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Cute Shoe Bags by Jak’s

jak's shoe bags

jak's shoe bags

During the winter months, every woman needs a cute bag to carry her shoes when she visits a friend or goes to a party. The adorable shoe bags are the creation of Jak’s, a handbag brand founded by two sisters from Quebec City.  They come in several colors and three images to fit your style.

A shoe bag would make a thoughtful gift  if you look for something different to bring to the hostess. She could use it when you reciprocate her invitation.

+ Jak’s Shoe Bags $20-$25 CAD (I think)
+ Where to buy the Jak’s collection


Matcha Green Tea Shortbread Cookies by Tea Aura

tea aura's matcha green tea shortbread cookies

matcha green tea shortbread cookies by tea aura

I enjoy shortbread cookies because they are not too sweet. I bake my own but I also like to try gourmet shortbread cookies. After all, they come handy when you are in a hurry. My latest find is the Matcha Shortbread cookies from Tea Aura, a small brand located in Toronto. I could not stop eating these leaf shaped cookies with my herbal tea the other night.

tea aura\'s matcha green tea shortbread cookies

Susan Ho, the owner of Tea Aura, created 5 flavors up-to-date. Her shortbread cookies are made with butter, premium loose-leaf teas and without added artificial colors or flavors. Besides Matcha Green teas, the other flavors are Earl Grey, Rooibos Chai, Chocolate Mint and Lavender Currant. The latter is supposed to be popular.

To save time, I would stock a few since bringing two or three boxes make a delicious hostess gift. You can find the tea Aura’s cookies at selected grocers and specialty shops across Canada and at selected places in the United States. Check here to find a retailer near you.


Cutest DIY S’mores Kits

making your own s\'mores kits by daisy chain

Look at the beautiful execution of the holiday bake gifts done by Amber of Daisy Chain. I like her attention to details. She assembled her own s’more kits that fit into a canning jar. The kit  includes the ingredients and twigs for roasting. The biggest task is to design and print nice custom labels. It is a great idea that will please everyone. Who can resist s’mores?

+ photos: Daisy Chain


Vintage Ornaments and Gift Ideas Soon at 20% Off

victorian style tree ornaments

Available in silver or in smoke, the Victorian style handblown tree ornaments fit well into the glamorous feel of the 2009 Christmas. Crackling or diamond faceting on every ornament produces light-catching sparkle. Plus, an antiqued-brass cap adds an authentic finishing touch. Their price is already slightly reduced.

Gift Ideas for Him

gift ideas to decorate the home office and library at restoration hardware

Home decor is often tailored about her. But I see a trend towards the traditional gentleman club style. If  you look for gifts that would fit into a traditional library or his office, start with those:

+ You can turn the steel screws with the wooden handles to adjust the width of the Vise Bookends $69 USD for the pair
+ For the proud grandparents, add a framed picture of your family with the Metal Easels. Small $69 large $89
+  Fans of the popular word games will appreciate the Scrabble Premier Collector Edition. A raised grid holds tiles in place. The built-in drawer stores the tiles and tile racks, a timer, the rule book, a score pad and a pencil. $159 USD.

20% off on everything from Nov. 12-16, 2009

sale alert at restoration hardware

Wait a couple of days since from Thursday, November 12 through Monday, November 16, shoppers can receive a 20% off discount for Restoration Hardware and Restoration Hardware Baby & Child merchandise.  Discount code for catalog and web orders: FFS2009.

+ Silver or Smoke Vintage Handblown Ornaments $19 USD for 4 large  or $25 for 8 small ornaments
+ Red or Gold Vintage Handblown Ornaments $19-$25


Brie Baker and Goat Cheese Baker

brie baker by petite maison wildly delicious

Every Holiday season, one cooking tool is under everyone’s Christmas tree. This year, the brie baker seems to be what retailers have bet on. I saw the Brie baker being well in display, next to the Goat Cheese Baker, in almost every gift ships I visited last week.

If you ever served a baked brie, you know how messy it can become once people start eating it. This is why many people wrap their bake brie in puff pastry. Since it is so good, you do not wish to lose any bites. The advantage of the brie baker is that you can use it as the serving dish. The maker provides a spreader to avoid burns. Plus the brie stays warmer longer.

petite maison goat cheese baker

The goat cheese baker leaves you more roam to remove the warm cheese, if you need to.

I saw these cheese bakers at Indigo, Arthur Quentin, Linen Chest and Zone. The brie baker is available in cream and in red. The goat cheese baker also comes in blue. They made wonderful gift ideas under $25. I bought the cream brie baker and the goat cheese baker. I cannot wait to try them out.

+ Photos: Petite Maison by Wildly Delicious


Ninutik: The Modern Side of Maple Syrup

ninutuk :: maple sugar and maple syrup in modern packaging

Canada is the premier producer of maple syrup. Although the number of producers is impressive, if there is a constant is the packaging. In fact, neither the producers or the distributors make an effort to distinguish their product through packaging.

The maple leaf is used as much as possible. Some have even developed complex bottle like a glass bottle in the shape of a maple leaf. Let’s face it. It lacks good design and elegance. This is where the founders of Studio Innova in Toronto come to play. Their intent with Ninutik is to present maple syrup through the lens of design, art and sugar-making.

The Collection in a Glimpse

They experiment with maple syrup to create new way to shape traditional maple syrup food like sweet maple sugar. They shaped the maple sugar as a perfect cube, lollipops, and round and square treat of the finest maple sugar.

After a meal, serve Marvel 35 as a mignardise with an espresso, tea, or cognac. The lollies of Bouquet 10 can be enjoyed alone, dipped in chocolate, or swirled in coffee or tea. For a special event, ask about the wood platter on which you plant the lollies.

Get an easy to use, refillable and recyclable vessel for serving the maple syrup with Squeeze 250. They add a cute black cap to the most popular bottle in Chef kitchens. The bottle holds 250 ml certified organic Canada No. 1 Light pure maple syrup.

ninutuk vitrum 100 :: maple sugar bowl

For a unique wedding gift or birthday gift, go with Vitrum 100. Artists Alissa Coe and Carly Waito hand crafted a limited-edition porcelain bowl. This gift set includes a square bowl, lid and spoon displayed in a pinstripe box. Once the 100g of Ninutik’s granulated maple sugar is finished, the bowl can be used as a refined sugar bowl. Or the happy couple can order a refill of pure granulated maple sugar online.

The online store of Ninutik ships in Canada and the United States. Stock a few since all Ninutik products make ideal gift for the hostess or any occasion.

+ Marvel 35 $16 for 8 treats: 4 round and 4 square
+ Squeeze 250 $15 CAD for
+ Bouquet 10 $16 CAD for 6 lollies
+ Vitrum 100 $100 CAD


Affordable Tabletop Items as Hostess Gifts

recycled bamboo fruit bowls :: recycled tea holders :: printed dolly gothic melamine plates

Everyone is looking for gift ideas that are unique and affordable. You are sure to get invited another time if you show up at the door with any of three hostess gifts:

+ Bryan Parks of Kwytza Kraft decided to give a second life to an everyday object that is commonly throw away after a single use. The Chopstick Bowls are made of post-consumer bamboo chopsticks. Do not worry, they are cleaned and sanitized before getting their warm brown hue using a natural dye made from tea leaves. A handy feature is that can be folded flat when not in use.  Medium $20 USD, large $26

+ Made from recycled bicycle freewheels and cogs, these tea light holders are ready to use since the candle is included. $12.99 USD

+ Thomas Paul drew on by lace dollies when he created his melamine Gothic Dinner Plate Set. The dolly is flush and cream. The 11-inch plates are perfect for serving cookies, cakes and pies. $36 USD for 4


Essential Small Serving Bowls for the Hostess

A quick way for the hostess to set up appetizers is to have easy access to unique small bowls. The bowls become your presentation. As long as you keep a few snack items in your pantry, you can receive in style impromptu visitors for a cocktail anytime. Two main categories of small serving bowls are available.

Stacking Small Cups

pretty small bowls by pigeontoe and LSA international

Using small bowls or cups has the advantage to be multi-purpose in the kitchen and on the table. I would like to own the stacking cups handcrafted by Pigeon Toe ceramics, a seller on Etsy. The 4 Stacking Thimble Cups Set comes inside an unbleached muslin bag to further highlight their organic, raw porcelain nature. Nea of Creativadoration with whom I share a love for handmade tableware spotted them first.

If you stay over for the weekend, you can be more generous. I enjoy the earthy spice colors of the glazed inside of the Zanzi bowls by LSA International. My favorite modern housewares in Boston, Lekker carries them.

Three-Part Server

setting up a tapas table and three-part server

The modern version of the classic triple-dipping does not look granny. Look for a three-part server with a central loop handle. You could head to Crate and Barrel or CB2 for an affordable version.

+ Stacking Thimble Cups Set $22 USD for set of 4
+ Pigeon Toe Ceramics
+ Zanzi bowls $52 USD for 4
+ Tokyo 4-part Server, the one with the olives – on sale at $14.95 USD at CB2
+ Three-Part Server $9.95 USD at Crate and Barrel
+ Get directions to Lekker Unique Home Furnishings p (617) 542-6464
1317 Washington St, Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02118


HemDing and ChipChopSliceServe by Thorsten Van Elten

HemDing and ChipChopSliceServe :: thorsten van elten tabletop

If you are looking for serving ware with a fun attitude, look no further than Thorsten Van Elten to deliver the unique edge. These will set the tone of your party.

The new HemDing is a platter/fruit bowl made from a porcelain platter and a solid wood spade handle. It reminds us that our food comes from the farm.

The humor continues with the net and the ping-pong ball packaging of the ChipChopSliceServe. The form of cutting board is perfect to carry the food from the board to the pots and pans. I like to bring that as a hostess gift for a stay at the cottage.

+ HemDing designed by Andreas Fabian new handle £109, vintage handle £125
+ ChipChopSliceServe designed by Michael Marriott £15


Black+Blum Brings Tasty Humor Inside your Home

fruit loop :: salad plant ::mr and mrs hangup by black+blum

Located in London, UK, Black+Blum is an anglo-Swiss partnership that joined forces in 1998. I think they made cool stuff.

I shopped at the boutique of Musée d’art contemporain in Montreal. I found at the contemporary art museum art boutique many of the brands and products I talked on AHWKV.

As a bonus, it does not cost a lot to out a smile on the face of the recipients with any of the Black+Blum products. For people who needs gifts for upcoming birthdays or hostess gifts, keep Black + Blum in mind.

I bought the fruit loop bowl ($40) for my sister in law. The salad plant ($30) set was really popular this year. When it does not store upright the leafy salad servers, the flowerpot can be used for mixing plus serving your salad dressing. Both are made of melamine.

I bought for Jerome and I the cutest couple clothe hangers, Mr & Mrs Hangup. You can infuse a mood with the way you place the screws. $30

spudski by black + blum

As I researched this post, I spotted Spudski, the cutest potato masher I ever seen. It is based on the old fashioned ski pole. I wish I saw it before. I want one for the ski cottage. $14.80


Winter Appetizer Set by Heath Ceramics

health ceramics winter appetizer set

The Winter Appetizer Set includes a 12×12 plaza platter in matte red and one each 4×4 plaza trays in matte red, burgundy, plum and chestnut. Bowls are sold separately. This is a 2008 Limited Edition by Heath Ceramics.

If you live in Sausalito or Los Angeles, you can stop by the Heath Ceramics stores to make a wonderful gift for an entertainer. Or order online and benefit from free shipping until December 31, 2008 on orders of at least $25.

It is available until supplies last (estimated time April 1). I will visit again Los Angeles this winter. I plan a visit to the LA store and I will be able to tell you more about the Heath collection.

+ Winter Appetizer Set $101 USD at Heath Ceramics