10 February, 2017

"A Tale of Waffles and Tartans . . . "


When Drew and I were back in Mississippi visiting my mother in the hospital several years ago, our red-eye flight mixed with the long drive to my folk's house meant we were stopping at a Waffle House along the interstate for some much-needed food.  When we were just about to dig into some of their famous waffles, a large group of hunters came in - also in need of some breakfast.  There was something fascinating about the mixture of olive & black camouflage and the orange safety vests that really intrigued me.  I made a mental note and finished breakfast.

This scene came back to me when I was working on my collection of custom designed tartans for SMW Home I began by mixing a murky olive, black, and bright, caution orange together . . . then, I added in a few hints of clear blue and a pinky, rose that recalled the morning sky.  Thus, Winston Tartan was born.  Certainly a more modern mix of colours for a tartan - but, all in a very classic Highland style. 
The name, Winston Tartan, also has a bit of a story too - it's named after the county where I grew up.  A gentleman named Louis Winston, a native of Virginia, moved to the Mississippi  territory before it was even a state.  He became a noticeable lawyer and the colonel of a regiment of  militia and became a judge of the Mississippi Supreme Court from 1821 until his death in 1824.  Both Winston County and its county seat, Louisville, were named for him.  Winston County, Alabama, was named for his kinsman John A. Winston, who served a Governor of Alabama from 1853 to 1857.

03 January, 2017

"Design Inspiration - Big Ruth Paisley . . . "

my grandmother - "Big Ruth"


I want to first tell you how hard it can be to design a textile collection.  But, you should also understand how incredibly challenging it can also be to name all of them - lol.  During my visit to Scotland, as I put the finishing touches on the SMW Home textile collection, I spent one final night in Edinburgh before flying back to the states the next morning.  That last evening I spent most of my evening scribbling down possible names for each of the textiles in the collection.  Obviously the clan tartans are named for the clans - but, there was so much more to deal with -

So let me tell you a bit about 'Big Ruth' . . .

My maternal grandmother was named "Ruth."  
But, so is my first cousin.  
So all of my life we have had 'Big Ruth' and 'Little Ruth.'  
My grandmother - or Big Ruth - was an endlessly chic hostess in the city in Alabama where she lived.
Always known for her stylish tweed suits and collection of fur 
coats - I know she cut quite a figure all of her life.

So this over-sized wool paisley from our collection seemed the perfect fit for her!  
The bold scale certainly matched her personality - and I 
think she would have loved the classic colours of each shade.  
Bold.  Chic.  Stylish.  Just like Grandmother Big Ruth. 
I've had fun telling some of the back-stories of some of our textiles - you can also find out more about Ryder, Radecliffe, and Sebastian. Stay tuned for more tales and inspirations for our textiles collection at SWW Home.


23 December, 2016

"Happy, Happy Christmas . . . "


I just wanted to wish you all a Happy, Happy Christmas - and a joyous holiday celebration!


30 November, 2016

"SMW Home - The Signature Candle . . . "


I excited to share the news that we have fresh - and delightfully scented - SMW Home Signature Candles back in stock.  Y'all were so excited about having them as part of your holiday that you caught us off-guard!  But, never fear - they're here and ready for shipment asap.

Shop early!



23 November, 2016

"Blackwatch Friday Sale - Shop Early . . . "


And happy (almost) holiday season!  If you have shopping plans as part of your holiday weekend, I wanted to give you a chance to shop early with our SMW Home Blackwatch Friday Sale for gifts for family and friends - as well as a treasure for your own wee castle.

Starting today, use the code - BLACKWATCHFRIDAY - during checkout and receive 20% off our extensive selection of decorative pillows, tartan throws, table service, and our collection of gifts for your four-footed family members.

Shop early for best selection -  and enjoy a little extra holiday joy on us!


22 November, 2016

"Mad for Plaid - with Pottery Barn . . . "


So excited to share my recent chat with the fine folks at Pottery Barn celebrating my long-standing - and well-documented - love of all things tartan and plaid.

Hop over to their blog today - and find a host of ideas (about hosting!) and getting your home ready for the holidays. 
 I've given advice on entertaining - as well as decorating - to help get you from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve . . . all with a generous helping of Scottish-inspired textiles.

07 November, 2016

"SMW Home - Give-Away . . . "


Invite SMW Home over for tea - with our "Tea for Two Give-Away" - you can enter HERE - and win a pair of our iconic SMW Home mugs, a tin of Harney & Sons Scottish Morn Tea, and a vintage Scottisg tea towel.

Enter now - through Friday evening at midnight - winner will be announced next week!



31 October, 2016

"Happy Samhaim . . . "


If you are a regular customer with SMW Home - I'm sure you've chatted with Alyssa!  I swear - she is the one keeping everything running smoothly! I thought I'd her share a few tidbits about the origins of Halloween today on the blog.  October 31st is practically a city-wide holiday here in San Francisco - a town which never passes up a good reason to get dressed in a costume.  Trust me - I run the 7 mile "Bay to Breakers" event several times only to be passed (or pass) folks in all manner of costume!

Take it away Alyssa . . .


Alyssa Here from Team Tartan!

We can’t help but feel festive when Autumn rolls around, the smell of spices mixed with seasonal fruits, the image of raked leaves, and the memories we have of carefree holidays - namely Halloween. While most of us know that Halloween was born out of a Pagan holiday, few know how many commonalities there are between 9th century Samhain and what we celebrate today as “All Hallows’ Eve.” We did a little digging and found that Samhain was born out of the British Isles, namely Scotland and Ireland - naturally, we had to learn more. We invite you to settle into our roundup of five lesser known facts about this autumn harvest holiday.

1. Gaelic Phonetics can be Tricky
If you know anything about Gaelic, you know to throw traditional English pronunciation right out the window. Rather than sam-hane, the Celts pronounce it sah-win or sow-in.

2. The Grandfather to Halloween? 
More like distant relatives. Although both holidays share a common theme of celebrating the dead, the overarching tone of these holidays reveal notable differences. Where Halloween has evolved into a publicly celebrated secular folk holiday involving playful themes of costumes, fantasy, and trick-or-treating, Samhain continues to be religious in focus. While some practices include a merry-making, Samhain is an overall serious time to reflect and memorialize the dead in private. 

3. Burn Baby Burn, Pagan Inferno!
Everyone has a ritual they love to do. Pagans love to celebrate with fire for Samhain. Spark a flame in the fireplace, cauldron or bonfire outside. Jot down a forever habit you wish to disembark from and throw it into the Samhain flames. Imagine the release and yourself adopting a new, better way of life, as you move clockwise around the fire.

4.No Ouija Board Needed
Samhain is a time when we honor our ancestors. It is the perfect time to celebrate the memory of a lost loved one and perhaps host their spirit. As crops dry up and a chill fills the air, Pagans believe the veil is thin between the living and the dead on the 31st. We might even be privileged enough for them to come back and communicate with us through the veil. Often to offer some advice, guidance, and protection for the coming year.

5. Harvest Decor
Samhain's long association with death and the Dead reflects Nature's rhythms. In many places, Samhain coincides with the end of the growing season. Vegetation dies back with killing frosts, and therefore, literally, death is in the air. As temperatures drop and the harvest season comes to a close, celebrants of Samhain believed that the death was literally in the air.
The spirit of Samhain’s themes of both death and renewal can be seen in modern autumn decor. As the season changes and leaves fall from their branches, we begin to bring sturdy pumpkins, gourds, acorns, and dried cornstalks into the home. We don autumnal wreaths on our front doors, and we bring warmth to our homes with the glow of seasonal candles.


Thank for all the cool information!  I hope you're having a safe - and scary! - Halloween tonight!



27 October, 2016

"SMW Home's Autumn 2016 Catalogue . . . "


I'm just pleased as punch to announce SMW Home's first online catalogue for Autumn 2016.  We've brought together a world of treasures from England, Scotland, and here in the states to bring a bit of the highland spirit to your own wee castle!   

We've put together a charming collection of vintage barware, antique Scottish tartanware
as well as gifts for your four-footed family members

As many of you already know - I have a passion for antique china!  I'm delighted to offer this 
amazing collection of vintage Palissey "Game Series" china - perfect for holiday entertaining. 

Take a few minutes and relax in the world of SMW Home - we're getting you perfectly ready for a perfect holiday season!



06 September, 2016

"Kilts . . . 101"


I thought I'd have a bit a fun today and turn my usual blog posting over to Rita - one of the long-time team members at SMW Headquarters!  When I asked her what she's like to write about - the answer was quick and definitive - 


Rita here, from Team Tartan!

I’ve been working here at SMW for a couple years now and in that time I’ve learned a lot about the rich, cultural history of Scotland. Scot and I thought it would be fun if I shared with you a bit about one of my favorite topics, kilts! Below are some of my favorite lesser-known facts about kilts.

1) Kilts: The Original Swiss Army Knife

 A kilt, a blanket, a scarf, even a tent! The original kilt was just about as utilitarian as it gets. With a bi-fold over the belt, the top half was often worn over the shoulders for added warmth.
2) No pockets? No problem!

Because kilts aren’t equipped with pockets, sporrans serve as a wallet that have the added functionality of keeping the front flap of your kilt safely in place. 

3) Kilt pin safety

The nature and weight of wool means that it has little to no give, so pinning the top layer to the bottom will risk tearing these tartan treasures. The kilt pin is meant to be pinned only to the outer flap of the kilt to add weight. Typically they’re pinned between mid-thigh and upper knee.
4) Pleats must be precise.

Probably the most fascinating thing I learned is that the pleating technique is done just so that the tartan pattern has uniformity with the flat pieces. The result is both impressive and beautiful.
5) Keeping those pleats in place can get tricky.

Sitting is the easiest way to mess up the beautiful pleating. So in order to keep the tartan from wrinkling, Scot recommends the “sweep and scoot” method when sitting down. Carefully sweep the pleats flat to your bum as you sit on the edge of a chair and scoot back.
6) The Gentlemen's Commando.
Traditionally, wearing a kilt means going sans underwear. But with a little care, you can keep to tradition while also keeping things PG. Kilts are incredibly heavy, so unless it’s particularly windy, you’re not likely to encounter andy Marilyn moments. However the added weight of a sporran and kilt pin serve as an extra measure for keeping things under wraps (pun intended).


Thanks for the great information Rita!  


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