social media for creative entrepreneurs
I’ve been working on this behind the scenes for a while now and I’m so excited to finally share it with you all…

My good friend and personal marking guru Claire Deane and I are launching our introductory Social Media Workshop for bloggers, small business owners and creative entrepreneurs at Showroom this month!

Claire and I are both super passionate about creative entrepreneurship and help with social media strategy is the number one thing people in our community ask us for. Having both built brands on the back of social media know how far a bit of good training goes in finding success online and in the ‘real world’. We’ve designed our workshop to help demystify the various social media platforms, provide specific strategies for brands, and we’ll be sharing a lot of our personal experience to help equip creatives to craft a successful online presence of their own.

The workshop is taking place at 135 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington QLD on Saturday, July 19th from 10am – 12pm. The session will be capped at 10 participants so we can answer everyone’s questions and have plenty of time for discussion. We’ve also teamed up with photographer Mary Hillier who’ll be taking a professional head shot that each participant can use as their profile pic and on their about page.

We have a few other goodies up our sleeve that I’ll save for the workshop webpage, so if you’re in SE QLD be sure to click over and check it out!

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by Catherine on July 1, 2014

in Recipes

butter tarts

Happy Canada Day!

Butter tarts for me will forever taste like childhood summers on the dock by Lake Simcoe. Akin to pecan pie (sort of – don’t let any of my people catch me making the comparison) this iconic dessert inspires patriotic devotion among Canadians. They’re sickly sweet and totes not paleo. They are, however, tradition so on this day of flag waving I’m super excited to share my mom’s best ever recipe for the perfect butter tarts.

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Canadian Butter Tarts Recipe


  • 2 sheets of ready roll pastry or 24 mini tart shells, defrosted*
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup very soft butter
  • 1/2 cup corn or golden syrup
  • 1 slightly beaten egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • raisins
  • pecans (optional – I don’t include them)

* If you prefer to make your own shortcrust from scratch, my trusted recipe is over here.


1.  Preheat your oven to 425ºF or 175ºC

2. If you can find good quality ready made tart shells, by all means use them – this recipe makes 24 mini tarts or 12 large ones. I used defrosted pastry sheets, cutting out circles with my largest round cookie cutter and rolling them out and forming them into the well of my muffin tin.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk all the filling ingredients together until smooth, leaving aside the raisins (and nuts).

4. In the bottom of each tart shell scatter a covering of raisins (approx 5 – 10 per tart, depending on how big you make them). You can also add some chopped pecans, but that’s not the way my mamma makes them.

5. Spoon the running mixture over the raisins, filling each tart shell no more than 2/3 full as they will bubble up in the oven.

6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the filling is set and the pastry is golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and serve at room temperature with a cup of tea or coffee.


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by Catherine on June 30, 2014

in The Best of Brisbane


We cram our weekend into one day – the only day we have together – and try to make it twice as good. We call it #MagicMonday. It’s the best.

That’s how we came to find ourselves in Dayboro. Nestled at the foot of Mt Mee, the sleepy 1.5 streets are self-styled as the ‘town of yesteryear’. There are plenty of cafes (all but one of which is closed on Mondays) and the very Kinfolk workshop collective Smith and Barton.

If we’d been more organized we’d have chosen a walking track in the forest reserve to tackle. Instead we just wound the windows down cruised past honesty boxes, homesteads overlooking fields and valleys, Blueridge lavender farm, and a vineyard too, stopping road side to stroll down a quiet lane and soak in the rural idyll.



by Catherine on June 17, 2014

in The Best of Brisbane

Finders Keepers Market Autumn Winter 2014 It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The Finders Keepers Autumn/Winter 2014 market is almost upon us… Mark your calendars, design loving friends, and I’ll see you there!



by Catherine on June 12, 2014

in The Best of Brisbane

molten store trovemolten store trovemolten store trovemolten store trovemolten store trovemolten store trovemolten store trove

My new friend Jessy unveiled her Molten Store pop up TROVE this week and I couldn’t resist making a special trip down to visit the treasures she’s collected inside. The shop itself is like a jewel box – a beautiful lux bohemian dream. TROVE opens for a month only and it’ll be gone again before you know it, so be sure to make the pilgrimage while you still can.

Molten Store pop up // 60 James St // Open 11 June –  10 July, 2014.

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by Catherine on June 9, 2014

in Showroom

the spring shop crafternoonshowroom brisbane crafternoonshowroom brisbane verandah

On Sunday I organised a bit of an experiment.

Here’s the back story. At Showroom we’re finally in the groove of running workshops every weekend. But if Mother’s Day taught us one thing it’s that on public holidays and special occasions people make other plans; we knew trying to sell tickets to sessions on the Queen’s Birthday would simply be too big an ask for our fledging marketing machine to handle.

Still, we love hosting a room full of people who’re having a great time making things… it’s what we hang out for in the shop all week. So I wondered if I put on a free event – a crafternoon –  and invited everyone following on instagram, Facebook, and our newsletter to pop by and make things with me would anyone come?

At 2pm on Sunday – the appointed start of crafternoon –  the shop was quiet and I’d convinced myself they wouldn’t. Then a pair of girls came in, and another, and another, and before I knew it we had a little group together on the back verandah, soaking in the sun with cups of tea and getting our macrame on.

We all have metrics that we use to determine how well things have (or haven’t) gone. One of the things we’re trying to differently at Showroom is change the way we think about traditional metrics – more than sales per square meter in the shop we’re turned on by the idea of experience per square meter for everyone who comes through the door (including ourselves).

By that reckoning the experiment was a ringing success and I can’t wait to do it again. It was simple but (and) for me completely charming thanks to the bright, funny women who made it rad.



by Catherine on June 5, 2014

in Recipes

slow cooked black beans
Months ago, Mr. Spring won a rice cooker. I can’t quite remember how he managed it, but after one trial use we got over the novelty it ended up perched on to of our fridge, collecting just. What can I say? We’re pasta people.

Then, at the peak of the maddest week when we were just launching Showroom and I wasn’t doing very well carving out the time to cook and feed myself, this bolt of inspiration hit:

A rice cooker is basically a crockpot with less settings. And even though it seems radical, that probably means it could be used to mindlessly prepare lots of things.

Confident I was on to a good thing (but in need of some reassurance) I googled ‘rice cooker recipes’ and began scrolling through the four million, seven hundred and thirty thousand results. It’s tough to be original these days.

So far, slow cooked black beans are the best rice cooker dish I’ve discovered. Anyone who’s ever cared to look knows it’s relatively difficult to find canned black beans in Australia, and anyone who’s ever tried to cook them from scratch knows how difficult it is to keep them from burning to the bottom of the pot. With the rice cooker, though, the process is painless. You just set it and forget it! Then, just about an hour later and having paid no attention to the process at all, you’re ready to start building the perfect tacos, burritos, nachos, huevos rancheros, or vegetarian stew. Brilliant!

slow cooked black beansslow cooked black beans


1 cup soaked black beans
1 medium onion, diced
1 – 2 garlic cloves, diced
a pinch of salt to finish


Pour enough boiling water into the rice cooker to cover the beans by about 3 inches. Put through one or two cycles in the rice cooker, depending on your machine, until the beans are tender.

Add straight to your favourite dish or decant into a mason jar and store in the fridge.



by Catherine on June 2, 2014

in Personal Posts

magic mondaymagic monday jasmine dowling magic monday print magic mondaymagic mondaymagic mondaymagic mondaymagic monday

Magic Monday is my new thing.

The adjustment hasn’t been at all difficult. Maybe it’s because I don’t work a steady 9-5. Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved any chance at a new leaf. But what I do know for sure is that I’ve never had it in for Monday.

Now it’s the one day Mr. Spring and I have to spend away from computers, manuscripts, shops, studios, and meetings. It’s our day to linger over brunch, swim in the ocean, visit with friends, and walk the dogs together.

Sometimes other commitments push in, but we do out best to keep the best part of the day. It wasn’t until I fell in love with running my own businesses that I realised how easy it could be even for me to fall also into over-work. And it wasn’t until last week when we decided to make Magic Monday sacred that it occurred to us how simple it is to switch it off again.



by Catherine on May 28, 2014

in Projects, Showroom

showroom terrarium workshop

I’ve shown quite a few terrariums planted with cacti and succulents on The Spring blog over the past year, but getting my hands dirty in Wilde Flora’s terrarium workshop at Showroom took my skills to the next level – I’m talking delicate greens like ferns and moss – and a few weeks on I’m pleased (and slightly stunned) to report that they’re all still alive!

The secret in is the layers – it turns out a proper terrarium starts with small gravel, charcoal, sphagnum moss, soil, then the plants, a top layer of green moss and finishes with the placing of a beautiful crystal to amplify the good vibes. What’s so cool about this method is that it creates a microcosm of the natural world that regulates its own climate and stands up to the elements (even my benign neglect… I’m a chronic under-waterer) better than a pot plant could ever manage. So as far as greening the Spring Cottage goes, Wilde’s terrariums are absolute winner.

If you’d like to make your own there are a few spaces left in Showroom’s next terrarium making workshop led by Caroline this Saturday from 2-4. Tickets are $95 (that’s less than the cost of one fully finished large terrarium, and you can easily make the equivalent in the class). You can bring your own glassware (big or small) or pick something up in the shop. I’ll be on hand helping out with tea and cookies! See you there!

showroom terrarium workshopterrarium making with wilde florashowroom terrarium workshopshowroom terrarium workshopshowroom terrarium workshopshowroom terrarium workshop



by Catherine on May 27, 2014

in Recipes

cranberry florentines recipe

Florentines are golden, sweet, and chewy Italian cookies that take absolutely no effort to make (read: no waiting around for butter to soften or creaming anything together…) This particular recipe is perfect right now because it takes great advantage one of the greatest autumnal flavour combinations – orange, almond, and cranberry. The little biscuits it yields look beautiful boxed or served up on a platter with afternoon tea, and most especially at the centre of our workshop table at Showroom to cap off a Sunday Crafternoon.

cranberry florentine recipecranberry florentine recipe

Easy Cranberry Florentines Recipe


butter (75g)
sugar (75g)
2 tbsp honey
plain flour (75g)
dried cranberries (100g)*
flaked almonds (100g)
1 tsp orange/tangerine zest

*Traditional Florentines include glacee cherries but I prefer using dried… mixing 50g of dried cranberries and 50g of dried cherries is delicious in this recipe!


1. Preheat an oven to 180°C. and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

2. Melt the butter, sugar and honey in a small saucepan or pan over simmering water. Stir in the flour to create the florentine batter.

3. Add the cranberries, zest, and flaked almonds into the mix well.

4. Drop teaspoons of the mixture onto the baking trays leaving a small space apart and press lightly with a damp finger or back of the spoon to flatten.

5. Bake for 10 minutes, then leave to cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Box up into an air-tight container and share as a gift.

cranberry florentine recipe

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