Monthly Archives: November 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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