Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Women's Leather Biker Jacket - The Embellished Collection

Women's Leather Jacket with Pile Lining
I'm really excited to have such a nice collection of jackets and coats on sale in my shop, Saffron Fields Design Studio. I am offering 10% off. Just apply the coupon code SAFFRONF10 during checkout. The biker jacket above is in brand new condition. It was too small, or the previous owner grew too big, to be able too wear it. So, it has founds its way on this page and in my shop. Take a look and enjoy the view!
 By the way, the zipper pull is my creation.

Can you Identify this beautiful African wood carving?

From now through November 15th, my vintage wood carvings, as well as everything else in the shop, are discounted 10%.  I have three wood carvings which are Balinese in origin, and one which is African. At least, I believe it is African in origin, but I know little about it. See below:
If you can offer any ideas as to the characteristics which place it in a certain locale, kindly let me know? I think this is a beautiful work of art. I've had it for over thirty-five years and have always wondered.

UPDATE: I looked and looked on the internet. It's really difficult to find information using images only. (That's one thing about technology that I hope gets solved soon.) I found what I believe to be the most that I'll learn (until someone discovers this post who can add more information) about this beautiful wood carving. I found an image of a bookcover and there it was in uncanny similarity, a traditional coiffure of the Fulani people in West and Central Africa, with their trademark cornrows and raised extensions top of head and back of neck...just like the carving! Click on the above link to my etsy shop...you'll get a glimpse of the book "Hair in African Art and Culture" published by the Museum for African Art, New York. I can  finally draw a conclusion based on a cover photo, that the artist who created this carving used a real life woman as a model, and that the origin, the location,is West/Central Africa. After so many decades, I'm so happy to know where this model comes from. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Pillbox Hat, As Seen on Kate Middleton, Can Be Yours

If you're a Kate Middleton follower, you certainly couldn't miss noticing her latest hat in the news, a chocolate brown Pillbox. In homage to classic, timeless style as well as the style of the Duchess of Cambridge, I've created a collection of vintage pillbox hats, dating from the 1960s and earlier, possessing exceptional beauty, workmanship and price. While vintage hats are known to fetch prices into the hundreds, I've kept this list down to under $50, for which I am combing the Etsy Vintage web site. There are some real bargains there and the sellers are wonderful people to do business with.

The hats in this collection are perfect for Easter, Spring, and Summer. I found them in straw weave, cellophane weave, satin and wool felt. Click on the store name below each image to read the details. You'll be surprised how many more hats of various vintage styles are available through these stores!
Mitzi's Collectibles

Lucy and Ethel
The Vintage Hat Shop
Edith and Violet
She's A Bettie Boutique
Poppycock Vintage
It's A Good Thing

Love in the Afternoon

Past Made Present
Oliver and Alexa

Wildrose Primitives
Here is your reward for "reading" to the end. I saved the best for last...a pillbox in Chocolate Brown. Remember, Kate Middleton chose to wear a chocolate brown pillbox on Saint Patrick's Day to go with her green dress. Very much matches the camouflage, don't you agree?
See my March 18 post "Kate Middleton Presents Shamrocks to First Battalion Irish Guards." Have a great week!

Kate Middleton Presents Shamrocks to First Battalion Irish Guards

Source: Reuters
Presenting shamrocks is a tradition started in 1901 by Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward II. Kate Middleton visited the 1st Batallion Irish Guards yesterday, Saturday, St. Patrick's Day, handing out  three-leafed clover boutonnieres to 40 officers and their mascot, an Irish Wolfhound.
Source: Reuters
Kate wears a gold clover brooch that once belonged to the Queen Mother. The green dress is by Emilia Wickstead, chocolate pillbox hat is by Lock & Clock. More spectacular photos can be found at  International Business Times.

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick's Weekend Shamrock Sale

Come to my shop and celebrate the St. Patrick's Day weekend with a 10% discount on everything! What luck! You will find unique, romantic yarn & felt wreaths, made entirely by my own hands. There are vintage and embellished clothing and shoes, as well as 20th century militaria and wood carvings from Bali and Africa.
That sale would include my embellished Kimmer ballet flats from DKNY Active. Medium width. 
Only one pair available. Size: US 7.5, 38 Europe, 5 UK, 6 Australia, 23 cm Japan.
This sweet pair of flexible shoes features non-slip rubber soles, padded footbeds, and hook-and-loop straps for a custom, comfortable fit. The layered and ruffled white cotton lace clips are removable. Previously owned, never worn, excellent condition. See details here Sale ends Sunday 3/18.

Woodland Earth Wreath Spiked with Chartreuse

I'm showing my St Paddy greens in this Earth Wreath. The bright chartreuse ribbon is for Spring. I make this wreath available with an assortment of ribbons for hanging, grosgrain ribbons in brown, off-white, and the bright green you see above. I created the Earth Day wreaths a year ago and they have turned out to be my most popular wreaths. The bright green shouts "Spring is here!" I must say, though, I can live with chartreuse all year long and not find it out of season. After all, it's still GREEN:) Before I forget, this can be ordered online at Saffron Fields Design Studio. This particular wreath sells rather quickly, and I only have enough materials for a few more, unless I find a new source. Just a warning.

On the Green with Kate Middleton

Just thought I'd put this out there. It's a color called lawn green. It's Kate Middleton. It's St. Patrick's Weekend. Would you buy this dress?
(Hint: the dress is available on ebay--Diane von Furstenberg, Maja Dress)

Green Hearts for an Irish Weekend

Found this tiny 2-inch, 6 cm, crocheted heart in apple green in an Etsy shop called Grace And Favours. Would be nice to wear--or pass out a handful--on a weekend like this, wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

English Staple...Mushy Peas

 The Shears Inn is located in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and dates back to circa 1664. Within its walls, old world charm awaits the visitor. I found this Inn online while searching for a recipe for mushy peas. The menu at the Shears Inn features quite a variety of hearty meals, including Home Roast Beef, Lamb Henry, Sausages and Mash. How about a taste of one of the ten scrumptious deserts with mouth-watering names such as Peach and Pear Crumble with custard, Rhubarb Crumb, Meringue Nests with fruit and Ice Cream. They all sound wonderful. 
Steak and Mushroom Pie with chips and mushy peas.

 When visiting in England, oh fifteen years or so ago, I had my first taste of mushy peas. My brother-in-law ordered it at some nondescript neighborhood grill (I don't know what they call them there, here in the US, we call them "hole-in-the-walls".) I love green food and peas in particular, so it should not be surprising that I fell in love with this unexpected green treat and cannot remember what else was on the plate. Above is a photo of the Steak and Mushroom Pie as served at the Shears Inn at Paris Gates, Boys Lane, Halifax. It's interesting to me that mushy peas is served with each entree. I have to visit, for sure. If you have anything to say about the peas or eating out in England, do leave a comment!

Naomi Campbell et al. for Robert Cavalli S/S 2012

They all rock...but who's your favorite? Leave me a comment and I'll post more on your model of choice!
Naomi Campbell...Spring/Summer 2012 MILAN, Robert Cavalli. 
Daphne Groeneveld...Spring/Summer 2012 MILAN, Robert Cavalli. 
Karen Elson...Spring/Summer 2012 MILAN, Robert Cavalli. 
Kristen McMenamy...Spring/Summer 2012 MILAN, Robert Cavalli. 

Steak Topper: Red Wine Butter Sauce

Prepare this flavorful butter sauce in advance and use when needed. Pile on top of a sizzling steak and watch it drip its goodness over the sides...yummm! This recipe comes from one of my favorite blogs, Cooking For Friends with Joel Mielle. Joel does a fantastic job with his invaluable step-by-step photos. Check out the link for detailed directions on whipping together this amazing sauce! Let me know how it turned out, I want to hear your experiences!

Red Wine Butter Sauce, by Joel Mielle
Preparation time: 20 minutes, cooking time: 20 minutes
1 x Bottle of a good strong red wine
250 gm of salted butter (1 block)
4 or 5 Echalotes (shallots)
Half red onion
1 x small clove of garlic
1 x Sprig Thyme
1 x Sprig Oregano
1 x Bay leaf
Cracked black pepper

A) Chop up very finely your Echalotes, your half red onion and garlic clove. Chop up finely your Thyme and Oregano. Add all ingredients to a large pot with bay leaf and one whole bottle of Red Wine. Put on full heat for all wine to evaporate. Add black cracked Pepper. Keep boiling until mixture is almost dry. It's advisable to stand and watch it towards the end as once dry, it can burn very quickly.  
Once dry, Let cool or refrigerate.

B) Whisk at high speed, room temperature butter (Microwave a little if too hard) in mixer until butter becomes  lighter cream in colour.  It should be fluffy in texture. Add the cooled reduction mixture to the butter. Whisk until mixture is all mixed up properly, this should be quick. Tear up some aluminium foil and scoop out half the mixture into long shape. Fold over and roll into sausage shape. Twist ends until mixture is packed nicely inside. You should end up with two rolls.  A good idea is to refrigerate one and freeze the other. 

Slice and leave out at room temperature before serving. 
Dip in chopped parsley and place on top of steak.

Around Town: White Blossoms Cover Las Vegas

Spring in Las Vegas is pretty. In this photo, we are in the Town Center Shopping Mall off 
of Las Vegas Boulevard. The white blossoms are awesome against a cloudy sky!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Josephine et Napoleon

Paris Fashion Week can very well end with a nice reference to the empire dress. Timeless style that shows up everywhere, as in this shop named Meluseena which features the art of Lisa Falzon. Ms Falzon is  amazing, not only in artistic skill but in interpretation and original ideas. Ooohh, Monsieur Bonaparte, are you worried? Hint: I would love to receive this print for Mother's Day. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why I Make Rose Wreaths

Roses are planted around this time of the year while the weather is above freezing but not yet too hot. Thinking about flowering plants is an everyday past time for me. I grew up surrounded by flowers, everywhere I went, on the way to the bus stop, at the office, on school grounds, everywhere...fresh, flowering, fresh-cut, fragrant. Flowers has become an obsession with me, and, I'm guessing, with millions of people around the world. Who can resist, anyway? Below are three wreaths featuring pink flowers that are currently for sale in my shop. They would make quite an impression for Mothers Day, birthdays, housewarmings, and specialty room makeovers. 
This wreath features cool pink roses on a gray background with coordinating pink string and sheer ribbon laced neatly and tied tight into a bow. Very sweet for Mother's Day, which, I think we all know, is Every Day. Click photo for details.

An extremely popular wreath, I just finished this a few days ago. It takes about 24 full hours to get it made. The availability of quality berries is a problem, so I've had to improvise by sourcing and then painting my own colors. It is really lovely. Click photo for details.
The sandy tone of the yarn brings a vision of a camel trekking across an exotic desert made pink by the setting sun. The pink and mauve roses compliment the neutral hue, even the tiny turquoise, lavender and green rosebuds combine to make this a sweet symphony. Make mother happy on her Day. Click photo for details.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Simply Recipes
I used to bake three times a week when my family was young and growing. I ate the fruits of my labor, cake, pie, cobbler, cookie, pudding, cream puffs. I was also into nutrition and added powdered "vitamins". The recipe for this cake caught my eye because the ingredients call for unsweetened cocoa powder, brown sugar, and sour cream. These three basic kitchen staples are capable of turning out a rich, deeply satisfying, moist cake. I'm a softie for cream cheese, too, and cream cheese is what tops this cake. I can already tell this is a winner!

Chocolate Guinness Cake Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour


  • 1 cup stout or porter beer, such as Guinness
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cream cheese frosting recipe


1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 8 or 9-inch springform pan with butter and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
2 In a large saucepan place the beer and butter. Cook over medium-high heat until the butter has melted. Add the cocoa powder and sugars and whisk together. Take off heat and allow to come to room temperature.
3 In another bowl beat together the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract until very, very well combined. Add to the butter-beer mixture and whisk together.
4 In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the beer-butter mixture and whisk together until it just comes together. Pour into the prepared pan and give the pan a few short drops onto the countertop to shake the air pockets in the batter to the surface and out of the cake. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Run a knife around the edge to separate the cake from the pan and pop the ring off the springform.
5 Spread frosting on the cooled cake and serve.
Yield: Makes one 8 or 9-inch cake

Posted by Garrett McCloud of Vanilla Garlic

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Masha Ma Shows at Paris Fashion Week

I happened come across a story about an up-and-coming designer from London who made a career move, literally by moving to Paris. Her nane is Masha Ma, and the image is from her latest collection. What I love about his Winter 2011 Collection of pencil thin skirts is the designer's control over shape, texture, and line. Her color palette is subdued and I love that she used shiny red boots to show that off. My question is, where did she get those boots? I think they're adorable, nooo, I mean hot! 
The silhouette here is amazing. Is it a three-piece? I can't tell, but I can definitely say I love it from this perspective.
This is from the Winter 2012 Collection showing the designer's eye for deconstruction, cut, line, contrast texture-wise, and accessorizing.
And this is from Masha Ma's Spring Summer 2012. All photos are borrowed
from the designer's web site, http://www.mashamastudio.com.