Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Excuses, excuses

:: running to college and back and claiming Oklahamo on DVD to be a valid loan from the library ::

:: education work at the Barbican with computers, crayons and only a very few small children::

:: first day at my internship at the Design Museum to be greeted by many friendly faces in spite of my clutched kleenex and dripping nostril ::

:: entire weekend wallowed inside, with bed, book and tissues ::

:: scaring myself silly with a novel about Dracula and undead which I thought was about a lecturer in Oxford ::

:: looking forward to tomorrow evening when I have no plans but lots of research to do so I can start ticking things off my mental list ::

Monday, February 19, 2007

Interiors Therapy

After two hours of crowd-wrestling in Chinatown yesterday, I escaped with my chum to the *quiet* of Regent Street, where we ducked in to Zara Home and Libertys.

I had heard a great deal about both vendors of splendour but I had not been to Libertys for about four years and had not investigated ZH since its opening over a year ago.

Obvious themes taken from both stores were:
  • 'Organic' shapes in tableware, as well as a fascination with glazes and delicate ceramic work

  • This also translated into the look of 'homemade' and 'handmade' in everything from bedlinen, tableware, wonky cutlery and big-stitched throws and cushions

  • Crochet and lace. In ZH, they had even stiffened crochet into napkin rings and even starched charger/platter details, as well as embellishing towels, bedlinen and even laundry bins

  • Tea, teacosies, mugs and teapots continue as a fascination, as well as baking and the eternal popularity of cupcake paraphenalia

This little apple peg board was gorgeous and also came in the similarly lovely red print at the bottom right.

I also loved their throws and cushions. Bedding and sheets were fearfully expensive, but this popper cushion, for example, was about £20 which I didn't think unreasonable considering the work. Was also a fabulous inspiration for all my patchwork squares.

Finally, a display at Liberty, for all those lovers of pattern and contrast out there. Yum Yum Yum, and if only I had the nerve!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Sis' Birthday

It's the Sister's 21st birthday in the summer and already the dress hunt is on. My mum's going to be making it, but as she's just so darned trendy, we have to hunt the catwalks first! I like these for colour: (in order: Zac Posen, Narcisco Rodriguez (twice) Oscar de la Renta)

And I liked these for shapes....but as it's a marquee in the garden, imagine them knee/calf length (L to R: Ben de Lisi, Temperley, Oscar de la Renta, Badgeley Mischka

* Apologies for formatting. Windows Live Writer has abandoned me to Blogger and Blogger is not playing along. I think it's cross that I defected to Live Writer. That'll teach me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Craft roundup

Have been a busy bunny over the long winter. Hibernation indoors and a fidgety demeanour means that I have created lots of projects and finished only a handful!
First up is a cross stich that I bought for 50p in a charity shop and turned under the edges, mounting it in blanket stitch onto some vintage cotton/linen twill. I will make a cushion when I've got my life sorted (ie can justify the £8.00 on a cushion inner)! I've got some lovely blue ground/pink rose floral cotton from Italy that may just work!
Next is my finally completed Kaffee Fassett tapesty cushion which I need to take home and get stretched by one of my mum's friends. I'm probably going to back it in a heavy cream brocade and pipe with cream piping. I don't really want to tie this to any of the colours on front to make sure it goes in any interior later.

It makes me happy, but it's only since I took this picture that I realised that my guestimating of some of the colours didn't actually ruin the design. I've cross stitched since I was a kid, but the working on top of the printed pattern is so much more difficult than a printed design. You end up sewing over what you're supposed to be working. Also, making the stitches lie flat and in the same general direction is much harder than expected. You can see (bottom right) where I changed my rows of pink background from horizontal to vertical and the whole nap of the pink changes. Still, for a first attempt, I'm happy!
Finally is my return to the wonders of Bondaweb which I don't think I've used since I was about 8. I really enjoyed making these drawstring bags, which my Mum and I are going to sell at our Summer Fete in June to add to the Great Ormond Street Fund. I had intended them to be for kid's gym kits, but frankly, they're so lovely that I'd happily store carrier bags in them, or use them folded up in my handbag for spontaneous trips to the supermarket. The bag fabric is a lovely heavy linen/cotton (same as above) (only 39" wide so must pre-date 1960s at least) which is probably too nice for these, but I just can't wear beige, vintage or not, so better it get used and loved.
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Winter Hot Pot

My first foray into pearl barley came good! Layered par-fried veg and pearl barley covered in sliced potatoes and oven cooked for 40 minutes, with an extra 20 mins with the lid off to golden the potatoes off. Scrumptious and made perfect re-heatable fodder for foraging weekend grub with crusty bread. Just what the doctor ordered for wet, grey February. xx
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Showing my age...

Having an online-window shopping extravaganza (nothing like an incomprehensible Sociology essay to get the procrastination gears turning) and have discovered something rather shocking with the Spring 07 collections.

*say it quietly* :: I am currently more enamoured of Marks & Spencer than Topshop ::

From Topshop I can only find two things that I must (but shan't) have:

I am rather disconcerted to find that the dress above (viscose and only £40 - not 'only' because that's actually good value for the construction/design or the fabric itself, but because the print is cute and TS's prices have gone stratospheric recently, so, in comparison, this is reasonable) is also, without an iota of alteration, being marketed as a maternity dress. So now I'm dowdy and pregnant.

In Marks & Spencer, though it's a whole different story...

I fear bad things may happen to me....

Collect @ V&A

As previously blogged, Collect weekend has now been and gone. Got me to the V&A yesterday (during half term week, with the Kylie exhibition a mere hours old - recipe for tripping over small people all - day - long) to view the goods and oh my.

Collect itself was less of an exhibition or retrospective or even futurspective and more of an opportunity for galleries around the world to bring together their best works and showcase their favourite artisans. I have to admit to completely underestimating the extent to which the exhibition was a buying fair: the amount of money changing hands was spectacular.*

It was, however, wonderful to be in the presence of so much talent and not feel too pressured to buy anything. I certainly don't feel like I could walk into one of the galleries themselves and wander about, oggling, without making excuses about rich husbands being out of town and window shopping until they get back, but I really will return with his credit card, honestly.

Designers who particularly caught me include:

Rupert Spira

Jo Hayes-Ward Philip Sajet
I want to be 50 and trying on a ring that cost £1008 and actually considering purchasing it. One day...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Bafta Threads

Badness ranged far and wide last night.

Sienna looked like old upholstery and once again demonstrated to children far and wide the perils of not brushing your hair.

Eva Green is another who needs to make friends with the Mason Pearson. I've also never been a fan of backless wonders with high fronts and long sleeves. Hilary Swank did it a few years ago at the Oscars and everyone wowed her protruding hipbones. I just think you look like a nun from the front and a strumpet from behind. Congrats on the award though.
Thandie looked pretty, from the waist up in an interesting fungus colour: sadly the mushrooming style knee-downards didn't quite win me over - how could she sit still in that for three hours? It looks like what would happen if you stood over a large natural sponge and just jumped right in. Then hobbled down the red carpet. Not cool .
Delicous, however, came a variety of shades, styles and ages. Hoorah!

This could have looked like a bad bridesmaid in coffee 'n' cream combo. Instead, looked elegant, unusual and not at all dowdy. And thankfully avoiding a full-on decolletage as she is usually wont to do. We all congratulate you, Helen.

Join, me, oh thousand crowds, and love Kylie. It's not hard. She looks fabulous and it's only an oversized t-shirt in Chinese dragon fabric. Delicious.
Behold the embroidery, the monochrome contrast, the love of my evening. Penelope Cruz + Oscar de La Renta = Happy Beholden. We know my thoughts on the 'gorgeous' (only meant slightly in the press 'chubby' way) Kate Winslet. Love this Ben de Lisi dress. Love the belt. Love the taffetta. Love the fullness without gathers. Not dissimilar to my Sixth Form Ball Gown.

Cheerleader/Chav ponytail? The naff glace cherry on an otherwise chic and elegant cupcake.*

*I should note here that I am usually ready and willing with the glace cherries when feeding masses or going for the retro chic vibe. I was looking for a not-too-mean but relevant non-'icing on the cake' pun. Don't take against me, oh glace cherry lovers.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Hoxton Metrosexual

Maryam's post pulled my heartstrings and rang the full peal of bells from my local church. The Boy's wardrobe has been a work in progress since we got together two and a half years ago. The night we clicked, he was kitted out in his new found 'smart/casual' uniform of white shirt, blazer, jeans and new brown slip-on shoes and I thought ' I can get on board with this'... So I did!!

However, all was not as it seemed. It has taken four wardrobe culls (revealing a rather fetching mustard coloured shirt - his 'pulling' shirt as a fresher. Suffice to say, I did not feel threatened - and a blue and purple shot Ben Sherman shirt - bring on the 90s) to extract 'Thank God' exclamations from his straight friends and actual compliments from his gay friends. Admittedly, the compliments are invariably directed via me - who else would be responsible?!...
Last year I managed to claim (under the pretext of 'designing' the costumes for his last studio show with friends) that a blue and white floral print shirt was absolutely necessary to pull together the design scheme. It's worked its way into weekend attire. I also got him in indigo jeans under the pretext of 'we're in San Francisco and it would be rude not to buy jeans for the ridiculously low Gap prices that are here'.

One day, my work will be done. One day, he will be sporting:

Boden delicacies

Or my personal favourite,

Paul Smith florals - as proven recently at The idea of a garment adorned with flowers might understandably make a man nervous. But a shirt in a bright, anti–Laura Ashley print can look refreshingly seasonable—and just slightly suggestive of the Riviera. Pair one with slim-cut charcoal pants or dark jeans. Wear it with faded denim and you’ll evoke Oklahoma!
worn with light-coloured loafers...

One day...


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Happy Making

The bows! The colours! The plunge! The flow!
Zac Posen = pure genius
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Orange

Photo by Vol-au-Vent.

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park
This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all my jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I’m glad I exist.
By Wendy Cope

Candy Anthony

Wandering on the Southbank one weekend, I stumbled across these little numbers. The sashes... the lace... the plunging necklines...

I give you Candy Anthony.

Please take a petticoat and join the queue.
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