Sarah Herron

"Pin like a boss."

Sarah is the HGTV.com Programming Coordinator. For Design Happens, she tracks online trends and shares treasured family recipes. Sarah is also HGTV’s in-house Pinterest guru. When she’s not pinning like a boss, she can be found in the kitchen cooking or on the couch folding a pile of laundry. She and her husband are raising their two boys in the historic district of Maryville, Tenn. where they’ve filled their Victorian-style home with antiques and Legos.

Sarah Herron ON PINTEREST

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HGTV loves Pinterest, in large part because we have the best pinners. We read every comment and here are a few things we know about the HGTV Pinterest followers:

They love a good cocktail.

Cocktail recipes are popular on Pinterest.

They have great ideas.

HGTV Pinterest pinners offer great tips.

They make solid observations.

Why are the chairs pulled up to the pool table?

They care about animals.

HGTV Pinterest pinner expresses concern.

They ask good questions.

HGTV Pinterest pinner asks a good question about Halloween candy.

Thank you HGTV Pinterest followers for sharing your insight and for making our jobs so fun. If you haven’t already, join us!

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Fall is peak season for good recipes. Many of us are gathering our old favorites and digging for new ones in preparation for the holidays.

My grandmother-in-law, Rosa Herron, wrote a recipe column for the local newspaper in Big Stone Gap, Va. Her fried apple hand pies were my favorite.

Fried Apple Hand Pies

Courtesy of Food Network

The pies weren’t just a dessert, they were an event. On a crisp autumn day, we’d go to her little blue house in the mountains for a day dedicated to frying (and eating) pies. Then we’d find an open bed, couch or recliner and nap. I can’t think of a more perfect day.

This is our first fall without her. So in her memory, I give you the recipe for Granny Rosa’s Fried Apple Hand Pies:

Ingredients:
4 eggs, well-beaten
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cream
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar
4 cups plain flour
4 tsp. baking powder

Directions:

Sift the flour and baking powder together, add mixture of eggs, oil, cream, salt and sugar. Mix well. Add more flour if needed to make stiff dough.

Chill overnight.

Pinch off dough about the size of a large walnut (1 1/2 inches). Dust with flour and roll thin.

Place about 2 tbsp. pie filling on one side of the disk. Fold over and seal by crimping edges with a fork dipped in flour. Fry pie in hot oil until brown on both sides.

Dried Apple Pie Filling:

Place dried apples in a bowl and barely cover with water. Place a dinner plate on the apples to keep them under the water. Soak several hours until the apples are soft, stirring occasionally.

Transfer apples to a large kettle and add water just to the top of the mixture. Cook on high until the mixture boils, stirring to avoid sticking. Reduce the heat. When apples are cooked, add sugar or sweetener to taste. Mix the sugar with enough corn starch (approx. 2 tsp.) to make a stiff filling.

Allow the apple mixture to cool completely before making the fried pies.

Tip: The most flavorful pies are made from apples dried in the sun. Cover with cheese cloth to protect from insects. Select a juicy apple, slightly tart, for best flavor.

What recipes bring back memories of someone you love?

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Social media brings us together as one big community, no matter where we live. Like millions of others, several members of our HGTV family have been impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

Many have kept us posted on Twitter:

HGTV's Genevieve Gorder tweets about Superstorm Sandy.

Photo by Genevieve Gorder

Photo by Genevieve Gorder

HGTV's Kitchen Cousins tweet about Superstorm Sandy.

HGTV's Sabrina Soto tweets about Superstorm Sandy.

Designer Tyler Wisler, former contestant on HGTV's Design Star, tweets about Sandy.

Our thoughts are with those who have lost their homes, as well as the millions who are without power and others who are bracing for more severe weather.

There are many ways to help our neighbors throughout the country, like texting REDCROSS, 90999 to make a $10 donation or visiting http://redcross.org.

Let us know how you’re reaching out to help.

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Attention Chocolate Lovers: You don’t have to wait for Halloween to justify eating chocolate. Today is National Chocolate Day!

Plus, the cold-weather season is upon us so you need a good cup of hot chocolate.

Toasty Texas Hot Chocolate

Why not include a decadent brownie alongside your pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving?
Classic Chocolate Brownie
Then, let’s count down to Christmas with a creative advent calendar filled with chocolates.

Here’s to a delicious chocolate season. Cheers!

What is your favorite chocolate treat?

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What is the most popular vacation destination for HGTV.com readers? Home, of course!

Designer Tyler Wisler says, “Everyone always wants to feel like they’re on vacation. I think it’s just a fantasy everyone has, then alas life takes over, but there are ways to keep the spirit of your favorite spots alive.”

This week, our online audience must be remembering summer beach trips with a renewed interest in coastal-style design. These cool beach-inspired bathrooms have been particularly popular.

Coastal-Style bathroom from HGTV

You can bring your favorite vacation destination to any room. Tyler says, “This bedroom I did was a city dwelling for a pre-teen at the time. They summered in Nantucket, so to bring in that easy breezy relaxed feel, I kept the palette subdued. I added small touches like a piece of coral alongside an almost urchin-like textured table lamp. This gave the feel of another place, but always speaking to the vernacular of where the actual space is located.”

Coastal-Style bedroom by Tyler Wisler for HGTV Design Happens

Tyler brought vacation-living to the room with this reading nook.

Coastal-Style reading nook by Tyler Wisler for HGTV Design Happens

Whether you’re creating a vacation-spa bathroom or just adding a simple coastal accent, be careful not to go overboard.

Tyler says “I think it’s important, whether you’re incorporating beachy elements, tropical touches, or a bit of Southwest flair, it should be used sparingly, in essence maximizing its importance. Remember less is more! Sometimes an overkill of any particular style could bring a space down and make it look cheesy instead of breezy.”

What vacation destination would you like to incorporate into your home? To find your next design adventure, keep clicking.

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Choosing the right paint color can be agonizing. Right now, there’s a surge of HGTV.com readers who are searching for the perfect hues.

Mixing Paint Colors and Patterns, From HGTV Magazine

Photo Source: HGTV Magazine

Designer Tyler Wisler says, “Oh, the right paint color can really transform a room! It can intentionally make a space have a cool and slick feeling, or cozy it up in a few strokes of a saturated roller.”

He says, “I think the colors that have underlying tones of grey are just perfect for the trends happening right now. A great one that has a slight bit of warmth is Benjamin Moore’s Affinity Color-Storm AF-700. Another favorite is Benjamin Moore’s Affinity Color-Wisteria AF-585, which has a tint of lavender in it. It’s a tone that is surprisingly gender neutral, and provides a great backdrop for so many color combinations when accessorizing.”

He then says, “One of my go-to colors is sort of not even a color… Benjamin Moore’s Black Chalkboard paint is the best non-color to really set off a room! When applied it reads a dark charcoal hue, making anything surrounding it just POP! I just used the chalkboard paint for a makeover show, George to the Rescue. The results were spectacular!”
Gorgeous grey paint color, room designed by Tyler Wisler
Sound like fun? Check out 30 creative ways to use chalkboard paint around the house or just buy a few chalkboard decals.
Turn a plain piece of wood into a whimsical DIY headboard with chalkboard paint and a handmade stencil, like this one designer Maureen Toribio created.
If you’re looking for a new paint color, try not to agonize. Even if you do, sometimes it pays to be indecisive. You can use your leftover mini paint jar samples for a DIY project. Check out 8 ideas from HGTV Magazine.

What changes are you looking to make around the house? Let us know…or just keep clicking.

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Corn casserole is a popular pin on Pinterest right now. Recipes vary and I can’t argue whether or not mine is the best version, but it’s certainly the most simple. You only need five ingredients and you can whip it up in less than an hour. This delicious, crowd-pleasing casserole is my ace in the hole for church potlucks and covered dish parties. In fact, it makes for an easy Thanksgiving recipe if you’ve started to make plans for the big holiday meal.

How to Make Corn Casserole, an Easy Thanksgiving Recipe

Photo Source: Pennies on a Platter

(serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

1-8 ounce container of sour cream
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1-15 ounce can creamed corn
1-15 ounce can whole kernel corn (drained)
1-8.5 ounce package cornbread mix*
*I recommend using Jiffy Mix

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine ingredients—sour cream, butter, creamed corn, corn niblets and cornbread mix.
3. Pour into a 1 quart casserole dish and bake for 40 minutes.

Done. I’m not kidding. It’s that easy.

What are your easy go-to dishes?

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Almost everything has a shelf life.

Trends expire and seasons change so it’s no wonder that right now, online readers are looking for ways to freshen up their shelves. Arranging collectibles and displaying books is tricky so our audience has been consuming tips for decorating shelves and bookcases.

Expert designer Tyler Wisler says, “I believe that when you are displaying your favorite items you need to think in clusters, or small moments. You can either group by color, by size or by specifically what the items are. I have on my living room shelves a stack of small wooden boxes, near a large vintage trunk because they are within the same genre of accessories, if you will.”

Rustic Shelving Display by Tyler Wisler for HGTV Design Happens

“On another shelf, I let a gorgeous ram skull rest up against a piece of found driftwood and kept the surrounding areas open to give it more importance,” says Tyler.

Shelf Display by Tyler Wisler for HGTV Design Happens

If you have more stuff to display than you have space, consider making your own shelves. I was inspired by Tyler’s look and found this DIY industrial-rustic bookshelf project by Dan Faires.

If you’re adding shelf life to your home, decorate with the mantra—quality over quantity.

Tyler says, “Often the use of negative space on a shelf is just as powerful as the impact of filled space. An important tool when arranging is your editing eye, sometimes less is more!”

How are you giving your home a fresh look? Tell us about it…or just keep clicking.

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Every day, I peek at what our online readers are doing. Web data tells me what makes you click. This week, I know what many of our readers want to do in the bedroom — spice it up with striped bed linens and colorful bedding.

In August, a vast number of online users were perusing ideas for white bed linens. As temperatures drop for fall, it’s a great time to layer bedding and add color.

Designer Tyler Wisler suggests, “keeping the main components like the fitted and flat sheets in white or ivory, giving you unlimited flexibility in popping in some personality like a limey-green throw over a simple black quilted coverlet, or layering patterned-and striped-cases in the same color family to interject some eye candy.”

Courtesy of Tyler Wisler

Tyler says, “Bed linens are one of the easiest accessories to get a lot of look without having to change too much. If you don’t feel like making the full investment in an entire new set seasonally (which can get costly), you can switch out the shams from sunny summer yellows, to more golden fall ochers in a snap.”

Courtesy of Tyler Wisler

Nancy Fire, Creative Director and Founder of Design Works Intl/First2Print and Design Director for HGTV HOME, recommends adding a bright color with texture. She says global-inspired fabrics are popular right now. “Our clients love the mix of color and texture, especially when mixed with a larger scale layout. The texture inside the damask emulates a woven technique.”

Design Works International

If you’re having trouble deciding, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Design Happens’ own Grant Dudley recently went on an exhaustive search for the perfect bedding.

As you look for ideas, Tyler says, “Have fun with it! After all, you do spend a third of your life in bed, so make it awesome!”

How are you heating things up for fall in your home? Tell us about it…or just keep clicking.

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