Perfume: The Story Of A Murder

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (frog in French) is born into poverty under a table at his mothers stall at the fish market. Thrown onto a pile of fish guts he is left for dead.

This introduction to life establishes his revulsion for putrid scents and coupled with his own lack of body scent sets him apart from others. He survives a tormented childhood in an orphanage and goes on to take a job at a tannery- well know for being nauseatingly putrid. While strolling the streets of Paris one day he catches a scent which he follows to discover is the scent of a young woman. In an insatiable craze he murders her attempting to smell her more thoroughly but realizes that after her death her smell too ceases to live.
By chance Grenouille is able to get a job working for a famed perfumist Giuseppe Baldini. His new found talents in mixing renowned perfume scents are negated by his obsession with creating the perfect scent which captures the essence of the human soul. His methodology has him murdering female virgins to reduce their body fats into essential oils and creating the perfect alchemy so that their scent may live on.

I read the novel Perfume: The Story Of A Murder a few years ago. It is originally written in German by Patrick Suskind and explores the human sense of smell and how it translates to emotional experiences of ultimately acceptance or rejection. This is a subject that fascinates me as when I first became pregnant my sense of smell became keener and has been so since. The amount that I love my monkeys and husband has a very strong correlation to the pleasure I devise from inhaling them. I am one of those people that you will see at a farmers market or grocery store smelling the fruits and vegetables before purchasing them. Most of all this story is about identity and how this relates to other peoples reactions or lack therefore of, in shaping the human soul. Ultimately the desire to be accepted, loved and needed is paramount to human spirit.

Unlike most really good novels that are turned into films I really enjoyed this film, by the same title, which came out in 2007. In fact in an unprecedented recommendation I would say read both or just see the film.


Sara Szyber- Swedish Design

Sara Szyber is a designer whose Scandinavian simplicity in unique and whimsical design, has resulted in a range of interior design project from furniture, glassware and even the Swedish Police Museum in Stockholm. 

Showing now at the Las Vegas Design Show as part of the "17 Swedish Designers" for Svensk Form. Ms. Szyber has these leaning glasses on display as well as some of her clean form contemporary furniture designs. 
These simple yet stylish and useful coat hangers are called 'Unicorn'

To visit her website: 


The Rodger Thomas Collection- Las Vegas Design Show

Rodger Thomas is the Executive Vice President of Wynn Design and Development.  He created the interiors of Wynn Las Vegas and more recently Wynn Macau.  He also designed some of Steve Wynn's private residences. These pieces at the World Market in Las Vegas showcase his fabulous craftsmanship- with an added artistic flare of unique dark ink drawings which continue on to several parts of the whole.  
The Bianca Daybed in a dark oak, displays a continuous sketch and letters in cursive penmanship with words written by Oscar Wilde.

These are the Veneto Lounge Chairs in gold leaf.

I love how the drawing details continue all the way down to the base of the chair.

The Grenelle Lounge Chair in a black lacquer. 

This art work displayed with the furniture continues a theme of boundary-less design- very clever. 


Mola Inspired Shirts- Shirt Art

This is the second time we've done this art project, inspired by Panamanian Mola art work.
Molas are layered pieces of fabric made using a reverse appliqué technique. 
Artisans layer different colored fabrics and sew them together. 
They then cut parts of each layer away revealing separate colors and sew the edges down.  
Because of the complexity involved with sewing several layers of fabric, we have used paint as a substitute to create the colorful effect of a Mola and limiting the appliqué layers to one. 

Our original art project was achieved by randomly painting within a rectangular perimeter- directly on to the shirts then sewing a mola inspired design on top of the paint- 
To see the original project (well suited for monkeys ages 'can hold a paint brush' to about five years old) and to read about the origins of the Kuma artisans click this

This time I let my monkeys choose their own design and paint intricate shapes directly onto the shirts within a chalk outline.  
We experimented with designs we found online and cut out shapes-
Using the shapes- we traced one design onto the shirt and another one- about an inch wider- on some navy cotton fabric (already washed and dried).

Monkey One loves fencing and chose that as his design.
Monkey Two was originally going to do an octopus but once he saw it decided he wanted a crab which I free handed directly onto his shirt- 

The monkeys then painted whatever patterns and colors they wanted into the outlined space.
My older monkey was able to stay true to the Mola art form, painting small detailed patterns.  

My younger monkey had fun experimenting with a wider pattern and color mixing.

Once they were finished we let them dry- 

Using the navy cotton fabric we cut out the (one inch wider) shape and cut out the center so that the paint art work would show through.

Then using a zig-zag stitch we sewed the applique onto the shirts.

And a white cross-stitch for the fencing mask

We love how they turned out!
Questions to consider while creating:
What is Mola art? How are we inspired by indigenous and native art work? Where is Central, South America? Where is Panama? Discuss Kuma people and interesting myths and history of the Kuma people.
What materials (medium) are we using to create? Why do we pre-wash the fabric and shirts? 
What combination of colors can we make mixing different colors?


H A Schult- Trash People And The Beach Garbage Hotel

We produce trash, are born from trash, and will turn back into trash- HA Schult

Hans-Jürgen Schult’s, known as HA Schult is a conceptual artist who often uses trash to create his art. In 1996 he created an art installation titled Trash People where he constructed one thousand life size ‘people’ made from crushed cans, electronic waste and other refuse from human consumption.
Originally shown in the Amphitheatre of Xanten located in the North Rhine-Westphalia state of Germany- the exhibition has traveled around the world and shown in Moscow’s Red Square, at the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Giza as well as Rome, New York, Barcelona, Brussels, and Antarctica.

In 2010, Mr. Schult created the world’s first hotel made of garbage as a commentary to Ocean pollution. The five bedroom hotel- Beach Garbage Hotel is located in Madrid and made of approximately 40%  material found on the beaches of Spain, France, Germany, Italy and in the UK. The remainder of the hotel is made from artifacts found in garbage dumps and flea markets. Mr. Schults goes on to say that by creating this temporary home for tourists he hopes to bring attention to to the massive amount of waste generated by mass tourism in Europe.
Rose Piqueras- a spokeswoman for the project, said the aim was to show something contrasting with the pictures painted by the tourism industry and goes on to say: we wanted to show what our holidays could become if we don't clean our beaches.

Would you stay in the Beach Garbage Hotel?


Toni Morrison

I have read seven out of nine of Toni Morrison's books.  
So much of what I have read of her work is embedded in my memory.  It is not for the faint of heart or for those that want to forget the ugly parts of American history.  It is raw, real and amazingly written.  


Toni Morrison is the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 and she has also won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel Beloved which Oprah Winfrey starred and produced a film by the same title in 1998.  
You may click on any of the links above to learn more about each of the novels.


Film: Mine - Floods And Pets

Mine is a Film Movement independent film about the plight of Hurricane Katrina victims separated from their pets. Many evacuees were unable to take their pets with them when New Orleans declared mandatory evacuations. Shelters, including the infamous Super Dome, did not allow pets. Many city residences fled cramming all available space in their vehicles with family, friends and neighbors; making the agonizing decision to leave their pets behind, with food and water, for what they hoped would be a short time period. As we now know, the levees broke and residents were unable to return to their homes, in what had been declared a disaster area. Rescue workers and volunteer from around the US and Canada came to assist in the efforts to rescue as many pets as possible. Using boats and wadding through flooded neighborhoods and homes- pets were rescued through windows and by cutting holes through roofs. Dogs and cats were then shipped around the US to shelters and foster homes. What ensued in the chaos and confusion was the adopting out of many pets to new homes- despite their owners desperately still trying to find them.
Directed by Geralyn Pezanoski this film examines basic human compassion and injustice.
In light of the floods presently ravaging parts of Australia and Brazil I think there is much that can be learned in terms of dealing with desperate situations and seeking justice for two legged and four legged victims.

Check out other films I've reviewed


Chalk Stickers

We've been playing around with chalk stickers-
Saving jars and putting precious things in them-
Air is precious!
I like the idea of these comic like bubbles-
Have you ever used chalk stickers?


Indian Food

As I mentioned in yesterdays post we love Indian food and lucky for me Dr. J loves to make it!
Here are three of his regulars:

(my fav and it tastes so good with lamb too)

(we often substitute the cheese for tofu- it gives the dish extra protein and it stays for a few days in the fridge)

We also make an unphotogenic lentil dish- with some sauteed onion and already soaked lentils- add some home made or store bought garam masala and this can be served as a side dish for up to a week. 


Indian Market

Like most large cities there are a variety of Indian Markets in town.  Dr. J loves cooking Asian meals and over the weekend we spent some time stocking up on all of his special ingredients. 

I love these monkey idols (since I love monkeys).
These are the Hindu deity Hanuman a symbol of perseverance and devotion-
The character of Hanuman is said to teach of the unlimited power that lays unused in each of us.

Dried legumes are a staple in Indian cuisine and so healthy for you.

I love Star Anise- the smell is lovely-

I bought more incense since I am obsessed!
 Almost bought some Rangoli Color but stopped myself since I am sure I can make it out of colored sand
Do you like using Indian Spices in your cooking? 
What are some of your favorites?

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