Monthly Archives

September 2008


Farmhouse Style Tableware at UK retailer Toast

terracotta plates, bowls and mug :: bistro cultery :: casale dinnerware at toast

Our quest for simpler living spaces triggers an appeal for contrasting textures in decoration. This technique enables us to recycle a part of our current décor instead of replacing everything.

This year, you can elevate the farmhouse style by adding a crystal chandelier over an old wood dining table. You can mix and match raw materials with stylish accessories or you can favor organic irregular dinnerware displayed on a traditional dining room.

Terracotta Dinnerware Collection

I fall in love with the tableware at Toast. The Terracotta collection is simply divine. It comes in 5 colors: olive, pumice, taupe, coral and charcoal. The muted glaze colors create a harmonious, relaxing feeling. The glossy glaze adds elegance to this handmade, irregular dinnerware series.

Bistro and Casale Tableware

The Bistro cutlery is timeless. I prefer the biscuit color. The limestone white Casale collection feels richer than pure white. I love them all!

If you want any of those, no need to plan a trip to the United Kingdom since they deliver worldwide. If you buy 7 items or more, it costs £45.00 for delivery in the United States and £65.00 for delivery in Canada.

+ terracotta large round bowl – £75
+ terracotta small bowl – £22
+ terracotta large mug – £25
+ terracotta large dinner plate at Toast– £34
+ bistro cutlery at Toast – £32 per 4-piece place setting
+ casale jug at Toast – £35


Decorating with Gray

decorating with gray walls :: bedding with silver metallic print

Gray is hot this autumn both in fashion and home décor. People are not used to put this color on walls. But gray produce amazing neutral walls. Depending on the hues you selected, the room can look warm or cold.

These pictures taken from Living etc. to infuse some industrial influence into your house have a lot of charms and even a sense of cosiness. After the smoky eyes, it is time for the smoky walls.

This season, think about muted grays and blues, silver leaf finishes, a liquid-metal-edged quilt or a floral trellis and leaf pattern in muted metallic print for your bedding or a greenish gray wall.

My Design Challenge

I am thinking of using grays for our new office. Because I love bold color, I may apply on a small wall an orange wallpaper with a metallic large pattern that I saw at a wallpaper shop while walking in the street.

I have to sell the idea to my husband now. I wish to create an open concept conference area with a dining room vibe. He is not sold on that concept. The other problem is that the wallpaper pattern may be too feminine for his office taste.

+ Khari Trellis Quilt at Toast – £225 for king bed, £195 for double
+ Inessa Quilt at Toast – £295 for king bed, £275 for double
+ Industrial Influence by Living etc


Stuck on You Wall Hooks

Stuck on You Wall Hooks by Thelermont Hupton

Here is a party decor for a murder mystery party or a Halloween party that will still be useful after the party.

To suggest a kitchen crime scene, install the Stuck on You Wall Hooks. London design team Thelermont Hupton created in 2006 these hooks to hang your kitchen linens.

Measuring the actual size of utensils, the hooks can take the shape of a knife, a rolling pin or a saucepan.

Each model is available in white, red or black. Since they are sold separately, you can display the scene the way you like. Stuck on You Wall Hooks are quirky and eye-catching.

+ Stuck on You Wall Hooks at A+R – $32 USD per knife or rolling pin, $42 saucepan


Mesmerized by Jardins du Monde Tableware by Juliska


I am on the market for a new dinnerware set for at least one year. The problem with what I do for living is that I see so many gorgeous that it is hard to choose which one I like the best.

Selecting the Right Dinnerware for Your Lifestyle

I am gathering a guide on how to select the right dinnerware for entertaining. For now, let just say that you must examine how you entertain. Based on my style of entertaining, I am leaning for a French-country or any another European style.

I wish for something elegant but not too formal. And I want a pattern I will enjoy for many years. In the meantime, we will admire what I dug on the Web.

Exquisite Ceramic Dinnerware

Today, I came across the fabulous Jardins du monde ceramic collection. Juliska designers Capucine Gooding and Elaine McCleary think up unusual shapes and intricate, extravagant detailing overlaid to create a sublime new ceramics collection. The line is extensive with many statement pieces.

The Jardins du Monde Collection pays homage to gardens in Italy, France, Spain, and England. It comes in 4 patterns: Landriana, Villandry, Alcazar and Heligan.

Stunning Drinkware

If you wish for mystery, Gothic or glamour on your table, go with the Black Glass Drinkware. The color produces an incredible dark eggplant or purple hue depending of the light reflections. The Black Glass Drinkware contains 2 sizes of goblet, a pitcher and a tumbler glass.

The Graham goblet in green glass adds a fun element to the table. The table looks more festive when you mix clear glassware with color glassware. The silhouette of the Graham Drinkware collection fuses a thread and a berry detail with a spiraled sphere at the bottom of the leg.

Fine tableware retailers across the United States sell Juliska. They are a few retailers in Canada and South Korea.

+ Jardins du Monde Dinnerware by Juliska – $42 USD per dessert plate, $44 for a mug, $79 for charger plate
+ Jardins du Monde Villandry Serving/Asparagus Tray – $78 USD


Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day | Book Review

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe FrancoisThe blogger behind Zoe Bakes, Zoe Francois is a professional baker who wrote a book about Artisan bread making. She wrote this book with Jeff Hertzberg.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day contains nearly 100 no-knead bread recipes including French loaves, ciabbata, pita, and peasant bread. An imposing majority of the 158 reviewers on Amazon really enjoy this book.

Take the time to fully read the first chapters that explain key principles in bread baking. Then, you can start to make your own bread. One of the appeals of homemade bread is how good your house will smell. It is a good idea to bake your bread when you have guests over.

One Weakness

Unfortunately, the book does not indicate the weights for flour in recipes. The two authors decided against writing both weights and cup measures because they think most people do not use scale. Even if it is true, it would have been great to serve the minority who uses a scale.

You will be surprised on the difference you can get if you do not use the proper technique for measuring flour in a cup. Keeping the right proportions between the ingredients is crucial when you make bread and prepare pastry. Having all the facts can help you if a recipe does not turn right.

The Art of Measuring Flour

Sifting influences the weight of a cup of flour. So pay attention to the words used in a recipe. 1 cup of flour, sifted is different than 1 cup of sifted flour.

If you experience problems, know that there are many opinions on the subject. But I found a general consensus around these facts:

  • a cup of all-purpose sifted flour weigh 4 ounces (113 grams)
  • a cup of sifted cake flour = 3.5 ounces (100 gr)
  • a cup of whole wheat flour = 4.25 flour (120 gr)
  • a cup of bread flour = 4.5 flour (128 gr)

In a reader question, Zoe said that she evaluates the weight is about 5 ounces per cup of all-purpose flour. You can watch an instructional video on Star Tribune about how Jeff and Zoe make the bread on the cover of their book.

For more read making advices and recipes, consult the blog of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

+ For Americans: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois – $18.45 USD
+ For Canadians: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois – $19.50 CAD


RIP Paul Newman

paul newman dancing with johanne woodward in 1958

I do not usually talk about entertainment news but I liked Paul Newman. I want to pay him a tribute.

I was raised in a small town called Trois-Rivières. We host a popular racing event for the Formula Altantic Championship. It the series Gilles Villeneuve won before graduating to Formula 1.

One year, my aunt visited the racing site and she had the chance to see Paul Newman in person. He must have been in his late fifties at the time. He was still an incredibly handsome man. I went to the race the next day but I was not as lucky.

I will not do a recap of his career or his life. I leave it to the traditional media. But I found on CBC Sports this quote that is so apropos with my blog:

“I like racing, but food and motion pictures are more thrilling,” he told the Guardian newspaper in 2001. In racing, you can be certain, to the last thousandth of a second, that someone is the best, but with a film or a recipe, there is no way of knowing how all the ingredients will work out in the end.

I like this picture of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward with whom Paul was married for 50 years. A long-lasting love relationship is something we should try to replicate. On a personal note, my desire to get old with my loving and beloved husband explained why I married him. I am glad I did. Rest in peace Paul.

+ CBC Sports
+ Image from Everett Collection as seen on New York Times – rights reserved


Martini at the Oak Bar in Boston

strawberry martini at the oak room boston

Since it is Saturday night, I will share a few of my travel pictures. I told before that I enjoy staying at the Gold Floor of The Fairmont Copley Plaza when I visit Boston. I love boutique hotels but I also enjoy the pleasures and attention to details from the old luxury hotels.

Even if I am a modernist, I love history and value the treasures of classical architecture. The Oak Bar décor is reminiscent of a British Officer’s Club in the Orient.

A Treat for Martini Lovers

The Oak Bar at The Copley hotel is a must for martini lovers. They cater Boston’s largest martini menus. One martini order counts for two drinks.

I enjoy the way they serve their drinks. If you order a martini, your order comes in a mini pitcher served on your own ice bucket. This is what I called entertaining in style.

Casual Chic Clothing

There is an evening dress code. I suggest observing the dress code all day. When you travel, your best bet is to wear casual chic clothing all the times. This way, you can act on impulse and be presentable for any time of bars and restaurants.

Next to the Oak Bar, you get the Oak Room, their formal dining room. The overall look of your outfit should look dressy than jeans at the Oak Room. It is good to know that you can eat anything on the Oak Room menu in the Oak Bar.

The Oak Bar
p 617.267.5301 – 138 Saint James Ave, Boston, MA, United States, 02116


ECOBAGS Reusable Produce Bags and Reisenthel Bottle Bag

ECOBAGS Reusable Produce Bags and Reisenthel Bottle BagI just received my two sets of ECOBAGS Reusable Produce Bags I bought at They are well made. I am thrilled to try them. I am glad especially that I often have troubles opening the brand new plastic bags.

Responding to Normal Concerns

I am fully aware that they weigh more than plastic bags. But I am willing, for now, to not start a fight at the grocery store counter because each bag only weighs 1.2 ounces. At some point, the industry will adjust to this new trend. Some stores already did.

The cashier will have to open the bags to see the little code sticker on your produce. It is fairly easy to d. You can always tell them what you bought; cashiers often know the codes by heart.

The bags are best fit for transport when you are buying your fruits and vegetables. Owners of these bags say that the vegetables stay fresher on plastic bags. So maybe, you can keep a few of your old plastic bags on hand for storage. But you will still reduce considerably your consumption of plastic bags.

Eco-friendly Kit

Gone Shopping created this week the perfect eco-friendly kit with 2 large and 4 medium Ecobags produce bags, one Reisenthel Bottle Bag and 3 RuMe bags plus 1 mini RuMe.

Having the choice, I would buy the package at Gone Shopping, even though I already own a green Reisenthel Bottle Bag and several shopping bags. I think it is a better deal overall. I would give the extra pieces as hostess gifts. My friends and I bought several times from Gone Shopping. They prepared orders within 24 hours.

No more plastic bags or paper bags in SAQ starting in 2009

In Quebec, alcohol is sold through SAQ, state-operated stores. In 2009, all SAQ outlets will stop carrying paper bags and plastic bags. We will have to use our own reusable bags. This is why a bottle bag becomes a necessity. You can buy SAQ reusable bags for 75¢ each or $1 for the 6-bottle format. The SAQ will replace your reusable bag free of charge by another of equal or lesser value, in case it would ever become unusable.

I still prefer the more fashionable Reisenthel bag. They hold 9 regular size bottles.

I feel proud of myself and I cannot wait to try out my reusable produce bags. What have you done to reduce your footprint later?

+ ECOBAGS Reusable Produce Bags – $15.50 USD for 2 medium and 2 large bags
+ Eco-Shopper Kit – $65 CAD
+ Reisenthel Bottle Bag at Gone Shopping – $13 CAD
+ Reisenthel Bottle Bag in Flora and Black at Reusable Bags – $14.99 USD


Vintage Halloween Kids Party at Cookie

Vintage Halloween Kid Party by cookie

Take note because there are plenty of inspirations on these pictures for decorations, costumes and party themes.

When you are hosting a costumed party, it is often more fun to establish a theme. You get the Wow factor by tailoring the decorations and the activities to the theme. It enables you to create a stunning atmosphere.

Party Theme

The Cookie team did a great job on their Vintage Halloween party. The styling job is impressive. With a little bit of imagination, their decor can be reproduced in almost every backyard. Use old branches whenever you wish to create a sense of depth or mystery.

Some kids may require more persuasion but parents should be able to find a way to persuade their kids to dress for a theme. I learned by watching my friends that it is a matter of how you present it to the kids.

Tips for Party Activities

Plan activities for a 2 hours and a half party. Cookies schedule a party that starts at 5 PM. Allow 30 minutes or less per activity. Forecast time between the activities for the kids to move from one activity station to the next.

If the kids are old enough, let them prepare their own pizza. Give each kid a parchment paper on which they will deposit their pizza. Ask the kid to write their name at the top of the parchment paper.

If you host the party on a large lot, you can organize a wrap and race competition. Prepare extra goody bags for the winning team. See the details on the wrap and race activity on Cookie.

You can plan more than one activity at the time. This way, kids will choose the one they preferred. Still, you should try to alternate the groups.

Do you like this Halloween kids party? What are you planning for your kids?


More IKEA Kitchens in Animation

ikea kitchens and tableware

Take a few minutes to relax. Have a look at the funny situations depicted in the animated movies done by IKEA.

The video showcased 5 different lifestyles and tastes. You explore ideas from the Greek alfresco family lifestyle to the urban singles, the suburban families, and the gay couples up to green conscious people. Although, I do not know what is eco-friendly about IKEA kitchens, besides the flat pack?

Tableware for Entertaining

Between each kitchen, you discover a few kitchenware and tableware items. If you are looking for Champagne flutes, you can choose between the SKIR mouth-blown flute with engraving or the very affordable SVALKA champagne flutes.

The SYNTES SKISS dinner plates are gorgeous. The series comes in 4 bowl sizes and 3 plate sizes.

You control the interface easily. You can go forward and backward at will and stop whenever you want. Try it, it is fun!

+ More IKEA Kitchens Video
+ SKIR Champagne flutes – $10.99 CAD for a 2 pack
+ SVALKA Champagne flutes – $6.99 CAD for a 6 pack
+ DINERA bowl in  lime green – $2 CAD
+ VICKNING white oven dish – $6.99 CAD
+ SYNTES SKISS dinner plate – $6 CAD
+ SYNTES KONST Deep plate – $4 CAD
+ ANRIK coffee/tea maker – $39.99 CAD
+ MOTTO bowl in beige – $0.75 CAD


7 Cool Desk Accessories

desk accessories :: filex :: cavanelli clothespins and clips :: recycled bindersI received my FILEX Emma by International Arrivals this week. It looks even better for real. This inspired to go on a quest to find the coolest desk accessories.

I cannot guarantee any of those will stimulate you to work harder but I know you will feel joyful if you surround your desk with cute and whimsical office supplies.

Be Kind to the Earth

Grass Roots is a good source. I found a mini blue box that fits in the palm of your hand and recycled binders there.

Did you know that you could repurpose the ring metals affixed with two screws and t-nuts instead of putting them in the trashcan when the corrugated cardboard binders are too worn?

For Organization

Besides the FILEX folders, the Task clips are pretty cool. You can get the Utility Clips (Do, File, Send, Read), the Timing Clips (Now, Tomorrow, This Week, Someday), and the Importance Task Clips (Urgent, Important, Can Wait, Trivial).

Give a future business owner the Decision Kit to get her or him started in the new role. Cavanelli puts in tin boxes two office essentials: paper clips and mini clothespins. Use the clothespins to display photos, postcards or brochures along a string.

+ FILEX folders at International Arrivals – $6.95 USD for 6 files
+ Cavallini Can o’ Clips at Vickery – $5.50 USD for box of 24 mini clothespins
+ Cavallini Clipiola Italian Paper Clips at Vickery– $7.50 USD for box of 125
+ Recycled Binders at Grass Roots – $6.99 USD
+ Mini Blue Box at Grass Roots – $2.50 USD
+ Utility Task Bins at Knock Knock – $9 USD
+ Decision Kit at Knock Knock – $21 USD