October 2018

We used this Grill for the 1st time in our last Wine&Whiskey Wednesday….. and been grilling non-stop since then. We’ve had a series of good excuses to start the Grill & last night was no exception. Mike told me it was a Jewish holiday of celebration & Celebrate we did.

Sandastdiary-grill.jpg

We have 2 special James Totes. Pam’s #JamesTote is her 1st in English Bridle & we are celebrating the occasion by giving her 7 tannings. I love how Her color turned out to be.

Rosena wants her #JamesTote to hold her notebook. So…we’ve decided to customize Her Interior.

Finally, James Totes in the “Making”…

 Pam & Rosena’s James tote in the “Making”

Pam & Rosena’s James tote in the “Making”

We thought for a moment that Her #JamesTote got lost…. as there was no sign of the package after 3 long months. Only to find out we’d sent it to her neighbor instead.

It is a beautiful spring in Melbourne, Australia & this was her 1st picnic with her James Tote.

 Wendy will be a Beautiful Lady!

Wendy will be a Beautiful Lady!

Pam & Rosena has been graciously patient for her #JamesTote & they are almost ready to go home.

 #Handmade with Passion & Soul

#Handmade with Passion & Soul

It has to be a coincidence, but how nicely odd… Pam & Rosena has each ordered the Personal Pouch along with their #JamesTote.

 Both in #Cognac

Both in #Cognac

 English Bridle for #JamesTote & English Tan for her #PersonalPouch

English Bridle for #JamesTote & English Tan for her #PersonalPouch

Michael has just come home from his 1st Memorable trip with Sandast & Mr.Hayes would like to share his journey to Morocco & Spain.

"For the traveler, wanderer and explorer, one of the best feelings in the world is the moment when you grab your passport. Whether you're traveling to the comfortable familiarity of your second home, or the remote and untamed wilderness of distant lands, the passport is a powerful symbol of adventure. Certainly, there is something very special about holding that ticket to world-travel in the palm of your hand. Recently I experienced that feeling but amplified, that is because recently I traveled with my brand new, hand-braided, personalized leather passport case. On our maiden voyage, this new feeling of holding my beautiful leather-bound passport was incredibly satisfying; and I realized the union of adventure and luxury is the absolute best way to begin your journey.

 My daily grab-and-go items, loaded up my Karl with some camera stuff, and water bottle with some room left-over for trinkets and my passport with cash. The tote is perfect for Morocco, big enough to fill with treasures from the shops and markets, but tight against the body and secure enough to avert pickpockets. Photo Taken atop the rooftop terrace at my friends house in Marrakesh.

My daily grab-and-go items, loaded up my Karl with some camera stuff, and water bottle with some room left-over for trinkets and my passport with cash. The tote is perfect for Morocco, big enough to fill with treasures from the shops and markets, but tight against the body and secure enough to avert pickpockets. Photo Taken atop the rooftop terrace at my friends house in Marrakesh.

Over the past two weeks I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Africa. My journey would take me from Western Sahara through Morocco and up into Spain, by rickety old french cars, overcrowded trains, filthy buses, gigantic ferries and high speed rail. There's no better way to see a country than from the ground, and those who know me best, know how much I enjoy train travel! In planning this trip, I knew that I had a lot of ground to cover so I wanted to be light and mobile, unencumbered by large suitcases and bags that would weigh me down. When it came to luggage, I went the minimal route; a backpack, my Karl tote and my all-important passport case. This combination would prove to be ideal on this longer trek through deserts and mountains.

 The Palace of Alhambra is one of the northern outposts of the Moorish Empire and the Moroccan-Arabic people that inhabited Andalusia, modern day Spain. The palace and fort include a blend of Classical Spanish and Moorish architecture, perched atop a hill at the base of the original Sierra Nevada mountains. The scale and size of the palace are absolutely marvelous from the prominent bluff, unobstructed vistas of Granada and the entire region.

The Palace of Alhambra is one of the northern outposts of the Moorish Empire and the Moroccan-Arabic people that inhabited Andalusia, modern day Spain. The palace and fort include a blend of Classical Spanish and Moorish architecture, perched atop a hill at the base of the original Sierra Nevada mountains. The scale and size of the palace are absolutely marvelous from the prominent bluff, unobstructed vistas of Granada and the entire region.

Most days would start arriving in a new city or village, where I'd check-in to my airbnb, drop off my backpack and load up my Karl Tote. Admittedly, when it comes to carrying my valuables, I'm out of the ordinary; I always prefer to keep my important documents and cards with me, at all times - even the sneaky streets of Marrakesh! With my passport case loaded up and my Karl tote packed full, I hit the streets looking for what makes each place special. 

 My airbnb in Rabat. Very interesting layout for those interested in architecture. Each of the homes have the same basic elements to make up a house, or what they call a "Riad" (ree-odd) The first level is often sunken into the ground which helps keep the building cool during the heat and warm during the winter. The first floor is a gigantic open area made to accommodate the whole family for gatherings, so it's a lined with seats, the kitchen and usually a fountain in the middle that is opened to the sky. Then each level above is for a generation of the family where the oldest generation lives on the second floor, and the youngest lives on the top floor (usually 4 levels with a rooftop terrace) Seen here is that square layout on the third floor.

My airbnb in Rabat. Very interesting layout for those interested in architecture. Each of the homes have the same basic elements to make up a house, or what they call a "Riad" (ree-odd) The first level is often sunken into the ground which helps keep the building cool during the heat and warm during the winter. The first floor is a gigantic open area made to accommodate the whole family for gatherings, so it's a lined with seats, the kitchen and usually a fountain in the middle that is opened to the sky. Then each level above is for a generation of the family where the oldest generation lives on the second floor, and the youngest lives on the top floor (usually 4 levels with a rooftop terrace) Seen here is that square layout on the third floor.

On one such exploration, my Sandast gear played a key role in how I experienced the city of Fes, the maker-capital of Morocco with over 9000 streets in the old city, each filled with craftspeople and artisans making wares from brass, wool, wood, clay and leather among others. As I passed by a nondescript alleyway, a gentleman sitting on the stoop commented on my Karl tote and asked to take a look. We got to talking and I could tell this man was genuinely interested in the craft and beauty of high quality goods. He offered to tour me around some of the markets in Fes that he thought matched my taste. Now, if you've heard of OR been to Morocco, you've probably been warned about the "tour guides" who are more-or-less guided shopping assistants... there was certainly an element of the tour that seemed to cater to "Wealthy Tourists" but I could tell there was a real sincerity to his offer to tour of his home city.

 Typical street in the Medina (old City) of Fes, looking towards a minaret at the Mosque Moulay Idriss II, who claims the title of Founder and Leader of Fes, along with his father in the late 700's. Each of the small doors along the alleyway lead to small "studios" where craftspeople often make and sell their goods. Some of these shops are the size of a large closet in the US, but provide all the space needed to make shoes or carve wood. Many are simply "storefronts" where merchants sell goods made elsewhere in Fes.

Typical street in the Medina (old City) of Fes, looking towards a minaret at the Mosque Moulay Idriss II, who claims the title of Founder and Leader of Fes, along with his father in the late 700's. Each of the small doors along the alleyway lead to small "studios" where craftspeople often make and sell their goods. Some of these shops are the size of a large closet in the US, but provide all the space needed to make shoes or carve wood. Many are simply "storefronts" where merchants sell goods made elsewhere in Fes.

We started at an amazingly opulent home that once belonged to a prominent professor at Al-Quaraouiyine University (the oldest university in the world!) The home had been converted into a museum, gallery and studio of Moroccan textiles and carpets. It just so happened that he was waiting for his son, who'd just returned home to Fes for business. His son has been living in New Zealand for over a decade as the country is the primary exporter of Merino wool to Morocco for use in their rugs and textiles. After meandering through the narrow streets for the better part of the morning, we ended at the famous Tannery of Fes  (also claiming the title of World's Oldest) It turns out, he worked with leather and was eager to give me a private tour of the tannery along with some in-depth knowledge about the process of tanning and dying au-naturale. I must say, it was reassuring for him to admit that they didn't have anything quite as beautiful as my Karl tote. While the quality of the leather is wonderful, the hardware and ancillary materials just pale in comparison. He encouraged me to pick up a small leather hide and have it finished by my friends back home... (I did!) I have to thank my Karl tote for the private tour of Fes and what a fantastic experience it was

 The Chouara Tannery is the world's oldest, as it claims. Recognized immediately by the awful smell, the tanneries are famous for using pigeon feces and cow urine to breakdown the leather and make it pliable. Many of the nearby shops are stocked with bushels of fresh mint that is picked and used as a face mask to mitigate the smell of the tannery. The hides are tanned and dyed completely naturally, using no advanced machinery. The dyes are natural, extracted from poppy seed, indigo, mint and saffron and then combined to make other colors.

The Chouara Tannery is the world's oldest, as it claims. Recognized immediately by the awful smell, the tanneries are famous for using pigeon feces and cow urine to breakdown the leather and make it pliable. Many of the nearby shops are stocked with bushels of fresh mint that is picked and used as a face mask to mitigate the smell of the tannery. The hides are tanned and dyed completely naturally, using no advanced machinery. The dyes are natural, extracted from poppy seed, indigo, mint and saffron and then combined to make other colors.

 #Handmade

#Handmade

The rest of my journey is dotted with border crossings, ferry rides, customs lines and the simple act of paying for dinner, all made extra special by pulling out my personalized and noticeably beautiful passport case. Even though I was traveling like a vagabond, when I presented my wallet, I felt like Royalty! 

 The House of Bones, Casa Batllo in Barcelona showing it's skeleton exterior. The fascination from the work of Antoni Gaudi is inspired by the forms of nature. While the majority of the built world up to this point included unnaturally straight and flat surfaces, Gaudi made each of his creations take the curved forms of nature, as if his buildings were shaped and molded by hand.

The House of Bones, Casa Batllo in Barcelona showing it's skeleton exterior. The fascination from the work of Antoni Gaudi is inspired by the forms of nature. While the majority of the built world up to this point included unnaturally straight and flat surfaces, Gaudi made each of his creations take the curved forms of nature, as if his buildings were shaped and molded by hand.

Chris used to warn me about my addiction to leather... and I've long accepted my addiction to travel, so this dynamic duo of addiction has me eager to plan my next trip! Perhaps I'll need another backpack...


-m

 #SandastFamily

#SandastFamily

Sun is up & big…, And It is about to get Brighter. #Blossom2018

 I wish I could have kept it as is while I work on the clouds….. but the coffee beans were getting too slippery.

I wish I could have kept it as is while I work on the clouds….. but the coffee beans were getting too slippery.

On 17th, We had a Send off party for Nikita. She is going to Hawaii to start a new important phase in her life. We are very happy & excited for her young career. We are officially on her Bandwagon on her Miss Hawaii to Miss USA & her new show.

 Nikita with Canary Denim. Photo taken by Brett Wheat

Nikita with Canary Denim. Photo taken by Brett Wheat

Downtown Los Angeles is going through some incredible renovations at the moment. I remember how it was when we moved here in Feb 2012. It appears we will have more friends & neighbors soon.

 Just another beautiful day in SouthPark, Los Angeles.

Just another beautiful day in SouthPark, Los Angeles.

We have our 1st JamesTote in English Bridle. Upon receiving an order from Pam, we’ve decided to give hers extra tannings. All of our previous products in English Bridle, we’d given 3 tannings, but this time, Lucky 7 seemed like a good number…. and it was.

 “I am sitting with her in my rather messy office right now, just admiring her and relishing her gorgeous color & aroma!” - Pam -

“I am sitting with her in my rather messy office right now, just admiring her and relishing her gorgeous color & aroma!” - Pam -

James is a good friend / Ambassador of Sandast. Back in May, he came to visit & asked me to make a new duffle bag for his daily trip to the office with his Gym shoes & clothing. James being his name, we’d decided to create this Duffle under our famous “James” family…. & JamesOffice was born. After 5 months with James, we agreed that it is time for everyone else to enjoy this bag. Coming soon!

 #JamesOffice….. 5 months old in Navy

#JamesOffice….. 5 months old in Navy