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UPDATE: Congratulations to our giveaway winner: Isabelle S.!

It may seem a tad early to you, but behind-the-scenes at, we are busy working on handmade crafts for Christmas. Yes, Christmas. We’re like Santa’s helpers around here (everyone knows elves work year-round).

In prepping for our 2012 Christmas crafts, Brian Patrick Flynn created two wreaths that are going to be featured in our Handmade Holidays package this October. We have what we need for our purposes, so now YOU have the opportunity to win the original wreaths.

Christmas Wreaths

To enter for a chance to win both the paint chip wreath (left) and the rustic twine wreath (right), answer our question in the comments below: What holiday crafts will you attempt this year?

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 9:00 a.m. ET on August 22, 2012 and 5:00 p.m. ET on August 29, 2012. 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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All over the country, kids are headed back to school — a reminder that fall and then the holidays are coming up fast. If you haven’t already, now’s a great time to start your Christmas crafting. To help you deck the halls with handmade goodies, I’ve gathered a few of my favorite Christmas crafts.

French for shadow or shade, ombré continues to top the must-try trends for both fashion and interior design. Which is good news because these Ombré Felt Trees are too cute to miss:

Ombre Felt Christmas Trees


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Happy Mother’s Day, everyone! Perhaps you’re getting showered with gifts and love today because you are a mother yourself. Then you should definitely watch the video from Thanksfa below. (Just keep some tissues handy.) Or maybe you want to honor your mom, but you’re far away and can’t give her our sweet last-minute Mother’s Day idea. Watch the video, then send it along in an email to her. If she’s anything like we are, she’ll tear up at sight of random New Yorkers thanking their moms on camera for everything from homework help to sharing punk music.

YouTube Preview Image

And because I’ve had success in giving a small shout-out in a post before — Buzz and I are engaged now, ta-da! — I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to you, Mamacita. Thank you for giving me your appreciation for all things beautiful (watching you decorate your condo was instructive), your silliness, your work ethic and also for keeping me alive for 30 years. No small feat! You continue to impress and inspire me. Love infinity!

What do you want to thank your mother for? Tell us in the comments!

[Via: Lili and Gothamist]

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It’s Arbor Day, and if that’s not enough to motivate you to plant and care for trees, take a look at these incredible shots by photographer Marianne Kjølner. This tree in Denmark has grown into the shape of the house it’s near — she believes because the landscape is so windy that the house shelters the tree from the elements.

tree house front

Breathtaking, isn’t it? The tree almost mimics creeping ivy on a façade. Kjølner says that no people were involved in shaping the tree, only the forces of nature. A totally natural topiary! Someone call Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

[Via: PinterestColossal]

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I know we’re rapidly approaching Easter because my Aunt Lisa already emailed to ask who would be attending the holiday at her place. I know some folks have Easter brunch, and while that sounds like fun, Lisa does a fab dinner spread. Usually I’m at a loss for what to contribute — wine? flowers? — because she really does take care of everything, but this year I’m considering bringing this colorful Easter egg platter from Pier 1 Imports.

easter egg plateThe product description suggests using the plate for displaying dyed Easter eggs or serving Deviled Eggs, but I’m thinking this should be a cute dessert platter instead. For the kids, you could include classics like Kinder Surprise and Cadbury Creme Eggs. For grownups? Try sophisticated Vosges eggs in milk and dark chocolate with fillings like peanut butter, caramel and even bacon. (Bacon and chocolate? That sounds like a perfect Easter brunch dessert to me!)

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Happy Fat Tuesday! Tonight, the real Bourbon Street will be overflowing with Mardi Gras revelers hungry for beads, Hurricanes and King Cake.

Bourbon Street in the French Quarter.

Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Photo by Cosmo Condina; courtesy of

But we found another place where Mardi Gras beads are commonplace: a Pennsylvania basement?! Homeowners Penny and Tony needed more than a pot of gumbo to recreate their weekends in New Orleans. They needed a 3-story, 2,000-square-foot basement replica of Bourbon Street, complete with their own bar, stage and balcony. Now, they can say  “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” 365 days a year. Take a tour now:

What do you think? Would you like a built-in Bourbon Street for your very own zydeco band, or do you prefer to visit the real thing? 

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Ahh, Valentine’s Day. Most people fall in one of two camps regarding all that is February 14:  head-over-heels for the holiday or totally against it.

I definitely fall in camp number one, but even haters can appreciate that heart-shaped things are ridiculously adorable (Did you see Briana’s conversation heart soaps and Kim’s heart-shaped printables?). Celebrate the holiday (or just bask in the cuteness) with one of these creative (and in some cases, delicious) ways to say I <3 You. Which is your favorite?

Heart Interior Design Ideas

Clockwise, from top left:  Striped heart pillow,  JCPenny; Love portrait, room design by Elliott Kaufman; U Complete Me iron-on decals, Creature Comforts blog

Heart Shaped Foods

Clockwise, from top left:  Valentine’s egg in the basket, Petite Kitchenesse;  Heart-shaped whipped cream,  Bellaimento; Conversation heart cheesecakes, Hungry Happenings;  Valentine’s milk and cookies, Cookies and Cups

Heart Shaped Valentine's Day Products

Clockwise, from top left: Heart-shaped paperclips from Design*Sponge;  Pizza My Heart card from BettyTurbo; Recycled heart garland from bookity; DIY elbow patch from Honestly…WTF;  Heart-shaped balloons from Mignon Kitchen Co.;   Apple art print from MarianneLoMonaco

Get more Valentine’s Day inspiration from HGTV’s Valentine’s Day Pinterest board.

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I feel like conversation hearts are the candy corn of Valentine’s Day, if you will. They’re this confection that’s become emblematic for a holiday through longevity, even though they’re actually kinda divisive. People seem to either love them or hate them. That said, I think candy corn and conversation hearts do have at least one thing going for them that we can all agree on, and that is style. Like these charming conversation heart soaps from SoStinkingSweet on Etsy.

conversation heart soap

These would make cute gifts — you know everyone else is just going the chocolate or flowers route — or a fun little holiday accent in a powder room. And they’re emblazoned with some classic romantic phrases. None of this newfangled “Tweet Me” business, thankyouverymuch!

BONUS: Feeling crafty? Try your hand at this conversation heart banner. It’d be a fab way to show your mantel a little love.

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Merry Christmas, design lovers! Did Santa visit your house last night? I got some lovely gifts, but my favorite present (that I coincidentally both gave AND received!) is a mini Yee-Haw Industries 2012 calendar.
yeehaw industries calendar

These cute letterpress critters bring a smile to my face, and remind me of visiting my lovely coworkers at HGTV HQ in Knoxville (where Yee-Haw Industries is also based). The mini calendars are perfect for a desk or cubicle, but I also like the rustic charm of this large-format calendar. We’ll be ringing in 2012 before you know it, so I love being prepared to greet the new year stylishly.

How about you? What was your favorite Christmas present this year?

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Other than having the best cookies and milk (and a super-chic cookie plate), what’s the best way to make sure Santa stops by tonight? It’s today’s final handmade holiday idea: a candle-lit runway.

Christmas Eve Santa Runway

To make, set votive candles atop rock salt “snow” in glass jars or hurricanes. Then line them up on your steps alongside some greenery and wait for the man in red. (While you wait, why not take a virtual tour of our favorite decked-out holiday homes?) Happy Christmas!

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goose and egg inspired products

Top row, left to right: Scandinavian Turned Teak Wood Goose, Geese in Flight Blue Hand Printed Rustic Hessian Cushion Burlap PillowCeramic Geese Measuring SpoonsFirst Nations Feast Ladle with Bird Effigy. Middle row, left to right: 1960s Mod Geese Vinyl Ice Bucket with Matching Acrylic TrayFeathered Flying Geese Throw-Size QuiltBright White Egg Planter, Gold Egg Bank. Bottom row, left to right: Bird Eggs 5 Upcycled Recycled Vintage Book Page Art PrintMagic Egg Yolk CandlesArne Jacobsen Egg ChairNaturofantastic-Egg Cup (Golden).

I grew up in Bucks County, PA — a favorite destination for Canada Geese — so I consider myself to be a bit of a goose expert. Here’s what I know: They fly in a V-formation, make loud honking noises, poop everywhere and one is featured in the Wawa logo. If it sounds like I’m “negging” geese a little, it’s just because I’m so used to them in real life that I often take them for granted. Thankfully these goose-and-egg-inspired designs make me appreciate them a little more. They run the gamut from silly to elegant, much like the birds themselves.

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Christmas decorating is in full swing here, and we can’t stop hanging garland in every corner of our home. Perhaps it’s because we love this season so much, but I think it also has to do with the fact that last year? Last year we only had a ladder to decorate, as our renovation home was hardly liveable.

Needless to say, our first Christmas in our newly renovated home will be a memorable one indeed. And just to kick the season off right, we’re popping in to share a super holiday DIY (holi-DIY?) we just finished moments ago!

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

Our plywood stockings!

After searching high and low for our dream stockings, we couldn’t find anything that quite reflected the Scandinavian aesthetic we love so much. So, of course, we put on our designer hats and created something ourselves. Introducing: our plywood stockings!

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

So festive, yes?

The project was super fun to create and we’re thrilled with how the plywood warms up our white mantle. Even better? The boxes on each stocking are magnetic, so you can easily remove them to stuff goodies inside, or this could be an excellent advent calendar for a daily treat! Want to give it a go in your own home? Instructions below:

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

Complete with removable boxes for Christmas surprises!

1. Create a template for your stocking out of cardboard. I like long, skinny stockings, but get creative here! Next, trace the cardboard template onto plywood and cut each stocking with a jig saw.

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

Our cardboard template

2. To create the removable magnetic box, use a rotary tool to cut out a space for a super-strength rare earth magnet (this is key, as the magnet will need to be very, very durable) on both the stocking and box.

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

Time to hide those magnets!

3. Use a super-strength glue (I love Gorilla Glue) to adhere the magnet into the space you’ve carved out of the stocking and box. Use sparingly, as this glue expands. Let dry overnight.

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

Super magnet action over here!

4. Finally, center and secure the L bracket to your plywood stocking for hanging. We pilot drilled with just one screw so the stocking can hang at a natural angle.

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

One screw does the trick.

5. Admire, and fill that box with something special for your loved ones!

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

The big reveal, waiting for their boxes until Christmas Eve!

What do you think, friends? Are you up for giving it a go? And how sweet would it be to wood-burn your family’s initials on each stocking box? Go forth and craft away!

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I think it’s ideal to decorate for the holidays in a way that that’s still true to your personal style. If you live in a beach house or dig coastal decor, I’ve found just the thing for you!

driftwood christmas tree

This painted driftwood Christmas tree from Decor8 is the perfect marriage of organic materials and inventive design. The geometric patterns give it a casually-festive feel, and once you get materials from a craft store, it couldn’t be easier to DIY at home. After you paint the wood and let it dry, you can mount it on a board or hang on the wall as is. (Although, perhaps a starfish or sand dollar might be a more appropriate tree-topper, no?)


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I’ve got nothing against candy canes. They make great inexpensive holiday decor, and then when you’re finished with them, you can eat them, or possibly use one as a swizzle stick in a mug of hot cocoa. It’s just that they’re so…expected. Which is precisely why I like this “candy cane” deer antler.

candy cane deer antler

This piece takes the classic color combo and look of the candy cane and applies it to something out of the ordinary. Not to mention, there’s the subtle nod to Christmas and reindeer, too. It’s too bad there’s only one from the Etsy seller, MayaJadeCreations, because I think she could make a mint with these. (Wink!)

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Lots of people seem to be opting (ha) for fiber optic Christmas trees this year. I totally understand the appeal. Why deal with the hassle of untangling a rat king of cords when there are “pre-lit” trees to be had? However, it seems like the majority of these fiber optic trees are going for realism, when in my head, I see those colorful little wands I used to beg for in theme parks. This tree in Beijing embraces the technology and runs with that design.

fiber optic tree

Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

It may be monochromatic, but the way it sparkles and glows gives it dimension. I think I could be persuaded to skip our traditional tree for at least one year if something like this ever came on the market.

What’s your Christmas tree style? Live with bulb lights? Artificial? Fiber optic? Tell us in the comments!

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I think sometimes the prettiest Christmas decorations don’t come in the traditional red and green. Breaking out of the usual holiday palette makes decor feel fresh and unique. These neon acrylic Christmas trees from Art Style Innovation are unexpected, and would be so much fun on an entryway table or a mantel.

acrylic trees

The sleek shape and polished corners really glam up the room. Plus, if you’ve picked a whimsical color scheme for your tree, these tiny tabletop pines would be a perfect way to pick up the colors in other parts of the room. Call me crazy, but I almost wish they made life-size versions of these. No pine needle clean-up necessary!

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I haven’t even started thinking about doing my holiday gift shopping yet, but I’m not worried because along with our own excellent gift guide on, I’ve got an ace up my sleeve. That ace is called Svpply. If you’re not already familiar with it, think of Svpply like Pinterest, but for products. It’s tempting to call it a “social shopping site,” although I think the better way to describe it is a “retail bookmarking and recommendations” site with a clean, minimalistic design. You create an account, and drag the “Buy Later” bookmarklet into your browser’s toolbar. Now when you search the shopping sites you love and spot something you want to remember, you can click the “Buy Later” button, briefly describe the item, and it gets clipped and saved to your Svpply.


This is handy enough, but there’s also a social element. You can follow friends, stores, or even strangers with great taste, to see which products they’ve added to their accounts. Not to mention that there are features that allow you to see the trending products across the site and Svpply’s own Editor’s Pick. Best of all for this time of year are the gift guides, broken down by price point and type of product, and the new ability to make a set of items (like a Pinboard) — say, “In-Law Gift Ideas” — and either keep the set private (good if the people you’re shopping for are also on Svpply) or mark it public to share with other users (like I plan to do with my own wish list, hint hint). Svpply’s always been handy for my Daily Delight design spotting, but I think it might just make me the best Secret Santa of all time.

Are you on Svpply, or are you planning to join? If so, leave your user name in the comments! Happy gift hunting, all.

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Around this time last year, Hanukkah was just starting, and though it falls a bit later this year (December 20-28), it’s never too early to get a jump on the holidays. This Jonathan Adler peacock menorah is a modern way to display the Festival of Lights.

modern menorah

It’s definitely non-traditional, but a clever play on the shape of the typical menorah, with the elevated extra light (the shamash) lining up with the peacock’s head. I can imagine lingering around the candles on this beautiful bird. With lots of latkes and applesauce, please.

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I just got an email from the store Plasticland, and its subject line sums up my plans for the day: “Deck the halls and avoid the malls!” Christmas music was already all over the radio on Wednesday when we made the drive from NYC to my mother’s house in South Jersey. Now, fueled by leftovers and some great ideas from the new issue of Sweet Paul Magazine — like these Scotty Dog Ornaments — the decorating begins.

scotty dog ornaments

Photo: Dana Gallagher

As much as I love some of the old ornaments we’ve collected for sentimental reasons, the idea of making ornaments fills me with the holiday spirit. Plus, these cute canines couldn’t be easier to craft. All you need is tartan fabric, card stock, glue, scissors and some string. I doubt we’ll want to neglect all the old ornaments entirely, so I’m thinking these doggies will get their own tree — a smaller one that we’ll keep in the bedroom. (Another perfect second tree perch? The porch.)

Perhaps this is the start of an all-new tradition! Or maybe I’m just mad for plaid

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Happy Thanksgiving, design fans! I spotted today’s find while browsing yet more last-minute side dish ideas in the November issue of our sister publication, Food Network Magazine. How impressive that amidst all the lush recipes and food photography (S’more Pie! Alton Brown’s Popovers!), they still managed to fit in some lovely rustic goodies for your tabletop, like these Log Salt & Pepper Shakers from Old Faithful Shop.

log salt and pepper shakers

Our tablescape will be a bit more gilded and high-glam this year, but I think it’s nice to mix in some forest elements as a subtle nod to what early Thanksgivings must have been like. And these little acacia shakers are so clever. They really do look like logs! They’re the perfect way to add seasonings to the season.

What are you most thankful for today? Tell us in the comments!


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