Monthly Archives

October 2012

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

Halloween Pumpkin Ideas from the 2012 Great Pumpkin Ball

mascarade automnale

Kim in front of the biggest pumpkin contest
photographed in front of the biggest pumpkin winner. Its weights 1,630 pounds!

Each year, Montréal Botanical Garden organized the Great Pumpkin Ball. Visitors can admire the best decorated pumpkins made by the participants aged 6 years and up. We saw the exhibition last Friday with my son’s day care. If you are in town, the Great Pumpkin Ball is open until October 31st.

Topics were diverse. Recurring ideas include comic characters, superheros, sports and TV personalities.

garfield pumpkin
Garfield pumpkin from the 6 to 12 years old category

spider smurf pumpkin
Spider smurf pumpkin from the 6 to 12 years old category

Amongst the classic Halloween themes, I particularly enjoy the Dracula pumpkin, the magician and the beautiful mask lady pumpkin.

dracula pumpkin
Dracula pumpkin decorated by a family

mummy pumpkin
Mummy pumpkin from the 13 to 17 years old category

magician pumpkin
Magician pumpkin 

mascarade automnale
This masked lady pumpkin won first prize in the adult category

I will return to the Great Pumpkin Ball next year to admire the craft projects of our youth.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Gross and Realistic Brain Cakes for Halloween

zombie brain cake details

zombie brain cake details
photo credits: Blog d’inspiration of Canal Vie

Beware that these Halloween cakes ideas are not for the squeamish type. Since being scare is part of the appeal of Halloween, maybe you should dare a peek. If you are up for it, these Halloween brain cakes will be the talk of the night.

Brain Cakes for Adults

zombie brain cake
photo credits: Blog d’inspiration of Canal Vie

The first cake gave me chills. It looks so amazing that I had to share it even though the recipe is only in French. I give a big applaud to Madame Carrée who shaped the brain with marshmallows, icing sugar, raspberry coulis and a few more ingredients for Blogue d’inspiration.

brain cupcakes
photo credits: Not Quite Nigella

Lorraine Elliott, a cake and food enthusiast who writes Not Quite Nigella, shared how to make her Blood Clot and Brain Cupcakes for an Happy Friday the 13th party. She made it more grotesque by hiding a blood clot inside her cupcakes. The blood effects on the knife adds to the scene.

Halloween Brain Cakes for Kids

brain in a jar cupcake

For kids that are old enough to not have nightmares about it, you can creep them out with these Brain cupcakes in a jar made by Kristan of Confessions of a Cookbook Queen for Living Locurto. Kristan gave good tips that make the brain frosting simple. To reduce the amount of frosting, she placed a piece of cake in the middle.

To complete the look, make sure to download the free Halloween Brains in Jar Labels & Tags available at Living Locurto or to design your own.

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Cookware on Sale at The Bay (last day)

cookware

cookware
sourcing: Lagostina Academy-Clad 5-ply stainless steel cookware set  | Jamie Oliver’s Stainless Steel Copper cookware set at The Bay

One thing that I never buy at regular price is cookware. I always wait for the Bay Days sales. Today is the last day!  You could grab two awesome cookware set under $300, which is more than half price. This is a sweet deal before the Holiday season. Both cookware sets can be used on gas, electric, ceramic and induction cook tops. It is important to cover the widest range of cook tops when you buy cookware that can last a lifetime.

Oven safe up to 500° F/260° C, Jamie Oliver’s Stainless Steel Copper cookware  features a base made of heavy gauge copper and aluminum core base encapsulated in stainless steel. This mix delivers superior heat distribution. I own an older model of the big frying pan that I use several times at week. A comfy addition, that I wish I had in mine, are the soft silicone inserts on the handles. This set is on sale at $238.

Another great choice is the Lagostina Academy-Clad 5-ply stainless steel cookware set on sale at $294. And if you need a roaster, there are several models at 30% off at The Bay until tonight.

Know that I didn’t test drive these particular models. Therefore, I can’t tell you which one is the best. If you are used to non-stick cookware, you will find these cookware pretty heavy but it is all worth it. One last thing, make sure to read How to Select a Cookware? before you buy.

 

DESIGN and style LIVING

Lean On Me Umbrella

lean on me umbrella designed by Cheol Woong Seo and Jae Hee Park

lean on me umbrella designed by Cheol Woong Seo and Jae Hee Park

Nine times out of ten, when I try to lean my umbrella against a wall at a restaurant or a coffee shop it ends up on the floor. I usually gave up after a few attempts. This could be a thing of the past.

Cheol Woong Seo and Jae Hee Park solved this old problem by redesigning the handle. They add a non-slip silicon pad to the shorten curved handle. It is simple when you think about it that you wonder why it took that long to create one. Now, we have to wait until an umbrella manufacturer brings this concept to a store near you.

+ via Yanko Design

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

Lemon Sorbet is the 2013 Benjamin Moore Color of the Year

artisan trend benjamin moore

artisan trend benjamin moore

It is the time of the year where we look at color trends. Each paint maker made their own predictions but we can always see some common elements within their color palettes. This year, “greyed down” colours are in vogue. Except for the earth toned Artisan trend, the other palettes proposed by Benjamin Moore bring a subtle punch of colours to the neutral grey interiors.

The Artisan color palette gives you tips on how to update your grey walls. It is my favorite one!  My main floor is painted in two shades of grey and a rich, muted golden yellow.

Color of the Year 2013 and The Coastal Trend

coastal benjamin moore

At Benjamin Moore, the color of 2013 is Lemon Sorbet (2019-60). I like its softness. They described it as

the perfect transitional colour between the mid-tones and saturated colours seen in today’s home furnishings and the softer, lighter pastels which are emerging for 2013.

lemon sorbet wall relaxing home office design
photo credits: Benjamin Moore
You can see its soothing effect in this home office designed around a coastal theme. You could use the same palette to design a calm nursery.

Urbanite Color Trend

urbanite trend benjamin moore

Instead of the traditional black-and-white color scheme, mix a rich golden yellow with luscious navy. Marblehead gold is gorgeous. Or for a more subtle decor, update your kitchen white cabinets by pairing them with sophisticated neutral colours.

2013 urbanite color trend by benjamin moore
photo credits: Benjamin Moore

New Traditional Color Trend

A dark blue wall creates a nice backdrop for a bedroom. The key here is to keep the rest light. You can never go wrong with a chevron motif. The bedding used for this traditional bedroom is from West Elm but I wasn’t able to find it online.

new traditional color trend by benjamin moore
photo credits: Benjamin Moore

SPONSORED POST

Cascades Giveaway: And the winner is….

winner of my pretty playhouse giveaway by cascades

winner of my pretty playhouse giveaway by cascades

Cascades and At Home with Kim Vallee are pleased to announce that the winner of My Pretty Playhouse giveaway is Michelle Robitaille. Michelle, check your inbox for my email. We need your address to send you your playful prize. Congratulations to Michelle and a big thank to all participants.

If you did not win, remember that you can always buy a recycled cardboard playhouse at Boutique Cascades. They carry more models. My son enjoys his. One reason to buy My Pretty Playhouse over their other models is that Cascades will donate two dollars to Habitat for Humanity for each playhouse sold in Canada and in the United States.

ORGANIZING

Track Your Time and Your Priorities with a Watch Diary and a Long Sticky Note Pad

watch diary

I always look for ways to track my time more efficiently. I am torn between the paper agenda and a Web tool. It is a constant switch between the two. Lately, I started to miss the use of a pen.

What I like about the Watch Diary is that you can visualize your day. You can see if what you plan to do can fit and compare your estimates to the actual time it took you to do a task. Since time management is always tricky, I like a method that enables me to better schedule my time.

watch diary
sourcing: Watch Diary $17 USD at Connect design

Wonjune Song imagined a different type of agenda. His Watch Diary serves not only to track your time but indicate how you are doing in regard to your schedule. The “red hand” of the watch indicates what you should be doing now (your current task), the “before hand” refers past chores and the “forward hand” indicates what you should be doing next. It is a tool to 1) Schedule your time more carefully and to 2) Check it more efficiently.

The Watch Diary contains two sections: 126 pages for scheduling and tracking your time and 70 pages to write ideas and collect slips. If your work requires that you are on the run often, it could be handy to keep everything in one place. I am tempted to try it to see how well its performs.

clock agenda page details

To Manage your Priorities and Keep Notes

If you need to keep a to-do list nest to your computer, have a look at this cute note pad. This long sticky note pad is designed for writing memos as well as resting your wrists while you type. 50 sheets of “Post-it style” paper rest over a sponge pad.

desk plus note pad
sourcing: Desk Plus Note Pad $5 USD at Connect Design

HOME + GARDEN HOME office

Office Desk Accessories: three styles

shop by color

shop by color
photo credits: Poppin

A beautifully styled desk makes me more productive because I feel better and more energized. Plus, it helps me release my creativity. I found that desk accessories make all the difference. They can transform the mood of your home office area. I propose you three ways to do that.

Shop by Color

aqua tape dispenser and pen holder
sourcing: Aqua Tape Dispenser $12 and Pen Cup $6 at Poppin

If your design is based on one color, make a stop at Poppin where you can shop by color. Their glossy plastic desk accessories will brighten your day. They also sell office furniture in the same color palette.

Go Vintage / Old Technology

Poulain Tape Dispenser
sourcing: Poulain Tape Dispenser $24 USD at Anthropologie

After the rebirth of the vintage typewriters as a wonderful decor element, we now see plenty of accessories designed around the vintage cameras, radios or TV. I like this mix of old with new technology.

mini it
sourcing: Mini It $5 USD at Connect Design

Moss Studios vintage camera bookends
photo credits: Vintage Cameras bookends by Moss Studios at Anthropologie – no longer available 

To reproduce this style, get inspired by the handmade Vintage Cameras bookends by Moss Studios or the Mini It. Do not limit yourself to desk accessories, you can use also art prints and illustrations to create this look. The Mini It is an old TV stand that can be used a mini post-it dispenser or a photo frame.

Quirky and Fun Items

Specialists say that humor, surprises, and anything that clears your mind enable you not only to relax but to solve a problem that was difficult. This is why it might be good to put on your desk accessories that are out of the ordinary.

besom holder
sourcing: Besom Holder $68 USD at Anthropologie

FAMILY GAMES and Toys

Zack’s New Cardboard Playhouse

cardboard playhouse

my son playing in his indoor playhouse

You know that you have a great toy when you see smiles on your kid’s face. Zack is at an age where kids are constantly on the move. He likes to get in and out of the doors of his new playhouse, sit for a moment, look by the many windows, decorate the interior with furniture. Today, we coloured some walls and we played peek-a-boo while he was inside the playhouse. He laughed so loud! Like one credit card company would say, these moments are priceless!

cardboard playhouse
sourcing: My Pretty Playhouse $34.99 at Cascades

My Impressions as a Parent

My Pretty Playhouse is made in Canada of 100% recycled cardboard recovered in Canada and in the United States. The playhouse comes flat in a box. Make sure to keep the packaging. You can reuse it to store the pieces when you don’t use the playhouse.

The assembly went smoothly. The instructions say that it requires two persons for assembly  It’s true that having an extra pair of hands is helpful. If you are alone, my guess is that you could be able to use a corner wall as a support for assembling the two wall sections; that is the only time where being two persons is handy. My husband and I did it in 5 minutes. Zack was so excited to see the playhouse that he was always in our way.

As many urban parents with young children, our play room is a dedicated area in our living room. I like the fact that the playhouse is not too big. A few kids will have no problem to sit inside. I sit with him inside the house and there is a little bit of space left.

pretend play

You could win your Pretty Playhouse by entering before Monday, October 22nd, 2012 noon.

Disclosure: Cascades gave me the cardboard playhouse for me to test. I shared my experience with the playhouse because my son truly enjoyed it. 

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Make Your Own Skull Cookie Cutters

DIY skull cookie cutters

DIY skull cookie cutters
photos: DIY Skull Cookie Cutters from Hello! Lucky

That is a clever idea from Hello! Lucky. It is so simple that I wonder why I didn’t think of it before. They turned a round cookie cutter into a skull cookie cutter. Pliers will create a more defined bend. But don’t worry if you don’t have pliers, you can use your fingers to pinch the sides.

Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe to make your own Skull Cookie Pops. Hello! Lucky suggests to use the Perfect Sugar Cookie (and Cookie Pop) from Sweetapolita. Have fun baking!

While we are on the topic of skulls, you should check the  DIY Sidewalk Skulls that first inspired these cookies, this is another project from Hello! Lucky.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

Halloween Witch Party Decorations with a Touch of Gothic Glam

halloween witch party with a gothic touch

halloween witch party with a gothic touch
photos: Halloween Haven catalogue at Grandin Road – list of items is below.

Witches are a classic Halloween theme that can be interpreted in so many ways. Any witch party can feel more glamourous when it has a Gothic touch. To do it, start by turning your interior into an old mansion or castle.

I still find that the best online shop where to buy for Halloween props with a Gothic feel remains Grandin Road. Some of my suggestions for Halloween decorations that will help you set the tone of your witch party are:

witch party decorations
sourcing: Tattered Witch Hat $12 USD at Amazon.com | Set of Three Staked Halloween Witches $69 at Grandin Road

Greet your party guests with haunting trio of Staked Halloween Witches or put on a hallway a life-sized scary witch that speaks.

If you did not send your invitations already, it might be safer to opt for digital invites. There are plenty of choices.

wicked witch invitation
sourcing: Wicked Witch Party invitations at Pingg

One last thing, do not forget to tell your guests about your theme if you want them to wear costumes that fit with the concept of your soiree.