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Before & After: DIY Herringbone Wall

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Some before & afters are all about a giant POW! of change: full home demolitions, knocking down walls and taking houses down to their studs. But some transformations are more focused on doing something clever with a small space that needs some new life. Today’s makeover falls into the second category of celebrating tiny nooks with a DIY upgrade.

When Amanda Devries of Gezellig Life wanted to give her “ho-hum” entryway wall a makeover, she looked no further than her own backyard. After doing some major demolition on her family’s home in Ontario, she was left with some beautiful pieces of salvaged wood. Determined to find a way to keep them as a part of the new space, she decided to create a herringbone pattern on the wall using those leftover planks. The whole project took eight hours from start to finish and didn’t cost a thing except for Amanda’s time! The finished look made her so happy that she was inspired to use salvaged bricks from the home’s original storage room to create a brand new hearth around their wood burning stove. Talk about making the most of what you have around you. Thanks so much to Amanda for sharing this with us and be sure to read on to hear more about her upcycled makeover. xo, grace

Click through for the full makeover and process after the jump!

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9 Questions with Baked Bakery

I’m not sure if it’s the sheer joy they get to be around all day (Sugar! Icing! Sprinkles!), but bakers are some of happiest and kindest people I know. And two of my all-time favorite bakers, and people, are Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito of Baked. This talented twosome just released a fantastic new baking book, Baked Occasions, and are about to open up a new bakery in Manhattan any day now, too. Their current schedules make even the busiest person seem like they’re in slow-motion, so I’m especially grateful that they were willing to sit down with us last week (in the corner banquette of their beautiful new location!) to answer a few fun questions. Tomorrow we’ll be sharing a recipe from Baked Occasions, so stay tuned for meringues you will not want to miss. Click here to check out more of Baked’s delicious work online.

Video by Maxwell Tielman. Thanks to Julia Turshen & Radio Cherry Bombe for inspiring the rapid-fire questions for this video!

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After the Jump: Quarterly and the Art of the Care Package

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Growing up, I went to an all-summer girls’ sleepaway camp in West Virginia called Camp Alleghany. Those summers taught me about so many things: archery, independence, how sad the song “The Circle Game” makes me and, most importantly, the value of the almighty care package.

These days we don’t turn to tangible connections as often as we used to. Mix tapes have been replaced by sharing digital playlists on Spotify and lovingly arranged packages from friends and family are now delivered in the form of virtual gifts on social media platforms. But there is a website that has dedicated itself to “recapturing the romance and impact of a well crafted package”: Quarterly Co. Founded by a fellow camp care package fan, Zach Frechette, Quarterly is a subscription gift service that delivers quarterly packages curated by people like Nina Garcia, Tim Ferriss, Pharrell, Bill Nye, Food 52, Q-Tip and Creative Bug. We’re about to launch our own curated gift box with them soon, so this week I invited one of Zach’s colleagues, Aron Levinson, to join me on-air and talk about why Quarterly does what it does.

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Our conversation was less about products and selling and more about getting back to the heart of what makes me fall in love with any type of object – the story behind it. We talked about how telling a product’s story can make people better connect with and appreciate handmade work and we had fun talking about all the ways these curated boxes could brighten someone’s day and introduce them to someone, or something, they would have never found before. I’m really excited about what Quarterly is doing and so excited to start curating our own kits, so I hope you’ll enjoy this show as much as I did.

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DIY Project: Pumpkin Carving Tips from Amelie Mancini

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Growing up in France, we didn’t have Halloween. We all dressed up for Mardi Gras, of course, but we didn’t carve pumpkins, eat candy corn or go trick-or-treating. We also didn’t have baseball, peanut butter or Cheers. I moved to New York from Paris nine years ago and I’ll never forget the first time I had root beer (I spit it out, though, of course now I love it), the first time I ate Chinese food out of a white takeout box “just like in the movies!” or the first time I cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving. I’ve lived in the US for almost 10 years now and feel very much at home here, but there are still a few things quintessentially American that I’ve never done. For example, I’d never carved a pumpkin before! Turns out it’s pretty fun, only a little messy and totally worth it to see your design come to life through such beautiful, glowing light.

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Pumpkins look best in a group, so I bought three pumpkins of different sizes, shapes and colors. I like jack-o-lanterns and spooky designs, so I decided to make a little pumpkin man. I drew a funny face on the pumpkin with a Sharpie and then added more details as I carved. I wanted to use a similar technique to linocutting and only carve the skin without going all the way through. I used my linocut gouges and it worked really nicely. Just remember to keep your tools sharp and carve away from your body! I carved the second pumpkin for the body and cut out little triangles with a knife to let the light shine through. I stacked them on top of the last pumpkin, put battery-powered tea lights inside, and voila! I hope this inspires you to try some new techniques while carving this Halloween! -Amelie Mancini

Click through for DIY tips and steps after the jump!

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DIY Project: Leather Folders

Design*Sponge | DIY Project: Leather Folders
I’m an avid believer in surrounding ourselves with things that inspire our work, because after all, work is what we spend most of our time doing. Though, maybe we can’t exactly watch our favorite TV shows or sip on scotch while we work (as much as I know that those things inspire me), we can always personalize the very things we work with every day to make them a bit more special. So for the papers, receipts, notebooks, tablet, e-reader – whatever it is that you keep around your workspace – these leather file folders will provide chic, stylish and fun storage for them. -Amy Kim

Click through for the full how-to after the jump!

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Matisse-inspired Cocktail Recipe + DIY

DIY Matisse-Inspired Cocktail and Napkin by David Stark for Design*Sponge
The Museum of Modern Art’s incredible new exhibit, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, is filled to the brim with entertaining and craft inspiration, as well as some of the most exuberant artwork ever made. Open through February 8 (RUN, don’t walk!), it’s the ultimate excuse for an artsy cocktail gathering in honor of the master’s works.

We turned to our friends at Botanica, a bar owned by Red Hook’s Cacao Prieto Distillery, to concoct a special cocktail for the occasion. The “Bleu Céleste” pays homage to Matisse’s color palette and is topped with cutout-inspired garnishes. The drinks look even more animated sitting atop DIY cocktail napkins that we created with easy-to-find materials.

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DIY Matisse-Inspired Cocktail and Napkin by David Stark for Design*Sponge
The recipe is simple, so you can mix and chill a pitcher before your guests arrive. Arrange the napkins, glasses and garnishes in a Matisse-like composition on a prominent table in your home. Voilà, you’re throwing a fête to equal the best artist salons! -David Stark

All DIY, book and drink photographs by Corrie Beth Hogg. Book above is Henri Mattise: The Cut Outs.

Click through for the full how-to after the jump!

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