GWAS Playlist (Mother's Day Edition)

Pop culture, magazines & pretty things...
Awww... fictional mother and daughter Jessica Marais and Rebecca Gibney at the Logie's.
1. "It is a massive compliment to be asked to guest edit an issue of Vogue Living, one of my (and Studioilse’s) favourite magazines," writes May/June issue Guest Editor Ilse Crawford, founding editor of British Elle Décor, in her supplementary missive. "It is also a challenge. How to match up to the standard that David Clark and his team have set? I have focused this issue on what we at Studioilse concern ourselves with on a daily basis: how to create buildings and interiors that put the human experience at the core, emotionally, physically, socially and subliminally – how to make homes that are a frame for our lives. All the people featured in this issue are from Studioilse’s community of friends, co-conspirators, inspirers and heroes. We are interested in design that starts from reality, from human needs." First mag for the Mother's Day satchel!

2. On my dream Mother's Day, I would take my mum and sister to Paris, where we would partake in a visit to Popelini, the pastry shop Lauren Koumetz opened this month in the Marais district devoted exclusive to cream puffs profiled by T Magazine. Writes Rebecca Voight: "Popelini’s little shop off Rue de Bretagne, a major market street in the tony Marais, did not remain a secret for long. Sarah Lerfel of Colette was an early fan (the choux are current guest stars on the menu of the store’s Water Bar restaurant), and special orders are coming in for pièces montées, the choux pileup, held together with threads of crunchy caramel, that is a French wedding-cake tradition." (Not in Paris? You can visit Popelini online.)

3. If your mum's less a foodie, more a gardener, perhaps the May edition of Burke's Backyard magazine ($6.75), with its Rose Lover's Guide mini book and white picket fence dressed up with a beautiful 'Pierre de Ronsard', will complement a perfume gift? The issue's cover nearly steals the royal show on stands this week. You can also take in a garden plan incorporating sandstone and shrubs in a purple, silver and white colour scheme; feature plants "too add that 'wow factor' to your front garden; outdoor living ideas; an autumn grower's guide; and Don Burke's own editorial on using water on properties near bushland, which starts with a Dorothea Mackellar quote ("I love a sunburnt country") and concludes with the observation that our country is "much more topsy-turvy than just 'Down Under'." It's all about mulch (he he) for me, so I'll be passing it onto a beloved aunt.

4. As a non-crafter, I was intrigued when I stumbled upon the sweet and charming Magnolia Ink magazine in the newsagency and discovered that "stamping" is a sub-genre of crafting, much like scrapbooking. Where have I been? This magazine, published in Sweden with an English edition, too, is based on the popular stamps created by Tilda & Edwin. According to the editors, "our intention with the magazine is that you will be inspired to make similar cards yourself. There's something for everyone, inspiration, step by step tutorials, new products, contests and lots and lots of beautiful cards!" Yay!

5. This week I became enamoured with doodlings of illustrator Julia Denos at The Cinnamon Rabbit, her personal blog. According to her bio, Julia "grew up making picture books using stacks of printer paper featuring flying unicorns, mermaids, and elaborate dog weddings [and] now that she is grown up and happily illustrating fulltime, she has graduated from magic markers to watercolor and printer paper to Arches 140 lb hot press." The Fine Arts graduate (The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University) now illustrates children's books, fashion books, and magazines. Her latest book project, due out in the northern fall, is I Had a Favourite Dress by Boni Ashburn. How gorgeous. Denos is off to Paris this month – perhaps she will pop into Popelini?

6. Do you ever feel like the sky is falling down on you? Is it just in your own silly little head, that dread? But what if the dread in your head causes others to get in a right kerfuffle, too? That's the story behind Blossom Possum: The sky is falling down-under by Gina Newton and Kilmeny Niland, which I picked up for my niece at Australia Post for $5.95 this week. "Blossom Possum could not get to sleep. She rubbed her whiskers and climbed down to the forest floor. Suddenly... something fell on Blossom Possum's head. 'Ouch!' she cried. 'The sky is falling. I must go and tell the prime minister."

7. Perhaps all Blossom Possum needed was a warm glass of milk and an Annabel Trends Heat Pillow? These cable knit pillows, $32.95 and available in strawberry, milk, chocolate and coffee at homewares stores nationally, are filled with heat beads that give off 45 minutes of cosy-ness...just enough to get you off to sleep. Designed to aid muscle stiffness, and packed up prettily, they're ideal for wrapping around your neck or other stressed areas of your body (is your tail tense?).

8. While we're getting snuggly as winter approaches, and thinking of slow-cooker stews, soups and crusty rolls, Jamie magazine is celebrating spring. A look inside reveals egg recipes (Asian Fried Eggs with Chillies, Asparagus with Duck Egg and Anchovy Dressing, Duck Egg Frittata with Peas and Beans); special-occasion dishes you can pre-prepare and serve buffet-style to guests so you don't miss out on all the fun while entertaining; cake maker Claire Ptak of Violet (pictured); a trip to Brussels; and Jamie's postcards from L.A. The layouts of this magazine, as well as its joie de vivre, continue to impress me.

9. Sammy and Bella have started their own food blog, and MasterChef has returned to Aussie TV with strong ratings (Shane Bourne quipped at the Logies that there were more chefs in the audience than out the back in the kitchen), but the My Kitchen Rules one-shot cookbook, $12.95, published by Pacific+ Custom & Corporate, is out in time for Mother's Day. The 132-page magazine-style book is split into entrees, main meals, desserts, light meals and judges' recipes (with plenty of promotion for Pete Evans' and Manu Feildel's books), featuring a simple, clean layout, comprehensive 'method' notes, contestant team tips and extensive ingredients lists for Horseradish Cream and Beetroot Tart, Bush-Spice Lamb with Trail Couscous Salad and Apple and Peacan Run Cake with Rum Sauce (would you like some rum with that?). A little on the flimsy side, it doesn't have the durability of sturdier cookbooks, but for $12.95 it's pretty good value. I personally bought mum the Women's Weekly's Slowcooker book.

10. Five years ago, blogger and stylist Pia Bijkerk drove from Sydney to a small town outside Bathurst called Meadow Flat. Her mission: to photograph the work and studio of artist Greg Hyde, as well as the farmhouse home he shares with his wife, Trish. "I got so much more than I bargained for," she writes in this month's Country Style magazine, revisiting the property and family to which she attributes her creative vision. After four years in Europe, and a concept on her heart, she returned to Sydney and now has a book out, My Heart Wanders, based on the 'home'. There are other family homes within the issue, like the renovator's delight in Mudgee adopted by the Collins family, the 44 hectare property occupied by the Morells and Geoff and Sue Rains' place, whose gardens are opened to raise money for Can Assist, which helps rural families coping with cancer. I love the story of Bronny Esther, who owns The Magic Pudding, a kitchenware, gourmet food and decorating shop, in Tamworth, as told to Megan Trousdale: "Bronny made cakes with her mother, cooked for shearers in 40-degree heat during school holidays and entered pikelets at the local show. ("I still have the ribbons," she says)." From little dabblings, big dreams grow.

As Dame Edna would say, Happy Mother's Day, possums!

Girl With a Satchel