Barbara Portanova and Amie Swan are the dynamic duo behind The Paper Tree, a sophisticated mélange of unique gifts, chic stationery and paper goods. Barbara’s love affair with all things paper began at age 10, when she accompanied her grandparents on a tour promoting their book, Miss You: The World War II Letters of Barbara Wooddall Taylor and Charles E. Taylor.
“It’s an eloquent story told through their love letters, but as a child I was more fascinated by the beautiful papers the letters were written on than what they said,” Barbara explains. Still, she says her grandparents’ letter-writing left a lasting impression, and instilled a commitment to keep the art of well-written notes alive, even in today’s computer age.
Amie’s passion leans to events—the other half of the store’s winning formula. Former client events manager at upscale Northern Trust Bank, the ebullient Amie advises on every aspect of party planning, from big-event invitations to selecting standout wedding, hostess and baby gifts. The Paper Tree, San Marco Plaza, 8209 Natures Way, Suite 121, Lakewood Ranch (941) 306-5830
What this town needs “To keep the art of personal hand-written notes alive,” says Portanova, who stocks the store with exquisite stationery like grosgrain ribbon-adorned Truly Mom note cards ($25/box) in designs that transform a thank-you note into a gift in itself.
Can’t live without “Planning every detail of the perfect event,” says Swan, who ensures perfection with custom invitations, party favors and stunning mementos like a pen set embellished with an antique brooch ($60) and a guest book ($100).
It’s a wrap! A wall of decorative gift bags like this one ($5.25) displays myriad patterns and colors, making it a snap to wrap every present in a design that suits your party theme or each recipient’s taste.
News from the storefront.
Citrus Arts For a taste of old Florida, order one of artist Jim Harrison’s vintage fruit label graphics. A growing portfolio of nostalgic images includes everything from Jungle Gardens to the Big Top to Siesta Key. Available in limited-edition signed and numbered prints (24-by-24 inches, $160) or 8-by-10-inch signed prints ($38.50). sarasotafruitco.com.
Guiltless Bling Jewelry designer Dalia Koss just moved to St. Armands Circle, where she’s working with unique stones that complement current clothing trends (like purple jade, unpolished rubies and red ocean jasper, just discovered in 2002 in Madagascar). Everything is priced in the $200 to $400 range. Dalia Koss Unique Jewelry, 19 Fillmore Drive, (941) 388-9828.
Candle Couture You’ll find Sarasota Candle Company at the Sarasota and Siesta Key farmer’s markets with their patent-pending fragrant soy flakes ($5 a package), and beautiful candle pillars. But you can also order taper candles to match fabrics, flowers and more (price on request). (941) 922-6594 or sarasotacandle.com