Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Maharajah Palace-Tent Or The Emperor's Emporium (1)

This post 1st appeared on Day 71 of My Maharajah's Palace. Since then I have made certain changes to the tent which will be the subject matter of another post. This is an excerpt of that 1st post

It has been a long and frustrating journey, the making of this tent aka "The Emperor's Emporium". I believe I had wanted to make a tent even before I wanted to build the temple (Day 42) and when I saw what Mercedes first made for me, my resolve became even stronger. You see, in the beautifully wrapped "Palace Parfumerie" box are tiny gorgeous little bottles screaming to be displayed.

So came the Evil Maharajah Ranjit Singh, my carpet/perfume/hookah trader on Day 48 and the urgency grew. Although I have this book called "Making Miniatures" by Christiane Berridge with a tutorial on Arabian tent, you will have to drill holes (stumped!). I also didn't understand the steps for making the tent top as there was sewing involved.

Nevertheless, I started gathering supplies, bought a piece of plywood and thought I would just go from there, still not knowing how to make the walls. After I glued some really nice sticker on it, I junked it as it was too dark.

A light bulb moment when I went to Arab Street and found beautiful handwoven Kashmiri carpets which I thought would be great for the walls. Another such moment when I saw barbecue skewers! Woohoo, that's how I can make the walls stand! I also have a table mat made of bamboo which I thought would be great for the floor. What about the top? Paper mache!

I was getting very excited because although that was a mere paragraph describing my thought process, I had been cracking my head for at least 2 months on this ! I was getting anxious as I had even spun stories around the non-existent palace tent (Day 62 ). I set to work with high hopes and

took pictures of my progress in case people want to know how I make my spectacular tent. You can imagine how I felt when it turned out like this:

To torture myself, I let this structure stand on my dining table for 2-3 weeks until last Saturday when I went over to Chris' to see his even more damaged building. It did nothing for my ego. By the way, I posted his work on my projects blog if you want a closer look.

The trip was really fruitful though for Chris showed me this wonderful material called Simona (?). Anyway, it's like the inside of the cover of a Bodyshop scrub which I used to make the table on Day 43. And it stand! Like a block of wood! Just glue! He also showed me how to cut a circle with string, nail and penknife to make the tent-top. I was not that adventurous though and took the easy way out. So my tent last night looked like this:

No pics of progress for obvious reasons.

The best part was of course doing up the interior which took me from 10pm to about 7.30am this morning.

I knew I had to change the top so I consult with SuZ, my sister and the palace architect when I tricked her, my mum and dad to come over to my place- we live 3 minutes from each other.

In 2 minutes, she found the right material in my house and taught me how to build the top. I used an old pillow case from India, which was already torn, for the "canvas". It was not the greatest work and very filmsy but at least, it look like a tent.


Interior (10 1/2" W, 11", 11 1/2 H)
As you can see, I have used almost all the carpets I featured earlier in this tent for the obvious reason that this tent belongs to a carpet seller. I was really thrilled to find, from the cloth stash that SuZ gave me, the "straw" weave fabric which I used for the lower half of the walls. Top half featured the mini carpets from Turkey. This is how the carpet sellers at Arab Street show off their better looms. By the way, the shape of the tent is cross sectioned heptagonal, if you know what I mean.

The screaming bottles
Set above sits on the rugs that Mercedes gave me. The next set is displayed with Mahendra's Roses of Misgivings that took me a ridiculous 4 hours to arrange. There are like 20 more beautiful bottles which I will use in the other houses and The Palace.

My hookahs on My Indian Side Table

The best find of the week
I gasped out loud when I found these mini elephants on Friday, because they stand at an exquisite 1/2" ! I think people around me thought I swallowed some because I was quite loudly choking from my gasps. These elephants are displayed on my favourite coffee table, the one that Taenia gave me on Day 62.

Home with Ranjit Singh
I know you can't tell but he is very pleased. He is also admiring the chandeliers. The blue one was bought in India and the 2 silver ones at the side are Christmas ornaments from last year that I bought on Day 11. (My goodness, I didn't even know how to upload my own pictures back then!) Look closely and you can see Ranjit relaxing against Sylvia's pillow. Her other one is on my Indian Carpet Low Chair. Green tassels were bought from Little India.

External (20" high from floor to top of tent)
Expanded picture reveals camels. I know you think they are the palace camels. Wrong! I have since acquired 3 more! I have also bought 4 more cargo cum "supporting" elephants.

Base Support (5" high)
Why? Hmm, because I like high ceilings? And if you are wondering how you climb up to the tent, here's how:

Tent Top- (enough said)

If you are wondering why Sylvia is in the picture, well, you will find out soon enough..perhaps the next post?

Those chairs were upholstered by Mercedes in the prettiest Mughal fabric.

Sissy (my favourite palace animal)


  1. Love that tent! I think I would be shopping there often. Those carpets hanging around the walls are fabulous!

  2. Darling, you will only be buying your own things back !! :)