Thursday, April 30, 2015

Natural Arabian Building Materials: Date Palm Fronds & some DIY Decorating Inspiration

One of the most modern uses I thus far seen of date palm fronds is by interior designer Jessica Battaile (work pictured above and immediately below first two pictures down ). She uses woven date palm frond as blinds, as rugs, and to upholster furniture. I love it.
It goes without saying of course, that the date palm was the life blood of the Gulf, the way the Nile is, for Egypt.
Beyond its properties as a food, there is pretty much no part of the date palm that WASN'T used from something else. Traditionally in the Arabian Gulf (and Arab world as well), Oman, and elsewhere, date palm fronds have been used for everything such as the making of furniture (tables, chairs, beds, boxes, and cradles),
 architecture such as walls and ceilings,
as a mode of transportation:
Shasha boat, one of the most ancient seafaring craft
and household goods such as baskets and mats.
A step by step guide to how a palm frond house (very small example) is constructed was
made in the U.K. by the Royal Geographic Society and really suggest you check out the link  which basically gives the same step by step guide I have been given by locals who still make palm frond pet cages and garden furniture using the technique they used 50 years ago to build houses etc.
And maybe you can't picture yourself a weaver, but maybe this cute little easy (guide to make rope is found above or buy some pre-made rope in a souq {even Seeb souq next to the Abna Friesh store on the corniche sells this stuff} but the below DIY is simple so pretty and party perfect:

A little DIY party decoration: how lovely is this simple DIY for a palm frond garland?

 For custom requests from artisans, the Ministry of Culture and Heritage will be glad to put you into contact with Omani artisans. There is a man in Seeb souq near the faux watch tower who makes palm frond furniture, near the Abna friesh they sell handmade baskets and ropes, and in Fanja areesh shade walls are found in the souq, which are pretty, eco-friendly, and super nice in yards instead of some of the awful awning I have seen around:)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Belated Ramadan Iftar Post: the Diwan Club for Iftar

So during Ramadan I went to the Diwan Club for iftar (and it was really good as far as buffets go in Oman) but I broke my phone, and never got these photos back, but now I have my phone's memory or whatever technical thing it is, and I got some old photos back so I decided to post the lovely architecture of the club (it was evening so my phone didn't take good pictures, sorry) and although I didn't get any photos of the food back, trust me when I say, as far as buffets go, it was really really affordable for the quality compared to any other buffet I've had in Muscat.
We spent some time here (above) reading magazines after salat, before going for a walk on the beach and around the pools.

Above, majlis, and funky chandeliers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Omani Men's Fashion (and women's gold) from a Bridal Mag.

I love bishts. And swords. Serriously, I wish men went around wearing their mussayrs, and bishts, and carrying swords and belted that whole look off with khanjars every day. Swords are awesome!
So I got invited a bunch of stuff in UAE for brides (which is weird, because I am against the whole white rented gown/hall affair despite my love of dancing and dressing up). However, I love magazines. All magazines. Want to give me free magazines? I will always take them.

So while I found the majority of the Omani wedding dresses to be beyond ugly (at least the ones advertised) and the makeup to be even scarier, and the hair, like Prom gone wild, the men's fashion was a little interesting. And some of the photoshoots (even though the model was Russian) featuring Arabian decor of the noblesse, were so nice that I didn't care about weddings or gowns or models or makeup at all.

On to the men's fashion:
 My husband is kind of a traditional Omani guy when it comes to clothes. He likes white, brown, beige, cream, navy and grey. He doesn't get into that whole coloured farakha (tassel) thing, and most of his kuma and mussayr are neutrals or not embroidered outlandishly kashmiri-style. And I think he's only worn his bisht for graduations and getting married... But he has sword for Eid, and wears a khanjar occasionally, and the whole bullet belt thing, and the assa stick, and I really like it. That's more a formal dress thing for Omani men though, weddings, funerals, wasta-people (or AWESOME BEDOUINS!). Above, the beige and gold robe worn over the white dishdasha is called a bisht. Now, I like this look (above) as it is a little more traditional and the unvarnished colour of the wood on the sword (saif) and dagger (khanjar) matches impeccably. Very natural. Very suave.
This look, also nice (Dhofari mussayr, nice colour on the assa [stick] finish, matches the watch, and beautiful detailing on the belt for the bullets.
Coloured farakhas [tassels]? Look good on some guys, not on others. This look is more trendy, younger, more expressive, but to me, it's less confident I guess because it is over confident? I don't like the white finish on the sword, and though the striped and tasselled musayr is definately very cool (and if you are already going with a coloured farakha, why not?).

This is kind of a rambling post... Below, some more modern take on the traditional Omani woman's gold so often formally presented as a wedding dowry:

I love the rings (but I am a silver girl), one for each finger of the hand