Monthly Archives

February 2011

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

Vacu Vin Party People Snack Markers

party people snack markers by vacu vin

You might recall the Party People glass markers that I introduced in 2009. The same jolly characters are now available as snack markers. Each of the 8 characters tops a stainless steel fork. This is an eco-friendly alternative to the usual wooden fork or toothpick that you throw away after each bite.

SOURCING:
+ For USA: Party People Snack Markers $9.95 for set of 8 at CB2
+ For Canada: Vacu Vin Snack Markers $12.99 CAD at Amazon.ca [affiliate link]

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Must-Have Tools to Cook and Serve Crepes or Pancakes

my must-have tools to cook and serve crepes and pancakes

my must-have tools to cook and serve crepes and pancakes

My French background means that I prefer crepes to pancakes. It might be for the same reason that I enjoy more the taste of a thin crust pizza. But if you are the pancake type, my tips will work as well. You can revisit my traditional crepe recipe as a start.

First, you need a proper crepe pan.  The electrical crepe maker takes too much space and the non-stick crepe pan do not work as well. I believe that nothing beats a blue steel crepe pan or if you can handle the weight and additional cost, an enameled cast-iron crepe pan.

Based on my experience, a pan with low edges works the best. I pour a soup ladle of crepe batter to get the right quantity each time. A few rotations while holding the pan in the air is enough to cover all the pan up to the edges. You know when the crepe is ready to be turned when the edges have rolled up.

Crepes are easy to reheat on the oven. If you plan to serve them at a party, cook them ahead of time. You can keep them inside your freezer but make sure to separate each cooled down crepe with a parchment paper. I recommend letting them rest on a cooking rack before stacking them.

Pancake Warmer and Serving Dish

What put the pancake warmer from Williams-Sonoma on top of my wish list is the ventilated lid that releases steam.  The worst thing you want is a soggy crepe.  A pancake warmer is handy when you host a brunch or if you have a family. You first heat the base and lid of the stoneware pancake warmer in the oven. Then, you stack the fresh pancakes or crepes inside. I am tempted to buy one. Have you try it?

SOURCING:
+ Ceramic Pancake Warmer and Serving Dish $26.95 USD at Williams-Sonoma
+ Steel Cooking Rack $10 USD
+ de Buyer Crêpe Pan $24.95 USD

HOME + GARDEN HOME office

Industrial Office Small Storage Solutions

wall office storage

wall office storage

Wall office storage saves space and keep everything at reach. But you need a system if you do not want to look messy. You can either buy a ready-to-install wall storage system or create your own from everyday items. Like I said on on my HGTV.ca blog column last month, wire-frame baskets are popular right now.

Look at what photographer Candice Stringham assembled a practical wall storage with baskets she found at Pedlars and white bins from IKEA that she enhanced with font stickers. I do not think that IKEA still carries them. The larger ASKER container might be an option or look for similar bins at a local shop.

industrial wall storage used in the kitchen

I like the look of the Industrial wall storage by the Danish company House Doctor. It is made of aluminum. It can also be practical in the kitchen.

Unusual Pen Holders

pen holders from every day objects

Another worthy idea is to repurpose vintage every day items as pen holders. What seems to be a wire-framed industrial light protector becomes a great support for pencils. This is also by House Doctor DK. Finally, Three Potato Four suggested to reclaim a Mexican wooden sugar cone mold to store your pens, pencils, scissors, and other office supplies.

SOURCING:
+ Office/studio/art supply closet of Candice Stringham Photography – via PoppyTalk
Industrial wall storage by House Doctor DK £169.99 at Bodie andFou
+ Small Mexican Sugar Cane Mold $26 USD at Three Potato Four
+ Large Mexican Sugar Cane Mold $42 USD

HOME + GARDEN HOME office

DIY Chalkboard Paper Calendar

chalkboard contact paper calendar diy

chalkboard contact paper calendar diy

If you love the functionality of chalkboard paint, but aren’t willing to commit to an entire wall, chalkboard contact paper is an inexpensive and versatile alternative. Just peel off the backing, or use sticky tack, to adhere it to the wall.

Over at Momtastic.com, the contact paper was cut into squares and cleverly arranged as a calendar. It’s a perfect solution to keep your schedule in sight.

chalkboard contact paper calendar

More Ideas

Have a busy family you’re trying to keep tabs on? Use the contact paper to create a message center. Trace a silhouette of each family member to give everyone a personalized place to exchange messages, weekly activities and to-do lists.

You can also cut out simple shapes and mount them in your child’s room. They’ll do double-duty as wall decor and a creativity station.

SOURCING:
+ DIY: Chalkboard Wall Calendar tutorial at Momtastic.com
+ Chalkboard Contact Paper $13.99 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]

HOME + GARDEN HOME office

Paper Source’s Note Cubes and Pads for Spring

note cubes with spring and summer patterns

note cubes with spring and summer patterns

I have a thing for note cubes and note pads with a magnet on the back. I used them all the time. I am always on the look up for great design. Although it snows all day, I began my search for Spring patterns.

magnets and notepad with spring patterns

I am in awe with the Bicycle  and the Daisy collection at Paper Source. I so wish that they operate a Canadian store at this moment. I am afraid of the delivery fees from US due to the weight of cubes.

SOURCING:
+ Bicycle Note Cube $16.95 USD at Paper Source
+ Daisy Note Cube $16.95 USD at Paper Source
+ Daisy Recipe Box $13.50 USD
+ Daisy Collection Magnets $15.95 USD for a set of 10
+ Bicycle Magnet Notepad $6.95 USD

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

An Hitachi Grill Heater Used as an Indoor S’mores Burner

hitachi set used as a s'mores burner

hitachi set used as a s'mores burner

One reader on Facebook asked me where to find the s’more burners that were used at a wedding from my s’more stations round-up. I browsed the Web and found the source. It’s a small Hibachi Grill heater. It has an antique-look brass finish and a dragon pattern.

You simply scoop your favorite gel-style chafing fuel out of its canister, place it in the fuel holder, and light. Then, bring the marshmallows, chocolate, graham cookies and long wood sticks at the table to enjoy a delicious treat.

SOURCING:
+ Hibachi Set with Grill and Fuel Holder $15.99 USD at The Webstaurant Store

BABY products FAMILY

I love my Ze Super Zeros

ze super zeros :: zebu the zebra plush toy

ze super zeros :: zebu the zebra plush toy

Our friend Nathalie of the Foodies Emporium blog gave us one of the most adorable plush toys at our baby shower. From the Ze Super Zeros collection, she selected Zubu the Zebra as the perfect toy for our son-to-be. A cool detail is the logo on its cape. It reads SZ and we will name our son Zack. My husband noticed that it can stand for Super Zack. We like that!

Each super zero has a mini power and a related challenge that teaches kids to embrace what makes them unique and find their inner super zero. Zebu the Zebra is a super good at hiding, using his stripes as ze camouflage! But, he is always getting lost, but his spotted cape helps his zero friends find him. These plush toys are suitable for newborns.

You can buy your own Ze Super Zeros plush toy at Itsi Bitsi in Montreal. While you are there, indulge in one of their delicious cupcakes.

One Last Thing

colors collection bento box

And if you are looking for cute bento boxes, read Nathalie’s round-up on the best bento lunch boxes available in Montreal.

SOURCING:
+ USA: Ze Super Zeros Zebu The Zebra Plush Toy $24.99 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]

ENTERTAINING TABLETOP

Join Plastic Cutlery

join plastic cutlery ding 3000 colours

join plastic cutlery ding 3000 colours

No time to create an over-the-top tablescape for your next dinner party? Distract (and entertain) hungry guests with colorful, architectural flatware that’s anything but flat.

join plastic cutlery ding 3000 center

Based on a classic Japanese puzzle, the JOIN cutlery set was developed by German product design studio DING3000, which has earned countless design awards for their innovative approach to multi-functional household objects. You may have already spotted their clever S-XL CAKE silicone baking dish or eco-savvy BASKETBIN wastebasket.

join plastic cutlery ding 3000

Check out this video to learn more about DING3000’s design approach.

Kim introduced when it was launched the S-XL Cake which was designed by DING3000 for Konstantin Slawinski.

SOURCING:
+ JOIN Plastic Cutlery via Yanko Design
+ Photos: DING3000 Product Design Studio

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

A Round-Up of Oscar Party Ideas

Oscar nominee envelope napkin for a red and gold tabletop

Oscar nominee envelope napkin for a red and gold tabletop

If you are hosting an Oscar Party this year, here are some ideas that will make your event more special. You could start the night with your own version of the red carpet.

Ask for a volunteer to arrive early and be the official photographer for the photo shoot. Hang a backdrop screen near the entrance to photograph every guest in their glamorous outfit. Or you can supply props for a movie-inspired photo booth. You could decorate the floor with Hollywood stars or hang your own Hollywood sign in your living room.

Oscar Ballots

Ask your guests to vote, ideally before the party, for the winner for each category. They can simply fill up the Oscar ballot available at The Academy Web site. If you can, compile the results in advance.

Movie-Inspired Menus

Several sites propose a menu for food and drinks that referenced to the best moving pictures nominees. Check out the recipes on CTV.ca or the Oscar menus on Epicurious.

Tabletop

You could fold the napkins like a nominee envelop and dress your table in gold and red as they did on Food Network magazine.

Oscar nominee label wrapped on an envelope napkin

Or you can head to the Hostess with the Mostess blog to download her yellow and black Oscar party theme templates that include “envelope” napkin wraps, drink tags, popcorn bag labels, place cards and more.

Lastly, you can revisit the Oscar Party ideas post I wrote last year. I am still a fan of the Statuette cookies.

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

Stainless Steel Snack Bowls and Cats

stainless steel snack bowls

stainless steel snack bowls

It is fun when you discover new usages for every day objects. Take these modern snack bowls, for example.  A cat owner bought two stainless steel snacks at CB2 to feed and serve water to her cats. At last, you could get affordable cat bowls that you will not want to hide in a corner of your apartment. And I think that your cat will make less mess than with the traditional flat hole bowls due to the slopped shape.

stainless steel snack bowls used as cat bowls

If you prefer to stick to their original usage, a buyer commented on the CB2 Web site that she uses the larger one to serve pistachios and the mini bowls for the discarded shells.

SOURCING:
+ USA:  Stainless steel snack bowls at CB2, $19.95 USD, mini at $10.95
+ Canada: Stainless steel snack bowls at CB2, 24.95 CAD, mini at $12.95
+  Cat bowls from Modern Cat

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

My Renovation Tips for the blog of HGTV.ca

my home renovation tips on hgtv

My February column for Style Sheet, the blog of HGTV.ca was about sharing my best tips to stay on time and on budget when you do a home renovation.

This is one of rare occasions where you can have a peak inside my home. I still need to decorate the space. With the baby arriving soon, I did not have the time to go shopping for home accessories. Plus, I want to see how we will function with a baby before putting the finishing touches.

In case you are curious about the paint colors for my main floor, the colors are from the Sarah Richardson collection for Para Paints. I selected:

  • SR15 (cotton) for the ceiling – ask for P5226-14 at your paint dealer
  • SR74 (peeble) for the living room – ask for P5242-34 at your paint dealer
  • SR13 (cashmere) for the dining room and staircase walls – ask for P5222-24 at your paint dealer
  • SR21 (rattan)  for the entrance, powder room and my office wall, which is next to living room – ask for P5177-41 at your paint dealer

Chalkboard Wall in the Kitchen

my kitchen chalkboard wall

One last thing, my husband and I are so pleased with the kitchen chalkboard wall. I initially wanted one so that my son-to-be would be able to draw while I am cooking. But we found out that we use it every day to keep our to-do list, menu ideas, and shopping list. And it doesn’t have to be huge to be useful.

We used the chalkboard paint from Benjamin Moore. It took 3 or 4 coats. Make sure to apply a gray primer first.

Do not forget to read my top 5 renovation tips on Style Sheet by HGTV.ca.