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Archive for ‘Way of the Starfish’

17 Dec
Posted by Davel

Whoa, WordPress Looks Different (But Don’t Panic) – WordPress 3.8 launched


WordPress 3.8 is out and one of the biggest changes is the admin interface. On first glance it looks very different, but once you spend a bit of time clicking around you’ll find everything is still in the same place. Good.

The big change here is higher contrast. The sidebar is much more noticeable and there is a lot less grey.

The default admin theme is most similar to the colours you’d be used to, so stick with that until you’ve adjusted to the new look.

How to change the admin colour scheme in WordPress 3.8

If you’re feeling adventurous and ready for some more colour in your life, click on your username in the top right of the interface and select ‘Edit My Profile’. There are 8 color schemes to choose from at this stage in WordPress 3.8, with many more user-created ones sure to follow eventually. We like the ‘Midnight’ and ‘Coffee’ schemes best. (Sadly there’s no ‘Tea’ scheme…yet.) 


 WordPress 3.7

wordpress 3.7 admin interface


WordPress 3.8

wordpress 3.8 admin interface

12 Jul
Posted by Davel

Chocolate and Red Wine Cake is in the Running for ‘Best LaunchCake Yet’

The Black Truffle Clever Starfish Launch Cake Photos

There’s no official ceremony or voting mechanisms, but this award is probably the most prestigious in the world of Cake1. Dubbed the Plantagecake2 (Plan-tadj-eh-cake) in homage to the generous dosage of Plantagenet Cabernet Sauvignon, this two-tier circle of chocolately goodness was baked to celebrate the launch of The Black Truffle’s new website. The recipe is from Pantry in Suburbia (Thanks Jacqui!) and since we didn’t have any fig jam handy, ours had a thick layer of ganache sandwiched in the middle like a giant chocolate creme Oreo.


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 generous cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1) Preheat the oven to 160°C, and non stick your tin (I just gave my silicon mould a spray with canola oil).

2) In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it forms ribbons. Add the eggs and beat well, then the red wine and vanilla. At this point, the cake will look a little split, but its all good, it’ll come together!

3) Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and cinnamon together, and add to the wet ingredients. Mix gently until combined, then spread batter into the greased tin/mould.

4) Slice up a pear into half cm slices, and arrange them gently on top of the batter in any pattern you like.

5) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then flip out of pan and cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack. If you’re using a silicon mould, wait until its completely cooled before turning the cake out.

6) Warm up a couple of tablespoons of fig jam in a small saucepan, and brush it over the cooled cake. If you wish to add ganache just make sure the cake is fully cooled! The cake does not rise a huge amount, so I would make 2 cakes if you’re looking to layer them.



1. The world of Cake is where Starfishland exists, and is totally not made up. Like the Internet, most of its inhabitants are feline.

2. Actually it was just me that called it that. I’m going to roll with it anyway…

9 Jul
Posted by Monica

‘Clever Starfush’ is not outsourcing to New Zealand – Honestly!

There are three new starfish in the office this year, and two of us are from the same country and the same city – ‘Wanganui’. It’s a small city in the North Island of New Zealand, it’s well known for it’s heritage buildings and rich art culture.

Haley comes from a design background who recently moved to Perth and has joined the team as a Producer. She is super-talented and has already launched a handful of new sites.

I come from from an IT background who was born in Australia and brought up in New Zealand and returned a few years ago. I have been on a number of big projects, which means less launches and blogs but still lots of work!

PS. Hi Dad! I know you read my blogs :) We can see you on Google Analytics! x

16 Feb
Posted by Davel

We don’t just have cake…

Here in Starfishland, food and tea is just as important as making great websites. If we can combine both of these things, that’s an epic win. So far, we’ve made an online tea store for The Seventh Duchess, the Tutti Frutti Australia site, and have plenty more digital deliciousness currently in the works.

It all started with Nico Moretti from Urban Provider, who runs very popular “dinner party cooking classes” in Perth and small group cooking tours to exotic international destinations. We designed and built Nico’s original website many years ago, and it’s still going strong!

Nico was kind enough to squeeze Jane and I into his ‘Tapas Passion’ cooking class at his studio in Leederville, which is less like a workshop and more like watching a live action cooking show—and you get to eat the food. It’s pretty easy to see why the classes are booked out well in advance…

Nico has just finished off his new cookbook Delicious Journeys, which also includes Thermomix methods—you can order it here.  (Warning: images on this page may induce hunger.)

Ok, on to the food!

First up was Spanish Potato Fritatta, Paprika & Garlic Chicken with White Wine, Garlic Prawns with Meredith Dairy goats cheese and olives. This was followed by a Chicken & Chorizo Paella, Pear & Rocket Salad, and ended with a wonderfully sticky Caramel Banana Tart. The surprise ingredient here was fresh rosemary, which actually works amazingly well combined with the sweetness of the other ingredients.

Nico also supplies the recipes for all the dishes he demonstrates, so you can go home and make them straight away. We had a great time, and would definitely recommend Nico’s classes to any fellow foodies!


23 Nov
Posted by Gregory

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

We celebrated the last hours of Thanksgiving with Sweet Pumpkin Tea and Apple Pie! (Closest American things we had on hand in the studio.)

15 Oct
Posted by Jayde

The Seventh Duchess Tea Launches Their Amazing Range of Tea

You may have seen an earlier post of ours giving a sneak peak of The Seventh Duchess website. We were so excited we couldn’t wait and just had to share its progress! We are now even more excited to announce the well anticipated launch of their online store.

We definitely wanted to be a part of making this amazing tea range available to those both near and far. It. Is. Delicious.

Launch Cake : Orange Tea Cake and Crème Brûlée from The Boatshed in Cottesloe :

As we mentioned before, this website has a full e-commerce facility using our own system Tentacle, linked in with WordPress. Seventh Duchess use Xero so our plan is to integrate the invoicing and receipting as soon as Eway get hooked up with Xero in the coming months.

12 Oct
Posted by Jayde

Gangnam ‘Starfish’ Style: The Video

With the power of the amazing Yakub at Milkable and a spare one and a half hours at the studio down the road, this video was born…

5 Oct
Posted by Konalee

Gangnam ‘Starfish’ Style…

Have you ever wondered what we get up to in our spare time? Well of course, like some of you, we love Gangnam Style! When Milkable called us yesterday to say that they had a spare couple of hours in the studio, we packed up our desks to star in a tribute to the pop phenomenon. The popstar states that we should “dress classy and dance cheesy!”

The music video features The Clever Starfish Team – Jane, Gregory, Konalee, Jayde, Rach, Dave, Uli and Adam. Unfortunately, Trevor Hutchison was absent from work. Thanks for such an enjoyable shoot! We are all looking forward to seeing the end result :)

8 May
Posted by Jane

The year that the launch cake was born…

So, the team has had some big changes in the last year…

  1. Dave and Kay moved to Poland…
  2. We moved offices!
  3. We added 7 new starfish to the team… wowsers.
  4. We have launched oodles of sites.
  5. We have developed an office addiction to ‘that Japanese place in Leederville… you know, the one.”
  6. We have eaten Zambrero’s about a zillion times.
  7. and…

we have also started a new tradition… Launch Cake! The special one photographed below is courtesy of the former baker, Adam. It was ah-ma-zing! Oh and PS. Adam still has short/less hair and is rocking some great styles with his new found shorter ‘hair-do’.

27 Apr
Posted by Jane

Media140 – Day 2

Day two of Media140 seems a little more relaxed than the first, as you can see, and a little more focused towards individuals as brands.

As we love to work with so many owner-operators, we felt it was really important to attend and hear what the experts had to say about making your personal brand stand out from the crowd.

More updates to come on what the experts had to say soon…

26 Apr
Posted by Jane

sites that work across all devices

According to Michael Walton from Nielsen Pacific, half the phones in Australia are now smart phones. For people under 34, 7 out of 10 use smart phones. Within a year it is expected that 2 out of 3 people will be using smart phones.

It is fact that smart phones really are changing the way people are accessing information and websites. To see how we are ensuring our clients are ahead of the curve ball, visit the responsive section of our projects page. To get an understanding of what responsive design is, go here.

20 Apr
Posted by Jayde

For the love of photo shoots…

We are lucky to have clients that allow us to be creative. Improvement Resources is no exception! The team, run by Sarah Coleman and Stephen Leach are dynamic and at the top of their game in the industry. We wanted to show that they are not like their competitors and what better way to do this than with pictures?

Who doesn’t love a photo shoot?

…and who can resist playing around in a massive white studio once you’re done?