Holiday Floral Reveal | How To Decorate With Greenery

Hello! This is the team from Amborella Floral Studio for our first ever post on Moth Design. Erica asked if we'd like to be contributors because we work so closely together and we loved the idea.

Today we're talking about holiday florals, but first here's what we did for Erica's home.
We started in the living room with a silver dollar and evergreen garland for the fireplace.
A mixed evergreen wreath adorns the hood fan.
We created a similar but slightly thinner garland for the headboard out of the same greens.
We added in two personalized vases (Erica's own) for the bedside tables.
Amborella Holiday Floral Guide

Outdoor Items: 
  • Garland, wreaths, swags and boughs for planters can be ordered mid December and will last until Christmas Depending on weather- it'll need to stay below zero. Avoid direct sunlight if possible or you may need to replace some bits before Christmas
  • Order garland by the foot 
Fresh Floral Table Decor:
  • Pick up Dec. 23-24th for blooms to be in optimal condition for dinner with guests
  • Order in to the florist one week prior to reserve necessary florals
  • Order by colour of decor (we will do the rest)
Fresh Interior Decor:
  • Garlands last 7-10 days indoors before drying out
  • Long lasting Foliage: Eucalyptus (many varieties- seeded, silver dollar, baby blue, and feather) this will dry out but still looks pretty and will last 1 week +/-
  • Long lasting Blooms: Skimmia, cut Amaryllis, Star of Bethlehem (longest lasting blooms in flower shops- up to 3 weeks) Ilex Berry, Disbud Chrysanthemums, Leucandendron (Safari Sunset) and Brunia  
  • Bulbs: Amaryllis and Paperwhite
  • Evergreen Boughs: Cedar, Pine, Silver Fir and Juniper (available all Dec. for under $15 a bundle)
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Gift Giving + Decor Updates : The Cross Design

I've always been a fan of The Cross Design in Vancouver. A little behind the scenes info... back in 2005, when I worked with Sarah Richardson but hadn't ever even been to Vancouver; I became aware of this gem on the west coast when many of their accessories were put in the Vancouver General Hospital Lotto home that Sarah did. Since then I have had the delight of visiting more than once in person and would have to say that the style of the store is exactly my style.
I had to share because I recently received a gift and when it arrived I was delighted with the way it was wrapped with such care. It's nice to know if ordering a gift for someone the parcel arrives ready to put under the tree and the best part...this service is complimentary. The last day to order for shipping to ensure it arrives on time is midnight Wednesday December 14! Happy shopping friends!
I love these ornaments that arrived and the moroccan pouf above is from The Cross as well. 
A mini Eiffel tower and crystal votive holder dress up this little corner.
The cutest little jingle bear ornament.
This feather Cameroon Juju hat is always a reader fave. A statement piece for any room.
I stocked up on these bubble champagne flutes in advance for New Years Eve too!

My gift pick list: 


The Art of Display | The Perfect Bar Cart

I love hosting guests for any and every reason throughout the year but it seems during the holidays the number of people we entertain doubles. Sometimes you're expecting them but sometimes you're not. In the event that I have surprise visitors drop by I've always kept a properly stocked bar cart so that I'm prepared. There's something so dignified about being able to offer a well mixed cocktail in front of guests at a beautifully curated drink station. The ceremonious mixing and presentation of a signature beverage creates such an experience for your guest as well.

Here's what you will need to put your own cart together, or to fill any gaps in an existing cart:
  1. A bar cart or cabinet.
  2. Staple liquors based on drinks you'll make. A good start is bourbon (or whiskey), gin, rum, tequila, vodka, vermouth.
  3. Wine. Depending on preference. It's nice to have champagne on hand for special occasions.
  4. Mix. Soda, tonic, bitters, sugar cubes, simple syrup.
  5. Glassware. Highballs, lowballs. Stemware. 
  6. Mixing tools. Mixing pitcher and strainer, shaker, shot glasses, ice bucket, stir spoon, jigger. corkscrew, citrus press or ream, pairing knife, muddler,
  7. Small trays to organize and divide items based on purpose or use. 
  8. Quintessential cocktail recipe book like these here and here.
  9. Extras. cocktail napkins, straws, coasters.

Tips to setting up:
  1. Splurge on bottles with pretty packaging.
  2. Work decor elements, like fresh flowers or a candle and additional matches into the display.
  3. Don't be tempted to go bananas buying obscure liquors. Stick to the basics you'll actually use.
  4. Freeze raspberries in cranberry juice to serve brunch guests a more thoughtful mimosa.
  5. Be creative but stick to themes that will honour the rest of the room the cart resides in.
  6. Keep a lucite tray or two on the top shelf of your cart as your main prep surface and to keep bottles in. It will be easier to take away and pop in the dishwasher to clean up sticky rings and drips. A sticky bottle in my own home actually removed the lacquer surface of my side board and left a ring exposing the bar wood below.
  7. If there's a particular drink that's your favourite stock items for it first and indulge in the right tools to make it. For example if you love dirty martinis invest in some pretty olive picksmartini glasses and appropriate ingredients.

Of note, one of my sweet LDS friends made an amazing refreshment cart. She keeps it stocked with sparkling apple cider, san pellegrino fruit seltzers and whatever else suits the occasion.
Shop my top picks for bar carts and all other accessories broken down by column:


Holiday Hosting Made Simple : 11 Tips To Stress Free Entertaining

The holidays are a joyous time. We reflect and feel gratitude for those we hold dear, some of whom we might not see all that often. I love hosting get togethers during the holidays to ensure I see everyone.
Often times we think of entertaining as a full blown dinner party. I've found it less stressful and more fun to host gatherings that are less food centric and more about visiting. For some reason we measure ourselves in entertaining terms by how much we actually prepared and how complicated it was. The more involved the recipe the more accomplished the host. Many of us pull it off, however, I've found many end up focusing on the food and serving all night, then addressing clean up and are exhausted the next day... potentially not even having had time to really talk to all of the guests. If you've ever felt totally overwhelmed by hosting it can make you reluctant to try again.
This year I hosted an early get together with family and friends who always head out of town for the holidays. I decided with absolute certainty that I would figure out a way to make it as stress free and enjoyable as possible. I thought a drop in would be a good idea and that it would be dessert themed with a very basic array. I planned all that I would need to host the perfect event and headed to Willow Park Village. It's incredibly convenient to have every single thing I could possibly need all in one stop. The upside of shopping in a setting like this too is that it becomes a welcoming little community, people in shops remember you and are happy to see you return.
Planning was so easy. I ordered a stacked 6" on 8" cake from Crave Cupcakes and additional cupcakes for the children. I then walked two doors down to order flowers, including some for the cake at Blooms and Butterflies. In between those two stops Kate King Jewelry caught my eye and I popped in and treated myself to a new ring to match a pendant I already have. Another two doors down I picked up two Brie bakers and the next stop, some new toss cushions and a throw and the living room was ready to welcome guests.
I spoke to an expert at Springbank Cheese Company to create the best cheese pairings to compliment my other choices. I made several more stops purchasing some necessities and all of my work for gathering the right things was done in under an hour. I didn't need to prep a single thing with exception of the brie that I warmed and my signature drink. It was the easiest set up ever.
I welcomed guests to come as they please on Saturday afternoon for a quick bite and drink between a set hour window. I arranged the cake and baked goods on pretty white stands and made up the cheese board to balance the sweet. Guests sipped a Winter White Sangria recipe that I came up with and there was an alcohol free juice medley for our tiny guests. Everyone was able to make it and we ended up having the loveliest time.
Fresh eucalyptus and pear are the perfect touch to this cheese platter. 
Bud vase blooms,  fresh hand towels a scented candle are pretty vanity additions. A new liquid soap means guest won't have to fumble with a bar.
Extra blooms adorn this amazing cake and were so easy to set atop. 

From planning and set up to cleanup I've included a step by step list to hosting your own amazing get together.

11 Steps To Stress Free Entertaining:
  1. Decide on your event date. Create a guest list and evite guests, Naughty or Nice with no more than three weeks warning. This is the magic number, any longer and people forget or make alternate plans. 
  2. Create a prep list outlining food, florals, serving supplies or decorations and check it twice. 
  3. Order florals and bakery items a week in advance. This way if you have a flower or dietary request you have extra time to confirm availability or make alternate plans. Inquire as to whether they have a delivery service. I did with Crave and Blooms and Butterflies -the nominal charge was completely worth it. 
  4. For savoury items it's always an option to keep it simple. I did a warmed brie but sticking to room temperature finger foods reduces prep time, cuts back on clean up and won't require heating or utensils. You can buy cheeses, crackers, olives, etc... ahead of time to help with early organization.  
  5. If you're cohosting or you live with someone delegate some prep or cleaning jobs to them. 
  6. Pick necessities up the week of in one shot and set everything up the night before so all you have to do is address the actual food and drinks the day of.  
  7. Restock the restroom with clean towels and extra toilet paper. For an added touch I swap out our bar soap for a new liquid soap. This way guests don't have to touch communal soap.
  8. Make a signature cocktail and serve in a punch bowl or labelled jugs. Guests can help themselves to a beverage and you're free to visit. Make sure to have an alcohol free option for those driving and children. 
  9. Encourage a friend or family member to capture a few candid photos. Hosts are often too preoccupied to but the pictures are great to look back at later. 
  10. If you'd like to decorate your cake with fresh florals tack an extra bloom or two on to your order ahead of time. Keep them in a cool dark spot the day before and place them on your cake at serving time. It's such a nice added touch. 
  11. Lastly, heat your brie shortly before expecting your first guests. Any oven will act as a warming drawer if kept at 200°. Make a second warmed brie and keep covered for when guests have made their way through the first one. Then you need only take the new one out of the oven and swap your brie bakers. 
All items supplied by Willow Park Village. 
1. Cakes, cupcakes and cakestands- Crave Cupcakes 
2. All florals - Blooms and Butterflies 
3. Throw Cushions - Down Bedding
4. Pendant Necklace - Kate King Jewelry
5. Lace trimmed slip dress - Knickers and Lace
6. Children's clothing - Stephanie's Kids
7. Fir candles, throw blanket - Home Treasures and More
8. Liquid Hand Soap - Skoah
9. Brie Bakers - Compleat Cook 

This post was sponsored by Willow Park Village. All styling, advice and opinions are my own.


The Style Files : Sentaler Coats

Everyone loves a success story. I've enjoyed watching as one of my favourite Canadian labels, Sentaler, a luxury outerwear line, has risen to the top in a very short time. They're known for their Alpaca (which are sustainable, fair trade and cruelty free) wrap style coats with signature ribbed sleeve detailing. The brand is gracing magazine covers as worn by the Royal Duchess Kate Middleton (here) and on Canada's first lady Sophie Gregoire Trudeau (here). A year or so ago I was lucky to meet Bojana Sentaler when she had a trunk show for her coats at Holt Renfrew. She is a warm hearted, lovely person who's keen fashion sense and eye for detail is unparalleled.
Find Sentaler in store at Holt Renfrew, Nordstrom and The Bay or purchase online on their site (here).


Holiday Tradition : A Glimpse At How We Start The Season

Traditions, we all have them but what does the word tradition even mean? A tradition is a custom or belief passed down from generation to generation; however it's so much more than that. It's something that we look forward to and anticipate with excitement. Sometimes our traditions are what keep us tied to the spirit of the holidays and remind us of the importance of family and what the season is really all about. Our tree trimming party is a treasured tradition for all in my family.
In the past it seemed every year as the holiday's rapidly approached I'd run out of time organizing for Christmas Day. I'd end up pulling together holiday decorations last minute and it usually involved a late night or two. I figured there had to be a better way, so when my boys were little I started involving them in the holiday decor process. I felt it was important to show them that setting up could be a process of celebration and love and that it isn't something that just happens in a snap overnight while they're asleep. It's good for them to learn to help out and of course they loved the involvement as it gave them a sense of pride and purpose to help prepare our home. To make it fun I'd turn it into a full celebration; complete with treats, hot chocolate and the perfect mood setting music. It quickly became a tradition that we all looked forward to.
Setting up needn't be complicated. I like to keep things simple and elegant. I've found over the years that this is the best way to approach decor. When we complicate things we get overwhelmed and don't always follow through. My goal was to create a decor set up that was easy enough to replicate year after year with slight tweaks. I felt it was important to invest once in good quality decor elements, that way they'd last and become treasures that we can pull out of storage every year. For this reason I've loved Pottery Barn's Channel stitch collection. The stockings and tree skirt are so well made and as a new little family member arrived; a year or two later, I was able to purchase him a new stocking that was exactly the same as the ones we already had. I appreciated that.
Having a creamy white back drop for our staple decor elements, like the tree skirt and stockings has meant that every year we could layer in green, red, gold... or whatever theme felt right that year. 
For the dining table I love setting up tiered cake plates (6", 9" and 12") with different treats and goodies. Having varied heights and diameters across the table top creates visual interest yet it's still low enough to see over and encourage lively conversation. In order to get around using a fussy table cloth I like to use a set of silver leaf chargers. They look great and keep cleanup easy.
I put out an array of treats from my favorite local bakery, Crave Cupcakes 
I'm a glitter girl at heart and these ornaments are the perfect champagne glitter to work with both the gold and silver tones in my living room. Plus the globes cast a beautiful warm light with their tiny flameless candles inside. (similar here)
Mixing ornaments with some fresh flowers adds a festive touch amidst the accessories that normally reside on the coffee table. This simple addition adds another layer of decor to compliment the Christmas tree. Often times floral arrangements can also be made of just greenery and will last for several weeks. 
I can never get enough pillar candles. Setting up multiple vignettes of flameless flicker candles; all of which are on a timer, means that the living room has an ambiance and glow that I can depend on at the same time every day. They're amazing to come home to on a cold winter night and the boys enjoyed decorating the candle holders with fake snow and german glitter snowflakes.
There's nothing quite like curling up under a warm cozy faux fur throw and reading the same holiday stories that we read every year.
Quite possibly my favourite addition last year were the St. Jude mercury glass candles both lidded and votive. They smell so lovely, look beautiful with my other accessories, and a portion of the proceeds go back to your local Children's Hospital. That just feels good whether you keep them or give them as a thoughtful gift. This year's Children's Hospital collection here.
I approached the fire place hearth a little different than I have in the past. I decided it might look pretty to stack logs and stagger a collection of simple glass votives over the logs. These ones happen to smell great as well. I like that the flame is enclosed in the glass cup and therefore I needn't worry about them setting fire to the wood.
Setting up this way gets our holiday season off to the best start. After the decor is complete we all find ourselves feeling the festive spirit and enjoy spending time together in rooms that are decked in holiday trim. 
*Pottery Barn currently is having their black Friday sale and all holiday decor is 30% off (here). 

This post was sponsored by Pottery Barn all styling and opinions are my own.

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