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.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Chanel: Little Black Jacket

The Chanel jacket is iconic. Which is probably why Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld decided to shoot a series of 113 portraits of beautiful people wearing a Chanel black jacket. The resulting images are part of an exhibition which opened in New York a few days ago and will also form a coffee table book.

The styling for the shoot was done by former Vogue Paris editor Carine Roitfeld.
Among the celebs featured are Sarah Jessica Parker, Kirsten Dunst, Kanye West, Elle Fanning, Anna Wintour and more.

I love the way the pictures are styled so that the same jacket is demure, sexy, classy, or rock star depending on who is wearing it.
Kirsten Dunst

Kanye West

Linda Evangelista

Claudia Schiffer

Freja Beha Erichsen

Joan Smalls

Monday, 4 June 2012

Kate Middleton Jubilee Style

I didn't watch any of the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations this weekend but did see lots of online chatter about Kate Middleton's outfit on Sunday.
She wore a gorgeous red, Alexander McQueen dress with long sleeves, a peplum and some pleats. She also wore  the same red hat she wore on her trip to Canada recently.
I personally love the dress.
There have been some "who wore it better" posts online about this dress though because some trashy pop star I'd never heard of, and Kim Kardashian had worn similar looks. I say similar because the dress they wore was shorter and sleeveless.
Both pics from US weekly
I do prefer Kate's version though. I think the red and the shorter length pleats in the other version have an air of cheerleader about them.

And can we just take a moment to appreciate this beautiful teal LK Bennett suit that Kate wore earlier in the week.
Pic taken from here
It has a kind of vintage military pi- up vibe going for it with the colour and the construction.Which is cute seeing as though Kate is a military wife. And the peplum gives her a bit of shape. The pink arm in this shot next to her is the Queen btw.