Featured: Floral Inspired Bridal Shower

November 23rd, 2014

Hey guys! I hope you have enjoyed the weekend and are ready for a productive and inspiring week ahead! To kick start the week, I have another styled editorial to share with you. A few months back I teamed up with photographer Anouschka Rokebrand and food stylist Ajda Mehmet on something a little different, a styled a bridal shower inspiration session. I gathered together a handful of lovely ladies to model for us and brought together an event that was all about fun and flowers, using the prettiest of props and the freshest of florals. The results are every bit as lovely as I was hoping they would be, and seeing them feature on the pages of Style Me Pretty makes my heart sing.

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 7.45.51 PM

A little bit about this shoot: When Anouschka asked to create a bridal shower styled shoot, my first thoughts were that it had to be fun with a fresh and feminine theme fit for a group of gorgeous girls to enjoy together. It had to have a joyous feel to it because bridal showers are all about celebrating love and happiness, right? I decided early on that flowers would be the inspiration behind the shoot and as most showers come with an activity for the attendees to get involved in, that activity would be a floral wreath/headband making workshop. I wanted to create an event where the bride-to-be’s closest friends could gather together in celebration of the imminent nuptials by creating a fresh flower crown. To make it as ‘real’ as possible, I also coached the models on how to make a floral headband so they could be photographed actually making one and wearing it afterwards.

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

The shoot took place in my studio which, being a large white and mostly empty space {or at least it was when I emptied it!}, was deemed the perfect setting for it’s gorgeous natural light. I puzzled for a while about where to host the shoot, and when I narrowed my needs down to a space that was a) large enough to host a group that included 6 models, a stylist, food stylist, photographer and assistant; b) flexile enough to be able to create a workshop setting in; and c)overflowing with natural light, I realized the perfect location wear right under my nose: my home studio. As we are renovating I had a LOT of work to do to make the space ready on time but it’s always good to give yourself a deadline and it certainly worked! I wanted the images to be fresh and bright, and the studio offered everything we needed {check!}, plus we could use my kitchen which was a big bonus.

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

The setting was organic, natural, light, feminine and whimsical. Pretty and ever-so-slightly utilitarian. The primary elements used to convey this included wood, terra-cotta, linen and cotton. The table – a piece of multiplex wood sitting on top of a pair of wooden trestle legs – was lined with terra-cotta pots filled with fresh cut flowers and herbs for the girls to use for their crowns.

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

Everything the attendees needed to create their own fresh flower headband was set out for them at their own personal workstation. Each station included a pair of scissors, florist wire and tape, a custom-made note to write to the bride-to-be and a paint dipped pencil. Flowers were within easy ready on the centre of the table, while cafe lights {the lights we draped over our wedding tables back in May!} were suspended from wooden beams above the table added a touch of romance to the setting.

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

My favourite feature on the table was the note and paint dipped pencil. Such a charming token to leave behind for the bride-to-be! I can also see something like this on a wedding table for the bride and groom to collect after their big day and put into an album or have made into a book. Why didn’t I think of that?! All of the stationary, including these notes, the tags on the gift boxes you see below, invitations and menu were made by Stijlvolle Trouwkaarten, which highlighted the organic aesthetic that I wanted to give the entire event. Simplistic yet classic with natural elements and a nod to the wreath. The gift boxes were created simply using little brass topped glass jars filled with flower bulbs and finished off with twine and a sprig of the most lovely fresh flower vine and a name tag.

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

After a productive workshop, the bride-to-be and her leading ladies sipped Prosecco and feasted a STUNNING spread of food created and styled by the talented Ajda Mehmet. I had invited Ajda to stay over the night before the shoot so she could do all the food prep in advance and not worry about travel time getting in the way of things, and she was up until about 1:30 in the morning baking layer after layer of cake as we only had one baking tin the right size, while I was finishing off some painting and cleaning in the studio! We both worked so hard to get the studio and everything for the shoot ready on time.

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand / Food Styling: Ajda Mehmet

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand / Food Styling: Ajda Mehmet

Look at that cake! Trust me when I say this, it was every bit as delicious and it was beautiful. Proof? A room full of 10 women fell silent as everyone took their first bite, followed by gasps of happiness and then a series of compliments for Ajda’s baking skills. I was pretty much ready to capture her and keep her forever had it not been for the sweet pup she had to get home to! Luckily for me, I got to enjoy her baking once more when we did our Orchard shoot last month.

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand / Food Styling: Ajda Mehmet

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand / Flatware: Hélène Millot Furnishings

Keen to know what was on that food table? The menu consisted of the following:

A salad of foraged flowers and leafy greens // Goats cheese, honey and mint blinis // Artichoke, pear and parma ham tartlets // Balsamic and mint soaked grilled aubergine on crusty ciabata // Flat peach cake with vanilla and sage cream cheese icing.

A beautiful bridal shower menu naturally needs to be enjoyed with gorgeous tableware, so I had gorgeous flatware and glasses sent over from London by the lovely Katherine at Hélène Millot Furnishings, which were almost too pretty to use. But we did use them of course because the food, cake and prosecco were waiting!

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand / Stationary: Stijlvolle Trouwkaarten

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

Floral Inspired Bridal Shower Inspiration // Styling and creative direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand

A big thank you to all of the lovely ladies who modeled for us – Donata, Imke, Jennifer {pictured above, who assisted with the floral prep and modeled our Wildflower shoot in the summer}, Maxime, Pei-Ching and Sanne – and our amazing assistant Jessica who must have run up and down about a thousand steps that day fetching and carrying things from the kitchen to the studio and back again. You all did a brilliant job! And of course an extra special thank you to Ajda for the wonderfully styled food table and Anouschka for capturing everything so beautifully as usual!

What do you guys think? I’d love to read your thoughts. If you’d like to see more images, be sure to read the feature over on Style Me Pretty and find out how to make your own floral wreath! I also posted a floral headband how-to a while back, which you can read about here.

Enjoy your week and I’ll be back soon with a bright and cheerful house tour.

Holly x

Credits: Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand / Styling & Creative Direction: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle} / Food Styling: Ajda Mehmet / Assistance: Jessica Van Der Liende / Floral Assistance: Jennifer Laarman / Table Linens, Wooden Boards & Chairs: Dille & Kamille / Hay Kitchen Scissors & Marble Tray: Hay Amsterdam / Stationary: Stijlvolle Trouwkaarten / Cafe Lights: Allekabels / Wooden Side Plates: Verterra Dinnerware / Glass, Flatware & Sideplates: Hélène Millot Furnishings

Madam Stoltz / Deens Giveaway Winners!

November 17th, 2014

The giveaway I’ve been running to win a lovely piece from the Madam Stoltz A/W ’14 collection courtesy of Scandi interiors webshop Deens.nl has come to a close and I’m excited to announce the winners!

madam stolz giveaway winners

Congratulations to Liubou, who won the wooden salad bowl from the kitchen collection, Valentina who won the copper wire basket, and Katerina who won the black candleholder! I hope you enjoy your lovely new items as much as I have enjoyed making this giveaway possible. Please send an email to holly@avenuelifestyle.com with your full name and postal address as soon as possible so Deens.nl can get your prize off to you.

Thanks to all who entered this giveaway, and to Deens.nl who made it possible!

Holly x

Yvestown Winter Fair Workshop

November 17th, 2014

Hey guys! Excited to announce another workshop I’ll be giving at the end of the month. This time, I’m heading to Belgium for the gorgeous home of Yvonne of the blog Yvestown for the Yvestown Winter Fair to host a creative Christmas gift wrapping workshop. During a fun and interactive day I will show attendees how to wrap their Christmas gifts in style using the prettiest of fabrics as well as fresh and dried flowers and foliage!

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Bring along any gifts or cards from home that you’d like to wrap, items purchased at the fair you’ll be giving to a special somebody, or simply have fun practicing your wrapping skills with the props I will have on hand!

The workshop fee is €7,50 which includes all materials you’ll be using to wrap your gifts. The workshop will be open all day for you to come and join in. It is open for all and is meant to be fun and inspiring!

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/wildflowers

There will be a bunch of charming market stalls run by creative folk selling their lovely handmade products for you to buy. There will certainly be choice enough for you to tick off the Christmas shopping list!

Apart from me, there will be workshops by MUSwerkMaandagDaandagEllen Vesters and Wood & Wool Stool’s daughter, Pippa.

There will be festive market stalls by TwinklebirdEline PellinkhofStella by RosaWood & Wool StoolByPetraSilly Old SuitcaseMondaysMilk and by miinti.

It’s set to be a magical day filled with twinkling fairy lights, lovely food, excellent company, creative workshops and beautiful products. Plus, part of Yvonne’s beautify home will be open for you to hang out in. 

EVENT DETAILS

Sunday, 30 November 2014 / 11:00 – 17:00

Lepelstraat 81, Lommel, Belgium

Find out more about the event here

Hope to see some of you there! If you’re planning on coming, do let me know and I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for you.

Holly x

// Image 1 by Holly Marder; Image 2 by Anouschka Rokebrand

Orchard to Kitchen: A Fall Inspiration Shoot

November 14th, 2014

Fall is a wonderful time of year to get amongst the orchards at harvest time to pluck some crunchy goodness to take home and turn into something warm and sweet. All too often we forget to soak up these simple pleasures. So today I thought I’d take you from the orchards of De Olmenhorst into food stylist Ajda Mehmet‘s kitchen with a collection of dreamy, fall inspired images snapped by the awesome Anouschka Rokebrand, as part of a styled session we collaborated on recently. And the best bit? It comes with a gorgeous recipe for you that I demand that you try this weekend. Seriously.

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

This shoot was all about celebrating the very best of harvest time in the fall, the crispness in the air, the appreciation of life’s simple pleasures, the perfection of imperfection. That sense of nostalgia that hits when you take the first bite of an age-old apple crumble, all conjured up in a beautiful set of images. The familiar, captured simplistically, yet beautifully and full of emotion.

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

From the beautiful orchards of De Olmenthorst near Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a basket full of freshly plucked loot was brought into the kitchen and turned into a classic apple and pear crumble infused with fresh flavours.

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

Apple Pear Crumble with Orange and Rosemary

Serves 6-8

For the filling

Juice and zest of half an orange
3 large elstar apples, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes
2 large pears, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes
50g salted butter
1 tbsp salted caramel or dulche de leche
50g soft light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Large sprig of rosemary

For the crumble

200g plain flour
100g salted butter, diced into 1cm cubes
100g soft light brown sugar
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
50g dark chocolate drops

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Starting with the filling, add all of the ingredients into a wide pan and place on a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Remove the sprig of rosemary, tip the mixture into an ovenproof pie dish (approx 7”x10”) and set aside.

To make the crumble, place the flour, sugar and butter in a large bowl and rub the butter into the flour and sugar until it looks like crumbs and the butter is evenly distributed throughout. Stir in the finely chopped rosemary. Spoon half of the crumble mixture over the apples and pears. Sprinkle the chocolate drops evenly over the crumble and then cover with the remaining half of the crumble mixture.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until bubbling and golden on top.

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

Be sure to try the recipe and let me know how it goes. I tried it last week when I went to dinner with a friend and it was delicious. I pre-made my own salted caramel beforehand as I couldn’t find it in the supermarket here, so if you’re keen to try that too, it’s super easy and soooo good!

100g brown sugar
1 tbsp water
75ml cream
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste

Heat a medium saucepan and add the sugar and water. Let the sugar heat until melted without stirring, swirling and shifting the pan a couple times gently to allow the higher peaks of sugar to reach the heat of the pan. This will take some time, but it is important to allow the sugar to turn a deep amber colour.

When the sugar is completely dissolved, add the cream and salt and stir. The mixture will be very hot and will likely be bubbling at this point. Keep on a low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring until you’ve got a beautiful, glossy, smooth caramel sauce.

Transfer sauce to glass jar or heat-safe container (easiest to pour into a 2-cup measuring cup and then easily pour into glass jar). Allow sauce to cool uncovered to room temperature; sauce thickens to a toffee like consistency as it cools.

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

For this shoot, I chose a palette that relied on the natural hues seen in the orchard and on the fruit, with deep blue and gray tones interwoven for depth and mood. I used a variety of textures and materials to achieve that sense of nostalgia that you get from these images. I brought in vintage plates and cutlery I picked up in France recently, with linens in deep shades of blues and

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

View More: http://anouschkarokebrand.pass.us/orchard

That right there is heaven. Take my word on that one. A sweet, messy, melt-in-your-mouth afternoon delight certainly worthy of fending off chilly fall temperatures!

If you loved this post and want to see more, you’ll adore the film images we took on the same day. They are absolutely beautiful and you can view the whole collection right here.

Have a great weekend guys, and if you try this recipe let me know as I’d love to know your thoughts.

Holly x

Credits: Styling & concept: Holly Marder {Avenue Lifestyle}/ Food styling: Ajda Mehmet / Photography: Anouschka Rokebrand / Model: Lisa Groothuijzen / Location: De Olmenhorst / Table runner & teatowel: Dille & Kamille / Cream vintage plate: Helene Millot Furnishings

Style Files: Susan Connor

November 11th, 2014

I’ve discovered a designer that I can’t wait to introduce you to. Meet Susan Connor, a textile designer based in New York and the name behind the most gorgeous collection of textiles and homewares I’ve seen in a long time. Not only is thew self taught designer incredibly talented,. but she possesses a truly admirable ability to find beauty in the simplistic, tune into life’s finer details and live an honest and creatively inspired existence. It’s a rare quality that draws me in because I suppose we live in a time where we are all trying to find peace and meaning in the busy lives we lead. As I browsed her collection and read her story, I knew I wanted to know more about her creative process. My appreciation for textiles goes back to when I was a young girl and used to accompany my mother {a former interior decorator} as she shopped for fabrics – careful to involve me in her selection process – all the way up to my fashion design days after high school. And as an interior stylist it’s what I get most excited about as a project comes to a close – layering in the textiles. So when I laid eyes on the beautiful collection owing to the thoughtful and thought-provoking artist behind them, I had to know more. In her search for meaning, quality and beauty in simplicity, Susan Connor has founded a label that draws on careful craftsmanship and fine artistic detail, resulting in stunning homewares I know you’ll fall for. But don’t just take it from me. Read all about Susan and her work below.

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Holly: When did you start taking an interest in pattern and textile design, and what is your background?

Susan: My interest in textiles goes back many years, although not in a direct sense. I’ve always loved what handmade textiles bring to life, they add such richness, not only with their patterns, but with the way they feel. But it was not until recently that I decided to create a collection of textiles, myself. I’m self-taught, drawing upon my love of art, texture, history and artistic living.

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Holly: What led you to launch your business early this year? Has it been a long standing dream of yours?

Susan: Yes, it was longstanding- several years at least. The time didn’t feel right until last year, when I began spending time in my studio, trying to bring ideas to life as a collection. I had a basic idea of the look and feel I wanted, but it was only after I spent time working it through, test printing, and sampling ground cloths, that it really took shape. It was also really important that the items were environmentally responsible, and domestically produced. It also took a long time to develop the printing method I use to convey the type of printed detail I was looking for –  it was worth it, and I really enjoyed that time of experimenting.

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Holly: How would you describe your aesthetic and how did you develop your style?

Susan: My aesthetic is a blend of artistic detail, careful craftsmanship, and modern, relaxed minimalism. It reflects my own style as a person, not just in how I look or dress, but in the attitude I take in life. I try and see beauty in life’s details, try not to be a blind consumer, but instead, to ornament life with meaningful things that connect to something deeper. In general, I prefer things with a bit of texture, things that feel good, and styles that are easy to make your own.

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Holly: What or who inspires your creative process? How do you channel your inspiration?

Susan: Making art has always been really important for me. Over time, this has meant that I’ve learned to find wealth in unexpected sources. This outlook, seeking beauty, even in simple, uncelebrated things, is part of my creative process and my inspiration, and something I enjoy sharing with others. I’m an artist at heart. Working with my hands, getting into the studio, trying to see things in a new or different way, really inspires me. 

Holly: Could you describe your production process?

Susan: My designs usually start with a sketchbook drawing- a very tiny one. Then, I will work to build a larger drawing that’s more detailed to be carved onto a block. Fabric sourcing is also a huge aspect of production, because certain fabrics pair better with certain designs, and I’m very picky about the hand feel of my textiles. We also prewash all of our fabrics, to make sure they’re supple for printing. Once the fabric and design style are set, we get to ink mixing and printing, which is done in New York, by hand, for each item. After printing, items are finished, sewn or fringed, and pressed. There’s a lot of handwork involved, but to me, that’s important and it’s something you really feel in the finished product.

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Holly: What does a typical day look like in the life of Susan Connor?

Susan: Morning is my favorite time, definitely when I’m the most inspired and excited. Usually I go running before I do anything else, then it’s coffee and the subway to my studio in Bushwick. I usually spend the day there, and save the evening for socializing or spending time with my boyfriend, whom I live with. He’s an amazing cook and usually, I can’t wait to get home and enjoy a good meal with my guy and a glass of wine. For me, evenings and work don’t mix – I save the evening to unwind and kick back, either at home or out to dinner with friends.

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Holly: What do you love most about your work?

Susan: I love working with ideas, the inspirations behind the look and feel. I’m really into a kind of relaxed, come-as-you-are, natural style that I am constantly trying to express in my pieces, and, actually, in almost everything I do as a person. I want to create pieces that feel super comfortable, but with a level of detail that shows someone really cared about making them, an attention that makes them feel special when a customer incorporates them into their own space. 

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Holly: What designers of today inspire you?

Susan: I actually try hard not to look at what other designers are doing. I’m much more inspired by nature, or historical references, like jewellery from antiquity, vintage textiles, or artists with super long careers – my pinterest boards definitely reflect that! I love the work of Agnes Martin, Georgia O’Keefe, Pablo Picasso, Louise Bourgeois, Lucie Rie, and Gertrude Vasegaard…so many great artists…and I love looking at photos of artists in their studios, seeing them creating their work, in their space, being themselves, being free. That’s so beautiful.

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Susan, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us all today. You are immensely talented and I can’t w3ait to see your next collection when it launches soon!

Isn’t Susan absolutely inspiring, and what about work? Absolutely gorgeous, right? I want {need} a cushion in every colour! I love her bohemian modern style, and the natural textures she uses. But most inspiring I think is Susan’s artistic process and how her designs seem to organically take form as if born from something deep and profound and born out of significance as opposed to merely pattern on fabric. The love that goes into this product is almost palpable.

I hope you also enjoyed this little peek into Susan Connor’s world and I’ll be back shortly with a dreamy, Autumnal shoot you are going to positively swoon over, plus news of a new workshop I’ll be running at the end of the month! For now, I’m off to Madrid this evening to shoot two gorgeous apartments.

H x

// All images courtesy of Susan Connor