How Portland’s Coolest Moms Make a Mother’s Day Gathering Look Effortless

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As the minds (and hearts) behind Portland, Oregon–based soft-goods brand Madre, Jeanie Kirk and Shay Carrillo know a thing or two about making people feel at home. Their signature napkins and tablecloths, most recognizable for their contrasting embroidered edges, are what take even a bowl of cereal to the next level.

And they carry those good vibes over into their personal lives, too. “The way that Shay and I both really show our love is through cooking,” Kirk says. “So we wanted to make a meal together with people whom we share space with anyway.” This spring, the founders gathered their cool coven of friends to celebrate motherhood, the feminine economy, and, of course, their new line of madras linens—which debuts June 21—over dinner. Here’s how the whole thing came together. 

Pick Your Place 

The pair asked their friend, designer Joanna Bean Martin of After All Studio, to host in her colorful kitchen, which matched the sunny vibe they wanted for the laid-back affair. The fact that it coordinated with their new linens, which they used to set the table? A happy coincidence. 

Put Your Guests to Work

When you’re putting together a guest list, Carrillo and Kirk know that it helps to invite friends who can each play to their own strengths and contribute to the good times. “When mothers come together, they offer themselves up, like ‘Give me a job,’” Carrillo says. In this case, it also helps to have pals like sommelier Dana Frank, who owns local sipping spot Bar Norman and was put in charge of the vino; ceramist Martina Thornhill, who made the plates; Mahsa Darabi, who brought her Moody Chai; and Naz Sahin, who works on branding for Madre and designed the menu cards. And those blooms on the table? All courtesy of their bud Megan Arambul, who owns Fieldwork Flowers in town. 

Make the Food You Want to Eat

This isn’t the time to impress your guests with a multicourse production. Instead, a one-skillet meal means you won’t be tending to cooking during the entire party. Carrillo and Kirk went with potato-mushroom chicken thighs and two salads that could be passed around the table. To kick things off, they served oysters, radishes with butter, and warm olives, a dish Kirk first had at Carrillo’s house and now replicates all the time with Castelvetranos, coriander seeds, and orange peel. “It’s just so warm and inviting,” Kirk says. 

Serve the Little Ones a Separate Meal

Yes, children were invited to a party celebrating mothers, but Carrillo and Kirk delegated the little ones to a table outside and served them their own meal of chicken alphabet soup with bread and flower-topped butter. That way, the mamas could convene by themselves but were never too far away from the kiddos.

Remember: There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Dessert

Carrillo and Kirk had two cakes on offer at the end of the meal, both from local bakeries they love. The first, a buttercream-topped sponge filled with passion fruit curd from Sweedeedee. The second, a pistachio rose cake with lemon glaze from Milk Glass Mrkt, both brought to the table on Vivienne Kitchen & Pantry stands.

Carrillo and Kirk’s Party Essentials

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