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As much as I have savored every second of the hot summer sun, I can’t help but get excited for the fast-approaching fall. With the recent onslaught of pumpkin everything — literally everything — and the early inklings of grocery store Halloween candy isles, I have already started my annual love-affair with fall and harvest decor.

Of course, a few sporadically placed porch gourds are never enough, but it is also super easy to go overboard. With fall decorating, the more-is-more approach will leave you with a gaudy stoop and a truck load of rotten pumpkins. Subtle, simple accents that evoke the harvest feel keep you out of kitschy territory. For those like me who already have their Halloween costumes picked out — I’ve gathered up a few interesting new decorating ideas that give your home some seasonal spice without the tacky aftertaste.

Sweater Candle
I have no idea why your candles would be cold, but dress them up in sweaters anyway. Use old sweater remnants to make candle cozies; they are perfect for adding that comfy-cozy feel we love during the season. Camilla Fabbri adds simple leaf accents to hers for a hint of nature.

Wheat
You don’t have to be gluten-free for this one, just gather a few uniform wheat stalks and bundle them with twine, yarn, or anything rustic. This neutral accent goes well on a mantel or any vignette to create a hearty, autumnal feel. Learn how with these simple step-by-step instructions.

Shiny Pumpkins
Forget those tired old orange pumpkins and forge your own from precious metals. Just kidding — find varying shapes and sizes of pumpkins and paint them in your choice of metallic hues — it is a great way to add some always-welcomed glam. Personally, I feel as though mixing gold, silver and copper makes for a more eclectic look. Copper will also add a tinge of orange to this idea. Get the step-by-step instructions here.

Leaf Centerpiece
Centerpieces that sit on the table are so last season. For fall, do something special and scrap the centerpiece for something slightly more vertical — a mobile. What better way to channel the whimsy of fall than autumn-hued leaves dancing above you during dinner? Learn how to make your own, with real or faux leaves, here.

Putka Wreath
Make a tiny pumpkin wreath! I bet your mind is exploding right now by the thought of gathering up 1,000,000 tiny pumpkins. They are actually Putka pods: natural seed pods that look like munchkin pumpkins. The best thing about this pumpkin-centered theme idea is that the dried pods will keep for many years, so you can just store it away until next year. See how to make yours here.

So don’t let me be the only one planning ahead; take some of these ideas and get your house in the mood for Apple Cider and Pumpkin Pie — I just made myself hungry — with some of these nifty, new fall ideas.

I’m sure you guys have some of your own harvest-holiday hacks. Please share them with us on our Pinterest page! Tell us what your decorating plans are for the season, or just dish on what you’re tired of seeing.

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Last week I featured some clever birdhouse projects and since I’m on a roll with the theme, I thought I’d keep it going with birdcages. Whether they’re modern or antique, wooden or metal, birdcages can be charming home accessories, even if you don’t have any feathered friends. Check out these birdcage decor ideas for inspired ways to revamp a roost.

5 Birdcage Decor Ideas: Wedding Centerpiece

Credit: Courtesy of BHLDN

MORE BEAUTIFUL BIRDCAGE DECOR IDEAS

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DIY Bulletin Board

Bulletin boards are one of my favorite solutions to clutter. I can’t be the only person who feels like their walls and fridges quickly fill up with fliers and precious finger paintings. That’s where my trusty friend the bulletin board comes in. But it is also no secret that a grocery store bulletin board, while functional, is not always the most beautiful thing to hang up on the wall. That is why I came up with an easy solution to make over a bulletin board for my son’s room. Now, with a framed bulletin board all his art projects can find a home and look stylish too! Framing a bulletin board is a decorating DIY lifesaver!

Let’s Get Started

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Gallery walls are all the rage right now, and for good reason:  you can have completely unmatched pieces of art but make them work together with a common theme. Choosing a color, texture or pattern to be the inspiration for your wall lets you loosen the “rules.” The tough part about those galleries, though, is actually figuring out what works — and what doesn’t. To help you out, we’ve come up with our top tips for creating a gallery wall. Once you’re ready to test out your ideas, upload your pieces to Shutterfly’s Design-a-Wall virtual tool to see what they look like together before you poke a million holes in your wall.

Tip #1: Choose Any Wall

A gallery wall doesn’t have to be limited to a foyer or living room. Choose walls that are normally bare, such as a staircase wall. HGTV’s John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino hung knicknacks on a bold red wall for an instant upgrade.

Staircase Gallery Wall

Tip #2: Add Personal Touches

Create a custom look by arranging your favorite photographs or souvenirs from your travel experiences in shadow boxes . Bonus: This idea serves double duty as a storage solution.

Vintage Shadow Box Gallery Wall

Tip #3: Pick Unexpected Items

A gallery wall doesn’t just have to be framed pieces of art. This wall of hollowed out, cloth-covered books was hung with upholstery nails in each book’s four corners.

Book Gallery Wall

Tip #4: Placement, Placement, Placement

Once you’ve chosen all your pieces, it’s time to think of placement. This is especially important when you’re creating a gallery wall above furniture. Be sure not to hang pieces too low or high — a good rule of thumb is eight inches between the base of the frame and top of the furniture piece, according to Jen Bekman, founder of the popular online art shop, 20×200.

Gallery Wall

Tip #5: Be Fearless

A gallery wall is your opportunity to express your passions. So, have fun and don’t worry about going a little crazy. Mixing up your gallery wall with your personal treasures will make your house feel like home.

Electic Gallery Wall

What are some of your tips for creating the perfect gallery wall?

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Can you believe it’s already time for kids to head back to school? I feel like summer just started! Whether your family is already in the swing of early mornings and after-school homework or you’re preparing for the first day, this cute, inexpensive teacher gift is worth a look. Check it out:

Stuff the mugs with anything you think your child’s teacher might like: think candy, art supplies or a coffee shop gift card.

Decorated Teacher's Mug Gifts

Even if you don’t have kids in school, these porcelain pens are really fun to use and a great way to dress up plain mugs and plates for gift items or your own kitchen. Tell us: Have you played around with porcelain pens?

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

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Alix Adams

This summer we found ourselves outside under the moon and stars quite a bit. The warm summer nights were just too irresistible to pass up, especially with a cool fall just around the corner. So we hung out with the moon all summer and she is kind of a show-off, but in the best way. I love how the moon is always changing and each night sky is a bit of a surprise. Feeling very moved by our glowing friend, I wanted to create a craft that was inspired by the moon and her lunar calendar. That’s how I came up with this lunar-inspired necklace! It’s a simple nod to the moon’s cycles without screaming “I’m wearing a moon on my neck!” Making one of your own is easy peasy!

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Did you know it’s the perfect time to start thinking about birdhouses? Many birds won’t use a house until it has a weathered look, so some experts suggest getting birdhouses up by late summer or early fall in preparation for the spring. Even if you’re not an avian enthusiast, the charming little boxes can be used in so many other contexts. Take a look at these birdhouse decor ideas and get inspired to feather your nest with some of these structures.

5 Birdhouse Decor Ideas That Aren't for the Birds: Fence Flair

Credit: Janell Beals

Birdhouses –> Fence Flair
Give an old, drab fence some pizzazz by adding a collection of decorative birdhouses. This idea from Janell Beals works well with a mix of different colors, shapes and sizes. Check out her tutorial to see how you can copy the look.

MORE BEAUTIFUL IDEAS FOR BIRDHOUSES

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Let’s do this AA style: “Hello, my name is Camille and I’m addicted to buying old boxes.” (Well, and jewelry too but that’s another matter). Old boxes are a great decorative way to stash unattractive, everyday stuff in plain sight. For instance, I have a little cane-covered box filled with crafting essentials in my living room so if the crafting bug strikes while I’m watching TV, a project is within easy reach.

I particularly love old boxes with drawers so I couldn’t pass up this cutlery box (AKA silverware chest) at an estate sale recently for just 9 bucks. The box’s blond or maple finish was popular in the 50s and 60s so it’s safe to assume that it’s more than 50 years old. Personally, I’m not a big fan of mid-century blond finishes and this one was in particularly rough shape with lots of scratches, dings and a big water stain on the lid so refinishing it with a more traditional, darker stain was definitely on the menu. If the felt liner had been in better shape, I might have considered leaving it as-is but the fabric was dirty, picked and even worn through in places so I decided to re-line the box as well.

Here’s what I started with, it truly is massive, easily double the size of most dresser-top jewelry boxes:  Cutlery Box Before
And here is my new upcycled jewelry box, fully refinished and re-lined:
Silverware Chest That Has Been Turned Into a Jewelry Box
Read On To Learn How I Did It

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DIY Log Art

At six months pregnant, I am consumed with nursery decorating and preparations. My nesting instincts have kicked in, and I’m feeling a sense of urgency to hang up wall art and pick out rugs. We are expecting a little girl and the house has been taken over with crib-painting stations, frames full of floral prints and peach tassel garland scraps. Baby number two doesn’t have anything to wear yet, but I’ll be darned if she doesn’t have a polished nursery to come home to (wink!).

One element I really wanted to incorporate into the nursery was a handmade art piece as my gift to my little girl. I wanted it to be whimsical, simple and just a bit unexpected. So I took a hike — literally — and grabbed some sticks that could  be transformed into log slice art. When I pull up to the house with sticks, my husband doesn’t even raise an eyebrow anymore; he just helps me pull out the power tools and we get to work. If you’re in the mood for some simple, yet impactful, DIY artwork, this log slice art is the craft for you.

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My parents are in the process of moving, so I’ve got real estate and curb appeal on the brain. Of course, house numbers can be an important part of amping up your home’s curb appeal, but did you know they can pack a visual punch inside the home as well? Take a look at these eye-catching ideas for house numbers and try not to be too tempted to pry yours off the side of your place for crafting purposes.

5 Hot Ideas for House Numbers: On the Stairs

Photo: Björn Wallander/HGTV Magazine

On the Stairs
This example from Sarah Richardson’s cozy farmhouse retreat makes great use of an often overlooked area of the house: the stairs. Here, a trompe l’oeil stair runner adds some welcome color and the old house numbers feel kid-friendly and whimsical. Check out the rest of Sarah’s home in HGTV Magazine‘s spread.

MORE HOT IDEAS FOR HOUSE NUMBERS

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When you begin searching for a new craft idea, it’s easy to be lured by two magical words: NO SEW. Sure, no-sew crafts generally seem less daunting and easier to put together in your spare crafting time. And of course, if you don’t own a sewing machine, no-sew crafts are the only way to go.

That said, yesterday marked 163 years since Isaac Singer patented the sewing machine, so in honor of this momentous day in crafting history, dust off your sewing machine (or borrow one from a friend), grab some thread and try some of these cute craft ideas! Trust me, they’re sew simple and fun, you definitely won’t regret giving one a try.

5 DIY Sewing Craft Ideas

Fabric Pouf Ottoman
Creating a custom ottoman is an easy way to add a punch of color and personality to a room. Something to consider with the school year just around the corner: These poufs are a great option for college dorm rooms since they’re super versatile. You can use them as ottomans, extra seating, or even as a coffee table by placing a serving tray on top. SEWING INSTRUCTIONS HERE>>

SEW MUCH MORE

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As crazy as it may seem, it’s already time to stock up on school supplies. There’s nothing quite like a fresh pack of ballpoint pens and a color-coded assortment of spiral notebooks to start the year out right. But for many, it’ll be more than just basic supplies on the shopping list. Some of our HGTV.com readers will be packing up and heading into the brand-new cramped quarters of a shared living space. Yay, college! The key to this new living adjustment is making the space feel as comfortable and homey as possible. And just like living in a rental, there are plenty of ways to add decorative charm to the walls, floors and doors of your temporary living space without breaking the bank.

Check out a few of my favorites:

DIY Desk Accessories

Keep Your Desk Tidy: Make these custom desk accessories >>

DIY Corkboard

Hang Custom Artwork: Make a corkboard map to showcase travel adventures >> 

Top Dorm Room Decorating Ideas

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By now, you’ve probably heard that our August “Color” of the Month is….Watercolor! This cool, organic technique is the perfect antidote to summer’s oppressive heat. It’s also a great technique to experiment with…in the comfort of air conditioning, of course. Here are five DIY projects that embrace the flowy, unpredictable look.

Make Your Own Watercolor Flower Plates - HGTV.com
WATERCOLOR FLORAL PLATES

These stunning plates may look like something you’d buy at that expensive, boho-chic store we all love, but trust me, you can totally do this! With plain white plates, some brightly-colored porcelain paints and a few simple techniques, it’s easy to create your own custom set.
Get the step-by-step instructions here >>

Make Your Own Watercolor Tie-Dye Pillows
SHARPIE-DYED WATERCOLOR PILLOWS
This project is too cool not to try. As Marianne demonstrated in a recent HGTV Crafternoon episode, you can easily create a watercolor effect on a cotton pillow cover using nothing more than colorful permanent markers and a spray bottle of alcohol.
Get step-by-step instructions here >>

How to Make Your Own Marbled Votives With Nail Polish on HGTV.com

Nail Polish-Marbled Votives by Chelsea Costa

NAIL POLISH-MARBLED VOTIVES
Marbling — mixing several colors of paint on top of water before dipping an object — creates a similar flowy effect. This technique can be used on paper or fabric, but one of the simplest ways to experiment? Nail polish! Choose the colors of your choice and see how simple it is to customize plain glass votives for your next party.
Get step-by-step instructions for the marbled votives here >>

Watercolor Floral Notecards - Make Your Own on HGTV.com

MAKE YOUR OWN WATERCOLOR NOTE CARDS
Bring the look of blooming summer flowers inside with beautiful watercolor paintings to use as wall art or greeting cards. These step-by-step instructions make it simple to create professional-looking results.
Get the step-by-step watercolor note card instructions here >>

Make Your Own Watercolor Party Supplies on HGTV.com

CREATE CUSTOM WATERCOLOR PARTY SUPPLIES
This is my favorite project of the bunch: Marianne started these fun party decorations by painting one herringbone design. Then, she scanned and printed the design to create one fun, cohesive set of party decor — all while doing the work just once.
Get step-by-step instructions for the watercolor party decor here >>

Have you tried watercolor techniques at home? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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Did you like my post about musical instrument design ideas? Then I’m betting these sheet music crafts will be up your alley, too! If you’ve got old sheet music that hasn’t seen love since your childhood piano lessons, consider turning it into something you can enjoy and admire every day. (Of course, you could always keep an eye out for old sheet music at flea markets, too.) If you object to repurposing the original sheets for crafts, you can easily make copies on similarly-colored paper.

Sheet Music Crafts: Decoupaged Dresser

Design: Marian Parsons

Old Sheet Music –> New Decoupaged Dresser
This idea for old sheet music from Marian Parsons serves another purpose: hiding imperfections like gouges or water marks on furniture. The lovely aged color of the music looks totally at home in this shabby-chic style setting, too.

MORE CRAFTY USES FOR SHEET MUSIC

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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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You know the saying: nothing says party like a piñata. Isn’t that a saying? It is now! I had so much fun making this adorable beehive piñata that I can’t bear to break it. I think I might hang it in my daughter’s room instead.

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Pretty cute, eh? Those puffy bumblebees are the perfect touch. This would make any summer party one to remember, don’t you think?

Bumblebee Pinata

I haven’t done paper mache since I was a kid, and it was good, goopy fun. Have you ever attempted a homemade piñata?

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

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I’m once again suggesting you take the party outsideCrafternoon style this time! My good friend Whitney threw a wonderful crafting party in Washington Square Park last week. The event was a hit and I highly recommend throwing your own crafting party in the park, or any outdoor venue you prefer. After staking out a perfect spot in the shade, the afternoon was comprised of great friends, delicious food, adorable puppies, lots of pictures and beautiful paper flowers. While bringing craft supplies outdoors may seem counter-intuitive, the open setting gives you ample space to create. (Plus it’s so nice to be out in the fresh air during these hot summer days.)

Whether you host a big crafting event or just a get-together with a few close friends, this summer party idea is great for guests of all ages. Here are a few tips to make your own Crafternoon a success:

Throw a Crafting Party

Photo: Courtesy of Whitney Penn

Pick a Convenient Craft
Make sure you pick a DIY project that is nature-friendly — in other words, nothing that requires excessive materials, cleanliness, or, of course, electricity.  Whitney cleverly chose paper flowers for her party craft, which fit both thematically and logistically. The craft itself was simple and the components were easy to transport. Plus, if the petals got a little crumpled or dirty, it just made them seem more realistic.

More paper flower crafts: Fourth of July Wreath, Wedding Bouquet

Other easy outdoor crafts: Coiled Wire Ring, Felt Bowls, Friendship Bracelets

MORE PARTY TIPS

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Fireworks are normally the main attraction of a Fourth of July party, but it’s time for the menu to take center stage. It’s easy to come up with creative menu items for this holiday because it’s so festive, and the main course revolves around my favorite — the grill. These patriotic recipes will surely be the talk of your party.

Panna Cotta Shooters

You can’t get any more patriotic than these adorable shooters. Layers of red, white and blue creamy panna cotta and edible gold stars make this a true patriotic treat.

Panna Cotta Shooters

Get the Full Recipe Here>>

Try Our Patriotic Recipes

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Remember a few weeks ago when I showed you a bunch of cool things you could do with old dressers? Maybe none of them were your cup of tea. Maybe you were intimidated by the time and effort those projects would take. I hear you. Sometimes nothing but (nearly) instant gratification will do. So, here are some super easy things you can do with old dresser drawers. Guys, you don’t even need the whole dresser. Less muss and fuss, but with all the crafting rewards! Don’t say I never did anything for ya.

5 Darling Ideas for Dresser Drawers: Bathroom Storage
Old Dresser Drawers —> New Bathroom Storage
This bathroom storage idea from Jen Jafarzadeh L’Italien could not be easier. Here’s what you do: Find an old dresser, yank out some of the drawers and use them to corral your toiletries. Everything is tidy, but still accessible. Genius, I tell you.

MORE DARLING IDEAS FOR DRAWERS

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It’s officially summer, and for some of you that means throwing a Fourth of July party. A patriotic vibe is the first thing your guests will notice, so set the bar high when it comes to decorations. To help you, I’ve rounded up my favorite easy decoration and activity ideas your guests will love.

Paper Flower Wreath

Give your home a patriotic feel even before your party guests walk in the door with a crepe paper flower wreath. Choose unconventional Fourth of July colors like coral, cobalt blue and ivory, or go with the classic red, white and blue hues.

Paper Flower Wreath

Get the Full Step-by-Step Instructions Here>>

Ombre Party Linens

Dyeing basic white table linens in an ombre pattern is a modern way to show your patriotism. Despite how intricate this looks, these are easy to make.

Patriotic Ombre Party Linens

Get the Full Step-by-Step Instructions Here>>

Get More Patriotic Ideas

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