Monthly Archives

March 2009


Two Sweet Treats for Easter that are not Made of Chocolate

I propose something made and something bought. Either idea makes elegant party favors for your Easter Brunch. You can select whichever suits your lifestyle and your budget.

Home Baked Party Favors

homemade easter marshmallow peeps by twig and thistle

If you have a free afternoon, Kathleen of Twig and Thistle shows us how to make awesome Easter marshmallows. She used bright colors for her. She also teaches us how to package it. You could add a ribbon around the box with a Happy Easter tag.

She used the Wilton Easter 6 pc Mini Metal Cookie Cutter Set to fashion her marshmallows.

Handmade Bought Cookies

easter cookie box by The Jewels of New York

Then, I have a solution for the busy woman who is looking for a chic party favors. You can order online a box of 4 Easter cookies from two new darlings of mine from New York for delivery in Continental US.

You could even make 4 gifts with a box since each cookie is individually wrapped in cellophane and tied with a satin bow. I will show later more impressive food ideas from the girls behind The Jewels of New York.

Beware that the silver dragees on their Faberge egg cookies are for decorative use only and should be removed before eating. The FDA does not approve them for consumption because the silver is a metal coating. All silver dragees carry that same warning. The state of California has banned them. They are still in use because they add elegance.

These are cute solutions to limit the chocolate overdose this Easter.

+ How to make your DIY Homemade Marshmallow Peeps
+ box of 4 Easter cookies $25 USD at The Jewels of New York
+ Wilton Easter 6 pc Mini Metal Cookie Cutter Set $2.44 USD at Amazon


DIY Graduation Party Decor Ideas

craft projects for graduation or wedding party decor

A college graduate contacted me because he was looking for affordable and colorful party decorations and possibly a theme for their graduation party.

The graduates are multicultural so it may be a nice touch to add elements of several cultures. Instead of coming out with a party theme, I am sharing awesome DIY craft projects to decorate the party room. Each one can be reinterpreted to suit your style.

Chinese Lanterns

big lime chinese lanterns

Lanterns create a festive mood instantly. If you host a party in at an hotel, the ceilings are high and the room are vast. You will need plenty of large lanterns to create a statement. You can attach battery-operated light or flashlight inside if you wish to lit them.

Flite Design showcased the nice mauve and lime at the 2009 Soolip Wedding, an event that happened in Los Angeles on March 29. You will find more inspirations on the blog Junebug Weddings.

DIY Mobile Ideas

A cool idea is to attach each lantern to a bamboo stick and spread them in a vase like flowers. I spotted that idea last year on Project Wedding.

Vary the sizes and colors of origami cranes. These origami mobiles were made for Yuli + Keith’s wedding. The Great Catch picture net is also from their wedding. Check out Oh, Hello friend for more stunning uses of origami cranes.

replace flower centerpieces with bird mobiles

The bird mobile is a good symbol of the life transition that occurs after graduation. Spool Sewing offered the bird pattern for free. Look for the bins with fabric scraps at fabric stores; you will save a lot of money.

Message in a Bottle Game

You can ask everyone to answer the same question before the party. Print each answer on a piece of paper to create unique message in a bottle. Spread the messages in a bottle on each table. Let people freely open the message through the night and guess who is the author of each question.

Make sure the paper is easy to remove. The paper should be almost as high as the bottle and use 2 to 3 tapes to firmly keep the roll small. Get inspired by the Send Help Project invitations featured on NOTCOT.

The idea when you wish to design a party is to find your starting point and from that, to devise the whole theme. Have fun at your graduation party!

+ mauve and lime lanterns by Flite DesignVia Junebug Wedding
+ Origami cranes and great catch images: Yuli + Keith’s wedding photographed by Robert Sukrachand – right reserved
+ Send Help Project invitations via NOTCOT
+ Lime Big Chinese Lanterns on Project Wedding
+ Three Little Birds by Spool Sewing – image on Flickr
+ Bird Mobile done by Homemade with Jill


Kitchen Storage for my Organizing Monday


I spot four products to keep your kitchen neat.

1. Write and Rub Labels on Jars

No more guessing when you bought your food with the white ceramic chalkboard storage jars. That series include a chalk storage cake, probably for the type of cake who eat at the 4 o’clock tea.

2. Expandable Cutlery Tray

The patented “loc-a-ball” system locks the Expandable Bamboo Cutlery Tray at the desired width. Two additional dividers let you customize the compartments.

3. Storing Cookie Cutters

We never know how to neatly store our cookie cutters. I used a small metal canister but it is starting to be full. Why not use the affordable FÖRVAR jar with lid.

If you do not own cookie cutters, A Year of Cookie Cutters is your chance to grab a cute and fun collection at an affordable price. The set comes with 12 fun shapes: sunshine, watermelon, heart, clover, umbrella, snowflake, leaf, star, pumpkin, apple, holiday tree and flower.

4. Protecting Your Fine China

To leave more space in their cupboards may people store their formal china in the garage or a closet. You need a space-saving solution to protect your dinnerware. The quilted nylon Dinnerware Storage Set comes with 5 bags, each designed to hold 12 pieces of a 5-Piece place setting.

+ Chalk Storage Jars £3.43-£10.77 at Heal’s
+ Chalk storage cake £9.74 at Divertimenti
+ Expandable Bamboo Cutlery Tray $29.95 USD at Crate and Barrel
+ A Year of Cookie Cutters $24.95 USD at Crate and Barrel
+ Dinnerware Storage Set $32.95 USD at Crate and Barrel


Flag Banners and I Robot Hooks Invade Kids Space

handmade flag banners

These pictures illustrate perfectly how richly patterned flag banners bring a festive look to a simple playground. There are a must for kids birthday parties. 24 cotton pennants in 12 designs compose each banner. The banners are hand made in Netherlands.

I found those at ROMP, a kid store born in Brooklyn that now resides on Hudson Valley. ROMP is the brainchild of a designer and mom called Jenn Labelle. Her store is filled with amazing toys, playroom accessories and kids room décor.

i robot i help hooks

From the latest collection, the I Robot I Help coat hangers are awesome. Kids will love those. They come complete with screws/eyes. Email them to know the next delivery dates because they are marked out of stock.

+ Flag Banners $30 USD
+ I Robot I Help hook / coat hanger large $50, mini $22 USD


Spring 2009 Color Trends

spring 2009 color trends on your table this easter

I took the pictures of the citrus solid dinnerware set as I came back from dinner last night. It happens that it matches the Mini Iced Easter Cookies at Williams-Sonoma. The carrot, chick and bunny cookies have a delicate lemon flavor.

I spot the Mix & Max dinnerware collection by Maxwell & Williams available in lime, yellow or orange at Linen Chest. Maxwell & Williams is an Australian brand. Their housewares are available through in Canada, Brazil, United Kingdom, Europe, Israel, South Africa, Honk Kong, New Zealand and Australia. Not bad for a company founded in 1995.

The two will look great for a casual Easter lunch. I like the fact to use the trendy colors of spring 2009 instead of the predictable pale yellow and mauve Easter colors.

+ Mix & Max dinnerware collection by Maxwell & Williams $2.50-$29.95 CAD at Linen Chest
+ Mix & Max dinnerware collection by Maxwell & Williams $2.95-$29.95 CAD at Rob McIntosh China
+ Mini Iced Easter Cookies $22.95 USD


Easter Menu and Table Mood Board

mood board for easter

It has been a while since I published a mood board. I do not know why. Here is the first of many Easter table inspiration boards.

This year more than ever calls for good authentic food at Easter. That does not means that you cannot impress your guests with a surprise or two. From an old issue of Gourmet, you get the recipes to create a Trompe l’Oeil Egg Lemon Pudding served with Anise-Seed Cake Slices as trompe l’oeil toasts. This food presentation will be the pièce de resistance (meaning the best part) of your entire meal.

The Green Beans with Celery-Salt Butter is elevated when you serve them in an ornate plate.

Make your own party favor boxes that could be filled with cookies or chocolate. A Little Hut sells a make your own box template with a bunny, butterfly, egg or daisy cover.

Dressing a Casual Entertaining Table

To complete the look opt for sure tableware value. Buy classic products that you will use over and over. McLeod Coupe Salad Bowl is an indulgence with a style that is always in vogue.

Dress the table with a spring color tablecloth. I selected the Lemon Jacquard tablecloth in lime. If you prefer a bright color, opt for the yellow. Stay simple for your centerpiece. Look how great a bowl filled with lemons or limes put next to tall vase with branches can look. Everything is in how you present it.

+ Trompe l’Oeil Egg: Lemon Pudding recipe on Gourmet
+ Trompe l’Oeil Toast: Anise-Seed Cake recipe on Gourmet
+ Spring boxes designed by Patricia Zapata for A Little Hut $4.99 pdf template
+ Green Beans with Celery-Salt Butter – Recipe by Maggie Ruggiero
+ McLeod Coupe Salad Bowl $129 USD at Williams-Sonoma
+ Lemon Jacquard tablecloth in lime $79-$99 USD at Williams-Sonoma


Giannini Extends its Giannina Coffee Makers Family

new giannina family :: stainless steel coffee makers

I use a French press to make my coffee every morning. The problem is how to keep the coffee warm without redoing new batch for my second cup of coffee.

The new insulated press-filter coffee makers by Giannina may provide the solution I was looking for. Feiz design studio went one step further to keep the heat inside by installing a directional knob to close and open the spout.

The insulated press-filter coffee makers are new additions to the Giannina series. In fact, Feiz design studio redesigned the classic 1968 Giannina stovetop espresso maker plus added new elements to the collection. Besides the insulated press-filter coffee makers available in two formats, a stainless steel milk and sugar set, the fine porcelain cups and saucers, and a unique style serving tray complete the family.

new giannina cups and saucers by giannini

I have no information on where and when the new collection will be available in store. The products were presented at the MACEF in Milan and the Ambiente in Frankfurt. Keep your eyes open because these would make wonderful wedding gifts.

+ Giannini Giannina stainless steel Espresso Maker (seems to be the latest model one but inquiry before ordering) 3-cup $105.95, 6-cup $125.95 9-cup $175.95
+ Via MoCo Loco


Cheerful Kids Dining Matches their Regular Tableware at notNeutral

Those are sets that your kids will want to use from their first baby food up to their pre-school age. With their cool look, you will not mind using them even when you have guests over for a casual family diner.

notneutral cool solid colors dining sets

The notNeutral Solid Color sets are available in three color combinations: red/black, orange/yellow and green/blue. The BPA-free new six-piece sets come gift-boxed in eco-friendly packaging and include two trays/dishes, cup, bowl, and an easy-to-hold fork and spoon.

season tableware for kids and adults

The ultimate refinement in family tableware emerges from the Season collection, which includes a kids dining series and a regular tableware series for the rest of the family. Match the Season Ceramic Gift Set with the Seasons Duplex Placemats, which provide 2 design in 1. I introduced in the past the Transport Ceramic Gift Set.

+ notNeutral Solid Color sets $26 USD
+ Season Ceramic Gift Set and Transport Ceramic Gift Set $32 USD
+ Seasons Duplex Placemat $14 USD
+ Season Tableware $28-$72 USD – count $168 for 4 rimmed bowls, 4 salad plates and 4 dinner plates


Eating Vegetables in All Colors for my Gastronomic Wednesday

best healthy recipes by food and wine march 2009

Spring 2009 fashion and home décor trends are filled with colors. On our plates, the rainbow of colors is not only cheerful, it is healthier.

If you are looking for recipes filled with colors, check the 22 Best Healthy Recipes Ever produced by F&W Test Kitchen. It includes a bunch of cool appetizer ideas.

Medical researches point to the fact that the best prevention against cancer is to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Invite mushrooms to your table at least 3 times a week. Make sure you mix a wide variety of mushrooms. So far, researches link particular mushrooms to specific cancer. Since we are just beginning to understand how the complex human body chemistry works, it is best to cover all your bases.

On Food and Wine, you will learn that:

  • White/green contain allicin, which helps ward off cancer
  • Darker Green are rich in compounds that help prevent cancer
  • Yellow/light green are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which protects your eyes
  • Orange/yellow help prevent heart disease
  • Orange contain alpha carotene which help protect against cancer and beta carotene is converted in vitamin A
  • Red are high in lycopene, which eliminates free radicals that damage genes
  • Red/purple are loaded with flavonoids, which can delay cellular aging.

Refer to the Guide to Eating by Color in Food & Wine for the list of fruits and vegetables with higher contents.

eating vegetables in all colors

If you are looking for more insights of the nutritive properties of fruits and vegetables, I wrote an article for the Food Network last year.

+ Top images: Food and Wine – photography by John Kernick, food styling by Alison Attenborough, prop styling by Jessica Romm


The Green Guide and Vegetable Garden for my Eco-Friendly Tuesday

the green guide by National Geographic

The National Geographic produces a wonderful online resource for green products. It tells you what to look for before buying everyday products. For each category, they list the Green Guide recommended product, the Greenest product, and the best value.

Must read are:

Vegetable Garden at The White House

preparing the vegetable garden at the White House

I am also happy to report that the White House will grow a vegetable garden. This is a victory for Alice Waters who was lobbying for the Obamas to set an example. You can view the garden plan here. Via New York Times


Sweetiepie Caters to your Kid Imagination | NYC restaurant review

banquet style event with comfort food at sweetiepie

New York is a city where you can dare to launch an atypical restaurant. Sweetiepie is an upscale place where the design and the food is set to please both kids and trendy parents. After refreshing the kid furniture and the baby gears industries, new hip parents are starting to invade the restaurant business.

Maman, Bébé et Café was about giving time to parents with newborns to replenish their mind and body. Sweetiepie is about creating a magical place where to eat out with kids.

The Food

Parents of a 6-year old boy, the trendy couple Luke and Julie Janklow launched this venture located in West Village. I read mixed comments on the food, price and services on various Web sites. I could not determine who is right so will have to pay them a visit to be the judge.

But I feel some of the comments are unfair. During the day, there is a 3-course children’s tasting menu at $9.95 with many choices. It is not cheap but it is not excessive either, especially in New York City. Plus looking at the top picture, I like this level of decorum. Sweetiepie seems like an amazing place to host a birthday party for grown ups as well as kids.

One fact remains. I believe there is a need for more family-oriented funky restaurants where your kids can eat a good macaroni and cheese while you savor gravlax with toasts.

The Design Concept behind Sweetiepie

interior views of sweetiepie in west village. new york

One restaurant element where they caught my attention is the décor. Kids must be thrilled to sit there. The bar section and the red banquets are stylish. The place is split in two spaces: the front restaurant and a second room with murals that screamed parties.

The wackiest extravagance is a table placed inside a giant gold birdcage. As an adult, you need the right attitude to enjoy the added attention. Kids must dream to sit there. Imagine doing a tea party.

The vibe amalgamates Alice in Wonderland with the excess of the Marie-Antoinette era. The dessert palette is decadent. Sweetiepie’s signature $75 sundae easily feeds 6 persons.

Sweetiepie delivers plenty of inspirations for designing a one-of-a-kind kid party. There are photos on their Web site to nourish your creativity.

+ Sweetiepie Restaurantget directions p 212.337.3333
19 Greenwich Avenue, New York, New York, United States, 10014