Yearly Archives

2008

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

My Christmas Eve Tablescape

christmas eve tabletop

The tradition continues. I am showing you my Christmas tablescapes. Last night theme was built around winter wilderness. Since we celebrated Christmas Eve at the ski cottage, that theme fits the surroundings.

The Making of My Theme

A special thank to Canadian Tire for giving me several accessories to make my table come true. The rest of the table was assembled with items from last year’s tablescapes (see also). My idea was to illustrate how you can update your table by replacing a few elements. I like to create vignette for my centerpiece.

christmas eve centerpiece

The Christmas theme dinnerware set was bought many years ago. It is a classic at our holiday table. I reused my birch cachepots, the pinecones, and the bauble place card holders of last year. The red tablecloth and napkin set was bought two or three years ago. Canadian Tire donated two birch pillar candles, the rustic winterscape lanterns, the two brown twig trees, and the black aluminum reindeer.

A last minute find was the red wood pieces, discovered at an art craft store. There were some natural wood pieces. I think the natural wood would have been nicer. I forgot that the tablecloth was red when I bought the wood pieces.

I like to put snow under my centerpiece. I mixed two kinds of artificial snow for a more realistic effect. On the bottom, I dropped a white paper snow. On the top, I sprinkled a more icy type of artificial snow. I enjoyed the glittering effect. The lanterns were hanged with fishing line on the existing pendants.

christmas eve tablescape details

Christmas crackers add fun during dinner. Ours came from Neiman Marcus. Crackers add a festive touch to the table.

I have fun styling my table. It is almost time to prepare the Christmas dinner table. I will improvise the table theme; I am still undecided. Tonight’s menu is the traditional turkey ragout with a piece of tourtière (i.e. French-Canadian meat pie) and homemade ketchup.

ALL occasions GIFT IDEAS

Merry Christmas 2008

merry christmas 2008

I hope you are having fun surrounded with love and joy. Christmas day is more than a day of cakes and ale. It is a day of small life pleasures made of laughers and fun.

I gave you a sneak peak at our party yesterday. You see how I wrapped some Christmas with where all the guests. My husband received this amazing pair of down duvet scraper mittens from Eddie Bauer (out of stock). You keep warm and it will protect our nice leather gloves. With the way this winter started, I think will get many uses the mitten scraper.

A quick note to wish you Merry Christmas with a nice interpretation of Let It Snow by Diana Krall.

HOME + GARDEN HOME office

Reduce Your Footprint with a Perpetual Calendar

I rely more and more on the calendar on my iPhone but I still like the feels of a wall calendar. In this era of green living, it makes sense to use a perpetual wall calendar instead of replacing our paper calendar each year.

Here are three modern perpetual calendars that will nicely decorate your office:

kikkerland futuro perpetual calendar

+ FUTURO Calendar designed by Pieter Woudt for Kikkerland. A schedule printed on the backside gets you going until December 2020 while an insert provides the information until December 2152. So you can leave it on your testament as a legacy. $22.16 at Amazon.com.

perpetual calendars - D/M/Y :: moma red acrylic perpetual calendar

+ You insert a red wooden peg into the hole to indicate the month on the Perpetual Calendar – D/M/Y. Then, you align the top bar with the date and the day of the week and you are all set. $30 at design Within Reach

+ MoMA proposes an Acrylic Perpetual Calendar available in orange, black or red. $35

HOME + GARDEN ORGANIZING TABLEWARE

Home Accessories to Get More Organized

be organized at home

It feels great to start the New year with a clean slate. If you dream of a tidy house, these modern style organizers should help keep your New Year’s resolution.

During the Holiday, we travel more with our pets. Now that our two cats enjoy a car drive, we bring them when we go for the weekend. Typically, masters bring their dogs with them. Made of two halves, the Charlybox includes a two-liter canteen for fresh water plus two bowls for water and kibble. The handle and light weight made it easy to carry around.

The Felt Door Organizer gives a new form to the catch all. Hang one or two on the guest room. Your guests will appreciate this little attention. Available in red, gray or black. I think it is a new product designed by Chris Collicott for Kikkerland. If you have more info, inform me.

Joe Colombo’s 5 in Uno Set of Glasses proves that good design endure time. Designed in 1970, each guest gets their own set of five hand-blown glasses. I like that the set takes less space for storage. A stylized flower is fashioned when the glasses are nested. You create an instant conversation piece when you used it nested on your place settings. The 5 glasses are intended for: spirit, port/prosecco/dessert wine, wine, water and cognac/brandy. Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine. Beware that the 5 in Uno Set of Glasses is a luxury at $225 per place setting.

SOURCING:
+ Chris Collicott’s Felt Door Organizer, I am still looking for a retailer
+ Charlybox, $60 at Design Within Reach
+ Joe Colombo’s 5 in Uno Set of Glasses, on sale at $225 at Design Within Reach

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

A Lesson in Tableware Arrangements with modern Finnish Dinnerware

taika and teema dinnerware by iittala

Mixing and matching dinnerware is a sure way to tailor the look of your tableware. Instead of buying a set, some brands allow you to buy plates, bowls and cups individually.

More and more people let go of the everyday dinnerware and entertaining tableware to replace them with a single casual chic set. You can save on space. Or you can fit more place settings by regrouping everything and be able to host bigger dinner parties.

To enhance your tableware when you are entertaining, you can add a patterned plate or bowl. You can see the different effects if you select a salad plate versus a dinner plate. With time, you can add more pieces for more flexibility.

The Finnish brand iittala proposes three collections that harmonize well together. The possibilities are vast. The black Taika pattern designed by the famous Klaus Haapaniemi is available since Fall 2008. I prefer the white and the blue patterns to the black one.

origo and teema dinnerware by iittala

Available in 9 colors, Teema is a range of 21st century design objects created by Kaj Franck in the 1950s. Teema still looks current today. Alfredo Haberli designed in 1999 the brightly striped ceramic bowls, mugs, and plates of the iittala Origo dinnerware.

Notice that until February 28, 2009, iittala offers Taika and Origo in seasonal items in red. I adore the fact that the iittala dinnerware is freezer, microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe

SOURCING:
+ iittala Taika dinnerware, $8 to $32 each at Zwello
+ iittala Teema dinnerware, $9.20-$44.00 at Zwello
+ iittala Origo dinnerware, $7.50 to $52.50 each at Finnish Gifts

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

Glamorous Holiday Theme with a Christmas tree Fitted for Condo Living

Cosmopolitain Holiday Decor at Canadian Tire

Canadian Tire is not a name that comes to mind when you plan a glamour Holiday party. But when I browsed the Holiday catalogue that they sent me I was surprised to see that they carry some cool design holiday decorations. Canadian Tire imagined 6 holiday decor themes for the 2008 edition. The Cosmopolitan theme will work as well for a Christmas party than for a New Year party.

I received some free samples from Canadian Tire for evaluation. I selected the items to fit with the decorations I already owned. They sent me a sample of the black feather tree with gold tips and the deep purple feather wreath. I did not have the time yet to open the box of the 3-piece pre-lit gold trees (reg. price $29.99) that sit on the coffee table. I received a couple more items that I will show you later this week with my own settings.

These items are more affordable than the typical stores where I shop. It is not the same quality obviously. If it is for a holiday decor that you intend to use for a year or two, go for it. I say that because some items are fragile. Their lifetime will depend on how good you are at storing them.

Purple Feather Buffet Table Theme

I came out with a concept for a buffet table. Put a feather wreath around a round raised service plate or bowl. Sadly, the wreath they sent me arrived in three pieces due to poor packing. I may try to rescue it with some tape and see if it possible to show you my concept next week.

Rainbow Moments tea lights and oil lamps

I bought at Home Hardware a pack of Rainbow Moments tea light candles with purple flames from to complete the look.

Christmas tree Fitted for Condo Living

Big and tall Christmas trees take space. So brands imagine different options to adapt to the lack of space of many urban residents.

I saw this $130 model on the Canadian Tire catalogue but I did not find it online. The half-tree is designed to stand against the wall. I never see this type of tree for real. I think it is a practical idea to a specific problem. The half-tree is cheaper and you save on decorations. Have you ever seen one installed in a home? I am curious to know if they look good.

Stay tuned to see later this week my own Holiday decorations. Like gifts under the Christmas trees, you have to wait a little bit later to see how I decorated this year. Simply know that I gave you some clues over the month.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Last-Minute Christmas Entertaining Ideas

tabletop ideas from crate and barrel

Adding one or two items can freshen up your typical Christmas table scheme. I found  those items at Crate and Barrel and there is a few hours left to order online.

The red knitted Flatware Mittens are cute. Kids will love those. The kids can even help you dress up the table.

A new tablecloth can completely change the style of your table. I prefer using a Holiday tablecloth with my usual entertaining dinnerware set. I like the modern botanical pattern in shades of red and black on a vibrant cranberry background. Marimekko also produces the pattern in shades of silver and cream on a crisp white ground.

A hot chocolate is one of most enjoyable pleasure of winter. Make sure to have a good provision for the Christmas brunch or to serve your stay over guests before bedtime. Add a Peppermint Spoon with your hot chocolate or coffee for an added attention.

I bought the glass Bodum Chocolatière last year. It works well. The white porcelain Bodum Chocolatière looks even better. You must call a store for availability of the Bodum Chocolatière since the online store is out of stock.

Shipping Information

Last Day to Order for Christmas

  • noon CT December 22 for standards and 2-Day Express
  • 11:00 a.m. CT December 23 for Next Day Express

SOURCING:
+ Flatware Mittens on sale at $11.95 USD for 4
+ Marimekko Lumimarja Tablecloth and Napkin from $6.95 to $109
+ Double Chocolate/Holiday Cocoa on sale at $1.95 – $5.50 USD
+ Bodum Chocolatière on sale at $29.95 USD
+ Peppermint Spoons $9.95 for a set of 8 spoons (4 red, 4 white)

FOOD + DRINK HOSTESS gifts TABLEWARE

Winter Appetizer Set by Heath Ceramics

health ceramics winter appetizer set

The Winter Appetizer Set includes a 12×12 plaza platter in matte red and one each 4×4 plaza trays in matte red, burgundy, plum and chestnut. Bowls are sold separately. This is a 2008 Limited Edition by Heath Ceramics.

If you live in Sausalito or Los Angeles, you can stop by the Heath Ceramics stores to make a wonderful gift for an entertainer. Or order online and benefit from free shipping until December 31, 2008 on orders of at least $25.

It is available until supplies last (estimated time April 1). I will visit again Los Angeles this winter. I plan a visit to the LA store and I will be able to tell you more about the Heath collection.

SOURCING:
+ Winter Appetizer Set $101 USD at Heath Ceramics

HOLIDAY entertaining RECIPES + menus

Brilliant Ideas for Holiday Menu

more holiday menu: appetizer, side dish and dessert

I say brilliant because these recipes add panache to any dinner party yet they are uncomplicated to make. Let’s start by two Christmas ideas by food and interior stylist Paul Lowe of Sweet Paul.

+ Dress up the classic cheese dessert platter by dishing a whole Brie or Camembert with a couple of splashes of lavender honey and dried figs. Photo by Colin Cooke. Via Sweet Paul

+ This tasty recipe of Brussels sprouts is made in the oven. I made a French recipe with Brussels sprouts and bacon. Paul proposes Brussels sprouts with pancetta and almonds. I wrote it down on future dishes to cook. Photo by Frances Janisch.

+ Canapés pair well with a glass of Champagne. Like I said in my previous post, excellent sparkling wines can rival the taste of Champagne. I love Champagne and I feel they should be included in any celebrations. Elise of Simply Recipes shares her Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Toasts. Her recipe makes about 40 pieces. Several steps can be prepared a few days ahead. The lemon strip satisfies your eyes and your mouth.

+ Gifts do not only go under the Christmas tree. Get inspired by how The French Laundry set up a gift tower at their dessert station. Via Daily Feed

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

4 Easy to Make Punch Recipes for the Holiday

modern_punchrecipes

The perfect host welcomes her guests with a drink as soon as they remove their coat. Anytime you cater to a large group the easiest solution is to prepare a batch of a signature drink.

Serving a punch is ideal. Punch is making a come back with delicious new tastes. Simply put a family member in charge of filling the glasses while you are greeting the guests at the door.

I featured three festive punch recipes. My favorite is the Sparkling Punch from the SAQ, Quebec’s liquor board stores. I am sorry for not showing a picture of this orange concoction. I am stuck in a snowstorm and I forgot my USB cable to transfer pictures from my camera.

Sparkling Punch

Source: Tchin Tchin Winter 2008-2009

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz (125 ml) brandy
  • 4 oz (125 ml) orange liqueur, use Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • 8 cups (2 l) pineapple juice
  • 2 oz (60 ml) cranberry syrup
  • A bottle (750 ml) of sparkling wine

I recommend a Californian sparkling wine made by a French Champagne house. You get the same taste than Champagne at a  fraction of the price. The Roederer Brut Anderson Valley is sublime.

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl filled with ice cubes, combine Clementine wedges, sliced or diced pineapples and cranberries. There should be plenty of fruits, imagine a sangria.
  2. Combine all the ingredients
  3. Serve in champagne flutes garnished with fruits

Christmas Punch Recipe

Source: Espace Cocktail – Make: 12 servings

christmas punch recipes with brandy and sparkiling wine

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz (180 ml) cognac or brandy
  • 3 oz (90 ml) citrus liqueur
  • 3 oz (90 ml) white rum
  • 8 oz (250 ml) pineapple juice
  • 8 oz (250 ml) grapefruit juice
  • 17 oz (500 ml) orange juice
  • 1 2/3 tablespoons (50 ml) sugar
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) of sparkling wine
  • Pineapple slices

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except the sparkling wine in a punch bowl
  2. Refrigerate for 2 hours
  3. Add ice cubes and the chilled sparkling wine immediately before serving
  4. Serve in an old-fashioned glass and garnish with a pineapple slice

Roska Punch

Source: Espace Cocktail – Make: 12 servings

roska punch recipe with vodka

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle (750 ml) rosé wine
  • 3 oz (90 ml) vodka
  • 1 oz (30 ml) citrus liqueur
  • 8 oz (250 ml) cranberry juice
  • 8 oz (250 ml) lemon soda
  • 8 oz (250 ml) fresh cranberries
  • 8 oz (250 ml) honeydew, diced or in balls
  • Ice cubes

Instructions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a large punch bowl.
  2. Serve in old-fashioned glasses containing a few ice cubes and some fruits.

Modern Cocktail

Source: Espace Cocktail – Make: 12 servings

If you are into litchi, ginger ale and rum, prepare the Modern Cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz (450 ml) white rum
  • 10 oz (300 ml) litchi liqueur
  • 10 oz (300 ml) peach liqueur
  • 12 oz (360 ml) orange juice
  • 24 oz (720 ml) white cranberry juice
  • 24 oz (720 ml) ginger ale
  • 2 1/2 oz (75 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 lemon cut into slices
  • Ice cubes

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl with a deep bed of the ice cubes.
  2. Serve in an old-fashioned glass with a few ice cubes and garnish with a slice of lemon.

Savor and drink responsibly!

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

A New Twist on Christmas Decorations

a new twist christmas decorations

Traditional Christmas decorations look more and more sophisticated while keeping a crafty touch. These British decoration ideas look hip.

Holiday Stockings

I feel in The Netherlands admiring the fireplace mantel. You know that I have a thing for Scandinavian theme. From Living etc. January 2009 issue. Show here are felt stockings and knitted stockings from two UK retailers.

Christmas Wall Decorations

My favorite British blogger Wee Birdy discovered this impressive wall Christmas tree. Dutch graphic designer Jane Schouter of All the Luck in the World cleverly imagined this wall tree. Jane made the tree with useless but pretty objects she collected over the years. It is time to start collecting. See more photos on Flickr.

I love this set of 3 Bevelled Mirrored Stars from Graham and Green. It looks as great for Christmas or a New Year’s party. £87.10

SOURCING:
+ Red Felt Stocking £10 at House of Fraser
+ Intasia knitted stockings at John Lewis £8 for 2