Dec 31, 2013

25 Cocktail Party Must Haves

Friends are coming for cocktails tonight.

25 things to have on hand:
  1. hand size snacks such as -  popcorn, cheese, pickles, crackers, wasabi peas, Cheezies, or other nibbles - nuts with a vintage nutcracker are always a hit, make sure you have a bowl for the shells
  2. ice, ice and more ice
  3. cocktail napkins and regular napkins
  4. coasters
  5. vintage serving bowls
  6. tea lights, candles, lighter
  7. ice bucket or two
  8. soda, tonic, juice (cranberry, orange, tomato), pop, cold flat or carbonated water
  9. cocktail straws, cocktail picks
  10. garnish -  lemon, lime and good cocktail cherries (check what your drink recipes call for)
  11. extra toilet paper
  12. whiskey, bourbon, rye, rum, vodka, gin, dry and sweet vermouth, cognac, two bottles of both white and red wine, beer, bubbly
  13. clean cloth to quickly wipe up spills
  14. plenty of clean hand towels in the washroom
  15. bottle opener and corkscrew
  16. a game - personally I can't stand games but some people love them at parties
  17. burgundy glasses, beer glasses, martini glasses, rock glasses, champagne flutes
  18. list of cocktail recipes - check the drink section of my blog, or Art in the Age and MasonShaker have some of my current favourites
  19. clean house slippers if you insist your guests take their shoes off
  20. organized front closet with empty hangers (no wire hangers)
  21. bitters, simple syrup (easy to make - boil two parts sugar, one part water or 1:1 shaken until sugar dissolves)
  22. an empty garbage under the sink
  23. cocktail shaker
  24. phone number for a cab or designated driver service - the host should pay or prearrange
  25. appropriate music
originally published September 24th 2008

    image from the collection of Stacy Reynaud

    Dec 29, 2013

    Top Read Posts 2008 - 2013

    stacy reynaud

    Dec 26, 2013

    Hot Buttered Rum with Apple Cider

    What you need:

    • 2 tbsps butter
    • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
    • 2 tsps pumpkin pie spice
    • 2 oz dark rum
    • 12 oz hot apple cider - my recipe
    • Serves two

    What you do:
    • Whip butter, brown sugar and pie spice
    • Chill until firm
    • Divide butter mixture and rum between 2 six ounce mugs
    • Stir in hot cider

    stacy reynaud

    Dec 20, 2013

    How to Uniquely Wrap a Gift

    I promise I won't say eco or upcycle. However, seeing as I'm of the make do mend persuasion a vintage silk scarf used to wrap a gift suits me just fine.

    Voila - Japanese furoshiki. Interested in more techniques using scarves as wrapping, bags or apparel check out the furoshiki site.
    stacy reynaud

    Dec 18, 2013

    Mid Century Modern BC Binning Home West Vancouver

    Binning Home image Stacy Reynaud

    Crowdfunding is my latest proposal to save the Binning Home for the public - as Mrs. Binning had bequeathed. Remember I suggested the District of West Vancouver purchase the Binning Home as a marketing and communications expense to compliment the forthcoming West Vancouver Centre for Art and Architecture? Well, only two individuals have stepped up - heritage advocates Kathleen Staples (of the Staples Residence) and Bruno Wall, the nephew of real estate developer Peter Wall - who has been labelled 'partially responsible for Vancouver's City of Glass reputation.' Staples offered up a cheque of $1 million on Friday, December 13th - $600,000 short of Wall's offer of $1.6 million.

    On December 13th, the judge (Madam Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick), presiding over the BC Supreme Court fight for the house, stated:

    The rubber hits the road regarding who's prepared to write the cheques to maintain this property. Where are they? Where are all these people? Who's prepared to come and make a concrete proposal? At the end of the day, unless you have the government standing behind these types of projects, someone has to pay for them.

    So, who's with me on this? For purchase, necessary repairs, continuous maintenance, marketing and administration of the home, I suggest a goal of $5 million. Come by the Bijou Living Facebook page to share your ideas.

    Read more of my Binning posts from the past three years by searching Binning at the top of the page.

    Read the Supreme Court affidavit filed by The Land Conservancy November 13, 2013.

    "The rubber hits the road in terms of who's prepared to write the cheques to maintain this property," she said.
    Fitzpatrick added that despite wide media coverage, no one besides Wall and Staples has stepped up with formal proposal to take over the house.
    "Where are they? Where are all these people? Who's prepared to come and make a concrete proposal? At the end of the day, unless you have government standing behind these types of projects, someone has to pay for it."
    - See more at:
    "The rubber hits the road in terms of who's prepared to write the cheques to maintain this property," she said.
    Fitzpatrick added that despite wide media coverage, no one besides Wall and Staples has stepped up with formal proposal to take over the house.
    "Where are they? Where are all these people? Who's prepared to come and make a concrete proposal? At the end of the day, unless you have government standing behind these types of projects, someone has to pay for it."
    - See more at:
    Mr. and Mrs. Binning
     Mr. Binning's studio with original works as well as unfinished ones. Image Stacy Reynaud

    Binning's studio Image Stacy Reynaud

    Note the high windows to let in the south sunlight on the upper left. Image Stacy Reynaud

    The Binning's original Danish furnishings. Image Stacy Reynaud

     South facing back yard. Image Stacy Reynaud

     Mrs. Binning's room to the left, washroom centre and Mr. Binning's room and studio to the right.
    The mural was hand painted by Mr. Binning
    image Stacy Reynaud

    Mr. Binning's studio. Image Stacy Reynaud

    Original mid-century yellow ceramic tiles in the main washroom. Image Stacy Reynaud
     Mrs. Binning's Bedroom - with all her belongings - would they be sent to the Salvation Army if the home was sold? Image Stacy Reynaud

    Dining Room of the Binning Home with BC Studio Ceramics. Image Stacy Reynaud
     Original address plate. Image Stacy Reynaud

     Mrs. Binning's last entry in her day planner dated Friday May 27th 2007.
    She died later that year at 101.
    Image Stacy Reynaud

     Front entrance with one of Binning's murals. Image Stacy Reynaud

     Front entrance from the street.
    Note the high windows. Mr. Binning's studio is to the right.
    Image Stacy Reynaud

    South facing back yard - view of Burrard Inlet beyond the mature trees - would they be destroyed to improve the view? Image Stacy Reynaud

     The entire contents of the home belonged to the Binnings - where would it go if the home was sold to a private citizen? Image Stacy Reynaud

     Back yard with trellis and original windows. Image Stacy Reynaud

     Every kitchen needs a window. Private west facing kitchen window. Binning Kitchen. 
    Image Stacy Reynaud

     Original kitchen cupboards in the Binning kitchen. Image Stacy Reynaud

    Entrance hall - the Binnings were collectors of Japanese ceramics and BC studio pottery. 
    Image Stacy Reynaud

    BC Binning's desk drawer - as he left it before he died.
    Image Stacy Reynaud

    all images © Stacy Reynaud

    Quote of the Week - Henri Poincare

    Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.

    image from the collection of Stacy Reynaud

    Dec 17, 2013

    10 Tips for the Party Host

    When your hosting skills are brought to the test, don't fail.
    1. Take your guest's coat. Don't put them on the bed.* Hang them up. Small, unrealistic closet? Rent a sales man's rack or invest in one (I have two).
    2. Your guest's shoes are part of their outfit - allow them to keep them on. I bring fancy house slippers with me just in case the dreaded pile of shoes is at the door.
    3. Offer your guest a drink after you've taken their coat and before they're more than five steps in the door. Tip: have non-alcoholic drinks (soda, tonic and juice), red wine, white wine, bubbles, beer, vodka, rum, rye, scotch, tequila, gin, sweet and dry vermouth and cognac. Don't forget fresh ice, cocktail napkins, lemons, limes, olives and cocktail straws.
    4. Never introduce your guest's boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancee, spouse or whatever, as such. They have an identity of their own.
    5. You are responsible for your guest's safety. Read my post, How to Deal with Drunk Guests.
    6. Keep the lights and the music low.
    7. If you're a couple, work tag team. Lay out each of your defined 'duties' beforehand and cover each other's backs with refilling drinks, conversation starters, toilet paper and hand towel checks, lit candles, cleared plates and stocked ice.
    8. Never let them see you sweat. As far as your guest is concerned you're already the monarch of the mingler - they don't need to see the dirty dishes. Get some of those big plastic crates with tops and hide your dirty dishes in there until the guests leave. Throw a table cloth over it and they'll never know. I used to hide stuff in the bathtub of my ensuite.
    9. Accept that you'll have a guest that snoops in the medicine cabinet of your bathroom. You know what to do with that stuff.
    10. To prevent guests from overstaying, lay out a start and end time in your invite. If there are still stragglers start unloading those crates with the dirty dishes in them.
    * Back in the old days laying coats on the bed was considered faux pas due to bed bug infestations.

    image from the collection of Stacy Reynaud

    Originally published December 27, 2010

    Dec 16, 2013

    9 Christmas Gifts for the Intergalactic Traveler

    in case they get lost - Galaxy Sweatshirt Bittersweet

    to find their way home - gemstone globe
    self explanatory - Louis Moinet Astralis
    metallic make up case for those evenings in the stars - Mulberry
    metallic pens for doodling - Athas!
    large solid gold Tiffany's flask self explanatory - 1st Dibs
    to keep the clothes in - vintage Gucci duffel bag Stated Style

    Dec 4, 2013

    Quote of the Week - Albert Einstein

    from the collection of stacy reynaud
    The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.

    Dec 3, 2013

    10 topics I've been meaning to write about but haven't gotten around to

    Bijou Living Tumblr

    It's much easier to publish with one's pseudo-opposable thumb than ten digits.

    I've had a month-long case of insomnia (brought on by stress), which in turn aggravates my moods - hence many Tumblr and Instagram posts but no blog updates. 

    Post ideas have been coming and going through my thoughts, but that's it.

    Here are some things that have been floating around:

    1. Have you watched the Upstairs Downstairs remake on Netflix? The set design and costumes - oh my cat - wrap me up in them! Those silk velvet gowns - purr.
    2. How about Mr. Selfridge? We need more Roderick Temple.
    3. Society women in Edwardian times
    4. Gong meditation
    5. Finding the perfect wasabi chickpea recipe
    6. The phrase, 'Nothing personal, it's just business.' Screw that. Business is personal.
    7. Only Lovers Left Alive
    8. Predictive analysis
    9. Out-of-body experiences 
    10. Mallard green interiors

    Nov 20, 2013

    Whipped Coconut Cream and Chocolate Chia Pudding - Vegan Recipe

    It took a few attempts with different recipes but I finally found a whipped coconut cream recipe (whipping cream made with coconut milk) that actually has the consistency of whipped cream. If you've tried making whipped coconut cream you know that you could stand there whipping it for an hour and you still wouldn't get it to peak.

    I've made carob chia pudding with almond milk before and had been meaning to try it with coconut milk but never got around to it. Well thanks to Finding Vegan and the Foodily app I was reminded.

    So, here are two recipes that go perfectly together.

    Chocolate Chia Pudding with Coconut Milk

    What you need:

    • 2 cups coconut milk
    • 4 tbsp cocoa powder - to make it vegan use cacao
    • 8 tbsp ground black chia seeds (I use the ground ones as they're not so crunchy)
    • sweetener of your choice (I used four tbsp sugar - ech it was way too much)
    • hand mixer
    • medium bowl

    What you do:
    • Pour coconut milk into a medium size mixing bowl
    • Add the rest of the ingredients
    • Beat with a hand mixer until everything is blended
    • Cover and refrigerate for a few hours (I usually leave mine over night)
    • Serve cold topped with whipped coconut (cream recipe below)
    Serves four

    I adapted this recipe for the pudding.

    Whipped Coconut Cream

    What you need:

    • 1 can coconut milk refrigerated for 24 hrs.
    • optional sweetener or vanilla (I used one tbsp sugar)
    • hand mixer
    • medium bowl

    What you do:

    • Put your bowl and beaters into the freezer an hour before you're ready to start whipping
    • Take the can of coconut milk out of the fridge and turn it over. The heavy cream will have lifted to the top of the can so when you flip it over the coconut water is on top and you can pour it out easily. Be careful not to lose any of the heavy cream.
    • Use a spatula to scrape the heavy cream from the can into the bowl you just took out of the freezer.
    • Put the frozen beaters onto the hand mixer and whip the cream at high speed for three minutes if you're adding sweetener add it after three minutes and beat for one or two more minutes. Total whipping time four/five minutes. The coconut cream should form peaks when you lift the beaters up.
    Serves two - four

    For the whipped coconut cream I followed this recipe. My recipe definitely didn't yield two cups of whipped coconut cream. Maybe a cup at the most. I left my can of coconut milk in the fridge for a week though because I didn't have time to make it the next day (or the next day, or the day after that).

    **The next time I make this I'll add less sugar, or even skip it all together as my blood sugar levels after eating it made me feel like I was having a panic attack.

    The Satanic Majesty's Request