Monthly Archives

March 2012

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

Party Must-Have: The Giant Round Balloons Decorated by Geronimo Balloons

geronimo party ballons stylish

geronimo party ballons stylish

Balloons are often a must at birthdays and big parties. The ones from Geronimo Ballons stand up for two reasons: first, Jihan “Jihanimo” Zencirli only uses 36-inch perfectly round ballons and second, it is how she uniquely decorated each one with fancy frill. They are made to order.

geronimo ballons decorated ribbons

Hand-cut fine paper, fringe, long trail of ribbons, metallic decorations and my favorite, the stylish party balls, transform her balloons into unforgettable creations. They make great props for photo booth pictures.

geronimo ballons with frill

The studio of Geronimo Ballons is located in downtown Los Angeles. The good news is that there is no need to live in LA to enjoy them at your next party since they can ship flat the ballon(s) and frill within the United States. You will simply need to fill it with helium at a local party store and affix the decorated ribbons. One 36″ round balloon holds the equivalent helium of approximately 30 regular balloons.

SOURCING:
+ Party Balloon by Geronimo Balloons – $60 to $200 USD per ballon

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

Lucirmas Upcycles the Wine Bottle into a Table Set

pure bottle

pure bottle

Sometimes, you simply need to adapt the shapes of everyday objects to create new ones. If we omit the handmade process of the making, this is basically the visual approach of Lucirmas, a Barcelona-based glass studio. Lucirmas uses 100% recycled glass to create tableware.  Take for example, the Pure Bottle. Lucia Bruni imagined a cleverly designed 3-piece table set that is made from a single recycled wine bottle.

pure bottle 3 piece table set

After five steps (cutting, hand polishing, fusing, thermal tempering and sandblasting) what you get is a glass, a lantern and the most unusual spoon that I ever saw. I especially enjoy the look of the lantern.

The spoon is sure to be a conversation piece. But I feel that it could be awkward to eat with it. Is it just me? I guess that it is one of these things that you need to try before you are convinced.

recycled glass toothpick holder

On the end, they did a good job with their toothpick holder. It’s a fun, simple design!

For the moment, a small numbers of European retailers carry their products. But if you don’t mind the shipping fees, Lucirmas operates an international online store.

SOURCING:
+ Pure Bottle €41 at Lucirmas
+ Toothpick €13 at Lucirmas
+ via MOCO LOCO on Facebook

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

The Costco Challenge: The Making of a Stylish Cocktail Party on a Budget

stylish canapes costco challenge

stylish canapes costco challenge

This article from Town & Country is the proof that you do not need to spend a fortune to entertain in style 20 guests. Event planner David Monn bought at Costco the food he needed to make stylish canapés.

menu costco shopping list

David Monn spent $10.40 per guest. His cocktail party menu was comprehensive with 8 savoury hors d’oeuvres and 2 sweet treats. You get a nice mix of meat and seafood for that price. I’m impressed!

menu costco

I plan to make his Norwegian Smoked Salmon filled with scallion cream cheese and tied with a string of chive. Who will not love a Brie and apple on bruschetta topped with caramelized walnuts?

Get the details on the April 2012 issue of Town & Country magazine. Go to Zinio for a digital version delivered to the device of your choice.

SOURCING:
+  photos by Juliana Sohn – Courtesy of Town & Country magazine

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Easter Egg Decorating and Crafting Ideas

easter egg hunt prizes

easter egg hunt prizes

At only a few weeks ago from Easter, it is more than time to plan your Easter Egg activities. Hiding special eggs adds cheer and joy to your Easter Egg hunt. I like to include eggs that the kids can keep after the party. The wood hen sized eggs would be a nice addition to any market pretend shop. They have been painted in all natural non-toxic soy paint. You could use the plastic egg string lights to delimit the start and end line of the race.

I found two adorable crafting projects that transform your eggs into other animals. First, you could make an owl Easter Egg designed by Donna Bush. Or  do like Martha Stewart and create your own crepe surprise bunny eggs. Imagine those for your Easter tablescape.

Egg Decorating Kit Premiere Moisson

Lastly, why not paint chocolate eggs during your Easter celebrations? Premiere Moisson sells an egg-decorating kit at their store. The kit includes 3 chocolate eggs (two milk chocolate and one white chocolate), 3 jars of food paints and 3 brushes. If you like what your children’s creations, submit them to the “Fais-toi beau mon coco!” Facebook contest.

SOURCING:
+ Plastic Easter Egg String Lights $9.99 USD at Target
+ Owl Easter Egg DIY project designed by Donna Bush and published at Michaels
+ Crepe Paper Surprise Bunny Eggs by Martha Stewart
+ 12 Rainbow Wood Eggs by Applenanos $32 USD on Etsy
+ Chocolate Egg Decorating Kit $19.95 CAD at Première Moisson

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Amusing Chop Knife by Normann Copenhagen

chop knife

chop knife

No, these are not donuts! Lucidipedere Studio created for Normann Copenhagen a fun version of the classic mezzaluna. I always use a mezzaluna to chop herbs. Believe me when I tell you that the round shape of the blade makes it more comfortable and efficient to chop herbs.

A pretty coloured rubber band hides the handle, and the blade when it is not in use. I predict that you will not want to hide the Chop Knife in a kitchen drawer. I only wish that they sell it with a mezzaluna cutting board.

SOURCING:
+ Chop Knife by Normann Copenhagen $35.19 at Scandinavian Design

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

My Must-Haves at Fish Eddy for Spring and Summer Entertaining

sunday brunch

party glasses like1959

Shown here: Party Glass $5 USD

Fish Eddy introduced a new line of party glasses that are simply too adorable to ignore. I imagine myself drinking juice or iced tea in any one of the 4 cheerful mod tumblers this summer.

I compiled the things I like for a cozy brunch at home from a metropolitan look to the girl ion the garden. I love the golden yellow of the egg tray holder.

sunday brunch

Shown here: Take 5 Dishtowel Pair $14.95 USD | Golden Egg Holder Tray $9.95 USD |  Milk Bottle Robin Egg 8 oz $6.95 USD | From the Charley Harper Collection designed by Todd Oldham for Fish Eddy School of Fish Tray $32.95 USD, Sunset Glass $5 USD Charley Harper Orange Fish Coupe Plate $14.95 USD |  Take 5 Mug $10.95 USD and plate

Shopping at Fish Eddy is definitively on my to-do list for my next trip to New York City. They are located on Broadway at 19th Street. If you do not live in New York, you can always shop at their online store.

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Alphabet Animals, Farm to Table and Farm Buddies Kidz Box and Placemats

modern-twist farm buddies :: alphabet animals and farm to table placemats

modern-twist farm buddies :: alphabet animals and farm to table placemats

I am counting the months until my son could use those. I have been a fan of the Kidz Box since they were launched by Modern-Twist. They added new drawings that are better than ever for a young child. Alphabet Animals or Farm Buddies could be his first ones since he is familiar with the topics.

Overall, it is Farm to Table that won my heart because it teaches kids where their food comes from. You can either buy the placemats separately or a gift box that includes a set of markers. Grow your collection with time by simply buying more doodle-friendly Kidz placemats. Their  selection provides various styles to suit the kid’s taste, gender and age.

kidz placemats

Artistic, Practical and Eco-Friendly

You will not run out of paper when you eat at restaurant or visit a friend if you carry a couple with you. When the kid has finished colouring, take a picture of their art with your phone before you clean it with a wipe, a damp cloth or rinse. Kids can color the Kidz placemats as often as they want. As a parents, you feel good knowing that you save paper.

SOURCING:
+ Kidz Gift/Storage Box: Farm to Table + 6 Markers $26 USD at Modern-Twist
+ Kidz Placemats $14-$19 USD at Modern-Twist

ENTERTAINING TABLETOP

Paint Dipped DIY Round-Up

paint dip utensils kitchen diy

Paint-dipped furniture has been making the rounds as a subtle way to embrace the bold and bright color trend. But if you’re not willing to sacrifice a favourite wooden chair or stool for this trend, the technique can be adapted for inexpensive home accessories.

These DIYs prove how easy it is get a custom look with a designer vibe. If you have leftover cans of paint, these use-what-you-have projects are the perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon: transforming unwanted clutter into something beautiful.

paint dip utensils kitchen diy

In The Kitchen

Wooden utensils and mismatched silverware are prime candidates for this technique. If you don’t have any kicking around your kitchen, look for inexpensive options in dollar stores or secondhand shops.

Don’t worry too much about coordinating shades – remember, the goal is to use up your painting leftovers – but try to keep similar tones together, as Erin from House of Earnest did with her wooden utensils. Even neutral shades look cool in a group.

Want to keep all eyes on the table at dinner? Try dipping the handles of a set of silverware in a mega-watt color. Creatively Christy used multiple colors for a fun effect, which is also a clever way to disguise a mismatched set. Planning your next dinner party? Stick with neutral linens and dishes, and use dip-dyed cutlery to dress things up, or coordinate them with your party palette.

paint dip bowl glasses diy

In The Dining Room

Speaking of dinner parties, if gold-rimmed china isn’t in your budget, this cool alternative adds a bit of gilded glam to your table. If you’re feeling super creative, you can make your own porcelain bowl before dipping it with this tutorial on Curbly, though these dishes are better suited for table styling than eating off of.

No one will care that your goblets aren’t crystal thanks to Liz from Say Yes to Hoboken’s creativity. She created this gold version for holiday dinner, but we’re imagining them in the metallic-of-the-moment, copper, or in a summery hue for outdoor entertaining.

paint dip diy flower vase candle holder

Around the House

It’s the little things that make a house a home, and it’s the trendy little accessories that keep your home out of a décor rut. We love these baby food jars-turned-mini vases from Oh Happy Day for a spring shower or birthday, and the way Design Love Fest gave these basic and boring vases an instant upgrade with a dip – make that a spray! – of colour.

wicker basket paint dip martha stewart

We all have more wicker baskets than we’d like to admit. Give these open storage essentials an update with a dip of colour, as shown on MarthaStewart.com. White paint freshens their look for a laundry room or bathroom, but they’re easy to imagine on a patio in a sunny yellow, or as toy storage in your child’s favourite colour.

Do you have paint just waiting to be put to use? Will you try this trend?

SOURCING:
+ Paint Dipped Wooden Utensils from House of Earnest
+ Colorful Silverware DIY from Creatively Christy
+ Gold-Dipped Bowl DIY from Curbly
+ Gold-Dipped Wine Glass DIY from Say Yes to Hoboken
+ Paint Dipped Mini Vases from Oh Happy Day
+ Color-Dipped Vase DIY from Design Love Fest
+ Dip-Dyed Baskets from Martha Stewart

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Duff Goldman and an Easter Cake

duff easter cake

duff easter cake

Time flies. Easter is one month away. Looking at this cute Easter Cake made by Tina, a baker at Mara-Mi Store + Cafe + Studio made me in the mood. I look forward to Spring and warmer weather.

duff easter cake details

The cake looks cheerful, juvenile and sophisticated at the same time. I like how it was decorated from the egg nest to the adorable chick, up to the interesting mix of rounds and flowers.

While I researched this story, I found out that there is a link between this cake and Duff Goldman of Charms City Cakes. I recalled the pleasures I had when I watched Duff and his baking team on Food Network’s Ace of Cakes. In fact, talking about Ace of Cakes was the third post I published in At Home with Kim Vallee.

wedding cake pops :: duff goldman for gartner studios

Duff partnered with Gartner Studios to bring to the consumer market awesome cake mixes and cake decorating products under the label Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios. It turned out that Gartner Studios acquired Mara Mi. Finally, another brand that I love, russell + hazel is part of the Gartner family of brands. I guess that Gartner Studios and I have similar taste.

SOURCING:
+  photos: Duff’s Easter Cake on Facebook

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

Dinner Party Ideas: The Making of a Moroccan-Inspired Table

moroccan-inspired dinner table mood board

moroccan-inspired dinner table mood board

Ethnic cuisine is still the most popular dinner party theme. People likes it because it is easy to organize and get the look based on the menu you plan to serve.

Your tabletop should set the tone of your dinner party. Start by selecting the dinnerware and table linens. Since you probably do not wish to invest in plates and serving dishes that you will use only one time, it is best to opt for dinnerware “inspired by” versus the real thing.

I created a Moroccan-inspired mood board composed of  tableware that you will be to use over and over for both indoor and outdoor entertaining. Typically, guests eat with their hands at a Moroccan feast. This is not a popular custom for us. Therefore, I went with the standard place settings. You can still serve each dish family style in big serving plates, fish trays or tagines.

moroccan-inspired table

The Jali Lattice Dinnerware, as suggested by West Elm’s stylists, have the right vibe. Plates and bowls are sold by pack of 4. Complement the table with a few truly Moroccan metal bowls that you will find at a speciality shop.

I also like the modern feel of the Chase Blue Plate layered with pool blue Max dinnerware from Crate and Barrel (top picture). For a casual look, pair it with the amber or the turquoise dimpled glassware series. You can put flowers in recycled glass jars as simple centrepieces.

SOURCING:
+ Jali Lattice Dinnerware Salad plates and bowls $34 USD, Dinner plate $47 on sale at West Elm
+ Hammered Small Dish Bowl $5 USD | $5.19 CAD at West Elm
Chase Blue Plate $5.95 USD | $7.38 CAD at Crate & Barrel
+ Max Pool Blue dinnerware on sale at $59.95 USD | $74.36 CAD at Crate & Barrel
+ Dimmed Glassware set on sale $ $13 – $32 USD| $13.44 to $33.08 CAD at West Elm
+  Recycled glass jars on sale $ $19 – $29 USD| $19.64 to $29.98 CAD at West Elm

 

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Vintage-Inspired MP3 Player for Kids

vintage mp3 player kids music

Most kids don’t have any difficulty finding their way around tech devices, yet we probably wouldn’t let them out of sight with our phones or tablets.

Handcrafted from non-toxic wood and materials in Germany, this modern music box – hörbert – has all the functionality of an MP3 player combined with the charm of a vintage toy, yet it’s tough enough to withstand life with kids.

vintage mp3 player kids music

Since small children can’t read, 9 buttons on the front encourage them to explore different sounds and content via color. Old school switch and volume controls are easy for small fingers to grasp.

A secure back panel houses a 2 GB memory card, batteries and any necessary wiring – no cords or cables for little hands to disconnect, or little mouths to chew on.

vintage mp3 player kids music buttons

hörbert can also be personalized for gift giving with custom wood engraving on the front, and is a lovely way to promote some music appreciation among the little ones in your life.

SOURCING:
+ hörbert MP3 Player, € 239.00