i found my new favorite brunch spot... farmshop. all it really takes to make a place special to me is an outstanding french toast. ever since we moved back to southern california i have longed the amaretto french toast at cafe bernardo in sacramento. a thick brioche bread, filled with some kind of insanely tasty almond paste, and served with toasted almonds and maple syrup... it is to die for. we recently went to farmshop, and of course, i had to order the french toast... and in a place like this (they don't post prices on the menu) it didn't disappoint. 
served with macerated strawberries, pistachios, creme fraiche, and hobbs bacon. unbelievable. i swear i have been having dreams about it ever since. i have to say that the bacon was a nice touch. to add a little salty component cuts the sweetness of the french toast and maple and doesn't let your palette get overwhelmed. 

we also ordered the berries with local honey... 
which were as entertaining as they were delicious.
i am just glad i don't have the courage to try to make this at home. i'm afraid if i could even come close, i would never leave the house. 


baby announcement

i just finished this sea themed baby announcement. each is printed  from the original piece with sea creature details made with a mix of with hand embroidery, fabric applique, pinhole art and hand painting.  

detail of coral inspired art...
a little hand painted seahorse give a message from the proud parents.

a little crab peeks out of the envelope welcoming the new baby.
the envelope liner is polka dotted with french knots.


ocean inspiration

i have been collecting sea inspired images for inspiration for an upcoming birth announcement. there are so many beautiful pieces of art modeled after the sea or sea life that it is astonishing. here are a few of my favorites from...

melissa hirsch makes beautiful sea life from... of all things... fishing line. what gorgeous intricacy. 

joana vasconcelos wraps cotton crocheted lace around hand made sea creatures (and other creatures) giving them a delicate and elegant barnacle like covering.

helle jorgensen makes amazing sea creatures from pretty much anything. recycled plastic bags, paper, reclaimed wool. incredible.

and jessica polka... beautiful crocheted sea animals, with awesome vintage specimen tags. brilliant. 


in the details...

i have always been a lover of tiny things. i love details and small intricacies. it might be because my vision is better up close, but i can't help but remember that i have been this way since i was small myself. i used to string seed beads without a needle, because i was too young to have one. i always made the food for my dollhouse, complete with miniature plates and side dishes. it is ingrained in me. 

with my eyes always on the look out for details, i found rue in a friends garden. a petite little yellow flower with endless details, tiny feathery petals, delicate stamen, and texture galore. plenty to appreciate up close.



my felted flower barrettes are now at bloume baby manhattan beach!


baby love

how beautiful is this line of baby clothing from ketiketas. so simple and breezy for summer. the beautiful neutral colors allow your baby's beauty to shine. i want one of each!



i made a cake for a friends birthday last night. let me just tell you... it was awesome. i am not usually one to toot my own horn, but you need to understand this. i am not a baker. don't get me wrong, i love to bake, but cakes are not my forte. anyone who has been to either of e's birthday parties can attest to this. her first cake... neat looking, not great. her second cake... the frosting was great. the cake, practically inedible. it tasted like dry bread. horrible. i can make a simple cookie recipe, seven layer bars or brownies from a box... things that are easily accomplished. but the cake i made last night was completely from scratch, and it was awesome. so, the recipe. after searching my favorite recipe sources... epicurious, cannelle et vanille, i opted for the basic version of "birthday cake" from cooks illustrated the best recipe.
i would love to say that this is my cake. its not. i wish i had gotten a picture of my cake but... i used this for inspiration. i modified the recipe to make 3 layers, so the cake was nice and tall. i added little flags like these, made with linen and neutral colors of ribbon with little pops of green. 

classic white layer cake 

1 C milk, room temperature
3/4 C egg whites, room temperature
2 t almond extract (i used all vanilla)
1 t vanilla extract
2 1/4 C plain cake flour (i used all purpose flour)
1 3/4 C sugar
4 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1. adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350. generously grease two 9 inch cake pans cover bottom of pans with parchment rounds and grease and flour pans.

2. pour milk, egg whites and extracts into a 2 C glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.

3. mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer at low speed. add butter; continue to beat at a low speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery ingredients remaining.

4. add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. return mixer to medium speed and beat 20 seconds longer.

5. divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans; using rubber spatula spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops. bake 23-25 minutes.

6. let cakes rest in pans for 3 minutes. loosen from sides of pan with a knife, and invert onto greased cake racks. let cool completely about 1 1/2 hours. 

for the assembly, the book suggested using a butter frosting along with a jam filling... which i did, but found it cloying. my recommendation would be to go with the jam, i used raspberry, but use a swiss meringue icing instead of the butter frosting.

i LOVE this swiss meringue recipe. it makes such an amazing icing... beautifully white, and shiny. just gorgeous, and not too sweet. 

on the first cake layer, spread about a half of a cup of frosting over the top. spread about a third of a cup of jam over the frosting and top with the second layer. spread frosting over top and sides of cake. 


silver leaf botanical tray

may's diy project for design*sponge is a silver leafed tray with a soft botanical image. click here for the full tutorial.


pool patterns

something beautiful happens when the sun shines into a swimming pool. a random pattern appears that is a gorgeous monochromatic mix of lights and darks. i especially love a tiled pool, with the tiny square mosaic tiles adding their own geometric pattern to the sinuous lines from the reflection of the sun on the waters surface. makes me think of summer.