It’s in the (Holiday) Cards

It’s beginning to look a lot like… well, like ’tis the season and all that. First things first; time to pick out your vehicle of self expression: The Holiday Card. There’s a plethora of worthy contenders out there this year, so this post got a little longer than I’d prefer (and there’s more to come next week), but I hope you’ll think it’s worth it. (As always, click for details!)

Elum - Poinsettias, $13/6
Rifle Paper Co - Favorite Things, $16/8
Anemone Letterpress - Ornaments, $16/6
Smock Paper - Merry & Bright, $14/6
Sweet Letter Press - Happy Holidays, $14/6
Smudge Ink - Flowers, $12/10
Looky Loo - Moose, $15/8
Heidi - Pinecone, $7.99/8
Vanora Letterpress - Joy, $18/4
Caroline Gardner - Bulbs, $10/5
Oh Louise Designs - Owls in Earmuffs, $13/12
Vandalia Street Press - Cardinals, $28/12
Elum Joyful Birds, $13/6
Paper Source - Bicycle, $13.50/10

A Host of Hostess Gifts

Party season is upon us. And while that usually means bringing a bottle of wine to bestow upon one’s hosts, there are numerous festive alternatives to show gratitude for the invite. (As always, click image to start shopping!)

My all time favorite is Marie Belle‘s hot cocoa. This, my friends, is no Swiss Miss. Sweetly packaged in a well-designed tin are shards of richly decadent chocolate, that, when melted in water or milk, become what I can only describe as nectar of the Gods.

Marie Belle 20oz Aztec Hot Chocolate, $26

Uniquely styled kitchen accessories are another approach, assuming you have a good handle on your host’s personal aesthetic. Anthropologie is my pick for this season’s best collection of uncommonly good contenders in this area.

Anthropologie Dottie Match Potholders, $12
Anthropologie Round Lumiere Snuffer, $18
Anthropologie Painted Amaryllis Measuring Cups, $38
Anthropologie Painted Amaryllis Measuring Cups (nesting)

With the knowledge that several other guests will be bringing wine to the soiree, a distinctive bottle stopper is sure to be most welcome. I especially like the playful offerings by Jonathan Adler, $18 each.

A beautifully packaged and extraordinarily fragranced candle presents another compelling option. While I’ve been a fan of Minneapolis-based Thymes for years now, the redesign of their packaging by Duffy & Partners has me falling in love all over again.

Thymes Agave Nectar Candle, $26
Thymes Azur Candle, $26

Perhaps your hostess is a traditionalist with a sweet tooth, and you’d like to provide her with a little treat to share with her guests. A tin of Peppermint Bark should do nicely.

Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark, $27

Okay, let’s say you’re hell-bent on bringing booze to share. Why not abandon the vino this once for something more interesting? I suggest Hendrick’s Gin, if for no other reason than their quirky marketing approach. (That being said, it IS the most delicious Gin I’ve had the pleasure of tasting. You will not be disappointed.)

Hendrick's Gin, about $26

Black Friday Gets Some Color

Okay, I realize that most of you are out scouring the shops for ridiculous deals today. But on the off chance you’re cuddled up with a cup of tea and your iPad or – egad – spending the day at work, why not enjoy 4 minutes strolling around Paris, watching odd little somethings attempt to spruce up the place.

Today’s Track – Thank You, Yolanda Adams

Happy Thanksgiving! On this day of gratitude, I thought a bit of R&B-laced gospel was in order. Thank You by Yolanda Adams from the album Believe, 2001. Hope you’re enjoying the holiday surrounded by good friends, good food and good music!

Handmade Harvest

In celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I’d share a few autumnal card designs from the Kinaloon Etsy shop. You know, to get us all in the proper mindset for tomorrow’s festivities. Designed by Barbara Raidl, a Chicago-based painter who became enamored by the silkscreening process by creating stationery to send to her niece while at camp. Each original design is hand printed individually on 100# paper and sold in sets of 6 for $16.00. As always, click the image to shop.

A Tale of Two Cities

Aah, Paris and New York… Two places in the world I simply could not do without. Each with a singularly unique voice, yet they share similar… well, suffice it to say, a certain “je ne c’est quoi”. French designer Vahram Muratyan, co-founder of ViiiZ – a design studio in Paris, has created a series of intriguing art prints that playfully express the dueling dynamics of the two metropolises. In his own words, the work is “a friendly visual match between two cities told by a lover of Paris wandering through NewYork. Details, clichés, contradictions: This way, please.” Wanna see more? Check out his blog, Paris vs NYC.

A Kick of Color

It seems I’m in a particularly irreverent mood today. So what I need is something jubilant, colorful and kicky to set the tone for the weekend ahead. This saucy little number should fit the bill. Multi: A film by Lacey, commissioned by Kate Spade. Enjoy!

Today’s Track – Cool, The Time

The Time (a.k.a. “The Original Seven”, as they are now known for reasons that defy me) were in their home town of Minneapolis earlier this month, playing at the State Theater. This blast from the past took me back a spell; to high school, actually. I remember owning the vinyl of their first album, which I recorded onto a cassette tape that accompanied me everywhere, along with a bright baby blue boom box that went to 11. (What? It was awesome.) Cool became an anthem of sorts for our crowd of effervescent 80’s youth. Bummer is, for some reason you can’t download the original track from iTunes – or any other legitimate site I can find. Oh – also, it’s 10 minutes long. Which is, I admit, obnoxiously excessive. But with satisfyingly cheeky lyrics like “When I look into the mirror, it just tells me something I already know: I’m so cool.”, I’m quick to forgive. Cool by The Time from their self-titled album, 1981.

Nothing to Wine About

It’s coming. Next week is the official start of the Holiday scene. (A fact obviously lost on the big box retailers who’ve been milking it since before Halloween. Bleh.) Over the next month or so, many of us will be schlepping from soiree to soiree, bottle of wine in hand. And yes, I suppose a person could just hand the unadorned vino to one’s host – but where’s the fun in that? When great packaging comes in to play, it adds a burst of festivity, don’t you think? Here are a few of this season’s finest wine gift bags… (As always, click to shop!)

Towne Nine - Set of 3 canvas wine bags, $32.00
Josh Jakus - Winepocket, $29.00
The Container Store - Red bird bottle tote, $4.29
Studio Patro - Linen tea towel, $24.00
Paper Source - Pool dots wine bag, $3.90
Built - Neoprene wine tote, $15.27
Working Class Studio - Lattice bottle bag, $6.99
Space Moderne - Wool wine pocket, $20.00
Jane Gotts - Eco twill wine bag, $5.00
Bob's Your Uncle - Set of 6 assorted wine bags, $16.00
G Studio Style - Fabric wine tote, $14.00

Pantone’s Color Cast

Is there any color forecasting group as credible as the ubiquitous Pantone? Unlikely. If Pantone says it’s so, than in all likelihood, it shall be. Only bummer is, they tend not to share their insights with the general populace until it’s really too late to inspire product designers (next spring’s collections having generally been put to bed by now). Still, the hip hues Pantone has forecast for spring 2012 are still worth a look. Designers, you can also download Pantone’s Spring 2012 Fashion Colors for Adobe applications right HERE.

Trina’s in the House

Spent some time in Palm Springs last week, wandering through the Uptown Design District’s inspiring collection of midcentury furnishing shops along North Palm Canyon Drive. The stand out for me had to be the Trina Turk Residential flagship store. (Can it really be a flagship if there’s only one? Dunno about that…) Her brightly saturated hues and aggressive patterns had me craving a summer house to decorate. She has a limited number of items available on-line, however if you stumble upon something you love (here or elsewhere) you can give the shop a call to see if they have it in stock. If so, they’ll ship it off to you!

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