Monday, 26 November 2012


Karin Eriksson is the artist behind Manos, the ceramics shop and workshop we managed to visit, almost by chance, on our trip to Stockholm.

We had already come across the video showing her work a few months before that. The video exquisitely shows the delicate creative process as well as the effort and dedication that Karin invests in each of her pieces. We were so lucky to see her wonderful creations up-close.

We'll leave you with the video, worth dedicating six minutes of your time to watch it :)

When you're passionate about your work, you can see it in the results and in the smile you start each working day with.

Have a nice week!


Friday, 16 November 2012

DIY coasters

You might remember around this time last year we wrote a post about how to sew your own beautiful apple-shaped coasters. If sewing isn't your bag, maybe painting and spray-painting are. We recently stumbled across this lovely DIY on Penelope & Pip which shows you how to make colour-blocked coasters.

Basic wooden coasters seem quite easy to find in the shops or even charity shops and this is the perfect way to jazz them up for your own home or even to give as a gift. There's some big event coming up at the end of December, might be handy for that.

You can find the How-To for this over on Poppytalk where it was featured in a very nice Zine. We recommend taking a flick through it for other interesting ideas.

You will need:

wooden coasters
paint suitable for wood (in several or just one colour)
gold spraypaint
clear varnish
masking tape
a brush 
some paint containers

Method (see the Zine for pictures to go with these instructions):

1. Place masking tape diagonally across each coaster then paint one half of the coaster with the colour of your choice.
2. Once dry, paint on a second layer to make it more durable.
3. Once the second layer is dry, place the masking tape over the part you just painted so that you can spray the other half of the coaster gold. Make sure the first half is completely dry otherwise the paint will come off with the masking tape.
4. Spray away! You can also spray the underside of the coaster.
5. Once dry, cover the coasters with some clear varnish to make them nice and hardy.

They don't seem too tricky or time-consuming and look great. Will you be giving these a go?


Friday, 9 November 2012

Easy peasy chocolate cake

We were in birthday celebration mode not too long ago and as we all know a good birthday isn't complete without a cake. This time we decided to forget about calorie-counting and treated ourselves to a chocolate feast, mmm.

This cake is extremely easy to prepare and turns out really nice, moist and has finger-licking icing to boot. Let's just say it's one of those recipes that has to be shared for the good of humanity :)

Easy peasy chocolate cake

I based the recipe on this one from Rachel Manley:

For the cake:

225g/8oz plain flour (sifted)
350g/12½oz golden caster sugar
85g/3oz cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 free-range eggs
250ml/9fl oz whole milk
125ml/4½fl oz sunflower oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
250ml/9fl oz boiling water

For the chocolate icing:
200g/7oz dark chocolate* (or dark chocolate with orange for an irresistible flavour combo, although it affects the texture a bit)
200ml/7fl oz double cream

To make the icing, heat the chocolate and cream in a saucepan. Stir it over a low heat until the chocolate melts. Then leave it to cool for 1 hour, or until thick enough to spread over the cake.

Now it's time to start on the cake. Place all of the cake ingredients, except the boiling water, into a large mixing bowl and mix or beat the mixture until smooth and well combined. Add the boiling water to the mixture, a little at a time, until smooth (the cake mixture will now be very liquid). Pour the cake batter into the greased cake tin and bake in the oven at 180ºC for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely, still in its tin, before icing (and please use all of the icing, try to resist the temptation to eat it before the cake is ready...).

The original recipe divides the batter into two sandwich tins so you can put icing in the middle too. It might require a little more effort but would make the cake very tasty.

Et voilà! All you have to do now is enjoy it!


Monday, 5 November 2012

Taking stock of Stockholm

In our last post we mentioned that we were going to Stockholm, well...we’re back and we had a great time! There was plenty to see and do - some of you might have caught a few snippets of our trip on Instagram here and here.

We went to the Royal Palace, Fotografiska (a really nice photography museum), the modern art museum - Moderna Museet (spent a lot of time in the shop making tricky decisions about the Andy Warhol posters), Vasa Museet (museum about a huge warship that sank in 1628 and was salvaged in 1961 almost fully intact) and we also went to the Skansen museum and zoo (to learn about life in Sweden through the ages, and to see moose :) at the same time).

Skansen museum and zoo
Of course no trip to Stockholm would be complete without visiting a few shops so when we weren't being culture vultures, we were perusing Monki, Cheap Monday, Urban Outfitters, DesignTorget and other more independent and second-hand shops.

We ate kanelbulle (a kind of cinnamon bun), meatballs, pickled herring (surprisingly tasty), smoked salmon, and had a few drinks too...but not too many because we might have broken the budget otherwise.

We also went to Urban Deli (nice for drinks and food) and a very nice place nearby called Parlans for the most delicious handmade caramels in lovely 40's style surroundings.

Urban Deli
We walked along Södermalm, listened to live music, went on a boat trip and all in all we had a ball.

Thank you Stockholm!

Carla and Olga
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