Agate is one of those things that never really goes out of style. Case in point: I still remember the brown agate drink coasters we had on the coffee table when I was a kid! The banded stone has been back in the spotlight for a few years and I’ve been looking for a project that would make it the star. Here are three different ways to use agate and birch slices in your holiday season in three super easy DIY projects. I love how they all turned out and can’t wait to add them to my own festivities and gifts!
All three of these projects start the same way, by matching up the birch and agate pieces. Once you’ve done that work quickly to place a few drops of superglue on the wood before affixing the stone and pressing together firmly. Because we don’t need the pre-drilled hole for this gift topper, go ahead and cover it with the agate slice. I really like this DIY because sometimes a plain kraft box looks so nice on its own but needs something extra – the gift topper is a sweet little extra that the recipient can keep.
For this colorful birch and agate place card repeat the first few steps from above. Once the two pieces are firmly attached to one another use your permanent metallic marker to write out each guest’s name. I chose to follow the natural shape of the stone with my letters.
Again follow the first few steps outlined above, this time leaving the pre-drilled hole in the birch accessible. You may need to use a small nail or skewer to clear any wood pulp debris from the opening before threading the string and tying a knot. (Use a pair of needle nose pliers if you need a little help pulling it through.) I used 6-inch lengths of single-strand white thread to make it as invisible as possible.
Posted In christmas, entertaining, holidays, living, make it
If I had a gigantic studio I’d like to think that I could invite you all over for a meal. One that says thank you for hanging around and keeping Design Crush afloat for over ten years, for your kind words and encouragement, and just for being an incredible group of human beings. After all, Thanksgiving is about being grateful and saying it out loud. So go get dressed in your favorite outfit – sparkly dress or sweatpants, there’s no judgement here – and join me for a delicious time. (Thanksgivings past: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Easy Goat Cheese + Honey Bites // Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic Bacon Aioli // Super Simple Fresh Mozzarella and Basil Bites // Sweet Potato Tahini Crostini // Toasted Red Chili Salsa // White Bean Buffalo Hummus
Animal Placecard Holder Set // Stoneware Metallic Vase // X Pattern Napkins // Emma Salt & Pepper Shakers // Velvet Table Runner // Farmhouse Trivet // Gold Metal Taper Candleholders // Hipped Glassware // Kaloh Mugs // Neona Flatware // Bistro Dinner Plates // Pink Pampas Grass
Arlo Smoke Glass Ice Bucket // Copper Punch Bowl with Ladle // Curved Handle Pitcher // Dobra Carafe // Hammered Gold 2-Piece Carving Set // Melrose Gold Serving Bowl // Marble & Dark Wood Servers // New England Ash Bread Board // Pie Set // Serving Platter // Tondo 12″ Round Platter // Stoneware Serving Dish
Apple Cider Green Beans // Brussels Sprout Chopped Salad with Pears, Gorgonzola + Vinaigrette // Buttery Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls // Caramelised Onion, Mushroom & Hard Cider Soup // Crispy, Cheesy, Tahini-Roasted Cauliflower // Hasselback Butternut Squash with Bay Leaves // Honey Brined Turkey // Roasted Cauliflower Gratin with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese // Roasted Potatoes with Thyme // Roasted Sweet Potato Stacks // Rustic Bourbon Spice Applesauce // Turnips with Garlicky Breadcrumbs and Parmesan
Posted In cocktails, entertaining, food, holidays, kitchen, living, recipes, thanksgiving
An Extra Blanket
This is one of the first things I do when preparing for guests no matter the time of year – lay an extra blanket either across the foot of the bed or over a chair. You never know at what temperature someone prefers sleeping, plus it adds a layer of coziness.
Bring in Flowers
One of my favorite touches, a few fresh flowers or some greenery. Set a little vase on the bedside table or dresser for a sweet surprise. Or if you know your guest(s) have allergies opt for a few silken stems in their place as a thoughtful touch.
Remark Tufted Armchair (more colors available)
Someplace to Sit
Having someplace to sit other than the bed is something to consider if you have the space – it can be a cozy armchair that can double as a reading nook or something as small as a stool.
A Place for Luggage
Make sure there’s a spot for luggage to rest. A bench, a stool, or a folding rack all do the trick for when guests need to dig through their bags.
If you store your off season clothing (or whatever else) in your guest room closet, make sure to clear out enough space so that your guests’ clothing won’t feel cramped. Add a few wooden hangers to make them feel like more than an afterthought.
Stock Up on Toiletries + Towels
Throughout the year I keep an eye out for sales on these for just this reason. Super soft Turkish towels are my favorite thing to pamper guests with, and all things travel-sized can be stored in a glass jar or box nearby for easy access.
Set Out Bedside Necessities
Besides making guests feel comfortable in your home, the best thing you can do is leave them wanting for nothing. Leave bottles of water and prepackaged snacks and fruit on a tray or bar cart. Water glasses and a favorite candle on the nightstand will make them think they’re at a B&B.
An Easy Access Outlet
Our loves involve a lot of charging these days, so make sure no one has to dig behind the bed or dresser in order to find a free outlet. All the better if they’re USB ready!
The Option of a Nightlight
I can sleep in nothing but near total darkness, however in an unfamiliar place it’s nice to have the option of turning on a nightlight. Have one near the door or bed in case your guests’ would like a little help walking to the bathroom at 3am.
Make Sure There’s a Mirror
Maybe this is vain of me, but I like to have a look in the mirror and adjust as necessary before walking out of any guest room I’m occupying. Hang one over the closet door, set one on the dresser, or use a large one as decor.
Are you an avid lover of happy little trees? I have just the thing for you. While on a Target run last Friday I walked past an end cap with this – the Bob Ross Art of Chill Board Game. I stopped in my tracks – perhaps skidded – and snapped a photo to share in Instagram. People flipped out when I shared it over the weekend and I still can’t stop thinking about the game myself! It’s full of 5-star ratings online, too.
Earn “chill points” by painting landscape features like Happy Little Trees and Almighty Mountains using colors and brushes from your hand of cards. Keep your eye on what other players are doing and be strategic about the sequence in which you complete the features. If another player beats you to the brush, you may want to wash your palette and shift your painting plan. All the while, Bob sets the painting pace as he advances across the easel, offering sage encouragement and bonus opportunities for even more chill.
Posted In entertaining, living
If you’re a lover of bold, graphic prints then Savannah Hayes has got your number. The Pittsburgh-based textile designer refined her urban aesthetic through years of living and studying in various cities – San Francisco, London, New York City, and Los Angeles – and working with big shots Kelly Wearstler, Martha Stewart, and Kravet Fabrics. In October 2015 Savannah struck out on her own and has since expanded her eponymous line to include products for the living room, dining room, bedroom, baby, and tech. But if you have an idea of your own, she also sells fabric by the yard. I own one of her blankets, a heavy knit that’s ready to be brought back into rotation for autumn any day now!
Posted In accessories, bags, create, entertaining, house and home, kitchen, living, pittsburgh, style, textiles, wear it
I first shared the work of my friend Amy Hamley – then Redraven Studios – with you two years ago, in our Pittsburgh Makers series. Since then she’s moved across the country with her husband and pup, rebranded as Amy Hamley Ceramics, and just last week released her newest collection. This girl’s been busy!
I chatted with Amy a few weeks ago, and after catching up picked her brain about the transition between her well-known Canyon Series to this more casually sophisticated style.
“While the Canyon Series meant a great deal to me personally, and building a product line around my travels was magical, it just never completely fit. I spent two years thinking about letting this line go and how to move forward with my work, it wasn’t an easy decision at first but once I committed to it everything just felt right. I studied both painting and ceramics in college, and for a long time it was important to me to honor both processes. But one day I realized that making the pieces wasn’t fulfilling me anymore and it began to feel like work. I wanted to focus on the part of ceramics that I love, experimenting with the materials and developing glazes.”
“The starting point wasn’t an item, so much as the palette. I really wanted to focus on minimal, soothing tones with this collection. My favorite pieces are the black deco dinnerware.”
“The inspiration behind the new work isn’t that far from the Canyon Series, it’s still traveling, nature, and being witness to my surroundings. With this line however, I wanted to be true to what I love and actually use in my home. I knew that this collection was special because it’s the first time that I’ve ever kept the first editions for myself, until recently I had very little of my own work at home.”
The new collection is stunning, with so much thought and effort put into each piece. I’ve always loved Amy‘s work, but this collection really speaks to my love of all things clean-lined. The gold deco touches make every piece so incredibly special – the perfect mix of casual and elegant. I’d be thrilled to use the settings for a dinner party or simply a Monday night meal on the couch, which is a sign of a truly fantastic piece.
A unique facet of the new site and rebrand is the One of a Kind page, dedicated to one off pieces, experimentation, and growth. Amy hopes to add an item or two per week that will be promoted Tuesdays on Instagram – stay tuned!Posted In create, entertaining, house and home, kitchen, living, sculpture