It seems that the mad rush of the holiday season has begun in earnest! We are all basking in the love of the wonderful crowd who stopped by on Wednesday evening to celebrate the season. Thank you to everyone who joined us to raise a glass and enjoy all of the sweet treats. The mulled wine smelled so delicious that it drew people in off of the sidewalk, and gave the evening a true sense of holiday cheer. One of the nicest things about gathering everyone together is seeing old friends and new, as well as introducing everyone. It has been such a privilege to witness the widening and deepening of our community here in Venice over the years. I also love feeding people, and sharing my new work. If you didn't manage to make it over, you can catch a little glimpse of the evening, along with some of the newest pieces here.
Putting together suggestions for gifting is always a great joy. I get to imagine how something will be received, and hopefully treasured. We have a beautiful selection of new jewels to choose from. As ever, we are delighted to share some of our favorite gift ideas. I think one of these beautiful little garden rings would be such a treat to give or receive. Each one is unique, and has its own personality. The pearls with the pink sapphire leaves is especially charming. It reminds me of cherry blossoms.
If gemstones are not on your list, then one of our 18K gold pieces might be perfect. The simplicity and warmth of the gold is timeless and the patina that comes with age is incredibly beautiful. I love seeing how the pieces age and soften a bit over time. The integrity of the gold is one of the reasons I chose to work with it.
Recently we have added oxidized sterling silver settings, mixing them in with the 18K gold for a more antique feeling. When I started making jewelry in my second year at university, I worked in oxidized sterling silver almost exclusively, so this feels nostalgic for me in lots of ways. Jewelry from the Georgian period also featured settings of sterling silver, and lots of flower and other natural motifs. These have what I think is a vintage, yet very modern feeling.
A robe would also make an outstanding gift. Waking up to a new silky kimono would be first on my list, I will admit. We have both solid silk charmeuse, and Liberty of London prints in 100% silk crepe de chine, as well as a few limited edition silk crinkle chiffon pieces. You could coordinate one with a handmade silk sleep mask for a charming gift set. We have several to choose from, and in my mind, they are life changing. I can't really sleep without one anymore. It might just be the one of the nicest things you could give this Christmas. The gift of a beautiful and more restful night's sleep is one that you can't really beat.
A gift doesn't have to be over the top. Some of our most simple and modest pieces make the best gifts. Indeed, one of our 100% beeswax and essential oils is something that everyone on your list would be delighted to receive. Our newest addition to the collection is Zen Garden, which is inspired by the incense from the Ryoanji temple in Kyoto, Japan. It made such an impression on me, that I wanted to capture the essence of that experience to share with everyone. I recently gave one of them to a lovely friend from Japan. She wrote to tell me that she loves it, as it reminds her of "walks through Kyoto in the fall when the air is crisp, the leaves are golden, and memories of incense wafting from temples..." I can't think of a better way to describe it.
While the treats for last night included some of my family's traditional holiday favorites, it is a new recipe that I felt most excited about it. A client of mine shared her recipe for salted rye cookies, and I must say that we all loved them! They were heaven with the mulled wine. The mulled wine recipe was also shared, and adapted from the Joy of Cooking. In addition to feeling seasonal and tasting delicious, it made the store smell amazing. Trust me, and make it for your holiday gatherings. Everyone will love it, and your house will have the most incredible aroma.
2.5 cups cane sugar
3 cups water
50 whole cloves
10 cinnamon sticks
3 crushed nutmegs
5 star anise pods
3 cardamom pods
Peels of 3 lemons and 2 oranges
4 cups lemon juice
5 bottles red wine
2 oranges, 1 lime, both sliced into rounds
Combine the sugar, water, 6 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anise pods, the nutmeg and cardamom, together with the citrus peels in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and cover the pan to let steep for 30 minutes, or longer if you have time. Strain the syrup through a mesh sieve into a large pot that can hold all of the liquid. I use a stockpot, that way I don't have to worry about splashing red wine everywhere.
Add the lemon juice, the wine, and the sliced oranges and lime, along with four cinnamon sticks, and a couple of star anise pods. Heat the wine slowly over a low heat until it is just below simmering. Keep warm, and serve in glass tea cups with a slice of citrus for garnish.