Friday, December 31, 2010

It's All About the Fabrics

I always felt the job was half done after we painted our kitchen in ICI Silver Cloud. Why? The beige drapes attracted unnecessary attention, and didn't complement the fabulous grey wall color. I was debating really hard against spending another few hundred $$$ to replace those drapes, and there's no guarantee I would like the new ones so that would be a risky move.

I truly believe everything has a "silver" lining. Just as I was in such a dilemma, my mom came to visit. She suggested only changing the "headers" of the drapes with silver sateen and the best part is, she would help me sew them! So here we go, after a few hours of her work I now have like brand new drapes in Silver Sateen. I love love them! (I love my mom even more!)

I took the opportunity to ask her opinion about the chairpads for the bamboo chairs I picked up last month for $40. We went to the Fabricland together where they had tons of Christmas sales and everything else at 40% off. I picked up this blue floral outdoor fabric for $4/m (original price tag was $14/m). Altogether, the four custom-made chairpads/cushions cost me $33! Plus free labour and craftsmanship courtesy of my dearest mom! I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can put these chairs outside of my patio door under the pergola.
While I was at the Fabricland, I also picked up this cheerful Richloom Cornwall Garden
medallion fabric. I didn't know what I wanted to use it for at the time but I just couldn't take my eyes off the patterns! They are so detailed and intriguing!
Well, here is a sneak peak of what I used the medallion fabric for. I've always wanted a round box cushion (call me old-fashioned -- I am an old soul trapped in a young body), but they can cost an upward of $200. This is yet another master piece of my mom's -- I started to wonder if she regretted visiting me so often -- I don't seem to be shy of asking her for anything. :-D
Happy new year everyone!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kitchen in ICI Silver Cloud Paint

It is now common knowledge that grey is the new beige. Looking back, from my first few condos with builder white walls, to my last house in a vibrant Tweety yellow, to the current house in neutral color palettes, I have come a loong way when it comes to picking the right paint colors for different rooms. I've learnt to take my time and research to death before I commit to any paint color. So after much needed consideration and debate over tens of grey colors, I went ahead with ICI Silver Cloud for my kitchen.

Here is the kitchen now in ICI Dulux Silver Cloud. I used their VOC-free Dulux Lifemaster line. The coverage was amazing and it was virtually odorless. ICI Dulux gave me a free membership with 25% discount entitlement off every order, so I think I am going to stick with this brand for a while. The Silver Cloud color is so elegant and sophisticated (my camera doesn't do the justice), and echos a certain shade of the Bianco Carrara backsplash. Here is the dining area inside the kitchen. The pedestal table is from Anne-Quinn Custom Furniture, and the "O" chairs are from InVu/BB Bargoons. I still think the drapes and blinds look too plain so I may switch to roman shades and darker color drapery. Any suggestions?
Oh, and here's the Alessi Michael Graves Kettle I got in the mail today. Anthony is still getting used to the bird whistle but he will get there.
And here are the Paderno Pepper/Salt Mills I ordered. Together they cost me over 100 stones! In hindsight they are not smart buys. Oh well.

That's it for today. Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Year 2011!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Am Hosting Christmas Dinner...

...and I want to look fab and smell nice. This year we are the lucky ones again to host family's Christmas dinner, and I am determined to pick a few no-fuzz easy-to-prepare dishes so that I will have time to shower and look fresh when my guests arrive.

I've always been a fan of Gucci's perfume such as the Original Rush (not the Rush II), so of course I can't pass the Gucci Guilty with the same amber-based notes. The Gucci Guilty not only smells but looks sophisticated...I can already see how wonderful the bottle looks on my Sarah Richardson's dresser.
I have my Christmas outfit already planned in my head -- mostly from the pieces I already own: the GAP jeans, GAP Favourite Tee, BURBERRY Scarf, ECCO Bouillon Ballerina Flats and Swarovski earrings. The bottom line is -- comfort and being myself.
I am not biting my nails yet about the Christmas dinner but I need to start the planning. I am not that type of hostess that has a few signature dishes up her sleeves, so perhaps I should turn to my trusted advisor -- Williams-Sonoma's cookbooks.
So here's what I am thinking:
When guests arrive and before dinner is served: Smoked Salmon H'orderves (the bonus? I pretty much don't need to cook anything in this dish.)
I am no wine pairing expert, but I know a thing or two about the wines I love. 2007 Pinot Noir from Speck Family Reserve is one of the best Pinot Noirs I've tried so far; I always have a weakness for Shiraz and Rosemount Diamond Estate's 2006 Shiraz fits the bill and taste; and of course who can go wrong with our own Ontario's Henry of Pelham's Chardonnay?
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus will be one of the appetizers. Hubby hates asparagus (or any vegetable), so I need to be creative to replace it with something else. Any suggestions?
I guess I do have one fool-proof dish after all -- my Coq au Vin Blanc as the entrée. I can almost taste how wonderful it is pairing with Speck's Pinot Noir, or the Chardonnay that's already in the sauce.
And saving the best for last, how could we call it a Christmas Feast without Anthony's famous Penne Arrabiata, right? The spicy Shiraz will undoubtedly kick up the flavour by another notch!
And Christmas Dinner is served! Dessert anyone?

Friday, December 3, 2010

All Set for Christmas!

Realizing how monochromatic my kitchen appears after the recent makeover, I am determined to introduce some color pops to create visual interests. And what better time to do so than Christmas, 'tis the season to decorate with splashes and splashes of colors!

I fancy this Alessi Michael Graves Kettle with Small Bird-Shaped Whistle from Gabriel Ross for a while (or anything Alessi, I've been hooked on their designs since I did a MBA case study on them years ago), so I brought home this pretty lady online just in time for some high tea with girlfriends during holidays. I picked up the Paderno Pepper Mill in Blue from HomeSense by chance the other day, and since bought a Salt Mill in Yellow and another Pepper Mill in Red to complete the set. Paderno Canada web site has a great sale going on now where you can get these mills at 30% off. And how can I be all set for Christmas without the tree and lights?! This year I am also going for a chance: instead of one humongous 7-Ft tree I used to put up every year, I picked up two of these 5-Ft Prelit Potted Christmas Trees from Canadian Tire. I added some vintage balls (yes, they are from my mother-in-law and just as young as my husband) and voilà, I have them flank the entrance to the dining room to make my guests feel like VIPs.
We are adding exterior potlights before Christmas so that's all we put up this year so far. That's is for now.

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