Monthly Archives

May 2011

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

My Favorite Things at SIDIM 2011

tall grass in the prairies wallpaper murals

I went to the 2011 edition of the SIDIM (Montreal International Interior Design Show) yesterday. Here are what I found to be the most interesting stuff. Know that I kept a few items for individual posts. The first thing that caught my eye is the mood of the Tall Grass in the prairies wallpaper mural. It is based on an original painting from Ruth Baker.

Nestor Modular Table

nestor modular table by eric giraud

This is a prototype from a design student called Eric Giraud. His concept is perfect for entertaining. The table is made of 4 elements: two caddies and two eating surfaces.

nestor caddy by eric giraud

Lighting

wood pendant fixtures by atelier cocotte

The wood pendants by Atelier Cocotte are interesting. The collection features several shapes. My favorites ones are Gladys, Tina and Noisettes.

tina pendant light by atelier cocotte

They should be available in selected stores soon; see their Web site for more information.

nest by louis poulsen

For the exterior, I like the feeling of the Nest light for Louis Poulsen. I imagine a few to illuminate a path. I would place small trees between them.

Party at Domison

curling side table by samare studio

Domison continues to promote good design in Montreal but hosting a party at their retail stores. They invited several designers to showcase a piece for a one-night exhibit. Two creations caught my attention. First, the Curling side table by Samare Studio. They repurposed competition curling stones in a beautiful side table.

fence coat rack by 6.1 designers

The second item is the white picket Fence, a coat rack from 6.1 designers. It is a simple idea that is well executed and practical. There is a small shelf to put your mail, a book or a few magazines. As you can see from my pictures, you can hang your umbrellas in two ways. Fence is suitable for any room in your home.

See more photos on my Facebook page.

sidim 2011 photo album

Show Me More Spaces

As with any interior design shows that I attended this year, you really have to dig to find outstanding elements. Although my visit was pleasant, I was disappointed that I could not identity a design trend after my visit. I feel that the SIDIM organizer could do a better job to insure that the visitors are inspired. Home decor blogs and magazines clearly understand that what people are looking for are inspirations. On that point, I feel that the IDS does a great job with their designer spaces. I do not want them to copycat what IDS does but I would like the SIDIM to present us designed rooms, not just vendors.

You can visit SIDIM today (Saturday) from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M at Place Bonaventure. General admission is $15 CAD.

SOURCING:
+ SIDIM

 

COCKTAILS + wine FOOD + DRINK

A Sapphire French Highball Paired with Speakeasy Clams

kim is making drinks with merlin griffiths

kim is making drinks with merlin griffiths

The Bombay Sapphire media event gave us the occasion to learn new cocktail recipes. They collaborated with a local chef to pair each cocktail with an appetizer. This year, Eric Gonzales of Auberge Saint-Gabriel was the invited chef in Montreal. I learned several cooking tips from Eric. His food was delicious. I shared his recipes so you can try it at home while sipping your drink.

Merlin Griffiths showed us how to make his modern take on the classic French 75 cocktail. The addition of pear nectar adds a rich, fresh flavor that helps to combat the acidity of the lemon and champagne. I helped Merlin prepared the Sapphire French Highball at the Bombay Sapphire media event. We put it on tape. The images aren’t great due to the lights from the windows but Merlin gives good insights.

Sapphire French Highball Recipe

sapphire French Highball drink

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz Bombay Sapphire
  • 0.5 oz Lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz Simple syrup – 2 parts sugar & 1 part boiling water; stir until dissolved and chill
  • 1 oz Pear nectar/juice
  • Top with Champagne or Sparkling Wine
  • Garnish: lemon twist and edible gold flakes

Add the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and pear nectar to a highball glass. Stir. Fill the glass with cracked ice (lightly smash some ice cubes). Top slowly with champagne and stir once more. Garnish with a long “shoestring” lemon twist and edible gold flakes for pizzazz.

If you do not find it at your local grocery store, know that edible gold flakes are available at Indian food stores.

Cooking with Gin

eric gonzales is cooking with gin

If you wish to cook with the Bombay Sapphire gin, Chef Eric Gonzales thinks that it seafood and gin are a perfect combination. You can go with scallops, urchin or mussels. For the event, Eric cooked us a tasty clam recipe.

Speakeasy Clam Recipe

Speakeasy Clams :: recipe by chef eric gonzales

Serves 1 dozen clams

Canned clams were a favorite during the prohibition era. You have to remember that there were no fridge at the time; so canned food was more popular. This recipe is a spin on “Classic Clams Casino”, a dish that was served in the popular restaurants and supper clubs in the 1920’s. The use of toasted crushed almonds in this recipe highlights the almond botanicals featured in Bombay Sapphire gin.

Ingredients:

  • 50 cl Olive oil
  • 60 g Shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 10 cl Bombay Sapphire gin
  • 2 small sticks of Liquorice (or fennel) – Liquorice sticks can be bought at the drugstore.
  • 2 springs of Fresh thyme
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Sea salt, freshly ground pepper

Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add pepper (to taste), clams and deglaze with a drizzle of  gin. Add lemon zest, thyme, liquorice, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, remove the clams and leave to cool. Remove clams from their shells. Reduce the juices by half.

Clam and crab topping

Ingredients:

  • 125 g Snow crab meat
  • 35 g chopped Italian parsley
  • 20 g finely chopped fresh basil
  • 35 g melted Butter
  • 50 g shredded Parmesan
  • 60 g Breadcrumbs
  • 40 g crushed, roasted almonds
  • Zest and juice of one lemon to taste

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Sauté the shallots until soft, deglaze with the gin, reduce by half. Add the clams after cutting them in half, the crab meat, herbs, parmesan and season with lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Mix the almonds, breadcrumbs and melted butter together. Preheat the oven to 375º F, place the clam shelves on a cookie sheet, garnish with the clam and crab mixture, top with breadcrumbs and bake for 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and enjoy.

I shared more photos on my Facebook page. Come to see our Bombay Sapphire Media Event 2011 album.

bombay sapphire media event 2011

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

Easily Set-up a Backyard Camping Party with Suburban Camping Co.

backyard camping night with s'mores

camping for 2

Your kids dream of a backyard camping party for their birthday but camping is not your thing. There is no need to worry if you live in an area served by the husband and wife team behind Suburban Camping Co. Chris and Kelly MacPhee saw a niche in the market and provide a turn-key service for people who wish to live a superb camping party experience in the comfort of their backyard.

backyard camping night with s'mores

They created several camping scenarios from romantic tent for 2 up to the popular kids parties, girls night out or movies under the star event. Their services include the camping equipment, the props, kits for some activities, party favors and the installation. It is perfect for stress-free entertaining. Click here to see their packages.

camping night-out party decor

I think that they had a great concept. I wish Chris and Kelly good luck with their business.

SOURCING:
+ Suburban Camping Co.

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

BBQ Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

bbq gift ideas for Father's day

bbq gift ideas for Father's day

You can’t go wrong with BBQ gears for Father’s Day. And there are so many cool stuff out there that I wish to give you a head start with my BBQ product suggestions.

BBQ Accessories

These are for the dad who has everything and likes gadgets. The first item is a charcoal grill meat and seafood humidifier. You fill the cast-iron boxes with water, beer, wine, juices or other liquid. Steam is released as you cook the meat or seafood. It will add moisture and will infuse food with flavors. As one buyer suggested in his review, oil them after cleaning to keep the cast-iron boxes from rusting.

wireless meat thermometer for bbq

Another gift idea is a wireless grilling thermometer. The one at Williams-Sonoma lets you monitor roasting meats and poultry from up to 150 feet away. It comes with 7 pre-programmed settings that you can custom to your liking.

BBQ at the Beach or the Park

bodum fyrkat picnic bbq

A picnic is an old-time favorite activity for parents with young children. Therefore, why not buy a portable grill for dad? I love the charm of the beach-side grill. Otherwise, small charcoal grill may be more handy since they do not take too much small on the trunk of your car. My favorite is the colorful Fyrkat picnic grill by Bodum. I want it for myself. Bodum makes a good looking Charcoal Chimney Starter.

portable charcoal grills

The Notebook grill can be transported flat. You carry it in a shoulder bag. Therefore, it is wonderful when you are walking to the park. The Smokey Joe by Weber has great review.Visually, it is not too far from the Bodum model, except that it only comes in black. Lastly, if your dad prefers a portable gas grill, I heard good things about the Cuisinart 12,000 BTU tabletop grill or the Weber Q-100 propane gas grill.

SOURCING:
+ Charcoal Companion Moistly Grilled Cast Iron Grill Humidifier $19.99 USD on sale at Sur la Table
+ Wireless Remote Grilling Thermometer $59.95 USD at Williams-Sonoma
Beach-Side Grill $149.99 USD at Sur la Table
+ Bodum Fyrkat 13.4-Inch Portable Charcoal Grill, Orange $59 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
Bodum 11359-16 Fyrkat Charcoal Chimney Starter $24.90 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
+ For Canadians: Paramount Notebook Grill $49.99 CAD at Home Depot Canada
+ For Americans: HotSpot Notebook Portable Charcoal Grill $35.96 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
+ Weber 40020 Smokey Joe Gold Charcoal Grill $34.70 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
+ Cuisinart CGG-200 12,000-BTU Tabletop Propane Gas Grill $169.95 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]
+ Weber 386002 Q 100 Portable Propane Gas Grill $134 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]

HOME + GARDEN ORGANIZING

New Uses for Old Things | Loaf Pan Organizers

bread pan loaf organizer kitchen

bread pan loaf organizer kitchen

A couple of weeks ago we shared a few creative container garden ideas – including one that made use of old muffin tins. Tin loaf pans would work well as makeshift garden planters too, but they look just as lovely hung in a row on a bright kitchen wall.

These rustic tins look fresh when filled with colourful kitchen linens, shiny silverware and cheap-and-chic citrus fruits, but they’re easy to imagine in other corners of your home too.

Try them in the office to organize paperwork and stationery supplies; in a garden shed to keep seed packs, twine and garden gloves within reach; or in a crafty corner filled with scissors, ribbon spools and a stack of fabric fat quarters. No matter where you find a place for this DIY, it adds a touch of upcycled, old-meets-new charm.

It’s easy to see why this simple, versatile project made ReadyMade Magazine’s list of 100 best projects of the year. (Check out the complete list for more clever, reader-submitted projects!)

SOURCING:
+ DIY Loaf Pan Storage from ReadyMade
+ Photos: ReadyMade

FAMILY KIDS rooms

Illustrations by Hillary Bird | Etsy finds

hillary bird's art prints for kids

hillary bird's art prints for kids

I am currently looking for a series of art prints to hang on the short hallway that leads to my son’s nursery. I am leaning towards 3 medium size art prints that would fit into the 20-inch RIBBBA shadow box frames or a 20-inch tall RIBBA frame. But whatever I do, I need at least one frame of this size.

Another solution would be to showcase 2 medium prints and a series of three 5×7 prints. I got this idea after I saw the kids prints realized by San Francisco Bay area designer and illustrator Hillary Bird. If I was going with this plan, I would be together the the Expedition, the Crystal Lake,  and the Teatime. I also like the warmth of the Rescue. Then, the question becomes what to put next to those. One reason that I hesitate to commit at this time is that I would prefer that the main character was a boy with the bear.

SOURCING:
+ Hillary Bird’s Prints $15 USD for 5×7 on Etsy

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

How to Host a (Bombay Sapphire) Speakeasy Party

dress the part

merlin griffiths

The media event of Bombay Sapphire is my overall favorite media event. Every year, I always looked for it. One reason might be that the global ambassador of Bombay Sapphire Merlin Griffiths is an amazing storyteller. Plus, I always left the event with three more drinks to add to my cocktail recipe book.

speakeasy props

The theme was speakeasy, which led to great tales. Take notes since it is a theme that would be awesome for a birthday party. In case that you do not know, a speakeasy, also called a blind pig or blind tiger, is a secret establishment that illegally sells alcoholic beverages. They gained popularity during the prohibition era. They were often members-only establishments. One famous speakeasy in Chicago used a personalized gold key to identify their members. The gold key attached to my invitation told me that we would get a treat. We did!

speakeasy invites

How to Host a Speakeasy Party at Home

dress the part

Keep to an invitation-only guest list. Speakeasy were about a selected few. Therefore, invite a small number of close friends. Ask your guests to dress the part by either wearing 1920s-style clothes or their favorite stylish clothes. Display a few props and serve a few classic cocktails.

Chunks of Ice in Your Drinks

ice block

Good quality ice plays a role in making outstanding cocktails. Make yours with boiled water for a clear, pure taste. If you wish to stay true to the era, serve your drinks on ice chunks, that you smash from an ice block. Merlin explained to us how to make your own ice block. Pour the boiled water in an Eskimo cooler and put it on the freezer for 3 or 4 days. This is the amount of time it takes to freeze.

ice block

One last details are the glasses. Your grandma treasures would be perfect for this occasion. Otherwise, shop at a dollar store or visit the flea markets to find your set of old-style tumblers and highball glasses.

Have a look at this video for all the insights on how to make your own Sapphire and Sin (recipe below).

Sapphire and Sin Recipe

sapphire and sin recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz. of Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 1 oz. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 0.5 oz. fresh ginger syrup (recipe below)
  • Ginger slices and cilantro leaves for garnish

You can make it ahead and filter the juice in a fine strainer.

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, starting with the gin, follow by the juices and the ginger syrup. Add big pieces of ice that you just smashed from your ice block. Then, shake vigorously. Serve on the rocks in a tumbler. Garnish with ginger slices and cilantro leaves.

Ginger Syrup Recipe

Put in a saucepan 1 cup of powdered white sugar, 3/4 cup of boiling water and 5 thick slices of peeled ginger root. Or you could use ginger root juice to infuse your simple syrup with flavor. Cook the mixture for 10 minutes over medium heat. Let it cool for 30 minutes and strain into a clean bottle. Refrigerate. You can keep it for several weeks in the fridge.

I will share more drink recipes in the coming days. In the meantime, you can see more photos on my Facebook page.

bombay sapphire media event 2011

 

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

Cheerful Illustrations by Gayana | Etsy Finds

gayana illustrations

gayana illustrations

These prints are perfect for the start of the weekend. Gayana sells on Etsy motivational illustrations. Over ten years, Dan Daniloff has been collecting quotations and aphorisms about life being, love, happiness voiced by the great people of the world.

SOURCING:
+ You can’t buy happiness print $15 USD by Gayana on Etsy
+  Life is too short to drink… print $15 USD
+ via The Besotted Brand Blog

HOME + GARDEN HOME office

Bringing Fun to Your Home Office

Happy face stampler

Happy face stampler

One thing that is great about an home office is that you can accessorize it with beautiful supplies instead of the standard office supplies. Feel free to add a touch of fashion, love or humor to your home office space. Here are a few office supplies that will cheer you up when you are working.

Fun Staplers

fun stapler and sticky notes

Stampler adds a smiley faces stamp around your staples. You might not be able to use it for your business report but it would bring joy to family documents. If you are looking for a more practical stapler, have a look at the dog stapler.

Mod Desk Accessories

Jonathan Adler Task Clips and pencils

Another avenue that you can take starts with these cute Spectacle Sticky Notes that can complement the bold patterns of the desk accessories collection by Jonathan Alder. I like his task clips, pencils and magnetic board.

SOURCING:
+ Stampler by Suck UK $22 USD at Shopmodi
+ Dog Stapler $10 USD at See Jane Work
+ Spectacle Sticky Note Assortment $8 USD at See Jane Work
+ Jonathan Adler Task Clips $10.50 USD at See Jane Work

 

HOME + GARDEN OUTDOOR space

DIY Gutter Gardens

gutter garden outdoor gardening martha stewart copper

gutter garden outdoor gardening martha stewart copper

These DIYs are slightly more involved than just letting weeds and moss grow in the gutters on your home, but the pay off is worth it. These hanging gardens shake up standard hanging baskets by using horizontal space, and provide privacy should your neighbours be a little too close for comfort.

If you’re more of a minimalist, opt for the high gloss PVC and steel cable version on the left (we’re betting it will also be cheaper to DIY). Want something with a little more longevity? Martha’s version uses copper chains and gutters, which are sure to develop a pretty emerald patina after a season in the elements.

Check out the links below for full instructions. What are you planting this spring?

SOURCING:
+ How to Make A Hanging Gutter Garden from aHa! Home & Garden
+ Copper Gutters DIY from Martha Stewart