Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Table DIY Candy Cane Style

If you are looking for a red and white theme for your holiday table, these ideas might grab your fancy.

When designing DIY projects, quick and easy along with the pretty, clever and fun is always in front of my mind.

One idea - make place card pipe cleaners that take no time to create!

Twist 1 red and 1 white pipe cleaner together, form into a letter for each place setting.

A fun party favor, and hostess gift, is the Christmas Cheer with candy canes and candies in glass.

Purchase assorted glasses from the salvage shop, and fill with a mixture of yummy peppermint candies.

A large Hammond candy cane with a large bow always is a nice touch on the back of your dining room chairs.

How to make a Snowflake!

Designs by Karin Lidbeck, Christmas Ideas magazine 2010
Photo by Michael Partenio

The materials for making a large snowflake start with 6 paint sticks. For smaller snowflakes you use Popsicle sticks, along with a combination of assorted wood craft sticks, squares and shapes all found at craft stores in bags of multiple sizes and shapes.

Using a sheet of brown paper and a ruler, draw out a template to follow, like the one below.

Lay the sticks down over the template as shown. Doing this allows you to make sure your snowflake pattern is always symmetrical.

Use a permanent glue of your choice for adhering the pieces together. Lay your base first, adding the additional layers to create your final design.

The final step is to spray the snowflake well with a glossy white Krylon spray paint.

This project appeared in Christmas Ideas magazine 2010  
Designs by Karin Lidbeck
Photos by Michael Partenio

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dreaming of a White Christmas: Amazing DIY Snowflakes

Not long ago I was given the assignment to design and style a holiday feature with a snowflake theme for Christmas Ideas magazine.

Snowflakes arrive in many decorative shapes and styles during the holidays, which inspired me to create my own versions in wood.

One of the projects I came up with were these DIY snowflakes using paint sticks, old-fashioned popsicle sticks along with small wood shapes from the craft store.  I loved creating this wintry wall of snow behind the headboard and creating the lacy patterns on the staircase!

Instructions on how to make your own Snowflake coming tomorrow.

Photos by Michael Partenio

Monday, December 12, 2011

Oh, My Christmas Trees

This tree, I created for the cover of Country Living Magazine 2007
The magazine's best selling Dec Issue ever.
Photo by Tria Giovan

In my business, the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for me. My associate Cynthia Bogart, Editor of The Daily Basics, asked me if I would feature some of the Christmas trees I have designed over the years for an article on their site. To read more, click here.

A few of my favorite designs.

Better Homes and Gardens 2005

Christmas Ideas Magazine 2008
Photo by Michael Partenio

Christmas Ideas Magazine 2010 
Photo by Michael Partenio 

Christmas Ideas Magazine 2007
Photo by Michael Partenio 

Good Housekeeping magazine 2006

 Good Housekeeping magazine 2010
  Photo by Michael Partenio

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Looking Glass Holiday Centerpiece

Art director Scott Johnson of Better Homes and Gardens magazine asked me to create a garden inspired holiday decorative centerpiece for their BHG 2011 December issue.  The looking glass globe of birds on snow is a favorite of mine!

Photograph by Michael Partenio 

The Looking Glass centerpiece vase is so easy to make yourself! Use a glass container, any glass container, even a round fish bowl! Place artificial snow ( or salt ) at bottom for the base. Add some greenery from the outdoors with the artificial birds and nest from a craft store or garden shop.

Place on plate, and you now have your very own Looking Glass centerpiece.

Monday, December 5, 2011

2011 Country Living Magazine Christmas Feature

This past summer, my sister told me about a fabulous house affectionately named Cabin Fever by its owners Leslie Bacon and her husband. I adored how they have filled their home with artistic collections, plaid vintage baskets, textiles, and rustic yet sophisticated furnishings with such balance.

Upon arriving, I knew immediately this would be an ideal setting for a magazine.

After showing Country Living magazine, Style Director, Natalie Warady my preliminary shots of this house, she too thought this would be an ideal 2011 Country Living magazine Christmas feature! 

Natalie and I set off to Vermont to produce the feature with photographer James Merrill.  Here it is! 
Gorgeous Sorcha Blankets of Hingham, MA drape the chairs

Dining table and wood bowl from Monique Shay Antiques, Woodbury, CT

 Now onto the Christmas tree pictured below. This tree - must tell you, I cut this tree down myself, and took to the Cabin Fever house!

Inspired by Leslie's fabulous collection of plaid vintage picnic baskets,  I made the DIY embroidery hoops filled with plaid fabrics to complement my choice of Cody Foster tree ornaments of birds, woodland animals and snowflakes! 

Tree ornaments From Cody Foster
Gorgeous blankets from Sorcha, Hingham, MA
  Dining table and wood bowl from Monique Shay Antiques, Woodbury, Ct
Check out the 2011 December Country Living magazine issue for the whole story.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Regal Amaryllis

Holidays are soon approaching, and so are the regal Amaryllis! 

Last year, Ann Blevins editor of Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Ideas magazine asked me to design and style seven Amaryllis projects for the upcoming 2011 Christmas ideas magazine.

One traditional Victorian holiday decoration inspired me to replicate, only to find this DIY easy to do!

Sugared Amaryllis and fruit centerpiece

Lightly brush egg whites mix ever so gently upon fruit and flowers blooms. Sprinkle super-fine sugar partially on both fruit and flower. Place upon cake plate with some greens!  Flower is cut short and placed in silver votive. A centerpiece appreciated by many!

My holiday centerpiece favorite! 

Amaryllis Pineapple Centerpiece
I am often asked to design holiday tables. This centerpiece is a favorite. This will add a hit of elegance to your table with hardly any effort.  Slice off the top of the pineapple. Scoop out the delicious contents. Place amaryllis flowers in center.  Add eucalyptus, or any natural green around the amaryllis. Surround your centerpiece with cranberries, and you have a great holiday centerpiece! Don't forget to put water in this natural vase!

You can buy cut amaryllis at the florist or buy the flower bulb in the pot. 

PS. Cut stem of the amaryllis flower will last up to two weeks, maybe longer provided you keep cutting the cut stem back every few days. 
Look for more of my Amaryllis ideas in the current issue of Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Ideas magazine!

Photographs by Michael Partenio

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Designing my Swedish Christmas

  Photos by Michael Partenio

Last winter was my 17th year designing a Holiday Christmas story for Good Housekeeping magazine's December issue.

(In the world of magazines, Christmas is usually produced a year in advance).
The process started with my submitting multiple themes, sketches and ideas to the GH Staff. After working with wonderful creative editors Sarah Lyle and Laura Eckstein,we picked our favorite story and I set off to fine tune the designs.
Our pick for this year was A Swedish Christmas, an easy inspiration for me since my Dad was Swedish.

Next came the crafting, making, shopping, propping, styling, and in the end,....finding the perfect location to set it all up . We spent three days on location. ( we all know how long it takes to trim a tree).
Michael Partenio, our photographer did an amazing job shooting the projects,

Inspired by the traditional use of wheat platting in Scandinavian decorations.  I looked  for easy but pretty ways to work with wheat that does not take any  serious crafting ability or time!.
Splay wheat on each plate tied with ribbon

The table comes together nicely using one bunch of wheat  tied with ribbon, each in a glass hurricane . A untraditional but sophisticated centerpiece. Sit each in a white plate and surround with nuts .

I loved working with the palette of red and white and bringing in the natural tones with the wheat, wood and the brown paper. 
The stockings are made from recycled sweaters I picked up at a local consignment shop.

The tree is full of DIY ornaments I designed  that are all easy and quick.
You can find more ideas in the Dec Issue of Good Housekeeping.  A stylish DIY deer head that's easy to make using corugated cardboard, and some iron on sampler ornaments that will make you look like a serious needleworker!

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Thanksgiving Table DIY on Ct Fox 61

Tues  Nov 22 I was invited to share a Thanksgiving DIY project on the Ct morning show.
Here is the link, perhaps you'll find some inspiration for the upcoming holidays. Creating family memories and conversation around the table with family photos


Monday, November 14, 2011

Little White Pumpkins Party Favors

Today I went shopping for little white pumpkins for a upcoming Better Homes and Gardens Thanksgiving table project.  Oma Ford, Senior Deputy Editor of BH&G, asked me to help with the styling of one of their projects for an upcoming Today Show segment.  So, tomorrow I head to NYC with my car loaded with Thanksgiving decorations for the set up.  The table will air on Thursday.
It made me think of this project I created last year.

Party Favors for your thanksgiving gathering.  Easy enough to do:  Use a knife to cut open the top, then scoop out the insides.  Make the handle with a bendable vine or branch from outside.  Pierce a tiny hole breaking the gourd skin and push in the vine to hold.Add candies,...

Designed by Karin Lidbeck for Ct Homes and Gardens,  photo by Michael Partenio

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Perfect Thanksgiving Wreath

Well. We still have a week to prepare for Thanksgiving.  Do you dare take on another project?. If you are thinking about a wreath for the door, this one is easy and fast for a DIY wreath,.....  once you have these three things:

1.   Corrugated cardoard: cut a wreath form from heavy corrugated
2.   7-8 bunches of smaller long Indian corn. Dismantle bunches so you have individual ears, splay
      out husks.

3.   Glue gun and lots of glue sticks

Glue the corn on the cardbaoaord to cover as shown. The corn will splay our more on outside leaving some gaps,  so glue some extra corn husks to fill in the gaps  in between.

Design Karin Lidbeck, Photo by Micahel Partenio
Created for Ct  Homes and Gardens Magazine

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fall Lingers- Styling a Home in the Berkshires or Better Homes and Gardens

As Fall lingers there is still a lot of beautiful foliage to admire

It does not take a lot to bring inside, small tokens of Autumn to enhance your home.  What I love about this kind of decorating is , for the most part, its just out there, in your yard or garden, along the roadside, in the woods, and,.....few things in life are free,  but nature is!                                         ( photos by Michael Partenio)

BH&G gave me that opportunity to style this beautiful home in the Berkshires designed by Architect Hope Dana of Platt Dana architects in NYC. A ranch renovation that dramatically changed the home by the generous addition of natural wood paneling.

The project was set for a fall issue, so I needed to enhance the room with fall touches and fall color.   I brought in new pillows, the orange leather poof and walked around the property to find the crab apples, berries and branches for the finishing touches. We set the table with the card games they enjoy and chose the perfect fall  beverage, apple cider.

With Photographer Michael Partenio, we recreated the perfect fall weekend with this family for our shoot. Before the shoot we discussed a typical weekend in Oct with the family to find out how they spend time together.  They love to play games by the fire, make candied apples, and family dinners on Sunday is a favorite meal.  A creamy apple butternut soup, with lots of cheese and bread on the side was the winner!

 Finding all the prefect ingredients and props for styling the table was a labor of love for me.
 I used a basket weave hurricane for the vase putting a glass inside to hold the water.

Michael did a fantastic job shooting the homeowner in the newly renovated porch.

The contrast of black used through with the light wood tones is a real winner!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Apples....November Style

Apple picking is always on my agenda in the fall but inevtably I come home with far more than I can ever use.
This wreath required some rebuilding, loosening, of the a grapevine wreath but I love the way the apples are nesteled in the vine. Thanks to Michale Partenio for making this gorgeous shot

Apple cider is at its best now and with Thanksgiving approaching it is a perfect non alchohlic beverage cold or hot.

Ct Homes and Gardens magazine asked me to create entertaining ideas for a Fall  Party. We had a picture perfect fall afternoon for shooting this  idea for serving cider.  For a inside or out party this combination of elements is easy to throw together. 

Use a large bowl and sit the bowl in the grapevine wreath,  ( I think I used two) surround with a variety of apples from the orchard. The gnarly ones on the ground are great for show!

A simple way to serve the cider that looks so appealing: just ad a slice of apple. These great glass mugs are from Crate and Barrel

For some Apple cider recipes with a twist check out these great ideas from Coryanne Ettiene on her entertaining blog:

All photos Bt Michael Partenio
Styling by Karin Lidbeck

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Adding to yesterday’s post: Since setting a table with bittersweet may be a bigger project than you care to tackle, I thought to throw in a few of the simpler projects that require no more time than a few minutes of attention.

Adding a few berries to a votive is a nice way to get some of that bursting orange and yellow color in the house.

                                                     photo by Michael Partenio

A tall clear vase or hurricane is a perfect vessel to show off a simple cutting of vine, Adding a showy branch  to the mix makes a nice fall embellishment for any corner. (no water needed)

 Heading out today with a large sheet for the back of my car and scissors; I noticed masses of bittersweet down the road that I will look great at my front door.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bittersweet is Abundant in November

Driving along the road yesterday, the trees finally bare, I noticed the bittersweet stands out more than ever covering fences, telephone poles, bushes and trees. It reminded me of the story I produced last Nov for this years 2011 Oct BH&G table top decorating feature. Yes, we work a full year in advance. Eric liskey of BH&G called me to produce ideas for decorating with Bittersweet in the fall. I produced dozens of sketches of ideas and we narrowed it down to these. I searched for the perfect location and props to create the finished  ideas, and then worked with Micahel Partenio to photograph the projects.

This was a really fun design project with an emphasis was on easy, but, Warning, Bittersweet is messy but its beauty makes the clean up worth it
The pumpkins, while I used white,  could be orange , green and even the fake ones work.  ( hint one of these is fake two are not, can you tell???) Its easy to wrap the pumpkins with the bittersweet vine. Use U pins (from floral or craft store to hold them in place.

The glass balls from the craft or home decor store are easily filled with a few bittersweet berries. A glass marker is perfect for  writing a guests name to create a place card.

The runner is made from napkins. The color was so perfect for a runner I had to use them, and why not!!! Just lay the napkins down so the seams overlap. ( you can see its barely noticeable in the big close up of tablescape).

Photography by Michael Partenio, Designs and styling by Karin Lidbeck

Look for the full story in the Oct 2011 Better Homes and Gardens.

A Welcoming Fall Door

Now that everyone is settling back inside, gearing up for the colder months ahead. The entrance to your home should be more inviting than ever.  These two projects I created for Good Housekeeping magazine

While I usually prefer Natural leaves,  you can get great deals on fall silk garlands now. Double up store bought garlands of silk leaves so you have a thicker than usual border around the door.  I added small branches of the real leaves pushed into the garland to bring it life.  Place a grouping of pumpkins and large gourds on the stoop. Perfect for Thanksgiving!

Not as Hard as it looks" Nut Wreath"
For something a bit more intimate, perhaps just a wreath. I have tons of acorns that fall from the Oak trees on my property, I love to gather them like shells on the beach, but then what??

I came up with this wreath for a Good Housekeeping article a few years back. It takes a lot of glue gun action to cover a grapevine wreath  but the end result is very pretty,  I added some seasonal nuts too, and silk leaves I borrowed from a garland.

Photos by Tria Giovan  Project copyrights by Karin Lidbeck

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Trip to the Farmstand- What to do with Indian Corn

Corn Vase

The corn vase is absolutely my favorite!  I created this for Connecticut Homes and Gardens magazine Harvest Ideas. Just what can you do with Indian corn besides hang it on a door??

TRY THIS, It will look fantastic in your entryway or on any table.
How to: Wrap the can with rubber bands.  Then remove the husks from corn and simply slide the corn cobs in standing them upright. Cover the rubber bands with twine!!!  How easy was that?   Now fill with fall flowers like dahlias, mums, berries and asters!

Photography property of Micahel Partenio, Design by Karin Lidbeck

Fall Harvest ideas for the home

Pumpkin Vase

Pumpkins make the best vases, but picking the pumpkin for its unusual color makes it even more attention grabbing. I created this centerpiece as part of a entertaining story for Ct Homes and Gardens magazine
How to: Cut the top of the pumpkin off.  Fill it with end of the season Fall hydrangeas, twisted grapevine makes a great basket handle pushed into sides, chrysanthemums or even try Montauk daisies.  Photo by Michael Partenio

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tis the season for Egg Dying!

After years of designing Easter eggs for articles, these are my favorite because they are so easy to make and beautiful.

Create these eggs with the food coloring you have in the kitchen. A few drops of color in one cup water and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Use hard boiled eggs. For really pale eggs, just a few minutes per egg

Create the brown splatter with a toothbrush. Mix all the food coloring together to create brown black , dip toothbrush bristles in coloring, blot off extra liquid, and run fingers against bristles to splatter.

Thats an upside down flower pot painted yellow I used for the base with the planter dish resting on top
Green grass makes a nice border!

photo by Michael Partenio Designed by Karin Lidbeck

Friday, April 8, 2011

Note card Vase

Make this note card vase! there re so many beautiful patterned note cards and I am always looking for creative things to do with them . I came up with this easy idea while designing my daffodil story for GH.
Simply tape ( double stick tape) 4 cards, one side to another with patterned side showing, creating a square. Place glass inside with water. Add flowers!

PS Daffodils are blooming and while it may be hard to cut them from your garden you can buy potted daffodils at the grocery store for little. Cut the flowers to make a beautiful arrangement then plant the bulbs outside where you went them to bloom next year.
Remember do not cut leaves until they yellow or they will not return!

Photo by Michael Partenio, Designed by Karin Lidbeck