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metallic, glitter, shine
24Apr

Friday Five: the Bling Ring

Friday Five: the Bling Ring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you may know, I recently said ‘I do’ overseas at our elopement, which you can read all about here. While we never set out to be ‘non-traditional’, when we said our vows, we hadn’t actually even bought our rings. Truth was, I hadn’t found it yet. And by IT, I mean the one. And I didn’t mean my husband in this instance. I’d rather go without than go with something I wasn’t in love with. A good rule for both husbands and jewellery, I might add. Although I was a massive fan of chunky vintage cocktails rings, I’d actually never owned a diamond – so it’s with trepidation I ventured into the world of fine jewellery. To get my head around this ‘4 C’s business, my friend pointed me in the direction of this great (short) video on how a diamond’s value is ascertained. You do kinda need to know all this stuff to arm yourself with answers to the inevitable ‘why is that one more expensive that that one,‘ question or even the ‘seriously, who would know if it’s cubic zirconia anyway.’ Only funny once, buddy.

When we decided to elope, I started the hunt for a ring. EARNESTLY. I mean, I was trawling the internet for days, eating dinner in bed* and glued to anything from estate auctions in Russia to my local jeweller in a bid to get my head around it all and y’know TRYING TO FIND THE ONE. For someone that had never really displayed an interest in diamonds or jewellery, this was an all-consuming (and time-consuming) obsession…and those goddamn google cookies embed jewellery ads WHEREVER I WENT. I felt like a woman possessed, but in the end, I sure knew what the hell made a good diamond from a shonky one and also, what style I kept on coming back to. I figured the more I looked at, the more I knew I’d know when I saw IT. I also wasn’t set on a diamond. And I wasn’t wed to having a newly made ring. But I was set on finding the right one. Try as I might – I just couldn’t find what I wanted locally without it costing the GDP of Botswana to get it made. And I wasn’t confident I could articulate what it was I wanted anyway.

As I went through the process, vintage and estate jewellery was what I kept coming back to without fail. Like Vegemite or crunchy Peanut Butter vs smooth, you’re either a vintage jewellery person or you’re not. Some people understandably aren’t big on wearing dead people diamonds. Even as I write that, it sounds kind gross, but for me dear reader; I LOVED stories that ring might tell me, but mostly – it all came down to the style. Vintage jewellery possesses a style you just can’t make up in a new ring off the shelf. There’s an enigma and a beauty to them. It’s almost mythical – like unicorns and a man that doesn’t leave towels on the floor, estate jewellery has a quality that is hard to define. And as we jetted off to the US, this was the vintage jewellery shortlist where I just knew I was going to find THE ONE:

Doyle & Doyle 412 West 13th Street, New York 10014

Bell & Bird – 1206 West 38th St. # 1102 Austin, Texas 78705

Erstwhile – by appointment only, midtown Manhattan

As history will tell you, I found THE ONE at Doyle & Doyle on our last day in NYC. Quietly tucked away in the Meatpacking district, their selection is edited – but mind bogglingly gorgeous. The Australian dollar was still holding strong against the US (hurrah!) and the next day I flew out as a wife and bona-fide diamond wearer. The other 2 places I wanted to visit weren’t vintage specialists, but places I’d admired from afar and full of untold amazingness. One was Anna Sheffield – an amazing jeweller that crafts timeless, yet alternative pieces. The Hazeline still gives me goosebumps, but felt too delicate for my ahem, sizeable hand span. Catbird NYC in Brooklyn is a treasure trove of delicate, fun and whimsy – even if you only have a $500 budget for a wedding band, there are so many beauties here that it’s worth shipping back to Australia, even with the Australian dollar falling faster than Madonna at the Brits.

So if you’re thinking of buying from the states, here are a few to think about:

  • Remember the Americans don’t add their tax until checkout. This is super annoying and you will forget!
  • If you’re going to ship it back to Australia, make sure you have proper insurance. Obvs.
  • Depending on the Aussie dollar, supply & demand means that diamonds do tend to be a little cheaper than back home at face value, but you will need to consider taxes and insurance and it won’t always work out cheaper. If you’re lucky to be in the US and think you don’t have to pay US sales tax if you get them to ship it home, you’ll have to pay GST on customs when it arrives. Once you factor in the US Sales Tax at checkout (10%), plus shipping & insurance, it puts you almost at the 17% GST range anyway.
  • Make sure you buy from a reputable buyer as you would back home, and that your ring comes with a GIA certificate.

So that’s my ring journey. I adore it and so glad I chewed up all my data months on end searching around and visiting my top 5 in the US. It’s perfect and I’ve never seen anything like it. Just like the Credit Card bill once the conversion fees came through…don’t forget to factor that in one in too!

*I wish.

13Apr

Easter bunny cupcakes

Easter bunny cupcakes

Last Easter, we went overboard on the chocolate, making this easter egg covered chocolate cake and these super simple and super cute chocolate easter nests. After a stint in chocoholics anonymous, we thought we’d try something vanilla based, meaning there’s plenty of room for chocolate Easter eggs – and how darling are these bunny ear cupcakes? The best thing, they’re a show-stopper and a complete cinch to make. Now I don’t know about you, but sometimes – there just ain’t enough hours in the day, so don’t be feeling bad about grabbing a packet mix of cupcakes. Seriously, don’t. Guilt is a wasted emotion, so bear that in mind when you’ve scoffed three of these with afternoon tea!

Read these instructions well ahead, as these are best made in stages.

You need:

1 packet of cupcake mix

500g white Pettinice

Red or pink food colouring

4 egg whites

2 cups caster sugar

Cold water

Piping bag

Bunny ear template

The night before you want to present your cupcakes, grab yourself some ready to roll Pettinice fondant icing from your local cake supply shop and channel your inner toddler – this stuff is to adults what playdough is for kids.  Grab about 500g of the white stuff and if you have a little red food colouring, use a droplet to turn 200g of it pink (literally just knead and massage the fondant, a little bit of colour at time until you get your desired shade). Otherwise, grab another pack of pink Pettinice. This is enough for about 6 -8 sets of bunny ears. Print out a bunny ear template – we found ours here. You want your ears to be around 10 – 12cm long, bearing in mind you need to push them right into the cupcake and you don’t want them too thick or they become top heavy and fall over. Roll out one layer of fondant about 2mm thick and using your template and a sharp knife, cut out your sets of bunny ears – the bigger section in white, and repeat the process for the inner ear, using the pink fondant. Using just a finger dipped in water or a paintbrush, moisten the back of the pink ear and place directly where you want it to go on the big white ear shape. Once it’s there, don’t move it or the pink colour will smudge along the white fondant. Bend one of your ears over and slightly outward to create one floppy ear. Leave these out overnight to dry out hard. Hint, if your fondant sticks to your work surface, use a really light dusting of icing suger. Not too much or you’ll change the consistency of the fondant!

Bunny ears

These are best assembled close to serving, so make your cupcakes ahead and leave to cool. When they are baking, make your meringue icing using the double boiler method like this recipe. Place in your piping bag and pop in the fridge to keep cool. Essentially you want super thick and glossy icing to help support your ears. Hint: make sure you use caster sugar – this is really refined and dissolves so you have smooth icing.

Pipe your icing onto your cupcakes and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve and simple push your ears right into the cupcake. The ears should have dried out and hold straight.

To create our setting shown, shop our cupcake wrappers, lace placemats, placecards, spoons and tissue poms here. Try using tissue paper poms as a table runner instead, and hide easter eggs throughout for a cute take on a classic!

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10Feb

Valentines Day DIY

Valentines Day DIY

This is so embarrassingly simple, it’s barely a DIY – but combine our love of doilies and fairy lights for this super-sweet Valentines Day decoration. Using our new pink and metallic gold doilies, cut a small slit through the patterned edge in which you simply push the fairy light bulb through. Repeat, angling the hearts at different directions for a whimsical effect. Perfect about the bed, or around your favourite print – just remember never to leave your lights unattended!

18Sep

DIY paper doily tealight holders

DIY paper doily tealight holders

These tealight holders are an absolute cinch to make, but they look so gorgeously whimsy – we’ll be making them en masse for a special someone’s wedding coming up in January.

We used doilies from the Miss Bunting shop in silver to match our bride’s colour scheme. Other than that, you’ll also need:

  • PVA – the clear drying stuff
  • Paintbrush
  • Cling film
  • Cooking oil spray
  • Water
  • Rubber gloves – optional

You’ll also need several bowls: one to place upside down as a mould – think larger than a coffee mug, smaller than a cereal bowl. Grab another shallow bowl you won’t mind mixing PVA and water in.

Wrap cling film around the outside of your bowl, place upside-down mould and spray with a little oil. This is simply to make sure nothing gets stuck and you can pull the doily tealight vessel away from the mould easily.

Mix a little water in with the PVA – a ratio of around 3 parts PVA to 1 part water. Immerse a doily completely in the mixture and then mould around your upside down bowl. You’ll need to make folds in the doily in order for it to mould flush against the bowl. Repeat as necessary until the outside bowl is covered, overlapping each doily as you go. Depending on the size of your bowl, we used 3 doilies per tealight holder.

Leave to dry overnight, then the next day, brush with a generous layer of PVA (straight from the bottle, not the diluted version). Dry overnight again and for the best result, repeat this last step once more to create a rigid shell. Leave to dry compleltely.

To remove from the mould, gently pull the cling film away from the bowl, and pull the cling film from the lining of the tealight holder.

Make sure you don’t make yours too small if you intend on placing tealights in them as the heat from the tealight can make them curl up!

And remember never to leave any candle or naked flame unattended.

 

 

21Feb

DIY figurine place cards

DIY figurine place cards

There’s a special little boy who turned one today, so we pulled together a little moodboard to celebrate Leo Lion’s birthday! With a few $2 plastic lion figurines, we turned them into sweet place card holders to carry the lion theme through.  Perfect as individual name card holders, you could also use them as label holders at a dessert table or even simply to outline the days events. We used metallic gold, but we think any animal figurines painted metallic or even neon would look fantastic!