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

Friday mood board 5.10.19


In honor of Mother’s Day we’ve created a mood board for a beautiful outdoor space. Whether it’s a sunroom, a patio, or a screened porch, you can provide lovely surroundings with a dressed table, pretty tableware, and a well-stocked tray table. This is sure to entice any mother to come relax and enjoy her special day. We’ve chosen a soft blue and white palette with botanical accents in memory of our mother who loved this timeless look.


We started with a round farmhouse table with white wicker chairs by Ralph Lauren Home dressed in a simple white tablecloth. We love the addition of this classic blue and white Aerin Fairfield melamine tableware by William Sonoma. The vintage white iron cachepot filled with white garden roses, accented with rose filled mint julep cups completes the pretty tablescape.


We’d cover the chair cushions in this Sabrook Stripe woven fabric by Thiabaut for Sunbrella, accented with pillows in Isabella Green by Ballard Design.

On this charming white wicker bar cart by Serena and Lily, we’d place our beverages including the blue and white ginger jar dispenser.

We accessorized with a traditional white garden stool, vintage finials, and created a focal point with the large black antique urn planted with a fern and under planted with variegated ivy, white Bacopa, and soft pink cornflowers. And we are especially fond of the white lattice backdrop for a porch or sunroom as seen behind the black urn.

Creating an outdoor space takes some effort and time, so don’t do it all at once if that’s not your style, add a bit here and there, or give a piece as a gift for a special mother to incorporate into her own home. Because isn’t it worth it to have a quiet place (no technology allowed) to indulge in the lost art of conversation or of just doing nothing? Our mother would have said yes to that!


Cheers! And Happy Mother’s Day!

Holly and Brooke


butterfly chic Mother’s Day


Our mother loved butterflies and I regret that I never asked her why they so enchanted her, but she is definitely not alone. The butterfly motif (which dates back to ancient times and was particularly appealing to Victorians) seems to be quite popular these days.

We’ve gathered some of our favorite things that might inspire a butterfly chic Mother’s Day.


Like this botanical print Passion Flowers and Butterflies by artist Elizabeth Golz Rush.



Or a blue and white butterfly motif garden stool for inside or out.


Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis by Kim Todd tells the story of a 17th century female botanical artist and naturalist.




Pretty engraved butterfly note cards


Botanical Art with Scientific Illustrations by Sarah Jane Humphrey is a beautiful book that is both informative and instructive if you want to try your hand at botanical illustration.


Exotic Butterfly: A fun and lively fabric from Schumacher.


A butterfly garden tea towel


A butterfly house or seeds for a butterfly wildflower garden


Antique butterfly domes


Decoupage artist John Derian (whose work I just love) has a whole section on his website under themes for butterflies.  And don’t forget the butterfly clutch to finish the look!

Cheers! 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!

black Friday: 7 online shopping sources (so you can stay in bed)


It’s quite cold here and we are all stuffed and ready for a lazy day. If you are in the same mood, I’ve gathered some of my favorite online boutiques, where you are sure to find unique and thoughtful gifts for others or yourself that have the ECS vibe. Happy Friday, happy shopping! Continue reading “black Friday: 7 online shopping sources (so you can stay in bed)”