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From the Desk of Dixie

Derby Collaboration: Dixie x Formé Millinery

With the Kentucky Derby quickly approaching, we are thrilled to announce our collaboration with Jenny Pfanenstiel of Formé Millinery. Jenny is a renowned Master Milliner and was named the Featured Milliner of the 146th Kentucky Derby®, only one of two milliners ever featured in Derby history!

Dixie's owner, Jennifer Hunt, and Jenny were both selected as 2019 Tory Burch Fellows and had the privilege of spending a week in NYC together last June. While there, Jennifer was so intrigued by Jenny, her style and the fabulous hats she wore each day. The idea of a Derby collaboration didn't strike Jennifer until a few months later when she was reviewing equestrian artwork that had been commissioned for a Derby collection. While Jennifer liked the idea of a traditional horse-inspired collection, she remembered that Jenny had been named the Derby's featured milliner a few weeks prior. Featuring hats instead of horses was something that excited the Dixie team so Jennifer reached out to Jenny, who also loved the idea, and Dixie artist Vaughan Spanjer was commissioned to paint Jenny's hats and all their intricate details. 

Vaughan's family owns Pursell Farms, one of Alabama's destination gems, so we were thrilled to photograph this collection and throw our own Derby party at Hamilton Place at Pursell Farms, which is set among manicured gardens and sprawling pastures, perfectly setting the stage for a Derby-themed soirée.  

Adorned with hats, florals, mint juleps and fun patterns, our Derby Formé Collection has something for everyone! It features items for throwing your own hat-themed event as well as an array of greeting cards for a variety of occasions and stationery for everyday use.

Through this collaboration we've learned so much about the artistry of millinery. We were so intrigued we wanted to share with you our interview with Jenny who reveals how she got started with the craft (she has a fascinating background!) as well techniques she uses with her hats that have been around for centuries but have fallen by the wayside with mass production. Read along and enjoy the beautiful photos by Mary Margaret Smith of our Derby party featuring delicious food by Ashley Mac's, florals by Huckleberry Collective, tablecloth by India Amory, place settings from Bromberg's and Table Matters and styling by Casey Snipes. 

What does it take to become a Master Milliner?

Artistry, technique, creativity, respect for the craft and continuing the traditional techniques that came before you, passion.

How long have you been making hats and how did you originally get into it?

I always grew up around sewing. My Mother, Aunt and Grandmother made everything. At age 5, my Mother taught me how to cross stitch. Not too difficult of a technique, but I learned to work with my hands and create beautiful pieces through hand sewing. Growing up around sewing, I naturally went to design school. I have a Fashion Design Degree from The Art Institute of Colorado and originally wanted to pursue costumes for the ballet. I was a dancer many moons ago and loved corsetry and making elaborate tutus. From Colorado, I moved to Chicago to further my costume career. There, I created costumes for Cirque du Soleil, movies, commercials, I even did a Grammy Dress for Margaret Cho. After living in Chicago for a number of years, I met a Milliner who was visiting for a conference to discuss her Millinery business. I had no idea Millinery still existed in the United States. She spoke about traditional hat making techniques with hat blocks and I became very interested in learning more. I dabbled in some basic hat making techniques in the U.S., but it wasn’t until I did an apprenticeship in Australia where it all came together. Since I knew how to hand sew, the art of Millinery came naturally. From that point on, I completely switched gears and started creating hats. It has now been 12 years since I started making hats from my basement in Chicago and I'm grateful to now live in Louisville and have my own hat shop.

How did it feel to be named the Featured Milliner of the 2020 Kentucky Derby®?

It is an honor to be recognized as someone from Louisville for my craft of Millinery, as the Featured Milliner of the 146th Kentucky Derby® - only the 2nd Milliner to be featured in the history of the Derby. It is like winning the Miss America pageant for hats!

Where do you find the inspiration for your amazing hats and fascinators?

Because I grew up around a family that sewed, I had an appreciation for handmade things. I started collecting vintage hats to see how they were made and was fascinated by how each one was sewn a little differently than the next. I also adored (and still do) antiques. If antiques could talk - knowing their travels, who owned them, who loved them - it fascinates me. So when I learned about traditional hat making techniques on old wooden forms, I felt an immediate connection with the craft. In addition to finding inspiration in old artifacts, I also enjoy admiring the small details within an object. Whether that be looking at the tiny details in a leaf, the fuzz on moss, or the cracks in a cobble stone road. 

Who would be your dream client to create a custom hat for?

I don’t know why, but this is always a hard question for me to answer. I am so grateful for all of my clients and the opportunity to make a living doing something that I am truly passionate about. Of course I would love to have every celebrity wear my hats, but the best way that I can answer this question would be, my dream client would consist of never falling short of new and repeat clients. I hope to always have a strong mind and creative spirit to continue having fresh hat ideas. It gives me great joy to help bring to the surface, confidence and beauty from within each person when they wear my hats. I honestly see a transformation within the person. They stand a little taller, they smile a little bigger, some even cry. This is why I do what I do. I enjoy working with those who have never worn a hat before, or think they do not look good in a hat. Everyone can wear a hat. It is a matter of working with a Milliner, like myself and trying on the right styles and wearing them the correct way. A slight tilt of the brim can make all of the difference. Once a person has found the right hat, seeing their confidence change, makes it all worth it. Like my motto states, “A hat can not only change your day, it can change your life”.

 

Photographer: Mary Margaret Smith

Stylist: Casey Snipes

Venue: Pursell Farms

Hats: Formé Millinery Co.

Paper: Dixie Design Collective

Food: Ashley Mac's

Flowers: Huckleberry Collective

Place Settings: Bromberg's and Table Matters

Table Cloth: India Amory

 

A Jungle Birthday Bash

This spring, Dixie's owner and founder Jennifer Hunt's backyard was transformed into a jungle oasis in order to host 16 adorable six-year-olds gathered to celebrate her son William's sixth birthday. We are convinced this party was what all little boys' dreams are made of.... a plethora of sugary treats as well as surprise visits by various creepy crawling critters such as a boa constrictor and an alligator!

Jennifer used Dixie's Menagerie Collection, with artwork by Inslee Fariss, for the party's invitation, food and drink cards, and gift tags. Party Pickup, a custom party design and styling company, pulled the jungle green color scheme from the invitation's design to style the party's decor which included an impressive balloon garland, a large hand lettered balloon, children's Chiavari chairs and tables, as well as all of the coordinating cutlery, paper plates and cups and adorable guest favor boxes that were filled with jungle themed treats and toys.

Savor Style created colorful florals and the tastiest candy grazing boards that all the children loved! Nestled in with the candy were palm leaf decorated cookies by Hey Kat Bakes and the delicious cake by Dreamcakes was the perfect sweet treat centerpiece!

Enjoy scrolling through the fun images from William's big day! We have included all of the party and decor sources at the end of the post.

Invitation, Gift Tags, and Food and Drink Signs | Dixie Design Collective

Balloon Garlands and "Custom Party in a Box" Party Design and Styling | Party Pickup

Floral Styling and Candy Graze | Savor Style

Custom Decorated Cookies | Hey Kat Bakes

Custom Birthday Cake | Dreamcakes

Vintage Trays, Bamboo Bar Cart, and Serving Pieces | Mary and Wilma

Cake Toppers | POPPYjack Shop

Birthday Cake Stand | Susan Gordon Pottery

Exotic Animal Entertainment | Ed's Pet World

Party Photography | Jessica McNabb Photography

Styled Invitation and Party Favor Photography | Mary Margaret Smith Photography

 

"Best Bugs" Valentine's Day Cupcake Decorating Party

Dixie Owner and Founder Jennifer Hunt recently hosted her son's pre-K class for an afternoon of Valentine's Day cupcake decorating. After seeing the images from the party, we are convinced there is nothing more adorable than children decked out in aprons and chef hats allowed to descend upon oodles of candy and sprinkles in pursuit of the perfect lady bug cupcake decoration! 

The cupcake decorating was under the direction of Itty Bitty Bakers' Owner, Jessica Hamby. The company hosts baking classes, camps, and parties for children ages 3-12. Jessica believes that sprinkles are the love language of children, and this Valentine's Day party was no exception! Drawing inspiration from our Ladybug Invitation by Dixie artist Eden Flora, Jessica brought already prepared chocolate cupcakes as well as red frosting and sprinkles, mini Oreo pieces, candy eyes, and Pocky Sticks for the children to create their ladybug masterpieces. Each child made two cupcakes - one to eat at the party and one to take home!

In addition to their ladybug cupcake, the children were sent home with cookies by Reabakes that were perfectly decorated with the same artwork found on the invitation and tied with our Ladybug Gift Tags. Continue scrolling for more Valentine fun complete with fabulous balloon garlands, a giant calligraphy heart balloon and a preschool-sized table and Chiavari chairs, all from Party Pickup, customized lady bug water bottles, and beautiful florals from Huckleberry Collective. And one of Jennifer's favorite decorating tricks is to have fabric cut for a tablecloth that matches the party theme and colors. Have the edges stitched and then you have the perfect backdrop for your table and you can throw it in the wash when you're finished!

We have included all of the party sources at the bottom of the post.

Jessica Hamby, owner of Itty Bitty Bakers

Sources::

Cupcake Decorating Class, Itty Bitty Bakers
Invitation and gift tags, Ladybug Collection by Dixie Design Collective
Florals, Huckleberry Collective
Balloon Garlands and Hand Calligraphy Heart Balloon, Party Pickup

Mini Table and Chiavari Chairs, Party Pickup
Decorated Cookies, Reabakes 
Tablecloth, custom cut from King Cotton Fabric
Aprons and Hats, Opentip
Plates and Bowls, Pottery Barn Kids
Photography, Hannah Williams Photography

Favors for Every Occasion by Sarah Tucker

Florida lifestyle blogger Sarah Tucker had paired her favorite party favors with a Dixie gift tag on her blog, SarahTucker.com. We love all of the thoughtful gift ideas she suggests and these are great ideas to tuck away as the holiday season is quickly approaching. Thank you, Sarah, for allowing us to share your clever ideas with our readers!

  1. LemonTwist Kitchen Tag with Lemon wine or bottle stopper 
  2. Rosemary Gift Tags with Rosemary infused Olive Oil
  3. Lavender Gift Tags with a lavender sachet (perfect for a lingerie shower favor)
  4. Brafford gift tags with a succulent favor (perfect for a baby shower – ask everyone to say a prayer for the new baby when they see it in their home)
  5. Rosalie gift tags with a small bottle of la marca (ask guests to pop it open when the baby arrives – toast to the new baby (: )
  6. Beverly Gift Tags with caramels
  7. Pineapple gift tag with pineapple bottle opener
  8. Blue toile gift tags with custom cookies from Sogi’s Bakeshop
  9. Flamingo gift tags with heart shaped sunnies (perfect for a tropical bachelorette)
  10. ginger jar tag with ginger jar matches 
  11. leopard gift tags with tassel earrings
  12.  terracotta topiary gift tag with olive tree planted favor 
  13. newport sailboat gift tags with whale measuring spoons 
  14. Naples gift tags with voluspa mini candle
  15.  spa monkey gift tags with silk sleep mask 

 

Client Spotlight: A Florida Yacht Club Baby Shower

We always love when our customers share their photos with us from their beautiful parties! And we especially love it when when the parties so effortlessly carry out the color schemes of the Dixie invitations that were part of the big day! This Florida baby shower was the perfect setup to celebrate Dixie customer Shannon Darling's best friend, Kallen Stefurea, who was pregnant with her third child this past spring. 

Shannon chose our Pink Cosmos & Ladybug card design for her invitation, menu cards, and the party favor tags she attached to adorable mini Rosé bottles. We were able to tweak the colors of Gina Langford's beautiful watercolor to match the soft peach tones that Shannon had requested. Scroll to the bottom of the post to shop our entire Pink Cosmos & Ladybug paper collection.

Continue reading to hear about this special day that Shannon planned for her friend and to see the elegant brunch tablescape where the party guests dined.

When my best friend told me she was pregnant for the third time we were both so anxious to find out what she was having! She already had two little boys and when we found out the third was a girl, we were over the moon excited! 

She had always lived far away when pregnant with her others so I knew I wanted to do something special. I based the theme on her design of the nursery for sweet Evelyn Margaret. I knew Dixie Design would be perfect for all of the decor for the shower.

I chose one of their previous designs and they were so great on working with me to tweak the colors to match her decor. My favorite item was the monogram from the invitation that they were able to make into a print that I had framed through framebridge. It was such a fun memento and it now hangs in her sweet nursery.

I was so happy to be able to celebrate this sweet little girl and her mama and I couldn’t of imagined Dixie Design doing a more beautiful job! Everything was perfect!

Party Venue: Epping Forest Yacht Club 

Photographs: Shannon Darling

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Summer Soirée

Last month, our friend Christina of Huckleberry Collective saw Veuve Clicquot's Rosé anniversary party in Paris on Instagram and was inspired to create the perfect backyard summer soirée. With the help of some fabulous vendors, she took the party to her back yard, and it was one of those you never wanted to end. From the frosé pops to the charcuterie board of your dreams, this styled shoot, turned wine night was perfection. 

Dixie created the colorful invitation, menu and place cards and we love how they turned out!  You can shop the San Miguelito Vine Coral Collection by clicking this link.  And keep scrolling to see all the summery goodness Christina created for this fun party. We hope you are inspired to host your own soirée before summer ends!

Edgar's Bakery- Macroons and Petit Fours

Dixie Design Collective- Paper Suite

Party Pick-Up- Balloon Garland

Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co.- Kettle Corn

Jessica McNabb- Photography

Stone Hollow Farmstead- Charcuterie Board

Taziki's- Signature Pasta and Whipped Feta

Reabakes- Decorated Cookies

Huckleberry Collective- Styling and Florals

Reese, White and Blue, Y'all!

We were thrilled when Cloche Designs asked us to create the menu for their July 4th table, featuring their favorite Draper James x Crate and BarrelMagnolia” pieces!  We love a beautiful themed tablescape and the Cloche ladies did not disappoint!  Gina Langford’s Rosalie menu artwork (color adjusted to match the plates) pairs perfectly with the red, white and blue color scheme and all the other gorgeous details make this patriotic table a showstopper. Keep reading for all the pretty details!

Cloche Designs’ Laura Nell Burton and Christin Gish and their sweet daughters are all wearing the new Draper James Mommy & Me Collection. Draper James (founded by Reese Witherspoon) teamed up with mompreneur Rachel Blumenthal, CEO and Founder of Rockets of Awesome, to produce this beautiful, practical and southern-inspired collection.

Plates and bowls:  Draper James x Crate & Barrel “Magnolia” collection (on sale now!)

Flatware:  Sterling pattern "Etruscan" by Gorham (discontinued). Use your own silver pattern (even mismatched patterns) for a curated look, as if the elements on the table have been collected with love over time.

Stemware:  Vintage wine glasses and William Yeoward Crystal “Fern” water goblets.  Again, use your own pretty stemware to accent your table!

NapkinsOver the Moon’s new Linen Dinner Napkins monogrammed in a blue “Love Birds” crest by Peep’s Paper Products.

Menu:  We love how Cloche named our menu “Reese, White & Blue, Y’all!” Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, Reese uses “Y’all” on lots of products at Draper James. It’s the perfect personal touch!

Place cards:  Using cookies as place cards is such a fun idea!  The personalized flag heart cookies by Baked Goodness are functional and delicious!

Centerpieces:  Simple, understated tulips and white peonies in traditional blue and white Chinese import make lovely centerpieces.  A crisp white tablecloth allows the table elements to shine.

The Cloche daughters helping their moms set the table is the sweetest! Children love to help, so let them in on the fun!  Knowing they get to eat the yummy cookies will keep them excited as they "work!" 

Recipes: tomato piebarbecue deviled eggswatermelon caprese saladsweet-hot baby back ribssouthern friend okraroot beer baked beanscorn on the cob; & American flag pound cake.

We hope you each enjoy your holiday as we celebrate our country’s birthday! Happy Fourth of July!

Photos by Jenna-Beth Lyde, Parish Photography

Four Reasons You Do Not Want to Miss Our Paper Petals Plates Event!

1. An Etiquette Crash Course from the Expert!

Who hosts the engagement party? Which of your guests should be invited with a “plus one” to the big day? How long do I have to send out thank you notes? When planning a wedding there are so many details to cover, and you want to make sure to be considerate of all your guests and family. Myka Meier, the modern-day Emily Post, is the evening’s guest speaker who can answer all of your grittiest wedding etiquette quandaries.

2. The Stunning Door Prizes!

How about two complimentary nights at the new Elyton Hotel in Downtown Birmingham? We think it would make a perfect staycation for the newlyweds’ six month anniversary celebration! How about a gorgeous bowl from Susan Gordon? We think this would make quite the stylish home accessory for newlyweds embarking on making their new house a “home!” These are only a few of the stellar prizes we have ready for you. View the complete list of door prizes here.

3. Get Inspired for your Special Day!

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of options for color palettes, stationery, florals, tablescapes and overall aesthetics you want for your wedding weekend? Paper Petals Plates will have 13 beautifully-styled rehearsal dinner and wedding reception-ready tables designed by Birmingham’s top event vendors. These vendors will not only have their creative talents on display, but will be ready to lend their expertise to any of your wedding planning dilemmas. View the entire list of the talented vendors that will be represented here.

4. The Premier of the Highly-Anticipated Dixie Design Collective Wedding Suite Collection!

Being engaged is such a special and exciting time! Dixie Design Collective artists have created a stunning collection of wedding paper with various styles and color palettes that can beautifully set the tone for your special day. The various wedding suites will each include Save the Date cards, a wedding invitation set, a reply card set, “details” cards (add-on cards for your event’s needs such as guest accommodations), day-of elements (such as menu design, place cards, etc.), and stationery to thank your guests and carry you into your new married life. View a preview of the wedding suite collection here.

Styling and Photography by Robin Verrier

Not currently planning a wedding? Please join us anyway to get creative ideas for any dinner parties or holiday entertaining events you may have on your future social calendar! Some other additions to the event you do not want to miss during this evening include a calligraphy bar featuring Jan Pruitt, a sweet tea bar by Piper and Leaf and fabulous swag bags filled with the best local goods. We cannot wait to meet you and chat about all things wedding and entertaining on Thursday, Aug. 10 from 5 to 8:00 P.M.! Purchase your tickets here.

 

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

  

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 }  

 

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