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Christmas decorations | 3 blogs and a mood board – 2007.12.10 edition

Apartment Therapy Chicago : Housemartin : Paper Shop Ink blog

Two weeks before Christmas, the blogosphere is packed with Christmas decorations.The modernism of those is what makes me choose them.

My mood board starts at your front door on how you greet your guests. Once inside, your guests discover a harmonizing treatment around the mantel of the living room.

Since you will pass most of the time eating, I stress the importance of the holiday decorations in the dining room. Vignettes are in so use them to your advantage by creating unique decorative scenes.

Because a gift is judged first by the way it is wrapped, go for amazing gift papers, especially if you do a mystery gift exchange. And do not neglect ribbons, bows and accessories. They are the jewelry of your gifts.

1 | Apartment Therapy Chicago

Modern Holiday Ornament Displays features great Christmas decorations from the UK magazine Living etc.

I fancied updating my wreath this year. My craft project was all planned out. But instead I will decorate my front door with a bunch of baubles. The idea here is to mix shapes, colors and dimensions in an artistic cluster.

By the way, I enjoy the new blog layout of the Apartment Therapy franchises.

2 | Housemartin

I stop making a large tree years ago for several reasons. But that this not mean your house cannot look festive. In all-a-sparkle, the talented Pam of Housemartin explained how she decorated her mantel and did two vignettes for her dining room.

If you did not see it, go check out her vintage deer cement garden ornament. I have to warm you, you will be jealous.

3 | Paper Shop Ink blog

Wrapping papers are a must this time of the year. With cool names and modern prints designed by Eric Kass, the gift papers from Funnel Paper Goods will stand out under the Christmas tree.

Like I said on Paper Shop Ink, the Rangifer Taranadus has the hippest color combination for this Holiday. The mod-retro Color Urchin works for all occasions.

Buy online: Gift papers by Funnel Paper Goods – $12 USD for three 28″ x 40″ premium paper sheets


Tastespotting watch | Sunday family dinner menu

sunday dinner menu inspired by Tastespotting

When I was young, the Sunday night was a more formal dinner affair at my home.

A Sunday family dinner is a worthwhile ritual that brings everyone closer together. It is the perfect time to have uninterrupted discussions. Schedule one for next Sunday and see the benefits.

We can all enjoy a casual yet stylish meal with our family or friends. I composed this seasonal dinner menu out of recipes featured on Tastespotting.

Since this is not an everyday dinner, why not starts the meal with an aperitif?

The first courses

You can serve a salad followed by a fish appetizer.

The entrée

Because it is supposed to be your day off, do not be afraid to take the bests within the comfort food repertoire.

The dessert

Who could resist a Chocolate Pistachio Fudge?


Flickr watch | The charms of old-fashioned decorations

This search started by looking at Friday Flickr Favorites on emmas designblogg. There, I found a new life of an old jar. If you are not a knitter, you can buy a knitted wine bottle gift bag at Target. This cute candle holder in a jar was done by decor8.

old jar put to new use by decor8 on Flickr

If you are good at handmade stuff, you can give a try to a felt elf clog. This beautiful elf shoe in felt (a trendy materiel) was created by *jenny b allsorts. You can get the pattern and the instructions on her blog called AllSorts. The red and aqua combination with white accents is my all-time favorite for Christmas.

Elf Clog front by *jenny b allsorts on Flickr

A little Christmas village with classic charms by Frugan

miniature winter village by Frugan on Flickr

Because it starts snowing again, I selected this winter scene taken by Green Wellies

Cold seat by Green Wellies on Flickr

And do not forget to participate to my Holidays Tabletop Giveway.


My first video blog

This is something I wanted to do for a long time. So I am very excited to present you my first vlog (video blog). I invite you to watch my quick report on Christmas front store decorations in downtown Montreal.



A rich Christmas feast by Habitat

habitat christmas decoration

My husband entered my office while I was putting up this board and he exclaimed Wow!

Until Habitat makes the plunge and opens stores in that side of the ocean, I can share my passions through their styled pictures. This Holidays, their stylists came up with stunning decorations for your Holiday parties.

Deep shades of red

Mixing an array of reds and violets with silvers, bronzes, browns and golden tones summarizes the Christmas trends saw at Habitat. Black and white acts as accents colors. They play around rich colors to create their rooms.

I do not know if you notice but greens are absent. This is a beautiful design lesson on how to limit the hues to one or two area in the color wheel. The result is a sophisticated festive look.

Gift ideas

For a retro look, think about the analogue wall clock FLAP or to confuse your friends at the end of the evening, get the TIK TAK wall clock. And browse for more cool clocks and to equip your bar with handy accessories.


The GARLAND pendant designed by Tord Boontje for Habitat looks adorable whenever you are entertaining. Designed by Philippa Prinsloo, the FELL VIEW candle holder collection is available in two sizes.

Take cues from the way Habitat set the tables. Examine how they cluster things to add focus points on the buffet table. How they play with heights to simulate movements in the room.

The dessert table is particularly adorable. The table is well put together yet the design look lived in. The best way to reuse their concepts is by combining these designs into your own when designing your table.

Christmas decorations

Habitat sells a range of Christmas baubles (balls), flat-packed decorative little trees, Christmas tree decorations, garland lights and more.

A must this season is the long curtain light chain. Made of illuminated pearls and crystals inspired by fashion trends, PERLINA is designed to ripple down walls, over tables, along mantelpieces or to be arranged as a circular centerpiece.

Buy online: Christmas decorations at Habitat
Buy online: FLAP analog clock at Habitat – price: 90 £
Buy online: TIK TAK clock at Habitat – price: 90 £
Buy online: GARLAND pendant lamp at Habitat – price: 18 £
Buy online: FELL VIEW candle holder at Habitat – price: 30 £ for the small
Buy online: PERLINA, long curtain Christmas lights at Habitat – price: 39 £


Holidays Tabletop Giveaway

style at home : Holiday Decorating and Entertaining tips

If you like magazines, you could win the December 2007 issue of Style at Home.

This issue of a Canadian Home décor magazine is packed with Holiday Decorating and Entertaining tips.

My advice

The two tabletops are from an article called Dress up the dining table. Overall the tabletops look great but they are some faux pas:

  1. The water glasses are missing. Serving water is a must at every meal. Whether the people drink it or not is irrelevant. Table manners are clear on that subject: everyone has a water glass.
  2. If you wish to go with the face to face look, make sure your table runner is 24 to 30 inches wide. The one used on the gold table is clearly too narrow.
  3. For the Holidays, placemats feel too casual in my view. You cannot go wrong with a nice table cloth, especially if you wish to dress up your table.

How to participate?

Note on October 5th, 2007: I simplified the question before anyone posted an answer because the previous question was too vague.

To have a chance to win, you must write a comment before Monday, December 10th, 2007 11:59 Eastern Time. Your comment must answered the following question:

In what color(s) will you decorate your Holiday dinner table this year?

Learn more: Style at home magazine – December 2007 issue

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Dinner at Laloux with Jennifer of Design Hole

laloux_restaurant_dessertsI got the pleasures to meet Jennifer of Design Hole while she came in Montreal to celebrate her birthday with her husband.

We read each other blogs and we communicate through Facebook. It was fun meeting face to face. A lot of fabulous restaurants are closed on Sunday. Since she and her husband are foodies, I suggest that we eat at Laloux, a French Bistro in Montreal.

The first course

We all enjoyed a delicious meal. Everything was plated. We like it so much that we forgot to take pictures until the desserts. For the appetizers, our table selected:

  • Scallop Carpaccio, lime and avocado vinaigrette, fennel, radish and mujjol caviar
  • Smoked squash soup, maquerel, oven dried tomato, glazed onions, marinated mushrooms
  • Tomato broth soup with fresh basilic.

The main course

For the main dishes, it looked like a girl menu versus a boy menu. Jennifer and I opted for the delicious Roasted monkfish, white beans, chorizo, crunchy fennel and green olives. I would like to prepare my own version of this recipe when I am having friends over.

Our husband were happily seduced by the Beef short rib from Eumatimie farm served on top of aligot potatoes, roots vegetables stew and horseradish milk foam. Both dishes satisfied us.

The dessert course

Take notes on how the Chocolate pot-de-crème, caramel and Maldon salt is served in a Mason jar. This is something you can do for any types of verrines.

Jennifer had the Pear sorbet, Araguani chocolate cream, chocolate crunch and caramelized pear purée with single malt whisky. The presentation was artistic. Honestly, visually it was not what you expect when you read the description.

I wanted to try something new. So I picked the Litchee granité, white chocolate and yogurt cream, grapefruit, Campari and hibiscus. It was divine with a green tea.

In conclusion

I was a while since I ate at Laloux restaurant before last Sunday. Since everyone was happy with their meal, you can put it on your list for the next time you visit Montreal.

Appetizers average at $9 CAD (from $5 to $19 for foie gras), the main courses cost about $25 and all desserts are at $8.

You can read Jennifer’s husband review of Hotel Gault where they stayed on his blog Hotel Hallways. Arthur gave an excellence award to Hotel Gault. You can see a picture of Jennifer, who did not want to be photographed and the huge snowfall that we got on Monday. Jennifer is also having Montreal design review on her blog.

Learn more: Laloux restaurant
Via: Weekend in Montreal Part 1: The Hotel Gault by Design Hole

ALL occasions GIFT IDEAS

Mid-century miniatures for the collectors

miniatures by vitra

I am huge fan of mid-century furniture but the style does not fit with my current décor. One way to incorporate them into any home is through a collection. Vitra made exact replica in structure and materials of the mid-century classics reduced at a 1:6 scale.

Collections bring character to a room. If you display them cleverly, they act as conversation pieces. With chairs, you can let your imagination guide you. You see the Arne Jacobsen EGG chair sitting on a tray. The chair even swivels on its base.

If you are a fan of the museum look or you live with a cat or dog, why not get Lucite Vitrine Display Boxes at Miniature Chairs to protect the miniatures from dust and finger prints.

Buying tips

Each miniature comes handsomely packaged in a wood box with an informational booklet about the chair. A miniature costs $130 USD and up.

Vitra miniature chairs are available in several design stores. Canadian shoppers will be happy to know that Gabriel Ross has a huge selection and the prices are almost at pair.

For Americans, Miniature Chairs seems to have the largest selection. Unica Home also carries other brand miniatures, not just the Vitra chairs. You can find a mini Graves kettle for Alessi,a bonze gold stool miniature by Philippe Starck.

Furnishing a modern doll house

Why not furnish the Villa Sibi modern doll house with all these cool miniatures furniture and accessories? My husband knows that this is a dream of mine. I am waiting to find the right spot for it first; a spot that my cats could not reached.

For children who visit you during the holidays, get the Bauhaus Model House on sale at $20 at Miniature Chairs and let them play in style.

Note: The Free Form Sofa designed by Isamu Noguchi is not available in miniatures but I enjoy the organic form.

For Americans: DCW Plywood Chair by Charles and Ray Eames at Miniature chairs – price: $140 USD
For Canadians: Vitra Miniatures Eames DCW at Gabriel Ross – price: $160 CAD
Buy online: EGG by Arne Jacobsen at Miniature Chairs – price: 375 USD
Buy online: Vitra Mini Le Corbusier Lounge at Design Within Reach – price: $395 USD
Buy online: Vitra Miniatures Nelson Marshmallow Sofa at Gabriel Ross – price: $684 CAD
Buy online: Vitrine Display Boxes at Miniature Chairs – starts at $44 USD for a 4 inch box, up to $248 for a 12 inch box
Buy online: Vitra Mini – Eames LCM Chair at Design Within Reach – price: $170 USD
Buy online: Vitra and other miniatures at Unica Home


Gender neutral schemes| 3 blogs and a mood board – 2007.12.03 edition

design crush :: home by sunset :: notcot

I am pleased to feature two blogs I never spoke of. And it seems that brown is the color of my weekly mood board.

1 | Design Crush

In her resourceful blog, Kelly talked about Garnish, a great source to make your own gift packaging for food. Garnish supplies the basic materials and you personalize the look to fit your style and the occasion.

Garnish a Mid-Winter’s Day made the cut of mood board but they showcased more ideas on their Web site. A source to remember for wrapping your holiday baking and party favors.

2 | Home by Sunset

The team behind Sunset spotlighted a fall themed tabletop done by Rosanna Bowles, the founder of Rosanna Inc. You already know that I like Rosanna’s plates. With a dinnerware name like Famille A Table (French for Family at the table), it is so appropriate for everyday of the year, not just for holidays.

I like the tabletop design except for the wrongly placed cup and saucer. The picture demonstrated why I am a strong believer of not putting the cup and saucer right away. If you do so, the table always looks too crowded. And since the cup and saucer goes to the right, not the left, they will interfere with the glasses during the dinner. Bottom line, putting the cups and saucers on the table before the dessert course is both impractical and uncomfortable.


The Mumm’s Expedition Kit would be a wonderful holiday gift for the man in your life. And what is more fun is that you will probably be invited to drink Champagne. G.H. Mumm produces the expedition kit in a deluxe version (show here) and a lightweight version.

British designer Bill Amberg designed the leather bags. Do not be fool by the vintage look, these bags are high tech. The lower half forms an insulated compartment to keep your bottle cool for up to 12 hours assuming you put previously the bottle in the freezer.

Both versions come with a small leather tray and two unbreakable flutes. The deluxe kit includes expedition essentials like a compass and a silk map of Reims. G.H. Mumm may not be my favorite champagne but these gift sets please me a lot.

Buy online: Party supplies and food packaging at Garnish
Buy online: Famille A Table at Rosanna – price:$60 USD for 4 square scalloped plates
Learn more: G.H. Mumm Expedition kit


Holiday gifts for the entertainers

for entertaining christmas gifts

If you are looking for hip entertaining products, read this before you complete your holiday shopping.

Get inspired by those to decorate your home if you are throwing a party at home this Holiday season. There is a Canadian flavor to this list.

Return of the punch bowls

Punch bowls look more hip these days than the ones from the 1970s. One that is one my list this season is the stag-head footed bowl available at Home Sense.

The clean line glass punch bowl is from the exquisite Toronto china store William Ashley.

Resin trays by Martha Sturdy

Martha Sturdy is a talented Canadian designer and artist from Vancouver. She is well known for her works with resins. These trays are fabulous. If you wish to make a statement in your home, take a look at her huge resin chandelier with alabaster lookalike chair.

Acrylic shag head by Science and Sons

Plastidermy would add a whimsical yet stylish touch to your living room. That is not for everyone and every house. But imagine how cool the acrylic deer head could be in a dining room with the Louis Ghost armchairs designed by Philippe Starck for Kartell.

Designed by the innovative team at Science and Sons, Plastidermy becomes a chandelier by attaching three life-size deer heads. I think the chandelier is too much. Go for the deer head on the wall instead. Do not worry, it is easy to wrap since it is sold flat pack.

Wine lover gift set

For the wine lover, Alessi makes well-made products that look amusing. In the Cellar is a gift set available at ImageNetwork. If you prefer another style, simply assemble your own gift set at a local store by selecting wine glasses, wine carafe and a reusable cork.

Service ware for tea and coffee

Eva Solo creates products with an interesting design. Apparently this is the world’s only completely drip free vacuum jug! And the proud host would not be ashamed to put this jar on the brunch buffet table.

To complete your brunch set up, the mirrored stainless steel fruit basket cream and sugar set by Alessi looks stunning. This is truly an indulgence that you will cherish for years to come.

Learn more: Web site of Martha Sturdy
Learn more: Plastidermy at Science and Sons – price: $450 CAD
Buy online: In the wine cellar at ImageNetwork – price: $320 CAD
Buy online: Vacuum Jug designed by Eva Solo at ImageNetwork – price: $139 CAD
Buy online: Fruit basket, sugar and cream set at Alessi USA – price: $245 USD


Winter Bar at Quays of the Old Port

Winter Bar at Quays of the Old Port : bar d\'hiver Montreal

I had the chance to try out the Winter Bar before its official opening.

Set under an illuminated canopy, the Winter Bar is a cool bar steps away from The Quays Skating Rink. This year, the design is even better than in the previous years.

For the first time, the Winter Bar will be open all winter (December 1, 2007 to March 9, 2008). Electronic music DJs will perform every Thursday night. The formula is a paying bar with no cover charge.

What’s to drink?

From the bar menu, I recommend a hot chocolate with a tiny shot of alcohol; I tried mine with whiskey. It was good and non whiskey fan like me are delighted that we do not really taste the whiskey.

One innovative drink is a brand new beer by Unibroue. It is a cherry beer served warmed. The warmed beer are served in an adorable small specialty glass. The bar design is pretty cool as you can see. On total, 186 people fit inside and 367 can enjoy the exterior terrace heated with wood fireplaces. Pretty cool!

I want to thank the cheerful Josianne (I hope I remembered her name correctly) for the smoke effects and for taking the time to explain to me the principle. The beer is served pretty warmed; you insert the bottles in boiling water. You served it in a small glass so you can drink it warm.

Planning an event at Winter Bar

If you are planning an event, it is good to know that you can rent the Winter Bar for an event. The event creators are Avec Brio and the official caterer is Bernard & Fils Traiteur. The bison was a hit with everyone. I enjoy their salmon tartar. Food presentation was appealing. But there were a few items that my girlfriends and I were not fond of. To be fair to the caterer, our taste buds are used to extraordinary finger food.

The Winter Bar is normally open on:

Thursday & Friday from 5 pm to 10 pm
Saturday from 2 pm to 10 pm
Sunday from 2 pm to 8 pm

Going to a VIP party always feels different. I plan to return some Thursday nights, if the weather is nice. The idea would be to exercise a bit, taking some fresh air and having a drink with friends at the sound of electronic DJs. If you come to visit Montreal this winter do not miss the Winter Bar. You can rent skates at the Skating Rink.

Learn more: Winter Bar at the Quays of the Old Montreal Port