Happiest of birthdays to La Virgin de Guadalupe, the instantly recognizable patron saint of Mexico. Almost 500 years ago, December 12th, 1531, the dark skinned Virgin Mary appeared to an indigenous man named Juan Diego and spoke to him in his native Nahuatl language.
So... next year is our (drum roll, please)...25th year in business! How can that be? It is amazing, astonishing, and utterly inconceivable that we have managed to stay in business for that long...AND stay married, for heaven’s sake! Somebody is looking out for us, clearly...I bet it has been a frustrating task, too.
In 2005, at our first “grand location” at the New York Gift Show on Pier 92, a fella walks up to us and starts some small talk and then says where do you make your product. I say San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He says, me too. We’ve been friends ever since.
Last week we woke up to the first feeling of autumn in the air. It was dry and cool enough to *think* about wearing long pants. It has since shot up into the 90's, we are hoping fall is right around the corner! The change of the seasons is a time of renewal, of change. We love the sights of apples at the farmers market and pumpkins on porches. We might even think about switching out our shorts for sweaters and iced coffees for cappuccinos. But not just yet...
Do you remember your first Barbie doll? Mine was a gift from my father on the occasion of my first trip to Florida. She was an Island Fun Barbie with brown hair, dark skin, a halter neck bathing suit, sarong and pink chiffon lei. I loved her! I played with Barbies a lot as a child. I do not think there are any body image issues here, but when my father gave my daughter a barbie for Christmas when she was three, I had some reservations. Were Barbie's unattainable body proportions going to make her think that is the way women are really shaped? Will she know that humans do not naturally come with tan, smooth, hairless skin? The jury will be out for some time, as she is only 5, but what I do know is that she loves her Barbie and Barbie is a vehicle for her imagination. She is constantly thinking up things to make for her Barbie: a bed, pillows, a bookcase for all the books she made. I love that Barbie has inspired the maker/crafter in Lula.
This past April we attended the wedding of our dear friends, Stephanie and Noel Hunt’s eldest daughter, who was married in perfect springtime weather in perfect Charleston, SC. Everything about the captivating wedding weekend was as stunningly beautiful as the bride (and her stunningly beautiful mother). On Saturday morning, with fuzzy heads and bleary eyes, we arrived (dreadfully late, of course) to the wedding party brunch, which was held at the house of Susan Hull Walker.
I bet a lot of you saw this article in the New York Times the other day about Carolina Herrera, her muy muy Mexicana resort 2020 collection and the resulting accusation by the Mexican government of cultural appropriation. If you missed it you should go back and read it. It’s thought provoking. I have been chasing my tail over this particular brand of copycatting all week. I could go on and on and on about intellectual property and the number of times we have been knocked off and the pervasiveness of design theft in our industry, etc etc but I will save that for another day.
The Celeste Sphere has to come to be a classic Stray Dog piece over the years. It is named after Celeste Pillow, our dear friend and owner of the restaurant Odette and the soon to open Esther's Eatery in Florence, Alabama. We were introduced to Celeste by Margaret of Fortunata fame. We clicked immediately. The Celeste Sphere is a funky disco ball of sorts and so is our friend Celeste. She loves color, especially purple, is not afraid of sequins and sings karaoke to unwind.
Tall, striking and down-to-earth elegant – the Blum Wood floor lamp pays homage to Nancy Blum Wood, a mother of three, just like those three little branches leading off her artsy faux bois trunk. But there wasn’t much faux about our Blum Wood.
We have kept this lush sconce in our private stash until it was perfectly cured! Named for the 'Red Headed Stranger' himself, Willie Nelson, the Willie Weed sconce will gladly share it's light with you and you will be blown away by it's mellow glow. To celebrate 4/20 and the debut of our fabulous sconce, we have gathered a roundup of our favorite cannabis products. Enjoy!
What can I say about San Miguel de Allende that hasn’t already been said! It’s a Mexican jewel, up in the mountains about 3hrs drive north of Mexico City. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to a thriving artist and maker community - including the workshop of Stray Dog Designs. Locals and expats alike, have known about the beauty of SMA for years, but only on my visit this past winter did I really get a feel for the place.
Last month our beautiful and classic Doug Buffet Lamp was featured in Southern Living Magazine. The Doug Buffet Lamp is named for our friend Doug Self, creator of JDouglas, an agency representing the finest lighting and home brands in the country. Doug graciously took the time for an interview with Billy and his answers are engaging and enlightening. We love the Dougs!
Let’s go way back. To our honeymoon days. Almost 25 years ago, which is hard to believe. Before cell phones. Before email really. Where the seeds of our lives together and this accidental business were sown. Two aimless, adventurous young adults lumbering thru Central Mexico in a big red Chevy truck, searching for noted centers of folk art with our map (yes, the kind you unfold in the air), and stumbling into beautiful, remote, way off the beaten path villages.
Y'all, it's cold outside! The weather is gray and gross and COOOLD! Six months ago I was lounging on a beach on Harbor Island in the Bahamas, knowing the cold would come, but I just wasn't prepared. I am trying to channel those warmer days as I bundle myself up in woolen sweaters and extra pairs of socks. I have been dreaming about the Bahamas and even watched theFyre Festivaldocumentary on Netflix just to see that crystal clear water again.
Mid winter seemed like the perfect time to do a virtual tour of our friendChassity Evan'shouse on Harbor Island which you may have seen in the October issue ofCoastal Living. You can have an actual tour if you rent in onVRBO!
On January 11, 2010 (the date is important here), we had a talk with our Haitian producer of papier mache whom we had helped grow their papier mache department from a handful of employees to over 100 in an effort to bring jobs to the impoverished nation. Without going into specifics, we had a major dispute when the owners of the shop crossed a red line for us.
Have I mentioned how much I love our workshop? Let me say it again, I love working in our workshop because there is generally a happy hum about the place. There is always music, usually Ranchero. There are always stories bandied about (sometimes in whispers); there is a sweet smell of something always simmering in the kitchen; and there is always laughter.