Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A rose is a rose is a rose

Second to, or possibly even surpassing my love for things decorated with the letter 'F', are things covered with Roses. When I started primary school my allocated symbol - on clothes peg, chair, drawer etc - was the rose and it's stuck with me ever since.

Pictured above are a few bits from my bunch of roses: a cross stitch rose cushion that belonged to my nan (yeah, D&G, my nan got there first), Vihkiruusu cushion and tea towel from Marimekko sample sale, candle given by an old flatmate, cushion made at Sew Over It class, top made at City Lit class, rose tea towel made at Make Lounge screen-printing class, the obligatory Cath Kidston mug, and Sanderson wallpaper, soon to be covering my hallway.

Unbelievably, this is me trying to keep my obsession under control...

Friday, 27 July 2012

So Last-Year: Dolce & Gabbana jewellery

One of my current work projects is a book on Traditional Jewellery. 'Traditional Jewellery' is a bit of a dry term - it's what you might think of as folk jewellery but it was worn by people of all different classes; it's basically jewellery that was intended to be worn with traditional or national costumes. This kind of jewellery was massively popular in England in the nineteenth century - probably because we had no national costume of our own - and so was also collected by the V&A in that period. 

The material is really diverse and utterly fascinating. My favourite pieces, however, are the massive Italian earrings. The piece of beautiful bling above, for example, from the V&A's collection, measures 8.6cm. Which is bringing me slowly around to the Dolce & Gabbana image at the top of this post, and the one that appears below.

I think these new adverts are gorgeous and I couldn't help but notice - well, you can't really miss - the massive earrings being worn by the models. A little internet research and I learnt they are from Dolce & Gabbana's first jewellery collection. Called 'Made in Italy', it's inspired by, yep, Italy's traditional jewellery.

From the V&A's collection, this gold earring from Naples measures 12.8cm.

Here's some more traditional style jewellery in the Dolce & Gabanna adverts, shown with the late twentieth century/early twenty-first century traditional statement handbag.

Seriously though, I love their interpretation of the jewellery. Like the best bits of D&G, it plays with their Italian heritage and makes it look so god damn sexy.

But that's not all. Their whole Autumn/Winter collection is an opulent Italian delight: gold earrings, headpieces and ornate embroidery.

Mila Kunis smoulders in this dress in the current issue of Elle. Close-up, you get to see those roses are a beautiful cross-stitch design - to be honest I never thought cross stitch could make it on the catwalk in a non-ironic way, but it looks completely beautiful.

Traditional craftmanship made to look not only totally relevant but also totally ravishing too - what more could you ask for?

(Except to look like Mila Kunis in that dress.)

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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

For F's sake

I wrote about things which feature letters of the alphabet for Domestic Sluttery this week. As I've mentioned before, I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with things featuring my own initial, 'F'. Yeah No Yeah were one of the people I featured in the article and this print (bought in a discount sale on Bamarang) was one of the things I picked up from the framers on Friday. Pictured with it is a small selection of the things I have that feature the letter F.

This stash includes no less than three tote bags decorated by the letter F (c/o alphabet bags, French Connection and my own screen-printing efforts), an F scrabble mug, an F brooch from the beautiful Jessie and Buddug shop and an F necklace given to me when I was a little girl.

Once I left the house without realising I was wearing the necklace and carrying two of my F totes.   A great look, I'm sure. What's the name for this addiction? A F-renzy maybe. More importantly, I'm not sure what the solution is.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Last-Week Girl: 22 July 2012

I am writing this post a weekend hen do in Dublin so, by necessity, I'll keep it brief. Dublin: lots of silly fun, the city looked very pretty in the sunshine, I especially enjoyed the bar with the photo booth, posing like we're next year's models etc etc - see evidence above.

The rest of the week included an Atlas Sound gig which was frustrating and wonderful all at once, the highlight being a gorgeous 'Your Cheatin Heart' cover. Thursday was the first ever Domestic Sluttery book club which was great, especially when our tag 'Slutterybookclub' trended. We really were only talking about books people.

And now the sunshine we've been waiting for this summer is out and I am going to have to retreat into a darken room for a spot of much-needed recovery. See you on the other side, both of my hangover and my birthday (I'm turning 32 next Sunday).

Friday, 20 July 2012

Home is where the Art is

I picked up some prints from the framers this morning and have spent the last 45 minutes wandering round my flat, trying to decide where to hang them to show them to their best advantage. In the absence of owning my own dedicated gallery (life is so cruel, eh?), I thought I'd share some of my favourite bits and pieces of artwork here.

I bought this print at a gig at the Brixton Windmill over three years ago. It actually was on the night I met Mr S (you can see the corresponding break-up print here). It turns out this print is by Crispin Finn who I've since written about for Domestic Sluttery and Retro to Go. I like the way it looks with my apple letter holder and favourite ceramic bunny.

In the hallway, I've filled two embroidery hoops with some of my favourite badges from my childhood collection (with a couple of modern supplements).

Also in the hallway is this map of London's independent booksellers. Publish and be Damned were selling it as a leaflet at the London Art bookfair last year and it looks even better now it's been framed.

Thankfully it stretches south enough to include my local bookshop, The Bookseller Crow. 

And possibly the most twee thing in my flat (bearing in mind this post has already included ceramic bunnies and childhood badges in embroidery frames), is this print bought from the Crystal Palace Antiques centre. It reminds me of my favourite Ben Javens card and it makes me ridiculously happy every time I look at it - my favourite kind of thing to live with. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Top of the Tops

So, after many hours of sewing at my class, I'm pleased to say that here I am modelling the finished number. It's a very simple T-Shirt shape, with darts on the bust, in pretty Moonrise Kingdom-style colours.

It's the first thing that I've made properly following a pattern and everything, so I'm pleased about that. But if I made it again, I'd definitely want it a touch shorter. That high neck, boxy shape and length just makes me think of a doctor's tabard.

Tucked-in, however, into my high waisted jeans and I instantly like it a whole load more, and it means it might actually get worn out in public.

I have to add that this pattern was marked '1 hour easy'. It took me several three hour sessions, under supervision. Goodness knows how long it'll take me to make my next, more complicated, project.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Last-Week Girl: 15 July 2012

Another wet and not-so-wild week has passed. It's been a pleasantly low key week before the summer rounds of weddings and birthdays begin in earnest.

The majority of last weekend was spent painting my living room. I am stupidly impressed with the results, though I do still wince when I notice how the new paint clashes with the old on the walls we left as they're still to be papered. I need to get over this.

I watched two charming tales of youth: Moonrise Kingdom - which made me want to wear pastel dresses with peter pan collars and carry a portable record player - even more than I usually do, and Hugo - where I had the added fun of spotting scenes they'd filmed at the museum (it's slightly disturbing to see fire engulfing a staircase you see every day).

Last night I met up with my sister and partner after they'd been to watch the athletics. Into the pub came a triumphant Goldie Sayers, who they had just watched smash the British javelin record. Here's me and my sis trying not to look too embarrassed with her after finally being brave enough to ask for a photo. The atmosphere in the pub was wonderfully celebratory and it made even grumpy me vaguely excited about a certain upcoming event. Not pictured but also in the pub was Daniel Kitson. That's as close to a celebrity packed evening as you can find in SE19. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Last-Year Buys: Orla Kiely and Vanessa Bruno

One of the things I've discovered since buying my flat is that once you've spent such ridiculous sums of money and amassed such debt, everything else seems like a bit of a bargain. So, even though my head is full of wallpaper and paint samples, somehow I've managed to pick up quite a few clothes over the last month two.

The picture at the top of the post is a detail of the pretty embroidery on this Vanessa Bruno Athe shirt, currently on sale at ASOS. It's nice for feeling cool on muggy days, plus I'm powerless to resist a good rose motif.

Despite my rant against Peter Pan collars, I found myself buying this one from Vera Moda when I was in Copenhagen. You can't tell when it's on the hanger, but the collar sits quite low, making it look more early-twentieth century than the 60s cliche. That's how I've justified it to myself anyway.

Continuing another theme of mine which is how to wear stripes without buying any more stripes, I got myself this ric-rac inspired T-shirt from the Orla Kiely sale. I should also write a note about why my clothes look so hideously creased: I haven't got a wardrobe yet, so all my clothes are in my chest of drawers or bags still or hanging off spare picture hooks where I have them. That Orla Kiely top takes me onto the big purchase...

Like most women in their early 30s, I've got lots of weddings to go to this year. The wedding of one of my best friends happens to fall the same weekend as I was meant to go to The National ATP. I got my ticket refunded, I spent it on this Orla Kiely garden party dress. You can't tell from the picture but the pattern is lots of little people. It's really rather beautiful. The first wearing is meant to be a wedding in August but it may well get an outing for my birthday first.

Looking at these pictures, it simply reinforces the nagging that I should stop buying clothes and just get myself a wardrobe...

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Last-Week Girl: 7 July 2012

And so another week has whizzed by. It's been quite sociable, meaning my huge list of DIY tasks have been slightly neglected.

Last Saturday, I took some friends to see the British Design show at the V&A. If you haven't been  yet, I do recommend a visit. Though it's hard to build a narrative over such a large time period and theme, the show is stuffed full of objects that are just cool, whether it's snapshot of 50s coffee culture, a Tolkien map or an amazing Hussein Chalayan tulle fantasy. I've found a different favourite every time I've looked round. After that, we made the most of a rare bit of summer sunshine and headed up to Hyde Park to drink beer by the new Serpentine Pavilion, the perfect combo of booze and culture.

On Sunday we wandered down to the West Norwood Feast to eat away our hangovers. We mooched around the amazing cemetery there (built at the same time as Nunhead cemetery but referred to as "millionaire's cemetery" for the high class of Victorian burial it attracted", this is very impressive though much less neglected), followed by the obligatory visit to B&Q.

I missed on the last of my sewing classes to see Metric play on Monday. The audience was one of the strangest mixes I've seen for ages: Twilight teens, a significant gay contingent and lots of couples where the guy clearly loved Emily Haines and the girl had gone "Why not?" I was in that last group. The gig was fun but clearly all eyes were on Emily, so I felt a bit sorry for the rest of the band. She was wearing a great pair of perspex heeled boots. Though I've failed to find online post gig, they've had me dreaming of pretty plastic.

Add to that week, a pub quiz, a meal with my old flatmate and another friend coming over for dinner, and it's safe to say I'm feeling pretty knackered. What does this weekend hold? I'm painting my living room - fun times!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Last-Year Travels: Copenhagen

Travelling back in times to the Jubilee weekend, I left the red, white and blue bunting and cupcakes behind to escape to the slightly calmer Copenhagen. My travelling companions were massive Borgen fans; I'd simply looked at too much Danish design on the internet. We all left satisfied.

The trip was rather low on sightseeing. Instead we wandered around having a nice time and experiencing the city's amazing shopping, whether it was Rice DK, Marlene Birger or Lego, and enjoying looking at all the beautiful Danish people. Seriously, they are beautiful - they look so healthy and happy. We did joyous air punches every time anyone mistook for being Danish. We also managed a day trip to Malmo simply because we thought it was amusing that we could go on a day trip to Sweden. 

Perhaps that slightly basic sense of humour is another reason why I liked Copenhagen so much. Our handy Time Out guide informed us that the Danes like to think they are funny - I did think they were funny. The majority of my pictures from the trips were simply random things that made me snigger, whether it was the Lionel flyer at top of the post (which also made an appearance on Domestic Sluttery this week) or the men in pants models seen on the balcony of an otherwise very chic store. 

Any city that has a Twin Peaks-named bar is a winner with me.

This flat has a list of 66 reasons (some debatable) why Johnny Cash is cool, and is just one of the reasons why Copenhagen is cool. I seriously recommend a visit.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Last-Weeks Girl

Hello, hello ... I'm over here now.

Yes, the great move finally happened. After months of waiting, I'm now installed in my own place in Crystal Palace, south east London. Though I was without the internet for longer than I wanted, life is pretty good. I'm getting mega fit from all of Crystal Palace's hills and I'm enjoying the fun of getting to decorate somewhere exactly how I want it (though that's pretty terrifying too and I actually dreamt about wallpaper last night!). The flat was well worth the wait and is large and full of light and I'm hoping it will become a good place for writing and sewing and generally calming the hell down a bit.

Here's a couple of random shots from the flat, though I've spent the afternoon taking down the previous owner's picture hooks and being overly proud of my skills with a tube of polyfilla, so it already doesn't look like this. The plan is to paint next week and then do some partial wallpapering and then ... well, I'm not quite sure.

I've got new house brain so I'm struggling to remember what else I've done over the last month. I went to Copenhagen, which was super cool and I want to tell you more about, I finished my sewing course and completed an alright-ish top, I went to a Richard Hawley gig and Secret Cinema. Oh, and Ikea and B&Q. Normal service will resume shortly.
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