Dreaming of sunny beach days and backyard barbecues? Summer will be here before we know it. The reality? The kids will be out of school and after just a few blissful days… they’re going to be “so bored”. We’re sure you have the basics lined up – camps, babysitters, play dates, maybe even a week-long vacation if you’re lucky, but we’re here to help you think outside the box. We want to help you make the foreign familiar in your own home. Across the globe, we travel to bring inspiration back home to you. Across the street, we’re showing you ways to have fun summer adventures inspired by our travels through Italy!
We fell in love with Mama Watters’ crisp photos and thought her family could be perfect for our summer collection. When we reached out, we were delighted to hear that Tea Collection was already a part of her family’s story. We learned that the day her son Theo was born, Amanda’s oldest, Stella, arrived at the hospital dressed in Tea. So, we did what we do best—we packed our bags and took off to spend a few days in Kansas City with Amanda and her family and invited Bev Weidner and her little girl Natalie to join the fun!
Take a stroll along the Italian coastline and there’s no doubt you’ll find a few gems — tiny pieces of ceramic tile, seashells, sea glass and driftwood — a treasure trove of things to collect! Stella’s favorite thing to do while she was in Italy was collect smooth stones, bits of tile and unique rocks.
Ceramic pottery, one of the oldest crafts in Italy, dates back to the XV century. From Ravello to Positano and most famously, Vietri Sul Mare, the towns along the Amalfi Coast are known for their intricately designed ceramics. Ceramic pottery is a handicraft tradition, passed down through many generations and perfected along the way. In little alleys, on main streets and even along the water, you’ll find ceramic shops everywhere you go. We had a fabulous time popping into all of the shops, meeting their spirited owners, many of whom are third, fourth or fifth generation ceramic shop owners, and hearing their stories. We’re sharing our favorite ceramic shops, so make sure to take note in case you find yourself on the Amalfi Coast.
Lemons – like olives and grapes – are an iconic Italian crop. Travel through the Amalfi coast and you’ll see lemons everywhere. From lemons at fruit stands to painted lemons hidden in beautiful ceramic pottery, they seem to be everywhere you turn. Italy is the world’s largest lemon producer and this fragrant, sour fruit plays a big role in the countries cuisine. From limoncello – a lemon liqueur mainly produced in the South of Italy – to salad dressings, marinades, seafood dishes and even desserts, this do-it-all fruit can be found in much of Italy’s famous cuisine.
I once read that the main ingredient in an Italian dish is enjoying it with family and friends. In Italy, la famiglia is everything. And family gatherings are at the center of it all. You may have visions of what an Italian family dinner looks like from friendly stories or perhaps something you’ve seen in a movie, but you cannot truly grasp the bond between family members until you join them for a meal.
While in Italy, we were able to spend some quality time with Alexis’ Italian family at Ranise, their family’s olive orchard in Liguria, Italy. The 400-year-old olive trees are tended to by members of their extended family and have been passed down through generations. It was amazing to walk through the historical orchard and learn about the process of harvesting olives (and taste the finished product!). We learned that it takes many steps to get an olive from the tree to your table. Follow along as we share what we’ve learned…