Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter Style

Setting The Spring Table

I came up with this vase idea many years ago when I came across a collection of old bulb planters at the flea market.   It's been a favorite style idea that I have used many times.  Last Spring, I created the spring table setting pictured below for Good Housekeeping magazine as part of a Easter Celevration feature.

Celebrate springs arrival with a line up of small bouquets down the center of the dining table.

Here's what you'll need to make it:
- Metal bulb planters (garden centers, hardware stores, flea markets).
- juice glasses (to fit inside bulb planters with water)
- 8” round terracotta trays
- Moss
- Decorative birds eggs

For each planter:
- 4 large hyacinth 
- 3 daffodils 
- 5 Grape or Muscari Hyacinths

1- Surround planter with moss that can be purchased from a floral-craft center. You can also use fresh moss which may be found in your yard.

2- Slip a small spade between the moss and the dirt and gently pull up in sections.

3- Mist moss regularly to keep moist.

The beautiful Italian Linen Table cloth  from 'Best Monogram':

Photo by Michael Partenio 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vintage Floral Inspirations

Floral Inspirations

As a regular contributor styling floral arrangements for BH&Gs Country Gardens magazine, I'm thrilled to share the current floral feature with you. It was so much fun to create.
As a designer, I look for inspiration and ideas for projects everywhere. One day while combing through my bins of vintage fabrics for table cloths, this idea came to me.

The idea:
Take inspiration from gorgeous textile designs that use nature as their source. It's a creative approach for those who love floral styling. My wonderful editor, James Baggett, liked it too!

This was an assignment that screamed, "Have fun!":
 I took 7 fabrics and went to town making arrangements in a still life 
setting which echos the original textile design.

1970's Grandma's Garden
Ive had this fabric forever and at last, I've found a use for it!   I used luscious peonies instead of roses in a the soft bed of spirea cluster.  The leaves and teal-green hues in the background directed my vessel choice.  I used a favorite tray of the same hue as a base to place complimentary vintage bottles and other natural things.

1950's Americana

I love the stylized flowers in this1950's Americana fabric. Climbing Roses, Thistles, Fuschia, Dahlias and Yarrow were the flowers often interpreted in the Pennsylvanis Dutch style designs.  The pewter vase  echoes the grey blue Liberty bell in the fabric.

1960's  Floribunda
The monochromatic color scheme (above) motivated my search for flowers in hues of cream, yellow and white dahlias and assorted varieties of roses. Gathering the objects to create these Dutch style still lifes was an adventure in itself.

Setting the scene: Look for objects that capture the period, style and color hues.  The pitchers capture perfectly the yellow-brown used heavily in the fabric giving that deep rich value to the arrangement.

1980's Chintz
Finding the  flowers that mimicked this textile was worth the trip to garden center, Delphiniums, Peonies, Honeysuckle, Weigela, Fuschia are some of the blossoms in this arrangement. In the summer  your local nursery is the place to go for an enormous choice of flowering blooms.  Buy the perennials, cut the blossoms, then pop the remaining plant in your garden for next years color.

Thank you to photographer, Joe Keller, for working with me on this shoot 
and for his gorgeous photos.
Look for the entire feature article  in the current Spring 2013 Better Homes and Gardens Country Gardens magazine.

 For more ideas on inspirations with Vintage Fabrics  you can go to my blog post for New England Homes magazines .

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Gift for Me!

This Christmas season, the best gift I could have given myself was to turn myself off! And I did!  No blogging through Christmas and I slowed down my work machine to manageable pace!

It has been a relaxing month, taking time for holiday decorations, spending time with my husband, my family, baking, making, shopping and just enjoying just being home.

I hope everyone found some time in their own way to make their own holiday magic and also take special time for themselves!

                 Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you

            Tree of felt crafts designed by Karin Lidbeck for Good Housekeeping Dec 2013 issue. Photo by Michael Partenio

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Notes from the Field:  Harvesting the pumpkin

As a contributor to New England Homes Homes Magazine I write for the NEH Blog a few times a month.  Since my  theme this month has been all about pumpkins I thought I'd share this post that I wrote last week for

Now that Halloween is over, you may find yourself with a few un-carved pumpkins. There’s no need to discard them. The fall season is far from over and the Thanksgiving Holiday is the perfect time for using pumpkins for something more than just a pretty Jack-O-lantern.
Floral arranging is one of my greatest passions and I use pumpkins as my go-to vessel to create center stage arrangements during fall.

A typical Jack O Lantern pumpkin can be carved into the shape of a basket,   Scoop out the center.  Place wet floral foam   inside to hold flowers and a candle
A large, flat shaped pumpkin like this Cinderella pumpkin makes a great container to create a small garden scape.  I planted the miniature tropicals sold for terrariums in dirt that I placed in the inside . Then I topped it off with moss dug up from my yard.  Add garden decorative s to create a little fairy, Enjoy for a few week!


As your fall garden fades, bringing some color to your landscape is easy by using the birdbath as a vessel. I mixed gourds, green pumpkins, cabbage, bittersweet and grapevine together to create this autumnal arrangement. Why not bring it to your front entryway as a great welcoming display!

Photos by Andre Baranowski

For more floral arranging and entertaining ideas for the holiday, visit my blog:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Heirloom Pumpkin Basket

Beyond Halloween

From October through November, you will find a large variety of heirloom pumpkins at your local garden centers.  Bring them inside away from the frost and they will last through thanksgiving!

If the last remnants of your Fall garden have survived the frost, its not too late to create a pretty pumpkin centerpiece. Simply cut foliage and flowers and then add them to the interior of your favorite pumpkin

Cut a hole in top of pumpkin and place a 
container of water inside. 
Now add your arrangement.

This arrangement above is a mix of the season's last hydrangeas, late blooming asters, vine berries, poke weed, and wild flowers. Even artificial flowers would look great!

For Added Style, Create A Faux Fall Basket:
1- Pull apart a grapevine wreath and wrap a large portion loosely
      around your pumpkin.
2- Take enough of the end of the grapevine to create a faux handle.

You have just created a beautiful Faux Fall Basket!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Carved Pumpkins: Several Of My Favorites!

With Halloween approaching, 'tis the season for carving!

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite carving projects. 
After all, there is nothing more appealing during 
Halloween than a glowing pumpkin!

A bird with leaves seemed like a twist on the scary Jack-O-Lanterns that  
I've carved over the years.  It fit perfectly within the nature inspired story 
I created for the 2013 Fall issue of 'Country Gardens' magazine.

Photo: Andre Baranowski

For the 2009 'Good Housekeeping' issue, I created a cast of amusing 
characters by adding props to enhance their personality.

Photo: Michael Partenio

Trees painted with black gloss enamel craft paint will hold up 
to rain and cold.  To make the little stars around the painted back 
trees, I used a screw-driver pushed into the pumpkins.

Photo: Michael Partenio

Create these little 7" to 8" sugar pumpkin Jack-O-Lanterns:
After carving designs into the pumpkins, I created the above 
Chinese style lanterns to sit on a mantle by using black 
poster board as a base and faux handle.

Photo: Michael Partenio

This pumpkin-bonfire was a bit hit in the 'Better Homes and Gardens
pumpkin party feature described in my previous blog.

BOOoO! An elegant Jack-O-Lantern created for 'Garden Design' magazine.

Photo: Andre Baranowski 

During Halloween, there is nothing more mystically heart-warming 
than glowing pumpkins.

 Happy Carving!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Planning Your Pumpkin Party

Let's Throw A Pumpkin Party!

During years of working as a stylist, I have created Fall parties for many magazines and have thrown quite a few of my own.

One personal favorite is this pumpkin party designed for Better Homes and Gardens in Vermont.  It's full of great ideas that you can use to add flair to your own gathering-of-friends this Fall season!

While scouting through Vermont, I found this location through my good friend, Joanne Palmisano, of Salvage Secrets. Joanne's friend, Holly, owns this fabulous farmhouse  framed by a pumpkin patch which grows around the porch.  

I scouted the house and proposed the idea to Better Homes and Gardens, and voila! The next thing I knew I was on my way back to Vermont with photographer, Helen Norman, to create the perfect pumpkin party. I hired Joanne to help and of course,!

We picked up hay bails, dozens of pumpkins, bought the food, and made all of our decorations. Then the guests arrived including Joanne and her family!

 Dress Up The Door
Grouping pumpkins by the front door is a natural. You can add fall color by 
pushing the stem of tall maples leaves into holes cut into pumpkin top.

Set The Table
If the weather cooperates, bring a table and chairs outdoors 
and set with pumpkins down the center. Place pumpkins generously around to set a mood.

Use a large pumpkin as a container for the apple cider by scooping out all the

seeds until clean. Now, add the cider.  Have extra apples on hand to set the stage.
Canning jars with cinnamon sticks make great glasses.

Entertaining The Kids: 1. Set up bails of hay and place small pumpkins all around. The kids will entertain themselves on a grassy area while painting the pumpkins.

2. Have extra tee-shirts in a basket to protect clothing.

3. Fill muffin tins with a few colors of craft paints; fill large garden baskets for water; provide small buckets to hold paint brushes.

At the end of the day a bonfire is the best part. Here is an idea! Make your bonfire from pumpkins carved with flames. Stack inside a ring of logs.  Ive come up with  a lot of pumpkin ideas over the years but this one received the most oohh's and ahhh's.
Keep a basket of blankets outside for the fall chill.

Better Homes and Gardens magazine  has great ideas for fall entertaining.  You can see this full article in the Better Homes and Gardens Oct. 2010 issue.