Browsing Category



Inexpensive Housewarming Gift Ideas from Umbra

housewarming gifts :: splat and perf trivets :: paddle and splat spoon rests :: grapevine wine rack by umbra

Whenever a colleague or a acquaintance gets a new home, we may be tempted to give  a small housewarming gift. If you know where to look, it is possible to give something that look great on a tight budget.

One brand that delivers years after years fun, modern and well-designed products is Umbra. I selected things for the kitchen or for entertaining that would make simple housewarming gifts.

1. Splat trivet $10.50 CAD
2. Perf trivet $10.50 CAD
3. Splat spoon rest $6.50 CAD
4. Paddle spoon rest $7.50 CAD
5. Grapevine wine rack $23.50 CAD


Three Cool Hostess or Housewarming Gift Ideas by Sagaform

cool hostess or housewarming gift ideas :: sagaform walnut serving fork and spoons :: bar tools :: serving salad set

Sagaform has a collection that they call Letter. The concept behind Letter is that you can send your housewarming gift using the small parcel postal service. I do not know if the box dimension fits the postal rules of USPS or Canada Post but still, it is a good idea.

Two products of the Letter collection that I would like to have are:

  • #1. The Walnut folk, spoon and serving spoon designed by Transformer. It is so cool that can hang on jars.
  • #3.  A great space saver in your kitchen drawer is the two-piece stainless steel salad server set that lies flat when not in use.

#2 is not from the Letter collection. What special about this Sagaform Club Cocktail is included the modern bar tools: a stainless steel measuring cup, a cherrywood muddler and a cherrywood citrus reamer. Add a shaker and you are all set for making the best cocktails in town.

+ Sagaform
+ Sagaform Letter Serving Set $12 CAD – ships in USA and Canada
+ Sagaform Club Cocktail 3 Piece Set $29.95 USD
Sagaform Cocktail Shaker $39.95 USD


Magisso Kitchen Cloth Holder | My Best Find at ISD 09


Storing our kitchen cloth under the sink is not very practical. When we are cooking or cleaning in the kitchen, we need to keep the kitchen cloth at reach. This cool Finnish product enables us to keep the cloth at reach while hiding it from sight.

Miika Mansikkamaa designed the magnetic kitchen cloth holder. It is sold in Finland since 2006. I had the chance to chat with Miika at the IDS about his invention.

 Miika Mansikkamaa and Kim Vallee

How it works

It installs anywhere on the side of any kitchen sink within seconds. The holder is held in place with magnets; no tools or fixed fixtures are necessary. The handle goes on the side that suits you.

I installed mine and I love it. It takes less than 10 seconds to install. In fact, it is longer to watch the installation video. The magnet is so strong that there is no need to remove the 3M sticky cap. This way, you can change where the position at will.

The handle comes in two finishes: a plastic handle or the chic stainless steel handle. Magisso is looking for retailers and distributor in Canada. With the strong positive reaction they receive from IDS visitors, it should not take long.

I suspect this will become one of the hottest housewarming and hostess gifts pretty soon.

+ Magisso


Stylish Yet Witty Bookends

cool bookends :: clity slickers :: reading sophisticates :: growing together wall shelf with tube vases

These are the proof that bookends do not have to be boring. The bookend sets are definitively out of the ordinary. They would bring style and a theatrical sense of humor in your home décor.

City Slickers Bookends position the three figurines dressed with blazers and caps to give the illusion that they are walking through the books. Reading Sophisticates feature an urban chic man and a woman, each absorbed in their book. It is good to know that Wrapables offers volume discount on bookends.

Chris Collicott designed a leaning version and a pushing version of his bookend men. They exhibit an art deco influence.

The wall shelf neatly hold books, magazines and CDs. On the side, three tube vases let you display a single flower or colorful pebbles. The couple figurines are engaged in gardening. Any of these would make an amazing housewarming gift.

+ City Slickers Bookends – $ 71.95 USD
+ Reading Sophisticates Bookends – $59.95 USD
+ Growing Together Shelf with Tube Vases – $82.95 USD
+ Bookend Men – $41.95 USD for set of 2


Four Neat Home Accessories by Umbra


umbra :: magnetter mail and key holder :: cubby organizer :: partido place card holders :: illuzine magazine rack

A tidy place looks better and bigger. Since it is better to be ready for impromptu entertaining, Umbra comes to the rescue with a vast collection of attractive storage solutions. Taking good habits will come naturally.

Home accessories are classic gifts to bring at a housewarming party. Just make sure to get some clues about the interior style before you buy something.

In the Foyer

We all need a designated spot to put the mail. Thea Yuzyk designed a wall mounted magnetic key and letter holder. You could have one Magnetter as an inbox, a second as an outbox. Or each member of a household can have its own. I saw the Magnetter at Zone last Friday and I like it.

William Mak designed the Cubby Organizer in order to quickly grab everything you need when you step out the door. You can get an extra one for your guests. This way, they know where to place their stuff.

At the Table

I like the gender neutral look of the Partido Place Card Holders. Think outside the box, a place card holder can also be used for showing off the menu, identifying dishes on a buffet table or displaying a row of pictures on the entry wall rail.

In the Office

If you live in a small space, you must take advantage of the vertical space. The Illuzine Magazine Rack allows you to keep an eye on your favorite magazines.

Umbra proposes a larger collection. Chances are, you will find something that fits your lifestyle and your décor.

+ Magnetter by Umbra – price: $14 CAD/USD
+ Cubby Organizer by Umbra – price: $31.50 CAD
+ Partido Place Card Holders by Umbra – price: $10.50 CAD/USD for a set of 4
+ Illuzine Magazine Rack by Umbra – price: $ 37 CAD/USD


Beautifully Modern Embroidered Wall Wear by Neawear | Etsy Finds

wall wear by neawear on etsy

Today, I am doubly happy to showcase the excellent work of this etsy seller.

Original Patterns

First of all, the wall wears by Neawear are beautiful. They are cross-stitch and embroidery pieces, framed in embroidery hoops (wooden new, vintage metal and wood).

The artist own patterns mixes fresh illustrations with old charms. Like many, I enjoy their modern simplicity. Janick’s wall wears are doing well on Etsy.

About the Creator

Secondly, Janick is one of my Web2.0 friends from Montreal. I say a Web2.0 friend since Janick and I interact exclusively through Web communities until now. We almost met once at a Creacamp.

Earlier this month, as I checked Janick’s Flickr photostream, I spot her wall wear. Then, I noticed a big announcement. Janick is taking the plunge and will work full-time on her crafting business.

Janick was a graphic designer. We met through blogging. She makes jewelry under the Nea Jewelry brand. She operates two Etsy shops. Neawear is her jewelry and wall wear shop. You can buy craft supplies at neablossoms.

Janick’s story is typical of many women who are realizing their dreams because of the Internet. You can find in the women blogosphere many inspiring stories.

I Love Etsy

I do not do craft projects. But I enjoy buying handmade stuff on Etsy. As a consumer, I get access to unique products that I could not find otherwise. I often talk about Etsy to people I met. Imagine, I am not even a seller.

It is easy to forget that Etsy created a marketplace for so many artists. Etsy defines its mission as:

.to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers.

In case of Neawear and so many more Etsy sellers, I vouch that they achieved their goal.

Wall Wear Collections

So far, Janick developed three series: Taxidermy, Twirlies and Flora. Janick accepts requests for custom initial embroidered wall wear. Neawear’s creations make original housewarming gift.

>>> Sourcing:
Buy online: M is for… Wall Wear by neawear – price: $70 USD (not shown)
Buy online: Taxidermy Dragonfly Wall Wear by neawear – price: $75 USD
Buy online: Flora Wall Wear 8 by neawear – price: $65 USD
Janick’s Blog: Creativadoration


Apartment Therapy Presents as a Housewarming Gift

Apartment Therapy Presents by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan

Last night, we went to Costco. Every time we go there, I stop at the book sections because Costco typically sells the book cheaper than the bookstores.

I find it easier to buy book at Costco since we drive to go there. I do most of my shopping by foot; so weight is an issue.Otherwise, I buy my books online.

You probably noticed by now that Apartment Therapy is one of my all-time favorite blogs. To show my support, I bought yesterday Apartment Therapy Presents. I enjoy it! Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan wrote a book filled with inspiring decoration ideas.

What is inside the book?

Like his blog, the book showcased real apartments done by real, talented people. Interior designers created a few apartments. Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan mostly selected amazing spaces done by homeowners. You will be surprised that most homeowners have an artistic or design background.

What position this book apart is that the interiors reflect the homeowners taste. It shows homes that feel live in with lots of characters. The spaces were designed for their lifestyle. As an interior designer, it is not a skill than everyone can do successfully. The 40 homeowners featured on Apartment Therapy Presents pulled it off because they have a keen eye for design.

I passed some time with the book this morning. I am happy I got it. If you have a friend who is moving to a new home soon, Apartment Therapy Presents will make a wonderful, affordable gift.

+ Apartment Therapy Presents by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan – price: $18.15 USD at


Cool Gift Ideas from Simplemente Blanco

oval wooden tray ::  Gardeners Knee Pad :: flower carrier by simplementeblanco_kitchen

I felt in love with the work of Fernanda Bourlot, an artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina who now lived in Boston, Massachusetts. She likes simple things that feel luxurious. As suggested by the name, everything at Simplemente Blanco is from the white palette.

The Design Philosophy

Her collection carries a modern rustic charm. Simplemente Blanco believes in balance, symmetry, calmness and pureness. Fernanda Boulot design brings us peace via the simplicity of the forms and the serenity of the spaces. Simplemente Blanco loves fresh interiors and I would add: comfort.

I compiled two lists of outstanding gift ideas. You bring on any of them as a housewarming gift or as a hostess gift that you are staying over for a few days.

For the Kitchen

The Oval Wooden Tray is perfect for the upcoming summer cottage season. From the Eating section, check out the Special China section and the dandelion table linens.

Gardeners Knee Pad is a must for anyone who enjoys gardening. It can be practical and decorative. You may question the wisdom of a white textile if you wish to use the object. But if you can wash in the machine, this knee pad will stay clean. Unfortunately, the Web site contains no product details.

The flower carrier is wonderful. You can also use it as a shopping bag when you buy bunches of flowers at the flower market. A message to my friends and family: this flower carrier is on my wish list for my upcoming birthday.

For the Bathroom

soap box :: golf ball soap :: simplemento blanco bathroom Fernanda Bourlot thinks that a home must contains just what they need and nothing else. You do not need to forgo style and beauty to live by this philosophy. Her bathroom collection is a proof of that.

You can decorate your bathroom with pleasing bathroom products. The irresistible Assorted Soap Boxes certainly qualify.

The Golf Ball Soap is a set that any hostess can provide to her stay over guests. Mark the Golf Ball Soap Bag on your Father’s Day gift ideas. The linen farmer bag is a wonderful packaging. I think it looks more precious this way.

Where to shop

These were my favorites but there are more to see of their Web site. The showroom is a by-appointment only. Consumers can visit Simplemente Blanco retail place called On the Side located at 40 Waltham Street in South End, Boston. On my next trip to Boston, I will schedule a visit for sure.

Learn more: Simplemente Blanco
Via: What To Do… Fernanda Bourlot on decor8


Nursery Prints and Artful Housewarming Gifts

Jaime Derringer art prints : hummingbird : rocky mountains : chandelier : tea time : jaimers on etsy

I received an email from Jaime Derringer, the blogger behind the always interesting Design Milk blog, announcing new prints on her etsy shop. Her latest prints are produced in limited print run of 25.

At $10 and $18 a piece or 2 prints for $30, her art is quite affordable. Frame a couple of Jaime Derringer’s art prints to decorate a room without breaking the bank. Her hummingbird series would fit very well in a nursery. Write her name down if you have a baby shower party coming soon.

How To Use Art Prints To Decorate Your Home?

I prefer organized wall groupings. You can never be wrong with the traditional long row and the square or rectangular matrix. For that reason, I go with identical size for all my frames.

Wall groupings call for identical or very similar colored frames. If you select ornate frames, the patterns do not have to match on all the frames as long as the color is the same. Thin frames work best for wall groupings. The room décor is more important that the art when selecting the color of your frames. But the art cannot be ignored especially when selecting the mat color. A double mat enhances a photograph or a print. And remember that a double mat always looks more stylish.

Since framing is an art by itself, I suggest you bring all your art and your wall paint sample to a framing expert for advice. The frames can make or break the overall look. If you wish to know more, Art Find published online useful framing tips and matting tips.

Art Prints As Housewarming Gifts

I was interviewed by a journalist this morning. It was about interior design tips when you are moving in a new house. This reminded me that art prints from young artists make a wonderful housewarming gift. The key is to respect the taste of your friends. So gather some clues about what their new house will look like, the colors, the style, and the mood they want to create in their new house before shopping for art prints. Check out the local art scene and the etsy shops to discover new talents.

Buy online: Hummingbird with Blue Circle Trees 5×7 Print – price: $10 USD
Buy online: Rocky Mountains ORIGINAL Drawing No. 2 by Jamie Derringer – price: $32 USD
Buy online: This Ain’t No Disco 8×10 Print at jaimers – price: $18 USD
Buy online: Its Tea Time Limited Edition 8×10 Print by Jamie Derringer – price: $18 USD
Buy online: Blue Green Birds on Chandelier 8×10 Print at jaimers etsy shop – price: $18 USD


Vintage Housewarming Party inspired by Room Eleven’s latest CD

vintage housewarming gift ideas : room eleven : tastebook:  hostess apron : dedo seasoning sticks

Anything can be a source of inspiration for a party. This morning, it was inspired by the cover of the upcoming album of the Dutch jazz band Room Eleven. I got that scoop while reading Sia Grafica blog.

The album cover became the inspiration for a housewarming party. But I could have decided to make it a bridal shower party.

I heard the band last summer when they came to the Montreal Jazz Festival. Room Eleven’s songs remind me of the Dolce Vitae, the happiness found in the little things in life. The vintage cover inspires my choice of gift ideas.

Housewarming Gifts / Bridal Shower Gifts

Share your favorite recipes with the guest of honor. Tastebook enables you to create an outstanding cookbook at a very reasonable price. You can select recipes from Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Epicurious and even add your own family secret recipes.

Besides the obvious cover image and title personalization, you can organize your recipes any way you want with up to ten colored tabbed chapters. You can add helpful hints, cooking tips, and personal notes to any recipe. Then, the cookbook is delivered all professionally printed. From my point of view, Tastebook is the most stylish custom-made cookbook option at an affordable price. I have to find time to make my own.

This vintage hostess apron is adorable. Check out the etsy shop of Boojiboo to see her entire collection. Finally if you want to splurge a little, get the Dedo Seasoning Sticks by Bosa. Unfortunately, the sticks are out of stock at the moment. So if you host a movie night for the Oscar, compose your own set of spices to season your popcorn and homemade chips.

Recipe: Homemade Turnip Chips

Be more adventurous and prepare chips out of turnips. You slice small and medium turnips with a mandoline and cook them in canola oil for about 8 minutes. I turned them over after 5 minutes so they will be crispier. Remove the excess oil with a paper towel and keep them out of moisture until serving.

I am leaving you with a taste of Mmm… Gumbo? by Room Eleven. The first single is called Hey Hey Hey.


Learn more: Room Eleven
Buy online: Tastebook – price: $34.95 USD
Buy online: Vintage Inspired Flower Half Apron by Boojiboo at etsy – price: 18.75 USD
Buy online: Bosa’s Dedo Seasoning Sticks at A+R Store – price: $70 USD
Via: Hey Hey Hey on Sia Grafica
Via: Bosa’s Dedo Spice Sticks on The Kitchn


Six amazing housewarming gift ideas

cookbook stand : glass domes : napkin rings : condiment set : home accessoriesI suggest housewarming gifts, but you could tag those suggestions for Valentine’s Day or any occasions of the year. In fact, I suspected you may go and buy those for yourself.

Cookbook Stand

Once you used a well-designed cookbook stand, you wonder how you lived so long without one. Besides its look, I am craving for the weighted chains to keep the pages in place. From experience I can tell you that with a thick cookbook, the bar at the bottom are not enough.

The Architectural Cookbook Stand is more suitable for a larger kitchen. If the style harmonizes well with the recipient’s kitchen, I am telling you that you cannot find a better gift for $29.

Glass Domes

Right now, any stylish entertaining scheme involves a few glass domes. We see more and more affordable options. The top right picture shows the 3 models available at Wisteria. They all come with a thin natural stone plate.

I shown you before Christmas how a glass dome keeps your miniature vignette free of dust. Glass domes are suitable for outdoor and indoor entertaining. The most common uses are for keeping cheese, canapés, pastries or cakes fresh and bug free.

Sold without a platter, the model at the bottom gives you freedom to harmonize the tray / plate to your tablescape.

Conversation Pieces

Displaying stylish decorative accessories with a one-of-a-kind look gives personality to a space. I am particularly fond of those vintage Chinese Cake Molds on iron stand. Because these are antiques, sizes and shapes will vary.

The designs on the mooncake molds symbolize longevity, prosperity, or wealth. Mooncakes are a Chinese pastry traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. But you can still bring those decorative molds to the host of a Chinese New Year party on February 7, 2008.

Table Accessories

You can never have too many sets of elegant napkin rings. For practical reasons, it is best to buy 8 to 12 rings. The Maxfield silver-plated brass napkins rings can be monogrammed.

And the Barona condiment set will announce the style of your cocktail and dinner parties. The tray and four bowls are made of a food-safe aluminum alloy. The surface is hand polished to better reflect candlelight.

Buy online: Architectural Cookbook Stand at Wisteria – price: $29 USD
Buy online: Square Glass Cloche at Wisteria – price: $79 USD
Buy online: Bell Glass Cloche at Wisteria – price: $79 USD
Buy online: Tall Glass Cloche at Wisteria – price: $99 USD
Buy online: Glass Dome at Bodie and Fou – price: £32.50
Buy online: Vintage Chinese Cake Molds at Wisteria – price: $29 USD
Buy online: Maxfield Napkin Rings Set at Pottery Barn – price: $30 USD for 6 rings
Buy online: Barona Square Condiment Set at Pottery Barn – price: $49 USD