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Home for the Holidays 2021

Sliding into holiday vibes with minimal shoving. This year I am inspired by the idea we can actually gather with loved ones to celebrate this season together. I also love this time of year when we bring more elements from outside to create cozy and beautiful experiences inside. This time of year was absolute magic for me when I was growing up bc of family traditions and transforming our home using fresh branches, trees, wreaths, adding pops of red and by using special lighting. I still use this formula from my childhood but have put my own spin on family traditions in our own home.

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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

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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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


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


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.



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


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


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.



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.


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.



Repeat on all four sides.


Cut off excess fabric with fabric scissors.


You are ready to mount your photo.


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


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


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


(From Left to Right: white gallery shelves, 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, 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