Sunday, 25 October 2009

More Presents

How could I forget two of my loveliest presents? This gorgeous Mexican tin mirror is from one of my oldest friends, who loves Mexican stuff as much (if not more) than me, so I'm very grateful that he decided to give this to me rather than keep it for himself! It's so Frida Kahlo-ish, I've hung it in my hallway next to my antique velvet crucifix that came from a Paris flea market.

This bolero was a present from my father, who brought it back from Hungary with him. It's a stunning example of Matyo embroidery, the colours are amazing. I know from experience how difficult it is to get the stitches this neat and even!

Apparently it dates from the 70's, and was made for a television show. Although it doesn't seem to be an authentic Hungarian folk garment (Matyo waistcoats being rather plainer with this kind of embroidery more often used on aprons and shirt sleeves), the flowers are traditional Matyo ones. The stylised flowers and super-bright colours give it a slightly psychadelic air, more so that any other Hungarian embroidery I've seen before, and I wonder if that is the 70's influence coming through!

Here are some close up photos. You can see how thick and dense the embroidery is, every single inch is covered. I feel so lucky to be able to see a piece like this up close, let alone own it.

Monday, 19 October 2009

My Drawing, Embroidered!

A few months ago I posted a Hungarian folk-style drawing I had done. Well, a lovely Hungarian lady, Martimez, saw it and asked if she could do an embroidery based on my drawing, for a Helen Stitcher's Angel Swap. Of course I agreed, and here is the finished embroidery. I am so impressed, look at how neat those stitches are! I think the rose in red is the perfect finishing touch. You can see her blog, 17pillanat (17 Seconds) here.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Birthday Goodies

Here are some of the lovely things I received for my birthday. The Babushka dolls were from my sister. The smallest one is not even the size of a pea, and it opens up! The Turkish plate is from my mother, and the Russian lacquered box in the middle of it is from my brother. The box was actually meant to be a Christmas present for last Christmas, my brother bought it when he went to St Petersburg, but then he put it somewhere 'safe' and couldn't find it! Finally he sent it to me, just in time for my birthday.

Here is a closeup picture of it. The painting is so fine and delicate, they must use the most miniscule brushes to paint the detail. The story is The Scarlet Flower, which is a Russian version of Beauty and the Beast. There isn't actually a scene in the story where the girl sees the scarlet flower growing, but this seems to be a common illustration for this tale. To read the story and to see some more examples of Russian painted boxes based on this tale, click here.

The Wolf gave me this fantastic necklace, which I am calling my Lucky Star necklace. It's from Metal Couture, which is where all my favourite jewellery comes from. I'm in love with horseshoes at the moment.

The black drop bracelet and matching earrings are from my friend Mike and his wife in Tasmania. I'm actually going to turn it into a necklace by adding a piece of chain, as I really need a black necklace, and I think this would be perfect. The charm bracelet underneath wasn't a birthday present at all, but it is new, and quite cute I think. It's from Release the Hounds in Smith St. I've got an idea to get myself a proper silver one with the same theme, kind of a Vegas magician's assistant charm bracelet.

This box (another present from my mother) should appeal to all the sewers (people who sew, not drains!) out there. It's inlayed with mother-of-pearl buttons, how charming! It would be perfect for keeping buttons or any other sewing-related paraphanelia in, but I'm using it for my ever-expanding collection of brooches. One of these is this glass one backed with Japanese paper, and was a birthday present from my friend Paul the Librarian. It's going straight onto the collar of my 40s tweed winter coat.

When you work in a bookshop, people don't tend to give you books, which is quite daft, as I absolutely love them, and can't possibly have enough. Luckily Morgan, Cinty and Alex weren't fooled, and gave me these excellent books, which I am going to go and tuck into right now!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Ahoy me Hearties!

What a lovely birthday I had! The weather, which has been abysmal lately, came out all bright and sunny, and quite warm. I was given some fantastic presents (more about them in a later post), and had a great evening with my friends at the pub. Here I am being sung the loudest rendition of Happy Birthday I have ever experienced!
Best of all, three of my girl friends baked the most amazing pirate ship cake! My photograph doesn't do it justice at all. It was sponge covered in chocolate buttercream icing (which I adore) and was surrounded by blue crepe paper waves. There was a giant purple octopus attacking it from the side.

Look, there was even a chocolate plank for prisoners to walk! The Maltesers in the 'water' are canon balls of course.

My favourite part was the little treasure chest made out of a mini Bounty, and filled with sparkling cashews and gum drops. Genius!

The next day was my uncle Peter's birthday, so we had a family lunch at my aunt and uncle's place. I wore my new dress, which was a big hit. The crinoline I wore underneath was so huge, when I got in the taxi to go there, I hardly fit in, there was so much net and skirt! In this photo I am trying in vain not to let my metal-tipped stilettos sink into the lawn!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Illustration Friday - Germs

Here is my offering for Illustration Friday. This week's word is "germs" which immediately made me think of people with colds sneezing! It is actually quite tricky drawing someone who looks like they are sneezing rather than crying or shouting or something else. I'm not sure if I succeeded totally, but there you go. Better luck next time!

Happy Birthday to me!

Only a few days to go until my birthday, on the 10th of October. One would think that at the ripe old age of 27, birthdays would have lost some of their lustre, but I am quite fizzing with excitement! This may be partly to do with the fact that I will be wearing this new dress for the first time.

Isn't it lovely! I bought it online from Vintage Clothing, and it arrived the other day all beautifully wrapped in white tissue paper. It is even prettier in real life than in the photos. The ruched section over the bust is made in a finer but exactly the same pattern cotton, so it gathers better, and there is piping around the bust and waist. I love that vintage attention to detail. It also has two concealed pockets, which makes me so happy!

I'm going to wear it with my aqua cabled cardigan (the pale blue in the photo is actually closer to aqua in real life) and some 60s-style navy leather stilettos with metal heel tips (watch out wooden floors!) that I bought yesterday at Top Hat Vintage in Thornbury.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Happy Birthday Mr Wolf!

Yesterday was the Wolf's birthday. We had a very nice time at the pub in the evening with all our friends, and he got some great presents, including a new iPod, and a rather elegant pool cue. From me there was this wolf shadow puppet brooch from Lola & Bailey, who I think are based in Melbourne. They make a range of these enamel pieces with various animals, including a squirrel and a giraffe, and they come as brooches or pendants in two different sizes.

The Wolf is rather partial to a nice bar of soap, so I went to Kleins and bought the gothiest soap I could find, Mor Cosmetics Onyx Currant soap, which smells divine.

I also bought him this t-shirt, by local label Lychee. It's very fine cotton with the design screen-printed on it. It's hard in the summer when you only wear black, so this is a nice compromise - white but still goth-appropriate!