A Louisville Stoneware Holiday Wish List

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to tour the Louisville Stoneware factory.



It was so fun to learn about the pottery I've collected for years. It was really cool to see the actual raw clay that is transformed into beautiful pottery.


As I watched clay being purified, softened, and molded, I felt like a little kid on one of those candy factory tours they used to show on Mr. Rogers. I had a million questions about the production process, and I was thrilled to see some amazing pieces I recognized from my own collection. (Which I'm talking about today over at The Mint Julep Diary.)


While I toured the factory, I found some really great holiday gift ideas that I thought I'd share with y'all.

This coffee mug proclaims "I'd rather be drinking bourbon" and, well, wouldn't we all? It's a great gift for the bourbon lover on your holiday list.


These gorgeous ornaments reflect your favorite city, your college team, or your holiday spirit. 


These holly graffiti julep cups are filled with locally-produced soy candles and would make a fantastic holiday gift.


And I couldn't decide on a favorite among all the salt and pepper shakers; each set was cuter than the last.



 I was particularly partial to the Wildcats and the Colonels.



If you're in Louisville for holiday shopping, stop by the Stoneware factory at 731 Brent Street for amazing, one-of-a-kind Kentucky-made gifts. You can also order online at LouisvilleStoneware.com.

Thanks so much to Louisville Stoneware for hosting me for a tour! I had a blast!

New Holiday Traditions

The holidays are all about tradition. The decorations, the celebrations, the family customs -- no matter your faith or background, there are traditions you observe every year.

In recent years, I've thought a lot about holiday traditions, as my beau and I attend Christmas gatherings with our respective families, and build traditions of our own.

Somewhere along the way, my go-to holiday dish has become Julia Child's boeuf bourguignon. It couldn't be more different than the huge Southern spreads that were customary in my childhood. And yet, I cook it with the same degree of love and attention to detail that my granny always applied to her customary Christmas Eve fried chicken. I find myself making the French beef-and-wine stew for special holiday meals with the people I love. 


This year, my beau and I stayed home for Thanksgiving. Despite the made-for-Hallmark-TV promises that we can all go home for the holidays, sometimes work obligations impose themselves. Since it was just the two of us, we scaled back Thanksgiving dinner to reflect a lower-carb sensibility. Neither Sister Schubert rolls nor pies were to be found anywhere. As we enjoyed our boeuf bourguingnon and pancetta-roasted Brussels sprouts, I realized that, just maybe, we'd created a holiday tradition of our very own.


Have you created any new holiday traditions at your house?

Elizabeth Elfen Designs

Elizabeth Elfen Designs brings a little Kentucky charm to the Big Apple. Transylvania alumna Elizabeth Elfen Johnston's eponymous handbag line is as glamorous and charming as its namesake. Elizabeth currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with her well-dressed foot and ankle surgeon husband, whom she's nicknamed Dr. Hotpants!

Elizabeth was kind enough to answer a few questions about her designs, her personal style, and her Old Kentucky Home. She's also offering a custom bag for one lucky HerKentucky reader!-- HCW

Tell us a little about yourself.
At Woodford Reserve
I was born in New Orleans, LA and moved around to Virginia Beach, VA and St. Louis, MO before landing in Paducah, KY for my first year of high school. There, I fell in love with Kentucky’s elegance and southern charm and continued on to Transylvania University where I started, with the best intentions, as a premed/biology major. Whilst at Transy, my love of creating art grew and I graduated with a B. A. in Studio Art. After graduation, I moved to Florence, Italy to study 
Footwear and Accessory Design at Polimoda and reveled
 in the glamorous Italian lifestyle. Upon graduation, I moved to NYC and
 worked with my favorite fashion houses HOLLYWOULD, Lorelei NYC 
and Amanda Pearl.

To build upon my love of handbags, I went to work at an exclusive
 contemporary handbag manufacturer and immersed myself in all things
 pertaining to handbags! After a yearlong stint in the factory, I set out 
to make my own feminine contemporary clutches that add a touch of
 approachable glamour to one’s everyday life and night!

How did your company come about?
During my time at the factory, I noticed a void within the contempory handbag world. Everything just seemed so masculine, functional and lacked glamour. Because of this, I formed my company, Elizabeth Elfen, in 2011 to add a more feminine and glamorous 
touch to today’s contemporary handbags. I am inspired by old Hollywood glamour 
and a love of practicality and I strive to make clutches that go from 
brunch with the girls to après dinner drinks later that evening,
 all with the quick adjustment of your strap.

Bourbon or Beer?
With an actual pair of Dorothy's Ruby Slippers!
Maker’s Mark Manhattan straight up and extra frosty!

Coffee or Tea?
Is champagne an acceptable answer? [ed. note: Always! -- HCW]

Favorite spots in Lexington?
Cheapside Bar and Grill, Keeneland, Gratz Park Inn and Ramsey’s

Favorite things to do in NY?
Turning non-Kentuckians on to the culinary masterpiece that is the Kentucky Hot Brown. Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain has a great one.

Favorite Fashion Advice?
Fit is everything for everyone. When my husband and I started dating, he was wearing things that weren’t right for him, i.e., unfitted jeans, cargo shorts, ill-fitting hooded sweatshirts…. I could go on and on. I knew that he was a keeper, so I put in the time to outfit him in things that fit him properly. We put him in some better fitting jeans and got him some shorts that showcased his rocking calves and now he receives compliment after compliment!

Elizabeth has graciously offered one HerKentucky reader a custom handbag! Working from her classic 10" by 5" and 1.25" shape, she'll collaborate with you to design the perfect bag for you. It'll even be named for you! Just enter the Rafflecopter drawing before midnight on Christmas Eve!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



A Caney Creek Christmas Tree: Alice Lloyd College Ornaments

Alice Lloyd College is a very special place for my family. The College has been a part of my family for generations. So many of my relatives can thank ALC for their education and their career path. It's truly an amazing, one-of-a-kind school.

Every year, ALC sends little presents out to all its alumni. These gifts are  work-study projects for ALC students. These ornaments are some of the "Caney presents" we've collected over the years. The ornaments are actually marked with name, class, and major of the student who made them. What a wonderful reminder that, after all these years, Alice Lloyd College is carrying out the mission of the great lady who founded the school!




My Kentucky Christmas

In October and the beginning of November, I swore up and down that I wasn't going to really decorate much for Christmas. You see, I don't have a big family at all, and I don't have any holiday events planned at my house, so the decorations wouldn't be seen by many other than my husband and the occasional guest.

As soon as Thanksgiving neared, I decided I would stop at House for their annual sale to see if anything struck my fancy. I entered a gorgeous land of colors, burlap (it's the Kentucky silk, y'all), and glitter. I'm a sucker for glitter.

Doesn't this tree at House just scream Lilly Pulitzer?
Needless to say, the inspiration for a pretty tree struck and I walked out of the store completely loaded down with goodies, and covered in their glitter remnants. I decided that even though it might just be me and my pup Lilly who would really enjoy it, that was enough for me. 

You see, my mom would always create a gorgeous tree. I would wrap crazy amounts of Christmas lights in the bushes outside of our house, hoping to one day get close to winning the neighborhood contest (it was never, ever close!). My mom passed away a few years ago, so the tree decoration turned into a happy time of remembrance. I also got ambitious and decided to do some garland around my front door.

Trying to lay out embellishments on a wreath
Front door decorations and my finished wreath
finished tree
My Kentucky Christmas might not be filled with lots of family or chaos, but it's filled with exactly everything I need. My glitter tree, husband, pup, in-laws, and coffee.

The Beaufort Bonnet Company

The Beaufort Bonnet Company

is everywhere lately! This adorable line of children's accessories is just perfect for the teensiest fashion mavens in your life. I'm just in love with the bonnets, bowties, and bloomers -- many of which can be monogrammed. I keep hoping a friend or relative will have a baby soon so that I can buy all the Beaufort Bonnets!

I recently caught up with Markey Hart Hutchinson, the Lexington lady behind The Beaufort Bonnet Company. She's smart and fun, with a great eye for fun design. Markey's great attitude certainly shines through in her company's designs! -- HCW

A few questions with Markey:

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m from Lexington. I graduated from Sewanee (The University of the South) in Tennessee. I’m 32. I have two funny, smart, and wonderful children, my son Wakefield, who's 3, and Betsey, who's 1 1/2. My husband is a patient man and a great father. I like laughing, nice people, and all things that make my eyes smile. Colors and ‘pretty’ influence my mood; style and design have always been a passion.

How did The Beaufort Bonnet Company come to be?

A Mother Daughter Team started Susu and John in Beaufort, South Carolina around 2007-2009ish. The Beaufort Bonnet, made from an old heirloom pattern, was their star item and the reason they went into business. When I was pregnant and seeing the world through pink-colored glasses, I spotted a picture of a friend’s baby wearing a pink gingham bonnet while perusing Facebook. I asked where she got the little gem; I just knew Betsey would want a bonnet! My friend ended up gifting us one and it was love at first sight. Betsey wore her bonnet everywhere and people went bananas over it. Strangers and friends were asking where to get one. After studying the Susu and John website I noticed they didn’t have any retail accounts in Kentucky. I thought, I’m already selling these bonnets- I might as well get paid for it. I contacted the owner and asked if I could have the exclusive rights to sell them in Kentucky- a few emails later I found myself negotiating a price to buy her business. I gave the company a new name and logo and hit the ground running.

 I see a lot of traditional Southern style in your products, with some Lilly Pulitzer-style preppy mixed in. What are your inspirations for The Beaufort Bonnet Company's products?

Great observation! TBBC style is a reflection of my style. I like all things classic, timeless and refined- but I also like colorful, fun, and clever. My inspirations demonstrate that ‘refined’ doesn’t have to mean ‘boring’. Lilly Pulitzer, Dorothy Draper, and Carleton Varney mastered the art of pairing classic pieces with bold elements & bright colors to make things interesting. I want babies and children wearing TBBC items to provoke smiles (followed by compliments and conversation) - I love the idea of being partly responsible for someone’s smile.

 Here at HerKentucky, we love to support Kentucky's women-owned businesses. What advice do you have for women who want to start their own business?

I regret I’m not qualified to hand out advice. The Beaufort Bonnet Company is 4 months old; I’m still craving advice, suggestions, and wisdom. Ask me again when I recover my investment and start sleeping ;-)

What do you wish someone had told you before you started The Beaufort Bonnet Company?

I wish

someone had told me I was going to make mistakes- and that some mistakes were going to be expensive. Mistakes involving trust and dependability sting the most. The good thing is, I’m a fast learner.

Now for a few fun questions:

Coffee or Tea?

I’m way too complicated to answer this question. I drink coffee every morning but it’s really not my cup of tea- ha- do you get it?

Bourbon or Beer?

Cold BEER. In a bottle. But a cup or can is fine too.

Jeans or a Skirt?

skirt

Cats or Cards?

C.A.T.S cats cats cats!!

What's your favorite spot in Lexington?

My favorite spot(s) in Lexington are… Greenbrier’s pool, 3rd Floor Main at Keeneland, the house where I grew up, Wheelers, Suggins, Merrick, Rupp Arena when the Cats are playing, Gate 11 for tailgating, Monkees, L.V. Harkness, and the Chinoe Pub. Hmm, I bet there aren’t many people who have used L.V. Harkness and Chinoe Pub in the same sentence… I guess that’s me in a nutshell.

If The Beaufort Bonnet Company products are on your Holiday Wish List, you can find them at these Kentucky stores:

L.V. Harkness and Co

.: 531 W. Short St., Lexington (They even do registries for expectant mamas!)

Hopscotch

: 120 Clay Ave., Lexington

Nancy's Place

: 133 West Main St., Springfield

Kids Stuff

: 300 North Mayo Trail Suite 3,  Pikeville

Lad n' Lassie

: 188 West Court St., Prestonsburg

The Gifts Every Kentucky Fan Needs

We all know that most of the people in this state are crazy for the color blue, right? We all know that some of the women that write for this site could be in the top ten for that crazy, too, right?

Because of all that, I wanted to make sure we've all got some options to give to the crazy Kentucky fan in our life - whether that be someone in your family or just a gift for yourself!

Some people like to bring you Kentucky news "in the most ridiculous manner possible." Let me continue the Transy tradition and give you some of the most ridiculous UK stocking stuffers possible.

UK "Duck" Tape

Let's ignore the fact that this isn't properly named "duct" tape and just carry on with the idea that if duct tape can fix anything, try to imagine what UK duct tape can do!

Gotta have it.

$6.67 @ Amazon for 10 yards. You could use it as Christmas tree garland!


Tire valve stem covers
You've seen all the bumper stickers, all the car magnets, all the window flags and license plate covers.

Show that you're a true blue fan with tire valve stem colors - because it's the smallest place on your car where you can still show your loyalty. Better yet? Take your car for a rotation and alignment in Louisville and laugh at the Cards fan who grimaces when he's removing these.

$10.26 @ Amazon for 4 OR buy five sets and be a total boss and trick out your 18-wheeler and have two left for your bicycle!


Silver Toned Stretch Band Ring
This might just be the perfect stocking stuffer for that Phi Mu lady/Wildcat fan in your life.

The ring, with that high-dollar stretch band that I'm sure wouldn't turn your finger green, is almost the perfect marriage of a quatrefoil and the UK logo.

I think the women of Rho Iota could all use one of these!

$10.95 @ Amazon


Wildcats Piggy Bank
All I'm going to say is that I hope Cal's former Cats have a lot of these - because those guys are making bank. This little guy even looks as sweet as a John Wall smile.

$13.37 @ Amazon





Nothing says a cozy winter night by the fire like UK blue hot chocolate - especially when the tin says, "Real Wildcats Drink Blue."

I actually really want this. I'm looking at you, family readers!

$18.44 for a pack of 3 - Okay, so it's really special hot chocolate!



 
UK Ceiling Fan

Pimp out your Person Cave (in our house, we don't subscribe to the more popular, sexist name for the sports/TV/beer drinking room) with a UK ceiling fan.

$359.00 @ Amazon (Note to family: DO NOT buy this for me. Seriously.)




Rubbermaid 32-gallon Can
I am not going to say that this would be the perfect dorm room accessory. It would not be the perfect beer keg holder or be a perfect mixing place for grain alcohol concoctions involving sliced fruit. I'm just not going to say it, but wouldn't your trash look classy in this?


$56.17 @ Amazon





Kentucky Fan Gnome Bench
Now, maybe these little gnome guys spelling "C-A-T-S" might actually be cute by my new front door. Maybe.

Ok. I've looked at too much ridiculousness if this is starting to look cute!

$24.95 @ Amazon




UK gift tags
Of course, you can't give any of these gifts without wrapping them nicely and attaching these UK gift tags.

$2.49 @ Amazon for a sheet of 10







Quick note: All the image links are affiliate links to Amazon.com

What's the most ridiculous sports-themed gift you've ever given or received?