ALL POSTS IN Design Inspiration

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After an extensive selection process involving 100+ submissions from talented designers across the US and weeks of online voting where HGTV fans cast hundreds of thousands of votes, we have a winner. Drumroll, please.  Everyone join us in congratulating Caitlin McCarthy, the winner of our Fresh Faces of Design competition!

Caitlin’s genius small-space solutions and approachable high-meets-low design style wowed HGTV fans who voted her design tops in the small space category, then won over the judges who crowned her the winner overall. Here are a few photos of Caitlin’s award-winning downtown Los Angeles loft plus the judges’ POV on why she swept the competition:

Becky LaFranchi, Communications and Interior Design Manager for Ikea USA, had this to say: “When designing a small space, every detail is important, each decision impacts another, and the ability to edit is key.” Caitlin pulls together a beautifully balanced, collected-over-time look that tells a story but is well edited and doesn’t feel cluttered:  grouping on side table
Jillian St. Charles, Vice President of HGTV.com adds, You don’t see many luxe-looking galley kitchens. This very functional space combines materials and judicious use of color in a way that’s really engaging.”small-space-urban-kitchen
Brian Patrick Flynn, Interior Designer and Founder of FlynnsideOut Productions was impressed with Caitlin’s mastery of scale and the way she incorporated the loft’s century-old architectural elements, like the exposed brick and original hexagonal tile floor:
Caitlin McCarthy urban loft seating area
All the judges could agree that Caitlin’s design is approachable and deftly combines bargain finds with glamorous touches, like these Thomas O’Brien Hicks pendants that illuminate the hallway-turned-dining room: Hicks pendants
Off the dining room is the loft’s main bedroom. Doorless white walls give the loft a cohesive feel that helps the small spaces flow one into the next:
small urban bedroom
The jewelbox of a bedroom conceals a real gem: a boutique-worthy glass-doored closet:
illuminated closet in urban apartment
But that isn’t the loft’s only surprise — what looks like a built-in in the living room is actually…
apartment living room
a Murphy bed that cleverly tucks away when not in use. Genius!
murphy bed hidden in built-in cabinet
Judge Becky LaFranchi summed up this petite pied a terre best, “Caitlin’s design proves that small-space living can be both stylish and comfortable. It also feels very individualized, and not at all cookie-cutter, like you might expect a tiny space to be.” Brava, Caitlin, congrats on your win!

But Caitlin isn’t our only winner, HGTV fans chose the designers listed below as a stand-out in their category. Need a little design inspiration? Be sure to check ‘em out!

Best Outdoor Space: Mike Albert, Design Workshop, Inc.
Most Serene Retreat: Angela Rasmussen, House 2 Home Design & Build
Best Use of Color: Bria Hammel, Bria Hammel Interiors
Most Family-Friendly Space: Jordan Iverson, Iverson Signature Homes
Best Space for a Party: Katie Marvin, S&K Interiors
Best Kitchen: Katy Lyons, Jamestown Designer Kitchens
Most Dramatic Transformation: Lauren Levant Bland, Lauren Levant Interior
Most Unusual Space: Angela Rasmussen, House 2 Home Design & Build
Best Use of Pattern/Texture: Sadie Sanchez Johnson, Amanda Austin Interiors
Best Small Space: Caitlin McCarthy, Caitlin & Caitlin

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Hanukkah starts tomorrow, and we have some pretty festive ideas to keep your celebrations rocking until the 24th.

Mood Board Monday: Hanukkah HuesPhotos: Dining Room, Place Card, Tree, Favor, Doughnuts, Cupcake, Centerpiece, Garland

Check back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss one? See all the posts here.

More last-minute Hanukkah ideas:

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happy hanukkah

Ceramic Dachshund Menorah: Jonathan Adler

 

Hanukkah is coming! Hanukkah is coming!

While those of us who celebrate the festival of lights don’t have elves on shelves or themed frothy alcoholic beverages, we’ve still got some pretty fab ideas on how you can make your 8-day holiday extravaganza totally rockin.’

1. Listen to SiriusXM Radio Hanukkah

From December 16-24, you can tune into channel 68 on SiriusXM for more Hanukkah tunes than you’ll know what to do with. You can keep Radio Hanukkah on in the background while you’re whipping up some sweet potato latkes with feta and leeks #ifyouknowhowtocook #idont

hanukkah manicure

Photo credit: Flight of Whimsy

2. Get a Hanukkah Manicure

We all know that you can decorate your home to get more into the Hanukkah spirit, but why not decorate your nails? Nothing says “Happy Hanukkah” like a custom nail art glittered menorah on your nails. Amirite??

3. Play Connect Four or Checkers with Hanukkah Gelt

You know those surprisingly delish little gold coins you buy to get the kids all hopped up on sugar? Well they’re also the perfect size game playing pieces! Here’s a great tutorial on how you can get the kiddos into the holiday spirit by using their gelt as playing pieces in some of their favorite games.

4. Embrace the “Mensch on a Bench”

Ok, I know I already said us Hanukkah folk don’t have an elf on the shelf option, BUT, we do have a “mensch on a bench!” This handy alternative was invented by a Jewish father who felt bad telling his son that they couldn’t get onto the elf on a shelf train with the rest of his Christmas-celebrating friends. So voila: he invented the mensch on a bench! (a “mensch” is a Yiddish term that means a really good, kind person). After raising some money on Kickstarter, the mensch was ready to hit the streets.

dreidel surprise cookies

Photo credit: Tablespoon

5. Make Dreidel Surprise Cookies

What’s better than a cookie? A COOKIE FILLED WITH CANDY! These dreidel surprise cookies are kind of like a Hanukkah piñata for your mouth. I would make as many as you can fit into your oven…and then make some more.

dreidel garland

Photo credit: Scrumdilly-do

6. Make a Dreidel Garland

If cookies aren’t your thang, than this adorable dreidel garland should be on your to-do list. It’s made with old ties that you might have laying around (and if you don’t have any, a quick trip to Goodwill or any thrift store could hook you up with everything you need). There’s no sewing involved either! The whole thing can be whipped up with scissors and glue.

Dr. Dre-del

Photo credit: Sillyreggie

7. Send out Some Funny Hanukkah Cards

Bring a smile to your kids’ faces, or any of your Hanukkah celebrating friends with some hilarious cards like these that offer a”Dr. Dre del” or “Happy Challah Day” options. Who says hip hop and Hanukkah don’t go hand in hand?

Happy, happy Hanukkah everyone!

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Calling all House Hunters Renovation fans! We’ve teamed up with Overstock, so you can now shop the looks you love from your favorite show using our shoppable photo gallery. Each photo in the gallery consists of clickable hotspots, so you can easily buy the products you love. When you see a product you want, click on the blue hotspot to buy the product or get more information. So, what are you waiting for? Your favorite product is just a click away from showing up on your doorstep!

House Hunters Shoppable Photo Gallery

House Hunters Renovation Shoppable Photo Gallery

Shop Now!

This post brought to you by Overstock, where you’ll find everything Holiday at prices you’ll love.

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custom throw pillows
I’m not afraid to admit that me and sewing machines are not exactly BFFs…in fact, we kind of hate each other. And so through the years, I’ve had to get creative when the “custom pillow” mood strikes.

Haven’t you ever just been sitting around, eating your cronuts for breakfast and then BAM! You think to yourself, “If I don’t get some custom pillows all up in here, it’s going to be a p-r-o-b-l-e-m.” Just me?

After getting these bad boys made many, many times now, I’ve picked up a thing or two. Here’s all the inside scoop you’ll need:

1. Size does matter (and so does shape)

In my early custom pillow days, I was unsure what sizes I wanted or what sizes really made the most sense. But I had a couple of throw pillows on my couches that I hated and wanted to replace, so I simply replicated the size–easy peasy.

TIP: If you don’t have any pillows to replicate and want to just wing it, I would suggest going to a store like Home Goods with a measuring tape, and see if anything there tickles your fancy (if so, measure it up and write down the dimensions, and try not to buy a multi-colored, rope dyed ram’s head for no reason whatsoever).

throw pillow fabric

Photo credit: pies+ travel

2. Now you need some fabric

There are about a billion amazing sites online to get gorgeous, reasonably priced fabric (buenos dias, spoonflower.com), but I like to go out and get my fabric my own damn self. You can always hit up a general crafts store like Michaels, or Joann’s, but I prefer to go to a real deal, mom and pop, fabric store. I think this a great option because you can see and feel and the fabric in person, and also talk to someone directly regarding how much yardage you’ll need (I’m very bad at math, so I need help with this stuff). Also think about whether or not your fabric is machine washable (and if you care?).

TIP: I have a dog, so I’m always thinking about anything nice I have getting ruined. When I’m particularly excited about a custom pillow I’m getting made, I’ll sometimes buy enough fabric for two pillows! One pillow to keep on the couch that can get all slobbery, and one pillow to keep in the closet that I can bring out when guests come over and I want to pretend that my place is actually clean.

throw pillow stuffing

Photo credit: lovesac

3. Get stuffed

Ok, I’m going to give it you straight: pillow inserts are not cheap. In fact, you could easily spend more on your pillow insert than you did on your fabric…especially if you’re a down pillow insert girl like me. But, believe it or not,  even the poly/foam inserts are pretty expensive too. Unfortunately, there is no getting around this–in order for a pillow to be a pillow you need that soft, fluffy, insert-y piece to make it happen. Here are a few options for making this less painless: buy extra inserts any time you come across a sale; scour ebay and etsy to see if there are any good deals there; or just suck it up and buy the nicer insert. We all accept that cereal is strangely and ridiculously expensive, so why not pillow inserts?

TIP: Awhile back, I read this fantastic post from Vintage Revivals (Confessions of a Pillow Addict: My Secrets to the World’s Cheapest Pillow Inserts), and she shares a really great tip on how to score some super cheap down inserts on the regular.

pillow art

Photo credit: made by meg

4. Get sewing

At this point you realize: “If I’m not sewing this thing, then who is??” As a newbie throw pillow dabbler, I’d highly recommend that you track down the dry cleaner in your area with the best tailor and head on over there. How can you be sure they’re good? Yelp it up! Sort the reviews by “latest” and read all about what people are saying. You can also find seamstresses by asking for recommendations at fabric stores, but I find that this tends to be a more expensive option. Bring in your fabric and your insert, let them know if you’d like any extra options (zippers, etc) and they’ll give you a price right away. A few days later, voila! You’ll have some kickass custom pillows!

TIP: Keep in mind that any extras will…uhm…cost a lot extra. There are so many little add-ons that you get on your pillows, and all of them look snazzy, but they cost extra bank. Zippers, hidden zippers, piping, tassel trim, etc. So for your first go at this, I would suggest you keep things as simple as possible and move on to the double reverse, inside out, pom pom trim on your next go around.

Once you have your new collection of custom pillows, here are all the tips you’ll need on how to mix your patterns!

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Ah, the fireplace mantel — a homemaker’s canvas and a stylist’s playground. The mantel has always been an outlet for stylistic expression. New artwork, fanciful mirrors and decorative candles are always welcomed to my mantel. But during the holidays, this versatile shelf space can easily become a rest stop for less-than-spectacular holiday staples.

What do you say we step up our fireplace game this year with some new designs? Here are a few unexpected ways to wow your holiday guests starting with your mantelpiece.

Holiday House Mantel
Add Height: Here, watchful owls and glam trees add staggered height alongside more vertically-challenged holiday fare: ornaments and plush toys. Learn how to make a rustic mini tree here.

Joy Marquee

Light Bright: Sparkling lights of any kind are a quick way to freshen up your mantel, but a DIY marquee sign will really set your style ablaze. These simple instructions will show you how to design your very own, a feat that will turn any guest Grinch-green with envy.

White Wantel

Winter White: When in doubt, hone in light. Bright whites never look dull when paired with new neutrals. See how designer Brian Patrick Flynn decked out this crisp winter mantel. Bonus: Metallics and neutrals go together like Santa and cookies. Make your own gold-leafed log candle holders or mercury glass votives for an extra splash of holiday magic.

Chalk Mantel

Chalk in Spite: No fireplace? No problem! Design the holiday hearth of your dreams in just a few easy steps. Keep this warming accent up all season long for heaps of added cheer. You can even hang handmade stockings or a DIY pinecone garland for an extra kick of kitsch.

Don’t get caught in the same old same old. Fancy up your furnace with these simple steps and your holiday style will be ho-ho-hot!

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Now that our fall table is complete and our Thanksgiving menu has been decided, we can finally jump head-first into the Christmas season. I already shared my list of must-do Christmas projects, but now my sights are set on the ornaments and trimmings that bring the holidays to life.

Christmas CollagePhoto credits: Stocking, Stocking Holders, Garland, Wreath, Pillow, Fabric Ornaments, Car Ornament, Cat Ornament, Sign, Tree Skirt

My Picks:

For 11 months out of the year, my decorating tastes lean toward contemporary, but in December I favor full-fledged eclectic and traditional holiday pieces that remind me of Christmases past. These needlepoint stockings are just another memento. My entire family got theirs personalized last year and I couldn’t love them more.

You can’t have stockings without stocking holders, and these twig reindeer holders are simple with rustic charm.

I can’t resist this sweet felt garland and Mimi Kirchner-designed ornaments; they’re so perfectly handmade.

Since bright red is such a classic holiday color, this felt reindeer pillow from Etsy was a definite must-have for me.

We all know what crazy Christmas family inspired this station wagon ornament. Any family (especially mine!) will appreciate a tasteful reminder of those Christmas catastrophes.

This “Merry Christmas” sign is just a classic way to welcome the holiday spirit, just like Hallmark’s annual mischievous kitten ornament. My family has purchased one every year since the series started in 1999 and they each remind us of something different.

Finally, Brian Patrick Flynn‘s handmade pennant tree skirt is a home-hitting holiday accent that adds hip, vintage flair and lots of individual style. The best part is this that it requires no sewing machine — whew!

So get on the holiday-decorating bandwagon with me and let me know what ornaments and tree trimmings you can’t wait to display this year.

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honey apple cocktail

While most folks will agree that a holiday meal isn’t complete without a serving or two of dessert, I believe a refreshing cocktail should be the finishing touch. Once delicious wedges of pie are all but a distant memory, proceed to your bar cart and shake up a tasty beverage to properly end your feast. This balanced drink is perfect for slow sipping and is not too overwhelming for a stuffed belly handle. Cheers to you!

Norm’s Notes: No Shrubs?

The Shrub (vinegar-syrup based cocktails) seems to be just as popular amongst today’s cocktail connoisseurs as they were before falling out of fashion in the later part of the 18th century. In case you’ve missed their resurgence, the sour-sweet tastes of shrubs provide mouth puckering flavors and a bit of earthiness to cocktails. In my opinion, traditional shrubs can be a bit too strong on the sour notes, but I do love the complexity vinegar gives to the taste of mixed drink. This cocktail channels my favorite parts of shrub trend and leans more towards the sweet side of “sour-sweet.” I favored the acidity from apple cider vinegar to liven up the drink in a very unexpected, yet pleasant way. If you aren’t feeling adventurous enough to add a splash of vinegar to your cocktail, omit it from the recipe and replace with 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice.

 

Honey-Apple Sipper:

Stir 3 Tbsp. bourbon, 1 tsp. honey, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, and 1/8 tsp. ground ginger together in a cocktail shaker until blended. Fill shaker with ice cubes, cover with lid and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled. Strain into a 12-oz. glass filled with ice cubes. Top with chilled sparkling apple cider. Garnish with fresh apple slices and rosemary sprig if desired. Makes 1 drink.

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It seems like we’re always prepping for one holiday or another over here at HGTV.com. Finally, one of those holidays has arrived! I’m actually making my first from-scratch pie (fingers crossed!) and trying out a few of our cold-weather cocktails to whip up while we watch traditional holiday flicks. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. Tell me — what do you make year after year on Thanksgiving? Let us know your mouthwatering meal details!

Mood Board Monday: Thanksgiving Inspiration and IdeasTop: Banner, Buffet | Middle: Table, Centerpiece, Vignette | Bottom: Pie, Decor, Cider

Check back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss one? See all the posts here.

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Are you attempting to design a room in your home? Getting started can be daunting. Should you start with an inspiration piece? Should you choose your color palette first? How do you avoid blowing your budget? If you don’t want to commit to an interior designer, turn to Decorist. The Decorist Makeover feature consists of a team of professional designers who will virtually decorate your room based on your budget and style. They create two different design boards with the same style and budget, but with different shopping lists (including links to buy!), so you have plenty of pieces to choose from. They also share top tips to help you decorate your room — all you have to do is send a photo of your current room. Easy peasy!

I thought I’d give their services a try, so I sent them a photo of a — let’s just say — bare master bedroom and nook. I gave a $5,000 budget and asked for a modern vintage vibe with a cozy feel.

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom: Before

Master Bedroom Nook Before

Master Bedroom Nook Before

See the Virtual Makeover

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online frames

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess

For me, the more I can do on the internet, the happier I am. Grocery deliveries…I’m in. Arranging pick-ups to my storage facility…yes and yes. Getting myself some new prescription glasses…sign. me. up. So when it comes to framing art, I was happy to dive head first into the world wide web in order to find the best and easiest online solutions.

Last week I shared with you my favorite abstract artists, so I’m guessing by now you’ve each gone out and purchased some kick-ass art that you’re ready to frame.  So buckle your seatbelt and enjoy the ride as I spill my secrets of 3 of my favorite online framing sources.

1. Framed & Matted

This site is nice because they offer you two options: DIY framing (where they send all the materials to you and you put it together on your own with fool-proof, easy-to-understand instructions), or full-service framing where they take care of the whole shebang. You can choose your own frame and your own matte, and their prices are up to 70% less than you would pay retail. Score! If you choose the full-service option, they send you a tube for your artwork, you send it off, and a week or so later, your professionally framed artwork is on its way back to you.

2. Instantly Framed

If you’re obsessed with Instagram like I am, you will love Instantly Framed. While this service does not offer much variety in their frames (black walnut is pretty much where it’s at), the fun thing is that you can upload photos from Instagram or Facebook directly from an app on your phone. You can choose to have your photos printed in 4 different sizes (and their system will not let you choose a photo size that is too big as it’s able to recognize the pixel ration of all of your photos), and a short time later they’ll arrive on your doorstep all framed up. Order up a few, and these would work great on a gallery wall.

3.  Simply Framed

This site is a great combo of online convenience and a professional framing shop, as each frame is built specifically for your piece of artwork. They also offer special options such as “floating” your artwork on your matte, stretching canvases and larger frames (up to 40×60). They even have an option for framing scarves and textiles, which almost made me squeal. I also got sucked into their awesome blog where they share tips on hanging artwork and interesting stories about their team and customers.

Ok, so I’m hooked on online framing sites but what about you guys? Have you ever tried it before?

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persimmon pomegranate salad

Disrupting a traditional Thanksgiving menu with new recipes can be a tricky proposal. This year, make an effort to slip in a few non-traditional sides to perk up the table and bring your holiday meal into the modern era. Using savory flavors and seasonal produce such as persimmon, pomegranate, and blueberries will help usher in dishes that compliment the classics with ease. Don’t believe me? Take on this simple Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Herb Salad and refreshingly different Farro Salad with Pickled Blueberries and Fennel. The tastes will match your holiday favorites and make just enough to fill up the extra corner of space left on the plate after helpings casseroles and such have been dished.

Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Herb Salad

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 ½ lb.Fuyu persimmons (about 5 medium size)
  • ¾ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup loosely packed parsley leaves, torn
  • ¼ cup loosely packed mint leaves, torn
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Remove stems from persimmons and cut into ¼-inch thick slices. Arrange slices on a platter and top with pomegranate seeds, parsley, and mint. Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste just before serving.

Norm’s Note: Sideboard Boost

Pickled Blueberries and Fennel are also great nestled along side turkey in lieu of cranberry sauce. The mixture offers a combination of crisp, sweet, and tart flavors that cleanse the palate in between forkfuls just as well as the favorite American chutney. To serve the quick pickled bounty, simply drain both the blueberries and fennel from the brine and combine in a small bowl. Reserve a couple tablespoons of the brine and stir in a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the brine mixture with the blueberries and fennel and season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Pickled Blueberries and Fennel

Makes about 1 ½ cups blueberries and 1 ½ cups fennel

  •  1 ½ cups white vinegar
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ½ cup turbinado sugar*
  • 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 medium-size fennel bulb, thinly sliced

 

1. Bring vinegar and next 6 ingredients to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan.

2. Place blueberries and fennel in separate bowls and divide vinegar mixture evenly among the two bowls. Let stand a minimum of 1 hour before serving or cover and chill up to 1 week.

*Light brown sugar may be substituted.

farro salad with pickled blueberries

When farro’s tender yet hearty grains are paired with tangy pickled blueberries, sticky sweet dried cranberries, and fresh herbs a festive treat emerges.

Farro Salad with Pickled Blueberries and Fennel

Note: Cooking farro is very simple. All that is required is a lengthy simmer in water or flavorful broth over low heat until tender. However, if you are a farro novice the quick cooking variety, although little hard to find, truly saves you time and is almost as foolproof as minute rice.

Makes 6 servings

  • 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (8.8-oz) package quick cooking farro (such as Trade Joe’s 10 Minute Farro)*
  • 3 Tbsp. pickling brine, reserved from Pickled Blueberries or Fennel
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup drained Pickled Blueberries
  • ½ cup drained Pickled Fennel
  • ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted salted pecans
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

1. Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and keep hot. Cook dry farro in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 to 4 minutes until toasted and fragrant.

2. Add hot broth to farro and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until tender. [Note: if using regular farro increase cooking time to 20 minutes.] Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in reserved pickling brine and olive oil; let cool.

3. Toss cooked farro, Pickled Blueberries, Pickled Fennel, and next 4 ingredients together in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

*1 cup regular farro may be substituted.

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My enthusiasm for the ultimate chowdown that is Thanksgiving is overshadowed by one thing: my enthusiasm for Christmas. I always end up wishing Thanksgiving away so I can finally cover every flat surface of my home with trees, garland, lights and oodles of fake snow.

Because I’m just too excited to wait, I’ve already marked the hours on my calendar (usually set aside to sleep off my food coma) for decorating. As soon as the maple-crusted roast turkey is done and I’ve inhaled my pumpkin pie (and just a smidge of apple pie), I’ll begin my annual pilgrimage to the attic to take down every box, bin, bag and cart labeled “Christmas”.

This year, however, I’ve been inspired to do something just a little different. I’ve been scouring HGTV’s Holiday House and handmade holiday collection for a few exciting — and easy — DIYs. Check out some of the projects I’m itching to try.

Holday Decor Collage

Marianne’s monogram string art project is an HGTV favorite, but this festive holiday version will fit in well with my home’s rustic accents. I’ve actually had this wooden chandelier on my list for a while. It will make a big impact hanging above my dining table and give me something to brag about.

Ah, trees. I’m always looking for trees, but I hate buying them at the store. But with some Styrofoam cones from the craft store, I can make these upcycled sheet music trees on the cheap. The stocking advent calendar will give my banister (or mantel, I can’t decide) that homey, handmade look I love. But I really can’t wait to hang that vintage light-bulb wreath for a huge dose of my favorite color — bright red.

Finally, for the exterior. We already professed our love for over-the-top displays with Briana’s Defend the Trend. But just like Farima, I’m partial to single-color displays (I’m a warm white kind of guy). I’m forever trying to add twinkle lights to my outdoor display. Those Moravian stars will add such a romantic nighttime glow alongside a reclaimed wood tree and votive candle walkway.

As always, be sure to tell me about your holiday DIY projects and plans!

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I came across this cozy cable knit blanket and life was never the same. (That’s going on my “Desperately Want” list.) If I must deal with winter each year, then chic knit throws and chunky sweaters are my keys to survival. 

Sweater and Cable Knit DecorTop, L to R: Sweater, Throws, Lamp | Middle, L to R: Bedding, Pendant, Rug | Bottom, L to R: Napkin Ring, Chair, Socks

Sweater-inspired crafts we love:

Check back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss one? See all the posts here.

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abstract artists

While I’m obsessed with collage and mixed media art, and I love photography more than a  kid loves cake, I still have a very special place in my heart hole for abstract art.

Putting together an art collection for your home is no easy task. Choosing colors, mediums, and mixing them all together takes some effort, but the payoff is gigantic. Art is truly one of the easiest way to pull together the overall look of your space.

If abstract art is your jam, I have nine amazing abstract artists that you need to check out pronto:

1. Susan Skelley Fine Art

This artist favors bold colors with lots of detail, and works primarily with acrylic paints and pastels on canvas. This piece, “Celebrity Crush” could work really well in an entryway, or on a wall where it could really stand out as the centerpiece. I also think it would make a fun and unexpected piece for a kids room.

2. Jenny Andrews Anderson

Hilarious blogger Jenny Andrews Anderson from the design/TV/lifestyle blog My Favorite and My Best, started showcasing her work a few years ago, and I’ve been hooked on phonics ever since. What I love most about Jenny’s style is that it’s shifted and grown as she grown as an artist. My favorite pieces of hers are the simple, brightly colored paintings that basically say, “KAPOW!”

3. Jaime Derringer

Jaime is the Founder and Executive Editor of two of the most fab design blogs online: Design Milk and Dog Milk, but she’s also a wonderfully talented abstract artist. She does a great mix of black and white line drawings light and airy paintings, and even some chunky black and white abstract paintings. There’s a great variety in her work, so you cold use several pieces in different spots in your home.

4. Claire Desjardins

A former graphic designer, Claire gave up her career in 2011 to pursue her love of art and painting full-time. You can see many of her designs under the Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters banner on various items including sheets, rugs, and shower curtains as well as some of her original works. But you can still purchase her original art or prints online, which are wonderfully whimsical and each seem to contain their own stories.

5. Aleksandra Bouquillon

Aleksandra is a Polish artist who creates what she calls “abstract landscapes.” Her works have a bit of an edge to them and can even feel futuristic. Her work would look amazingly chic in a clean modern space or in an unexpected spot such as a kitchen.

6. Jonni Cheatwood

Jonni’s works are an attention grabbing combination of abstract meets reality, and he achieves this through the mediums of both painting and photography. There’s an element of deconstruction to his work, and somehow–even when someone’s face is melting–they always make me smile.

7. Lisa Kowalski

Broad brushstroke black and white abstracts are a fave sub-genre of mine. These are sometimes paintings that *look* like they would be easy to do yourself, but if you’ve ever tried it, Newsflash: not so easy. Lisa’s works seem to effortlessly embody this look, and it’s hard for me to pick a favorite. These paintings are “quiet” enough to work really well as the centerpiece in a dining room or a living room.

8. Owen Schmit

First of all, Owen Schmit is a woman, not a dude. Second of all, her work feels super modern and almost fashionable–like a beautiful outfit put together from top to bottom. She has a talent for merging colors together in a way that you’re not sure where one begins and the other one stops. I think a few of her pieces right next to one another on a big wall would look kind of amazeballs.

9. Lola Donoghue

Lola is a painter living in Ireland, whose work I’ve been seeing pop-up all over the interwebs. Her pieces have a subtle, soothing quality to them, perhaps because she tends to feature a lot of white and lighter colors. I think these paintings would look super duper charming in a little girl or boy’s room or a bedroom.

So those are my very favorite-est abstract painters, is there anyone I missed? Who are some of your favorite abstract artists?

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I’m always searching for Thanksgiving and Christmas decor, and it’s nice to see something different pop up. The moment I saw how easy it was to make these festive, no-sew table runners, I knew I had to share them with you all.

Rustic Twig Runner*

Twig Table runner

It’s difficult to get place mats to play nice with table runners. This runner is the perfect solution because it allows you to drape two table runners horizontally over the table, replacing traditional place mats, while still having a visual focus running the length of the table. Make your own with these instructions >>

*This one is my absolute favorite!

Upholstery Webbing Runner

Webbing Table runner

Doesn’t this tablecloth just feel like fall? I’m usually not a huge fan of burlap, but the weave technique and the black-notch details give it a unique look. The best part about this cloth is that you can easily adapt the size and shape to fit whatever table it will cover. See just what you need to make this one here >>

Monogrammed Runner

Monogrammed Table Runner

Everyone loves a good monogram. This no-sew sew table runner with black accents is perfect for more modern holiday decor. You can customize your monogram to be more embellished or more clean and sleek — the style is up to you. Swap out the black for your favorite color, or keep it the same for more drama. Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Snowflake-Embellished Runner

Snowflake Table Runner

I love how this feels whimsical and light and can last all season long, not just for Christmas. Dress it up with pinecones and evergreen earlier in the season, then swap in glass ornaments and faux snow when Christmas approaches. Make your own with these instructions >>

Share your holiday projects and ideas for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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It goes without saying that I’m pretty jealous of the facial fur Zac Efron, Damian Lewis, Daniel Craig and even Kate Upton have sported to raise awareness for men’s health issues.

Celebrities Support MovemberPhotos via List25

Even Pusheen, that adorable cat you’ve seen all over Instagram, is in on the action.

Pusheen the catPhoto via Imgur

I love how the Movember movement started with just 30 guys in Australia and is now a global effort for men’s health. They have raised almost $600 million since 2003 and have more then 4 million members, affectionately termed Mo Bros and Mo Sistas. It’s also sparked an entire genre of furry home goods; Kayla has already talked about those, and Briana has been splitting hairs on the trend.

While I would give anything to celebrate Movember with a Tom Selleck-level ‘stache, I’m not quite there. So, what can those of us who lack the gift of enviable scruff do for Movember? Throw a party of course!

Last year, our friends over at DIY Network’s Made + Remade blog put together this mustache photo booth soiree with tons of printable mustache templates and accessories. (For full effect, cover everything in glitter.)

We found some scrumptious #noms to serve at your party, too. I mean, you can’t throw a m0-down without mo-munchies.

Mustache Drink toppers

HGTV.com shared this tutorial for making mustache drink toppers, perfect for adding a bit of flair to your handmade cocktails.

Etsy cookies

And these LaPetite cookies from Etsy are a great party favor, or use them for photo ops and mobile munching.

Mustache Cake Hack

Savvymom shared this mustache cake hack; it’s such an easy trick to turn a basic round cake into a fun and trendy party treat.

So, don’t worry if you’re not growing the Monopoly Man‘s whiskers; you can still have tons of fun supporting a good cause — and you don’t even have to worry about all that grooming. The Movember foundation even has 5K races and huge gala parties so everyone can get involved in the fun.

It may be mid-November but Movember is just now starting to get hairy, so glitter your mustache templates and throw a party to support men’s health!

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We’ve received entries from all over the country from architects, interior designers, builders, and remodelers who think that they have what it takes to win the 2014 Fresh Faces of Design Awards. Voting is now open and we need you to tell us which design reigns supreme. Take a look at some of the gorgeous projects we’ve received and then head on over to vote and enter for a chance to win $10,000! VOTE HERE>>>

fresh faces kitchens

Best Kitchens entry from Katy Lyons

>>>>See All the Best Kitchens Entries

fresh faces best use of color

Best Use of Color entry from Red Egg Design Group

>>>>See All the Best Use of Color Entries

fresh faces best use of pattern

Best Use of Pattern or Texture entry from SuzAnn Kletzien

>>>>See All the Best Use of Pattern or Texture Entries

fresh faces serene retreat

Best Serene Retreat entry from Sarah Barnard

>>>>See All the Best Serene Retreat Entries

Check out the rooms in all the categories including the ones above and lots more, then vote for your favorite project in each.

 

Let’s make room for good company, together. Explore fantastic ideas to create a home that’s welcoming for all.  Explore IKEA’s guide for a guest-ready home.

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All right friends, last week we tackled a huge design dilemma: pattern mixing. In the comments, some of you requested tips on something else I’m routinely asked about here at HGTV: The elusive gallery wall. Learn how to take your wall from ho-hum to “Holla!” with our quick, easy upgrades.

Easy Gallery Wall Upgrades From HGTV Crafternoon on Design Happens

A little tape, a new mat, fabric scraps, a wreath?? Watch and see how to use these tools to create a designer-worthy gallery wall.

See How to Dress Up Your Gallery Wall

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Congratulations to this giveaway’s winner, Stacie! Check back later this week for another great giveaway.

It happens more often than I can count: Someone finds out I’m a stylist at HGTV and anxiety flashes across their face. Turns out people get a little stressed out by everyday design questions. One of the big ones? The basics on mixing and matching patterns like designers do.

Whether it’s bed linens or upholstery, choosing patterns that complement each other can seem daunting, but anyone can achieve a trendy, professional result with just a few tips. We’re using some of our favorite throw pillows to show you just how easy it is to get your pattern on. Here’s a cheat sheet:

How to Mix and Match Throw PIllows - HGTV Crafternoon on Design Happens
Watch the full pattern-mixing video to get more easy-to-use tips.

Simple Ways to Make Pattern-Mixing Easy

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