Gift: In Bloom

I’ve lived most of my life in the Midwest, a place where spring teases and retreats. Some years it felt as if the season hardly got out of bed. I can’t blame it, what with Lake Michigan in a frozen expression of shock and the ground practically set-cement hard for months on end. I’ve watched snow fall on my birthday in April.

I now find myself in the mid-Atlantic region, a land of milder winters and an actual season of budding and bursting forth prior to June. Currently the daffodils are awake, and this past week soared with summer-like temperatures. Because of that, I’m inspired today by gifts that will bring on the blooms.

Haul your bounty from the garden, the farmer’s market or the corner store in this sunny canvas tote from Chewing the Cud.

A bouquet that will last forever on the classic poppy Marimekko Unikko teapot.

Get growing with Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply seed tins.

See Spark Living about these mugs by Paul Timman of Sunset Strip Tattoo featuring chrysanthemums and lotus flowers otherwise inked by Paul on someone’s body.

The Celia Birtwell watering can from Sprout Home is as practical as it is pretty.


Gift: Friday I’m in Like/Luv/Love

I think the last time my husband and I attempted to celebrate Valentine’s Day we surprised one another by having both made cards with an anatomical heart theme (complete with graphic arteries and ventricles). Ours is a curious brand of romance.

That said, I’m not entirely unromantic either. Irregularly shaped construction paper hearts, bunchy tissue paper flowers and teeny cards with corny knock-knock jokes do make me swoon. And really, any opportunity to let others know that your heart skips a few extra beats because of them, should be taken.

So, for those marking Valentine’s Day on Tuesday, here are a few gift ideas for friends, family, significant others and even yourself.

Express how you feel in prose short and sweet with these bold, graphic postcards of affection from Enormous Champion.


Present something less expected than roses like this flowering bonsai tree kit from Sprout Home (an endless source of wonderful finds). Just like your fondness, it’s the gift that keeps on growing.


Get creative with your littlest sweethearts. The glitter, feathers and other trimmings included for tricking out folded hearts and animals make this origami kit truly awesome.


Share the obsession of Downton Abbey with anyone keen on intense family drama, smoldering romantic tension, lavish dinner parties and fanciful hats. Sparkling eye candy aside, it is an engaging, well-cast mini series. I’ll be crushed when it ends.


Need an antidote for all the Valentine’s Day schmaltz? Taking a break from love this year? This t-shirt from Love Is Lame will alert suitors to back off. Warning: some might take it as a challenge.


I kinda can’t believe I found this hand embroidered pillow, but that’s the magic of Etsy. And Plumed appears to have stitched pillow designs for every brand of romance too. Be still my heart.