Category Archives: Gatherings

Setting a simple holiday table

a simple holiday table // a thousand threads
It’s not always easy to see when we’re young, but once we’ve grown up, we begin to trace the pieces of ourselves back to our parents… my love for holiday traditions, of course, has everything to do with my family. But so does my love for setting a holiday table.

My mom has always been a brilliant entertainer, and as a child, though I loved to spend time in the kitchen, I remember laughing at her huge collection of dishes… thinking there must be better things out there to stockpile.

Today I have my own growing pile… one that’s taken over cabinets, shelves, closets… and one that’s still far from where I’d like it to be.

So this weekend, with a little help from the gorgeous piles of wholesale flowers sent my way by the folks at Fiftyflowers.com, I foraged a few holidays greens and set a simple holiday table that I hope my mom would be proud of.

We have so many plans for the coming year… plans for Field + Foundry, plans for Dough Uprising, plans for this blog…

There’s something so special about sitting down to a beautifully placed table… the whole experience grows from there. And there’s nothing more satisfying than a truly wonderful meal.

We can’t wait to fill this table with piles of food and the generous love of our family and friends.

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52 dates // 47

winter gathering // a thousand threads
The date // A winter gathering.

This past Saturday, Mark and I were so excited to be asked to be a part of one of our friend Rebecca’s beautiful gatherings. Not just because we couldn’t wait for folks to try some of our holiday pies, but also because we’d get to go and try them — along with everything else — ourselves.

After three Field + Foundry events, and in the midst of planning more, the chance to get away to a beautiful, curated evening without the need to worry about packing up, prepping food, or keeping everything moving on time was more than appreciated. And the evening was nothing short of amazing. Rebecca’s beautiful dinner, workshops by Morgan and Gillian (not to mention Morgan’s beautiful place!) and of course, the incredible company made for a perfect winter celebration to kick off a nice long holiday break.

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and I’ll see you all back here soon.

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Field + Foundry with Bing // DC // 2

field + foundry // dc // a thousand threads
These first three Field + Foundry events have been a little bit like a dream…

I can’t tell you how long Mark and I have talked about a supper club, someday, somehow. We felt lost for so long in an area that focuses less on creatives and more on Capitol Hill, and we needed a community, a way to gather and share what we loved… but we had no idea how we could do it.

With the help of Bing, Melissa, and so many others, the pieces finally came together in Field + Foundry. We couldn’t be happier with the result, and we’re so thankful for all of the help that we’ve had — if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the end of these posts for a full list of the amazing folks who’ve made each of these events possible.

So what next?

Our third event marks the final dinner in our initial summer and fall series, but it doesn’t mark the end. We’re excited to both continue on and expand to other states to play just a small role in bringing creative communities together in a way they haven’t been before.

So stay tuned, because as excited as I am to share what we’ve done, I’m even more excited to share what we have in the works.

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Field + Foundry with Bing // DC // 1

field + foundry // dc // a thousand threads
At the end of October, Melissa and I were lucky enough to gather another amazing group around the dinner table for our third Field + Foundry event. The event brings our summer and fall series full circle, with our first dinner in Virginia, our second in Maryland, and now our third in DC, and we left feeling energized and excited to see where Field + Foundry goes from here.

It was hard not to be energized… I have to say, it would be hard to top our Virginia event (the farmhouse, the candlelight, the fireflies…) but this dinner might have been my favorite yet.

We gathered at the Loft at 600 F, who were gracious enough to host us in their beautiful space for a dinner of shrimp with cream cheese grits, blue corn bread with handmade honey butter, and so many more amazing items that still have me drooling today.

In the evening, Cullen and Jonas of Union Kitchen and Blind Dog Cafe led us in a conversation that was even more inspiring than we could’ve hoped, detailing their philosophy and the growth of their business and encouraging others, as they do every day, to turn their dreams into reality with a little good sense and a lot of hard work.

In addition to good food and good conversation, we treated folks to a little lesson in salt infusion and invited them to create their own sriracha salt, ginger lime salt, or lavender salt to take home. (We’ll be sharing the recipes over on West Elm’s blog soon!)

But even with all of that said, I’m nowhere near done — Reema’s photos were just too pretty to fit into one post this time, so I have many more details (plus recipes) on the way.

In the mean time, enough talk, I can’t wait for you to see what’s below…

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Elizabeth Graeber

elizabeth graeber // field + foundry // a thousand threads
File this under “incredible friends we’re so honored to have.”

I’ve admired Elizabeth Graeber’s work for longer than I can remember, so I was so incredibly excited when she agreed to join us for our DC Field + Foundry event. (Actually I had the chance to meet both of these lovely ladies this weekend — such a treat for a pie lady such as myself.) But I was beyond tickled when she posted her sketch of the event. All of the little bits and pieces are there, especially the wonderful people.

… and of course, the honey butter. The honey butter is a must.

I’m so honored to have filled a little portion of this brilliant lady’s sketchbook.

… if you don’t already know her, be sure to check out more of her amazing work here. And if you’re local, drop by West Elm, where her work is offered alongside a select group of talented makers local to the DC area.

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Chopped kale with prosciutto and figs

chopped kale with prosciutto and figs // a thousand threads
Okay, okay… I know some of you will write this recipe off at kale. But before you run away screaming (or is that just me?) hear me out.

The combination of greens in this salad, plus a fine chop, plus the total ridiculousness of prosciutto and fresh fall figs make this nothing like any kale salad you’ve ever had. It’s practically sinful.

… but it’s not, not quite at least. And you know how much I like healthy food that doesn’t taste healthy.

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Campanelle with burrata cheese, lemon, and garlic

campanelle with burrata cheese, lemon, and garlic // a thousand threads
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a total carb addict. Make me a good pasta and you’ve got me for life.

So it’s no surprise that the guy who really did get me for life makes a really, REALLY, mean pasta. I mean sure he’s nice , but I didn’t know what good marinara really was until I met this guy — I couldn’t let him go.

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Field + Foundry with Bing // Baltimore

field + foundry with bing // baltimore // a thousand threads
Our second Field + Foundry event took place in Baltimore in a beautiful little space called The Chicken Box that, once upon a time, really was.

With a long history as both a chicken restaurant and a Chinese restaurant, in recent years The Chicken Box was lucky enough to be adopted by the Station North Arts and Entertainment District and converted into a temporary arts space. This awesome group — the same folks behind Baltimore’s incredible Open Walls project — rent the space from the city for just $1 a month while the building remains vacant, and they were kind and generous enough to let us take it over for the night.

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Pickles, 3 ways

pickles, 3 ways // a thousand threads
One of the best things about Field + Foundry has been coming up with a fun seasonal menu to serve to everyone. And we’ve made an effort to make as much as we can ourselves, both food and otherwise.

For our first event, in addition to Mark’s pickles, my pasta and pies, and Melissa’s broccoli with pancetta, Mark’s handmade bread sat on top of his hand carved cutting boards, and the tables were set with my hand sewn linen napkins.

For our first event, the only cooked food we sourced was meat from Monk’s Barbeque in Purcellville (and if by chance you’ve ever had Monk’s, you know why) along with, of course, cheeses, charcuterie, beer, and wine from local vendors we love. We had a lot of fun sourcing those things, and Mark spent loads of time taste-testing the best barbeque in the area on his lunch breaks.

I’m sure it was terrible for him.

He also spent a good amount of time sourcing the best local vegetables to preserve for our appetizer table – and I’m so glad he did. The colorful pickles were a hit. So today I thought I’d share our three favorites: pickled beets (which I never thought I’d like, but I love!), spicy carrots, and my personal favorite, dilly beans. All of the recipes were adapted from my very favorite book on the subject, Canning for a New Generation.

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Field + Foundry with Bing // Virginia

field + foundry with bing // a thousand threads
Field + Foundry was created with the goal of bringing creatives in the greater DC area together to form new connections over a great local meal. And by that standard, I hope I can safely say that our first event was a wild success.

25 amazing creatives from all over Virginia, Maryland, and DC (but mostly Virginia, this was our Virginia event, after all) gathered at a gorgeous little farmhouse on the sprawling acreage of Holy Cross Abbey (where Melissa was lucky enough to grow up) for a night of good conversation and new friends the stretched long into the night

It was the first of three small dinners we have planned, in partnership with Melissa Hope and with Bing, this summer and fall. Each evening will feature an outstanding creative or local business owner who will share a little bit of their inspiring journey with the group. Each will also feature a short workshop that will allow folks to create something they can take home.

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