So Crafty

 

woman carving lacquer

We might as well start with this;

 I’m not ‘Crafty’.

A confession that might come as a surprise to some, as I’m a visual person who can draw and paint passably well, but you would be very, very wrong in assuming this translates to ‘craftiness’, at least in my case.

 Have you seen any photos of that hot pink antique lantern yet? Say no more.

When I do attempt something in the crafty vein it usually takes me about 974 hours to complete the task and I’m seldom happy with it.

I never even learned to sew or knit.

It’s all my mother’s fault.

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 I was instantly reminded of this when taking photos (this one in particular) at the silk weaving centre we visited in Myanmar last week. A flashback to ‘Mom’s Sewing Kit’  growing up. It was small and oval shaped in green brocade-they used to be called a “Train Case”, complete with tiny mirror and 4 lipstick holders sewn under the lid. It ran a very sad popularity race against her infinitely more exciting ‘Manicure Case’ and housed a thread monster much like this one. More than anything though, the sewing kit was a repository for safety pins to hold the things begging to be sewn together and more importantly, as time moved on, pimple-popping needles. Sorry, but The Truth isn’t always pretty.

silk weaving Burma slimpaley.com

  I did, only because it was mandatory, study sewing in Home Eck.  in junior high. I might have mentioned this before (I’m like my mother in more ways than one :-) ) Our big project was to design and sew a stuffed animal-draw and cut the patterns and everything. I sewed a snake. I glued on spots, eyes and a long tongue and failed the class. Seriously-how long did she expect that tongue to stay on? Aren’t snakes supposed to shed their tongues anyway? Personally I thought my stuffed animal was pretty edgy. I don’t think I ever finished the second assignment; an apron ( micro mini of course) but I did learn to type, whipped up a ferocious Baked Alaska, achieved my future sun damage like nobody’s business leaning against the back wall of the building and sold one of my paintings to the Industrial Ed. teacher for $100.

A stellar scholastic year to be sure.

So, you can imagine my shock and awe when we visited a few of the Burmese craft houses I’m sharing with you here.

blue thread slimpaley.com

Did you know that thread has to be made??

Like the individual strands of thread are M-A-D-E ?

As in there’s no such thing as a Thread Forest.

Lotus plants for weaving slimpaley.comHere Lotus plants are harvested from Lake Inle

Lotus stem, slimpaley.com

Each individual stalk is cut several times and the fibres are gently pulled away by hand and rolled…

Check this out; (video might take a minute to load- but patience is everything, as this perfectly demonstrates)

After the lotus stalks are cut and the thread has been removed, the rest is fed to the pigs.

Of course there is also the controversial Mulberry tree silkworm spit method of creating silk but we did not see it being done here.

fabric dyes slimpaley.com

The threads are then dyed and the weaving process begins.

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Bags of dye waiting to be mixed. This part looked like fun to me but you can’t even imagine how hot these rooms were.

weaving loom in Burma slimpaley.com

Seeing the process from start to finish truly gives you a newfound appreciation for this timeless art.

If your travels ever take you to Burma, I think Lake Inle appears to be one of the best places to buy silks and lotus leaf fabric.

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lacquer bowl Slimpaley.com

Heretofore I would have picked up a lacquer bowl and said with all certainty it was made out of…lacquer.

With no irony. I’m not proud, but there it is. I expose my foibles for the sake of honest journalism.

bamboo being made into lacquer bowls slimpaley.com

It actually involves, oh, about infinity different stages and starts out as bamboo.

You probably knew that.

making lacquer slimpaley.comHere, starting from bottom left to top right and snaking back, you can see some of the stages that the bamboo passes through, each one by hand, before it becomes the finished product.

making lacquer slimpaley.comHere the bowls have received an initial coat of lacquer and are being sanded for the next coat.

men working on a lacquer tableThese gentlemen are working on the lacquer table in the following photo

lacquer & mother of pearl table slimpaley.c

After each coat of lacquer the pieces go down to a very hot, dark and dust-free cellar to dry.

lacquer slimpaley.comThe finishing touches being made to dinner chargers. We ordered some of these to be shipped back home. I was never really that attracted to lacquer before. Now I can barely stand to wait the 7 months it will take to receive our chargers and set a chic Burmese themed table!

(yes, 7 months)

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This particular lacquer maker ships to clients all over the world- including a very well known, upscale store in San Francisco which we won’t name, but starts with G.

and ends in umps.

Young man painting lacquer

I think this might be one of my favourite photos-even if I do say so myself.

carving lacquer, Burma, slimpaley.com

Ladies quietly carving and painting the lacquer bowls.

hands carving lacquer , slimpaley.com

This is just one of the reasons why I love traveling so much. It’s both inspiring and humbling…

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place You occupy in the world.” Gustave Flaubert

PS. I’ll add the name of the silk & lacquer makers as soon as I find the receipts!

PPS. Does anyone on WordPress know how to make the new video format smaller?!

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This time last year… Opulence Moroccan Style

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I’m Still Here…Just Away

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Believe it or not, I’m still the proprietor of this blog.

I haven’t quit, misplaced my muse, or simply done a runner…

though I did skip town  :-)

 EmiratesAirlines.slimpaley.com

Girl’s Trip!!

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So things around my bedroom looked like this

jewelry.slimpaley.comand this

jewelry.slimpaley.comand this

For days…

goldjewelry.slimpaley.combecause what better time to totally organize all your summer clothes and every single piece of jewelry you own than right before going away for 3 weeks?

(I’ll spare you the pics of my emptied & reorganized drawers as they won’t provide the same thrill factor for you as they did for me)

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OK, maybe just one. It’s too exciting!

My thought process being I wanted to be totally & meticulously prepared for this trip as well as come home to a beautifully  organized closet.

Everything sorted, grouped and instantly accessible.

IMG_9283.slimpaley.comMy jewelry in the hotel room this morning.

Let’s move on, shall we?

Dubai.slimpaley.comWe rendezvoused in Dubai.

A city of conundrums & contradictions.

luxurycars.slimpaley.comToys parked outside the Burj Khalifa/Armani Hotel

Dubai.slimpaley.com

These old boats, a veritable kaleidoscope of patina and charm, dock directly across a busy road from the Spice Market where baskets of cinnamon bark, cardamom pods and nuggets of indigo jostle for precious space amongst teetering stacks of rayon ‘Pashminas’ and plastic Louis Vuitton umbrellas. In the distance, barely visible here (alas, another post) staggering skyscrapers from The Future are here now and battling for supremacy.

Indigo.Slimpaley.com

Indigo & rose hips

The Dubai Mall slimpaley.com

Lady hips & more modern shopping

IMG_8995As I said, conundrums & contradictions…

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The Burj Khalifa-Armani Hotel  (also in another post)

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Next port of call; Colombo, Sri Lanka.

We flew right over Thiruvananthapuram.

I just wanted to say that  :-)

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Lots more coming, including good travel & packing tips!

Internet & phone service is sporadic so please bear with me if your comments don’t post right away.

Namaste

xxSP

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Header image via Flickr

The Calm Before the Storm

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Finally.

There’s a decidedly nippy quality to the air in Santa Barbara. I won’t go so far as to say it’s cold, but it has that bell clear, cinnamony, tartan scarf, pumpkin latte feel to it.

These beautiful leaves were gathered from my garden just 2 weeks ago when the temperatures were still flirting around 80 degrees.

leavescloseup.slimpaley

The colours were stunning. The Instagram photos don’t even do them justice, but alas, I can’t lift my big camera just yet.

Patience, patience (limp noodle)…everyone warned me.

BTW, you know one thing I’ll add to the “Post-Shoulder-Surgery Tip List” from last week??

#11. A glass of red wine helps before physical therapy. It helps a lot.

I just learned that yesterday. My genius is a slow, steady affair. It doesn’t like to rush in all at once and cause a big spectacle.

and just in case there are any doctors reading this-I’m not condoning drinking wine while still taking pain-killers.

(anyway, those are like sooo gone)

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’m saving my very last one for the check up with my surgeon on Monday. He’ll be putting me through my paces to see how much progress I’ve made with my arm extensions :-( (hold me)

I’m down to only 2 Alleve a day, but let me just say-the physical therapy is no day at Butterfly Beach.

IMG_8055On the sweet side, meet ‘Leon’

He jumped up and gave me some tender, loving company yesterday afternoon while I was getting iced at the physio clinic.

Look at that face! He feels my pain.

May we also note it was the first day I wore trousers with no elastic at the waist. Hallelujah

So, basically, wine had to be served.

But, where were we?? Oh yes, we’re drawing very close to the holidays now.

Grab your helmets.

In just a few short days, the time between Thanksgiving, Hanukah & Christmas is going to pass so fast it’ll peel our faces off.

So, how about taking just a little time for yourself and curling up with a good read?

The calm before the storm as it were.

I finally finished “Empty Mansions” and would definitely recommend it.

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‘ “We are all a little peculiar” as she would say…’ a friend of Huguette Clark

Although it would be more than a stretch to write reclusive American heiress Huguette Clark’s eccentricities off as mere peculiarities, after reading this new biography by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. I don’t know that anyone would come to the conclusion that she was crazy either.  Sadly, many of her extended and long estranged family (all descendants of her father’s children with his first wife) tried to prove just that-or at least, that Huguette was not of sound mind towards the end of her (105 yr.!) life. After nearly two years of litigation concerning the $300million+ remaining fortune, the lawyers, family and various participants reached a settlement just two months ago.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, but the story of Huguette, her immediate family and some of the people she chose to have in her life is indeed a head-shaker.

 Of particular interest to me, and no doubt many other locals, was Huguette’s stunning Santa Barbara mansion below.

Clark-Estate-3_t479“Bellosguardo” presides over the last ocean cliff separating Montecito from Santa Barbara, capturing panoramic views of both the mountains and the sea, to no doubt breathtaking effect. The estate was built by the preposterously rich, copper mining Clark family in the 1930′s as a summer residence and is “The House on the Hill” of our little hamlet.

Clark-Estate-1_t479It’s actually so close I can walk to it from my house. My doctor’s office is just to the left of the bird refuge/lagoon you see on the lower edge of the property. Huguette built the refuge as a tribute to her deceased sister.

The entire estate, as well as a large ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, passed to Huguette when her mother died in 1963.

Neither of them used the house in over 60 years.

Not once. Zero. I used it as much as they did.

Some years back, Ty Warner, owner of the Beanie Babies, Four Seasons Hotel NY, The Biltmore & San Ysidro Ranch and whose private residence is extremely close to Bellosguardo purportedly offered Ms. Clark $100 million for the property. She politely declined.

130909-hugette-clark-dolls-vmed-1p.photoblog600Huguette was a child-like woman who owned several vast homes yet chose to live in a small, spare hospital room (in very good health) for the last 20 years of her life.  Until the day she died she seemed to prefer the company of dolls to humans, but was unfailingly polite, charitable and kind to everyone she came in contact with.  She loved music, cartoons and everything Japanese, yet never visited Japan. She was an accomplished artist, loyal correspondent and friend, devoted daughter, loving sister, and generous patron of the arts.

huguette29n-1-webThis last known public photo was taken on her honeymoon in 1928 at the age of 22. I believe she was probably much prettier than the photo would suggest, but she was extremely uncomfortable being photographed. No Selfies for ‘Hugo’ .  Privacy was everything to her.

Everything. Howard Hughes was Kanye compared to Huguette.

She and her husband would be separated only 9 months later and divorced within two years., yet they remained friends until he died.

STOP  me before I tell you any more of the story! gawd.

Those who knew her best said she was shy but not at all unhappy.

Personally, I think she just wanted to live in the world completely and utterly on her own terms and had the limitless resources to do so.

Apparently a recipe for a very, very long life indeed.

Is that so crazy??

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PS. I imagine this would make a great Book Club read. (even though I’ve never been in a book club)

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So, speaking of having an appreciation for the Older, Finer things in life…

Style Mavens Dawn Moore and Holly Palance have recently combined their considerable aesthetic forces to create a fun online shop for strictly vintage and antique home decor; MixxCentury.com

Mixxcentury Both long time lovers of antiques, Holly and Dawn define their Mixx concept;

“By having Museum Bound (beautiful high-end pieces) and Recently Found (funky flea market finds on up…) and ONLY focusing on decorative arts and furnishings, we are for passionate home aficionados and trade professionals who don’t want to rifle thru jewelry, wine and real estate.”

Mixxcentury.com

“We are literally a one-stop for all vintage and antique home decor. AND we have our own point of view, both in theory and actual product-The Point of View Collection”

Visit & shop (all industry pricing 25-60% all year round) here:  MixxCentury.com

I was thrilled and flattered to be featured as one of MixxCentury’s first “MiXXMasters” this week, along side such design luminaries as Timothy Corrigan and Jamie Bush!

For my short musings on Design and Mixxing it up click;  HERE 

I know, right?? Shuhhup-Just act cool, like…oh me & Tim & Jamie, yeah. We cruised over to Vincente Wolfe’s place, there was a small party. Bunny W. and Newel Turner were there, natch…Peter Marino was in full Village People, but I was kinda tired so I left early…

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leaves.slimpaleyEnjoy the rest of your weekend and remember…

Don’t stress!! It’ll get done, it will all get done.

It will all get done, won’t it?!!

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Flash from the past; One year ago today; The Day After

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Vintage English Garden Party

vintage garden party

Happy Monday All!

I hope you enjoyed another lovely summer weekend,

and may I be so bold as to remind everyone that it IS in fact still summer?

So all you folks pinning Halloween ideas and Fall decor on Pinterest

just STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!!

It’s only the 19th of August-The “F” word is still many weeks away!

Let’s make the most of these precious last days of warm weather, shall we?

Get thee to the beach, lake, park, garden, the roof of your apartment building (talking to my Older Son :)) tout de suite.

As long time readers of Slim Paley well know,  I’ll still be posting about my favourite time of year ’til I’m dragged away by the edge of my cover-up, clutching that last salt-rimmed Margarita to my heavily sun-screened/damaged bosom.

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I shot the above photo in my garden, as well as the ones to follow,

for my first

“One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag Sale”

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Inspired by my recent trip to London, the excitement surrounding the arrival of Prince George, and yes, the last languid days of summer,

I chose a “Vintage English Garden Party” as my theme.

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Who amongst us doesn’t enjoy at least the idea of a lovely English picnic (paging Merchant Ivory fans) complete with vintage silver, the “family china” and tinkling crystal glasses of Pimms brimming with fresh fruit?

Downton Abbey

And who, like me, simply can’t wait for the new season of “Downton Abbey” to begin?!

slim paley garden

An Instagram of my garden

Fortnum & Mason window

The windows of Fortnum & Mason in London were bursting with the delightful components of an English countryside picnic.

London window shopping

I love how I caught the double decker going by on Piccadilly (even if I do say so myself)

Fortnum & Mason

Just look at that gorgeous giant Melton Mowbray pie!

F & M will fill a picnic basket that will positively make your toes curl and they ship all over the world.

Slim Paley Picnic

But back to me :-)

Everything in these photos will be in my sale (except the white table cloth & hat)

majolica & chintz

There are lots of my vintage goodies to choose from as well many items curated from One Kings Lane’s “Vintage & Market Finds”

vintage glass goblet

go ahead, have one.

English Country garden

Flowers in my friend’s English country garden

Wedgwood Majolica

A collection of vintage Wedgwood Majolica

vintage roses oil painting

A lovely & bright vintage oil of garden roses with an antique desert plate, part of a set, in the foreground.

Garden Wall vase & enamel coffee pot

“Garden Wall” vase and old enamel coffee pot

Hull vase

A Hull vase

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Note to Self;  notch back on the Pimms…

rooster basket

My sale starts tomorrow,  August 20th, 8:am PST

Please DO stop by and leave your calling card :-)

One Kings Lane Link

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PS. On a more somber note, thank you to the many readers  who have been checking in concerning the ferocious fire in Idaho. We are grateful to be back home safe & sound in Santa Barbara, but our hearts and prayers are still with all the amazing firefighters in Sun Valley and Hailey who are battling SO bravely to protect our beautiful town. Please keep them in your thoughts & prayers too.

XX S.P.

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Omg-It’s April Already!

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Did you think I’d run off with the Moroccan Circus?!

I do still have one or two Moroccan tidbits I’d love to share, but today’s post hails from NY where I had a lovely visit this week with Older Son,

enjoyed a little theatre (or perhaps I should  say big theatre)

and well, you know the rest…

photo 2there was some food involved…

.

but first, the play

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Directed by two-time Tony winner George C. Wolfe and starring the boundlessly talented Tom Hanks, “Lucky Guy” is the hottest ticket on Broadway.

We were lucky enough to attend the opening night on Monday and it was truly electrifying.

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The last work of the brilliant Nora Ephron;

“LUCKY GUY marks a return to Ephron’s journalistic roots in a new play about the scandal- and graffiti-ridden New York of the 1980s, as told through the story of the charismatic and controversial tabloid columnist Mike McAlary, who won the Pulitzer Prize shortly before his untimely death on Christmas Day, 1998.” (via Luckyguy.com)

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 12.52.01 PMIt’s great fun to experience Tom Hank’s first time on the Broadway stage, in fact the entire cast is stellar

so if your plans include a trip to NY between now and June, I highly recommend it.

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And what’s a trip to NYC without a little window shopping?!

 IMG_3969My Instagram pic (following yet?) of the Celine shoes that are starting to grow on me

(no pun intended)

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 10.59.51 AMEspecially the “Birkenstock” version which FYI is already sold out in the black on black style.

I just asked.

L1150148Then there’s this casual little Walter Steiger heel for all you Crowns of Thorns, Thrones of Corns, Game of Thrones fans

(which I’ve yet to watch because I still haven’t started “Homeland” yet. You see the sacrifices I make for this blog?!)

I snapped the pic in Barney’s, slightly more civilized than the Bergdorf’s shoe department was on Friday

IMG_3985Where it’s every woman for herself (more crown-thorny shoes there too-not in my size :()

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And now’s the time for Vegetarians to shield their eyes

IMG_3892We enjoyed a hearty brunch at Il Buco Alementaria & Vineria

beginning with a most civilized selection of their house-cured meats.

photo 3menu board at il Buco

f2171f049a2711e2bee422000a9f14ea_7Then Son of Slim threw down with a short rib sandwich that quite frankly did his Momma proud.

Despite its girth, it absolutely melted in your mouth. Like buttah.

er, I mean his mouth.

I’m far too much of a Laaydy to be seen eating such a beast (at least in public-would that they have private booths)

This is definitely not a First Date Sandwich.

Il Buco is very buzzy and for the most part, dining is shared at communal tables.

8-14_085via Il Buco website

I will mention that the acoustics aren’t the greatest (upstairs seems slightly louder than down) We moved downstairs because I swear a woman at our table was talking to someone in another restaurant-and not on her phone. I felt like we were in a Woody Allen film, but let’s not be ‘Slim Cranky’.  The food’s delicious and service is great.

This was my second visit to Il Buco and I’d definitely go again.

img_3901The salted caramel gelato at Il Buco.

Yes, I did say brunch :-)

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And in the blink of an eye another NY week is over and it’s April already.

Wishing everyone a great weekend and a sweet & happy new(ish) month!

Spring is upon us and I hope to be posting with a little more frequency from now on. Really.

’tis the season of growth and renewal after all, right?

XX SP

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**The lemon meringue cake is at “E.A.T.” on upper Madison Ave.!

Both “Lucky Guy” play photos via Bloombergbusiness.com