Wednesday, August 28, 2013

#4 Playtime Paris - poetic jewelry by titlee

titlee's homepage 

The Tokyo edition of Playtime has now started and I am still hoping to be able to report about it next month despite some last minute (annoying) event. In the meantime I am very happy to introduce you to a young French label that I have discovered last month at Playtime Paris. I hope you'll like it as much as I do!

I have discovered titlee, founded in 2009, at the last edition of Playtime Paris, and I was immediately charmed by the whimsical collection, the poetic designs and the attention to details - the entire brand's aesthetic is very appealing to me. Gold plated and sometimes preciously enameled, each jewel seems to tell us a story or sing us a song. The entire collection is made in France in collaboration with craftsmen - and this is just one excellent reason to support the brand! 
Little titlee, a line dedicated to children, was started three years ago and is as cute. I will let the photos do the talk...

All photographs ©Sandrine Pigeon 

I am grateful to Séverine Balanqueux to have introduced me to online shop Neëst and Sandrine Pigeon who took the gorgeous photographs used to illustrate this post. Great collaboration!

titlee :: website :: blog :: shop :: facebook

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Handmade Marché - Tokyo {upcoming event}

I am gearing up for an upcoming handmade market which will take place in Tokyo, Shinjuku at the end of September this year (21 & 22.09.13). Participating with two of my friends will make it even more exciting and enjoyable and I am planning to sell my embroidered accessories but also spread the word about my upcoming workshops and party styling!

I will attend the market with Yuka of Color of India - remember the event in June I had organized in my house? More about Yuka and her wonderful selection of products from India here and here. Another super good friend of mine, Yuko of Trensa is also joining the fun. Yuko has a fantastic selection of products she's creating and importing from Mexico. I have bought some of the birdies featured on the flyer above to decorate my windows... pretty!

The event is organized every year in March and September by the truly creative Emi-san of car*g*mom  and takes place at La Keyaki  in Shinjuku Gyoen. I have heard it's a wonderful space with an outdoor garden, a tatami room and even a kitchen.

Other vendors, whom I will meet up for the first time at the market are:
Jungle books

If you are in Tokyo, please come enjoy the laid back atmosphere at Handmade Marché then have a stroll at Shinjuku Gyoen before heading back to the hectic Shinjuku station!

Handmade Marché at La Keyaki in Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo
Saturday, September 21 from 12:00~20:00
Sunday, September 22 from 12:00~18:00
Entry fee: 500yen (incl. one drink)
Map: click here

Friday, August 23, 2013

#3 Playtime Paris - les boîtes de Tiphaine Mangan

Continuing my report on Playtime Paris, I am happy to introduce you today to créatrice extraordinaire Tiphaine Mangan, whom I've met for the first time at the fair. Tiphaine is creating one-of-a-kind boxes to decorate walls and shelves in kids room - I wouldn't say no to one for myself though. She was also unveiling a brand new design at Playtime, I hope to share the images with you all soon in a future post! 

Tiphaine started by making unique, one-of-a-kind boxes for exhibition at the famous parisian shops Le Bon Marché & Bonton before coming up with the models above and below. Using illustration and drawings found while wandering in flea markets in France, Tiphaine recreates scenes of our childhood's favorite fairy tales or cute everyday-life tableaux

There is also an option that I personally love - and I am pretty sure you will too! Called the Kiddibox, it allows you to have you own children pictured in the box! All you have to do is to make your purchase, then send a couple of high resolution pics to the designer and let her work her magic. What a unique and supercool gift for a little one!

Tiphaine Mangan :: website :: facebook 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

#2 Playtime Paris - Apolline à Paris

I was familiar with French label Apolline à Paris so I was very pleased to find it at Playtime Paris last July. I have mainly included images of the website to illustrate this post as it sums up beautifully Apolline's atmosphere, an Alice in Wonderland? Creatures coming straight out of our favorite fairy tales, elegant chiffon dolls in their prettiest dresses or fancy paper lanterns... Let's "watch our dreams" - something a little girl told me yesterday, I thought it was such a cute image! 

Here below is a photo I took at Playtime of Apolline's booth {more pictures here}... So magical, no wonder the brand is so popular in Japan and in Korea! 

Apolline à Paris :: website :: shop :: facebook 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Amsterdam & Copenhagen with AirBnB

One highlight of our summer vacation in Europe this year was a short escapade in Amsterdam (in The Netherlands) and Copenhagen (Denmark) and the fact that for the first time we chose our accommodation via AirBnB.

I had heard a lot of good things about it - one of my friends in Paris is renting her apartment this way, and I was very keen to give it a try. Signing up was easy, and although browsing was time consuming, it was a lot of fun as well! There is something for all tastes and budgets, as you can rent a room or an entire apartment, anywhere in the city. I can't think of a better way to experience a new place.

I was lucky with my two picks - both hosts in Amsterdam then Copenhagen were easy to communicate with, and the apartments were nicely maintained and decorated with taste. We met with our Danish host at our arrival, and I will make sure to keep in touch with such friendly person! Here below are some pictures taken in Kenneth's apartment in the Danish capital.

Kenneth's apartment is located in Nørrebro, a trendy and multi-cultural neighborhood of Copenhagen. It takes only about 15min by bus to reach the city center, and it's a short stroll away from "happening" places with cool bars and restaurants. We loved our host's decoration choices, a paradise for font and music lovers. 

It seems that bathrooms in old buildings of Copenhagen aren't any spacious and it did apply to this apartment, in fact the shower is located in the kitchen, a première for us! Seriously can it get any quirkier? You can check this listing on AirBnB {here}, please say hello from me to Kenneth if you ever book his place!

I didn't have time to take proper pictures of the apartment we stayed in in Amsterdam, but I would happily recommend it to anyone looking for accommodation in the city. It was located in a lovely neighborhood, a new building, close to the city center (about 10mins by tram) and with plenty of cool cafés around - more on these in a future post!

If you look for a nice apartment in a new building to stay in Amsterdam (note: kids friendly!), please check Sjoerd's place on AirBnB here.
Loving quirky and friendly places while traveling? check Kenneth's apartment located in hip Nørrebro, Copenhagen here.

Have you ever booked via AirBnB? what was your experience like? and do you have any place to recommend in any city? I will be glad to add it to my favorite - just in case...

Things to do in Paris {shop at Pop Market}

There are so many many things to do in Paris, right? Paris is kind of huge and it's easy to get lost in the touristy areas, in the museums, cafes etc... Since last year I have discovered an entire area of Paris I barely knew. 
I am talking about the east side of the city, the 10th, 11th and 19th arrondissements. Bastille, Republique, the canal St Martin & canal de L'Ourcq and the park of Les Buttes Chaumont.... A very lively, authentic and multi-cultural part of the city of lights. 

In the past I would rather be hanging out in Le Marais, St Germain-des-Prés or Les Champs Elysées...

Pop Market is a cute and quirky shop located nearby the now trendy canal St Martin (rue Bichat, Paris 10th). There you will find a happy mix of toy for little and grown-ups alike (think replica of vintage Fisher Price toys), gadgets, accessories, home decor, party supplies, jewelry and much more! One of those shops where you can spend hours browsing and shopping for souvenirs... 

POP MARKET :: Blog :: Facebook -> connect with them!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Garden Party for Grand-Ma {Real Party}

Hello friends,

I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend! A week ago I was in France, in the garden decorating for my Grand-Ma's surprise birthday party... Today I am in Tokyo, blogging about it and happy to share the photos of such memorable event - Grand-Ma turned 95 this year!

I had only a week to think of something, so I kept it easy and used some decoration I had bought while in Amsterdam - they have the cutest paper garlands for sale at the supermarkets!! Flowers were gathered from my aunt's garden, food was homemade and I had prepared extra balloons and bubbles for the kids.

I used wine bottles for the flowers and decorated each one with paper doilies, lace and thread - too bad I forgot to take pictures of them... I had spotted an easy photo booth project on Pinterest {check the entire board here} and we happened to have an old frame in the attic so it was easy to out it together.

I selected very old photos from the pile of pictures that are waiting to be put in albums and fixed them with colorful clothes pegs on a twine, and I also got the old family albums out for the occasion. Wonderful idea! Everyone enjoyed looking at them starting with my Grand-Ma!

Now you may wonder what kind of food was served? My mother is a cordon-bleu so she's always preparing delicious dishes. We had a variety of toasts, cherry tomatoes, French black olives and Swiss cheese with the aperitif (champagne, s'il vous plait). As a main there were delicious pieces of magret de canard (duck confit) rolled in a slice of zucchini and dried mushrooms powder and veal/ ginger/ mushrooms brochettes (on sticks) which were cooked in the BBQ. It was served with jasmine rice and sautéed zucchini. Then of course le plateau de fromages (cheese plate) and as a dessert several ice cream cakes (which had been ordered). So delicious!

I hope you enjoyed looking at these pictures and that they will inspire you to create a simple yet fun party for a friend or a family member this summer. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend!

Photo credit: all photos (but #2) by Alexandra Brandelet

Friday, August 16, 2013

#1 Playtime Paris - Les Jouets Libres


I am finally back in Tokyo - since last Wednesday, and attempting to catch up with the pile of work on my table. No easy job in this terrible heat, jet lagged and with my two little ones around!

My report from Playtime Paris being long overdue, I have decided to start today with my first coup de coeur, a French toy label named Les Jouets Libres. It's no secret that I love wooden toys, and when they can be customized and easily carried away wherever you go, I say BINGO!

May I add that they are Made in France? alors voyons voir...

Les Jouets Libres - Rouletabille; Football club

#1 Kids are involved in creating the characters of the game by applying stickers to give personality to each players

#2 Kids set up their own rules while playing, and those will evolve when your child grows up

#3 Kids can easily bring their toy over to their friend's or while traveling; toys are packed in pouches made of organic cotton.

#4 The design team is paying great attention to come up with graphics for nowadays kids' tastes and bring a touch of humor and originality.

Les Jouets Libres - Rouletabille; Bowling Club

French label Les Jouets Libres has an extended line of wooden toys, so please check out their interactive website {here - make sure to watch the film}, find out about retailers or shop online {here} and keep in touch on their Facebook page {here}.

ETHICS :: Fairly Made in France :: Healthy & Sustainable :: Educational :: Responsible

Reports on Playtime Paris will continue until the end of August and I will attend Playtime Tokyo at the end of the month so look for more awesome brands!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Coming soon :: A Garden Party for my Grand-Ma!


Today we held a garden party for my Grand-Ma who is turning 95 tomorrow. We weren't very sure to throw her a party as she recently had a serious injury, so I worked out a simple and colorful decoration theme. I will very soon share a lot more pictures about the party, stay tuned!

I shopped the paper garland in Amsterdam and I had made the bunting banner for my last styling for Beautiful Revelry (check it all out here). Add some balloons - which always keep the kids entertained, colorful table clothes and plenty of flowers and you are done!

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Things to do in Paris {Le Pont des Arts}

As you may remember, I spent one weekend in July in Paris with my daughter alone. The goal of our weekend was for her to spend some time with her Godmother who happens to be living in Paris at the moment, and for Chloé to discover the city of lights - she's heard so much about it! Here is something nice and fun to do while in Paris: leave a padlock to the Pont des Arts, a lovely bridge overlooking the  Seine river, in the heart of the city.

We did a lot of things over the weekend, maybe even too much with a 6 year-old little girl in the hot summer, but we hope she will keep a good memory of what she has seen there. Her Godmother had arranged for her to drop by the Pont des Arts to attach a padlock to the railing of the (in)side of the bridge. This tradition is quite recent and is usually done by lovers, who then throw the keys in the Seine river to represent the couple's committed love. Chloé didn't want to throw the keys in the river, which is totally fine with me!

If you haven't bought your padlock ahead of time, do not worry as there are many sellers on the spot. It was the very first time for me to check it out, and I was pleasantly surprised. It's kind of cute, and now we will have a reason for going back and check out of Chloe's lock is still there. Where is the key now?

I have to add that my daughter is never behind when it comes to looking pretty and stylish. She insisted to put nail polish before we left for Paris and chose her dress that day (found in Manila, Philippines last winter)... She sometimes drives me crazy, especially here in the country side where kids her age usually don't really care about their look first thing in the morning!

I will highlight a few more spots in Paris until the end of August, while also starting a series about our trip to Amsterdam and Copenhagen, and sharing a few finds at Playtime. Busy days ahead of me if you consider that we are flying back to Tokyo on Tuesday!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Course at Lesage in Paris

Hello friends,

It's been a while since I last posted here - I am still in Europe (it's my last week!) and I took a break with my Mr. to visit Amsterdam and Copenhagen. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

I am very happy however to share a few pictures of my course at Lesage, the Parisian haute-couture embroiderer (part of the group that owns Chanel). I have taken a one-week course last July, choosing three different projects to be completed during the class. The #1 was the easiest as it was only needle work with beads and paillettes, using a tambour embroidery. Easy peasy.

Paillettes and beads sewn on a delicate silk taffetas {Project #1}

Check out the courses at Lesage in Paris {here}

I yet have to complete this embroidery...

The project #2, a butterfly, was much more challenging as I had to learn to use a crochet de Lunéville. It was the very first time for me to use it and it requires a lot of patience and practice to fully master and start enjoy working with it. Needless to say, the first 12 hours weren't a piece of cake and I got frustrated more than once! A crochet de Lunéville is used to apply paillettes, sequins, beads and bijoux (and more) to realize a broderie d'art (=art embroidery?). In short, a piece of art embroidered on clothes or accessories. 

The piece of fabric to be embroidered is fixed on a métier à broder, a wooden frame of a flexible and bigger size than a regular tambour (length of about 1 meter). Then using a crochet de Lunéville, I started to work on my butterfly, first practicing on the side of the fabric how to use the hook to fix beads then paillettes (=sequins). This video by American teacher Robert Haven explains the method very well, and you can clearly see the difficulties involved... I found that the beads were much easier to work with than the sequins. 

The pink silk thread was applied with a needle - the stitch is called a passé plat (=satin stitch). The Swarovski bijoux and the beads ponts (=bridge, 3 to 4 beads sewn on top of the satin stitches) were also applied at the end using a needle. I struggled a lot to apply the paillettes and it took me hours to produce a very average coverage of my butterfly. Eventually the teacher noticed that I wasn't holding my crochet properly, and once she corrected me I was able to work at a faster pace. The butterfly was then made a a brooch. The whole project took 12 hours to complete, with no extra work at home (I didn't purchase the frame so I couldn't bring "homework").

Now a word about the class and the overall atmosphere: I spent one week at Lesage, studying for 3 hours every morning and afternoon there. There were two classrooms with about 6 to 8 students, everyone working on a different project, and following their own schedule. There were students from France, Japan, Korea, USA, Hong Kong, The Netherlands... and some of them were taking the professional course - 150 hours to learn all of the techniques. Students told me it requires the quadruple amount of work at home to keep up with fast pace of the course. It looked hard but stunning!

Teachers are all professional embroiderers, most of them working at the Lesage ateliers the rest of the time. It was mesmerizing to listen to their stories about their work for the Paris haute-couture and prêt-à-porter shows and the somehow high expectations of the star designers (think Chanel, Dior etc...). Most of them don't speak a very good English (if not at all), but I didn't find it was a big issue among the students who weren't able to speak French. They managed to communicate quite well, showing what to do and repeating the instructions as often as required.

Passage Verdeau in the IXème arrondissement, next to Lesage

If you attend the school and need a good address for lunch, I would like to recommend The Stube, a restaurant located in Passage Verdeau with set lunches that are both delicious and reasonably priced. Save some space for dessert too! If you are craving for French food, there are plenty of bistro around and many more options in the side streets.

I worked on one more project at Lesage, practicing the same techniques as for the butterfly, but I will unveil it later on... Stay tuned!

If you want to read about someone else's experience at Lesage, you can visit this link. Enjoy, I hope it will entice you to give it a try!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Soon :: My Amsterdam and Copenhagen travel diary

:: Copenhagen, Denmark 2013 ::

Weather in Copenhagen is successively sunny, cloudy, rainy, cold, warm, cold...

I am currently in Copenhagen, Denmark for a short vacation with my husband. We have been exploring the city relentlessly for the past two days and I will have a lot to share in the coming weeks. We were in Amsterdam before that, this city stole our heart I am afraid!

Stay tuned...