The Jazz Emporium

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Guest Post by Jessica James: Hexapuff Obsessed!

Even after last week’s DIY dress alterations session, my alterations/fixing pile continues to grow. Being a crafty lass, I find it next to impossible to throw ANYTHING away. In my mind, a clothing item can always be transformed or used in some way (i.e. buttons, collars, etc). Yes, I’m a bit of a hoarder in this way.

A wee while ago, I made a solemn vow to not use acrylic yarn again….never-ever. Unfortunately, it looks like I’m ready to break this personal promise, dagnabbit! A lovely lady donated some wool for my personal usage, which I enthusiastically accepted. To my dismay, it turns out that I accepted a bulging bag of acrylic (plastic yarn). Because of my slight hoarding tendencies, I feel obliged to use it. But for what?? It does not feel pleasant on the skin, provide warmth, or hold its intended successfully. OMG, it is perfect for Hexapuffs!

Hexapuffs are a knitting phenomenon that has swept through the interwebs and taken over a good section of my life. I’ve become completely obsessed with Hexapuffs. These are little hexagon-ish shapes are knitted up and individually stuffed like a wee pillow. The concept is to make enough of them to create a covering of some sort. I originally thought I would just make a wee blanket for the foot of my bed, but it’s beginning to get out of hand. I’ve become hexa-obsessed, and may just end up with a full sized duvet, thanks to the extra bits of wool that seem to keep coming my way. The finished product will look a bit like a puffy honeycomb, which is why it’s called the Beekeeper Quilt. Yay. But as one member of THE JAZZ points out, one of these wee
Hexapuffs looks like it could be a character/monster of some sort (google eyes not included).

 

On of my current life problems is that I’m knitting too many things at once, and I feel the surmounting pressure of the wool in my wool basket waiting to be used (imagine ‘Under Pressure’ by Queen playing in the background at this point). I’m very much a product knitter, and I like to FINISH things, not continually start them. I’m just itching to have something completed so as to wear it…and yes, maybe even show it off a bit. On the needles now, I have the following:

 

One Lace Blouse...

 

One Lightweight Jumper...

 

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One pair of Fair Isle-ish mittens...

 

The mittens are out of my favorite knitty magazine of the moment: Jane Austen Knits. I am very interested…what would Jane do??

And finally, not forgetting the bloody hexapuffs!

Mount Hexapuff

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Guest Post by Jessica James: Let’s Get Knitty!

There’s a whole lot more to knitting than dishcloths. When I was quite young, Mom churned these wee squares out like there was no tomorrow. As a young lady I wished to learn these crafty ways for purposes other than kitchen accessories. Eventually I found out those were the only things Ma felt confidant making. Therefore I sought guidance from higher up in the family tree: Nana. As I’m left-handed, I essentially had to learn to do everything completely backwards. This was a challenge that both clever Betty June (Nana) and I undertook. Success was soon ours.

 Back in the day, I would knit with any old yarn, mostly acrylic. After all, my allowance wasn’t much, and I was too young for a proper job. Since recently coming to work at a wool shop that does not sell yarn made out of plastic, I have become quite the yarn snob. This is positive with regards to the quality of the finished product, but a negative with regards to my bank account. Being a snob is expensive.

 Along with the popularity of vintage clothing, vintage hobbies have come back into the limelight. Vogue puts out knitting magazines every season and Ravely (knitting social networking site) has a couple million members. BUT I would just like to point out that I was on this train long ago! I feel I can now call myself an advance knitter, as I’ve just finished my biggest and most time consuming project ever. I knitted a dress! Pat on the back for me. I’m so proud of my navy blue bundle of joy (although it’s pictured gray below). As you can see, it even has pockets! I was thrilled when my flat mate told me the dress was sooooooooooo Joan (from Mad Men, yay!). Oooo maybe I’ll wear that today.

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Back in the 90’s Julia Roberts was knitting a jumper on the set of her latest film, and she released the pattern to the masses. So of course I thought it was way cool and had to follow suit. Unfortunately my version turned out to be a bit of a mess. I’ll blame it on using acrylic.

Now after many years of practice, I find it hard to put my knitting needles down. Last weekend I was so engrossed in knitting some legwarmers, but I was meant to attend my friend’s birthday party. I was torn. So like any serious knitter, I brought my knitting with me to the party. Luckily I was able to get a few rounds done before the Swedish cider went to my head. Ooft. Warning: drunkenness and knitting don’t mix.

Sometimes knitting when one is supposed to be paying attention can appear rude. But I am able to chat and focus on other things while I’m knitting, it’s called multi-tasking. Actually, I enjoy being productive. I can’t even manage to watch an entire movie without having some knitty business in my hands (a bored/guilty feeling sets in). The one exception that takes away my multi-tasking abilities is a movie with subtitles.

Portable and therapeutic hobbies are important to my livelihood, especially when I expect to spend some time waiting. I used to always bring my knitting with me to auditions. Not only did it keep me occupied and productive, it also settled my pre-performance jitters. Surprisingly, having to get up in front of a panel of casting directors to sing for 30 seconds can be quite nerve rattling.

On of my recent and favorite creations is this red hood. At the time when I was making this fine accessory, Halloween was quickly approaching and I was without a costume concept. All I had to do was look down. BAM! Hello Little Red Riding Hood!


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Guest Blog by Jessica James; Twistin’ The Night Away!

Themed club nights; I’m a big fan. They give the appearance of being just a bit more special than your average night out. They’re also an excuse to put forth some effort and dress up. But really, do I need an excuse?? No, not really. This is my second time attending THE GREEN DOOR in Edinburgh. The name brings to mind The Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz, with that strange little fellow guarding the door. Bouncers sure have changed. In fact, this club has nothing to do with Oz and has a bit more kick to it.

So, where have you been tonight, love?

Posters of skeleton swing dancers adorn the walls; red table clothes drape the tables with a loverly bowl of vintage sweets as the centerpiece. After the customary trip to the toilet for lipstick reapplication (I was sporting a sassy pink), we order drinks and have a seat around the bowl of drumsticks and sweeties. It feels a bit like a school dance (in a good way), where the boys and girls should be on opposite sides of the room, to later intermingle on the dance floor. The place is still pretty empty (it was way cheaper to get in early), so we sit back and enjoy the music while I keep my eyes peeled for a potential swing-dance partner. I’m not that good, but I know a few moves… I used to practice with my cousin in my garage. I know, I’m such a square.

The music was fantastic!! 50’s, 60’s, Doo Wop, Surf and Rock n Roll. I belong in this scene, and I’m chompin’ at the bit to get the dance floor started. They have all the amazing tunes, EXCEPT Tina Turner. My flat mate requested to have the legendary lady played with no success. I’ve recently re-watched What’s Love Got to Do With It, and my devotion to this fine firecracker of a woman is freshly renewed. But giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe the DJs were unaware of her magnificence. Power in persistence, I’ll try again next time.

One thing I truly appreciate is seeing everyone’s effort to look the part. Loads of gals are in polka dotted, full-skirted dresses. My flat mate opted for the bad girl look: leather bomber jacket with a high ponytail, completed by a cigarette behind the ear. Oh the options! Many of the gents were in braces and slicked back hair, and I may have even seen a bowtie Frugging around.

Now onto what I was wearing; a dress, of course. This is nothing particularly out of the norm. In fact, my Mom says, so fond of dresses am I, that I refused to wear trousers until I was 9 years old. And even then, I eased myself in with a skort (remember those?! Yuck.). Now back to my outfit choice, I picked this little number up at a charity shop when it looked like an 80’s mess: full-length skirt, long sleeves, giant shoulder pads, splashed with orange, aqua and purple and a matching belt. I altered it into a short-sleeved, knee length charm. With the help of a pink crinoline underneath to aid with dancing swish action, it looks proper 1950’s. BAM!! Hemming a full skirt is rather tedious without a sewing machine. But my dancing frock was worth every stitch.


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Guest Blog by Jessica James: Mad Men & Me

I strongly believe in thank you cards, ladies gloves and vacuuming in heels while sipping a tasty mint julep. Was I born into the wrong decade? I was re-watching one of my favorite episodes of Mad Men (Joan sings a French tune with accordion accompaniment), when I thought of how much more I may prefer to live in that swell world. This series is amazing and has an astounding attention to detail. Their costuming department works very hard to remain true to the times. If one has not seen this programme, one should remedy the situation directly!

As I’ve always wanted to be a ginger, Joan, the smart and sassy office manager is of course my favorite character; red hair, curves to the max, and a killer wardrobe. Unfortunately in this world where men rule the roost, Joan finds it incredibly difficult to rise any higher within the company during the first couple of seasons. On a side note, I have recently come to acquire a Joan pen, the ultimate accessory (please see picture below).

On the other end of the spectrum is Peggy. Will someone not give this girl a makeover?! What she lacks in looks and style, she makes up for in determination. Peggy gains a notable promotion that is typically only granted to individuals of the male gender. Even though she still kind of annoys me in a general way…good job Peggy.

Betty Draper starts off the series conveying the image of the perfect little housewife (this goes through some changes). She is a stay at home mom with fabulous full-skirted dresses, doing all housework in heels. Honestly, she’s more than a bit of a lush and married to the delicious Don Draper. Oh, delectable Don Draper: the hair, the suits, the voice. That is all I have to say about that.

So obsessed (maybe ‘obsessed’ is a tad strong, let’s go with ‘intrigued’) with the 1950’s am I, that while living in NYC, I would have “1950’s Housewife Day” with a friend of mine. Yes, there is someone out there just as kooky as moi. In this, we usually donned dresses (don’t forget the cute little apron), heels, and baked cupcakes.

Example of my dedication and love of the 1950’s:
I don’t know if anyone has experienced a New York summer, but it can be BRUTAL. It was the height of summer, a gazillion degrees with 100% humidity. My flat did not have air-conditioning, but we 1950’s housewife wannabes persevered. With the cupcakes in the oven, I put on another layer of deodorant; it’s not ladylike to stink. Makeup was melting off my face while frosting those cuppycakes. Being a 1950’s housewife is definitely easier in milder weather.

 

Yes, at times I think I’m living in the wrong time period. The styles of dresses from the 50’s are flattering on gals with curves (example: Joan). I love the clothing and accessories for both men and women. Naturally, this leads me to the conclusion that I want to live back then. But looking closer at women’s daily lives and roles from that time, it’s maybe not as attractive as I originally thought. Taking Mad Men as an example, the women look fabulous, but they have it a bit rough with regards to respect in the workplace and general freedom. I suppose I am best left in present day. Le Sigh.

I still enjoy a cocktail at 3 in the afternoon, while doing laundry of course.


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Sneak Peek Pantheon Project…

Yeah, alright, clam yer gobs all you lot; we know we’ve been tardy of late. We know we’ve been making promises to share with all our Jazz fans details of when the new shop is to be launched, only to then not pipe up again for weeks… But heeey, it was Chrissstmaaaas!

Now that we’ve used our get out of jail free card (only valid at the beginning of the year…) we wanted to appease those who might be a little miffed from our recent lack of communication with a little sneak peek at the glorious editorial shots Laura McKinnon produced for us. These gorgeous shots are only a delectable nibble of the gorgeous biscuit that will be our Pantheon Project campaign shoot when we fully share it with you. But of course one can only share a biscuit once it is baked to perfection, so stay tuned and we promise (for realz this time) that soon all our baking will be complete, and lordy, what a tea party we shall have!
Hmm, I may have squeezed that metaphor for all it was worth; please excuse my crumby writing (Oh ho ho…) and feast your eyes upon these gorgeous bad boys…

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Tell us what you think below!


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ASOS Marketplace & The Pantheon Project

Oh dear, I think we might have been so busy planning and preparing that it might have slipped our mind to tell everyone about the upcoming launch of our …

NEW ASOS Marketplace shop!

Sorry guys, this is clearly something all  jazz fans should be aware of; The Jazz Emporium is finally setting up permanent residence with a little online shoppe of their own on ASOS Marketplace to bring our ethereal wares directly to your front room (office, toilet – where ever you kids surf the internet these days…).

And if the launch of our new shop isn’t enough to set off some tingling in your spine, maybe some more information about our wares  themselves will do the trick…

We’ve recently clubbed together with the theatre group The Pantheon Club; you may remember them from their mass costume sale we talked about on the blog a month or so back. Not content with just sharing their costumes, however, the club opened their doors to The Jazz, and allowed us to scurry back and forth between their three huge storage rooms stuffed with clothes & accessories, letting us source the best vintage collection from their rails we’ve seen in years! Not to make y’all jealous or anything, but the contents of those rooms could have driven any sane fashion junkie to fall to their knees and gibber with delight as they trailed their fingers through the 70s maxi dresses, 50s evening dresses and suits and rolled joyously in a pile of vintage fur coats they might make a nest of on the floor… Did The Jazz Emporium do that? Ahem, well…

Anyway, we aim to bring this fine collection of vintage pieces directly to our customers, and therefore when we launch our shop, it will be filled with entirely newly sourced pieces from the Pantheon rooms. Oodles of fresh, unseen vintage for you jazz fans to sink your sartorial teeth into, and to make what you will with!

We’re hoping you’ll make an outfit that oozes your own attitude and enter the results into photographic form into our style competition (the best way to win yourself further vintage treats for free!)…

If you’ve been following our facebook page or profile, you’ll have seen our Pantheon Project backstage photos, and will have some heady hints already as to what kind of gorgeous clothes will be featured on the ASOS shop. If not, why not? Get the hell over there and check it out!

So in short, here’s our suggested list of things to do for Jazz Fans:

  1. Keep your eyes peeled for our new ASOS shop launch!
  2. Take a sneaky peek to salivate over what treats will be on sale soon.
  3. Come back to the blog on Monday to see our own Street Style spotting we’ve been conducting over the past few days… What does the Jazz think of your style??
  4. Check out The Pantheon Club , who are currently performing their version of the classic, Beauty and the Beast in The Kings Theatre in Glasgow, from the 15th – 19th of Novemeber. Our very own Jazzine is even helping out behind the scenes! We would say look out to see if you can spot her, but in this instance, she will be as unseen as a black cat in the night. And as supple and agile too (hmm, maybe not…).
That’s all for now, Jazz Fans, we can’t wait to share the launch date of the shop with you!!


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Get Yer Jazz Hole!

It’s Wednesday; that depressing midweek time when you know the end of the week is going to be just as long as the beginning that has just passed, and this Glaswegian rain is forever falling…

So you know what that means Jazz Fans? It’s time to get your fruity-ass drink on with a juicy delight The Jazz Emporium ladies have cooked up for you tonight, woo!

Did I say cooked? Probably splashed is more apt, but ew, that sounds kinda gross…

Enough, let us introduce to you, in all its glory…

The Jazz Hole

Ingredients:

  • 2 shots of Vodka

  • 1/2 shot of Cherry Brandy

  • One cup of lemonade

  • 1/2 cup of Reggae Reggae Pinapple, Coconut & Lime Juice
  • Apple slice; for some hot decoration
Method:
Mix all this shit up, plop in a couple of ice cubes. After stirring, arrange apple slice artfully on the glass, and baby you is done; one fine little cocktail to take you through the rest of this dismal week.  Quadriple the measures if it’s been a hella depressing one, and invite round your equally dismayed mates to stick a smile on their faces, cos this bad boy turns in a bee-yotiful punch!
Yumzers…