Celebrate Non-Traditional Wedding Gifts

By Naira Ruiz

Stumped on what wedding gift you should choose? We’ve got you covered.

We all know that weddings are a big deal. A lot of effort goes into making the event a day a couple will  cherish for the rest of their lives. Since we’re currently in the thick of wedding season, there’s a good chance you need to buy a gift for an upcoming wedding or two.

But what should you consider?

If you know the couple has a wedding registry, it makes choosing a gift somewhat easier. But if they don’t, or if you’re anxious to purchase them something that’s a surprise, it can  be a challenge.

Don’t let the wedding gift conundrum stress you out. Here are some gift ideas that will definitely be a hit!

If you don’t know their style… go with wood

Do they like bright colors, or are they more into subdued hues? You have no idea, so buying that stunning red vase is too much of a gamble. Since you’re not sure about their taste in décor, getting them something in natural wood is perfect because it goes with almost everything.

This hand-turned wooden bowl by Andrew Pearce would look gorgeous in any setting.

You can find a selection of his work here.

Another option is this puzzle board by Hardwood Creations. The leaf-shaped boards are designed to fit together in a multitude of arrangements. Continue reading>

Why Wood?

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I have a confession to make. While I have had many wood cutting boards over the years, I recently realized that I my current cutting board collection was not suited to my cutting board needs. I arrived at this realization while planning and setting a new window display in the four stores. In preparation for the display, I reviewed the various artists and current selection of cutting boards we had on hand. I estimated what I thought I would need to “fill” each window. I reread the materials we had about our artists and how to care for wood. I rewrote the product knowledge materials adding new thoughts about why wood is great to use in the kitchen. I talked with Polly about the core information on care and use. We compared notes about what boards we each have at home and how we use them. Though I do have wood cutting boards (a very large carving board with a trough, an old generic one, a new and glorious walnut board that I ironically save for special occasions), I have come to realize that I am in need of some particular cutting boards for convenient every day use.  Suddenly I felt inspired to shop for new  wood cutting boards.

I went to the Georgetown store to identify the boards I would put in the window and how I would present them. This meant that I picked up many boards and looked at them. In doing this I started to fall in love with particular cutting boards.

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 The Dickinson checkerboard end grain one is made of walnut, cherry, oak and maple. It is 9 inches square and 1 inch thick and can be used on both sides. The Larchwood end grain board at 2” thick,  reminds me of a butcher block. It comes in rectangle, circle, and oval shapes in varying sizes. It is a warm creamy color with honey tones in the grain figuring. Northwood makes a delightful small board with inlaid circle and arcing designs and a cutout hole for hanging. At 6.5” x 9” it is a perfect small board for quick jobs. JK Creative and Hardwood Creations make striped boards in every shape and size.

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 I covet Wooden Palate’s end grain, fumed oak cutting board with feet at 19”x14” x5”. It is visually spectacular and would make any serious chef lustful. I can definitely imagine planning my kitchen around this board!

I have given cutting boards for wedding gifts for 30 years. I received cutting boards as a wedding gift 30 years ago. I gave my husband a glorious walnut board for Christmas last year. I love to cut on wood cutting boards.

Within 24 hrs of sorting wood boards for the window, I identified what I need immediately and what I want in the long term.  I definitely need a small every day cutting board. I slice tomatoes for breakfast every day; I make muesli with chopped fresh fruit every other day;

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 I chop dinner veggies for two every night. I want a board that is small enough for me to keep it on the counter in easy reach; I bought myself the Dickinson 9” square in the checkerboard pattern (and I have used it everyday since!)

My sister always has a designated board for onions and garlic to avoid any chance of garlic flavored strawberries. I want a bigger board for prepping meats and fish for dinner; big enough to cut up a chicken. And perhaps one more in between board for larger chopping endeavors such as prepping quantities of fruit or veggies for my juicer.

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A small board with a gutter might be handy for juicy small jobs like tomatoes and fruit. Generally, I want cutting boards to “live” on or near the counter where I use them. I like them thick enough to stand on end without tipping over. I might consider hanging one or two on our “Julia” styled pegboard.

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I have a particular appreciation for end grain boards as they “play nicely” with good knives. Grain and color will be the final defining feature for me. The board I gave to my husband was a slab of walnut with a blond streak running through it on the edges. It was cut to highlight the rings of the tree and pays tribute to natural shape of the wood; I can envision the tree as it grew.

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After all of the reviewing, rewriting, and planning, I went to each store and set the window with kitchen wood. Let me know what you think next time you are in the store.

I’ll take the Wedding Gift with the salad on the side!

My niece and her partner got married last week and we decided to build a wedding gift from our clan (an aunt and uncle, 3 cousins and a girlfriend).

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Maggie and Mel are vegan and love to cook. They are twenty-somethings who appreciate: all things green, handmade, supporting local artists and natural products. But, they had a very short wedding registry list!

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The one clue we could glean was that they like blue! Happily– we were right on the mark. With clan members scattered or busy with their lives and jobs around the city and in Europe, we conferred by text and photos until we could agree on the collection we assembled.

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Summer Salad Supreme


  • Chop tomatoes into coarse chunks.

Tip: Use one side of the cutting board for chopping and one for serving.  Many boards are stamped with the artists mark to designate easily which you will cut on which you will serve on.

  • Slice cucumbers, skin on.
  • Shave onion in thin rings.
  • Trim and half fennel, slice thin half moon pieces of fennel.
  • Toss veggies together in wooden salad bowl.
  • Fill salt and pepper shakers.

Tip: a few grains of rice in the salt cellar will keep salt from clumping in humid climates.

  •  Fill cruet with the finest grade of extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed.

Tip: the spout on the cruet is made of chrome and designed to pour at a medium rate. EVOO cold pressed oils are produced naturally without any chemical and are therefore lower in acidity.

  • Dress salad with olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and a dash of salt and pepper. Serve with ease at the table with tongs and additional S&P to taste.


Cheers to Maggie and Mel and to a lifetime of health, happiness and love, with a salad on the side!






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