Coconut Style

new directions + new ideas

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The colors are what first struck me about this amazing foto…India, of course. A moment from an extremely vibrant festival.
The last time I passed thru India I only took black and white images. Seems strange, with all the colors surrounding you, but I was trying to capture a bit of the Raj, an  aspect of the country that is long gone, but still has a forceful reflection. It was a time of British rule, when India chafed under a stronger world power. The word “raj” basically means….rule. Raja means ruler…..and maharaja means great ruler (if words are of interest to you). Remnants of that period can still be seen in the great architecture, railroads, and even the sense of justice in the country. 
Today, however, I am looking at this country with new eyes, ones that see India in all her sumptuous, colorful beauty. Simply put, the soul of this ancient culture has a new emphasis and attraction for me. I now see her affinity with color as a major part of India’s DNA. Strip away everything, and a large part of the essence of India is it’s colorful soul. These colors have a fantastic sense of richness and relationship to one another, enhancing whatever they adorn, and of bringing a cultural unity to the many far flung regions of this vast country. Whether its a temple decoration, or simply the surface of a public road, India’s colors leave a lasting impact on our hearts.
I have tremendous respect for the profuse, colorful diversity of India, and the centuries of designing beautiful, rich, and vibrant combinations of colors……definitely an inspiration in my work.
Hoped you enjoyed this little mind tour of India’s past and present….
Aloha

The colors are what first struck me about this amazing foto…India, of course. A moment from an extremely vibrant festival.

The last time I passed thru India I only took black and white images. Seems strange, with all the colors surrounding you, but I was trying to capture a bit of the Raj, an  aspect of the country that is long gone, but still has a forceful reflection. It was a time of British rule, when India chafed under a stronger world power. The word “raj” basically means….rule. Raja means ruler…..and maharaja means great ruler (if words are of interest to you). Remnants of that period can still be seen in the great architecture, railroads, and even the sense of justice in the country. 

Today, however, I am looking at this country with new eyes, ones that see India in all her sumptuous, colorful beauty. Simply put, the soul of this ancient culture has a new emphasis and attraction for me. I now see her affinity with color as a major part of India’s DNA. Strip away everything, and a large part of the essence of India is it’s colorful soul. These colors have a fantastic sense of richness and relationship to one another, enhancing whatever they adorn, and of bringing a cultural unity to the many far flung regions of this vast country. Whether its a temple decoration, or simply the surface of a public road, India’s colors leave a lasting impact on our hearts.

I have tremendous respect for the profuse, colorful diversity of India, and the centuries of designing beautiful, rich, and vibrant combinations of colors……definitely an inspiration in my work.

Hoped you enjoyed this little mind tour of India’s past and present….

Aloha

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This last month I have been building a thatch Bale (pronounced: bah lay), with my son Christian. These normally take a few weeks to put together, and at the moment, we are re-bundling all the thatch corners to finish the roof. Very time consuming, but very rewarding because of all the traditional aspects these huts encompass.   
Hawaii has a long tradition of thatch living spaces, and someplace, lost somewhere in my house, is a vintage photo of the last thatch Hawaiian home ever lived in. Amazing actually. Really fun…the picture was taken sometime during the early 50’s.
Our Bale’s are cool,… but also chic, and we incorporate loads of unseen extras in every one, to keep up with the high stakes designer set, that thrives on the latest incarnation of “tropical”. Thatch is no longer allowed to be imported into Hawaii, so this is the last one I’ll be building with a thatch roof. From now on, roof options will only include artificial thatch, which looks identical to the real stuff, or wooden cedar shingles. Both have advantages over the authentic thatch.
You can see in the foto, we just started oiling the teak wood with a high grade teak oil. Oil not only makes it look better, but helps the longevity of the wood, as well.
This particular Bale will have a new home overlooking beautiful Hanalei Bay. Doing a morning yoga session in your own private space is very relaxing, especially in such an incredible location.
Ambiance….realxation….authenticity…..all passwords for COCONUT STYLE.
Visit us online or call the store for more info on anything we make….808 828-6899
With Aloha

This last month I have been building a thatch Bale (pronounced: bah lay), with my son Christian. These normally take a few weeks to put together, and at the moment, we are re-bundling all the thatch corners to finish the roof. Very time consuming, but very rewarding because of all the traditional aspects these huts encompass.   

Hawaii has a long tradition of thatch living spaces, and someplace, lost somewhere in my house, is a vintage photo of the last thatch Hawaiian home ever lived in. Amazing actually. Really fun…the picture was taken sometime during the early 50’s.

Our Bale’s are cool,… but also chic, and we incorporate loads of unseen extras in every one, to keep up with the high stakes designer set, that thrives on the latest incarnation of “tropical”. Thatch is no longer allowed to be imported into Hawaii, so this is the last one I’ll be building with a thatch roof. From now on, roof options will only include artificial thatch, which looks identical to the real stuff, or wooden cedar shingles. Both have advantages over the authentic thatch.

You can see in the foto, we just started oiling the teak wood with a high grade teak oil. Oil not only makes it look better, but helps the longevity of the wood, as well.

This particular Bale will have a new home overlooking beautiful Hanalei Bay. Doing a morning yoga session in your own private space is very relaxing, especially in such an incredible location.

Ambiance….realxation….authenticity…..all passwords for COCONUT STYLE.

Visit us online or call the store for more info on anything we make….808 828-6899

With Aloha

Filed under Bale hut thatch authentic Hawaii woden rofs

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                                                         MAHALAPU
This foto is of a close friend of mine, Steven.
 Two days ago, we braved one of the worst roads on Kauai to visit an area on the south shore, called Mahalapu. It’s fairly close to where some of the scenes from the recent movie “THE DESCENDENTS” were filmed. 
The late afternoon winds were howling and the cliffside terrain was razor sharp. Earlier, I had loaded my pickup with heavy coconut palm fronds to add weight, hoping this would help reduce the heavy bouncing caused by the road. It definitely helped, but was still a wild ride! At one point, even the dog tried to jump out the window.
Mahalapu has incredible scenery and the lighting was perfect. We broke out the fishing pole and with our camera, recorded the event. Steven is multi talented and music is his main venue. But, truth be told, he doesn’t look half bad wearing our shirts and shorts…
His clothing’s made from our silk/rayon blends, featuring island themes. The shirt design being Hawaiian taro….the traditional food staple which is used to make poi. Shorts have Ahi fish tails hand stamped on them. Locals nail Ahi tails on the sides of their homes and fences for trophies of the fish they’ve caught. We wanted to reflect that heritage, and so added this idea to our new shorts. Very cool…..very Hawaiian …
The fishing pole…? No idea. Probably from a garage sale.
Before we knew it, time to head home, but not before seeing some tsunami flotsam close to the cliffs. Remnants from a tragedy that is just beginning to hit our shores.
If you have the right truck, and enough time, Mahalapu is a cool place to go.
With Aloha…

                                                         MAHALAPU

This foto is of a close friend of mine, Steven.

 Two days ago, we braved one of the worst roads on Kauai to visit an area on the south shore, called Mahalapu. It’s fairly close to where some of the scenes from the recent movie “THE DESCENDENTS” were filmed. 

The late afternoon winds were howling and the cliffside terrain was razor sharp. Earlier, I had loaded my pickup with heavy coconut palm fronds to add weight, hoping this would help reduce the heavy bouncing caused by the road. It definitely helped, but was still a wild ride! At one point, even the dog tried to jump out the window.

Mahalapu has incredible scenery and the lighting was perfect. We broke out the fishing pole and with our camera, recorded the event. Steven is multi talented and music is his main venue. But, truth be told, he doesn’t look half bad wearing our shirts and shorts…

His clothing’s made from our silk/rayon blends, featuring island themes. The shirt design being Hawaiian taro….the traditional food staple which is used to make poi. Shorts have Ahi fish tails hand stamped on them. Locals nail Ahi tails on the sides of their homes and fences for trophies of the fish they’ve caught. We wanted to reflect that heritage, and so added this idea to our new shorts. Very cool…..very Hawaiian …

The fishing pole…? No idea. Probably from a garage sale.

Before we knew it, time to head home, but not before seeing some tsunami flotsam close to the cliffs. Remnants from a tragedy that is just beginning to hit our shores.

If you have the right truck, and enough time, Mahalapu is a cool place to go.

With Aloha…

Filed under mahalapu flotsam tsunami razor sharp rocks howling winds

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                                        HAND MADE : BY ROBOTS
People have a lot of varied thoughts on the subject of anything that is…hand made.
In the mind of the average person, however, what they are really wanting is something “absolutely perfect”. They like the concept of buying hand made, but the reality is……they check very closely for any sign of flaws.  Sort of like what a friend once said to me….Hand made, without the hand. Or, in other words,  hand made by robots.
Coconut Style isn’t about pursuing “perfection”. What we’re seeking is authenticity. In fact, generations of making authentic, beautiful things comes naturally to the island of Bali. 
The Balinese are the best in the world at what they do, that’s why we’re working with them. Centuries of beautiful craftsmanship lies behind everything we do. Small quantities, original designs, quality work done by hand, and the satisfaction of knowing that what you’re wearing is not made by computers, machines, or robots. That’s a hidden value, but to us, essential, and is what sets Coconut Style apart from the mass made strip mall culture of the 21st century.
I recently heard an introduction by the head of John Hardy jewelry, a very affluent company with a large, global audience. He was very perceptive when he stated….
“The world now likes authentic things. We are authentic. Everything is made by hand, everything is made by passion. With passion and with love. This tradition of making beautiful things with your hands is very unique with Bali. This is completely in the philosophy of the company.”
Hawaii sees things very much the same. Hawaiians love real things, authentic things, and one of the main reasons people visit Hawaii is to experience  ”the real Hawaii.” It’s something they are searching for. They walk the beaches, swim the ocean, hike the trails, eat the natural fruits…..there’s a longing and a desire that touches them at a deeper level, and keeps them coming back to Hawaii year after year, refreshing their whole life.
Next time you visit our island, let yourself drift awhile, enjoy slowing down, and if you do make it to Kilauea, drop in and see our original collections made by people…..not robots.
With Aloha

                                        HAND MADE : BY ROBOTS

People have a lot of varied thoughts on the subject of anything that is…hand made.

In the mind of the average person, however, what they are really wanting is something “absolutely perfect”. They like the concept of buying hand made, but the reality is……they check very closely for any sign of flaws.  Sort of like what a friend once said to me….Hand made, without the hand. Or, in other words,  hand made by robots.

Coconut Style isn’t about pursuing “perfection”. What we’re seeking is authenticity. In fact, generations of making authentic, beautiful things comes naturally to the island of Bali. 

The Balinese are the best in the world at what they do, that’s why we’re working with them. Centuries of beautiful craftsmanship lies behind everything we do. Small quantities, original designs, quality work done by hand, and the satisfaction of knowing that what you’re wearing is not made by computers, machines, or robots. That’s a hidden value, but to us, essential, and is what sets Coconut Style apart from the mass made strip mall culture of the 21st century.

I recently heard an introduction by the head of John Hardy jewelry, a very affluent company with a large, global audience. He was very perceptive when he stated….

The world now likes authentic things. We are authentic. Everything is made by hand, everything is made by passion. With passion and with love. This tradition of making beautiful things with your hands is very unique with Bali. This is completely in the philosophy of the company.”

Hawaii sees things very much the same. Hawaiians love real things, authentic things, and one of the main reasons people visit Hawaii is to experience  ”the real Hawaii.” It’s something they are searching for. They walk the beaches, swim the ocean, hike the trails, eat the natural fruits…..there’s a longing and a desire that touches them at a deeper level, and keeps them coming back to Hawaii year after year, refreshing their whole life.

Next time you visit our island, let yourself drift awhile, enjoy slowing down, and if you do make it to Kilauea, drop in and see our original collections made by people…..not robots.

With Aloha

Filed under hand made unique to Bali and Hawaii passion love authenticity. clothing exclusive

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                                          ICONIC  ALOHA  SHIRTS
The aloha shirt has been around for over 75 years and is still growing in influence. Aloha is everywhere, not just in America, but worldwide……due, in large part, to the traditional Hawaiian shirt.                                  i
Coconut Style has been creating aloha shirts for just under 2 decades, enjoying a small part in helping spread the Hawaiian culture through the designs we’ve been making. 
You can see from the foto above, the lengths we go to create something that is authentic for today’s visitors. Original…hand painted…best quality…exclusive….small quantities… these are just some of the things that go into our work. 
With our new website coming in the summer, it’ll be even simpler to buy our designs without leaving home. You’ll have a new shirt for that special event, when you want to look your best… Some of our designs really stand out, others are what I call,  stealth aloha….where you sneak in under the radar without anybody noticing. Slowly, it begins to dawn on people, that there is aloha in the room. These designs definitely create their own ambiance, wherever they go…
With Aloha….

                                          ICONIC  ALOHA  SHIRTS

The aloha shirt has been around for over 75 years and is still growing in influence. Aloha is everywhere, not just in America, but worldwide……due, in large part, to the traditional Hawaiian shirt.                                  i

Coconut Style has been creating aloha shirts for just under 2 decades, enjoying a small part in helping spread the Hawaiian culture through the designs we’ve been making. 

You can see from the foto above, the lengths we go to create something that is authentic for today’s visitors. Original…hand painted…best quality…exclusive….small quantities… these are just some of the things that go into our work. 

With our new website coming in the summer, it’ll be even simpler to buy our designs without leaving home. You’ll have a new shirt for that special event, when you want to look your best… Some of our designs really stand out, others are what I call,  stealth aloha….where you sneak in under the radar without anybody noticing. Slowly, it begins to dawn on people, that there is aloha in the room. These designs definitely create their own ambiance, wherever they go…

With Aloha….

Filed under iconic hawaiian aloha shirts hand painted original

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                                                      PLUMERIA
Plumeria flowers are one of the most easily recognizable images of Hawaii, and you see them everywhere, from trees on the side of the road, to the flower stands scattered  around town. For islands famous for their lush tropical beauty, nothing quite says Hawaii like these small, beautiful flowers.
Almost everyone has an old, favorite aloha shirt, and in most of these, flowers have been included somewhere in their designs. Part of the allure of the aloha shirt is that the wearer helps to spread aloha every time they put one on. The beauty, the lifestyle, and the uniqueness of Hawaii, is there for everyone to see in these shirts. Other flowers, such as hibiscus, bird of paradise, heliconia, anthurium, and orchids are also used to add variety.  
Coconut Style has always used Hawaii’s lush beauty as a starting point in our designs. We have a few new ideas in the works, and many of these are highlighting the plumeria. They should be coming out this summer.
Wherever our designs direct us, whether clothing or bedding, Hawaii’s rich tradition of using flowers to share the beauty of the islands, brings a fragrant sense of aloha to everyday life.
Our new website will feature some of these new designs……look for it in the summer.
With Aloha

                                                      PLUMERIA

Plumeria flowers are one of the most easily recognizable images of Hawaii, and you see them everywhere, from trees on the side of the road, to the flower stands scattered  around town. For islands famous for their lush tropical beauty, nothing quite says Hawaii like these small, beautiful flowers.

Almost everyone has an old, favorite aloha shirt, and in most of these, flowers have been included somewhere in their designs. Part of the allure of the aloha shirt is that the wearer helps to spread aloha every time they put one on. The beauty, the lifestyle, and the uniqueness of Hawaii, is there for everyone to see in these shirts. Other flowers, such as hibiscus, bird of paradise, heliconia, anthurium, and orchids are also used to add variety.  

Coconut Style has always used Hawaii’s lush beauty as a starting point in our designs. We have a few new ideas in the works, and many of these are highlighting the plumeria. They should be coming out this summer.

Wherever our designs direct us, whether clothing or bedding, Hawaii’s rich tradition of using flowers to share the beauty of the islands, brings a fragrant sense of aloha to everyday life.

Our new website will feature some of these new designs……look for it in the summer.

With Aloha

Filed under plumeria rich island ambiance. island memories. iconic hawaiian flower

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                                               HAND MADE SHORTS
About two years ago we created a line of hand made shorts to set you apart from the everyday crowd. Made from a silk blend, we start by stamping them with indigenous icons of the islands, and then afterwards, hand paint the shorts with rich luxurious colors. While still having a beachy vibe, these shorts can be worn to the best restaurants in Hawaii. Very cool, very versatile, very one-of-a-kind.
The material we’re using took over a year to find. After months of searching, this blend turned up in an obscure fabric store. The weave of the cloth had to be sophisticated looking, while at the same time needed to feel good to the touch. Next, it had to be able to relax after it was sat on or crushed. The last criteria was the fabric needed to take our rich hand mixed colors without looking blotched. Next time you try on a pair,  you’ll be able to better understand and appreciate all the behind-the-scenes work that has gone into them. 
Earlier today, I was searching for some interesting background textures for the new website we are building. This new site is being built without flash, so iPhones and iPads will be able to access it. As in everything else we do, we are making our new site the best there is. It’s taking a little longer than we anticipated, but should be up and running by summertime.
And so, after roaming around the south shore, I took this photo of a pair of our shorts in an old sugar mill foundation.  Texture overload, for sure, but it’s visually engaging. Too much, truthfully, for the website. However, great fun to look at on it’s own. 
We have silk blend shorts in a variety of colors, designs, and sizes.
To see more of what we do, visit us on Kauai, or view us on the web at coconutstyle.com……Aloha

                                               HAND MADE SHORTS

About two years ago we created a line of hand made shorts to set you apart from the everyday crowd. Made from a silk blend, we start by stamping them with indigenous icons of the islands, and then afterwards, hand paint the shorts with rich luxurious colors. While still having a beachy vibe, these shorts can be worn to the best restaurants in Hawaii. Very cool, very versatile, very one-of-a-kind.

The material we’re using took over a year to find. After months of searching, this blend turned up in an obscure fabric store. The weave of the cloth had to be sophisticated looking, while at the same time needed to feel good to the touch. Next, it had to be able to relax after it was sat on or crushed. The last criteria was the fabric needed to take our rich hand mixed colors without looking blotched. Next time you try on a pair,  you’ll be able to better understand and appreciate all the behind-the-scenes work that has gone into them. 

Earlier today, I was searching for some interesting background textures for the new website we are building. This new site is being built without flash, so iPhones and iPads will be able to access it. As in everything else we do, we are making our new site the best there is. It’s taking a little longer than we anticipated, but should be up and running by summertime.

And so, after roaming around the south shore, I took this photo of a pair of our shorts in an old sugar mill foundation.  Texture overload, for sure, but it’s visually engaging. Too much, truthfully, for the website. However, great fun to look at on it’s own. 

We have silk blend shorts in a variety of colors, designs, and sizes.

To see more of what we do, visit us on Kauai, or view us on the web at coconutstyle.com……Aloha

Filed under hand made silk blend shorts Hawaii rich colors indigenous icons

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                                                       LITTLE FISH
  One of the things I enjoy about Bali are the little unplanned adventures that take you off to the side of what a visitor usually sees. These are some of the little bonuses that come from spending a lot of time just roaming around.
My days usually start out by going to work, but one morning, after I ran into a close Balinese friend, my son and I straightaway hopped into his car and joined him in a little project he had envisioned for the day. Earlier in the week he had noticed a couple of young children not having much luck catching fish. In actual fact, there weren’t any fish to catch, and so he had promised these village kids he would try to restock the stream.
Bali, if you didn’t know, is obsessed with fishing. They love it so much, people actually dig out ponds and place fish in them. Weekly fishing competitions are held in these small ponds and expensive gifts are given out to the winners, such as TV’s and other electronic goodies, all of which the Balinese are very fond of. They’ll sit, shoulder to shoulder, for hours thru the sun and rain with their poles,  waiting patiently for the big bite. Wall to wall bodies, with wall to wall cigarettes, all hoping for the prize.
Man made ponds aren’t the only place they fish. Every afternoon you can find children and adults walking the streams casting their lines into the water. Unfortunately, besides being fished out, these streams are filled with plastic garbage and refuse. Chocked full…everywhere. If you put up a sign…doesn’t work. Multiple signs won’t even work….a high fish net next to a bridge maybe works a little. Stops the garbage flying out the window…  The Balinese can’t adjust to the fact that everything is now wrapped in plastic, not banana leaf. In the old days it was fine to toss your trash, but with the onset of plastic….the island needs help.
Now, our adventure today was to buy fish and restock the stream, not to worry about the garbage.  We stopped at the Dept. of Fisheries and put in our order. We could of bought big fish, already grown, but they are expensive, and so we were taken to the ponds with hundreds of little ones, where the fishery staff immediately started netting them for us. These would be perfect for the village stream.
Back at the village, we found a little side area where we poured the fish into the water. This would give them  a chance to grow…away from the hungry mouths of birds and large monitor lizards which were living nearby.  I’ve seen one such lizard, as long as my leg, up by the house stalking chickens for lunch. When there is no big fish, they have to search elsewhere for food. This one supposedly lives in a hole that had been dug out during WW2 for a local villager to hide in. Holes like these are all over the island, but it is the lizards and snakes that hide in them now. Sometimes, the tables are turned, and the lizards are the one’s hunted, but this particular “alu” is kinda big and scary…..best to stay away!
So ended our little adventure… a break from the daily routine, an insightful behind the scenes journey of village fishing,  and a chance to help some Balinese children have fun.

                                                       LITTLE FISH

  One of the things I enjoy about Bali are the little unplanned adventures that take you off to the side of what a visitor usually sees. These are some of the little bonuses that come from spending a lot of time just roaming around.

My days usually start out by going to work, but one morning, after I ran into a close Balinese friend, my son and I straightaway hopped into his car and joined him in a little project he had envisioned for the day. Earlier in the week he had noticed a couple of young children not having much luck catching fish. In actual fact, there weren’t any fish to catch, and so he had promised these village kids he would try to restock the stream.

Bali, if you didn’t know, is obsessed with fishing. They love it so much, people actually dig out ponds and place fish in them. Weekly fishing competitions are held in these small ponds and expensive gifts are given out to the winners, such as TV’s and other electronic goodies, all of which the Balinese are very fond of. They’ll sit, shoulder to shoulder, for hours thru the sun and rain with their poles,  waiting patiently for the big bite. Wall to wall bodies, with wall to wall cigarettes, all hoping for the prize.

Man made ponds aren’t the only place they fish. Every afternoon you can find children and adults walking the streams casting their lines into the water. Unfortunately, besides being fished out, these streams are filled with plastic garbage and refuse. Chocked full…everywhere. If you put up a sign…doesn’t work. Multiple signs won’t even work….a high fish net next to a bridge maybe works a little. Stops the garbage flying out the window…  The Balinese can’t adjust to the fact that everything is now wrapped in plastic, not banana leaf. In the old days it was fine to toss your trash, but with the onset of plastic….the island needs help.

Now, our adventure today was to buy fish and restock the stream, not to worry about the garbage.  We stopped at the Dept. of Fisheries and put in our order. We could of bought big fish, already grown, but they are expensive, and so we were taken to the ponds with hundreds of little ones, where the fishery staff immediately started netting them for us. These would be perfect for the village stream.

Back at the village, we found a little side area where we poured the fish into the water. This would give them  a chance to grow…away from the hungry mouths of birds and large monitor lizards which were living nearby.  I’ve seen one such lizard, as long as my leg, up by the house stalking chickens for lunch. When there is no big fish, they have to search elsewhere for food. This one supposedly lives in a hole that had been dug out during WW2 for a local villager to hide in. Holes like these are all over the island, but it is the lizards and snakes that hide in them now. Sometimes, the tables are turned, and the lizards are the one’s hunted, but this particular “alu” is kinda big and scary…..best to stay away!

So ended our little adventure… a break from the daily routine, an insightful behind the scenes journey of village fishing,  and a chance to help some Balinese children have fun.

Filed under Bali fishing Bali garbage.restocking fish side adventures in Bali

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                                                       BALI  BLOOMS 
Besides being one of the richest colors in Bali, and also having an incredible tropical fragrance, these little blooms hold many memories through the years of my travels in the Hindu island.
There is a little village called Sibang that I have passed thru countless times, and it’s claim to fame is this small beautiful blossom. The village specializes in growing this flower and provides blooms for seemingly most of the island. Commonly called Cempaka, it comes in two main colors, white and also a rich saffron…but it’s the saffron that really captures my attention.
The flowers are used in all the religious ceremonies, even the small daily offerings seen throughout Bali, and their rich aroma casually permeates the temple festivities. Also, as an added benefit, they fit nicely behind the ears of men and women, which is done not only for beauty, but also to show their neighbors they’ve already been to the temple and are now free to return to their daily routines.
The freshly picked blossoms are relatively inexpensive and even cheaper when the major ceremonies are finished. At times, I pull over and buy a handful for my children’s Grandmother. 
For many years I couldn’t figure out where this mysterious flower came from. Then one day, Nenek pointed to a very large tree in her neighbor’s front yard. She said this is a Cempaka tree. It was huge! Now I can spot them everywhere, but especially in Sibang, which carries a rich tropical fragrance as you pass through it. The flowers can begin to wilt very fast, and so they are gathered by children very early every morning by climbing the trees, usually while it is still dark. Flashlights can be seen searching the trees for Cempaka blossoms. The flowers are placed in small plastic bags and then sold to one of the many stores on the edge of the road. This becomes their lunch money, for school.
The rich colors of this bloom have always fascinated me, and in fact, our first Cempaka sarong has a story behind it which was inspired by the Grandmother, not the least of which, was her showing me an actual tree, and so, years ago, I decided to make a sarong in her honor.
After we sketched it out I chose the colors. The orange border turned out perfect, but the colors of the flowers and the background were a disaster. I glanced at the woman standing next to me, and made a spur of the moment decision to use the color of her top, sort of a periwinkle, for the background, and then more orange for the flowers. The finished sarong was striking, and is still one of our classic designs. Over the years we’ve sold many of these,  and the way it all came together was rather auspicious…
This new year, 2012, I wanted to give our Cempaka sarong a makeover, feeling there was more beauty to be found in the little flower of Sibang. So, in the coming months I’m hoping to make a new sample that we can pass onto you…

                                                       BALI  BLOOMS 

Besides being one of the richest colors in Bali, and also having an incredible tropical fragrance, these little blooms hold many memories through the years of my travels in the Hindu island.

There is a little village called Sibang that I have passed thru countless times, and it’s claim to fame is this small beautiful blossom. The village specializes in growing this flower and provides blooms for seemingly most of the island. Commonly called Cempaka, it comes in two main colors, white and also a rich saffron…but it’s the saffron that really captures my attention.

The flowers are used in all the religious ceremonies, even the small daily offerings seen throughout Bali, and their rich aroma casually permeates the temple festivities. Also, as an added benefit, they fit nicely behind the ears of men and women, which is done not only for beauty, but also to show their neighbors they’ve already been to the temple and are now free to return to their daily routines.

The freshly picked blossoms are relatively inexpensive and even cheaper when the major ceremonies are finished. At times, I pull over and buy a handful for my children’s Grandmother. 

For many years I couldn’t figure out where this mysterious flower came from. Then one day, Nenek pointed to a very large tree in her neighbor’s front yard. She said this is a Cempaka tree. It was huge! Now I can spot them everywhere, but especially in Sibang, which carries a rich tropical fragrance as you pass through it. The flowers can begin to wilt very fast, and so they are gathered by children very early every morning by climbing the trees, usually while it is still dark. Flashlights can be seen searching the trees for Cempaka blossoms. The flowers are placed in small plastic bags and then sold to one of the many stores on the edge of the road. This becomes their lunch money, for school.

The rich colors of this bloom have always fascinated me, and in fact, our first Cempaka sarong has a story behind it which was inspired by the Grandmother, not the least of which, was her showing me an actual tree, and so, years ago, I decided to make a sarong in her honor.

After we sketched it out I chose the colors. The orange border turned out perfect, but the colors of the flowers and the background were a disaster. I glanced at the woman standing next to me, and made a spur of the moment decision to use the color of her top, sort of a periwinkle, for the background, and then more orange for the flowers. The finished sarong was striking, and is still one of our classic designs. Over the years we’ve sold many of these,  and the way it all came together was rather auspicious…

This new year, 2012, I wanted to give our Cempaka sarong a makeover, feeling there was more beauty to be found in the little flower of Sibang. So, in the coming months I’m hoping to make a new sample that we can pass onto you…

Filed under cempaka bali flower ceremonies sarongs

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                                       MILLARD ROGER STROH 
  I have this foto sitting on my desk in the living room. Dad always looked great in fotos. I have a couple of others I took of him in Hawaii…classic fotos in beautiful srroundings, but this one remains my favorite. He had a certain “look” that was all his own…always gazing…always thinking…always wondering…
  I also have a short video of him with his twin brother, Malen, and his wife, Beverly, sitting at the local bakery here in Hawaii, drinking coffee. Dad had his aloha shirt on, looking away from the camera in his signature style. Great shot…great Dad.
  Last night my daughter and I went through my overstuffed closet and saw many of Dad’s old aloha shirts. Some were too small, many were too big, but Dad didn’t care, he wore them anyway. Hang loose….Hawaii. That was his motto over here. Dad had style…that’s for sure.
  Dad passed away, fittingly, on Columbus Day. And naturally, he was gazing into the future just before he died…I heard he looked over to the left and seemed to see something over there. Minutes later he was gone. 
Dad’s “look” served him well in this life, but even more importantly, his characteristic of gazing beyond what other people usually see, served him even better. Right up to the end, he was looking forward to what was ahead….in the heavenlies…
Rest In Peace Dad

                                       MILLARD ROGER STROH 

  I have this foto sitting on my desk in the living room. Dad always looked great in fotos. I have a couple of others I took of him in Hawaii…classic fotos in beautiful srroundings, but this one remains my favorite. He had a certain “look” that was all his own…always gazing…always thinking…always wondering…

  I also have a short video of him with his twin brother, Malen, and his wife, Beverly, sitting at the local bakery here in Hawaii, drinking coffee. Dad had his aloha shirt on, looking away from the camera in his signature style. Great shot…great Dad.

  Last night my daughter and I went through my overstuffed closet and saw many of Dad’s old aloha shirts. Some were too small, many were too big, but Dad didn’t care, he wore them anyway. Hang loose….Hawaii. That was his motto over here. Dad had style…that’s for sure.

  Dad passed away, fittingly, on Columbus Day. And naturally, he was gazing into the future just before he died…I heard he looked over to the left and seemed to see something over there. Minutes later he was gone. 

Dad’s “look” served him well in this life, but even more importantly, his characteristic of gazing beyond what other people usually see, served him even better. Right up to the end, he was looking forward to what was ahead….in the heavenlies…

Rest In Peace Dad