Ever since I worked as a canoe tripping guide back in my university days (and that’s a whole other story!) I’ve had a real appreciation for well made maps. Rather than associating them with being lost in the woods or geography exams, I began properly appreciating maps as precise works of art – human reflections of the natural world and a beautiful way of displaying data.
From a design perspective maps are pretty awesome on their own, but the bathymetric (water topography) work of local industrial designer Tom Percy takes the art of cartography to a whole new level. Tom recently started up Deep Blue Maps and got in touch to show me his artisanal 3d charts of Moreton Bay, the Brisbane River, and Stradbroke Island. They’re completely fascinating; I was instantly drawn to their combined simplicity and intricacy.
In order to create these works of topographic art, Tom spent three months developing the structure of his initial mould to get the precise contours of the Bayside just right. Each maps is then crafted by pouring a gypsum mixture into the master mould that, once dry, is cleaned, prepared and painted with 2 -3 thin layers of top coat. The most painstaking part of the process is the next step of laying perfectly smooth, hand-cut sheets of polymeric vinyl decal across the raised areas representing land. Finally, Tom seals each map with a clear, matte coating to protect the surfaces and lock in the colours. Tom tells me,
“The top layer was the hardest part to get right. There are so many different variations possible with different graphics, colours, textures to choose from … But I think the simpler the top vinyl print/graphic is, the better the map works as a conversation piece. I noticed early on that people love picking out and talking about different places, where they have been or points of interest like Shark Alley at Amity Point.”
The way shadow and light play in Tom’s maps to create the differentiation between spaces and topographical forms is incredibly striking and I love the way they’re both precise and wonderfully abstract. Meeting Tom this month couldn’t have come at a better time, because Deep Blue Maps are the perfect Christmas gift for the difficult-to-buy-for men in my family, and I’m so proud to be offering them now on The Spring Shop!
For more beautiful images of Tom’s maps, you can click over here.
If you’d like to buy a custom made map of your own, we’ve got you!
I always keep a stash of hessian (or burlap if you’re North American) on hand because I love the natural colour and rustic texture, plus it’s so useful around our Cottage. I use burlap covers on my shop tables at the markets, it’s tied around the plastic pots of my patio herb garden, and it’s hot glued to milk crate coffee table / foot stools in the living room. In preparation for Christmas markets, I’ve starting making my own hessian ribbons to add a festive touch to The Spring Shop’s most popular gifts (like our Scrabble fridge magnet sets). I think it looks lovely tied around mason jars full of home made treats, wrapped across brown paper packages and layered with bakers twine, or accented with sprigs of greenery. However you style hessian ribbons, they’re simply lovely and so easy to make.
How To Make Hessian Ribbon
1. Source your hessian. In Brisbane, I get mine from Calico House in Paddington. The length of your fabric will be the length of your ribbon, so keep that in mind when you’re at the fabric counter.
2. Hessian can have a bit of a stale smell to it; if this bothers you, wash with a cap-full of bleach, hang to dry, and iron.
3. After deciding how wide you want your ribbon to be, make a small snip to mark it. Starting at that snip, pull out one of the threads from the entire length of the piece of burlap.
4. Removing that thread creates a kind of ladder (like a run in a pair of pantyhose) which serves as your cutting guide to create a perfect edge. Follow along with your longest, sharpest craft scissors.
5. Once you have cut your ribbon, pull one or two more threads off of each end. Finito!
I meant to post this yesterday but to be honest, I was too exhausted after spending so many hours cleaning out this extremely filthy garden shed. I’ve never blogged such messy photos before, but I’m so excited about what’s happening around here this week I can’t wait ’till it’s all neat and tidy to share!
People who love working from home love it a lot, and that’s definitely true for me. I’ve learnt this year that the freedom to manage my own work/life balance is hugely important to keeping the passion for what I do simmering along – I’m happy working hard, but unhappy if I can’t do it on my on terms.
That must be why entrepreneurship feels like such a good fit. But fit has become an issue in another sense… because running a stuff-based business out of The Spring Cottage’s small spare bedroom (which has for the past 10 months also been my office, dressing room, stock room, photography studio, and parcel packing area) has become impossibly cramped.
So this week I’ve begun a renovation project that’s going to free up our home and give me a whole lot more work-related elbow room… We’re creating The Spring Studio! I’ve gotten my hands on a good sized garden shed in my neighbourhood, and once my builder gets done fixing it up (plugging the holes, painting the whole thing in beautiful, bright white) The Spring Shop and I will be moving on in.
Working from home is brilliant, but so is having a space dedicated to creativity and productivity… Hopefully the new Spring Studio will tick all the boxes just a few extra steps away.
Because the flavour of pumpkin spice really is all it’s cracked up to be… And because that’s true whether you were raised with it or not… I’m back with another too-good-to-be-saved-just-for-Thanksgiving themed treat over at A Beach Cottage today. My Ma’s own recipe for how to make a pumpkin pie entirely from scratch is a real family heirloom and one that feels like an act of devotion every time I bake it, which is often as I’ve yet to find anyone (North American or otherwise) who doesn’t think it’s completely delish. For all the instructions, including how to stew your pumpkin, make the perfect crust, and whip up the best pumpkin pie you’ve ever tasted, read on here.
We’ve just uploaded these Falcon enamelware tea pots to The Spring Shop and they are real beauties! The classic design in white with cobalt blue trim is manufactured from heavyweight steel and thicker enamel for extra durability. The tea pots hold 1.5L; they’re dishwasher safe and can be heated on both gas and electric hobs.
A lot of our enamelware has been sold out on the shop site, but we’re expecting two more deliveries from Falcon before Christmas, and we do still have plenty of the pie dish sets stashed away for the foodies on your Christmas list!
I’m not usually a follower when it comes to food trends, but since I it was so much fun jumping on the donut bandwagon, this week I decided to experiment with another Pinterest favourite – no churn pumpkin spice ice cream.
The brilliant thing about no churn ice-cream is that it doesn’t require any special equipment and involves only two basic ingredients – and we do love simple, cost-effective recipes around here. There are an endless array of flavours to try out, but around The Spring Cottage it’s going to be pretty hard work convincing anyone that anything could top pumpkin spice. The subtly sweet flavour, warm spices and cold, creamy texture make this frozen treat total perfection and holiday appropriate.
Plus since poor Mr. Spring is finally having his wisdom teeth all out tomorrow, this revelation couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve already got a second batch chilling for him in the freezer, and it’ll be just the thing to help sooth his chipmunk cheeks this weekend.
No Churn Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Recipe
1 can [14 ounces] sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup cooked pumpkin
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups cold heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the condensed milk, pumpkin, vanilla and spices.
2. In a large bowl of a standing mixer, beat the cream on high for about three minutes until stiff peaks form.
3. Fold the whipped cream into pumpkin mixture until incorporated.
4. Pour into a regular sized loaf pan, and freeze until firm, 6 hours. It’ll keep covered in the freezer for up to a week.
Today I’m blogging over on The Urban List’s Bride Guide with two ideas for simple DIY wedding centrepieces. Both are beautiful and embody the modern/rustic aesthetic y’all know I love… And like with all the recipes and projects featured here on The Spring, these arrangements are easy enough for even the most unskilled and time-poor among us to master.
For anyone planning a wedding – or a big holiday party – taking on as many of the do-it-yourself-able elements as possible is a great option for personalising your shindig without chancing that a vendor will miss the mark or fail to deliver. It’s also a strategy that’s sure to save a heap of money, which is reason enough to start googling ‘decoupage’ now… Or just head on over to The Urban List for two how-to tutorials to help you craft your own lovely table displays.
Thanks to Crystal Creek flowers for the beautiful locally field grown blooms!
The Finders Keepers are like the olympic games of markets, and this weekend was gold medal amazing. The thing I love most about The Spring Shop is that we’re all about stuff that brings people joy, so over a weekend like this past on at The Finders Keepers, that means I get to watch thousands of faces beaming up at me from moonshine mugs, paper straws and bits of glittery fabric tape. It’s pretty great when complete strangers smile at you for a living. I mean, how lucky is that?
We were so busy all weekend that I didn’t get a chance to chat as much as I always want to with our patrons, so if you stopped by and I didn’t get to say it at the time, thanks so much for coming… I hope you had a great day too!
There’s so much still to be unpacked and gone through and re-ordered after the event, but seeing as the whole Spring Team (that would be my family, who all gave me their time this weekend to help out… and oh boy I needed it!) is all kinds of exhausted we’re taking the afternoon off for some quiet, recuperative pamper time. If anyone needs me in the next few hours, I’ll be at the spa.
Today at The Spring Cottage preparations for this weekend’s Finders Keepers Markets are in full flight. We’re making terrariums, picking up the custom laser-cut lids to fit our new mason jar pendant lighting line, potting succulents, hand-writing hundreds of labels, and making sure everything’s looking just right before we ‘bump in’ at the Old Museum this afternoon. Our last Finders Keepers (also our first Finders Keepers) was a crazy success, and knowing what to expect this time around has taken the worry out of the planning process… now it just feels like a whole lot of fun! This weekend we’re coming prepared with way more stock, a double wide set-up, plus my hilarious (and very generous) mother-in-law will be playing shop assistant all weekend – she loves doling out discounts, so if you’re after a bargain she’s the softie to hit up hard!
The Brisbane Finders Keepers Details:
WHERE: The Old Museum
Cnr Bowen Bridge Road & Gregory Terrace, Herston
WHEN: Saturday 16th November 10am – 4pm
Sunday 17th November 10am – 4pm
GETTING THERE: Bowen Hills and Brunswick Street railway stations are less than a 10 minute walk from The Old Museum. Parking is now available at RNA Showgrounds for Finders Keepers patrons, off Gregory Terrace 400m from venue. Daily rate is $12 per car, this service is provided by RNA showgrounds. Parking will be available from 9am – 4pm.
WHAT IT COSTS: Admission to the markets is $2 and children under 12 get in free.
FIND US: The Spring Shop will be out on the verandah, bathed in beautiful sunlight and grooving to the sound of the live music lineup. We’ll be the first thing you see when you turn right out of the first studio. Hope to see you there!
Today I’ve got a fun wash tape power cord tutorial that’s perfect to do with the kids. This project is my organisational solution for the the charger/cable kerfuffle at The Spring Cottage through the ancient art of… colour cording. (Geddit?!) By assigning a colour or pattern to each different cable (or each family member) it makes it exponentially easier to see what you’ve got on hand (and what you don’t) when you’re putting a bag together or just trying to charge up. Full the full tutorial, click on here.