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.

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!