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Gift Ideas for Celebrating The Special Women in Your Life

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While the month of May brings many things – warmer weather, the end of the school year, Memorial Day getaways, and summer vacation planning – the most important is probably the celebration of mothers. But what’s the best way to communicate our appreciation and gratitude to those special women who gifted us life? While many kids and husbands tend to defer to the typical stand-by’s of flowers, brunch or jewelry, we recommend taking a moment to consider what would best support her and her unique lifestyle.

Outdoor Enthusiast

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Watering Jug – Yellow and Exposed Terracotta by Richard Esteban (Aigues-Vives, France)

For the special mom in your life who would prefer to spend her free time outside, your gift opportunities are plentiful. Maybe she’s longing for a weekend retreat to the great outdoors, in which case, you could make the trip possible or buy some supplies for the experience. Need some ideas? REI suggests a list of ways to incorporate nature into the celebration.

If backyard patio time is more her style, you might find the right gift item amongst our Garden and Patio pieces. You could consider making a date to take your mom to the nursery and then surprise her with a planter, (the Round Paloma Planter is a personal favorite). Or if gardening isn’t her thing, try this one-of-a-kind Gorky Gonzalez Hurricane Candleholder – she can enjoy it on the patio all summer long.

Crunched for Time

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Deruta Salt & Pepper Set by Ceramiche Gialletti Giulio (Deruta, Italy)

If the mom you have in mind spends her days rushing to and fro, the gift of relaxation is always appreciated. Gifting a massage or pedicure encourages her to take a moment for herself, when she can leave her worries behind. Another way to pamper the hard-working mom in your life is to cook her dinner, clean her car, or anything else that would make her day easier and more enjoyable.

If you’re looking for a tangible gift for the mom with too much to tend to, consider common-sense items, such as the Deruta Oil & Vinegar set, a set of Blue Stripe Mixing Bowls, or a Large Pomegranate Pitcher.

If it’s just too hard to predict what she will find useful, an Emilia Ceramics gift card is a no-fail option. Then she can decide which beautiful piece she needs and wants most.

Dinner Party Host

Thankfully, there really is no way to go wrong when picking out gifts for the woman who loves to host. We’ve written in previous posts about considering an individual’s personality when gift giving, but it’s also important to remember her décor style. Here are a few of our favorite collections for those who love to have party guests:

Separate from these collections, a few of my favorite entertaining items include the La Fiesta Round Serving Dish or a set of the Little Square Plates in Blue.

Whether the special woman you’re celebrating this May fits into one of these categories or not, we expect you’ll find any number of relevant options here. We’ll leave you with just one reminder – spend a little time to find something that suits her unique personality and she’ll know just how much you care.

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4 Spring Design Trends Beyond #Coloroftheyear

Radiant orchid is just the tip of the spring design iceberg (if I may mix my metaphors). Pantone’s color of the year 2014 is everywhere from makeup to home accessories, coating the world in a wonderfully vibrant purple-pink. Inspired by sunshine, pastels, and warmer temperatures, here are four more on-trend ways to refresh your home in time for spring entertaining.

flower bowls

1. Get crafty!

I’m a sucker for DIY and love Apartment Therapy’s recent posts about spring craft projects: lots of Easter-themed ideas here (many of them great for kids), floral-themed projects here. Maybe this year I will finally make those paper flowers I keep seeing all over the blogosphere. Maybe.

paper flowers

2. Bring on the pastels.

The pastel hues this year are a bit richer than I remember, playing well with existing neutrals. HGTV calls the pastels “romantic” – shades of lavender, soft green, pink, and (you guessed it), orchid are definitely fresh. Pair these shades with neutrals (think gray, navy, or cream, not beige) for an uplifting pop.

Radiant orchid room design

3. Go outside…

Sure, it’s still not really all that warm in most places yet. But it will be soon! Take heart and plan for living outside on your patio/deck/porch/balcony. I’m inspired by Elements of Style’s take on the Gramercy Park Hotel’s terrace. The fig leaf pillows are particularly wonderful, especially with the black and white palette and lush greenery.

 terrace at the Gramercy Park Hotel

4. …Or bring the flowers inside.

Soft, diffused watercolor florals are all over the runways. The same goes for graphic florals: mirrors, wallpaper, purses, and dresses only get things started. Check out Elle Decor for more ideas. The take home is that no matter how stylized or abstract the flowers, these harbingers of spring are a definite must for both fashion and home decor.

mini flower bowlHow are you decorating for spring this year? Will you do anything special for Easter or Passover? Leave your decorating tips and ideas below and enjoy the sunshine!

Paper flower image via Sweet Paul Magazine.

Orchid inspiration via Pantone.

Patio image via Elements of Style.

 

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

May is coming up fast and with it Mother’s Day, a time to celebrate the importance of moms everywhere. Stuck on gift ideas for that special lady and need some inspiration? Here are some handmade handpainted Majolica gift ideas that are just as special as she is.

If Mom likes…

Entertaining: Think about serving plates and platters. Unusually shaped pieces like the rounded rectangle Mexican serving platters will definitely stand out at her next event.

Cheerful polka dots or stripes make for whimsical French serving platters, while fruit and floral motifs characterize Mexican serving platters. Choose motifs or colors that already go with what’s in her kitchen to ensure she loves her gift.

Gardening: Help her plants shine with eye-catching planters and ceramic pots. Handmade handpainted Majolica works both indoors and out, decorating patios, porches, doorsteps, gardens, and windowsills with ease. Use a round planter as a cachepot for a blooming orchid or one of her favorite flowers or gift a larger planter with seeds and soil to start spring off right.

Drinking coffee: Then the right mug is a must. Consider the size of this large mug, big enough for an entire morning’s worth of coffee or tea. Or if she loves espresso, a colorful set of espresso cups might be just the thing she needs to start her day off right. Creamers, sugar bowls, and other coffee and tea accessories are also great gift ideas, especially if they make their first appearance on a tray for her indulgent Mother’s Day breakfast in bed.

Unique artwork: Consider one of a kind handmade, handpainted Majolica. Whether it’s a wall plate or serving platter, vase or pitcher, unique ceramics are sure to please. Majolica ceramics are elegant and sturdy, which is great for mothers of young children. She’ll love knowing that she has the only one in the world. I’d say she deserves nothing less.

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New Arrivals of Old Friends: Ceramic ZigZag Planters Have Returned!

There’s nothing better than getting a shipment of ceramics from one of our artists. I always feel like a kid on Christmas when the boxes arrive and pieces need to be unwrapped and sorted. While it’s great to see the new pieces (like the gray and yellow zig zag tibors), it’s also lovely to replenish my stock of sold out ceramics like the zig zag planters by Talavera Vazquez.

But why is it that ceramic pots for plants remain such constant top sellers? Marla Hart at Studio City Patch explains it neatly in admitting to her addiction to outdoor pots. I think she’s right when gushing about how easy ceramic pots for plants make gardening: you can have a single large flower pot or a whole yard’s worth, whatever your green thumb desires (and can handle). Groupings of small flower pots on a porch or patio add interest and color; large flower pots can even accommodate small trees and bushes that you can later move if you decide to change your landscaping.

Outdoor plant containers are also a good idea for drought conditions like many people are experiencing across the country this summer. You can carefully monitor the dryness of the soil and water your plants without waste; ceramic pots for plants that are glazed in white or other light colors help reflect the sun’s rays and keep those roots from crisping. Because outdoor pots can be easily moved, it also means you can keep delicate plants in the shade during heat waves.

The ceramic zig zag planters are a fun way to keep your plants looking good; either plant directly inside (there’s a hole for drainage) or use these pots to hold another, smaller terracotta pot. The fluting at the top of these zig zag planters makes them perfect for ferns, spider plants, and flowers that like to spill over the sides.

The new sunflower planter also from Vazquez has the same shape; I think this large flower pot looks splendid filled or empty. Other new arrivals include the small flower pot with polka dots and another ceramic pot in lime green by Richard Esteban. Both of these planters are one of a kind and would look great in a window indoors or outdoors.

Richard Esteban’s clay flower pots with exposed bases are another way to add French provincial charm to your favorite plants. Of course, there are still the large flower pots with stripes by Vazquez and wonderful large flower pots with fruit motifs from Tuscia d’Arte.

With all the planters I now have on hand, I keep thinking about expanding my own gardening efforts. I might be on my way to becoming addicted to outdoor plant containers and flower pots myself!

Shop our entire selection of planters here. 

 

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Decorative Pottery for Your May Flowers: More than Just French Ceramics

The saying goes that “April showers bring May flowers,” and with this year’s especially wet spring, the flowers are blooming with abandon! With all that’s growing, it’s the perfect time to get decorative with some flower pots, ceramic planters, and other stylish containment for your favorite blooms. Annie Selke recently tweeted about kicking your spring garden decor up a notch with great planters and I couldn’t agree more. To add to the excitement, the ever-popular Mexican planters by Talavera Vazquez are back in stock. Here are some easy ways to inject decorative pottery style into your home and garden:

Be square.

Just like unusually-shaped plates, a square planter can add a touch of unexpected style. The square hidalgo planter (pictured here on my sister’s patio) is a great example. Black and white, it’s chic and festive at the same time. Besides the square hidalgo planter, striped or zigzag planters are other fun options. Squares don’t have to be big either – this small rustic green planter by Richard Esteban is perfect for a desk, countertop, or perched on a window ledge.

Be French.

French ceramics can transport you to Provence in an instant… And for me, nothing feels as French as ceramic hanging planters, which add green to any wall or lattice and create a stunning outdoor area. This hanging planter with polka dots and squiggles is a fabulous example of decorative French pottery that’s also functional. It reminds me of a party lantern (and who can resist a party?).

I also love the new wall planters by Richard Esteban that I picked out while in Provence last September. Totally rustic and understated, with raw glaze peaking out from under soft, touchable glazes, they don’t compete with beautiful flowers, but add to them. See all three color choices here: Wall Planters.

Be layered.

Raised beds add dimension to any size garden, but why stop there? Use clay flower pots to move plants to unexpected places (and help preserve delicate blooms from the cold when fall comes). Mixing flower pots into beds can be a fun way to use ceramic planters, adding a splash of color that compliments what’s growing inside. I love this large sunflower planter because it adds vibrant Mexican color to the garden or patio. Don’t have a garden or large yard? Cluster different sized pots right next to each other to create a garden of any size, no matter how small.

Be innovative.

Garden décor isn’t just about black and white zigzag planters or ceramic flower pots. Chairs, tables, stepping stones, borders, and other accessories make a huge difference to the space. Lay out paving stones in a spiral to create a unique patio area. Create a wall of succulents if you don’t have any yard to work with. Turn that giant tree stump into a small flower garden. With all the creative ways to use outdoor space, you can make the outside of your home just as special as the inside.
Succulent wall

Have creative gardening ideas or uses for decorative pottery when it comes to plants? Leave a comment and let us know!

Succulent wall image courtesy of Jzawdubya.

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Blog Round Up: Planters


Green thumbs unite! Ceramic planters are a favorite with so many gardeners and it’s easy to see why. Planters made from earthenware (aka ceramic planters) keep soil moist longer — perfect for those of us who forget to water. And they provide a sturdy base for our favorite plants, from ferns to flowers to vegetables. At Emilia Ceramics, we love ceramic planters for their decorative flair as well. But we’re not the only ones… Let’s check out why people love ceramic planters in 2011, for our last blog round up of the year.

Fresh American loves planters with style, indoor and out. Whether a zig zag planter or a huge cube for small shrubs and trees, it’s important to match your planter to its contents. Check to make sure there’s enough space for adequate roots when choosing a ceramic planter. It’s best to find a ceramic planter with a hole for drainage, but you can always add a layer of rocks or gravel to keep your roots from getting too wet. Other planter ideas range from DIY to statement pieces for your patio, porch, or even living room and kitchen.

Of course, you don’t have to use a zig zag planter for just plants. The Jet Set Gypsy thinks the oval striped planter pictured above would look great filled with limes for margarita making and I tend to agree. Ceramic planters are perfect places for fruits, mail, or even stylish office supply storage on a desk.

Of course, fun patterns are one of the reasons to love handmade ceramic planters. This Designers Palette loves chevron ginger jars, but I can see a similar design statement with a wonderfully graphic planter. Want something a little more warm or organic? This rustic Italian ceramic planter, like many others by Ceramiche Bartoloni, is gorgeous for either starting out seedlings or housing daffodils and other favorite flowers.

Let’s not forget wall planters either. For trailing vines or a decorative display of seasonal flowers, hanging ceramic planters are another colorful way to create a garden inside and out. Blue and white, polka dot, or multicolored planters make any wall space instantly more green in the summer and add interest during dreary winters.

It’s been an especially popular year for zig zag planters; In fact, at Emilia Ceramics we’ve recently sold out — who knew zig zag planters would be such popular gifts this holiday season?! More are on the way, but with stripes, prints, polka dots, fruits, and other motifs for ceramic planters, it’s easy to find one that matches your style as we transition from 2011 to 2012.

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Find Your Personal Planter Style

When it comes to choosing a planter, the options are as varied as the plants that could go inside them. From tiny pots perfect for seedlings to mega decorative statement pieces, planters are the ultimate garden accessory. While I personally love the elegance of Italian ceramic planters, there are planter options to fit any home and style. With some thought, you can use planters to highlight a formal garden, green up your patio, or bring some foliage into your home with pizzazz. Will it be an oval ceramic planter or a huge teak vessel? Here are some ideas to help you find the perfect planter for you!

DIY: Crafty or like to add your own personal touch when you plant? You can make planters from a variety of materials from shoes to hanging gloves like this wall garden I photographed at an outdoor bar in Portland, Oregon. Just make sure there’s a way to drain so your roots don’t get too soggy! I like these other ideas that include casting your own forms using baskets or mixing bowls, writing herb names on pots, and stacking pots to create height and visual interest to a garden.

Movable & Flexible: Looking to create a small pot garden on your deck or in your kitchen window? Smaller planters are ideal. I like the style that Italian ceramic planters bring to any space, adding a touch of color to compliment your greenery. Arrange small blue and white Italian planters in a row along a bookcase or windowsill full of flowers, ferns, or even herbs. It’s easy to find Italian or other ceramic planters that fit your décor and aren’t too bulky.

Statement pieces: Need something for a small tree or as a visual anchor for a front porch? Larger planters, like those featured on the Elle Decor website, are perfect for providing a structural and functional touch. Urn shapes are great for fountains of flowers, while box forms are perfect for upright topiaries or grasses. Rustic elements like weathered wood, stone, or galvanized metal make these planters champions for staying outdoors year-round, particularly on a deck or by a pool.

Ceramic: Need a planter that’s versatile and stylish? Ceramic is definitely the most flexible material, with round, square, or oval ceramic planters in any size imaginable. I love this blue and white oval ceramic planter from Talavera Vázquez to hide smaller pots. And the Treccia Cafaggiolo Planter by Tuscia d’Arte lends a sophisticated, yet modern look to any room in the house. The finished look for a glazed Mexican, French, or Italian ceramic planter also helps keep plants moist and happy, giving them an edge over plain terracotta.

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Create a Garden Inside and Out with Blue and White Planters

Living in the city as I do, there’s no real space for me to have a garden of my own. At least that’s what I thought. Talking with a friend a few years ago, she pointed out that you don’t need lots of space to have an interior garden; picking up a blue and white planter from the shelf she said that I already had some of the materials right on hand. All I needed were some seedlings, potting soil and I was in business. Since then I’ve expanded my repertoire from a few houseplants to a kitchen herb garden and love having fresh herbs year round.

Even if you have acres for a personal garden space, bringing green into your home is a great way to enliven any decorating scheme. There are hundreds of houseplant ideas if greenery or flowers are your preference. But if you’re like me, a steady supply of fresh herbs is too good to pass up. It makes such a difference when it comes to cooking!

So what to plant? As the song says, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme are all great for a pot garden. Mint, basil, and dill also look striking in a blue and white planter on a windowsill. You can grow many herbs from seed, but I like starting with seedlings to see immediate progress. Most herbs need a decent amount of sun, so choose a sunny window (even if it’s not in the kitchen) or augment with artificial lighting. Remember to water (but not too much) and you’ll have your favorite seasonings ready to go in just a few months if not sooner.

Have some outdoor space? Why not try a container garden for veggies, fruits, herbs, and/or flowers? There are all kinds of container possibilities, but decorative ceramics, like blue and white planters, remain my favorite. Not only is blue and white ceramic continually appealing, ceramic is also an easy way to keep soil from getting too dry too quickly. What’s also great is that you can bring plants in during the cold winter months, keeping them healthy and happy all-year round. Don’t limit blue and white ceramic to the kitchen; add interest to your patio with decorative hanging blue and white planters (with or without plants) as well as various sized other ceramic planters.

No matter where you have them in your home, blue and white planters will add a unique decorative touch with or without plants. They also make a great housewarming present. Just add seed packets to a blue and white striped oval planter for a fast, easy introduction to pot gardening; no green thumb required.

Pot garden image courtesy of Pete Birkinshaw.

Basil image courtesy of Ryan Hyde.

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Will You Light My Candle? Why Candle Holders aren’t Simply a Thing of the Past

Mimi’s need for light in La Boheme became the beginning of a tragic love story, but these days, candle holders can seem like quaint relics of the past. That’s because today, candles are considered occasional accessories or backup lighting for when the power fails.

But it’s still true that candles create instant ambiance and the candle holder itself only adds to that. Whether an intimate candlelit dinner for two or a soft lighting source for a soirée, their warmth and scent invoke comfort and closeness. Anyone who loves candles knows that giving them the perfect setting is important.  To this end, you may want to pair them with Italian ceramic candle holders or Mexican votive holders.

Candle holders really do so much more than just hold candles. They’re a great household accessory, like jewelry for your table or shelf. This Italian ceramic candle holder, by Ceramiche Bartoloni, adds a splash of color to a bedside table or dresser. Prepare your patio for an outdoor fiesta with a unique blue and white candlestick holder like this large hurricane lamp by Gorky Gonzalez. Regardless of size or quantity, these timeless classics compliment all kinds of decorating styles and do so much more than hold candles.

The versatility of candle holders makes them ideal for gifts, especially for people who are hard to buy for (my mother springs to mind – it was just her birthday recently). For friends, coworkers, or family members, a candle holder makes a great housewarming, birthday, or hostess gift. Personalize your gift by finding a fabulous candle holder that matches their personality! Funky and festive candle holders are great for a fiesta feel, though they also look fantastic in more minimalist settings. For rustic authenticity, these Mexican candle holders are sure to please. And for the quirky friend who love a unique piece, you can’t beat this whimsical candle holder from Provence.

And of course there’s the classic combination of  blue and white, which is great for making a subtle statement in a more subdued color palette. Try a blue and white candlestick holder alone or in a pair, either way it will make the perfect addition to your home décor.

So whether you like a traditional Italian ceramic candle holders or prefer a contemporary blue and white candlestick holder, try this great gift idea: Fill a basket with one or more candle holders and candles that fit inside. Be sure to give multiple candles (maybe in a variety of colors or scents), so the recipient can get the most out of their candle holder gift. It’s original, useful, and very personable.