The holiday of love is almost upon us and you might be expecting the usual flowers, chocolates or jewelry again this year. Or, perhaps you and your significant other decided to forego material gifts this year in favor of quality time with one another. If that isn’t the case, and you’re hoping to receive something unique this Valentine’s Day, consider finding a way to slip a link to this post to your loved one. Here at Emilia Ceramics, we’d like to see your love celebrated with the gift of a ceramic treasure from one of our talented artists.
Below, we showcase a few such ideas, characterized by a specific passion your partner might recognize in you.
For the Wine Enthusiast
The wine loving woman in your life appreciates nice things and just another bottle of good wine isn’t special enough for this occasion. Luckily, we have many gift options for the vino-inclined. A classic is this Black Striped Wine Bottle Holder by Talavera Vazquez. If she’s drawn to old-world design, she might appreciate the Antique Vino Pitcher… Or for a more irreverent oenophile, these Vino Cups by Ceramica Valenciana are pure fun. If she has everything a wine drinker already needs and then some, a fun add on to a quality bottle of her favorite wine would be any of our wine stoppers, like this Fiore Wine Cork by Ceramiche D’Arte Tuscia in Montelupo Florentino, Italy.
For the Creative Chef
When gifting your loved one who loves to spend time in the kitchen, you can’t go wrong with serving ware or table accessories. A few of my favorites for anyone who loves to be creative when cooking: the Cherry
Spoon Rest, by Ceramiche D’Arte Tuscia; the Burnt Honey Etched Trivet by artist, Richard Esteban from Aigues-Vives, France; and this timeless White Footed Serving Dish by Ceramica Valenciana.
To see more, shop Serving Dishes >>
For the Dessert Lover
If your partner has a certain affinity for the “sweeter” things in life, give her a gift that will help her bake or serve her favorite dessert. Small appetizer dishes are perfect for dishing up chocolate truffles or petit fours. Especially for a more delicate or intricate dessert, small plates that offer a blank canvas are best, such as the Gogo Square Plates in five fun colors. For a light-hearted dessert lover, the Wildflower Bouquet Cookie Plate is a great idea, as are any of the small pieces created by French artist, Sylvie Duriez. As a compliment to any of these, think about coffee drinking accouterment, such as this San Miguel Mini Creamer and the San Miguel Sugar Bowl.
Beyond just gift ideas, my advice is to always think outside the box when shopping for that special someone. Try to picture yourself, as them, doing something they love to spend time doing and get creative from that perspective. And remember, provided your gift is picked out with the intent of wanting to make your loved one happy, you really can’t go wrong!
If you know anything about Emilia Ceramics, you know we love to travel. Each one of our artists is selected because of their unique contribution to the timeless craft of pottery. From Italy to Mexico, including a number of countries in between, we have a passion for bringing custom-made, one of a kind ceramics from remote communities across the globe, into your home.
In my continuous search for pieces I think people will cherish, I find myself learning a lot about other cultures. Before I set off for a new location, I do a lot of planning. Researching international destinations and then experiencing these amazing towns and cities in person, has enabled me to learn a lot about local customs, the people who live in different parts of the world, and the values that influence their lives (and their artwork).
While I go on buying trips at all different times of the year, many people travel internationally around the holidays. If that’s the case for you and you’ve recently returned home from an awe-inspiring holiday trip, this post is for you. Here’s my advice on how to hold on to some of that old world culture you discovered, when you’re back at home.
No matter what corner of the world you visit, chances are, you’ll be exposed to a beautiful new language. I find the local language of any country I visit to be such an important part of the total experience, (regardless of whether or not I can understand everything my new friends share with me.) So much so that in addition to the few key words and phrases I learn before my trip, I’m sometimes motivated to continue my learning when I arrive home.
Duolingo is a great app to use in practicing a little before you go, or once you come back. One of the simplest ways I’ve found to quickly return to the memory of a country I’ve loved is to spend a few minutes speaking the native language.
Due to restrictions on the flight home, bringing your favorite local cuisine home with you could pose some challenges. Although there are ways you can pack and ship, or stow, bottled beverages and packaged foods that you just can’t depart without, it is probably more feasible to try to recreate the recipes at home. Here’s a sampling of some shortcuts to making international delights in your own kitchen. Of course there are any number of great cookbooks out there that focus on International cuisine, many of which come with inspiring photos and stories about the local chefs that created the recipes. This is a great excuse to host a dinner party and share the memories of your trip with friends or family.
This is a recommendation I have for everyone who takes a trip beyond the U.S. borders. Procuring a piece of art from a foreign country doesn’t have to be expensive – you can spend any amount that matches your budget. While gallery visits are wonderful, the artwork found there is typically among the pricier of options. Though in many countries I’ve visited, I’ve been to outdoor markets that feature local artists selling paintings, photographs or hand-made goods. Here’s just one list from Frommer’s. I’ve even framed some of the city maps that you get free when you check into a hotel. The really special ones are those that I’ve worn out while exploring the city and that have pen marks where locals have recommended restaurants, markets, or museums to visit.
Of course, the photos you take are often the best mementos from a trip. Blowing up a few of your favorites and framing them is a great way to cherish the memories of a great adventure.
Obviously, I’ve always loved to collect local ceramic artistry, originally for myself and now because I love to share it with my customers! But in any country you visit, you can find artwork that comes in a format that matches your style.
Where are you going next? Perusing the Emilia Ceramics collection might inspire your next destination of choice.
(If you’re a fellow international traveler, please repost a link to this blog with your thoughts on how you bring a little bit home with you from the countries you visit. I’d love to hear your ideas!)
This time of year, with everything going on, it’s common to know people who are scrambling trying to prepare the final touches for hosting the holiday party. If you’re one of these people, don’t fret. With this short list of priorities, you can enjoy a relaxed, yet festive party that leaves your guests wondering if you hired a professional event planner!
Focus on a few things
First things first – start by prioritizing your guests’ experience. At an event of any size, your friends and family want to have an enjoyable night. This comes less from fanfare and more from the space you create to allow connections to develop or strengthen. Don’t try to do it all.
Apart from the food and drink, adding one or two other feature elements can give your gathering that special touch. Consider combining two or three essential oils, like any of these options from the Keeper of the Home blog, and use diffusers to add a subtle signature scent to your space. To complement this, make the room twinkle by scattering LED string lights or unscented candles on a few out of the way surfaces.
Bring the outdoors inside
At your party this year, think about how to celebrate Mother Nature’s contribution to our seasonal merriment. Looking to the table setting you plan to feature, determine what outdoor elements could add to your décor. I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by the organic gifts of the Rocky Mountains, which means I have a handful of options. From pinecones to sprigs of Evergreen to branches with berries, I like to intersperse natural elements everywhere I can.
If this isn’t accessible in your area, you can still bring the outdoors in by incorporating wood grain serving trays or utensils. Or, consider crafting a bit before the party begins with a few ideas from Brit+Co.
Let your guests craft the cocktail
Even a small collection of spirits, mixers and cocktail accouterment, displayed with gold or silver-rimmed glassware on a modestly decorated bar cart can bring a festive flair to your event. Curate a couple of mixologist-inspired drink recipes – like any of these – and set out copies. Or encourage your guests to try their hand at getting creative in crafting the blend that suits their palette.
If you want to go all out, you can still follow the above tips to get started. Then, follow some advice I received a few years ago for putting on a hit event: Walk yourself through the party, from beginning to end and make a list of the details you want to ensure get included. Turn the holiday party into something more elaborate by bringing in some outside entertainment, adding custom floral arrangements to every surface, or make a personalized gift for guests to take home.
Just in case you’re looking for some last-minute wares to get you ready for the event you’re hosting this year or next, here is a collection of holiday serving dishes I’ve put together.
Regardless of your party planning style, remember it’s your guests’ experience that makes memories. And hosting the holiday party should be about celebrating the time spent with those who matter most to you.