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A Festive Book Signing Evening

Last night was such a fun evening. Anna Post, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post was at the shop signing the 18th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette.

20111110-071826.jpg The book signing event was sponsored by Gilt City Seattle, which did a lovely job putting the event together. Bubbly flowed and yummy nibbles both savory & sweet were enjoyed.

20111110-072246.jpg The shop was full of folks in attendance, who also got a chance to shop a bit, and check out the new expanded space at the Home store.

20111110-072557.jpg But the highlight of the evening was the presentation put on by Anna. She is a warm, personable spirit, who charmed all in attendance with her keen insight into matters of etiquette, put forth in very approachable manner. Followed was a brief Q & A, then each person attending received the book which Anna then graciously personalized. It all could not have been nicer.

Anna signed the stack of books we have at the shop too, so please let me know if you are interested in one. It really is a perfect go-to source for all questions revolving around manners and etiquette.

Just a reminder, tomorrow is our all day Eleven event at the Home store, followed by our kick-off to the Holiday season at both shops, on Saturday, with our Open House. I hope to see you there. Happy Thursday!



John Derian at Watson Kennedy

20111109-064845.jpg We have been offering the beautiful decoupaged works of John Derian at the shops and on the website for 11+ years, and I still get excited to open the boxes when a new shipment arrives. His use and choice of images is extraordinary. I thought I would take you on a little tour of some of his new designs, as well as things that are perennial favorites. Enjoy the show…

20111109-065419.jpg This last round had lots of color. I am particularly found of the ‘my dear’ plate.

20111109-065602.jpg We also just got a new, vintage display case that houses some of his work.

20111109-065728.jpg The plates mix in nicely with other objects. I think they work great in bookcases, set amongst books or objects.

20111109-065848.jpg John’s work often times has a touch of whimsy, and many times has a French influence.

20111109-070042.jpg The bird series is a personal favorite. These work great singly or in multiples.

20111109-070202.jpg We scatter them about the shops. This one is layered with vintage documents and then bundled together.

20111109-070404.jpg His pieces make incredibly special gifts.

20111109-070529.jpg To give, or receive.

20111109-070624.jpg Encourage good intentions. Words to live by.

20111109-070729.jpg The black shelves in the back of the expanded Home space have worked perfectly holding a variety of John’s work.

20111109-070908.jpg The series of hands creating shadows is so very sweet.

20111109-071036.jpg This one says it all. His work really is just beautiful.



A Nothing Day

My Dad had a saying when he wanted to have a relaxing day, he called it a “nothing day” because all he wanted to do was nothing. Yesterday was just that type of day for us. Our days off are Sunday & Monday, and if all goes well, we are at our home on Vashon Island. It was a gray day, perfect for reading by the fire, napping and making simple meals.

20111108-055724.jpg The above photo is my idea of a perfect nothing day. A few books and a few magazines and I am good to go. Vanity Fair, Elle Decor, Veranda and House Beautiful–all provide much enjoyment and much inspiration. The new Deborah Needleman book, The Imperfectly Perfect Home is destined to become a classic. I kept going back to it yesterday and reading bits and pieces. The Rosamond Bernier memoir is fascinating. She has lived such an incredible life filled with art and creative people, she makes you feel like you are right next to her and she is telling you a colorful story.

20111108-060713.jpg Making food is all about ease on a nothing day, but we still want to eat well. I have been wanting to make more things with puff pastry so I thought I would whip us up a simple lunch using a sheet. The puff pastry I am using is the kind you find in the freezer section at the grocery store. Typically, there are 2 sheets to a package. This uses one of those sheets.

Take sheet of puff pastry out of the freezer and leave on the counter for 45 minutes to thaw. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Once ready unroll the sheet and cut in half, creating equal parts, as one will be the top of the sandwich and the other the bottom. I find it best to work directly on a parchment lined baking sheet, so it can go right in the oven when you are finished assembling. For the bottom layer, spread a healthy dollop of Dijon mustard over the entire surface, leaving a half inch border on all 4 sides. Next put turkey breast meat on top of the Dijon, still staying within the border. Next add a favorite cheese. Yesterday it was a yummy Comte from France. You then want to take an egg and crack it into a bowl and add a splash of water and whisk it, to create an egg wash. With a brush or your fingers if you don’t have a brush, put the egg wash around the entire half inch border, creating a glue for the top half of the puff pastry to stick to. Once you have put the top on, take a fork and crimp around the 4 sides, locking the 2 pieces of pastry together, also making a stylish enclosure. We do eat with our eyes first, as they say on the cooking shows. You will also want to egg wash the top too, as that will help it get nice and browned. Now take a sharp knife and create 3 slits in the top of the pastry to allow air flow. Bake for 30 minutes or until puffy and brown. I served it with half an avocado drizzled with shallot vinaigrette I had made the night before and a few heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with sea salt. The puff pastry creation is just warm, comforting and tasty–perfect for a nothing day by the fire.




Emily Post’s Etiquette

20111107-053006.jpg Manners for a New World, is the tag line of the 18th edition of “Emily Post’s Etiquette” which has just been released. I created a window around our stack of copies. In our rushed world, manners are now even more crucial, as they make us slow down a bit, and make us think of others.

20111107-053945.jpg We are delighted to be hosting a book signing by one of the authors, Anna Post, this Wednesday evening. Tickets for the event are still available thru It will be a fun, festive evening of bubbly, nibbles, and a signed copy of the book, along with a brief presentation by Anna Post.

20111107-054605.jpg My Mother always had a copy of an Emily Post book at the ready when I was growing up, and I have always done the same. It is a great reference guide to many of life’s little questions revolving around etiquette and manners.

If you can’t join us for the event, signed copies will still be available, so we would be happy to ship or hold one for you.

I received many requests from the post yesterday about what the menu was for the evening. Look for it in an upcoming post this week. It was a yummy, simple meal that I look forward to sharing with you.



A Thank You Dinner

20111106-042449.jpg When we have a guest come from out of town, we love to host a dinner in their honor. There is just something about opening your home and cooking a meal that brings folks together in a relaxing & intimate way. In this case, it was to thank Jenine Ferrari from Dempsey & Carroll for coming out from New York and putting on a fantastic trunk show at the shop.

20111106-043220.jpg I have been wanting to use these really cool faux bois melamine plates we sell at the shop. Many times, one element is the driving force behind how the table is put together. The plates were it this time. It would be a woodsy, bird nest-y, natural table.

20111106-043541.jpg The prettiest orange dahlias were at a stall in the Market. This is the latest in the season I can remember dahlias still being around, so I snatched them up–the color really adding to the theme.

20111106-043745.jpg In the center of the table I put 2 pieces of artwork by Linda Morrison. She creates these amazing tableau pieces revolving around birds and nests, and then encases them in a cloche.

20111106-043946.jpg I used these vintage sterling napkin rings that were a wedding gift to Ted’s grandparents, that were given to us by his mom. They are engraved with their nicknames for each other, Regi & Ro.

20111106-044405.jpg Because of my love of all things bird, friends often give me nests that they find that are abandoned. I put a nest on each side of the dahlia bouquets.

20111106-044624.jpg The tall candlesticks with the brown tones filled with the tall cream beeswax candles added the height I like.

20111106-044836.jpg Mismatched chairs are my ode to “not everything needs to match” plus I like the variety visually. Truly, never let the fact that you don’t have a full set of something stop you from having guests over.

20111106-045252.jpg With the tapers lit, it was time to pour the bubbly and get the dinner party started.



A November Window

20111105-074349.jpg Creamy white pumpkins and white birch logs, now that might help shape a window, was my thought as I walked the show in New York in sweltering heat in August. I am always looking for one or two elements that pull a window together. I also like to have a window be more wintery and less Christmas-y till after Thanksgiving. Sadly, Thanksgiving often gets overlooked in the retail world.

20111105-075430.jpg The vintage, oversized flash card worked perfectly tucked behind the urn lamp. I pinned pages from a poetry book by Robert Burns that I found falling apart at a flea market in London.




Paperwhite Narcissus

20111104-060458.jpg A container filled with paperwhite narcissus bulbs just makes me happy. It also is a signal that the Holidays are rapidly approaching for most folks, and if you are a retailer like me, that means they are well underway. The papery white petals and intoxicating scent fill the shops and our home, adding that bit of green I long for in the beginning of these cooler months.

20111104-061436.jpg Not only are they pretty and smell great, they are also one hearty little bulb, and are incredibly easy to grow. This first round I brought home went directly into one of my favorite vintage glass vessels. It is a quite large, quite thick jar that sits on our kitchen counter and has a festive green lid. I lined the bottom of the jar with oyster shells from a prior oyster-fest we had. These help to elevate the bulbs so they are not sitting too deep in the water. I find it best to really crowd the bulbs and have them butting up to one another, as once they start to grow, it helps them from falling over. I then put a few extra oyster shells in any spots where there was still room, as I really like to see a bit of the shell once the bulbs start their magic. You then add just enough water so the bottom of the bulb is touching the water. You will be amazed at how quickly these little guys take root. We are off and running. It is as easy as that. Just make sure the water level remains as it started, and you are good to go.

20111104-062431.jpg Oyster shells are but one filling option. You can use rocks, marbles, whatever you like–as long as it elevates the bulb a bit. I also find having them in a tall necked container is helpful, as once the stems become leggy, they rest on the walls of the container, and don’t fall over, which is a common complaint I hear about these lovelies.

This will be one of several posts in the coming months about paperwhite narcissus, because I just love them, and I just love finding different ways to have them around. Enjoy!

A happy Friday to all. Please stop in this afternoon or tomorrow for the wonderful Dempsey & Carroll trunk show if you can.



Santa Maria Novella at Watson Kennedy

20111103-054552.jpg I am thrilled to announce that our first shipment of the extraordinary Santa Maria Novella has arrived!

The centuries old Italian Santa Maria Novella is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world–they create some of the most unique and sought after scented goods in the market. I have long been a fan, and am so excited to now offer it to all of you at Watson Kennedy.

20111103-055539.jpg The potpourri has gained a cult status, and is amazing. This is not your grandmother’s potpourri. Each batch of herbs & flowers is collected by hand and fermented in centuries-old terra cotta jars for several months before it is packaged.

20111103-060148.jpg The eau de colognes are sublime. Each day I walk by the new display, the scents wafting thru the air, I am transported to a slower time and my heart slows a beat.



Drinks with Deborah Needleman

On one of my trips to New York a few months back, I had a yummy dinner with my uber creative & stylish friend Rita Konig at Peels on the Lower East Side. For you former domino mag readers, Rita’s was the smiling face you would see each month who travelled to cities and reported on the cool places to shop and dine. We had just come from a show of Hugo Guinness work that John Derian was showing. We were settling in for a meal and lots of stories and catching up, when along came Deborah Needleman, who had also been at the Hugo show. She nestled into the booth alongside Rita, and said we should join her after our meal for drinks. An introduction, Deborah was the founding editor of domino, and is currently the editor of the WSJ magazine. She sat with us for a bit while we started our dinner. It was lovely to see the easy rapport and friendship the 2 share. After our meal, we headed downstairs and met up with Deborah at her table. She is a person who makes you feel comfortable, is easy to talk with, looks you in the eye when she speaks with you (and is not looking around the room to see who is there)–she is just one very cool gal in my book. Which leads me to her new book.

The Perfectly Imperfect Home, with a tag line of, How to Decorate & Live Well, just arrived at the shop yesterday. It is a must read if you were a domino fan or are a fan of design. I sat last night in my favorite worn leather chair perusing the pages. It is written with her warmth and smarts, with an experts eye. The drawings are fantastic, and are a welcome change. Deborah is signing bookplates for me, so our copies will be signed by the author. A perfect gift, for yourself or to give.




Dempsey & Carroll Trunk Show

20111101-064250.jpg I am delighted to report that we will be hosting a special trunk show this coming Friday afternoon and all day Saturday at the First Avenue location. Dempsey & Carroll, stationery engravers since 1878, will be showing the wares that have made them famous for over the past hundred years. Beautiful personalized engraved stationery, holiday cards, calendars–all produced to order, with extreme attention to detail and quality.

It will be a chance to see and hear about the process of engraving, as well as place orders for this amazing stationery. They create glorious Holiday cards, too, which I am super excited to see. I hope you can join us.

We will be having a raffle for a box of Dempsey & Carroll stationery. Leave a comment on this post between now and Saturday afternoon, if you can’t join us in person, and we will enter your name in the raffle.

Happy beginning of November!