Monday, July 19, 2010

Warm up winter nights with toasty joolz and mulled wine!

We celebrated a friend's 33⅓ birthday yesterday afternoon (happy birthday Adam) which included lots of great live music, great friends and a spectacular vegan cake-feast.

It was a breezy, wintry, drizzly day, and so of course we were standing around talking about ways to warm up. Thank goodness in the course of that conversation my lovely friends Uwe & Ursula mentioned mulled wine - which reminded me that I'd been meaning to make mulled wine for AGES! I popped home to rifle through the pantry (luckily we live next door) and came up with something that seemed to please my party compadres.
Mulled Wine a la Airdrie
5 oranges
1 x 750ml bottle shiraz (mine was a Brock's Reef 2006 Shiraz from the Limestone Coast in South Australia)
1 x 375ml bottle boysenberry liqueur (picked up from the Big Strawberry when I was last headed north on the Goulburn Valley Hwy)
cinnamon bark
garam masala spice mix (I used MasterFoods brand, which includes pepper, caraway, fennel, cardamom, cinnamon & cloves)
handful of dried apricots, chopped
sugar to taste

Juice four of the oranges, pouring both the juice and pulp into a heavy-based saucepan. Cut the fifth orange into quarters, then thick 1cm slices, add to juice & pulp. Empty both bottles of alcohol into the saucepan, along with a generous spoonful each of the cinnamon & garam masala spice mix, and throw in the chopped apricots. Heat until warmed through, take a sip, and then add sugar to taste, stirring until its dissolved. Apparently this beverage is best kept warm (just on the edge of simmering, rather than boiling) for several hours to allow the flavours to develop, but I'm afraid we drank ours almost immediately. Serve in mis-matched teacups to warm friends!

In honour of the successful warming, this necklace has been named 'Mulled Wine'! The colours and the chunkiness remind me very much of that toasty drink I made last night.
Photographer: Berle Mu, MUA: Celeste @ Makeup Creations, Model: Beata @ Scene
The necklace was created using hand-made resin beads that I've poured in black, purple and gold. The gold ones have upcycled tealeaves embedded in them. Tea's great for keeping warm too! There's only the one so click on the add to cart button straight away if you're keen to own your very own 'Mulled Wine' necklace!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Joolz News 16072010

Whilst I’m shivering away at my desk in Melbourne writing this, England is enjoying the most glorious summer. I’ve just come back from over there, and believe me, it was very difficult to leave all that wonderful sunshine. However, things are busy in the Joolz office gearing up for Spring Fashion Week, which as a friend pointed out on the weekend, is less than seven weeks away! Lots to do before then!

I’ve got a few new items to show you, and a new competition too. For those of us who would like a new handbag (and who wouldn’t) I’ve got a survey for you. All those who participate will go into the draw to win a shiny brand-new JOOLZbag. Yes, I’ve been sketching, checking out different materials, and talking to handbag manufacturers - soon Joolz will be able to offer you handbags! Just click here to be taken to the survey page. Its five quick & easy questions, and if you wish to go into the draw, fill out your details in the final section of the survey.
I’ve been working with some great photographers as usual, and one shoot I did recently with Lucia Ondrusova features in the current edition of Fashion Journal. If you’d like a copy of the article, just ask, and I’ll forward you the pdf version.
The pearls in the most recent collection have been quite popular with photographers, and the picture below, from Mul Chandra, a student at RMIT, is one of my favourites. We teamed the opera-length strand of coloured pearls with one of my silver leaf hairclips.
Isn’t it a lovely photograph?
With my return to Melbourne and adjusting to this chilly weather, I’ve been inspired to make things with pretty little crystals. To avoid them feeling too icy, I’ve selected some in warm tones. We had some windy weather in Melbourne this week, so I created a swirly pair of earrings too.

Crystal Mix Necklace
Czech crystals in a variety of shapes and colours create some interesting contrasts in this necklace.
36cm long with 6cm extension chain.
Only one available.

Citrine Crystal Earrings
I think these citrine-coloured crystal globes have a bit of a 70s vibe. I love these new earring hooks – this design means that you won’t lose one of your earrings whilst you are wearing them. $35.00

Swirled Earrings
These hollow reinforced glass spheres are both light and strong.
They are so pretty!

Portugese Glass Ring
I noticed a lot of yellow whilst I was overseas, and I am really enjoying this sunny colour at the moment. I also have one of these in blue – there is only one ring in each (blue or yellow) available.


I hope you have remembered to complete our handbag survey to go into the draw to win one of the first ever JOOLZbags! I’m really looking forward to reading the results. I’ll be able to share the handbag collection with you very soon.
If you’d like to forward the survey on to your friends, I’d greatly appreciate it. (And yes, of course the handbag won’t be empty. I couldn’t possibly send off a prize without tucking in some extra goodies!)

Take care, and keep warm if you’re in the same hemisphere as me!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

f.rock fashion

Helen Sattler, the creative force behind f.rock fashion, has done it again with this offering for emerging designers - or those who want to dip their toe in the rapidly-moving waters of the fashion industry:
She talks about how f.rock is changing and the video includes a bunch of gifts for those keen to get some more exposure and some fresh ideas on how to 'make it' in our industry. Helen's been a busy lady these last few years, and I'm sure we'll continue to see her involvement in fashion. I love her dedication. You can check out her website here!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Christmas in July

I celebrated Christmas in July with a group of girlfriends last night. We had a ball!
Our hostess created a beautifully-themed dining space by pulling out all her decorations and Christmas cds. We enjoyed Christmas-style cocktails, a delicious Christmas dinner, sinful snacks & sweets, and I came home with a lovely handmade gift too!
I don't know if it happens elsewhere, but because we have such a hot Christmas in December, its become quite commonplace for Melbourne folk to celebrate a wintry version in the middle of the year.
Everyone brings a dish (or drink) of their choice to share - really its just another great excuse to catch up with friends! I made chocolate mini christmas puddings which are quite easy to make. I've been asked for the recipe, so thought I'd blog it for anyone else who might want to give these a go.

Mini Xmas Puds (gluten free)
2 x 200g packets of Arnott's Rice Cookies (or any sweet dry gluten-free biscuit)
100g dried apricots*
50g dates*
1 x 250g packet cooking chocolate/chocolate melts (milk or dark, whichever your preference)
125g butter

You will also need several sheets of greaseproof paper, some clean spoons, and a piping bag with a leaf attachment.

Put the rice cookies & dried fruit into a food processor, and process until cookies resemble fine breadcrumbs (should only take a minute). Melt the chocolate & butter together (I melt it in the microwave on medium in very short bursts, stirring regularly in between - but remember to do this carefully as chocolate can burn easily) and add to the ingredients in the food processor, and process again until the mixture is smooth.
Take teaspoonfuls of the mix, roll into balls, and place on a sheet of greaseproof paper on a tray.

To decorate
150g white chocolate melts
green/red chocolate colouring powder**

Melt the white chocolate, and spoon about half a teaspoon of white chocolate onto your mini pudding, allowing it to run down the sides like cream. Once you have done this with all your mini puds, you should have some melted white chocolate left, which you can colour with either red or green chocolate colouring powder. (DO NOT use regular food colouring liquid to colour chocolate. It won't work, and will simply ruin your chocolate.) Put your coloured melted chocolate into the piping bag, with your leaf attachment on, and pipe a little heart onto the top of the white chocolate on your pudding. Repeat until done!

* You can use any combination of dried fruits you like, and you can also add nuts. I use whatever's in the pantry at the time.
** Chocolate colouring powder can be purchased at many baking/craft stores. If you can buy chocolate moulds and chocolate melts there, chances are good that they will also have chocolate colouring powder. I use red and/or green to be Christmas-y, but you can go with whatever colour you like!

Final notes: you can flavour these further by adding brandy, rum, cointreau, or any other alcohol of your choice. I didn't, as they were being shared with some kiddies, but if its an adults-only affair, go for it! I think next time I make them I'll also leave out the butter and increase the dates. And maybe introduce some cocoa... can you tell I'm not a fan of following a recipe?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

London College of Fashion

It was a gloriously sunny day in ol' London town and I was keen to check out some local fashion.

I had a great time wandering around the London College of Fashion graduates' exhibition on Carnaby St and just had to take a few sneaky pics (feeling extremely criminal whilst I furtively snapped them).

I liked Shooq AlShawi's unisex collection (2nd photo from the top) which featured lots of black, cream & neutrals, some nice trenches in there. Sophie Shiers' dresses were interesting (she designs separate dresses for individual shapes eg hourglass/pear/column. Loved her hourglass dress! Drooled over Charlotte Turner's vintage styles (with dress names including Audrey, Betty & Ginger). And the shoe designers! Faves were Hannah Martinez' super-embellished heels, covered in pearls, chain & safety pins (top pic), and Elizabeth Dunn's nature-inspired shoes. Another name to note was Jonathan Charlesworth - his shoes are evocative works of art (see below)!

What I didn't get was that whilst the shoe & accessory designers had their work displayed quite nicely, many of the clothing was just slung over a hook on a wall - not even on a coathanger to give them some shape - so you couldn't really see them properly (see picture directly above for an example).

I thought that was a bit of a shame. If I had my work displayed like that, I would have been quite disappointed by how it was presented - even though I'm sure it was a huge honour for those selected to have anything from their collection shown as part of the exhibition.

However, it did mean that I then looked them up on the College of Fashion's website to see better photographs. I don't know if this was their intention but from a marketing perspective, I don't think it was very well done. Sure, I followed up by checking out the graduate's portfolios online, but how many others would have done that, I wonder?
I highly recommend that you pay a visit to check these hot new talents out.

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