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Aug 26, 2016

With the first day of school right around the corner for many and some classes already back in session, we thought now was the perfect time to share some much needed mudroom inspiration. Check out a few of our favorite spaces and organizing ideas from some of the best bloggers out there. Getting everyone out the door on time will be a lot easier after you’ve tackled these DIY projects. Get started today!

Fabulous Faux Built-In. Seating, cubbies, hooks, and more - this beautiful creation from Honeybear Lane has it all! Plus, building it to the exact specifications of your space makes this custom cabinet look like a built-in (we love the little indent to make room for the light switch!). Get the full tutorial here.

Image via Honeybear Lane 

Wonderful Wire Cubbies. Having a small space doesn’t give you an excuse to not get organized! This DIY wall organizer from Brit + Co is just what your petite mudroom or foyer needs. Going vertical is usually the best option when it comes to decorating more confined areas, and this simple organizer will help you do just that. Get the full tutorial here.

Image via Brit + Co 

Cool Custom Calendar. Jazz up your newly organized space with a personalized flip calendar. Kristi Murphy shows us how to make one that features your favorite shots from Instagram. Keep your family on track and motivated with fun reminders of the fabulous adventures you’ve had together! Get the full tutorial here.

Image via Kristi Murphy  

Enviable Entryway TableMake space for mail, shoes, and all sorts of odds and ends with this clever entryway table from A Beautiful Mess. You don’t have to sacrifice function for fashion with this piece. Not only is this charming creation sure to brighten up your space, it’s also got just the right amount of storage. Get the full tutorial here.

Image via A Beautiful Mess

Crafty CratesGetting organized doesn’t have to be quite the undertaking. Sometimes all you need is a few crates and some funky hooks. We’re big fans of this unique mudroom from The Merry Thought. You can easily style these boxes and knobs (paint them your favorite color, get the perfect size for your knee high boots, etc.) to your taste and space. Get the full tutorial here.


Simple & Stunning Space Saver. We understand that some of you have almost no space to work with – and that’s ok. Minimalism is in and we cannot get over this no fuss DIY from Almost Makes Perfect. Keep yourself organized without overwhelming your entryway. Get the full tutorial here.


We hope these ideas help to inspire your own mudroom or foyer makeover and get you more organized for the fall. Tackle one of these fun projects? Be sure to share it with us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter – we love seeing what you create!

Aug 18, 2016

Suffering from the gap between the end of camp and the beginning of the school year? Since start days vary from state to state and district to district, it can be hard to find extracurricular activities that last for the entire summer. If the first bell doesn’t ring for your little ones until after Labor Day and you’re running out of ways to keep them entertained, we can help! Turn off the second consecutive hour of Paw Patrol (because you need your sanity) and try tackling this fun family craft instead.


We love stencils for a few reasons: they’re easy, look great, and allow for lots of originality. Perfect for children of all ages and skillsets, pick up a few from your local art supply store today and see what you and your kids can create! Here’s what you’ll need for this craft and some lessons we learned while stenciling.

Supplies

  • Canvases - We used three mini canvasses to create triptychs.
  • Paint - The more colors the better!
  • Paint Brushes - Select your sizes based on your canvas and your crafters.
  • Spongers - You can grab special sponges from the art supply store, or just use regular dish sponges (pro tip: cut off the bristly side!).
  • Stencils - We suggest picking up at least two (one for you and one for your little one).
Directions

Step 1: Choose your stencil. Beyond their intricate designs and styles, there are two general types of stencils: those that you fill in and those that you paint over. The type you’re using will impact the way you paint the background of your picture. If you have a stencil you fill in, the color you first paint your canvas will be the background. However, if you have a stencil you paint over, the color you first paint your canvas will end up being the fill of the stencil.


Step 2: Choose the colors of paint you’d like to use. Select a color or colors for your background and your stencil. You can choose complimentary colors or try something more dynamic with shades that seem to clash.


Pro Tip: If you’re painting more than one canvas, we recommend choosing all of your colors at the same time so you can create pieces that go together. We tried fun bright shades for one triptych and an ombre effect for the second.

Step 3: Paint your background. Have more competent painters participating in this craft? Try playing with texture and style for a more complex creation.


Step 4: Wait for paint to dry. This will take several minutes, depending on the size of your canvas.

Step 5: Once your background is dry it’s time to get your stencil on. Place your stencil firmly on your canvas and either fill it in or paint over it using your sponge. Apply gentle but consistent pressure as you sponge paint onto your canvas. We recommend a quick succession of dabs.


Step 6: Wait for paint to dry. Again, this will take several minutes, depending on the size of your canvas.

Step 7: Enjoy! These creations could make the perfect gift for a new teacher or could be just what your drab bathroom called for. The possibilities are endless!


Tackle this craft with your youngsters or with some friends and a glass of wine? Share snaps of your paintings with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. We love seeing what you create!

Aug 12, 2016

Summer sure does seem to come with a lot of accessories. From outdoor furniture to sports equipment to gardening supplies, most of our favorite seasonal activities come with a lot of accouterments. Is your garage overwhelmed with all of these items in need of storage? It’s not even fall yet! Give your space a DIY makeover with these simple tips. Our six ideas and will help you take your garage from out of control to organized.


1. Throw out the trash - The garage tends to be the place where everything you no longer want in your house gets dumped. Old paint, furniture, toys, and boxes add extra clutter; throw anything you no longer need away to minimize the items you’ll need to organize.

2. Organize items - Create a pile for winter goods, one for gardening supplies, another for tools, sporting goods, etc., and soon you will see exactly how much space is required for each. While you are organizing move everything out of the garage and sweep or vacuum the floor.


3. Brighten up with paint - A fresh coat of paint will liven up any room and the garage is no exception.

4. Hang as much as you can - Getting items off the shelves and floor and on to the wall will free up an enormous amount of space. Put anything not frequently used up high to free up accessible space.


5. Think outside the box - Fancy shelves and hooks are nice but not an absolute necessity. Tools may be hung on the wall with nails, bikes can be hung with bungee cords, old furniture may be recycled to create shelving – all you need are some L-brackets and screws!


Our Digital Media Manager hacked an old IKEA TV unit that no longer worked and created extra shelving. Think about your furniture. Is there anything you could upcyle for your garage?

6. Give it personality - It is YOUR garage after all. Consider it another room in your house and feel free to add in a bit of creative flair.

We hope these simple tips help you to spruce up your space. Garage in need of a little more TLC than this blog can offer? Connect with a local expert at the Marketplace Events Home Show nearest you.

Aug 5, 2016

The Rio Olympics start today and run until Sunday, August 21st. For 16 days athletes from across the globe will come together to compete for gold, silver, and bronze. Though undeniably exciting, it can be difficult to feel the thrill from your seat on the couch. Beyond cheering for your country and your favorite athletes, we’ve got a few fun suggestions for an Olympic-themed bash to help you get into the spirit of the games. Check ‘em out below and get ready to go for gold this August.


The Challenge

Invite friends and family members to participate in your own Olympics. Ask that each person choose a different country to represent – you can create a Facebook Group or Event to help keep track. Folks can arrive to your party decked out in their country’s colors, ready to compete.

Pro Tip - Create your own Olympic inspired hashtag to maximize your social fun. For example, #RoadToYOURSTREETNAME #YOURSTREETNAMEIsRio. 

The Competition

Come up with several different challenges for each country to compete in. We suggest getting inspiration from some of your favorite childhood games or activities. Instead of asking guests to do the 100 meter dash or steeplechase, see who can get gold in a wheelbarrow or egg and spoon race. These events are low impact and lots of fun! Create a leaderboard to see which country is doing the best, and make sure to create gold, silver, and bronze medals for each event.

The Refreshments

Maintain your Olympic theme with ring inspired snacks, like onion rings, Ring-pops, “pRINGles”, etc. You could also try serving Brazilian fare to focus on Rio. Too much work? We’ve also got some delicious burger recipes for you to tackle.


The Decor

A few old milk crates can combine to make the perfect podium for your medal ceremonies. And if you’re hosting your events in the evening, a flashlight can easily become a torch. All sorts of different flags, streamers, and balloons will also add to your celebrations. Have fun and get creative!


We hope these tips help you to get in the Olympic spirit and throw a seriously fun bash. If you turn your home into Rio, be sure to share some fun pictures with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – we love seeing your entertaining ideas.

Jul 28, 2016

Well, we hate to admit it, but summer is on its way out. The sun is rising later, setting earlier, and September is just a few short weeks away. But don’t despair! Enjoy your final days of freedom, and then get organized for fall. With warm weather eventually turning to cold, why not start with your closet? We’ve got a few simple tips to help you make the most of this space. Find out how you can transform your cluttered chaos into sensible storage that actually adds to your decor.


Purge

First off, throw out every damaged item of clothing that you own. If you haven’t mended it yet, you never will. These pieces take up valuable real estate and will never get used. Beyond your tattered clothing and accessories, you know there are some items in your closet you should donate. It can be hard to determine exactly what those are, but this simple idea should help you to really see how much you wear different pieces of clothing.

Face all of your clothes hangers in the same direction. After you’ve worn an article of clothing, face its hanger the opposite way when you put it back in your closet. At the end of the year check to see which hangers are still facing the original direction. Donate those clothes, you clearly don’t wear them anymore.

Keep It Visible

At the end of a season, instead of putting your warm or cool clothes away never to be seen again, keep them in clear containers. If you don’t have clear containers, take photos of a container's contents and stick it on the outside of the container, so you don’t lose track of any of your stuff. This tip extends beyond clothes. Be sure to do this with any linens or other supplies you’re keeping in storage to put an end to the frustrating search for warm blankets or guest towels.

Color Coordinate

Clothing is beautiful, and we’re sure you’ve got some gorgeous pieces. Fun patterns, bold colors, pastels, and different materials can come together to create unique combinations. Instead of tucking away this funky mix, why not color coordinate your closet so that it adds to your decor? Using uniformly sized hangers, organize your clothing based on your aesthetic preferences into an original display.



Use It All

Don’t just opt for hangers, use several different types of closet organizers to maximize on the limited space you’ve been given. Hang dresses, blazers, blouses, and skirts. Fold sweaters, jeans, and casual wear on hanging shelves. Put boots and shoes on the ground, or try a shoe organizer. There is a variety of resources available to you; the only mistake you can make is not trying a few different kinds and working with the space you’ve been given.

Repurpose

Have some awkwardly shaped or sized items you’d like to store? Try rethinking traditional containers and seeing if they could fit your needs. For example, a cute trash container could easily become storage for yoga mats, umbrellas, or even wrapping paper rolls!

Skip The Doors

Sometimes closet doors can be a bit clunky. Often mirrored, squeaky, and a little hard to close, do you ever wish you could do away with them? If you’re dealing with a particularly small space, this might be worth trying! Remove your closet doors and keep your clothes organized and cute to add fun color to your space, or try hanging a long piece of fabric to keep things contained. This works well with smaller closets, but if you’ve got a double wide it can look disorganized and cheap. Consider your space carefully if this is an option you’re trying.

We hope these creative ideas help get you and your closet ready for fall. Looking for more home improvement and organizing tips? Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We’re always sharing new ideas and would love to be friends!


Jul 20, 2016

Most of us will agree that working from home can be a blessing and a curse. Sure you get to skip your morning commute, but you also have a household to care for while ensuring that you are hitting your targets and meeting your deadlines. Whether you’re new to this type of space, or have worked from home for decades, many find it challenging to balance work and family life when their office is at home. Well this summer why not try having it all? Work smart, spend more time with your family, and enjoy every day with a few adjustments. We’ve got tips to help you spruce up your workspace and stay on task. Check ‘em out below and get ready to be Employee of the Month.

Clutter-Free

As much as working from home means you don’t have to adhere to the same office rules (ie. dress code, cleanliness, and no hard boiled eggs or tuna for lunch), it’s a good idea to stick to most of the, albeit annoying, guidelines – especially when it comes to cleanliness. A cluttered desk can make for a cluttered mind. If you find it difficult to concentrate when you sit down to complete a project at home, it could be a result of your messy desk. Keep your space organized and it could greatly improve your efficiency.


It’s also a good idea to get dressed when you’re working from home as well. Some folks can get just as much done in yoga pants as they can in a pencil skirt, but for many comfortable clothes can keep them from getting in the right frame of mind to get work done.

Bright

While we don’t encourage you to recreate the buzz of your office lights, their brightness does help you and your coworkers excel. Make sure that when you’re setting up your home office you aren’t creating a cave. Keep the paint bright, the windows close, and the lighting bright. Low lighting creates a strain on our eyes, making us want to close them and not finish our reports which are due Monday. Ensuring your workspace is well lit will help you remain alert and stay on task.


Organized Decor

This concept speaks to the importance of keeping your space clutter-free, while recognizing that offices typically have a lot of stuff. Instead of covering your desk with various supplies and materials you may or may not use soon, cluttering up your area and helping you lose focus, why not organize them in such a way that they can be on display without taking up too much physical or mental space? Turning your office supplies into decor saves you money and helps you find things easily – that’s what we call a win, win people. All you need is some open shelving, and maybe some sweet and small knickknacks to create an uplifting but ultimately useful look.


Position

Keep your bed as far away from your desk as possible. If your home office has its own room or clearly defined space in the living room or den - perfect! If you must incorporate your workspace into your bedroom, make sure you separate your work area as much as you can, and at a minimum, face away from your bed. After a few hours of working in the morning, it’s easy to migrate to your bed for a quick nap or try to read a proposal while you’re just a little more comfortable. Don’t do this! Stay out of bed and stay productive. The further you are from your bed, the better.


Plants

Don’t forget to bring a little greenery into your home office. Not so much that you clutter up your space, of course, but a few little plants will help brighten your day and reduce your stress. We recommend cacti or succulents; plants that are dynamic to look at and easy to care for. Weren’t born with a green thumb? Here a few simple types that won’t die on you.


We hope these concepts help keep you productive and happy this summer! Want more decor ideas, lifestyle advice, recipes, and more? Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We have lots of advice to share – plus exclusive info and ticket deals for upcoming Home + Garden Events!

Jul 14, 2016

Spending your days camping this summer? Make your life a little easier with these useful life hacks. These simple tips and insider secrets are designed to help you stay safe and comfortable while enjoying the great outdoors. Work smart, not hard – even when you’re on vacation!


1. Put valuables in an empty suntan lotion bottle. It’ll help deter thieves, (who wants to steal suntan lotion?), and keep all your important items in one place. Just make sure you also bring regular sunscreen too!

2. Fill a bottle with vinegar, sugar, and salt to trap and kill wasps and other insects. Drawn in by the sugar, they’ll soon find that they aren’t able to get out. Place these bottles on your deck and any other areas that are frequented by unwanted bugs.

3. Cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly make for excellent fire starters.


4. Don't forget to bring lots of resealable bags. Not only are they great for keeping your phone and other gadgets dry, you can fill them with sand or small rocks to weigh down your towels on the beach!

5. Skip the ice. Freeze water bottles and use them to help keep your perishable items cool. Not only do they chill better than ice, when they melt you’ll have a water bottle to enjoy!

6. Speakers die and you want to listen to music? Put your phone in a ceramic mug or bowl (plastic will work too, just not as well). The sound will echo off its walls, amplifying it.


7. Use a vegetable peeler to create one-use soap slivers. Perfect for camping with less than clean outhouses/facilities.

8. A belt and some hooks make the perfect drying station for pots and pans – and a few clothes, if it should come to that.

9. Bored little ones? Make a camp Bingo sheet with common outdoor objects for them to find! This is also a great idea for long road trips.

10. We know we don’t have to remind you to bring a first aid kit, but it’s also a good idea to find out where the nearest hospital to your camp site/cottage is and keep a route handy in case of emergencies.


We hope these tips help you camp smart and safe. Have some hacks of your own that weren’t featured here? Share them with us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!

Jul 7, 2016

Whether you’ve been inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald, are toasting a pal, or simply wish to celebrate summer’s arrival, it’s easy to find an excuse to throw a garden party. Take advantage of the warm weather and wow friends and family alike with these outdoor entertaining ideas. We’ve got top tips and party decor ideas from some of the best bloggers out there. Read on and get ready to take your summer soiree to the next level.

Fierce Floral Lighting - Light up the night with this cute and charming creation from Brit + Co. These colorful ranunculi make a wonderful addition to any space, but we especially love them intertwined with a plain string of lights. Loop them around trees and trellises for a stylish look. Get the tutorial here.

Image via Brit + Co

Beautiful Beverages - Don’t let limited outdoor space stop you from throwing one heck of a shindig! Lil Luna has the perfect solution to the overcrowding that comes from your typical beverage station. Some industrial piping and a few buckets is all you need to recreate this minimal soda spot. Get the tutorial here.

Image via Lil Luna

Sweet Seats - Add some pretty petals to your otherwise dull seating with this clever garland from The Proper Blog. This is an especially key decoration if you’re using chairs that don’t match. That’s right folks, not only is this garland cute, it’ll help you create a cohesively look/theme for your party. Get the tutorial here.

Image via The Proper Blog

Fabulous Fire Pit - Don’t buy a fire pit, make one instead! A Beautiful Mess shows us how simple this project can be. With minimal supplies and a little elbow grease you can create a comfy space friends and family can gather around. Get the tutorial here.

Image via A Beautiful Mess

Cordial Condiments - Loot bags aren’t just for children’s parties anymore; and they’ve only gotten more stylish! Try making these sweet souvenirs from Kristi Murphy. The condiment inspired pieces will compliment any outdoor soiree and are such a nice way to thank your guests for attending. Get the tutorial here.

Image via Kristi Murphy

Playful Palms - Add a festive flair to your bevvies with a cute palm drink stirrer. These clever creations from The Merry Thought add a classic, yet tropical touch to any get together. Get the tutorial here.


Cool Cooler - Give your dollar store cooler a vintage makeover with this creative DIY from Almost Makes Perfect. Some wood grain contact paper and a little love will take this bland item from basic to boss. Get the tutorial here.


Totally Tropical Centerpiece - We are over the moon for this whimsical centerpiece from Studio DIY. Not only will the palm leaves will go perfectly with your drink stirrers, the sweet simplicity of this setting is sure to wow guests of all ages. Get the tutorial here.

Photo taken by Mary Costa
Image via Studio DIY

We hope these ideas inspire you to throw a fabulous summer bash! Tackle any of these projects? Make sure to share them with us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook – we love seeing what you create!

Jun 28, 2016

The 4th of July is coming up fast (seriously, where did June go?!) and we can’t wait to get our red, white, and blue on! Are you ready for fireworks, hot dogs, and more? Throw the perfect patriotic party with these sweet and simple entertaining tips. We’ve found several star spangled solutions from some of the best bloggers out there. Try a few Uncle Sam approved ideas and prepare to celebrate like it’s 1776!

Patriotic Pops - Not only are these delicious popsicles from Steele House Kitchen fabulously festive, they’re also all natural! Skip the artificial coloring and dyes, and try making these unique treats. Get the full tutorial.


Uncle Sam Shooters - These stylish shooters are a cut above your traditional Jell-O shot. With coconut panna cotta, edible stars and more, Sprinkle Bakes knows just how to wow your guests. Get the full tutorial.

Image via Sprinkle Bakes

Brilliant Balloons - Add a little whimsy to your soiree with these sweet balloons. Whether your party is indoor or outdoor, these unique creations from Design Improvised are the perfect way to mark the occasion. Get the full tutorial.


Fierce Firecracker - We are head over heels for this adorable recipe from Love Bakes Good Cakes. It’s sure to get as many oohs and ahhs as the actual fireworks you’ll be lighting. Get the full tutorial.


Sweet Sparkler - Layer cakes don’t have to be a ton of work. Brit + Co teaches us how to make this over the top ombre cake, including the best way to cover it in sparkles. It’s sure to light up any table. Get the full tutorial.

Image via Brit + Co

Cool Cherries - These sweet treats may look complicated, but they’re a snap to make. This Girl's Life Blog shows us that all you need are cherries and a few different kinds of candy. Get the full tutorial.


Beautiful Bar - When it comes to sundaes, making them is half the fun! We’re big fans of this festive sundae bar from I Heart Naptime. It incorporates lots of red, white, and blue, but still lets folks create their perfect treat. Get the full tutorial.

Image via I Heart Naptime

Rockin’ Rice Krispies - Don’t let a gluten allergy stop you from enjoying some festive treats. These Rice Krispies from Two Sisters Crafting are gluten-free and full of fun. Get the full tutorial.


We hope these festive ideas help you throw one seriously fun Independence Day party! If you tackle any of these crafts make sure to share them with us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook – we love seeing what you create! And, from our family to yours, Happy 4th of July!