This is not a book review…

Goddess & the Galaxy Boy

Even though in the future I would like to post about books I’m reading and hear about what other people love book-wise, this post can’t be my review of this book because…this book is no longer for sale in your local bookstore. And if I go ahead and tell you how amazing and atmospheric and quintessentially Australian this book is, then you’ll get really angry at me because you can’t just go out grab it for yourself. However, to soothe your rising anger, please know that if you like books about fate, love, disappointment, hope, and the open road of adventure, then you are welcome to borrow my copy if you promise to take care of it, or I’ve also found ONE copy on eBay (I love you eBay).

Anyway, that’s the end of the “non-review” portion of this post, let me get on with what I actually want to say…

Ingrid Woodrow: see her name right there on the cover? I used to work with her, she was a sub-editor at the same company in which I am a graphic designer. She left the company a couple of weeks ago to pursue some greener pastures, but on her last day we were making jokes about googling her replacement to see what sort of person she is (FYI, she is absolutely lovely). And, as we were kidding around, I went ahead and googled Ingrid.

And, there it was. This gorgeous book that she wrote 10 years ago, that was published by Text Publishing and nominated for a Vogel award. Isn’t that amazing? She’d never said a word, in all the months we’d worked with her.

She left that afternoon for good, but the next day a package arrived at work for me, and inside was the book, AUTOGRAPHED by the author. I was absolutely thrilled and have spent the last week or so devouring Goddess and the Galaxy Boy. It’s really, really good, I do advise you to buy that eBay copy.

My point is this: isn’t it just the best thing when the people in your life are so talented, when they surprise and delight you with their creativity and their accomplishments? It makes me feel so happy and proud and inspired to know these types of people.

So go ahead and google the people you love, and maybe even people you’ve only just met. Don’t be a stalker, but you might just discover something wonderful!

xx

Does YOUR storage solution come with breasts?

Just wanted to quickly share this weird and wonderful piece I picked up while on our op-shopping adventure last weekend.

I’ve been trying to find a way to display/store/untangle my enormous amount of impractical and shiny necklaces, and I had originally decided on buying a dressmaker’s dummy. But, by god those things are expensive. The cheapest one I found was $100, with $30 for shipping. The really fancy ones can cost as much as a small car. And since it will be about 60 years before I am advanced enough in my sewing to require a dummy (yes, I’m still making bows) I knew I couldn’t justify the expense.

So imagine my excitement when Shaun spotted this tall drink of water in Lifeline, complete with…genitalia?

Yvette the wirette

Anyway, it doesn’t matter that she has a wire vagina, I love her and she is perfect for all of my necklaces….

George cat investigates

Covered in pretty things

And down below...

I’m going to call her Yvette the Wirette.

I’d love to know how other people arrange their jewellery/store their crap?

Have a lovely Friday! xx

Dance because...it's Wednesday

I saw the Shout Out Louds live at No Years at the Brisbane Powerhouse just as the clock struck midnight to ring in this amazing, weird, surreal, wonderful year. As the weather heats up again and the year quickly draws to a close, this song always makes me feel like dancing.

Happy Wednesday!

Discovering what’s right in front of your face…and your suburb

Because my boyfriend and I both live and work in West End (and because we no longer have a car as my car is a death trap), we very rarely venture outside the sweet ‘End community. And there’s no need to, really. West End has everything, from boutiques to op-shops, from burger joints to fine dining. And it has lots of bars that serve cider so…there you go.

But, on those rare occasions that we do poke our heads out, it’s always nice to discover other little communities that also offer a bit of everything and that have the same relaxed feeling as West End.

And that’s exactly what we found on Saturday morning when we went on a quick adventure to Woolloongabba with our dear friends Robert and Alf. I wanted to show you a few pictures I took on the day because we discovered some cute places and I know you would prefer cute things to look at than me talk, talk, talking away…

Rainy, rainy day

To begin with, you should know that it was a very rainy and chilly day in Brisbane on Saturday (even though we are well into spring!) and so our main priorities were to stay dry and warm, and eat some sort of bacon-products.

Gillian's Garden Cafe

Shaun at Gillian's

ZOMG AVOCADO

The french do waterbottles better

I would like all the cake for breakfast please

Enchanted garden

We discovered Gillian’s Garden Cafe completely by accident after the nearby Egg Bistro didn’t have any room to seat us 4 starving wanderers. But hurrah, Gillians was amazing! It’s a plant nursery combined with an antiques store coupled with a cafe and since those are three of my favourite things I was pretty damn happy. I loved the fairy lights hanging in the outdoor garden cafe, the tempting table of desserts, the live canary singing as we ate our ridiculously delicious breakfast (I had avocado on toast with mushroom ragout, basil hollaindaise and a poached egg) and the necklace that I bought at the antique store once I had eaten all of the delicious breakfast.

Then, it was on to a little bit of vintage and op-shopping window shopping.

Add Vintage

Our first stop was AddVintage, a treasure trove of antique furniture and collectibles run by the loveliest husband and wife. I was totally enchanted by the layout of the store, the way they had colour co-ordinated all the pieces together. I wish I had taken more photos but the “green” area will have to do…

addVintage green

Now take that idea and apply it to every colour in the rainbow and you’ll have an idea of what a heavenly place this is.

Then, we took a quick little trip over to the Woolloongabba Antiques Centre, one of my favourite vintage spots in Brisbane, where I used all of my mighty willpower to not buy anything. (OK, I bought my boyfriend a birthday present, but that was a selfless act).

Woolloongabba Antiques Centre

Our final stop on our close-to-home-not-that-adventurous adventure was to to the Lifelife furniture superstore on Vulture Street. Here, as we walked through the maze of chairs, dressers, and knick-knacks, we all decided that it was essential that we had daybeds in our house for vintage-style relaxing and fainting spells.

Room of beds, Lifeline

Yes, the above photo does look like a bedroom in an insane asylum in the 1930s, but honestly, if you are in the market for furniture and you don’t mind pre-loved, I would highly recommend a visit to this Lifeline. The prices are reasonable and the quality is usually pretty good.

A perfect rainy day in Woolloongabba, I’m excited to go back there and check out more of the cafes and vintage/antique stores! Lucky it’s only a 15 minute walk from West End…

xx

With love fine wedding stationery

With love fine wedding stationery

Another wedding post! I’m not married and I’m not even planning a wedding…but I do so love a good party and all the pretty things that come along with it.

Which brings me to my very clever friend Jackie. We went to design college together and even then, when we were just learning, I remember being really jealous of her clean, feminine style. She’s honed that style down to a fine art over the years and now she creates the most gorgeous sets of wedding stationery.

She’s also got a very pretty blog where she shares all the best wedding things she can find, including personal stories from her very happy clients.

http://www.withloveweddings.com.au/collection/eco-care/blooming-lovely.html

But how does it become a cake?

Magical cake

I’m not very good in the kitchen.

Oh, I’m a passable dinner-cooker because it can be pretty easy. You can leave things to “simmer”, you can chuck in herbs that the recipe doesn’t call for because it “feels right”. You can make scrambled eggs in the microwave if everything fails. 

But where I really fail in an embarassing way is baking. BAKING? I’m awful. It’s too precise, it takes concentration and a diligent reading and following of a recipe. It’s SCIENTIFIC. I’m usually better at eating the results of baking.

But when I found this ridiculously simple recipe for sponge cake on Allrecipes, I felt confident I could handle it. After all, it only has 3 ingredients. How can it become a cake with only 3 ingredients, you ask? I have no idea, I believe this cake in particular does not subscribe to the laws of this world and travels into the realms of sorcery. Or maybe all sponge cakes are only made with 3 ingredients. I don’t know, this is my first sponge cake. As you will see below.

OK, you will need:

Sponge cake. Getting started

  • 3 eggs
  • 125g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 90g (3/4 cup) self-raising flour (I think this is too much flour, see below, but you make up your own mind)
  • An oven that is preheated to 190 C

Crack the eggs into a big bowl. Measure out the caster sugar (and remember, caster sugar and normal sugar are not the same thing. Apparently. Hmm…is it just a scam to get us all to buy more things? No, they really are different).

Mix all of that together.

Sponge cake. The mixening

Now, measure out your flour. This recipe calls for 3/4 of a cup of self-raising flour (again, not the same as plain flour. So ANNOYING!) so go ahead and start with tht amount but pour it into your bowl mixture bit by bit, folding it in as you go and checking the consistency. 3/4 of a cup seemed to make my sponge cake really dry and heavy and made me really want to add some mik but I thought it would be a carinal baking sin to diverge from the recipe.

Also remember to taste your batter. Because it is so delicious!

Sponge cake. Baking!

Now you can pour your batter into a greased tray or one lined with baking paper, then into your preheated oven for around 20-25 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back lightly when touched. 

Remember, a sponge cake is more delicate than other cakes, so don’t go doing that thing where you stick your knife into the cake to see if it comes out clean. It will just leave a great big hole in the top of what would have been a perfect sponge cake and you will have to artfully use a strawberry to cover up your silly mistake.

Sponge cake. Decorations

Anyway, take it out of the oven when it’s ready and leave it to cool. Then, do whatever you want to it. Cover it in icing. Cut it in half and fill it with things. Cut it into weird shapes and make cakes from the Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook (DO YOU REMEMBER??)

Then, you just go ahead and eat it. And marvel at the mystery of how 3 ingredients can create a whole delicious cake!

My cousin’s wedding

In August this year, my dear cousin Sarah married her love Justin in what is being universally acknowledged as the most gorgeous vintage wedding ever. Today, all those happy memories were brought back to me when Sarah let me know that the wedding has been featured on ruffledblog.com…including the wedding invitations I designed for them!!!

Wedding invites designed by Caitlin Gahan

Creating these invitations was one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever undertaken as a graphic designer. I would dearly love to be a talented illustrator or  artist, but in my normal work I would say I am more of a “marketing designer”, and  doing something so illustrative was very difficult but totally rewarding.

And the hard work I put into the invites was NOTHING compared to Sarah and Justin putting their whole heart and soul into their gorgeous wedding. If you click through to blog post, you’ll see the incredible amount of detail and thoughtfulness that went into this wedding. Plus some very awkward photos of me excitedly dancing, hula hooping and generally being sweaty. As below.

Excited hula hooping

All photos by Jonathon Ong

Behold, my first craft…

As I said in this post, I’m determined to learn to sew and become a better crafter this year, and on Friday the first piece of the puzzle arrived in my letterbox. This teeny, tiny little sewing machine!

Teensy sewing machine

It’s the size of a handbag, and I don’t think it is the best quality (a couple of bits fell off as soon as I took it out of the box, I am calling them “non-essential), but it only cost $30 on eBay and I’m reluctant to make an investment in a proper (read: expensive) sewing machine until I feel more confident (and I have $300-$500 lying around).

I also downloaded this wonderful sewing e-course and the first project is an adorable little bow that is perfect for adorning hair, bags, shirts, necks, arms, whathaveyou.

The course advises novice sewers to do a “mock up” of any project with muslin first so you can iron out the kinks of a project before you go ahead with the pretty material and they are absolutely right! My muslin bow was a mess, rife with unfinished, drunkenly veering stitches and loose threads! But doing this pre-sew sew taught me a lot of things about my new machine and made me feel really confident when it came to sewing with my lreal material.

My first real try was with this lovely coral pink material that was actually from the back of a pillowcase.

Tickled pink with this bow

From there, I believe it is fair to say that I went bow mad. I loved making these little things as they allow me to feel a great sense of achievement while I just play around on my new machine!

All of this madness culminated yesterday in me cutting up one of my skirts (which I must admit, I bought for the pattern rather than the cut anyway) and making it into a glorious bow headband!!!

Take a bow

It’s a little floppier than I would like, and the band itself is just an extra piece of skirt material that I’ve sewn the bow onto, but honestly…I couldn’t be happier that I am wearing something that I actually created!

The next project in the e-course is making a tote bag. And I’ve just ordered this vintage fabric online so I think I’ll use that…

Vintage fabric

But I’d better make a few more bows first, just to get things exactly right…

Embracing colour!   I’ve always been a “monochrome” girl, but lately I’m trying to be a bit more colourful. As well as these bright pink jeans, I have a sky blue pair and there’s a tomato red pair winging their way to me right now from Asos. Best of all, I already own all the black and white tops I need to complement this bevy of rainbow bottoms. I’ll slowly work my way up to colour-blocking. Perhaps.

Embracing colour! I’ve always been a “monochrome” girl, but lately I’m trying to be a bit more colourful. As well as these bright pink jeans, I have a sky blue pair and there’s a tomato red pair winging their way to me right now from Asos. Best of all, I already own all the black and white tops I need to complement this bevy of rainbow bottoms. I’ll slowly work my way up to colour-blocking. Perhaps.

My favourite blogs

I know I’m a bit late to blogging, but that’s because I was already behind when it came to blogs in general. I knew they existed, but I felt a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount out there. How could I keep track of them all, how could I find the ones that were right for me, why should I care?  It wasn’t until I discovered sites like Bloglovin’ that I really fell in love with blogs and blogging. Checking my Bloglovin’ account is the first thing I do when I get to work in the morning (sometimes it’s the first thing I do when I wake up, but let’s try not to analyse that, ok?) and I’m constantly inspired and overjoyed by the things I find. It’s always nice to be reminded that people can be so clever, so stylish, so brave and innovative, so crafty and diligent. Yep, blogs instill some sort of “What a wonderful world” feeling in me, I feel ok about it.

Here are 3 of my favourites:

Image from The Sartorialist

The Sartorialist: I don’t know if I can add anything to the conversation about just how brilliant Scott Schuman is as a photographer. His eye for street style, whether it be at high-end fashion shows or on any random corner around the world, just blows me away. So…I guess that is all I’ll say. Except that the dress above is actually the dress of my dreams and if anyone recognises the style or knows where I could find something like this, I will kiss you on your face. 

http://www.thesartorialist.com/

A Beautiful Mess

A Beautiful Mess: Filled with colour, easy DIYs, amazing outfit posts and stories of love, parties and family, Elsie Larson’s blog is always one I look out for. Elsie and her sister Emma and her best friend Rachel (just sneaking a couple of other favourite blogs in there) run a vintage clothing store in Missouri called Red Velvet and though it is far, far away from Brisbane, Queensland I dream of going there one day and shopping myself to poverty.

http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/

Vintage Lover

Vintage Lover: I actually went to high school with Jaharn from Vintage Lover, and now she is living in London I am always a keen reader of her very fashionable blog. She’s an expert op-shopper, she knows how to put together an outfit like almost no-one else and she does it all with an emphasis on buying smart, rather than just slavishly following trends.

http://www.iamvintagelover.com/blog

Of course, there are LOTS more blogs that I love, but I don’t want you to have to read through an encyclopedia of fashion blogs when our friendship is so new. I’ll try to post more favourites as time goes on if you like!

Thanks for reading! x