Whether Memorial Day, for you, marks a day of remembering our patriotic heroes or it’s a day of escape from the usual Monday grind, the unofficial start of summer is here.
Photos: Country Living; Home & Garden Ideas; Flagpro
And you know what summer means? Time to enjoy outdoor living. Here are four ideas for making the most of it.
From everyone here at Design Happens, have a safe and happy Memorial Day!
Memorial Day is when all the newspapers and free weekly rags come out with their official guides to summer. Well, cast those aside, and instead follow my guide to a summer bursting with style. Yes, that’s right. These are my top 5 picks for summer lovin’ of the design kind. Don’t let those summer days drift away. (Yes, Grease is my favorite summer movie.) With the long holiday weekend finally here, this is the perfect time to enjoy at least one of these. Tell me more, you say? Of course. Here you go:
1. Plan a Stylish, Fuss-Free Backyard Party
With sunshine in sight, I’ll be spending the entire weekend outdoors, and you should, too! Welcome summer weather by gathering friends and family for a backyard party. Fire up the grill and and give these summer-inspired recipes a try.
Click for the Rest of My Summer Picks
I love St. Patrick’s Day not only because everyone is proudly wearing my all-time favorite color, but also because it gives me an excuse to eat traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage and drink green beer. How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Are you throwing a last-minute party for the leprechauns in your life? Here are some easy and fun decorating ideas packed with free downloads and plenty of shamrocks for good luck!
Dress up simple white- or green-frosted cupcakes with festive toppers for an easy-to-make dessert everyone will love (and quickly devour).
Surround Yourself in Green
L-O-V-E is in the air. Can you feel it? If not, don’t worry. You still have three days to fully prepare for Valentine’s Day and all the mushy goodness that comes with it. (We are not recommending the Bronx Zoo’s offer to name a Madagascar hissing cockroach after your loved one.) This year, I’m taking an unconventional approach to the holiday – no pink, no cartoon cupids, no lovesick puppies. (I’m sure my boyfriend will appreciate that, especially after our purple Christmas tree with cupcake ornaments.) Check out five of my favorite last-minute V-Day ideas you and your sweetheart will both love.
I love these paper-covered wooden letters from HGTV.com. They’re easy to make and can be used to say a multitude of sweet nothings…”kiss me”, “xoxo”, “be mine”. Attach ribbon to the back and hang them over a headboard or on bathroom mirror for a morning surprise. Or prop them on the mantel for some living room lovin’.
What I call “National Love/Lust Day” is just one month away. And while plenty of people dread Feb. 14th, I’m not ashamed to say I LUV IT…now. As a child, I was completely traumatized by forced elementary school participation in Valentine’s Day. Decorating a shoebox with a slit at the top. Watching with feigned excitement as classmates slipped cards into the box. I would get a valentine from my crush saying, “I’m bananas over you!” Was he really, or did five other girls get the same card? The agony and the ecstasy. Fortunately, I’ve reclaimed my passion for Valentine’s Day through the power of crafts, and so can you. This year, get into the spirit with these fun, DIY projects sure to please loved ones of all ages.
HGTV: Easy Valentine’s Day Projects
I remember when my mother first taught me how to “properly” wrap presents. Cut the paper in a perfectly straight line, firmly crease the edges and line everything up…including the tape. Add a small bow and a simple gift tag, and the gift is ready. Because I’m usually up until the wee hours on Christmas Day getting things finished, my gift wrapping tends towards the uninspired.
This year, however, I’m spending some quality time with my craft box and adding just as much love and care to the exterior of the package as I put into shopping for it. Even if your family opens all the presents on Christmas Eve, you still have a few hours for inspiration…and a quick trip to the craft store. So have fun adorning your presents with unusual papers, candy, flowers, antique brooches, natural sprigs from your yard and more. Then you too will achieve the double gift smile: when it’s given, and when it’s opened.
HGTV: Getting Ready for Holiday Guests
When it comes to gifts, I’m a firm believer in going big or going home. This can often super-suck each holiday season when trying to one-up the previous year’s mega-present. A self-proclaimed procrastinator when it comes to shopping, last year was an exception as I was able to order my that’s-so-clever-I-must-have-it showstopper online weeks, even months before the big day. So just what did I get for both that top drawer individual and myself? Custom Muppets from the Muppet Whatnot Workshop. Whatchutawkinbowtwillis?
Yep, I said Muppet. This brilliant concept is housed on FAO Schwarz. With a few clicks, you can create your very own Jim Henson style doppelganger through an assortment of characteristic categories; they even arrive in vinyl drawstring bags, which eliminate the need for gift-wrapping.
Make Your Own Muppet
This Christmas, go beyond the traditional green and red, and spice up your holiday decor with a brand new color scheme.
Think bright and bold with colors like neon pink and green.
A Funky, Little Christmas
Your Christmas tree is decorated with fabulous trimmings, right? So, it’s time to add holiday cheer to the rest of your home. Have you made that annual trek to the attic or basement, yet? All of my year-round decorations are on a month-long vacation in the storage closet, while glittery (and messy) decor has taken their place in preparation for Santa’s big arrival. Whether you enjoy subtle hints of the holidays or create a replica of the North Pole in your living room, here’s just the inspiration you need to add that festive feeling to your home both inside and out.
When it comes to choosing holiday gifts for others, sometimes I’m the WORST and sometimes I’m the BEST. Being a creative type, I only get into the gift-giving spirit once inspired by something — or someone. Unfortunately, this usually leads to procrastination, which leads to added stress, which leads to…GIFT CARDS.
Although I always try my hardest to avoid the G-word, some people are just too hard to read; rocking the pocket plastic is both safe and practical. Perhaps that vintage Bionic Woman lunchbox your TV-obsessed boss stalks on ebay is too personal a choice from an employee. Or maybe that jelly/crackers/cheese basket you picked up for the in-laws suddenly seems more fit for the gal that does your nails than the people who watch your kids.
To keep us all from resorting to the G-word, my friend and Casa Sugar editor, Julia Walsh, put together a list of 12 last-minute gifts for design lovers. From the notoriously late party guest to that special lady who loves to entertain, Ms. Walsh has gotcha covered. Unless you’re shopping for someone who prefers gift cards. And if that’s the case, maybe you should just buy them a gift card to the gift card store.
Nothing says welcome home for the holidays like a fresh evergreen wreath. Enter to win this one, complete with pinecones, citrus and berries, from farm-direct florist FiftyFlowers.
We’re giving away three of these seasonal delights, so answer this week’s question before 12/11c Monday, Dec. 6 to be entered into the drawing. And we’ll ship it out ASAP, so you can enjoy the festive scent of juniper, Noble Fir and cedar in time for Christmas.
This week’s question: What single item of holiday decor most captures the spirit of the season in your home?
For inspiration, check out HGTV’s dazzling ideas for wreaths, tree trimmings, fireplace mantels and centerpieces.
Click for official rules.
Free good design — how often does that happen? It must be the holidays.
Do you love DIY but need a helping hand? Well, you’re going to love the eight different “suites” of holiday designs for menus, gift tags, recipe cards and more available for download from West Elm.
While everyone is planning their turkey dinners, pumpkin pie and elastic pants, I’m…well, not. It’s not that I don’t have plans for Thanksgiving, because I do. Ken and I will be going to my sweet family’s home in southern Indiana, and I couldn’t be more excited. Yet part of me? Part of me yearns for this renovation to be O-V-E-R, so I can display a beautiful Thanksgiving feast of my own.
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, aptly sandwiched between my least favorites: Halloween and Christmas. Total Scrooge, I know. Perhaps my love for the November holiday is that I love to eat, but I also think the joy stems from my love of gratitude.
Ready or not, Christmas is coming. In fact, it’s almost upon us which, of course, means there are stockings to stuff. I searched the blogosphere and found 5 cute (and easy) crafts that you can quickly create to fill ‘em up.
Brenda Ponnay of the Alpha+Mom blog says these adorable snowglobe soaps ”are just about as easy as making a batch of homemade popsicles except you get to melt things in the microwave.” A cute craft that involves melting and is easy to create — sign me up!
You’ve been sharing your gorgeous holiday homes on Rate My Space. I can’t get over how creative everyone is, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite fireplaces this season.
First, this is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Second, what an adorable idea and easy to recreate with an framed chalkboard. Paint yours to match your color scheme and then leave holiday-inspired messages throughout the season. Design by RMSer mysweetsavannah.
I love estate sales, digging through other people’s garages, cabinets and basements is how I spend most Saturday mornings and I ALWAYS bag a bargain. My latest find was an assortment of cut glass plates, small bowls and candlesticks. Just decorative tchotchkes on their own but I have bigger plans for them: They’re going to become the centerpiece for my holiday table.
Here’s a sneak peek of the end result, learn how to make your own after the jump:
That’s right — we have 25 creative, clever tips to share with you guaranteed to make decorating your home for the holidays and preparing for seasonal celebrations a snap. Designers-extraordinaire Erinn Valencich and Angelo Surmelis bring on the stylish solutions in this one-hour holiday special. Get 8 of Erinn and Angelo’s best tips, see how HGTV fans just like you get crafty when decorating for the holidays and share your own fabulous ideas.
Holiday decorating options abound! From wall decals and dessert plates to wreaths and ornaments, there is something for everyone, no matter what your style.
We’ve compiled some of the best.
Santa Rocks Wall Decal
Boho Dessert Plates
I Can Explain Ornament
Yes, I realized it’s only three days after Halloween and I’m already talking about Christmas, but at least I waited three days. I started seeing Christmas ornaments in stores three weeks ago! Christmas is by far my favorite time of the year: the movies, the cold weather, the fires and most importantly, the decorations. We’ve pulled together tons of great holiday decor ideas for you this year and will be sharing all our favorite gift ideas over the next coming weeks.
Get started with inspiration from readers of Rate My Space:
So, now that the Halloween hubbub has died down, it’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. We have tons of great ideas to help you stress less and enjoy the upcoming holiday celebrations.
Whether you want to add a fall touch to your home’s entry: