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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!


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.


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


DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids

super hero halloween costumes

super hero halloween costumes

I recall when I was young how my mom and I made my Halloween costumes. This was part of the fun and it helped to build the excitement for the big day. The choice of ready-to-wear Halloween costumes has incredibly increased since. Still, we should not overlook the ease to create Halloween costumes for kids.

On Martha Stewart, you will find how your kids can make their own Superhero Cape and T-Shirt. Supplies are felt, sparkly paper, or holographic metallic-effect film to produce the hero icon that you will glue to a long-sleeve t-shirt, polyester satin to make the cape, grosgrain ribbon for decorations, fabric glue and a safety pin.

devil horns kids halloween costume

The hardest part of the DIY Devil Horn project seems to mold the horns out of  lightweight air-drying modeling clay. Paint them with acrylic paint and if you like, apply glitter. You then attach the horns to a headband with hot glue.

bag of grocery :: zoo keeper :: kids halloween costumes

You will need a couple of hours to realize this gross bag of grocery. Parents who made it commented that it was easy to do. And since the design dated from 2004, there is less chances than another kid show up with the same costume.

A zookeeper costume is not hard to recreate. All you need are khaki clothes, a safari hat, plush toys and a handmade net. You can make the net by putting a netting on a basic strainer that was stripped of its cup. You could glue a couple butterflies inside and outside the net.

cat burglar kids halloween costume

Finally, I like the cat burglar costume since it can be done with things that you have at home. Laurie Gelman of the now gone “Cookie” magazine used aluminum paper to fashion the jewelry. You could find big fake jewelry at a local Dollar store or a toy store.

+ Superhero Cape and T-shirt – how to from Martha Stewart
+ Devil Horns – how to from Martha Stewart
+ Bag of Gross-eeries from Family Fun
+ photo: MSN video – ideas from Cookie magazine


Extravagant Halloween Makeups of M·A·C Halloween Face-Off

exotic bird halloween makeup by fatima :: mac halloween face-off

exotic bird halloween makeup by fatima :: mac halloween face-off

You can not reproduce these Halloween makeups at home since it took 3 hours to professional makeup artists to complete these amazing looks. They realized their Halloween makeup transformations using their skills and creative minds, their extensive makeup kits, a mischievous mix of hair-raising hardware, wacky wigs and other perilous props.

futuristic solarization makeup by jenn :: mac halloween face-off

Still, looking at them can inspire you for an Halloween look. The exotic bird created by Fatima is stunning. But for some reasons, I would prefer to dress up as the futuristic girl with a twist on solarization and toxic colors.

joey's opulent halloween makeup :: winner of mac halloween face-off

M·A·C Halloween Face-Off was a promotional online competition held on Facebook and You Tube where three M·A·C Artists must improvise a look on a model. Watch the making of these makeups here. The winner of the M·A·C Halloween Face-Off was Joey. The public preferred his opulent face. What is your favorite one?

Halloween Makeups That You Can Do

stylish clown halloween makeups

For makeup ideas that can reproduce, look at my preferred MAC Halloween looks from 3 years ago and at these stylish clown and doll makeups. Sadly, M·A·C removed the instructions from their Web site.

+ photos: MAC Halloween Face-Off: Episode 2


Five Halloween Costumes for Kids

popcorn and milk :: food Halloween costumes for kids

popcorn and milk :: food Halloween costumes for kids

Ready made costumes save time for parents. For inspirations, I always like to check what’s new at the Halloween costume section of Pottery Barn Kids. Sadly, the cute Popcorn costume is out of stock. I think it was well-executed. But you kids could be an ice cream a donut, a cupcake, a cookie, a milk bottle or a rootbeer.

astronaut and airplane Halloween costumes for kids

For the space explorer, they could be an astronaut, an alien or an airplane. It must be fun flying an airplane or if you do not mind a DIY project, they could be a rocket. And do not forget to check the treat bags. It is a must-have accessory to get the full look.

skeleton Halloween costumes

For moms who like to design their kids Halloween costumes from scratch, these designs may give you some clues on what to sew. Have you or your kids selected what costume they will be wearing?

+ Popcorn costume – sorry it’s out of stock online
+ Milk costume $59 USD
+ Astronaut costume $49
+ Airplane costume $49
+ Skeleton costume $49


Cute Treat Bags and Halloween Costumes for Kids

halloween treat bags and costumes for kids at pottery barn

When I was a kid I used to plan weeks in advance my Halloween costume. One year, I dressed like a poor hunchback and carried a brown paper bag as my treat bag. Otherwise, I always trust my puffy pumpkin treat bag made of plastic to bring home a load of candies. I collected so many sugar treats that I do not recall a year where I ate all of them.

If you are looking for a vast selection of adorable treat bags, Pottery Barn Kids has 15 models in stock. No more plastic. Instead their treat bags are made of soft felt and lined with percale. The regular models cost $12 USD while a few premium treat bag designs cost $19. The Lady Bug tutu costume and the puffy alligator are cute.

pirate costume set

Dressing your boy as a pirate like that can be expensive. You could only buy the 6-piece pirate accessories and try to make the attire or vice versa. If you let go the hook that could be cumbersome to carry around, the rest is fairly easy to find at any store that sell toys. In fact, look around your house, you may have some items in the toy boxes or your drawers.  The 6-piece pirate set includes the sword, the pirate hat, the belt, the hook, the eye patch and the bandana.

+ Treat Bags at Pottery Barn Kids $12 – $19 USD
+ Kids Halloween Costumes $29 -$69 USD
+ Pirate Costume $59 USD
+ Pirate Accessories $59 USD


More Halloween Makeups from M.A.C Cosmetics

halloween artistry make ups for 2008 by M.A.C cosmetics

If you plan to go to a Halloween party tonight and you are still looking for a costume, why not start with an artistic make up?

I admit that these make ups are elaborate and are not for the novice. If you know a makeup artist or if you have a steady hand, they are worth a try.

You will find some tips and the complete range of color products you need to reproduce the look. I particularly like Colour Spill, Play the Fool, and She’s a Doll.

tribal halloween make up by m.a.c cosmetics

For a guy, try Tribal. Plus, do not miss my last year Halloween makeup suggestions, also from MAC.

+ 2007 Halloween makeup artistries by M·A·C – Sadly, M·A·C removed the instructions from their Web site.


Dexter Party Theme for Halloween

dexter dinner room by amy lau ::  halloween theme

Forget Jason of Friday the 13th, there is a creepiest serial killer on TV. His name is Dexter. That show is something else. I enjoy how they tell the story on Dexter.

I already mentioned how to host a  mystery murder party this Halloween.  This one is another twist on the theme.

The Costume

I found online an official licensed Dexter costume that provides a military green jumpsuit, a matching surgeon style hat, a shiny black apron, and black boot tops. Practice a psychopath, detached guy attitude for the perfect impression.

Decorate Your Own Dexter Dinner Room for Halloween

My inspiration is the impressive Dexter inspired dining room Amy Lau created for the Metropolitain Home’s Showtime House. Special edition accessories are in sale at Spring design & art.

dexter chairs plates and dismembered flatware

You do not have to spend a fortune to reproduce the look. A few simple decorations will suffice.

Embroider the blood splatters on the fabric to cover the backs of white chairs. Wrap a white vinyl cloth around the table. Cover the floor, walls and ceiling with a clear protective plastic to copycat the way Dexter obsessively protects the room against blood spatters before each killing.

Fill test tubes with red wine. Mix wines to display several shades of reds. The idea is to simulate many blood donors.

If you have time to produce your plates at local ceramic shop, try to paint blood splatters on plates. Freeze an image of the show to print as your template. I imagine that it is easier to create plates with your own fingerprints.

Make a vignette with dismembered flatware. Buy cheap flatware and ask the help of a handyman friend to simulate that look. Glue on a platter, an array of long cooking knifes; if you place it somewhere that is easily accessible, secure this vignette with a clear plastic wrap.

+ Dexter Adult Costume – $46.99 USD at
+ Limited edition DEXTER! dinnerware, flatware, candlesticks, chairs and glass sculpture – $125 to $17,000 USD at Spring
+ Amy Lau at Met Home Showtime House event: Photography by Adam Chinitz
+ Via Roadside Scholar


Yuri Gagarin’s Night Party 2008 in Montreal | Real-Life Party

Yuri Gagarin\'s Night Party 2008 in Montreal

My friend and painter Bettina Forget hosted a great party last Saturday (April 12th, 2008) to commemorate the anniversary of First Man in Space. Yuri Gagarin became the first human to reach space on April 12th, 1961. Yuri orbited the Earth.

The Decor

The loft apartment was nicely decorated for the event. Several guests rented or made cool science-fiction costumes.

Astronomical art exhibit of paintings done by Bettina coupled with the projection of space images and astro-art iMovies created a wonderful atmosphere.

The Space Agency gave us posters, pins, stickers, tattoos so people without costumes looked more festive. Individual gift bags greeted us at the door.

The Drink Menu

Russian vodka was on top of the alcohol chain. The signature drink was Cosmonaut, a drink made of vodka and Tang. At the bar station, the Space-Themes Drink menu was filled with Apollo ‘n Lemon, Sputnik, Saturn V, Soyuz Capsule, Voyager, Mir, Rasputin and Sea of Tranquility.

Costume Contest

Next year, Jerome and I will get some costumes. In fact, Jerome was sad that he did not purchase a Star Trek uniform when we visited the Star Trek The Experience in Las Vegas last January. Two prizes were awarded for the best space-inspired costume.

Grand-prize winner for his outstanding helmet design: Olivier Hanigan – check it on Bettina’s blog
Runner-up winner for her sublime hoola-hoop performance: Kelli Hanrahan

Bettina wrote a nice recollection of Yuri Night 08 on her Inside the Artist’s Studio blog. Like Bettina said: Montrealers know how to party! We went to bed pretty late. On our way home, we stopped by at Fairmont Bagels to buy more freshly out of the oven bagels. We ate a final one before going to bed and kept the rest for Sunday breakfast. Jerome and I cannot wait for the 2009 edition.

Learn more: Yuri loves Montreal! On Inside the Artist’s Studio
Photo credits: Jerome Paradis


Extraordinary Halloween makeup artistries by M·A·C

halloween special effect makeup by MAC

If you are invited to a Halloween party, you need a costume. You can rent one but the look is clichéd. If you opt for a special effect makeup, you will get a unique look.

With a strong makeup disguise, you can be subtle with the clothing. But you still need to find the right apparel. When it comes to special effect makeup, the artists at M·A·C are there to help you.

Absinthe Minded, Zombie Chic, Rising Sun and Machineman are my favorites out of the 25 looks shown on M·A·C’s Web site. (Sadly, M·A·C removed them from their Web site.)

How to proceed?

Taking an appointment is a must. When you call, tell the person that you want a special effect make up for Halloween as not everyone on their team are qualified to do this.

Some M·A·C counters have a private makeup room; La Maison Ogilvy has one in Montreal. I have been told to plan for at least 1 hour and a half. Budget $110 for a normal private session. If you want something similar done in the comfort of your home by a talented special effect makeup artist, it will cost you at least $200 + tips in Montreal.

Typically when you book a makeup appointment with M·A·C ($45 at the counter, $110 for a private session), you can buy cosmetics for at least that amount and get the makeup free. I do not know if that works with for special effect appointments.

I have been told to ask for Joan or Vanessa at the M·A·C counter of La Maison Ogilvy. The M·A·C store on Saint-Laurent Street may also be able to help you. I saw them create incredible body paintings a couple years ago during the Formula 1 Grand Prix celebrations.

+ Halloween looks by MAC Cosmetics – Sadly, M·A·C removed the instructions from their Web site.
Store locator of MAC Cosmetics
+ M·A·C boutique at La Maison Ogilvy

+ Creepy treats and drinks for Halloween
+ Victorian Gothic feast for Halloween
+ Mad Scientist Halloween party