Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jewelry I Cannot Afford

This started as a series entitled, "Bracelets I Cannot Afford," but I am broadening its scope.  Tiffany must be ringing my bell as the Sugar Stack rings were/are also my list.  This new Venezia Stella ring by Paloma Picasso is simply terrif.  Honestly, I wouldn't even need the diamonds (though they do come with.)

There are some pretty jazzy silver and enamel bracelets and rings in this collection which I actually could afford.  Sadly, that is not usually how my wish list works.  You can see the entire collection here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

After the Party

In the last two weeks we felt the loss of both a cultural icon and a long-time friend.

Both deaths caused me to pause and consider.  Lucky, and aware of it, I was relieved and reassured that  I am doing what I want to be doing.  What I think I should be doing.

You might have seen Steve Jobs's Stanford commencement speech and while it acted like heated oil to several kernels of ideas, most significantly it made me wonder what I would do if one of my boys wanted to quit college and start some crazy business in my garage.  Or be a fisherman, as one claims he will.

Sharing this with a friend at dinner he wondered, "If he's happy, what difference would it make?"  "It's important to live up to your potential," I replied and he asked further, "But how do you know if you are?"

Then he rose to pull the chicken from the oven leaving me with a mental party favor that I've carried around since - setting it on the counter here, loading it in the car there.  We won't know, I suppose, any more than these artists knew their work would live for centuries.  At the time they were just making brushstrokes on wood or silk or porcelain.

All images from Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors by Emmanuelle Gaillard and Marc Walter published by The Verdome Press.  The book includes hundreds of images of rooms and objects influenced by the Far East, India and the Islamic world.  It's stunningly beautiful and if you have a strong connection to Chinoiserie or porcelain or unbelievable tile, it is a must.  All images Marc Walter.  The publishers provided the book for review.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Black and White and Green All Over

A few months ago a dealer called and said, "I found some chairs you might like.  I thought I might clean them up myself, but if you want them I'll sell them to you."  At first I couldn't decide if they were better than my old chairs, or just different.  In the end I decided better.

Obviously, they needed to be painted.  The dealer thought they should stay light, as did the landscape designer, but the curtains may have a Miles Redd-inspired ruffle and I thought the sweetness of the room needed to be cut a little bit.  So I preceded to turn my dining room into a work room and, as Mr. Blandings is not me, he didn't say a peep.  For weeks.

Painting things black I got.  The gold detailing is more vexing than the entire wall project.  Times ten.

Still.  I am determined.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Full Circle

Truth be told, a great deal of the clothes in my closet could be from the boys' department.  Dungarees, oxfords and loafers.  I still wear a watch, want a watch, need a watch and am pretty sure the only one that will ever grace my wrist will be a man's.  When I dress up, mostly my selection is lean.  Sheath.  Pencil skirt.  Heels.  I like the exclamation.

But I love a full skirt.  I love the sway of it, the swing of it, the breeze of it.  When you walk in a full skirt you can't help but shift your hips a little.  The same motion, form fitting, would shout "tart," but here, encircled in yards of fabric, the movement just whispers "flirt."

When you walk in a full skirt with a long stride, its folds can catch between your legs, wrap around your wrist.  You feel the hem brushing the front of your shin, the back of your calf.  When you stop, it still  moves.  A slight swirl before it rests.  And in all that girlish vulnerability there is just a hint of easy accessibility.

Image of Jil Sander Spring Ready-to-Wear via

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Heights

A reader recently asked me about the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts.  In case you are out of the loops Kansas City, performing arts and architecture, the Center, designed by Moshe Safdie, is the recently completed home of our symphony, ballet and a venue for a variety of performing arts organizations in town.

Mr. Blandings and I took a hard hat tour last Fall and the space is remarkable.

I was working at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation when his widow, Muriel McBrien Kauffman, began to envision this project.

While Mrs. Kauffman's foundation could have absorbed much of the original projected costs of the building, the trustees felt it was significant that the community feel that the Center was its own.  It is a testament to their leadership that it was built with private funds and the city has embraced it so completely.

Opening weekend was a few weeks ago with loads of hoopla, though Bill and I did not attend.  I am taking our middle son to see Tom Sawyer next week and am filled with anticipation for the performance, but also with seeing the ballet, and the building, through 11-year-old eyes.

Seriously, you cannot take a bad picture of this remarkable structure; it soars.  For more information on the Kauffman Center click here; to purchase tickets to Tom Sawyer, a new ballet choreographed by William Whitener, music by Maury Yeston, click here.  To see a terrific slideshow of the space with images by Paul Warchol (including this one) at click here.  All other images my own.