BRIANA: Concrete and faux concrete finishes have steadily been gaining popularity over the past year – Stylus recognized concrete as a High Point Trend, and Liz and I spotted these pieces at ICFF. But what do you think of the trend? Is the concrete look cool or does it leave you cold? Is it industrial chic or way too bleak?
BRIAN PATRICK FLYNN: I seldom use concrete due to its lead time and also the finish costs associated with getting it just right; however, when I opt for concrete, I think its success is all about juxtaposition. Usually, I’ll pair a concrete table with super textural seating, like boucle upholstery. Concrete also warms up a lot when it’s paired with wooden pieces, either with rustic or refined finishes. Dammit, all this talk of concrete now has me wanting to use it again.
MARIANNE: Brrrr. Way too cold for me. Concrete counters in a kitchen can work in a lot of spaces, but even that is not my style. Plus I would break all of my wine glasses.
SEE MORE CHATTER ABOUT CONCRETE AND CAST YOUR VOTE
At the shore this Memorial Day? It’s a relaxing way to spend the holiday, but it’s also a good opportunity to stock up on free craft materials, like seashells. Yes, seashells! Turn your shell collection into one of the attractive crafts below. (If you’re landlocked, try “collecting” shells at your local craft supply store instead.)
SEE MORE SEASHELL CRAFTS (SAY THAT 5 TIMES FAST!)
I totally dug Grant’s recent Daily Delight featuring an Alice in Wonderland-esque tea party, and its whimsy inspired me to think of other cute things you can do with an old tea set. I’ve already featured some DIY crafts you can make with vintage teacups, so this time I’ve turned my attention to vintage teapots. If you have an old, chipped teapot that would otherwise be headed for the trash heap, turn it into one of these crafts instead.
SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH VINTAGE TEAPOTS
BRIANA: Wicker furniture was big up until the late ’70s, and then it seemed to be relegated to the backyard. Now it’s making its way back indoors, too. (Peep this wicker headboard and bedside table. Double trouble!) Are you pro-wicker furniture or do you think all this rattan looks ratty? Talk to me, people.
FARIMA: I am pro-wicker! I admit, it looks pretty ratty in natural form, but it looks refreshing and springy with a coat of paint.
LILI: This is only okay in a sunroom. And maybe not even then. I think of the wicker patterns smashed into the backs of my thighs as a kid and shudder at the memory. Furniture should never hurt you!
MORE FIGHTING OVER WICKER FURNITURE
It’s true: The fridge is the scrapbook of the kitchen! But don’t display treasured photos, cards and crayon masterpieces with hum-drum clips or promotional swag. All it takes to dress up your magnets is a little time, some common household items and these ideas:
SEE MORE MAGNIFICENT FRIDGE MAGNETS
Today’s crazy craft material was a suggestion from commenter DBB, who asked: “Can you show us some crafts with refurbishing old picture frames?” Well, DBB, it’s taken me a bit of time to work my way through my list to get to your request, but I think my finds were worth the wait. (Hopefully you will, too!)
MORE FUN IDEAS FOR EMPTY FRAMES
BRIANA: Chevron has long been on my list of trends to tackle, but I’m bringing it up now because I see signs of its reign starting to wane. Could straight stripes and punky polka dots be poised to take the throne once again? Or are you still a loyal subject of the zigzags? Discuss.
JESSICA: You know the seagulls from Finding Nemo? They were me – only instead of wailing “Mine!” I was screaming “Chevron!” in every single department store. But as time went on, I realized that chevron was just a novelty to me. I didn’t really love chevron – just the idea of it. All those crazy zigzags just aren’t stable enough for me at this time in my life. We’re on a break.
DAVID HAYNES: Just the idea of chevron? Jessica, that is deep. I’m going to have to think on this for a while.
LEANNE: Enough with those harsh zigzags. Make 2013 the Year of Sensuous, Life-Affirming Swirls. Like in this Gustav Klimt.
MORE SHOUTING ABOUT CHEVRON
Happy Earth Day to all my MacGyvers out there! I thought that making today’s craft material something all-natural would be a nice way to honor our planet, and what’s more natural than fruit? I also noticed that babies have been on everyone’s brain, sending searches for “baby shower decorations” spiking on Yahoo! this week. Well, it just so happens that you can turn produce into pretty baby shower decorations, so this post is a two-for-one deal. Check out my favorite finds and prepare to have your mind blown by nature’s bounty…
SEE MORE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR FRUIT CUTE
My mom reads this blog, but she’s on vacation right now, so let’s scheme while she’s away, shall we? Mother’s Day is coming up (May 12!), so you know I’m scouring the Internet for the perfect present for her. While I’m sure any mom wouldn’t turn down a little something from the mall or the florist, homemade gifts are unique and heartfelt. Show your mother, mother-in-law, grandmother or any special woman in your life that you care with one of these crafty gifts made with embroidery hoops.
SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH EMBROIDERY HOOPS
BRIANA: Even if you’re not a botanist, you may recognize the fiddle-leaf fig tree from its appearances in design magazine spreads and on blogs. Many, many design magazine spreads and blogs. Fiddle-leaf fig trees are basically the plant equivalent of that Cabinet of Natural Curiosities book, in that people staging spaces love to throw one in the mix. But does its ubiquity make it tired? Or is it just evidence that it looks good everywhere? Would you fiddle around with a fiddle-leaf fig tree in your home?
MARIANNE: Derp derp. Guilty as charged. I grew mine from a wee one-leafed seedling and it is basically my second child.
MORE TRASH TALKIN’ ABOUT TREES
“All the single ladies, all the single ladies, now put your hands up!“ Beyoncé wedding jokes aside, we’re busy cooking up some gettin’ hitched ideas that just may make all you single ladies out there start dropping hints. I’m engaged and in the midst of wedding planning myself, so when I got the opportunity to collaborate with one of HGTV’s stars on some wedding DIY videos for the site, I was already well-armed with many hours of bridal mag and Internet research. And let me tell you, these gorgeous, budget-friendly ideas are like your fantasy Pinterest board (or mine) come to life. Just take a look at my behind-the-scenes snapshots.
We’re talking easy table settings that will blow your guests away and wedding arches/chuppahs you can make yourself. Not to mention elegant wedding invitations, posh edible favors, luxe bridal accessories and more projects you can DIY for much less money than you’d spend through boutiques or vendors. If I wasn’t so far along in my planning already, I’d be grabbing my bridesmaids for some serious Crafternoon sessions.
And if you’re wondering who the mysterious HGTV personality behind all of this beauty might be, you’ll just have to check back in June when the videos hit the site. Until then, whet your appetite with some of our favorite wedding ideas from our friends at DIY Network.
Belts, like shoes, can make or break an outfit. In the right context, worn leather belts can look rugged and cool. And in the wrong context? Downright shabby. But did you know you can turn shabby old belts into something shabby chic for your home? Take a peek at these leather belt crafts, then get ready to buckle down and make a few for yourself.
SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH LEATHER BELTS
Doll parts: They inspired a great song by Hole, yes, but did you know they’re also an inspirational craft material? You may be thinking, “Okay, but how many things can you make with Barbie doll parts?” The answer, according to my Pinterest research, is “More things than you can possibly imagine!” Check out these bold crafts made from Barbie parts and get ready to tear off some heads. (It’s a doll revolution!)
SEE MORE DOLL PART CRAFTS
BRIANA: Today’s topic is right in the middle of the Venn diagram that is design and fashion: Fascinators. They made splashy appearances at William & Kate’s royal wedding and the Design Happens crew spotted them all over Alt, so you know they’re hot with the design blogging set. They’re certainly attention-grabbing, but that can be a good thing or a bad thing. So, what do you think? Are fascinators fantastic or frightening?
LILI: People are doing this?
READ MORE FIGHTING ABOUT FASCINATORS AND CAST YOUR VOTE
I remember stumbling upon a box of my parents’ old vinyl records in our basement as a teenager and thinking: A) “My parents used to listen to Pink Floyd?” and B) “I HAVE TO SAVE THESE!” We didn’t own a turntable at the time, so mostly I just gazed at the cool retro cover art. I wish I had known then about all the nifty things you can do with LPs — besides hoard them in a milk crate. Of course, these vinyl record crafts aren’t for your favorites or rare finds, but they’re great for anything scratched, slightly warped or, um, albums you’d otherwise discard. Check out my DIY finds and prepare to rock!
SEE WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH OLD RECORDS
The forecast here in New York is calling for snow. Thanks, Mother Nature! But the vernal equinox (aka first day of spring) is two days away, no matter what the forecast says. Shake your winter blues away with pretty Easter crafts in spring palettes. Got some yarn hanging around your home? (If you knit or crochet, you know you do!) These ideas I spotted on Pinterest are perfect for using up scraps.
CHECK OUT ALL THE YARN CRAFTS
Safety pin DIYs of the fashion variety often have a retro punk rock feel to them. (Think: Just about any old photo of the Sex Pistols.) I’m all for being edgy with fashion, but when it comes to DIYs for the home, I think pretty is the way to go. My Pinterest sleuthing leads me to believe that you can do lots of pretty things with safety pins. Okay, at least 5 pretty things. Take a peek at my finds…
See What You Can Do With Safety Pins
BRIANA: Black walls have been black sheep in the design world, but they’re starting to make some inroads, as this quote from a recent Boston Globe Magazine piece proves: “Black is definitely a trend,” says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams in Dallas. “People think it will close the room in, but it has the opposite effect.” This trend was suggested by our own Marianne Canada and the room image comes to us from designer/opinionated Defend the Trend contributor Brian Patrick Flynn, so I think I know what they’ll say, but maybe y’all will surprise me. Are black (and other super-dark) walls gorgeous or too goth for your taste?
LEANNE: Only cool if accented with black velvet paintings and vintage Jane’s Addiction album covers.
I used to be quite the little athlete in elementary school and middle school and racked up my fair share of dance, tennis and softball trophies. I’m sentimental, so they’re probably socked away in a closet somewhere, but after seeing these clever projects made from trophy parts on Pinterest, I’m amped to revamp them. Take a look at these ideas and get ready to take first place in the World’s Thriftiest Crafter competition!
SEE MORE WINNING TROPHY CRAFTS
My favorite thrift store and flea market scores are vintage scarves. The colors are fun, the patterns are graphic and they never cost too much. Sometimes I’ll come home with a scarf that doesn’t quite fit into my wardrobe, but that I just had to have nonetheless. Luckily, scarves are also great for adding flair to the home! Check out these easy DIY projects and see how you can dress up your decor.
See What You Can Do With Vintage Scarves