Sponsored by Scripps Networks, LLC dba Home & Garden Television, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, Tennessee 37932.

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Sparkling Hibiscus Cooler

Lately, the use of my porch has bordered on abuse. In the search for the slightest reason to park on the swing or rocker, I’ve come to notice that a beverage is always near and this rosy concoction has been my latest companion. It’s laced with the flavors of fresh ginger and lime, but it’s the addition of sparkling mineral water that truly heightens the level of refreshment. Enjoy sipping it slow in a heavily iced glass that stands for a minute or two. The intentionally tart brew needs no accent, but if you must garnish, a simple lime twist does the trick.

 Norm’s Notes: Ice Ice Baby

I am a recovering ice nerd. I have molds on molds and trays on trays that capture simple water and transform it into a sublime luxury. I still love shattering a few cubes for a slushy drink or using whole chunks for the slow dilution of a cocktail, but after all of my experimentation I made up my mind that the bagged stuff from the grocery store is best. Blasphemy? I don’t think so. The folks who make that stuff know what they’re doing and I find clean filtered water frozen into consistent pieces work best for me. Maybe I’ve become lazy or more efficient in my years, but gone is the quest to make the “perfect” ice cube. Although I still freeze up a tray of large cubes for a Manhattan from time to time, more often than not, I’ll dip into the bag of pre-made crystals and go on about my way.

Get the Recipe

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Can you guess which ottoman belongs in this coastal living room?

Decorate This Space

Type A, B or C in the comments section, and we’ll reveal the answer tomorrow. One lucky winner will win a Grill-Right Bluetooth® BBQ Thermometer from Oregon Scientific.

Choose A, B or C

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win.  All entries (comments) must be entered between 10:00 a.m. ET on July 30, 2014 and 12:00 p.m. ET on July 31, 2014. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $59.99. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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Everyone has beaches on the brain! According to Yahoo, people are still eager to plan excursions to the ocean, as beach searches are off the charts this month. I can definitely relate. Though I live in New York now, I grew up in Huntington Beach, CA, so summer will always mean one thing to me: spending as much time at the beach as humanly possible. I usually head home once the air starts turning humid, but this is the first summer I’ve spent away from the West Coast. It’s certainly a change from what I’m used to, but it’s exciting to have a new summer experience. (I even visited my first East Coast beach last week!) For those of you who, like me, wish you could wake up to a beautiful beach everyday, here are 8 waterfront bedrooms from HGTV FrontDoor to dream about.

Dreamy Beachside Bedrooms

Photo courtesy of Concierge Auctions

Private Island Retreat
The first stop on our fantasy tour is on the private Wakaya Island of Fiji, where the likes of Celine Dion, Jim Carrey, and even Bill Gates frequent. This bedroom is part of the Lawedua estate, which was designed to create the ultimate indoor/outdoor experience. Mission accomplished — this view makes it feel like you’re practically in the ocean.

Dreamy Beachside Bedrooms

Courtesy of Sibarth Real Estate, a member of Luxury Portfolio International, Jean-Philippe Piter

Surreal in St. Barts
The contemporary bedroom of this villa in St. Barts has large open-air doorways that lead to an outdoor patio and pool area. The beautiful dark wood beams cast shadows in the room, making it feel nothing short of dreamlike.

MORE DREAMY BEACH BEDROOMS

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Sometimes the simplest crafts are the most fun. This week we’re taking cheap cork coasters, dressing them up with paint pens, and turning them into adorable party favors and hostess gifts. Check it out:

I was able to make a dozen of these coasters in minutes, and they have me in the mood to throw one last end-of-summer party.

Decorated Cork Coasters

Missed an episode of Weekday Crafternoon? Catch them all, and more from Marianne, right here.

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Baskets are something that mysteriously accumulate in my home. I think between flower arrangements and gifts of fruit, they just pile up in my hall closet, waiting for their time to shine again. If you can relate, take a look at these cool crafts and ideas for baskets and get inspired to use yours for something beyond bananas, pears and apples.

5 Brilliant Basket Ideas and Crafts: Light Fixture

Design: Brian Patrick Flynn

Old Basket –> New Light Fixture
This idea from Brian Patrick Flynn is perfect for deeper baskets that already resemble lampshades. The rope adds a touch of coastal-cool to this nautical light fixture. Get the full tutorial on DIYNetwork.com.

MORE BRILLZ BASKET IDEAS

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Nothing takes me back to those innocent childhood years quite like blowing bubbles … or trying to catch them.

Mood Board Monday: BubblesTop, L to R: Style Me Pretty, Sprinkle Bakes, Camille Styles | Middle, L to R: Green Wedding Shoes, Colin Cowie Weddings, Etsy |  Bottom, L to R: The Sweetest Occasion, Wired (Photo by Melvin Sokolsky), Armelle

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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BRIANA: We’ve hashed out our feelings about hand chairs, but now I want to know your thoughts on a whole other type of hand: the hand sculpture or accessory. Hands have long been artist’s models or glove molds, but they were spotted at High Point Market and are making their way into the home as decorative objects,  jewelry holders and even hardware. Do you give them a high five or thumbs down?

Do you like the hand sculpture and accessory trend? Vote now on HGTV's Design Happens blog!

JESSICA: I just thought of about 10 hand sculpture possibilities that would work for me. Most of them are offensive.

FARIMA: I would keep a hand sculpture flipping the bird in my car. Otherwise, no.

MORE HEMMING AND HAWING ABOUT HANDS

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HGTV Handmade

HGTV Handmade’s Crafters on YouTube (L to R): MegAllanColeCrafts, HGTVCrafternoon, simpleDIYs and Anneorshine

The team over at HGTV Handmade (some of YouTube’s best crafters) has a friendly competition going on with their “White Craft Challenge.” Much like the renowned HGTV Star “White Room Challenge,” where competitors must each decorate an all-white room with very limited supplies, the stars of HGTV Handmade are each decorating super snooze-worthy “white” lamps following just two requirements: One, they can only use what they have in their current possession (no trips to the craft store allowed!) and two, when the lamp is finished, it must still be able to function as a light source.

Watch as this fun challenge gets underway:

YouTube Preview Image

(You can watch the complete White Craft Challenge Series as it unfolds by visiting the HGTV Handmade channel on YouTube.)

Fortunately for you, both this week and next, we will be giving away the impressive lamps that were created for this competition (two this week, two next week). Today, we’re offering up the lamps crafted by Marianne and Meg (below).

HGTV Handmade

HGTV Handmade

Two lucky Design Happens readers will each win a lamp. To enter for a chance to win one, simply leave a comment below. This week’s question: What boring decorative items have you made fabulous?

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 3:00 p.m. ET on July 25, 2014 and 3:00 p.m. ET on July 28, 2014. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of each prize: $50.00. ARV of both prizes: $100.00. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932

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You guessed correctly if you chose option A. This kitchen was designed for the easy navigation of a large number of guests. The island offers generous seating areas and plenty of counter space, and the playful Roman shade enhances the cheerful color palette.

Colorful Coastal Kitchen

We randomly chose one person from the comments, and Ellen is the winner of a box of epoxy products from JB Weld and a complete JAWS cleaning kit. Congrats!

Check back next Wednesday to decorate a new space.

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  • Enter the New High/Low Challenge

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  • This watery bedroom proves that a high-end look can be had