THE SPRING’S EASTER GIFT GUIDE

by Catherine on April 15, 2014

in Spring Style

The Finders Keepers asked some rad local creatives to share our picks for the perfect (read: not foil wrapped) Easter gifts. I do love a bit of online window shopping, so after a bit of trawling through my favourite design haunts, here’s what I’m hoping some bunny will bring to my place along with Easter brunch this year:

The-Spring-Shop-Gift-Guide

1. Ceramic Berry Punnets by The Spring Shop
2. Mixed geo table runner by Leif
3. Rope Birdfeeder by Mr. Sparrow
4. Nesting baskets by Zillpa
5. Bunny Pin Board by Lilly & Lola
6. Terrarium Postcards by Papercookie

For more good gift inspiration, check out the other collages over on The Finders Keepers Blog… and happy count down to the long weekend!

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BIRTHDAY BOY

by Catherine on April 4, 2014

in The Best of Brisbane

Happy Friday all! Hope you’ve had yourselves a wonderful week…

We’re off the down the Gold Coast today to continue Mr. Spring’s birthday celebrations in laid back style. When I booked our little getaway Brisbane was in the midst of days of relentless autumn rain, so as I type in the early morning sunlight I’m feeling hugely relieved that all sings point to this weekend proving an absolute pearler. Fingers crossed!

We’ll be sticking around the beach through Sunday because we’d hate to miss a TVM (I know picking favourites is wrong, but markets just don’t come better)! If you’re down around Burleigh between 8:30am and 1pm on April 6th do pop by The Spring Shop and say hello!

Finally, I’d better caption these photos… I took them yesterday at breakfast with Nick’s gorgeous parents at our neighbourhood cafe crush-du-jour Billykart Kitchen. The crispy corn fritters are the stuff gourmet dreams are made of, though the goodness on my own plate didn’t exactly stop me putting fork to the birthday boy’s caramel soaked pancake stack. Obviously, they were NOM too.

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PAPER FEATHERS

by Catherine on April 3, 2014

in Projects

paper feathers

I found this super sweet free printable for paper feathers months ago over here, and since this is Mr. Spring’s birthday week (why celebrate for just a day?) I finally had the perfect occasion to cut out a batch to decorate his wrapped gifts. I like the way they look made from white printer paper, but it’s just as easy to get a bit fancier and use carbon paper to trace the design onto newsprint, or patterned card stock if you’re going for something jazzier.

I love the way the paper feathers look tucked into bakers twine wrapped around a brown paper package, and I bet that strung along a length of string they’d make for an incredibly charming garland too.

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PESHWARI PUDDING

by Catherine on April 1, 2014

in Recipes

Peshwari pudding is a family recipe in the truest sense that it’s been shaped by many hands. As a child I often sat in scratchy knitted pullovers in my Grandma’s kitchen on winter afternoons tucking into a steaming bowl of her original rice pudding with cinnamon and plump raisins. My mom too often made a version of her mother’s dish (she sprinkled brown sugar on top) and in time, I came up with my own (secret ingredient: nutmeg). All in all, I can’t imagine how many chilly, dreary days across the generations have been salved by this ultimate comfort food.

A few years ago Nick (aka Mr. Spring) devised his own interpretation of my family classic and I have to admit, it’s become the gold standard. With the addition of  cashews, sultanas and coconut to the simpler rice puddings of my childhood, he’s given rise to a new treat that we’ve dubbed Peshwari pud after the comparably jazzy naan bread he can’t enjoy a curry without.

In his own words, Nick likes to make and eat Peshwari pud because “it’s like a dessert treat that’s not too sweet so you can eat it all the time” and for the “simplicity of preparation” that “relies on vague proportion rather than specific measuring” which “fits [his] culinary style… Plus it’s got coconut and cashews, so how can you go wrong?”

You can’t. So let’s get to it. (Also, can we pause to appreciate… how photogenic are this man’s hands?)

Peshwari Pudding Recipe

Ingredients:

1 mug of long grain plain white rice*
3-4 mugs of milk **
a handful of raisins/sultanas
a handful of unsalted cashews***
a handful of desiccated (shredded) coconut
a sprinkling of cinnamon

* Nick’s used jasmine in a pinch, but doesn’t recommend it.
** You can substitute some of this milk for water if you’re running low.
*** Nick’s rinsed off salted cashews in a pinch, and would recommend it.

Directions:

1. Pour all the ingredients into an oven proof casserole dish.

2. Stir.

3. Pop on the lid or aluminium foil if your dish doesn’t have one.

4. Bake in a preheated oven at about 240C for 20 minutes. Check on it, give it a stir, then put it in for another 10 and you’ll be in the ballpark of it being ready. If all the milk isn’t absorbed or it’s not soft enough, give it another 10 minutes after that.

4. Serve piping hot with some cold milk poured over top to balance the temperature. My ma to add a sprinkling of brown sugar to her bowl and my mother-in-law likes hers with a drizzle of cream. Nick’s also been known to put a dollop of Greek yogurt on his, but he’ll put Greek yogurt on anything.

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AUTUMN UNIFORM

by Catherine on March 31, 2014

in Spring Style

Fall Basics

Sitting on the verandah with our morning cups of tea on Saturday, Mr. Spring looked up from his paper to survey the yard and announced:

The sun has changed track… see how the grass is still in the shade this late in the morning? That’s it. It’s autumn.

A month after the Fall’s official start, I can see it’s finally true. Seasons change gently here in Brisbane, almost imperceptibly (the last week of miserable rain notwithstanding) but I did realise something was afoot when I found myself walking through the city shops last week running my fingers over racks of cosy dark hued knits and, imagining myself in coats and boots again.

It’s been a long time since I’ve published an outfit post on the blog, but that shopping trip reminded me that I’ve been meaning to tell you about my favourite jeans… so here’s the story.

I bought my first pair, in a dark navy wash, several seasons ago from David Lawrence and I’ve worn them constantly. Really, I’m talking all the time. They’re super soft ‘European Denim’ with lots of stretch, a long, narrow leg, and a very flattering high-enough waist. I went in looking to score a second pair in black and was super thrilled to find that the style has become part of the regular line. If you’re on the lookout for a perfect pair of comfy skinnies this season, I heartily recommend giving them a try.

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DIY POLAROID COASTERS

by Catherine on March 26, 2014

in Projects

DIY polaroid coasters

Yesterday as rain pitter pattered on the tin roof, I turned up the tunes, danced around the studio, and got my craft on for the first time in weeks. It felt good.

On my DIY docket was a simple plan to transform plain ceramic tiles into snappy polaroid coasters. The project takes a bit of time to complete (mostly waiting for coats of glue to dry) but there’s nothing tricky here and the results are really charming.

I’m thinking that these polaroid coasters would make the most perfect place cards / party favours at a birthday bash, backyard wedding, or baby shower (using your friends’ old baby pics would be hilarious and adorable!) with each guests’ name scrawled across the bottom in black sharpie.

DIY polaroid coasters
DIY polaroid coasters

DIY Polaroid Coasters

Materials:

photos or prints cut to size
square white tiles
a piece of card to use as template
matte Mod Podge
Mod Podge clear sealant spray
felt pads (optional)

Directions:

1. Cut a rectangular template relative to the size of your tiles with enough room for a thin boarder around the top and sides plus a thicker boarder at the bottom.

2. Using the template guide, trim your photos or prints to size. (I used pictures and illustrations from an old Frankie Magazine)

3. With the foam brush spread a thin layer of Mod Podge over the entire back of the image, smooth it onto the tile, and leave to dry.

4. After 30 minutes, spread another thin layer of Mod Podge over the image and exposed tile boarder, then let dry for an hour. Repeat 2 – 3 more times.

5. Mod Podge is water soluble, so to make sure your coasters can stand up to condensation you’ll need to spray with clear sealant and let dry for 24 hours. Mod Podge makes such a product, but you can use any acrylic matte spray sealant from the craft or hardware store.

6. Finally, affix adhesive felt pads to the underside corners of your picture-perfect tiles.

DIY polaroid coasters

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HIATUS

by Catherine on March 24, 2014

in The Spring Shop

Now that The Spring Pop Up Shop in West End has packed down, we’ll be returning to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Sorry for the unplanned hiatus, pals! Things got a little overwhelming there for a few weeks, and I so appreciate your support and understanding while I was spending so much time away from the studio. I’ll be back with a fresh craft project and a family recipe later in the week.  x Catherine

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MISCELLANY

by Catherine on March 6, 2014

in The Spring At Home

1. Little vintage oil lamp
2. A fresh, bright scent in our shower
3. One in a series of portraits taken by a new friend.
4. Cranberry scrolls at the Bakers Arms in Woolloongabba. We consider ourselves connoisseurs, and these are tops.
5. Holding onto summer in a white Panama hat, from DJ’s menswear department.

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TIPS FOR CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURS

by Catherine on March 5, 2014

in Blogosophy

claire deane post
For years over breakfasts and cups of tea, my good friend Claire Deane‘s been my go-to guru for advice about social media strategy and content marketing. Now I’m super excited that she’s started her own coaching practice specifically aimed at helping startups and small businesses market themselves effectively online. Her mission – which she is incredibly passionate about – is to show lovely people with big dreams how to back them up with online marketing tactics that create measurable results because… as she writes… “mo’ (effective) marketing = mo’ money.”

And that’s a good thing.

For those of you interested in the nuts and bolts of creative entrepreneurship, Claire’s blog is full of free tips and tricks to help grow your brand’s impact. In her most recent post she’s got me talking about how I run my biz, so click on over to her blog if you’d like to check it out!

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THE EVER AFTER STORY

by Catherine on March 4, 2014

in The Best of Brisbane

There are two reasons I want to share these two photos with you today.

1. You might remember (way back) a DIY wedding favours post featuring tiny rose gold pots planted with even tinier succulents. (Take a moment to click over if you need a refresher…) Anyway, they were completely adorable and I’m so pleased to be able to share how the bride styled them along the centre of her long, white wedding banquet table. The whole scene is so beautiful, don’t you think? Dreamy and just beautiful.

2. The bride in question is one half of the creative duo you might remember from a lovely Brisbane blog called Sweet Lime & Spiced Tea that sadly went on indefinite hiatus at the end of 2012. We became friends and the blog was one of my favourites – a daily read I still miss – so I’m thrilled that the girls have teamed up again to bring us a brand new site to fall in love with: The Ever After Story.

Jas & Claire’s new venture is a wedding site dedicated foremost to helping local brides find their perfect venue. From there, through a variety of stylishly curated content, they offer up personalised inspiration for putting all those other details into place. If you’re getting married (or just love a bit of romance!) The Every After Story is one you’ll want to bookmark.

Photo credit: Natalie McComas 

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