Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Christmas tables by doble M design for Luz magazine

Well known magazine producer Baby Padilla called me last week to ask me to put together my idea for a Christmas table for a magazine piece she's doing for Luz magazine. I said yes, and ended up doing two tables, the main table plus a table in the garden for kids.

These are just my snaps on my little digi cam, but the photographer's shots were fantastic (unfortunately I won't be able to post them here as they're owned by Perfil). I will scan in the cutting when it appears in the magazine.

A big thank you to Pamela Murphy of Garden Buenos Aires for allowing us to use her beautiful patio and garden for the shoot, and to Florencia, Seth and Bo for being such great models.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Time for tea

For an Inglesa, and one from Tetley's homeland at that, I was a latecomer to tea. I'm always thirsty and I still prefer an ice cold water to quench my thirst than a steaming mug of tea. But six years in Argentina and I've become more English than when I arrived, and now I drink tea by the kettle load. (Talking of kettles, incredibly it's only in the last couple of years that electric kettles have been introduced to Argentina. UK people, can you believe that?).

My homemade rosemary tisane

I'm very much into tea now, not the builders sort or fruity infusions, but green tea, white tea, Argentine blends, herbal teas, and most of all: Twinnings Jasmine Green Tea and Patagonia Bee by the Argentine brand, Intizen. They aint cheap though. Intizen now retails at 16 pesos, which is per tea bag a lot more than it costs me to cross the city on a bus (although admittedly I'd much prefer to be sitting at home sipping a Patagonia Bee than sitting on the no39 for two hours...). So, in honour of my Armenian Grandmother who always found a way to make things rather than buy, I've been experimenting with homemade tea infusions from my balcony garden. Who needs to go to the supermarket when you have mint, peppermint, lavender and rosemary on your balcony? Pop in a spring, pour in the hot water and enjoy a 100% natural tea.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Two weddings and a photoshoot

I've been to three really fun weddings this year and two of them had the same bride. Fortunately she married the same guy both times, once in England and once in Argentina. Justina, who makes a regular appearance on this blog is a wonderful baby photographer. She spends her mornings in the hospitals of Buenos Aires taking photos of newly born babies. We met her and Matt just five days after Seth was born and just took some pics of him of him fast asleep, snuggled up on a blanket that I really treasure. She has such a natural way with babies and kids, and taught me several tricks to calm restless babies that made the last two years a lot easier for me. I can't recommend her enough if you have babies or young kids and would like some really special photos taken by a photographer who is warm, natural and fun with small people.

I've mentioned Justina's photos before, but I'm giving them another mention after seeing these photos of a Swedish friend and her newborn baby. I think they're beautiful. The contrast of the black black backdrop and their naked is so striking, such strong image, but totally feminine and natural at the same time.

Here's another recent one of a different baby, but very cute and I love the composition.

To contact Justina and to find out more about her business, go to www.medialunafotos.com.ar

Monday, 22 November 2010

Fun at the feria

I've always fancied having a market stall, so I was really quite pleased to set up for the day at the annual Christmas fair in the garden of the British Ambassador's residence in Buenos Aires. The early start was no different to every other day with two toddlers, so at 7.45am we were all ready to go. Ollie, me, Seth and Bo piled into a camper van packed full of props, things to sell, and around 500 alfajores (biscuits filled with dulce de leche) that we'd had made at home the day before to give away to visitors to the stand.

It was only one day, but I really enjoyed it. I was there from 8am til 9pm, and then stayed up until 3am unpacking everything and updating the inventory I was into it! We had a lovely spot, under the shade of a tree.

 handpicked model for the 2pm catwalk!

Thanks to Macu and her sisters, Mer and Luchi, for their help on the day

Paige and Katie, who wanted to buy everything...

 This gorgeous jug was sold along with a commission for eight tall water cups to go with the jug.

It was a great way to get the word out about handpicked, and now the hard work begins uploading everything to the handpicked blog (a little trickier as we lost my camera on Saturday so I now have to take all the photos again...grrrr..) and tweeting, posting on facebook and bringing some orders in. I'm also going to do a couple of sales at Galeria Mar Dulce in Palermo Soho and at Natural Deli in Las Canitas. 

Oh, and maybe one day I will have a regular market stall, even if it's in the Yorkshire Dales when I'm old and grey. I think I'd love it!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Launching Handpicked, by doble M design

BA people: if you're around this weekend, please call into the Christmas fair in garden of the British Ambassador's residence in Recoleta (Saturday 11am-8pm, for security reasons you must show ID to get in). I have a stand there where I'm launching my Handpicked, by doble M design collection. For more, see my Handpicked blog.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Under canvas in Carlos Keen

I was offline at the weekend, so I'm behind on blogging. Saturday and Sunday we were in the countryside, to see our friend's new campo in Carlos Keen. It's still a building site (they've added two wings to the original old house) so it was a day trip with our friends, to have the tour of their country pad, and while they headed back to the city we stayed and pitched our tent on their land. It was perfect. The sun went down and we had an army of fireflies providing a natural fairylit path to the loo and the shower in the yet to be completed guest house. The pampas is so pitch dark and our little family so exhausted, we were all tucked up and almost fast asleep by 8pm.

We were up with the dawn on Sunday morning and after a walk and explore, seeing the town slowly wake up, we bought a few hunks of break and found a spot in the museo rural (some old farm machinery in a corner of the square) and munched on bread and honey.

Other friends then joined us for Sunday and although there's a good crop of restaurants around the square (more like meadow land the size of a couple of football pitches), we returned to La Fundacion where our friends had treated us to lunch the day before.

La Fundacion is a self-supporting orphanage where the kids (in their teens and early twenties) learn skills by working on the petting farm and the vast vegetable and herb gardens, and in the restaurant. A high profile BA chef is behind the menu which is extremely tasty, abundant (you can ask for an extra plate of each of the four courses) and a touch gourmet. We were all really impressed, and what a great concept too.

We bused it home which was surprisingly unpainful. One hour 45 mins door to door on the number 57 express from Lujan to Once, and then a short cab ride back to San Telmo. I'll be going back.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Time to go to Sao Paulo

Our mate Claire Rigby moved this year from just down the road in San Telmo to Brazil to put together the first Sao Paulo Time Out guide. Hard-working and efficient gal that she is, she's finished it in record time and it's already hit the shelves. If you're heading to Sao Paulo, be sure to buy a copy.

Blog spots

A French blog, Cocette Design, 'dedicated to girls who stand out in design and interior decor' posted an interview with me this week. You can read it here (the interview is in English).

They used this photo, taken from my India blog and snapped outside Kashi Art Cafe, possibly my favourite cafe in the world! If you ever go to Kerala, pop in and say hello to Dorrie and have an omelette and a ginger lime soda for me!

Across the Channel, in Penzance, my BA friend and Cornwall blogger, Ismay Atkins, has blogged about my former housemate, artist A-L Felstead. I'm hoping to get A-L out to Argentina next year to do some painting of BA scenes.

Port Isaac in blues, by A-L Felstead

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Recover, recycle, rework - Rescate!

It was really inspiring to spend this afternoon at the home of Maria McCormick, the designer behind Rescate, and whose button necklaces will be in my handpicked collection. As well as the necklaces, which are made from discarded buttons which she collects from a factory owned by her father, Maria has endless other projects on the go.

Maria is like a squirrel, hiding away all sorts of treasures in her house, ready to take out and re-use at some point. She has boxes and baskets and empty drinks bottles now filled with things she's found on the street, or no longer has use for (like the tops of drinks bottles) and a scraps of fabrics and materials from a friend's shoe business and another factory owned by her father.

As we sipped jasmine green tea and she pulled out bags, and placemats and hair accessories, all projects she's experimenting with at the moment. I had an idea to have her make a chandelier using buttons, so with a friend she's known since she was five years old and who now reworks old lamps, they're playing with ideas and making a sample. I saw the work in progress today and I absolutely love how it's turning out. Watch this space!

Sadly I forgot to take my camera as I'd love to have snapped her in situ, surrounded by memorabilia, collectibles, street junk, art books, musical instruments, inumerable containers and big, leafy green plants. Maria represents so much of what I love about this country: the creativity, the resourcefulness, the courage of Argentines to experiment and try and make their own way doing the things they enjoy the most.

From India with love

I felt a little nostalgic for India today. I collected our parcel of books we'd sent from Kerala to Buenos Aires from the international postal depot in Retiro. It was  rainy, miserable day, just like the day we'd packed them up on our last day in Fort Cochin and handed them over to Idiom Books. They'd promised to look after them and have them packed up and wrapped in cloth, handstiched and sealed with hot red wax as all parcels from India are, and sent to in Argentina. I must admit, I did sort of say my goodbyes to those books on that rainy monsoon day by the Parade Ground in Cochin. But they arrived! Perfectly intact!

Making my way to find a taxi with two toddlers, a pushchair and a huge box of books - in the rain - was tricky. The solution was box in pushchair, Bo on top, Seth on foot.

We had so few things with us in India, in fact, mostly books, so seeing the covers and titles we'd spent so much time with during those months brought back lots of memories for me. I found that adventure quite difficult but now, with some distance, and clothbound packages arriving across the seas to us in Argentina, it does seem quite romantic and exotic.

For photos and stories from our months in India see my blog: A Passage to India by Em

I'm wondering about asking Libros de Pasaje if they'd be interested in me organising an English book club for kids. What do you think?

Monday, 8 November 2010

Gallery night at Jardin

Jardin de la Plaza where our two sons go each weekday from 9am-2pm was closed on Friday so it could be transformed into an art show for the parents that evening. I was really blown away by the effort they went to and how creative the classes are for 1-5 year olds. 

Our youngest, Bo, known at Jardin as Benji, is only 16 months old but even their work was accompanied notes on materials and techniques used.

Music was the theme for Seth and the other two year olds in his class. They made collages from old records and tape cassette wires, percussion instruments from old keys, made a cardboard guitar and several types of drums including bongos made from painted 1 kilo ice-cream cartons with fabric tied around the top.

Seth's friend Henry is four and his class had been getting to know about Buenos Aires buses. I really liked his  model of the number 111 bus.

I travel almost an hour each way to take the boys to Jardin each morning so it was wonderful to be there on Friday and see something of what they get up to. The Jardin is run by three Armenian women, which I like as my dear Armenian grandmother and, strangely, two of her sisters died with weeks of each other back in September. My grandmother would be pleased to know that the Armenian influence on our family continues!

Bo exploring the other classrooms, and below, Seth on the daily commute on the no 93 bus. 

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Rediscovering Min Agostini

Later this month I'm launching my 'handpicked, by doble M design' collection. More on that soon, but in my search for the best of small production and made by hand designs I can't help buying things for myself. One for me, ten for handpicked. Five for me, fifty for handpicked. I'm a disaster.

Today two paintings from Nadia Michelin, an artist from Cordoba who I met at the Museo Metropolitano last month, were delivered to me. Affordable art is part of the handpicked collection and Nadia will be one of the first to be featured. That's if the art makes it to the collection......both paintings look fantastic in our apartment. It's just sooo tempting to buy them and find some others to add to handpicked.

Then this evening I popped along to a cocktail at the Libertad store of  fashion designer, Min Agostini. I met Min in December 2004 at the first party we went to in Buenos Aires, fresh off the plane and still unsure if the host, then Guardian stringer Hannah Baldock, really meant it when she said the party start at midnight. I've followed Min since then, including her show at Harrods in London, but I haven't seen her since. I was taken aback this evening that her prices are really very modest. I tried on a jacket which can be worn as shown in the photo with my eyes closed, or back to front, as modelled by Min. Her assistant pulled out a drawer of samples showing me all the different colour options and I really wouldn't know which to choose, they're all gorgeous.

The event was jointly organised by leather designers, Pasion Argentina, who used to have a shop and taller a couple of doors down from my PH studio on Ravignani between El Salvador and Honduras.  They've now launched a a new luxury collection in collaboration with the artist Fernando Poggio.

Andrea and Amadeo of Pasion Argentina with Victor, an Italian fabric designer who has a shop on Honduras and Fitzory in Palermo Hollywood (Andrea's coat and Amadeo's scarf are both Victor's designs).

Min chatting with my friend Ian Mount who had escaped from his garret in Palermo where he's writing the story of the Argentine wine industry, due to be published by W.W. Norton
in 2012.

Chicos del pasaje

I am a Palermo girl living in San Telmo. Walking around Palermo Soho yesterday after picking up the boys from nursery I felt a big longing to be back in the leafy barrio with painted buildings and quiet pasajes.

We stopped at Libros del Pasaje (formerly Boutique de Libro) where the boys picked out a book each, and we wandered across the road to Pasaje Santa Rosa where I filmed Seth making a birthday message for his cousin Theo. Then he sat on the pavement pointing at animals in Bo's book and teaching him the names and sounds, while Bo giggled and copied lion roars, moos and baas.

Seth got quite into posing for me filming him in front of the graffiti backdrop. 

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

India Festival in Buenos Aires

India Festival starts in Buenos Aires tomorrow, hosted by the Indian Embassy. Running from the 4th to the 16th of November events include a food festival (each night at the Sheraton), photography exhibition (Plaza San Martin), film festival and handicrafts exhibition (Borges Cultural Centre), seminars, and polo and golf tournaments, even a kids afternoon. More info and the full schedule on the Indian Embassy website: www.indembarg.org.ar

After six fairy tough months in India earlier this year I think I may pass on the raffle for free tickets from Buenos Aires to India! The above photo is one of my favourites from our time there. It wasn't staged at all, we were just walking down a lane near where we lived and this lady was just standing there against that perfect grey backdrop, her shawl and bag perfectly coordinated with the painted shutters.

Bo hits the MAPO Feria Organico at the Hyatt