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.

The Hen’s Thanksgiving Table

purple and white cotton table linens
purple and white cotton table linens
simple decorations for Thanksgiving
simple decorations for Thanksgiving

I am back on the Thanksgiving tablescape!  My yummy junque sale finds are still making me happy, but not actually striking the right giving thanks note for me.  We traditionally host several families for turkey and trimmings and the formal pattern of the limoge doesn't really fit our laid back vibe.  The rustic crate I use in my office to hold sample fabrics is our vibe and it all started to come together after a recent trip to my favorite garden shop.  White pumpkins.  Simply perfect white pumpkins.  The owner of the shop informed me that they were part of the "largest, most interesting crop" he had ever seen.  Then I came across these gorgeous fall cabbages and sweet potato vines in the deepest darkest purple-y plummy yumminess.  The linen selection was a cinch.  Aubergine all over.  And the place settings?  I went with my mother's wedding china.   Casual yet sophisticated with a nod towards what has come before us and a wink to what is here and now.  That is totally our vibe and a lot to be thankful for.

cotton table linens for the holidays
cotton table linens for the holidays
easy centerpiece for Thanksgiving
easy centerpiece for Thanksgiving
white and purple cotton cloth linens for the table
white and purple cotton cloth linens for the table
setting a table for thanksgiving
setting a table for thanksgiving
the perfect tablesetting
the perfect tablesetting

The Pragmatist | Keeping It Real | Mother's Day

From Christina, our Director of Sales

My mom was 17 when she got married and 18 when she started having babies.  Entertaining  and making swoon-worthy, pinnable meals was not on the agenda.  It was not even in the budget.  She was still a child herself.  But, she was a practical child.  

Dinner was simple but it always happened around the table.  My sisters and I were not just called down to dinner when it was ready, we had to earn our spot at the table by helping to set the places, behave throughout dinner and then clear and clean the dishes.   By the time I was 4, I could load a dishwasher.   My mother was, and still is, a no-nonsense woman.  She is the original DIY'er.   I don't mean the craft glue and chalk paint doer.  I mean the learn to do it yourself doer.  My mother brought home the bacon and she taught us to fry it up in the pan.  

As spartan a childhood my mother, my sisters and I had, I recall our meals around the table to be the best of times.  It was when she could stop having to be the grown up in the room and we would talk about our day, laugh and fill our tummies.  

I am about to become a mother myself.  I am entering this new phase of my life with all the advantages my mother did not.  She has had a good laugh over some of the baby gear my husband and I have been hoarding in preparation.  "You are spending $200 on a piece of cloth to tie your baby to your back?  That is why you have two arms.  I could make an entire dinner with one arm and a baby on my hip."  And, while she wears her walk barefoot through the snow uphill both ways stories like a badge of honor, I am still absolutely in awe of her.  I have no idea how she managed it all at so young an age.  

What I do know is that I know how I will manage.   It is the gift she gave me.  DIY.  And I will pass it down to my child as I teach her to pass the peas politely.  

Click the image if your mama falls under this category and we are sure to have the perfect gift for her.

Click the image if your mama falls under this category and we are sure to have the perfect gift for her.

 

 

EVANS GUEST HOUSE CANDLES

Gracious Living is about creating a warm and welcoming space to gather with the people you love. A lovely top-note of the freshest scent adds yet another layer of comfort.

The Evans Guest House Candle Collection introduces our five fabulous colors for spring and arrive with a specially crafted scent for a total immersion in the glory of spring. Our candles are hand poured in the United States by specialty candlemaker, Annapolis Candle.

Orchid is a lovely bouquet of wild lavender gathered with green cucumber and sage, with delicate touches of chamomile. As welcoming as fresh cut flowers in a guest room, entry hall or powder room.

Navy’s rich and woody notes serve as a base to a clean crisp fusion of herb and amber. It is at ease in your living room. You know, so your ship don’t stink.

Grass calls to mind the aroma of freshly cut grass intermingled with orange and sandalwood. Perfect for the sunroom or porch. Warm carefree summer days are just a bare foot away.

Mineral is your daily dose of salty sea spray, ocean elements and fresh water lily. Good for the body and soul. Soothing therapy for the bed or the bath.

Persimmon invokes tropical notes of papaya, peach and creamy coconut paired with the unexpected ingredient of this bright fruit. Let it simmer in the kitchen or breakfast room to refresh after a meal.

8 OZ. 100% NATURAL SOY BASED WAS. 40 HOUR BURN TIME

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins | Happy Chocolate Day

I suffer from chocohaulism.  And frankly, there are some mornings when I need to get my fix.  So divinely decadent, it calls for the scarlet ruffled napkins, the good china and silver, and my silk peignoir set with matching slippers (if by peignoir set, you mean flannel man jammies and uggs).

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 cup milk
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions:
Preparation: Line muffin wells with paper liners. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Place the remaining wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk until combined.  Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined (do not over mix), batter will be slightly lumpy. Fill wells 2/3 of the way up and sprinkle 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are dark, risen and springy.

We go Together | Chocolate + Waffles

A perfect pair.  How could you not pair a breakfast favorite with chocolate this Valentine's Day?  Present this delicious gift with a warm libation and our Mallory Cottage Dinner napkin in Scarlet.  You are sure to fall in love all over again.  

Ingredients:

Belgium Waffle mix
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sea salt to taste

Directions:

Combine waffle mix.  Once waffle iron is heated, place a tablespoon of batter in the center of each waffle quarter cavity, and cook for 3 minutes, until golden brown. Carefully remove the waffle from the iron and place them on a wire rack until cool.


Meanwhile, in a small glass bowl, add chocolate chips and heat in microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring in between until melted.  Dip each waffle bite halfway into the melted chocolate and place back on wire rack.  Add Sea Salt to taste.

Enjoy.

A Gracious Guest

pink and white hostess apron

         As a once, and hopefully future, resident of Hawaii, I have a special affinity for the pineapple. Colonial dame decor aside, I know how beautifully it symbolizes hospitality. It was a staple of my everyday…  the chunks of , fresh, slightly tart bites I cut up for my children each morning, the outlandish cocktails I served my mainlander visitors, the unexpected ingredient for a savory dish.

        Summer is in full swing and these days I am more often a guest of friends and family in beach-y locations.  Whether host or guest, to be gracious is  always welcome.  And my favorite hostess gift? Well… the pineapple I find at my grocers in Maryland leaves much to be desired, so I bring along a little something in our popular pattern that features a pineapple, which (not coincidentally) is called Gracious.

Here are some gracious gift ideas for your next trip:

green and white potholders and oven mitts

  • potholders or oven mitts for your foodie friend
  • cocktail napkins for the consummate entertainer
  • cocktail apron for the girl’s weekend get-a-way
  • guest towels to spruce up your brother’s dream place on the sand (That’s where I’ll be!  Thanks Brother.)

 

brown green and pink cocktail napkins brown and green patterned guest towels three series cocktail party napkins in green and blue copy

How do you do red, white, and blue?

old glory 2

How do you do red, white, and blue? There are a million ways to show your patriotism, and a thousand ways to style your fourth of July themed dinner, barbecue, or everyday. Here are a few of the possibilities for making any of your parties or table settings red, white, and blue…. (edited for three of a kind) red, white, and blue table settings copy american flag barrel and flowers red white blue table settings 2 copy

fourth of july party sign and red white and blue linens red white and blue cooking apron fourth of july table setting