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Springing into Picnic Season

As the sun shines a bit brighter, the wattle blooms and electric blankets and ugg boots get stored away for another 6 months or so, we know that Spring is in the air (and our steps).

It’s one of my favourite seasons in Sydney. Not too hot, but not freezing. Beautiful blue skies and fresh air. So, as we begin to come out of that winter hibernation we might start to think about spending lots more time outside. Whether that means dinner on the back deck, heading to the beach or planning a few picnics in the park.

Al Fresco Style!

Don’t you agree that food always tastes a bit better when we dine al fresco? (apart from when you get actual sand in your sandwich, then…not so much!) There is something quite special about this time of year in Oz. 

Now, obviously I’m not Nigella or Donna Hay so quite often when I get a picnic together it’s nothing more that shoving a bit of cheese between two slices of bread, dragging the picnic rug (and kids) to the park and calling it a day. But when I have a bit more time, energy and inclination, I have been known to put a bit more effort into picnicking (is that even a real verb?).  

So, if you’re feeling inspired to get your picnic on,  here are a few favourite recipes to add to your repertoire…

Recipes to try...

Roasted Pumpkin

+ Feta Salad

Chop up some pumpkin in to about 2 cm cubes and roast in the oven with a bit of crushed garlic and olive oil. Meanwhile, add some baby spinach, chopped spring onion, fresh herbs of your choice, cucumber and avocado to a salad bowl. Once the pumpkin has finished roasting, throw it on top of the salad. Top with crumbled Feta (I like the marinated feta as the marinade acts as a dressing). Then to finish, sprinkle toasted pine nuts on top. Yum!

The Ultimate Sandwich

In my opinion nothing is nicer than a fresh baguette with gooey brie and juicy ripe tomatoes, crunchy lettuce and if you want to add some delicious ham, then a trip to the polish deli in Roseville is well worth the trip… Simple and delicious




Gorgeous Guacamole

Grab some Avocados: The riper, the better.

Diced red onion, Coriander, Jalapeño (Or you can use serrano pepper instead), Lime juice – Freshly-squeezed, Sea Salt, Ground cumin, Diced tomatoes (Optional). First mash your avocados.  Add them to a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork or spoon until they reach your desired consistency. (I like mine slightly chunky, not completely smooth.) Mix in the remaining ingredients: Add in the onion, coriander, jalapeño (or serrano), lime juice, salt, cumin, and tomatoes (if using) and stir until combined. Give the mixture a taste, and season with extra salt if needed. Serve with some chopped up veggies or corn chips.




Something Sweet

Brownies (They also happen to be gluten free) – 225 g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), 225 g butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 200 grams caster sugar, 3 large eggs (beaten), 150 grams ground almonds, 100 grams chopped walnuts. (Or if you’re not keen on walnuts you can replace them with frozen raspberries).  First preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/gas mark 3/325ºF. Melt the chocolate and butter gently over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan. Take the pan off the heat, mix in the vanilla and sugar, and let it cool a little. Beat the eggs into the pan along with the ground almonds and chopped walnuts (or if using frozen raspberries gently mix then in at the end). Turn into a 24cm / 9 inch square baking tin. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. The top will have set but the mixture will still be gooey. Once cooler, cut carefully, four down, four across, into 16 squares. Enjoy with some raspberries or strawberries.

Cheers!

 If you like a nice glass of sparkling rose then I can highly recommend 2018 JODIE WILBERTREE. From Lowe Wines in Mudgee. Perfect for a spring or summer picnic with friends



 

No Single Use Plastic
No Single Use Plastic here...

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Spotlight on… Watercolour Workshops

If you’ve been in store lately and enquired about our Watercolour Workshops, you may have noticed the look of excitement in our eyes at the mere mention.
 
This is because after 5 months of hosting some fabulous workshoppers with the very talented Elizabeth Sullivan, we sincerely enjoy this workshop in particular.
 

Our collaboration with Elizabeth Sullivan began when we were introduced by a mutual friend who knew about our plans to start Find + Form and she thought that Elizabeth’s art might work well in our store. And so the conversations began…….

After a few chats and emails Elizabeth kindly invited us to her light filled studio. We were blown away by the work Elizabeth creates, so much so that we broached the question of whether she would consider collaborating with us on one of our creative workshop ideas. Lucky for us she said yes, and the Introduction to Watercolour workshops hosted by Find + Form were born.

One of the beautiful aspects of Elizabeth’s workshops is that you don’t have to have any experience and you won’t be expected to labour over your work until you create an exact rendition of a still life. Rather, you’ll be encouraged to unlock your creativity as you build layers of your abstract piece. Elizabeth’s warm personality shines through as she walks you through a number or watercolour techniques and after a few practice brush strokes you’ll be raring to go.

Elizabeth’s creativity and passion for colour, pattern and texture shines through in her work. Elizabeth uses many mediums in her work. From watercolour to acrylic through to embellishing her work with stitching, she has used a variety of techniques and processes that results in her own unique style and artistic language.

Drawing inspiration from the world around us Elizabeth’s work is influenced by her travels, a love of pattern, flora and fauna, the sea and the mountains. Her artworks endeavour to engage a sensory reaction by telling a story through layers of paint and mixed media, adding texture and tactility. She generously imparts her passion, skill and knowledge in the workshops that she hosts. We are confident that after a few hours in one of Elizabeth’s workshops you’ll feel more relaxed and connected to your creative self.

We love following Elizabeth’s journey on social media. She is a prolific artist who gives us a daily dose of colourful creativity in our feed. So, If you don’t already follow her on Instagram, check her out @elizabethsullivanart and if you feel inspired to join us for one of her workshops you can click here to learn more…

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Gift Giving Dilemmas

Mindful Gifting this Festive Season

Like the vast majority of people I know, giving a well chosen gift to a loved one is a joyful thing to do. But, as the festive season gathers pace and we are bombarded with so many ads about all things shopping and spending, it can feel like there’s pressure to buy things just for the sake of it. There are so many massive companies with marketing budgets to match who are doing their best to get us to part with our cash without a second thought. However, many of the people I talk to about this pressure to spend spend spend are actively trying to move away from mindless consumerism. Personally I think that’s a great thing…..

Now I’m not necessarily suggesting that we forgo gift giving altogether (well I would say that right?!?!) I’m just advocating a more mindful approach to gifting.  We’ve noticed that our customers like to be more informed about where their products come from and how they are made. Here at Find + Form we are huge fans of that approach to shopping and gifting at all times of the year.  We know the names of the makers and designers of all our products. We know everything we stock is made or designed by an Australian creative and we know everything we stock is made with love and care. Plus, we are pretty sure someone somewhere in Australia does a little happy dance each time one of their products finds a new home.

For us, it was important to avoid the mass produced and disposable (dare I say junk). Of course we realise that our aesthetic is not for everyone, but what we do know for sure is that everything we stock has a story, it’s made to be treasured and it was carefully chosen by us to form part of a curated collection of gifts and homewares.
If that resonates with you, but you’re not sure how to go about selecting something special for someone special, we’ve put together a few collections which might inspire you.

Of course you may want to avoid giving “stuff” altogether and perhaps you’ve decided to focus on giving experiences this year. Well, we can help with that too. We will be hosting small workshops in our Roseville store, starting with a Sew Your Own Tote Bag workshop in January. We have many other creative workshops planned for the new year too. Such as, water colour, flower arranging and jewellery making to name a few. Keep an eye on our website for new workshop dates or sign up to our newsletter to hear about what’s new in store.

We hope that the our curated collection of gifts and homewares will delight the recipients and we know for a fact that every time you come in to our shop we are delighted to see you, so pop in and say Hi any time.

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Finding + Forming

What a journey it has been so far. 

We have gone from dreaming about working for ourselves over a few glasses of wine to launching our new business Find + Form. After meeting at the school gate when our boys were in the same class we discovered that we had a fair amount in common, we both have 2 boys, we were both at the stage in life were the kids were settled in school so we had more time to focus on our own careers + we both wanted to work for ourselves. On top of all that, we were both planning renovations to our homes + through sharing design ideas + shopping for light fittings we found a shared love of making, creating, shopping + interiors. 

Oh + did I mention we are both married to blokes called Mark. (different Marks – we are NOT sister wives just for the record!)

Find and Form Lauren and Jo
Us enjoying this beautiful city we live in

It started wth a few casual chats when we talked about the fact there must be something we could do that would feed our creativity but also (hopefully) generate an income. As the chats became more frequent they also became more serious, we formed a few ideas, rolled them around + found the concept. 

Find + Form – A place where you can find beautiful Australian designed + formed products to fill your home. A place where you can find new creative skills and form something with your own hand.

After a few months of plotting and planning we told a few trusted friends + family members about our idea + most seemed to say go for it, or words to that effect. So we did go for it.  We started to source beautiful (in our opinion anyway) products made by talented Australian designers + makers. We started to come up with workshop ideas + even trialed a few workshops with some brave friends. We started to think about marketing, business plans, cash flow projections, and a million other things too. 

We have loved the process so far + I wont lie, its been a steep learning curve. No doubt  we will continue to learn along the way and we’d love to have you with us. So if you are looking for a creative outlet, if you want to learn a new skill, if you love discovering unique things for your home or to give as gifts or if you are a creative who wants to share your products or skills with other like minded people…..please come along for the ride.

Jo and Lauren

Find + Form