Recipe: Strawberry Cakes in Glasses

Hello everyone, it's Liz here for my monthly recipe and this time, it's all about Strawberry cakes with a slight twist - these are in a glass! If I had a wish, I’d want a strawberry field in my backyard. Or my front garden, I wouldn’t care actually. It should just BE there for the summer. After the season is over, it could disappear again. Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up and walk across your own strawberry field in your pyjamas, eating a ton of berries even before breakfast? In reality, I only have three plants in my greenhouse — it’s a start, I know, and I’ll keep on dreaming!

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But for now, let’s use these beautiful red berries to create something delicious! The local strawberry season is slowly ending here in our part of Germany and the public picking fields are closing, which I noticed with sadness. So isn’t it time to celebrate this strawberry summer? Strangely enough, I never see strawberries baked INTO cakes in bakeries here. What you find are cakes topped with fresh fruit and held together with jelly or pudding, but how come they are never baked into the dough? I thought, why not give it a try, and so I made these strawberry cakes in little glasses. First I thought it probably wouldn’t work too well, but it turned out to be really delicious. The glasses would also make great desserts for a stand-up summer party. So try these cakes and enjoy.

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Strawberry Cakes
(makes 6 little cakes in glasses)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
7 tablespoons of butter, softened ( some more for glasses)
3/4 cups of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 egg
1/2 cups of milk
a handful of strawberries, hulled and cut into halves (or smaller)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter 6 little glasses. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a second bowl mix the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zests and beat in the egg and the milk. Slowly mix in the flour. Place some strawberries on the bottom of the glasses and pour batter over them. Drop some more strawberries into the glasses and fill up with batter until 3/4 filled. Bake for approx. 35 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown.

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Enjoy! See you next month with another recipe - .

(photos, recipe, text: )

Watercolor Art Prints From Copenhagen

I love art that isn't generic, you know like those typical framed prints everyone buys from big box stores, I find them boring. Before you call me a snob, I confess that I used to have them all over my apartment when I was living alone because back then, Etsy didn't exist and it was really hard to find nice prints of original works from artists that were affordable or even easy to find. And hey, NO JUDGEMENT if you still buy art at big home stores - to each his own. Though as your trusty decorating friends, I want to give you a little push to check into buying more art prints because they are everywhere online these days and they are really, really good! SilkeBonde_10

We've come a long way with art these days because you can find beautiful work nearly everywhere online and shop direct from artists or a middleman who sells their work. This provides endless opportunities for decorating enthusiasts. Not only can you get affordable work (prints are wayyyy less expensive than original works so I have lots of prints personally), but often stuff that no one else has and if you are supporting an artist so they can continue doing what they love.

I found recently the new "Looking closer" collection of 6 watercolor art prints made by hand by Copenhagen-based designer and artist, , and fell in love. They range in size between 70 x 50 cm and 100 x 70 cm and retail between 89-98€, so like I said, affordable. About the collection Silke says, "The use of blue and green tones characterizes the northern nature and it’s color palette. The collection is made with watercolors to match the organic shapes which you will find in the nature. It is a minimalistic collection with a mix of straight lines and organic shapes."

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Lucky for us all, she ships worldwide so you can buy anything that you see directly from her .

(Photos and styling by the German-based .

Home Tour: Colorful Nostalgic Family Space
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Are you ready for a colorful, lovely family home tour with a hint of nostalgia? Good! Hey everyone, it’s Holly Marder back again with another beautiful interior to share. And boy, do I think you’re going to love this home! Guida, who is Portuguese, and her Dutch husband Bas reside in a waterfront row house dating back to the early 1900's with their two sons Tomás and Emílio. Against a characteristic backdrop boasting solid oak floors and original architectural period detail’s, Guida’s style weaves vintage, industrial and modern items with daring lashes of color throughout resulting in a home that is bold yet calm, collected yet clean.

In search of a home that would comfortably accommodate their growing family, Bas and Guida found their dream house close to the town center of Delft, The Netherlands. “We knew immediately that this would be our home because of the space the house offered and the peaceful views of the boats passing by the front window,” Guida says.

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The double entry way leading into an unusually large ground floor made this home unique to others they had seen in the area. Portuguese tiles contrast with clean white walls, setting the style tone to the rest of the house beyond a wide, glass-paneled door.

The house needed little work to make it home, though the couple broke through one wall to create a light and spacious open living and dining area and removed old carpeting from the upper floors and stairs, giving them a fresh coat of paint.

It’s about creating a space surrounded with things we love. For me, the house lives with us. It’s like a living creature because it changes and gets old with all of us.
— Guida

 

Inspired by the thrill of the chase and the harmonious connection between vintage and modern, Guida fills her home with treasures both old and new. “I love both old “forgotten” pieces as well as new design,” Guida says. “I love the idea of giving new life to objects and living with them and their stories.” Guida regularly hits antique markets, vintage shops and small interior design boutiques in search of pieces that will add character and a sense of nostalgia to her home. “I just love searching for something in particular and that feeling of suddenly discovering, among all other things, that little special green vase!” Guida draws her inspiration from interiors magazines and blogs, but doesn’t decorate according to a specific style, rather selects pieces that make an instant connection.

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The first item the couple purchased after buying their home was the rosewood high board in their living room. “It has changed place three times and now the living room revolves around it.” The living room is decorated with items purchased at various vintage shops throughout Holland.

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Some of the couple’s favorite pieces include the vitrine cupboard, a lucky find on Marktplaats (a sorta Dutch version of Craigslist in the US) that is home to tableware and extra storage space that the adjacent kitchen was unable to provide.

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Next to the vitrine cupboard, a vintage drinks trolley is used to display a collection of self made and vintage ceramic vases in shades of cream and blush. Above it, there is a vibrant screen printed painting in lashings of bold color.

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The dining table, chairs (upholstered in vibrant green fabric from ) and wooden pendant were purchased at , a favorite interiors boutique in the Hague. The vintage kilim rug was brought back from a vacation in Marrakech.

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The primarily white backdrop aside, Guida is experimental with color and has fun injecting bold hues into her home, though the decision making process and the eventual leap often takes months before a particular shade is introduced. “Before deciding on a color I have to be sure. Sometimes the idea is there but deciding takes time,” Guida explains. The kitchen - put in place by the property’s former owners - was given an exciting new look last summer. Guida chose a Bordeaux red, painting the cupboards, ceiling and walls to a very pleasing result. “At that time we were watching which has beautiful scenarios with inspiring color palettes and I started to imagine the house in all various different color combinations. I’m still doing it!”.

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Upstairs, the children’s bedrooms were inspired by favorite brands and . The couple’s oldest son Tomás enjoys a large string system (not shown) offering ample storage space and an integrated desk for doing homework. Bursts of muted color and a fun selection of vintage accessories makes this room a fun and inspiring escape for the 7-year-old.

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Next door, little Emílio’s bedroom is a calming space featuring pale yellow walls and an emerald green painted vintage bed.

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The master bedroom features high ceilings and large sash windows with views onto the adjacent waterway. A soothing palette of whites and soft pinks makes this room a quite retreat for Bas and Guida. Many of the pieces in our home have been found around in shops, markets and internet. “You have to give it time, patience and dedicate a lot of time to the search,” Guida says. “I love the search, it’s like a treasure hunt. It’s a passion of mine to find pieces that will stay with us for years to come.”

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Comfortably eclectic and effortlessly chic, Guida has created a beautiful nest filled with items dear to her heart. Above all, she has created an inspiring epicenter around which her family and social lives revolve.

Home is a cozy, lucid place where our family and friends come together. It is an extension of myself when I’m there all alone.
— Guida

With an acute eye for vintage and an innate ability to weave decades of design styles together, decorating her home has been an absolute joy for Guida.

So guys, what did you think? What were some of your favorite things about this home? I always love to read your comments below. I’d have to say my favorite things about this home (though this is a tough one because I adore every single thing from floor to ceiling) is the fabulous artwork and subtle details throughout, like that collection of vases on the drinks trolley. I love a lady with style! See you here again next month for my August home tour -

(Photography, words and styling for cattledogs: , Avenue Lifestyle)

Great Pose Ideas For Portrait Photography
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If you want to take better photos of yourself or of others, then you need to know your camera but also your poses and angles. Every great photographer has signature poses that they use again and again that work beautifully for their clients. They often create a certain signature to their look this way. Interior photographers also have similar angles and ways they work with objects as they shoot to give their work a certain mood and when not with a stylist, many photographers style their own interiors "posing" objects in ways that look the best through their lens. poses1

With a small son, I'm always taking photos of him but recently noticed that I've been taking less and less and I wondered why... Then it dawned on me that I'm bored with my angles and poses - and also that he simply cannot be posed at his age so I have to rely more on creativity and on trying new things. If you have children or even shoot for your job, photograph products for your online shop, or are looking for new approaches for your Instagram feed it's a great idea tostart a Pinterest board where you pin poses that you like (if you are interested in taking better photos of others or yourself). For objects, products, etc. you can start a board that is only for pinning rooms and things. Look for photos that have a certain mood that you're going for, were shot at angles you like, or pictures that have something else special about them that you'd like to experiment with for your own work. Perhaps it's the focal length or lighting. As you pin, certain patterns will emerge that you'll pick up on after about 15-20 pins.

I started looking earlier today and instantly thought of new ideas for photographing my son and also for some scenes I'll be shooting for my 4th book which is underway.

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It's a good idea to use Pinterest to make you a more creative person instead of just aimlessly pinning and dreaming about the perfect life that often Pinterest seems to give the impression of -- that everyone is skinny, lives in a gorgeous home and eats beautiful food. Use Pinterest for something positive - to jump start your creativity, to improve a skill, to inspire you to do something for yourself that makes you happy, and further develop your photography skills, don't you agree?

Photography: , , , , , , , , , .

 

Monday Mood Boards Instagram Challenge
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Hey everyone, I hope you're just peachy and enjoying summer. I'm on my way out the door for the day for some spa time and then, park time with my little boy, but first I simply must share a new creative project that I've launched on that you can participate in called #cattledogsmonday. I recently decided that I needed to use Instagram to connect more with others and to challenge myself more. I miss those days on Flickr when there were so many fun groups to participate in. Nowadays, it can seem like you're pumping out content and getting nothing in return, but with hashtag projects you can gather people together and have a genuine sense of friendship while also challenging each other to be creative each week and share what's inspiring you visually. Social media needs to be a little give and take to keep you inspired, right?  That is why I started a weekly mood board challenge on Instagram called #cattledogsmonday, and it kicks off each Monday because that's the day when most people feel the flattest creatively speaking. cattledogsmondayproject

Mood boards have been part of my life since childhood. I plastered favorite things all over my door or part of my bedroom wall, or inside of albums composed of stickers, posters, Polaroid's and pretty papers that I collected from Japan. Then there was my school locker - I loved to decorate it with favorite papers and things. When I got my own first apartment, my fridge door was different each week with new images and photos that inspired me. One of my first jobs was working at a modeling agency in Boston and in my office, I created a giant floor to ceiling mood board of favorite top models and fashion labels. Later, I worked on many mood boards alongside interior designers and architects during my corporate years. When I went back to school for design, they were some of my favorite things to make in school and later, for my clients. I've made, shown and detailed how mood boards aid in the creative process in each of the three design books I've authored. I even taught mood board workshops at Anthropologie stores across America and in London in 2011. For the past 6 years, I've been using mood boarding as a teaching technique with my students to help them find their personal style and vision for a project.

Mood boards have been a part of my life since childhood. I'm sure many of you can trace back to earlier days when you were also collaging and sharing your favorite things visually on some surface, whether that be a scrapbook, wall, locker door, refrigerator or the back of your door in your college dorm.

I personally love seeing my favorite things collaged together for a quick burst of inspiration. It makes me feel more creative. It allows me to visually explain what's in my head when words don't work. They are my non-painter's art work, I guess. A form of self expression that has always come very naturally for many of us. They keep me inspired and on track, help me to plan and execute projects of all types, from books to decorating my home, and I use them as a sort of mind mapping exercise because I'm highly visual.

They help me to find my way back to intentions and goals during times when I lose steam or veer off course.

Beyond how I've benefited, I've witnessed first hand how mood boards help others. When students make them, their instant reaction is usually, "This was an extremely helpful exercise, I finally feel like I finally found my style!". Mood boards help us to pull together ideas in a more cohesive way in order to make sense of the many ideas floating around in our head. When perusing online seeing a million different visual inspirations, it's easy to forget what you really are connecting to on a personal level. You can easily lose your way and lots of times, not even know what you like anymore because you're so saturated in images. Although that doesn't sound like a terrible problem to have, it can be if you need to decorate a bedroom, plan your wedding or rebrand your website since honing in on what you love is the only way to make good decisions.

Mood boards provide clarity.

If you're on Instagram, I invite you to take part in my weekly mood board challenge. All you need to do is upload a photo that you take on Monday (or any day that week) and hashtag it #cattledogsmonday so everyone can see what you've posted. It's a great way to meet new like-minded friends. Try to make a new one each week and photograph it in natural daylight (no flash). Also, please make it by hand, no digital collages or photo grids, etc. Your mood board should simply show what is inspiring you this week. It can show anything from magazine pages or personal photos, fabric swatches, ribbons, papers, whatever! You can lay everything out on a table and shoot downward or pin or tape to a wall and photograph straight on. You can participate weekly, just once, biweekly, it's up to you! The only rule is that you do not post unrelated photos using our hashtag, so please no spam!

I hope to see you over on IG! I'll be posting my weekly mood board on soon, mine from last week is shown above when I was into green, plants and beachy blues. I can't wait to see what is inspiring you this week.

#cattledogsmonday - spread the word!

(Photo: Holly Becker)

Before & After Entry With Superfront

I'm excited to share the big before and after reveal of how our project with * came out for the entry, which is perfect if you're looking to update your mud room or entry with a stylish storage solution. Organization doesn't have to be ugly! But first, if you don't know who Superfront is, they're a Swedish firm that specializes in designing and making gorgeous quality doors, hardware, sides, legs and tops for Metod and Besta IKEA cabinets. Everything is designed in Sweden and made there, too. They also ship their legs and handles worldwide, with the rest of their products shipping throughout Scandinavia and Europe, so there is no reason not to check them out. If you're like me, and you like IKEA but don't want your IKEA stuff to look like everyone else's, I highly suggest working with Superfront to elevate your Metod and Besta cabinetry. I'm all about customization and making something mainstream into a more personal style statement. Superfront04

In fact, Superfront can be seen on the pages of magazines like Elle Decoration for this very reason - people are using their products to breath new, stylish life to IKEA cabinets. You can customize your entire kitchen, office, sideboard or entry cabinet for maximum impact. Superfront has many colors to choose from, lots of different legs and a lovely selection of hardware. You can see a little glimpse above of how I pimped my Besta, but would you like to see the big before and after reveal, where I turned a depressing corner with white wood chip wallpaper and a lonely gray cabinet into a statement making entry?

Okay here's the big before and after reveal below. First though, let me lay a few things straight because it's not where I want it to be yet (the decorating part). I want to install a large mirror above the cabinet to reflect light from the facing windows (that you can't see) from the adjacent dining room. That alone will REALLY brighten the entry, which has no windows (only doors leading to other rooms). I also want to add a medium-size plant to the top of the cabinet (far left) and switch out the paper and bamboo pendant light currently installed for a large gold brass light. I haven't found the perfect one yet, so I've been holding off... But the search is on. I also need a new lamp for the cabinet but I can't find the right one so this is also a work in progress. I honestly find lighting such a hard thing to buy, not because there is no selection but because there is such a massive selection and often too much choice paralyzes me.

As for the cabinet, I'm 100% in love with it! It's perfect and I'll tell you why below because there is drama behind every pretty photo.

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What we were up against:

In the before photo, there was a radiator on the wall that we had professionally removed since the entry doesn't require a heater - it stays warm enough in the winter. I also hated looking at the ugly thing and knew that once it was out of the picture, I could put a big unit against this wall for storage. Thing is, once we removed it, we had all of those giant metal pipes and things sticking out of the wall. We couldn't remove those, we are renters, so I was having a "moment" when I saw these 4 metal pipes sticking out of the wall. That's why I knew I had to get a cabinet that was high enough to cover them but no so precious that I wouldn't mind drilling through the back of it to fit the pipes through into the cabinet.

Yeah I know, crazy stuff you don't think of until AFTER a radiator was removed.

While in discussion about what to put on the wall to replace the radiator and the gray wood cabinet, we had the walls stripped and then had our Aimee Wilder wallpaper installed. Once that was up, I really started to see a cabinet on this wall that would take up nearly the entire width of it that had a little glamorous edge to it. I didn't want a sideboard that was standard sideboard size (low) because my little boy who would be constantly opening and closing the doors and grabbing our keys and things off of the top. I wanted high cabinets with high hardware so he can't reach up to open the cabinets until he's old enough to know better! And that would drive me crazy so whatever I bought needed to be safe and childproof.

I also couldn't have a wall-mounted floating piece because the walls wouldn't support it since the house is 114 years old. Legs were needed, but not any kind of leg since the floors are super uneven since they are as old as the house. I know, right... So much to think about for a cabinet!

Oh yeah, we desperately needed storage. This old apartment, and well homes and apartments in Germany in general, never have closets. It was the strangest thing to me when I first relocated here 6 years ago, but now I totally love it because you can decide where to put your closet by having a freestanding one. We need to store shoes, mittens, hats, scarves, handbags -- everything you need in an entry before you run outdoors. We go outside each day, we live in the city, and take our little one to the nearby forest and playgrounds. This means we were in need of storage but I didn't want my entry to look like a cluttered mess yet we genuinely use everything we keep in our entry and I wasn't going to compromise style for storage. I knew I could somehow have both. The IKEA Besta cabinet I went with has 3 units, so one for each member of our little family of 3, and 3 shelves in each though you can add more if you'd like.

What we went with:

We decided on a white cabinet because I wanted the room to be light and bright and also didn't want to distract from the bold wallpaper. I selected the front because it goes best with the pattern of pineapple. I selected the brass handles, round, to mimic the shape of the fruit and also to pick up the gold a little. For the legs, I originally ordered the Captains legs, but they not only made the unit too tall but with the uneven floors, it kept teetering back and forth and because the walls are weak, I can't secure the cabinet to the wall. The legs were the most difficult part to finalize. In the end, we went with the  because they are low, super stable and they are understated and the shape complements the pineapples and hardware on the doors. They also were the easiest to adjust to the height of the floor.

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Here's our recipe from IKEA for the sideboard as shown:

  • 60x40X128 , White, 3
  • 56x36, 9, , white,

Here's the recipe from Superfront for my sideboard as shown:

  • for two sides, 8 mm, Super White, 1
  • , 8 mm, Super White, 2
  •  , Illusion, Super White, Left hung door, 2
  • , Illusion, Super White, Right hung door, 1
  • , Brass, 3
  • , Super White, 6

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Misc. items in this space:  Hemp Rug is from Armadillo, Tweetable Birdcage designed by Alessandro Dubini from , Ceramic jar pineapple from , Pina Sola (in Spinx) Wallpaper by , Gray from IKEA, Shoes are Swedish Hasbeens in Natural, by Teresa Esgaio is limited edition from AUPrints and the frame is from IKEA.

Do you like it? What do you think?

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Superfront —a brand I've been personally using in my home and have tested quite thoroughly. All content, ideas, photography and words are my own.