Monday, December 23, 2013

Planned Spontaneity


I was delighted to be interviewed recently by Rebecca Teagarden for The Seattle Times' Pacific NW Magazine. My interview, Planned Spontaneity, includes tips on how to make parties fun, modern and easy!

My big thing is spontaneous entertaining. As a working mom, I don’t always have time to plan lavish dinner parties.  Sometimes, I prefer to invite friends over for drinks, charcuterie and cheeses or for a potluck dinner.  These kind of parties don’t take much planning.  The real goal is to bring the people we love together, break bread and share some good times. We crave that so much—especially around our winter holidays!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rosanna Biannual Warehouse Sale December 7th 9 am-3 pm

Come early Saturday, December 7th, 9am-3pm for our free Biannual Warehouse Sale, 6755 East Marginal Way South, Building B, Seattle, WA  98108! Rare and hard-to-find Rosanna pieces (as well as some new surprises!) will be at amazing prices - perfect for gifts for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, bridal showers, graduations, weddings, and Mother's Day! (There will be complimentary Seattle's Best Coffee to keep you warm and cookies from Pacific Food Importers.)

This year we are taking donations of food (especially needed are protein items like chili, stew and beans), unwrapped educational toys, and books for families of Providence Health & Services' Regina House, a Seattle nonprofit food and clothing bank. 

Providence Regina House's food and clothing bank is in the South Park Neighborhood Center and serves over 500 families every week. And Regina House families are not homeless and unemployed…these are WORKING families, who simply can’t make ends meet. Everyone who brings a donation will receive a raffle ticket towards the chance to win a basket of beautiful Rosanna items. There will be opportunities to purchase more raffles for chances to win and to help support Regina House!

*Please note the warehouse store will be closed Friday, December 6th in preparation.

Can't wait to see you all there!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Déjà Vogue: Breakfast Coat

The cold has arrived and it is time to bring out the winter coat and hat! Flaunt some style like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's with a bold color to contrast the weather. Don’t forget the sunglasses for those crisp sunny days and finish it off with some pearls. Très chic, darling.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tabletop Props: Thanksgiving Kids' Table

This year, let the kids table be the envy of the event with a fun, hands-on 'crafternoon' theme. Start with some kraft paper in lieu of a tablecloth, which can easily be found at your local drugstore next to the shipping supplies. Next, set out a few containers of crayons (usually more crayons = less drama). Throw in a few mini pumpkins and your work here is done. A popcorn appetizer will keep them out of the kitchen and won't spoil their dinner. 

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Making Memories - Seasonal Rituals for Love and Connection

I was delighted to be interviewed for the November/December 2013 issue of Nexus magazine and wanted to share my interview, Making Memories-Seasonal Rituals for Love and Connection.  It includes tips on how to connect with family and friends and create your own family rituals.

One of the the rituals my family and I like to do every Thanksgiving is to invite someone to our table who does not have plans.  This year, I invited my French teacher Christine to join us.  By including others for Thanksgiving you are bringing generosity and a sense of community to your table.  By including a person from another country you are enriching the experience of the holiday and celebrating the richness of diversity.  As Thanksgiving draws close, think about who you could ask to join you and make some new memories together!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Saluting Our Vets

Happy Veteran's Day!

With so much gratitude and respect, we thank all American servicemen and women (past and present) for their sacrifices and services!

During our recent Freebie Friday Giveaway on Facebook, we asked our friends to share stories of their favorite veterans.  We were so touched by their tributes and wanted to share some with you today. 

"My favorite serviceman is my 90 year old father. A World War II army scout. He endured a very long, cold winter in Europe during the war. He stuffed hay in his shoes to keep his feet warm and never took them off for three months! Food was also scarce that winter. I'm his caretaker now. Whenever I get discouraged, I remember all that he endured and realize my service to him is a small pittance to pay in return for what he gave his country."- Dawn

"My favorite vet is my one and only love, my husband. He served over six years and went on two deployments: Iraq and Afghanistan. He missed the majority of my pregnancy with our first baby- he came home on his R&R and 10 hours later I went in to labor! He was here to see her come into this world! It was so special!!! I knew it was what he needed to enlighten his world in order to soldier up, leave us and complete his tour for five more months!" - Andrea

My favorite serviceman is my husband. He's a USMC Veteran and my hero. I'm so very proud of him and his service to our country. We celebrated Marine Corps Birthday yesterday with a custom made cake I had made for him with the Marine Corps logo (eagle, globe and anchor) AND we celebrated our dog's birthday too as they both fall on the same day....Semper Fido!  Today my husband & I will celebrate Veteran's Day by thanking all those that have served." - Phyllis

"Normally I spend Veteran's Day with my sweetheart celebrating his service but this year we are home with our 1 week old celebrating our family that all veterans fight to protect!"- Heather

"So many vets in my life -- both of my grandfathers in WWII, my father in law in Vietnam, my brother-in-law stationed in Italy now, my sister in law, and many cousins. I can't choose a favorite from this list!"- Gina

"My dad is my fave vet." - Donna

 "I don't have one. I am thankful for all our service men and women. Hope everyone comes home soon to their love one's." - William

Wishing all our Vets, Servicemen and Women and their Families very Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Table Wear: Cartography

People thought it couldn't be done, but we did it anyways: Cartography. in. your. closet. Please allow us to sprinkle your Wednesday with some good ol' fashioned American pride. Let's hear it for USA!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Déjà Vogue: Purrr...

--> Halloween is here and we are inspired by miss Julie Newmar as Catwoman. Why not get an outfit you can prowl through the night in after the costume party. Meow.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Celebrating Halloween - A way to join in the fun of the season!

It is great fun to carve some pumpkins and decorate your home to feel a part of the community and festivities on Halloween night.  Carving pumpkins invites trick or treaters to come to your home.  It is a magical holiday suited for the change of seasons.

I carve my pumpkins with traditional designs from my childhood.  I clean the pumpkins and reserve the seeds to be slow roasted in a pan drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. (See recipe below.)  They are our favorite Halloween snack, along with a good glass of Italian red wine, lentil soup, and copious amounts of KitKats.

The tradition of carving pumpkins is an old American tradition but one that has its roots in ancient origins. It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions have evolved from an ancient Celtic festival. This festival is said to have been a celebration of the end of the harvest, and a time of preparation for the coming winter.

So on Halloween night, remember to always answer the door for trick or treaters, have plenty of candy, and keep the pumpkins lit until the last trick or treater arrives!

Raw pumpkin seeds, from a jack-o’-lantern

Extra-virgin olive oil

Fine sea salt

Put the pumpkin seeds in a colander and rinse and use your hands to remove all the orange pulp form the seeds. The seeds will be very slippery.

Lightly coat a baking sheet with oil.  Spread the pumpkin seeds out on the baking sheet and toss to coat them with oil.  The seeds should not be floating in oil, just covered lightly.

Season the seeds generously with salt.

Bake for 2 to 3 hours, until golden brown, turning them occasionally so that they brown evenly.  The seeds should roast very slowly. Remove from the oven and taste for salt. If needed, add another sprinkling of sea salt. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tabletop Props: An impromptu dinner party

Sometimes all you need is a laid-back, fun night with your girlfriends. If time is short, there's no need to worry! One of our favorite ways to throw an impromptu dinner party is to make a quick stop at your local farmers market. They will almost always have everything you need to put together a customized, local, healthy meal. Plus, becoming a regular at the market is a great way to get involved with your community and support the local vendors. Here are some items that are repeatedly on our shopping list:

Fruit: You can't beat Fall's fruit selection. Markets offer a multitude of grapes, pears, apples, and more. They go well with most other finger foods and are great palette cleansers!

Cheese: Exploring the flavors of local cheese companies is a great way to learn about the varieties of different cheeses. Try a different kind every time!

Mixed nuts: Here in the Northwest, we are in a prime location for nuts (especially hazelnuts!). Most nut vendors will offer many varieties including roasted, smoky, and flavored kinds.

Beverages: Support your local brewers by purchasing a growler of craft beer or even hard cider! Most vendors at the market will have an option to purchase a refillable bottle or growler that you can then bring back for a refill at your convenience.

Seasonal decorations: No matter what the season, farmers markets offer wonderful ways to decorate your home with local foliage and hand-crafted artisan decor. For our fall table decorations we like mini white pumpkins and of course a gorgeous, bountiful bouquet!

Top it all off with some fabulous serving pieces and your girls night is ready to begin!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Table Wear: Luxe Moderne

Last month we paired our Luxe Modern collection with a stunning gold and white room, and this week we're going all out glitter/sequin fest. We paired this amazing sequined gown (!) with some simple yet sexy accessories and a vintage deco-style cigarette case - these cases are easy to find on Ebay, Etsy or your local antique stores and are great for stashing a few bills and your ID to tuck into your evening clutch. 

Be sure to tell Mr. Gatsby we said hello.

Dress | Shoes Scarf | Earrings | Clutch 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Déjà Vogue: These boots were made for walking...

We are channeling some style tips from miss Nancy Sinatra. Grab a pair of boots to prepare for the fall chill. Are ya ready boots? Start walking!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tabletop Props: Farmhouse Pantry

Farmhouse Pantry is our inspiration for this week's Tabletop Props! Reminiscent of old-fashioned American milk glass, these pantry staples celebrate farm-to-table tradition in simple, beautiful shapes. We love how the smell of freshly baked goods can transform the ambiance of a room and here you'll find Rosanna's heavenly biscuit recipe along with our idea of a cozy space to enjoy them in! We hope you enjoy these perfectly fluffy delights in the space where you feel most comfy. Bon appétit!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tea + Farm Belle Honey Creme

Nothing says good morning (or afternoon, or evening) like a hot cup of tea. Lately I've been adding a little dollop of our lavender honey crème to my Tazo Zen Tea (green tea with spearmint and lemongrass). It's delicious! Rumor has it that our honey crèmes also work well in coffee, giving it a nice little kick. Flavors available:

Clover (no added flavors - a great sugar substitute in general)
Pineapple-Lemon Pepper

Read more about the benefits of honey here.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Table Wear: Luxe Moderne

This week we're classying it up with our favorite new Fall collection, Luxe Moderne. Gold is practically the new black - timeless, sophisticated and goes with everything. We thought it'd be fun to create a whole living room around this sleek color combination, with a touch of tangerine for good measure. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Déjà Vogue: Varsity Jacket

Fall is upon us which means the school year has just begun. Why not add some style to that infamous varsity jacket we all know and love! Tell me about it, Stud.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Opening Night Gala at the Seattle Symphony

As a proud sponsor of the Seattle Symphony, we designed this tray as a gift for their Opening Night Gala held yesterday evening. This tray commemorates the famous painting by Robert Rauschenberg, which is on display inside Benaroya Hall.
Rosanna and her daughter Francesca

The gala was phenomenal, and pianist Lang Lang was stupendous, elegant - one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. We at Rosanna are supporters of Seattle Symphony & Seattle’s Art Commission.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Patterns Past and Present: Greek Key

 Greek Key, also called Meander, is a classic pattern that symbolized infinity or the eternal flow of things in ancient Greece. Nowadays it is a very recognizable graphic element that be incorporated into any contemporary environment. Stay tuned to see how this pattern helped inspire one of our upcoming patterns for 2014 and in the meantime, check out our favorite Greek Key finds!

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Winners of Our 7th Annual Tablescape Contest!

We've seen a lot of really beautifully dressed tables, but the time has come to announce which of them really awed and impressed us!

Thank you to everyone who participated this year for sharing your creativity with us. It has been a true pleasure to see all of our gorgeous work and hear your inspiring stories.

And now, for our winners:

3rd Place (a tie!):

3rd Place – Jen Seaman – Seattle, WA
When I first saw your entry, it reminded me of my 25-year-old daughter’s gatherings. I love seeing the old traditions combined with the new generations’ fresh ideas. This is a great example of interpretive entertaining which really represents your generation. Your party was eclectic and soulful – these are the best kinds of experiences!

Jen's Story:

Dear People Who Make My Get-Togethers Classy, 
    I have slowly been adding pieces from Rosanna for a few years now and hosting get-togethers at my home. One of my greatest loves is entertaining, be it on stage telling jokes at comedy clubs and festivals, or inviting my friends over for delicious, fresh, made from scratch treats. I've recently found a roommate, Justin who is also into entertaining as well. When he's not singing in the Seattle Men's Chorus, he likes singing show tunes with me in the kitchen while we try to perfect recipes such as: cookie butter, cronuts and chocolate chip cookies... the three deadly "C's." 
   The story behind our design was that we wanted to do something fun, original and whimsical to celebrate the wonderful summer we've had with our friends and by doing so create a unique experience to honor them as well. We wanted to incorporate bright colors with seasonal flowers and focus part of the cuisine around our friends' favorite dishes and our favorite local businesses. Our flowers were from Pike Place market and the ice cream in our drinks was from one of our favorite small businesses, Lick Pure Creamery who specialize in using local ingredients to create their ice cream, so delicious! 
   For our end of summer brunch we made: avocado-grapefruit salad, deviled eggs, cookie butter tartlets, open faced eggs-cheese-and-bacon buttermilk biscuits, cronuts (croissant donuts) and pienuts. Pienuts were a dish we invented specifically for the event for our friend Kermet who is an avid pie fan and often times tells jokes on the road about pies. We filmed a short video which will be out in a few months about how to make this new treat. Our kitchen has turned into a small studio where we film comedic cooking shows based around a comedian's jokes or favorite dessert. Pienuts consist of freshly made pie filling and a fully baked tartlet which are then wrapped in raw pie dough and fried. If it sounds decadent and delicious, that's because it is! 
   The four days leading up the event were filled with baking, amazing smells wafting through the house and lot of preparation for the big event. The best part was seeing our friends' eyes light up when they stepped into the backyard to reveal the table filled with fresh food, flowers and colors. The experience that our friends had, the laughs shared over treats and wine made the event one of the biggest highlights of our year. The largest highlight of the year was knowing that we had such great friends to give us a reason to celebrate. 

Thank you for your consideration, we had a blast with our entry and hope you enjoy the photos.   

Jen Seaman 

3rd Place - Deb Kennedy - Irvine, CA
We appreciate what a truly loyal fan you are to us! Although you have gone through some challenging life experiences recently, it is clear that you have not let your creative spirit be conquered. We love that you are sharing your talents with family and friends as often as possible. Wishing you all the best!

Deb's Story:

Hello, Rosanna!

You know, I have always wanted to enter your tablescape contest, and for one reason or another, I have always MISSED it! 
This time, fate has smiled on me  - I saw your facebook post and got to work on my images. This is such a fun creative exercise for me, as I love seeing all of the entries. The creativity of others inspires me!
So, my story about the tablescape I am entering is this: 

The truth is, I just love to decorate! My background in retail display (35+ years) and my love of  bringing seasonal touches into my own home has given me many opportunities and blessings in life. So, when I can use my skills and abilities to do something wonderful for others, I enjoy it even more!
My brother and sister in law went on vacation, and asked me to house-sit for them. 
They also said "Um, Deb, while you are there, if you'd like to 'work your magic' on our house and make it beautiful, that would be just FINE with us!" And of course, I could NOT resist a request like that! So I worked for two days moving the furnishings, digging through closets and drawers to find hidden treasures, and re-styling their home to reflect all that they love and also the summer season.
The BEST part of the whole project is that I did this makeover for FREE! 
I didn't spend a cent (except on the white gladiolus flowers). Everything I used was what they already had - I just 'FOUND' it around their house and used it in fresh new decorative ways. Which is exactly the philosophy behind my blog HOMEWARDfound: using what you have, and what you can get free or inexpensively to bring seasonal style into your home.

The tablescape is composed of their 'everyday' dishes and glassware, some linen napkins found languishing in a buffet drawer, a set of placemats that were still in their packaging in a cabinet, and a set of four bowls that were new in the box out in the garage. With those items and their color palette (which matches the decor), I had a great start.

Then I located a few pieces of white china with a seashell motif. When I discovered the clear glass vases of seashells that were tucked into a box of 'party decor' in the garage, I expanded on the seaside theme. A vintage white vase from the kitchen cabinet over the stove holds pretty white gladiolus stems ($1.99 for six at the local grocer - which was the ONLY thing I purchased for this whole makeover!). And in a truly last-minute touch, the centerpiece base is a lone white shelf that I found in the garage - it had no brackets, so it was never hung. But it serves as the perfect way to make the vases of shells stand out in the center of the table!
I love the clean, simple look of the table, and the touch of pattern in the placemats and the color in those bowls. 
It's a look that is easy for my sister in law to replicate, too, and that was important to me. I want her to see how she not only has great taste because she bought all of these things to begin with, but that she can live with them everyday and enjoy them!

My brother and sister in law arrived home from vacation to 'the big reveal' - and nearly fell over! 
She could not stop exclaiming 'Is this MY HOUSE?!' and said it looked better than the Pottery Barn catalogs that she drools over. She pulled out a chair and sat at the table, shaking her head and saying "OK, we have to have a party now. Because THIS is GORGEOUS! I'm not changing this!" They couldn't believe I did it all in just a few days, and it was really gratifying to see their appreciation.
Then they DID have friends over for a party, and I hear the reviews were very good!

I snapped terrific 'before & after' photos of the makeover, and am running a week-long series using them on my blog right now, and it's generating a great response. So even more people are being inspired - and I just love that.

Now, the rest of the story is this.... 
In the fall of 2011, my husband did some awful things that nearly destroyed me, and completely trashed our life and our business on Camano Island. Since that time, I've literally lost everything I had - home, car, business, furniture, personal possessions & treasures, and more, including my adult children and grandsons (long story). In early 2012, I separated from him and moved from Seattle back to Southern California where I grew up, and have been working to start a new life here. It's not easy to have to start over and move back into your parents' home when you are 50 years old - especially when having your own home to decorate means as much to you as it does to me. But my parents and my siblings have been so supportive of me, and by giving me opportunities to decorate THEIR homes, it really is fulfilling to me. Someday I hope to have a place of my own again - but in the meantime, decorating for others and sharing my passion on my blog is something I truly enjoy. It's amazing to me how God provides what we need - even if it doesn't come to us the way we picture it ;)
Thank you for this chance to enter your contest, Rosanna... your creativity inspires me! (and I truly do miss your warehouse sales now that I am not up in Seattle anymore)
Deb Kennedy
2nd Place:
2nd Place – Nazra Knutsen – Seattle, WA
You’ve created such a loving tradition for your little daughter. Developing and practicing traditions with our families is so important to lead a happy life.  Here you’ve used your imagination to fashion not only a beautiful table, but a whimsical and playful experience! We also love how you’ve repurposed and reinvented your table which shows creativity. Well done! We share your philosophy.

Nazra's Story:

We love doing impromptu dinners with friends and it's usually me texting them up saying, "Husband is cooking...wanna come over?" With his love of cooking and my love of tablescaping (is that even a word?) we make a great team! Besides the fact that we have two small children...its nearly impossible to leave for dinner dates, unless we plan way in advance! On a side note - having small children means not a whole lot of time to be creative by crafting, being able to be creative in the everyday life events (like eating & setting a table) - fills my spirit up! 

I used Rosanna's beautiful (smaller) blue cake stand for this birthday party I set up for my daughter and her stuffed friends for her 3rd birthday this morning! (Well..actually the birthday fairy did it while my daughter was sleeping of course.)   ;) much of this is thrifted, 2nd-hand, or hand-crafted except for the "food" & Rosanna cake stand of course. :-) 

Drum roll please!
1st Place:

1st Place – Cheryl Gray – Niagara Falls, NY
We love your creativity and your idea of entertaining and setting a beautiful table anywhere. Your father’s 1950’s vintage heirlooms were such a lovely and sentimental accent. We like your reference to iconic American culture with Marilyn Monroe’s film “Niagara”. Thank you so much for your visionary story and photo!

Cheryl's Story:

My tablescape design features Rosanna's self described "platinum" pattern Belle Epoque.  I drew inspiration from the 2013 theme, "Come “over”, I made food" and the cue that not all entertaining takes place indoors.   Therefore my choice of outdoor setting was the most iconic representation of "over" that I know, the brink of Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, NY.

The Belle Epoque "platinum" pattern represents the epitome of glamour and my tablescape pays homage to the iconic platinum blond Marilyn Monroe as featured in the film “Niagara” on the 60th anniversary of the making of the film.  I set the table with a faux fur throw, platinum roses (Marilyn was honeymooner Rose Loomis in the film) and platinum wreaths as the napkin rings.  To further evoke the 1950's movie theme also gracing the table are my dad's antique hat and an antique camera with a now extinct roll of Kodak film once manufactured in nearby Rochester, NY.   

Although I am a inveterate gourmet home cook and could have developed a literal spread for the tablescape, however, I hope this homage to gorgeous platinum “eye candy” set against this natural wonder of the world evokes the theme “come over” in an intriguing way. 

Italian and German tourists were photographing my table setting and nodding approvingly when a local tour guide explained the purpose of the challenge.  He also shared that his son had proposed to his fiancée (now wife) on that very spot three years ago.

Cheryl M. Gray