‘Holiday at Home’ class photos + 2018 movies!

So in early November this very special class finally happened and it was beyond what I even imagined.  By working with Downtown Brenham and their wonderful people and historic facilities, the amazing talent of Mr. Keith Taylor and local legend and classic “go to” for furnishings and accessories, Hermann Furniture, we were able to create something truly special! Big thanks for Natalie Lacey Lange for capturing the day!

Prep began days and weeks before gathering ribbon and florals, real and artificial from near and far…literally!  Faux fruit below on left, one of my fave things we used in the event is from Hermann’s Furniture just steps from where the class was held in Barnhill Center, ribbon from Michaels of all places, and fresh magnolia straight from Arkansas!

The goal of the event was to talk about and be inspired by the movie we watched the night before, Nancy Meyer’s The Holiday, and delve into the ideas of what makes the holidays truly special for our families and gatherings….and how to achieve that feel and beauty while maintaining sanity! Jude Law on the big screen, the English countryside covered in snow with its hygge coziness, and the beauty of the historic Simon Theatre on a Friday night, all prepped us for even more beauty and fun all day on Saturday!  And I loved seeing our attendees visit and enjoy one another, we had people from New York, Louisiana, all over Texas and of course, Arkansas!

I also knew the with the tough events of 2017 I wanted to focus on more than just “stuff” and ribbons but the heart of why we decorate at the Holidays..the meaning of it all and a new word we had fun pronouncing crazy ways…. HYGGE!

Everyone received a copy of the cute little Hygee book and we learned a bit about what the Danish have known for years regarding candles, comfy socks and blankets, warm drinks and soups and soaking up time with the ones you love!  Some might say we Southerners just call it hospitality and maybe so but there seems to be another layer and depth to this word I wanted to incorporate and explore on this day before going into the holidays!

The class portion of the weekend was held in the ballroom above the Simon Theatre, which is all part of Brenham’s historic Barnhill Center.  The vision, fundraising and hard work that went into restoring this large building is such a testimony of local love/community and preservation, all things I care about so deeply so it was an honor to coordinate and do an event in this space! It truly is a jewel in our little town and place of many weddings and special events.  They have these wonderful chairs on site for events so all I had to do was add some buffalo check and blue and white!

The ballroom looked so pretty! Blue and white, twinkle lights, fresh magnolia,jewel tones and the best pimento cheese and pie from Royers Cafe.  A good combo for a good day indeed!

So many people worked together to make the event shine,  especially this handsome fella who harvested beautiful magnolia from NW Arkansas and drove it all the way to Texas for us to gush over and admire.  Keith Taylor you are an amazing talent, force and good person!  You make me laugh so hard, you call me on my BS, self doubt, you make me think and dig deep and you talk just like I do.  We were meant to be buddies and collaborate! But y’all this is a lot of work and a lot of miles and he came to our little town just for this event! And he is a hard working machine! I mean who does that..who drives that far to help a friend with a class???! So grateful!

{Oh and those fantastic pine cone stems behind our heads in the photo above, straight from Hermann’s and artificial…one of my fave memories of the weekend is watching Keith stride across Alamo street to and fro Hermann’s with goodies for the class…he and Jennifer def hit it off!}

While we like to think all things are bigger and better in Texas, the fresh magnolia that Keith “imported” to Texas was truly some fine and lush magnolia. It was so pretty many of us thought it was artificial.  It is simply a different species and climate than we have down here and it was joy to see him create with such lovely natural materials.  He also shared his wiring and construction secrets, ribbon philosophies and other tricks and tips including freedom to NOT be afraid of the ribbon aisle at the Hobby Lobby.  

And of course he is so fun to listen to and learn from and he truly gets the core heart behind creating beauty and home.  Keith showed us step by step how he takes a basic, inexpensive faux garland or wreath and then uses that as a base to add fresh magnolia!  He also showed us how to use magnolia leaves for simple arrangements in different vessels and talked about his experience doing “magnolia magic” for Southern Living magazine in freezing temps!

And he says the wedding aisle is the place to go for the best ribbon NOT the holiday ribbon section.  The wedding supply area is where he found much of the ribbon we worked with including this navy ribbon above the red cording and navy and white ribbon shown below and on the ginger jar in top photo.  

Keith showing us how to pinch and wire the ribbon and snip…we talked about shoestring bows and 1-2 loop bows and no bows, just flowy ribbon wired to the tree at different points. I think many of us felt like he gave us some “ribbon freedom” with how to use and decorate with ribbon and leave behind the “Texas huge bow” legacy many of us feel bound to at the holidays.  I mean big bows are fine, but he def showed us more and some fresh ideas that we all savored.  At one point he was talking and there were women on the floor sitting cross legged to get closer and see and others videoing with their phones.  We know magic when we see it!!

I’ve spent a fortune on Midori and other ribbons and not seen them shine with the “visual movement” like Keith made these ribbons dance. Note how the ribbon below on the trees is just wired onto the tree, no actual bow or just a loop or two here and there mainly just flowing, but anchored ribbon.  That is how I need to begin 2018, flowing but anchoredl

The indigo looking ribbon in the middle photo is from Michaels!  It looks so John Robshaw to me!

Yes indeed, the beautiful ballroom in the Barnhill Center above the historic Simon Theatre was the perfect setting for this day. Such beautiful light in this huge space!

Kristen Leigh Calligraphy did the envelopes and placecards on papers from Hermann’s and they turned out so pretty!

The tables were decorated with blue and white plates, brass chargers, unique brass flatware; and a mix of pressed glass stemware and glasses both vintage and new, some from World Market!  And of course buffalo check!

Lemon cypress trees (from Lowe’s!) and artificial cloved oranges from Hermann’s showed a mix of real and artificial decorations as well as high and low.  The “class” tables were decorated with high and low mix of blue and white jars from Hermann’s, antiques shops and my collection, even Amazon and TJ Maxx!  It was truly a mish mash of favorite things for the holidays: buffalo check, pops of red with blue and white and fruit, jewel tones and fresh and faux greenery alike.

We also had several vignettes in the room including these chinoiserie wing chairs from Hermann Furniture, they have so much bamboo look pieces right now which I love! I pulled in the vintage rug for a pop of red and hygge warmth, and Keith’s magnolia and perfect bow on the Kraft package along with pillows completed this area!  Keith, Jennifer Hermann and I agree, Kraft wrapping paper rules! 

You can see below how we had the east side of the room set up for class space and the west side for our lunch…it was so nice to have so much space to enjoy!  Good light, tons of windows, wood floors and chandeliers…just a dream setting for an event like this!

After lunch Jennifer Hermann spoke to us more about ‘trends and traditions’ and some of her favorite things from Market this year, she also shared about mixing paper products with real china for the holidays. Hermanns has some of the cutest paper goods, wood cutlery and napkins both cloth and paper. She also talked about doing extra holiday seating on the back porch or patio, something we can easily do in our climate!  Love that and she brought my favorite green picnic table they stock to show that idea! After the close of the class we all walked over to the store and saw just how much they have in stock and the variety!  I really love that were able to use faux pine cone stems and trees from Jennifer and mix with the real magnolia from Keith to show that there really are no rules when it comes to real versus artificial and mixing it all together.  I enjoyed working with them both so much! I have been a fan of Hermann’s for years so it was a joy to collaborate!

I could go on and on about this event, it truly was a combo of my favorite things: a good Nancy Meyer film, a historic venue, small town charm, talking about the heart of the home and holidays, fun people, talented friends and business owners, all mixed in with blue and white ginger jars, yummy pimento cheese, pie and ribbon!  Thank you Downtown Brenham for working with me to host this event along with Keith Taylor and Hermann Furniture.  I think we all had a great time!

And they have some really great movies and fun planned in 2018 at the Barnhill Center’s ballroom and Simon Theatre, including an upcoming wedding show, and some awesome movies perfect for girls night out or a good date night.  Seeing a favorite film in this restored theatre really is special and was one of my favorite parts of the entire weekend!  

Check here for dates and show times.

And later in the spring look what is coming up at the Simon Theatre…oh yes..PATRICK SWAYZE! He is even better than Jude Law AND blue and white ginger jars combined!

The Holidays at home

Holiday at home or “holidays at home”…that phrase can have so many meanings…it was the name of a gorgeous class I did recently with the amazing Keith Taylor, downtown Brenham and the Barnhill Center and Jennifer Hermann of Hermann Furniture. We talked about beauty and creating the literal atmosphere and backdrop for our families and friends and our holiday stories and gatherings. And that phrase has been so heavy in my heart and mind for so much of this season. Beautiful ribbon and bows and then life happens. But that is how living and life plays out. It is what makes it rich and beautiful but complicated and sorrowful too. And so I can’t believe it is nearly New Years, like literally in hours really.  Where has 2017 gone?? It has been a blur for sure. So many big and beautiful work projects and events and personal milestones and changes as well. So much to post but life must be lived right?! So a short recap of the couple of months.

Image by Natalie Lacy Lange

I’ve been eager to share this and more images from the Holiday at Home class held in Nov with Downtown Brenham at the historic Simon Theatre, but I have been on a bit of a social media and internet hiatus. I will post more of those images in my next post.  

But first I want to share, my brother Jimmy Don and I lost our dad rather suddenly right after Thanksgiving.  We did not have an easy relationship with our Dad but he was our Daddy and we loved him and we knew he loved us and our children. This image below of one of Jimmy Don’s signs sums up a lot of how I have been feeling about the loss.  I know this Whitman poem is about a romantic relationship but I think it can apply to any type of love.  It also reminds me of a Pat Conroy quote about parents and hurt and love. 

We loved you Daddy.

We know you loved us.

I forget the rest.

I could go on and on about good times and tough times and complicated grief and heartaches and regrets…but I am just going to leave it at that.  Love. I forget the rest. It is really saying “I forgive the rest” and I hope you do too but it really is also how our hearts and minds remember isn’t it?…everything becomes a blur but the true love we felt for one another hopefully remains. Memories and feelings and stories are an interesting and complex thing but love can be very simple.  It’s taken me weeks to be able to say that and feel that even but I am grateful to be in this place finally.  The season of Advent and the hope of this season certainly makes this process richer and easier to navigate and find peace. In fact it is the only thing that makes it possible at all.

So between that and the emotions of the holidays and helping clients wrap up before Christmas, I have just not been online much.   But finally, before the year’s end I have to share images from the class so watch your inbox for the next post!  Because where there is Love there is often Beauty. and Creativity.  And those things bring joy.

We create beauty at Christmas because we love our families and we want to honor and celebrate the birth of our Savior.  It is a simple and beautiful thing and this week between Christmas and the New Year is so sacred and I hope it has been restful and peaceful for you and your family.


Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8


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