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.
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.
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.
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 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!
In lieu of today’s Mood Board Monday, I’m sharing some ideas to warm up those cold hands — DIY advent calendars. I’ll be honest, the only Advent calendar I’ve ever made has been a construction paper chain-link garland. I’m just too impatient to hold out for a treat each day. (Must. Have. All. Treats. Now.)
I know it’s December 1, but it’s not too late to craft a beautiful countdown to showcase in your home. Not sure where to start? Here are some easy-to-create ideas we love. Plus, they’re kid-friendly, too.
Get the step-by-step instructions >>
Get the step-by-step instructions >>
Get the step-by-step instructions >>
From our family at Design Happens to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! May you all celebrate with your friends and loved ones close by or close to your heart. We are all thankful for all of you.
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.
Photo credits: Stocking, Stocking Holders, Garland, Wreath, Pillow, Fabric Ornaments, Car Ornament, Cat Ornament, Sign, Tree Skirt
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.
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.
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.
We all remember our holidays at the kids’ table — that small, isolated table in the kitchen is one Thanksgiving tradition you don’t want to uphold. Reverse the trend this year by setting up a few fun activities that kids will love to do and parents will love to see.
Let’s start with the kids’ table itself. Don’t settle for parking that old fold-out table in the middle of the kitchen — dress it up a bit. This adorable Thanksgiving kids’ table will give little ones a grown-up space of their own.
While kids are waiting for the meal to be served, keep excess energy at bay with this fun foam turkey craft. Simple instructions are great for any age and will give them a cute memento to take home at the end of the holiday.
More Kids’ Crafts They’ll Love
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!
Top: 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.
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.
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!
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*
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
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 >>
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 >>
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.
Ok, admission time: I am terrible at table settings.
My table is always too cluttered, too fussy, or too ugly. It never fails, and it’s frustrating. I’m determined to reverse the trend this Thanksgiving by planning ahead. I’ve already decided on a theme — light — or lights. As in, twinkling lights by way of metallics and candles. Light is always a great unfussy idea for decorating, it gives any holiday decor a romantic and festive glow.
Take a look at what is on my “Twinkling Tabletop” list.
H&M is always my first stop when looking for trendy home decor. Their gold and white tea light holders are great source of sparkle. The plaid table runner is also from H&M, its white base and rustic gold and red accents will be perfect for my dining room.
I think Alix Adams’ DIY gold-leafed log candle holders will contrast well with the twig utensil set from World Market (IT’S ON SALE) and Pottery Barn‘s hanging acorn salt and pepper shakers. Ah, and the gilded animal plates from West Elm are entirely too cute to pass up, and the silver caterer’s chargers will look just perfect underneath them — at Pottery Barn, the set of 12 has been discounted to $63, not bad for something that will last 1,000,000 years.
Don’t forget West Elm’s Fair Isle glassware set. I’m super happy the set is on sale right now; it will bring one more much-needed shimmer of gold to my table. But don’t worry, I’ll be bringing in a few personal touches. I have a cake holder, like the one pictured from Etsy, that has been in the family for years. I also plan on creating some fall “faux-liage” indoors with this chandelier DIY idea. And this to-go station will be the perfect finishing touch to my Thanksgiving tabletop.
I’m getting too excited for Thanksgiving, and I’m already practicing the whole eating part. But I’m just relieved that I’ll finally love the way my table is put together.
What about you? Is sparkle on the table or left out in the cold? Share with us your ideas for the entertaining season — we would love to hear.
One of my favorite fall and winter design trends is the beautiful mixture of metallic and earthy textures. I love holiday trees decked out in sparkly gold ornaments or twinkling silver lights dressing up mantels where warm log fires burn. Rustic and metallic elements are the perfect combo (the Batman and Robin of holiday home decor, if you will). This fall I crafted some log candleholders, but to make them extra glitzy I added gold leafing. I just love the rich texture that the gold leaf paper creates.
Let’s Get Started
With Halloween days away, I’m sure your candy corn supply is only growing. Forget simply nibbling on this classic American candy as is; crafters and bakers are using our favorite Halloween treat in a number of creative ways. (For those that love nostalgia (and intermediate recipes), try whipping up homemade candy corn.) Whether inspired by its warm palette or its sweet honey flavors, discover seasonal ways to incorporate this fall confection into your decor and party fare.
Top, L to R: Cake, Pinata, Patties | Middle, L to R: Treat Bags, Necklace, Popcorn | Bottom, L to R: Costume, Candles, Brownies
Check back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss one? See all the posts here.
Halloween is creeping its way around the corner — just 2.5 weeks left. That means it’s time to plan and organize all of my recipes and decor ideas. Erica’s last post about black walls has me dreaming of how I want my house to look for Halloween.
So take a look-see at what has made my Halloween party to-do list so far.
Top L to R: Spider’s Nest Luminaries, Metallic Pumpkins
Middle: Mummy Haystack Snacks, Pallet Board Jack-O’-Lantern, Mr. Hyde Halloween Cocktail, Mini Candy Corn Layer Cake
Bottom L to R: Candy Corn Brownies, Candy Bar Cookies, Bat Pillow, Pumpkin Spice Halloween Punch
I always try to stretch the mileage on my seasonal decor, which is why I’ll always go for items like the metallic pumpkins. While they fit right in for Halloween, they are still good up until Thanksgiving. Plus, they are shiny and we love shiny things. The pumpkin spice punch, brownie, and layer cake are also reusable holiday recipes — and trust me — you can never have too much candy corn. My mom always makes the best haystacks. Last Christmas I made about 400,000,000 of them with her. I might get her help on the mummy haystacks. But the pallet jack-o’-lantern is so cool that I just have to make one. I know I only have 2.5 weeks to use it, but those are 2.5 weeks that I’ll have the best jack-o’-lantern ever. And how cool does that Mr. Hyde potion look? I CAN’T WAIT.
I’ll be counting down the days — and staying pretty busy — with all of these recipes and decorations I have to make. It’s almost more fun than the actually holiday (almost).
What potions and party favors will you be serving up on Halloween this year? Have you found any creep, crawly decor ideas? Let me know and share them here!
Fall always marks the beginning of gift giving season for me. Yummy baked treats for neighbors and fun holiday packages start filing out our door and into the hands of people I love and adore. It’s a season for giving and today I am excited to share a very easy and unique way to dress up holiday gifts for those special people. Hint: It involves leftover lace flowers and spray paint (two of my favorite things). Check it out!
Let’s Get Started
It’s fall! It’s fall! Did you hear? It’s fall. Time for all the yummy fall tastes (insert pumpkins, doughnuts, apple stuff) and fall textures (insert gold leaf, fuzzy blankets, tweed jackets). All year I look forward with anticipation to fall crafts. The rich colors and vibrant festivities just speak to my crafting soul. And nature seems to be totally in on the party too — with red and golden-yellow leaves speckling neighborhoods. Today I’m super excited to be sharing a nature-inspired craft that celebrates all the warmth of fall: gold leaf acorns! These little acorns are the perfect detail for a fall party, or you can do what I did and make them a doughnut topper!
Let’s Get Started
This week, I decided I was going to turn one of my best (read: useless) skills — online shopping — into something from which everyone else can benefit. Since September 1st, I’ve secretly been scouring the internet for new pumpkin products but now that October is FINALLY here, I can set my sights on Halloween.
No matter what holiday is around the corner, little things like coffee mugs, string lights and candle holders always get me in the spirit and make life just a little more festive. There are so many new knickknacks out there, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite internet finds that will get your Halloween off on the right foot:
Top L to R: Pottery Barn Pumpkin Luminaries, The cutest Jack-O-Lantern Pillow Ever Made, Mason Jar Pumpkins, Skeleton String Lights
Bottom L to R: Printable “Trick or Treat” art Print, Frankenstein Mugs, Spooky Shapes Halloween Pasta, Giant Dia de los Muertos Cookies
If you’re anything like me, the mere notion of Halloween springs to mind visions of endless candy isles at grocery stores. Look at some of these sweet tooth satisfying — and inner child satisfying — treats: White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms (My fav), Candy Corn Hershey Kisses, Hershey’s Candy Corn Bit Bars, Candy Apple M&Ms, and finally Pumpkin Spice Oreo cookies.
The only thing that can complete a perfect pumpkin spice latte or a warm caramel apple martini is a good ol’ fashion horror flick. As a life-long devotee to horror movies — or anything Halloween related — October is somewhat of a month-long horror-binge-a-thon for myself (and anyone else I can drag along).
So to help spread the Halloween spirit — FrontDoor has featured a few of the most iconic horror movie homes.
OK, so it isn’t actually a “house” but it is the filming location for Friday The 13th, one of the most recognizable American horror franchises. Can anyone really think about camping without imagining Jason?
Interestingly, the terrifying “eye windows” that made The Amityville Horror so scary were removed after filming. I guess since this is an actual home that someone might actually need to sell — that may have been a smart move.
We all know the story of Leatherface — at least I do; he robbed me of about 40,000,000,000 hours of sleep. This was the home of the cannibalistic clan in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre film. It was later relocated and opened as a restaurant. Eat at your own risk.
Recently remade as a television miniseries, Rosemary’s Baby was pretty terrifying when first released in 1968. Would you put up with it for such a beautiful New York City apartment? (Kidding)
Finally, The Shining. I still remember Jack Nicholson’s face popping through that bathroom door when I was just a little nugget. I think this may have sparked my love of the entire genre. I would definitely stay here — you know — if I skied.
While October is my excuse for binging on gore, it’s really just an opportunity to snuggle on the couch and drink cider, chocolate, or whatever I want. So wrangle up a few old horror flicks — because they are the best — for a countdown to a fun and spooky holiday.
What are your favorite scary movies? Do you have any plans to celebrate Halloween? Tell us about your favorite Halloween traditions or plans you’ve already made!
I don’t really care that the calendar says the official start date of fall is whenever the Pumpkin Spice Latte becomes “a thing.” I personally enjoy the flavor throughout all seasons — my post-run smoothie always employs the use of pumpkin. Nonetheless, I do enjoy this time of year when the rest of the world embraces my affinity for the obligatory orange squash.
However, this year #PSL momentum has suffered an early blow with the news that it contains zero actual pumpkin, and is stuffed full of chemicals and unnecessary additives. While some food scientists have objectively defended the drink’s absence of actual pumpkin, some of us are left searching for a more natural alternative to our favorite seasonal swig.
HGTVGardens answered our prayers with their very own Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe. It is far more nutritious, uses fewer ingredients and contains actual pumpkin (WOO!). Plus, I would bet my yearly fall-flavored-grocery budget that this recipe is more affordable.
Makes 1 PERFECT #PSL:
1/2 to 1 cup milk (I use vanilla almond milk)
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1 to 2 tablespoons of natural maple syrup or sugar (try brown sugar or black strap molasses if you’re really in the mood)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1 to 2 shots of espresso or 1/2 cup of coffee (the stronger the better in my opinion)
whipped cream for added #nomnoms
Here is all you have to do:
Whisk together milk, pumpkin and sugar in a saucepan set on low, stir until the mix is steaming. Remove the mix from heat, stir in the vanilla extract and spice and whisk until frothy. Next step, pour your new heaven-sauce mixture into a large mug, add the espresso, and enjoy. Guilt-free, chemical-free and “waiting-45-minutes-in-line-while-you’re-already-late-for-work”-free.
A latte isn’t enough for you? Click here to see every pumpkin idea, recipe, and tip our editors have to get your fix.
Have your own favorite latte recipe? Share it with us, or tell us your thoughts on the #PSL.
Casual summer weekends are a great time to break out vintage scarves to create a fun hairstyle with virtually no effort. But now that the days are getting cooler, here’s another scarf use to consider: year-round gift wrap.
Furoshiki is a Japanese fabric-wrapping technique to add reusable, eco-friendly style to everything from packaged gifts to vases to food. Techniques can get pretty intricate, but today I’m showing you some of the basics. Take a look:
You can find traditional furoshiki-style wraps online, but the thrift store is a great place to stock up on vintage scarves for those last-minute gifts. Bonus: Your friend can reuse the scarf to wrap another gift or spice up her wardrobe.
What do you think? Would you ditch rolls of paper in favor of pretty fabric this year? Tell us in the comments below.
The unofficial end of summer is (sadly) here (sad face). It feels like we were just talking about ways to start up the grill for summer cookouts. As another season approaches, it seems only right we close out the most carefree time of year with a few refreshing concoctions. Whip up these cool and colorful drinks by Cooking Channel’s Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark as you soak up the long weekend.
Throw it back to childhood snow cone days with this adult version that’s also a martini. (!!!)
1 1/2 ounces vanilla vodka
1/2 triple sec or orange liqueur
3 ounces IZZE Sparkling Clementine
2 cups finely-crushed or shaved ice
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
In a glass, combine vodka, triple sec and IZZE Sparkling Clementine and stir lightly. Pour over shaved ice and top with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. Serve with a spoon (and be prepared to make seconds).
Yield: 1 serving
Put a spin on the Paloma with a dash of lavender.
2 ounces lavender-infused tequila
3/4 fresh-squeezed lime juice
6 ounces IZZE Sparkling Grapefruit
Add first three ingredients to a tall glass filled with ice and stir. Pour IZZE Sparkling Grapefruit over and stir. Garnish with a fresh lavender blossom and tell someone that you got them flowers.
To infuse tequila, add one tablespoon of dried lavender flowers to 8 ounces of tequila and let sit for 1 hour. Strain and store tequila in a sealed jar or bottle.
Yield: 1 serving