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.

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

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.

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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

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed the radio silence on the blog but it’s been inaccessible to me for a bit and I finally have access again. Regardless, I’ve been missing it and as someone who has been blogging since early days (even if sporadically) it is a big part of the way I express myself through my business and I’m glad to be back.

Mother’s Day is next weekend and I’ve pulled together a gift guide. In general, Gather Goods Co is always a cozy, “treat yourself” kind of space with lots of feminine energy so basically everything in the shop would be a good choice to gift the mother in your life. And while it is by no means a monolithic concept these are some things I recommend.

Also, since I’ve last posted, the space has transitioned from online and open by appointment only to having regular shop hours of Wednesday-Saturday 11am-5pm. Gather Goods Co is located at 417 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary, NC 27511. We are in a standalone white house nestled between a handful of residences and a large new under construction building. Everything is also available online 24/7 at

Mother’s Day Gift Picks:

  1. Books about creating a cozy, sensory forward home: The Sensory Home, Home Therapy, My Hygge Home
  2. A gingham crossbody bag handmade in France
  3. A casual but sweet everyday bracelet featuring gold beads
  4. An elegant spa-like candle
  5. Colorful taper candles to make at home meals more special
  6. Whimsical paper butterflies that are an unexpected but super fun treat
  7. A brass face ring that is funky and elegant
  8. “I Simply Adore You” Gather Goods Co card (designed by me) featuring blooms from a butterfly bush
  9. “Empowered Women Empower the World” tshirt. Enough said.
  10. Pretty ceramic dinnerware to mix and match and make serving cookies or salads even more elevated
  11. A Gather Goods Co gift certificate so she can pick out whatever she wants
  12. Turmeric powder for making healthy and tasty golden lattes at home
  13. A gorgeous embroidery kit for relaxing away from the phone

Also, this Saturday, local massage therapists AriaVida will be offering FREE chair massages from 12-4pm (we’re open from 11am-5pm), and I’ll be offering 20% off all gifts in the Gather Goods Co shop (this does not include flowers from the florist in the space or books from the pop-up bookshop) and non-alcoholic mimosas. If you are local, hope to see you there!

Candle Gift Ideas for A Cozy Home

Candles make a great gift for the fall and winter season because who doesn’t want to have a cozier home? When the nights get darker earlier having a variety of light sources makes a big difference in the ambiance of your space and in turn your own well being.

If, like me, you are deeply affected by your environment, then taking control of your lighting can make a big difference in not only your mood but your physical health too. I have a sensory processing disorder which makes sense in retrospect, but is something I wasn’t fully aware of (I just noticed the symptoms but didn’t know it was a thing), and wasn’t diagnosed, until about a year ago. This means that I am hyper affected by bright lights and sounds, smells and environments. This makes sense as to why I would create a coworking space like Gather Goods Co that is a “soft” space and not filled with harsh surfaces, sounds or lighting. There are probably a lot of us that are suffering from the effects of feeling overwhelmed in certain environments but not knowing exactly why.

One of the results of this keen attention to environments is that I work hard to create cozy and nurturing spaces in general but particularly at home. There are many ways to achieve softer and cozier feelings in a space but lighting is really at the top of my personal list. Candlelight in particular with it’s soft flickering glow is a multi-sensory experience that makes us feel comforted and safe and there are so many types of candles that can be used in different ways throughout the home.

Here are some great candles that I have for sale in the Gather Goods Co online shop, all made with beeswax, coconut wax, or some combination that is naturally derived and clean burning, meaning good for you and good for the earth.

Scented Candles

Scented candles make your home smell amazing and set a mood within the space, especially if you have guests coming over and you want your home to feel extra inviting. In the Gather Goods Co online shop, I carry a line that is locally made just down the street from our studio space in Cary, North Carolina. These candles smell amazing, are packaged in the most beautiful gift boxes, poured in recycled glass vessels, feature a crackling wooden wick and are non-toxic and clean burning. These types of candles make excellent housewarming gifts. The four scents I carry are: Cabana (with notes of coconut, sandalwood and cedar), Black Willow (with notes of cardamom, amber and vanilla), Amalfi Grove (with notes of orange, balsam and vanilla) and Vanille Santal (with notes of nutmeg, tonka bean and honey). You can find all of them for sale in the Gather Goods Co online shop in the “house and home” section here.

In addition to these I actually produce a line of candles for Gather Goods Co as well. These are made with a coconut soy wax blend that is clean burning with non-toxic phthalate free scents that are meant to evoke sense memories of nature. The scents I create are Citrus & Grapefruit, Green Grass & Bamboo, White Pine, Green Tea & Lemongrass and Balsam Fir. You can shop for all of them in the Gather Goods Co online shop here.

Taper Candles

Taper candles are the long skinny ones that you put in a candlestick and you see on fireplace mantles or on an elegant dining room table. In the Gather Goods Co online shop I have a variety of different colored ones that are unscented in black, pink, pale peach and cream. These are hand-poured in Massachusetts. Taper candles come in a set of 2 and you can buy a pair in the “house & home” section of the online shop here. Taper candles make a great stocking stuffer or gift for someone who loves to host dinner parties and entertain.

Beeswax Pillar Candles

Beeswax candles create the prettiest golden glow and emit a subtle honey scent. I keep some in hurricane glasses on my screen porch for evening bookclub and friend hangs and they help to create a wonderful mood as the lights go down. These are available in a large 3×6″ size and a slightly smaller 3×4″ size. Beeswax candles in general make great gifts for homebodies who love making a cozy nest at home.

Beeswax Tea Light Candles

Just like the pillar candles, these beeswax tea light candles emit a beautiful golden glow. They look especially good in glass jars along a mantle or on a table. See the white speckles on top? Those spots actually show that the candles are made of 100% beeswax because over time when the soft oils rise to the surface they speckle like this – you can easily remove just by wiping with a cloth. Beeswax is a renewable resource and also burns longer than regular candles. You can find the beeswax tea light candles in the Gather Goods Co online shop here. Just like the taper candles, these beeswax tea light candles make a wonderful gift for people who like to entertain and cook meals for friends and family because who doesn’t like to make their shared tablescape extra pretty?

You can find all of these candles and many more gorgeous gift items in the Gather Goods Co online shop and if you are local you can arrange for pickup at our downtown Cary, North Carolina studio or free delivery within 5 miles of our space. In addition, if you’d prefer to shop in-person you can make an appointment to shop our space anytime.

Open Shop Day Tomorrow, Sat Oct 15 from 11am-4pm

Tomorrow, Saturday October 15th the Gather Goods Co shop will have another “Open Shop” day from 11am-4pm (we are typically only open by appointment or online only). There are so many beautiful gift items in the shop at the moment, clean burning candles, jewelry, food gifts, ceramics, craft kits, apparel and lots more.

I love seeing new and familiar faces and it is so fun to see what people purchase for others (or themselves) and why. I had to snap this photo of Santana because her outfit matched the shop so well. She snagged this gorgeous hand ring and some other glassware as well: a pitcher and two glasses – for margaritas of course.

Another customer stocked up on mugs, sustainable gifts like glass straws and linen napkins to send to people as gifts. Yet another bought North Carolina made food and gift items to send as themed gift baskets, someone else purchased a puzzle that they had been eyeing for personal relaxation time. There are so many different combinations of things in the shop that go well together and everything speaks to each of us differently. That’s why these open shop days are nice because you can peruse in person and let things speak to you in a different way.

I hope to see you tomorrow. Bring a friend, make an outing out of it. I’ll have warm spiced cider again and apple cider doughnut muffins too. The shop will be open from 11am-4pm. Gather Goods Co is located at 417 Kildaire Farm Road in downtown Cary, NC.