Monthly Archives

May 2009


Blog Out Loud event and My Integrated Brand | Quick Links

integrated themes for Kim Vallee

You may have noticed a change to the main navigation bar of At Home with Kim Vallee. There is now a Live section where you will find my tweets and live blogging posts.

What will be these live blogging posts?

It will be made of several things. But mainly, there will be quick links. For a while now, I have been searching at a way to add to the curated experience I am trying to provide you. I wish for great pictures on all my posts here. What do I do when I only wish to provide you a quick info? Until now, I relied on Twitter. But 140 characters is not always enough to deliver the message.  I will use Kim Vallee Live to bring this type of information.

Another usage of Kim Vallee’s Live is when I will attend a conference. You will not have long to wait since I will be at the Social Gaming Summit 2009 that will occur June 23rd, 2009. All day, I will rely what is going on at the session through Kim Vallee Live.

Integrating  Layout

I also wish to point out that my second blog, On the Web with Kim Vallee now shares the theme structure than At Home. Like I said in Live, I am integrating my brand. Each component has its own personality.

Blog Out Loud event  in Los Angeles

One last thing. If you are in the Los Angeles this week, register for the first Blog Out Loud event. It should be a great event for bloggers and aspiring bloggers in the creative sphere. Check out what I have to say about the Blog Out Loud event on On the Web.


Late news: Signing for Laura Calder’s Latest Cookbook

french taste cookbook by Laura Calder

It may be too late but I still want to publish the info, just in case. Laura will do two signings for her latest book French Taste at Appetite for Books on today, May 30, 2009. Sadly, there is no words on the time. Apparently, you need to book your presence. To see if it is still possible for you to show up, call the bookstore at 514.369.2002. I wish they had a simpler system. Check out her datebook for details.

I will review French Taste in a few days.

+ French Taste by Laura Calder $25.17 CAD at


Vote for Your Favorite Weekend Project at BHG 48-hour Challenge

the 48 hour challenge with 5 bloggers on Better Homes and Gardens

If you are curious about what 5 talented home and garden bloggers can create in their own home with a $500 outdoor weekend project, check the 48-hour Challenge organized on Better Homes and Gardens and sponsored by Home Depot. I am showing you my top 3. I let you chose which one you feel is the best.

You can vote for your favorite. The recipient will get a $5,000 bonus! The talented Nicole of Making It Lovely! is one of the contestants. I like her green and white divider. She explained on her blog how to paint this lovely green leaf rug.

I am sure that many of you will get inspire by the grill cart designed by Marc Spagnuolo of  The Wood Whisperer. Easily to build, the cart features a removable porcelain tile work surface, a raised shelf for storing condiments, a light for evening grilling, a paper towel holder, and hooks for cooking utensils. Charcoal, a chimney starter, and a small refrigerator sit on the bottom shelf.

Each year building a gardening working station like this multi-task potting bench. We never seem to find the time. Jen Kershner from The Cottage Nest did a great job on hers.

Good luck to each contestant! Go encourage our bloggers and vote at the BHG 48-hour Blogger challenge right away.


Orange Bolli Tableware by Elizabeth Vidal for Guzzini

guzzini bolli designed by elizabeth vidal

As you know orange is my favorite color. It is no surprise that these tableware by Guzzini caught my eye. The brilliant French designer Elizabeth Vidal speaks in these terms of Bolli

The objects of the Bolli line comes from thinking about the hands that hold them and the food
they contain.  Colored transparency, a common theme in Guzzini objects, highlight their delightful

For the picture, they used the tray of the rectangular cheese as a breakfast tray. All the pieces of the Bolli collection are available in green, orange, red, blue, yellow or the (boring) all-clear transparent. These items are particularly interesting:

  • Bread/pastry basket
  • Parmesan server/preserve jar/sugar glass bowl with teaspoon
  • Rectangular cheese dish set: tray, porcelain chopping board and cover

Efficient Salad Spinner : Fratelli Guzzini and Zyliss

guzzini salad spinner

I spot what seems to be a good salad spinner at Costco last weekend. It looks great. I am very selective when it comes to salad spinner. I own a Zyliss model dated from a few years ago; it works very well so I am not on the market to get a new salad spinner. If you put a finger between the handle the the cord of the Zyliss, they are almost no chance that it will break. I used my Zyliss salad spinner often and I am pretty tough with it. There is only a review on Amazon and the shopper was really pleased with the Fratelli Guzzini Salad Spinner. The cheapest price is at Costco; it was only $21.99 CAD.

I do not know if the Guzzini products are sold in the United States. One option, which is not the cheapest, is to shop at the Montreal-based retailer Cuisine Gourmet. They deliver in Canada, the United States and some European countries.

+ Bolli Parmesan/Preserve server with teaspoon $29.99 CAD at Cuisine Gourmet
+ Bolli Bread Basket $21.95 CAD
+ Art & Café Breakfast cup with saucer $49.99 CAD set of 2
Bolli Rectangular cheese dish set $49.99 CAD for 3 pieces


Invite these Egg-Cup Buckets to your Summer Brunch

3 4 and 5 minute metal egg-cup buckets

The red metal egg-cup buckets come handy because it let your guests eat their eggs the way they like. As a bonus, the written time simplifies the food service. They are sold in a set of 6 with 2 egg cups per cooking time.

They shout fun in a good way. They could be the starting point of your Father’s Day celebrations.

+ 3 4 and 5 minutes egg cup buckets £15 or $23.91 USD per set of 6


Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes and Cookies for my Gastronomic Wednesday

martha stewart\'s cupcakes

In case you did not heard, the latest cookbook from Martha Stewart will be released next Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009. You will find inside Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes 175 ideas and recipes for cupcakes, frostings, fillings, and toppings. There are no second guess of what it should look like since every recipe is accompanied with a picture.

Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes is designed to have something from every level of bakers. You are sure to find inspiring cupcake decorations to fit every occasion. The cookbook covers classic recipes such as devil’s food cupcakes, sweet surprises like peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, elegant treats like tiny cherry-almond tea cakes up to festive showstoppers topped with piped buttercream blossoms or meringue bouquets.

martha stewart\'s cookies

For cookie lovers, Martha with her team of editors at Martha Stewart Living released a popular book on cookies last year. With recipes organized by texture, Martha Stewart’s Cookies covers a wide array of sweet surprises, including the traditional chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies, rum raisin shortbread, peppermint meringue sandwiches with chocolate filling, and lime melt away cookies. Amongst the 175 cookie recipes are the beloved Anzac cookies.

anzac cookies :: recipes on canadian family and 101 cookbooks

For a not too sweet version, try the recipe by Heidi of 101 Cookbooks. Heidi says that Anzac cookies are very easy to bake. Anzacs are made from oats, coconut, and flour coming together in a butter-kissed dough. Canadian Family featured a classic Anzac biscuit recipe.

+ Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone’s Favorite Treat $15.68 USD
+ Martha Stewart’s Cookies: The Very Best Treats to Bake and to Share $16.47 USD
+ image: Anzac Biscuits on Canadian Family
+ image: Anzac Cookies on 101 Cookbooks


Ole Sondergaard Designed Planes for Normann Copenhagen

plane designed by Ole Sondergaard for Normann Copenhagen

Designed for children of all ages, these wooden airplanes are almost too exquisite to be a toy. The shadows of their silhouette create a Wow factor when you gather them to form a mobile in a nursery or a toddler room.

These wooden planes were designed by Ole Sondergaard for the Normann Copenhagen brand. The shape conveys the simple elegance of Danish design. I love it!

+ Normann Copenhagen Plane small (plane 1) $45, med (plane 2) $60, large (plane 3) $115 at Velocity Art and Design
+ Normann Copenhagen Wooden Planes small £30, med £42, large £75 at Panik-Design


Joy of Home Cooking with Friends for my Organizing Monday

pasta night :: cooking with friends party ideas

If you are looking for encouragement to restart cooking meals again, why not host a Cooking with Friends party? Real Simple featured one party where you make together a huge batch of basic tomato sauce. Chili would also be perfect. Since you need 2 or 3 pots to cook the chili, you can vary the spicy level to please everyone.

The idea is to do enough so every guest will bring home enough tomato sauce for a few meals. Plan for at least 2 pints per person to take home. By doing the simplest tomato sauce, your guests will be able to use it as the basis for many dishes. Reserve the pasta sauce you need for your party. If you want to, raise your pasta main dish by adding fresh herbs, meatballs or sausage for your dinner. Replace the meat by Portobello mushrooms for a vegetarian menu.

You could also prepare a huge batch of Mario Batali’s Basic Tomato Sauce. Make sure to tell your friends that a tomato sauce typically holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. Before freezing the sauce, make sure to read the tips to preserve food longer on the freezer.

You will impress your friends by giving them the Tomato Sauce recipe booklet designed by Real Simple or use it as a template to publish your favorite recipes.

Do not forget that you need to supply more kitchen tools (cutting boards, knifes, aprons, etc…) if you have more helpers in the kitchen. If this party seems too much work for you, simply invite a group of friends to eat a big bowl of penne with tomato, basil, olives and pecorino by Jamie Oliver with you.

+ photography by Miki Duisterhof for Real Simple


The Feminine Side of Outdoor Furniture and Fermob

pink and blue garden furniture :: tablabri by fermob

French people, like many residents of European countries, are not afraid to infuse bold colors in their decor. They also do it in a tasteful way. The latest example is the April-May 2009 issue of Coté Sud, which is dedicated to the feminine side of summer. The mood of the cover says it all.

Another reason the cover caught my eye is Tablabri by Fermob. Tablabri was designed as a twist on the classic outdoor dining table and a parasol. It is practical too since you can store the poles and the canvas when not in use in a space situated under the tabletop.

fermob colorful garden furniture

Many dining tables and outdoor chairs from Fermob can be folded. It is practical when you like to host sit-down dinner for 20. Furniture, which likes gardens, which like colors is the motto of Fermob. Therefore, you will not surprise when I tell you that all the outdoor furniture pieces are available in 24 colors.

More Outdoor Design Ideas for Spring-Summer 2009

The outdoor space does not show sign of fatigue. Do not restrict your backyard accessories to the traditional look of outdoor furniture. Outdoor lights is one area where they are so much options than in the space. I will explore outdoor lighting on another post. For now, take a look of these photos from two backyards in France.

colorful gardens :: cote ouest and  cote paris

Consider the background surfaces before selecting the colors of your furniture. You can color block one wall and keep the other walls and the deck neutral to support your decor. See how great it looks on this Parisian terrace. Mixing shades of pink and purple works well against a green foliage backdrop and a sandy deck.

+ Talabri £1120 at Made in Design
+ Fermob
+ Images from Coté Sud, Coté Paris and Coté Ouest


Inspiration for a Crafty Chic Picnic

inspirations for a picnic :: miss pickles press and toast

The Memorial Day’s weekend marks the start of summer. I will give you a head start on inspirations for remarkable picnic with your friends and family members.

First way to impress your guests is with these adorable BBQ cutlery envelop. I am getting two packets. If I like them, I may buy more to give as hostess gifts. The BBQ Cutlery Kraft Envelops are the creations of etsy seller Miss Pickles Press.

Then, it is the magic of the styled pictures of UK retailer Toast that inspired me. Take clues on how to nicely wrap your sandwiches. I was interviewed earlier this week by a journalist (the article is yet to be posted) on themes for summer bashes. I referred to tiffin tins, probably because they are on my wish list. Plus there is no chance to break the stainless picnic set if you mix your picnic with a bicycle ride.

miss pickles press cocktail sticks on etsy

Every party should have its signature drink. For a hot summer afternoon, make a pitcher of limoncello and light (less sugar) cranberry juice. Arrange the proportions to taste but their should be in the range of 1/3 limoncello with 2/3 cranberry juice or 1/4 limoncello with 3/4 cranberry juice. You can prepare it in advance in a thermos bottle. Add ice cubes to the glass when you are ready to serve. The Sip and Repeat Cocktail Sticks, again by Miss Pickles Press, adds a welcoming touch to your drink.

inspirations for a picnic :: toast and cocktail sticks

You can bring a nice arrangement of cut flowers or gather a bunch of wild flowers on place. If you like to do picnics on a beach at the cottage, get a couple of wood bath mats on the sand with a long bath brush and a bar of natural soap.

+ BBQ cutlery envelop $15 for a pack of 12 on etsy
+ tiffin tins small £12, medium £22, large £39 at Toast
+ picnic set £39 at Toast
+ madras tablecloth £25
+ mango wood bath mat £35
+ Sip and Repeat Cocktail Sticks by Miss Pickles Press $10 for a pack of 12
+ scholar vase £49, available in sky blue, grenadine and citrus green


Best Home Decor Products of the Week for my Design Friday

coral seating and items for new ps ikea home decor collection

Before the weekend, I gathered the best of what the design products I spot this week. With the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) happening last week in New York City; there were plenty of great candidates for my top 3 list. I must confess that I am jealous my blogger friends who went to the ICFF show. I had previous commitments who made it impossible for me to attend. There is always next year as they say.

coral seating desgined by werner aisslinger :: made in berlin 2009

+ The first product is the felt and polycarbonate Coral Seating designed by Werner Aisslinger. These awesome poufs were premiered last April at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. If you are going to the DMY Festival in Berlin, from 3 – 7 June 2009, do not miss the second presentation of the Made in Berlin show. The Coral Seating is available in several colors. I love it! Via Mocoloco

+ The second position goes to the upcoming PS collection from IKEA. The PS collection is not yet in stores. The PS Maskros Pendant ($89.99 USD) and the PS Stock vases ($24.99 – 29.99 each) are something to look for. Via Apartment Therapy Chicago

hero 365 drying rack

+ The Hero 365 Rain Collector and Drying Rack are designed by the Toronto based Hero Design Lab. They would look sharp in a contemporary backyard. Hero 365 promote better habits in everyday living by bringing good design to everyday items. I cannot agree more since my blog is based on that philosophy.

hero 365 rain collector

The rain collection is composed by the stand, a collapsible plastic tank to collect the water and a hook for your watering can. Both lightweight aluminum items are manufactured in Canada. They are recyclable and shipped flat-packed. Via Mocoloco