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Alphabet Animals, Farm to Table and Farm Buddies Kidz Box and Placemats

modern-twist farm buddies :: alphabet animals and farm to table placemats

modern-twist farm buddies :: alphabet animals and farm to table placemats

I am counting the months until my son could use those. I have been a fan of the Kidz Box since they were launched by Modern-Twist. They added new drawings that are better than ever for a young child. Alphabet Animals or Farm Buddies could be his first ones since he is familiar with the topics.

Overall, it is Farm to Table that won my heart because it teaches kids where their food comes from. You can either buy the placemats separately or a gift box that includes a set of markers. Grow your collection with time by simply buying more doodle-friendly Kidz placemats. Their  selection provides various styles to suit the kid’s taste, gender and age.

kidz placemats

Artistic, Practical and Eco-Friendly

You will not run out of paper when you eat at restaurant or visit a friend if you carry a couple with you. When the kid has finished colouring, take a picture of their art with your phone before you clean it with a wipe, a damp cloth or rinse. Kids can color the Kidz placemats as often as they want. As a parents, you feel good knowing that you save paper.

+ Kidz Gift/Storage Box: Farm to Table + 6 Markers $26 USD at Modern-Twist
+ Kidz Placemats $14-$19 USD at Modern-Twist


Toy Storage and Bedroom Storage Solutions for my Organizing Monday

orgazining toys :: fabric storage solutions by modern-twist

Plastic bins are bulky. Therefore, I am looking for other options to enable kids to store and carry their toys. I found a clever yet simple solution that is multipurpose.

Modern Twist produced a neat and stylish solution for kids and grown ups. Their hiding bags exist in several formats. From the tiny portable Hide Box perfect for carrying jewels when you travel to the medium Hide Box II to empty your pocket when you get home up to the versatile PJ Pocket Pillow bags. The PJ Pocket Pillow can fit blankets, a pair of sandals, a stuffed animal, or a children book. They can hold all type of toys and objects.

The design is inspired by a vintage Japanese design. The fabrics are awesome. Modern Twist proposes for kids  abstract elephants and squirrels in soft blue, green, orange and yellow. Adults may prefer the lemon twist available in cream and brown or cream and red.

vintage style bedroom storage by modern-twist

Do not forget the guestroom. Keep 2 PJ Pocket Pillow bags to leave to your guests while they are staying over. They will appreciate it as they carry their stuff from the bedroom to the bathroom.

+ Hide Box $24 for 3-inch box
+ Hide Box II $25 for 8-inch box
+ Modern-Twist PJ Pillow bags $50 USD


Cool Gift Ideas for the Wine Lover

gift ideas for wine lover

1. Vinturi

At last, a wine aerator that works as you pour your glass of wine. It can also be used with wine carafes. Vinturi has been praised by wine connoisseurs because it enhances multiple elements of the wine. It does more than reduce the tannin. Since this gadget will be a hit with your guests, place at least 2 Vinturi on the wine station.

2. Ravi

I am happy to praise an innovation from where I live. Well-known Québec designer Michel Dallaire imagined Ravi, an instant wine chiller that you put on the neck of the wine bottle. This revolutionary concept cool your wine to the ideal temperature instantly. Ravi keeps working for more than an hour after you take it out of the freezer.

3. Jacob Wagner’s Wine Thermometer

Designed in 2007, this plastic and stainless steel minimalist digital thermometer easily attaches to any wine bottle. Beware that it only measures temperature in Fahrenheit.

The last two gift ideas will please the Hostess as well as the wine lover.

4. Wine Tasting Kits

The festive look of the Oenophilia Wine Tasting kit will not intimidate your guests. The kit provides six individually numbered cloth bags and a wine tasting score-pad.

Beginners may prefer The Wine Tasting Party Kit: Everything You Need to Host a Fun & Easy Wine Tasting Party at Home. This kit comes with a 64-page illustrated book and Cheat sheet of tasting terms.

5. Vinotagz by Modern-Twist

Available in basic solid colors and several designed patterns, the beauty of the Vinotagz is that you can write on those infinitely. Use a ballpoint pen to scribble your name, initials or the type of wine you’re drinking.

Join this to the bottle of wine you are bring to the hostess. You will double impress you’re the gift recipient by sitting the storage box on the neck of a wine bottle.

+ Vinturi Wine Aerator – $63.79 USD, lot of 2
+ Ravi Instant Wine Chiller – $49.99 USD
+ Wine Thermometer by Jacob Wagner – $36 USD at MoMA store
+ Wine Tasting Kit by Oenophilia – $19.99 USD
+ Modern-Twist Vinotagz Basic – $12 USD for 6 tags
+ Modern-Twist Vinotagz Designed – $14 USD for 6 tags


Modern-Twist Reinvented the Doilies with Doileez

doileez by modern-twistKat Nouri, the founder and creative director of Modern-Twist, informed me today about her latest products. I am a huge fan of Modern-Twist ever since I first lay my eyes of their products.

Modern-twist brought silicone to your table with placemats, fun coasters, napkin rings and wine tags.

This time, Kat introduces a new collection of modern and food-safe doilies. So no more paper lace cake dollies that you throw away at the end of the party.

Available in two patterns, Doileez deliver the same soft touch feeling and ease to clean than their reputable placemats. I owned several placemats than I totally adored.

The food-safe, hand-silk-screened Doileez are not just for decorating food presentations at parties. Doileez fit well under vases and centerpieces to protect fine wood furniture. The hardest thing will be to choose which one to buy between the Clusters or the Loop patterns.

I will cover the rest of their other amazing products from the Fall collection later on.

June 30th, 2008 Update: Doileez was added to the online catalog of Velocity Art and Design. Velocity predicts a delay of 2 to 3 weeks before delivery. Be aware that since it is a new manufactured product, it may take more time for the first batch to arrive.

+ Doileez by Modern-Twist
+ Modern-Twist Doileez at Velocity Art and Design – price: $25 for 2


New Modern-Twist Placemats Designed by Matte Stephens and Rex Ray

matrix owl monster placemats by modern-twist

Kat Nouri of Modern-Twist sent me an email where she informed me of their exhibit with Rex Ray designs at SFMOMA.

I am thrilled. I think we should encourage companies that hired known artists to design their patterns. This way we get more exciting patterns on everyday items.

Matrix and Tangle by Rex Ray

Rex Ray is a fine art artist doing collages, paintings and design work,. Rex is also a celebrated graphic designer who worked extensively for the music industry. He designed book covers, more than 100 historic Bill Graham Presents rock and roll tour posters and music packaging.

Now, you can invite Rex Ray to your table with the two patterns he designed for Modern-Twist. Take your pick between Matrix and Tangle. Matrix is available in green or black. Tangle is in orange or copper.  I am showing you Matrix because I enjoy it more.

Owl and Monster by Matte Stephens

The art of Matte Stephens has a naive side in the execution that charms everyone. His Owl duo and the Monster character target children. This is a kid line that will enchant young at heart adults.

Kat kindly sent me a sample of the Owl and the Monster mats. I received them today and they look even better in person. My husband thought they were pretty cool. I got the feeling they will become our breakfast placemats.

Beauty and Function

I acquired six brown Birds ‘n Trees Placemats, 2 sets of writable coasters Notz and the Vinotagz stem markers, all from Modern-Twist last winter at Lekker. So I can vouch for their excellent quality.

The 14 by 16 inches dimension of the placemat is more practical than the standard placemat size. The glasses fit comfortably on the placemat. The silk-screened non-toxic silicone feels soft to the touch. It is very sensual. They are easy to store. You can fold them or roll them without leaving any marks.

With Mother’s Day in two weeks, your mom will be happy if you show up at the door with any of the Modern-Twist Placemats.

Buy online: Owl or Monster Placemat by Matte Stephens for Modern-Twist at Twig – price: $15 USD
Buy online: Matrix Placemat by Rex Ray at Modern Twist at Twig – price: $19 USD
Buy online: Tangle Placemat by Rex Ray at Modern Twist at Twig – price: $19 USD


My recipe to successfully design a tabletop

tabletop design guide : dinnerware : flatware : placematWith the death of packaged theme for home decor, the art of coordinating can scare some of you. Not everyone knows all to mix products into a tailored yet cohesive design.

Beginners who wish to mix styles can rely on a proven, simple method. Start by finding one thing (furniture, accessories, painting or plate) that you like and derive the rest from that element.

Practice with small projects like designing every week end a new tabletop. Why not reinstate the old-fashioned family dinner every Sunday? Use this occasion to also practice new recipes and food plating. Ask your family for help so everything runs smoother the next time you have guests over for dinner.

My 5-step guide to better design your tabletops

To teach you the basics, I developed a 5-step guide. More design rules are involved but these 5 steps will help develop your sensibility.

  1. Consider all the dinnerware and the home accessories that you have on your house.
  2. Examine them carefully individually and collectively.
  3. Pay attention to the shapes, colors, textures, finishes and emotions.
  4. Look for both similarities and contrasts.
  5. Let flow your creativity and explore compositions and concepts.

If you are new to this, practice often and you will see that it becomes easier. Remember that not everyone has the inner style to be a designer, so do not discourage if you have trouble successfully mixing stuff. Some people are great at sports, others at design.

New video series

Since I know that nothing beats seeing someone doing it, I hope to start publishing instructional videos on how to create tabletop after I planned a little recording studio.

My first video may feature the nature Asian inspired Chirp dinnerware set by Lenox. I will demonstrate several table linen options including the Birds ‘n Trees placemats by Modern-Twist that I bought at Lekker while I was visiting Boston.

Flatware as jewelry for your table

Just changing the flatware can totally change the look of your table. Think of it as jewelry. To get the right look, do not be afraid to rent flatware for your events. In fact, Sarah Dennis of Table and Toasts said the same thing on an interesting post yesterday about Trends in flatware rentals.

I displayed Beaded Antique flatware by Towle available at, several models by MEPRA available at Lekker and the fun colored Fantasia Millennium Flatware by MEPRA available at Plastica.

+ Chirp Dinnerware by Lenox – price:$99.95 per 5-piece setting
+ Silicone placemats by Modern-Twist – price: $22 at Lekker
+ Beaded Antique by Towle – price: $49.95 per 5-piece setting
+ Natura ICE Five Piece Place Setting – price: $37 per 5-piece setting
+ Italia ICE Five Piece Place Setting – price: $44 per 5-piece setting
+ Levantina ICE Five Piece Place Setting – price: $47.50 per 5-piece setting
+ colored Fantasia Millennium Flatware by MEPRA – price: $50 per 5-piece setting


Shopping at Lekker Home in Boston

lekker store in bostonIf you follow me, you probably noticed that I am a fan of the Lekker Home store. For the ones that do not know this store, it is an indie store with a single location. Their reputation is due to their unique inventory.

The owner is a Natalie van Dijk Carpenter, a woman born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She currently lives in Boston. Nathalie often traveled across Europe to bring to America amazing design products. Nathalie imports home décor accessories, tableware and furniture that otherwise would never be available in the United States. Innovative USA brands find some shelf space at Lekker Home like my new fave, Modern Twist from California.

Staying in a hotel that was only 10 minutes by foot from Lekker Home, I could not miss the opportunity to check the store.

Dinnerware for entertaining

Although Lekker Home does not carry formal dinnerware set per se, you still find several options for when you are having friends over. Let me assured you that the dinnerware collections are as interesting in person as online. I adored the comfortable, modern and stylish shape of Elixyr Collection by Kahla.

Go for the Elixyr 5 Piece Set with a cappuccino cup with saucer instead of the saucer. The rest of the 5 pieces include a dinner plate, a salad plate and the remarkable bowl with handle. A small curve creates a handle for the plates.

For more details, watch the video.

My purchases

Naturally, I could not leave the store without buying a few things. I restrained myself and brought home 5 tablescape accessories:

  • Silicone Placemats by Modern-Twist: the brown bird motif
  • Coaster Notz by Modern-Twist : set of 4 Trees of Us in brown
  • Vinotagz Designed by Modern-Twist : set of 6 stem markers
  • Black and Sand Bread Bag by Stelton
  • Utilo Teastick by Blomus

I felt in love with the silicone collection by Modern-Twist. I really like the fact that the placemats and coasters still reveal the wood grain of my chocolate-brown dining table. Their illustrations are all inspired by nature. It is hand silk-screened on non-toxic silicone that can be wiped down after use.

What is interesting about this line is that you can write a party greeting, used it to identify the wine at a wine tasting event or write down the guest names. Make sure you use a ballpoint pen. Simply clean them with soap and lukewarm water.

Designed to identify your glass, Vinotagz comes in a set of 6 stem markers. The storage box of Vinotagz fits cleverly on the neck of a wine bottle. Next time you contribute the wine for a dinner party, insert a pack of Vinotagz in every bottle. You host will be delighted by your hostess gift.

I selected a reversible black and sand because they are more versatile that the single color bag. It will harmonize well with my cupboards and my stainless steel appliances that have hints of black.

My husband is a tea lover. I prefer to serve each person their favorite tea. We were seduced by the clean lines, the practicality and the eco-friendly aspect of the single serving Utilo Teastick.

It is good for my wallet that I do not live in Boston because I would shop at Lekker Home all the time. But you can shop online. Lekker Home delivers in the United States and if you call them, anywhere in the world.

Birds N Trees Brown Silicone Placemats by Modern-Twist – price: $22 USD
+ Coaster Notz Pebbles – price: $22.50 for a set of 4
+ Bread Bag Black/Sand by Stelton – price: $32
+ UTILO Teastick by Blomus – price: $21
+ Kahla Elixyr Collection – price: $78 for a 5-piece set
+ Web site of Modern-Twist