Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday is Accessory Day! Sweet Handbags

Today I wanted to bring to your attention some really cute handbags, from some fellow Etsians!

The Navy and Turquoise reversible market day tote, by pouch is a great bag to carry all of your shopping and more in! Even better, being reversible, it is two styles in one!

The Plum handbag with quilted top, by mehran, is a nice elegant carry-all; one that could carry your shopping, but also double as a "going out" bag. Love the quilting!

The Plonkas handbag by dalinda is so cute! I love the pleating and the button. I could imagine this one swung over my shoulder, just nicely!

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City and Country Snapshot: Scotland

I was inspired today, by a close friend of mine, who is planning to elope to Scotland at the end of this year. I had tried to explain the natural beauty, and old ruins of Scotland, but as they say, pictures speak a thousand words, so Crys, this is for you.

I didn't have enough photos to just concentrate on one city, so I have made a "Country Snapshot" instead!

The photos above are of the amazing Glencoe area. It is about a 1.5 hour drive from Glasgow. The tiny house above looks like a matchbox, next to the enormous mountains! This area is what my friends in Glasgow considered to be "typically Scottish". It is hard to describe how beautiful, cold, and serene- but yet very bucolic this area is... I hope my photos do it justice.

I visited Scotland in 2004, and I dare say that I don't think this area would've changed much since.

One of the amazing things I found about Scotland is, although it is a very Western country, it seems to have remained individual (to some extent). For example, when I was there, there was only one McDonald's in the whole of Glasgow. And no, I don't go around counting McDonald's- I just thought it was astounding, since even in Sydney there are streets that have a couple of them. Even small country towns have them over here!

So it's nice to know that you can go to Scotland and find a very different experience!

One of my favourite photos above, Glencoe area again.

This is where my memory gets a little hazy... not sure if the above photo was taken in Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Another thing I noticed, was everywhere there were tanning salons, solarium's, etc. I guess they don't get a lot of sun there!

I also visited Edinburgh. A very beautiful city, with the famous castle (pictured in the photo above). More tourists were evident in Edinburgh than Glascow, very pretty city though, in that Olde World sort of way.

Unfortunately, I can't remember all of the places I visited, but one I do remember was St.Andrews, in Fife. A very beautiful, old town, with loads of history. It has the world's oldest golf course, Scotland's oldest university, and Holy Trinity Church, pictured below.

I guess, coming from Australia, it is a novelty to see such buildings, and ruins... we don't have anything like this back home, so I found it fascinating! I could let my imagination run wild here!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mao's Last Dancer: Book vs. Movie

My hubbie and I watched a preview screening of "Mao's Last Dancer", last night.

I had only just finished reading the book (of the same name), only a day before, so images and stories from the book were afresh in my mind.

My husband loved the movie, and phoned his parents' directly after the movie, to tell them to go and see it. I enjoyed the movie, and the ballet dancer, Chi Cao, who played Li Cunxin was fantastic! I am not an expert when it comes to Ballet (far from it), but even I could tell he was amazing!

I guess you could say the movie was an inspired version of the book, and they followed some of the story-lines and quotes directly from the book, but they left a lot out... but as the book explains, they had to make an over 400 page book, into a 108 page screen play!

I loved the book, because it was so personal; full of love, hope and passion; sometimes despair. I was surprised by the movie, as I thought they left out some of the crucial moments between his family. I guess they decided to concentrate more on his climb through the ballet ranks, rather than his family struggles- which I guess from a movie-makers point of view, would be more exciting.

I loved the movie because, visually, it was beautiful, and the dancing was amazing! For me, as I have no idea about ballet, the movie was crucial to understand what he was talking about (with some of the moves in the book), and as I said before, Chi Cao was fantastic!

I recommend to go and see the movie, and if you like it, make sure you read the book!

Blog Feature: Snowbell Jewelry

I am proud to announce that Penelope Red designs have been featured on the Snowbell Jewelry blog!

You will find a small interview which Nathalie asked me to answer, which is always lots of fun! Take a look at the Snowbell Jewelry blog here.

You can take a look at the Snowbell Jewelry Etsy shop here:

Monday, September 28, 2009

ACP Exhibition

My wonderful best friend, Anna, is a student at the Australian Centre for Photography (ACP). I helped her with one of her projects; and Anna, in turn, helps me with mine!

I have posted a few photos from the Exhibition opening night, which happened last week.

Anna's work is the black and white photo in the middle, above.

Congratulations, Anna!

I will be placing more photos of Anna's work on my blog soon...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday is Accessory Day! Opulent Necklaces

I would like to show you today, some of my favourite necklaces, which I have found on Etsy.

The Nola Bib Necklace (above) by missrubysue, is simply exquisite! I could imagine Elizabeth Bennett wearing this as she marries Mr Darcy; and it could look just as beautiful with a corset, a great skirt and some hot heels! Bring some of the old fashioned glamour to the present!

The Lemony Skies Long Sterling Necklace , by nansglam, has a more modern feel to it. I love the mix of the yellow, silver and turquoise colours, and the different textures and thicknesses brings a sort of dainty and delicate nature to it.

The Handmade Vintage Pearl Beaded Necklace with Pink Suede Flowers by greeneyedgirlshop, has an almost regal air to it... I imagine this necklace would work well with a hot corset dress, being worn to the next awards party.

Each necklace has its own statement to say- which is one of the reasons why I like them so much. They all have a personality of their own!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

City Snapshot: St. Petersburg, Russia

I have been thinking about doing these "City Snapshots" for a while. My travels have inspired me in so many ways, so I thought it would be a good idea to show you why, and also, its a perfect excuse for me to relive my experience's!

I will start off with the beautiful St.Petersburg! It is probably one of the cities that I have been to, which most people haven't, so it might interest you a little.....

Just from looking at the photos, how could anyone with any artistic/creative talent not be inspired?!! This really is a city of beauty, opulence, and extravagance! Pictured above, I am standing in "The Hermitage", The Winter Palace- it rivals The Louvre in size, collections of art, and grandness.

We visited St.Petersburg in 2006, after going to the World Cup in Germany.

Outside of the Hermitage, with the hubbie. By the way, you can't see all of the Palace above in the photo- it goes on and on!

The Petergof or the Summer Palace. The gardens and surroundings are absolutely lovely! Well worth the trip on the ferry. We visited St.Petersburg in the summer, and while the days were actually fairly warm, the nights (to me) were quite cold. Take a jacket when you go!

Above is pictured the Saviour on Spilled Blood Cathedral. This would have to be my favourite Cathedral/Church in all of Europe. The colours are amazing! It really is just awe inspiring- the main reason being, that every surface inside the cathedral has been covered in mosaics.

The mosaics range from beautiful stylised floral patterns, to pictures depicting saints, to geometric shapes, etc. If you love colour, love meticulous craftsmanship, and love details, then make sure you visit this cathedral if you are ever in St.Petersburg.

Above, one of the doors inside the Hermitage.

One of the very special things we did in St.Petersburg, was to attend a Ballet performance in The Marinski Theatre. Ballet is an integral part of Russian culture, and they take it very seriously. They are often known as the best in the world. The Marinski Theatre (pictured above) would probably be the most opulent and different theatre I have been to. Stunning!

The Petergof above, and below.

The inside of the Marinski Theatre again, above.

Another must-see in St.Petersburg, is the opening of the bridges, at night. It is a boat tour, and at a certain time in the middle of the night (I can't remember when), the bridges open, and you ride around in the canals. Very beautiful.

St.Petersburg is a more "tourist friendly" city, compared to Moscow (more on Moscow later). It has a very Western European feel to it (as you can see in the architecture), but still has that same mysterious quality, that I associate with Russia.

I was lucky, as my husband speaks fluent Russian, so we had no trouble getting around, and we even got to pay local rates - they have 2 set prices usually for attractions; the local price; and the tourist price, which can be inflated by up to 10 times the local amount. Before I went to Russia, and before I met my husband, all I knew of Russia was from James Bond movies (silly, I know!), so to have travelled in Russia was truly an eye-opener, but also an experience that I won't forget!

I would recommend visiting St.Petersburg if you love Western European style, but you want to experience something a little different. St.Petersburg still has its own distinct flavour to it, it is not over-run with tourists (well, it wasn't when we were there), and there are certainly many attractions that are well worth the hassle of the visa and flight.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Penelope Red Black and White Printed Bowtie Top

I thought I would highlight the Penelope Red Black and White Printed Bow Tie Top today.
I like this top because you can just as easily wear it with your favourite pair of jeans, as well as a nice pair of pants or skirt. It can be casual top to wear while shopping, and then it can be transformed into a top to wear to dinner or another sophisticated occasion!

The back of the top (above).

The front of the top (above)

The Penelope Red Black and White Printed Bow Tie Top is available in US sizes 4-10 (or AU sizes 8-14). It is only $70USD. Customers in Australia: please email me at for the current equivalent in AUD.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Handmade by my Mum!

In the previous post, about Tabou Restaurant, I was wearing a lovely white cardigan.

This isn't just any cardigan. This cardigan has been hand knitted by my one and only Mum! Isn't she amazing!?

I have received so many comments on this cardigan, so I thought it was only fair to show you how beautiful it truly is.

I get so much of my creativity from my Mum. She was a dressmaker for many years while I grew up. I have many memories of waking up on Christmas day with a new party dress to wear, and friend's parties always meant an excuse to come up with a new outfit! Yes... I started early with the craze!

The one past time that I have not quite grasped yet, is knitting. I have tried it before, but I guess time has diverted me to other tasks. My whole family now gets in line to ask my Mum for a new hand knitted cardigan or jumper. It keeps her busy!

Mum made this cardigan for my birthday this year. She made it over a couple of months.
I am waiting to confirm the pattern number and brand, if anyone is interested. I will post as soon as I can.

The amazing thing about a hand knitted garment, and most people don't realise this these days, is that if you look after them (i.e. hand wash them), they will last for a life time- literally. I have a twin set, that my Mum knitted when she was 15. My Mum is now in her late 60's, and the twin set is still worn by myself regularly- and I still receive comments about it!

Twin-set pictured above and below... not bad for a 50 year old garment, hey!

One of my most treasured pieces of clothing is the crochet top pictured below.

I love this so much because my Grandmother (my Mum's Mother) crocheted every single piece of this top. She first made each and every little round segment, painstakingly making each one! Next, she had to place them together, to make the top, but the pattern was of no use; so my Grandfather sat with her, and he held it in place, while my Grandmother crocheted each piece together, to make the now beautiful garment.

It was made for my Mum's 18th Birthday. They don't make them like that any more, do they?!

Many times people have offered me money for this top, but I will never part with it, until I can pass it onto someone else who loves it as truly as I do. I think my beautiful white cardigan will have the same fate!