Friday, December 28, 2012

New Years Eve Party Decor

Shimmer And Shine With 2 Great New Year's Eve Party Ideas

Are you looking for some clever decorating ideas to dress up your New Year's Eve table? Are your plans for New Year's Eve formal, casual or intimate? Below you'll find 2 Entertaining Ideas that will make your party guests feel extra special.

Party Idea 1
If you are having a seated dinner party, you can make the party favors the center of attention.  Glass vases and glass hurricanes can hold some of the party favors in the center: noise makers, blowers, masks, poppers and streamers. Display the party favors on your table for guests to grab and chose from.  It's fun, so let the party begin!

Party Idea 2
Pictured above is a bar buffet which is a great plan of attack for large gatherings. Set a dramatic scene by using items of black and white with splashes of silver. Peel and stick numbers are available at your local craft store. The balloons then adhere easily to the wall by using double-stick tape. Get ready for the New Years Eve Countdown!

A simple way to keep track of your guests drinking glasses is to add peel and stick numbers.

Styling for Wayfair by Karin Lidbeck; Photos by Joe Keller

Which one of these ideas from Wayfair works best for you? For more information, go to The Wayfair Idea Lounge at: 

Monday, December 24, 2012

1 Day Countdown- Wishing You a Merry Christmas

Friends, Family And Joy

This holiday season, I do hope that your home is filled with joy and that you have plenty time to do the things you love with family and friends. Each Christmas season is unique providing family traditions that make it our own.  It is my favorite season, a time of creativity and celebration. 

 W hich ever way we choose to celebrate this time of year- whether baking, crafting, entertaining, gifting, volunteering or simply reflecting, it's when we express love and gratitude, provide forgiveness and patience and happily give and help others. This is a good time to express our appreciation for the amazing world we live in.

I've had fun sharing a few special Holiday projects with you on my 25 day countdown to Christmas.

I hope this wonderful Christmas Holiday has wrapped itself around you and embraced you with all that you had wished it to be- today, tomorrow and the coming New Year.


   Styled for Country Living Magazine.  Photos by Tria Giovan
 ________________ * _______________

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2 Day Countdown- Create Your Very Own White Christmas

Let It Snow!

Who doesn't hope to wake up to a snowy White Christmas? For most of us it will be just a dream. However, you can create your very own White Christmas morning using ornamental snowflakes available in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials.

                           Styled for Christmas Idea Magazine-2010; Photo by Michael Partenio

You can create a snow-filled holiday by taking an empty small, medium or large frame and add a variety of appropriately proportioned snowflakes to create this snowy-art-project.  You can choose from  plenty of snowflake ornaments available in local department stores, Christmas shops and garden centers.

1- Using white thread or fishing line, hang the snowflakes in the frame by stapling, taping or tacking the thread to the top of the frame on the back side.

2- The easiest way to add the flakes is to lay the frame face down on the floor and tie your lines to the top of each snowflake.

3- Lay the snowflake face down positioned inside the frame where you want it to appear view from the front. Pull the line up to the top and secure.

Now you have a White Christmas Snowflake frame to wake up to!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

3 Day Countdown: Ornamental Holiday Cranberry Rings Kids Can Make On Their Own!

Holiday Hustle And Bustle 

When busy with holiday chores, you can create projects to keep little hands busy as their excitement grows. 
It's a great idea!

Photo by Michael Partenio

The little cranberry ring ornament pictured above is simple for kids to make. When completed, they will enjoy helping to decorate the family tree with their very own creation! 

 1  In your favorite place to gather and create, provide a roll of green garden wire next to a large bowl of beautiful fresh seasonal cranberries.

 2  Pre-cut several 12" lengths of wire or have the kids cut their own.

 3  String cranberries onto the wire and then twist the wire together at the top. Place each ornament onto your tree as you make them!

                                 _____________  *  ____________

Thursday, December 20, 2012

5 Day Countdown: Winter Wonderland Inspired Table

 Your invitation to Christmas dinner served on this glamorous holiday table is happily accepted.

 This pretty holiday table creation is the inspiration of our holiday photo-shoot: a Winter Wonderland with herds of silver reindeer, a forest of white feather trees and small garden spruces.

 Creating a winter scene is easy when starting with a palate of white and silver. A perfect base for setting down the centerpiece of snowy white trees and reindeer is a white linen tablecloth with a sheer silvery runner laid above. Included in the mix are bits of silver pine cones, mercury glass votives, silver candles and glassware which add the sparkle of glistening snow.

 Now add a red natural accent: little pretty splashes of holly berries nestled in silver votives.

 Plain white dinner plates are made special when accented with festive red holiday plates placed on top. You can use a simple, new table cloth with your best chinaware or dress up your table with an elaborate, dazzling display just like the Wayfair table pictured above. 

 The dining table is where we all come together. It's a special gathering place for family and friends where they'll tell stories, laugh and enjoy the glorious food received. Setting a unique holiday table will enhance this festive atmosphere and add to the dining experience for one and all.

All Photos Courtesy of Joe Keller

                                    _______________ * ______________

Whether your plan is simple or grand, I wish you a wonderful Christmas Day. My thoughts along with the prayers of our Country will be with the families in Newtown, CT, the lives lost and those who's lives have been drastically changed.  Their holiday season will forever be changed.  I hope that the love and support  that has been pouring in from around the World will help with their healing. 

Click link below for great Wayfair Holiday Decorating Ideas and Products:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

6 day Countdown - Creative Holiday Wrapping

One of my favorite materials to wrap presents with is old fashioned brown parcel paper. It's a sturdy, durable paper that doesn't rip easily. You can find brown parcel paper easily in supermarkets, hardware and stationery stores at 1/4 the cost of the more traditional paper available. Save your  pretty fabric and upholstery trims for decorative embellishments.

 How pretty brown paper appears mixed with red and silver touches! 
Photo by Michael Partenio

Using brown paper allows your decorative touch to take center stage. Favorite pretty ribbons mixed with cuttings from your garden create a traditional Christmas look inspired by nature.

Fasten kumquats and dried fruit slices into the pretty mix of naturals.
Photo by Michael Partenio

My good friend and creative inspiration, Joanne Palmisano, author of  'Salvage Secrets' and, loves the salvage concept and uses brown paper bags for her holiday wrapping.  Joanne adds paper doilies and found objects to create hand-made stencils for a personal touch. 

How wonderful this snow-flake pattern appears against the brown paper!  
Photo: courtesy of; photo by Joanne Palmisano

Wrapping Christmas presents may not be your favorite event, but creating your very own wrapping paper will make it memorable and fun!

Joanne Palmisano
Author of Salvage Secrets
Published by W.W. Norton & Company New York * London

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

7 day Countdown: Painted Holiday Carnations

Peppermint Holiday Carnations You Can Make Yourself 

One of my favorite holiday flowers are peppermint carnations, the pretty white carnation with a red fringe.  A few years ago while styling a photo shoot, discovered that these beautiful holiday flowers were difficult to find.

The situation forced me to be creative, and I simply made them myself!

Here's how you can make them too:

1- Purchase a bouquet of white carnations, a 1" flat tipped brush and some red acrylic paint.

2- Dip your brush in a bowl of red acrylic craft paint; remove excess paint.

3- Hold flower stem over the kitchen sink and lightly brush the tops edges only to create the effect.  Place the flower down for 5 minutes to dry.

4- Cut bottom tip of stem to refresh and place in water. Make your arrangement as usual!

In the 4 easy steps above, you will recreate beautiful Peppermint Carnations which will last for weeks.

Monday, December 17, 2012

8 Day Countdown- A Hot-Pink, Black & White Christmas

 This past October, I was given a wonderful assignment to work with Wayfair styling Christmas trees for their holiday shopping season. While conferring with the Wayfair marketing and editorial team of Kris Kennedy and Kate Karam, we selected 6 fun tree concepts to market the enormous selection of holiday products available at

We've all decorated the traditional evergreen tree, but not its time to move on and challenge yourself.

Hot pink Christmas. Don't you just love it!
The challenge decorating this tree was to convince everyone that a hot pink tree could be knock-dead gorgeous without appearing tacky.  I think we did it. This regal approach using an all silver and white palette of ornaments and satin ribbon makes a stunning tree.

The presents under the tree above are nestled within an improvised tree-skirt of a lush Flokati rug and invoke the appearance of a snow covered White Christmas morning.  So Cozy!

Contrasting Black Portrait Ornaments
If pink is just not your thing, perhaps this fun take on a family tree could be the perfect idea you were looking for. It shouts, "Hey, you can think out of the box!

I love a white tree, and making it even more stunning is the surprising addition of black.  The tree is decorated with contrasting family silhouette portraits and a star tree topper cut out of black paper.
      Black and white family pictures and monograms in small frames finish it off.

 I wish it was my idea!

All Photos By Joe Keller

Sunday, December 16, 2012

9 Day Countdown: A Magical Horse Drawn Sleighride!

  A Snow-Covered Winter Experience
A few years ago, Country Living Magazine asked that I travel north to Vermont to help style a photo-shoot of the fabulous Mountain Valley Farm in Waitsfield.  During each snow-covered Winter Season the farm's family members offer sleigh-rides through beautiful snow covered trails which transport all who participate back in time.

Travel through open fields of deep white snow as horse-drawn sleighs with jingling sleigh-bells glide past whistling cold air.  Heavy plaid blankets nestle you within to keep you warm.

With crisp cold temperatures in their teens, dry crystal-clear weather provided gorgeous views for these beautiful photos.

Viewing this team of horses pulling antique sleighs is well worth the trip.

This quintessential Vermont farmhouse sums up our fairy tale story!

My assistant and friend, Barbara Bourgeios and I enjoyed this most memorable experience thanks to our fabulous hosts, Sue and Gibb.

 If your looking for a fun winter destination:
The Mountain Valley Farm in Waitsfield, Vermont is a wonderful visual opportunity to be enjoyed by all who visit.

Check it out! :

Saturday, December 15, 2012

10 Day Countdown: Handmade Holiday Star Ornaments

Handmade Holiday Star Ornaments

Buying ornaments may be easy, but making your very own Christmas ornaments will create a special Holiday memory for years-to-come. AND you can collect, gift or reuse these ornaments as you create new Holiday ornaments year after year. 

It doesn't have to be complicated.  This pretty ornament made from the stalk of wheat looks just as pretty on the tree as it is decorated and wrapped to a gift. 

Let's get started and make the ornament below.

1-  You will need one bundle of Natural Dried Wheat Stalks available in bunches from your craft store.

2-  You will also need a bag of Woodsies variety pack of wood shapes, circles and teardrops, shown above available at A.C. Moore, Michael's Crafts, Joann Fabrics or your local craft store. You can also order your supplies online.

3-  Cut the shafts of wheat to short lengths to form star points and then glue to the back of the round center. Glue the small tear-drops to the front.

4-  As a final touch use a color marker of your choice to add color to your completed Holiday Star Ornament! 

Why not use the remaining wheat stalks to decorate your 
holiday table settings and holiday packages!

Friday, December 14, 2012

11 Day Countdown: Christmas Stroll Thru An Historical Connecticut Home

Looking through some of my favorite country Christmas projects, I found this quintessential Country Living Magazine Christmas story that you may enjoy. 

This 1777 Toll house antique cottage in Litchfield Connecticut was once a real "Toll" house. The home is now an historical landmark and speaks of earlier days when back-country roads of Connecticut were passable only by paying tolls.

Each and every year, Leslie Powell decorates her home to express an old fashioned Christmas, '... just like the one's we used to know'.  On a cold snowy morning in January, photographer Tria Giovan and I arrived at Leslie's home and then spent two days photographing the Christmas tradition that she creates each year.  We could not have been happier. 

Who wouldn't want to nestle up on the porch and next to a tree decorated with Fabric ornaments created by folk artist Jennifer Schneeman

Leslie's home exudes Christmas Holiday charm in each and every corner. This home is a dream-come-true for a stylist like me.

I remember the kitchen at Leslie's home fondly: glowing fireplaces, decorative evergreen and her kitchen filled with the aroma of baking bread and gingerbread. She lives the dream!  On special occasions, Leslie's husband, Stephan, cooks wonderful meals in the fireplace!  Sorry we missed that last one!

Everywhere we turned there was another gorgeous picture to take. We simply did not have enough time.   Tria and I were like kids in a candy shop. Her collection of antique cutting boards that graces her kitchen counter made a beautiful still life.

Leslie's collection of pewter and early-American earthenware pottery is endless and was perfect for styling this photo of goodies baked for our photo shoot. 

A centerpiece of fresh fruit tucked into a basket of pine boughs is an American tradition.  Pineapples were a Colonial symbol of hospitality.

Remarkable collections of antique samplers look beautiful on the wide wooden wall boards throughout Leslie's home. Every corner of her home has a story worth telling.

Leslie's story-book charm home is one we rarely see.   Just outside the door of her home we find a little cottage which houses her antique shop.

This little cottage on the property is Leslie's antique shop.  If you love her style, you'll love her shop!. It's filled with fabulous treasures and will add excitement to your journey.  She sells gorgeous fabric pin cushions created by folk artist Jennifer Schneeman.  I think I may go get one this weekend!
38 Old Turnpike Road
(1/8 mile off Route 202)
Bantam, CT 06750
(860) 567-3130

Want to see more pictures of Leslies beautiful home. Please click the link below to read more on this Country Living magazine Christmas:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 day Countdown - Making A Paper Bird-Ornament

Let's Create This White-Christmas-Bird-Ornament!

Using paper is a fast and to easy way to make Christmas ornaments when you want to add a personal  touch to your Holidays. Today, I want to show you how to create this simple White-Christmas-Bird-Ornament.

Once you have selected the paper, all you will need further is a pair of scissors and a glue stick.  Oh, and you will have to turn on your printer!

The focus for this December's Good Housekeeping Magazine Christmas Feature is this all-white tree with its hand-made birds perched on branches. You can create as few or as many as you like to decorate your tree.

I've included 6-Easy-Steps including the how-to pictures below to help guide you through the process. Putting together the cut paper pieces is easy.

1- Go to  the Good Housekeeping Magazine link below to retrieve the the pattern:

2- You will need to print out the above pattern on a sheet of 8" X 11" paper. 

3- Tape your pattern to light-weight card stock or 100 lb watercolor paper and then cut out the pieces to create your Christmas Bird.  You will have four pieces that look like these. Before assembling cut the tail and wing feathers.

4- With the body and wings folded as shown together, lay the wings over the body and glue them together with the glue stick

5- Glue the inside edges of the head to the body.

6- Insert the tail into on the fold at the back of the body. Angle tail and glue.

You now have a White-Christmas-Bird-Ornament!

 Good Housekeeping Photography By Michael Partenio

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

13 day countdown- A wonderful time of year

Creating Your Vision Of Christmas!
It's the time of year when images of lovely holiday splendor 
swirl through our thoughts.  

If you're as excited about the holidays as I am, the weeks leading toward your Christmas Holiday celebration will provide wonderful memorable moments as you and your family work together to create a home that glistens and glows with decorated trees, gorgeous halls that are decked with holly, mantles laden with evergreen and provide wonderful aromas of sweets, cookies and fruit that float from your kitchen.  Our homes whether large or small, play an important role in creating an atmosphere of holiday splendor.

Creating beautiful Holiday visions is my passion, and so I want to share a few of my favorite holiday moments with you!  I hope the photos below inspire you and your family.

"Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!"

  "Dreaming Of A White Christmas.

 "Old fashioned sleighs of Holiday greenery.

""Trees all aglow beckon you to sit and relax!

"Stockings hung for one and all.

"Christmas morning, and gifts under the tree.

'Tis the Season for baking!

"Your holiday table is a happy place to gather.

Styling by Karin Lidbeck-Brent for Better Homes and Gardens
Country Living Magazine and Good Housekeeping.

Photo credits in order from top:
1, 2, 3, 4: Tria Giovan 
5, 6, 7, 8: Michael Partenio