From the Desk of Dixie

Cutest Camp Notes

It's summer, which means camp adventures for some excited kids!  It's such an amazing time of fun and personal growth for your kids - let them document it on the cutest camp notes!  They can send to friends in style and home to you for the perfect camp keepsake.  It's so easy too - right click, "Save Image As" and print on regular size paper then fold, pre-address, stamp and pack away for easy access once they get there.  No excuses for writing home!  We have three designs available in two formats each to suit any style or need.  Send those kids away for the best time and the best way to tell you all about it!


A Tropical Dinosaur Birthday Bash!

Our designer, Gina Langford, threw the cutest Tropical Dinosaur themed birthday party for her little boy and we had to share!  Gina tells us a bit about how she decided on the theme and then how it all came together (while also planning a cross-country move!):

My little boy loves dinosaurs and literally goes around the house roaring so we decided to run with that theme! I wanted to keep the party stress free in the midst of moving so we had the party at a splash park. I used the colors of his sweet The Beaufort Bonnet Company swimsuit and matching polo shirt as inspiration. I ended up going with some brighter colors for the decorations because it was hard to find pastels, but I think everything still tied together well! The simple DYI dinosaur party hats and the dinosaur dirt cupcakes were definitely a big hit with all the toddlers!

Order your Tropical Dinosaur invitation and corresponding items here


Mother's + Father's Day Card Printables

As a parent, Mother's and Father's Day are two of the best days of the year!  Show them some love with one of our card printables!  Include your own message inside for that important personal touch and, the best part, no standing in the drug store trying to find a decent one to give!

To download, simply right click on the image below, select Save Image As and then print on nice, thicker paper/card stock.  

Happy Mother's and Father's Day to all the wonderful parents out there! 

Sarah Tucker's Hostess Gift Giving Guide

Now that my sisters three showers are all done, I thought I'd share some of the hostess gifts my sister, my mom, and I helped pull together. We tried to tie in aspects of the shower theme into the gifts. Gift giving is something we all really enjoy, so we had a ton of fun putting together each of these. Dixie Design adorned all of the gifts (c/o) - with personalized tags, cards, and stickers made from Gina Langfords Blue Toile Crest. They definitely prettied up the gifts and added that final touch! The first shower was a Champagne brunch

{corkcicle // champagne bucket // dark sea salt caramel truffles // kate spade coupes // belvoir cordial // sugarfina champagne bears }

The second shower was the bridal tea. Here's what we ended up giving the hostesses.

{pottery barn sophia tea pot // lindt chocolate // dixie design personalized tags // laduree tea // blue and white tea towels // harney and sons tea }

The last shower was this past Saturday and was a monograms and mimosas shower. I knew we had to buy these gifts from Emily McCaarthy's shop. Emily has long been my favorite - her style is THE BEST. and I happen to also be over on her blog featured in her Signature Style Series.

{Emily McCarthy cheese board // monogram champagne flute // Emily McCarthy ice bucket // Emily McCarthy Swizzle Sticks // lucite personalized serving tray // sparkling pink lemonade }  


Holland Williams Photography

Meet Holland Williams!  She is one of our amazing contributing photographers.  If you see an image you love on one of our new birth announcements or on our Easter cards, it's likely Holland's.  She has mastered the art of photographing babies, children and families and we are HUGE fans of her work.  And even more exciting for our local Dixie friends, Holland and her family are moving to Birmingham this summer!  So, follow her on Instagram/Facebook and make sure you book her right away when you have photography needs (her spots fill up quickly!).  Read on to learn about this fun and talented lady and what inspires and interests her:

I'm Holland - mom to Chappell (8), Collier (5) and Margaret Reed (2). Wife to my best friend (on most days), Reed. I'm addicted to coffee and never wear anything but work out clothes (ignore the photo, it's fake). I love running with my friends and haven't watched a TV show in probably ten years. I don't like sand, but the beach is my happy place!

I've been a photographer for over eight years now and I specialize in unique portraits of newborns, babies, children, families and limited (boutique) wedding coverage. In 2008, I quit my job to stay home with my first child, however, I soon found myself in a new city with a colicky baby and needing something else to focus on. I became all but obsessed. I didn't want to owe my husband or parents anything if this venture tanked, so I sold some jewelry to a pawn shop to buy my first version of Photoshop. And I was truly petrified the whole time I was in there!

Hands down, what I love most about my job is spending time with my clients. I have an absolutely wonderful clientele and their enthusiasm and gratitude for my work makes my job extremely satisfying. They are the reason I enjoy my work so much. Numerous clients have become dear friends and I treasure the relationships I have with them. I'm side by side with my clients for some of life's most sacred moments (weddings, births, engagements & all those special milestones) and I do not take that lightly. I truly feel blessed beyond measure to be able to do what I love for a living.

Dream destination: Australia

Most magical destination: The Alps are pretty magical

Ideal dinner date: Oprah! Life-long fan, here. I’m slightly embarrassed to say this, but I waited outside a restaurant for her when she visited Montgomery! She was SO sweet and spoke to us when she left.

Listening to: I listen to a pretty strange variety of music. Anything from Christian rock to rap. Depends on the day.

Recommended read: All I do is edit photos!

Recommended film: Unfortunately, see above!

Favorite foods: Sushi (of any kind), seared tuna and… raw oysters. I’m a Florida girl, and love seafood!

Power color: Green

Inspiration: As far as photography is concerned, I am inspired by my subject. A photographer friend once told me that she prayed before each session - to be able to capture each subject as beautifully as God sees them.

Prized possession: Photos and paintings of my children… their artwork…newborn hospital bracelets…snippets from first haircuts…

One should never: I still have a hard time wearing white before Easter, even though I know that rule has been thrown out the window.

Go-to hostess gift: You can’t go wrong with a good bottle of wine!

Hidden talent: You’ve never seen someone type so fast.

Perfect cup of joe: Two Splendas and cream. Recently, my 8 year old learned how to use our Keurig - she now brings me coffee in bed! I thought this day would never come.

Childhood dream: A dermatologist

Tool of the trade: I’m a Canon girl. Couldn’t live without my 50 mm 1.2 lens.


Hummingbird Cake

Southerners love their cakes: it’s just a fact. We use any excuse to whip up some layers and really, is there anything more comforting than a pretty cake stand holding toothsome, sliceable bit of joy. Friends drop in for coffee? Afternoon snack? Even a breakfast in a pinch. Southerners know cake. We have many, many famous cakes, from Tennessee jam cake to Lane cake, but there may be no more popular Southern cake than the Hummingbird Cake. First featured in Southern Living in 1978, the Hummingbird Cake–and its delightfully odd marriage of bananas, pineapple, and cream cheese–has been one of the most popular recipes in the magazine’s fifty year history. Lots of us can remember our mamas fixing up a Hummingbird Cake for parties or potlucks. Many versions of the flavor trio abound, from cupcakes to milkshakes, but the classic cake itself, while it is a great thing to make for an occasion, can be its own occasion. That’s how delicious it is. If you’ve never made one before, maybe start a new tradition this holiday season with one of these spins on the classic. We featured a Hummingbird Bundt Cake in our Holiday 2016 photoshoot and sure enjoyed eating it as soon as we finished taking photos. The cake was made by Susan Dobbs in Birmingham.

Mama Mac's Egg Nog by Erin Hollon

Here at Dixie, we love tradition, that is part of what makes us Southern. New designer, Erin Hollon, shares memories of making Mama Mac's prized egg nog recipe that her family still treasures today.

Every family has their own Holiday Traditions, but as kids we don’t realize that our traditions aren’t necessarily shared by every other family. 

It wasn’t until I grew up and started hosting parties around the holidays that I realized some of my yearly recipes were just downright odd to other people. And theirs were odd to me! 

Spiced Egg Nog, the runny kind you find in the dairy aisle, was a total mystery to me. Growing up we had our own Egg Nog recipe, passed down from generation to generation. Rather than spices, we added sherry and bourbon to our thick and creamy concoction. As the child of parents who never drank the rest of the year, this was a treat of nearly magical proportions! 

I remember the anticipation as my grandmother started whipping cream in the kitchen and the giggles as my aunts and uncles added more sherry to their glasses. 

Once my grandmother passed, the Egg Nog responsibility was transferred to my mom. She often let us help, reminding us to be careful whipping the cream because it could easily turn to butter. One time it did, making us feel very guilty and nervous until we discovered it was the best butter we’d ever tasted!

The addition of the gelatin is also a little harrowing, as any wrong step can leave you with tiny hard lumps in the finished product.

The older I grew the more I realized this holiday treat is really a labor of love, as so many traditions are. And now I get to make it myself and share this love with all my New York friends. They look at me like I’m crazy when I describe it, but once they taste it, they are instant fans. And we still giggle as we add an extra tipple on the sly!

Here is the family recipe, in case you’d like to give it a try this holiday season. It goes perfectly with New Year’s Celebrations too!

Mama Mac's Egg Nog
6 eggs separated
2 cups sugar plus 6 TBSP
1/2 cup dry sherry
5 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 packages plain gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup heated milk
2 very large bowls and one small bowl
Note: Rinse beaters between each step.
1. Place gelatin in water and then add heated milk. Allow mixture to cool while beating egg whites. Add about 6 Tbsp sugar to the egg whites while beating them. Placed egg 
whites in the refrigerator. Beat egg yolks. Add the remaining sugar and the sherry slowly to the egg yolks. Add the gelatin mixture.
2. Whip cream in another bowl. Add vanilla. Add whipped cream to the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the egg whites.
3. Place in refrigerator for 3-4 hours or until mixture is set. Fluff with a wire whisk and serve. Makes 3 1/2 to 4 quarts.
(Addition of bourbon to the egg yolk mixture before adding the gelatin is an option)

Sugar Crinkles & Southern Cookie Swaps

There are many beloved holiday traditions: trimming the tree, hiding presents, seeing The Nutcracker, and, of course, baking cookies. Here in the South, we like to take it a step further and host cookie swaps. How do these work? Many groups have their own rules, but the general idea is to assemble a group, have everyone bring around three dozen of their favorite cookies and swap. Everyone goes home with a passel of new treats to try and share with their family. It’s a great way to catch up with with friends, and you may even find your new favorite (meltingly tender) cookie recipe. We know that competition at these things can get fierce–set your treats apart and make sure everyone knows what you brought with one simple item: Dixie Design gift tags. They are an easy, elegant way to label your cookie contributions, soigne and personal, all at the same time. Check out our favorite cookie recipe this season featured in our Holiday 2016 photography.

from Christmas with Southern Living 1997, found here


1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar


Beat shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed of an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and flavorings, beating until blended.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to shortening mixture, beating well. Cover and chill dough.

Shape dough into 1" balls. Roll balls in 1/4 cup sugar. Place balls on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 350° for 8 to 9 minutes or until barely golden. Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Styling Your Holiday Cards

It’s finally that time of year! Your mailbox receives holiday cheer each day in the form of personalized Christmas cards from friends and family. Often times, these thoughtful cards get misplaced or placed into a stack, but why not decorate your home with these festive greetings? Our stylist, Augusta, has collected a few ideas to help you deck your halls with your holiday cards this season. 

Deck the Mantle: The fireplace is the anchor of most living rooms, and its mantle should represent your own personal style and design. This year, try decorating your mantle with some of your favorite cards you receive! Start by laying out the foundation of the design with one large centerpiece, maybe an art deco mirror, or family photo. Next, incorporate decorative pieces like vases, candlesticks, and other trinkets. Add in some fresh garland and maybe some white twinkle lights to bring in the holiday spirit. Finally, add in your holiday cards from friends and family! Prop the cards against the decorative pieces, grab a small picture frame holder, or even stand them up within the tinsel. Not only will your mantle look perfect for the holiday season, but your friends and family will gush over your displayed cards!

Frame a Favorite: 
Consider framing one of your favorite holiday cards! Whether it’s your own personal card, or an illustration from another card, there are plenty of beautiful designs to keep as decoration throughout the year. Our fabulous designer and illustrator, Sarah Robins Powell, has created some incredible paintings for her designs. Sarah’s “Advent” design is a perfect example. Frame this beauty in a gold frame, display in your
entryway or mantle and enjoy it year round!

There’s nothing like fresh tinsel to make your home feel perfectly festive. Whether you adorn your mantle or create a wreath, there are plenty of ways to incorporate garland around the house during the holiday season. By using wooden clothespins, or even gold paper clips, you can attach each Christmas card to the greenery as you receive them in the mail. If the garland is hanging from the stairwell, or doorway, loop a thin piece of ribbon behind each card in order to hang them off the greenery. Add some twinkle lights to make things merry and bright!

Decorative board:
If you are looking to decorate your entryway, or even an available space in your kitchen, try displaying your Christmas cards on a decorative bulletin board, magnetic chalkboard, or lattice board.  If you can’t find a decorative display board to compliment the interior of your home, they are actually quite simple to make! Check out the handmade bulletin boards we created for our very own Dixie Design holiday card display.

Ribbon: Want to keep things festive, without going through too much trouble? Simply attach your favorite style of ribbon, or yarn, down the center of your kitchen cabinet, or pantry door! Then attach your Christmas cards with wooden clothespins, metal clips, or even paperclips.  Attach a little ornament, or sleigh bell, to the bottom of each ribbon, for a small festive touch.

Tree: We love the idea of having multiple Christmas trees in your home. Hang your Christmas cards (or pin them) to a small Christmas tree in your entryway, or dining room. If you need something for a table top surface, try adding some branches or curly willow to a blue and white ginger jar, and hanging your cards from the branches. Your guests will love how you decorated your home with cards from loved ones!

We love saving our holiday cards in a memory box or keepsake album to remember our family and friends who sent us a card, or wrap each year up with a ribbon to organize them. Each Christmas you can pull them out and display; it makes for a fun conversation starter at a holiday party. Our Dixie Design photographer, Mandy Busby, keeps her cards in a decorative container in her kitchen. During the weeks following that holiday season, her family takes a moment to pick a card out of the box and pray for the family/friends on the card. However you decide to display or decorate with them, we hope each card you receive brings you joy!

Dixie Photographer: Mary-Keeley McAllister Smith


We are very thankful for all the talented photographers who let us use their beautiful images in our Christmas cards. We are excited to first introduce you to Mary-Keeley McAllister Smith:

I’m married to my best friend, Cole, and we currently reside in Homewood, Alabama with our fur baby, Buddy, the bichon frise.  Raised in Tuscaloosa, it's no coincidence I have a passion for creative arts - my mother was an elementary school librarian and folk-artist and my father has been a photographer for over 40 years. In 2009, I graduated with a degree in visual journalism from the University of Alabama and, in 2011, I started my full time portrait photography business. My approach to photography is a unique blend of photojournalism and classic family portraiture, which I find lends itself well to capturing the swift season of childhood. While I do enjoy photographing the occasional wedding, the majority of my business is family portraiture.

Dream Vacation: Tuscany, Italy

Magical Place: Camp McDowell in Nauvoo, Alabama.

Dinner Date: Oprah - and we’d bring back “Oprah’s Favorite Things!”

Listening to: Ryan Adams “Gold” + Vince Gauraldi Trio “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Good Read: The Art of Cooking by Julia Child…I realize this is a cookbook but I read it like a novel. It sparked my interest in cooking and was a gift from my sister, inspired by my late mother who was a Julia fanatic.

Last great film you saw? The Bridges of Madison County

Favorite Foods: Tacos, pasta, wine

Favorite color: Blue

Beach or mountains? Beach

What inspires you most? Relationships

Prized Possesion: My engagement ring with my grandmother’s diamond.

Preferred sign-off: Warmly

Go-to hostess gift: Wine

Hidden Talent: I have a nose like a fox hound - I can identify a scent from a mile away.

Coffee: Almond creamer and extra hot

What did you dream of being when you were a kid? A fashion photographer 

What fuels your creativity? Music

What is your number one tool of the trade? Patience

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