Browsing Tag

montreal

EDUCATION

Tinkering at Fabrik, the kids makerspace at Montreal Science Center

I started to seriously read about STEAM education last November because I care about how to transmit these scientific, creative and social skills to my son. One book helped me understand how to do it. I devoured Design, Make, Play: Growing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators. I keep a notebook filled with lessons learned by researchers, practitioners, educators, and facilitators who were in charge of imaging and running makerspaces in libraries and museums. All that researching made me impatient to see a makerspace in action. Continue Reading

Work and Life

Food Trucks in Montreal – Summer 2013 Locations Map

food trucks :: street food in montreal

If you live in Montreal, you probably know that the city approved 9 locations where street food vendors will be allowed to sell their creative food-to-go. The 9 food truck spots are located in the Ville-Marie borough. They are:

  • Mount Royal, at the Chalet lookout – two spaces
  • Mount Royal Park, near the George-Étienne Cartier statue – two spaces
  • Place Émilie-Gamelin – three spaces
  • McTavish Street, near McGill University – one space
  • Victoria Street, next to the McCord Museum – one space
  • Place du Canada – two spaces
  • Square Victoria – two spaces
  • Peel Street, near ETS, between Notre-Dame and Saint-Jacques Streets – two spaces
  • Cité du Multimédia – two spaces

Continue Reading

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

At the Opening Night of Ethan Allen’s Design Centre in Montreal

ming display sideboard with kim vallee at ethan allen

ethan allen cours mont royal opening night
from left to right:  Maripier Morin (TV columinist), Valérie Taillefer and Jean Airoldi (TV hosts and couple), me (Kim Vallée) Vanessa Sicotte (TV host and blogger) Mélissa Nepton (fashion designer), Julie du Page (comedian) and Mr. Farooq Kathwari (Chairman, President and CEO of Ethan Allen).

Last Thursday, I had the honor to be one of the 5 design personalities who were invited to pick their 5 top choices for the Design Centre Opening Night of the first French-speaking Ethan Allen store. If you are not familiar with the brand, you will like to know that you can tailor their furniture pieces to fit your taste and that Ethan Allen provides free interior designer services to their clients.

Now, let’s talk about my 5 picks. I rely on my own signature lifestyle: entertaining in style. For that, I selected furniture that are making a statement and that will stand the test of time.

josephine chair

My first choice was a modern take on a French classic. I absolutely felt in love with the fabric on the armless Josephine chair.

webber china cabinet in sunny yellow

Then, the bright yellow of the Webber china cabinet caught my eye. It is unusual to find a tall china cabinet that stays the same depth from the top to the floor. It is the type of china cabinet that I would definitely enjoy if it was in my own home.

Antiqued Glass Candlesticks

Candlesticks are a must have for anyone who entertains a lot.  Made of faux mercury glass, which is blown double-walled with silver placed between the layers, the Antiqued Glass Candlesticks bring the right amount of glitter and drama. Everyone who attended the opening night party returned with one of my picks. The small and the medium sized candlesticks were in our party bag.

My last two choices have a gentleman mood to reflect the trend towards more gender-neutral and masculine home decor. And they both have a distressed finish.

marapi table

We all need a versatile small side table. The sculptural shape of the Marapi table made it a winner for a reading nook, or to be used as a night table. You can bring it to your living room when you host a cocktail party. The table is heavy to move so you don’t have to worry that it will fall down if someone bumps into it while a few drink glasses sat on it. If you like the Marapi table, you can have it delivered fast since it is from the Ethan Allen Express collection.

ming display sideboard with kim vallee at ethan allen

My fifth item is the awesomely rustic Ming display sideboard. The compound miter corners are a nice touch. I like how it feels strong yet polished, especially in this vignette. It is currently showcased at the store next to a stunning L-shaped grey leather sofa. I imagine this design as the perfect living room for an urban couple or a design-savvy bachelor.

ethan allen cours mont-royal

Located at Cours Mont-Royal with an outside entry door at the corner of Metcalfe and Maisonneuve West, the 9,000 square feet store is both elegant and inspiring. If you are in Montreal, I invite you to discover what is inside the new Ethan Allen’s store.

photo credits: a mix of mine and from photographer Marc Dussault

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

At the Launch of a 2.0 Christmas Tree

christmas tree video games played on tablets at place montreal trust

christmas tree 2.0 at place montreal trust

Last night, my son and I attended a Christmas tree reveal party. The Christmas tree at Place Montreal Trust is 2.0; it is social and playful. The 75 feet high tree is decorated with big screens that display Christmas themed video games that are currently played by visitors. You can play at one of the 9 electronic tablets located at the food court level. Every Thursday between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., visitors are invited to tweet their Holiday wishes at #sapinpmt. The tweets will be displayed on the giant screen at the base of the tree.

christmas tree video games played on tablets at place montreal trust

Finishing the games could make a difference in the life of many sick kids. From November 15 to December 4, Place Montréal Trust will donate $1 per completed game to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation, up to $1,000 per day. Make sure to stop by and play for a while. The games are designed to be easily played by young kids. So if you are in Montreal, have a look at this new concept of Christmas trees.

HOME + GARDEN HOME office

Looking Back at the Modern Office

office dated from 1935

office dated from 1935

If we were turning back the clock 75 years ago, these are the desk accessories that you will want in your office. This 1935-40’s office was way before Mad Men. It is so funny to look at how things have changed.

globe cigarette holder from 1935-1945

For one thing, smoking used to be a big industry not just for the cigarette sales but also through the variety of smoking accessories. Look at this fancy globe cigarette holder. There were a floor ash tray table plus an ask tray on the desk.

lamp and intercom system

At one time, the Amplicall was a state of the art intercom system. It is made of bakelite, plastic, rubber and glass. Its style is similar to the executive lamp manufactured by Polaroid. An interesting fact is that the Amplicall was produced by another company, Rauland-Borg Corporation.

old typewriter

Look at how tall was the telephone.

thermos pitcher from 1935

I like the shape of the light green Thermos insulated pitcher and tray. If I had one, I would still use it.

You can admire this office of a past era by visiting the Decorative Arts and Design collection at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY decorations

Halloween Pumpkin Ideas from the 2012 Great Pumpkin Ball

mascarade automnale

Kim in front of the biggest pumpkin contest
photographed in front of the biggest pumpkin winner. Its weights 1,630 pounds!

Each year, Montréal Botanical Garden organized the Great Pumpkin Ball. Visitors can admire the best decorated pumpkins made by the participants aged 6 years and up. We saw the exhibition last Friday with my son’s day care. If you are in town, the Great Pumpkin Ball is open until October 31st.

Topics were diverse. Recurring ideas include comic characters, superheros, sports and TV personalities.

garfield pumpkin
Garfield pumpkin from the 6 to 12 years old category

spider smurf pumpkin
Spider smurf pumpkin from the 6 to 12 years old category

Amongst the classic Halloween themes, I particularly enjoy the Dracula pumpkin, the magician and the beautiful mask lady pumpkin.

dracula pumpkin
Dracula pumpkin decorated by a family

mummy pumpkin
Mummy pumpkin from the 13 to 17 years old category

magician pumpkin
Magician pumpkin 

mascarade automnale
This masked lady pumpkin won first prize in the adult category

I will return to the Great Pumpkin Ball next year to admire the craft projects of our youth.

FOOD + DRINK RESTAURANTS

Food Truck Lunch: Takoyaki Montreal and La Mangeoire

takoyaki montreal

takoyaki montreal

Since the Souk at Juste pour Rire is filled with gourmet food trucks, containers and fishing cabins, I decided to make the best of it by having lunch there. Today, I stopped by two food stands.

mushroom or octopus japanese balls

I started my meal with a trio of Japanese balls. My husband ordered the octopus balls while I opted for the mushroom balls. I enjoyed them both. The balls are covered with Japanese crepes topped with mayonnaise, sauce and bento flakes. Delicious!

la mangeoire cocotte sandwich

Then, I ate a sandwich from another newcomer to the food truck Montreal scene: La Mangeoire. Their menu has 4 sandwiches made on order. I ate Cocotte, which is a grilled chicken sandwich with tomato confit and a kale pesto. That was a hit with a glass of iced green tea with lemongrass.

Until July 28th, I plan to try more places for lunch. The souk at Juste pour Rire is located in front of the Complexe Desjardins on Sainte-Catherine Street ouest between Place Des Arts main entrance and Saint-Urbain Street.

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

Turn your Instagram Pictures into Prints with DeepSquare Prints

deepsquare prints of your instagram photos on a desk

deepsquare prints of your instagram photos on a desk
Photo: DeepSquare Prints $25 for 4 assorted prints of your Instagram photos

Today, I am happy to report about a cool product for all Instagram fans. Today is a great day for the two founders of Static Pixels, Massimo Farina and Lawrence Tenuta, since they launched their first product: DeepSquare Prints. They saw a market with Instagram prints. Like they say on their Web site, it’s hip to be square.

deepsquare instagram prints hung on a wall

What you get is a 5-inch square print of any of your Instagram pictures printed on recycled paper-based board. Each print has its own stand and wall mount. I imagine DeepSquare Prints to be used to make a love story wall at a wedding or to share memories at a milestone birthday. They are also an easy way to decorate your office with pictures that you speak to you.

deepsquare prints stand

You can order 4 five inch prints on rigid paper board for $25. Shipping is $5 across North America or $10 for international delivery. They are Forest Stewardship Council certified.

Their InstaOrder program enables you to order from your iPhone 4 prints of the photo you have just taken. This eases the process of giving actual prints to your friends and family. Visit Static Pixels for more details.

ENTERTAINING EVERYDAY entertaining

Ideas to Steal: Carpaccio Served on a Clothesline

Food plating on a table clothesline

Food plating on a table clothesline

I always keep an eye open for easy show stopper food plating that I could use at a party. The carpaccio served on a clothesline today at restaurant Europea in Montreal tops my list this summer.

If you build your own table clothesline ahead of time, you could reuse the concept many times. They did it with big nails and a piece of 2×4 lumber. For an outdoor party, you could assemble a taller and longer clothesline by planting two poles on the ground. A strong fishing line could be used instead of the standard clothesline. With the bigger clothesline version, you could not only hang carpaccio but also small plastic containers or chinese take out boxes.

SOURCING:
+ photo by Pierre Bellerose via Twitter – thanks Pierre for this find.

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

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!

Costumes

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.

Activities

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