October 2013 archive

Paul Michael Company at the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market

Hi, Elizabeth Michael here!

Once a year, as a company, we all pull together and do something so utterly insane, it surprises us every time. You ask, “Why would you continue to do something so crazy?” The answer is you! Every year we set up a temporary store in Houston, TX at the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market. And, every year we are so blown away by our customers in Houston, we come back.

Our team prepares all year long to pull off the amazing feat of opening up a 40,000 sq ft booth at the Reliant Center in Houston in only 5 days.  We buy special merchandise almost a year in advance, and pour through spreadsheets and floor plans to make sure everything will fit and be merchandised in just the right way. We ship down twenty-five 18-wheelers, over 100 employees, and spend only 5 days setting up and two days breaking the booth down. Our 40,000 sq ft booth is bigger than all but one of our stores (Monroe, LA weighs in at 49,000 sq ft).

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On Wednesday night, there is a preview party, where guests can shop, dine, and drink before the show officially opens.  We all get dressed up and have fun with the customers. Every year this group of ladies finds Paul and takes a photo. This was 2012’s picture. Paul was really into it!PaulMichaelCompany_SayCheese

On Thursday, the crowd comes.  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday bring different shoppers every day. Houstonites know how to shop and decorate! Most of the time, they forget to leave room in the car for their friends.PaulMichaelCompany_LoadedDown

Or, they need dock passes to pick up their loot because they can’t physically carry it out.PaulMichaelCompany_SoManyBagsEvery year we bring over 12 different Christmas looks, solid wood furniture, dinnerware, lamps, wall art, candles, gifts, and our exclusive line of furniture, home decor, and cutting boards made out of locally harvested wood in our wood shop in Dermott, AR, USA. Some pieces are even made out of reclaimed and repurposed antiques or architectural salvage.

Even the news came to report last year!PaulMichaelCompany_CameraEquipNutcracker Market is a holiday wonderland. Our employees always love taking a quick break to go shop around.  Here’s assistant Store Manager, Kate Roane, Debbie Michael, visual merchandiser, Ashley Mayo, and I taking a quick break and photo-op to record our colored jeans collection.PaulMichaelCompany_ColoredDenim

I wonder what year we will look back on this picture and think, “Remember that colored jeans fad?”

When we do get a moment to go shop, our favorite booths are China Baroque, a jewelry company that uses broken antique china as jewels, Pajama Party, insanely cute, comfortable and inexpensive pajama sets, Donne di Domani,  the ever-popular Italian marinara sauce, and Great Lakes Tea & Spice, selling their loose- leaf teas, spices, and tea paraphernalia.

We have been talking about doing this for a while, but this is the year, 2013…. Drum roll… We will be doing a time lapse of the set up and will be posting it after the show. Stay tuned.

To all of our Houston fans out there, don’t forget to come to the Nutcracker Market  November 7th – 10th.

 

 

 

 

Last Minute Tricks and Treats

If Halloween snuck up on you, there’s still time to get in the spirit. Come by our stores to treat yourself to our Halloween decorations that are all half priced.

Here’s are some last-minute ideas to pull off a spook-tacular Halloween.

Trick out an entry way table with pumpkins, candles and accessories that scream Halloween.
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Say “BOO” at the front door with spiders, skeletons and candlelit jack-o-lanterns.
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While you shop for decorations, ask one of our crafty employees to create a whitchy wreath for you.
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Don’t leave the ghosts and goblins in the dark tomorrow night. Paul Michael Company can help you create a scene that invites tricks and treats.

Mix, Mingle and Shop

One of the best things about what we do at Paul Michael Company is getting to know our customers. Over the last 20 years, we’ve met people from all over the world who appreciate high design and affordable prices just as much as we do.

From Lake Village to Monroe and Lafayette to Canton and now the online store, we appreciate our customers who bring Paul Michael Company into their home. To say thanks, we’re hosting Ladies’ Night at all of our four locations on Thursday, October 17 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Come for the discount and stay for the costume contest…it will be an evening to mix, mingle and shop!

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PMC Cooks: Mrs.Debbie’s Muscadine Sauce

I love the mighty muscadine, the “Grape of the South.” It has a heart-shaped leaf with a toothy edge and green tendrils. How much more romantic can a plant be? The fruit the vine bares, plump, greenish-bronze or large, purple orbs, clump together in artistic harmony announcing to all that fall has arrived in the Southeast United States. Sweet wine, grape-hull pie and muscadine Sherbert come to mind. Muscadines and their cousin, scuppernongs, are native to the Southeast but especially honored in the Carolina coastal zones, where they were first discovered and propagated by colonists.PaulMichaelCompany_MuscadinesRecently Paul and I were on a road trip and spotted an old pickup truck with a hand painted sign on the side saying, “Muscadines”.  We quickly turned and found wild, beautiful, freshly picked, thick-skinned, purple bunches of these first signs of fall. Six dollars got us a bag full and we happily shined them on our shirts and popped them into our mouths. We rolled down the windows to spit out the seeds while juices rolled out of the corners of our mouths..

It is hard to describe the taste; a heavy, grape flavor with a tartness the beams through especially when you eat the skin. I dare say they have a slightly musty taste. I am already planning what I will prepare with these big orbs.  Never wanting to walk down the conventional road, I Googled recipes but couldn’t find one that matched my vision ….I wanted to create a fruited sauce with a little kick to use on chicken or pork.  The following is what I finally decided on.  Simple but oh-so Southern!

Recipe: Muscadine Sauce

Ingredients

*All measurements are approximate

4 cups purple muscadines. Hulled and seeded

2 medium shallots finely sliced not chopped

1/2 stick of butter

Pinch of salt

Tsp. of pepper

1-2 gloves of garlic finely chopped.

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/3 cup muscadine wine

Cut the muscadines in half and take the seeds out. You can do this with your fingers or a small paring knife.PaulMichaelCompany_MuscadinesDiscard the skins or save for extra juice in your sauce.

Sauté the shallots and garlic in butter. Flavor with the salt and pepper to taste. Add the grape hulls and cook approximately two minutes then add chicken stock and wine. Reduce the liquid to about half or until it is the right consistency to pour over the meat.PaulMichaelCompany_Muscadines

PaulMichaelCompany_MuscadinesI served this sauce over fresh chicken tenders.  I seasoned the tenders with garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper and a little cumin.  I heated the cast iron skillet really hot with a little olive oil, and blackened them.PaulMichaelCompany_ChickenPaulMichaelCompany_MuscadineChickenThe result was a delicious and healthy meal! So delicious that Mr. Michael cleaned his plate. Nothing pleases a cook more than an empty plate!

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Brighten Up

Today we pay tribute to two of the hardest working accessories at home – lighting and mirrors. These items don’t often get a lot of credit, but are powerful enough to tie a room together. Timeless rather than trendy, these are fixtures that create a bright statement.

Light from the lamps create warmth while the mirror captures reflections from across the room.

Light from the lamps create warmth while the mirror captures reflections from across the room.

Besides being utilitarian, lighting helps define a room while creating ambiance. From the tried and true table lamp to the chandelier that’s the main focal point, lighting is a versatile accessory that is easy to switch out. Shop our lighting collection

Paul Michael Company has it all - chandeliers, desk lamps, pendents and table lamps.

Paul Michael Company has it all – chandeliers, desk lamps, pendents and table lamps.

We love mirrors – not just for vanity reasons – but also for the reflection of light and other decorative accessories. Mirrors make a room feel bigger by creating a sense of openness. From big to small and decorative to simple, we have lots of mirrors on the wall. Shop our mirrors

On a mantle or a wall, multiple big mirrors create a big impact.

On a mantle or a wall, multiple mirrors create a big impact.

While these are the hardest working accessories in the house, Paul Michael Company makes it easy to transform a room by offering an incredible selection of affordable lighting and mirrors.

Sofa Styling Tips

It happens to the best of us…sometimes you just get stuck in a design rut. You feel like you’ve made an investment and that you need to stick with it. Well if you start out by buying some neutral basics it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to give it an update! You can completely transform a room by changing out the accessories. Take a look at how we styled the same sofa three different ways.

1. Monochromatic

Paul Michael Company + Updated Traditional + Grey +Modern

Use the same color in different shades to create a harmonious palette. Jazz it up by mixing patterns and textures. When mixing patterns remember that scale is your friend. If you select patterns with different scales then you won’t have to worry about them trying to compete…no one wants a pillow fight, or do they?

2. Personality Plus

Paul Michael Company + Gypsetter + Global +Tribal

If you are into a more eclectic approach to design, incorporate items you picked up on trips or inherited from family. If you hate your grandmother’s table and can rarely find the time to travel, no worries we’ve got you covered! You can get the “collected” look you desire by shopping at our stores or online at http://www.paulmichael.company.com

3. Pop of Color

Paul Micael Company + Cozy Colonial

This nearly neutral arrangement has a lot of spunk and just a little bit of color. We love mixing the warm red hues with a cool blue. It’s a nice contrast with an Americana flair. Notice how the white gourd lamps and plates give this mostly rustic look a refined feel.

At the Paul Michael Company we have a variety of items that will separate your home from your neighbor’s. We know that this is your most personal space and we want to help you create a home that is comfortable and stylish…just like you!

Outdoor Living at its Best

Around here, fall seems to be everyone’s favorite time of year. The cooler temperatures and colorful leaves invite us back outside to enjoy new scenery and flavors. We prefer to sit on the patio in these hand crafted Adirondack chairs while sipping on a seasonal red wine.

Made in Napa, these Adirondack-style chairs are repurposed from old oak wine casks.

Made in Napa, these Adirondack-style chairs are repurposed from old oak wine casks.

On one of their adventures to California, Debbie and Paul stumbled upon similar Adirondack chairs. They loved the detail of the wood and knew there was something different about it, so they tracked down the artisan who makes them in Napa. Turns out, these chairs (and tables, too) are handcrafted from old oak wine casks. Maybe that’s what makes this the perfect chair for wine drinking.

Whether you’re sitting by the fire, entertaining under the harvest moon or enjoying the crisp autumn air, Paul Michael Company has outdoor furniture and accessories that can fit your needs. Stop by our stores and shop online to savor the season in style.