Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's begining to smell a lot like Christmas! (there are cocktails too)

Amongst all the gorgeous new things that I have here at the store, something that I am really enjoying (and that I will be treating myself to for Christmas) are the delicious smelling fragrant products.

I have quite a few special edition 'Christmas' Scented Products. Nothing evokes a special mood and memory like the sense of smell. For me obvious 'Christmassie' scents are things like gingerbread cookies, mixed spices , fruitcake, plum pudding and of course fresh pine. It's usually too warm here for other traditional foods and drinks like eggnog and mulled wine, but the nutmeg and clove smells used in these drinks still remind me of Christmas.
Speaking of drinks, I will be adding a few cocktails below, I have neglected Champagne Friday for a few weeks...(a combination of being too busy and having a nasty cold) But it is the season to drink and be merry, so I will definitely be catching up on this soon!

Fleurage have just created festive room sprays (appropriately called 'Christmas) that perfectly captures the essence of Christmas, and an absolutely delicious smelling vanilla and orange candle.   Candles always make such an easy gift, it's the kind of thing I like to have on hand when you need an 'emergency' gift for an unexpected guest or an overlooked present. Of course, it's always nice to treat myself to a candle too, it's such a lovely way to enjoy fragrance.
We also have a beautifully presented gift set from MOR, called 'Dear Mr Partridge' which fits in perfectly with the bird decorating theme at the shop this year. This features a soap, candle and hand cream all with the festive scent of Cinnamon and Clove.

And now for the cocktails! Here are some delicious Christmas favorites (or winter favorites best enjoyed during July and August for us Aussies)

Rum Eggnog
(highball glass)

45ml Dark Rum
90ml Milk
1 egg yolk
30ml cream
sprinkle of nutmeg

Shake ingredients with ice. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass and sprinkle with nutmeg. YUM!

Mulled Wine
(This serves 6 people or one very thirsty person)

1 bottle red wine
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar
6 cloves
1 orange
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp ginger
6 slices lemon

Firstly press the cloves into the whole orange, studding it. Place all ingredients into a saucepan and stir and heat. Strain into heatproof glasses.
There is no better drink on a cold December July evening than this!

If these two drinks sound like too much hard work or you don't like the idea of raw egg, try this:

Cheat's Eggnog
(rocks glass)

30ml bourbon
30ml light rum
scoop vanilla ice-cream

Stir everything together  until you have a creamy consistency. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pretty Peacocks

'peacock dress' greeting card by elizabeth lamb

At last, my lovely birds and peacocks have arrived! I could not wait to get them unpacked and up onto the Christmas tree. Along with the gorgeous, almost life sized peacock, I also got these cute small birds with peacock feather tails and some lovely feather covered ornaments.

Some other birds that came in, that I almost like better than the peacock are these cute owls shown below. To me there is something whimsical and almost magical about owls. Some people think 'Harry Potter' but the white owl reminds me of the gorgeous Owl in the movie 'Labyrinth' (one of my all time favourite movies). I did get four large white owls but they sold before I had a chance to photograph them!
It seems many people collect owls, something that is understandable given all the interesting associations there are to do with 'wise old owls' and so forth.  There are so many 'owl' quotes and stories, but here is a great 'peacock' reference that I love:

 "People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet. "

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fanantique Flowers

With Christmas just around the corner, this poor blog has been terribly neglected as things in the store get busier. We have received so many gorgeous new things in but I am also waiting on many more. I have some gorgeous Peacocks due in store at any minute and I am dying to put some images up.
I am planning on putting together a Christmas tree covered in Peacocks, so I can't wait for them to arrive.
As I write this I have one eye on the door waiting for the delivery!
In the meantime, here is just one of the the things that has kept us busy.
Our friends next  door at Il Caminetto restaurant (they do delicious Italian food and the BEST coffee)
had a function on and needed some flowers and decorating, so we were more than happy to lend a hand.
The event was for a 21st Party for a girl who wanted something 'pretty'. With some help from my Mum (a retired florist) and Gabor we set this up.

The room had two beautiful mantles, each with a gorgeous ornate mirror which reflected and highlighted our flowers. (We cheated a little and used a combination of both fresh and artificial)

oooh...the peacocks have arrived, more coming soon!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Christmas Cards & Wrap

It's that time of year again! Time to prepare for Christmas. For the past few weeks we have been busily unpacking Christmas decorations at Fanantique and preparing for the busy weeks ahead. I always love the Festive Season and enjoy coming up with a different theme each Christmas.
Before I opened the store, I would always illustrate a new collection of Christmas cards each year, which would then tie in to the style and color of my gift wrapping and decorating. Sometimes I would even make my own hand painted wrapping paper!
As we are already into November, I am not so sure that this will happen this year!
I do have some gorgeous, vintage style cards and wraps from Zetta Florence as well as a collection of reprints from some of my previous collections.

Above: Vintage style Christmas postcards and wrap from Zetta Florence, available at Fanantique.
Below: Some illustrated cards from my collection. "Christmas Shopping" and "Holly Martini"  themes are both watercolor and ink. The black and gold images are created with collage. (Wrapping paper, photographs, colored paper and glitter).

Christmas Cocktail
To get into the Christmas spirit why not celebrate with this Nutty Martini?

Martini Glass

Ice Cubes
Amaretto to wash
60ml Vodka
20ml walnut liqueur
10ml frangelico liqueur
walnut half to garnish
Wash ice cubes with amaretto. Stir remaining ingredients in with ice then strain into Martini glass. Garnish with walnut half. Yum!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Champagne Friday! Budapest and Art Nouveau


There has been some big news here at Fanantique recently, Gabor and I have become engaged!
(I apologize in advance that the Fanantique blog may slowly start to morph into a wedding blog, but I will try and stay focused on not get too carried away with it all)
This means that I have already become distracted spending hours and hours flipping through bridal magazines, looking through books and searching everywhere for inspiration. Of course, I headed straight to my favorite website, Martha Stewart, and stayed there for hours. I have been through a heap of weddings recently with most of my friends all married off within the last few years but I had never given much thought to what kind of wedding I would have. 
I am very lucky that I have a lot of very creative people around me and through my experience at Fanantique I have become quite crafty at knowing where to source things. So, I am looking forward to enjoying the creative process of wedding planning and have decided not to set a date for quite some time. Obviously, the biggest question is the dress! I will be keeping my eye out for an amazing vintage piece, but this process may take some time and unfortunately for me, most vintage dresses that I come across are way too tiny...
It occurred to me that it was way too early and pointless looking for a dress before deciding on what kind of wedding we wanted. We also have family on both sides of the world so where is another issue.
Luckily for me, it's looking like we will get to have two events, this means TWO DRESSES!!!

As a starting point, I am thinking about all of my favorite things as a point of reference; favorite colors, artists, movies, books, music, designers etc.

One of my favorite books/stories/movies is Bram Stoker's Dracula and I always thought it would be terribly romantic to get married in Budapest just like the character Jonathan Harker. Budapest is of course Gabor's home town so it is most likely we will head over there for the big day (one of them anyway). I also loved the way that the brides of Dracula looked in the Francis Ford Coppola Version of the movie, just liked they stepped out of an Art Nouveau painting. It might not be a good idea to dress like this in Hungary, as this type of 'Gypsy' look is still not favored and looked down upon. (Gabor will use the word 'gypsy' as an insult, where as I always thought a gypsy was something romantic and whimsical) but I still like it anyway!

Budapest, is of course famous for having many examples of Art Nouveau architecture. There are many beautiful examples all of over the city, from small details that you can see along the streets to grand
buildings like the baths, it really is a treat to visit.

Philanthia- (meaning the love of flowers) A gorgeous flower shop along the main shopping strip in the city. Inside, it has all original fittings and Art Nouveau murals painted on the walls. If you go to Hungary, you must visit this store.

Although it is an image that is commonly seen, I do love the painting 'The Kiss' by Klimt and think that it certainly evokes the right mood of romantic love that would be appropriate for a wedding. Klimt is of course part of the Nouveau group of Artists so incorporating inspiration from this piece would fit well into the theme that is emerging.
 'The Kiss" by Klimt
Klimt cushion-This is a beautiful piece that we have in store at the moment

One of my favorite colors is old gold, and this must be partly while Klimt's work appeals to me so much. (I have to admit I always liked that he featured alot of red headed women in his paintings too)
While flipping through the latest  "Martha Stewart Weddings" magazine I gasped when I saw this amazing cake.

This cake was actually inspired by Klimt. I love it! I love that it still looks like a wedding cake without being too traditional (but traditional enough).
I think these images all give me a wonderful starting point. Of course this could all change , but so far I'm liking it!!

Champagne Friday Cocktail 

"Wedding Cake"
highball glass

3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Amaretto
1/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Cream

Blend all ingredients and serve. Enjoy!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween at Fanantique!

It's almost the time of year again to celebrate Halloween! (how cute is the vintage Halloween image?!)
I think that it's a little disappointing that here in Melbourne we don't really make a big fuss over it. It always falls too close to Melbourne Cup that we are all a bit distracted . Also, Halloween in Spring doesn't quite have the same ambiance as Halloween in Autumn or 'Fall' with the misty nights and colored leaves and of course pumpkins in season! However, I have noticed that as each year goes by , Halloween does become a little bigger here. Last year at least four houses in my street put up some kind of decoration and we even had 'trick or treaters'!
I have always had a love of all things gothic (especially Transylvanians, but that's a story for another day) so naturally I adore Halloween. I love that a few doors down from the store we have a Party Shop. I love to pop in to check out their latest props. They have some great things that I couldn't resist.
I even found a gory severed ear that came along to a bohemian themed party with me, as Van Gogh's ear of course. (it was a hit) This year I have found some great pieces to compliment the vintage style Halloween decorations that we have in store.

I love these foam bones and skulls that I found, for something spooky yet tasteful, they look great in  interestingly shaped glass vessels.

Some of the vintage style ornaments we have here in store: A 'Spooky cat' treats bucket and jack-o-lantern sequined box.

Another thing that I always look forward to at this time of year is Martha Stewart's Fall issue of her 'Living' magazine.(I adore Martha) Each year the Halloween edition of the magazine is fabulous. Admittedly , her website very generously gives you a heap of great images and ideas...(if you haven't seen it you must click here click on' holidays'-'Halloween') but it's always nice to have these images, ideas, recipes etc in print.
Here are a few images from Martha Stewart's Halloween to give you some idea why I love it so much.... enjoy xx

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lady Bugs and Bees and Happy Champagne Friday!

This week at Fanantique we have had a very strange week indeed. Earlier in the week we had a swarm of bees (...yes bees!) decide to come and sit in front of the shop. They looked like they were waiting for coffee...or maybe they heard about Champagne Friday and wanted a free drink. They were out of luck as it was only Monday.....
As you can imagine, they scared away anyone wanting to visit Fanantique or Angelo at Il Caminetto next door. Thankfully, there is such a thing as an 'emergency bee service' (you learn something everyday) and the lovely Dr Nikolai came and rescued the bees. He was most impressed and said this was quite unusual. 

Amazing! The bees had a strange attraction to this chair, at first I though maybe the pattern. Emma of Fleurage had a much better explanation. She suspected that someone (not naming any names) may have spilled wine or Champagne on the chair causing the bees to be attracted to the sweet fruity aroma. This made much more sense......
 Dr Nikolai as he starts to relocate the bees. He is not even wearing any protective clothing!
(he did put on his special bee keeper hat later). He was such a lovely fellow, he even gave me a jar of honey! (I will make my Champagne Friday cocktail with it).

Inspired by my experience with bees, I thought I would share our insect inspired collection of vintage dresses with you today. These pieces are from the range we titled "Lady Bug"

And now for our Honey Bee Cocktail...

Honey Bee

2 oz dark rum
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/4 oz honey

pour the rum, honey and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker over ice cubes and shake well. Strain into a chilled glass and serve.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Come Fly with Me

Vintage Hot Air Balloons

With the Spring Racing season upon us here in Melbourne, I have been completely distracted by Spring fashion, especially all the gorgeous hats and fascinators that are exclusive to this time of year. So  I thought I'd take a little break from fashion to show you some of my other favourite things we have in the shop at the moment.
One theme in particular that I love is Vintage Hot Air Balloons, and I have been lucky enough to track down some gorgeous pieces. There is something whimsical about  hot air balloons and the thought of floating away in one. Imagine being high in the open sky without a sound as you sip a glass of Champagne. What better way is there to escape it all?
These gorgeous hot air balloon replicas come in a variety of colours and sizes and look so cute suspended from the ceiling.

This balloon basket is beautifully finished and a gorgeous way to store pillows and throws, I must admit that I couldn't resist the urge to climb in and imagine flying away

Handpainted balloon screen, a great space divider adding a touch of colour and whimsy to a room.

Ballooning over Paris. I adore this gorgeous print by Thomas Barbey. Entitled "Sewing the Seeds of Love" these enchanting characters float over Paris Sprinkling fairy dust on the city below.
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