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You guys, it was SO FUN seeing your response to our last few videos. Whether it was pattern mixing, party planning, or gallery gazing, each video really seemed to make an impact. Judging by the awesome comments, it looks like you guys want to know more, and so over the next few weeks we will be breaking down some of the individual projects. First up: Remember this centerpiece?

Himmeli Ornaments on HGTV's Design Happens

This structural, modern showpiece is made up of Finnish himmeli ornaments. We used plastic drinking straws and yarn to create these simple shapes. Click through to watch the video and discover how simple it is to make your own.

Learn How to Make Himmeli Ornaments

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Congratulations to this week’s winner, Joy!

Can you guess what decor belongs on this mantel?

Decorate This Space

Type A, B or C in the comments section, and we’ll reveal the answer tomorrow. One lucky winner will win handmade wacky stockings and PetSmart holiday items including a Santa collar, Hello Kitty squeak toy, a rawhide treat bag and more.

Choose A, B or C

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win.  All entries (comments) must be entered between 10:00 a.m. ET on December 3, 2014 and 12:00 p.m. ET on December 4, 2014. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $70. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932. 

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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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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.

Takeout Boxes

Takeout Box Advent Calendar

Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Upcycled Shirts

Upcycled Advent Calendar

Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Cardboard Tubes

Cardboard Tube Advent Calendar

Get the step-by-step instructions >>

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You guessed correctly if you chose option CCamille Styles upcycled a board as a rustic-themed table runner instead of using a traditional fabric one. Beeswax candles, gourds and wheat sheath place cards keep with the theme while footed urns overflowing with blooms, linen tablecloth, vintage silver and gold-rimmed dishes add sophistication.

Thanksgiving Tablescape

We randomly chose one person from the comments, and Peggy is the winner of a $50 Zazzle gift card. Congrats!

Happy Thanksgiving, and check back next Wednesday to decorate a new space.

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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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Congratulations to this week’s winner, Peggy!

Can you guess which centerpiece belongs on this Thanksgiving tablescape?

Decorate This Space

Type A, B or C in the comments section, and we’ll reveal the answer tomorrow. One lucky winner will win a $50 Zazzle gift card. You don’t have to guess correctly for a chance to win.

Choose A, B or C

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win.  All entries (comments) must be entered between 10:00 a.m. ET on November 26, 2014 and 12:00 p.m. ET on November 27, 2014. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $50. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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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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You guys. I need to tell you something, lean in close. Thanksgiving is THIS WEEK. Somehow the holiday season is upon us. I know! I was a little bit shocked as well.

Whether I’m entertaining the masses or just planning for a quiet family celebration, I love to set a pretty and festive table this time of year. In today’s video I’m covering all of your bases, whether your style is more retro-traditional or glam-meets-modern.

Holiday Table Settings 2 Ways

These versatile table settings will dress up your dining room straight through to New Year’s Eve. Click through to watch how I created each look. Plus, enter for a chance to win some of the chic items featured on these tables!

2 Step-By-Step Party Themes

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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.

Thanksgiving Kids' Table

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.

Foam Turkeys

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

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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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You guessed correctly if you chose option C. By keeping the bedding and wall colors neutral, designer Ashley DeLapp was able to have fun with the black and yellow accent pieces, seen in the pillows, side table and window treatments throughout this eclectic guest bedroom.

Black and Yellow Guest Bedroom

We randomly chose one person from the comments, and Marie H. is the winner of six Chilewich.com Dahlia placemats and coasters in brass. Congrats!

Check back next Wednesday to decorate a new space.

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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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Can you guess which nightstand belongs in this guest bedroom?

Decorate This Space

Type A, B or C in the comments section, and we’ll reveal the answer tomorrow. One lucky winner will win six Chilewich.com Dahlia placemats in brass and six Dahlia coasters in brass, which are perfect for your Thanksgiving tablescape. You don’t have to guess correctly for a chance to win.

Choose A, B or C

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win.  All entries (comments) must be entered between 10:00 a.m. ET on November 19, 2014 and 12:00 p.m. ET on November 20, 2014. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $78. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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Along with the rest of the Internet, we’ve been smitten with all things pumpkin spice for a couple of months now. First Trevor gave a recipe for the perfect pumpkin spice latte. Then Kayla explored lesser-known pumpkin spice possibilities, like cookies, doughnuts and punch. Yes, punch!

But with a November chill in the air, it’s time to take pumpkin spice off of the table and onto the walls, or the sofa, or the throw pillows. Why? A warm orange hue with a hint of creamy beige will refresh every room. Here are some of our favorite ways to use this hue, just in time for Thanksgiving sprucing.

Susan Anthony - Orange Ginko Bedroom Wallpaper

Design by Susan Anthony

1: In the Guest Room
This muted orange shade has a rare color quality: It’s both calming and bold. That makes it an ideal candidate for a guest room makeover. Here, designer Susan Anthony topped the pumpkin-hued walls with an organic ginko leaf stencil. Not ready for orange walls? Add interest to a gray room with an orange throw or floral curtains.

Gray and Orange Bedroom by Brian Patrick Flynn

Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

5 More Ways to Use Pumpkin Spice

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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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  • As seen on HGTV's "Property Brothers At Home"