The Henry Art Gallery, PopCap Games, and Seattle Parks Foundation call on stylish event designer Cori Ready when they’re ready to celebrate. We gave her a bottle of champagne and asked her to open up about hosting at your house.
Dress for Success
When hosting, it’s important to make grand, sweeping, physical gestures. You have to be able to give big hugs, clean up spills, reach for large vases, and dance! Go for a forgiving hemline or a knit blazer rather than an unyielding structured one. But do wear your most glamorous jewels and gems or your flashiest watch. If anything goes missing, you’ll only have your own couch cushions to dig under. And be the one who overdoes it. Crystals and silk make throwing parties seem chic and easy.
Make Yourself AT HOME
Decor should reflect your whole person. I don’t know about you, but I can’t go a day without tacking notes from my shaman or bestie’s daughter’s artwork on the refrigerator door. Don’t feel like you have to sweep it all under the rug. In palmistry, your left hand shows what you were born with while your right hand shows what you’ve done; especially during the holiday season, your home should reflect where you’ve been and where you’re going.
Stay on Theme
The tie that binds Seattle and the season: plaid. Dress the tables in satin tartan, drape Pendleton blankets everywhere, and wear your best grunge-era flannel with tuxedo pants and motorcycle boots. Serve smoked salmon, local cheese, and Irish soda bread with Kerrygold butter, and cans of Hilliard’s Beer with locally made whiskey from Oola.
Nutcrackers are a bizarre thing, but they’re actually pretty cute and they yell “holiday.” Create a centerpiece with wooden bowls of nuts and traditional specimens, and play The Nutcracker score of course.
Cumberland Island is the iconic spot where JFK Jr. married Carolyn Bessette in that knockout Narciso Rodriguez dress. It’s also your inspiration for a summer-in-winter, beach-themed bash. Decorate the tabletop with vintage Japanese fishing floats and driftwood with twinkling holiday lights, and serve roasted pig and pomegranate cocktails—and wear a bow tie.
Or opt for a paparazzi-themed dinner in which only your most connected friends are invited. These days the thing is to tell guests to turn their phones off, but here they have to keep them on. Assign a hashtag, make place cards with Polaroid photos, create a backdrop for selfie sessions between courses, only serve photogenic food, and set up a device-charging station.
Not long after I started Marigold and Mint, my father and stepmother commissioned a porcelain marigold from downtown Seattle’s Far 4. The store’s in-house, family-run porcelain flower line didn’t include marigolds—but somehow co-owner Jenny Klimenkoff arranged for one.
—Katherine Anderson, owner, Marigold and Mint and the London Plane
My husband, Kyle, gave me a stunning bright-pink rubellite from Seattle Diamonds and a note that said I could design my dream ring with Nicole Pendergast, one of their gemologists. After an initial idea, wax castings, and revisions, it’s now my favorite piece of jewelry.
—Tiffany Wendel, personal stylist
My mom gave me an orange Le Creuset five-and-a-half-quart French oven that I use all the time for soups, quinoa, to boil corn—it has a million uses and is just bulletproof. I suspect it will well outlast me.
—Greg Lundgren, entrepreneur, artist, and more, Lundgren Monuments, Vito’s, the Hideout, et al.
I got a goodie package from a friend that included a mini tin from Jacobsen Salt Co. I hadn’t known that there were purse salts but Karyn Schwartz at Sugar Pill was carrying them, so I went there and bought the rest. Now you can also get them at the counter at Oddfellows. Whenever I pull the tin out at restaurants and tell the server that it’s the best gift I’ve ever received, my husband gets kind of mortified.
—Ruth True, owner, NuBe Green
A friend gave me Patricia Urquiola’s Orloff Bowl for Alessi, which I had been eyeing at Peter Miller Books. I use it every day as a valet bowl for my keys and wallet; the trifecta of useful, affordable, and great looking.
—Adam Merkl, Hilliard’s Beer cofounder
My wife, Kate, and I travel but don’t always explore Seattle, so we got a flying lesson with Rainier Flight Service. We flew from Renton to Snohomish and back, and we each took a turn in the pilot seat. It was an incredible way to see our city and learn the basics.
—Nick Harmer, bassist, Death Cab for Cutie
My sweetie and I are insane workhorses during the holiday season, producing and performing in a zillion shows, so we swore to each other that we weren't doing gifts last year, but she still managed to present me with a Grumpy Cat T-shirt. She pays no attention whatsoever to internet memes and viral sensations, she just overheard me exclaiming about Grumpy Cat many months back—because I only pay attention to internet memes—and quietly made a mental note. —Susanna Welbourne, Atomic Bombshells cofounder
Here’s what local retailers are excited about this season.
Awl the Right Stuff
Erin Krohn’s brand-new Hammer and Awl (3315 E Pike St, Madrona, 206-992-7444; hammerandawl.com) is for guys who balance the rugged outdoors with velvet lapels and craft cocktails.
House favorite Form Function Form’s custom leather bands and button-stud clasps give Timex Weekender watch faces a modern twist.
For bachelor padders Good for packing into the Cascades or setting near the tweed chaise like a side table, Wood and Faulk’s foldup camping stools have handsome ash-wood tripod legs and
English bridle leather seats.
Kits and Caboodles
When curious crafters and wannabe DIYsters wander into Ugly Baby and La Ru (1430 Western Ave, Pike Place Market, 206-696-0089; uglybabyandlaru.com), the shared studio space and showroom of Lauren Rudeck and Rosalie and Douglas Gale, things just get marvelously curiouser and curiouser.
House special Embroidery kits—sloths, cats, bunnies—for newbies, experts, and in-betweens from Canada’s Kiriki Press
Because it’s not always sew easy The Gales’ offbeat suction-cup shower art pieces with sayings like “You have a big, gigantic brain” are made of “rubber, glitter, discarded toys,
and sarcasm” and are ready to give.
Give an experience Sign someone up for the hand-sewing class on November 30; they’ll go home with new skills and a tiny stuffed friend from Threadfollower’s prepackaged supplies.
Style to Go
Thoughtful dressers and mindful accessorizers from all over the globe type in Craft and Culture (craftandculture.com) and add earthy, edgy, independent designers to their wardrobe from the web store hubbed at Hana Ryan Wilson and Jason Parker’s Cap Hill HQ.
House specials Huge jewelry; strong-lined metal necklaces and big, bold stone cuffs and earrings
Click it if you can Ovate’s hoodie is a cult favorite.
2014 vibe Natural fibers and wool; hats, scarves, and more for men and women in fashion-forward shapes and proportions
Games People Play
Even the world of chutes, ladders, and windup gizmos is subject to trends, but at Clover Toys (5333 Ballard Ave NW, Ballard, 206-782-0715; clovertoys.com), Sarah Furstenberg keeps it classic.
House favorite Fairy-tale animal puppets from Italian toymaker Trudi that are reminiscent of
Go Fish The card game Frog Juice hooks kids from six to 16—and their parents too.
STUFFED WITH STUFF
Shopper’s tip: Make yourself at home inside Click! Design That Fits (4540 California Ave SW, West Seattle, 206-328-9252; clickdesignthatfits.com). It feels—in the best way—like John and Frances Smersh’s overaccessorized front room.
Seasonal specialty The new Charley Harper collection of glassware, serving platters, and more from Fishs Eddy is already
iconic, thanks to the famous illustrator’s familiar bird patterns.
For Seattle archetypes iPad covers and wallets made from recycled inner tubes by the locals at Alchemy Goods, and the voice recorder and sampler by Brooklyn’s Brand New Noise.
The Board Room
Will teenagers with video game-induced Carpal Tunnel be transformed by fold-out maps, 16-sided dye, and plastic game pieces? There’s one way to tell; bring them in for a test drive at a game night (Saturday from 7 to 11) at Scott Cooper’s Blue Highway Games (2203 Queen Anne Ave N, Queen Anne, 206-282-0540; bluehighwaygames.com).
House favorite The 2013 winner of the game world’s equivalent of an Oscar, Hanabi is all about deduction, cooperation, and—get this—fireworks.
For short attention spans Roll the dice Yahtzee-style to control Tokyo in this strategy game that takes just 30 minutes to complete.
There’s more than wedding dresses behind those blue-flocked windows at Luly Yang Couture (1218 Fourth Ave, Downtown, 206-623-8200; lulyyang.com).
Seasonal specialty Shawls, dresses, and cardigans in basic shapes but not-so-basic cashmere from the first-ever Luly Luxe collection.
For the bling impaired Crystal-studded chandelier shapes for ears and necklines—think Seattle Swarovski.
Local partiers share their best-bet host gifts.
Cofounder, Scout Cafe
“Boat Street Pickles—the fig is amazing—or if there’s a pet in the house, Bailey’s Biscuits dog treats by Bunches and Bunches from the Weekender in Manette in Bremerton.”
Creative Director, Huxley Wallace Collective
“A jar of Washington’s Admiralty Salt from Little Gull Grocery at Westward and a loaf of Columbia City Bread.”
Fashion and Prop Stylist
“The brass Hex bottle openerfrom local designers Iacoli and McAllister; they have it at Totokaelo.”
“A bag of fresh fortune cookies from Tsue Chong Co. in the International District.”
Seattle artisans spread distinctively stylish goodwill.
Creative Director, Chloe Touran
Season’s best “My lunar terrariums are a sort of fail-proof kit for Northwest cacti; I make the cement vessels and include a grow light and plant food.”
Signature creation “My gem and tillandsia, or air plant, pieces are special because I harvest many of the crystals myself in Marfa, Arizona, and here in the Northwest. I’ve also made friends with local
Potter, Akiko’s Pottery
Holiday best “My slab plates and cups and wheel-thrown bowls. They’re not perfectly round—but really there is no such thing as perfect—and people like them that way. They are used at restaurants like Mamnoon
Good things, small packages “Totokaelo carries my small, handformed spoons; these can be used for specialty salts and other spices.”
Find Graham and her work on sale every Saturday and Sunday in December at her South Seattle open houses from noon till 7 (10847 Third Ave S, Top Hat, 206-763-3108; akikospottery.com).
Designer, Joanna Morgan Designs
Must-have for the season “For women who are into color, my green onyx earrings are a beautiful, saturated, juicy color that can elevate any outfit.”
Statement piece “My best-selling ring is called Krystallos. When I wear it people cross the room to talk to me about it.”
For holiday meals “I grew up in Poland so this is when I do all my traditional recipes. My borscht has to sit in a warm corner for about 10 days before it’s ready. You bet you can smell it when you walk through my front door.”
Common ground “We like meeting friends at the Fairmont Olympic’s Christmas tree.”
Find Morgan’s work at Clementine (4447 California Ave SW, West Seattle, 206-935-9400; clementines.com), My Dressing Room (1817 Queen Anne Ave N, Queen Anne, 206-695-2725; mydressingroomboutique.com), and joannamorgandesigns.com
Creative Director, Blackbird
Season’s best “Our Hibernus incense pyres—hibernus means ‘winter’ in Latin. The top note is birch—similar to wintergreen, so it’s brisk and cool, while the base is warm, rich amber. The incense is about the duality of winter: cold weather and bundled-up warmth.”
Perennially popular “My Black Square soap, inspired by the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, is almost always sold out.”
For the season’s parties “I bring Viking Blod; Nordic honey wine with hibiscus and hops. It warms the soul.”
This article appeared in the November 2013 issue of Seattle Met.