Yearly Archives

2011

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

Deck the Walls with Umbra Snap Frames

deck the walls

deck the walls

Here is a fun party activity or decor that you can use over and over. You could use the Umbra Snap frames to display your favorite photos of the guest of honor or to enhance the party theme. If you have a photo booth at your party, use them to create a place where people could hang their photos. I like the fact that your guests can write on them to comment their photos or give you their wishes.

Umbra Snap frame for a party decor

The Snap frames come in white, black and red in a pack of 9. I prefer the white ones for their versatility.

SOURCING:
+ For Canadians: Umbra Snap Frames in White $19.99 CAD at Amazon.ca [affiliate link]
+ For Americans: Umbra Snap Frames, Set of 9 $17.99 USD at Amazon.com [affiliate link]

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Pick up a Grade 4 and 5 SnowPass for Your Child from Canadian Ski Council

snowpass

snowpass

Alpine ski has always been my favorite sport. Ski is a big part of my life during winter. I learned how to ski when I was 2 years and half. My husband is an excellent skier. In fact, he earned lots of points when I saw him skiing for the first time. 🙂

Now that we have a son, we can’t wait to teach Zack how to ski. We are counting the number of winters until he is ready. This is why I am happy to share this great initiative by the Canadian Ski Council. Grade 4’s and 5’s can pick a Snowpass to ski and ride for free. You can fill the form online. Just visit www.snowpass.ca, complete the registration form, upload a photo, proof of age/grade and payment to cover administration and delivery fee. Your child’s very own SnowPass will be mailed straight to your door giving you hundreds of ways to save this season.

SOURCING:
+ Snowpass.ca

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Cute Angry Birds Cake Pops from Montreal

angry birds cake pops

As an Angry Birds fan, I am doubly happy to feature these cute creations from La Popshop, a baker located in Montreal. I put her on my local watch list.

We are behind when it comes to creative bakers in Montreal. This fact troubled me even more since I became a mom. I would need access to talented suppliers with flair to celebrate in style my son’s birthdays. Plus, it does not help matters that many bakers lack a proper online presence. It is sad because all they need to do would be to start a blog and to keep a Facebook page plus a Twitter account.

If you are interested, her cake pops start at $30 for a dozen of classic cake pops and at $35 for a dozen deluxe cake pops. The Angry Birds are a deluxe version.

SOURCING:
+  La Popshop

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

It’s OK to Play with Mr. Potato Head Cookies

mr. potato head cookies

mr. potato head cookies

This is one fun idea where your kids can play with their food. The baker behind Oh, Sugar! Events made her own paper templates and cut the pieces by hand. She took the time to nicely decorate each piece. She did a body base on which the kids can design their own face. Her Mr. Potato Head Cookies had been all the rage in Facebook this weekend.

These cookies would be a hit for a play date or kids party. You could bake one Mr. Potato Head body with his face pieces for every child. Or better, wait until Oh Sugar! Events commercializes her Mr. Potato Head Cookies. I am sure that many of us would buy them.

SOURCING:
+ Mr. Potato Head cookies by Oh, Sugar! Events
+ via Pizzazzerie on Facebook

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

DIY Grocery Store Toys by Ikat Bag

blue fabric candy shop by ikat bag

cardboard suitcases

LiEr of Ikat Bag is a crafter with an impressive portfolio. This mom of three girls puts her imagination and talent to good use by creating for them awesome role playing games. I am still in awe with her clever airport customs game idea that I spotted earlier today on Ohdeedoh. You have to admire the details of her cardboard suitcases.

cardboard grocery shop toy

Going back to the grocery stores, you can use two of her designs to make your own. First, have a look at her cardboard grocery store. It took her 3 to 4 hours to make it. She made a series of shelves, including a lower cabinet with drawers that goes inside the shop. I love, love it!

blue fabric candy shop by ikat bag

For the ones who like to sew, do not miss her blue fabric candy shop. You could make a few modifications to turn it into a take-out restaurant.

I bookmarked Ikat Bag since I am sure that I will share with you more of her playful creations.

SOURCING:
cardboard luggage and airport customs game by Ikat Bag
+ cardboard grocery shop
+ little blue house (candy shop)

 

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Happy Baby: Our First Halloween as Parents

star wars family

star wars family

Zack’s first Halloween was a team effort. My husband chose the Halloween theme last July when he bought at ThinkGeek the Darth Vader costume that Zack wore. Yes, we have been waiting for this moment. The hardest thing was to imagine how a 7-month baby could celebrate Halloween? After a few talks, we decided that a staged photo will nicely commemorate the day.

baby darth vader

We needed a spot that would deliver a sci-fi vibe. We knew that we had the perfect backdrop when we saw these lit blue glass doors. Like they say, the rest is history. The choice of our costumes was a no-brainer. My husband wanted to be Obi-Wan Kenobi. He grew his beard for two weeks. He was happy to shave this morning. I designed and made Jerome’s cape with the help of my mother. A friend lent me her Princess Leia costume. I attached the Darth Vader “helmet” headpiece to a black hat with safety pins. That kept Zack warm and it maintained the helmet in place.

zack as vader

We made nice memories that we will treasure for a long time. Zack was curious at the actions that were going on outside. He was so interested by what was happening that we had troubles to find a way for him to focus on the photo shoot. I can’t blame him. They were plenty of new things for him to discover. He smiled when he saw for the first time a lit Halloween pumpkin on our street. He enjoyed the costumes. Finally, I felt proud of what we did when two young trick and treaters encouraged the rest of their group to have a look at the cute Star Wars baby.

A special thank to Bettina Forget for her help in capturing on photos these precious memories.

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

My Place: I Want One or Two Knitted Poufs

knitted pouf living room

Every year, I feel the same when the cold weather arrives. I want to fill my home with a warmth feeling. I crave for knitted throw and wool. Add to this, the fact that my son just started to crawl and you will understand my appeal for one or two knitted poufs. They are comfy as an occasional seat or a footrest. Plus, they do not take a lot of floor space. Finally, the soft edge of poufs made them safe and fun to play with for my baby. Continue Reading

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

New Uses for Old Things: Holidays Cookies Wrapped with Office Supplies

old cd envelopes cookie gift wrap

old cd envelopes cookie gift wrap

This post is about finding a use for your old office supplies. If you still have an box of CD envelopes lying around, I saw on Better Homes and Gardens a way to transform them into cute cookie packages. Instead of a printed ribbon and a Holidays adornment, you could decorate the envelopes with a beautiful string and affix a gift tag. I wish that I could insert a gold cake pad but at 6 inches, the smallest cake circles are two big for a CD envelope. This is why you need to use a scrapbook paper or gift wrap paper to add a festive backdrop. The only downside is that I would feel the need to cover the cookie with food-safe cellophane before inserting it into an old CD envelope.

christmas cookies wrapped in mailing tubes

If you plan to ship them, why not wrap your Christmas cookies in mailing tubes? I showed you three ways to add a Holiday touch to plain mailing tubes last year.

SOURCING:
Gingerbread People Cutouts
+ Three-Pepper Spice Cookies

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

5 Minute Martha: DIY Halloween Family-Friendly Decorations

diy tombstone halloween decor

diy tombstone halloween decor

I like the amusing side of these Halloween decorations. They perfectly illustrated how a simple design can make an impact. It is not too late to make yours. You could have your children to pitch in to create your own front yard Halloween decorations.

easy constructions

It does not require extreme skills or tools to make your own tombstones using plywood. The kids will have fun writing the epitaphs. It is a good opportunity for them to use their creativity.

homemade wood tombstone for halloween

As for the upside down men, you simply attached a pair of old pants to two sticks and topped the legs with rubber boots. Sewing patches to the pants add to the charm of the scene. I took these pictures from a family house in NDG (Notre-Dame de Grâce neighborhood in Montreal).

FAMILY LIVING with kids

Parenting: What I Learned from a Little Heart

just kim little heart

My design philosophy revolves around comfort, function and aesthetics. I enjoy talking about design because I believe that good design can enhance all aspects of our life. But today, I will talk about another kind of inspiration. I will discuss how a decisive life event shaped me and the future of At Home with Kim Vallee.

I am new at writing about my personal life. So bare with me as I share with you the most important aspects of what happened to me over the last 12 months.

What Happened?

Since I am an entrepreneur, it is not surprising that I like to take charge of my destiny. One year ago, life threw at me a difficult situation for which I had, and still have, no control. We discovered that my baby would be born with a congenital heart defect during my 20-week ultrasound. At the time, the doctor thought that he might require a surgery in the first 12 to 24 months of his life. I accepted the situation with a relative peace of mind. The important thing was that my baby could live a normal life. I did not want to stress too much in fear to harm my baby during my pregnancy. I never anticipated that the road to recovery would take so long.

My next deception came when they told me that I would be separated from my baby right after delivery. We found out 6 weeks before my due date that my baby would be transferred right away to another hospital in preparation for an open heart surgery to be scheduled a few days later. I said bye-bye to my birth plan away. I had a C-section and stayed at the hospital for three days. Luckily, I was discharged from the hospital the night before his surgery. I rushed to his bed. I was happy and sad at the same time when I held him in my arms for the first time. Although it broke my heart when they brought him to the surgery room, I felt that it was better to have the surgery at birth since he was still unaware of his surroundings. What I did not know was that we would have to go through another surgery four months later.

I never anticipated that it would take 2 surgeries, several medical exams, a total of 40 days of hospital stays and then a cardiac catheterization to finally find a solution. At last, we received good news last Thursday. Seven months after Zack was born, my husband and I could celebrate, without fear, the birth of our son. For the occasion, we drank a Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne and ate sushi with our smiling baby sitting next to us. That felt good!

Inspired by My Son’s Courage

One thing that brought me comfort over the last 7 months is the easy going nature of my son. While he was recovering from his second surgery at the hospital, the nurses nicknamed him “Smiley baby”. He is adorable and was easy to take care of. If they did not closely monitor his condition, nobody would have guessed that he was sick.

A cardiology nurse that follows us since the beginning said something that made me proud on Friday. She mentioned that she could see that my son lives in a happy home because he is always joyful. I would add that he lives in a stylish and happy home. And it is fun that now I can embrace a new chapter of my/our life.

What I Learned Personally and for Work

Now that my son is fine, I can digest what I learned from this experience. I have even more confidence in my strength of character. Now that I have faced these events, I feel that I am better equipped to be a good mom. I realized that I have more patience that I ever imagined. This will come handy to raise him.

I also learned to let go, at least to let go a little. You totally rely on the judgements and expertise of others when you deal with a life-threatening illness. You can ask questions and seek explanations but, at the end, you have no choices but to accept the recommendations of the medical team because they are the ones with the skills and the know-how. Out of necessity, I started to delegate more than I used to, both at home and at work. This is a big deal since I am a perfectionist.

What’s Next?

I wish to pass time with my son while I carry on a successful career. This calls for a reorganization of my work and to, possibly, redefine my role in the business in light of where I want the brand to go. To help me with this transition, I had meetings with my advisors. After reviewing the core of my business, my talents and where is my passion, we came up with a more focused business plan. Since I am in control of my destiny, my revised business plan fits my new objectives and my lifestyle.

About “Just Me” and the Other New Series

Since I gave birth, I wondered how I could integrate a more conversational and opinionated side to At Home with Kim Vallee. You could blame this desire on the social isolation that all new moms experience.

Frankly, I think that becoming a mom forced me to reevaluate what I want from life. I looked at it from a personal and a professional levels. I had plenty of time to set my goals and to make a plan to achieve them in a timely fashion. Since I believe that I got the right foundation, I built upon the core values of my brand when I devised four new series. They are:

  • Just Me: conversations about finding time and doing things for myself, including how I maintain my own identity, how I deal with the work life balance, …
  • 5 Minute Martha: time-saving tips around the house or for entertaining
  • Happy Baby: parenting tips, experiences, family activities and must-have items
  • My Place: how I make my place work as a family home, a work place, etc…

The “5 Minute Martha” series simply brands my signature topic: stylish solutions that are quick are easy to do. Rest assured that you will continue to enjoy the content that you are used to since I launched my blog. I simply wish to extend the scope of the lifestyle component to complement the design inspirations I already provide you.

Just Kim is part of a new branded “Just Me” series that will explore how I find time for myself, how I fulfill my dreams, how I deal with work life balance issues, and what makes me happy in general. Since no approach fits all, I plan to interview other women to see how they do it. I hope that you will join me and enjoy this additional side of At Home with Kim Vallee.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

Entrance Decorations for Halloween

spellbinding style halloween decor

spellbinding style halloween decor

Illuminate to the exterior of your home by adding a lit twig gate to your porch and hanging a spider web on a window. Your trick or treat visitors will feel welcome and know where to enter. I like how they create a path by putting the crow luminary string lights on the floor instead of hanging them.

Lit twig spider web

I also like the caged crow string lights, but they are not out of stock. You could try to assemble something similar to regular string lights by inserting a few plastic crows into cheap bird cages that you painted black.

caged crow string lights for halloween

SOURCING:
+ Lit Twig Gate on sale at $89.99 USD / $114.91 CAD – only through catalog or online
+ Lit Twig Spider Web on sale at $89.99 USD / $114.91 CAD – only through catalog or online
+ Crow Luminary String Lights on sale at $26.99 USD / $34.47 CAD – only through catalog or online