Sunday, February 28, 2010

In the Window

(image via flickr)

Oh, how we dream of having a little store made of bricks and mortar. Just the other week I was doing a bit of sorting and came across a notebook from many years ago where I had made a few dreamy sketches – a visualisation, something to plan, something to look forward to. And even now our business is born, and growing, and teaching, and changing, the little store of our dreams still looks uncannily like that one in my sketches.

It has a little scalloped awning out the front, an oversized painted door, floor to ceiling glass windows. It’s walls are hung with ladders of gorgeous gift wrap. Colourful ribbons spill from their spools just waiting to be touched, measured, perfectly matched. Boxes and bags in every imaginable colour are stacked in pretty rows according to their hue. Neat piles of the most beautiful invitations seek to be a part of a special celebration. There is a cosy lounge where customers, our friends, flip through our favourite books and mags for inspiration. It is modern and fresh, but at the same time nostalgic. We serve cupcakes daily. There are, of course, pretty garlands dancing from the ceiling. Oh and a permanent lolly buffet!!

If you ever see a little store (preferably in Brisbane) that might one day look like this, be sure to let us know.

In the meantime, we will pretend this space is our floor to ceiling glass window and invite you to press your nose up against it anytime to see what’s in the store.

Back tomorrow with our first peek In the Window.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pillow fight!

Isn't this just the most perfect space to throw a little super-stylish pyjama party? Two lucky little boys are moving in here and their clever Mum is no doubt hoping the space will be used for something much calmer - mmmm, like sleeping perhaps. Anyone for popcorn?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Real Hip Hooray: A little birdie turns one

When this little Lala bird flew into our store last year, she immediately captured the attention and hearts of our customers and ever since has spent her time flitting to homes all over the country. Mine was one of those hearts captured by her simplicity and sweetness and so, inspired by the colour palette of red, pink and chocolate, I set about creating `an afternoon of sweet tweets' for friends and family to celebrate the first birthday of the littlest birdie in our nest, Zoe.

I have been promising our customers this post for far too long now - so for those of you with a little Lala bird party already in the planning or those of you seeking inspiration for a theme that is unique and adorable all at once, settle in and enjoy!

For the littlies -

Birds Nests (an absolute hit! I will share the recipe for you in another post)
Worms in dirt
Baby birds (mini cupcakes with simple birdie features

The sweets buffet -

Raspberry Friands
Caramel Tarts
Chocolate fudge brownies
Individual berry trifles
Individual Tiramisu
Chocolate-dipped strawberries
Hazelnut meringue sticks

All made with love in our kitchen

Drinks -

Lemon iced tea
Pink party punch (with three girls, we pull this one out at every party!)
Bubbles and Beer
Hot chocolate shots

A little Lala bird onesie for the birthday girl complete with polka dots and heart-shaped button eye.

That cake - inspired by this one and made by my oh-so-clever Mum, who always denies she is capable and then takes my breath away. There was tears! Oh and just because I'm a details girl, can you guess what the cake was on the inside? Mmmm - hummingbird!

Repurposing an already existing shelving unit as a background for the dessert buffet - simply move contents away - or to the shelves below eye level - and fill the cubes with elements to style up the party.

Separate dessert buffets for adults and children - adults often outnumber kids at a First birthday party and it is nice to honour grown-up guests with something other than fairy bread and cheerios (although I know we all secretly love that about children's birthday parties!)

Framing the invitation as decor - a mini masterpiece!

Incorporating photographs of the birthday girl as a baby and with her sisters into the buffet display.

Homemade bird softies as favours for Zoe's little friends too young for sweets.

Take-home lolly bags for the adults too - yes, it really is all about us!

Party drinks served in clear vessels - a nice touch of colour.

Mini hot chocolate shots in pink polka dot espresso cups - a simple, fun way to warm up!
A creativity table to keep kids of all ages busy with bird-inspired colouring pages, collage and ornament making using feathers, love hearts, flowers, beads, bells, paint and sequins.

One Little Lala Bird invitations and tags by Alannah Rose Designer Stationery at Details, details! Similar designs using this motif and colour scheme are available for Baby Showers and other parties, so the one-year-old is optional for this party theme!

Zoe's outfit by Little Choopie (onesie) and Oobi Baby (skirt).

Birdcage paper cutouts by Little Retreats (Etsy). I mounted these onto painted canvases to create artwork.

Beautiful wooden tree at Hart & Heim - now a lovely addition to Zoe's woodland nursery

Pattern for sewing fabric birds from Spool

Bird's nests (holding labels) from Prior Engagement

Happy Birthday and Bird Garlands and Bird tags used as labels - all by Paperklip Design at Details, details!

Personalised Cupcake toppers from Details, details!

Chocolate take-out boxes as children's favours from Details, details!

Sweets from Tom's Confectionery Warehouse (jaffas, jelly bellies, strawberries and cream, milk bottles, musk sticks, maltesers, strawberry and chocolate bon bons, mini musks) and Coles (red gummi love hearts, marshmallows and cute gummi toadstools!)

Vintage-inspired name print (with `Sweet Tweets' table) from Sarah + Abraham

Wrapping paper as table runners from Details, details!

Paper lanterns from Details, details!

I have had such fun remembering this party - but I do wish that my baby bird would stay little just a bit longer. March officially marks the start of Party Planning 2010, so to officially archive the parties of 2009 we will be bring you more great details from these celebrations over coming days.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A little bricks and mortar . . . . .

So it's been a busy week digging for those surfaces, but you (and my hubby!) might be pleased to know they have emerged from beneath their makeshift blankets of colour and are back in all their orderly, calm (but slightly boring!) glory. Funnily, the kids are not keen on sitting back at the Dining Room table after their forced stint at the Breakfast bench. Might have something to do with a better view of the T.V.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by to see us at Mathilda’s Market in Brisbane last Saturday – it is really such great fun to step out of our `studio and warehouse’ (read: computer desk and garage) and feel like we have a little piece of bricks and mortar for just one day. Despite very little sleep the night before, we always seem to come home refreshed by the sheer pleasure of meeting and chatting with customers and imparting a little party inspiration while we’re at it. So much more fun to play `this goes with that’ in person than it is behind this computer screen.

We loved the vibe of the new venue with its majestic weeping willows, sweeping lawns, red brickwork, exposed beams and snippets of Brisbane racing history in every corner.

We were quite the busy bees setting up stall and adding a few sweet touches to the entrances and so our photography is lacking a little, but here’s a few snaps of our stall and decorations.

Ribbon garlands, packaging pretties and Little Laundry garland (by Paperklip for Details, details!)

Paper chains and goodie bags (instore soon)

Our garland of vintage-inspired lace and ribbons adorns the garden

Giant paper pinwheels and paper chains strung across the many archways

And try as we might to keep our spending hands tucked in our pockets at this gorgeous market, for fear of spending everything we earn, we couldn’t resist grabbing a couple of things from these Mathilda’s newcomers . . . .

A pretty pleated top for Zoe from Don’t Tell Mamma

This fun and funky t-shirt for Campbell from Electric Boy

Did you find something wonderful at Mathilda's Market?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Desperately Seeking Surfaces

Last time I looked I was the proud owner of a kitchen benchtop, a dining table, a coffee table, a hall buffet and several other horizontal surfaces. Today they have all disappeared under a mountain of pretty paper, colourful ribbons, spools of twine and printed labels!

It's Mathilda's Market week and our households are buzzing with excitement, punctuated randomly with moments of complete chaos. We know we are not alone and love hearing from other market friends that they, too, are madly crafting their way towards this weekend. Will be nice to catch up with clever ladies Jo, Helen and Anna, Melinda, Carla, Trudi and Sharon.

Here's a little sneak peek of our pretty new ribbon garlands in lots of yummy flavours available for the first time at Mathilda's:

We are also honoured to be doing a little venue decorating again. Haven't seen the new digs yet so fingers crossed our little plan comes together.

If you are close to Brisbane on Saturday, please do come visit. It would make us happy.

P.S. My husband would quite like to see those missing surfaces soon - just quietly, I'm a little bit partial to the piles of pretty things lying around. Sshhhh!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Any excuse

Don't you agree any excuse to celebrate life and love is a good excuse? Any excuse to hold on a little tighter, dance together in the kitchen while the kids giggle at us or sneak in an extra smooch is a good excuse. And any excuse to maybe bake a little something sweet and get a little creative in the gift-giving department is definitely a good excuse. Critics may holler about commercialism and hype but we say bring on Valentine's Day! Here's a few adorable (and mostly downloadable!) projects we found to help you celebrate this weekend with your loved ones in style.

Treat bags from Twig and Thistle. Head over here to download artwork for free.

Candy-filled heart cones from Martha Stewart. Instructions can be found here

Candy bar wrappers from Creature Comforts. Free download over here.

Lollipop Heart Flowers from Martha Stewart. Head over here for instructions

Message garlands from Whisker Graphics.

We love her ideas for cute places to hang them!
You can download them for free over here.

Handmade heart doilies from Martha Stewart. Get crafting with these instructions.

Little matchbox valentines from inchmark. Follow the way to download templates here.

Hanging crayon hearts from Martha Stewart. Create your own with these instructions.

Adorable Valentine's packaging set from marialunate on Etsy.