Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Crepe Paper Halloween, Back to Basics

A number of years ago, My friend, vintage Halloween collector Bruce Elsass, shared his Halloween decor books from the 1920's with me.  Looking through these books I was blown away by the creativity of earlier days. I decided crepe paper needed a revival.

With Crepe paper in mind I designed numerous Halloween projects betwen 2011 and 2013 for Good Housekeeping and Country Living magazine,  like this candy bowl elf.  Using a round piƱata as a form underneath, I made this lively creature and his hat from crepe paper rolls and folds.  Remove the hat to find the treats inside!
Then, with simple rolls of crepe paper creativley cut, I made shaped ribbons, and festooned doilys to make a fantastic table skirt to show off the candy bowl elf!  Double sided tape works wonders.

The mantle is an obvious place to play out some Halloween drama. Using Black crepe paper folds ( 2 packages for a bow this big), I fashioned a stylish funeralesque black bow.
It was time to rethink ways to hang crepe paper over the party table.  I taped the crepe paper swags to 2 long lattice strips adhered to the ceiling with sticky back velcro squares.  Gravestone slipcovers: roll of gray crepe paper, cut to chair back shape.  Staple sides and use a wide mouth magic marker for the tombstone engravings.
This adorable witches hat was taken right from the pages of a 1920's Halloween manuel. A fun new centerpiece that takes your purchased black witch hat to a new height.  Tape shredded crepe paper to inside of hat.  Use rolls of orange over a black table cloth to create a criss cross table runner.

You can buy crepe paper rolls and folds at any party store and also find larger rolls in different weights, and bigger quantities online. 

With weeks ahead to plan your Halloween event you might want to include some good old fshioned crepe paper ideas in your festivities.

All photography by Michael Partenio, projects designed amd styled by Karin Lidbeck for Good Housekeeping and Country Living magazines.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Eggs 101

Decorating eggs is just plain fun at any age and the applications are endless.  It's so easy hard boil a big pot of eggs and then go to town with what every you have on hand. Over the years I've tried many things, here are a few of my favorites!

Watercolors are a great alternative to egg dye!  Pre mix watercolor in bowls, wet the egg with water and brush on color!
Its fun watching the paint swirl and mix into it's own design.

You can dye your eggs with food coloring too.  Splatter your eggs with a toothbrush of brown color for a Robins egg effect.

Crepe paper petals are easier to make than you think.

Cut crepe paper streamer and adhere to the egg with double stick tape.

Transforms an egg to a daisy.

I loved using scrap booking papers to turn dyed eggs into whimsical flowers.

Cut tiny flowers from silk branches to make delicate garden eggs. 

These brown paper creations are made with a paper punch and small scissors to cut little designs.

Natural eggs can be stunning added to your table centerpiece.

  Simplicity is sublime with a one color palette of acrylic paint.

The option are endless, so why not make eggs part of your holiday celebration.  If your thinking beyond the egg for some Holiday and Spring Ideas, you can find more of my DIY projects at the The Daily Basic magazine.

Happy Easter!

Photos by Michale Partenio


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Bedroom Makeover - Between friends

I was so excited and happy when my good friend Pat Decker asked me to design the makeover of her bedroom.
Then...we were both really excited when Better Homes and Gardens magazine "REFRESH" decided they wanted to publish it.  What a great testimony to our venture!
Get the full story in this winter issue 2015

Here is how it went! When Pat called me, there were 2 major challenges with Pats bedroom:
1.  She wanted to keep all of her furniture for sentimental reasons but she also
     desperately wanted to change it.
2.  She wanted a new look, but had a small budget. Pat was uncertain about a style
     direction......except she really loved the color RED!

I set off to find a rug with a good punch of red!‎ served it up with this design we used as a bold design anchor.  The raspberry red from the rug was matched to a Rapberry red paint from www.benjaminmoore for the furniture.

It's amazing what can be transformed with Paint!
I painted all the dark wood furniture with 4 coats of gloss paint which totally transformed their look, making Pat fall back in love with them again. New Crystal knobs and nickel on everything perked up the finish.

I thought the old brass bed just had to go, but Pat could not part with it!  Why throw away something you can fix?  She was right!  I transformed the bed with Krylon paints, using a black flat finish with a dusted shimmer of nickel.  The bed now feels a bit modern industrial but the bedding brings it back to feminine!

The wall behind the bed needed something special and I liked the idea of softening the wall with fabric. After a trip to the flea market for glass knobs, I attached them to a painted pine board. This idea means Pat can change the fabric for a new seasonal backdrop anytime!

Personally, My favorite thing was finding the collection of vintage NYC subway maps. The graphics are wonderful.   They seemed prefect for Pat who's heart is usually half  in NYC and half in Ct.
                                   Subway maps from

Red can be an overwhelming color if it is not balanced with complimentary colors. Adding the gray wall quiets the red while letting it pop! The blue and black accents and mix of patterns makes the room bold and interesting.
Once we had our secondary palette, finding accessories in these colors was fun and everything just fell into place!
Lamps and Chairs from Target!

As far as working with friends, It was so great working with Pat who's enthusiasm and mind was open to all the possibilities!
I'm ready for our next project PAT! xxoo

All Photography by the talented Michael Partenio!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Outdoor Spaces, Winter lights, Snow!

What a difference some snow can make to a shoot!

During two days of shooting last week designing Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Entry's and wreaths (with photographer Kritsada and assistant Caitlin) in very, cold, rainy weather, we settled for fake snow for some winter effects.  Just one week later the Blizzard of 2015 arrives, timing is everything, reminding me of last years photo shoot, where we had more snow than we could handle.  We actually had to hire a pick up truck to take 4 loads of snow away to get the following photos that appeared in the Holiday issue of Better Homes and Gardens holiday Issue Dec 2014.

 Dressing up the Winter landscape

Hired by the Better Homes and Gardens magazine Garden group I designed lighting ideas for gracing outdoor spaces to cheer up the bleak winter months.  Working at the beautiful Connecticut home of style Blogger Amy Cupp Dragoo as our backdrop, Amy worked with me to fill her snow laden spaces with lighting ideas of all kinds. 

These ice globe lanterns are easy to make and lasting, adding magic to Amy's entry!  Find out more at

 Using solar powered paper lanterns takes away the mess and maze of extension cords, you can create whimsy and impact with large groupings in garden spaces, like this arbor Amy designed to sit center stage in her back yard.

Light the way from winter into spring. Amy's pretty fence was a great backdrop for a garland I made from rope festooning small battery powered lanterns and pine cones stars.  Buy yardage of heavy Rope at Home Depot or Lowes and swag away.

I bought the yardage of heavy Rope at Home Depot or Lowes.  Swag away!  Pine cone Stars made by Greta Ribb of Thefloralfactory

I love the way Amy designed this small courtyard with her Adirondack chairs center stage.
The big pictures window was a perfect invitation for hanging stands of vertical battery powered  lights. 

 No matter how frosty Amy designed this space to feel warm and cozy! 
The best part of this week long shoot was all the yummy food Amy made to sustain us.
Amy has great ideas for food and entertaining on her blog.
Thanks Amy for all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Past- The Seasons Best

Christmas comes and goes with the month of Dec.  For me, styling Christmas for magazines, it starts in Dec and often just keeps on going.......

As this years long awaited December issues started to to arrive I was quickly reminded of what a long holiday season last year was, as well as a very cold white one!

It started with the first snowfall of the season.  I shared in the excitement of working with Interior Designer Lisa Hilderbrand at her home for Traditional Home Magazine.  Lisa's holiday is a Christmas, deep in tradition with layer upon layer of elegant holiday finery.

The living room, the heart of the home, was a styling dream come true. So many beautiful things to play with.

Lisa's tree has over 5000 ornaments! 

Every inch of her home is decked out with beautiful trims,  ornaments, and greenery,....


 and touches of Amaryllis in every room.

Working with photographer John Bessler is always a delight.
To see the full story, go to Traditional Home magazine. Winter 2015  

Then there was this quintessential country cabin, A perfect retreat for a snow laden Christmas in the woods.

This wooded cozy cabin offered a different kind of holiday magic with faux furs, and plaids.

 I made this wreath from scraps of faux furs wrapped around a Styrofoam form!

           Multiple scrabble boards and jars of scrabble letters makes a crowd pleasing runner for the holiday table. 

Birds and snowy owls, pine cones and bells draped the tree!

I can smell the Holiday breads baking in this charming kitchen! 
Rhododendrons leaves brought in from the frozen tundra perk up in warm water and make gorgeous bouquets!

Thanks to Interior designer Claudia Farias Kalur of A Room for Frances for sharing this magical spot with me!

And thanks to assistants Monica and Shelly for wrangling with that tree!

Another great shoot with photographer Michael Partenio.
To see the full story, beautiful Christmas Ideas and images go to Christmas Ideas magazine. Winter 2015

As the winter progressed the snow got deeper and deeper!  In three feet of snow I set out to find another Christmas tree. A feat in itself! With a snowmobile, shovels and a big pick up truck I found the perfect 9 ft tree.  That was the beginning of the Country Living magazine project, showcasing this beautiful renovation of a classic New England Home. 

It was a memorable week working with Country living Editor Jamie Supsic.

The end result was very Merry!

 and filled with festive ideas!

     jingle bells and boughs of holly!

The behind the scenes action can be quite a mess! Thanks Monica and Marilyn your back breaking work!

Thanks to photographer Max Kim Bee for his hard work!
See the full story in the "Country Living" Magazine, Dec 2014 issue 

I still had one more Winter feature where snow was crucial for Better Homes and Gardens magazine! 
Shot at the charming Country Home of Amy Cupp Dragoo, we created some inspirational outdoor lighting ideas for keeping the lights glowing throughout the Winter months.

Stay tuned in my next post for images from that memorable shoot!