Friday, November 27, 2009

Bronte Beach

Sometimes I like to take a break from my work room, and wander around the surrounding beaches in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. There truly are some beautiful beaches and the scenery is gorgeous- and I am slightly addicted to my camera! So even though its slightly off topic, I thought I would share a few snap shots of one of my favourite Sydney beaches, Bronte Beach. A good way to get into the weekend mood!

Today I am working on a brand new design, and will hopefully have photos to share on Monday, so stay tuned!

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Melbourne and Bottega Restaurant

Recently, my sister and I had a girls weekend away in Melbourne. Her husband organised it (isn't he sweet), and I was only too happy to oblige!

We stayed in the city centre, at a very lovely hotel, The Hotel Windsor. A very old-fashioned, elegant hotel. The service was fantastic, and I loved the room! The walk-in wardrobe was almost the size of my sewing-room!

Unfortunately the weather was bad for most of the time we were there, so we didn't get the chance to venture out of the CBD and visit Chapel Street, etc, but the CBD has some lovely alley ways and old-fashioned shopping malls.

We had dinner at "Bottega"- a modern Italian restaurant. I love Italian food! When we arrived, the restaurant was completely booked (lucky our friendly concierge at the Hotel Windsor was happy to book us a table!)- always a good sign that the restaurant is good...

I wasn't disappointed either. We both had the Suckling Rutherglan Lamb, sage, sweetbread and eggplant caponata. Divine!

While the service was a bit slow, I would still recommend this restaurant to those who enjoy a hearty meal, with a touch of refinement. Just only go there when you are not in a hurry!

As we walked around the city, there were so many Churches. There are probably others that are prettier, but this one caught my eye...

Featured in Etsy Treasury: Midtown Holiday Party

Again one of my designs has been featured in an Etsy Treasury: Midtown Holiday Party by etsy seller chefjen137.

chefjen137 is Jennifer Dickerson, a photographer from Memphis. One of her photos is displayed below:
Chinese Dragon 5x7 Fine Art Photographic Print

Take a look at all of the lovely items featured in this treasury on etsy. Click on the listings and maybe we will get it to the front page!

Click here to visit this treasury
. It will only last another 2.5 days!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Featured in Etsy Treasury: Australian Made

nyjolejewellery from featured the Penelope Red Black Bow Tie Top in her "Australian Made" treasury today.

A beautiful design from nyjolejewellery is the "Elizabeth Brooch"

Looking at the treasury section on is a good way to browse for the best designs and artist's, as each treasury is essentially a list of favourites from etsy members. You can see a list of treasuries here.

Viva La Moda Magazine: November Issue Out Now

VivaLaModa magazine

The current November issue of Viva La Moda magazine is out now! A great independant magazine, which focuses on handmade items.

Take a look at the September issue to see the Designer Spotlight Feature on Penelope Red!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Penelope Red at The Rocks Market: 5th/6th Dec

Come along to The Rocks Markets, in Sydney's beautiful historic centre, and take a look at my unique Penelope Red designs.

I will be there with my handmade creations on the weekend of 5th and 6th December 2009, between the hours of 10am and 5pm.

For more information on the markets and how to get there, take a look at The Rocks Markets website.

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

The Penelope Red Coral Kimono

I love wearing my Coral Kimono! It is so versatile, and the colourful print always brightens my mood. My favourite way to wear it is with my Penelope Red Black Mucha Skinny Pants, shown in these photos.

I have added the Coral Kimono to my Etsy shop, so people overseas have the chance to view it as well. If you live in or are visiting Sydney, these tops will be for sale at The Rocks Markets.

There is another colourway of the Penelope Red Kimono- The Bohemian Sari Kimono.

This is a 100% cotton voile, featuring a beautiful print in browns, red, orange, aqua, cream, and black. This kimono is available when I attend The Rocks Market, as well.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Crystal's Wedding Dress: Part 1

My best friend, Crystal, is getting married! They have chosen to elope to Scotland in December, and have a civil ceremony there, then enjoy a honeymoon travelling throughout Europe- how exciting!

I have been asked to create the wedding dress- quite excited!

To see the completed designs, and photos from the wedding day take a look at Crystals Wedding Dress: Part 2

The design brief:

Classic Audrey-inspired style, with an understated elegance. A dress that she can wear with ballet flats, and still be sophisticated. It must include the Scottish Tartan of her fiancé's clan, but not clash with the elegant look. It also needs to be warm; but since we are limited to virtually no choice of winter fabrics here at the moment, we had to make do with whatever fabric we could find - they plan to elope in December! We are using silk dupion for the dress, and a wool boucle for the coat.

This is what I came up with...

I noticed that the tartan ribbon Crystal bought was a synthetic fibre, and it would pleat easily. Pleating the ribbon would also mean that it would sit around curved lines easier, than if I left it straight.

I decided to cut the pleated ribbon in half, and attach it around the sweetheart neckline, and around the pointed sleeves.

I made the sleeves with a point as it mirrors the sweetheart neckline curves.

To help create extra warmth in the dress, I have placed a cotton/silk interlining throughout the entire dress, as well as interfacing where needed. This is all encased in a beautiful silk lining. An invisible zip fastens at the back.

The coat:

Crystal's engagement ring features a blue sapphire in the centre, and the tartan also features a Navy blue. As we had very limited fabric in the wool bouclé, we needed to include other fabrics to create this coat; we chose a Navy wool for the contrasting panels at the shoulders and for the hood, and a faux fur was used at the sleeve cuffs and hood edging.

The Navy panels at the shoulders will draw the eye up to the shoulders, rather than the hips; a Navy blue belt will be worn with the coat to draw in the waist. Navy blue buttons will be added to the centre front.

The faux fur adds drama and glamour- I can just imagine it once she has her make-up and everything is finished! I can't wait to see photos!

We will also be shortening the coat. I can't wait to see the finished product!!

To see the completed designs, and photos from the wedding day take a look at Crystals Wedding Dress: Part 2

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Moon: My movie review of Book vs Movie

So, I am hooked by Twilight... over the past 6 months I have become slightly addicted to the "Twilight Saga"- and I don't usually jump on the band wagon- it takes a lot for me to follow!

To tell you the truth, I went to see the "Twilight" movie a year ago, thinking: it will be so scary, so my Husband had better join me. You see, I had no idea about the books, or about the mania; so I was pleasantly surprised when I realised it was a love story! (my Husband fell asleep).

Then, as I was waiting to fly to Hamilton Island, I wanted a book to read, and the "Twilight" book just jumped out at me. I couldn't put the book down! As soon as I got home from my holiday, I went and bought "New Moon". What started as a great holiday read, ended up in being a slight obsession for a month or so! I have now read all four books.

I am actually completely surprised by the whole experience... I am not one to follow popular culture trends- never have been until now. I hate tabloid magazines and celebrity gossip, but for some reason the hype has sucked me in, and I don't mind it so much now.

What surprises me even further, and everyone else for that matter, is how it has effected so many women. Probably everyone knows someone who has read it, and when I asked my older sisters about it, both had already read them and were fans. Out of all of the women I have spoken to about it, only one has said they didn't like the books.

So my sister's and I attended the double feature lastnight, at the Randwick Ritz cinema. Imagine... a room full of approx 800 women (and about 5 brave- or stupid- men), atleast half screaming whenever Edward Cullen (Rob Pattinson) or Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) entered the screen. It was a definite atmosphere!

The verdict?

If you like the story line of New Moon, but don't have the patience to read the book, then the movie is perfect. It is basically the book on speed. What I mean is, the movie follows the book's plot very closely- there are a few changes, however minimal- but they had to place a lot into the 2 hour time, so they crammed it in.

I did really enjoy it (with the bonus screaming in the background too!). The wolves special effects were amazing! The eye candy wasn't bad either!

I was expecting a few moments in the start of the movie for "happy Bella and Edward". I know that in the book it gets right into it, but the book explained what he meant to her clearer than the movie. I think the movie should've shown the contrast of Edward and Bella happy, then show them apart; otherwise if you just watched the movie without the book, then you wouldn't really understand the connection they have.

New Moon was a movie that I think more husbands/boyfriends, etc will like. There is more action, less love and more special effects than "twilight"- they will just have to be prepared for some missing t-shirts.

Out of all of the books, New Moon was my least favourite; Twilight was my favourite. Now, for me, the movies are on par with each other; once I have watched New Moon again (with out the bonus background screams and giggles), I no doubt will love it even further.

If you love the books, you will love the movie. If you love Taylor or Rob, then you will love the movie. If you haven't read the books and love romance novels, then you should read them... the vampire/werewolf thing is really just there for entertainment purposes. The books are not scary; Stephenie Meyer was inspired by novels such as Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, etc. Besides, we all need an escape every now and then!

You can buy the book here.

Will you be watching this film? Do you like the saga? Have you read the books?

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Updated: 7th July 2010:
I have also reviewed Eclipse: Movie vs Book on this blog. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Making of a Penelope Red Corset

I love wearing my Penelope Red corsets! They are so feminine, sexy and command attention- they make me feel like a million dollars!

Whenever I wear them out, many people ask me questions like: How long do they take to make? How do you make them? What do you make them out of?

(Above, me dancing at a club in Sydney, wearing the Pink Victorian Corset)

While I am not prepared to give away all of my secrets, I thought I would show you exactly the kind of work involved in making each one of these corsets...

First, I need to make the pattern. I use a standard size 10 block, then I create my own design using my unusual design lines- that everyone seems to love so much! Once I am happy, I then need to 'grade' each pattern piece to create the different sizes- all of this can take a couple of days.

I need to then cut out each layer- that's FOUR layers: Main fabric, interfacing, interlining (where the boning sits), and lining.

On the Pink Victorian Corset, I also have an extra layer on the side panels, which has been crazy patch-worked together; so I need to sew each seam, iron out the seams flat, then cut out these pieces again!

Once I have attached the interfacing to the main fabric, I can start sewing the pieces together.

I need to sew all of the pieces together for each layer: Main, interlining and lining.

After this, I need to then layer each seam, clip and trim; this means each seam will lie flat when pressing.

I then apply the boning to the interlining.

A line of pink lace is applied to each of the outer seams on the side panels of the corset.

Once I have prepared the ruffle, I attach this to the top edge, and I then sew through the Main layer and Interlining layer to attach the boning.

I like to make as secure as possible lacing loops, so I use a plaited cord and I zig-zag over the ends a few times.

The Penelope Red label must be added to the lining!

The lining is then attached to the other layers, then I must trim and clip again.

Once the corset is turned out, I then make a top-stitching line around the entire corset edge.

The corset is finished once I have laced it up!

As you can tell, there is A LOT of work involved in making these! As much as I sometimes get overwhelmed with the work, I can't deny how good they look on the women who wear them; and I am proud to say that they are a Penelope Red design!

Follow me on twitter or facebook for more updates of my latest designs and finds! You can also see my designs in person at The Rocks Markets.