planning ahead

Chia and I are still here in Seattle, gardening, walking, and planning ahead for our trip back to Florence. I have been brainstorming ways to help my artisan friends in Italy. Life is a huge struggle for them now, having been on lockdown for months, and no tourists to support their businesses.

Since travel to Florence by tourists will be minimal in the foreseeable future, I am working on a project to bring my favorite Italian treasures to the States. I am calling it Tesori Italiani – curated gift boxes comprised of various items. I’m currently working with Caterina, a silversmith, Anastazija, a ceramics artist and a leather factory that makes beautiful little Florentine boxes. Lots of others ahead!

I am hoping to have the boxes in several different sizes available for purchase for the holidays. I will have more information about them in November.

Here in Seattle I have found treasures as well. Happy Hands Lotion Bar in “Summer Flower” is a new favorite. The lotion is in a bar form inside a tin which can be refilled. No plastic! It is available from Seattle Sundries www.seattlesundries.com $7.50 plus shipping.

Cards of Distinction by Bruce Wells, pictured below. He uses lots of Florentine papers among others to create personalized cards. He also does lovely invitations to your specifications. Box of 8 $50, including US shipping. BRWSEA@comcast.net

Wishing you all a safe and healthy spring from my deck!

Theme in green

Springtime in Seattle isn’t as much fun as springtime in Florence, but it is beautiful and green. This week I am featuring all things green.

Fiore Bicolore Azzurro e Nero

Girasole Azzurro
Monet Colorato Verde

Ballerine Celeste

The scarves are from Ricardo’s shop in Florence. I have received 50 of them, and am overwhelmed as to which ones I will keep! Lots of other colors available too. These are the 50x 50 cm. scarves perfect for a face covering, a neckerchief, tied on a handbag, a ponytail or a small dog! $30 including shipping. $22 for a second, third, fourth, etc. shipped to same address.

Face covering.
Neckerchief.
Chia wearing a scarf.
Scarf on bag.

And speaking of bags, take a look at a selection of green handbags from Fabio.

#6 Bag in green lambskin.
# 7 Reversible and convertible lambskin bag.
#21 Adora Tote in green.

And of course there is the jewelry with green. My Easter earrings with little pink sapphires. Designed especially for me!

The Nudo ring and earrings with green prasiolite stone.

This is a ring I had made from one my mother gave me. Her’s was a 1960’s cocktail ring that I didn’t like, so voila! The goldsmith used the stones to make me a new ring. Good recycling….

Wishing you all a lovely Sunday from Seattle!

Battling boredom with remote shopping.

Chia and I are getting awfully bored with staying at home. All the closets and cupboards are cleaned and organized. The garden is weeded, watered and planted with some annuals. Windowsills are filled with vegetable starts. Exercises performed and a long walk around the neighborhood. Now what to do?

Fabio to the rescue! For those of you not familiar with Fabio, let me explain. Fabio is an elderly man who used to work for the big name handbag designers in Italy. He has been retired for many years, but does make a few handbags with the leftover materials from his son’s factory.

Each bag Fabio makes is one of a kind, although sometimes he makes the same style bag in different colors. I have several of his bags and love them!

I just received photographs of 20 bags made by Fabio! Having such fun looking at each bag. He even gave me a description of the leathers used. He must be getting bored at home also…..Here are a couple of the bags:

Red calfskin with braided handles. Measures 16.5cm x 10.5cm. A longer shoulder strap in included and there are feet on the bottom.
Light blue/gray woven lambskin. Measures 15cm x 11.5cm. Has a longer shoulder strap included. Available in black and burgundy also.
Front side of a small mixed leather bag measuring 9.8cm x 7cm. Longer strap included. Below is the back side of this bag.

If you would like more information, please email me and I will try to get a really good deal for you on the bags. As some of you remember, if I call Fabio at just the right time (after his 2nd glass of wine) and tell him I have a client who fell in love with one of his bags, he often lowers the price!

I will be getting 50 small scarves ( 50cm x 50cm) from Ricardo this week. I can sell them to you, and ship from Seattle. They are available on their website also, but instead of 39 euro (20 euro plus 19 euro shipping), I can sell them for $30, shipping included. I selected my favorite 5 patterns and will have 2 of each to sell. They are the perfect size to use as a face covering, on a handbag, or ponytail. Several are promised already, and of course I will want one of each!

Mondo di Colori pattern in Blu. Also comes in Beige, Celeste, Rosso and Verde.
Girasole pattern in Rosso. Also comes in Antico, Azzurro, Bianco e Nero, Blu, Rosse e Nero and Viola.
Merlo pattern in Verde. Also comes in Arancio, Beige and Bordeaux.
Ballerine pattern in Giallo. Also comes in Celeste, Lilla and Rosso.
Fiore Bicolor in Rosso e Blu. Also comes in Azzurro e Nero, Beige e Nero, Celeste and Viola e Blu.

Wishing you all a healthy and safe spring! Yours in shopping, Maren

Gifts from florence

I have been receiving requests for various items from Florence to be shipped to the US, Canada and Australia. Although the shops are closed and everyone is still under stay at home orders, we can have some items shipped. The store owners and very worried about the future as Florence counts on tourism to survive. I am doing my part to support the economy by ordering 50 small scarves to use as face coverings. Silk is one of the preferred materials to use in this way. Our darling Ricardo is helping me with this. He is doing fine at home, but eager to be back at work.

Ceramics can be shipped also. Anastazija does a great job of packing, and guarantees against breakage. I love my little oval tray for appetizers or cookies.

Of course jewelry can be shipped easily! I have lots of photographs of earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces that I can share.

Handbags are easy to ship also. One of my favorites is the handbag that doubles as a backpack. This comes in lots of colors too!

Although Chia and I are stuck in Seattle under the stay at home rules, I hope to return to Florence soon! I hope that all of you are staying safe and healthy.

Heartbroken

Firstly, thank you to all my shopping friends who have emailed to see how Chia and I are doing. We postponed our return to Italy in the nick of time. We spent a week in NYC and instead of returning to Seattle, went to stay with a friend in Virginia at a remote location.

My friends in Florence are forced to stay at home, needing a special certificate to go out at all. It is a nightmare situation with no end in sight. I am heartbroken watching the news from Italy.

Please join me in keeping our Italian friends in our thoughts and prayers. Hoping that all of you are safe and well.

Your personal shopper in Florence, Italy