Monthly Archives

March 2008


Picks of the Week on the blogosphere | 08.03.31 issue

terra keramik : lounge tisch table by moree :  stylist carla seaverA look at entertaining essentials: a beautiful dinnerware to serve great food, a glamorous living room to enjoy the sunset and a stylish outdoor room to sip your cocktails.

My 3 picks of the week

Blue Orchid Designs for Style Spotlight: Terra Keramik

This post introduced a new line of environmentally friendly dinnerware. This dinnerware is über stylish dinnerware according to Liene of Blue Orchid Designs. I really like the vast selections of rich, saturated glazes. You can select eight exquisite colors. The platinum rims bring sophistication to sophistication to an otherwise simple design.

If you are interested, the online store of Terra Keramik operates from Connecticut. They currently deliver within the United States, Canada and Australia.

Blue Ant Studio for moree

Lounge Tisch is produced by Moree from Germany. The light of Lounge Indoor can be controlled by a dimmer. In the evening, Lounge Outdoor fashionably illuminates any terrace or garden. Use a colored bulb to manually update the Lounge table to a color that fits your style or a party event.

Design To Inspire for Carlu Seaver

Have a look at the impressive portfolio of Autralian stylish Carlu Seaver. On top of interiors, Carlu Seaver also styled food related shoots. Look at this one-of-a-kind lush carpet. What a view from a glamorous, mid-century Hollywood style living room. I love it!

I wish to live you on this quote by Virgina Wolf (posted by Liene):

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.

Buy online: Terra Kemarik Soup Bowls price: $29 USD
Buy online: Terra Kerarik Dinner Plates – price: $38 USD
Buy online: Moree Lounge Tisch Outdoor at Einrichten Design – price: 495 ?


Cool Modern Baby Shower Gift Ideas

quilt baby onesie bib burp cloth mobile : baby shower gift ideasI do not have kids but I watched closely the hip modern trend regarding baby gears. I think this trend illustrates well the desire of consumers to get the products they want.

Several hip baby brands and stores were founded by style-conscious parents who did not like what big chains are selling. It is also a sign that more people are not ready to give out style because they became parents. As a stylish living advocate, I am thrilled.

If you are attending a baby shower soon, you may want to check out the inventory of Quilt Baby. Founded by parents of two toddlers, Quilt Baby is an independent modern baby bedding and accessory company located in Asheville, North Carolina.

Practical Baby Gears with Modern Style

Quilt Baby provides high quality, practical products to style conscious parents. Their catalogue contains over 20 bold and fun patterns.

The bedding line features crib sets, quilt and pillow sets plus minky blankets. The hardest thing for you will be to select which patterns to buy from between the cutest bibs & burp cloths. Those are baby essentials that new parents never have enough. The adorable onesies are available in short and long sleeve.

Where to shop?

Quilt Baby products are available through several specialized retailers in the United States and one Canadian store located in my home town, Montreal. You can also shop online with retailers from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. Canadians will be happy to know that Purl Mama & Baby sells the Quilt Baby collection at pair.

Store locator: Retailers carrying Quilt Baby bedding and accessories
Buy online: Minky Blankets by Quilt Baby – price: mini $20 USD, regular $38
Buy online: Onesies by Quilt Baby – price: $18 Short Sleeve, $24 Long Sleeve
Buy online: Bibs & Burp Cloths by Quilt Baby – price: $16 per bib, $28-$32 for sets
Buy online: Quilt Baby Mobiles – price: $46 USD
Via: Babygadget

CAKES + desserts FOOD + DRINK

Celebrating the creative genius of Clever Cupcakes in Montreal

super mario brothers : peter pan : pacman : fly : tea pot : teaching by clever cupcakes in montreal

I am always watching for stylishly decorated cupcakes. Fondant decorated cakes are my favorites. So imagine how glad I was yesterday when I came across the most stunning cupcakes I ever saw.

The power of social networks

My journey started by looking at the Facebook profile of new friends I made last Wednesday at the Montreal Girl Geek Dinner. I spotted a comment about a cupcake montage for the m0851 Fashion Show and Press conference. This event occurred this week as part of the current Montreal Fashion Week. This is how I discovered Michelle, the talented girl behind Clever Cupcakes.

Custom designs

What I am showing you are the Creative cupcakes. My husband and I are planning to host a Nintendo Wii party in a near future. We were both ecstatic in front of the Super Mario Brothers Cupcakes and the Pacman Cupcakes. I really appreciate the profusion of fine details in these hand-made fondant decorations.

It is not just the cucpcakes for geeks and Ninetendo fans that are stunning. Clever Cupcakes cater different styles. You can ask her to design something special for baby showers, kid birthdays, wedding showers and a tea party.

Clever Cupcakes made 7 dozens of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with chocolate and vanilla buttercream topped with handmade fondant decorations for teacher appreciation week at two local schools. The teachers must have been happy.

How to order from Clever Cupcakes?

Operating like a catering company, their cupcakes are made to order. They are baked fresh for delivery in the Montreal area. People can place their order online or by phone.

Their is no minimum quantity for the creative cupcakes. The regular and the wholesome cupcakes are sold by the dozen.

About the food

Her Wholesome cupcakes are sweetened with Agave Nectar, a natural sweetener often considered suitable for diabetics. Clever Cupcakes can satisfy all the taste buds with a wide selection of cake flavors, icings and fillings. The Boston Cream filling and the All Chocolate are supposed to be exquisite.

You can order your cupcakes in the regular size or as mini cupcakes. Beside the adorable Creative cupcakes, there are Classic cupcakes. The Wholesome series is an upscale, healthier version of the classic due to the agave nectar and the choice of unbleached organic flour and the 100% Whole Wheat flour.

I will share my experience with Clever Cupcakes after our Wii party or my birthday, whichever comes first. If you tasted these cupcakes before, feel free to share your experience.

Buy online: Clever Cupcakes


Nursery Prints and Artful Housewarming Gifts

Jaime Derringer art prints : hummingbird : rocky mountains : chandelier : tea time : jaimers on etsy

I received an email from Jaime Derringer, the blogger behind the always interesting Design Milk blog, announcing new prints on her etsy shop. Her latest prints are produced in limited print run of 25.

At $10 and $18 a piece or 2 prints for $30, her art is quite affordable. Frame a couple of Jaime Derringer’s art prints to decorate a room without breaking the bank. Her hummingbird series would fit very well in a nursery. Write her name down if you have a baby shower party coming soon.

How To Use Art Prints To Decorate Your Home?

I prefer organized wall groupings. You can never be wrong with the traditional long row and the square or rectangular matrix. For that reason, I go with identical size for all my frames.

Wall groupings call for identical or very similar colored frames. If you select ornate frames, the patterns do not have to match on all the frames as long as the color is the same. Thin frames work best for wall groupings. The room décor is more important that the art when selecting the color of your frames. But the art cannot be ignored especially when selecting the mat color. A double mat enhances a photograph or a print. And remember that a double mat always looks more stylish.

Since framing is an art by itself, I suggest you bring all your art and your wall paint sample to a framing expert for advice. The frames can make or break the overall look. If you wish to know more, Art Find published online useful framing tips and matting tips.

Art Prints As Housewarming Gifts

I was interviewed by a journalist this morning. It was about interior design tips when you are moving in a new house. This reminded me that art prints from young artists make a wonderful housewarming gift. The key is to respect the taste of your friends. So gather some clues about what their new house will look like, the colors, the style, and the mood they want to create in their new house before shopping for art prints. Check out the local art scene and the etsy shops to discover new talents.

Buy online: Hummingbird with Blue Circle Trees 5×7 Print – price: $10 USD
Buy online: Rocky Mountains ORIGINAL Drawing No. 2 by Jamie Derringer – price: $32 USD
Buy online: This Ain’t No Disco 8×10 Print at jaimers – price: $18 USD
Buy online: Its Tea Time Limited Edition 8×10 Print by Jamie Derringer – price: $18 USD
Buy online: Blue Green Birds on Chandelier 8×10 Print at jaimers etsy shop – price: $18 USD


New dinnerware arrivals at Horchow

recamier flatware : scribed poppy dinnerware : gracious good pitcher pastry dome and platter at horchow spring 2008Even though I am a modernist, I still fall under the spells of old-world charm. That is why I enjoy browsing the Horchow’s online catalogue. For spring 2008, their inventory is getting better.

I selected some pieces for designing an easy entertaining Spring / Summer tabletop. These are pieces that you will cherish for years to come. You can mix and match them with lots of things.

An inside look at my Spring tabletop

The star of your table will be the hand-painted Scribed Poppy Dinnerware. The pattern looks fresh and fun.

For the traditional look, place a natural tone tablecloth on your dining table. If you want a fresher look, opt for the hip Chilewich Tablemats. To reproduce the look of the wooden table on this picture, use the Woodgrain Tablemats in driftwood or pecan.

The Santa Fe Stoneworks Steak Knives add character to the table. Dad is sure to like those steak knives. So make a note for Father’s Day. The handcrafted stainless steel Recamier flatware by Marisopa set is made of Norwegian birch handles with a dark teak finish. Overall, the table look is gender neutral.

Timeless serving ware

From Gracious Goods, I select pitcher with a beautifully ornate cast aluminum base. A pitcher is a must for serving water and ice tea. For a dessert table, you cannot go wrong with the Domed Pedestal Servers and the matching Round Platter. The dome pedestals are all the rage for a few seasons now. I do not think this trend will go away soon because they add sophistication instantly. Therefore it makes sense to splurge in one or two remarkable pastry dome pedestals.

It seems that several products I selected are quite popular because a bunch is back-ordered right now. Some items will be available in April, others will arrive early May. So you should be able to get everything for the upcoming Mother’s Day brunch if you want to.

Buy online: Recamier Flatware at Horchow – price: $188 5-piece setting, serving spoon and fork are $106 each
Buy online: Scribed Poppy Dinnerware at Horchow – price: $169.90 USD 16-Piece Dinnerware Set, $65 for 4 dinner plates
Buy online: Gracious Goods Pitcher at Horchow – price: $130 USD
Buy online: Gracious Goods Round Platter – price: $175 USD
Buy online: Gracious Goods Domed Pedestal Servers – on sale: small $103.90, large $175.90


Looking better than it tasted at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar


As I visited Toronto for the IDS 2008, I booked the Sunday brunch at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. I heard the buzz about this place so I was excited.

Jamie Kennedy has earned a great reputation in Toronto for his upscale restaurants. With the Wine Bar, he proposes an affordable option executed by the Chef of cuisine Tobey Nemeth.

My opinion

Sadly I liked the décor more than the food. In all fairness, I should have sat at the kitchen bar. Usually it is a treat to see what is going on.

That Sunday, we were speaking about Status Competition, our Facebook application, at PodCamp Toronto. So I opted to sit at a quiet table. I imagined that Jerome and I may refine our presentation during the brunch.

Basically, Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar serves small portion seasonal dishes either for lunch, dinner or at brunch. I was told that the menu slightly changes on a daily basis. As you may suspect by the name of the restaurant, wine pairing plays a big role on the menu. Next to each dish on the menu you have the wine recommendation of the sommelier. Due to our speaking engagement, we did not taste any wine.

About the Sunday Brunch menu

The Sunday Brunch Prix Fixe menu lets you select 2 dishes from the menu for $20. Side dishes are extra. I found that the mix of flavors on the Cheese and Dried Fruit Grilled Sandwich was not really successful. The caramelization of the dried fruit with the cheese (I do not remember which one) did not work for me. Since we were pressed by time, I did not say anything to our server. My egg dish was good. Jerome ate a warm tartelette and an omelet. His selections were more interesting than mine.

We had the House-Made Berkshire Pork Bacon which I enjoyed since I ate the lean parts. I was surprised that there was that much thick fat on our pieces.  The white fat was easy to remove with a knife but I would expect the kitchen to do it before serving.

About the Décor

As you can see from the pictures I took, the restaurant decor is warm, cool and creative. The Mason jars wall looks amazing. That is my favorite thing in the place. It is an idea to steal for your own kitchen.  The school dining table ambiance in the larger room is charming.

The night before, I lived through a delightful dinner at Kultura. I was still under that spell so maybe I asked too much from my brunch. I suspect the dinner at the Wine Bar must be a different experience. If you ever ate at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar, how did you like the food? Should I try it again?

Learn more: Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar
Photo credit: Jamie Kennedy with his sous-chef at the Gardiner Museum taken by Mary Elizabeth Armstrong – Rights reserved picture


Eco-friendly 3D wall flats

3d wall flats by inhabit

I really like the effects that are now possible with 3D wallpapers. After seeing the beautiful tiles designed exclusively by Barber Osgerby for Stella McCartney’s retail shops, I decided to show you more accessible options.

In fact, the Embossed Wall Flats by Inhabit are a far better solution. Far better since this is an eco-friendly product made from bamboo pulp. The peel-and-stick adhesive tabs can expand in any direction to create a fun, modern pattern.

I would like to create a feature wall on my home office but the difficulty remains which of the 5 patterns to select. The ten 18 by 18 inches panels per package cover 22.5 square feet. Resellers of Inhabit include Velocity and All Modern Furniture.

I want to express my special thank to N04 who reminded me of the wall flats by commenting on AT Chicago.

Buy online: See Saw Wall Flat by Inhabit – price: $86 USD
Buy online: Bud Wall Flat at Inhabit – price: $86 USD
Via: Tile Vault: Stella Tiles by Barber Osgerby on Apartment Therapy Chicago 


Give a Book about Entertaining to the Hostess

easy entertaining : entertaining planner : recipe notes : mother's cooking by ryland peters & small

My theory is that you should keep at home a reserve of hostess gifts. This way, you are always ready for an impromptu dinner party invitation and you save time by minimizing your shopping trips.

A lot of people from newlyweds to single men are searching for clues on how to entertain properly. The best books for them pass on tips for simple entertaining. Easy to follow instructions and gorgeous photography are essentials. Otherwise, people do not put into practice what is in the book.

That is what I like about the books by Ryland Peters & Small. To make it easier for you, stash any of these 4 new releases until you need a hostess gift:

The beauty within a book

Ryland Peters & Small are renowned for their books devoted to: food and drinks, home and garden, health and well-being. Their books provide practical information about planning, staging and organizing an event at home.

This British editor has a distinctive look. Once you know the brand, you can instantly identity that you are holding on your hand a Ryland Peters & Small book. I am a fan obviously of their fresh modern visual.

What is your favorite book about entertaining?


Picks of the Week on the blogosphere | 08.03.24 issue

clarissa hulse lamp shades : elita platinum vent hood : cat plate set by shinzi katoh : orla kiely dress  This week is all about the drum shape and fashionable fun patterns.

My 4 picks of the week

Purple Area for Clarissa Hulse

The Urban Jungle range enlivens a classic ivory and black with punches of neon pink, aqua and sweet pea. Clarissa Hulse emulated the urban landscape by the bright lights of city life.

One of the most distinctive textile designers in the UK, Clarissa Hulse is designer of luxury housewares specializing in wallpaper, cushions, throws and lamp shades. Fabrics by the meter are also available.

GlamNest for Getting’ Steamy in Here! The Hottest Vent Hoods Ever

Like a movie star, the shining, glossy steel of Platinum does not go unnoticed. I am especially fond of the models that like a lamp shape. Look at Grace, Platinum, Twin, Star and Wave for the hottest island vent hoods on the market.

The high-end appliances produced by the Italian brand Elica are both stylish and technologically advanced. If you live in North America, you will be sad to know that these most daring and fashionable vent hoods are neither available in Canada or the United States for the moment.

Decor8 for Arthur’s Circus

The vintage look is all the range for many. The Japanese tableware for kids does not escape this trend. If this is your taste, check out the inventory from Arthur’s Circus. This small online retailer from Australia specializes in old-fashioned toys and vintage style housewares.

Arthur’s Circus carries this cute Cat plate set by Shinzi Katoh. There is also A Rabbit Plate set online. Both are so cute.

Oh Joy for happy friday + new orla!

I adore this 60′ style dress from the Orla Kiely Spring/Summer 2008 collection. Orla Kiely described the SS08 in Collection in these terms:

The silhouette of theis modern, simple and sophisticated with a boyish charm, cute dresses, knee-length shorts and mini summer trenches.

Buy online: Wingnut & Helix large tapered drum lampshade at Clarissa Hulse – price: £195
Learn more: Hottest Island Vent Hoods by Elica
Buy online: Cat Plate Set by Shinzi Katoh – price: $35 USD
Learn more: Orla Kiely Multi Rhododendron Dress – price: £252
Buy online: Front Bow Floral Print Dresses by Orla Kiely – price: $342 USD


Introducing the Dinner with Grandma Nights by Laurent Haug

dinner with grandma :: meal planner :  home cooking

I am glad that my very resourceful friend Kelly gave me a tip this morning. It is a cool event concept.

The investigator, Laurent Haug is a Swiss guy that got the brilliant idea to draw attention to the best cooking of grandmothers.

The idea is relatively simple to implement in any city. Grandmothers get more attention and see their expertise recognized by younger generations. Grandmothers can pass on their old tricks to us.

You discovered the best cooking tips only if you cook with someone. Did you know putting some white vinegar on your salad when you wash it brings the insects to the surface? Laurent learned this handy solution from her grandmother while she participated in the first Dinner with Grandma.

How it works?

You find a restaurant that is willing to participate. Ideally, select a restaurant with 30 to 60 places. Plan the event on a slow restaurant night, like a Monday night. Find a grandmother that is an excellent cook. Have a test run of the grandmother cooking. You can use the social networks on the Web to find the grandmother candidates.

Let the grandmother plans her menu with the restaurant owner. The restaurant owner will calculate the food quantity and handle the food ordering. The restaurant owner will calculate the fixed cost per guest. Drinks are not included in the fixed price menu. Advertise the event on your blogs and social networks.

The day of the event

For the public, the event starts around 6 o’clock PM with a cocktail. Plan two kitchen helpers for cutting the ingredients and preparing the plates. Typically, the grandmother meets you and the kitchen staff at the restaurant around 2 o’clock the afternoon of the event. She will cook a little but mostly, she provides instructions to the Chef and the kitchen helpers.

Around 6 o’clock PM, greet the guests. About 45 minutes later, introduce the life story of the grandmother at the beginning. The grandmother will then explain her menu. I think she should be in the room during the entire meal to exchange with the people.

If you want to know more, Elizabeth Bowie interviewed Laurent Haug who shares his experience and vision on How to Host a Dinner with Grandma Event. If you live in the Toronto, Spark is looking for a grandmother that is a truly fantastic cook to participate in their own Dinner with Grandma Event.

March 24th Update: If the grandmother does not mind, you can publish a small booklet with the meal recipes.

A Web site dedicated to grandmother’s cooking

I found a Web community where grandma from the world can show us to cook. What’s Cooking Grandma? is a project to create a cookbook of the grandmothers of the world sharing their special recipes. You can film your grandmother while she cooked her famous recipes. Then, upload the videos on What’s Cooking Grandma?

Grandma’s cooking and baby on Flickr

The vintage illustrations are from a fun booklet on cooking meal planning published in 1957. The artist Albert Aquino apparently drew these charming illustrations that I found on Flickr thanks to wardomatic.

Photo credits: 1957 Home Meal Planner set by wardomatic on Flickr – Illustrations by Albert Aquino
Via: Want to host a Grandma dinner? published on Spark
Via: Hello Grandma, Spark is Calling…


Happy Easter!

happy easter :: chocolate trading co. uk

In this fabulous sunny day, I wish to wish to everyone who celebrates it a very Happy Easter! For the rest, I hope you indulge in a nice piece of fine chocolate.

I found the lovely Oeuf Maisonnette Easter Egg at Chocolate Trading Co. UK. It is so cute. The Chocolate Filled French Hens eggs are presented in a genuine egg box, creating a fun but seriously good Easter gift. These eggs are filled with chocolate praline naturally made with cane sugar and Bourbon vanilla.

For my part, I prefer the rich taste of dark chocolate. I am glad that I received a cute, fashionable bunny with a ruffled dress. Ruffles are in this summer by the way.

Enjoy your chocolate treats. Happy Easter!

Learn more: Chocolate Trading Co. UK