Special Nonexistent Furniture

by Matthew Mead

Matthew is a stylist, writer, author, photographer, lifestyle editor, and noted style expert. Matthew is the official food photographer for the Associated Press and is a regular contributor to Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple, and Oprah.com. He has also written several books and produced countless magazine spreads and ad campaigns for companies such as Pottery Barn, Dove Chocolate, Target, and Stonewall Kitchen.

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  • Photo Credit: Matthew Mead
  • If there is one thing I know about Mother's Day, it's that this is one of the most important days of the year (ask any florist or restaurant host).

    I've been gifting items for this holiday for over 30 years and am the on-speed-dial advisor to my children, father, and siblings with ideas for honoring the Mom in their lives. As the act of giving is truly about thought and effort I try to hone in on Mom's very favorite things in life and, for that day, make them come true. I find sweets, flowers, and what I call "mini events" are perfect ways to engage the holiday.

    My wife Jenny's very favorite treat is coconut cake. Each year when the children were young I'd help them bake a coconut cake and place it on a special cake stand (cake stands are very big in our household and we use them for many different things). The kids picked simple flowers at the grocery store which we presented in a simple vase embellished with an old piece of lace.
  • Photo Credit: Matthew Mead
  • Other years, flowers -- from both the garden and the fresh market -- have been a main theme. An arrangement of colorful roses like the ones that we found at the local grocery store is easy but elegant, or slip some cut branches of lilac from the yard into a metal wall pocket flower holder. I like to select a vase that can be used over and over as a memorable and lasting part of the gift.

    Help your children make a simple but stunning arrangement by filling a bowl with fresh fruit like limes or oranges, cutting blooms or flowering branches from outside and nestling the sprigs amongst the fruit.  Its a fool-proof arrangement that lasts up to a week.
  • Photo Credit: Matthew Mead
  • When I was a kid we used to bake for my grandmother on Mother's day surprising her with fresh fruit muffins in a brand new baking tin or in a giant new mixing bowl lined with colorful linens. Sometimes we would make the presentation a "mini event"  by turning this into a picnic featuring baskets with floral table clothes and pretty china for an outing by the water or at an apple orchard complete with flowering trees.
  • Photo Credit: Matthew Mead
  • Cupcakes and cakes are easy to create.  Purchase bakery-ready cupcakes in a array of colors and add sprinkles to make them your own, or buy a cake and add flowers from the garden or yard. Short on time? You can often order unfrosted sheet cakes from a bakery and make your own tinted icing (we choose lilac), and decorate your cake with flowers from the yard.
  • Photo Credit: Matthew Mead
  • My mother likes an outing and she loves garden centers. It is our tradition that  I take her to two or three nurseries and encourage her to pick out whatever she wants (my treat). Flowering annuals, new urns or planters, special architectural item–there are so many things from which to choose. Over the years she has selected cherub statues that hold a small plant, specialty terra cotta containers and decorative metal planters. I hope she remembers our nursery treks everytime she replants those containers!
  • Photo Credit: Matthew Mead
  • I always look for one final flourish to cap off a memorable Mother's Day.This year we're mixing up a special cocktail (fruited sangria) that can be sipped throughout the evening then finishing up with some special homemade truffle chocolates.

    Whatever you choose to do, make it special, thoughtful, and from the heart so that Mom knows how much you care and can carry that spirit right though the year until the next Mother's Day.
  • Photo Credit: Matthew Mead
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