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!
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.
Easy Cranberry Florentines Recipe
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.
My love for getting crafty is well documented on this blog. Lately, though, things have been a bit quiet on the making front at The Spring Cottage. Since launching the new shop I haven’t found the time to revel in my usual creative pursuits and I’ve been missing those quiet afternoons spent in the garden studio photographing my projects for you as they come together step by step.
Then – just when I needed it most – an email from Mags at Unleash Creative landed in my inbox inviting me to guest blog at their upcoming Brisbane event. And quicker than you can say “Saturday Showroom shift swap” I was in.
Held over a whole day, Unleash Creative is a colourful event full to the brim with absorbing new skills in an intimate workshop environment. Each attendee gets to experience four workshops led by awesome and accomplished crafty mentors who’re out to inspire, pass on their skills and give attendees a taste of something they may not have tried before.
Fuelled by the incredibly beautiful buffets put on by Velvetier, my day of creative taste testing included string making with Alex Falkiner, calligraphy with Louise from Floral Lovely, tissue garland making with Kara from Lulu Lucky, and weaving with Maryann Talia Pau. The mentors all had a real passion for sharing their mediums in an accessible way that helped each member of our group find their own creative groove. So while calligraphy may not be where my natural talent lies (basket weaving’s my craft!) I had a far better result than I’d anticipated, and I’m determined to keep practicing with my nib and ink pot at home.
It was energising and fun making all that cool stuff. And yet there was a clear consensus that cool stuff was only a small part of what we all took from the day. Most of us were drawn into Unleash Creative’s world by the promise of making connections and busting out some kind of rut. On that level craft really did prove itself a worthy tonic. The event’s founder Magdalena puts her finger on it best:
“Craft and creativity are powerful tools to relieve the stresses and pressures of the otherwise hectic lives which most of us lead. It allows us to disconnect and unplug from external noise, relax and use a different part of our brains. It’s a simple therapeutic tool that anyone can employ to enrich their life.”
Mags is planning more events for Melbourne, Sydney, and (fingers crossed!) Brisbane later in 2014, so to keep up with the latest dates, hop on to Unleash Creative’s newsletter list and be sure to follow along on instagram.
These photos are now a few weeks old, but I couldn’t resist brightening the blog with them today, at the end of another long week.
As soon as the white paint was dry on the walls of our new Paddo Queenslander, Caroline, The Ever After Story girls and I organised a flower crown making party to christen the space and create visual content for the Showroom website we were busily building.
I was impressed to find that making a super Pinterest-worthy flower crown really is achievable (read: easy) given a couple of hours and the right instructions.
The only bad news was I was allergic to the ethereal green sprigs we used to fashion the base of our crowns and so I didn’t get to model mine for very long.
When we organise flower crown making as a Showroom workshop (and we definitely will!) Caroline and I’ll be sure to find something less sniffle-inducing to lend structural integrity to our fabulous ornaments.
It was so fun working (and playing) with our assembled team of stylists, photographers, and volunteers on the day. Love, thanks, and credit go to:
For more info on the workshops and goings on coming up at Showroom, check out our events calendar here.
Because I’ve been on the go so much lately (and I’m really only masquerading as a grown up) I’ve been getting my phytonutrients in something that goes down a little sweeter and easier than a big ol’ bowl of salad. Enter the Green Smoothie. I used to be a slow juicer but I don’t have time to clean machinery at the mo and this recipe really hits the spot when I’m craving something with a bit of sugar in the afternoon.
My Go-To Green Smoothie Recipe
1. Fill up half my 500ml mug with coconut water and pour it into the blender.
2. Add in a big handful of fresh spinach (it takes up the bulk of the pitcher) plus about a quarter cup of frozen mango pieces and another handful of ice cubes.
(If I’m extra hungry or replacing a meal with this smoothie, I’ll toss in half a frozen banana and a scoop of Sun Warrior protein powder too.)
3. Blitz for about a minute so all the frozen fruit gets chopped up and pour back into the mug (or a pint sized mason jar if I’m on the go).
4. Add hot water and a bit of washing up liquid back into the pitcher, blitz for a few seconds, and rise… Presto clean-o! No need to scrub. How easy is that?
Still at a loss for how to celebrate Mother’s Day? We still have a few spots available in our flower arranging and terrarium making workshops at Showroom this Sunday. Beat the cafe crowds and come spend half a day with us making beautiful things and snacking on delicious treats! Buy your tickets here….
Since we all love a good sticky beak, I wanted to let you all know that last Friday Elizabeth from Walk Among the Homes turned her lens on The Spring Cottage and featured our little abode on her blog. When she asked to come over and shoot I wasn’t sure how our casual cottage would sit next to the beautiful period homes Elizabeth usually shares. But she took on the challenge of capturing the charm of the space (her words!) and she’s done such a lovely job… I hope you’ll click over to check out the results!
For the last three weeks I’ve been working on a project – a really big project. If you’ve been following me on social media, you’ll have noticed that lately I’ve been spending an awful lot of time fixing up an old Queenslander on Latrobe Terrace with a few of my friends. I was up late last night touching up the last coat of paint so today we’re all ready to move in ahead of Wednesday night’s launch…
Yes, Showroom is only one more sleep away! Let me explain with help from the ‘About Us’ statement I wrote for the new website.
Opening May 1st at 135 Latrobe Terrace, Showroom is a new concept storefront and workshop space that bridges the gap between online and in-store shopping. We’re re-thinking traditional retail with a new collective model that supports creative entrepreneurs and provides customers with a destination shopping experience quite unlike any other in Brisbane.
By bringing together a broad range of merchandise from popular web-based designers (plus some up and comers too!) Showroom is the first boutique in Brisbane to offer customers the chance to source the coolest stuff from the web in the real world where they can to see it, feel it, and even meet the person who made it.
Here’s how it works: Inside our sun-drenched Queenslander we stock an ever-changing collection of high quality products drawn from the Australian blogosphere’s favourite web-based brands. We invite top stylists and bloggers to guest curate areas of the shop, and we host events such as workshops and Insta-Meets where likeminded design lovers can come together to learn new skills and socialise.
Showroom is run by creative entrepreneurs for creative entrepreneurs who’re passionate about connecting with customers and their community. Founders Catherine Roberts (The Spring Shop & Blog) and Caroline de Lore (Wilde Flora) devised Showroom in response to customer feedback and the desire to grow their businesses in a sophisticated, community centered way. What they’ve created is a Pinterest-worthy space supported by a uniquely flexible commercial framework that allows small businesses to have the kind of retail presence that would be too difficult to achieve logistically if we all went it alone. And, as a hub for socially savvy businesses, Showroom organically encourages members of the tribe to bolster each other in ways that add value to the individual brands and enriches their customers’ experience.
Whether you’re a design lover, creative small business owner, or a casual observer of what’s fresh and happening in Brisbane, we hope you’ll be as excited about this bold new vision as we are. Please come visit us at the shop from Thursday!
photo credit: me & Mary Hillier
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:
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!