Posts Tagged ‘ask kate’

8 Gift Ideas for the Host or Hostess

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Greetings all, are you feeling the frenzy yet?  I started to feel it today, with a million things on my plate. The kids are home from school this week (who’s idea was that?) which adds to the craziness, but I finally got a chance to sit down for a spell to answer some emails and create this list.

I was asked by several readers this month to recommend some gifts for a host or hostess that don’t cost a fortune.  Most of us will be invited to a soirée or two this holiday season, whether a big Christmas party or smaller get together with friends. It’s a gracious gesture to bring your host or hostess something special they’ll use or appreciate but I don’t think you need to spend a lot of money. 

Of course, there’s always the lovely gift of a bottle of wine or bubbly (forever welcome at my house!) or the thoughtful presentation of a homemade treat if time permits. Here are eight more ideas for less predictable stylish gifts for your entertainer: 

1.  Bowl Her (or Him) Over.  Little sets of bowls are perfect for smaller amounts of sauces or condiments.  Bright colors or rustic wood bowls will blend well with so many table settings, stack them up and tie them with a big bow, they’re sure to be a hit. 

wood bowls

Lacquerware bowls, $17 each, Branch Home; Acacia Bowls; $6-$11, One Sydney Road

 

2.  Shake Shake Shake.  Salt and pepper shakers or mills are such a great gift, they’re one of those necessary items required for any dinner or buffet but something one rarely buys for oneself. Find a rustic, nostalgic, quirky, or colorful version to give to your host or hostess and you’ll be thought of fondly every time he or she seasons the food!    salt and pepper shakersKing + Queen salt and pepper, $40 Perpetual Kid; Mason Jar salt and pepper; $16 Terrain; Turquoise Pepper Mill, $42 Target

      

3.  Spread the Love.   Cheese spreaders are universally appreciated and so useful for all those dips, spreads, and appetizers.  I know I could certainly use a new set, and these are two of my recently found favorites.  

cheese spreaders

Vintage Cheese Knives, $29 Williams Sonoma;  Wine Cork Spreaders, $15, Z Gallerie

    

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Painting Wood: Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

I think I’m most happy with a paintbrush in my hand.  Painting furniture relaxes me, it’s my strange form of therapy, and I do my best thinking when I’m fixing up something old and turning it into something new.  I get a range of comments when I post about a refurbished piece and they cover the spectrum.  Mostly it’s these kind: “Thank goodness you painted that ugly old thing!”  or “Wow, I love that makeover!  Way to bring that piece into this century and give it new life!”  I love those. 

Then I’ll get one of these from time to time. “Oh my goodness, you girls and your paint cans, you’re going to be stripping off all that paint in five years!”.  If you’ve ever read the comments on Apartment Therapy anytime someone paints a piece of furniture, the wood purists come out of the woodwork (pun intended) and proclaim ruination.  It raises a controversial question, when should you or shouldn’t you paint your {insert old piece here}. 

My answer is always, “It just depends on the piece".  How’s that for vague?  OK, well how about this generality.  For me, anything that is mass produced is fair game, especially if it has laminate or veneers.  Solid wood unique pieces, especially if they are true antiques are where I hesitate.  Unless the wood is damaged, then wood putty plus paint always works in my book.      

Recently, I received and email from Kathryn, she sent me a picture of her dining room set, and asked how could she freshen it up.  Should she paint the chairs, the table, or both? 

My advice?  Pull an Eddie and paint those shield back chairs.  Then restain the table.

shield back chairs painted

Painting the chairs and reupholstering the seats in a modern fabric would go a long way to freshening this set. 

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Girl’s Nursery: Modern Meets Woodland

Friday, August 26th, 2011

I received an email from Christine last week mentioning she was expecting a baby girl, and hoping for a few suggestions for their guest room turned nursery.  Christine caught me at a weak moment because I’ve been thinking about designing a girl’s nursery lately.  No I’m not expecting, nor do I plan to have any more babies, I think it’s simply the fact that I just sent my baby boy off to Kindergarten and the oldest leaves again for college in September.  I declare it’s that emptier nest that has me thinking about nurseries!

Christine writes:

“We are having our first baby girl and I love the color gray, so I’ve already painted the room in Behr’s ‘Dolphin Fin’.  I really love owls and I’m looking for something pretty and whimsical with modern clean lines, nothing too babyish or cookie cutter.

I have a crib and dresser in white and the Serena & Lily bedding already. As you can see from my inspiration images, I have a modern style, love the feel of the woods, and don’t want any farm animals or butterflies.”

Then she sent me this picture of her blank canvas.  Christine has already removed the bed and the window panels, stained the floors dark, and painted the walls gray.  Amen sister, I’m liking this so far.  

christine room before

 

Christine sent along these inspiration images and a few comments about what she loves so much about these spaces.

inspiration  1 with comments

 

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