sweet mother’s day gift: mail-order italian cuore di pane loaf

My mother’s side of the family is Italian, and raised me with an affinity towards baked goods, especially those from DiCamillo Bakery from my hometown of Niagara. Whenever I visit the region, I always buy a loaf or two of their crusty Italian bread to take home and put in the freezer. A toasted slice with a bit of Nutella spread on top takes me back to 30 years in one bite.

I also have use DiCamillo’s mail order site for gifts, and their Cuore di Pane (Heart of Bread) is sure to melt any mother’s heart. The bread itself is delicious — made of candied orange, raisins, dried cherries with a light almond frosting. It goes great with a cup of a coffee. Packaged in gorgeous keepsake box, it’s sure to make any Sunday special. $26 at DiCamillo.com

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herb kits? so last year! grow edible flowers instead

Around this time of year, foodie magazines like to publish recipes that contain edible flowers. Resisting the urge to capture such a gorgeous and fleeting ingredient during its peak season is not possible. Look at this bountiful salad in the new MSL! Or this feature over at Food & Wine. But us readers, especially those without a green space, are left longing, relying solely on inventive chefs to toss a dose of colorful viola or geranium petals our way. The truth is edible flowers truly are everywhere, but without turning into a nighttime flower thief that raids the neighborhood beds, most of flowers are there to be seen, not eaten. Enter this adorable kit available from Rhode Island designer Sarah Rainwater at Etsy to solve the problem! It comes
all the goods you need to grow four types of heirloom flower seeds in in your home — calendula, lemon mint, nasturtium and starflower. In addition to including biodegradable folded paper pots for starting the seeds, it also comes with a lovely wooden display that will display your fresh flowers in glass vials — until you’re ready to eat them! What an inventive Mother’s Day present, don’t you think? Edible flower kit, $50 at Etsy.

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no brainer mother’s day presents: birchbox for the garden

Have you tried Birchbox yet? It’s a subscription gifting service, where for about $10 a month you receive a little box full of goodies — mostly beauty product samples customized to you — in the mail. The startup has been taking off since its founding a couple of years ago, and now is branching out into the gifting space. What better time to give it a try than for Mother’s Day? We would love to get (and give) their limited edition Birchbox for the Garden — though it should be retitled Birchbox for the Wannabe Gardener. Inside is a small collection of lovely spring scents and treats: There are mini jars of jam from Sarabeth’s, TOCCA’s Crema da Mano Luxe, and L’OCCITANE’s lovely Jasmin & Bergamot Eau de Toilette. The lucky plucker will also get a seed kit, a flowery utility knife and handy tote bag. Best of all, it arrives prepackaged up in a beautiful box for only $32 (valued at $87). Take a look at Birchbox.com today (and be warned you might just find something cute for yourself, too).

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jonathan adler goes to the dogs. thank goodness!

One of our favorite home designers has been lending his sharp skills to everything from toilet paper to makeup lines to handbags, and we have been wondering, is he spreading himself too thin? Luckily, he hasn’t abandoned the medium that made him a star — ceramics! — and has introduced a new critter to his delightful menagerie. Meet Jonathan Adler’s Terrier, available in white and black, starting May 1st for $138. We think he’d be the perfect wedding gift for a canine-obsessed couple.

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snowbound pottery brings the sunshine in with delicate berry bowls and bud vases

Last week, when the frost was keeping the ground hard and our blooms hidden, we discovered Snowbound Pottery, a love-made design shop in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA that makes gorgeous, delicate vessels. Whether you use for your morning berries or first buds of the season, these hand-crafted porcelain clay pieces are delicate yet sturdy enough for everyday use. Creator Anna Kasablan has a way with words as well (she’s written 12 books) so we thought we’d let her tell us a bit about how Snowboard Pottery was born.

How did you began creating pottery?

In 2003, I began to work in bisque and then glaze after drawing for years. But I then wondered what I could do with raw clay. I took some lessons, and after five or six I realized I did not like the wheel, but LOVED working in my hand, or with minimal equipment to hand build what I could not form in my hand. There’s a wonderful creative freedom and surprise that came when I stopped concentrating on making things perfectly round and symmetrical.

I migrated pretty quickly to porcelain clay because I felt it would allow me to create unusual and unexpected forms that would be ultra thin.

We love your berry bowls. What was their inspiration?
That is a great little story. I was invited to do a trunk show in Marblehead, Ma at MacKimmie & Co. The owner, Doris asked if I ever considered doing a berry bowl. I hadn’t, but went home and created a bunch of individual berry bowls and decided to name them after her! My berry bowls were featured in House Beautiful in the July/August issue and have been a popular item since. I have expanded the berry bowl theme too, and now have Full Bloom berry bowls that recall flower blooms. I can make them with an under-dish but generally don’t because as single serving dishes they can look beautiful on any dish or china someone has—maybe even prettier.

Tell us a little bit about your technique.

Well, it all starts with a ball of clay in the palm of my hand, and then I just sit and keep working it into a shape with my fingers stretching and moving the clay. I do have a secret way to hold those wavey shapes, but I can say it’s absolutely nothing mechanical!

How do you recommend people use your pieces?
My bowls, trays, servers and now my newest Petal Pours are all food safe and can be used for anything—for storing a special ring or bracelet, floating flower buds across a table (instead of big bouquets), ice cream, jam or a poof of whipped cream. Or, as one customer did, lined up a row on her fireplace mantel. Not everyone can afford to spend thousands of dollars on art glass or ceramics, yet each of us appreciates it.

The big idea is to live with and use affordable art at your table, or in your daily life.

We couldn’t agree more. See more of Anna’s work and her gorgeous studio here.

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