Sun, May 9, 2010
By Heather J. Paper
When I’m traveling via armchair, one of the places I like to start is Touch of Europe. The company was founded on a simple idea: to provide interesting and unusual items—both old and new—from Europe, things the owners missed after living in Europe for decades. On this site, you’ll find everything from skin care and spa items to gourmet goodies, table and kitchen wares to home décor and accessories. But what I invariably head for first are the linens. Kitchen and table linens. Check. Bed and bath linens. Check check. And to-die-for vintage linens. Check check check!
Imported from France, this tea towel is printed with the classic recipe for Beef Bourguignon—in French, of course. I love the look but if it’s gonna do me any good I’ll have to brush up on my high school French or conjure up Julia Child to make the dish for me! (The latter might be easier.)
Maybe it’s the former farm girl in me, but I also love their vintage feedsacks. This purple-striped homespun hemp sack would make some gorgeous pillows.
Meanwhile, over at European Market owners Chris and Sue Ellibee travel Europe searching for unique ornaments, crafts, toys, confections, coffees, teas and accessories from artisans and small manufacturers in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, England, Germany, Italy and Switzerland—with Turkey and France soon to be added to the list. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with their Swiss offerings because they bring back memories of a glorious summer I spent there.
High on my must-have list is this hand-carved Swiss cow. These bovines feature ears and horns made of leather, and—just like the real thing—metal bells hanging from their necks.
And I love the bags and accessories made from recycled Swiss Army blankets. After serving their original purpose, the blankets are cleaned and reworked into totes, purses, laptop carriers, cosmetic cases and even key fobs.
But the real beauty of the items on both of these sites is that they arrive at your front door, no passport (or TSA security search) needed. That’s particularly appealing to people like me, who arrived back in the States from that aforementioned Swiss trip with an authentic Swiss cow bell hanging from my neck. And, yes, it was clanging with every step I took.
I knew there had to be an easier way.
Heather Paper is a freelance writer/editor who specializes in all subjects design-related. A contributing writer for Miscelaney, she’s a dog-lovin’, wine-slurpin’ resident of Atlanta who considers Seattle her second home.