Friday, January 13, 2012

Reminiscing: Our Antiques Buying Trip in Venezia


OMG - we had the best two week buying trip to Venice! Good times . . . good times . . .
We made some great  friends as well as some amazing business connections ~ so many possibilities
for the future. We brought home a lot of wonderful pieces that are all available on our website.
Besides great food and great exploring, our favorites have got to be the amazing antiques!

Madonna & Child Terra                              16th Century Italian                                     17th Century
     Cotta Plaque                                                       Prayer Altar                                                  Niche

These are the only 3 pieces that we have left. We found them all at a great, little tiny antique shop right around the corner from our apartment. The prayer altar was found in a great palazzo on the grand canal
where it was used as a family altar for many generations. It is believed to be from the Louis the XV era.

The Madonna & Child is a very heavy piece with a really great energy. Valentina told us it was quite a mystery as to where it originated and who did the work. She found it in a tiny private chapel in Tuscany. We fell in love with it instantly!

The Niche is amazing as well. The colors on it are still so bright! It smells old & woodsy like one of the great Italian churches. We would use this piece as an altar.

We stayed in Venice for two weeks at the amazing Palazzo Malipiero, located on the Campo San Samuele right across from the Palazzo Grassi.

Our pallazo is the one on the right. This was a really great location and if you look closely you will notice the gondola parked in front. This is a traghetto stop so the gondola is available during the day for a straight trips across the Grand Canal. I think you pay 1 or 2 euro and people just stand up and they short cut you across. These gondolas are bare bones, nothing fancy at all. But the really cool thing was late at night in clear weather and once during an amazing lightning storm, we would just go sit in the gondola and enjoy the ambiance.

Yes we are a little dorky. Anyway . . . back to the palazzo - it is also said that Casanova lived here!

But while it sounds like a perfect place to stay, we can't really recommend it. It is truly a crumbling palace. Our reserved apartment was on the very top floor. Basically what used to be the attic, so while it did have view of the Grand Canal, it was kind of claustrophobic! We felt like we were on a ship - we could literally feel the place moving and we were instantly sea sick. We went out for lunch and we were both kind of depressed to think of spending two weeks there. We called our booking company and they came over right away and found us a much larger apartment with a terrace in the same pallazo. They were really great and then we felt much better!!

After shopping at antique markets, traveling all around the Veneto and Verona this is Valentina's shop where we finally chose the perfect items to bring home for our website.

Look closely, that is our 16th Century Italian Prayer Altar in her window. It had been her favorite piece since she opened the shop and she really did get a little teary when we decided to buy it. She called her little daughter over and they both said goodbye to the altar. It is a beautiful, special piece and I think we will be sad to see it go as well. Now is a great time to buy it though. We got some great deals in Venice - we found that the prices on antiques can be totally out of control. We shopped around for two weeks and on the last day we went back to Valentina's shop to pick out our favorites. In Verona we fell in love with some great items but the prices were 20,000 euro and up for these same type of spiritual antiques. We trusted Valentina, each antique comes with a signed letter of authenticity and we have already done all the work of shipping to the US and paying customs taxes. Our 2012 sale prices are actually below what we paid in Italy. We are ready to part with these pieces and head back to find some more.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ginormous Candles

 We love Del Dotto Vineyards! Stopped by yesterday at their Napa Caves and picked up these gorgeous large format bottles to make candles for the estate.
Now just to put this in perspective, the small bottle on the right in front is a regular 750 ml bottle of wine. The biggest one in the middle is 18 L, it holds 24 bottles of wine!! These are gonna make some awesome candles.

We highly recommend doing a tour & tasting at either or both of the
 Del  Dotto Vineyards & Caves
Tell them Wendy & April sent you and say hi to Luis for us!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Joys of Working From Home

Where is winter?? We are enjoying a record number of warm January days with temperatures in the sixties! Today we took a break from candle making and enjoyed our lunch on the deck. Veggie sandwiches with eggplant, avocado, carrot, cucumber, pepperocinis and kale on toasted sourdough . . . and you certainly can't beat the view!