London calling; Part two

While I’m on the subject of London(see yesterday’s post) I would like to add a few places that I recommend and then move on from this and plan my next trip instead of looking back.

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I’m not down (I drink classy cocktails you know)

I don’t drink a lot but what I do drink has to count. So I’m usually particular about bars or rather I try to visit a few places that can provide me with inspiration. The Worship street Whistling stop was lovely (here) but always on my to visit-list are;

-69 Colebrook row;home to mixology maverick Tony Conigliaro (here)

-Zetter townhouse; bar is managed by Conigliaro but a very cosy environment  (here)

-The Artesian; voted best bar in the world many time (here)

There are many great bars in London; I couldn’t possibly visit them all without being extremely hungover but those three have found a way into my heart.

Death or Glory

img_6879-1Undoubtedly the Museums of London bring it. Probably one of my fave museums in the world is Sir John Soane’s: a place that can be summed up with the words “you are not a hoarder if your stuff is in order”. So much to see. It is sometime called “the museum of museums” and I buy that. Soane was an architect and he built his own house in order to fit the vast collection of artifacts; the colours and the light are spectacular.  No photos are allowed inside but you can find out more here.

 

 

Oddly enough it was the first time I managed a visit to the British Library. It is well worthimg_6919 a visit (and now I’m placing a moratorium on that phrase) not only for the spectacular shop but it is very nice to see the old scripts; “soaring on the wings of history” and all that. Jane Austen’s writing desk was temporarily elsewhere when I visited but I did get to see the Magna Charta and some inspiring illustrations in religious scripture. There was a temporary exhibit on the subject of Punk that was interesting and the library itself is pretty amazing. All those books.

 

 

Brand New Cadillac (-ish)

On our way there I drank the shot of espresso that made me hit rock bottom and forced me to rethink my coffee guzzling ways. I will remember it always. The next day when visiting the British museum (here) I started my new life and had herbal tea and the paper cup it was served in was the nicest I’ve ever seen. In the area around the British museum I also want to mention the lovely café Syrup of Soot(here). It was newly opened when I visited but based on the location, instagramability and lovely coffee and pastries I expect it will become very popular.

 

 

I spent time looking at old things not only at the British museum but also the Victoria and Albert, usually just called the V&A(here). I could do that all day really. I am obsessed with kimonos. And my own sloppy take on them. Both places have amazing shops.

And then as always when traveling; keep your eyes open. You might just see something unexpected.

-Suss

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The persian slip-on

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…A medical man who keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very center of his wooden mantlepiece…

-From the Musgrave Ritual by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

It was a day that started on Baker street and ended up in a speak-easy style bar with a Sherlock Holmes inspired cocktail in hand. When visiting London I can’t really ask for more.

We got off  on Baker street and walked down to Oxford street (aiming for Soho) at a slow pace; looking in stores, gossiping, stopping for coffee and the writing of postcards(I always send postcards when I travel).

And after more shopping and a dinner we found ourselves at bar called Worship Street Whistling shop: not where we planned to go but it looked like a nice bar. I was immediately impressed by the fact that they had a cocktail menu based on the four elements(this is my second favorite bar menu; there is a bar in Paris that has an excellent “scatter graph” where the cocktails are placed according to sweet/sour and strong/light ).

img_6933Anyway: I ordered a drink called The Persian slipper because it seemed my type of thing(vermouth is the name of my game) and it was wonderful. It came with paper wrapped around the stem of the glass: it had been perfumed with tobacco-scent. As I am the curious type I unwrapped it and decided to see what was printed on it and it turned out to be from Sherlock Holmes!! The Musgrave ritual to be exact. Sometimes it all comes together in the most fantastical way. And I do love literary cocktails.

Next day I picked up a copy of A study in Scarlet at Hatchard’s (here). I read the books by Arthur Conan Doyle when I was younger and I loved them. In later years I’ve been mad about the TV-series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Dr. Watson. I just think it is so well done with the weaving in of the original but still mixing it up and keeping it relevant. So much in the spirit of it     (and the scenography/clothes is brilliant. Great great colours).

Rereading Sherlock was good fun and I might just try to reread a few more of them during the rest of the year: it is the season for it.

I was also very fond of the drink and decided to try to recreate it. I made a simplified version obviously but managed to create a nice drink which has a lot in common with the one I had at the bar. Just enough coolness from the gin and warmth from the spices.

In terms of the “Chai-syrup” it is more specifically “Masala chai”I used.  The syrup I made  is based on so called “yogi tea” (here) because it was simpler but I you can make your own (here), it is basically a mix of spices. The best way is to make a really strong brew first.

Chai-syrup;

1.Take 2,5 dl boiling water+ 4 tablespoons yogi tea; let steep for 15 minutes and then sieve it.

2.Bring the tea to the boil again and then take it of the heat and stir in 4 dl of caster sugar, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.

3.Let cool and then pour into a clean bottle. Will keep in the fridge 2-3 weeks.

 

Persian slip-on; yields one cocktail

4 cl dry gin

2 dry vermouth (i.e Noilly Prat)

1 cl chai-syrup

1 dash of Orange bitters (I used Reagan’s  no.6 which I love but Angostura Orange is fine)

for serving:

cocktail glass

orange peel

  1. Stir the ingredients in an ice-filled stirring glass until well chilled.
  2.  Pour into the glass.
  3.  Drag the orange peel over the rim of the glass and then let it join the drink.

And then all you need to do is enjoy responsibly. Otherwise Moriarty will come to get you.

-Suss

 

Sunday-Shelfie dress

img_8419That’s me; wearing my Sunday-shelfie dress, trying shoes at Zara. The dress feel like a hit, the shoe-shopping not so much.

Sunday selfie, or rather #sundayshelfie, is a phenomena on Instagram. The dress came to life during a weekend and was posted on my account on a Sunday, hence the name.

The dress is made of my parents old dustruffle which has some damage(cut away the bad bits) and attracts cat hair something awful. I really should have listened to that last complaint. But I didn’t and now I serve as a hair magnet.

Idea wise it’s a basic wish to not put a book cover on a dress but to do something original whilst promoting the authors that I love. Not the most original thought maybe.

I used this Mccalls pattern that I’m fond of. After making this dress I threw it away because it was so damaged. I abuse my patterns. The whole front of the dress was sewn up before I started on the painting.

I used fabric paint intended for dark fabrics which doesn’t always give intense white. But here it ended up giving this blackboard effect which I really liked. Despite the painting on it, it ends up being quite “muted” and with a cardigan and some black tights I’ve used it both at work and social gatherings with success( and by that I mean that I’ve blended in rather well and maybe gotten the odd compliment).

img_8170 I did intentionally leave some spines “un-written”because I like the idea of the dress evolving with time. If it last that long. The problem with using old materials is that they are worn. The sleeves on this have already started fraying. It wasn’t the best quality to begin with actually. Oh well. I’ll use it as much as I can while it last and then I can always make a new one.

-Suss

Running around with a runner

My parents have four cats and and awful lot of things. I have one cat and the reputation for creativity. My mother sometimes buys things thinking “Suss can probably do something with this”(shan’t complain; great fabrics have come my way thanks to that. And I haven’t paid for them) and somethings I just get offered damaged goods.

img_7318This is a rather sturdy table runner that my mother had. Nothing antique or anything. One of the cats had chewed or clawed on the fringe on one side and managed to create serious damage. So I cut away that bit and zig-zagged the edge(with my sewing machine) to prevent it from fraying.

Then I spent some time trying to figure out the proportions. I can’t give any exact measurements, depends on what you are making into a bag, but I folded first a bit so that it would “line itself” and then stitched up the sides by hand.

img_7324Make sure to have a needle that is though enough. That said it is done in a matter of minutes.

img_7341I made the “flap” on this rather long just so that I could roll it up and get a good grip on it. I think it’s fun and I think that a bit of pink brightens things up.

-Suss

Mark my words(or rather clothes)

It took a while for me to figure out how to use fabric markers to their best advantage. As I’ve said before they are easy to use but also somewhat limited in color (and intensity).

However one of my Austen&Attire-outfits ended up being a real winner in terms of trying new stuff.
img_6697Sewing trousers is the kind of thing that I avoid. I have tried once or twice over the years but results have been rather sad. I used them, but reluctantly.

For this project I used an orange fabric mostly chosen based on colour and then I made the trousers using the simplest pattern I could find. This is a  Capri-style trouser with a zipper in the side. On the parts I draw (best I could) to imitate the pattern on the cover. One thing that I have said many times is that there is safety(and style) in numbers. It started out looking horrible but with the whole trouser leg full of them it comes tighter. The quality of the fabric is not the best sadly and they have gotten a bit baggy with use. And they are magnetic to cat hairs so I function as a human lint roller when I wear them. I’ve worn them mostly with a white shirt or t-shirt and some sandals. Loads of jewelry. But I’m very happy about having tried and kind of managed to make trousers I’m not ashamed of. After these I made a pair of blue linen ones( using an old damaged tablecloth) that I’m also happy about.

Recently I also went “full circle” (pun intended); last winter when I read The Engelsfors-trilogy* by Sara Bergen Elfmark and Mats Strindberg (here) I made a note in one of my many notebooks. The note referred to a “book within the book” namely The book of patters which is a way for the young witches of the story to communicate with the other realm. I had drawn some of the symbols and written “wouldn’t this make a great pattern on a dress?”. Last winter I had no idea of how to make that idea reality. Now I do.

img_7675This can be made by anyone using a fabric marker and an old t-shirt or top. I chose to make one but being able to use existing garments is one of the great things about these pens.

I got a bit impatient so maybe not the straightest lines. This is made by old fabric though so it will have limited life and I can deal with it. A few people have spotted the origin of the pattern, most just think it’s kind of “minimalist cool”.

-Suss

*called “Cirkel-trilogin” in Swedish

 

Little of this,little of that..

img_8357-The clothes in my closet keep falling apart. Two skirts this week (to be fair I’ve had both for 5+ years and used them loads) and turns out that more then half the tights in the drawer were also falling apart. Haven’t used them until now when we have gone from unseasonably warm to very seasonably cold so haven’t noticed. In my efforts to live in a more sustainable way I went and bought a pair of “Swedish stockings” at Replik here in Stockholm. You can read more about the brand here, the store Replik here and Johanna who runs the store has a blog which you can find here. Will let you know how I find them.

-The clothes that fall apart have been mostly cut up to be used for other things but a bag or so was left to recycling; this is obviously a new thing in shops. I’ve decided that I feel alright about it because I can hand in damaged goods. But if people hand in “fast fashion-stuff” just to make room for more?  If you think about cleaning your closet/doing the Kon-Mari thing there was an article in Slate you should read first. Find it here (I’m still waiting for the copy of Overdressed from the library).

-I’m currently reading What is your is not yours by Helena Oyeyemi and I would like to tell you that in the first short story there is wearing of keys around the neck. Very trendy right now: how to here

-If you live in Stockholm and like art I recommend a visit at Mag III in Frihamnen. It’s one of my favorite art institutions.  The new Tony Oursler exhibit wasn’t my cup of tea but  I been downstairs twice to look at the Christine Ödlund-exhibit called “Aether&Einstein”; talking ferns, mysticism and colored glass in a wonderful mix. Read more here.

-I noticed that I have over 5000 followers on Instagram. I don’t really know how that happened. Had a discussion with myself (never a good idea) about watermarking my photos to prevent theft. Read an article about it that changed my mind. Find it here.

-Suss

London Calling; part 1

img_7680The point of clearing the shelves is to make room for new books, isn’t it?  Because browsing bookshops and buying new things to read definitely “spark joy”.

I went to London the other month and bookshopping is an integral part of any trip there. I was having a discussion with my brother (who is going to London soon) about London bookshops; he swears by Waterstones Piccadilly and Hatchard’s. The latter is alright I guess but I avoid that part of town as much as I can: too crowded(wrote the ninny who doesn’t mind running around in Soho which is also effing crowded. Too crowded by people wearing bum-bags is what the snob means about Piccadilly Circus).

I made two new discoveries this time and Sandoe Books has become one of my favorite bookshops actually.

Located in Chelsea,just of King’s road, it’s surprising that I haven’t been before. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in that area (I don’t really know what that says about me). When I posted from there on my IG-account I compared it to a hobbit’s burrow and I stand by that. It is very cosy, and an intimate environment is better for book shopping I think. Stress free browsing and excellent service. Find out more here.

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Another place I visited for the first time is Persephone books on Lamb’s conduit street. Managed to pop in on route between the British Museum and The British Library. Such a wonderful little bookshop/publisher and their idea of printing neglected books is an admirable one. Walked out with two books and a catalogue. It can be the start of of wonderful friendship. Find out more here.

img_6833Daunt books, in particular the shop on Marylebone High street, is an old acquaintance. Find out more here.This time I left without any books actually. And then I walked not that many meters, stumbled in to an Oxfam on the same street and bought a bunch. That Oxfam is highly recommended.

Other places to shop for books included previously mentioned Hatchard’s(here) and Foyle’s which is brilliant but big (here)

I would also recommend following @anicegreenleaf (here) on Instagram since she often posts about nice bookshops or things related to books in London.

-Suss