Monday, November 30, 2009

Pear Tree Eco-Friendly Holiday Cards

Pear Tree Greetings

Pear Tree Greetings Holiday Cards - Great Design at pocket friendly prices

Pear Tree Greetings

Please know that 75% of our ad commissions from the sale of these cards will benefit our Seva Project 09 for St. Mary's Child Center in Indianapolis. Learn more. Pear Tree Greetings is not directly affiliated with this initiative to provide art supplies for at-risk preschoolers in our community. Thank You So Much! Love, kitty.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hanukkah Ideas Part 2: Chinoiserie and Modern Menorahs

     A Chinoiserie Menorah and another titled, "Silver Dove." Both from the Art Institute of Chicago's Museum Shop (please note: we have no relationship with the shop, so should you decide to get one from their website your purchase will not raise funds for the Seva Project 09). They have lots of other interesting options for your Festival of Lights, so why don't you shake a tail and have a look?

Bronze Bonsai Menorah

Silver Dove Menorah

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Costumes - Really?

These fabulous finds are for Averill's amusement, but I hope everyone thinks they're as weird as I do. She hates Thanksgiving decorations! Pilgrim costumes? Really? Really?!? Please write in if you have seen this done at Thanksgiving dinner! Or tell us about your favorite Thanksgiving moment gone wrong!
Womens Pilgrim Costume
"Coming up on Stage Number 4, it's Hester Prynne!"

Deluxe Men's Indian Costume

Deluxe Women's Indian Costume
I don't have any clever taglines for these coupla hot messes. Do you?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Curiouser and Curiouser!

Dear Kittens,
   Through a cursory analysis, I noticed my most popular posts on Shindigs are the Alice in Wonderland features. They're certainly the most fun to construct! I've decided to organize them and expand them on this new blog, Of Cabbages & Kings. I hope you enjoy reading the posts as much as I enjoy writing them. I've had a penchant for Alice since early childhood, and I've been collecting ever since.
     I've never been much of a fan of princess crap, preferring instead to live in a Wonderland of sorts, gawking at the absurdity of life the way Alice herself learned about reality. Alice in Wonderland is as existential as Camus or any dharma book I've ever read. In fact, if there is one work of literature that has run like a sutra thread through my life, it is Alice in Wonderland. I just love it. And from the looks of it, so do you!
     Here you'll find reprints of Shindigs & Soirees party planning posts, my Alice collection, special features and shopping links. In fact, from November 1, 2009 to January 1, 2010 we will donate 75% of our advertising revenue for the Innerspace Yoga Seva Project 09. Please click here for more information. Meanwhile, please tumble down this rabbit hole with me...and do drop a line. I want to see your Alice stuff, too! Oodles of Toodles,
Your Kitty, the Duchess of Bucquette.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hanukkah Ideas

Each photo above is clickable for your convenience. Should you decide to purchase anything from these sites, a portion of our revenue will be donated to the Innerspace Seva Project 09. Please allow your browser to accept cookies from these sites so sales can be tracked and we can earn our commission for the cause. Thanks! Love, kitty.

5% Off Holiday Photo Cards

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Alice in Wonderland Tree

     I just can't wait to put up my Alice tree. Forgive my photos from last year. These pictures don't do it much justice; it's adorned with red glass hearts from around the world (mainly compliments of Bebe) weird keys, smaller topiaries from my wedding 13 years ago, glass mushrooms, and very intricate Alice ornaments. It's also the place where I hang MIL's lone surviving antique ornament from her own childhood. Because of the red hearts, I stack red, white and green gifts under this tree. I can't put them under the main tree, obviously because that room is brown and tiger striped and neutral. Christmas morning is always a little treasure hunt through the house for all of us!
Update: I just scored the sweetest glass Alice ornaments on Ebay! They're from my favorite year, 1996, and each is palm sized. I'll be receiving Alice, the Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and the White Rabbit. Although Radko made Alice in Wonderland ornaments that are somewhat rare and very cute, these are waaaayyy better and I can't wait to get them and put them up!
Update 2: Attention Alice fans: I've created a new blog, Cabbages and Kings. It's all Alice all the time. I hope you'll all join me there and on the other kitty: channels: Organic Orgy and Zen of Homekeeping. Toodles, kitty.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Your Corporate Holiday Parties

     I've mentioned most of my event planning experience comes from several years of directing corporate Christmas at our family business. I learned quickly in our industry that there is no such thing as "Christmas" per se in the professional world.
    There are "The Holidays" and there is "The New Year," and there is a "Season" which must be greeted, but it's not called Christmas. Now, our parties certainly reflected the Christmas spirit (one of the season's parties was a no-holds barred Santa extravaganza), but in secular industries, not being more sensitive to and aware of others' cultural diversities will come back to bite you in the arse. If you have Jewish clients and employees, take the time to learn about Hanukkah. Non-Christian Asians tend to put more emphasis on the New Year.
     When I took over the job, Harry & David hams were traditionally sent to clients. People of the Jewish and Muslim faiths don't eat pork, and neither do I. But we live in the Bible Belt, and this had not occurred to my predecessor. We switched to smoked turkeys, which some clients really liked. If I knew they had always enjoyed our meat in the mail, I'd send the bird. Otherwise, it was gift-towers for all. Eventually I settled on sending organic Fruit of the Month. I was never disappointed. They all loved it. Each individual piece always looked like something from a food styling photo shoot. If you have the budget and you're looking to impress, Harry & David is a great option. Their customer service reps are really great, too.
     Whatever you do and whomever you use during the season, start early. Be ready to ship December 1st. Sure, most vendors will handle ultra-last-minute pleas but shipping and schlepping will cost you dearly. I once had to phone our order in 3 days early from Cabo San Lucas. It arrived on Christmas Eve at clients' homes, but the charges were staggering. And the roaming. The roaming from my cell phone was a king's ransom. I thought I'd never hear the end of it.
      If you care enough to spend the money to send gourmet foods or something really cool, you obviously want to make an impression. If your items don't arrive until the day or two before the holiday begins, your big mucky-muck probably won't see it. Either it will get lost in the avalanche of gifts that pile into the office, or it will arrive after your executive has jetted off a day early on vacation. Then all your butt-kissing will be for naught. Get it there early!
     Conversely, you must take note of what's coming into your office as well. Do your thank you notes as time allows during this busy time of the year, but write your thank you letters as you receive the gifts.  Make sure you acknowledge the gifts, however small or mundane - and even if your company won't be reciprocating. My boss insisted upon a running inventory of who sent what. (continues below)

     Alright, I'm pretty sure I'll catch hell for this, but I'm just going to say it: I. Hate. Secret Santa. It's the worst thing ever. If you're in charge of office cheer, don't foist this upon people. For one thing, an office isn't a sorority house. I'm not grinchy, really I'm not, but it's really awkward. Really, really awkward. I felt weird receiving presents from people I hardly knew. A sweet high school girl who worked about 5 minutes a week for minimum wage drew my name. I felt like a total ass accepting her cute little bag of Bath & Body Works (which, of course I refuse to use because of paraben and SLS and fake perfume content). I am old enough to be her mother. I secreted cash into her little felt stocking in the front of the building. That's what Secret Santa should be about!
In this awful economic climate, please don't press people into playing reindeer games. These are the sorts of things that add to rampant holiday stress. If you must spread some office cheer, why don't you take some of the delectable fruit baskets nuts and sausages (oh yes, there were loads and loads of sausages - more than any family could or should eat) down to the local police station or fire house? Or food pantry, or shelter or whatever. Give your coworkers the opportunity to do passive service. I think that's what the corporate world, or at least Michael Scott, calls a "win-win"situation.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fancy Folded Napkins

     When I was an undergraduate, I worked in the catering department of a large, old hotel. We had to do ornamental napkin presentations practically every day. Given I spent most of my breaks on the back loading dock, er, hanging out with a bunch of townies, I don't remember how to do any of the fancy folds other than sticking a napkin in a wine glass like this:

     It's not a bad technique in a pinch, but if you really want to set a table to impress, it's easy to learn the more intricate folds. I found this simple tutorial when I was looking for odd-sized table linens. I can never seem to find a tablecloth that's wide enough to fit my dining room table. I dread having to drag out the Singer to make one myself; how I hate sewing curved hems!