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ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

Ideas to Steal: Carpaccio Served on a Clothesline

Food plating on a table clothesline

Food plating on a table clothesline

I always keep an eye open for easy show stopper food plating that I could use at a party. The carpaccio served on a clothesline today at restaurant Europea in Montreal tops my list this summer.

If you build your own table clothesline ahead of time, you could reuse the concept many times. They did it with big nails and a piece of 2×4 lumber. For an outdoor party, you could assemble a taller and longer clothesline by planting two poles on the ground. A strong fishing line could be used instead of the standard clothesline. With the bigger clothesline version, you could not only hang carpaccio but also small plastic containers or chinese take out boxes.

SOURCING:
+ photo by Pierre Bellerose via Twitter – thanks Pierre for this find.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

What To Drink: Go Pink for Mother’s Day

pink drinks for mother's day

pink drinks for mother's day
Mom-tini recipe from NUVO Sparkling LiqueurPomtini recipe  from POM  | Pink Blossom recipe  from SAQ | Nude Nuvo recipe  from NUVO

Here are four feminine cocktails that you could serve your mom this Mother’s Day.  Personally, I look forward to sip my Pink Blossom.

Mom-tini recipe

  • 2 oz POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice
  • 2 oz Vodka
  • Splash of fresh lime juice
  • Top with 1oz of chilled NUVO Sparkling Liqueur
  • Garnish with an orange peel and serve in a martini glass

If you live in a place where the NUVO Sparkling Liqueur is not available, you could prepare a Pomtini instead.

Pomtini recipe

  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed pomegranate juice* or POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. sour mix, or 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lime
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup (equal parts sugar and cold water dissolved together)
  • Ice cubes

Assemble all ingredients in bar or mixing glass. Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with spiraled orange rind.

Pink Blossom recipe

  • 45 ml (1 1/2 oz) dry gin
  • 15 ml (1/2 oz) lemon liqueur (Limoncello or other)
  • 90 ml (3 oz) pink‐grapefruit juice
  • 3 ice cubes

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice cubes.
Shake vigorously for 8 to 10 seconds.
Strain into a martini glass using an ice strainer.
Garnish with two raspberries or small strawberries.

Nude Nuvo recipe

The last one can’t be easier then this.

  • Chilled NUVO sparkling liqueur
  • Served over ice in a champagne flute

Although its color is a faded pink, I enjoy the taste of the grapefruit mimosa at Griffintown Café. This is where we will go for brunch this Sunday.

How do you plan to treat your mom this Sunday? Start by telling me which cocktail (it doesn’t have to be those) that you or your mom will be delighted to drink?

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

Must-Have for a Picnic: A Table-on-the-go

eucalyptus folding picnic table

eucalyptus folding picnic table
Table in a Bag on sale at $49.95 USD at Crate and Barrel

This picture illustrates my ideal picnic at the park. I love all the details. I need a folding picnic table like this to make my picnic more stylish and comfortable. People who bought it commented that the table is the perfect height for beach chair.

Update: Because of my post, my husband included the Table in a Bag table to my birthday gifts. Having a blog makes their life easy 🙂

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

Yuri’s Night in Montreal

hoop danse with yuri's night banner

hoop danse

Two weeks ago I attended the fifth edition of Yuri’s Night in Montreal. This is a party to commemorate the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin. The party was organized by my artist friend Bettina Forget. I must say that she raised the bar this year. The theme was spaceport. We had to fill an online visa information form to be admitted to the party. She made out fun questions.

spaceport travellers information

As we entered the party room, we were greeted with a travellers information screen. I estimated that she made about 20 different slides. Bettina went as far as associating planet names with sci-fi series using their specific stardate. That was cool!

Costumes

yuri's night costumes

Guests are encouraged to wear costumes at a Yuri’s night party. Bettina even brought some costume accessories, wigs, boa scarves that people can borrow for the night. Doing this encourages more people to dress for the occasion. Aluminum foil was very popular as a last minute material. I saw many imaginative uses of aluminium that night.

yuri's night

I dressed as a stylish space traveller. I wore a yellow and beige dress that reminded me of the fashion used by space TV shows in the 1960s, a blue wig, my stylish sci-fi inspired Anemone handbag that I wore as a backpack and a scrolling LED name badge to display a space political message on my belt. Sadly, we did not took a photo of my outfit. But you can see the style of my hair.

Activities

hoop danse with yuri's night banner

Bettina used acrylic paint and a projector to make a large banner with Yuri’s Night logo. This way, she can reuse it every year. The banner is used as a photo booth. It provided a nice backdrop for the lively performance of Hoop Danse. The girls gave us a good show.

The shadow wall was a cool activity. Bettina Our host Michealson covered a big sheet with blacklight paint. You could stand in front of the canvas and turn on the black lights towards the canvas for 5 to 10 seconds. Turn off the light and move. You will see your shadow. You can also use a laser pointer to draw on the canvas. They  He posted an instruction sheet that explained how to proceed (see above, next to my picture).

Yuri’s Night was a wonderful party. I can’t wait for the 2013 edition.

+ photos by Kim Vallee

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

Party Must-Have: Confetti Bunting by Engel

confetti bunting

confetti bunting

I am pretty sure that if you hang these retro fabric confetti buntings, they would be a hit with your party guests as much as the giant balloons of two weeks ago.

Since they seem to only be available in The Netherlands and in United Kindgom, you may consider making your own with your fabric leftovers.

SOURCING:
Confetti Bunting € 16,50 at Engel
+ Confetti Bunting £18 at The Balcony Gardener

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

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

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