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With less than a week left till Christmas, I’m betting that you —  like me – are spending a fair amount of time wrapping gifts. Which, to be honest, I don’t mind. Wrapping gifts is one of my favorite things about the holidays; I like to come up with new ways to package them each year.

Here are a few of my gift wrap ideas from 2012 with links to instructions below:
Wrapped Holiday Gift Ideas
* Left and bottom right: Easy doily gift wrap plus how to make a yarn pom-pom
and upper right: Menswear-inspired ribbon rose plus how to make a chalkboard gift tag

This year, I decided to shake things up a bit and use fabric trim instead of traditional ribbon for smaller gifts: Fabric Trim Instead of Ribbon as Christmas Gift Wrap

And cover reusible containers, like this mailing tube, in fabric for pretty packages that can be reused by the recipient as year-round decorative storage:
Easy Fabric Gift Wrap*The fabric is HGTV Home’s “Ring Around Peacock” in turquoise – available at your local JoAnn store.

Here’s another view, I just added a wired bow to one of the mailing tube’s plastic caps to finish off the wrap:
Easy Fabric Gift Wrap

Ready to make your own no-sew fabric gift wrap? It’s easy and your friends and family will thank you for the cute container they can use again and again. Get crafting with all my tips and complete step-by-step instructions>>

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Okay, first, I should come clean and confess that while I love all things crafty, sewing has never been my forte. My mom is a whiz and has tried to instruct me in the ways of the force many times (I even took Home Ec in high school and made an almost wearable drawstring-waist skirt) but all the math and measuring — ugh — too hard!

But, recently our friends at HGTV Home offered up their on-trend fabric from JoAnn if we wanted to do some holiday crafts and, of course, we jumped at the chance even though some of us, like me, are decidedly sewing challenged. 

So, now I had yards of beautiful fabric and no way to magic it into a viable project. Enter fusible web, which is seriously one of the greatest inventions of all time. All you need is a hot iron to permanently join 2 pieces of fabric — no sewing machine required. It’s fabric magic which helps you create easy ornaments as cute as this:

No-Sew Fabric Christmas Ornament as a Gift Topper *This fabric is HGTV Home’s “Ring Around Peacock” in turquoise — available at your local JoAnn store.

I’m in full-on handmade-gift-fabrication mode right now so I decided to use my ornaments as colorful gift toppers. The recipients can then hang them on their trees:Handmade Fabric Ornament on White Christmas Tree *This fabric is HGTV Home’s “Jigsaw” in turquoise — available at your local JoAnn store.

 Or use them to top another gift:No-Sew Fabric Christmas Ornament as a Gift Topper*This fabric is HGTV Home’s “Turtle Shell” in turquoise — available at your local JoAnn store.

Ready to make your own no-sew fabric ornaments? Our free printable templates make it a snap. Get crafting with all my tips and complete step-by-step instructions>>

Fabric Ornaments and Printable Templates

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I am a major clothes hoarder. When confronted about this illness, I tend to blame the fact that everything still fits. Plus, you never know what might come back in style. While both of these excuses may be true, neither covers the fact that some of my MANY pairs of jeans have irreparable damage. Deep down I know it doesn’t make sense to keep them, and I decided I would feel a lot better about permanently retiring them if I could make something crafty out of them. So, I found six projects that might just inspire me (and hopefully you, too!) to get those old jeans out of the closet and into the craft room.

denim wreath

Thanks to Designer MacGyver, I’ve found several cool homemade wreath options (remember the cute men’s tie wreath?), but I think this denim wreath may be my favorite. The end result looks a little intimidating, but the project instructions could not be easier.

denim headband

According to Kara at Creations by Kara, this headband only costs $1 to make. Count me in! I just love the look, especially because it’s so customizable. Not a fan of the denim rosettes? Leave it plain or put your own funky spin on it. The options are endless. Even Blair Waldorf herself would be proud of this headband masterpiece!

More Old Jean Crafts

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Every parent, babysitter and older sibling knows that one of the quickest ways to entertain a child for hours on end is by building a fort. It’s a cool place for imaginations to grow and adventures to ensue. I typically go with a fort of sheets or blankets, but this super sweet playhouse tablecloth is just too cute to pass up. In fact, you might want to make it a permanent addition to your kitchen!

playhouse tablecloth

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I used to think lace curtains were outdated, even matronly. I thought they were too froufrou for my taste and would never make an appearance in my home. I was wrong. These lovely lace curtains are anything but dated. They would add a romantic touch to any space, but I prefer them with worn windows or against a brick or stone background. I just love the contradiction between the masculine materials and delicate curtains. What do you think?

lace curtainsStone | Books | White Room | Wooden Window | Green Window | Tulips | Blue Door | Oar | Cream Lace | White Lace

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So, tomorrow’s Halloween and you’re still struggling to decide what ghostly (or adorable) character you’re going to transform into, amiright? Don’t let the pressure of creating a knock-out costume stress you out. You still have plenty of time to gather some materials and put your DIY skills to use to make a fun, homemade costume just in time for nightfall. And even if you aren’t handy with a needle and thread, many of these will look just as good with a hot glue gun substitute. So, I’ve picked my top 11 (I just couldn’t stop at 10) DIY costumes from around the blogosphere that you can make TONIGHT. Plus, there’s something for every person in your family, from babies to grown-ups. Go ahead and dive in.



DIY Halloween Costumes - Rag DollsRag Dolls :: A Beautiful Mess

This rag doll costume is too cute. It’s perfect on its own or as a mother-daughter set. Get the Tutorial at A Beautiful Mess >>

DIY Halloween Costumes - BumblebeeBumblebee :: Fiskars

Becoming a bumblebee is easy as can be(e). Sew strips of black tee onto a yellow shirt, and turn a regular headband into whimsical antennae. Get the Tutorial at Fiskars >>

More Last-Minute Halloween Costumes

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The HGTV Home Studio interns were hard at work during the first quarter here at HGTV Headquarters to create yet another eye-catching display, focusing on both current and iconic design trends. The Home Studio university co-op program allows Scripps Networks to work with up-and-coming designers who offer unique takes on interior design. Throughout the process, University of Cincinnati students Alison Donner and Diana Stercula worked closely with Vern Yip and other HGTV design experts to help expand their concepts and build a larger-than-life interactive vignette.

Discover more about the rising global textiles trend and the age-old Klismos chair, and see how they both come together in one surprising (and vibrant) display.

hgtv home studio internsLeft: Diana Stercula + global textiles; Right: Alison Donner + Klismos chair

Bring These Trends Into Your Home

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You know how much I love a sweet, sweet tiled floor, but lately I’ve found myself warming up to rugs. Possibly literally. We are having a cold snap here in NYC, and rugs are so much better at keeping my tootsies toasty! I spotted a Linus Dean rug on a friend’s holiday wish list and now I’m wishing for one, too. They remind me of cool roadside signs I’ve seen in the desert cities near Palm Springs.
linus dean rugs

Graphic vintage typography has never looked so appealing, and Linus Dean is considering a child-labor free certification thanks to GoodWeave. (Which warms my heart as much as the rug warms my feet.)

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One of the best things about being a blogger is hearing from those who read the AphroChic blog and my posts here on Design Happens. Every now and then a wonderful reader will send me a link to a site they think I’ll like. That happened earlier this week, when a reader sent me a link to KMP furniture in Miami (a city I still need to make a trip to).  He must have known how much I love suzani prints, and how much I would love this site filled with suzani-upholstered seating. Oh, it’s just fantastic!

Evita Chair

From deep and cozy side chairs to egg chairs, these pieces are truly one-of-a-kind, featuring 18th-century fabric designs on modern furniture silhouettes.

Ecko Chair

The variety of pattern and color makes these chairs remarkable statement pieces.

Apollo Chair

In classic styles like this wingback chair, these furnishings can also fit into the most traditional of spaces. I could see a set of these in a sitting room. Wouldn’t they look incredible?

Malia Chair

And for something a little unconventional, how about this embroidered swan-style chair? It’s the perfect mix of modern and traditional. It’s fantastic to see old-school design made new again.

For more suzani inspiration, check out my Oh Suzani post featuring some gorgeous textiles.

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I’m completely enamored with block-printed textiles for their ability to bring an artistic feel to modern interiors. Based on thousands of years of Indian tradition, block printing uses artisan-carved hardwood to apply color and pattern onto fabric. Block-printed pieces feel distinctive as a result of the crafting process; each piece really is an original work of art.

Designer John Robshaw studied traditional block printing in China then went on to India, where he discovered the beauty of Indian fabric-making techniques. He uses India’s four-thousand-year-old printing process to create his line of bedding, pillows, table linens and curtains.

This Marine Decorative Pillow uses detailed blocks that are dipped in a dye and then stamped onto the fabric. Each pattern and color represents the different blocks applied to create the layers seen in the pillow.

Philadelphia designers Liz Galbraith and Ephraim Paul, the founders of Galbraith & Paul, are known for their oversized block prints in unique colorways. Through block printing, they create everything from pillows to pendants to wallpaper.

Galbraith & Paul pillows and lighting are sold exclusively at Room & Board.

West Elm also has block-printed pieces in bright colors and fun patterns. Their hand-blocked quilts and shams are made by master artisans in Rajasthan, India.

Block-Printed Napkins from West Elm also have a similar feel. Striped, checked and floral patterns can be mixed and matched for an eclectic tabletop display.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can create your own block-print piece for your interior. Leah Moss of Apartment Therapy was inspired by all of the hand-blocked textiles out there, and decided to make her own affordable rug. Check out her tutorial for creating your very own block-printed masterpiece.

Stenciled Thanksgiving Napkins by Marion Parsons of Miss Mustard Seed

Or if you’d like a simpler process with similar results, why not try stenciling on fabric? Marion Parsons made these elegant stenciled napkins for Thanksgiving, but you could use the same technique on any fabric, for any purpose, throughout the year.

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