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 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 with your full name and postal address as soon as possible so can get your prize off to you.

Thanks to all who entered this giveaway, and to 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!


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!

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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. 


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.



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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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. 



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.



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

Madam Stolz A/W 2014 Collection + GIVEAWAY!

November 7th, 2014

Well folks, fall is in full swing so I thought I’d embrace the chilly temperatures with a little inspiration and a giveaway! Plus I’m still celebrating my vtwonen award and I wanted to give a little something back to you guys – the lovely folks who keep this blog rolling. Have you heard of Deens before? Deens is an online boutique offering a variety of homewares brands with Danish roots, including Madam Stoltz. If distinct nordic wares highlighting copper, marble, wood, brass and natural textiles are your thing, then you’re going to love the new and very moody Madam Stoltz A/W ’14 collection and exclusive Avenue Lifestyle GIVEAWAY! Read on to see what’s currently in store, and find out how to enter.

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I always love seeing how a collection comes together, and I think Madam Stoltz did a great job with their latest catalogue. The colours are moody and I’m loving the raw, natural materials they are using in this latest collection. My favourite items are their range of cushions {I’m such a sucker for cushions!}, their wooden dinnerware collection, shown in the first image, and their kitchen accessories such as the little bone spoons. Their whole kitchen collection appeals to me actually. Very much so!

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Aren’t those cushions gorgeous? I love the colour palette too. Moody blues, greys and blush pinks - I love this colour scheme for the fall.

Do you like what you see? Then keep reading because Avenue Lifestyle and Deens are giving away three lovely things from the new Madam Stolz collection! WIN one of the following:

1. Wire basket in {copper or white} as seen above

2. Candle holder {copper or black} as seen below

3. Wooden salad bowl as part of the kitchen collection in the first image

How to enter?

1. Tweet this post with the comment: “Madam Stolz A/W14 giveaway with @DeensNL and @avenueblog #madamstoltzgiveaway”

2. Then come back to this post and comment below stating which product you would like to win and where/how you would place it in your home. * Include your email address and twitter handle

3. Head on over to Facebook and like and Avenue Lifestyle

The winner will be chosen at random on Monday, 17 November 2014, and will be announced on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Products will be shipped out immediately. Worldwide entries are accepted.


Holly xo