Monthly Archives

June 2012

FAMILY KIDS rooms

Mood Board: From a Nursery to a Toddler Boy Room

mood board for a toddler boy bedroom

mood board for a toddler boy bedroom

My son will be 16 months old next week. I can’t believe how time flies. He becomes a little boy more and more every day. He started to show signs of independence. We went to dinner twice  last week at Bistro Japonais Furusato, our favorite friendly neighbourhood  Japanese restaurant. Zack savoured everything we gave him. I guess that it pays off that we ate there once or twice a week while I was pregnant.

The reason why I mentioned the growth of my son is that, soon, I will need to update the decor from a nursery to a toddler bedroom.

My Design Plan, So Far

I won’t start from scratch since I will reuse his crib bedding. We bought a convertible crib with a toddler rail for that reason. Therefore, I look for accessories that will go with his Owl crib set by Dwell Studio and his fir stand green walls (P5036-41 by Para Paints). His space monster wall decals will go away; my son already removed several characters anyway.

I wanted a theme than would grow with his interests. Zack currently likes trucks. I came up with city life. It provides me with many options and chances for reinterpretation. There will be elements of nature, buildings and transportation. The theme came to me when I started looking for a growth chart. I felt in love with Petit Collage fabric City Growth Chart. I already hung it on the wall. I like the subtle tension between the modern drawings of his conforter and the vintage vibe of the ABC poster transportation by Petit Collage.

I also want to add orange touches. He likes that color. I bought him this adorable Fox plush by a small Montreal brand called Velvet Moustache. Just by the way he hugged it, I know that I am on the right track. It is also important to not confine my choices to kids stuff. I might add the VILMIE RUTA Cushion because I like the mod African pattern.

I estimate that my boy will be ready to move to a toddler by this fall. This is when I will put everything together. I will continue to keep you posted on the development. I still need to find him drapes, small furniture and more accessories. In the meantime, you can revisit old posts about kid bedrooms.

Disclaimer: When I told them that I was working on a story for my son bedroom, Petit Collage nicely agreed to send me for free the fabric City Growth Chart and a framed ABC Transportation poster. I was not able to find the growth chart at a Canadian store. Thanks again, Petit Collage!

 

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Decorating Ideas for a Fourth of July Table

fourth of July diy decoration ideas

After 5 years of covering the Fourth of July party scene, I must confess that I have a feeling of déjà vu. I found two DIY projects that you can do with the kids. I feel that it is always important to involve them with family celebrations.

fourth of July diy decoration ideas
Star and Stripes Garland Kit $10.50 USD at Paper Source | USA Party mega kit by Lindsay’s Stamp Stuff $4.80 at MyGrafico 

Many of you will celebrate the Fourth of July at a cottage. This is why I present two festive tabletops by the lakeside. Both of these tables are made of plain white tableware mixed with galvanized metal containers. The key is to add a festive touch through the accessories.

Light pendants that float over the dining table are a must if your party will continue after the sun is down. Select a model that will also look great during the day. I have my doubt about the Southern Living set up. Do the bamboo sticks will stay up against the wind or with people moving around them? But you could recycle the principle with the sticks put on the ground.

southern living fourth of july table by the lake
photo: Jennifer Davick for Southern Living

The second table has a different feel. I like the general feel of this BBQ Burger table except  for the flower centrepiece. I would replace it with the pinwheel centrepiece.

lakeside BBQ for the fourth of july
photo: Pottery Barn

How and where will you celebrate this weekend? And if you created an innovative design for your Fourth of July celebrations, make sure to send me the details.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

My Fourth of July Stylish Dessert Round-Up

fourth of july desserts

You will hear Wow! and see smile in your guests’ face if you serve any of these at your Fourth of July celebrations this year.

fourth of july desserts

  • Get the fresh fruit flag recipe at Family Fun. The idea is so simple that you can do it with your kids. All that you need are blackberries, strawberries, bananas and lemon juice to to keep the bananas from browning.
  • Martha Stewart did these flag cupcakes a while ago. What I like about them is that they are easy to decorate for anyone.
  • The tricolor parfaits are from Martha Stewart. Simply alternate a red fruit gelatin and a panna cotta layer to make your own.
  • Although the look like ice cream, these are frosted cakes that are topped with sugar crystals. Get the snow cone cupcake recipeat Bakerella

 

HOME + GARDEN KITCHEN design

Kitchen Style for the Serious Cook

functional English style kitchen pantry dining

→ Creating a Homey Restaurant-Style Kitchen with a Chef Table at Home

functional English style kitchen prep and cooking areas
photo: Deulonder Domestic Architecture (kitchen 1)

You see plenty of pretty kitchens in magazines and online. Unfortunately, some kitchens are more beautiful than useful. I am interested by kitchens that are practical and beautiful. I found several ideas when I looked at the portfolio of Deulonder Domestic Architecture. They are is a Spanish interior design studio that cater to passionate cooks. Their kitchens fill the needs of people who really cook in their kitchen and who love to have guests over while they cook.

airy country kitchen deulonder
photos: Deulonder Domestic Architecture (kitchen 2)

One common denominator in their design is how they juxtapose three main areas: the kitchen, the dining room and the butler’s pantry/serving area.

The English Home Restaurant-Style Kitchen

functional English style kitchen with a banquette dining room
photo: Deulonder Domestic Architecture (kitchen 1)

This is unusual kitchen and dining room layout works if you like to entertain or have a large family. The kitchen itself is a mix between a galley-style kitchen and a L-shaped plan. Deulonder imagined a kitchen for a large family living on the outskirts of London or Boston. Let’s look at the ideas to steal in this stunning kitchen and dining area designed by Deulonder for Casa Decor Barcelona 2011.

functional English style kitchen
photo: Deulonder Domestic Architecture (kitchen 1)

For one thing, the fact that the kitchen/ prep / serving areas are wrapped around the dining room means that you can hire staff without jeopardizing the intimate mood of your dinner.

Secondly, you have to admire the efficiency of this kitchen. It is equipped for serious cooking. You have one big sink per prep area; which means you are never on someone else toes. There is a two-oven, four burner Viking stove with a grill and a teppanyaki. And there are plenty of the storage shelves or holes to store your large platters and baking sheets! I’m jealous!

functional English style kitchen view from the kitchen
photo: Deulonder Domestic Architecture (kitchen 1)

The third great feature are the glass walls. Without them, the dining room would be very dark. On a bright sunny day, I imagine myself serving brunch in winter and feeling warm. Another advantage is that they cook can see what is happening with the diners. If you need to keep a wall divides your dining room from your kitchen, you could examine how you can incorporate a big window inside your wall.

If you are still convinced that it is an amazing space, look at this view from the dining room.

functional English style kitchen pantry dining

For Outdoor Entertaining

I like the room interactions of this outdoor entertaining heaven space created by Minim, another Spanish interior design studio. This project was also presented at also presented at Casa Decor Barcelona 2011.

kitchen for outdoor entertaining by minim
photos: Luis Sanchez for Minim

Here a wine pantry is located between the kitchen and the terrace. You can bypass the wine pantry to access the terrace from the kitchen. This means that you can prepare your wine service out of sight and keep everything at the right temperature if you lounge outside.

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

Summer Entertaining: Five Crowd-Pleaser Watermelon Recipes

Watermelon recipes for summer entertaining

Watermelon recipes for summer entertaining
Photos: National Watermelon Promotion Board except for number 4: The Party Dress magazine

I was happy to share my summer entertaining tips for the 2012 awareness campaign of the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Canada. Since the refreshing watermelons are available all summer long, I feel that watermelon is the fruit of summer.

If you are looking for more ways to serve watermelon to your guests this summer, you will find many more recipes at the National Watermelon Promotion Board Website. I compiled my top 5.

  • My number 1. Another way to serve the Spiked Melon Balls would be on a lollipop.  Serve the lollipops speared into a wheatgrass bed or onto a watermelon.
  • My number 2. If you host a brunch on a hot summer day, replace the classic by the more refreshing Watermelon Mimosa. To make watermelon juice, you simply need to blend cubed watermelon and strain it through a sieve. Try it with a light Champagne.
  • My number 3.  Finish a grown up dinner with this lovely Watermelon Lavender Granita that contains a hint of vodka. Use watermelon or citrus flavoured vodka to enhance the flavour.
  • My number 4. I found my fourth choice on The Party Dress magazine. They got me with the stylish food presentation of their watermelon appetizer with feta and basil. The recipe is a mix between a caprese salad and a Mediterranean Watermelon Salad.

My last recipe idea is a twist on the tacos.

Jamaican Rock Lobster Tacos

  • My number 5.  For a summer picnic with family and friends, impress the crowd with some delicious Jamaican Rock Lobster Tacos wrapped in parchment paper and tied with twine. I would probably prepare my tacos with seasonal clawed lobsters since they are a local product for me.

Writing this post made me hungry. I will pour myself a glass of my watermelon and mint spa water while I cook dinner.

Note: I wrote this post on my free will; it is a not part of the program that I did for the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Canada. 

DESIGN and style LIVING

Giant Plastic Bottle Fish Sculptures Shimmer on a Rio Beach

fish sculptures shimmering at day on Botafogo beach in Rio de Janeiro

fish sculptures shimmering at day on Botafogo beach in Rio de Janeiro
Photo credit: Victor R. Caivano / AP

I woke up this morning to a sunny, hot summer day. It felt natural to look for beach stories since I sat next to my pool. I discovered one that it absolutely a treat for the eye and your sense of creativity. Enjoy!

Discarded plastic bottles never look so good! Hundreds of empty water bottles were used to reproduce the effect of fish scales. And what effect! The fish sculptures glitter under the sun. The effect is as stunning at night, thanks to a mix of LED and projected lights.

giant fish sculptures at night in rio beach
Photo credit: Alexandre Macieira / Riotur

These huge fish sculptures are installed on popular Botafogo Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They were created as a part of the Rio +20 conference, which is about sustainable development. Despite the beauty of these sculptures, we must also think about how much waste we created on a daily basis.

+ Via Inhabitat, Hungeree and Colossal

FAMILY KIDS rooms

Fun Boys and Girls Duvet Cover Sets

hiccups super hero bedding

hiccups super hero bedding

Young children usually ask for a themed bedroom decor. With the right dosage, you can give them what they want without looking like a kit. The key is to mix and match.

When I design a bedroom, I usually start by finding the main fabric. The duvet cover should be the star of any kids bedroom. The sheets play a supporting role. Go for a duvet cover pattern with several colours since it is easier to accessorize. I mix accessories from other brands or collections to create a unique look.

I discover Hiccups last week on a shopping trip to Simons in Montreal. The duvet covers by this Australian bedding makes it easy to decorate a bedroom because they are quite versatile. Their patterns feature the right dose of themed elements. I love what they do.

For a Little Boy’s Room

hiccups super hero bedding
I’m Super Bedding $95 CAD at Simons 

It was love at first sight when I saw the “I am Super” twin duvet cover. Every little boy dreams to have a super power or to be friend with a super hero. I like that the super hero characters move across a modern cityscape. There are so many colours in the fabric that you can put your twist on it.

For a Little Girl’s Room

Although Hiccups showcases these duvet covers with pink sheets, you are not limited to pink. Even if most little girls do, not every little girl dreams of a pink bedroom. These two patterns gives you options.

hiccups Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood bedding currently on sale at $69.95 CAD at Simons

For toddlers, I like the Little Red Riding Hood theme. Look for forest theme accessories to finish the look. You can go very natural if you prefer more subtle tones.

kas kids abbey magic elephants quilt cover set

From Kas Kids, another Australian bedding company, I love the Abbey Quilt Cover set. You can either go Indian style to enhance the magical elephants or highlight the modern geometric shapes.This means that you could keep the same duvet cover and simply update the accessories to get another look.

bicycle theme bedding

If you are looking for a bargain, this Bicycle in the City theme duvet set is on sale at $29.95 CAD at Simons.

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

Micheals Arrival to Quebec Starts with a Search for a Creative Ambassador

michaels quebec contest judges photo

michaels quebec contest judges photo
Ah no! Taken at a moment where I relaxed my smile. 

Today, I am happy to talk about the latest social media campaign where I am involved as a judge. Michaels, the North America’s largest specialty retailer of arts and craft, is finally opening stores in Quebec. Michaels does it large with the opening of 7 stores in fall 2012 — 6 in the greater Montreal area and 1 in Ottawa. It is a news that will put a smile to every creative girls in the city.

Michaels is committed to serve the French market the right way. For that reason, Michaels wants to hire a Creative Ambassador in Quebec. To find the ideal candidate, they launched the biggest social media creative hobby contest never launched in Quebec earlier this week.

And I am one of the judge! I share the judging duties with Ginette Lorrain, the host of La Bosse des Noces that aired at Canal-Vie, and Isabelle Quinn, the owner of Sweet Isabelle. You may recall Sweet Isabelle from my son’s first birthday party. Isabelle donated the animal lollipop cookies that I gave to the guests.

One afternoon in May, we filmed my first scripted video in a studio. I was a little bit intimidating to be filmed with a pro like Ginette who has 15 years of TV experience in front of the camera. But I think that I managed to deliver something good. This experience gave me a deeper appreciation of the work that actors and TV hosts do. I got to see what happens behind the scenes and watch the work of the filming crew. Making a video is a team effort; it requires more work that I imagined. You can watch it. Even if you might not understand the words — it is all in French — you will feel the fun concept behind it.

If you, or someone you know, live in Quebec and you enjoy creating art and craft projects, I invite you to film your own video and enter the contest. The first prize is a 1-year job contract at Michaels! You have until July 16th, 2012 to submit your entry. Spread the word! It is a awesome job opportunity for a creative person.

For more details, visit À la recherche de l’ambassadeur créatif de Micheals au Québec contest page.

FOOD + DRINK TABLEWARE

Three Festive Platters and a Tray for Summer Entertaining

platters for outdoor entertaining

There is nothing like great patterned platters to cheerful an outdoor table. Two of of three would make a cute Father’s Day gift that the kids could give to their dad.

platters for outdoor entertaining
Kärringen mot Strömmen Tray
$32 USD at Huset | French Bull Multiplaid Platter $18 USD | Striped Carnival Tray $9.99 USD at World Market

As a bonus, I suggest BÄRBAR, a cute birdie tray by IKEA. I received it at an event earlier this year and love it. BÄRBAR won’t break too much the bank of the kids.
barbar tray

HOME + GARDEN HOME office

Two Affordable Home Office Desks with a Vintage Vibe

max desk

home office

We all  wish for an home office with personality. Your office desk and chair are often the most important style elements, especially if you live in a small condo or apartment. Here are two home office desks that you will not mind putting in your living room or a wide hallway. Both desks are from Structube, a Quebec-based home furnishing chain operating stores across Quebec and Ontario.

max desk

Max desk is the first one that caught my eye. The walnut veneer finish makes it an ideal unisex desk. Pairing it with their Denmark chair contributes to the vintage vibe. If you are short on space, have a look at Max. It’s only 21 inches deep.

vintage vibe office desk

My second option is Adel, a lacquered white desk with solid ash legs. The work surface of Adel is bigger. I found out since I used a Nelson Swan leg office desk that I do not need so much the width. What I need is the depth since I hook an external monitor to my laptop.

As you can can see with the two styled pictures of Adel, it is through the accessories and chair that you select that you give the look toy your office.

Desk Details

office desk details

SOURCING:
+ Max office desk  $399 CAD at Structube
+ Adel office desk $499 CAD at Structube

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

Garden Party: Make your Own Vegetable Bouquets

vegetable flowers

vegetable flowers
Photography by Rahel Weiss via Remodelista

Here are cool ways to decorate your table with produce that come straight from your fridge. Remember that you could use vegetables to decorate the next time that you don’t have time to stop by the floral shop before the arrival of your guests.

Blooming Vegetable Bouquets

The first idea by the UK queen of the homemade Sania Pell pairs a single flower or blooming stem (you could use one from your garden) with a carrot or a bunch of radish. This look works when you have vegetables with the leaf still attached to them. I like that it is unexpected and still refined. Get more inspirations from this casual tea gathering from Sania Pell featured at Remodelista.

Edible Centrepiece

vegetable centrepiece
Photography by Martha Stewart

Then, I turned to see what the queen of entertaining Martha Stewart had to propose. I like her twist on the crudité platter. Line the bottom of  a deep galvanized-metal planter or a ceramic planter with sprouts, and pour in enough water to moisten them. Keep similar vegetables together and vary the colors to create sections. This creates a stunning edible centrepiece.

Tomato Party Favors

favors in seed starter pots
Photography by Lexy of The Proper Pinwheel via You are My fave.

Then, I spotted a DIY project from Lexy of The Proper Pinwheel on You are My fave. Lexy decorated seed planter pots with neon twines and turned them into festive party favors. She put jelly beans in hers but you could put tiny cherry tomatoes.