Curating A Song by the River

I'll be honest, I'm not drawn to the name of this spirited little shop in Madison Valley.
What I am drawn to is the organic and industrious sense of design and display this jewelry design gallery exhibits.

The owner, after spending much time on the farm, inspired by horticulture and plant taxonomy (who isn't inspired by botanical taxonomy...?) she recreates organic life in gems and jewels.

1. Excellent use of 19th century bonatical sketches in the shop
2. Charming jewelry displays of natural designs

(A display on linen backboard)
3. Intriguing stories behind much of her work. I was interested in this beautiful wall art - simply sewn black thread outlines of two deer on white linen - and she told me a grand story of the mother and daughter team who live out in the woods and sew these modern masterpieces. Great stories!

Right now, due to obnoxious road construction in front of her shop, she is putting lots online and then will celebrate the finished road with a big sale! Details on Seattle Met Magazine.


Curating A Cocktail

I admit my lack of linguistic savvy (or is it svelteness?).
After yesterday's post, I had to look up what the word "curate" really means. I discovered that by saying I'm "curating my city" I could either mean I'm intending to enter the priesthood or become the legal guardian of a lunatic. Feel free to look for yourself.

What I wanted to say was that I am assembling a collection, little pieces of art: I'm stockpiling goodness and delight.

Anyway: Day 2, No. 2.
I think their ugly website is to try and keep the place from being swarmed with tourists - that's my theory. Or perhaps it's their way of showing off how long they've been around. All I know is who wants to be online anyway when they could be enjoying cocktails at this sparkling gem?

To my curative categories: Excellent, Charming, Intriguing.

1. Excellent: Here you've stepped into some rare, kind, French woman's living room - so intimate yet posh that you want to bring a house-warming gift but are sure she has everything. I always feel like, for some lucky reason, Sambar invited me over for cocktails and enjoyment. Cocktails crafted drop-by-delicate-drop, served with little bites that require a description and result in exclamations of "plus s'il vous plaƮt!" come with warmth and a genuine interest in finding my, and your, perfect drink.

2. Charming: 4 bar stools. 6 tables. There is nowhere to go but intimate. You can cozy up at a tiny little table inside, perhaps even listening to live music, or step out into the even plus petite courtyard with flowering plants and quaint iron chairs.

3. Intriguing: The bar is nestled into the side of Le Gourmand, the restaurant/mother hen who shares her kitchen with the bar. Although the restaurant can feel a bit classic to the point of being outdated - the bar surprises you with wild red and purple colors splashed all over the walls and into your glass. Quite sprightly.

Sambar's bartenders, specifically the famous Jay Kuehner, must steal from mom's (Le Gourmand) larder like mad in order to create such inventive beverages. I can imagine him sneaking around finding ingredients to concoct things like: Ancho Chile Syrup, Black-Pepper infused Tequila, Lavender and Dardamom Bitters. Crazy frolickings like this have free, yet choreographed, room to dance on the menu.

Only good can come from a place that infuses spirits with roses!

If anyone, anywhere, ever wants to throw me a cocktail party - I beg you, throw it here.


An Attempt to Curate My City

I am tempted. I am tempted to take this little blog outside Seattle. I absolutely love to travel, and these past months led me to Israel, Turkey, Greece, Whistler, and a North Carolina sailing village – complete with crab boils and cast-net fishing. Do I go there, here?

I desperately wanted to put up some photos from those trips, but realize that the scope of this blog is meant to focus me: “Seattle and her Surroundings.” And this narrow focus helps me to see and think creatively here at home – to look for the excellent, the charming, the intriguing. It gives me space and boundary.

So I made a decision: it is time to stay home and curate. I'm going to start recording a mixed-tape – a compilation – of some of my favorite Seattle places. Over the next two weeks I am going to take one spot every day and explain why I find it:

1. Excellent (possessing outstanding qualities that are impressive)

2. Charming (have some sort of magical quality or power that makes me want more)

3. Intriguing (accomplish something new and wonderful - or old and wonderful)

I am going to begin with a boutique I visited this weekend in Fremont: Les Amis , owned by tasteful guardian, Becky Buford.

(photo compliments of Les Amis)

1. Excellent: Understated good taste. Taste you can live in. French taste. The brands they carry says it all: Graham & Spencer, Pas de Calais, Gary Graham, Souchi, Giada Forte, Vince, Lem Lem... The list can go on. All I know is that I find rack after rack of textiles I want to live in, jewelry I would be honored to don, and kind service that feels luxurious.

2. Charming: It feels like you've stepped into a French countryside market full of things you want to cuddle and feel and wrap around your body. Cashmere and hammered metals. James Perse simplicity and local Seattle oddities.

(photo compliments of Coco + Kelley)

3. Intriguing: Les Amis has a growing family. One of the best stories of this place is simply how it keeps creatively growing. Les Amis came first, and then Essenza opened up to show off the best French soaps, botanical scents, and delicate jewelry in town. (Essenza deserves a post of it's own). Recently, Les Amis partnered with Lambs Ear and adopted yet another spot next to Essenza - dedicated to shoes - called Thistle. They carry coveted gems like A Detacher, Rachel Comey and Zeha Berlin. I love that the owner is not content to simply display all jewels, triple-milled French soaps, and handmade leather shoes next to her clothing in Les Amis - she dreams of space! It is as if she loves these other products enough to give them their own room to move and grow and show-off. I hope Becky Buford keeps going until every other store in Fremont is under her care.