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CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Angry Birds Sweet Table

angry birds birthday boy sweet table

Angry Birds continue to be a popular theme with grade school kids. Elena and Sandy from Style Me Sweet styled a beautiful sweet table for a 6 years old birthday boy.

Kids were presented with an assortment of Angry Birds lollipop cookies, cupcakes and a stunning birthday cake. See more pictures at Amy Butler’s blog.

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

Must Haves for a Picnic at the Park or in your Backyard

old school English picnic at the park

old school English picnic at the park
photo: Paul Raeside for Elle Decoration UK – August 2012 

The weekend goes hand in hand with a picnic. I love the old feel of this English picnic at the park filled with comfy textiles and pretty enamelware. Start by looking in your closets and your mom’s closets to find props to reproduce that look.

If you have the luxury of living in a calm backyard, make it more a retreat by positing a Bistro dining set under a large tree. It look so great in yellow. I feel in Provence every time I see a French Bistro set. I beat that it would become your ideal spot to drink your morning coffee, eat a late lunch or sip a cocktail before dinner. The best part is that it is an inexpensive look. I found these items on sale.

picnic in your backyard with a french bistro dining set
Fiori Melamine Collection $3.49 to $12.59 CAD on sale at Stokes | Glass Beverage Dispenser $69.99 CAD at Home Sense | French Bistro table and chairs $58.50 CAD on sale at Sears

Now that I shared my plan for this weekend. What are yours?

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

Garnish a Spinach and Lettuce Soup with Greek Yogurt

garnish a soup with greek yogurt video

garnish a soup with greek yogurt video

If you think that serving a soup is boring, you will change your mind after watching this video. What I like about serving a soup at a party is that you can cook a day or two in advance. In summer, there are tons of tasty cold soup recipes that you can choose from.

If you are convinced after you learned how to give panache and to enhance the plain taste of a spanish and lettuce soup with sliced chilis, minced cilantro, pickled daikon and two small scoops of Greek Yogurt,  then — as they say — it would be your lost. Personally, I want a bowl.

Video by Randy Risling staring Corey Mintz for The Toronto Star

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

 

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.

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.

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

Wanted: Fyrkat Picnic Portable Gas Grill

fyrkat portable picnic gass grill by Bodum

fyrkat portable picnic gass grill by Bodum

Statistics show year after year that ecommerce is less popular in Canada than in the United States. While it is true that Canadian consumers buy less online I would say that it is not entirely their fault. Many times, I must shop in the United States because I can’t find a Canadian retailer that sells what I want. These are missed opportunities for Canadian online shops.

The latest item that I want to buy is the latest model of the Fyrkat Picnic Gas Grill by Bodum. I want a compact, portable gas grill for when my little family goes for picnic. I have always been a fan of the Fyrkat Picnic Grill but I never bought it since it was a charcoal BBQ. Now that Bodum have united the look with the functionality I need, I am ready to buy. Sadly, I am still unable to find a store located in Montreal or at a Canadian online shop that sells the Fyrkat Picnic Portable Gas Grill with Propane Regulator. Even though I prefer the green one, I could settle for a black one.

My Call for Help

If you know a Canadian shop that carries the gas grill version, give me the information. Otherwise, I would have no choice but to give my money to the Americans.

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Take-n-Bake Molten Chocolate Cake in a Mason Jar

molten chocolate cake in a mason jar

hot cakes in a mason jar

I am surprised that it took me so long to discover this fabulous ready to bake cake by chocolatier Autumn Martin of Hot Cakes. She started making them in 2008. Since then, the dessert served in a Mason jar has exploded. If a molten chocolate cake is not a novelty, why do I write about it? In a word: convenience!

molten chocolate cake in a mason jar

What I like most about her product is that you buy it ready to bake. Others will appreciate that it is organic. Personally, I simply imagine the smell in my house before serving dessert to my guests. Many people prefer to buy desserts when they have friends for dinner. I do! The reason that I buy the dessert is to have more time to cook the rest of the meal. Once in a while, I will make my own dessert.

Until now,  Hot Cakes did not have a brick and mortar shop.  They sold at farmers’ markets, at their online store and through indie shops in the state of Washington. Last weekend, they opened their first brick and mortar shop called Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery with a partial funding round on Kickstarter.

Since I doubt that Hot Cakes are shipping to Montreal, I will have to experience with my own molten chocolate recipe. Did you ever bake your own molten chocolate cake in a Mason jar? Do you have any advice for beginner bakers?

SOURCING:
Dark Decadence Take-n-Bake Molten Chocolate Cake in a Mason Jar $8 USD at Hot Cakes

 

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

Kim Loves: The First Summer Collection of Dwell Studio

dwell studio summer entertaining collection

dwell studio summer entertaining collection

It is no secret that I am a fan of Dwell Studio. I bought their Owl bedding for my son’s nursery. Once again, I am in awe. This time is with their first summer collection.

dwell studio summer entertaining collection

 1. Summertime Backgammon or Summertime Chess and Checker set $35 USD each | 2. Portable Hitachi $295 USD | 3. Scandinavian Etched Fish Glass and Pitcher from $12 to $46 USD | 4. Laura Windel Sea Life Plates $140 USD for set of 4 assorted plates 

Christiane Lemieux created a range of products that gets the most of summer entertaining. I can’t deicide what I want the most from portable canvas classic board games to the Scandinavian fish etched pitcher and glasses or the sea life plates designed by Vermont artist Laura Zindel.

Indulge a happy bride and groom this summer with a remarkable gift like the Dwell Studio’s table size portable Hitachi. They will be able to savour small treats while looking in each other eyes. The materials made it easy to clean. The dishwasher-safe porcelain bowl with a stainless steel grill and handle stands tall on the wood trivet. It’s gorgeous!

 

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

Three Creative Uses of Washi Masking Tapes

washi tapes on flower vases

washi tape loot bags

Keeping a reserve of washi tapes can be a time-saver when you have to create last-minute party decorations. Washi tapes immediately transformed a basic bags or bottles into something with personality. I compiled a lit of amazing projects made by crafters and small shop owners on the blogosphere.

Loot Bags

If you are looking for a simple project, you can’t beat the kids loot bags made by Omiyage, a Canadian store. Their kids collection is composed of a range of animal and transportation themes. Recycle their loot bag idea for any occasion. You could even use it to gift wrap a present in a hurry.

The second project is by cu·te·ta·pe (pronounce: koo-teh-tah-pee), who also sells washi tapes online and other party/craft supplies.

washi paper bags

The creator of cu·te·ta·pe transformed the simple white lunch bag into a remarkable party favor bags with striped paper straws, washi tape and matchin twines.  You can write the recipient names on the tape. I love it! cu·te·ta·pe sells all the materials online except for the bags.

Playtime

washi doll house

I salute this first project from Japan. They used washi tapes to decorate a doll house. What a simple way to really put your stamp on the design scheme! See more stunning pictures about mt factory tour, a Japanese washi masking tape maker at Poppytalk.

washi drawing board

You can also apply washi tapes on a foam board to create your own city block mat or on a thick drawing paper to fuel your kids imagination. Even though my son is a little bit young for those activities, I love this idea so much that I bought the transport theme tapes from Omiyage. I imagine the hours of pleasure that he will have playing together or with his buddies.

Home Accents

washi tapes on flower vases

You can tailor plain bottles, jars or flower vases to your party theme or home decor by applying washi tapes around the containers. Look at how beautiful is this project by Leslie Shewring of A Creative Mint for decor8.

SOURCING:
+ Take A Ride Washi Tape Set $15 CAD for 3 rolls at Omiyage
+ Washi masking tapes from $3.50 USD a roll to $30 for a pack at cu·te·ta·pe
+ washi doll house photo: Ros Lee of Polkaros for Poppytalk