Sorry things have been a little quiet around here guys, currently experiencing the busiest weeks of my life… but fortunately I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I will be graduating in less than 5 weeks!
When I get stressed, I go on shopping sprees. Since I am confined to my desk, diligently working hard (most of the time) I have been getting distracted by 2 of my favourite things to buy – dresses and books.
Firstly there was a sale on at Dorothy Perkins, I would be silly *not* to buy these, right? They have arrived and look fab (especially the coral one!)
And books! Lots of books! Unfortunately I have no time to even think about reading them yet, but as soon as December rolls around you will find me curled up somewhere with tea and a good book.
1. Just My Type – Simon Garfield
2. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
3. Indie Publishing – Ellen Lupton
4. Box Bottle Bag – The Dieline
5. South of the Border, West of the Sun – Haruki Murakami
6. Thinking with Type – Ellen Lupton
For Australian readers, I recommend purchasing these books from Fishpond – they were all on sale.
Ok enough procrastination and frivolous spending – back to assignments!
Asking a travel fanatic where is their favourite place in the world is a bit of a tricky question – but if I had to answer, then I would say Jökulsárlón. Jökulsárlón is a glacial lagoon located in South Eastern Iceland and is quite possibly the most beautiful sight I have ever seen in my life (and I have had the pleasure of seeing it twice!).
Please click on the above image for a larger version
I only had my old Canon point and shoot camera with me but I think I still managed to capture the breathtaking beauty of this area of Iceland.
The second time I visited Jökulsárlón it was a gray and miserable day – however I still think the lagoon looks as stunning as ever, albeit slightly more eerie.
Please please please go visit! Even Leonardo Di Caprio likes to pose in front of it! :)
Now it’s time for me to get back to my many assignments, instead of fantasising about future Iceland trips.
These white chocolate cupcakes are a delicious and elegant treat. The white chocolate icing is paired with a vanilla cupcake base, however you can get creative and add raspberries to your cupcake mixture for a sharp flavour contrast.
- 230g butter, softened
- 1¾ cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup milk, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ cups self-raising flour
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 300g white chocolate
- 200g butter
- 4 cups icing sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
- Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth in a large bowl.
- Gradually add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes until fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Sift the 2 flours and salt into a separate bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Do not overmix!
- Fill cupcake liners about ¾ full with mixture and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
- Melt white chocolate and butter together in the microwave or over a double boiler. Allow to cool for around 5 minutes.
- Sift in 4 cups of the icing sugar.
- Add 2 tablespoons of milk and either beat with electric beaters or whisk.
- You may not need all of the final cup of icing sugar – add it in gradually until a spreadable thickness is reached.
- Spoon the mixture into an icing bag with a nozzle attached and ice the cupcakes.
The gorgeous cupcake wrappers and buttons are from Donna Hay, I love them!!
It was a drizzly Thursday night but that didn’t stop the hoards of letterpress enthusiasts packing the studio of The Distillery at North Sydney. Here is a photo of the studio when things are a little quieter ;)
We were each personally greeted by Nathan at the door and his enthusiasm and excitement for letterpress was immediately apparent. After a few complimentary glasses of wine and some snacks (yay!) I explored the studio’s products displayed on the shelves downstairs.
The Distillery is lucky enough to have obtained a Heidelberg Windmill when a printing shop went into liquidation, one of the most sort after letterpress machines. We were given a demonstration by their printer Adam, who printed out copies of logos that participants had submitted.
On our way out we were each thoughtfully given a goodie bag containing coasters, a notebook and a mini Heidelberg (nicknamed “Wolfgang Jr”) we could build out of cardboard!
I was really impressed with the level of professionalism and thought that went into this launch and I can’t wait to get them to print my business cards in the near future!
A few days later I took the nearly 2 hour journey out to The Penrith Museum of Printing (leaving the house at 8am on a Sunday morning seems barbaric!) but it was absolutely worth it. We started off with a tour of the different printers the museum currently houses.
But don’t worry I wouldn’t be learning on anything as huge (or potentially deadly!) as this.
This was my little letterpress! It is a tabletop Adana and very cute if you ask me.
We started off by selected a typeface we wanted to set our names in (I chose Perpetua) and then hunting for the letters to spell out our names – a rather tricky task. Look how many thousands of tiny letters there are for one typeface!
I eventually found all my letters and began setting my name. I unfortunately set it upside down (shh! I’m learning!) but the teacher fixed it up for me :)
Here is my name correctly set (the right way up this time!)
Can you imagine how long it must have taken someone to set all this type?! I have so much respect for old-school printers.
More beautiful type
Someone from a different course had made an amazing Z out of lots of little zs. Ooo how I would love a print of this!
Now on to printing our names with the Adana letterpress! First the teacher applied black ink.
A little goes a long way!
And then we pushed the lever up and down to spread the ink evenly on the disk with the rollers (please excuse my lack of technical mumbo-jumbo, I have promptly forgotten the exact names for each part!)
Our blocks were inserted into the letterpress and we did a test print on paper. We had to make necessary adjustments to ensure the ink was evenly spread but soon mine started looking pretty decent.
Finally we were ready to print our names on our certificate. Success!
It was certainly a lot of effort for what seems like a little pay off, but learning this old and time consuming process was very rewarding and gave me so much respect for printers. Can you even imagine printing a newspaper in this fashion?
I had a great time at the course and am hoping to purchase my own little tabletop letterpress in the near future.
My heart is still aching a little after this weekend’s viewing of the film adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s bestselling novel Norwegian Wood.
It is an amazing book by an amazing author, and I must admit I was a little apprehensive that they would stuff it up, as screen adaptations of books often do. I think the actors portrayed their characters perfectly and the cinemtaography was breathtaking (by Ping Bin Lee, who also did In the Mood for Love).
There are many long and uncomfortable shots, sometimes featuring the characters sobbing uncontrollably, absolutely grief stricken. But it is not overacted and stays true to the emotions conveyed in the book. The soundtrack was moving and suited the mood perfectly, scored by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood. As the story is set in the 1960s, the fashion is great. The girls are often sporting gorgeous peter pan-style collars and the boys in polo shirts and flared jeans.
Of course significant parts of the story were left out in the detail-heavy book (including my favourite character, Storm Trooper! He barely featured at all) but overall it was a decent and satisfying adaptation. I would strongly advise you read the book as well though, you’ll get so much more out of the story.
I fell head over heels for the actor Kenichi Matsuyama, who played the protagonist Watanabe. I was mesmerized by his top lip. I sound crazy I know, but seriously check his top lip out in the film. It’s beautiful.
For further Murakami reading I suggest Kafka on the Shore and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I am also looking forward to his new book 1Q84 that is released in English at the end of this month. Murakami also wrote an interesting book on the Tokyo gas attacks titled Underground. It’s a fascinating read on the dreadful events from the perspective of both the victims and members of Aum, as well as an interesting look at the Japanese psyche.
Like a lot of graphic designers, I too have fallen under the spell of letterpress. Not only are letterpressed products so beautiful, elegant and timeless, but I just love the idea of designing and working with my hands (as opposed to spending 10 hours a day on the computer in Illustrator and InDesign).
Whilst it’s resurgence has really taken off overseas (particularly in America), there are not a huge amount of well established letterpress companies in Australia. BUT this is beginning to change, starting with the opening of The Distillery in North Sydney. I am attending their launch on Thursday evening and will have my camera in tow to photograph the proceedings.
And then on Sunday I am off to the Penrith Museum of Printing to do a letterpress course on the Adana machine, which is a tabletop press. I cannot wait! Once again I will have my camera and will do a follow up post next week detailing my adventures in letterpress.
I have designed a new business card for myself which I will soon be getting printed using letterpress – I will show you the results as soon as it is completed!
For now I leave you with some lovely examples of letterpressed products.
Bicycle Letterpress Card by Letterpress Delicacies
Letterpress Launch invitation by The Distillery
David West business cards by Taste of Ink
Stephanie Reinish business cards by Dingbat Press
And some beautiful letterpress videos.
Ah the humble choc chip cookie. So popular, yet often done so badly. This recipe I use is the best one I have found – the high ratio of brown sugar ensures the cookies are chewy in the middle and crunchy on the outside.
But beware these cookies like to spread when they bake! The first time I made it everything morphed into 1 UBER COOKIE which was wonderful and all, but not a great idea for portion control. To avoid uber-cookie problems, I suggest spooning 5 tablespoon size balls onto each baking sheet.
- 140g butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 egg (room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ cups plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 250g chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 170°C. Cream the butter and sugars for at least 5 minutes until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat well.
- Add choc chips, flour, baking soda and baking powder. Beat on low speed until just combined (don’t overwork the mixture or it can become tough).
- Dollop tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough onto lined baking trays. I usually put 5 cookies on each of my 4 trays as these babies spread.
- Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, around 12-14 minutes.
We all have some form of travel bucket list, even if only in our minds. I absolutely love writing lists and then crossing things off (I have notebooks filled with actioned lists, it is so satisfying!) and decided writing down some travel dreams were a good way of keeping oneself accountable and to give me something to work towards. Naturally I want to visit nearly every place on this earth, so as not to bore you, here are some highlights of my list.
♥ See the midnight sun rolling over the horizon in Nordkapp, Norway
I actually tried to see this back in June 2007. However the weather had other ideas and I soon found myself in blizzard conditions (in the middle of summer! Humf!)
What I was meant to see (Image source)
What I actually saw – ripped off!
♥ Visit Lake Bled in Slovenia
Breathtakingly beautiful, I cannot wait to see Lake Bled for myself and explore Slovenia.
♥ Go on a yoga retreat somewhere, anywhere.
I’ve been practicing yoga for several years now and would love to escape for a few weeks on a yoga retreat to focus on myself and my practice.
♥ Explore the Balkans
I have seen a LOT of Europe, however I am yet to visit this part of Europe including Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania etc.
♥ Visit China and see sights such as the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Warriors and the Forbidden City
♥ See the Northern Lights in Iceland
Both times I have been to Iceland were in the summer, when the Northern Lights aren’t visible. Next time!
♥ Stay overnight in a Buddhist temple on Mount Koya in Japan
Staying in a temple alongside Buddhist monks sounds like an amazing experience.
♥ Visit the salt flats of Bolivia
I am yet to set foot in South America, there are so many sights to see and the salt flats of Bolivia is high up there!
♥ Visit Greenland
I am so fascinated by this isolated and gorgeous country and its people.
This list could go on and on but this is just a taster of what I hope to experience sometime in the (hopefully) near future. Now I just need to win the lottery and clear my schedule for next year! ;)
What is on your travel bucket list?
If I was in advertising, I would probably just constantly make ads featuring cats. Because who doesn’t love cats? (Actually I am aware there are a lot of people out there who hate cats. I just pretend you don’t exist).
First up we have the gorgeous IKEA Cats ad. Beautifully shot and heart warming, I am honestly surprised they didn’t have an all out kitty brawl in their store.
Next up is possibly one my favourite ads. Ever. From Japan! This is business cat. A rough translation is: “I’m Niyaran. Today big profits are a hard task. (while looking at computer) It’s grown! (profits are up!). Tagline: Profitable: Hotel Yakumo.”
And finally an ad from France. Kittens! Everywhere! There is so much attention to detail in this ad, they even have kitty weight loss ads on the side of the taxi! As a crazy cat lady it truly warms my heart.
The only bit of advertising my cat has done lately is promoting the Dexter book. She really likes Michael C Hall.
A group of friends and I recently went to Orange for a weekend of nice wine, food and chats. It’s around a 4 hour drive from Sydney and yes, you do have to stop on the way and eat McDonalds (the only time I permit such a thing!) We arrived late on a Friday night to be graciously met with cheese and wine by our lovely friend Kat. Soon our tiredness got the best of us and we turned in for a good night’s sleep in preparation for lots of eating and drinking tomorrow.
We piled into 2 cars the next morning and set off for brunch at Tonic in Millthorpe, a 20 minute drive from Orange.
Tonic is located at 30 Victoria St, Millthorpe NSW 2798. The coffee was great and the range of foods tasted was delicious. Since I can never make up my mind I chose the sweetcorn cakes and pizza and shared with a friend.
Sweetcorn cakes with mascarpone and prosciutto, $16
Ham, bocconcini, egg and pesto pizza with rocket and parmesan salad, $16
Then we set off to explore Milthorpe. First stop, Galvanised (17 Pym Street, Millthorpe), a converted century old galvanised iron shed that sells everything from homewares and lollies to birdcages and coffee supplies.
The boys preferred eating their sherbert they bought from Galvanised instead of our next stop, the antique store!
Peppertree (23 Pym Street, Millthorpe) had a lovely assortment of antiques, homewares and modern furniture. I had my eyes on this pink and white floral tea set.
Our next stop on our tour of Millthorpe was Tomolly (7 Blake Street, Millthorpe), a store filled with cute gifts, homewares and stationery. The owner was lovely and very excited I was featuring her store on my blog!
It was well into the afternoon now and therefore a suitable time to commence wine tastings! Our first winery was Mayfield Vineyard (954 Icely Road, Orange NSW 2800).
Now, I am no wine expert so don’t expect me to go on about the heady aromas and nuances of blackberry or whatever. But the wine was tasty and affordable, the lady extremely friendly and helpful and we purchased quite a few bottles.
We returned to “downtown Orange” for some coffee and yet more shopping at Hawkes General Store (46 Sale St, Orange). The store was filled with gorgeous homewares and gifts. I loved the Paris gift tags.
Back in the car, we head off to another vineyard – the Philip Shaw vineyard (45 Caldwell Lane, Orange NSW). The views of vineyards on the way there were superb.
Philip Shaw has produced a line of wines called “The Character Series” with titles such as The Dreamer Viognier and The Wire Walker Pinot Noir. I adored the illustrations on each bottle.
The vineyard also had a lovely dog who wanted to play ball!
Our third and final vineyard for the day was Hedberg Hill (701 The Escort Way (Forbes Road), Orange). This vineyard had come highly recommended by my father who is quite a wine buff and personal friend of the owner, Peter Hedberg. We were greeted by more beautiful scenic views of vineyards on the way there.
Peter was a lovely host and we learned (and tasted) a lot. His Riesling and Viognier were delicious! We ended up buying about 3 cases of wine I think! Ooops…
The views from his cellar door was breathtaking, particularly as the sun started to set and cast a yellow glow over the landscape.
Then it was home time for a power nap before dinner!
We went to Bistro Ceello (179 Anson Street, Orange). The food was delicious, the service unfortunately not great. I think we must have gotten the new girl as she made quite a few rookie mistakes – not knowing what the specials were, failing to change glasses between wines, pouring the champagne into a wine glass (!!) etc etc. Nothing to ruin our evening but anyway… Here are a few samples of what was eaten.
House cured ocean trout gravlax, potato pancake, cucumber spaghetti and dill cream, $20 entree
Venison shank sausage, parmesan pudding, roasted tomato and balsamic reduction, $20 entree
Twice cooked pork belly, roasted root vegetables and fennel mustard, $32 main – I swear I could eat this everyday.
Beef sirloin, caponata, creamy polenta with veal jus, $32 main
We were all completely stuffed to the gills, but you know I am never one to miss dessert! We settled on 2 tasting plates and shared them.
Dessert tasting plate featuring lemon cheesecake, nougat ice-cream and choc cake terrine, frangelico panna cotta and steamed marmalade pudding, $30
The next morning we arose and cooked 1kg of bacon. I do not have a photograph of this as we don’t need a reminder. Oh god.
Then we drove off to Totally Local (426 Mitchell Highway, Orange) in search of MORE food. It has an amazing array of locally produced honey, cheese, olive oil and more.
And then we sadly bid adieu to Orange and started the 4 hour drive back to Sydney. What a lovely weekend away!
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