Browsing Tag



A Collection A Day | Book Preview

lisa congdon collection a day book

lisa congdon collection a day book

One of my daily must-read blogs throughout 2010 was Lisa Congdon’s A Collection a Day. On January 1, 2010, the San Francisco-based designer/artist/illustrator kicked off a year-long project, posting a new photo, painting or illustration of her collections (both real and imagined) every day.

Now Lisa’s project has been, well, collected in a soon-to-be-released book published by UPPERCASE.

Colourful, curious and neatly organized, Lisa’s collections highlight the design similarities and differences of the objects in each grouping. Many are also available as prints – this series of red enamel kitchen utensils would be a striking piece of kitchen art.

lisa congdon red spatulas

This illustration of Jonathan Adler pottery is slightly more affordable than the real thing.

lisa congdon jonathan adler

Check out UPPERCASE to preview more of Lisa’s collection and pre-order your copy in a “collectible” tin.

+ Pre-order A Collection A Day by Lisa Congdon from Uppercase Gallery
+ Photos and illustrations from A Collection A Day


Amy Butler’s Style Stitches

amy butler's style stitches :: sewing book for handbags, purses and bags

amy butler's style stitches :: sewing book for handbags, purses and bags

Fans of Amy Butler will be happy to know that she published a new sewing book. Style Stitches proposes 12 easy ways to make 26 wonderful bags. The book explains to you how to customize and tweak each bag to let your own style shine. There’s a wide range of great projects, from chic clutches, coin purses and wristlets to modern hobo bags and cool reversible totes.

amy butler's style stitches details

As you can see the projects covered on her book are diversified. If you are a sewer or have a girl friend who enjoy sewing, this would be a great addition to your book collection. As a bonus when you buy the book on Amy Butler’s web site, you get a signed copy by Amy. Otherwise, the book is available at a book store near you and on Amazon.

+ Amy Butler’s Style Stitches $29.95 USD with a signed copy
+ Amy Butler’s Style Stitches $19.95 at [affiliate link]


The Art of Preserving | Book review

the art of preserving cookbook written by Rick Field and Rebecca Courchesne for williams-sonoma

the art of preserving cookbook written by Rick Field and  Rebecca Courchesne for williams-sonoma

We all want to preserve the goodness and fabulous taste of the summer fruits and vegetables. If you are like me and need help to spruce your skills, I suggest that you take a look at The Art of Preserving written by Rick Field and Rebecca Courchesne for Williams-Sonoma.

What I like about The Art of Preserving is that you get one recipe that integrates each jam, jelly, preserve, conserve, marmalade, sweet butter, curd, pickled fruit and vegetable, salsa, relish, chutney, condiment and sauce featured on this cookbook. They are plenty of beautiful photos but you should know that not every recipe has a photo. A ball park estimate would be that close to 70% of the 130 recipes have styled photos.

Most importantly, I feel inclined to serve these recipes to my family and friends. The advices are sound and they make it look easy to follow. I can’t wait to serve my own French crepes with Meyer lemon and ginger marmalade or to cook the chicken-lime soup with pickled jalapeños.

+ The Art of Preserving $19.95 USD at [affiliate link]

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publicist more than a month ago, with no strings attached. I talked about it because I like it.


The Golden Rules Sketchbook by Olivia Lee

golden rules sketchbook by olivia lee

golden rules sketchbook by olivia lee

As a mathematician and designer I could not resist the urge to talk about this product. The Golden Ratio first emerged as a mathematical term. It has fascinated mathematicians for thousands of years since Euclid first defined the concept in 300 BC. The Golden Ratio has many implications in geometry and mathematical properties. The Golden Ratio is an irrational number: 1.6180339887498948482…

Architects, artists and designers often used the golden ratio in their creations because it is believed to create aesthetics pleasing proportions. If you wish to explore the virtues of the Golden Ratio, you can buy a unique sketchbook designed by Olivia Lee. Her Golden Rules sketchbook contains grids that can help you draw objects with the golden proportions.

Refer to the review of Dezeen if you wish to better understand how to utilize the sketchbook.

+ Olivia Lee
+ Golden Rules sketchbook £6.50 at Spunique


Alternative Ideas to Requesting No Gifts and a Giveaway

no gifts please at kids parties

no gifts please at kids parties

I am glad to introduce the first guest blogger who gave me an hand during my trip in Japan.  The first one is Lisa Kothari of Dear Peppers and Pollywogs. Lisa is an author who runs a kids party planning business since 2005. Lisa provides practical solutions and good planning advices to parents.

Today, more and more parents are opting to request No Gifts on their kids’ party invitations.  It often doesn’t work out very well, as some people adhere to the guideline while others ignore it altogether and bring a gift.  The fact is people want to bring something to a child’s party, as a result, to get around embracing the concept of traditional gifts or no gifts at all; there are creative ideas that offer an in-between the two options:

  • Host a book exchange and organize it in a few different ways:
    • Guests bring a wrapped gift and everyone takes one home.
    • Some open the books on the spot; others wait until the kids have gone home.
  • Give your child an experience rather than a party. If you allow friends to be invited, let the experience be the celebration, not the stuff.
  • Hold an inexpensive gift exchange (under $10) so that every child receives a gift.
  • Request art supplies and donate them to a shelter.
  • Hobbit Practice – Better to Give than to Receive! Each child receives a gift, although they do not bring one.
  • Request a donation to a great organization like
  • Contact a charity that is a favorite and ask for a Wish List, i.e. a list of stuff the organization really needs. As an example, the humane society may need leashes, collars, toys, etc. Request guests bring these items in lieu of birthday gifts to donate and make the wishes come true!

Whatever donations are brought to the party for a favorite charity, have the birthday child deliver the donations to his chosen charity.

This is a great round-up of ideas that are alternatives to traditional party gifts.  Also, keep in mind if you are concerned about the amount people will spend on a party gift for your child, it is appropriate to write in your invitation, Gifts under $__ would be appreciated.  Putting a price limit guideline on the invitation can help to keep gift-giving budget friendly.

Happy Gifting ─ or not!


dear peppers and pollywogs book written by lisa kothari

Lisa Kothari is giving away a copy of her book, Dear Peppers and Pollywogs…: What Parents Want to Know About Planning Their Kids’ Parties in which she answered non obvious questions that many parents will face. She sent me a copy two years ago and I found that it is an excellent resources for parents.

To enter this giveaway, simply share what is the best kids party theme you ever saw? Write your answer by commenting on this post. The winner will be determined by a random draw of all the answers received before noon ET on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010.

Update: The winner of the giveaway is #8 Kim – The TomKat Studio. Read more about the random draw.


The Dwell Studio’s Learning Books

orange bus bookshelf and go book by dwell studio

orange bus bookshelf and go book by dwell studio

I just noticed that Dwell Studio partnered with Blue Apple Books to produce a book collection for infants and toddlers. You get the graphic design associated with Dwell Studio. I like it since you teach your kids good taste at the same time.

count and what colors :: learning the basics with dwell studio books

From learning the basics from numbers, animals and colors.

+ Count book $6.99 USD at – in Canada $7.99 CAD
+ What colors? book $8.99 USD at

discovering where food come from with dwell studio infant and toddler books

To provide a way to talk about where are food comes from

+ Touch & Feel Farm book $8.99 USD at
+ Eat book $6.99 USD at  or $7.99 CAD at

Up to books and even a bookshelf that go with Dwell’s Transportation bedding collection

+ Orange Bus Bookshelf $124 USD at Dwell Studio
+  Go book $6.99 at or $7.99 at

There are more titles but I think that you get the idea. I will remember those for when I visit parents with a newborn child or to bring as a gift for a first or second birthday party. Some of the Dwell studio books are suitable up 5 years old.


The new Moleskine Recipe and Wine Journals Won My Heart

moleskine recipe journal

moleskine recipe journal

My friend Harry Wakefield of MoCo Loco featured the brand new Moleskine’s wine journal and the recipe journal on his blog. Until the moment I began to examine how practical the page templates were built, I thought I could resist. But the guys at Moleskine did a too good job that I could not resist and ordered both journals on Amazon.

moleskine recipe journal page template

I watched earlier the session where Jamie Oliver announced his wish as the recipient of the 2010 TED prize. This convinced even more than I need a book to write down my recipes. I own a book right now that I rarely used because it is too basic. And although I love my computer, it remains that nothing beats the ease of use of a recipe journal when it comes to cooking. I will welcome it in my kitchen.

template recipe page for cocktails :: moleskine recipe journal

You can download and test the page layouts before you buy the journal, if you like. There is a template  for food and another one for cocktail recipe. The recipe journal is made of 6 themed sections to be filled, 6 blank sections, food calendars, food facts, measures and conversions, blank pages for additional notes and 202 adhesive labels to put your stamp on your recipes.

Wine Journal by Moleskine

I suspect the Wine journal will become a must-give hostess gift. It covers all aspects, including wine and food pairing and the best occasions to serve the wine. I bought it for my husband since he is in charge of the wine most of the time.

moleskine wine journal

You could use any of the journals as a scrapbook. Therefore, do not be afraid to draw and glue content. Besides recipes and wine, the new Moleskine collection covers books, music, films and wellness.

+ For Americans: Moleskine Passions Recipe Journal $13.57 USD at
+ For Americans: Moleskine Passions Wine Journal $13.57 USD
+ For Canadians: Moleskine Passions Recipe Journal $22.43 CAD at
+ For Canadians: Moleskine Passions Wine Journal $21.89 CAD
+ via MoCo Loco


Libations of Life by Dee Brun | Book review

libations of life by dee brun :: cocktail recipe book

libations of life by dee brun :: cocktail recipe book

If you are planning a girl night out or wish to laugh on Valentine’s Day party with your single friends, you should get this cocktail recipe book by Dee Brun. The subtitle of Libations of Life says it all; it is A Girl’s Guide to life one cocktail at a time. It is fun, refreshing and you will get to learn how to make cocktails that all women like.

We know that girls like to drink a Cosmopolitan. Here you get to choose between the Commitaphobe Cosmopolitan, the Good on Paper Cosmopolitan, the Control Top Cosmopolitan, The Butt Cleavage Cosmopolitan and Ya… I got carded Cosmopolitan. The classics are there from the daiquiri, the long island, the mai tai, the mojito, the manhattan, the margarita, the martini and so.

To give you an item of the tone of the book, I will let Dee speaks for herself. Watch her in this video where she demonstrate a cocktail recipe from her book.

+ For Americans: Libations of Life by Dee Brun $13.22 USD
+ For Canadians: Libations of Life by Dee Brun $14.56 CAD

Disclaimer: I met Dee Brun ia twitter last month. She sent me a copy of her book for review.


Signature Sasha: Magnificent Weddings by Design | Book review

signature sasha: magnificient weddings by design

signature sasha: magnificient weddings by design

I was pleased when the book publicist of Sasha Sousa contacted me earlier this month to see if I would like to receive a copy of Sasha’s wedding book. Knowing how talented Sasha is, I expect her book to be a treat. And it is! Signature Sasha is a definite keeper.

Right from the start, Sasha explained  how each wedding can tell a story. It is that story that will inspire the elements of design. I like the fact that she refers to stories instead of themes. Creating a story feels so much personal. I see a wedding celebration as a mix of scripted actions and improvisations. And the best written ones surprise and wow the guests.

The book will teach you the nuts and bolts of wedding design and planning as it is done today. The concepts are well illustrated through eight fabulous real-life weddings designed by Sasha. There is a chapter on inspirations, another on colors, a big section on food and beverages. Then, she concluded with setting the stage and the stories behind each wedding.

You will discover how she came up with details that make a lasting impression for each wedding. After reading Signature Sasha: Magnificent Weddings by Design, couples and brides-to-be should have an idea on where to splurge and help them envision the story their wedding will tell.

You do need to plan a wedding to enjoy this book. Just looking at the stunning photos can be fulfilling. You can spot a few ideas that can be useful for any milestone parties.

+ Signature Sasha: Magnificent Weddings by Design $31.50 USD
+ Signature Sasha: Magnificent Weddings by Design $41.25 CAD


Whitewater Cooks at Home | Book Review

Whitewater Cooks at Home by shelley adams

Whitewater Cooks at Home by shelley adams

If you bought the first cookbook of Shelley Adams, you are here for a treat. Her second cookbook is even better. What I like about it is that it is made for home cooking and entertaining.

grilled vegetable stacks :: Whitewater Cooks at Home

It follows my cooking philosophy. Complicated food techniques or passing all day in the kitchen is not necessary to impress your friends and family. You simply need tasty recipes. This is what Whitewater Cooks at Home is all about.

oven-cooked halibut from the Whitewater Cooks at Home cookbook

Shelley gathered recipes for friends, family, local celebrities and favorites from Fresh Tracks Café. The cookbook is divided in 5 sections: starters, salads, soups and sides, dinners and desserts. Each recipe is well documented with easy to follow step by step instructions. Each step starts with a verb written in bold.

You will not have any problems to reproduce the beautiful way she plated her dishes. The recipes rely on easy to find, often inexpensive, ingredients. This cookbook fits within our time. The culinary world is experiencing a resurgence of using every day ingredients over luxurious ingredients.

goat cheese and sun-dried tomato terrine from the Whitewater Cooks at Home cookbook

It is early to tell but Whitewater Cooks at Home has what it takes to become one of my favorite cookbooks of 2010. One thing for sure, I will use their recipes a lot for potlucks.

+ her latest cookbook: Whitewater Cooks at Home $23.06 CAD
+ her first cookbook: Whitewater Cooks $19.76 CAD

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of  Whitewater Cooks at Home for review.


Shwowp will put the Wow into Shopping


Shwowp is a project launched by two extremely talented persons: my husband Jérôme Paradis and Tara Hunt (@missrogue). As a consumer and a blogger, I am very excited by what they wish to accomplish with Shwowp. I cannot reveal you more at this point but I know that it will interest you. But I wish to invite you to sign up to be the first to learn how they will put the Wow into online shopping.

Little Bit More about Tara Hunt

the whuffie factor by tara hunt

In case you do not know, Tara Hunt published a wonderful book about the power social media earlier this year. Her book is titled The Whuffie Factor. I encourage you to read it. Tara tells us why and how to build social capital through our actions and the conversations we have in social networks. It is a marketing book that can be useful whether you are building a startup, you own a small business or you work for a large corporation. It would make a wonderful affordable Christmas gift.

+ More details on Shwowp
+ The Whuffie Factor by Tara Hunt $16.50 USD