Friday, August 27, 2010

New Day Trip Collection

I love a good shop update! Some new items in at Candy Violet this week. There's a selection of skirts and dresses in a super cute "day at the zoo" print, and a new purse based on old 1950's designs and covered in strawberries!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Come See us in DC!

I'm showing some Candy Violet designs in an upcoming fashion show in DC September 10th, 8:00pm. The theme is vintage styles from the 1920's-1950's. It should be a fun event to get dressed up for, and it would mean a lot to see some familiar faces (and pretty dresses!) from our local quaintrelle ranks!

Any one think they'd be up for coming along? Tickets are $15 and available here...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Macarons at Home!

I fell in love with macarons years ago, first Laduree graced my screen in the Marie Antoinette movie, then they peaked out from various skirts and dresses, and finally after a trip to Paris the love affair was sealed! I love them because of their diminutive size, rainbow colors, and the fact they so often show up tasting like flowers!

Whilst my love was strong, getting a fix was hard. So many shops sold rather dry under filled macarons that leave you wondering what the fuss is about, or they rocked but had to be special ordered, an my home efforts were rather pitiful . That is until I was presented with enrollment in to a macaron class for my birthday!! I had to wait for months for the day to come but after it did the macaron method mystery was finally revealed!

The class took a good 3 hours, but we all came home with some great little pastries, and this last week I finally had a try on my own with success!

It seems the biggest thing was to follow the rule of "let them sit before you bake" the 15 minute wait gave them a bit of a skin on top, and that let them rise soft and puffy into the sky, and they came out pretty and tasty!

I had a try coming up with my own flavors and have to admit my favorite home macaron was my favorite Laduree flavor, rose.

for mine I made a classic French butter cream filling with a splash of rose essence. I spread a generous layer of the butter cream onto the bottom cookie, followed by a dab of rose petal jam on top of the cream before sandwiching and leaving to set up in the fridge.

If you are a fan of flower flavors it's well worth a try, rose flavor can be hard to find, but I have been able to source a rose jam here in the states as well as rose extract, you can also use rose water instead of essence, and top with a dab of raspberry jam which are pretty easy to find in the local grocery stores these days(rose and raspberry go great together!)

Some Quaintrelle macaron Tips!
1: Wait: Definitely leave the whites out at room temp for the 3 days recomended, and let the macarons rest for the full 15 mins before baking them, and wait till the next day to eat them. I could never cope with all that waiting before but it really pays off!
2: Extra bang: To get multiple flavors from one batch, make a classic french butter cream to fill them, separate it into as many containers as you want flavors and flavor and dye each batch separately.
3: Remember art school: If doing say 3 flavors, pipe the first set plain white, the second add a little pink dye before adding to the piping bag, the second a little blue or yellow to make lilac or orange colors. You'll be able to get so many combos from one batch and really make a splash when you serve so many varieties for the same work as one!

I already have my next batch of egg whites sitting out on the table ready to go with batch number 2.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Building a Wardrobe of Jewels

Since as far back as the 17th century, a "lady of quality" would own at least one suite of matching jewelry called a parure, which would tell the world of exactly how much "quality" the lady was made. These precious gems would have been passed down over the years for generations to enjoy.

As a modern day quaintrelle and the Duchess of Fancy, I felt it was time I acquired a stately parure for myself! Of course I didn't have a suite of family jewels coming to me, so no diamonds here, but some dazzling paste! (even Marie Antoinette wore paste)

My first parure here consists of a pair of earrings, necklace, a hair pin (which can transform into a brooch), and of course a custom satin lined box fashioned after the style the old Georgian parures would have been kept in.

The design was inspired by a 1770's necklace and grew out from there.This set was started in the middle of last year and only just finished this weekend

One of the best finds for this project was the vintage drops in a mock alexandrite. The colors is a lovely delicate lavender in the daylight, but under florescent light the color turns a bright apple green!

As well as the changing colors of the stone, just like in the parures of old the aigrette is modular so that it can be worn as either a hair ornament, or as a slightly smaller brooch.

I've been wearing this set lately for dressed up occasions, but even for those jeans and a pretty top days, to give an other wise boring outfit just enough history for it to be something fit for a quaintrelle to be seen in!

As for whats next? I'm already working on my second parure which has many more pieces, and will soon be available for sale in my Candy Violet shop as a set or as separate pieces (as well as being open for custom work)! This months Quaintrelle life article will be all about parures too, so keep an eye out over the next few weeks for those!

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