Can you believe we’ve almost made it to 2015?!? Where has this last year gone???
Well, we can tell you, we’ve spent a lot of time moving… Not only did we move the showroom to our new location, we moved from the suburbs to a condo in the city and helped all three of our children move in the past year. Phew! I think we’re ready for a quieter 2015, but we’ll see.
This New Year’s Eve, we’re looking forward to a casual celebration in said new condo – we’re having so much fun christening it with holiday soirees! The view from our new place is pretty spectacular, so we feel pretty confident we’ll see some fireworks at midnight.
In our younger days, we tried all the prix fixe fetes, and while they were totally indulgent and holiday-worthy, we actually have come to appreciate the holiday at home. We invite friends over, cook and play games; it’s a hoot!
A staple on our New Year’s Eve menu is crab cakes. In the past, we’ve picked them up from The Red Bar, off 30A in Florida, and cooked them at home. This year, we may look to the Fresh Market for a cook-at-home solution, or if we’re feeling really adventurous, perhaps we’ll whip up our own batch for the crowd.
And, of course, there’s champagne. Perhaps we’ll be sipping out of these fabulous new flutes, which we’re carrying in the showroom…
***Hostess tip from Jill – If you forget to pop the champagne in the fridge earlier in the day, don’t fret – simply fill one side of your sink with ice and cold water (it must be slushy) and put a few bottles in; they’ll be perfectly chilled in 30 minutes flat!
As for the games, try Ellen Degenerous’ game “Head’s Up!” for some fun and laughs. It’s similar to what she plays with her celebrity guests, only now we can play with our friends at home.
Sure, you may have your tried and true methods of decorating for the holidays, but did you know there can be an art to the way you dis-decorate? It’s true, take it from our own organizational maven and Wonder Mom, Jill.
Here are a few of her tips to make dis-decorating as painless as possible, and hopefully we’ll help you improve your decorating process for the next holiday season!
If you don’t already have one, get yourself a label maker. It’s Jill’s favorite toy. There are so many options available, and many are less than $20! Then, get to labeling all of your storage containers!
Select one storage container and label it “OPEN FIRST,” our open first box contains our stockings, plastic Christmas glasses, paper guest towels, kitchen towels and aprons; all useful items that signal to us it’s time for the holidays. This box should contain no fragile items and will be what your kids help you to set out first next year. This way, if they’re young, you’ll have no worries of the kids breaking vintage ornaments, etc.
Only put away working lights/light strands. Trust us. Sure, it’s inevitable, you’ll have to make a few repairs next year, but don’t pack away light strands with the intention of fixing them next year, it just won’t work.
Use pieces of cardboard to wrap your lights around, and then place each wrapped strand into a plastic shopping bag. Hopefully, this will mean far fewer tangles in future years.
If you use faux trees or greenery, wrap them in sheets, or plastic sheeting, to ensure they’re dust-free when you unpack them next year.
Always keep bubble wrap and tissue paper on hand when dis-decorating. This way, you’ll always have packing supplies on hand for the breakable items you’re putting away.
Label everything – okay, this one’s a repeat. But, it’s well worth it now that you have your label maker!
And Jill’s #1 holiday dis-decorating tip:
Enjoy it! Dis-decorating doesn’t have to be a melancholy event. Warm up some hot cocoa, put on some tunes and make a little family party out of it. Everyone can help. And at the end of the day, order in take out and veg-out, you’ll deserve it after all that work!
Good luck everyone! Do you have any special dis-decorating tips??? We’d love to hear them…
We hope you all enjoy the holiday spending time with family and friends. Merry Christmas to all!
Please note, the steve mckenzie’s showroom will be closed through the first of the year. But, we’re open 24/7 at stevemckenzies.com. And we look forward to seeing you in-store when we resume our regular hours January 2nd, 2015!
Like many parents out there, one of our favorite books to read to our children when they were younger was Where the Wild Things Are… So, when we heard there’s an exhibit featuring works by ‘Wild Things’ author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak, at The Breman Museum here in Atlanta, we had to share!
From The Breman Museum’s website:
For over fifty years Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are has delighted and captivated readers both young and old. This exhibition celebrates Sendak’s life and work by showcasing his most famous pieces through preliminary sketches, finished artwork, and interactive displays. All of this is told through the words of Sendak himself, intimately connecting artist to art.
The exhibition aims at promoting an appreciation of the creative genius of Maurice Sendak and his art by highlighting the importance of early childhood reading as it relates to language development and literacy.
The exhibition also emphasizes art as an important and effective tool for children and adults alike in coping with stressful situations that arise in every day life.
New sections of the exhibition have been developed through partnerships with both the Atlanta Speech School’s Rollins Center for Language and Literacy and the Georgia Art Therapy Association.
The Where the Wild Things Are exhibit is taking place now through July 5, 2015, so make plans to go in the new year!
Here’s a bit about “being a kid,” in Maurice Sendak’s words:
We’re also excited to offer our readers a special discount to The Breman Museum, in celebration of the Maurice Sendak exhibit…
SAVE $4 Off the Purchase Price of a Second Ticket with The Purchase of an Adult Ticket. This offer is good through March 31st.
To redeem this offer visit the Breman Museum and purchase One Adult Ticket at the admission desk, Mention the code phrase The Breman Museum Loves Bbloggers” to save $4 off a second ticket (Children-Adult)
One ticket per family per , not valid with other promotional offers.
How many of you parents out there can still quote your favorite lines from this classic tale?
Have you begun breaking out your traditional holiday linens and tableware and realize you may need to spruce things up a bit this year? You know, nothing a new set of glasses or napkins couldn’t fix. And they could be just the refresh your celebration tablescape needs… Take it from us – after all, steve mckenzie’s was recently awarded the “Best of Atlanta – Tabletop” by Atlanta Magazine!
Enter these beautiful, hand embroidered Libeco holiday napkins, $32. If these won’t be the star of your place setting, we don’t know what will be! Create a set with the stag and snowflakes for a winter look that will last all season long, or keep it classic for Christmas with the Noel, Joy and Christmas embroidered napkins.
Do all the same, or create a table full of fun by mixing and matching – these are so pretty, your guests won’t want to dab their fingertips on them. What’s even better, is a portion of the sales of these napkins goes back to the African women who do the embroidery. A win-win!
Next up, these sculptural red acrylic (yes, acrylic!) Milly Tumblers, $25. These will do double duty for you, as the glistening jewels on your table, and even on the kid’s table, since they’re not crystal or glass… These unbreakable, acrylic glasses will go far for you this holiday season, but can also make a reappearance this summer season when you’re celebrating the 4th of July!
Grab a few more than you’ll think you’ll need and use them as mini vases, vessels for your buffet’s utensils, so many options! Everyone will want to know where you found these unique tumblers, as they’ll add a perfect punch to your tablescape.
Finally, these Blackfriars Check napkins by Libeco, $23, will add a touch of drama with their deep hues. Although the pattern allows these to blend with traditional holiday decor. The Blackfriars Check napkins will make an especially lovely addition to a holiday brunch table and would line bread baskets equally as well.
There are so many ways little touches such as these can blend seamlessly with the decor you already have, adding the ideal fresh touch needed to dress up any holiday table. Add a few sprigs of rosemary to the napkin rings, and you’re ready for a celebration!
Come into the steve mckenzie’s showroom today to select a few items from our selection, voted “Best of Atlanta,” to adorn your holiday table and see what an impact a few new accessories can add… And don’t forget, these would all make fabulous gifts for the entertainer or hostess in your life, and with complimentary gift wrapping by our team, what’s not to love?!?
Aside from the family and friends you’ll be celebrating the holiday with this year, do you think about those out-of-the-box recipients who always fall to the end of the list to receive re-gifts, last-minute crafts, or are forgotten all together?
Be the envy of your group of friends this holiday and get it all together by checking out these potential gift recipients who you may want to include on your gift list this year:
Mailman – they brave the rain, cold and Rufus to deliver your mail in a timely manner. A little something just might be in order.
Hairdresser/barber – they fixed your at home perm and made you look ten years younger all with a new cut and color – a token of appreciation would surely be well received.
School teacher/nanny – you don’t have to be a Pinterest maven to gift your child’s teacher with a little something special… The thought alone will go a long way!
Dog walker – they love your furry family members as much as you do, and they have to do the dirty work. Show them how much you appreciate their use of the pooper-scooper.
Doorman – you see them everyday, and they probably almost always help make that moment a little brighter with a smile. Give them a little something extra to smile about this holiday season.
Clergy member – this is usually a very busy time of year for people of the church. Do a little something nice to show them thanks for all of the hard work.
Butcher/Florist/Baker, etc. – they meet your specific requests and go above and beyond to make you a satisfied customer. Show them you appreciate their professional attention.
As you can see, the list of potential gift recipients can be seemingly endless. Select those you have formed a very special relationship with, or who have really outdone themselves in the past year, and show them you recognize their efforts with a little something special for the holidays.
Gift suggestions range from an extra tip on your next service, a gift card, or even a handmade item, such as a jar of your famous peach preserves.
But, if you want to share something truly memorable, stop in to steve mckenzie’s today and let our team help select the perfect ornament, notebook, or other gift item – even a fantastic handmade card will help spread holiday cheer – that will show them how much you appreciate them!
You know when you see a memorable piece of jewelry. Sometimes a unique piece will make you stop in your tracks and question a total stranger about the beautiful baubles they’re donning. Be that person stopped on the street, thanks to Mark Edge, the designer behind some of the most uncommon jewelry pieces you’ll treat your eyes – and your wardrobe to.
We’re so grateful Mark took some time out of his super busy holiday schedule to share a bit about himself and his seriously amazing collection of jewelry… We’re sure you’ll find something lust-worthy in the photos he shares below!
A few words from Mark:
I have a passion for creating jewelry. I gather environmentally conscious materials and push them beyond their conventional uses. My jewelry is handcrafted from a bevy of unusual materials including reclaimed metal and wood, unclaimed old stock chains and fittings and vintage crystals. I disappear into the design process for hours until I have that magic “ah-ha” moment. Then…and only then…do I feel my work is complete and that I can put my name on it. My designs are truly a labor of love. Enjoy!
– How did you get in to jewelry design?
I took a 5-evening jewelry-making class in the 8th grade just for the fun of it, and it stuck. I was instantly in business and the rest is history after attending college.
Here’s a short video of Mark and Jill – he’s sharing how long necklaces can be worn in various ways:
– Do you have a favorite piece you’ve created, or perhaps favorite jewelry collection?
The current EcoVintage collection is my favorite as I love antiques and a patina!
– Can you share just a bit about your design process – from inspiration, to determining materials, colors, textures, etc.?
I gather all sorts of materials and basically put them in front of me and that’s when the magic begins as if I love something I’ll make it work and sometimes it designs itself when certain things beg to be next to each other.
– What’s the most unique item you’ve ever turned into jewelry?
I’d have to say the vintage solid silver American coins. They are so beautiful and iconic, as well as an amazing investment. In fact, the tag line for the coin pieces is “an investment in style.”
– What are some of the more unique ways you’ve seen people wearing your pieces – in a way you may not have envisioned?
Dolly Parton has a ton of my jewelry and in a recent photography shoot she’s wearing a butterfly necklace as a hand bracelet!!
In fact, here’s a quick video of Mark showing Jill how to turn one of his bracelets into a fantastic necklace…
– Do you ever think of specific people when designing a piece of jewelry? Perhaps a friend, family member, or even a celebrity?
The age range of people who’re attracted to my jewelry literally ranges from teenagers and moms to hip grandmothers, which makes me feel so good! Normally three generations of women would not shop in the same stores, but with my work, they all love it which I love! I look at the jewelry as art and anyone or age can be attracted to a piece of art!!
– What kind of traditions do you and your friends/family recognize when it comes to jewelry, if any?
I do give jewelry to family and friends and they always love it!!!
Thank you so much Mark! We’ve heard that in addition to the fabulous Dolly Parton, his celebrity clientele includes ladies from The Real Housewives of NYC & Atlanta, Courtney Cox, Martina McBride, The Ladies of “The View” – and we can see why!
Last video share – this one of Mark sharing how nicely his necklaces layer:
Stop by steve mckenzie’s today to see some of Mark’s work in person, and possibly add a little celebrity style to your wardrobe. For a limited time, we’re offering all in-stock Mark Edge jewelry at 25% off, so please pay us a visit and take advantage of these special savings! These pieces make fantastic gifts as well, and we’re offering our gift-wrapping services through the holiday season, so there’s no reason to leave something – or nothing – unwrapped under the tree…
So, there are tons of gift guides circulating… And, sure, plenty of cool items. But we’re especially excited about this gift guide we’re sharing with you today because it’s just for the guys! If there’s any one thing we hear around this time of year it’s “what can I get my husband/father/uncle/boyfriend.”
The truth is, many of us are stumped on what to get the men in our life. Well, stumped you are no more – steve mckenzie’s is here to help with our 2014 Gift Guide for the Guys:
Starting at $44 (for a felt iPad sleeve), sleeves and cases for your guy’s beloved technology will always be well received. They’re the perfect understated accent, they’ll actually be able to use!
Here’s something your guy will forever treasure, a handsome rucksack by Colsen Keane, for steve mckenzie’s ($695 on sale for $556). The era of the murse (man-purse) is behind us, enter the rucksack – a redesigned classic from your man’s youth, this piece will only age the older it is, and he’ll find a use for it almost every day!
If this piece doesn’t fit the bill for your man, there are a number of fabulous leather gift options currently on sale on the steve mckenzie’s website; take advantage of these special savings before they’re gone!
Every southern gentleman needs a place to store his bourbon, whisky, or scotch while enjoying a fall tailgate, bonfire, or other activities where a warming drink may be needed… Help your man enjoy that drink in style with a fantastic flask, available in small and large sizes in timeless cowhide or supple ostrich leather, ranging in price from $32 to $50.
Each of these gifts is sure to elicit a smile out of even the most ornery men out there come Christmas morning. So, what’ll it be for your guy this year? Come on in today and let the team at steve mckenzie’s help you select something special for the guy in your life – we’ll even gift wrap it for you!
You know those unique and beautiful ornaments you always treasured as you decorated your Christmas tree as a child? The ones that always stood out because they were a bit different, and maybe super fragile… Well, we’re here to share the Eric Cornina Collection of exquisite holiday ornaments with you, in hopes they will become those special pieces your family treasures and looks forward to enjoying every Christmas season, if not year round!
We reached out to *the* Eric behind the Eric Cortina Collection and asked him a bit about his one-of-a-kind ornament designs, and all that goes into being a creator of such prized pieces, which are so much more than simple Christmas tree adornments. Here’s what he had to share:
How did you decide to design Christmas ornaments?
I had been traveling to Germany during the Christmas fair as buyer for Rogers Gardens and started suggesting designs and colorations to the factories I had been working with. One year a customer requested an ornament with holly on it, so when I was in Germany the next year I designed an ornament just for her. It was Roger’s best selling design the following season. The factories suggested I should design a collection…so I followed their advice. My goal was to create unique ornaments with a design driven approach.
Do you have a favorite ornament you’ve created?
I think every new design is my favorite. I believe this might be true with every designer, what you are currently working on has your attention and is your favorite. Looking back, I would have to say the “Bird in Nest” because it was the first design I created for my collection and it incorporated a multi mold concept which was new for the industry.
Can you share just a bit about your design process – from inspiration, to determining materials, colors, textures, etc.?
My inspiration comes from looking at the things around me every day. I look at what I find interesting, what I see trending in design and what I think my clients would find intriguing. I also look back on the past year to see what ornaments sold the best, and then try to evolve the collection from that point. I always try to push what the design can be by adding new techniques and materials.
What’s the most unique holiday ornament you’ve ever designed?
I would have to say the Crown Finial, which is constructed from five molds joined together to create the crown tree topper. The factory actually went to the local University math department to figure out the dimensions for the design. Glass shrinks when it cools, so the factory found that the crown initially would crack from the cooling process. The math department figured out the correct proportions for the design to work and it is still one of our most iconic ornaments.
What are some of the more unique ways you’ve seen people using your ornaments for the holidays?
Ornaments are not just for trees! People are decorating their chandeliers with them, placing them on book shelves and also displaying them under glass domes as pieces of art. Many people will purchase an ornament because it reminds them of an event or a moment from their life, and some will keep those ornaments displayed all year round.
Do you ever think of specific people when designing an ornament? Perhaps a friend, family member, or even a celebrity?
I definitely design not only from my own interests but also for people I know. Every ornament has a personal story, or is designed with a friend in mind. A best friend’s cat, a new born baby and even a coworker who loves flamingos have inspired some of my designs.
What kind of traditions do you and your family recognize when it comes to ornaments?
I can remember our ornaments more than any other objects from my childhood. I was not raised in a wealthy family, but I thought our two boxes of ornaments were the most beautiful possession we had. I think many people don’t realize the impact the holidays have on children and how keeping those traditions alive for the future is so important.
If these ornaments, and Eric’s story, don’t inspire you to get to decorating your Christmas tree, we don’t know what will! We invite you to visit the steve mckenzie’s showroom and see these fabulous little works of art for yourself. We guarantee, you’ll find something perfect for yourself and quite possibly as a gift as well!
Thank you so much to Eric for sharing the secrets to his ornament designs, and why they mean so much to him.