The Flower and The Flour

two sisters. opposite coasts. different metier. same passion – events, food, and all things pretty.

Xenia and Olya were raised in Northern California’s Bay Area by two amazing parents who taught them how to tell a good story and throw a great party. After helping set the table at countless dinner parties for Georgian circus performers, Russian actors, bishops or the next person to stay on their living room couch for 6 months, it’s no surprise that both have a serious passion for planning and hosting.

Seven years apart in age and 3,000 miles apart geographically, the two are connecting via blog to discuss their loves for event planning, cooking, centerpieces, recipes, groceries, and letterpress printed cards.

Xenia Maximow {flower} – I can’t pinpoint exactly when my passion for all things design started, but I do remember in high school eagerly waiting for my parents to go out of town, just so I could throw a party. And not the wild, drinking, teens making out in the bathroom kind of party, more like the “sophisticated adult” party. I remember going through my mother’s nice linens, choosing the prettiest to set the table. Obsessively picking out the right flowers for the perfect centerpieces to match. I’d throw some beautiful fabric over our old stinky couch all in the name of “ambiance”.
I do have to say… I blame my mother. While extremely down to earth in every aspect of life, she is an unashamed food snob and (unfortunately, or fortunately) it seems to have rubbed off on me. I grew up in a house where garlic powder was not allowed (only fresh) and salad dressing didn’t come from a bottle.  Food was not only fresh and delicious… it also had to be pretty. She was also a master of “home economics” (is that still a class in junior high?) I remember her effortlessly sewing dresses, fixing buttons, making dolls and baking meringues without a second thought.
I guess that is where I get my passion for making things. Whether it is the perfect cupcake, a greeting card or a beautiful centerpiece. I think there is something beautiful about starting from scratch to create something beautiful. Putting the pieces together and making something else. That passion somehow translated into planning events, which I have been doing now for quite some time. ( Most recently I discovered a love for letterpress and all things printed. Luckily I married an engineer who also shares an appreciation for heavy iron machinery. Together we have been designing and printing invitations, greeting cards and other ephemera.

Olya Schafranek {flour} I can’t really call myself a chef or a foodie. I guess I have too much respect for both or really I buy too many of the same boring groceries each week. In an attempt to sound less lame than just a grocery store & food magazine groupie (or cookbook hoarder), I will settle on ‘cooking enthusiast’. After reading my monthly issues of Bon Appetit and Food & Wine, I always have an intense desire to change my entire life – “I should be cooking with this…I should jar my own jam…I want to visit a farm to table restaurant in Kentucky…I want to open a fresh pasta store…I want to make cheese…I want to be arrested for smuggling truffles into the states”…Although I’d like to think my daydreampt aspirations do make me somewhat cool, I think it’s time I explore more in the kitchen. My husband has joked that I am not allowed to buy another cookbook until I’ve cooked each recipe. That would take forever, but I’m willing to start using them more instead of admiring the pretty pictures. This includes my stack of food magazines as well. I also like to talk about restaurants and menus and how much my town’s grocery store annoys me. And throw dinner parties inspired by my mother’s phenomenal and loving examples, or a new tablecloth. So here it goes…


5 Comments to “The Flower and The Flour”

  1. Hello, my lovely daughters! I love your new blog! Hope you have lots of fun with it. Thank you for the nice comments about your parents. With God’s help, you two and your brother are our most inspired and amazing “creations”. Love the “unashamed food snob” comment ( I guess you never caught me scarfing down jello mold or bologna and velveeta roll ups at other peoples’ parties)

  2. Dear Nieces, Love your new blog…Since I too love food, I will enjoy reading your conversations….I think even looking at pretty pictures of food can be inspiring, mouth watering…oops the refrigerator is calling…except that since it’s lent it can’t have too much of interest to say!!!

    Love, Aunt Mash

  3. Waiting for more sharp blogs!

  4. Sorry I’m late to the party! 🙂

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