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On the fourth day of Christmas Daily Delights, I give to thee…FOUR CALLING BIRDS! (Also: THREE FRENCH HENS, TWO TURTLE DOVES AND A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREEEE!) Birds, birds and more birds! I don’t think I ever noticed how obsessed this song is with all things avian. Was that some kind of fad back in the day? I mean, didn’t they have any jewelry then? Forget a pear tree! How about a pear-cut diamond? But, I digress.

pie birds

Photo: Kana Okada/Country Living

There’s some head-scratching over this lyric, because some people sing “four calling birds” though it’s believed that it’s a “phonetic misunderstanding” of the phrase “four colly birds” — colly birds being a term for blackbirds in old-timey England. You learn something new every day on this blog, I tell ya. So, I think four of these pie birds would be a perfect gift on all fronts. They’re adorable, affordable, reference another rhyme (“four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie”) and with their mouths open, they even look like they’re “calling” if you prefer that interpretation. That’s actually a practical feature for fruit pies with pastry tops; the mouths act like a steam vent so that the pie juices don’t boil over. The birds featured in this Country Living snap are vintage, but you can pretty up your pie with a modern option, like this bird from

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I’m terrible about sending Christmas cards, and it turns out I’m not much better at receiving them. I get these beautiful cards — mini works of art, really — and have no place to display them. Oh, there’s the fridge, of course, but anything less than my DREAM FRIDGE just seems too everyday for the good tidings. Fortunately, I stumbled upon this clever solution from Jen of Tatertots & Jello.

advent calendar card display ladder

Jen made her own ladder and painted it blue to match her decor. She then dressed it with twine and clothespins, and ta-da! Now she can show off those Christmas cards in style. What’s more, Jen points out that the ladder can also be used to string up an advent calendar, or you could even use it to put up some stockings (especially handy for those of us without fireplaces). Check out her tutorial for all the steps. You may have to take down your Christmas tree after the holidays, but this is one attractive craft you can leave up year-round.

Get more festive holiday craft and homemade gift ideas here!

[Via: Houzz]

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We’re so excited to announce that we’ve partnered up for the holidays again this year with our friends at Etsy. (Remember last year’s amazing Christmas crafts?) This year, we’re featuring Etsy on an upcoming episode of Design on a Dime, airing Saturday, Dec. 10 at 8p/7c.

We’re all big fans of their Treasury. The Treasury allows you to create a collection of your favorite Etsy items and share it with your friends.

Making one is super-simple: learn how here. You can even browse our gorgeous Christmas decorating tips for inspiration.

Create your own HGTV-inspired Treasury with Etsy products, and we just might feature your creation on our blog!

HGTV <i>Color Splash</i> Treasury

How cool is this Color Splash collection?

Make sure to tag yours with “HGTV Treasury Challenge 2011″ and leave a link to your inspiration in the description.

Mad About Marigold Etsy Treasury

Liz Gray's "Mad About Marigold" Treasury

Want to explore the HGTV Treasury Challenge 2011 collections? It’s a great way to see what other people have done and get excited about creating your own.

We’ll be browsing all the collections tagged with “HGTV Treasury Challenge 2011″ between now and when the show airs, and we’ll pick a couple of our favorites to post here on the blog next week!

As promised, here are some of our collections. We can’t wait to see yours!

Briana Mowrey, Decorating Editor and Daily Delight writer – Daily Delights

Liz Gray, Decorating Editor – HGTV’s November Color of the Month, marigold (PS Have you seen which color we picked for December?)

Leanne Potts, VP, Editorial – 2012 Dream Home location, Park City, Utah. BTW, the HGTV Dream Home tour just launched. Feel free to drool; we are!

Lili Zarghami, Senior Editor (and mom of twins) – Twin-inspired treasury

Tune in on Dec. 10 for Design on a Dime, Etsy style.

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The part of the holiday season that fills me with the most anxiety and self-loathing is not visiting family, no. It’s wrapping presents. Things start out okay, but then somehow my corners are all crumpled, there are visible seams because I used a sheet of wrapping paper that was too small, and there are strands of my hair (eww, I know) stuck to every piece of Scotch tape. I give up and start buying lots of gift bags and tissue paper. THE END. This year I’ve got a new plan: Make beautiful fabric poppies like the ones I found on Creature Comforts and plant them atop every present to hide my wrapping flaws.

flower gift topper

They take about five minutes to make, and look how they glow against that simple brown paper! Plus, there are so many more holiday uses for them. You can attach them to pins or glue them to headbands for festive party accessories, you can use them on your table as decorative placeholders, or even make garland or ornaments with them. If you’re looking for even more ways to jazz up your presents, check out some of our ideas here. Cut! That’s a wrap.

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We haven’t gotten snow here since Halloween (it still feels wrong saying that), and even though snow can be a pain, I always enjoy the first good one of the season. Good snow to me equals: A quick trip to Central Park to stroll around and watch kids go sledding, a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows, snuggling on the couch for a festive movie or two. Oh, and icicles!

icicle ornaments

I love when these crystalline beauties reflect light outside my window. These hand-sliced Selenite Icicle Ornaments remind me of the first snow, slowly melting into silvery spikes. These would be gorgeous on a Christmas tree, but I like them as shown here, on a branch, perhaps planted in a jar. Plus, there’s no danger of these icicles snapping off from the tree and falling and injuring you, which is always a qualification of good design in my book. That’s nice ice, baby.

(Feeling crafty? You can make your own crocheted icicles with our tutorial.)

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I know, you’re probably thinking, Pinecones? The last time I crafted with a pinecone was in grade school. Are you going to tell me to smear peanut butter on them, dip them in birdseed and hang them from a tree? No, smart alecks, I’m not going to tell you to do that. How about you spray paint them neon colors and arrange them beautifully in a glass jar instead? How cute would these be next to this playful Tobi Fairley Christmas tree?

colorful pine cones

I spotted these neon delights on Under the Sycamore in a guest post by Julie of Joy’s Hope, but it turns out that our own Sarah Richardson has a video tutorial for similarly-bold pinecones right here! Sarah’s using a dip-and-shake method in lieu of spray paint, but both techniques are easy enough for the whole family to try. (With supervision, of course. Maybe in the garage, where the paint won’t end up on the couch, curtains and family dog.) Why not make it a post-Thanksgiving activity? And as Sarah points out in the video, the pinecones would also make adorable placecard holders for your next holiday meal.

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I live in one of those households where Christmas decorations go up the day after Thanksgiving, how about you? Even then, it still doesn’t feel like enough time to enjoy all the glittering wreaths, ornaments and lights. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to this Swedish snowflake lantern so much.

snowflake lanterns

After all, a snowflake is merely wintery, and can go up anytime it starts to either snow or get chilly. (So, in this year’s case, right around Halloween, oy.) It can also stay up long after the tree comes down. Another big selling point for me is that it looks festive and delicate whether it’s turned off or illuminated, so it’s almost like getting two decorations for the price of one! Plus, it would be a perfect pairing with our DIY snowflake curtains. I think I’ll be letting it snow in our place from now until at least February.

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Are you hosting dinner this year? We are! My husband is in charge of the turkey, I’m in charge of desserts (as always) and our family members are bringing the rest. In our feature, Sunflower Thanksgiving Dessert Buffet, I shared several ideas for delicious desserts. I’m definitely going beyond pumpkin pie this year and serving up a variety of mini sweets.

Cake pops are such a popular trend at parties and gatherings these days. Order or make them in flavors and colors that coordinate with your Thanksgiving decor. These mini pumpkin mousse parfaits were so delicious and really easy to make. I simply adapted the recipe for the mini parfait glasses.

Cupcakes are an unexpected dessert for Thanksgiving, but your littlest guests will love them. Dress them up with fondant sunflowers or paper cupcake toppers and display on a decorative cake stand. Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies are easy to make and the cream cheese marshmallow filling is divine. Display them in mini dishes for the perfect serving size.

I designed a full printable collection for you to use for your Thanksgiving festivities!

Check out the full Sunflower Thanksgiving story for more decorating ideas and to download the printables!

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How are you celebrating the 4th of July this year? If you’re attending a party or gathering, I suggest you volunteer now to bring dessert. I’ve collected seven easy, festive and delicious recipes. Plus, with the patriotic cupcake wrappers and party toppers I designed exclusively for HGTV readers, you’ll be sure to impress the host and other guests!
HGTV Exclusive From The TomKat Studio - Fourth of July Cupcake Circles & Wrapper - Free Printables

Free Printable Party Circles for Desserts - 4th of July - The TomKat StudioHGTV exclusive :: download free printable party circles

Free Printable Cupcake Wrappers - 4th of July - The TomKat StudioHGTV exclusive :: download free printable cupcake wrappers

I seem to always be in charge of dessert at gatherings with family and friends. I absolutely love to bake {when I’m not blogging}, especially cupcakes. Cupcakes are easy, cute and oh so popular.


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While I always welcome the new year with a small gathering of my closest friends and family, I can’t help feeling I’m part of a giant cosmic party celebrating with billions of people all over the world. Whether you’re hosting a New Year’s party for four or 40, check out our favorite decorating ideas for ringing in 2011…with a bang.

HGTV Rate My Space: by mypointofview


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