Hi guys! Sorry I have been a bit quiet, I have been madly working my butt off towards graduating from my graphic design course and I just handed in my last assignment! Woohoo! Here are some fabulous things that I have done recently or am looking forward to:
♥ New website up
My freelance graphic design site is now complete and located at www.sarahshrapnel.com. Hire me! :)
♥ Blog re-design
I am giving my blog a complete design overhaul in the coming weeks so stay tuned!
♥ Movies movies movies
After working 12 hour days nearly everyday on projects, the only social occasion I was up to was watching movies. I saw Midnight in Paris, Drive, and several movies as part of the Japanese Film Festival: A Boy and his Samurai and Patisserie: Coin de Rue.
Midnight in Paris was breathtakingly beautiful and hilarious. I can’t wait to return to Paris and take long walks at night.
Drive was amazing, action packed and made me want to drive cars very fast (even though I don’t know how to drive). Ryan Gosling was divine (as was Carey Mulligan) but WHAT THE HELL WAS WITH THE TYPOGRAPHY IN THE CREDITS?! Mistral? In magenta? Whyyyy?
A Boy and His Samurai was hilarious and adorable. Basically a samurai from the Edo period finds himself in modern day Tokyo and becomes a housekeeper for a lady and her son who befriend him. He discovers he has a hidden talent for baking and enters a cake competition. Brilliant!
And finally Patisserie: Coin de Rue was another film I saw at the Japanese Film Festival. It’s about a girl who travels to Tokyo in search of her boyfriend and begins to work in the famous pastry shop Coin de Rue. The flawlessly creating desserts in this movie will leave you salivating.
♥ Röyksopp finally coming to Australia
Röyksopp has always been one of my favourite bands and I have never seen them live – but they are finally coming to Australia in January! And have just revealed they are doing a sideshow! (Because the Big Day Out festival is terrible)
♥ The day of eating and drinking
I took a day off from work recently and spent the entire day catching up with girlfriends and eating and drinking. I visited the new Tea Salon in Westfield and drank tea and ate scones (heavenly! A review of the Tea Salon is coming soon) and then I met up with fellow bridesmaids (my friend is getting married soon. Lots to plan!) at the Shangri-La Hotel where we indulged in decadent chocolate desserts at the Lobby Lounge before heading up to the Blu Bar on level 36 for cocktails and amazing views.
Now I am off to celebrate my new found freedom by curling up with a good book and a cup of tea! I am a party animal.
These buttery biscuits covered with sesame seeds and smothered in dulce de leche are a real treat! You make a bit of a mess eating them, but that’s half the fun :)
- 1 400g can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 30g butter
- 2½ cups plain flour
- ½ cup icing sugar
- 200g butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extra
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- Combine ingredients in a medium heavy based saucepan. Bring to boil.
- Once mixture has come to the boil, reduce temperature and simmer for around 10 minutes or until mixture is thickened.
- Allow to cool while you get on with making the biscuits.
- Put flour, sugar, butter, vanilla and cinnamon into the food processor and process for 1 minute.
- Add yolk and pulse until just combined.
- Tip mixture onto greaseproof paper or glad wrap and roll into a sausage round 4cm in diameter. Wrap in glad wrap and chill in fridge until solid.
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line baking sheet with baking paper.
- Cut dough into 3-4mm discs (thinner than in my above photo, to achieve a better biscuit to dulce de leche ratio!)
- Pour sesame seeds onto a plate and press one side of each biscuit into the sesame seeds.
- Place biscuits on baking sheet and bake for 10 mins or until lightly golden.
- Once completely cool, spread half the biscuits with dulce de leche and gently sandwich the biscuits together.
Keeping healthy whilst on holiday not only keeps the waistline down but also can help keep your immune system up and prevent you from coming down with a sickness.
Before I start, don’t diet on your holiday! Food is such an integral part of experiencing a country’s culture. Do you really want to be angrily munching on a salad whilst watching your travelling companions wolf down steak frites in Paris? No.
♥ Balance – everything in moderation
Whilst having pizza or pasta at every meal may sound wonderful, not only will you end up a few kilos heavier, you will more than likely feel sluggish and a bit uncomfortable in the tummy after a while. Consider having a healthy breakfast (porridge, wholegrain toast, fruit and/or yoghurt) or eat some sushi for dinner now and then to break it up. After a week of eating the delicious treats America had to offer me I felt SICK. I started buying some healthy (and cheap) breakfast supplies from the supermarket to eat for breakfast, and now and then for lunch or dinner I would have Japanese or a salad (with dressing on the side). I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself as my other main meal of the day featured delicious American treats, however it helped give my body some reprieve.
A decadently delicious burrito in LA that was as long as my boyfriend’s forearm…
…so we had Japanese the next night to balance it out
♥ Don’t forget your fruit and veges
Just because you are on holidays doesn’t mean you stop eating your regular servings of fruit and vege like you do back home. I regularly visit markets or grocers wherever I am in the world to buy fresh fruit to eat (bananas and apples are great healthy snacks) and I’ve been known to buy a giant packet of raw veges to munch on just because “I felt like it”.
Mmm apples. Cheap and healthy!
♥ Avoid drinking too much
This may be a hard one for some of you to stomach but alcohol is full of empty calories and tends to encourage ideas such as 3am kebabs and a huge fry up the next day for brekkie. I am ofcourse going to indulge in champagne in France, beer in Germany and sake in Japan but not every night. And I can’t tell you how many travellers (myself included) have wasted precious days of sightseeing by staying in bed with a nauseating hangover.
I sampled sake in Japan (left) and beer in Germany (right) but (nearly) always in moderation ;)
♥ Cook in your own kitchen
As I mentioned in a previous post, there are now many more accommodation options readily available for us to book online and many of these options include a kitchen(ette) – whether it be a hostel, someone’s apartment or an “aparthotel”. It’s great having your own kitchen when overseas as not only does it make things much cheaper but it means you can prepare healthy meals yourself.
The kitchen in the apartment I stayed at in Paris came in handy! Source
♥ Walk everywhere
I do a ridiculous amount of exercise when I travel because I walk everywhere. Not only is walking generally the best way to see a city, you burn a lot of calories whilst pounding the pavement all day everyday which helps offset your guilty indulgences. Win win!
Last week a friend and I hired a professional photographer to shoot images for our graduation portfolios – and boy what a difference does a pro make! I actually squealed “oh my god! My work looks like real work now!” Haha.
Here was our basic set-up for the shoot, with my hands guest starring as I hold a dark reflector board to minimize the highlights. We wanted to keep the shoot simplistic so as to let our work be the focus. I am sick of seeing designer’s works shot at awkward angles with extreme depth of field. Sure it looks “cool”, but you can’t get the full idea of the project!
We anticipated the shoot to take 2 hours but it ended up taking 4 hours, it was exhausting! We were fortunate enough to have an amazingly nice photographer who didn’t mind staying back later.
Here are a few shots from the day:
Penguin book covers
Fever Ray CD
Raleigh Paper packaging
Opera Australia brochure
Now I just need to finish the layout of my print portfolio, finalise my business cards, send everything off to print and then finish my portfolio website. Not to mention the other numerous assignments due. The end is near!
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.
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