Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Celebrating the Olympics in Red

I have been quite surprised at my excitement at this year's Olympics. And to get into the spirit of things, I thought it would be fun to do a series of posts themed to the colours of the Olympic rings.
So let's kick off with red.
Red is such a classic- whether it be cars, fashion, wine, or decadent red velvet cake slathered in cream cheese icing. Yum.

Liv Tyler in red lips and gloves

I love classic red lips. My favourite is Russian Red by Mac which is a blue based red. And which I am wearing in this shot of me at the Habits fashion show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cape Town last week:

And when I say "red", it also conjures up images of the red sole of the one and only Christian Laboutin shoe.
Like these. Which I will never, ever own.

And how hot would those shoes look with this red-hot dress from Zara? The racer back makes it look sporty too, so it's perfect for an Olympic themed post.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cape Town. All the pretties.

So fashion week has come and gone in Cape Town, leaving the Mother City in it's sparkly wake.
I only attended Thursday and Friday nights so I did  miss the one show that had everyone talking- KlukCGdT, which apparently had ballerinas, and a Rapunzel and various other fairy-tale inspired beauty.
So Thursday night was King of Bling Gavin Rajah, and Jenny le Roux's Habits label which I loved.
Gavin Rajah's collection was inspired by love and poetry and the language of flowers. It floated between long, romantic, beaded gowns and pieces that looked like they belonged on a 1950's Italian holiday. He used tons of lace and truck loads of beads.
These are some of my favourites:

Habits Spring/Summer line was inspired by the movie The Artist and so Jenny le Roux sent out some flapper style dresses, and cute little hats and gloves. 
I expect we'll see more of the roaring twenties this year in fashion, with the Great Gatsby movie coming out later this year.
My absolute favourite thing I saw on the runway was a series of white, organza dresses, which had neon colours underlayed underneath. The neon was just so subtle, and layering it made it different from the rest of the neon.
You can't really see the orange underneath in this image, but it's there.

These beautiful, flowy dresses used up to 8m of fabric each. And made huge, billowy tents of loveliness when the models turned.

Thula Sindi went for tough looking leather and lace, and combined it with really feminine pieces for a "tough mommy" vibe.

And then on the more wearable, daywear front, Michelle Ludek and Ruff Tung really impressed me.
Michelle Ludek teamed up with Belinda Lee Ludek who did the jewellery-massive, bold pieces to go with her fairly simple, relaxed clothes.
Ruff Tung used a palette of orange, coral, mint, and neutrals:
I particularly loved this dress below, printed with the word Lobola and the little cows. It's a fun, tongue in cheek look at the practice of lobola (in certain South African cultures, the bride's family negotiates Labola with the groom's family before marriage).

There was so much more prettiness to love, but these were some of my favourites.
Pretty, right?

*All pics are by SDR, and are taken from the official African Fashion International website.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Look What I made Monday (On Wednesday)- Ceramic Door Knobs

It's been a crazy week and it's about to get crazier because the Mercedez Benz, Cape Town Fashion Week is in town, so I hope you forgive me for the lack of posts up on the blog lately.
I am covering fashion week for my day job and as such wont be able to put up a lot of content this week, but I'll try do a big old post on Monday with a wrap and all the details.
But back to this post.
I have been quietly collecting and stashing ceramic door knobs for my kitchen cupboards for a few months now. I had this crazy idea that I'd like a whole bunch of different ones in a bunch of different shapes and sizes. My kitchen has light oak cupboards and grey tile so is pretty neutral and could do with some sprucing up.

I needed 20-odd door handles so every time I had a spare bit of cash, I squirreled it away for door knobs. You'll be surprised at how hard it was to find warm toned ones though. Lots of greens and blues. A few pale pinks. But finally, the other day I spotted some dark coral ones in Poetry (where the majority of these actually come from) and then my collection was complete.
The previous knobs were just little round brass pulls and I don't particularly love brass. I would have preferred the finishings on the ceramic ones to have been silver to tie in to my blue/grey lounge but unfortunately most of these just come with bronze hardware bits.
So I set about with my screwdriver removing all the other ones. Only, I didn't remove them all. There are still five of the brass ones mixed in there because I can't seem to loosen the screws. They seem "soft" and when I turn the screwdriver in the grooves, bits of the screw actually come away.
I have tried trying to turn the actual knob until is comes off but that hasn't worked for me either.
So as much as I'd like to show you a whole kitchen shot to see how cute it all looks, I'm afraid I can't. Not until someone gives me a hint on how to remove those last five pesky brass ones!
In the meantime, here's an out of focus, blue spotty one:
But, in the meantime, please enjoy my recently repainted and re-ceiling-ed lounge.
The painting on the left it one of my boyfriend's artworks and the frame to the right is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, from Spineless Classics-the whole book printed in to one image- in this case, the winding yellow brick road.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Maria Lopez for Bronx Launch

Last Wednesday, Bronx launched their new line of ladies shoes, designed by Spanish shoe designer Maria Lopez.
The launch was held at Delos, a beautiful antique and lighting store in Woodstock. It's such a beautiful venue-an old church- filled with massive chandeliers.

The shoes themselves are very glitzy and glamorous. There were a lot of special occasion shoes.
Like these, which are beautiful and come in a range of colours, including black:

The shoes had a lot of interesting textures and details. Maria Lopez has used flowers, sequins, diamante and lots of satin to create her range which includes wedges (some of them are sky high so if you like a bit of height in your shoes, have a look at this range), flats and stilettos.

The range will be available in South African stores from September and online and Zando. The good news is that all shoes retail for under R500.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Mugged with Skinny laMinx

Last Thursday I headed to Cape Town designer Heather Moore’s Skinny laMinx studio for a workshop on ceramic transfers.
Nine ladies each got a mug and got to go mad with Heather’s designs which had been screen printed onto transfer paper.
The transfers are placed into water for a little while and then you move them onto the mug, remove the backing and smooth the water out.

I love Heather’s flower designs and went for a grey and yellow, floral theme.
Actually, most of us went for grey and yellow. I threw some little turquoise hearts in there too just because I could, and I liked the process of sticking things on.
My stupid camera battery died so I couldn’t take any photos. But the lovely Michelle, from itswhatiminto was there, and she took beautiful pics. Both pics in this post are hers.
This is my mug:
-The cost of the class was R275 including the cost of the materials, drinks and snacks. Heather will be hosting other classes, usually on Thursday nights, so keep an eye on her website for that.
-To check out Skinny laMinx fabric, illustrations, designs and various other prettiness, go here or visit her cute little store on Cape Town's Bree Street
-To see more of Michelle’s pics from the workshop, go here
-She also runs her own street fashion blog and to see some of that work, check out Cinder and Skylark.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Neon and Neutral

When neons came into fashion (again) a few years ago, I must admit, I ignored them. Although, I did buy those limited edition Blondie Converse with the pink laces and the zebra print. But that's because they were awesome. Not because they're neon.
But I digress. Neons are back again but this time they feel softer, a little more watery and not so brash.
And when they're paired with neutrals, the feel quite grown up.
Neon yellow and grey are fast becoming a favourite favourite.
So glam. From Around Lucia.

Hello beautiful shoes. From Jak and Jil

I love how surprising the mint is with the yellow and grey. From The Day Book Blog.
I also love a sandy, beige-y neutral with yellow:
I love this. The photo came off Pinterest and I can't find the original source so if you can identify the photographer or the designer, you get +1 morality points.

This bag from Urban Outfitters makes me want to stroke it and tell it it's pretty.
And just because I like to mix things up, here's some neon coral:
Pretty jeans at Ring My Bell. Everyone knows Breton stripe is practically a neutral!

Pretty, no?

Monday, 25 June 2012

In Full Collar

I'm loving shirts with collars at the moment. The more unusual the better.
I love lacy, crocheted ones and floppy ones and rounded ones and ones with studs on them.
Have a look:
This picture came off Pinterest and the link appeared to be broken so if anyone has a source for that shirt, or the picture, drop me a comment.
I love this sweet, ruffled affair from here but it's vintage so probably fairly once off and difficult to find.
This loveliness is by South African label Adam and Eve. If you're in SA, you can buy it from36 boutiques.
Look, her collar has a collar! Pic is by Tommy Ton at Sydney Fashion Week. I am loving that neon yellow too.
And look how lovely this blouse is. It's from here and comes in a deep, berry red and chartreuse too. And they ship worldwide!

Pretty right?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

New project: Hand made blanket

A few weeks ago I had this crazy idea that I wanted to make a blanket. On my own.
And like any woman in this day and age who wants to make something, I headed over to Pinterest where I decided that I really wanted a grey, crocheted, granny blanket. Like this one:
Or this one, only in grey and white:

I went and bought grey and white wool and a crochet hook.
And I wasn't going to let the fact that I have never really learned to crochet stand in my way.
I got home and Googled how to crochet. I made my first chain. I moved on to slip stitch and double crochet.
I don't really know what stitch this is. It looks complex. But it's from the Dummies series so I'm sure it's not impossible.

I sat hunched over my work for days. Every now and then my boyfriend would walk into the room and see the tiny practice square I was working on and burst out laughing.
"Is that a blanket for ants?" he'd ask.
"Oh just you wait and see," I said to him in my head. "When it's winter and I'm sitting wrapped up in this blanket and you're cold, then you'll see."
In my mind's eye I waved my fist at him too, my crochet hook gleaming malevolently in the light.
In reality, I just hunched over further. Determined.
Truth be told, things weren't looking good. My squares were taking on a distinct triangular shape and it took me forever to do like 4cm.
Then on Monday I saw that Ideas magazine came with a crochet booklet. Teaching you all the stitches step by step. I practised them all a few times and googled "granny blanket patterns."
I was ready.
Only the pattern made no sense to me. None. I had been defeated.
I made myself some tea, sat down with one of my secret cookies (the recipe is a few posts down) and started to flip through the magazine.
I saw this:
Blanket of awesome from Ideas Magazine
I loved it. And it didn't require crocheting. Only knitting. Which I know how to do.
I immediately went looking for knitting needles. I needed them right then and there. I had to go to four stores in a mall, and two in another suburb before I found them.
But, I have a 30cm by 30cm square of grey beauty on my needles as I type this. It may not seem like much-but this is the biggest this blanket has ever been.
And I am determined to finish it before I turn 30 at the end of this year. And yes, I am aware that it will be Summer then. I will wear my blanket like a sweaty cape of pride.
And just to make sure I do it, I will be updating my progress on this blog.
Feel free to send me words of encouragement and hampers of chocolate to keep my strength up.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman Costumes

I've been wanting to watch the movie Snow White and the Huntsman but just haven't got around to it yet. I love Charlize Theron (everyone in South Africa does, we feel like we all personally know her) and I love a good costume.

And Snow White and the Hunstman is full of good costumes-all designed by multiple Oscar winner Colleen Atwood. I was reading this article in Vanity Fair the other day about all the work that went into the costumes.
The feather cloak that Charlize's character Ravena wears was designed so that it looked beautiful even when it gets covered in oil in one scene. Plus it took someone four weeks to cut and attach the feathers!
The Vanity Fair article also includes some of the original sketches for the designs.

This is the cloak.

And this is Snow White (Kristen Stewart)'s costume:
All these pictures are from Vanity Fair. Go check out the original piece for more costume info, sketches and pics.

Monday, 11 June 2012

What I made Monday: Secret Cookies

I've always considered myself a fairly good baker. When I say "fairly good" I mean in the "look I made a cake and it's not only edible, but it's actually quite nice" sense and not in the "I wrote this recipe and iced these designer cupcakes all by myself" sense.

Anyway, a while back I was given the book "Cakes to Celebrate Love and Life" by Cape Town based brother and sister baking team Callie Maritz and Mari-Louis Guy. I credit this book with taking my baking into the sphere where people actually asked me to bake things for them. I swear, their red velvet and chocolate cake recipes are the best I have ever tasted. And easy.

For my birthday last year, a friend gave me their newest book "Cakebread: Pudding and Pie" and this recipe comes out of there.
They're called "Secret Cookies". It's either because they have a delicious gooey surprise inside, or because, as Callie Maritz explains in the book, he believes his sister was keeping the recipe a secret from him.

These may be the very best biscuits I have ever eaten or made. They are likely to change your life. My boyfriend calls them the "make me feel better biscuits" because he would eat them after a bad day at work.

Disclaimer: I actually made these biscuits last week Monday but didn't get around to posting the recipe, but I am about to make them again because they are all sorts of delicious so it's not really lying to post them up today.

Here is what you need:
200g butter, softened
half cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup (120g) walnuts- chopped
24 Rolo sweets ( or Hershey's Kisses)
1 cup icing sugar.

In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until pale in colour. Add the vanilla essence and incorporate. Add the flour and walnuts. beat only until a rough dough forms. Shape into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and regrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
On a floured surface, divide the dough into 24 balls of equal size. Take each ball, and using your thumb, create a hollow large enough to place the rolo inside.

Fold the dough around the chocolate making sure there are no gaps where the chocolate can leak out. Reshape into balls and place on a baking tray. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and place directly into the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes, While still slightly warm, roll in icing sugar and allow to cool.

My notes:
-I seemed to have a fair bit of dough left over once I had made the 24 balls. I had bought three packs of Rolo's which is about 30 sweets- but had eaten the extras while I was baking. My advice is to not be a greedy pig like me, and keep the Rolo's for in case you have extra dough left over.

-Some of mine leaked. While not a train smash, the biscuits are more delicious when they have the whole sweet INSIDE. So make sure there are no gaps, and make sure that the dough is thick enough around the whole biscuit which is where I think my mistake lay.

-I know it says to roll them in icing sugar while still warm, but I attempted to remove my biscuits from the tray after only a few minutes of cooling which resulted in some biscuits breaking apart. They are quite soft when they come out of the oven and harden as they cool so either give them a bit longer to cool, or do like I did and instead of rolling them, just place them on a tray or plate and sieve the icing sugar over the top.

-If you don't have Rolo's or Hershey's Kisses in your country, I'm sure you could use any small chocolate with a caramel sort filling. A different filling such as coffee, peanut butter or something fruity could be good too.