I've always loved Valentine's Day.
In elementary school, I remember working diligently to compile a list of all of my Valentines. They ranged from my grandparents (who raised me) to good friends, favorite teachers, the postman, and yes, of course, the boy who made my heart flutter.
Once the list was complete, I would set about finding the perfect way to let each person know they were special to me in some way. To me, that was the magic and true joy of Valentine's Day.
Whether it was picking the right Valentine card with the perfect sentiment and complementary image or crafting a meaningful expression of affection and appreciation from a box of embossed candy hearts, or finding that ideal gift that would bring a wide, true smile (and not deplete my piggy bank), I so enjoyed playing Cupid!
And I still find great joy today in working to pair the right gift with the right person to bring that priceless and unmistakeable smile of real delight. Don't you?
But to do so can be hard today, for a variety of reasons.
So, I thought I would strap on my Cupid wings and put together a selection of goodies that I hope will help you bring that special kind of delight to all of your special Valentines. And, we also have Free Standard Shipping in the continental U.S. for orders over $40 through Valentine's Day.
BUT FIRST, we have some Valentine's gifts for YOU!
There are two beautiful Zentangle-style hearts from Bangkok studio Bimbim for you to download, color, keep or share. Just click on the envelope on the left or the right — or both! — below, download, print and let your imagination soar as you color away!
AND, we also have a very yummy recipe for Lord Bergamot Tea-Infused Chocolate Truffles made with tea from Smith Teamakers. Smith's Lord Bergamot Blend 55 tea offers a superior flavor to typical Earl Grey tea (which you can substitute), which makes it the perfect choice for these dare-you-to-eat-just-one truffles.
Love, love, love...love is all we need.
So, here are three charming, keepsake books to help you document, share and learn more about love with that Special Someone:
Playful, tender, and personal, What I Love About You is the perfect gift for the person in your life who makes your pulse race.
This fill-in-the-blank book prompts you to say what is in your heart, but may not always be at the tip of your tongue. You can tell the most important person in your life just how much they mean to you by completing the unique, evocative checklists, short answers, and phrases in this clever book.
So, how would you answer the following with your Valentine?
In This Is for You, Rob Ryan takes his unique vision and crafts a book-length Valentine that will move the heart and engage the spirit with its charm and artistry. Each of this charming book's 64 pages features color images of amazingly intricately hand-cut and hand-painted paper cuttings that tell an enchanting tale of yearning and romantic hope. Ripe with evocative imagery and a heartfelt text, This Is for You is a powerful combination of poetry, graphic novel, and museum-quality art, but at its heart, it's a simple yet timeless tale of love. The perfect keepsake, it is magical, both in how it looks and the feeling of hope and wonderment is leaves you with. It is poignant and celebratory — just like real-life love. (Check out Dana's one-of-a-kind, hand-cut, hand-colored paper heartworks featured below for the ideal gift companion for this book!)
And then we have this beauty. Just Imagine how happy your Sweetie will be when you give her or him John Lennon: The Collected Artwork.
Before Lennon was a singer, a Beatle, or a music legend, he was an artist. Professionally trained, he attended the prestigious Liverpool Art Institute form 1957 to 1960.Throughout the course of his career, Lennon’s work as an artist expressed common societal themes from every epoch he witnessed. Until now, little of this work has been seen in one place. For the first time, John Lennon: The Collected Artwork offers a visually captivating history of Lennon’s art, and this captivating collection includes more than 200 images and features 25 never-before-published pieces from the archives of Yoko Ono.
Dana Coody Lucas is one of those rare, hearts-and-flowers, glass-half-full artists who creates objects that manage to be fun and whimsical without a hint of trite or sappy.
The idea for these gorgeous hand-cut Valentines was born when Dana taught high school art and theater on a $900 annual budget. What started out as a cheap student project led to many moments of zen achieved with paper, scissors, vision, patience and a steady hand.
Yes, each of these unique beauties is hand-drawn, intricately hand cut from paper and passionately hand colored. Click on the hearts below to see the entire collection of Dana's Heart Full Hearts, each as special as your Valentine! (Perfect pairing with Rob Ryan's This is For You shown above!)
How about giving flowers that won't wilt or need watering?
Instead, you can give a wonderful A-Z guide for growing all kinds of flowers?And how about a very cool looking pewter watering can to go with The Gardener's A-Z Guide to Growing Flowers From Seeds to Bloom What's in a name? First published in 1958, The Flower Chronicles is a compendium on the history of flowers that has lost none of its bloom. Drawn from folklore, poetry, annals of medicine, and gardening manuals to report essential historical information on the domestication of garden favorites before they were grown as ornamental plants.
Organized by species, Flower Chronicles brims with literary and historical references and anecdotes. It has an antiquarian feel about it, with its line drawings, woodcuts, and translations from the Greek, but the text never feels dated. Though out of print for nearly thirty years, Flower Chronicles has reemerged as a must-have classic for Valentines with green thumbs, or those who want to know more than a rose is a rose is a rose.
The complementary contrast of colors and textures handcrafted together to make these beautiful earrings caught my eye immediately!
The light to dark shades of sparking grey drusy with its surface of tiny natural crystals pairs perfectly with the smooth, light-catching facets of the deep violet-blue iolite gemstones
Oooooh! Wrap yourself in a rich, magical color of the rainbow when you wear this handcrafted and hand-dyed scarf by Earth Stain. That color is indigo, that hypnotic blue that sits between blue and violet. Each long scarf is truly unique!
So pretty, feminine and eye-catchingingly unique This stunning scarf/shawl was handmade by 7 Sisters, a very talented family of sisters from Kygyrsktan who use the traditional, labor-intensive Kyrgyz "ala-kiyiz" technique that combines delicate, airy, handwoven silk with two layers of felted Kyrgyz wool.
I was smitten when I first saw this beautiful handmade silk scarf. And when I met its maker and heard how she partnered with Mother Nature to craft each one, I fell in love! This Earth Stain scarf is made with a hand-dying process called eco-bundling, where flower petals, twigs, roots, etc., are used to create intricate, colorful and unique patterns.
I think Michael Turback, author of Hot Chocolate, sums up best why I LOVE this book, and why I think anyone who loves chocolate and real-deal hot chocolate will, too: So why on earth can't we make as decent a cup of hot chocolate as they do in Europe?
I take my chocolate very seriously, and I love to seek out the best on my travels. With the amazing Katherine Clapner's Dude, Sweet Chocolate! right here in Dallas, I don't have to travel too far for one of the most delicious ways to savor good chocolate — by drinking it!
When you first see one of these charming, handcrafted cup and saucer sets, you immediately want to sit some place cozy and fill each cup to the brim with something very tasty — like Dude, Sweet Chocolate! Drinking Chocolate (see above!) Or what about a perfectly made cup of expresso with just the right crema? (Not sure how to do it right? Then The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee book below is just for you!
If your Valentine adores the best chocolate, loves making divine desserts with chocolate and can't make it to the chocolate master classes that top-tier French chocolatier Valrhona offers at London's Cookery, then this book will be a true treat!
The name says it all — sweet and nutty! Take raw, unfiltered Blackland Prairie honey from the Texas Honeybee Guild and mix with fresh Texas pecans for a very tasty treat! Spoon Sweet Nut Thangs over brie, your favorite ice cream or mix it with yogurt. Spread over pancakes or waffle, or use your sweet imagination!
If your or your Valentine is a flour-dusted soul on a pilgrimage to make the Perfect Pie, then you must get Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie! by the Dean of Pie-Making, Ken Haedrich!
And if your Valentine's Bucket List includes making the Perfect Pie, then he or she must have the Perfect Pie Pie Plate. The good news is that England's Mason Cash has been been helping home bakers avoid needless culinary catastrophes and graduate with honors for more than 200 years!
How many times have you been in the middle of cooking a meal armed with a variety of measuring tools and still seem to be one measuring cup or teaspoon short of having the right tool to measure exactly what you need? Aside from a knife, The Perfect Beaker is the kitchen's single most important tool!
Me oh my, does your Valentine love pie! (Remember that great scene from the movie
Michael?) Based on recipes and stories from Emily Hilliard's popular Nothing-in-the-House pie blog, PIE — A Hand Drawn Almanac, is a full-color, fully-illustrated partnership between Emily and very talented illustrator Elizabeth Grabber. A unique treat for your One and Only!
Save your Valentine from "The Tyranny of the 750". Wanting a glass of wine but knowing that if you open a new bottle, there would be the pressure to maybe drink more that you wanted or end up throwing good wine down the drain..."the tyranny of the 750". Enter lover of wine and foodie at heart, Scott Tavenner and his mission to create the perfect solution with the Savino Wine Saver Carafe.
"One of the most influential bars in America has come out with a book of cocktails…just as brilliant as the place itself…The recipes are well organized and will appeal to everyone.— Max Watman, The New York Times Book Review
Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails with More Than 500 Recipes is the definitive guide to the contemporary craft cocktail movement, from one of the highest-profile, most critically lauded, and influential bars in the world.
"Once you’ve tried Blue Bottle coffee there is no going back—and thanks to this book, you can now understand exactly why. This be-all book on today’s coffee culture is a how-to and why manual that will thrill coffee geeks, amateurs, and professionals alike. And for those whose experience is that food is an afterthought at a coffee bar, you can now have Blue Bottle’s sumptuous recipes that are like the crema in the cup."
— Danny Meyer, noted restauranteur (think Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe and the Union Square Hospitality Group, and author of Setting the Table. 'Nuf said. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee book is the Ideal pick for your coffee-loving Sweetheart!
If your Heart Throb is looking for an opportunity to slow down, unplug and relax, there's nothing more satisfying than making the time to enjoy a cup of tea. Price & Kensington's Bright Red Tea for One will make your Special Someone think of you when they sip and say "Ahhhhh..."
If your Valentine is a tea lover, she or he will love you more if you introduce them to Smith Teas. The lexicon of tea is full of exotic terms. Oolong. Pu-erb. Matcha. Mao Feng. To these, we humbly add Smith. This Smith Lord Bergamot Blend 55 Loose Leaf Tea has a flavor superior to the typical Earl Grey. Fragrant Ceylon Dimbulla and Uva are artfully combined with select teas from India's Assam Valley, then scented with the flavor of bergamot fruit from the realm of Reggio Calabria, Italy. Get the recipe for Lord Bergamot Tea-Infused Chocolate Truffles here.
The art of making a 'proper cup of tea' that would make any English afternoon tea aficionado and Valentine proud, possesses two constants. The first is to use water that is boiled only once and, second, use a teapot that allows the tea leaves to swirl freely around the pot, which releases the flavor and, ultimately, provides a rich, full-flavored and less bitter tea.While we can't be there to boil the water for you Lovebirds, we can provide you with the proper pot, the Price & Kensington White Gloss 6-Cup teapot.
I'm so excited because it is FINALLY snowing here in Dallas! I LOVE snow because of its quiet beauty and the incredible magic of each unique flake. (I know my Boston friends are rolling their eyes, but, hey, it's about time Mother Nature shared!)
AND, not only is it snowing, it is Tea Time, but not just any Tea Time — it's SMITH TEAMAKER TEA Time! I am SO excited about offering these thoughtfully crafted and memorably delicious teas created and hand blended in Portland by Stephen Smith, long recognized as one of the world's best tea makers.
One of my New Year resolutions I have actually stayed with — and really benefitted from — is working to become more mindful, more present in the moment right in front of me! And, Smith Teas are so elegantly flavorful that they really do make you stop, take notice, and the world just seems to melt away as you savor each sip. Really!
I thought I would share a bit of my Tea Time with you today — from the brewing to the sipping and savoring along with the ever-so-graceful snowfall.
Always a tough choice, but I chose Big Hibiscus today. I start boiling the water. When you see the size of all of the herbal goodies in the oversize, silky sachet — deep red hibiscus flowers joined with exquisite touches of Indian sarsaparilla, ginger, pink rose petals, and the fresh taste of elderflowers from Europe — you will know why a roiling boil is perfect for this luscious infusion. You then steep the tea for 5 minutes to allow all of the flavors to blossom fully and blend. Hard to wait!
I love these porcelain cups —originally from Japan — and have had them for years. I am trying to find some for the shop. Perfect for sipping and keeping tea warm, as well as having room for some tasty treats and/or your tea bag. These sweet treats are melt-in-your-mouth King Harold Gingersnaps from the heavenly Chocolate Maven in Santa Fe, NM. Yum!
And then, the finished brew —no wonder why Big Hibiscus is often called the Cabernet of hibiscus tea — is ready for me to sip while watching the snow fall outside my office window. Ahhhhhhhh.........Back to you in a bit, World.