the joy of gift wrapping

The Enchanted Home

I’m having my hair done (we are all wearing festive shiny silver foil on our heads), and the chatter is about holiday preparations (how far we are and what we love and do not love about this week before Christmas). Two young ladies get into a spirited discussion about gift wrapping. One is all for it and finds it therapeutic (not to mention that she is already finished). The other is less enthusiastic, hasn’t even started, and says her gifts are all going into gift bags.

My gifts last year in wrapping paper from The Enchanted Home and Hallmark

I sympathize with the gift bag lady and have been there myself. But I do love a beautifully wrapped gift, and let’s face it, who doesn’t like opening one? (And I can’t be the only one who loves watching an expert gift wrapper at one of the department stores and thinking that would not be a bad job at all).

Our mother was very particular about how we wrapped gifts, folded corners were inspected, tape had to be hidden, and bows tied neatly (I can tell you I did not appreciate this as a teenage, but I do now). And one of my fondest memories is wrapping presents as an adult on Christmas Eve with my grandfather after my children had gone to bed. He’d come to spend the night with us and he’d help with the wrapping while we had a glass of eggnog.


William Morris wrapping paper set
Hadley Court
Cavallini and Co. Christmas botanical
My French Country Home
Hadley Court


Hadley Court
Gold Toile by Hallmark
Craftberry Bush
Caspari Twelve Days of Christmas
John Derian
Hadley Court
Country Living
Country Living
Sweet Caroline Design
Liberty Londons

So at the salon we all agreed it is about enjoying the process and the finished product. It’s all very rewarding if you make time for it. Or even if it’s rushed. I love finding beautiful paper and ribbon and coming up with some unexpected finishing touch (just now my sister called in a gift-wrapping panic looking for ribbon!). I don’t have a gift wrapping station like I’ve seen or a whole gift wrapping room (goals!), but I’ve gotten better about buying paper as I see it and keeping a supply of nice ribbon and tags (and yes there are bags).


In the midst of the Christmas rush, here are some ideas for inspiration and some of our favorite sources. We wish you much joy in your wrapping and giving of gifts, and a Merry little Christmas!


Holly and Brooke

Christmas at Ladew Gardens: a country manor house drawing room

655A2FC3-E133-447B-9885-A9708C73590DThe manor house at Ladew Topiary Gardens was built in 1820 and purchased by Harvy Ladew (1887-1976) in 1929. For the rest of his life Mr. Ladew (as he is lovingly referred to by the staff at the Gardens) restored and decorated the house, while creating the exquisite gardens on the property. Both the house and gardens are open to the public  from April-October. The house is re-opened for its annual Christmas Open House with each room decorated by a designer or garden club. This year we took part in this special event and decorated the drawing room.


When decorating a historic house we think it is important to respect the style of the period and incorporate designs that enhance the original architecture rather than distract from it. For this large, centrally located drawing room, traditionally used for entertaining and socializing, we chose a neutral palette of whites, brown, and taupe to compliment the pale green chintz on the furniture and the dark cherry antiques.


Mixed evergreens served as the backdrop to the featured white flowers: magnolias, paper whites, and amaryllis. Blue and white decorative pieces were used as accents. We incorporated natural and garden elements with plaid and gingham ribbon, and hung handmade stockings in hunting scene toile as a nod to the equestrian lifestyle that Mr. Ladew lived and loved.




Mr. Ladew’s manor house is a place of tradition, character, and moxie: you feel this as you walk through the rooms that are just as he left them: thoughtfully decorated and collected. If the house is haunted, it is by ghosts of the creative spirits who passed through its rooms like interior designer Billy Baldwin and musician Cole Porter (who actually played the piano in the drawing room). And of course by Mr. Ladew himself, who certainly knew about the art of living well.


Thanks so much to all of you who attended the open house. We appreciate your support of  Ladew Topiary Gardens and ECS!

(* all photographs by Michael Sneeringer, Jr.)


Holly and Brooke

upcoming holiday events


The holidays are upon us! We will be participating in two wonderful events and thought we’d share some information about them with you.

On Friday December 6th and Saturday December 7th Ladew Topiary Gardens hosts its annual Christmas Open House and Greens Sale.  This year the theme is Winter Wonderland, and each room of the historic manor house is decorated for the holidays by a different floral designer or garden club.  We will be decorating the Drawing Room in Elegant Country Style.


The following weekend, December 13, 14, and 15th Honeybee Home will host The Hive Winter Holiday Market at Mary’s Land Farm.  This is a sip and shop event with over 50 vendors, live music, carolers, food trucks, and valet parking.  Elegant Country Style holiday floral designs will be on display and for sale in the main farmhouse living room.

Both venues are beautiful country settings and are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.  We are so thankful for all of your support and encouragement, and do hope to see you there!  (click on links above to purchase tickets)


Holly and Brooke