Posts in Make
DIY Wallpaper Your Stairs
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is a big trend in home decorating, from Boho to Country, to Minimalist and Clean, everyone wants to bring in more plants and flowers at the moment - real, faux and through prints and patterns. Some want a ton, some like only a few. Have you thought to bring in floral and plant patterns though? For instance, through wallpaper? And in this case, add it to your staircase? Yes, wallpaper the stairs. RPS1833_STROMMA_HALLWAY_01_lowres

Why not? It really works in an old farmhouse or country home, but if you go with a more modern pattern, you can apply this look in a more modern city townhouse too. Author Selina Lake visited me this morning in celebration of her latest book, with a great tip shown in new book, , published by  I'll share more photos from the book and Selina will be back with more tips later this week but for now, here's a great project outlined by Selina that you can try at home.

Selina says, "Wallpapering the stairs is a wonderful way to bring vintage botanical pattern to a plain staircase. Rip out any old carpet and remove any tacks or nails, then sand the stairs and paint them with floor paint (I used Farrow and Ball wood primer & undercoat followed by ‘All White’ Floor paint) Gather up a collection of wallpaper offcuts or rolls of the same print for a more uniform look. Measure the top stair and cut out to size using desired paper. Attach using PVA glue or wallpaper paste, starting at the top means you can work your way down while leaving it alone so the glue will set."

That's it! Flowers on the stairs! Done! And if you want to see more, you can buy her .

(Photography by Rachel Whiting © Ryland Peters & Small)

DIY Bed Tray
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Hello everyone. How are you? Hope you had a nice weekend! I think you might agree with me, that Sunday mornings, or afternoons for that matter, feel best when spent in bed. And I don't mean sleeping, oh no! It's about having a cozy moment with a favorite book, sweet treats, magazines or a TV series watched on a laptop, while rela on soft layers of blankets and comfy pillows. Sounds very tempting, right? In case you wondered what I did yesterday, this is it - I had a little Sunday bed party with peach aperitivo, some good reads...and well yes, my camera to document it for you! The crucial item to make this moment perfect is to have a handy bed tray near you, where you can place a little plate with food, reading glasses - to be sure you don't sit on them or to place your laptop if you want to watch something. I know it's very mean to speak about lazy, bed moments on Monday but on your next lazy day, this bed tray has to be part of your morning ritual. I can guarantee you that once you have it - you will be wondering how you could have lived without it.

It is super easy to make and doesn't require advanced any carpenters skills to create it. Now that I (hopefully) convinced you to make it, let me show you how:

SUPPLIES * a 50 x 40 cm wooden plank * 2 rectangular shaped wooden sticks - 38 cm long each * very strong wood glue * sandpaper * white wood paint and black permanent marker * masking tape

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HOW TO * Start by polishing all the wooden elements with sandpaper, then rinse them with water to wash all the dust off. * Mark the area you want to paint with a masking tape then paint it. * When dry, using a black permanent pen draw little dots pattern on it. * Turn the wood upside down and glue the wooden 'legs' to it at the ends using a strong glue. * Leave the glue to dry well over the night.

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And taaa daaa! Now you can enjoy your Sunday mornings, with a breakfast in bed!

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This is my final post on cattledogs so I want to say that it's been a great pleasure to share my DIYs with such a great audience and thank you for all your lovely comments and support! I hope you will keep in touch via my blog (Passion Shake) and social media. Wishing you all a beautiful Summer! -

(Photography, DIY idea, Text, Styling: )

The Best Almond Macaroons Recipe
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Hi cattledogs readers. I thought I'd drop in this weekend to give you a lovely but super simple recipe for some extremely yummy Almond Macaroons. They are sweet, nutty, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Perfect with a cup of tea whilst having a natter with friends. I’ve always loved baking with nuts and with only a handful of ingredients required for these they hit the spot. macaroons_02

I’ve gone for this super simple recipe as by the time you are reading this I will be cuddling my new baby. As I was nearing full term and needing to shoot this, I’ve was finding it harder and harder to bend over a surface to style and photograph.  So I had to come up with something that wasn’t too elaborate but that you would all enjoy to make.

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In fact, after this post I won't be back on cattledogs so I can spend time with my new baby. But I've loved being on Holly's beautiful blog for the past 1/2 year and hope that some of you will continue to follow me on my own blog so you can meet my little one and see more recipes down the road...

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Almond Macaroons (Makes approx 20 macaroons)

Ingredients: 2 Cups ground almond meal 1 Cup granulated sugar 2 egg whites 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 1 teaspoon icing sugar 20 blanched almonds

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Method: 1. Preheat oven to 170c. Line two baking trays with baking paper. 2. In a bowl combine the almond meal, granulated sugar, egg whites and almond extract - stir until combined. 3. Roll out 20 balls of the mixture placing them about 2 inches apart on the tray and squash them down a little. TIP: I used a melon ball scoop so that I got more or less the same size balls every time. 4. Dust the macaroon with icing sugar. 5. Press one blanched almond into the top of each cookie. 6. Bake in oven for 10 mins or until the top is slightly golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack. 7. It’s as simple as that ...now enjoy with that cup of tea!

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So farewell, thank you Holly for having me, it's been wonderful! - Emma

(Photography, Recipe, Text, Images: Emma Duckworth)

Gin + Grapefruit Summer Soda Recipe

Hello everyone and hello June! This month is the start of summer and is also my birthday month. These days I’d much prefer to have a birthday drink than a birthday cake so I am sharing my go to summer drink, cheers! Rachel-Korinek-Gin-Summer-Cocktail-1

As my go to drink in the warmer months as there is nothing quite as refreshing like a cold and tart citrus spritz. I wouldn’t say that I’m the biggest fan of gin, but done right, it’s a real pleaser. After a hard day of sweating it out in the summer heat, I come home to this quick and invigorating beverage, grab a book and sit under the shade of my favorite and just listen to the birds chirp away.

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This drink can be as sophisticated or playful as you like. For quick and elegant, go with the basics and omit the fruit as the color of grapefruit soda speaks for itself. Fill your best glassware and the hard work is done.For a dash of fun at a summer BBQ, add a few of your favorite berries, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries work a treat.

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If you can’t find grapefruit soda, or find it too tart for your liking, I mix it up with blood orange soda instead. If you opt for Grapefruit juice instead of soda, you’ll need to add your preferred sweetener as grapefruit juice can quite bitter.

Ingredients: Makes 1 30ml (1oz) of your favorite Gin 250ml Grapefruit Soda* Squeeze of lemon or lime juice Summer berries and fresh mint to serve

Method: Over ice, pour the gin into a glass and top with grapefruit soda. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime, top with mint (and a few summer berries if you fancy!)

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See you in July with another fun recipe! So guys, what’s your go to drink for summer? -

*If you can’t find Grapefruit Soda, try with your favorite citrus soda instead. Blood Orange Soda is another favorite of mine!

(Text, Recipe, Styling + Photography: Rachel Korinek/.

Tonka Bean Semifreddo Recipe

Hello everyone, hope you are all enjoying the blooming spring. We’re heading into the time of the year where it is becoming rather indecent not to have a pint of ice cream hidden in the depths of the freezer for those moments when sun comes out in all its glory and all you want to do is sit outside and indulge into a frozen cream, custard or yogurt. Last year was our first summer in Switzerland and by the time June came around we were quite literally cooking, which meant banana ice cream topped with granola for breakfast and all sorts of frozen concoctions throughout the day. ana_May_02

Having a job that keeps me thinking about food almost every day, I am always on the lookout for interesting ingredients to work with. Now, for those who do not know, I happen to live in the beautiful Swiss countryside where more exotic ingredients aren’t always easy to come by, so when the lovely lady selling spices in our market procured some tonka beans, I jumped and bought them all.

Tonka bean is a curious little thing. It has a particular taste somewhere between almond and vanilla that comes even more alive once a little vanilla is added to it. There are even very delicate tobacco notes that are barely felt, but it makes for a more interesting spice altogether.

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Tonka beans work not only in sweet things where they can be baked in or just grated on top of desserts to finish them off. They are great with shellfish, though I feel a note should be made here. When it comes to vanilla undertones and shellfish the world is divided into two groups: one says they should never be seen together and the other thinks it’s like biting into a piece of heaven (when done well, of course). I belong to the latter, having tried scallops with vanilla hollandaise some four years ago and still dreaming about it to date, so I would surely recommend giving this flavur marriage a try.

If you have never worked with tonka beans on the other hand, dessert is a good place to start and a semifreddo is a wonderful way to showcase its flavor (and keep in your freezer for when the sun is out). The art of making a semifreddo is rather basic. You need to beat the eggs over a double boiler till they become light and fluffy (cooking them at the same time) and after tossing with some cream freeze completely, though it will start melting almost immediately after leaving the freezer so do take it out the last minute. I like to add a bit of crunch to my semifreddo in the form of meringues and berries for freshness, but it will taste great on its on too.

SHOPPING LIST: 2 egg yolks 1 egg 4 tbsp sugar 2 tonka beans, grated 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out 1 cup/ 250 ml Meringues (optional) 2 egg whites, room temperature pinch of salt 1/2 cup/115 g caster sugar berries to serve edible pansies, to serve (optional)

PREPARE To make the semifreddo, line a large tin (or 6 small ones) with cling film. Set aside. Place a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water with eggs, sugar, grated tonka beans and scraped vanilla seeds beating for 5-6 minutes, till thick, pale and double in volume. Take off the heat and continue to beat for a minute or two, till the bowl cools down. To speed things up, you can place the bowl over ice. In a chilled bowl beat cream till soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into eggs. Pour into tin and freeze for at least 3-4 hours.

To make the meringues, preheat the oven to 110C/ 250F. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt till stiff peaks. Gradually add the sugar beating very well after each addition. Then continue to beat till the meringue looks thick and glossy, but do not overbeat. Pipe out mini meringues on a lined sheet and bake for 1 hour. Then switch off the oven and let them cool completely.

To serve, take out the semifreddo, top with berries, meringues, pansies and serve immediately.

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Enjoy the sun and frozen treats, I will be back with another recipe on 15th June! -

(Photography, Recipe, Text: )

How To Make A Beautiful Wisteria + Iris Bouquet

Hello dear readers, I'm back with a new flower column for you to enjoy this month. I currently live in Germany, but I grew up in the Ukraine and one of my most cherished memories goes back to summer months spent with my wonderful grandma at our 'dacha', a small Russian summer house. This was our seasonal second home where we grew our own fruit, vegetables and flowers! I was outdoors the entire time helping my beloved granny plant new strawberries or potatoes. Luckily, my grandma loved flowers as much as I did and so together we planted peonies, daisies and my favorite, irises. In fact, I think it was her who instilled a passion for flowers in me. ana_May_02

There was no better feeling than to go home with a bucket full of strawberries or a bouquet of peonies. When my mother and I moved to Germany, my granny visited and brought a few from our dacha. She also planted peonies. With this background you might better understand my love of flowers an why I am really looking forward to share this special arrangement with you today fresh from the garden.

Anastasia Benko for cattledogs

Anastasia Benko for cattledogs

Anastasia Benko for cattledogs

Anastasia Benko for cattledogs

I instantly knew that I wanted to design a centerpiece around wisteria, this pale violet wonder, so that was my starting point. I focused on white and lavender tones to create a balanced look and started collecting flowers from the garden and the nearby forest (like the wild garlic & wild chervil). If you wish to make this kind of arrangement at home, you will need: RECIPE: a vase chicken wire pliers - to cut the wire tape - to fix the wire to the vase clean and sharp garden shears

FLOWERS: Iris Wisteria Wild Chervil Wild Garlic Columbine Roses Spiraea

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Once I got home, I prepared the vase and put in some chicken wire and fresh water. If the vase you are using is not deep enough, you can fix the chicken wire with clear tape to vase so you have a solid ground to work with.

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I started with the wisteria because those were the biggest pieces in the arrangement and because they are fairly heavy so they needed to be fixed in place first. As you can see, I put the branches in all the corners of the arrangement. Not only does that provide balance, but it also gives a structure to the centerpiece. Because the wisteria has very woody stems, I clipped up the center from the bottom of each so the stem could absorb enough water. Also, make sure to cut each flower stem before placing into water since this helps to preserve the beauty of the flowers longer. Step by step I added the Spiraea. Once I had a full clustered base I added the Iris. This time I wanted the focal flowers to be in the middle, so the main actors can be seen at first glance.

To add an interesting touch, I placed columbines, wild garlic and wild chervil in lots of layers which added a beautiful depth to the arrangement and a loose, casual feeling. The last flowers I added were a few roses, just because they were blooming too and I couldn’t resist their cute faces. In the end you can see how the various shades of white and the purple-toned flowers highlight the beauty of the white Iris. They become a loose and airy frame to this pale and elegant beauty and make the eye wander from flower to flower.

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I hope you enjoyed walking virtually with me through our yard and the nearby forest and making this arrangement with me. I will be enjoying every second of this arrangement and will see you in June with a new flower column. -

(Photography, Text, Styling: . Editor: Holly Becker)