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Inspiring Holidays 2020

Creating magical holiday dining experiences this year is challenging in a million ways. But hosting a social gathering outside has become the new normal. This year my VKD Holiday Launch is a different kind of launch. It will instead be a launch of creativity, inspiration, and magic. Please feel free to get lost in the magic to spark some in your own life. A few weeks ago, Valerie Kiser Design, Chippy White Table, and Danielle Coons Photography met in the middle of a field, as friends on a magical mission, to style two different holiday table looks and a festive lounge outside at the stunning Candle Tree Farm property in North Abington Twp, Pennsylvania. Even our friend Electric City Bakehouse came to the rescue providing the most delicious but equally beautiful sweet treats we used in our styled set up. Surrender to the magic! 2020 so desperately needs the creative tribe to collectively cultivate joy around the globe. I wish you and your friends and families a safe and joyful holiday season. xo, Valerie

MAKE YOUR MAGIC: Tips on creating memorable holiday table set ups…

Choose Your Theme.  Pick a theme, from traditional, modern, whimsical, elegant, or casual, the oh so many ways you can go, just remember to have fun! If you need inspiration browse Pinterest but most importantly take stock of your cupboards, closets, and yard for your own unique and gorgeous table-scape making supplies.

Set up Your Inside Furniture Outside. Bring your inside furniture outside, just do it, you won’t be sorry. Bring out the chairs, tables, rugs, couches, throw pillows and even some extra blankets taking it to the next level while keeping guests cozy. Go ALL OUT!

Use a Blanket as Tablecloth. Choose a woven or textured blanket on the table draped at an angle, covering the whole table or folded as a runner to elevated the vibes and set a cozy tone. I used my VKD X’s Blanket and Electric City Blanket as tablecloths for these styled set ups.

Design the Place Settings.  Gather your plates, flatware, glassware, linens, favors, name cards, etc. and make a mock-up place setting. Be creative and use what you have around the house in new ways to design your place settings. You’ll be surprised by the multitude of options from “shopping” in your own house. I love using black satin ribbon to style events. You could use 1/2 inch ribbon to make pretty flatware bundles, use 1 inch ribbon in long 20″ strips under place setting for a fun added element for the placemat, tie bundles of evergreen with 36-50″ ribbon attached to the back of the chair creating festive and dramatic tones, cascade the ribbon down the center of your table for another added element. I recommend using only two of these satin ribbon ideas at time to keep it simple. So try them all, keep your two favorite looks and edit out the others. Less is more. And for my favors this year I’ll be using VKD Electric City, The Globe Store, and Everhart Museum Ornaments as well as using Electric City and The Globe Store notecards to write handwritten messages to my guests. This really sets my holiday theme into place and helps everything else come together.


Design the center piece. Gather up your decor at the table to practice laying out the items on the center of table. Make sure there is enough room for the place settings. Again, be creative with what you have or what you are using for the favors and build more on that theme like I did with the ornaments. I used candle holders and dish ware to display ornaments as table decor, simple vases with evergreen springs, and cranberries for a sprinkle of color. But I designed these around what I chose as the table cloth vs a runner. So start there and build your theme. Again, try a bunch of things, have fun, and keep it simple.

Create a Chill Lounge

Whatever you do this holiday season, my Friends, just stay inspired to keep the magic alive! And if you would rather keep your “inside furniture” inside you can always rent all your needs including dishware, flatware, glassware, decor, and more from my friends, Chippy White Table. Plus, if you would like a team of magical stylists to design, and come set up your holiday digs this year I know a good crew:) Just shoot me a message at hello@valeriekiserdesign.com

Happy Holidays, Peace and Love, Keep it Kind!

Dream Team: Art Direction & Styling by Valerie Kiser Design and Chippy White Table, Desserts by Electric City Bakehouse, Venue at Candle Tree Farm, Images by Danielle Coons Photography

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Survivor: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I’m partnering with the Women’s Resource Center of Scranton to donate 100% profit of my Survivor Series and 15% site wide on www.valeriekiserdesign.com from Oct 15-31.

My sister Amy was a survivor of traumatic sexual assault and Domestic Violence that affected our family for almost two decades preceding her suicide in 2017. By raising awareness for this issue I honor my sister and all those families that need crisis counseling, legal resources, safe shelter, and the social permission to talk about what is really going on, spreading the message that there is zero shame in reaching out for help. 

Domestic Violence affects all race, gender, creed of every demographic background. Thank you for listening and for your kindness while helping me end the shame and misunderstanding surrounding Domestic Violence and Abuse. 

For more information please visit https://wrcnepa.org/

Donate  https://wrcnepa.org/donations/#now

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Connect with Magical Outdoor Gatherings

Covid-19 has keep us inside and gathering in small groups so it’s beyond exciting to plan something interactive and outdoors. Special events are no longer just for the holidays and milestones with a large guest list they are simple acts of connectivity with quality interaction intimacy away from a screen. Fulfilling my creative and social self mini events like last years styled Treehouse Dinner Party designed in partnership with VKD and Chippy White Table last summer are pretty crucial to me. It was beyond magic and our team was an absolute dream. And while this styled set up was elaborate and required a team of designers to pull it off you can recreate something just as magical and keep it simple. Fill a backpack full of all your favorite snacks and a blanket and hike to a gorgeous clearing in the woods with your friends or plan an elaborate white cloth dinner in the woods. (Call me if you need help coordinating or invite me to this shin dig 😉

I just encourage everyone to unplug and go outside to create something joyful and enjoy our beautiful, natural world with your favorite people. Yesterday my family and I filled a row boat and kayaks full of food, beverages and fire wood and rowed to island with friends for an off the beaten path birthday party. We made a fire, cooked dinner sang happy birthday and just enjoyed each other while being outside. I wish everyone a healthy fall and to find joy in real life connections. xoxo, Valerie

For inquires about booking a design team for a similar, nature inspired micro-dinner party such as this Treehouse Party please email hello@valeriekiserdesign

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Easter Styled Tablescape

E A S T E R T A B L E S C A P E

While we are on fourth week of covid-19 quarantine, and just found the kids won’t be going back to finish out the school year, we needed some projects to keep us engaged and motivated. I was inspired and encouraged by my Chippy White Table friends to create new content with an Easter Tablescape. So I set out around my house and studio to find some props for our Easter look.

In the studio, I found VKD pattern plexiglass placemats I had custom made for a styled wedding at Center City Print last year and bleached, dried ferns from Matterns Floral for this years styled wedding event, Everhart In Love, at the Everhart Museum (I have a million photos from that and will post when I narrow down which ones to post).

And from the house I gathered up vases, linens, flatware, glassware, my favorite dish ware that was a gift from another designer friend, throw blanket and throw pillows. To engage my kids in the fun I hardboiled some eggs that we dyed and added some hand-drawn patterns with markers (only one egg got dropped and smashed in the process!) I also downloaded some adorable Spring/Easter theme cut-out activities from MerMag that I highly recommend. I’m happy to report that those projects inspired the kids to create their own imagination projects. Such as a bunny pinata (pictures below) from a cardboard box we painted and filled with homemade confetti and left over Valentine school candy. They are now working on a mini theater box with their own story boards and hand puppets!

I hope you are all doing well and invite you to create your own tablescapes and projects. Tag @ValerieKiserDesign and @ChippyWhiteTable so we can see what you are making and styling in your home.

Much Love, Valerie


Kids Easter Projects

We had some fun creating some DIY projects like our bunny piñata and inspired projects we downloaded from MerMag. Here is what we did over the past week to have some Easter fun.

DIY Bunny Pinata!



Downloadable Paper Art

Print MerMag Paper Art Here!

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Modern Black & White Styled Wedding

Valerie Kiser Design styled a First Friday Pop-Up Wedding on May 3 at the Electric City Bakehouse in Downtown Scranton. The design inspiration was fresh, fun, modern, alternative, minimalist, black and white, pattern lovely, spring green, handcrafted, boutique, micro-wedding with custom VKD stylized wedding attire and decor!  

We were thrilled to have curated and collaborated with 20+ other creative, community business partners to create a stylish, unique, all inclusive WEDDING for one lucky couple. That’s right, 100% covered…the Venue, Attire, Decor, Photographer, Food, Glam, Officiant, Favors, Style and Convenience! 🖤

Couples were invited to submitted their love story and one couple was chosen to be married in just three short weeks!

SARAH + MICHAEL, along with 18 of their closest friends and family joined us at the Bakehouse for a magical wedding event. I am super excited to share the following images I took from that day. More images to come of the whole wedding day experience by Amanda Krieg Photography.

SARAH+MICHAEL DREAM TEAM: 🖤🌿
Design/Art Direction: @ValerieKiserDesign and EunJin Newkirk from @NewKirkHoney 
Venue/Cake: @ElectricCityBakehouse
Photography: @AmandaKrieg_Photography
Glam Squad: @LavishBodyHome
Floral Bouquet: @MatternsFloral
Greens: @thegirlwhoplayedwithplants_ 
Rentals/China/Lounge: @ChippyWhiteTable @valeriekiserdesign
Bridal Attire: @shopgoldencoast @ValerieKiserDesign @the_blushing_bridal_boutique
Mens Attire: @tuxedobysarno 
Catering: @TheWanderingHenCafe, @JacksDraftHouse, @AugustCoffee, @BarPazzo, @the16thward, @mansoursmarket, @NibblesandBits570
Calligraphy: @StoneFawxStudios
Wedding Illustration: @SeladorDesign
Wine Pour and Favor:  @ Maiolatessiwinecellars
Favors: @AlchemyHomeCompany, @NewkirkHoney, @tigandcooneys, @ValerieKiserDesign
Printing: @centercityprint, @steamtownblueprint
Officiant: Bob Solfanelli

Food Styling: Michelle Cadden from Electric City Bakehouse and Chef James Bolus from Wandering Hen


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VKD Fashion shoot with Lavish Body+Home

I had the absolute privilege of shooting my Fall/Winter Collection with the most talented, gracious, funny and gorgeous staff at Lavish Body+Home. These ladies and gents were so gracious, and were nothing but enthusiastic and oozing with style, direction for each shot. Here are some fun behind the scenes, some of my favorite captures. It was real hard not to over post!  xo, V.

Get ready for the cool…






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ALICE IN WONDERLAND 2nd BIRTHDAY PARTY


So, how do you throw an Alice in Wonderland Party? Well, I’m finally posting details and free art downloads from Liv’s second birthday. It only took me 4 months after the fact but better late than never!

Xo, Valerie

How do you find inspiration for a party and keep it simple?

Sometimes it just lands in your lap! Liv’s 2nd birthday Alice in Wonderland party was inspired after seeing this super sweet, handmade Alice dress. I saw it on @elsielarson’s Instagram page of her daughter wearing the dress in a post. Thankfully she tagged the designer, @LittleFofinha, because in seconds I found her Etsy shop and had one made for Liv.  That sparked the beginning of the party planning process…

After that I did what most of us do and searched Pinterest for some more juicy images. While finding some helpful ideas I wanted to watch the movie again after probably three decades. I watched it with Axel and Liv (she lasted two minutes) but we loved Alice, the rabbit and tea party, Axel really loved the Treshire Cat, I was really into the the Queen of Hearts and her playing cards.  Pulling from those things I knew I wanted to do a banner of sorts, with some other simple props. 

Backdrops can be your best friends!

For decor I knew I wanted to have a fun, graphic on the wall to become a backdrop for the party. Backdrops are my best friends when it comes to decorating because they give you the most bang for your buck (and efforts). Once you have that backdrop everything else is just bonus. So for my backdrop I chose the playing cards were perfect because of their rectangle shape, color and recognizable, simple, bold emblems. Also, knowing I could easily print them out in the studio on 8.5×11 paper and taped (with white artist tape) to any surface in our dining room was really appealing. Especially for easy install and clean up. In this case, I tapped the sheets of “cards” to the wall and table in rows with the tape and that worked really well.

Customize and personalize to create special keepsakes!

Making the playing cards was so much fun I couldn’t resist doing a custom “Queen of Hearts” Liv card and banner. She got such a kick out of seeing it for the first time. She actually thought that is was her brother however, she finally did accepted that it was herself. Now the banner hangs over her bed and she thinks it’s so funny.

Let them eat cake! 

I will never forget that smile on Liv’s face when we lit up the 2 candles and set her birthday cake in front of her. She squealed, pointed, giggled and clapped. Probably had us sing Happy Birthday to her at least 10 times! Cake by my girl, Michelle at Electric City Bakehouse and it was an insanely gorgeous, delicious piece of edible art. Also, have to mention that Michelle made her a special coconut cream frosting because of a dairy sensitivity and no one knew it wasn’t “regular” butter cream.

All in all, Liv had great time at her little tea party. It was fun and low key day with just family. We hosted both sets of grandparents and since the party fell on Mother’s Day it was extra special for all of us.

Liv and her brother play with the tea set, from Green Toys, serving coffee and tea almost on the daily. 

I will never forget that smile on Liv’s face…she squealed, pointed, giggled and clapped.

What are the Party Details?

CAKE

Electric City Bakehouse  

DECOR

  • Flowers – red roses, irish moss, and blue hydrangeas – Wegmans Grocery
  • Vases  – black and white stripe metal popcorn containers – Pottery Barn Kids
  • Wall Paper Backdrop – VKD custom playing card paper print out
  • Garland – custom DIY paper print outs, stain ribbon
  • Buffet Runner – VKD X Handprinted Table Runner

TABLESCAPE

  • Table Runner  – VKD custom playing card paper print out
  • China – vintage black and white dish ware
  • Tea Set – Green Toys

FASHION

Downloads:

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DIY Custom Fabric Mats for Framed Photos

Adding fabric covered mats to your collection of framed photographs or art prints is a quick and budget friendly way to add a chic element of personality and style to any space. For this project, I chose my X’s black and white patterned fabric (soon available to purchase by the yard). The photo being used was taken by a our good friend Amanda Grace Images. This one single, magic moment of my family needed to be framed in a special way. Amanda actually suggested that I frame it using my X’s fabric. It was the perfect fit for the photo and room decor. Keep reading for my step by step version of this fun and easy project.

Custom Fabric Covered Photo Mats

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What you will need:

1. Photo
2. Photo Frame with Pre-cut Mat
3. Piece of Fabric
4. Rotary Cutter and Matte Cutting Board
5. Fabric Scissors
6. Quilters Grip Grid Ruler (or Regular Cork Back Ruler)
7. Spray Adhesive, Rubber Cement, Fabric Glue
8. Acid Free Mounting Tape
9. Well Ventilated Work Space
10.Colored Pencil or Disappearing Ink Pen

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Start out by cutting your fabric, allowing at least 1.5 – 2 inches on each side to fold over mat. Then give a pass under your iron to smooth out any wrinkles or creases.

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In a well ventilated area apply an even coat of spray adhesive to the front of pre-cut mat. Lay adhesive side down on the back of fabric in the center leaving enough of the sides to fold over. Use your palm to press mat down into fabric.

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Brush a thick line of rubber cement on the right side of the back of your mat board. Then fold the fabric over the edge of the mat and using your fingers smooth and press into the glue. Repeat on the left side.

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Fold the bottom right corner into a triangle to align with the edge of mat board. Glue the flap down. Repeat on the same process on the bottom left corner.

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Brush a thick line of rubber cement from the bottom right corner of the mat to the bottom left corner. Fold the fabric up over the edge and use your fingers to smooth and press into the glue. Repeat on the opposite side.

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Can use a drop of fabric glue on the corners to keep your triangles tacked down.

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You are ready to cut the fabric center out for your photo.

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Find the pre-cut center edges on the front of your fabric wrapped mat board. Now use the grid ruler (or regular ruler) to draw a diagonal line from the bottom left corner to top right corner. Then draw another line from top left to bottom right corner.

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Should create an “X” in the center of your fabric mat. Use your rotary cutter or fabric scissors to cut from corner to corner. You should end up with four triangle pieces of fabric in the center. These pieces can now be tacked onto the back side of your mat board.

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Again using the rubber cement, apply an even line on back of board then fold fabric over the edge of mat and press with fingers.

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Repeat on all four sides.

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Cut off excess fabric with fabric scissors.

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You are ready to mount your photo.

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Use Acid Free Mounting Tape to mount your photo onto the mat.

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Once tape is in place center your mat board over the photo. Press down firmly. Use additional tape if needed.

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Ready to frame and put new piece of art into place.

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(From Left to Right: white gallery shelves www.ikea.com, metal frame by Reclamation Industrial Furnishings, photo by Valerie Kiser, ABCD Art Print by Valerie Kiser Design, family portraits by Amanda Grace Images, photo frames www.Target.com, memento post card of Alexander McQueen from Savage Beauty, sketch by Valerie Kiser Design, unframed photo by Rob Lettieri Photography, framed portrait by Chala Jan

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