August is national happiness month—but around our Aurora campus we like to think of every month that way. Which is why we always strive to create products that are not only useful and beautiful but fun too. We do this through color, pattern, or unexpected details. So when you decorate a table or furnish your home with our wares they make a lasting impression.

So whether you drink your morning cup of coffee in your favorite Taylor ceramic mug, set your table with our Courtly Check chargers, or have our fabulous serving pieces tucked into a dining room display cabinet we love that our products find their way into your everyday life and special occasions.

Here are some of the best (according to you) smile-inducing MacKenzie-Childs products we offer!

“I use the beautiful tea kettle my daughter bought me every day!” -Kim M.
Shop our tea kettles here!

“Maryglenn is redoing her kitchen in Mackenzie-Childs checked wallpaper and chandeliers. Such a happy look!”-Janice M.
Shop our wallpaper and chandeliers.

 “I use my Courtly Check cookware with joy in my heart! These Courtly Check kitchen tools are a great addition.” –Sarah A.
Shop our Courtly Check Cookware and kitchen tools.

  “I have the green carriers and several of the small colanders. Love them!” –Chris T.
Shop our cake carriers and colanders.

‪  “I just got my very first pieces and they are Courtly Check. It’s my favorite—simple and classy.” –Tracy S.
Shop our Courtly Check enamelware.

“My Pagoda birdhouse hanging by the door of my new home. Makes me happy. Everyone’s welcome!” -mollyepops
Shop birdhouses.

“A cup of tea and your catalog make me happy.” -kkmoore211
Get our catalog here!

“I love these Flower Market pots!” -figandtwigs
Shop our Flower Market cookware.

“Set my table outside last night with my Courtly Check and Flower Market. I needed one of the wire mesh covers to keep a pesky flies at bay.” –Sarah A.
Shop our mesh domes.

Have you been following the #CampCourtlyCheck hashtag on Instagram this week? We’re playing host to a few of our favorite bloggers. While we’re busy having a big lovefest and giving them an inside look at the history of our products, we wanted to share their blogs and links to shop their MC product picks below:

Janice Morrow of Fig & Twigs
“Many, many years ago, my sweet mom gave me my first piece from MacKenzie-Childs: a Courtly Check Tea Kettle. It was after I had visited the New York City shop and I was smitten! I went into great detail describing this magical place to my mom. Every tiny detail was pure joy. Their colorful designs and classic black and white Courtly Check pattern had me mesmerized! Needless to say, receiving my first piece of MacKenzie-Childs from my mom truly meant so much to me. It sits on our stove to this day, reminding me of my mom and how she always shared an appreciation of a home and garden filled with color and whimsy!”
Favorite Taylor Pattern: Hitchcock Field
Courtly Check Stoutly Vase
Courtly Check Enamel Pedestal Vase – Green Bow
Architect’s Topiary Urn
Courtly Check Enamel Petal Charger/Plate
8″ Courtly Check Flower Pot

Ashley Hale of House of Five
“When I was just a tween, my family took a trip to Phoenix where my mom’s cousin lived, and they had the most amazing collection of MacKenzie-Childs. I was in awe! We visited the MacKenzie-Childs store and from that moment on, my mom, sister, and I were all in love with the brand. My mother started a collection right then and there and as my sister and I grew up, we started collecting our own pieces. Each piece means something special to me and I will continue to collect MacKenzie-Childs for the rest of my life.”
Favorite Taylor Pattern: Hitchcock Field
Bow Chair – White
Courtly Check Enamel Tea Kettle – 3 Quart
Courtly Check Small Deer
 Blooming Wine Glass
Courtly Check Mesh Dome – Large

Lauren Steele of LC Steele
“I recently started my collection of MacKenzie-Childs and I’m completely obsessed with the pottery. Their ceramic pieces are hand-painted at their headquarters in New York and I know I’ll be using it for years to come. One of my most stylish friends gets pieces from her mom and aunts for Christmas, and I think it’s timeless and beautiful. I’m so excited that I’ve started my own collection.”
Favorite Taylor Pattern: Forest Home
Parchment Check Fluted Cake Stand
 Wild Rose Oven Mitts – Wheat
Wild Rose Dish Towels – Blue
Flower Market 3 Qt. Casserole
Parchment Check Three Tier Sweet Stand

Krystal Faircloth of A Pinch of Lovely
“I was excited to learn about some of the new collections MacKenzie-Childs has recently introduced, like Morning Glory and the chic Lattice and Flower Market pieces. I’m so excited to style them in my bathroom and vanity. I’m a sucker for all things gold, black, and white!”
Favorite Taylor Pattern: Hitchcock Field
Flower Market Hand Soap & Lotion Set
Lattice Waste Bin
Courtly Check Sisal Rug – 2′ x 3′
Morning Glory Canister – Large
Lattice Tray – Small

Jenn Palpallatoc of Haute Off the Rack
“My two favorite collections are Courtly Check and Parchment Check. I love the bold and muted statements that each provide. I’m growing my collection of entertaining essentials right now as we prepare to move into our new home in August. And I’m working on my registry and upcoming wedding! I’m so excited to introduce these pieces into my home.”
Favorite Taylor Pattern: Aalsmeer
Courtly Check Enamel Ice Cream Dish
Courtly Check Enamel Utensil Holder
Courtly Check Canape Knives – Set of 2
Parchment Check Fluted Cake Stand
Parchment Check Three Tier Sweet Stand

Susan Dagget of Kindred Vintage & Co.
“I like to go with unique, unexpected elements and styles in my home—everything from rustic and antique to modern and new. It’s so fun to be able to give my followers ideas on how to utilize pieces that they might have never considered throughout their homes. MacKenzie-Childs has so many fun pieces to style, so it’s been a blast selecting items that I can use in so many new ways!”
Favorite Taylor Pattern: Forest Home
Flower Garden Buckets – Set of 3
Trellis Lumbar Pillow
Houndstooth Scatter Rug – 2′ x 3′
Birds Mirror
Courtly Check Small Moose

Amy Welch of Coffee Beans and Bobby Pins
“I’ve been a lover of MC since college! Everything from the furniture to the serving dishes. I can’t get enough. The Courtly Check pattern tends to be my favorite, but I’m excited to see the new collections like Morning Glory. I’m going to have a lot of fun working them into my home!”
Favorite Taylor Pattern: Hitchcock Field
Courtly Check Enamel Petal Charger/Plate
Courtly Check Small Deer
Parchment Check Fluted Cake Stand
Dotty Canape Knives – Set of 4
Courtly Check Enamel Herb Pots – Set of 3

It’s 5:30 am on July 20, and our MacKenzie-Childs campus in Aurora, New York, was bustling with more activity than usual. Instead of just the resident geese taking their morning dip and stretching their wings wide to greet the day, our employees were bustling back and forth while a line, steadily growing, snaked around the building.

While the sunlight highlighted the early-morning mist over the fields and gardens, the trill of bagpipes filled the morning air. And suddenly we were officially in full swing for our 2017 Barn Sale. The event boasts deep discounts and brings together MacKenzie-Childs fans from across the country. On the surface, the deals are the appeal of the Barn Sale, but deep down it’s about so much more than that.

Instead of a frenetic, deals-obsessed crowd like you’d see on big retail days like Black Friday, for fans of MacKenzie-Childs it’s about meeting and sharing a love of design, pattern, and a rich sense of tradition and history. In fact, many people are repeat visitors—planning vacations, day trips, and girls’ weekends away around the sale.

Nancy and Pam of Buffalo, New York, rented a coach bus and have been coming for the past five years. “It’s our annual tradition! This year we came in a group of twenty. We sip Baileys and coffee in the morning, study the MacKenzie-Childs catalogs on the drive in, shop the sale, and then we all pile back on the bus for cocktails, lunch, and games on the ride home,” they said.

The atmosphere, even when waiting in line, is jovial and downright upbeat, which says something given the heat and humidity of upstate New York in mid-July. With strangers introducing themselves to one another, holding spots in line when bathroom breaks are needed, and chatting about their history with the brand, people become friends as they inch toward the sale. But it’s especially fun to see groups of women who have been best friends for years come to the sale.

Pushing an impressively sized cart—with an even more impressive spread of food—Mary, Lucille, and Carlene have been friends for the past twenty-five years. They met when they were all working at a hospital together. “We’ve been coming for the past three years and we always bring a spread. We have fruit, some Camembert cheese, French bread, salami, and of course, mimosas,” they explained. “We enjoy all coming here together, but once we get into the sale, it’s every man for themselves!”

The creativity of the sale-goers is on full display, with families and friends dressing up in matching outfits or donning custom-made, MacKenzie-Childs-inspired accessories like hats. Often, people who travel make an entire weekend of it—not only coming to the sale, but staying nearby and spending time in the towns that surround Aurora.

“This is our seventh sale. We’re best friends. We like to say we’re twins, actually,” said Lauren and Kristen of Reading, Pennsylvania. Every year, they coordinate their outfits and add handmade MacKenzie-Childs accessories. This year it’s pretty taupe dresses with hats wrapped in a Courtly Check ribbon and faux flowers. The accessories serve as more than a fashion statement: “It helps us find each other in the crowd,” the two women explained. “Every year we get crazier and crazier with our sale purchases. We leave our husbands and kids at home and just take the weekend to visit the wineries and explore Ithaca.”

Stopping and looking around thoughtfully at the crowded line of people and the MacKenzie-Childs employees walking around with as much purpose as worker bees in a hive, the two women paused and then said, “Someday we’ll be little old grandmas still making our way up here together every summer. We can’t imagine our lives without this sale.”

We can’t either, ladies!

We believe that eating a meal outside on a cool summer evening makes the food taste even better. So fire up the grill, gather friends and family, and get ready to enjoy a meal under the stars. While entertaining outside can come with its challenges—don’t get bogged down in them! We’ve got products that are sure to lend a helping hand.

Flower Market Large Rattan & Enamel Tray – White
Carry condiments, spices or supplies in fewer trips thanks to this gorgeous tray. It will keep you right where you need to be—with your guests—instead of running in and out of the house. Clean up the same way. The sturdy rattan sides allow you to have a firm grip on it all, too.

Courtly Check Enamel Everything Bowl
Keep drinks cold by using this massive bowl as an ice bucket, to corral mini bags of chips, or to store all of the hot dog and hamburger buns. We’re not kidding when we say that this bowl can be used for everything and anything.

Flower Market Cake Carrier – White
Unveil dessert in a grand fashion. Not only can you safely transport cakes and cupcakes outside, but leaving the top closed will keep bugs and tiny fingers out of the frosting. The clever design features an easy-to-use handle for carrying too.

Flower Market Mesh Dome – Large
Freshly prepared food doesn’t need unwelcome visitors! Keep any and all bugs from landing on your feast. The metallic mesh lets guests see the dishes while still keeping them protected.

 Cutting Garden Paper Napkins – Guest
There are times when you need to ditch the cloth napkins. Any outdoor occasion, barbecue or picnic is the perfect opportunity. It saves you time to recycle them instead of trying to wash out stubborn stains. Plus they’re still just as pretty as their more formal counterparts.

Building up a spice cabinet from nothing can be challenging—not to mention expensive. How do you decide what are the spicy essentials that will give you the most flavor for your money? We’re taking the guesswork out and going straight to a reliable source—the always lovely and talented Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is. Here are the spices she uses in her kitchen to whip up all the delicious-looking recipes you see each day on her blog.

Disclaimer: While it might be tempting to buy a spice blend to get more for your money, Jess doesn’t advise it. “Spice blends are challenging because you can never be a hundred percent sure of what you’re getting in each shake. Maybe that Italian variety is sprinkling on more oregano than you need and not enough garlic. So stick to separate spices when possible,” explains Jess.

Salt and pepper: Yup! Totally obvious but completely necessary and worth mentioning. “I use kosher salt for everything except for baking. When I bake, I use fine table salt. I also like to have a smoked salt on hand—it adds great flavor. I don’t ever use garlic salt or onion salt. Again, it’s hard to figure out what percentage is salt vs. garlic or onion!”

Garlic powder: “I put garlic powder in everything. I’m not kidding; I use it constantly. Most recipes call for garlic and it works with a variety of food types. I use the dehydrated ground garlic, which has wonderful flavor.”

Smoked paprika: “Probably the second-most-used spice in my cabinet. I love the smoky, complex flavor it adds to anything I sprinkle it on. I use it everything: roasted veggies, potatoes, different sauces, and even mac and cheese. I have no limits on this spice!”

Cinnamon: Comforting and familiar cinnamon works in both sweet and savory foods. “It goes on anything sweet in my house—a variety of breakfast, oatmeal, cookies—and any baking project. I use it if I’m making Moroccan food, too.”

Fresh nutmeg: “The fresh version is so much better! It looks like a little acorn and it comes with maybe five or six in a jar. You have to microplane the nutmeg. Just like cinnamon, I put it into anything sweet, but I also use it to round out any kind of cream, alfredo or béchamel sauce.”

Chili powder: “I like chili powder better than cumin. Cumin can be very overpowering, so I use chili powder instead. I use it just as much. It’s perfect in rubs and marinades, and for grilling. I also sprinkle it on roasted potatoes and all of our sweet potato fries.”

Crushed red pepper: “Perfect to add a little heat to any dish. It works with a lot of different cuisines, too, so you’ll get plenty of use out of this one.”

Whether it’s your first time hosting a shower or your fifteenth it never hurts to get a few new tips from a pro. We spoke with event and wedding planner Elizabeth Lutz of Glass Event Planning to get some of her favorite hosting tips for small gatherings. So whether you’re hosting a shower at an event space or at home, the shower will be full of the thoughtful details that the bride will remember and appreciate for years to come. Here are some of Elizabeth’s best tips:

Include the bride in the conversation.  Sure it’s tempting to throw a surprise shower. But it’s much better to include the bride in the rough planning. She can help guide the guest list and let you know where people will be coming from. I’ve had some brides lump their shower and their bachelorette parties together to accommodate out of town guests—saving them time and money.

Set expectations with your guests. If there is some sort of activity that costs extra like a pedicure or horseback riding let guests know ahead of time. Then they can come with cash. Just be clear about what you will be covering. Discussing it all when the bride gets there can get really awkward.

 Start with a quick cocktail hour.  It allows guests to mingle and get settled. If you’re hosting at your house and don’t have enough seating don’t be afraid to have the meal buffet style. Just serve the food in smaller bite sized portions so it’s easy to stand and snack.  Don’t skimp on presentation though. Beautiful cake stands or tiered dessert trays work for more than just sweets.

Don’t overcomplicate the menu or the decor. If you’re hosting at home do a split between homemade dishes and store bought/ catered. Keep some of the bride’s favorite dishes in mind or any traditional family dishes. Don’t take the whole thing on yourself. Always think about possible food allergies and always have non-alcoholic drinks on hand too. For décor, have one showstopper. I love to do ice cubes with herbs or edible flowers inside. They’d look lovely in a large glass drink dispenser.

 Honor family memories or traditions. Take the bride for a walk down memory lane and opt for a few activities that spur a memory. Collect the bows and ribbons from the gifts to make a bouquet for the rehearsal or play a game the bride’s mother played at her shower. Marriage is all about expanding your family so it’s always nice to honor that.

Create a fun keepsake. Have each guest bring his or her favorite recipe. It’s nice to provide a theme like easy weeknight dinners or desserts. Collect them all and present them to the bride at the end of the shower in a beautiful recipe box.

You may have seen our newest catalog filled with tons of summer goodness—including clever tips and ideas from some of our favorite bloggers. We spoke with Ashley Hale of House of Five for some of her best family-friendly entertaining tips from her MacKenzie-Childs-inspired outdoor space:
How do you make your outdoor decor as kid-friendly as possible?
I’m a firm believer in having a kids’ table! When we get our entire family together, we love to make a space for the grown-ups that is elegant. But for the kids, we want them to feel comfortable too. So we might set out a small table with some pillows on the ground or some games to keep them busy and possibly distract them from any of the glass, decor, or anything else that doesn’t mix well with kids. We sometimes have little crafts like building paper airplanes, coloring, or tic-tac-toe. When we provide them with a place of their own, they feel included and comfortable all at the same time.
What extra touches do you add to make your outdoor space feel cozy?
I always want company to feel comfortable, so I start with plenty of seating and I try to keep all the necessary items like drink refills and snacks within arm’s reach. I want my guests to feel like they can kick their feet up and relax with us and they don’t need to get up. So creating a space where all their needs are met is my first priority.
What snacks do you prepare that are kid-friendly?
In the summertime, we love creating sweet treats around fruit, and leave the rich and dense desserts for the colder months. We love making pavlova in the summer—it’s light and airy and perfect for a summer gathering. The kids gobble it up! We also love filling waffle cones with assorted berries and topping it with whipped cream and sprinkles (a kid favorite around here). The kids have an easy cup to hold their berries in and the waffle cone is a tasty treat at the end of the snack.
What activities/crafts do you have on hand for kids to do when you’re entertaining?
We love to keep the kids busy with outdoor activities during summer gatherings. We set up a little net for badminton, and a blow-up pool with a slide is always a big hit too. One of our kids favorite summer activities is playing with bubbles. I find that setting up a bubble machine will keep the kids busy forever so I’m free to entertain. Plus I enjoy watching them have so much fun! It’s something that doesn’t create a big mess outside so that’s a win-win.
Any summer recipes that work well for entertaining?
My favorite summer salad is cubed watermelon with chopped fresh mint. To finish, season with salt and pepper. An easy summer breakfast favorite is a large bowl of strawberries topped with brown sugar, blueberries, chopped macadamia nuts, coconut shavings, and anything else you’d like. Then it gets topped with a splash of heavy cream.

When was the last time you had a picnic? Or took the time to gaze up at the stars with your favorite person? Summer is the perfect time to grab a blanket and your picnic basket and head outdoors on a cool, clear evening for date night. Here are some of our favorite tips for taking your meal to go.

No phones allowed. Go to any restaurant these days and you’ll see a couple on a date sitting across from one another on their cell phones. No, no! Not allowed tonight because the night sky and stimulating conversation should be more than enough entertainment.

Pick the perfect basket. Not to brag, but our version contains all the essentials you’ll need—from plates, utensils, and glasses to even the often-forgotten bottle opener. It’s nice for everything to have a place and for these items to be able to stay inside your basket, making it easier to grab and go.

Set the mood! Bring a vase full of fresh flowers or pick them yourselves. Curl up by the cozy light of a lantern and play some of your favorite music. Mini portable speakers are so inexpensive. It all helps to add a little ambiance.

Ask questions. When you see someone all the time, it can get really easy to slip into autopilot when it comes to date-night conversation. Brainstorm some fun questions you can ask one another. You’ll be surprised by some of the answers. How cool is that?

Waterproof the blanket. Don’t let damp grass deter you. Place an affordable plastic tablecloth underneath your favorite gingham blanket. It will keep any moisture from the ground or grass from seeping through. Bring some pillows too, for maximum comfort.

Bring bite-sized food. Nothing that really needs to be cut with a fork and knife. It’s too hard to do on the ground. Sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit—anything tiny enough that you can eat with a fork will be the most enjoyable. Who can resist a cheese plate?

Shop the Post: Berries & Blossoms Picnic Hamper for Two/ Kitchen Garden Dish Towels – Set of 3/ Courtly Check Enamel Storage – Deep

You might have seen our newest catalog filled with tons of summer goodness—specifically clever tips and ideas from our favorite MacKenzie-Childs-loving bloggers. It was fun to see how they put their favorite products to good use and we picked up some outdoor entertaining tips in the process. Lynsey from TomboyKC loves throwing impromptu dinners al fresco come summer. Here are five takeaway entertaining tips from her MacKenzie-Childs inspired margarita night:

1. Making your own simple syrup is well…simple! Keep a squeeze bottle of simple syrup in your fridge to add into your own fresh-squeezed summer cocktails all season long. Simply mix one parts sugar to one parts water over medium-low heat and ta-da! Make a larger batch so you can save it for future parties too.

2. Outdoor entertaining is made easier with a tray. Whether you’re bringing drinks or food outside or you’re just using it to corral ingredients—it makes the load a little easier to carry. Plus if you have guests customizing their own drinks everything is in one place.

3. Head outdoors even if it’s not yours. Don’t have a ton of space to spare? Head to a local public park or outdoor area and invite friends to meet you there. You can all enjoy the beautiful space without worrying about who’s hosting or if your house is as clean as you’d like it to be.

4. Bring games that can travel. Dominoes anyone? Playing games with guests can be an amazing icebreaker getting even the shyest person engaged. It’s always fun to see who’s secretly competitive or who is a trivia whiz.

5.  Keep snacks simple. You don’t have to serve a four-course meal every time you entertain. Fresh fruit, a cheese platter, and a dessert can be a meal in itself on occasion.

Shop the Post: Butterfly Garden Tumbler / Courtly Check Hostess Tray – Large /Dominoes in Box /Zen and Tonic Book

While you’re planning your wedding, don’t forget—you’re planning a life too! That’s where your registry comes in handy. These essentials are all excellent choices, helping out with the heavy lifting on holidays and birthdays, at dinner parties with friends, and even on random Tuesdays. They’ll always be there to beautify the home and life you’re building with your partner. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

1. Flower Market Practical Pitcher Whether you fill it with lemonade or fresh cut flowers, you’ll find plenty of ways to use this gorgeous vessel.

2. Flower Market Rolling Pin Roll out dough in style with this beautiful kitchen tool. It’s so pretty that you’ll want to leave it out on display.

3. Tango Trifle Bowl Filled with fresh produce or your world famous Fourth of July dessert, this delicate glass serving dish makes every day feel special.

4. Courtly Check Enamel 7 Cup Measuring Cup Forget having to refill your measuring cup to get the full amount. This version holds an impressive seven cups!

5. Cookie Jar with Courtly Check Enamel Lid Stock this countertop stunner with sweets or treats for your favorite furry friend.

6. Blooming Wine Glass You’ll never get sick of sipping out of this delicate stemware.

7. Parchment Check Fluted Cake Stand Elevate a basic cake! The ceramic base with its ruffled edge makes any sweet a standout.

8. Piccadilly Beverage Hostess For the hostess with the mostess. Mix up one group drink or cocktail and your guests can serve themselves.

9. Flower Market Small, Medium, & Large Canisters – Black Store all of your countertop essentials inside these floral containers.

10. Courtly Check Enamel Roasting Pan with Rack A beautiful way to roast the bird and a handy rack that sits right inside.

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