Browsing Category



Gift Wrapping Ideas from Martha

typewritten gift tags and photo gift toppers as seen on martha stewart

This is a great idea if you do not have a beautiful handwriting. Start with one of the small address label templates available on Microsoft Word to create your own custom-made typewritten gift tags. Mixing font sizes and styles produces a chic tag. But make sure to select a serif font if you wish to write in capital letters. You can also find a print your typed gift tag template on Martha Stewart.

Another idea is to affix a festive photo of the giver instead of putting the typical bow or gift ornaments. You write on the bottom of the gift the recipient on a stock card that is narrower than the ribbon.

+ Typewritten Gift Tags on Martha Stewart
+ Photo Gift Toppers on Martha Stewart

ALL occasions GIFT IDEAS

Treats by Kréavie as Holiday Gifts

marshmallows at kreavie

If you saw the dessert table for my husband’s birthday party last October, you probably recognize the delicious marshmallows lollipops. For Christmas, they opened an online shop with gift ideas for all budgets.

Amongst the inexpensive items, I suggest their marshmallows. The marshmallow lollipops dipped in chocolate are divine. Bringing a large box to the hostess should ensure that you will be invited again. You can select the flavors of the marshmallow squares available in bags of 2 or 8. The purse bag (2 marshmallows) would be a hit as a goodie bag. Or you could use them to decorate each place setting at a dinner party. I dare to see if your guests would be able to resist eating them before the end of the meal.

gift bag and chocolate box at kreavie

You can order gift bags. I received one as a free sample. My husband and I enjoyed the taste of the butter cookies, the divine chocolate and naturally, the marshmallows. I still have to taste the salty butter caramel, the almond & hazelnut croquant and the wine confit.

The packaging is luxurious and well presented. A little detail that you can recycle with your Christmas bag gift wraps is the way they close the bag. They keypunch 2 holes on each side of the bag to nicely secure a ribbon. I like it when a chic solution is simple to make.

+ Lot of 6 Duo Marshmallows $7.20 CAD
+ Bag of 8 Orange/Ginger marshmallows $4.80 CAD – other flavors are available
+ Small box of marshmallow lollipops $7.55 – big box $13.50
+ Bag of Butter Cookies $7.30
+ Box of 3 chocolates $ 7
+ More shopping at Kreavie

GIFT IDEAS Gifts for the COOK

The Steamy Kitchen cookbook | Book review

the steamy kitchen cookbook by jaden hair

Jaden sent me her cookbook a while ago. I always meant to talk about her beautiful family-friendly Asian cookbook but I was waiting to make a few recipes. One thing happened after another and I still have to try one recipe. But I will. The Steamy Kitchen cookbook sits on my kitchen bookcase, next to my favorite cookbooks.

Since I looked in details at what was inside The Steamy Kitchen cookbook, I feel confident to recommend it. Jaden’s writing is approachable. She is fun to read. You get more recipes in her cookbook, you get tips on drink (beer, wine and sake) pairing with Asian cooking. Jaden goes over the tools and the ingredients that you need to make her recipes. Plus, each recipe is illustrated with at least one beautiful picture.

This holiday, show your support to the food bloggers you like by buying their cookbooks as gifts for your friends and family members who like to cook.

+ The Steamy Kitchen cookbook by Jaden Hair $18.45


Washi Tapes for Gift Wrapping and Crafting

tinted mint washi tapes and wooden tape dispenser for 2 tapes

One of the things on my list to bring back from my trip to Japan (it’s next Spring) will be an assortment of washi paper masking tapes. I bet that the collection down there is even more impressive than what is available at a handful of stores in the US. Stores that I know carry washi paper adhesive tapes are Happy Tape, Tinted Mint, a few sellers on etsy and a small selection at MoMA.

happy tape how to decorate with washi masking tapes

Washi masking tapes are great to enhance a simple box or bag for party favors, can be used instead of ribbons on gifts, enable you to add your personal touch to basic tags. Others used them to tie a bag, for scrapbooking or for decorating cards.

If you have a collection of washi paper tapes, you will soon see the need for tape dispensers. They go from keeping a single tape, or 2 small tapes up to the multi-roll tape dispensers exclusive to Happy Tape. The multi-roll dispensers are available in 2 sizes: the 8-inch can hold 10 tapes while the 12-inch dispenser can hold 16 washi tapes. I think the multi-roll are the most practical. They are hand-made in the United States with poplar. To match your decor, you can select between 15 colors for the wood.

wooden tape dispenser for washi masking tapes

The tartan tapes are very fashionable. You can get a green and an orange  set or a blue and black pair.

+ Wooden Tape Dispenser Beech$35 USD
+ Wooden Tape Dispenser Walnut$35 USD
+ Washi Tapes at Tinted Mint $3.25 to $19.75 for a pack of 5
8inch multi-roll tape dispenser $29 USD at Happy Tape
12inch multi-roll tape dispenser $42 USD at Happy Tape
+ Washi Tapes at Happy Tapes $2.25 (on sale) to $36. 50 for a 20-pak
+ via Oh Joy!

GIFT IDEAS Gifts for the COOK

My New Fun Breakfast Tableware

breakfast tableware :: ritzenhoff teacup eipott by koziol salt and peeper by fred

When I went to cash, Lucie, the owner of Kokoon, told me Wow! you made a kit. This is what I like to do whether it is for me or for a gift. I like to match things from different brands. Since they are not from the same designers, it creates a unique look.

This is the basic rules of good design whether you are decorating your home, setting a tabletop or planning a party. You start with a piece that inspires you. The Ritzenhoff bone china teacups were my starting point. I wanted those for a while. Seeing them on the shelf convinced me to get one teacup for my husband and another for me. The orange Asian girl was to adorable to pass on. Plus, we are going to Japan next Spring. Then, I selected a coordinating teacup for my husband.

fun breakfast tableware :: ritzenhoff teacups :: koziol\'s eiPott :: fred salt and peeper

As we look at the cute Salt and Peeper by Fred, we spot on another shelf the eiPott from Koziol. These are two of my all time favorite housewares brands. I put two and two together. The best finds happen when you do not start with a preset idea. Creativity emerges by freeing your mind. It just flows. I cannot wait to make breakfast this weekend.

The square screen section of the eiPott can be used to deposit the egg shelf. This design has an advantage over the classic egg cups.

How Salt and Peeper works?

salt and peeper by fred

Thosaphol Suppamtheekulwat designed an all-in-one salt and pepper. It is also practical for when you go on picnic. Their is 3 positions. When it is closed the bird has blue eyes. Turn his head to the right and when his eyes change from blue to white, you are ready to dispense salt.  Turn it left to see his black eyes and of course his beak pours the pepper. I do not plan to use it everyday but I think it would be a hit when I host a brunch.

A little Gift Store in Montreal

I bought those items at Kokoon, a small gift store located at 1061 Bernard avenue in Outremont. There is more to come about this retailer with fun gift ideas. I am pleased to report that I paid less for my Ritzenhoff My Lian teacups at Kokoon than the ones I found on Amazon. It is so rare than we pay less in Canada than in the United States for something. Sadly for my out-of-town readers, Kokoon does not have a Web site.

+ Salt and Peeper by Fred $9.95 USD at, $12.95 CAD at Kokoon
+ Designer Dieter Braun’s 2007 My Lian Tea Bowl, Asian Girl Orange $34 USD at Amazon, $29.95 CAD at Kokoon


Reusable Crackers and Gift Bags by Pi’lo | Etsy Finds

reusable felt ornaments by pi\'lo

We have to admit that gift wrapping during the Holiday quickly filled the trash can. It makes sense to explore ways to be more ecologically conscious. And when the packages are as great as these, being eco-friendly feels like an indulgence.

The founder of Pi’lo is Heather Shaw, a Torontonian mother of 2 young boys. She hand makes functional items for the home. I like her minimalist, comfy style. Like Heather said on her site, her creations can be passed around like a family heirloom.

My Favorite Items from Pi’lo

Her reusable crackers are made with recycled pop bottles that are transformed to look and fill like felt. I interested by her concept since I decide to make my own crackers this year. Her eco felt cracker comes with a lining, ribbon closure and a tag that can be used as a place card or a gift tag. I would personalize the crackers by putting more festive ribbons and maybe adding a tiny gift ornament on one end.

reusable gift wrap :: crackers and felt bags by pi\'lo

Another good idea is to replace the standard paper gift bag with one of her felt bags. Intended for loots at at kids parties or baking bags, small gifts would fit nicely inside her felt bags. Add a few holiday decorative touches and voilà!

photo pocket ornament by pi\'lo on etsy

Some people exchange tree ornaments during the holiday. Her lovely photo pocket ornament would be appreciated. Insert a family photo and give then to grandparents, your best friends and close family members.

+ Reusable Crackers $10 USD
+ Felt Bag $12 USD
Photo Pocket Ornament $18 USD


nyDesignroom Laptop Carrier and Shopping Bags

nydesignroom laptop carrier and canvas shopping bags

More bag options for the fashionable city girl. The laptop bag is available for a 15-inch and a 17-inch laptop version. If you have a 13-inch laptop, I find that a 15-inch flat carrier is often not too big. Plus, it comes handy to bring a magazine with me. Ask then first for exact dimensions, if this is the case.

The silk-screened Canvas shopping bag is big enough to fit a picnic for 2. It is ideal for a stop at Central Park. These bags are made in Brooklyn. You can shop online at nyDesignroom or visit their showroom Thursday to Sunday from 12 to 7 PM.

+ Laptop Carrier $110 USD
+ Shopping Baaag $55 USD
+ via Design Milk


New Amy Butler Fashion and Travel Bags for Kalencom

fashion travel bags by amy butler for Kalencom

Fans of Amy Butler who are week-end travelers or who often take a-week vacation under the sun would be thrilled by this news. You can get a fabulous carry-ons designed by Amy Butler. As usual, the patterns are divine.

I would love to get a navy Dream Traveler-Sari Flowers for Christmas. Sadly, the Graceful Traveler-Fuschia Tree that is on wheels is too big to bring to the cabin of an airplane. Other travel essentials are the carried-away everything bags that come handy to bring your beauty products and makeup.

fashion bags by amy butler for Kalencom

The fashion bags are big enough to carry all your stuff across the city. The Josephine bag or the Abina tote would suit the needs of a creative business woman, a mother or a fashionable university student.

See the entire Amy Butler for Kalencom collection here.

+ Dream Traveler – Sari Flowers $260 USD
+ Abina tote $180 USD
+ Josephine Bag $160 USD
+ Carried-away bags $22-$42 USD

GIFT IDEAS Gifts for the COOK

Upside-Down Herb Gardening with Sky Planters by Boskke

sky planter designed by patrick morris for boskke

As a cook, it is important to have my reserve of fresh herbs. Nothing beats the taste of freshly cut herbs. I am currently looking at a simple way to keep fresh herbs indoors without using space on my floor or the counter. An extra small Sky Planter could be it.

The Sky Planters remind me of hanging fixtures. Patrick Morris came up with this design. You hang the plants upside down. Upside-down gardening is not a new concept. It is often used for tomatoes and cucumbers to save space. Some people are successful with that technique while many seem to fail to produce good vegetables.

Going back to the design, a locking disk holds the plant and soil in place. A reservoir gradually feeds water to the roots. You normally need to fill the reservoir once or twice a month. In theory, it seems quite simple to use. Since I am not tall and that I need to hang the pots high (due to the space planning of the room), I feel that the herbs would be easier to reach for cutting if I plant them upside down.

How it Works?

The pictures show the plants as they were freshly put in the planters. Since I care about the taste and not what the herbs will look like in the long run, I would like to try with my cooking herbs. Plus, we cut the herbs at a regular basis. Keep in mind that cooking herbs need lot of sunshine to flourish before selecting where to put them.

The Sky Planter comes in three formats. Like I said, the extra small is ideal for fresh herbs. Getting 2 or 3 extra small planters would make a wonderful gift for someone who loves to cook. When you buy a Sky Planter, you receive a stoneware ceramic, a stainless steel wire, a ceiling hook and a plastic plug. They are available in black or white.

+ Sky Planter by Patrick Morris for Boskke extra-small $25 USD, small $35, classic $75

GIFT IDEAS Gifts for the COOK

Four Gift Ideas for the Cook or the Hostess

bodum gift ideas for the cook, the coffee and tea lover and the hostess

Bodum products are typically built to last, perform well and look good. Three good reasons to like them and to not be afraid to add them on your holiday shopping list. If you are looking for gift ideas for cooks or the hostess, you may consider:

+ BODUM Round Automatic Gravity Operated Salt and Pepper Grinder $29.95 USD
+ The TWIN salt and pepper grinder with a ceramic grinder $29.95 USD
+ The NERO Coffee coat really works. I bought one last week. I wish that I got my thermal neoprene french press coffee coat sooner. 8-cup $14.95 USD 12-cup $19.95 USD
+ The double wall tea press COLUMBIA in shiny stainless steel $69.95