Ok so my last post sorta bummed me out so let’s talk about creative handpainted gold leaf baked goods before the weekend hits. I don’t want to end my blog this week talking about dead birds! Downer! I decided to launch a new column on decor8 that I believe I can actually stick to called Instagram Fave Friday because I find a bevy of great stuff on IG and I feel so limited when trying to share great IGers. And trust me, I find some amazing IG peeps because I have a baby and my iPhone is my best friend when he’s asleep in my arms – so I surf and save constantly. I’m an IG machine. So I figured to just devote a weekly column that you can visit on Friday to end each week looking at beautiful things from talented people. Sounds like a plan.
I was thinking this morning that IG doesn’t have a real way to share, does it? I mean, you can see some stuff in that News feed but it’s not that great if you follow say, more than 50 people. You miss stuff unless you are refreshing the News feed every 10 seconds and I’m just not into that. Sure, you can fave images but no one can see your faves (which in all honestly I sorta like) but on the other side, when you WANT to share stuff you can either repost or regram it, which I just don’t like, or you have to tweet it but still a tweet doesn’t have much reach these days like a blog post. I still find that my blog posts go the distance when it comes to shares.
Yeah, so I’m going off topic slightly… But I’m going to take you on a little Instagram Fave Friday, my debut installment, right now. Today I’m highlighting IG extraordinaire, Nectar and Stone, who is Donna-Caroline Khoo a Dessert Designer with dreams to open a cakery someday in Melbourne. All I can say is MY GOD SHE SHOULD. Support this woman, people. If you live down there and have some leads for her, or ideas, or whatever she is someone that I believe could do beautiful things with a brick and mortar bakery. What talent. And hello publishers… Book deal alert!
On IG Caroline shares the things she makes and bakes, chocolate with gold leaf! Cupcakes! Girly Smoothies! Zebra cookies! Mini ice cream cakes in cones! Ice cream-shaped cookies! I know, I’m really living it up with these exclamation marks but oh! my! so! cute!
I love what she says about her growing brand, “Nectar and Stone – it’s who I am, what I love, my passion and creativity. I tell a story each day with my designs, colours, photography, flowers and style – it’s a collection of things from my past, present and future. I’m not here to make a quick dollar – my brand is about building loyal followers who love what I do and believe in me. I encourage people to find new ideas and concepts… ” So nicely stated. Makes me want to support her even more.
Yeah, this post is going to blow my diet too.
(images nectar and stone)
Hey guys, its Kelly Brown and Holly asked me to stop in from time to time to post tours of beautiful spaces that I shoot professionally so you get to see them first. This is my debut post on decor8 so I hope that you enjoy it! I am so excited to share with you a shoot I did recently at Gracias Madre, a plant-based (vegetarian & vegan) Mexican-inspired restaurant in sunny West Hollywood, California. In my opinion, the only thing better than eating a really, really great meal, is eating it in a beautiful atmosphere. Wendy Haworth and her design team along with patio designer, Scott Shrader, have created just that at Gracias Madre. By the way, you can click on any image below for super large views to ohhh and ahhh over the details and to pin!
I visited the restaurant during a recent trip to LA and immediately fell in love with the space, not to mention the food! I couldn’t help myself but to walk around the entire restaurant checking out every inch of the space and noting all the amazing design features. Lets just say its on my “must go to” list in LA. The plantain fritters and the sopes, so delicious! Oh, and the drinks! Small batch mescals and tequila with housemade syrups, shrubs, tinctures, and bitters! Yep, I had myself a good time!
With a Mexican flare, the interior is fresh and bright, perfectly utilizing color and pattern to balance out the large space. Cozy corner nooks and an amazing outdoor patio makes you want to stay there eating and drinking all night. Its no surprise that Gracias Madre received the People’s Choice Award from The American Institute of Architect’s 10th Annual Restaurant Design Awards in Los Angeles.
Executive Chef, Chandra Gilbert and Beverage Director, Jason Eisner go above and beyond to create beautifully distinct dishes from local and organic ingredients. Here’s what they say about the restaurant: “We first conceived the idea of Gracias Madre while visiting the families of our employees in Mexico. We wanted to both; offer organic Mexican food to the communities we serve as well as honor the mothers who work tirelessly in the kitchens of Mexico and often live without their husbands and children while they work side by side with us in California. Inspired by some of the recipes of these families and the love of their mothers, Gracias Madre serves organic, farm fresh, locally sourced food, full of flavor and love.” So, what do you think? Wouldn’t you love to eat (and drink!) in this beautiful space?! I know I can’t wait to go back! -Kelly
(text/photography kelly brown)
Would you like to make some Strawberry-Layered Chocolate Cookies with me today? Hello, it’s Liz from Liz & Jewels with another episode of Food in Motion for decor8. I’ve been longing for strawberry season, and am SO happy it’s now on! My picky 4-year-old daughter happens to love them too, so we share a passion for the little sweet & red fruit. We started planting our own strawberry plants a few weeks ago in our greenhouse and it’s so much fun seeing how their pretty blossoms come out, then produce the fruit and turn into these delicous red berries. It’s even more fun to see my daughter’s eyes light up when she discovered the first berries. It was obvious we should bake something this time using our strawberries. I opted for an easy and child-friendly chocolate cookie recipe, filled with cream and strawberries and topped with a second cookie. These little delicious stacks were devoured in no time!
While I was working on the little film, I was also negotiating with a girl in California named Taylor, wrapping up the deal that she would come visit us this summer to be our AuPair for two months. We were emailing and talking through our summer plans when she told me that she was also a musician and songwriter. I asked her if she would send me some of her music, and she sent me her song „home“! I listened to it and really liked Taylor’s music! The song fit in with the theme of my film perfectly because that is exactly what I felt filming my daughter in the greenhouse and baking with me. These small things make me feel ‘home’!
Strawberry-Layered Chocolate Cookies (makes 10)
1 cup of butter
1 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, beat the butter and sift in the sugar and salt. Add flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and cocoa and mix with the electric mixer. Chop the chocolate into little pieces and add to the dough. Knead with hands, form a ball and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out to 1/6 inches thickness. Use a round cookie cutter (approx. 3 inches diameter) and cut dough into rounds. Transfer cookies to baking sheets, bake for 10-12 minutes and let cool.
Beat the cream into whip cream and put a dollop onto half of the cookies. Cut the strawberries in small pieces and place them on top of the cream. Assemble a second cookie on top, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
(images/text/video: Liz & Jewels)
It’s Liz from Liz & Jewels with another episode of Food in Motion for decor8. Last week nature exploded and brought with it a flurry of yellow flowers. All this spring air made me feel active and I decided to combine this Food in Motion episode with a recipe from my latest book and an easy pre-Easter DIY packaging idea. My daughter helped (as always!) and was eager to glue the yellow dots on the string. (Although she asked why we couldn’t use red, green and blue dots as well!) The Apricot-Marzipan-Cakes recipe seemed tailor-made for this burst of activity. They’re easy to make and when baked in little cake forms make ideal presents. Just place them in a cardboard box, wrap the dotted string around it and decorate it with some colorful feathers. And your homemade present is ready to go!
And aren’t homemade presents just the best? I think it’s great to receive gifts from friends and know that they took their precious time and prepared something just for me. That’s why my co-author Lars Wentrup and I created a book just with that topic. „Grüße aus meiner Küche“ (Greetings from my kitchen) was published this January and includes photographs by Jewels (Julia Cawley) and me. We were double-happy because we were also responsible for the complete design package and the illustrations. The book includes easy recipes, DIY-ideas and ready to copy labels. Why not welcome spring with some creativity of your own?
Apricot-Marzipan-Cakes (makes 6 little cakes)
1 cup dried apricots
1/3 cup brown rum
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup marzipan (4.4 oz)
Cut apricots into small pieces and pour the rum over the apricots. Cover with foil and stand for a few hours or over night in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 C). Mix butter and sugar with the electric mixer until well combined. Add an egg, the almonds and flour and mix. Cut the marzipan into small pieces. Add marzipan and apricots to the dough and combine with a spoon. Grease pans (or use silicone pans) and fill in the dough. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Yummy! Enjoy and we’ll see you again in April! – Liz
(images/video: liz and jewels)