Monthly Archives

June 2010

DESIGN and style LIVING

Phase 1: My new Like and Post Redesign

new layout with like function

new layout with like function

Today was the day that we installed my new Like feature on At Home with Kim Vallee. This is the red heart that you see on the corner of the picture. The heart is positioned at the top and the bottom of every post. You simply click on it to show that you like the post. It records the number of likes and a cute arrow will indicate that you liked it. For the moment it is not linked to the Facebook Like feature but we plan to support that in the future.

We updated the home page, the category pages, the search results page to put emphasis on the pictures and a streamlined look. We also add a Tweet this! button and a Share on Facebook buttons. We repositioned the Nb. of comments since the old design was confusing. And the Continue reading… moved to the right.

homepage redesign

This marks the Phase 1 of my Web site redesign. We laid down the building blocks on which we will enhance the At Home with Kim Vallee’s site. I planned lots of great add-ons that will be implemented in phases until this fall. Some of the changes were done in the backend. They might be visible to you but it involved a good amount of development work.

Post Redesign

refined bottom of a post with next and previous navigation

We polished the bottom of a post. You can now navigate to the previous post or the next post directly from a post. The rest were cosmetics changes.

Finally, we removed the frame that characterized my pictures since I started blogging. I decided that with the heart it was time to streamline my look. This was a huge job that since it has impacts on posts. I want to thank my technical team, Chris Bavota and Jerome Paradis for making this a reality.

We are still fine-tuning little glitches here and there before we continue our work on phase 2.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Menu Ideas for Canada Day

French bistro recipes :: fresh with anna olsen

slow roasted black cod by wrightfood

Food that feels Canadian includes trout, cod, salmon, maple syrup and apple.  I gathered a list of dishes that are stylish but that would not keep you all day in front of your stove.

quiche in a jar by eat drink pretty

Appetizers

+ Zucchini and goat cheese tarts by Eat Drink Pretty – I like her suggestion to serve it on a small Mason jar
+ Rustic Summer Squash Tart by Woman’s Day (small image from Tastespotting)
Apple and chevre salad  with honey vinaigrette by Sweet Paul (not shown)

summertime recipes for canada day found on tastespotting

Side dishes

Greek Quinoa Salad by Eclectic Recipes (left image – above montage)
Citrus Haricorts Verts from Fresh with Anna Olsen (see below)

Main courses

+ Slow roasted black cod, glazed baby carrots, lemon/butter/caper sauce by Wrightfood (first image)
+ Summertime chicken by Bernadetta Sherman (right image – above montage)

French bistro recipes :: fresh with anna olsen

Dessert

+ Plum Clafoutis from Fresh with Anna Olsen

ENTERTAINING PAPER goods

New Cards and Notebooks by Cartolina Cards

cartolina notebooks :: white swan and blue lotus notebook

cartolina les modes notebook and happy birthday card

Fiona Richards is known for her unique style. I love what she does. Therefore, I am happy to introduce the new collection of Cartolina greeting cards and notebooks. I only selected a few. So make sure to check out her entire collection because it is exquisite.

Fashion Theme

cartolina baroque fashion cards

This time, Fiona was definitely inspired by the fashion history of France. Her variation on Baroque fashion is splendid. It allows her to display burst of colors in a refined way. It is one of the rare occasions where I will suggest that you buy a kit.

More Florals and Nature Themes

cartolina notebooks :: white swan and blue lotus drawings

If you wish to give a little something to a girl friend, you can match your card with a notebook.  You could mix the White Swan notebook and the Blue Lotus notebook to create an ensemble.

It’s OK to think outside the box when you select a greeting card. For example,the Lucky You card could be used to wish Happy Birthday! to a kid or for a Baby Shower.

In case you did not know, Cartolina produces environmentally reponsible paper products. Their recycled paper cards are printed with vegetable based inks. Their printer was named Most Environmentally Progresive Printer in Canada for the last 5 years at the Environmental Printing Awards.

SOURCING:
+ Cartolina Notebook $5.98 USD, Card $3.49 at Modern Paper Goods
+ Store Locator for Cartolina Cards

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Party Circles for Canada Day and the 4th of July

star cupcake toppers at paper source

star cupcake toppers at paper source

If you are hosting a family BBQ at your home to celebrate the birth of your nation, these printable Party circles would come handy. Sometimes the simpler ideas are the best. Look at this cute ideas by Paper Source. You simply glue a star on either side of a long toothpick to create a cupcake topper or to serve appetizer bites.

You could use the same concept with a Moose Hole punch for a Canada Day party.  I would glue the toothpick on the front leg.

More 4th of July Ideas

If you are looking for a complete set of party decorations, check the 4th of July Printable collection by the Tomkat Studio. It provides several options to decorate your buffet table, your party favors and your home.

4th of july printable collection by the tomkat studio

You get four designs of 2″ Party Circles, one Happy 4th of July banner,  one style of 6″ Party Circles, rectangular Fancy Labels in Red, White & Blue with Stars/Crabs and a Stripe Flags. You can buy the printable kit on Etsy.

More Canada Day ideas

canada day party circles by celebrate today

+ A girlie twist of the Canadian moose was designed by Genevieve of Celebrate Today. She demonstrated that you do not have to stick to a purely red and white color palette to celebrate Canada Day. The template for her printable party circles are free. From her instructions, I understood that the moose circle requires a 2″ circle punch. Therefore, you will need a scallop rim that is bigger than 2″. My guess would be to use something like the 3-inch scallop circle, which apparently makes a shape of 2.5 inches. But since I did not try it, this remains only a guess from my part.

SOURCING:
+ photo: Star toothpicks on Paper Source
+ photos: 4th of July Printable collection by the Tomkat Studio $14 USD
+ photos: Canada Day Party Circles by Celebrate Today
+ 2 Inch Scallop Circle Ek Success Large Punch $13.47 USD at Amazon.com – [affiliate link]
+ Ek Success 3-Inch X-Large Scallop Circle Nesting Punch $17.92

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

Delightful Mondays: Simple Summer Recipes

delightful mondays :: boiled potatoes with greek yogourt :: striped ice cream cake

delightful mondays :: boiled potatoes with greek yogourt :: striped ice cream cake

Since we are a few days from a National holiday, I thought you would appreciate two recipes that would be perfect for your celebrations.

+ From Bea of La Tartine Gourmande, I suggest her Pommes de terre en robe des champs with yogurt sauce. She adapted her French rustic recipe to what is available in North America.

+ Serve an homemade striped ice cream cake for dessert. On Martha Stewart Living, they suggested to bake an angel food cake in a sheet pan,  and cut it in half.  Sandwich starting from the top a thiner layer of peach sorbet, a thicker layer of raspberry sorbet, a layer of vanilla ice cream and finish with a thin layer of blueberry jam. Photography by Ditte Isager for Martha Stewart Living – July 2010

FAMILY KIDS products

Kidz Box at Modern-Twist

kidz box day at the pond by modern-twist

kidz box day at the pond by modern-twist

It’s no secret that I am a fan of Modern-Twist. I eat almost every day on their soft and durable placemats. Since my last visit to the site, they added the Kidz Box and new patterns to their kids placemat collection.

modern-twist kids placemat i\'m banana for a major breakfast

You always had the option to color and draw on the Modern-Twist mats. What they did with Kidz Box was to assemble a gift box with marker colors that will please the design-savvy parents. A mat and 6 non toxic washable markers come in every Kidz Box. Day at the Pond and City Kids are the drawings currently available.

kids placemats by modern-twist :: food-grade silicone

Like I said, you can color with markers on all Modern-Twist mats. Carrying two mats take the same space as one. I recommend Hide & Seek (best for a little girl), Major Damage (I’m banana…) and Kat in the City for coloring.

Cute and Practical

You first notice the refined illustrations on the silky food-grade, hand silk-screened silicone mats. Later, you discover that they are the best mats you ever own. You can roll your Modern-Twist mats or fold them for months and they will never show a crack, a crease or any sign that they did not lay flat. I know, I did it. I believe that it is a worry-free carry-on option for when you eat at a restaurant, visit friends without children and when you travel.

kidz box by modern-twist

I bet that if you arrive with a Kidz Box at a kid birthday, both the kid and the parents will adore your gift. I think that they are so cute that I might get a kit just for myself.

SOURCING:
+ Kidz Box $26 USD
+ Kids Placemats $18
+ Store locator with the Modern-Twist collection

HOME + GARDEN ORGANIZING

Housewares Made Out Thrown-Away Sport Felt

old news designed by Jonas Forsman for creatables

old news designed by Jonas Forsman for creatables

I like to encourage designers who gave a second chance to materials that would otherwise go to waste. Creatables decided to repurpose thrown-away sport felt that are used for tennis courts. Creatables manufactures the stuff. They collaborate with designers to create their product lines.

green old news newspaper collector by creatables

+ Swedish designer Jonas Forsman gave a nice form to a newspapers collector. The concept behind Old News is to provide a practical way to store your newspapers and magazines while you wait for the recycling day in your neighborhood. €48

tennis notice board by creatables

+ The Tennis Notice Board uses an invisible wall mounting system. Optional accessories include small white hooks for keys. You can go for the Winbledom green, the red Roland Garros, the blue US Open or the gray Sodertalje. €22

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

Molecule Dish to Serve Condiments

molecule dish designed by voonwong & bensonsaw :: serving bowls

molecule dish designed by voonwong & bensonsaw :: serving bowls

When I went to Japan, almost every meal was presented with several condiments served in tiny bowls. But there is no need to eat Japanese food to use the Molecule dish at a dinner or a cocktail party. I saw that the small and medium sizes are both on sale at Merchant4. This handmade bone china server dish is from the Setcast collection that I introduced before.

SOURCING:
+ Molecule dish by voonwong & bensonsaw on sale at $48 for the small dish, $56 for the medium

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

More Melamine Dinnerware for Outdoor Dining

ikea fargrik trolsk bowls and plates

ikea fargrik trolsk bowls and plates

I can believed that I bought more melamine dinnerware for outdoor dining. When I saw the Färgrik Trolsk bowls, I could not resist because they pair well with my Crate & Barrel rice bowls. I resist buying the plates but I bought the red Trolsk serving bowl because it can come handy to serve nachos or grilled vegetables.

ikea fargrik trolsk plates and bowls in yellow, white and blue

The yellow, white and blue composition feels cheerful. It is one if their most successful looks.

SOURCING:
+ Färgrik Trolsk bowls $5.99 CAD for 2 assorted bowls
+ Trolsk serving bowl $12.99 CAD

COCKTAILS + wine FOOD + DRINK

Ornamental Vegetable Garden Cocktail Recipe

ornamental vegetable garden cocktail - recipe by the montreal botanical garden restaurant

figs with maple syrup cheese

Two weeks ago, I went to the media event for the launch of a beautiful terrace where you can sip tasty cocktails and eat tapas on the north patio of the Montreal Botanical Garden restaurant. There is no need to visit the Botanical Garden since it sits on a public access of the Garden. Cocktail time at the Garden happens from 4 to 8 P.M. from Thursday to Sunday during summer. On Friday and Saturday, live jazz performances starts at 5:30 P.M.

The tapas were delicious. Their tapas menu is 5 plates served with crispy seaweed. Each plate is composed of 3 appetizers. You can bring the kids since they have a nice selection of alcohol-free garden cocktails including a virgin strawberry martini and a virgin blueberry martini. We could taste 5 of their 13 botanical cocktails. My favorite one was the Ornamental Vegetable Garden. I like it so much that I asked for the recipe.

ornamental vegetable garden cocktail - recipe by the montreal botanical garden restaurant

Ornamental Vegetable Garden Cocktail
recipe by the Montreal Botanical Garden restaurant

  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • 6 cucumbers
  • 1g mint leaves
  • 0.5 oz. of sugar cane syrup (simple syrup)
  • 0.25 oz. of  fresh lemon juice
  • 0.25 oz. of Triple Sec
  • Ice cubes
  • Mini cucumbers as garnish
  1. Muddle on a shaker the mint and cucumbers.
  2. Add the lemon juice, sugar cane syrup, vodka and Triple Sec. Add 5-6 ice cubes. Shake for 10 seconds.
  3. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a half piece of mini cucumber cut on the side.

MORE:
+  Cocktail time at the Garden at the terrace of the Montreal Botanical Garden restaurant

HOME + GARDEN KITCHEN design

Delightful Mondays: Girlie Kitchen of Catherine Hammerton

catherine hammerton's Kitchen

catherine hammerton\'s Kitchen

You may have seen this kitchen on the April issue of Elle Decoration. The dress and the tablecloth share some design elements. You may be glad to know that the dress pattern is from Catherine Hammerton’s wallpaper collection. It has an updated classic flair.

catherine hammerton\'s kitchen :: close-up on dress and tablecloth

For her tablecloth, Catherine reinvented the same color palette on a simpler version. I like it! More photos and sneak peak on Design*Sponge.

+ photos by Brent Derby – styling by Ali Heath of Plum lifestyle for Elle Decoration