Set A Beautiful Table: A Gift Guide with Table Design Ideas from Gather Goods Co

As a consummate homebody I believe that making everyday experiences at home makes for a more relaxing, cozy and special space to retreat and live. Setting a nice table and creating a pretty table design whether that is for an everyday meal or a special occasion like Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, New Years, a birthday, or having friends over makes things feel a little more festive and special. In my household every person has a birthday between Halloween and just after New Year’s including my parents as well. It also happens to be the busiest time of year for my business and my husband’s who makes peppermint bark which is a family affair where we are breaking up bark, boxing and labeling and shipping and participating in more markets too.

So when it comes time to celebrate, my favorite way is just a nice home cooked meal with a fancier than usual table. And while I appreciate beautiful things I also like things to be accessible and laid-back too. I’ve rounded up a handful of items from the Gather Goods Co online shop that make setting a beautiful table easy. All of these items are designed to be mixed and matched whether you want something colorful or a little more subdued and because this is one of my favorite things you’ll find lots of items to shop from not just what I’ve included here.

You can find all of these items online at or in-person at our downtown Cary, NC gift shop Wednesday-Saturday 11am-5pm (or anytime by appointment). Gather Goods Co is located at 417 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary, NC 27511 and you can park right in front of the shop in our parking lot.

Shoppe Object at High Point Market

Many retail stores use trade shows as a way to discover new products, get a sense for what an item looks like in-person and of course to further relationships with makers. Since these shows usually occur at certain times each year and in major cities like New York, San Francisco and Atlanta I often don’t go to them because as much as I love the sense of discovery, I don’t love big cities, the hustle and bustle of quick travel, schmoozing, or the cold, and I enjoy finding things in a variety of different ways. That said, I was excited when Shoppe Object, a highly curated makers market for retailers that typically sets up in NYC was coming to High Point Market, just a few hours down the road from me.

My favorite parts of the event were of course seeing inspiring wares in-person, meeting new makers, but also in running into maker friends, other business owners and design heroes from the many years I’ve been running a business. Here are some photos that I took of makers whose goods I especially enjoyed seeing in-person:

Decorative wall hangings by MQuan

A beautiful display of colorful glassware at the sir | madame booth

Hanging block-printed textiles from soil to studio

The most beautiful, sculptural ceramic lights and vases by Cym Warkov Ceramics

Colorful tableware from MoMA and a skateboard collaboration with artist Faith Ringgold

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screenshot-2023-11-01-at-11.52.52AM-766x1024.png

Ceramic wall shapes by Lauren HB Studio

I am always impressed by the quality of goods, the perseverance of marketing ones products and the effort that goes into setting up and selling at a trade show of this caliber. Though many of the companies exhibiting had sales reps and employees who were present, a good amount were manned and set-up by the makers themselves. It’s no small effort and it’s inspiring to see the work that goes into making a business like this succeed at just one of many touch-points that the maker has in place to sell their wares.

Interior Inspiration: Bathrooms Designed by Heidi Caillier

I’ve been on the Heidi Caillier train for awhile so it’s exciting to see that she has a book out with many of her gorgeous interiors inside. While all of her work is beautiful, I especially love to see her signature style applied to bathrooms. Maybe it is because I live in a small eighty-year old house with only one bathroom that I dream of updating one day that I am so drawn to her inventive applications in such a small but important space. I appreciate the way she brings moody colors and tiles, decorative wallpaper and traditional elements like bead board and brass sconces together in a way that feels old fashioned and classic without feeling fusty and also modern without feeling like something I’ve seen everywhere. The design is executed impeccably as well.

I’m fantasizing about reglazing the early 90’s beige stone tiles in my bathroom. The most obvious choice is white or my favorite green gray blue color but with the trends headed towards roses, burgundy’s and greens those look gorgeous too and would make a big impact. I always did like my Grandmother’s pink tiled bathroom and the other’s light blue velvet upholstery. The avocado kitchen appliances I could do without.

These bathrooms by Heidi Caillier inspire me to go outside of my typical traditional box towards something that is both classic, cool and fun even though I know in thirty years (or sooner) those things will look “of an era” too. Still, with all white everything being so popular then the modern farmhouse style, this aesthetic feels like a more natural combination of the two combining antiques and vintage designs with new ones too which I appreciate. More than that, this look feels authentic and lived in and like it has been there for centuries versus faux new farmhouse which was always a little kitschy to me.

Images via Heidi Caillier’s instagram. You can see more of her work on her portfolio site here.

Artist Inspiration: Kat Kristof and Her Paintings of Fragmented Women’s Faces

Kat Kristof is a Hungarian artist based in the UK. Her evocative work features flat painted colors and fragmented portraits of women with the idea that we are always in flux as humans. She has an upcoming exhibit called ‘Her and the Self’ at Beers Gallery in London. You can purchase prints of her work on her website and follow her on instagram here.

Images via Kat Kristof’s instagram and website.

Check Out This Colorful Glassware Collection in the Gather Goods Co Shop. Aesthetic Glass Drinkware That is Modern, Versatile and Beautiful

There is so much gorgeous colored glassware in the shop right now. I love how versatile these handmade glasses are: from drinkware, to votive candle holders (with one of our beeswax tea lights naturally), to a desk side catch-all for pens, or keys, or sunglasses, or toothbrushes, and lastly as a vase for just picked flowers. Which color is your favorite?

Green Glass Drinking Glass, Amber Stemless Wineglass, Tortoise Shell Drinking Glass, Frosted Green Glass Drinking Glass, White Frosted Spotted Drinking Glass, Frosted Coral Drinking Glass, Irridecent Pink Colored Drinking Glass, Stemless Tortoise Shell Glass

Some of the Best Books I’ve Read Over the Past Few Months

I am a voracious reader. Owning a business with multiple threads and arms is a lot to manage, not to mention taking care of my own self care needs and that of my teenager, so I use reading as a way to disengage from that world and tune into something else. Because of my ADHD it can often be hard to change focus too so reading helps me with that. It also keeps me off of devices which is another thing I like. I enjoy the tactile sensation of a book in my hand, and winding down with a fiction book, no screen in sight. Here are some of the books I’ve enjoyed the most over the past few months:

  • Hello, Beautiful – This was one of my favorites and if you read just one from this list I would make it this one. The book is an epic multi-generational story about family, ourselves, our choices, loss and redemption. It also delves pretty heavily into mental health in a way that I hadn’t read before, sharing different perspectives from different personalities, the ways in which people who struggle with mental health live in order to care for themselves, without judgement. I highly recommend.
  • The Half Moon – Another good one about a couple who owns a failing bar and the complexities of marriage and the complicated choices we make (or that are thrust upon us) and the results of those actions. The book delves into deep topics but in a way that still feels accessible and an easy and enjoyable read.
  • House of Roots and Ruin – This is a gothic YA fantasy (and the second in a series, though you don’t need to read the first to understand or enjoy this one) filled with ghosts, castles and manipulation, a fun read for the fall to get you in the Halloween mood.
  • Fourth Wing – the newest spicy fantasy favorite that everyone is talking about. It’s like The Hunger Games meets A Court of Thorn & Roses series except the protagonists are on dragons and saving the world. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series that comes out in a few months.
  • Thief, Liar, Lady – A reimagining of the Cinderalla trope but the story takes place after the ball. It is based on about what happens next if Cinderella (named Ash here) is a tough feminist who is out to make the world a better place and rescue a different prince. It’s like a grown up version of Enola Holmes but maybe not quite as good. 😉 Still enjoyable though.
  • Banyan Moon – Another book about three generations of women and how their past affects their futures and their own children. The book is about reconciling past circumstances and traumas and then liberating yourself from them. It is also about Vietnamese women and their immigrant story.
  • The Rachel Incident – This was my other favorite out of the books that I read here. It is not for everyone as it’s very gritty but it’s about that messy stage of twenties/thirties when one is still finding themselves between school/proper adulthood/settling down. It’s about the drama/heartbreak of it all when complicated things happen and everything is harder than it should be. It’s so evocative of that particular time in life and coming into ones own sexuality/self and honoring past mistakes and realizing that they aren’t always your fault and there is often so much more going on behind the scenes than most people are aware of.
  • The Diamond Eye – A historical fiction about a Ukrainian female sniper in World War II that is based on a true story.
  • The Seven Year Slip – This book was cheesy in that you know exactly what is going to happen but in that pleasant way of watching a rom-com too. Not perfect, in fact corny at most times, but enjoyable nonetheless, if you’re in the right mood for it.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screenshot-2023-09-28-at-11.24.02AM-761x1024.png

My top picks from this list are: Hello, Beautiful, The Half Moon, Fourth Wing and The Rachel Incident.

Gift Guide: All The Fall Feelings, A Round-Up of Some Autumn Inspired Gifts in the Gather Goods Co Shop and Online Store

There is something about just before the change of a new season that is so magical. To usher in the beginning of fall, I’ve pulled together some autumn inspired gift picks from the Gather Goods Co shop and online including a few new greeting cards I made with this season in mind.

And, two more fall themed cards that I recently designed: Happy Cozy Season & Thankful For You. You can find all of these items in the Gather Goods Co online shop or in-person at our retail space in downtown Cary, NC.

Stockist Spotlight: Siren Floral Shop in Oceanside, California, Gift and Flower Shop

One of my favorite things to do is discover other shops around the country and world. When I travel I always seek out special independent shops because I know the effort, intentionality and expertise that goes into manning such a space and also how challenging but love-filled it is to run one as well. I also believe that independent brick and mortar shops help diversify, beautify and enrich a community, not to mention support usually hundreds of other micro, often women-owned businesses.

So, when I discovered online the absolutely stunning Siren Floral Shop in Oceanside, California, I was immediately smitten with their beautiful merchandising, offerings and of course floral arrangements. As someone who has been gardening since I was a girl, worked in a greenhouse for a handful of years and has deeply considered flower farming as a career but know that ultimately retail is where I shine, I especially love their floral focus and expertise. What a thrill when they placed a wholesale order with Gather Goods Co. I’ll be shipping them a beautifully curated collection of my cards and stickers tomorrow for them to carry in their retail shop.

Like Gather Goods Co, they believe strongly in community and supporting small makers. They also teach classes, try their best to be eco-friendly and sustainable as much as they can, and they believe in quality over quantity.

Below are some of the Gather Goods Co items you’ll soon be able to shop from at Siren Floral Shop.

All Siren Floral Co images via their instagram. Are you a shop interested in carrying my wares? You can find me on faire here. You can also shop for my wares online 24/7 at or in person in downtown Cary, NC at our gift shop and coworking space.

Introducing My Line of Gift Goods

Over the past year I have been adding art prints and greeting cards to my line of goods under the Gather Goods Co brand. When I first started my business in 2014 (almost twenty years ago) I began by putting my art on different products, namely apparel, jewelry and textiles that I sold through my website and in shops around the country under my name. Some of those products got significant buzz but it was hard for me to juggle being a mom to a young child, running an event business, doing photography and styling, and needing a wide margin to care for my own self-care needs too. Now that my teen is in high school and I’ve been running a brick and mortar for about a decade and only doing the occasional styling projects when they are too good to pass up, I have a bit more space to dedicate to my own art practice and I have more confidence in the process and the time required to make it a success and in myself overall.

I am equal parts ambitious and laid-back always striving for a career that allows me to be present at home and with my family (and garden and rescue dog and cat) but where I can express my creativity and challenge myself. I have always wanted to grow a product based company properly, having helped other companies do the same prior to my brick and mortar days, but knew if I was going to do it, I didn’t want to do it piecemeal and I wanted to make sure it didn’t take over everything else which is part of why I have waited so long to focus on it after such a long hiatus.

It is so much easier for me to focus on promoting other people and to tell their stories and share their art and curate their goods and create platforms for them to succeed than it is to focus on my own work but neglecting my art feels like an omission too.

My goal for this year was to just begin and to start wholesaling my products. This past year I have been setting up at markets, quietly testing different products in person and inside Gather Goods Co alongside all the other wares I curate and sell in the shop and online.

I created a series of botanical art prints that were the impetus for really pulling this whole thing together and finally making a proper go of it. I have come up with processes that help me pull together collections easier than in the past and I have given myself more grace to just “put it out there” and “done is better than perfect” and also allowing the creative process to be more fluid and loose. I am still nervous of the unknown, that I will get myself in over my head, that everything is too “basic”, that nobody will be interested. But I’m moving forward despite that.

Though my subject matter and styles vary they are unified by a colorful palette, a love of nature and found objects, a common mixed media process and an overall feel which is feminine, lovely and whimsical.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cards.jpeg

This week I am dropping of some cards at a local art gallery here in Raleigh, 311 Gallery, my first store outside of Gather Goods Co. I guess on that measure I have begun to reach my goal. If you know of other stores who might be a good fit for my wares, let me know. Meanwhile, you can always find them in-person at my space Gather Goods Co in downtown Cary located at 417 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary NC 27511 (we are open every Wednesday-Saturday 11am-5pm) or online anytime.

Trend Spotting: Dusty Mauve, Straw and Green Colors and the 80’s Are Back

As a child growing up in the eighties and nineties in the D.C. suburbs with strong opinions about the interior decorating around me, I never thought I’d see the day where those colors and patterns of my youth (or rather my parents and their parents decorating at the time) felt fresh and cool. At the time they just felt very “mom-like” and decidedly uncool.

I have visceral memories of baskets hanging from ceilings, green and white wallpaper with ivy and geranium florals, dark green walls, dried flowers and potpourri, wide stripes, gold, green and white upholstery, tiffany glass lamps in Pizza Hut and dark restaurants. How is it that it all feels fresh and new and unexpected now? I guess it’s a rose-colored glasses effect of looking backwards, a bit of escapism and wanting something that feels decidedly different than the present moment perhaps?

British decorating with its cottagecore coziness and mixed patterns, bolder but muted colored walls, and a bit more whimsy has been the trend of the moment for the past year or so and I feel it is just beginning to settle in. I’ve rounded up some colors that evoke the moment and feel good together full of dusty mauves, golden straw yellows, greens and yes, wide stripes.

Images: Stained Glass Lampshade, I Appreciate You Note Card, Green Bookshelves, Mauve Taper Candles, Vintage Green Glass Candlestick Holder, Mosaic Marble Tile, Glass & Rattan Pitcher, Marble Patterned Floor, Vase of Flowers Puzzle, Glass Tiles, Dried Flower Bunch, Ceramic Sun Plate, Green Striped Match Striker with Pink Matches