For the love of {New Orleans}…and {paper}Aug. 17th

Alexa-photoYou are probably wondering two things at this point:  1. who is this lovely woman? and 2. what does New Orleans have to do with paper? Well,  please allow me.  The lovely woman is Alexa Pulitzer and she is the creator of Alexa Pulitzer Stationery which she designs and prints in the wonderful Big Easy.

Alexa’s extensive training and experiences abroad have contributed to her exquisite taste and style– reflected in her gorgeous paper collection– but when interviewed by New Orleans Homes and Lifestyle Magazine, Alexa credits the  “unique characters, lively music and self-indulgent lifestyle in combination with its sophistication and joie de vivre attitude” of New Orleans for shaping who she became as an artist and entrepreneur.

When browsing our Alexa Pulitzer collection, you will notice Alexa often uses animals as the focal points of her stationery. The 2014 New Orleans Homes and Lifestyle Magazine interview with Alexa goes on to say,   “I often use animals in my designs because they project a deep inner strength and personality with which we humans often identify, and I place crowns on their heads to add a little fun, regality and decadence to the mix. I created my first copywritten royal animal, ‘King Gator’, 12 years ago, a crowned animal motif that has become a trademark signature of mine”.  The King Gator is one of The Great Gift and Paper Co.’s  Alexa Pulitzer’s best sellers.

2015-08-13_2007From mouse pad notepads to darling note cards and enclosures, the Alexa Pulitzer collection will be a wonderful addition to anyone’s stationery collection. There are plenty of papers on the market today, but only a few that are worthy of gifting; this collection leads the pack in the category of giftable papers. We are proud to offer the Alexa Pulitzer Collection.

SHG_Alexa PulitzerThere will always be a special place in our heart for New Orleans at The Great Gift and Paper Co. It is with great pleasure that we bring you this beautiful stationery from a town where the attitude is cool, the food divine, and the people wonderful. Made in New Orleans, USA.

all that {zucchini}Aug. 12th

2015-08-12_1404That beautiful green zucchini is everywhere right now. Isnt’ it?  If you are at all like me, you would love to turn it into a few fabulous loaves of sweet zucchini bread deliciousness….BUT, since I try to avoid eating too much flour and sugar, there will be no sharing of a zucchini bread recipe here. :(  Instead, I am sharing my mother’s recipe for  Zucchini Minestra–which translated from Italian to English basically means “mixture”.

What you will need:


olive oil, yellow onion (I always use the sweet), 2 small cans of tomato sauce, celery with leaves, potatoes, zucchini ( of course), and salt and pepper and water to thin sauce as necessary.

Here goes:

Roughly chop 1/2 of medium onion and saute in about 1/3 cup of olive oil.  Saute until onions are slightly golden.

IMG_3578Add two small cans of tomato sauce and two cans of water.  This is actually a  basic tomato sauce recipe for a number of southern Italian dishes.


Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Allow to simmer to soft boil for about 5 to 10 minutes.


IMG_3576 IMG_3577Next, add 3 medium potatoes and 1 stalk of roughly chopped celery with leaves to sauce.  If sauce is becoming too thick, thin with additional water.  Allow potatoes to simmer until partially cooked–tender, but not entirely cooked as they will continue to soften with zucchini.IMG_3574

add roughly chopped zucchini to sauce mixture.  And allow to cook until zucchini and potatoes are tender.  Do not over cook.  Season with additional salt and pepper and a little more water if necessary.

IMG_3583To serve, season with a little Romano or Parmesan cheese and a little extra pepper. And there you have it–simple, clean and fresh.  All the zucchini goodness and none of the not-so-good for-you stuff–it’s what to do with all that zucchini.


Zucchini Minestra

1/3 cup of olive oil

1/2 onion-roughly chopped

2 cans of tomato sauce and 2 cans (plus more to thin) water

1 stalk celery with leaves

3 medium potatoes

2-3 zucchini- peeled and roughly sliced

Saute onion in olive oil until slightly golden.  Add 2 small cans of tomato sauce, followed by 2 cans of water.  Season with salt and pepper and allow to gently come to soft boil.  Let cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery with leaves and potatoes. Allow potatoes to cook until tender but not entirely.  Add zucchini and continue to simmer gently until potatoes and zucchini are cooked through.  Season with additional salt and pepper and thin sauce with water to desired consistency.  Should be like a soup at the end.  Add cheese and a few pieces of Italian bread with butter.  Enjoy!






{a bit of} Christmas Spirit in JulyJul. 27th

dessertspreadxmas I wanted to add a few holiday photos in the House Tour category from Holiday 2014.  I like to change things up just a bit from year to year, so this is last year’s decorating.  We were celebrating the life of Dr. Thomas B. Williard at this particular luncheon.  While a more somber occasion, it was Dr. Williard’s favorite holiday and he certainly had a wonderful life to celebrate. These are a few shots from that special day.  PS:  If someone finds my knob, please let me know.  Where in the world is my cabinet knob?

diningroomxmasI did a little redecorating this spring (2015), so the wallpaper pictured is no more. The gold damask paper by Thibaut made for such a cozy feeling in the dining room, but the update is so clean and crisp.  Change is difficult but necessary after all these years.  Wait until you see the update, I think you will love it, too.

xmas roosterIsn’t this a beautiful arrangement?  It was a gift from the caters.  We used a local company Bleu and Fig and everything was simply delicious.

denxmasBloggers are so amazing at photography…as you can see I am not one of those bloggers.  I should have had the light in the corner off, but I snapped it anyway.  The den has become my favorite room to enjoy a morning cup of tea.  I will take better pictures of the rest of the room soon, but I think I managed to capture a few of my favorite holiday elements.

baconislandviewThe food was absolutely delicious thanks to Bleu and Fig.  I also had a few wonderful friends that came over at a moment’s notice to pitch in to help.  I could never have done this luncheon without them.

While holidays without Pappy won’t be quite the same, we will continue to  celebrate remembering all the while how he loved Christmas so.  In fact, one year he talked his lovely wife into keeping the tree up for an entire year.  Now, that’s what I call holiday spirit.







Obsessed: Quotable CardsApr. 27th

2015-01-12_1757Has anyone picked up on the fact that I am quote obsessed?  Always have been, always will be.  So it only makes sense to have the creme de la creme of cards and gifts, Quotable Cards, on board.  Welcome Home, Quotable!

“quotable was started over twenty years ago with a simple mission: to inspire through the power of the written word. recent college grads gillian simon and matt fernandes-vogel knew there were people out there like themselves who wanted smart, simple cards that just weren’t available at the time. they had an idea to quote great writers, artists, and thinkers and use their words as the foundation for the design.

quotable-an-angel-by-your-side-everything-disg-4the result is the original and incomparable typographical style of quotable. this remains the often imitated, never replicated look of the line to this day. what started as 48 black+white cards has grown into a full and flourishing range of cards, magnets, mugs, and a variety of other gift and stationery items. although gillian and matt may have picked up a few employees along the way, quotable still operates with the care, ingenuity, and personal attention of the start up it once was”.


Since The Great Gift and Paper Co. and Susabelle Boutique is all about giving the perfect gift, I try to think about things that I would like love to receive as a present myself.  An inspirational quote sent my way on a mug, trinket tray, tote, or even a simple card sent via snail mail (try it–you will make someone’s day) is my idea of totally thoughtful gift-giving.





Mary Lee’s Rice RecipeFeb. 25th

photo-27First, let’s begin by giving credit where credit is due….this recipe was given to me by my life-long friend Nikki’s mother, Mary Lee.  She is the lovely, amongst this group of lovelies, just behind me on my right–I am seated in the middle.  Mary Lee is wearing the oh so stylish chunky black necklace–not only can she cook, but she can dress like a million bucks, too.

In Follansbee, the small town in West Virginia where I grew up,  families support each other in good times and bad. Mary Lee brought this rice dish to my family at a particular moment when we needed support.  The recipe has stayed in our family ever since.  I am grateful for the recipe and grateful for the wonderful people I recall each time I make this dish–and trust me–it’s often.

IMG_3277As you can see in the photo above, the ingredient list is short. Aside from a sprinkling of black pepper, this is all the recipe calls for.  Easy as easy gets.  And I like easy.

IMG_3278 Here’s what the dish should look like put together… IMG_3279  and here is what it looks like baked and ready to eat devour.


Mary Lee’s Rice:

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 cup Uncle Ben’s Rice uncooked

2 cans beef consomme

1 or 2 cans mushrooms (drained)-mushroom amount  is based on your like or lack thereof for mushrooms

3/4 to 1 stick of butter sliced

sprinkling of black pepper


Add rice, beef consomme and drained mushrooms to standard size glass baking dish.  Top with sliced butter and sprinkle with black pepper.  Bake at 350 for approximately one hour. Since oven temperatures vary, I recommend checking the rice after about 45 minutes to determine how much longer the rice will need to cook.

I am pretty sure Mary Lee’s rice recipe will become your go to dish for your upcoming spring and summer potlucks or dinner parties. And just as I think of Mary Lee when I make it, I hope you will think kind thoughts of me. ;)  Enjoy!




Vegetable Soup {Warms the bones}Feb. 3rd

photo-27Right about the start of February, Mid-westerners and folks in the North East are about fed up with winter.  Seriously, our bones are cold!  What better way to warm up than with a bowl of homemade vegetable soup?  Here’s a super simple, packed with deliciousness recipe handed down from my daughter Alex’s grandmother.

1.5 pounds of stew meat cut into bite size pieces (more meat if you like more meat)

1 small onion

1 small head of cabbage

4-5 celery stalks

1 box of beef broth

1 large can of V-8 juice

1-2 cans of tomato soup

1-2 bags of frozen mixed veggies

4-5 potatoes

1 stick unsalted butter

bouillon cubes (if you like a little more beef flavor)

salt and pepper to taste

Begin by cutting meat into bite size pieces, onion into chunks (not too big, not too little), celery, and cabbage (think soup size pieces for all).  Next, I  “precook” the meat in a pot of water and spoon off foam.  After removing the foam, (sorry, no idea what the correct cooking term for that nastiness is, lol), do not discard the water, but transfer meat to a clean soup pot. Add 1 box of beef broth, onions, celery and cabbage to the meat with enough of the water (full of meat flavor) to total about 8 cups (I transfer to another pot because it is cleaner to me to do that).  Let this cook for about 1 hour or so…Add 1 large can of V-8, a can of tomato soup*, a bag of frozen mixed vegetables* and a stick of unsalted butter. Season with salt and pepper.  Let this cook and then judge if you need more veggies or more tomato soup to thicken it up a little.  *I added an extra 1/2 bag of veggies and an extra 1/2 can of tomato soup today, so just buy 2 bags of veggies and 2 cans of tomato soup when you go to the store…it  really is about judging what your family will like.  Let this cook about 45 minutes and then add the potatoes cut up.  If you feel you want more beef flavor, add a bouillon (try to spell that word without autocorrect) cube. I let simmer on the stove for a few hours.  Turn it off and then warm back up for dinner.  This makes a pretty substantial amount of soup–the good news is it will taste even better tomorrow!

It may take a couple of tries before you get the soup to taste exactly how you like it.  I don’t add a lot of salt so everyone can season their own–plus crackers with a little butter on top are delicious in this soup.


That’s it!  Stay warm and enjoy! And hurry up Spring!


A peek around…Jan. 7th


Ever wonder what a long-time shop keeper’s home looks like? Please feel free to take a peek around…

williard_56Silver, sparkly and “not real” works best for me…lucky husband.

williard_51White linens and white towels–always (bleachable, as per Susabelle, aka: my mother)

williard_48Because stacking pictures is so much more visually interesting.

williard_26I love Thibaut fabrics as you will see in future posts and pictures in this house tour category.


williard_33This is a lovely Pottery Barn desk in my bedroom; the candle from Linnea’s Lights is just the right scent for a bedroom (not too heavy or sweet); the chair is a Home Goods fabulous find and the little lumbar pillow is from Target–the colors were perfect.  How could I pass it up?

williard_41And last for this post, this is the upstairs Master Bath.  I can never get enough of the clean lines and black and white in this room.


More pics coming down the road.  Please come back to visit soon!

{Compelled}Jan. 26th

Have you ever felt compelled to do something?  Lately, for whatever reason, I have felt compelled to go back to doing a few things from my younger days.  The first is running.  The last time I did any running was in high school. No, not on the track team–definitely not that kind of running.  But,  I would run (maybe jog is a better word) down Main Street to my friend Tina’s house and back.  It was a good mile (big whip!) or so of pure bliss.  From waving to people driving by to working up a good sweat…it just made me happy. Maybe it was seeing the people more than the running/jogging. Either way.   If only my knees where as good as they were back then….The other “thing” that I am compelled to do is journal. I haven’t written in a journal in years.  When was the last time you wrote in a journal?  Journaling (word press has a squiggly red line under this word, so I must have made this word up, ha!) frees up my brain– it is cathartic to just get things down on paper, isn’t it?   Nothing is as bad as it seems and the good is even better when you reread your thoughts down the road.  Life ends up getting busy and the journal gets put to the side, but that’s ok…I forgive myself.    The journaling starts up again tonight (after the Grammy’s, of course) and the running/jogging…well, I will let you know after I schedule my  knee injections.

Check out our journals-NEW for 2014!

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The {GOOD} News and the not so good….Jan. 15th

The good news:  we have been so busy over the holidays–THANKS TO YOU–and we are in the process of reloading for 2014!  The not so good news:  we have ignored our little blog! But, we are getting back on track!

Have a look at the homepage redesign-just ignore the dust from the holidays–we are still doing a bit of sprucing.   We hope you will think the updates to be ever so “lovely”.  New items are being added daily and if you are in search of a sweet little something for a Valentine treat, find it here in our Valentine’s Day Gift Guide.

Have a wonderful 2014!  We are looking forward to continuing to grow and learn from our experiences– all to bring you an even better site to shop in 2014!


‘Tis the season for {hostess} giftingNov. 13th

“Never show up empty handed”  is simple but sage advice for the upcoming party season.  Whether you are invited to a work party, dinner at the in-laws, or your neighbor’s casual get together, a well-thought, not necessarily expensive, hostess gift is such a thoughtful way to say “hey, we appreciate the invitation”.   Just a little something will go a long way to let the host and/or hostess know you appreciate their efforts to make the evening special.

It’s easy to add one of our top ten favorites to the traditional bottle of wine to take it up a notch on the thoughtful ladder.  Best of all, no need to chase all over town for something cute. Just point and click and have your favorite finds delivered right to your doorstep!

Here are our top ten favorite hostess gifts–sure to get you invited back to the next soiree:

A fun cocktail napkin to take along with a bottle of wine.

turkeytime-rxIf you know that the “annual” holiday party is approaching, be a dear an order something personalized for the host/hostess.  Order these Personalized Notepads.  They come with a “not soon to be forgotten” guarantee.

notepads_1 This darling decoupaged plate of a map of the North Pole will be sure to find it’s way into your host’s annual holiday decor.  No regifting of this little number,  for sure! North-Pole-Holiday-Decoupage-Tray For some reason, I never tire of adding more paper products to the site.  I have a love affair with paper–always have–always will.  I just don’t think you can go wrong with a beautiful mousepad notepad from our Alexa Pulitzer collection.  The empire bee mousepad notepad is fresh and will go on any desk beautifully.

Alexa-Pulitzer-Mousepad-Notepad-Empire-BeeHaving a holiday party can be a bit stressful.  Let the hostess know that it’s not what’s on the table that counts, but truly what’s in the chairs.  Fill this oh-so-giftable mug from Curly Girl Design with a gift card from your LOCAL coffee shop for an extra special treat.

cookYou know, there are just somethings we would love to have, but really just wouldn’t buy for ourselves. At least that is how I am.  I think this coffee scoop falls into that category.  Wouldn’t it be a little more fun to scoop with this rooster scoop than the plastic one?  Your host will surely agree. And just think, you will be thought of with every pot!

cockadoodle-rxInspirational coffee table books are a perfect way to say “thank you”.  This holiday inspired gift book, Be Merry,  is filled with the right sentiments, and the right reasons to celebrate the season. Simply put, PERFECT!

Be Merry-book-4842-03Certainly, you didn’t think a blog post would go by without mentioning a flour sack towel. Let’s put it this way, I could have a whole store filled with flour sack towels and paper. Not sure what I would name it– but I digress.  Here is another gift that people love to have, but settle for less.  Our Bon Appetit towel is a darling gift.  Consider adding a lovely cheese and your are all set.

-Bon-Appetit---Flour-SackTowelIt’s not really fair to assume the party thrower is always female. Is it?  And with that in mind, comes our next selection for top host/hostess gifts for 2013.  We will assume, though, that said host likes something a little inspirational for his desk.  This catch-all will be a hit! Find our inspirational quote desk tray here.

-desk-tray-for-menIn fact, here are two for the gentleman host.  This owl candle, by Patch NYC, has just the right hint of masculinity. With an incredible 72 hour burn time, this wise, old owl, would be the perfect touch for an office, bedroom, or anywhere throughout the home when floral scents just won’t do.

2013-08-08_1733That rounds out our top ten favorite hostess gift for Holiday 2013.  I hope that you are always up for a get together and that we have made it simple to show your appreciation.  Don’t forget, stocking the gift cupboard is as easy as point and click at