Monday, July 26, 2010

Helen's One-of-a-kind Oriental Fireworks Bolero

Last week I completed and posted a One-of-a-kind Penelope Red Bolero to a lovely lady in Melbourne, Helen. She had previously bought the Black Rose Jade Green Dress, and as Melbourne is quite a cold city, a new bolero was needed to keep her warm!

Over an email or two we both decided that the best option was using this beautiful and bright printed cotton to make the bolero. I am so happy with the results!

I call this design The Oriental Fireworks Bolero as the print remind's me of fireworks, and has a definite Asian influence. The print really makes an impact, and it looks great together with the dress. The finish of the bolero is great too- I included vintage buttons from my Aunt's stash.

There was only enough fabric to create one of these bolero's, so lucky Helen has a one-of-a-kind bolero!

Helen kindly wrote some feedback about the bolero and few other items she purchased, and I thought I would share it with you....

"I received the clothes this morning!!! I was like a child in a lollie shop!!

Everything was so gorgeous and fitted perfectly. The Bolero is beautiful. I absolutely love it and it looks divine with the dress. I also tried it on with several other things and it is just fantastic. You have made everything beautifully. The tops are gorgeous; I adore the "Liechtenstein" top- it is my favourite. The red stripe with the bow looks fab as well and the mint green is lovely. All in all great shopping and I will feel very special wearing everything!!! Keep me up to date with all your designs.

Thanks again,


It makes me so happy to see my designs sent to good homes!

I have included a few photos of me creating the bolero below....

Cutting out the fabric.

Sewing the outside pieces together.

Sewing the sleeve to the body. I also used cotton interlining to stiffen the outside fabric, and to also make it warmer!

Hand sewing the finishing touches!

You can take a look at my other handmade and unique designs in my etsy shop.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Astral Restaurant, Star City Casino: My Review

My husband and I were very lucky to sample the food, view and service at the beautiful Astral Restaurant, in Star City Casino, last week. We had booked the musical that is now playing at the casino's Lyric Theatre, "West Side Story", and we thought it would be a nice excuse to get a little dressed up and go to a different restaurant we hadn't tried yet.

The service is perhaps the first thing you notice, as soon as you walk into the foyer of the restaurant. Then, as the host walks you to your seat, you realise the view! Around 270 degrees view of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline. Another striking element was the great cluster of cylindrical lights that reflect off the glass walls; they create a very striking impact. (You can see them in the below photo, to the top RHS)

You will have to forgive the photo quality in this post- I forgot my digital, and only had a phone camera, and in the dim lighting it didn't stand a chance!

I had three courses. As we were going to the show downstairs, they gave us a pre-show dinner menu- such a splendid idea!

First course: Semolina Gnocchi with fresh peas, Swiss brown mushrooms, and lettuce veloute'.

Second Course: Beef Cheek with potato puree and sauteed mushrooms. This was by far my favourite course out of all three (and considering I am a major sweet's addict, that is really saying something!). The beef was melt in your mouth, the potato puree was the best mashed potato I have ever had, and the mushrooms and sauce was just perfect!

If you decide to try this restaurant, I recommend you try this meal!

Third Course: Chocolate Dacquoise, passionfruit, coconut and champagne foam.

This was an interesting mix of flavours. I took the below photo to show you the layers involved in this dessert. The chocolate and passionfruit layers were like a thick mousse, then the foam on top, tasted to me a little like citrus. It was served with caramel and a sorbet.

By the time I was eating this, I was extremely full, and I couldn't eat it all!

My husband ate the Smoked Salmon for entree. and the Snapper for main, and he really enjoyed his as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed Astral. I think for the quality of service; the fairly large portions of food; the quality of the food; the view and ambiance of the restaurant; the price that you pay is very reasonable.

As we went during the week, we were lucky to sit right in front of the city view window. I would presume booking ahead for any night is essential.

Call Astral on 1800 700 700

Level 17
80 Pyrmont Street
Pyrmont Sydney

I have previously created other reviews of other restaurants on my blog, and you can view them here:

Absynthe Restaurant

Tabou Restaurant

Sepia Restaurant and Wine Bar

And my review of Belle Epoque is in amongst our holiday to Hamilton Island.

Follow me on twitter or facebook for more updates of my latest designs and finds!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Centennial Park Autumn Leaves

The weekend just passed was yet another stunning weekend in Sydney! I spent it at the beach and at my favourite park in Sydney, Centennial Park, soaking up the rays. Anyone could be forgiven for thinking it was Spring.

Although the photos of the beautiful Autumn leaves were not taken this weekend (they were taken in June), I wanted to show you how beautiful Centennial Park is. This is just one small part of the park.

Hope you enjoy, and maybe it gets you out to your local park!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Harry Potter book series

I recently finished reading the entire Harry Potter book series- books one through to seven.

I know this may seem a little odd to talk about it here, but even if you are not into fantasy anyone should read them just to admire the pure creative talent that is J.K Rowling.

I love all things creative (well, mostly all) and these books are simply amazing. Imagine creating an entire world of your own, complete with language, characters, animals, and then making an engaging story last the distance of seven books.

I guess the closest comparison in this respect is The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Dare I say it.... I think Harry Potter is better. The Rings books rambled on a little too much for me, and I think the Potter books is something that more of us can relate to, as they are all about real people that just happen to be wizards.

Perhaps the anti-Harry-Potters out there don't realise is that the books aren't just a fantasy, they are really more like mystery novels. Unfortunately the movies have missed this crucial piece of magic about the books, so don't expect the books to be like the movies. The books are so much better!

It is hard to pick a favourite out of them all, as books four (and the Goblet of Fire), six (and the Half Blood Prince) and seven (and the Deathly Hallows) are very close to being my favourites equally. If I had to choose, probably number seven, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; the reason being every mystery is explained.

Note that the first two books are not the best, so they are a little tough to get through, but they are short, and important for the overall saga.

I am even going to go as far as saying that so far, the Harry Potter series is my favourite book series I have so far ever read. I am comparing that to the Twilight saga (which I love); to Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series (The Da Vinci Code, etc); to The Lord of The Rings, to Bryce Courtenay's The Power of One and Tandia, and to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels. I love all of the above, but Harry stands out amongst them to me. Yes, my taste in books is certainly eclectic to say the least!

So, if you ever have some spare reading time, I recommend them. Just read them with an open mind, and they will truly surprise you!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cutting Out

Just a very quick post today. I was wearing something decent for a change while working (as I had just come back from watching Eclipse), instead of the usual work uniform of tracksuit pants and jumpers, so I took some photos of me working away on my designs.

These photos are of me cutting out the Black Rose Jade Dress, and the Pink Summer Kimono.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Red Stripe Bow Knit Top on the Etsy Front Page

Yay! The Penelope Red Stripe Bow Knit Top made it to the front page on! Over 300 clicks in an hour or two. Not bad, hey!

Thanks goes to savagekitten for designing the etsy treasury in which my top was featured on the front page.

You can view the Red Stripe Bow Knit Top in the Penelope Red etsy shop.

You can also view more photos of the red Stripe Bow Knit Top style on the blog here.

New Style: The Gothic Coffee Bolero

One of my very latest styles, The Penelope Red Gothic Coffee Bolero.

This design evolved from the fabric-up. I already had the pattern, as it is the same pattern as the Venus Floral Bolero, and I had the fabric roll in my sewing room, just begging to be used. For some reason, I automatically had a vision of black lace on it some where, and then as I looked through my box of trims and things, the black velvet ribbon looked so elegant next to the lace.

Once I started to put it all together, it had a little French feel to it, a little bit of a Gothic undertone, and an Art Nouveau vibe.

The Gothic Coffee Bolero jacket is made from a very unique 100% cotton weave. The fabric has been woven into tiny diamonds, from white and coffee coloured yarns (It almost looks beige from a short distance). Then a silver foil print has been applied to the entire fabric. The silver metallic finish is noticeable, but is not something that takes over the style.

The centre front has been decorated with velvet ribbon, and a vintage black nylon lace. The front meets edge to edge, and little black buttons and hand-stitched loops helps to fasten the bolero.

The jacket has been fully lined with a polyester lining.

I will be placing this bolero in the Penelope Red Etsy shop very soon. I hope to get some amazing photos with a proper model very soon!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Winter Colours Liberty Wool Bolero

Introducing the very latest design. the Penelope Red Winter Colours Liberty Wool Bolero!

I featured a little posting about the gorgeous Liberty designed fabric used in this jacket a few days ago, and this is the finished hand made product.

This bolero jacket will look great with a dark pair of jeans during the day; beautiful with a navy blue or black dress during the night; and great for the office with a black pair of pants.

This has been made from a Liberty printed 100% wool, in a beautiful winter colour palette of flowers and leaves. The bolero has been interlined with a 100% cotton fabric to create body to the fabric, durability and warmth, then fully lined with a bright blue silk lining.

I only had enough fabric for three of these bolero's. So whoever buys one of these will truly own a piece of unique design! I have already sold the size 10 (or US sz 6), so the only other sizes I have left are sizes 12 and 14 (or US sz 8 and 10).

Please email me on if you would like more information or would like to purchase one of these bolero's.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Eclipse: My movie review of Book vs. Movie

Well, since I read the books (twice), and reviewed New Moon when it came out, it was inevitable that I was going to do the same for Eclipse.

I took the day off work to watch it with my two older sisters. We each became a little hooked on Twilight in our own way. Eclipse was my 2nd favourite book (Twilight being my fave) out of all of the Twilight saga books, so I was hoping for a great movie...

There were many things I loved about the movie...I loved the fight scenes- the special effects were amazing; loved the proposal scene and other love scenes between Bella and Edward ( what can I say, I love romance!)... The new Vampire, Riley, was fantastic playing his part- I look forward to seeing him as a baddy in other movies.

Hated Jasper's hair (for that matter, every single movie I have hated his hair) to the point of distraction, hated Rosalie's black eyebrows contrasting her blonde hair, and I was a little disappointed with how they treated the "Imprinting" and "Third Wife" and "First Werewolf story".

I think they should've taken out the dream sequence/story visions of Jasper's and Rosalie's transformation (because really, they didn't show anything more than what a few words would have told), and concentrated more on the third wife story. Then, when Bella sacrifices herself, it would be more impacting. This really was a huge theme in the book, through out each book really. Bella saves them each time, whether she believes it or not, and they just kind of brushed over it as if it didn't really happen.

For all the fuss that was made over the changing of one actress to another for the role of Victoria, I don't think it really mattered. I can't remember her uttering more than a line or two, and really, Xavier Samuel did such a good job at Riley, that he kind of stole the show for the baddy award. For what it's worth, Rachelle Leferve suited the role better to me.

There was more violence in this one (but there was always going to be it); more love scenes; more Edward versus Jacob- which is what all of us fans live for! I was happy to watch it simply because there was more Edward- and therefore more Rob Pattinson's face (and I am a Team Edward girl completely), but I was excited to watch it because there was so much more going on, and this is really where the story begins to unfold further and further.

As with any movie from book adaptation, they can never fit it all in. Like I said before with New Moon, it is the book on speed. They basically have taken the essential parts of the book (got rid of the rest), put in a few loves scenes, and bam! There's your screen play.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves the books, or who loves a bit of romance and action thrown in. I probably would say that there are too many lovey-dovey moments for the male population to endure willingly, unless they are into that. Have fun watching it! My sisters said they missed the screams and cheering whenever Jacob and Edward turned up on screen- look at my New Moon review to understand what they were talking about!

So, I would love to hear from those who have watched it. Are you a fan? What did you love? What did you hate? Were there screaming and cheers ion your cinema? Or did you manage to find a bunch of civilised fans?