‘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!

Guest post-Simple + lovely dinner

I have a guest post today and it is so timely because I am preparing for the upcoming Creative Class event with the city of Brenham.  So, I am in the trenches of how much work these pretty events really are and seeing these photos reminds me it is all worth it to create these moments with people you care about whether colleagues or clients, friends or family. 

Haylei and I are started talking about this guest post during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey during a time when I was really struggling with the importance of what we all do in these creative/fluffy areas of work and life.  Haylei lives in south Louisiana and she could totally identify with the feelings I was having and during our emails I felt like the Lord (I know some of you are laughing but seriously) was reminding of that well-know verse in Ecclesiastes about how “there is a time for everything.”  It is so easy to doubt our purpose in the creative world, at least it is for me but it is really absurd considering I am a Christian. As a believer I should understand and remember my Creator, and Savior are creative and beauty makers and it is crazy for me to ever doubt how important that is to life on this broken earth.  Storms rage, marriages end, loved ones get sick and life her can be hard.  So when we get a chance to create a little respite from the world and be with our friends and the women that encourage and support us, we should savor it like Haylei and her friends did in this story below.  Create beauty and then enjoy it.  There truly is a time for everything.

Thank you Haylei for sharing your talents and perspective.  You are wise beyond your years.

Through the wedding industry in Lafayette, Louisiana, these ladies were brought together.  Mia, Sophie and Amelia run Root Floral Design, Catherine is a wedding photographer for Catherine Guidry Photography, Lindsey photographs families for Lindsey Rogers Photography, Ashley supplies wedding rentals for Pure Vintage Rentals, and Haylei Smith (behind the camera) focuses on business branding. They support and promote each other, but more than that they are friends.

Community is such an important thing is often overlooked. We forget that we are so much stronger together than on our own. It would be easy to spend all our time working, running, and going. But it’s a must to carve out time for ladies night- even though pajamas and cereal sound tempting. Bohemian backyard dinners are the perfect way to do that. Just kick your shoes off, grab a throw pillow and call the gals.

No need to be fancy- grab dinner to go and use what you have. So when they got together for this ladies-night-out, they each brought something to the table. Like every friendship, when each person contributes a little bit, a nice dinner like this one can unfold easily!

To make things easy on these lady-preneurs, take out poboys from Lafayette’s local eatery, Pop’s Poboys, was the perfect pairing with another local staple- Zapps potato chips.

Rosemary and mint from Amelia’s garden were added in with the fruit infused water, and Ashley brought her famed gluten free strawberry donuts.

Add some mixed fruit salad and Lindsey’s cocktails and you have a feast for queens.

                Community is such an important thing is often overlooked. We forget that we are so much stronger together than on our own.

Photography- Haylei Smith
Florals- Root Floral Design
Decor- Pure Vintage Rentals
Food- Pop’s Poboys

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