Beauty of Ikat

Are you familiar with ikat textiles made from threads that are dyed section by section?  No doubt you have seen the fabric used in decorative items and clothing, but have you ever thought about how the designs are created?

When done by hand, the threads are stretched on a frame and the pattern is marked off. Each section of the design is then bound off and dyed separately until all areas of the thread are covered.

Ikat textiles are popular these days, but they are not new.

Historically, they have been symbols of status and wealth much like tapestries were in earlier times.

They were offered to rulers, loyal friends and people of importance as part of a centuries old tradition of gift giving.

Some of the gifts were used to establish and cement political alliances.

Today, in some countries, ikat garments are part of the culture.

As a weaver, I am fascinated by the artistry of the fabric,

often woven with silk threads as fine as a strand of hair.  Knowing that I will never be able to duplicate such beautiful creations only enhances my appreciation.

Strand of Silk - Journey Map - Ikat - Producer Communities - padmashali

How grateful I am that the tradition of making ikat textiles by hand is being maintained in places like India, Southeast Asia, Japan and Latin America.  I was very happy to be able to photo these wonderful examples of ikat creations at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. 

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Mixing It Up

Until recently I never thought of using these vases on the table, but once they landed there they’ve inspired several settings.  The colors lend themselves to many options and it’s so easy to refresh the flowers.This time around a table runner with some of my favorite colors is the background.

With these pieces on the table, it was easy to add others for a simple at home dinner with friends. Perfect color matches are in these dishes from Target. 

Though I often mix and match, this time I’m sticking with the coordinating salad plates and adding a napkin that introduces a variation in pattern but is true to the color way.

That’s all there is to it.  In less than 10 minutes, the table is set made easy by what was already there.  That is why I rarely leave a table top bare, and it doesn’t bother me at all if the same pieces are used multiple times. It’s fun to see how many different looks can be created from the same elements.

This dinner was preceded by a busy day, and that’s when a slow cooker comes in real handy.  Not only does it provide the freedom needed to do other things, it fills the house with tantalizing aroma.  For sure that was the case with these Asian Style Short Ribs that you just might want to try.

Asian Style Short Ribs

6 lbs. short ribs

salt and ground pepper

3/4 t. 5 spice powder

1/4 c. each hoisin sauce and ketchup

2 T. rice vinegar

2 T. soy sauce

1 T. fish sauce

1 T. honey

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 T. minced fresh ginger

5 cloves mince garlic

Season the ribs with salt, pepper and 5 spice powder.  Brown on all sides in a multipurpose cooker or broil until nicely browned.

Mix together remaining ingredients and place all in the cooker being sure to coat the ribs well with the hoisin mix.  Cover and cook on the low setting for about 6 hours or until the meat is very tender.  If the ribs are boneless, cooking time will be less.

For serving, place the ribs in a bowl or on a plate and moisten with some of the cooking liquid.  Garnish with Italian parsley or cilantro and chopped roasted peanuts or cashews.

Serves 6

I can assure you there will be no leftovers!

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Tablescape Thursday

A Peek Inside

From the minute you enter this home, you know that it’s going to be special.

The walls are neutral backdrops for a world of color gathered in Mexico, Cuba and New Mexico.

No piece appears by accident as I happen to know how much thought has been given to each one.

There are interesting collections throughout,

 all of which have their special place.  Thinking ahead about how to display eliminates the potential for clutter.

Color abounds lending its own energy to every space, 

but it is not used carelessly as the same colors repeat themselves in different ways throughout the house.

There is much to  catch the eye be it the accessories 

or the upholstery fabrics that blend effortlessly into their surroundings.

It goes without saying that the folks who live here are comfortable with color and texture and have used both to their best advantage.  There is something to be said about knowing your style and carrying it off successfully.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

 

Getting It Right

Not only was I bored spending most of my time in bed for 10 weeks, but I began obsessing on things wrong in the bedroom.   The hubby knew that was going to lead to some kind of overhaul, and, indeed, it did.

bedroomSeveral years ago, some walls in the bedroom and study were done with Venetian plaster  that blended more than one color.  The color chosen for the remaining walls was never right, but since I saw them in the dim light of morning and night I let it go.  Not possible after looking at it day after day.

So, the first thing was to choose a new color that would blend a little better.  After sampling several grays, the selection was Sherwin Williams Lazy Gray.  A new color meant new carpet, darker than the one that had shown every little bit of dirt. How much airier the space seemed with those changes!

The hubby thought that was enough, but no, I wasn’t finished.  Every picture was relocated.  I don’t know where the botanicals came from, but I found them in a closet.  What made them a great choice is the frame which picked up the tones in the piece over the bed.

Art that hung over the fireplace was pleasing, but the frames were mismatched. Again I shopped the house, gathering pieces that not only had matching frames but played off the colors dominating the room.  And, note those shelves.  All the clutter is gone and what’s there looks like it belongs.

Now on a roll, I gathered a few other odds and ends as accessories, and they, too, look like they were made for the space.

Though the hubby groaned  thinking the project was unnecessary, he admitted when all was done that the changes were quite an improvement.  That made it all worthwhile, but he’s hoping I don’t have opportunity to obsess over something else in the near future!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Art As Inspiration

After introducing you to Florescence, I cannot resist showing you more of the incredible floral arrangements interpreting the show’s challenges.  Before going on I should tell you that Florescence is one of the largest competitive national flower shows sanctioned by the Garden Club of America in the U.S.  

It is impossible not to be awed by these creations

and seeing them displayed with the art that inspired them makes them even more dramatic.

I was blown away by creations inspired by  couture dresses from the Museum of Fine Art’s collection.

As I look again at this photo, I notice that the arrangement mimics the flow of the dress…..absolutely stunning!

Here a styrofoam head wears an elaborate headdress made primarily of natural plant material.  What sea goddess wouldn’t love to be so adorned?

Many times I see wooden boxes used on tables as centerpieces. Unique here is the mix of succulents, roses, lilies and tropicals that demonstrate how anything can work together provided the choices are selected with a critical eye.

Particularly interesting were arrangements incorporating abstract qualities inspired by pieces in the Museum’s contemporary art collection.

The varied materials used with flowers and plant materials was wonderful,

and I will be keeping my eyes open for elements that add interest.

 Though I marveled over over the elaborate creations, I could not see such in my future.  I was attracted to the ikebana technique because it seems a little more doable,

 and I like the simplicity both of the containers and the flower design.

If I were to step a little out of my comfort zone, however, it would be to do something like this, so full of color and whimsey.

Oh, there is so much more I could show you, but hopefully, there is enough here to encourage your own creativity.  It would be wonderful to see the results.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind