Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Red Crystal

Oooh............I love. covet. desire. crave. want this blast of colour. A Ranunculus crystal dome paperweight from John Derian. His crystal paperweights, decoupage platters and trays are a collectors favorite. Something for Mother's Day (hint,hint) or those new Bose headphones (small and light) would be good too.

Look.........the Peacock chair from Haute House with a bow on the back. Well, actually it's a buckle, but close. What a great mix of patterns and that chair fabric is wonderful. This company likes adding rear details to their chairs. Makes sense doesn't it?

And...............put it with this Georgia Flower square rug in a brillant red. Quite an entry statement for a 3'x 3" size. See it in the Haute Red collection at Neiman Marcus here.
Gorgeous..........Nr. 22 Red Parrot Tulip oil painting from Dutch Touch Art. Their old world paintings are fabulous. They still send me product emails so I still have my eye on one, I'll show it to you in an upcoming post. View their gallery here.

Top photo from John Derian/2nd and 3rd photo from Neiman Marcus/Bottom photo from Dutch Touch Art

Monday, March 30, 2009


Photo by Tec Petaja

For us it's always been a "little Smokey" as my husband says, makes us want to slow dance all night long. We were lucky enough to score some last-minute tickets to a Smokey Robinson show last fall, and big bonus....backstage passes which included the "Smokey hug" and a few weeks later, a photo of the three of us which now resides in a place of honour. I think my husband moved our wedding pic to make room for it! For those of you who saw the American Idol Smokey Robinson & Joss Stone duet last Thursday singing Smokey's new song "You're the One for Me", didn't you just get the chills? It was one of those magic music moments when you know a new song is just going to go right through the roof .The single song can be playlist downloaded at {click here} just in case you're in the mood for a "you're the one" slow dance sometime soon.

I am married to a man of few words.........but it never meant I didn't know what he was thinking. They are left on my dressing table, in the kitchen, on my desk, or near my sink, little love notes written on all manner of paper....sticki-notes usually, sometimes paper towels! But when we are old and gray, we can go through these little notes and track back through the years together....I've kept every one of them for the past 34 years . Some days when I get frustrated with his quiet ways I'll open the box, think about those notes and how they say so much, so often, and then I just smile ear-to-ear. It's worked for us and I can't help think most couples would benefit from some love note magic so this led to.........

Lovenotes................a little trio of romantic gifts to encourage any couple to keep a love note history at any time during their relationship. The Parlez d amour (Speak to me of Love) scented notebook is perfect, it's perfumed pages are easily removed for love notes back and forth. A wonderful gift for an engagement, wedding, anniversary, the new mom (listen up men), or your partner. The fragrance is so heavenly, I added the matching test tube set of Bath Oil/Bath Salts and a heart-shaped soap to keep the lovely groove going. Boxed, wrapped and shipped at 79.00 Can. Imported from France, of course.

Prepping a Lovenotes gift, a length of ribbon to tie up the love bundle and little product card to nudge the shy romanticist.

Top photo by Tec Petaja via Blush Events/2nd photo via Flickr/ 3rd Photo by Dan Reaume Photography for Oooh la la Cadeau /Bottom Photo by Sande Chase.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Blue Satin

photo by Chris Everhard
Sometimes you just need a zone-out movie so my friend and I headed over to see Confessions of a Shopaholic and though we both squirmed a bit with the movie message (put away the "magic" cards), as my friend said "that one hit a bit too close to home"! We just loved the stylish mix of clothes. I tend towards more serious cinema, but this one was just what I needed, silly and fun. From my vantage point as a former interior designer, I can't remember a time when design was more fun. Mix it up, patterns, colours, textures and styles, the more the better. This highly individualistic fashion and design style is just what we need these days, in a larger sense I think it means we're finally getting it........we're all unique and that is a really good thing.
I've been practising layered bows and almost have the hang of it. I did straight-pin the back, a thread stitch would be better, my husband has to mend his own socks , so that wasn't an option. I used a wide double face satin, I'm not too keen on wired ribbon, it seems too contrived, like I can't tie a bow and need all the help I can get. I know I'm the only one who thinks this way, a bow with wire stays up all fluffy and big, who am I to be a purist about ribbon for heavens sake! But I just love the "fall" and the "hand" as they say in the design business for a double face satin. I use all types, the real silk double face satins from France and Germany, the polyester ones from China, doesn't matter, it's all about the colour and feel. I like the smooth application around a box, wired ones get all bumpy, listen to me..............no don't, I sound weirdly intense. Like I need a life or something.

See the trailer {click herehttp://www.buzzsugar.com} should you need some silly fun.

Top photo by Chris Everhard at Sarah Kaye/Middle Photo fromby Sande Chase-Oooh la la Cadeau/ Bottom Photo from BuzzSugar.com

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mama Mia!

Lots of wrapping going on around here, new gift wrap, ribbons, and embellishments to add to a Wrap Room section of the website mean long hours, lots of experimenting, and Mama Mia! I like this new paper alot. The vintage Italian labels are visually busy, so I kept the ribbon thin and simple so it wouldn't obscure the images, quite happy with the orange and purple result. These thin saddlestitch ribbons are quite affordable and sometimes it's best to keep it simple. This paper flower added some saucy flavour and thank heavens for 2nd Cup.............those Grande Lattes are keeping me alert. This one is a wrap! Only 20 more to go, more lattes bella.

Italian theme paper to wrap a gorgeous Fiorentina photo frame, perfectly-themed and colourful. Each of these gilt and coral-coloured frames are made by one of the last Florentine artisans that employ this type of medieval craft. Each frame is made by hand and etched using the graffito process.....and no two are alike. It holds a 4 X 6 photo but I like it's inside fleur de lis pattern to show, so I would use a smaller photo, about the size of the product label. The rear is covered in this same pattern so it looks good from any view. The mark of a good gift frame. We rarely buy ourselves good photo frames so I think they are a lovely keepsake gift. $59.00 at Oooh la la Cadeau {click here}.

There's a bit of a bonus with this paper that I like. The leftover side strip can be used for matching (or in this case, wonderfully unmatched) gift labels. Affix label cuttings with a glue stick to some heavier weight paper, punch a hole, a narrow ribbon, write your message on the back and your gift is ready to go. One strip gave me 5 fabulously colourful gift tags. These would look good on the plain black gift wrap I always recommend as a wrapping staple.
Here's a few examples of my homemade Mama Mia! gift labels.

All photos by Sande Chase for Oooh la la Cadeau

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Not a Secret Recipe

My friends said if I'm writing a blog, I should at least share
my recipe for my kinda- famous cookies.
Sande's Secret Recipe Chocolate Chip Cookies

In a few weeks our son who has been away for two years will be home for a few months. I will have to keep the food coming so I'm busy getting recipes ready, some of the higher fat goodies that have disappeared from the menu around here. I'm not known for spending a lot of time in the kitchen these days, but when I did, I was kinda well-known for my chocolate chip cookies. I had no problem sharing them or the recipe, but everyone always thought I was omitting a secret ingredient. I wasn't and never would, but here is the non-secret recipe to keep those kids coming to the door and some essential cookie tips.
1. Always use Golden Crisco. Always. I use their box recipe for chocolate chip cookies with the following modifications. The recipe is usually on the inside or outside of box.
2. Slightly under cook, take them out just before you think they are done. Slightly brown, not brown. Don't worry, they will brown more as they cool. Nothing worse than an over baked cookie.
3. Throw in a small handful of those Skor butterscotch baking bits. No one knows can quite figure out what is in them, but they really, really like it. They do something with those chocolate chips. I think this is the secret part.
4. I use regular chocolate chips and then chop up some larger chunks of semisweet chocolate.
5. I take this recipe x4 for about 6-7 trays (6-8 cookies each) so that I can give away half. Someone always
needs some home-baked cookies.
6. After Day 1, my son microwaves them for exactly 10 seconds so they are just like oven-fresh.
7. Always use parchment paper on your cookie sheets. It prevents the bottoms from over browning.
8. I bake them, but don't eat them. Ok.......maybe just a bite.

If you have a friend who shares her goodies, she might like this handy custom ink stamp that can be ordered at this Etsy store {click here). I used to keep a supply of plain white bakery-type boxes handy for baking day, line it with parchment, fill it with cookies, tie it pretty ribbon and drop them off here and there. This stamp would have been perfect to use right on the box lid. I miss those days of buying parchment paper in bulk.

A more vintage style gift for the woman who bakes and shares.
You can order these personalised tags here at another Etsy store.

Oh.....one more thing, don't forget the very cold milk.

Top image from Flickr/Ink stamp image from Sweet Paperie at Etsy, Baking Labels from Farouche at Etsy, Bottom photo from Flickr

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Happy, Happy Birthday to my la la friend Stephanie! Maybe I will make her this wonderful angel food cake {recipe here} when we have her birthday celebration in a few weeks. Have a fun day Stephanie!

Sometimes a simple thank you can be the best. I'm sending you over to Etsy today to see a store where everything is simply wonderful. I've sent you there before (those great wood bracelets) but a few other things captured my attention. Especially this ribbon.

A simple bowl of diminutive dimensions perfect for jewellry, a cube of soap.

A paperweight? A conversation starter? You decide.
Wood notecards with vellum envelopes. How novel. They even
offer them custom words or names. Be inventive.

And you simply are the best. Thank You to readers and followers
who have been sending comments and support. I love hearing from you!
You are sending my mind in new directions and I'm enjoying the stretch.


Top photo from Carolyn Roehm/All other photos and product from Palomas Nest at Etsy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Gilded Blue

I see a great interior photo and I just want to gift wrap. Strange I know, but I was inspired by the gilt and blue in this gorgeous photo and I'm working on the styling for new website products. It's taking longer than I would like as I could use about 10 more hands these days. Photoshoot styling can be a demanding and draining task, though focused on a creative level. Trouble is I'm neither a stylist or photographer, so the learning curve is a challenge and involves way too many prep shots. Not quite as calming a task this week.

I think photo albums are one of the nicest gifts to give, especially if you insert a few photographs first, a great trip together, a wedding celebration, a condolence gift , Mother's Day coming up. This rich chocolate silk album with taffeta bow is one of my new favorites. The box is wrapped in my ensuite wallpaper (found a leftover stash!) and I found a lovely tassel that captured the tone of the room setting above. If one bow is lovely, then 3 will be even more magnificent, or that's the way it turned out. This happens to be some personal gifting and they tend to expect I'll pull out all the stops. I give my friends extra doses of ribbon, it keeps them well supplied.
I love, love my new petite products, especially the luscious MOR soap named Fin de Siecle and wrapped it up with wide, wired taffeta ribbon. No gift paper needed, simply wind ribbon around, start twisting after a couple turns and then tuck the ribbon end through, pulling out a generous length for the bow, then tighten. You can do this with any prettily-wrapped soap bar, always lovely to give when you need a petite token. We tend to think every bit of a item needs to be hidden when wrapped, show a bit, especially when it's packaging is so gorgeous.

This was one of my favorite silk photos albums, with exquisite detailing and quality. I often used this particular style for sympathy gifts, something they could use bedside in the reflective time ahead. I like to send something more personal and long lasting than flowers, especially if it's long distance and I don't know the florist.
Here is the same Mor soap but wrapped with even more of it's pretty packaging showing. Simply take 2 equal lengths of ribbon, laid in opposite directions, and place soap in center. Pull four ribbon ends up, hold tightly and quickly secure with a narrow ribbon and tie. You could attach a tiny gift card as well. This can be done with any small gift. I love this capiz shell and pearl ribbon, I have it in white, ivory and pink and use it whenever I want a feminine presentation. It's a bit tricky to tie but not much is needed.

Top photo via The Cherry Blossom Girl/Photo 2,3, 4and 5 by Sande Chase - Oooh la la Cadeau

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Macaron Day

It really is Macaron Day in Paris! Parisians line up at Pierre Herme (not that Hermes), a famous patissier of sleeker style to get their little treat bag of macarons for which they make a charitable donation. Unless you caught a flight yesterday, you missed the 2nd annual "jour du macaron" but you can follow the fun at blog Paris Breakfast . Blogger and artist Carol Gillott booked her Paris trip with timely coincidence (she loves, love all things Paris) and is posting her travel journal , click here to see today's photographs and her gorgeous Paris sketches . Her blog is a leisurely stroll through Paris anytime of year and you can view her lovely watercolours at her Etsy store here. She's away until early April, but follow her along.

There is always a macaron war going on , oooh......the stylish Parisians dueling in a civilized manner over who makes the most delectably flavored meringues! Is that considered a chic fight? You can find the buttercream or ganache-filled treats all over Paris at Herme, Gerard Mulot, Fauchon to name a few, but I still only think of Laduree when I think of these pastel confections. There were two things I had to see in Paris, one was the Laduree tea salon on the Champs Elysees (though there is a debate if the original location 16 Rue Royale is better), the other Chateau Versailles (a short train ride out of Paris, but you know what I mean). I'm trying not to get weepy here as both were too delicious for words, so click here to read more about Laduree and here's a bit of Versailles.

They even have a romantic wedding topper for all the Laduree-mad brides.

They are famous world-wide for their pastel packaging of all shapes and sizes. You can find all kinds of yummy treats, even have lunch. I wasn't the only woman on the return flight with a Laduree bag on my lap! You score big points for bringing friends a petite box of macarons. Rule number 1 ........you never, ever throw away a Laduree box or bag, it just isn't done! My friend Marie is going in May with strict instructions, here's my list, go to Laduree, then leave directly for airport. They are best eaten within 24 hours, I hope she doesn't forget.
Packaging logo ribbons in all sizes and pastel colours. Laduree's wrap station. Between you and I, the woman who waited on me was definitely impatient with my lengthy selection process. Maybe I should just work there? I would be perfectly content to package up rainbow treats all day long, I would be the nicest, most patient French shopgirl ever! Though I would probably use too much ribbon even for them.
For special events, Laduree wheels out their Versailles-style pastry cart, I wonder if they ever park it at the entrance to Versailles? Wherever they are parked, Laduree sells 10,000 macarons daily, 8 million a year! Both Laduree and Pierre Hermes have a salon in Tokyo, the Japanese are macaron-mad too. Some rumours about a Laduree coming to New York , but nothing yet, but there is one in Harrods in London, Monaco too.

Rule number 2..... do not go to Paris and miss Laduree. There are other pastry shops that carry macarons , but nothing quite like Laduree. French spelling "Macaron", English spelling "Macaroon", in case you thought I missed a vowel. And they are nothing like the North America macaroons, all gooey with coconut. Much, much better.

Photo 1,2, and 5 from Laduree/Photo 3 from Flickr/Photo 4 from Paris Breakfast

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blogger Butt

Not that we're breaking up or anything, but I have to make friends with an old friend again. While I was busy making new blogger friends over the past month, an old enemy showed up by the name of Blogger Butt! I was never known for a love of exercise, the outdoors (or a petite rear) , but when you have a 26 yr.old son who seriously cycles and keeps telling you to exercise, sometimes you just give in to keep them quiet. Nobody was more surprised than me that I took to cycling outdoors last year on my cheap entry-level bike like a crazed roadrunner. "But I don't like exercising" I kept thinking, 1000 km later I not only liked it, I absolutely loved it. I wasn't completely useless before that point, I had walked and walked, tried aerobics (remember I am 55), but cycling did the most remarkable things to those hips, my weight, my outlook, my Ipod playlist, and I'm hoping to see that happen again. So if my posts are a bit shorter over the next few weeks, you'll know why, I just have to make BFF with Marlin GS, my new Gary Fisher upgrade. I'm only going to mention it once, I'm not one to preach, but cycling is cheap and it works like crazy. Hit the road ladies.......with a helmet ( they look awful but who cares?), those hips and butt are going to be loving you again.

If I cycle long enough could I make it to this rural road in France?

Top photo from Gary Fisher Bikes/Bottom photo from Flickr

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tiffany Blue

One of my favorite ribbon bow ideas is to bring the bow to the front of the gift instead of to the standard top position (not that there is anything wrong with that!) especially on petite boxes. It usually is quite enough, the unexpected bow placement is novel on it's own and I was going for the monochromatic Tiffany tone of the photo below. I tried to do the classic Tiffany box with white ribbon, then realised I wasn't having any fun (not that's there anything wrong with a Tiffany box!). I must have been in a spring mood because I started adding ribbon layers to the top, looking to pop more colours together. Layering ribbons is another favorite, especially when the occasion calls for a bit of restraint, not everyone loves bows! It works well when you have lengths of ribbon that aren't quite long enough to make a bow. Simply use double-sided tape to neatly hide ends on the bottom of the box. Layer colours and ribbon widths for a more colourful presentation. I've used both methods here, but either works well alone.

Hard to believe I could stick to one colour, but I do love the simplicity of this colour scheme and room setting done by Atlanta designer Eric Prokesh. The petite black secretary seems to ground the vibrant colour perfectly. I need to sizzle up some of my studio wall colours so this one has me thinking it's time for a happy palette.

The same wall colour taken in a whole new direction by the same designer, the true mark of a talented interior designer. I'm going to see if I can hunt down some more examples of his fabulous style. More colour, more Parisian. This could do it for me too.

Top photo by Sande Chase - Oooh la la Cadeau/Middle and Bottom Photo from designer Eric Prokesh via Southern Accents/

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top of the Mornin'....

Green Beer, Leprechaun stories, and Maggie's Irish Soda Bread.........the benefits of having a best friend who is Irish. She'll be celebrating a "wee bit" somewhere in Poland this year , so Happy Paddy's Day to my old friend Kathleen and the McShane clan............I'll be thinking of you all day long!

Real Irish Soda Bread recipe here Pick up the buttermilk.

I wrapped up a "bit of shamrock green" just for you. Raise a pint or two.....and have a Happy St. Patrick's Day.
Everybody is Irish today!

Top photo by Polly Wreford at SarahKaye/Middle Photo from Food Network/Bottom Photo by Sande Chase - Oooh la la Cadeau

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wrap Vintage

A breathtaking array of vintage ribbon spools, what a gorgeous photo via Such Pretty Things a gorgeous blog
and flickr photo collection. Little girl parties in your future? Check out her blog for pretty ideas.

I always send along a box of matches with any candle gift order so I was experimenting with wrapping the Effiel Tower match boxes (yes, even those get wrapped around here!) and devised a way to wrap open-ended. Some items have fragile corners and so a light touch is needed. I've used a Paris Postcards gift wrap paper that at first glance didn't excite me, but the more I played the more I appreciated it's soft look. This is a great way to use up narrow strips of leftover paper and easy for the gift wrapped-impaired, simply cut to fit and fold the bottom edge into a V shape. A small strip of hand-dyed silk ribbon gives this simple little package a bright touch and vintage Paris labels (you could even use a postage stamp) hold everything in place, not a bow or piece of tape needed. I would consider using this open-ended technique for a book gift, I like the idea of seeing the book pages on the open ends.

Here's the same paper that was used to wrap a photo frame being sent as a comfort gift. I tried to use a aqua ribbon but it looked too cute so switched over to a gorgeous ivory double face satin and then a bit of subtle aqua sheer ribbon, this seemed to fit the mood of the gift much better. A wired stretch of ivory paper flowers cascade along the bow center to make this gift most special and comforting.

Middle and Bottom Photo by Sande Chase for Oooh la la Cadeau.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Be Calm.....all weekend

There is something about a orange and pink colour combination that takes my breath away. When I was a designer, there wasn't too many opportunities to use this luscious scheme, but gift wrapping is a whole other story. Talk about instant gratification. When feeling stressed, I find combining patterns, ribbons, and techniques remarkably meditative for me, it calms me down. Surprising really, interior designers work in larger palettes and delayed gratification, so the soothing pleasure found in smaller creations took me by surprise. To take a career leap is not a calming proposition, so I had to reason through why this was so important to me. Then I got it....and it really isn't that much about the packaging, though that part I love. When I wrap I picture the woman who is receiving it, why it's being sent, and how it's going to make her feel. It can be a happy occasion, a birthday, a new baby, a new job, but often it is not, and this is when I lose any concern that what I do now is frivolous in any way. I have learned two things over the past year, women certainly aren't anything close to frivolous when it comes to supporting other women, when it comes to providing comfort and support during grief or sadness, they are so beautifully sensitive it too can take your breath away. Beauty in any package, even the tiniest token is healing to women at vulnerable times, I think the time when they need it most. I'm just happy to be part of it. I plan to carry on.

So beautifully composed........

A lovely note, a listening ear, a little token,
something home-baked, help someone carry on.

My many thanks to new readers who have left comments and support this past week. I veered off a bit from my blog subject of gift wrapping the past week but plan to spend a day this weekend doing some calm-inducing gift wrapping for blogs next week. I'm gearing up to start adding gift wrap papers, ribbon, and more small gifts to my website, so stay tuned and have a soothing weekend.

Top photo by Sande Chase-Oooh la la Cadeau/Middle Photo from Rosenow Florals discovered by Beautiful Things To Share/Bottom photo and poster from SF Girl By Bay via Etsy.


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