Monday, December 29, 2008

take a bow

One tradition at my dad's AND at my mom's is to stick as much ribbons and bows on and around our heads as we open presents. Wheeee!

Holiday bow

This year, I had a lot of reasons to stick a bow on my head as I was spoiled rotten. ROTTEN!

I got a few lovely cards with some money inside (Thanks Dad, step-mom and grandma!)
Gifts from dad, step-mom and grandma: money!

Dad also gave me an OXO Good Grip garlic press and a Nano
Gift from dad

Jérémy and Jessica gave me this awesome framed iron-on transfer. It's vintage and I want to marry it.
Jérémy and Jess gave me this awesome vintage iron-on transfer

Andréanne from work gave me this ridiculously cool old record:
Gift from Andréanne!

My mom gave me a super deluxe fitted sheet, a Koziol tape dispenser, a T-Fal non-stick frying pan, fancy chocolate bar and lavender hand wash. Bro gave me a kickass book about modern movie posters and step-mom gave me the OXO Good Grips spoon set.
Sheets, chocolate and tape dispenser from mom, spoons from step-mom
Frying pan from mom, garlic press from dad and movie poster book from bro

Audrey brought me back some delicious looking vinegars from Germany and mom had some stamps made WITH A PICTURE OF ME AT THE FARNSWORTH HOUSE!!! Sorry for yelling, but she is deviously cool, that mom of mine.
German vinegars from Audrey and stamps from my mom. The stamps have a picture of me on them!

Audrey also gave me cookies, hot chocolate mix and limoncello - ALL homemade. Yum.
Homemade cookies, hot chocolate mix and limoncello from Audrey

And I rescued this creature from atop the Christmas bûche
Cute "snow" icing on the hooves!

But the biggest gifts of all were :

Spending one more Christmas with my grandmother...
Grandma will turn 90 in May!

Watching my dad smile as he opened his gifts...
It a DVD!

Drinking expensive French champagne in kookoo cheap souvenir glasses (Hey, look at that, they are making more for 2010)
Drinking Moet & Chandon in Petro-Canada Olympic flutes... LOL!

Cooking Au pied de cochon ragoût with mom
Mom checks the sauce
Le Pied de Cochon Ragoût de boulettes from Martin Picard's book

And watching a new generation enjoy the simple pleasures that being with family brings.
Uncle Gilles and second cousin Vicky

What did you enjoy the most this Christmas?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Enjoy the music, the good cheer, the food and don't forget that potted poinsettias make a perfect hiding place for aunt Francine's fruitcake. These people would approve.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A break, at last

I'm so tired, The last few weeks have been supercharged at work and as usual, I get to the Holidays feeling as energetic as that dog:

Bring on the Holiday break. Enjoy, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

7 things you need if you are buying a house

Ever since I moved into my loft, my renter friends have started to talk about getting their own place. Some of them actually did, but if, like the ones who are thinking of taking the plunge, you are thinking about buying a home, read on. Because you need more than a good banker and a notary to make it happen, dear friend. Here's my list.

1- Money

I'd buy that for a dollar
So you have enough set aside for the down payment, welcome tax, movers and that new couch you've had your eye one. But that's only the beginning. Everyone wants your money now. Did you think about the school tax? Condo fees? Hike of condo fees? Lighting fixtures to replace all the lovely naked bulbs the builders installed in your new place? Electrician to install all those lighting fixtures? Paint? Did you plan those weekly trip to Ikea to buy five hangers or a shoe rack that will end up costing you $200 every time? Yeah.

2- A good set of tools

Stay still, Sally
Now is not the time for dollar store tools. You don't want a square-tip screwdriver that will lose its edge while you are assembling your new Scandinavian étagère: Thor would not approve. Get the following tools in a reputable brand like Mastercraft: a good set of screwdrivers, a stud finder, a drill with bits, nails and screws in various sizes, a measuring tape, putty powder, a level, a utility knife, a hammer and pliers. Also get a nice, classic red toolbox to hold it all. The rest you can borrow from number 3. Which leads me to...

3- A friendly helper

installing the lamp
Because you are not a super hero, there will come times when you need someone to help you with stuff like installing a lamp or shelves. So be sure to have a network of helpers ready to lend a hand. The rules? First try to do it yourself. If it doesn't work, ask nicely. Treat your friendly helpers with cupcakes and cookies from time to time. And if they need a hand, reciprocate.

4- A sense of humour

Shit will happen. Stay happy. On the first week of moving in my loft, my floor was badly scratched, I lost my camera, the breaker box had to be rewired and the apartment above mine leaked about 2425134 gallons of water into mine through the ceiling while I was away. I cried like a baby ("Why meeeeeeeee! Whyyyyyy!?) then I called my mom, bought flowers, drank a bottle of rosé with a friend and all was better.

5- Fearlessness

Yellow door project
Paint that door canary yellow. Hang that painting of a monkey in a suit on your living room wall. You don't make mistakes if you never try anything. That's why primer and Polly-Filla were invented.

6- Good movers

At Finnegan's flea market
I can't stress that enough. Don't go for the cheapest guys in the yellow pages; plan ahead and get names from friends and family. I used Déménagement Économique after getting rave reviews from friends and I will recommend them forever and ever. I've heard so many scary stories from people who used el-cheapo movers that I am now convinced that it's one of the best investment one can make. Saving 100 bucks is not worth having your stuff taken hostage by reformed criminals until you pay a "service fee" to each member of the crew. And yes, this actually happened to someone in my building.

7- Patience

You will live in a big old mess for a long time before feeling at home. Take it easy and enjoy the nesting aspect. When it comes to furnishing, buy only what you love even if it takes you time to find it. Do a little something for your place every week, even if it's just buying flowers or organizing your sock drawer. Enjoy the ride. You are home.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lady in the night

My friend Josiane invited a few of us from work for wine and cheese last night. I could not resist taking a pic of her lovely tree, especially since it is surrounded by freakingly cool sculptures that are built directly on the archway. From the way it is set up, the thirties wood moulding and glass doors, her apartment looks like it used to be an office. The lady-sconces that pepper the place add a little bit of haute bourgoisie flair. I love it!

But I loved the cheese even more. Yum. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hip Haven rocks. Seriously.

In late October, I ordered a triple swivel metallic bullet lighting from Hip Haven to add the final touch to my laundry room. I will be installed in place of the big halo caused by the naked bulb seen here :

The look was cool, the price was right and I was very excited about finally finishing that room. Only it turned out to be more complicated than that. Everything that could go badly went badly: first, the wrong fixture was sent, then the right one they sent as a replacement got caught in a vortex of red tape at custom, then UPS mixed things up even further... ALL the ingredients of a bad online purchase were there, but you know what? It was everything but, because Hip Haven has some of the BEST customer service I've ever experience. Why?

- because they sent mew emails keeping me updated of what was happening, said "we're sorry" many times and kept a positive and understanding outlook
- because they were super nice in every communication they sent and always responded promptly
- because they offered many times to give me a refund, but at the same time did everything they could to get the fixture to me
- because in the end, they made it happen and I got what I ordered - and I didn't have to argue about who was at fault, who was going to pay for shipping, etc.

So I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart (thanks Kelley!), you guys are pros. I love, love, love my new lighting and will recommend Hip Haven to all of my friends - and to my readers!

But now I need to install it... Help?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Places I'll never shop at - Space Age Edition

Look for this store right next to the Tang Malt Shoppe and Neil Armstrong's House of Freeze-Dried Pancakes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Of course

Is there a cat on earth who can resist hanging out under the tree at Christmas? I think not.

Kitty gift

Monday, December 15, 2008

Corners of my home: stamped for approval

Man on the moon

"Hello station one, station one, we are coming into orbit of Planet Stamp Holder. Satellites indicate URGENT, PAID IN FULL and TO BE FILED. Please advise course of action. Over."

Vintage stamp set: St-Michel flea market
Vintage Paris-Match magazine: gift from grandma

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shut up and take me

"Shut up and take me". This is how the title of the new serigraphy I bought at Souk at SAT translates. Ha! It's the work of Sweet Grognasse, a Montreal artist. She makes all sorts of pop-style prints that will give your home a boost of color.

If you missed her at the Souk, you can get some of her stuff at L'Usine 106 U and Bure and Linon, here in Montreal.

It's a step out from the animal theme I have going on in my bed room, but I think it will be very coquin in there, framed above my bed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holiday in Hochelaga

The shopping is half done and there's still cookies to be baked and ribbons to be tied. But at last, the decorating is done! My tree is artificial, but I have this kick-ass Crabtree & Evelyn "noël" spray that gives it a special Christmas smell. Yummy!

Christmas has arrived!

Joyeux Noël everybody!

cheep cheep!

The Tron guy is guarding his present, I bet he can't wait to open it!
I'm dreaming of a Tron Christmas

The sweet potato in my centerpiece is an hommage to my mother's random vegetable and fruit arrangements.
Sweet (potato) Christmas

Tiny soldier guards the Ice-o-Matic

What are you guys doing this Christmas, deco-wise? Keeping it classic or going the modern way with big bowls of ornaments and a white plastic tree? Do tell!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A spicy makover

Fed up with mismatched bottles and tumbling bulk bags, I decided to give my spice pantry a makeover. I forgot to take a "before" picture, but believe me, it was a mess.

Spice rack makeover

I headed to the dollar store, where I bought enough plain glass bottles to store all of the spices and herbs I have. A good wash and some funnel action later, I was ready to go.

Spice rack makeover

Spice rack makeover

I used the labeler at work to label everything clear and clean, then store everything back in. I kept the shelf on top for bigger items like Dean and Deluca tins.

Spice rack makeover

And voilà! I really want to add a second shelf, but this will do really good for now.

Spice rack makeover

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I can't stop watching this delicious "Japanese Omelet how-to" clip on Vimeo.

The music is amazing, the edit is cool and that little "kick the dish" finger dance at the end cracks me up.

Japanese omelet from awyete on Vimeo.