Category Archives: Gift ideas

Marleen Molenaar raincoats and pjs.

There’s not much in life cuter than mini Morton salt girls… am I right?

I think the perfect gift is always something you wouldn’t get for yourself, but that you will actually use.

That’s why I was so happy to have found these yellow rain coats and hats by local Hong Kong pajama and outerwear designer Marleen Molenaar.

Marleen has a studio / office by appointment only in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong. You can make an appointment to go through all of her lovely, whimsical clothes or you can also shop online: she ships all over the world. Marleen has worked in the clothing industry for decades, including for Esprit. She has really crafted a nice niche for herself… it’s so nice to buy something that you know isn’t ubiquitous, but it still the highest quality design and craftsmanship.

I really like her simple blue and white branding. It’s very light-hearted and elegant, just like Marleen herself. Marleen hails from Amsterdam, but has been in HK for years.

In addition to the raincoats I bought for all my favorite little ones this holiday season, she also has a wonderful collection of classic pajamas.

How adorable is my godson in his cozy robe?

I couldn’t resist getting these fish PJs for the HK bundle… he’s still way too small to fit into it, but I’m looking forward to the day when he’ll be big enough to be my little fisherman!

MARLEEN MOLENAAR:
Room 502, Tak Woo House
1-3 Wo On Lane/17-19 D’Aguilar Street
Central, Hong Kong

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Mulled wine + apple cider spice sachets.

How about an inexpensive, festive and super easy DIY Christmas gift?

Mulled wine or spiced cider sachets are jus that!

I recently put some together with some other ladies for a Vision First fundraiser. 

We, of course, had to cook the books and try a few different recipes / wine / cider ratios until we ended up at this one! 

–4 broken cinnamon sticks (2 total)
–10 cardamon pods
–2 tangerine petals
–12 cloves
–1 star anise
–12 peppercorns
–6 allspice.

I got mine inexpensively at Yaun Heng Spice Co. in Sheung Wan. If you’re in the States, I recommend buying your spices at Cost Plus Market. Then it’s easy peasy; cut up some cheesecloth or fine linen (I used pinking shears for an extra decorative touch), fill with spices and tie with kitchen string.

We had a stamp made for a few dollars down in the lanes… and then tied up five sachets with a pretty ribbon for quite elegant packaging!

I think they make perfect hostess gifts or stocking stuffers! And the fact that they work in wine or juice makes them perfect for everyone.

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Couleur Nature tablecloths.

Some girls buy handbags; I buy tablecloths. I truly believe you can never have too many table linens. They are the perfect way to commemorate the passing of the seasons… pumpkins and squirrels are perfect choices for Fall.

You can also use table linens to commemorate past trips or occasions. In fact they are my souvenir of choice, like for example I have a beautiful turquoise, silk, elephant-covered tablecloth from Cambodia and natural plaid linen placemats from the South of France.

This lemon tree tablecloth reminds me of my wedding — lemons were a major motif. And of my honeymoon in lemon-covered Capri. The olive trees on this one are also reminiscent of Italy. Anyways, I came across, Couleur Nature (where all these images are from) recently and thought they had some beautiful designs. Check out their site for more pretty tabletops.

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Mandarin cake shop.

Sometimes I really do marvel at Hong Kong. I think the city really has some of the finest offerings, the world over. Like when it comes to pastries. The only folks who can compete with the Mandarin Cake Shop are probably the French. We were given this box of treats when Francis was born… and although I will always take flowers, I relished having one of these masterpieces for a little pick-me-up every afternoon. They also deliver… you can download their order forms here.

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Great gift: Wedding invitation platters.

For several of our weddings this past summer, I had platters painted replicating the couple’s wedding invites for our wedding gifts.

I love how this makes your wedding invitation a permanent part of the newlywed’s home and entertaining. And you know I LOVE wedding invitations, and all three of these are also from Minted. My dear friend Jen from college went with a simply elegant design called Just My Type by Ann Gardner for Minted.

My friend Tammy was given an invite platter for a wedding gift, which I saw at her shower and thought was awesome!

She referred me to Alesia at To Your Art’s Content. I think she did an awesome job! Alesia’s Etsy shop can be found here.

Alesia did a lot of fun touches like the pink edging on this platter for my lovely sister-in-law Deirdre and her new husband John.

Deirdre’s wedding invitation is called Kristin by Splendid Press for Minted.

For my sister-in-law Suzanne, we went with a square platter for her Azaria wedding invitation by Dauphine Press for Minted.

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