I already know, before I even set foot off the plane, that all of the offerings in France and Italy will be overwhelming. There will be so many yummy, tempting European goods to buy that I feel like I need to have some sort of a plan, so my head and suitcase don’t explode. I’ve learned that it helps to go into intensely exciting shopping situations with a list, even if it’s just a rough one, so that I can focus. I still might feel all over the place, but I have a piece of paper I can reference to help me take a deep breath and reign in the exhilaration.
These are the things that are on my list…
copper & kitchen gear
I do have a lot of beautiful copper and great kitchen gear and some of it is even from France (and that big copper bunt pan is from Germany), but several of them are antique/vintage and the copper needs to be redone to make them perform their best. I love the idea of buying a copper pot that is a size I would use all the time and that I picked out myself while in France. I have my eye on a 2qt saucier, possibly. We’re going to hit E. Dehillerin, Julia Child’s favorite cooking shop in Paris, and see what we find. I’m open to buying vintage as well, but it needs to be in great, useable condition.
As far as other cooking gear, I’ll just wait and see what I see. I love wooden spoons, flatware, bread boards, colanders, jelly jars, and spice crocks. I also know that dishes are a “problem” for me, so if I find any I can’t live without, I’ll ship them home along with anything else that’s bulky or fragile.
I know I can buy them online, but I am definitely going to keep my eyes open for beautiful linens and textiles. Specifically – monogrammed linen tea towels, napkins, and sheets. I’ll also be looking for grain sacks and any vintage fabric remnants that would be good for sewing projects.
dip pens, art supplies, & street art
I just love having a yummy assortment of art supplies to create with and it would be awesome to add some French and Italian supplies to my stash. I’m going to try to look for vintage pieces and supplies I can’t readily get in the US. Dip pens and nibs are at the top of my list along with a unique ink well.
A calligraphy & paper shop was suggested in a book I am reading (a Paris Year) and I have a few art shops on our “things to do” list.
I’m hoping to buy some street art as well. I would love to find a sketch or watercolor of a place I’m particularly drawn to. It will remind me of that place and support a fellow creative and artist. It would be fun to gather a small collection to hang in a gallery.
I’ve heard Florence is a great place to buy leather goods, so I’m going to look for something there. I’m not sure what it will be, yet. Maybe a wallet, a small messenger bag, a leather journal, etc. I love my leather pencil and brush rolls, but I’m not sure if art-related leather goods are readily available.
And Marshall wants a mini Eiffel tower and small French and Italian flags! I think I can manage those. I’m still waiting to hear what Jeff and Calvin want.
Of course, if I see something I absolutely love, the list will go out the window, but it’s nice to have somewhat of a plan, even if it doesn’t have to be adhered to rigidly. The most important thing to me is that I make thoughtful purchases. I want to buy things I really love that I’ll really use or display, so I can appreciate them every day.
I know myself well enough to know another thing I have to prepare for is being drawn to large pieces of furniture that can simply not come home with me. I just love furniture and that’s what I always make a beeline for in shopping situations. There will be gorgeous Frenchy chairs and European pine wardrobes that will be calling my name. So, I have a plan for that, too… I am going to take a picture of every piece that has me hyperventilating. I’ll do a little mini-photo shoot with it, appreciate it, maybe open the doors and drawers and run my fingers along the surface. I’ll take it all in for a moment and then move along, knowing it’s not the time to shop for furniture. Maybe one day I’ll go to Europe with furniture-buying in mind, but this isn’t that trip.
Of course, I’ll share all of my purchases and European “honey holes” that are discovered with you. The journey begins in less than a week…