Saturday, December 31, 2011

Madcap New Year's Eve

"My Beautiful Paper Hat"
And here are the instructions for making your own.

This is what I'm wearing so far for New Year's Eve -- a handmade tissue paper hat that I just whipped up in five minutes and my new Armani Mongolian goat fur collar that Santa brought me. As usual, I have the accessories figured out. And as for the rest, I'm working on it. I know it looks like I've lost my mind, and perhaps I have a bit, but I was inspired by an interview on the radio.

I woke up this morning hearing a lively discussion on NPR about hats. Thinking that this was a great and auspicious way to start New Year's Eve day, I jumped out of bed to make a cup of coffee and listen to the interview again online. It was Jacki Lyden interviewing Stephen Jones about his book, Hats: An Anthology and show at Bard Graduate Center open through April 2012. I encourage you to listen to the seven-minute interview and take a look at the thrilling hats featured in the show, a total of 300. 

Stephen Jones inspired me with this comment:
"But there's no excuse for going hatless on New Year's Eve. Absolutely wear a party hat. Just get a piece of paper, put it into a cone, staple it together, and you're bound to have a ball."

Matt and I are spending NY Eve cozy at home, sipping bubbly and nibbling on sushi. And we're dressing up for the occasion. Just maybe I can convince Matt to make a "mattcap" for himself.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

La Bolsa Fabulosa

Bolsas as far as the eye can see! 
With Frida front and center, of course.

We've been back for nearly two weeks from nine days visiting our casa and friends in San Miguel de Allende, MX and the days/weeks have slipped by and I haven't written a post for three weeks. The distractions of family, friends and casa projects in that beautiful sunny town had my head spinning too much to settle down and write. Maybe I can blame it on the altitude, SMA is at 6400 feet. Or maybe it was Matt's margaritas. Whatever the reason, I realize I miss writing and posting, so back to it!

As soon as I arrive in SMA I can't wait to walk to the Mercado to see all people, fruits, flowers, crafts and latest styles in bolsas. Bolsas, the wonderful multi-colored woven plastic multi-purpose bags that last forever. I bought my first bolsa in Spain in 1985, a subdued but elegant black and gray striped bag. I've used it to death and it still keeps going. The Mexican bolsa images range from Frida Kahlo, to Pancho Villa to the Virgin of Guadalupe. I guess you know you're an icon in Mexico as soon as they print a bolsa with your image.

Should I buy the one with the beribboned burro, the Parroquia (SMA's cathedral) or another Frida? At 25 pesos ($2 US), I can get them all and fill them with flowers and veggies too. 

In San Francisco, I keep a supply in the trunk of my car and they're always handy. I use them at the grocery so I don't have to deal with the dreaded paper or plastic question. And it's much more fun to carry your goods in a festive bolsa. While in the check-out line, I've often been complimented on how cool my bolsas are and I say, "Thanks! Would you like one? Follow me." I take the person to my car, let them pick out a bolsa and they are so surprised and happy. Ah! The satisfaction of performing a random act of bolsa kindness!

The handiest, most practical bolsa of all. They are large with zippers and are great for storing extra blankets and comforters. Or filling with non-breakable purchases and checking as baggage. 

My passion for buying bolsas exceeds my need or storage space for them, so before I left on one of my SMA trips, I took bolsa orders from neighborhood San Francisco boutiques and was able to buy a multitude of them, bring them back, sell them to the stores and pay for my trip. Having a reason to say "I'll take one in every color" was so satisfying!

A new product! Water bottle carriers. And a study in brilliant colors. 

If you turn right near the end of the Artisan's Market on Calle Loreto and go in the second doorway to a nameless shop you will be rewarded with a bounty of bags made from every pattern of oilcloth there is. "Oilcloth", which is actually vinyl, is another one of my favorite Mexican staples. The colors! The patterns! It's so practical and fabulously fun at the same time.  And best of all, the bags are designed and made in the back of this tiny shop.

The motherlode of fun stylish oilcloth bags.

Mas bolsas! 

There's every size, shape, color and design. 

It started here. My first bolsa bought in Spain twenty-six years ago!