Monthly Archives

January 2012


Liberté Giveaway: Win a Greek Yogurt 0% per Week for a Year

liberte fat-free greek yogurt a week giveaway

Liberté wants to give the chance to one lucky reader of At Home with Kim Vallee to experience the tastiness of their Greek yogurt 0% for a whole year.

The Liberté Greek yogurt 0% is crafted using traditional Greek methods. It is made from skim milk and bacterial cultures, with no gelatin or preservatives added. The traditional cheesecloth draining gives a rich and creamy texture to this fat-free Greek yogurt. Did you know that Greek yogurt contains three times more milk than a regular yogurt? It is nice to know that you get twice the protein of any other regular yogurt when you eat this fat-free Greek yogurt. Continue Reading


Modern Mobiles from Puka Puka

mobile modern nursery colorful

mobile modern nursery colorful

Art doesn’t need to hang on the wall to impact your space, and these handcrafted mobiles from Australia’s Puka Puka Design are a perfect example.

Handmade from ethically sourced, high quality materials, each mobile is unique and designed to bring a bit of nature into your space, with designs inspired by the sky and sea.

We love the organic shapes and contemporary color pairings, and that the mobiles add visual interest without adding visual clutter. We can see these in almost any room of the home – from the corner of the living room to an entryway or office – so think beyond the nursery (though they’d look lovely there, too).


+ Puka Puka Modern Mobiles, $80 and up



Outdoor Valentine’s Day Decoration: Ice Hearts from Poppytalk

poppytalk diy winter valentine's day heart

poppytalk diy winter valentine's day heart

We may not think of decorating our outdoor spaces for Valentine’s Day, but this uncomplicated idea by Poppytalk contributor Margie Oomen of Resurrection Fern has us reconsidering our options.

The combination of colorful natural elements frozen in heart-shaped ice is a beautiful contrast to what can be a rather gray month overall.

poppytalk diy winter outdoor decoration heart

Make a few to hang in spots where they’re sure to surprise and delight. We love them strung along a clothesline (shown above), but they’d look just as lovely as a winter wreath alternative on your front door or on barren tree branches in your backyard or neighbourhood park.

It’s a quick, simple project kids will love too. Check out Poppytalk for full instructions.

+ Hearts of Ice DIY on Poppytalk


Safari-Inspired Young Explorers Birthday Party from The TomKat Studio

safari birthday party theme for kids

safari birthday party theme for kids

We’ve long been inspired by Kim Stoegbauer, designer and founder of The TomKat Studio Etsy shop. Creative, colorful kid’s party goods are her specialty, but she regularly offers gorgeous free printables for holidays and special occasions on her blog.

Recently, Kim’s been collaborating with Pottery Barn Kids, sharing her expertise and providing free downloadable party guides, invitations, DIY décor, and even delish drink and dessert recipes.

We loved her most recent creation, a safari-inspired birthday party that works for any kid who’s obsessed with animals. The party is ideal for outdoors – where kids can run wild –, but it’s easily adapted for inside the house.

tomkat studio pottery barn kids birthday party

The party suite uses a neutral palette of zebra stripes and animal prints, which makes it adaptable for both girls and boys. Maps, elephants, rhinos and other exploration gear are all incorporated in the printable materials – which include invitations, cupcake wrappers, food flags thank you cards and favor bags.

tomkat studio safari birthday party kids printables

You’ll also find recipes for a decadent chocolate peanut butter cake and instructions for making layered cupcakes in a jar – a sweet send-off for little explorers.

tomkat studio safari birthday cake cupcakes kids

Don’t miss Kim’s other recent collaboration to the Pottery Barn Kids Design Studio: a modern grey and yellow themed baby shower with printables that are easily re-purposed for brides-to-be and spring weddings.

+ The TomKat Studio
+ Young Explorers Party Guide via Pottery Barn Kids


Etsy Finds: Mini Planters

etsy mini thimble planter diy

etsy mini thimble planter diy

Though they may just be removed for styling purposes, we’ve noticed that many homes featured in shelter magazines and on design blogs rarely include plant life, except for a bouquet or two of cut flowers. Not only do houseplants bring life to an indoors pace, they help detoxify the air in your home and they’ve even been shown to increase productivity in the workplace.

Thumbs not so green? Winter may not be the best time of year to dig in, but starting small – make that mini! – can be a fun way to test the soils.

etsy mini garden cork magnet terrarium

Last week Etsy’s weekly How-Tuesday blog column featured practical tips on creating wee gardens and low-maintenance terrariums using unexpected household containers, like thimbles, wine corks, teacups and shot glasses.

All it takes is a small cutting from a hardy houseplant (ask your gardening guru friend) and a creative container to get started. Once you’ve mastered the mini garden, you’ll be on to greener pastures in no time.

Still not so sure? Check out the Etsy Sellers below for adorable, affordable options.

+ How Houseplants Keep You Healthy from Canadian Gardening Magazine
+ Micro-Planter and Terrarium How-To on the Etsy Blog
+ Set of 3 Tiny Terrariums by TortoiseLovesDonkey
+ Succulent Cork Magnets by AlissaRose
+Vintage Thimble Planters by DoodleBirdie


Recipe: Cupcakes for Two

recipe 2 cupcakes brett bara

recipe 2 cupcakes brett bara

Trying to stick to your new year’s resolutions, but haven’t quite kicked your cupcake habit?

Author, blogger, crafter and designer Brett Bara shared the perfect solution to keep your sweet tooth in check: a small batch recipe that creates two – and only two – chocolate cupcakes, complete with homemade frosting. This idea is perfect for baking enthusiasts who live solo, as a mid-week dessert option for couples, or when you’re just craving something sweet after-hours.

Get the full recipe with step-by-step photo instructions on Brett’s blog, Manhattan Craft Room.

+ Recipe for Two Chocolate Cupcakes by Brett Bara


Add Color in the Kitchen: Joseph Joseph Kitchenware

joseph joseph stretch trivet pot holder kitchenware

You don’t need a designer’s eye to spot the biggest trend of the year – just walk into your favourite décor and fashion shops and it will be everywhere you look: color! (Just ask Pantone’s colour of the year, Tangerine Tango!)

But with so many shades to love and choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and just as easy to go overboard. Keep it simple by adding color through accessories, whether they’re on your sofa, perched on a shelf or found around your neck.

Love your all-white kitchen but want to inject a jolt of color? Don’t pull out the paint just yet. Contemporary kitchenware design company Joseph Joseph creates clever and cool tools in shades of hot pink, chartreuse green, vibrant purple and more. When you’re ready to return to minimalist land, just tuck them in a drawer until your next kitchen encounter.

Here are a few of our faves:

Scoop Colander, $7
Wire-mesh scoops work well for Asian cooking, but small pieces of food require a finer sieve. We love this scoop colander because it eliminates the cumbersome process of draining liquids from a pot, and works well as an everyday serving utensil.

joseph joseph scoop colandar twist whisk

Twist 2-in-1 Whisk, $10
When is a whisk more than whisk? When a simple turn of the handle transforms it from sauce stirrer to egg white whipper. Store it folded flat to maximize storage and keep other utensils from becoming tangled.

Arena Self-draining Dish Rack, $45
If you have to do the dishes, you might as well stack them in style. Though not made for large loads (it will hold up to four place settings), this round design slopes toward the sink so water can easily drain. This is a great option for small kitchens without a lot of counter space.

joseph joseph arena dish rack kitchenware

Stretch Expandable Silicone Pot Stand, $16
The problem with most trivets is that you need more than one to accommodate large sized platters and or multiple pans. The Stretch pot stand does just that to fit a variety of cook- and servingware.

joseph joseph stretch trivet pot holder kitchenware

+ Joseph Joseph



Travel in Style with Design Hotels

design hotels

design hotels

If you are fond of boutique hotels, you are probably familiar with Mr and Mrs Smith‘s hotel booking services. I love their story.

But what if you are looking to expand a little bit the selection of boutique hotels? This is where Design Hotels can help you. They describe themselves as a consulting, marketing and positioning service provider for hotels and small hotel groups listed in the new luxury tourism segment. So far, this German traded company represents and markets a hand-picked collection of more than 200 hotels in over 40 countries across the globe. You can book your room online with a best rate guarantee.

Sadly, only two Canadian hotels and a few US hotels are available on Design Hotels. Nonetheless, I found European hotels where I would like to stay. 25Hours Hotel Hamburg, a sixties and seventies inspired hotel, caught my eye with their pink wall lobby and girlie bike. Family up to four can stay in one of their 6 XL-Family rooms. The 25Hours Hotel in Hamburg has a total of 128 guest rooms.

Design Hotels
25Hours Hotel


Choochoo-stak by Ayu Larasati

Choochoo-stak by Ayu Larasati

Choochoo-stak by Ayu Larasati

Choochoo-stak is a prototype that Ayu Larasati created as her graduate thesis project. She analyzed what is going in a kindergarten classroom with the aim to improve the tidy-up task by making it a more fun experience for the kids.

Her solution integrates play and chores into one activity that goes hand-in-hand. Choochoo-stak functions as a free-standing shelf, a table, a seating area and a ride on toy and during tidy-up time, all the carts can be connected for ease of collecting play materials. For its multi-function capabilities, I believe that many urban parents would welcome a Choochoo-stak in their home.

Ayu Larasati will present one of her project at the Prototype exhibit of IDS 12.

+  Choochoo-stak by Ayu Larasati


IDS 12 Preview: What I Plan to See/Do?

ids 12 conversations in design

ids 12 conversations in design

We are just a few days before the opening of IDS 12 and I can’t wait for my annual visit. I will fly the night before to be right on time for Conversations in Design. I hope to grab new ideas from the 12 internationally renowned speakers that will talk at Conversations in Design. It should be a good introduction before heading to the exhibit floor since the Conversations in Design’s theme is Trailblazers and Trendspotters.

I will start the next day with a blog and traditional media panel conversation hosted by BlogPodium. Then, it will be time to explore what is at the trade show. One exhibit that I will not miss is Studio North and Prototype, that will celebrate the 10th anniversary at IDS.

I will stay Saturday in order to attend a second design blogger event: the Canadian Design Bloggers Meetup that will be held at Brassaii. Between meeting some friends, bloggers, and business partners, I would need to find the time to shop at the first CB2 store in Canada (@CB2queenwest). I’m so sorry that I couldn’t attend their opening party. It is a short drive (5 minutes by car, 25 minutes by foot) from the IDS since CB2 is located at 651 Queen Street West. Do not be surprised if you see at the airport a girl with CB2 bags.

I look forward to this short design trip. If you see me in Toronto, come to say hello. I would love to chat design and blogging with you.