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