Design Your New Year

Happy 2011!

The New Year is a fantastic time for us all to step back, take a breath, and take stock of where we’ve been and where we’d like to go. After a week under the weather, I am doing just that.

ten_logo_ copyI thought you’d like to re-visit (or perhaps visit for the first time) some wonderful resolution advice from ten design experts. So dive into the content at “Ten,” the online special event that interior designer and color maven, Sonu Mathew and I produced last year.

Ten Design Experts

The New Year’s Resolutions & The Design Experts

  1. Have Fun” with Interior Designer Jamie Drake
  2. Learn from the Past” with Antiques Expert Judith Miller
  3. Get Organized” with Pottery Barn’s Creative Director, Clay Ide
  4. Improve Your Relationship” with Interior Designer Kenneth Brown
  5. Exercise More” with Fitness Expert Ramona Braganza
  6. Be More Green & Save Green” with Production & Interior Designer
    Kelly Van Patter
  7. Learn More” with Color Educator Kate Smith
  8. Make Time for Family & Friends” with Entertaining Guru Jenn Sbranti
  9. Expand Your Horizons” with Wine Consultant Michael Green
  10. Give Back” with You!

Expert design and living tips (and a whole lot of fun) here — Enjoy!


A New Year’s Eve Celebration of Winter

Winter storms are making a frequent appearance this year. For New Year’s Eve, why not celebrate the beauty of the season? We are once again hosting a New Year’s Eve party that embraces the chilly weather.

A New Year's Eve Party that Celebrates Winter

Not black-tie affairs, our gatherings are family friendly, with kiddos and adults alike welcoming the new year together. (Remember when you were a kid, and you were allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve? It was a really special, right?)

We have fun sharing appetizers we’ve all made, catching up, enjoying music and games. The kids usually hit the dress up box, then huddle in a room to plot and practice this year’s brand of theater, and about an hour later treat us to a rowdy show.

We leave up our Christmas decorations that we worked so hard on – this year a fun and funky batch of original ornaments. I’m happy that this year our tree is now decked in multicolored LED lights — love ‘em, and their power savings.

We usually break out the carefully saved New Year’s Hats. Ours were looking a bit tired, so this year we crafted our own design by recycling old Christmas gift boxes! There’s a peek at one of the designs (top). The hats turned out fantastic and are easy to make. Read the simple step-by-step instructions on my guest post over at Care2.

Stega-snow-rus Snow Sculpture

But the highlight of our New Year’s Eve Party is always winter itself. It’s become a tradition to bundle up and create a snow sculpture on our back deck. People come armed with ideas that are plopped into a hat. One of the kids reads aloud all the suggested chilly creations. We take a vote and from about 10 to midnight we build the winning sculpture.

The Sphinx Snow Sculpture

The year we had gobs of snow it was The Sphinx and a pyramid. There was the “Stega-snow-rus” that we found in that snow sculpture book. The alien and UFO, and the hand-carved igloo.

SnowMan Hot Tub Snow Sculpture

Most of us agree that the best creation to date was this snow man hot tub (our buddy Steve Lambert’s brainstorm) complete with assorted chilly characters donning the best in wild winter fashion and beverages. (We don’t actually have a hot tub – just built one out of snow.)

So this year, embrace the winter weather wherever you are, your family and friends, and have a party that celebrates the season.

Happy New Year! Let’s make 2011 the best yet!

The Perfect Hostess Gift To Give…or Receive!

by Mari Robeson

It’s party time and Mari Robeson has good advice for us. Mari—Interior Design expert and Contributor—takes us inside the world of design, and helps us bring beauty and color to the places we call home.

What a wonderful holiday season it has been and just two days left to say good-bye
to 2010.

No doubt you’ve been invited to numerous New Year’s Eve parties. I love a good party and never want to show up empty-handed. I’m always grateful when company is so thoughtful to bring a little something for the hostess. It’s a wonderful way to acknowledge your friends and let them know how much you appreciate the effort it takes to throw a party.

So I’ve put together a list of My Top Ten Favorite Gifts to Give, even better, to receive, not just New Years Eve but all year round!


1. A small cutting board, some favorite cheeses, and a cheese knife. All wrapped together in a little basket. You can’t go wrong with a quick trip to Trader Joe’s for some delicious cheeses or any cooking accessory from The Pampered Chef.

2. A beautiful hand-printed tea towel wrapped around a bottle of wine. I’m a huge admirer of Pata Pri’s hand silk screened tea towels and a bottle of JLohr Cabernet.

3. For your friends who like to cook, these Floral Sculpted Nesting Bowls are not only functional but beautiful.

4. Speaking of cooking…next time your hostess makes her delicious cupcakes she’ll be thrilled to have these handmade toppers from Amy Bakes Cupcakes.

5. Recently, I was lucky enough to receive a yummy jar of candied walnuts from my neighbor, Terri, who actually cracked all the nuts herself. Now that’s love! These are so good. Eat them plain or in a salad! Yum! Martha Stewart shows how you can make your own.

6. What about a sweet-smelling sachet? These are so pretty!

7. We all love a cute apron and Funktion Home makes my favorites.

8. Something really thoughtful is personalized stationery. I’m loving these designs by Silhouette Blue.

9. A hostess is always so thrilled to receive flowers. Think of the colors of her home and décor when purchasing, and she’ll really love you if you put the blooms in a special vase like this one from Fleet.

10. Last but not least, who doesn’t like a pretty calendar to kick start the new year? This year I gave my friends my 2011 Peacock Calendar & matching Wrapping Paper. These are lovely too! Or you can print your own with these fantastic designs by BlueTricycle.

I hope you have a lovely and safe New Years and remember to
Thank your Host & Hostess!



Designer Mari RobesonMari Robeson — an Interior and Product Designer, and a published Illustrator — strives to bring beauty into the world whenever she can. Mari shares with us her Interior Design tips and advice, and makes learning design concepts fun. With her fresh, creative projects, Mari spreads her love of color and beautiful textiles.

Mari has designed everything from restaurants to children’s rooms. She recently launched her own line of home décor accessories and textiles. She and her husband own WM Design Consultants on the beautiful Central California Coast.

Most days you can find Mari working up her latest designs or teaching Interior Design Workshops in her colorful studio nestled in the countryside.

What’s your favorite hostess gift to give or receive?

Take a Little Walk with Me

Even this Design Junkie knows there is more to life than design (hard to believe, I know.)

So I hope during these holidays, you are able to enjoy time with your loved ones, and to get out and explore some of the great things your neighborhood has to offer.

In our neck of the woods is a small puddle known as Lake Tahoe; I thought I’d bring you along on one of our favorite trails….

I am truly grateful for your enthusiasm and support for

from KathyHappy Holidays to You and Yours!

(And tomorrow back to our regular content.)

Pip’s Crocheted Christmas Baubles – DIY Ornament #21

Pip's Colorful Crocheted Christmas Baubles - DIY Ornaments

When I spied Australian Pip Lincolne’s crochet-clothed glass baubles – I knew you’d eat them up. Pip was thrilled to share–yay!–so dig in and enjoy Day #21 of 30 Days of DIY Designer Ornaments.

The blend of warm, colorful yarns against the shiny glass is striking. Such a play of textures. It’s a nostalgic flashback for me, to the granny squares I learned to crochet on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. But way more cool.

Great Crochet Ornament Tutorial with Photos

Read the clear step-by-step instructions, and partake in contagious crafting and decorating enthusiasm at Pip’s blog, Meet Me At Mike’s.

What a graphic confection is Pip’s mini-tree adorned in baubles
(and Pip herself for that matter!).

Pip and Her Tree Full of Crocheted Ornament Lovelies

Thanks for visiting Day #21 of 30 Days of DIY Designer Ornaments. More homespun loveliness next time….

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