Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday entertaining - Celebrate the holidays with a vintage inspired holiday coffee klatsch

Gather your friends for some holiday treats and coffee. It's a holiday coffee klatsch!

You might be wondering what I'm talking about - a coffee klatsch? It's your grandma's (or perhaps older depending on your age) idea of a coffee date and it's fitting since I decided to pull out my Mom's teacups for the occasion. P.S. Klatsch also means gossip in German but we won't be doing any of that at our party...right?

pull out the pretty teacups for a holiday coffee party

We'll also have some chocolate dipped spoons because the holidays and chocolate are made for each other. You can dip them in your coffee to add something sweet. They are super easy to make and pretty too, especially with vintage teaspoons. Scroll down for the details.

I served everything on this beautiful hand-painted tole enamel tray that I found at a thrift store a while ago. I love this tray and rarely use it, but since it's a special occasion I pulled it out. The pretty white stonewashed linen cocktail napkins are from a company called Lip Service Napkins.
They would make a great hostess gift.

If you don't have your own heirloom teacup collection, vintage tea cups and spoons can be picked up at antique malls, thrift stores and consignment shops. 

chocolate dipped spoons
When it comes to making coffee we love Nespresso. We've thought about investing in a pricey new espresso machine but honestly I love the coffee. I've found the quality of coffee we get from Nespresso to be exceptional.  I can create all kinds of cafe worthy coffees.  I can consistently make great coffee for guests. Nespresso makes entertaining easy.

Recently I had the privilege of visiting Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario where I learned about Nespresso's two bespoke coffees designed for two or three Michelin-starred chefs. We were treated to an incredible meal prepared by Executive Chef Jason Bangerter who talked about Langdon Hall's partnership with Nespresso. They are one of two Canadian restaurants chosen to offer Nespresso's Exclusive Selection Grand Crus.  The other restaurant is Toqué! located in Montreal. Anyways, I was surprised to find out that Nespresso was being served in many Michelin starred restaurants where they have been embraced by chefs. It is often the last thing you are served at a restaurant or in someones home so having a consistent and exceptional coffee experience is important in leaving a good last impression.

Our coffee hub includes our Nespresso machine. It's not fancy, just a basic machine but it consistently delivers great coffee.

Nespresso sent over a selection of their limited edition Variations Confetto for our OriginalLine machine. I tested the Festive Assortment which includes Orangette, Snowball and Liquorice. I was a little apprehensive as typically I don't enjoy flavoured coffee but the flavours are very subtle. Just a hint, in fact most of the flavour is in the aroma of the coffee when it's brewing. I enjoyed them, especially the liquorice.

The fun candy inspired packaging for the Nespresso Variations Confetto Collection was designed by artists Craig & Karl.
The Confetto collection coffee pairs well with holiday baking!

To make the chocolate dipped spoons you'll need melting chocolate and a selection of toppings. I used Callebaut milk chocolate callets from The Bulk Barn and added mini white chocolate chips, mini M&M's, sprinkles and a mix of gold baking glitter and turbinado sugar.

Add water to the base of a double boiler and bring water to a simmer. If you don't have a double boiler just place a heat proof glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water or the chocolate may burn or seize. Add chocolate and let it slowly melt. It's important that it melts slowly so it doesn't burn. When the chocolate has melted dip a spoon into the chocolate and set on a sheet of parchment paper. Let set for a couple of minutes before adding toppings. Place in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to set completely.

Decorations can be simple, a bowl of vintage ornaments and some fresh greenery is just right. I used a rustic buffalo check tablecloth which I picked up at Linen Chest. I like mixing the relaxed but bold pattern with the fancy china and black tole tray.

vintage ornaments

I added a few festive touches to my coffee nook switching out some of my usual coffee glasses for pretty vintage teacups. Drinking coffee in teacups is a treat for the holidays. I don't want a lot of holiday decor in the kitchen but a few bottle brush trees look great and don't take up a lot of space. Adding in seasonal colours hints at the holidays.

Scroll down for sources to get the look.

coffee nook shelfie

coffee nook

tole tray / buffalo check tablecloth/ vintage tea cup / espresso confetto orangette / Nespresso Expert Bundle / Cocktail Napkin

Paper Parade Co. has received product from Nespresso in exchange for a review and post. However, all opinions are my own and I only promote products I love.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Vintage Industrial style - with Matthew Mead + a Giveaway

If you love spending weekends exploring antique markets, thrift stores and estate sales then you must meet my friend Matthew Mead.  He is hands down one of the most talented people I know.

A jack of all trades - Matthew is a stylist, photographer, creative director and editor who has published numerous magazines and books over his 20+ year career.

Wooden factory cart upcycled to hold kitchen essentials from Upstyled Home Industrial.

Matthew's newest magazine launched just recently and I wanted to share a few sneak peek images from it. The great thing about his magazines is that they are timeless. I still refer back to old issues for inspiration.

Matthew has a 8000 square foot warehouse in New Hampshire full of props he has collected over his career. That's right, 8000 square feet!

Matthew Mead's 8000 square foot warehouse

Today, my heart aches because Matthew is having an estate sale this weekend and I won't be there.  He is downsizing to a smaller warehouse so he is letting go of thousands of props, mostly vintage.

I can tell you that it is an amazing place. I visited it several years ago to "shop" for a photoshoot with Matthew and it was a dream. It's a 9-hour drive to Concord, New Hampshire from Toronto and as much as I want to be there, it just wasn't in the cards this week. The sale starts Friday October 20th (tomorrow!) and runs on Saturday too. Here is the link to the sale details if you are up for a road trip and a link to images of the goods, even if you just want to oogle them.

Upstyled Home Industrial Magazine

If you can't make it, you can satisfy your vintage-loving heart by getting a sneak peek at Matthew's new magazine Upstyled Home Industrial. I think this might be one of my favourites.

Industrial pieces can be found at antique markets but they can be pricey because they are in demand. I wanted to know where Matthew finds such great pieces.

"You can find industrial pieces in unexpected places. Institutional sales, hotels and restaurant closings... old schools offer little competition and excellent prices," says Mead.

The magazine is available on newstands now in Canada and the US. I spotted them at local Loblaws and Sobeys stores.

The Giveaway!

I'm giving away a copy of Matthew's new magazine Upstyled Home Industrial PLUS a little gift of vintage finds that I have picked up on my travels - what that will be is a surprise. To enter follow me @debra_norton on Instagram and tell me what you collect. Giveawy closes midnight October 24th.

A tour of Tricia Foley's studio

Shop tour of White Flower Farmhouse in Southold NY

Steel industrial factory cart upcycled as an entertaining trolley.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Interesting local businesses ... Antique Crates

I love antique crates. The combination of graphics, rustic wood and of course the history gets me every time.

Antique Colman's Mustard crate from Antique Crates

I was lucky to inherit one of two antique Eaton's grocery crates that sat in my grandmother's cellar for decades. My dad cleaned it up years ago and its uses are almost endless. When we first got married it was a makeshift coffee table while we saved up to buy furniture for our new home. Today, I use it to store patio essentials such as candles, melamine dishes and wine glasses for summer entertaining (grab & go) and in the winter it corrals wool blankets.

an Eaton's Grocery Box inherited from my Grandma

Awhile ago I discovered a guy on Instagram who collects and sells antique crates. His feed is filled with crates and boxes and he has a warehouse with space dedicated solely to his collection, which he sells!

Antique Crates in Etobicoke

His name is Joe and he owns Antique Crates. I had the chance to visit in August after I reached out to see if he was interested in donating a crate to the Habitat for Humanity project I was working on for The Toronto Fall Home Show. He said yes. Such a nice guy! I ended up choosing an antique berry tray which I stained and tattooed to match my table.

Here's my table. It's an antique basin stand which I "tattooed" with slogans for social change in support of Habitat for Humanity. It was on display at The Toronto Fall Home Show in September.

antique basin stand and berry tray upcycled for Habitat for Humanity

antique basin stand and berry tray upcycled for Habitat for Humanity

I brought along my camera when I went to check out Joe's warehouse in the off chance that he might let me snap some photos. He did.  I thought you might be as intrigued as I was to poke around his collection. So, here are some photos from my visit. It's a treasure trove of crates that he has collected from all over. You can follow Joe on Instagram or visit his website for more info.


Antique Crates in Etobicoke - there are two rooms like this one filled with crates

stacked crates and old soda bottles from Antique Crates

Beautiful old labels and paint are intact on many of the crates

stacks of fruit trays and crates

lots of boxes + other collectibles such as old signs and bread boxes