Saturday, February 27, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
It seems sewing is in the blood in my family as my Great Grandmother on my Mum's side was a First Hand Fitter for French Couturier Paquin in the 1920s - 30s. Now I know these days not many people have heard of Paquin but in my GG's day they were a big deal. My Great Grandmother - Magret Ethel Temple would have been a well respected employee as her job was to fit some very prestigious costumers such as famous actresses and Ladies.
Born in 1869, Jeanne Paquin trained at the French fashion house Maison Rouff. In 1891, 22 years before Coco Chanel, Jeanne Paquin was the first woman to open her own fashion house. Her husband Isodore financed the venture which Madame Paquin daringly situated right next door to the great designer Worth on the Rue de la Paix in Paris.
Paquin soon became famous. She was know for using fine silks, furs and fancy trimmings . She changed the dowdy black the was predominant in the 19th century by lining with red silks and with the use of beautiful embroidery. Paquin also used Egyptian and Chinese motifs. Paquin introduced the empire waist dress in 1906 as an imitation of the Regency style.
Paquin was excellent at marketing her clothing. This she did by sending her models to big event such as the opera and the races and having them parade in her latest designs. She was also the first person to sell her items to department stores and wholesalers and the first to open businesses overseas in London, Buenos Aires and Madrid.
Madame Paquin resigned in 1920. During the 1920s designs were executed by a Mlle. Madeleine. After Madam Paquin’s death in 1936, the designer was Antonio del Castillo, who remained until 1944. Colette Massignac gave the House a new direction in the 1950s. In 1953, the House of Paquin merged with Worth. Paquin-Worth was closed in 1956.
More information about the House of Paquin can be found in Dominique Sirop's book A Historical Overview of the House of Paquin.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Have a fabulous weekend dear readers ... x
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Lets see what Miss Piggy thinks:
As he's a pro the hubby has been drafted in to make the birthday cake. Here it is in all its gorgeousness:
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry? - William Blake
2010 is year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar so why not celebrate in a tiger way.
♥ Adopt at tiger with the World Wildlife Fund
♥ Dress Up in a cute tiger costume
♥ Paint your nails tiger print
♥ Bake some tiger bread
♥ Make your own tiger inspired jewellery - maybe out of tiger's eye
♥ Do your eye make up like a tiger
♥ Eat some Chinese food accompanied by a tiger beer
♥ Brighten up your home with a bunch of tiger lilies
♥ Read a tiger inspired book like Tiger by Jeff Stone
What does the year of the tiger bring?
Based on the traits of the Tiger, Chinese astrologers predict 2010 will be a tumultuous year, but that there will nevertheless be an overarching sense of optimism around the hard work that people may endure. Some analysts believe this will have an effect in minimising the global financial crisis.
The year of the Tiger is often associated with upheaval and social change, but this may be favourable for Tigers themselves.
People born under this sign are said to be wildly lucky, courageous, honest and charming. They are also competitive, unpredictable, stubborn and spontaneous. Like the felines they represent, they trust their instincts and tend to land on their feet.
Famous Tigers: Sir David Attenborough, Agatha Christie, H.G Wells, Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, Roberta Flack, Jodie Foster, Stevie Wonder, Sir Alec Guinness, Hugh Hefner, Dylan Thomas, Marilyn Monroe, John Stewart, Karl Marx, Queen Elizabeth II and Demi Moore. Gung how fat choy (Happy New Year!) dear readers ... x
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Take a train ride back in time with me dear readers ... x
Monday, February 15, 2010
I hope you all had a wonderful valentines day. The hubby and I went into the City to see Nation at the Dendy cinema in Circular Quay and although it was a grey day and we were both somewhat snuffly we had a great day. The hubby is a big Terry Pratchett fan and he's got me into the book so when my big sis told me about NT Live Nation I knew it would be a great gift for the hubby. He spends so much time spoiling me that I wanted to do something that he'd enjoy and not something that would result in a conventional commercial Valentine's day!
Nation is based on the book of the same name by Terry Pratchett. It is the story of a parallel world in 1860. Two teenagers are thrown together by a tsunami that has destroyed Mau’s village and left Daphne shipwrecked on his South Pacific island, thousands of miles from home. One wears next to nothing, the other a long white dress; neither speaks the other’s language; somehow they must learn to survive. As starving refugees gather, Daphne delivers a baby, milks a pig, brews beer and does battle with a mutineer. Mau fights cannibal Raiders, discovers the world is round and questions the reality of his tribe’s fiercely patriarchal gods. Together they come of age, overseen by a foul-mouthed parrot, as they discard old doctrine to forge a new Nation. The hubby and I both thought the play was fab and wonderfully acted especially the parrot! I wondered if watching a recording of a live play on the silver screen would not be a little weird but after a while you forgot you were in the cinema and it really felt like you were watching a play. So much so that the cinema audience actually applauded in the end!
NT Live Nation was broadcast to 300 locations all over the world on 30th January, 13th and 14th Feb for Australia and if you are in New Zealand or South Africa you can still catch performances on 20th and 21st April respectively. Check out the National Theatres website for details.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
The divine dress is made of polyester/spandex blend fabric. It has a gorgeous large roll collar and a belt in the waist. The cuffs gave little button and can be turned to make the dress short sleeved. The dress look great with a petticoat underneath as pictured for a dramatic look or can be worn without for an everyday look.
But the best thing about this stunning dress is the price. The dress retails at just $43.95 usd!
I can just imagine this dress in an Alice in Wonderland inspired outfit so I created this one below
Check out Chicstar for yourselves dear readers ... x
Thursday, February 11, 2010
•4 tablespoons sweet almond oil (olive oil works too)
•1 tablespoon grated beeswax
•pinch borax (use this ingredient cautiously)
•rosewater 5ml essence to 10ml water
2. Stir the borax into a small cupful of the rosewater. This helps emulsify the mixture. You can manage without the borax, but the cream will probably be thicker as you will not be able to incorporate as much liquid.
3. Add the rosewater a drop at a time, stirring constantly. When you think that the cream will not accept any more liquid (small beads of liquid will refuse to stir in), stop adding, and keep stirring very gently as the cream cools down.
Pot into a scrupulously clean jar.
This makes a wonderful cleansing cream if massaged into the face well before washing with a good handmade soap. If you normally couldn’t even think about using real soap on your skin, this cream adds an extra oily layer that should prevent drying. The other way to use this is as an overnight moisture pack on dry hands or feet. Massage it generously into the skin then wear thin cotton socks on your hands or feet to prevent getting salve all over the bedding. In the morning, you should find that all the cream has been absorbed leaving your skin feeling like new.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Happy crafting dear readers ... x
Monday, February 8, 2010
So what is this great product I hear you cry. Its Pears Soap!
I bit of an anticlimax I admit but I pop some of this on my Bodyshop Facial Buffer wash my face. Rinse of with cold water and my skin feels great for the day! In the winter if my skin is feeling a bit dry and wind beaten I sometimes follow it up with some home made cold cream (a recipe post will follow) but generally I can just wash and go! Pears soap was first produced and sold by Andrew Pears at a factory near Oxford St, London in 1789. It was the world's first transparent soap. According to Unilever records Pears was the worlds first registered brand and so is the worlds oldest continuously existing brand.
Andrew Pears was the son of a farmer who moved to London to train as a barber. After completing an apprenticeship he opened is own shop producing his own cosmetic products. Andrew found that a lot of clients were using his powders and creams to cover up damage caused by the harshness of the soaps and other beauty products (many of which contained arsenic or lead)so he began experimenting with soap purification to produce a gentler soap. Andrews eventually managed to produce a soap made of glycerin and other natural products and its purity made it transparent. This provided a unique marketing advantage. To add to the appeal, Andrew gave the soap an aroma reminiscent of an English garden. In 1835, his grandson Francis Pears joined the business and created the company A. & F. Pears Ltd. In 1838 Andrew Pears retired, leaving Francis in charge of the company. In 1851 the company was awarded the prize medal for soap at The Great Exhibition.
Francis' son-in-law Thomas J. Barratt, sometimes referred to as the father of modern advertising, eventually managed the firm.
In 1862, production of the soap moved to Isleworth, and three years later Francis' son, Andrew, joined A&W Pears Ltd. as joint proprietor and ran the factory, whilst Thomas ran the head office in London.
In the mid 1910s, A&W Pears Ltd. became part of Lever Brothers and moved production to Port Sunlight in north west England.
So get lathering dear readers ... x
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Tamara de Lempicka (May 16, 1898–March 18, 1980) was born Maria Gorska in Warsaw. Born into a wealthy family, her father was a lawyer and her mother a socialite. In 1913 at the age of 15 Tamara met the man she was determined to marry, a well-known ladies' man, gadabout, and lawyer by title - Tadeusz Łempicki. Tamara staged a campaign to win Tadeusz and they were married in 1916.
In 1917 during the Russian Revolution Tadeusz was arrested by the Bolsheviks. Maria searched the prisons, tracked him down and after several weeks secured his release. The couple fled to Paris where Tamaras family had also escaped.
In Paris, the Lempickas lived for a while from the sale of family jewels. Tadeusz proved unwilling or unable to find suitable work, which added to the domestic strain, while Maria gave birth to Kizette de Lempicka.
Tamara's artistic style developed quickly, influenced by a "soft cubism" style and her work epitomised the art deco movement. For her first major show, in Milan, Italy in 1925, under the sponsorship of Count Emmanuele Castelbarco, de Lempicka painted 28 new works in six months. She soon became the most fashionable portrait painter of her time.
In 1925, she painted her iconic work Auto-Portrait (Tamara in the Green Bugatti) for the cover of the German fashion magazine Die Dame. As summed up by the magazine Auto-Journal in 1974, "the self-portrait of Tamara de Lempicka is a real image of the independent woman who asserts herself. Her hands are gloved, she is helmeted, and inaccessible; a cold and disturbing beauty [through which] pierces a formidable being—this woman is free!" De Lempicka won her first major award in 1927, first prize at the Exposition Internationale de Beaux Arts in Bordeaux, France for her portrait of Kizette on the Balcony.
During the Roaring 20s Paris, Tamara de Lempicka was part of the bohemian life: she knew Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, and André Gide. Famous for her libido, she was bisexual, and her affairs with both men and women were carried out in ways that were scandalous at the time. She often used formal and narrative elements in her portraits and nude studies to produce overpowering effects of desire and seduction. In the 1920s she became closely associated with lesbian and bisexual women in writing and artistic circles, such as Violet Trefusis, Vita Sackville-West, and Colette. She also became involved with Suzy Solidor, a night club singer at Boîte de Nuit, whom she later painted. Her husband eventually tired of their arrangement; he abandoned her in 1927, and they were divorced.Tamara became obbssesed with her work and neglected her daughter. When Kizette was not at boarding school she spent the majority of her time with her grandmother. However Tamara also imortalised Kizette in a number of paintings and in other painting the women show a likeness to Kizette. In 1928, her long time patron the Baron Raoul Kuffner visited her studio and commissioned her to paint his mistress. De Lempicka finished the portrait, then took the mistress' place in the Baron's life.
De Lempicka continued both her heavy workload and her frenetic social life through the next decade. The Great Depression had little effect on her. In the winter of 1939, Tamara and the Baron started an "extended vacation" in the United States. She immediately arranged for a show of her work in New York, though the Baron and Baroness chose to settle in Beverly Hills, California, living in the former residence of Hollywood director King Vidor. She became 'the baroness with a brush' and a favorite artist of Hollywood stars. In 1943, the couple relocated to New York City. Even though she continued to live in style, socializing continuously, her popularity as a society painter had diminished greatly.
After Baron Kuffner's death from a heart attack in 1962, she sold most of her possessions and made three around-the-world trips by ship. Finally De Lempicka moved to Houston, Texas to be with Kizette and her family. There she began her difficult and disagreeable later years. Kizette served as Tamara's business manager, social secretary, and factotum, and suffered under her mother's controlling domination and petulant behavior.
In 1978 Tamara moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico, to live among an aging international set and some of the younger aristocrats. After Kizette's husband died of cancer, she attended her mother for three months until Tamara died in her sleep on March 18, 1980. Her ashes were scattered over the volcano Popocatepetl by Count Giovanni Agusta.
De Lempicka lived long enough, however, for the wheel of fashion to turn a full circle: before she died a new generation discovered her art and greeted it with enthusiasm.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
I've already been planning my winter wardrobe and I will definitely be adding Stop Staring's Lula Dress in Eggplant. Stop Staring describe it as:
Timeless and Classic, this dress will remain a part of your wardrobe for years to come. The Lula is made out of a soft 4-way stretch fabric, and really is perfect for all occasions. You will not only be the center of attention, but you will have accomplished this in a very classy and discreet way. The ultimate in glamour allure, the eggplant color is just the perfect shade for all skintypes. Features an adorable sweetheart neckline finished with black piping detail. The sleeves are a slight cap, just the way they wore them in the 1940s. The skirt is fun and flirty with a beautiful bias cut fishtail. Beautiful gathers at the bustline, and a form shaping midriff all to embrace the female form. Ultra lux and ultra Glam! Designers pick for its flirty yet classy flare!
Here is my Polyvore set of how I imagine wearing this dress!
What will you be wearing this winter dear readers ... x
Thursday, February 4, 2010
According to Bombshell Betty's website the DVD includes:
Bump N Grind Warmup: Shimmy, shake and bump yourself into shape with this fun and sensual warmup based on the traditional burlesque bump and grind. This is a lighthearted and sexy warmup you'll want to do every day. Get your shimmy on and loosen up those tassel twirling muscles!
Pinup Floor Workout: These pinup-inspired toning exercises focus on toning your legs, hips and abdominals, building on the postures and moves learned in the Bump N Grind Warmup. The exercises are as easy or as difficult as you make them, so you can increase the difficulty as your strength increases, always moving at your own pace. One long time "Burlesquerciser" swears that these moves have done wonders for her sex life! See what they can do for you!
Burlesque Strut - Leg Work: Your strut provides the foundation for your entire burlesque stage presentation, so that's where we start off. With this segment, you will learn how to show off those legs to advantage! Learn the proper way to step to elongate your legs, show off your curves and look light on your feet. Confident, showgirl posture is emphasized while going through a series of easy-to-learn and elegant dance moves to embellish your sexy new walk. With moves like these, you'll have million dollar legs in no time!
Pinup Dance Moves: Learn Bombshell Betty's technique for creating your own authentic-looking retro pinup dance moves! Combined with your sexy new strut and your bump and grind dance moves, these easy to learn moves add drama and glamour to any act, whether on stage or in the privacy of your home. Be the living, breathing pinup queen you've always wanted to be!
The DVD is purely an instructional exercise video with a fun burlesque twist, it offers no background information to burlesque. Like 'Burlesque for Beginners' the picture and sound quality are not great. It is sometimes quite hard to hear what Betty is saying over the sound of the music. The DVD is great for someone that wants a fun alternative to normal 'boring' exercise videos but how effective an exercise routine this would actually be remains to be seen. On the plus side it offers a great alternative to someone like me who has always wanted to try burlesque but is to shy to take a class.
For all you budding burlesquers in the USA Bombshell Betty runs Burlesquercise classes. Details can be found here.
So get Burlesquercising today dear readers ... x