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

what we love about November…

Falling leaves in shades of red, orange, and yellow, country walks, apple orchards, mulled wine, heirloom chrysanthemums, cornucopias, cozy sweaters, planting bulbs, Thanksgiving, pheasants, afternoon naps, sheaves of wheat, plaid everything on these “soft-dying days” as Keats called them…









We hope you are enjoying these November days…


Holly and Brooke

Easter (a few of our favorite things)


With Easter just a little over a week away, we thought we’d share a few of our favorite things to make and see and do and just enjoy this special time of year.


Brunch: A favorite thing for sure. I like the casual elegance of brunch (make it a buffet and it’s even easier). Martha Stewart’s make-ahead menu includes some Easter brunch classics and some interesting twists.


Kites: April is National Kite Month. And in Bermuda they have a lovely tradition of flying kites on the beaches on Good Friday (I was there once and have never forgotten it). You could find a park or a field or an open meadow and fly a kite. If you are rusty, here’s some quick tips on how to fly a kite.


Fancy Chocolates: Enough said. Town & Country Magazine has a very thorough list of 25 luxury confections for Easter baskets or gifts.


Beatrix Potter: Her charming characters have come to symbolize this season for us. In this video, you can take a look at her home, Hilltop Farmin the spring, and the flora and fauna that inspired her art, and was her way of life (a real time visit is definitely on my bucket list).

030096D2-C668-4042-808F-9876A61AF3E6Carrot Cake: Here are three recipes for carrot cake, a simple carrot loaf cake, a showstopper, and a gluten-free cake, from Bon Appetite. There’s also a fun foodcast with the chefs discussing their carrot cakes—3 ways.

Happy Friday!

vintage tins with flowers (some chic styling ideas)


Long ago my sister and I had a small flower business, and one of the things that we loved to do was use antique and vintage containers in our floral designs. It’s a nice way to make small arrangements that can brighten a neglected space, like a powder room or a forgotten corner. What’s nice too, is that you don’t need a whole lot of expensive flowers to create this look. And this time of year, flowers are about to be everywhere: grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and your own garden. Vintage tins can be found at tag sales, garage sales, flea markets, and junk shops. Most of them range from a couple dollars to twenty dollars at the most (some rare tins are more expensive).


I’ve collected some images of arrangements in vintage tins that I think are chic and not too cutesy (which is something that you have to be careful to avoid).

And here are a few tips that I’ve learned over the years:

  • Old tins often leak, so use a plastic floral liner or a small water glass inside the tin to hold the water and flowers.
  • Use flowers with small blooms and cut the stems fairly short so that you can create the effect shown in the images below.
  • Choose flowers that compliment the tin rather than compete with it, and experiment with the shape and color of your arrangement.









Happy flower arranging!