Yearly Archives: 2014

D is for Duchessa

We adore the sublime pieces Hong Kong-based jewellery designer Nerida Aylott is creating at Duchessa Jewels. Nerida started working on her version of faux Georgian/early Victorian Riviere, or Collet necklaces when some stunning original pieces worn in a fashion documentary caught her eye. Her aim was to create sophisticated yet fluid jewellery that could be worn with many looks. She had become interested in historical pieces and spent time researching original works in London. “Mine are copies of these type of necklaces,” Nerida explains. “The original ones were either of semi-precious stones like amethyst, but were often of coloured glass encased in pinchbeck gold (fake gold). The Duchessa Jewels are made of glass or cubic zirconia, which is like a simulated gemstone and the best ‘fake’ you can get before using real stones”.

We love them worn with lace or denim and layered with vintage gold collars or chains. If you’re planning on getting a big dramatic necklace with character these pieces are just so special and they are made with a lot of love. 

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Praising the ginger jar

Ginger jars, filled with flowers add a touch of luxury and lift the senses. The classic Chinese ginger jar, in vibrant and fresh pastel shades, dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. Their varied sizes also means they are useful to store tea, herbs, spices and trinkets – the ginger they were originally intended for has slowed and nowadays they are known for their decorative effect.

Grouping a few in one colour family together is just one way to create a lovely look on an entrance table or to quickly brighten up a forgotten corner. We love floating a single flower in the lids. Here we have gone for the pretty feel and embraced our favourite flowers –  peonies, pompom chrysanthemums, ranunculus and tulips – but you can try anything that is in season, speedwell, hydrangea, lavender or cosmos to name a few. The best place for flowers in Hong Kong is of course the flower market.  

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Leather workshops

With craft being a bit of a hit at the moment, Hong Kong’s leather ateliers’ workshops are getting a lot of attendance. The Fungus Workshop designers Baldwin Pui and Phillip Lau started it all with a series of classes way back in 2009. I went along in 2012 and by the end of my last class I had completed a navy leather clutch with my own initials stamped on the front. Others got dog leads, bags, and even sandals out of these classes. There are quite a few stores in Sham Shui Po that now have leather-crafting workshops and there are many leather-focused ateliers opening up. 

So if leather’s your thing, these stores will have what you are looking for:

Leather-craft acccessories, such as stamps and glue, or belts and zippers are available here. Brothers Leather Craft, G/F 208 Tai Nan Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. Tel: +852 9136 0897.

A new lifestyle store in Sham Shui Po called 22 Degrees North has all the leather bags, cuffs and purses you might want for a gift or for yourself. Go to 88 Nam Cheong Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. Tel: +852 2568 1148.

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Making your own mossarium

As promised here are our steps for making your very own mossarium or terrarium. Our favourites at the moment are the hanging glass spheres which look so pretty styled on a tree or dangling in front of a window. You could even make Christmas themed ones to dress up your Xmas tree if you are so inclined.  

Getting started: 

1. Place a layer of stones on the bottom of your chosen vase or glass jar. The depth of the layer will depend upon the size of your jar.

2. Add a layer of soil over the stones (we bought our soil from Art Garden ).

3. Plant your selection of succulents and moss. It can be finicky to put the soil around the plants evenly so we suggest to use a small spoon to make it easier. 

4. Choose your plants wisely. Try not to mix succulents and moss as they both have different watering needs. 

5. We like to scatter a thin layer of stones/pebbles over the soil once the plants are in… this is personal so do as you feel here. 

6. Remember succulents only need watering every two to three weeks. Moss just needs a spritz of water every second day or so. 

7. Now that you have completed your little mini ecosystem do try to keep it out of direct sunlight. Good Luck!

For all your mossarium needs head to King Yuen Garden, G/ F 223 Sai Yee Street, Mongkok, Kowloon. Tel: + 852 2789 3998 or Wah King Garden Arts Co Ltd. G/F 32 Flower Market Road Mong,Kok, Kowloon. Tel: +852 2380 9129. 

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Terrariums and mossariums

We want to open your minds to the little lives inside a terrarium (or mossarium), to make you see how easy it is to grow them, and to make something a bit different. But what is a terrarium? The idea is that you make a tiny plot of garden inside a glass bottle, or vase, or mini aquarium. They are low maintenance and perfect for apartment living because all they require is a touch of sun and a good watering once a week.

Lilliput Tales have spent over three years making these small-scale cultivations. For lessons on how to start one of these wonderful little
gardens, or to buy supplies, head to Art Garden, G/F 48 Flowermarket Road, Prince Edward, Kowloon. +852 6286 726 in the Flower Market, and ask for Jasmine Lo or Kay Lo. Their atelier has everything from pebbles, coir, or sphagnum, moss, to cacti from all over the world, and tiny sculptures (if you are inclined towards art directing your little world). Jasmine is very skilled and experienced, and should you be interested in a custom-made terrarium, her work is always mesmerising.

We have also discovered King Yuen Garden, G/ F 223 Sai Yee Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon. Tel: +852 2789 3998, which is full of cacti and exotic plants specifically for terrariums. There’s even little bonsai that beautifies everything. What we’ve found is that terrariums are a really lovely project to have going, and given regular love and attention, they can thrive. And they light up a room.

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Pom-pom wreath and tassel workshops

For our collaboration with Tang Tang Tang Tang and KPC yarn we are conducting some fun Christmas craft workshops with a focus on wool and all the wonderful ways to work with it. We have classes for adults and for children. We have only a few seats left now for the 18th of December adult workshops. 

FOR THE ADULTS: We’ve decided on one-hour workshops where the task will be pom-pom wreaths made in Tang Tang Tang Tang colours – think warm greys, happy yellows and muted creams – and lovely tassels to dress up Christmas gifts. The tassels look great as key-rings, necklaces, or styling up bare spaces like window frames. Tang Tang Tang Tang will provide some light Christmas refreshments. And once you have mastered your wreath you can wander around their beautiful store and browse for Christmas gifts. KPC yarn is supplying their stunning line of wool and their products will be available to buy at the workshops. For bookings and payment visit our online shop here. Simply click on the workshop on your preferred date and email us at admin@stylebriefhongkong to let us know the time slot you require.  

Dates for pom-pom wreath and tassel-making workshops:

November 25, 6pm-7pm ( SOLD OUT )
                       7pm-8pm ( SOLD OUT )

December 4, 6pm-7pm (SOLD OUT )
                      7pm-8pm (SOLD OUT) 

December 11, 6pm-7pm ( SOLD OUT)
                        7pm-8pm (SOLD OUT)

December 18, 6pm-7pm (2 places available)
                        7pm-8pm (4 places available)

Cost:               HK$180/US$24 per person

Keep reading for the workshops for children below…

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Timeless game

Mahjong is an important part of Hong Kong culture, and many residents share a taste for the game.  It’s wonderful to seek them out and drop in on one in the squares near Shanghai Street, or down the open air fabric market in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon side.

Check out the striking and poetic antique mahjong sets, and so much more including amazing tiles, the family run business Chi Ming Mahjong, 60 Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok, Tel: +852 2770 7839, has to offer.  As well working in-house is a mahjong tile carver who produces all the sets by hand. Note the convenient, travel-sized tiles at the Jade Market among all the beads and intricate jewels.  A wrong turn down Shanghai Street, Kowloon turned up some pale pink vintage Directions of Playing Mah-jongg books (written in English).  They are now available to buy here. 

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A Glammed-up crocheted shopper kit

A passion for handicrafts runs in my family. My mother was the woman in the 1970s who was skilled in many textile techniques (often self-taught), such as sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, tie-dye, and at one time I even recall her exploring the old-fashioned skill of spinning wool – and that was all before she studied to become a professional potter. To this day there are handicraft projects all over her home and while I may lack some of her expertise I enjoy taking some of her Seventies pieces in a new direction, which brings me to this glammed-up crochet shopper.

What better way to give a crochet shopper a new lease of life than to combine a fluorescent chain. This craft kit (available to buy here) includes a pattern which provides a simple plan for the beginner to intermediate to follow; four balls of KPC wool, 1.5 metres of fluorescent chain, and a crochet hook. Read the instructions, and you’ll be off on your first fun crochet journey. There are two colour ways to begin with – but there are plans to explore more options so check back for more ideas should you require them.

Good luck!


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Tiny Tasks

I love miniature things. A spindly sculpture house perched on a cliff (in my childhood home) has a lot to do with it, because to construct something so slender is one of the most challenging tasks for an artist.

Today Stylebrief’s miniature fascination includes artist Franco Ho of Francoz Garden who moulds extraordinary miniature scenes out of clay, which are breathtaking and feature vignettes of real life.  When Franco was first asked by a client to make a traditional Chinese temple for a school, he hadn’t tried anything like it before.  With pieces of wood and clay he set about casting a small temple, and within two months the exhibition consignment was complete.  The artworks are important because they are simultaneously beautiful but also manage to maintain an archive of historical buildings and scenarios being lost to history. Franco’s little scenes have a wonderful allure. To peek inside one, such as the dumpling restaurant or the street stall, is to disappear into a little world.


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Tipping the scales

We are always on the hunt for classic scales that can bring a bit of extra style to the kitchen you’re living and working in. The great hand-crafted bamboo sets found in Hong Kong are definitely visually beautiful but not necessarily what is needed for day-to-day cooking. However the range of scales in Hong Kong is vast, to say the least and available to suit almost every need, from practical digital or price calculating ones to top-loading scales for your flour or fruits. Mrs Ho at 345 Shek Lung street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Tel: +852 2388 5285, is a genius at going from scale to scale as she demonstrates and picks out the perfect set for you. Right next door to Mrs Ho is another small shop selling mechanical baker and industrial type scales if that is your thing. Hop Sing Chinese Scale Shop, on the corner of Wing Sing Lane and Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon. Tel: +852 2780 8544, has every kind of scale you can imagine. Having the right scales makes everything in the kitchen a bit simpler, but good-looking ones definitely cheer me up. 

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