Twas the Week Before Christmas...

GIFT COOKS
GIFT COOKS

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house, this creature is stirring, but I don't mean to grouse. There is so much to do at the holidays, I hardly have time to even stand still beneath the mistletoe! And, if you are like me, it seems no matter how good your intentions or early prep work, it is always a mad dash to complete the holiday shopping. (There is always someone you've totally forgotten!) Don't pout! I have some great last minute ideas sure to please every-last-minute-one on your list:

Myriad Hostesses ~ A Guest Towel tied as a jaunty cravat on a bottle of wine. Teachers ~ A yummy soap or candle wrapped in a Guest Towel Brother's Brand New Girlfriend ~ Cocktail Apron and Cocktail Napkins Backdoor Neighbor ~ Potholder tied up with a wooden spoon and your favorite cookie recipe Dear Old Mom (so hard to buy for...) ~ Cook's Apron You (can't forgot you!) ~ Dinner Napkins in a festive color for sharing a special meal with your most beloved or leaving beside a plate of cookies and milk for one jolly old elf to dab his whiskers.

Inspired Table

Styling tables is one of the best things I get do as the owner of Hen House Linens.  (Accounting, not so much.)  We are fortunate to have other gifted stylists in the roost as well and I am always surprised and delighted to see what inspires them.  This tablescape was created by our photographer, Lee Kriel, who was keen on hosting her own fall dinner party outside.  She started with a runner from our Mallory Cottage Collection in rich claret.  The Filligree napkins tie the whole eclectic look together perfectly.  Enjoy!

I just love the blankets draped over the chairs.  What a thoughtful detail that will ensure the party does not end when the sun goes down.

cotton table runner
cotton table runner

A rustic camp thermos full of warm coffee is a wonderful counterpoint to the silver wine chalices.

linens for the holidays
linens for the holidays
outdoor thanksgiving table
outdoor thanksgiving table

A simple arrangement of moss, apples and white pumpkins are simple, lovely and un-fussy.  The antlers are playful and a great conversation piece!

table linens for entertaining
table linens for entertaining
harvest table
harvest table
rustic table setting
rustic table setting

 Lee made this thankful jar with pieces of paper and pens for her guests to share their thoughts and reflections.

junque in my trunk

Each year our Presbyterian churchwomen host a junque sale.  Yes, with a "q".  Katherine (our Creative Director) introduced junque into my vernacular.  It's from her Dad, who loves to haunt estate sales and way, way deep in the country antique stores.  You get it, right?  He also claims to be a redneque, but that is a story for another time. There are so many "treasures" that mysteriously appear on the tables in our Parish Hall.  Unique junque like an Adam and Eve coffee mug with disappearing fig leaves when filled with hot water.  Klassi.   Yes, with a "k" and an "i".  This year, my afternoon of pitching in paid off.  I found a delicate porcelain swan terrine, an antique Fostoria punch bowl with cups and a gorgeous set of Limoge china.

I am starting to daydream about my Thanksgiving table and, by golly,  I believe my junque will be perfect!  I do want to funk the plates up a bit.  Maybe Garden Gate Ochre to really pop the gold trim?  I would certainly add some mossy green...  I think I will just leave everything out on my buffet, so each time I pass the dining room I will get a little more inspired. Also, it is all so pretty and I will be reminded of what a good shopper of deals I am.  I will keep you posted on my Thanksgiving tablescape ideas...

limoge china used everyday
limoge china used everyday
limoge plate found at sale
limoge plate found at sale

a place at the table

There is no shortage of inspiration for table settings and place cards.  While I love the elaborate, clever and eye catching tablescapes on Pinterest and in magazines, I firmly believe that less is more.  Why put time into something that once everyone sits down won't even last the time it takes for your guest say, "wow, you must have spent hours glueing those beads on that tiny hat."  Here are my tips:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Consider the napkin.  (Fold, fluff, cuff, pouf!)
  • Use stuff you already have.
  • Go for natural elements, (It's already lying in your yard!)
  • Use interesting trimmings. (There is no shortage of free fonts, cool stamps, funky craft papers and fun cutout shapes to be found.)

Here are some of our favorites...

colorful cotton dinner napkins and place cards
colorful cotton dinner napkins and place cards
easy centerpiece ideas gold and white cotton table linens
easy centerpiece ideas gold and white cotton table linens
gold and white cotton table linens
gold and white cotton table linens
fun place cards ideas cotton table linens
fun place cards ideas cotton table linens
Thanksgiving place cards cotton table linens
Thanksgiving place cards cotton table linens
orange and white cotton dinner napkin
orange and white cotton dinner napkin
purple and white cotton dinner napkin
purple and white cotton dinner napkin
simple place cards for the table
simple place cards for the table

BACK TO SCHOOL | Then vs. Now

I'm re-running this blog post because it seems to grow more relevant as each new school year launches.  Enjoy!

Anna, my best friend from FOREVER ago, reminded me that I bought school lunch everyday AND cleaned my plate regardless of the type of vegetable it featured or tin can from which it came.  (It only cost $1.25 and "included milk!" my mother would rave.)  She also sent me the link to this very funny Scary Mommy blog.  We could rock those culottes!  (I see Victoria Fedden omitted Deviled Ham as an alternate sandwich choice back in the day.  Maybe Deviled Ham was saved for weekends or special occasions at her house.)  http://www.scarymommy.com/back-to-school-the-70s-vs-today/

Tailgate Party Hen House Style!

Tailgating chili recipe gray and white cotton dinner napkins
burgandy and white cotton cocktail napkins
burgandy and white cotton cocktail napkins
chicken wings cotton cocktail napkins
chicken wings cotton cocktail napkins
gold and white cotton table linens
gold and white cotton table linens

Grab napkins in your school colors.  Use the silver-plated silverware you picked up from the antique store.  Pack a tray to help you serve.  Cook up chili and these EASY but oh so delicious chicken wings (recipe to follow).  You will make it look effortless and your family and friends will remember a great day at the game.

tailgate party cotton table linens
tailgate party cotton table linens
tailgate tray party food
tailgate tray party food

Frank's Hot Sauce Wings

2 1/2 lbs. chicken wings

1/2 C Frank's Hot Sauce

1/3 C melted butter

Spread wings on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes until cooked through. Combine Frank's Hot Sauce and the butter.  Toss wings in sauce to coat.  Take my word for it.  These are good.

The Mother of All Things

Mother.  We all have one and we are all one.  I know Earth Mama, Hot Mama, the Mother of all headaches, Mother May I, MILF, Mama Pajama, Mom Jean, Yummy Mummy, Mommie Dearest, Mother Goose, Yo Mama, Drama Mama, DogMa and Mamma Mia.  And, not a single one of them has ever given birth.  

To be a mother is to nurture.  It's about planting good seeds and watching a tender young thing grow and blossom and become strong enough to stand on its own, so that it may in turn give.  

To all that have raised up beautiful spirits, animals, gardens, businesses, communities, other people's children, and me... I am humbled by your grace, fortitude, and innate drive to cultivate.  

Word to your Mother.

Dinner Napkin Nest for your Easter Table

Blue and White cloth cotton dinner napkin fold

Of course we love napkin folds but they have to be easy like our linens.  This one is very simple and will add an extra 'wow' to your Easter table.  You might even get the children to put the napkins in their laps!  

blue and white cotton dinner napkin folding tips for easter
blue and white cotton dinner napkin folding tips for easter
Cotton blue and white dinner napkin fold
Cotton blue and white dinner napkin fold

Steps 1 & 2

cloth napkin fold blue and white dinner napkins
cloth napkin fold blue and white dinner napkins
Blue and White cotton dinner napkin fold cloth
Blue and White cotton dinner napkin fold cloth

Steps 3 & 4

Easter Napkin Fold
Easter Napkin Fold
Blue and White Easter cloth napkin fold
Blue and White Easter cloth napkin fold

Steps 5 & 6

Easter Dinner Napkin fold blue and white cloth
Easter Dinner Napkin fold blue and white cloth
Cotton cloth dinner napkins blue and white
Cotton cloth dinner napkins blue and white

Steps 7 & 8

Cotton dinner napkin for Easter Blue and white
Cotton dinner napkin for Easter Blue and white

Voila!

Cotton dinner napkins for Easter napkin folding
Cotton dinner napkins for Easter napkin folding

 Pick your favorite goodies and stuff the napkins for a sweet treat on the table.

Easter Table-escape | 2017

I live in Maryland.  I used to live in Hawaii.  Ask me where I wish I was right now?  This winter took a toll on me.  That is abundantly clear from the direction I gave our photographer, Lee as she was preparing to shoot our Easter tablescapes.  "I want orchids.  Water.  Sun.  Glorious Sun...  Go!"  She went.  I like to call this our table-escape.  Heading to the shore for Easter?  Pack some gorgeous linens (they don't take up any room) with your jellybeans and bunny baskets.  Enjoy the renewal that spring brings.