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Fruit Infused Water Recipes with Last Ingredient Blog

In this second part of our Spring Recipe Series with Paige Adams from Last Ingredient Blog, Paige shares recipes for three infused waters. These waters are quick, easy + super refreshing. Here’s Paige with the recipes:

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Infused Waters

I think it’s safe to say that flavored water is officially a thing. While I can’t refuse bottled or canned infused water, it could not be easier to make your own. Then you don’t have wonder what the mysterious “natural flavor” listed on the label actually means. A bonus of making your own infused water is how beautiful the colorful ingredients look floating in their pitchers. (Shop Cylinder Pitcher )

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Fresh fruit, veggies, herbs and spices are all fair game. Don’t be shy about experimenting with different combinations. I added sliced jalapenos to cucumber lemon water to give it some heat. If you want stronger flavor, muddle the ingredients and let them infuse longer. You can even add a splash of vodka or gin or freeze the water into ice cubes and add them to drinks later.

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Blueberries + Blackberries + Mint + Lime

1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup blackberries

1 small handful mint leaves

1 lime, thinly sliced

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Grapefruit + Raspberries + Rosemary

1/2 grapefruit, thinly sliced

1 cup raspberries

3 sprigs rosemary

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Cucumbers + Jalapenos + Cilantro + Lemon

1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 small handful cilantro leaves

1 lemon, thinly sliced

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Place the ingredients for each infused water in a pitcher. For stronger flavor, gently muddle everything. Fill the pitcher with cold still or sparkling water. Let the water infuse for at least 30 minutes up to 2 hours.

(Shop Epicurean Cutting Board)

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Get more recipes from Last Ingredient Blog

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Spring Salad Recipes with Last Ingredient Blog

We recently ventured over to Last Ingredient Blog founder, Paige Adams’ Wicker Park kitchen to cook up some yummy recipes with our cookware for Spring. In this three-part blog series, Paige takes over and guides us through preparing spring salads, cooking for Easter + infused waters.

Without further ado, here’s Paige:

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Spring Salads

After a winter filled with hearty meals and comfort food, I get very excited about spring produce and especially salads. What better way to show off delicate fruits and veggies than keeping things seasonal and simple? For a fresh and easy from-scratch lunch or dinner for friends, I like to serve a variety of salads, each with a different base—baby greens, grains and even toasted bread.

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What makes salads satisfying is using a mix of flavors and textures from the salty & sweet combination of strawberries and smoked almonds in a spinach salad to crunchy croutons and creamy cannellini beans in a spring panzanella to crisp green beans and radishes in a bowl of fluffy quinoa. Go light when dressing the salads. You can always add more or serve extra vinaigrette in a small bowl.

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Strawberry Spinach Salad

Serves 4

1 shallot, minced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

5 ounces baby spinach

1-1/2 cups quartered strawberries

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1/4 cup chopped smoked almonds

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In a large bowl, whisk together the shallots, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper followed by the olive oil until fully combined. Tip the bowl around to coat the inside and pour the excess into a small bowl.

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Toss together the spinach, strawberries, onions, goat cheese and smoked almonds in the large bowl. Add more vinaigrette as desired.

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Spring Panzanella Salad

Serves 4

1/2 loaf crusty country bread (about 6 ounces)

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1-15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

3 cups baby arugula

1/4 cup grated Parmesan plus shavings for serving

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Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Tear the slices into rough pieces and place on a sheet pan. Toss the bread with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake the bread until it toasted and deep golden brown, about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through baking.

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In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and remaining salt, pepper and olive oil until fully combined.

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In a large bowl, toss together the bread, beans, arugula, grated Parmesan and vinaigrette. Top with shaved Parmesan before serving. (shop Epicurean Slate Utensils + Merchant White Bowls)

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Quinoa Salad with Green Beans, Peas & Radishes

Serves 4

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 pound green beans trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas

1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons minced chives

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Combine the quinoa and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. (shop Epicurean Slate Cutting Board)

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In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil. (shop the Knob Spice Grinder)

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Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the green beans and peas until bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl of ice water. After a few minutes, drain and stir the greens beans and peas into the quinoa followed by the radishes, scallions, chives and vinaigrette. (shop the Falcon Prep Set)

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Full list of Unison cookware used:

Epicurean Cutting Board

Eve Chrome Salad Servers

Merchant White Bowls

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Epicurean Slate Utensils

Knob Spice Grinder

Thanks Paige! Stay tuned for more fresh recipes for spring, and check out more on her blog: Last Ingredient

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Celebrating Women Owned Businesses for #InternationalWomensDay

We celebrate women-run businesses all year long. But especially today —
it’s #InternationalWomensDay. As a salute, we chatted with some of our favorite Chicago boss girls and want to share their unique stories with you.

Danielle Lenczuk is the co-owner of gift boutique Bow & Arrow Collection.
Matti Sloman and Emily Winter are the owners of artist-run industrial
weaving studio The Weaving Mill Chicago. And Kelly Marie Thompson is the
proprietor of floral design studio Fleur.

Enjoy the Q&A and happy #InternationalWomensDay!

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Unison: How did you get started, and was there an awareness or desire to
build your business with women at the forefront?

Danielle: We have always had a passion for personal gifting and a desire
for us to create something together! We took a look at our skills and
realized that with the three of us, we could create something really cool
and meaningful to others. We are a girls support girls kind of store! We
actively support other women owned businesses. Not only do we focus on our
vendors but we put in the extra effort to make sure every type of girl is
appreciated in our store. The Bow & Arrow sisters strive to provide things
that are not only unique to Chicago, but unique to retail in general, by
incorporating our forever and current obsessions IRL. We think the best
part about Bow & Arrow Collection is that we get to do this together, as
sisters. We each bring something different to the table and together we are
stronger than any of us are alone. #sisterbosses

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Matti & Emily: The Weaving Mill is an outgrowth of the Chicago Weaving
Corporation, a textile company that started in the 1940s. The CWC began in
Wicker Park, moved to the suburbs in the mid 80s and in 2005 partnered with
social services agency Envision Unlimited to create a job training program
for adults with developmental disabilities. We took over the facility in
the summer of 2015 and have been running the studio together ever since.
The decision to work together was not primarily about women working with
women, but we do see it as one strength of our partnership.

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Kelly: I was very young when I first began Fleur, and to be honest I didn’t
have much background in running a business. I knew I loved floral design
and was good at it, but that’s pretty much it. Because of that I began to
reach out with a lot of questions, and soon realized that there are a lot
of people out there searching for guidance, reassurance and offering one
another encouragement. I think the acceptance that I had a lot to learn
and losing my fear of asking questions when I needed help is what drew me
to build a lot of relationships with other women owned companies.

Unison: What makes running your own business rewarding?

Danielle: Having a creative outlet that allows us to share our passion for
gifting is incredibly rewarding! We have had such a warm welcome from the
Chicago community filled with positive feedback and fun times. From our
supportive neighbors to kind customers, we cannot believe how gratifying it
is to watch our business grow. Being small business owners can be stressful
at times but the outpour of love & support makes the whole process
worthwhile.

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Matti & Emily: We work very closely in collaboration with one another, both
creatively and on the day-to-day operations managing TWM. We come to the
studio with different skill sets, as well as creative instincts and
interests. Keeping both of our voices present across all the work we do
together is fundamental to our studio practice. What has been satisfying
has been developing our own systems and strategies that complement both of
our working styles. By prioritizing open communication with one another, we
have developed shared expectations for each other, while allowing space and
freedom for our work as individuals.

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Kelly: I think it has a lot to do with accomplishment. I have a very goal
driven personality and I love the feeling when a project is completed, and
we’re ready to pour everything into the next one. Equally as important is
witnessing the happiness that people receive from Fleur. Making sure other
people are happy from our guests to my team is a number one priority, and
their joy makes me always want to do the absolute best that I can.
Happiness is encouraging.

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Unison: Do you feel there is more equality/acceptance of women run
businesses?

Danielle: We are extremely fortunate to be in an industry where women
support each other.

Matti & Emily: We recognize the tireless work of feminists in previous
generations that made it possible for us to think of ourselves primarily as
artists instead of women artists. We embrace and celebrate our feminist
histories. We know that this focus on work over gender is a luxury not
extended to many people, namely non-binary and trans people and we try to
challenge any complacency we might feel in our privileged gender positions.

Kelly: I think we have a long way to go. Without a doubt I’ve experiences
a lot of sexism, and I think that there are also a lot of women out there
who can be very judgmental.

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Unison: Do you support or engage with other companies that are also
women-run?

Danielle: It is a major focus of ours. The vast majority of our vendors
are women and we are constantly partnering with local women business owners
to collaborate on workshops, pop-ups, events, etc.

Matti & Emily: All the time! We have collaborated with artists and several
brands on projects, and we are constantly looking to mentors and teachers,
many of which are women. Our collaborators have included Rebecca Atwood
Designs, founded in Brooklyn by Rebecca Atwood; Studio Herron, Dee
Clement’s Chicago based business; Production Mode, a Chicago fashion label
by Jamie Hayes to name a few! We also get all our buttons made at Busy
Beaver Button Company, owned here in Chicago by Christen Carter.

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Kelly: In addition to our brick and mortar boutique, which is open to the
public we have a special events studio in the back half of our location.
We design an average of 70 weddings a year, and in the wedding industry
there is a huge amount of women owned companies. It’s wonderful and I love
it. We always have an ear to lend, a shoulder to lean on and an extra pair
of arms to lift one another. I feel very fortunate to be a part of such a
warm and intelligent and kind industry.

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Unison: What advice would you give to women that would like to launch
their own business?

Danielle: Some things to keep in mind: don’t underestimate yourself, be
bold in your choices, collaborate with women instead of competing against
them, always trust your instincts and don’t compromise your vision. Stay
true to you & your brand.

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Matti & Emily: Do not wait for permission or an invitation to declare
yourself ready. Trust your talents and be courageous enough to learn on the
fly. Do not let your ego or pride stop you from asking for help and advice
from others – getting help is not a sign of weakness. Allow yourself space
to evolve and be responsive to what is happening in your work.

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Kelly: It’s an invigorating and exciting thing, and don’t be afraid of what
other people say or think. Watch your numbers, and make decisions that
best reflect what your goals are. But be sure to have flexibility in your
plan, because you don’t always end up where you think you’ll be. Running
your own company isn’t always the most comfortable, but when you realize
that leaving your comfort zone from time to time is a good thing you’ll
really begin to grow.

Thanks ladies for all the insight and Happy #InternationalWomensDay!

Learn more and support these amazing ladies here:

bowandarrowcollection.com

fleurchicago.com

theweavingmill.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Spring Planting with Fleur Chicago

Spring is on it’s way. Birds are chirping, the sun’s up just a little bit longer each day and the urge to get some green in your home is on high. Don’t have the greenest of thumbs? No worries!

We partnered with Fleur, a local florist + plant shop to get the low-down on best practices for planting indoor foliage and succulents, using our Eden Terrarium and Arc Planters.

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Follow along to get expert tips from Jennifer Page at Fleur and watch our video for a step-by-step terrarium planting tutorial.

  1. Choose your pot. Add a layer of rocks to the bottom of planter, this provides an area of drainage for excess water to collect at the bottom of the soil level.

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2. Start by adding a layer of soil, periodically gently patting down the soil to get rid of any air pockets. Try not compress the soil too much, ensuring that the roots are comfortable and not too compacted.

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3. Once you’ve filled the planter about 3/4 of the way full, start prepping your plant to be added to the fresh soil. Begin by loosening up the root ball of the plant by gently breaking apart the roots, this allows the roots some room to breath after being in a grower’s pot.

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4. Put the plant into the soil, and begin to fill in more soil around the sides and on top of the roots, remembering to gently pat the soil down to fill in any air pockets.

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5. Finish filling in soil around your plant and take a step back, you did it!

Now that you’ve mastered planting indoor foliage, step up your green thumb game and take a on a terrarium! Watch our step-by-step video with Fleur Chicago:

For more planting fun, join us in store on 03/19 for our planting workshop! Spots are limited, get your tickets here.

Special thanks to Fleur + Potluck Creative

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Unison Q+A: Joslyn Villalpando of J.Villa Workshop

We recently hosted a Weaving Workshop using our scrap fabric with Joslyn Villalpando, founder of J.Villa Workshop. We talked to Joslyn about her practice, and how her love for teaching translated into hosting events, and what’s next for J.Villa Workshop.

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1. How long have you been teaching as J.Villa Workshop and how did it begin?

While teaching art for Chicago Public Schools, I was working on my thesis at the School of The Art Institute Chicago around creating community with craft and fiber art. After a long day of teaching and writing paper after paper for grad school, I was craving two things: time with friends and making art again, so I started hosting craft gatherings in my little Chicago condo with my friends. Each gathering, usually around a holiday, was paired with a cocktail and treat.

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For instance, I had a group for Valentines Day and we made block print cards, sipped a pink gin drink, and ate sugar cookies.  I love craft media; weaving, embroidery, macrame, etc. because of its implications of approachability and I love seeing what contemporary makers are doing with the traditional techniques.

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Curating a whole craft experience brings me so much joy so I started reaching out to various venues around Chicago to see if they’d be interested in hosting my craft gatherings that would involve them, in some way. I was pleasantly surprised that most are really into it and have fun coming up with the workshop with me! I’ve done some fun events with Bang Bang! Pie, Antique Taco and The Barrelhouse Flat.

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2. You teach a wide variety of workshops, including printmaking, weaving and embroidery. Do you have a favorite that you like to teach?

I love teaching each one for different reasons. Embroidery is so gratifying because I know how intimidating it can be for beginners and its fun to create an accessible workshop where people leave saying, “oh ok I can do this, I got this!” Weaving…that was my first love so I know my joy for that one comes through when I teach! I just love them all! 

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3. You also create custom weavings, how do you determine the color palette and patterning for those pieces?

I love creating custom weavings. I’m usually inspired by a color palette and I’ll stick with that for a weaving or two. I love switching it up between tight, laborious weavings with a more intricate design and textured, loose, minimal weavings. 

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4. What’s next for J.Villa Workshop?

I’m working to make J.Villa Workshop my full time job, this coming April will mark one year and I’m having so much fun continuing to come up with new gatherings! I started with a few contacts and venues who wanted to work together and those have each led me to new ones. I love collaborating with new makers, venues, and small business owners as my own business grows. I’ve found such a beautifully supportive community in Chicago and I’ll keep curating craft gatherings as long as people keep joining me! 

Learn more about J.Villa including upcoming workshops here

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Get Creative With Valentine’s Gifting

Stumped on what to get that special someone this Valentine’s Day? We’ve got plenty of great gift ideas, including a video tutorial with creative wrapping tips and tricks to impress your sweetheart.

Read on to see our picks + watch the video:

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Cube Drink Rocks, $40

The perfect accessory for the cocktail drinker in your life who likes to keep things neat. Pop these in the freezer and when you’re ready to serve up a drinks, they’ll keep it cold without diluting your cocktail.

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Trophy Brass Bar Jigger, $20

Measure out your spirits in style with the Trophy Brass Bar Jigger from experimental design studio, Umbra Shift. Double sided with 3 shot measurements, 1/2 oz, 1 oz and 1.5 oz it combines great design with functionality to boot, cheers Valentine!

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Sprinkles Red Apron, $30

Serve up your sweetheart with the Sprinkles Red Apron, designed by Chicago-based creative Alex Fuller. Made of 100% cotton, it’s a standout kitchen staple that will make your valentine dressed to impress.

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Rout Etch Double Old Fashioned Glasses, $16 each

Celebrate your love with stunning glassware that’s definitely cheers-worthy. Rout Etch Glassware fuses a clean-lined, modern look with fluid texture at its base, and is ready to showcase anything you’re mixing up!

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Virtu Cheese Knife Set of 4, $120

Sometimes Valentine’s Day can get pretty cheesy, but not too worry because this knife set is up for the task. Beautifully balanced in their clean-lined silhouette and carefully considered ergonomics, they make a striking addition to any entertainer’s table.

Shop our Valentine’s Gift Guide for more great gift recommendations!

Watch our video tutorial for some great wrapping ideas with our wrapping paper + washi tape:

Stay tuned for more tutorials on the blog and share the love!

Follow us on instagram: @unisonhome

Special thanks to  Potluck Creative  for the great video work!

 

 

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How It’s Made: Hand Printed Pillows

Here at Unison we’re committed to working with vendors that provide a high level of craftsmanship and quality products. Did you know our throw pillows are handprinted and sewn in the USA?

Read along to for an inside look at how are throw pillows, are made and now thru 01/14 enjoy 10% Off Throw Pillows with code EXTRA10

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The fabric for our throw pillows is made using a hand screen printed process. Large scale fine mesh screens are coated with a light sensitive emulsion. A transparency with the image to be printed is then exposed on the screen using an exposure unit.

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Water is used to rinse out the screen, clearing out the emulsion in the areas where the pattern was exposed, allowing for ink to pass through.

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After the screen dries, it is ready to print. Large buckets of ink are mixed and then poured on one end of the screen that sits on top of the fabric.

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The ink is then quickly pulled across the screen using a large squeegee, pushing ink through the screen’s open areas and producing our desired print. Because the screens are so large, it takes two people to pull the squeegee across the screen.

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This process is repeated down the remaining roll of fabric and once it’s dry, the next color may be layered on top. Once the printing is completed, the fabric is sent to our headquarters in Chicago for inspecting and then converted by a local sewing company into our line of throw pillows and table linens.

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Voila your pillow is complete!

Don’t forget to enjoy 10% Off Throw Pillows now thru 01/14, use code EXTRA10

 

 

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How to Set a Table

We’ve all done it: you plan a dinner party and spend loads of time mapping out a menu, shopping for ingredients, and preparing the food, only to look around in a panic when the doorbell rings on the night of. Where are those blue linen napkins?! Are they still in the ironing basket? And what am I going to serve the salad in? Oh no. Did we ever find that missing salad tong?

In the end, there’s more to a great party than scrumptious tastes. Even the most elegant dishes can lose their luster if the mood and ambiance isn’t carefully considered—including the mood of that stressed-out hostess, who’s too busy wrangling her table linens to actually enjoy her guests.

Ah, the all-important table setting.

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Setting a table is not rocket science. But it is foundational, essential, and darn fun, when you approach it the right way.

The key to tapping into the fun? Good question. Here’s our 3-part answer:

  1. Don’t wait

Setting a table is an every day task. And the more you do it—and do it well—the less stressful it will become when it’s time to throw a gorgeous tablescape together for a special occasion.

So set your table for family dinner on a nightly basis. Use your tablecloths, napkins, special flatware, you name it. Don’t be afraid to break out the place cards or crystal candlesticks on a Tuesday with leftovers. It’s fun to get fancy in your PJs—and it’s a great way to play around with different looks and become comfortable with more formal settings.

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When you have a dinner party on the books, plan ahead. A few days before the shindig, try out a few table setting combinations, make your selections, and be sure all your linens and other items are spit spot and ready to rock.

On the day of the party, go ahead and set the table early on. It’s an easy task to check off the list before you even hit the kitchen. And a pre-set table adds a great sense of ambiance for guests as they enter your home.

  1. Know the basics

You can do a lot with a table setting. But certain basics are a must. So get them down pat, and then build from there.

Here are the essentials:

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  • Dinnerware: The star of the show. The dinner plate represents the main event and sits at the center of the individual place setting, with all the other elements placed around it. Additional items, such as salad plates, soup bowls, etc., should be added as the menu requires.

Shop Merchant Dinneware here.

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  • Flatware: The supporting cast. Every piece of flatware plays a key role. At the very least, you’ll want to include a dinner fork, knife, and spoon, placed from left to right in the order in which they’re used—fork to the left of the dinner plate; knife immediately to the right of the plate, sharp edge facing inward; and spoon on the far right. Add additional pieces of flatware according to whether or not they’ll be needed during the meal—which is why a 5-piece place setting is essential.

Shop Eve Brushed Stainless Steel 5-Piece Flatware Set here.

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  • Glassware: Always festive glassware belongs above the knife. If you include a cup and saucer, keep it farthest to the right, above the spoon(s), with the wine and/or water glasses to its left.

Shop Toyo Glassware here.

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  • Napkin: The napkin will either match or play very nicely with the rest of your table linens. It usually belongs underneath the fork or on the plate, for a more informal setting.

Shop napkins here.

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  • Serveware: You know what you’re serving. Now, decide how to present it. Whether you’re planning a causal, buffet-style meal or passing dishes around the dining table family style, every serving piece has the potential to make a beautiful statement. Set your selected platters, bowls, and other serving pieces out in advance, and think about labeling them with post-it notes, so you remember what goes where when that harried all-the-food’s-ready-now moment arrives.

Shop Terra.Cotto Cookware here.

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Shop Galvin Black Serve Set here.

  • Tablecloth, runner, or placemats: Did we save the best for last? If the dinner plate is the star of the show, then this is your show’s theme song—the one you can’t get out of your head long after the party’s over. You’ll probably select this element first, so choose wisely and pair well. If you go with a bold and busy runner, keep your hard elements clean and crisp. If you select a simple, monotone tablecloth, you’ll have more flexibility to get creative with your other elements.
  1. Have fun

Speaking of getting creative, don’t forget the fun. Once you’ve covered the bases with your basic items, it’s time to infuse the table with your own sense of style—and any elements appropriate to the occasion.

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In the spirit of modern design, we’d still encourage you to opt for gorgeous simplicity here. Remember that more is not always more, but don’t be afraid to be a bit brave or funny as you add the finishing touches.

Anything can work at center table—from a bouquet-filled collection of stilettos to a single, glowing candle. Just keep it crisp, clean, and classy, and you’ve got a recipe for style success.

Watch our step by step video How To Set A Table here:

Bon appetite!

 

 

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Fall’s Best Friend: Rhine Hall Distillery

Apple and plum brandy? Indeed. Get the latest on seasonal pours and entertaining tips from a Chicago star. Read on for cocktail recipe and watch our video for a peek inside Rhine Hall.

Holiday season is coming – time to get your bar game strong. As you get your glassware in order and your spirits stocked, we’ve got inspiration to guide you. It comes from the pros at Rhine Hall, a small-batch distillery located just down the block from our Unison design studio in Chicago.

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There’s so much to love about this family-owned spot. Its expert selection of well balanced fruit spirits. It’s laidback vibe and bright, charming interior. It’s commitment to local, sustainable ingredients. And, of course, it’s willingness to raise a glass and celebrate. In fact, they’ve come up with cocktail recipes inspired by some of our new barware.

We caught up with Rhine Hall’s co-owner, Jennifer Solberg Katzman, who shares more about the distillery’s new fall menu, personal entertaining style and more.

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Unison: Rhine Hall has been around for three years now. Tell us about your journey.

Jennifer: Rhine Hall is a family hobby-turned-business. Our mission is to make quality brandy using methods we learned while living in Germany and Austria. The goal has always been to introduce people to learn about brandy and hopefully relate with it in a way where they feel comfortable to bring it home or drink it at bars and restaurants. We’ve always wanted to make different fruit brandies/eau de vies as the fruit became available to us. We have made a few different products, as private labels from top bars and restaurants in the city, which has been unexpected and super exciting.

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Unison: Fall is definitely a time for new beginnings or at least new projects … what’s on the horizon for Rhine Hall this Fall?

Jennifer: We’ve got a lot coming up! We recently released a newer product known as La Normande, also known as a Normandy-style pommeau. Pommeau is Rhine Hall Apple Brandy with fresh cider aged in Bourbon barrels. We will also be releasing an Oak Aged Plum, as well as a private label Oak Aged Damson Plum with The Aviary in October, and yet another private label with a large hotel group that can’t disclosed until the release in November. Lastly, we hope to be releasing a bier schnapps, a commonly made brandy made from beer sometime before the holidays. But mostly we’re excited because Fall is simply the best time of year — don’t you think of brandy and apples and fruit at this time of year? I hope your answer is yes! Lots of new cocktails with Apple and Oaked Apple in the many classics — not only in our tasting room but at bars around the city and country.

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Unison: You have an exciting Fall menu that’s just been launched. What’s the scoop?

Jennifer: Our Fall menu is intended to highlight each and every one of our products, by using fall-like flavors. We like to highlight the flavors by using different types of syrups, bitters, shrubs and combinations to again highlight the spirit yet still bring a multi-dimensional taste to your palette. A few favorites would include the “Space Trip,” which is our Pear Brandy with Green tea and ginger syrup. “Fall on the Rocks” is our Cherry Brandy with a fennel infusion with currant jam and ginger beer. Lastly, “Admiral’s Elixir” is our Oak Aged Apple Brandy, egg white and cinnamon bitters. None of them are overly Fall-like but still give you a taste of the season and bring a familiar taste and aroma.

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Unison: For our new glassware — particularly the Rout Etch High Ball, Rout Etch Double Old Fashioned and Fino Tall Tumbler — you’ve created a cocktail to pair perfectly with it. How did the glassware inspire or inform those concoctions?

Jennifer: I love the delicate etching on the glasses – it makes us feel like we’re recreating something from the past and improving the cocktail with a beautiful presentation. The different etching makes the color of the cocktail really sparkle as it almost brightens the liquid in the glass with the combination of the ice.

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Unison: Why is good barware so important to mixing a good drink?

Jennifer: Good barware helps make something very simple, something special. I think cocktails and spirits in general are things that people associate with experiences, and when you really create a cool experience doing something really simple, by having a really great glass and barware, it helps improve the entire time doing it.

Unison: What is your personal entertaining style?

Jennifer: My husband and I love hosting. We normally have people bring wine and apps, however I put a good amount of time into setting the tables, using all of the beautiful cutting boards we have for different charcuterie, different utensils for the (finally) more advanced dishes, and more! I always offer an appertif and digestif, as well as cocktail after a glass of wine or beer. Hard not to provide lots of booze when owning a distillery!

Unison: Any essential advice for those that want to get into or more adventurous with cocktailing?

Jennifer: I would just look at some recipes on imbibe.com and just experiment with what you already have at home! Don’t be shy. Super easy to swap out ingredients, like Rhine Hall for a gin, vodka or whiskey; jam for any syrup; and then fresh squeezing any citrus you have. There are just three parts primarily to a cocktail, and you can make every concoction your own every time.

Unison: Great – now onto something extra-appetizing. How about sharing a cocktail recipe?

Jennifer: Here’s the recipe for our #1 seller, the Rhine Hall Old Fashioned. It’s a very easy cocktail to make at home, and you are also able to swap out the Apple Brandy with other brandies of ours if desired.

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Wow your guests with this drink – and don’t forget to drop by Rhine Hall tasting room at 2010 W Fulton St in Chicago and get a fresh pour, straight from the source. Hours are Thursdays and Fridays 5-9 pm and Saturdays 2-7 pm.

Cheers to fall, everyone!

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Food + Design = A Very Appetizing Instagram Takeover

See What Elise Metzger of Filigree Suppers Dished Out On @unisonhome

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Brita Olsen + Elise Metzger of Filigree Suppers

This past weekend, our Instagram feed became pretty appetizing. No wonder — it was taken over by Elise Metzger, founder of Filigree Suppers, a pop-up supper club that celebrates American design.

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We turned some of our modern servingware over to Elise and she posted photos of it styled with her culinary creations. It captured the spirit of food + design + entertaining. We saw tomatoes take a starring role on a gridded serving tray, watermelon slices pop on a modern round platter, and cream chill in Biobu cups. It was a weekend that we hope made you savor summer and all of its sights and flavors.

We love Elise’s design sensibility and fun loving attitude. Get to know her a bit more in our quick Q&A.

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Unison: This was a fun partnership! What do you think are some similarities between Filigree Suppers and Unison?

Elise: We are all about being playful and quirky, but creating a balance of textures and colors. A lot of our aesthetic is informed by the products that we love and use in our personal lives, and each supper is a way to explore different aspects of our collective and individual styles. I think if Unison and Filigree were a cocktail, it would be a French 75. Classic elements for sure, but still lively and with bubbles, of course!

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Unison: How did the Unison products inspire you in creating your posts/dishes?

Elise: I like to use a lot of contrast when thinking about the relationship between food and the plate. Because the products were mostly black and white, I tried to stick within a relatively edited palette to give focus to the playfulness of the product. I used a lot of warm and bright hues/food, like salmon and watermelon.

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Unison: What was your main goal in executing the Instagram takeover?

Elise: I think that it’s fun to be conscious of plating food, even if it’s just for yourself or your family. It certainly doesn’t happen every meal of the day, but I wanted the ease of that to come across in the posts.

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Unison: What is your general philosophy regarding entertaining?

Elise: Pay attention to as many details as possible – napkins, decor, seating chart – until guests arrive. This isn’t always easy while hosting, and I could certainly improve on this, but it’s more important to give guests the attention they deserve than to fret about everything going perfectly. Also, make a mood board! Really, there’s no better way to explore your own theme than to do this exercise. Think of it as your entertaining strategy. It allows you to be really flexible (and probably have more fun!) when making decisions.

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Filigree came together over the course of six months. I was taking a pottery class and wanted to have a dinner where everything at the table was local and handmade. (The first dinner was at Ovation in the West Loop, where even the tables are hand made!) Brita Olsen, my business partner, and I both loved to throw dinner parties, and had been doing so together for quite some time. We decided to team up to be able to do it with more frequency, and to bring our love of food and design into the fold.

Unison was one of our first collaborators and participated in the first supper in February 2015. It was a natural fit for Filigree, being a design centric, locally owned business. We always look forward to our collaborations together!

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Unison: We can’t let you leave without sharing a recipe. Got a good one for us?

Elise: This is just as delicious the night you make it as it is cold the next day on top of a salad. I’ve been using it for over a decade, and I’m sure many people use it, but it’s classic and reliable.

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SalmonRecipeThanks, Elise! And happy cooking, everyone! Learn more about Elise and Filigree Suppers here