Buying guide: Daybeds
A daybed is a wonderfully versatile piece of furniture to have in your home. Both functional and aesthetically pleasing it can help shape your space, making it more inviting and comfortable. Available for a myriad of price points and made in a variety of styles, a daybed will be a welcome addition to any room of your home. The following five tips will help you choose the best daybed for your space or show you how to make better use of the one you have.
1 The all-purpose daybed
One of the best features of a daybed is its incredible versatility. Placed in a living room, it's the perfect lounging chair for entertaining or cozy evenings and will then make a comfortable sleeping option for overnight guests. It also works wonders in a guest room or lobby area. A daybed is also the ideal piece to accessorize: add a few decorative pillows and a throw by day, and a colourful duvet cover for a good night's sleep.
Photo courtesy of West Elm.
4 Small space perfect
3 Creating spaces
One of the challenges of a large space can be figuring out how to arrange your furniture. A daybed is an easy piece to place and can help solve that issue. Showcase your daybed in the center of your room to act as a divider and create a more intimate feel. A daybed that feels light and open is ideal for that purpose.
Photo courtesy of Crate and Barrel.
Festive and fabulous decorating inspiration for your holiday table this year includes glam touches, Scandinavian accents, and easy DIYs to wow your guests.
Creating a holiday tablescape that wows can be as easy as 1-2-3. Check out our favourite festive table settings for 2016, as well as the straightforward DIYs that make them come to life.
Credits: Maya Visnyei
VIDEO: GOLD GLAM TABLESCAPE: Make your holiday table sparkle and shine this season by setting it in glamorous gold.
Credits: Maya Visnyei
VIDEO: RUSTIC SCANDINAVIAN TABLESCAPE: Bring a taste of the Norse pole to your table with elegant Scandi-chic rustic elements.
A dinner party that has guests raving for days is all in the details. Take this masterfully muted, fashionably festive and quietly romantic rustic Scandinavian tablescape. We love its creamy taupe, linen white and pale minty green colour scheme – a fresh take on tradition topped with subtle seasonal elements like sprigs of fresh evergreen and soft touches of gold. But even better are the elements you don’t notice at first glance like the effortless DIYs that even an uncrafty hostess can easily achieve. Here are the highlights.
You’ve outdone yourself with this year’s holiday tablescape, but don’t overlook your chairs! What a perfect place to underscore your seating arrangement with ready-made mini buntings stencilled with snowflakes. Each topped with a gift tag and a sprig of greenery, the unexpected adornments are an easy way to add extra details that are sure to impress guests.
These sweet place cards are not only wintry and whimsical, they’re also easy and inexpensive to execute: Simply tie a handwritten gift tag to a wooden toy sleigh (which, like the rest of the supplies, can be found at any craft store) with ribbon or yarn that matches your holiday colour scheme. Top it off with two FERRERO ROCHER® chocolates to treat guests with a decadent sweet to enjoy later – and maybe even dub you the host with the most!
Candles are key to tabletop mood lighting, but these festive votives look just as fabulous when they’re not lit. Gussied up with burlap wrap effortlessly secured by a tiny tree-shaped clothespin and a deer-stamped strip of cotton, they lend a quintessentially rustic-chic vibe. Frayed edges keep this craft virtually fuss-free but also require the use of battery-powered tea lights rather than open flames.
Credits: Maya Visnyei
VIDEO: DESSERT TRAY DIY PROJECT: Serve guests in style with the help of this super simple marbled tray DIY.
Credits: Maya Visnyei
VIDEO: SLEIGH PLACE CARD HOLDERS DIY PROJECT: Inspired by the man in red himself, these DIY FERRERO ROCHER® bearing sleigh place card holders are easy, playful and – best of all – delectable.
Credits: Maya Visnyei
VIDEO: STYLISH SLIPKNOT MENU DIY PROJECT: Create gorgeous slipknot menu cards your guests are sure to love.
Credits: Maya Visnyei
VIDEO: FESTIVE WRAPPED VOTIVE DIY: Add a festive flair to your holiday table with these adorable wrapped votive candle holders.
Buying guide: The truth about thread count
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? At the end of the day, I can't wait to stretch out under my fresh, soft covers and nestle my face into a good cotton-covered pillow. We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you get quality for your money? There's no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn't entirely true. With the help and expertise of Joanna Goodman, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, we expose the truth about thread count and what it takes to find quality bed sheets.
What is thread count, really?
Simply put, thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. This number is based on the threads woven horizontally ("weft") and vertically ("warp"). Extra threads can also be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread count. These added threads are called "picks" and are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands. This is why the idea that high counts equal better quality isn't really accurate. Consider this: Joanna says most weavers will say the maximum number of threads that can be woven into one square inch of fabric is 500 to 600. Though the number is arguable and, according to Joanna, "depends on the mill you deal with," it gives you an idea of where the line is between single-ply, unpicked weaves and ones that add threads here and there to bump up the count.
What to look for when buying sheets
Joanna lists three things to look for on the label: if it's Egyptian cotton, where it's woven and, lastly, the thread count. While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. "The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. So Egyptian cotton will be of a better quality," Joanna says. She also recommends pima cotton, which is grown in America, "though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian." When it comes to weaving, however, she swears by the Italians as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton though, otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!
What to avoid when buying sheets
Joanna's one key piece of advice is to watch out for extremely low priced, high thread count sheet sets. A complete sheet set with a high thread count for $100 or less is probably not the dream bargain you think it is. As Joanna believes, "you always get what you pay for." The price tag for bed linens will vary depending on the sheet size and what items you're buying, such as a duvet cover, sheet sets, or pillowcases. "A superior quality 200 thread count queen set (including flat, fitted, two pillowcases), made of Egyptian cotton and woven in Europe, could retail reasonably for about $150-$250," says Joanna.
What do you prefer?
After going through the quality checklist, go with what feels best for you. If you're looking for a durable linen, Joanna recommends any percale from thread count 200 to 800. Percale is any cotton woven with a 200 thread count or higher and will be more durable than a cotton satin of the same thread count. It's also less likely to pill than cotton satin because it has a denser weave. Love the feel of a cotton button down shirt? Joanna advises a crisp, dense 200 thread count percale. Prefer a silkier sheet? Go for a 300 to 600 cotton satin. If you want lighter sheets, Joanna says, a 400 thread count sheet can be soft and light, while an 800 percale would be soft and dense. The higher the thread count, the more likely multiple-ply thread is used or picks are added, making the fabric denser and heavier.
Now you know that quality is not just about the number, so don't let numbers rule your bed! Remember what to look for on the label and be wary of too-low prices for supposedly high quality items. Beyond that, go with what you prefer. Get a good feel of the sheets before buying. Whether you're unzipping the packaging or lying down on a display bed, make sure the fabric feels good against your skin and soon you'll be having sweet dreams!
Find out how to keep your new linens crisp and clean with our tips to whiter-than-white sheets.
Add roasted butternut squash to this summer pasta dish.
Béatrice Peltre, chef, food stylist and author of the new cookbook My French Family Kitchen shares her recipe for this tasty summer pasta dish.
1 Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2 Cut the top off the butternut squash; set aside. Cut the bottom part in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut half the squash into 1/2" slices. Pat the slices dry and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with half the minced garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon ground coriander. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the squash slices are cooked through and lightly roasted, 25 to 30 minutes; set aside.
3 Meanwhile, peel the remaining half squash. Dice the flesh and steam in a medium pot until tender, about 15 minutes. Purée with a ricer or in a food processor; set aside.
4 Cook the pasta according to the package directions, reserving 3/4 cup of cooking water.
5 In a frying pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the remaining ground coriander with the shallot and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, without browning, until soft. Add the rest of the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the ricotta, puréed squash and 1/2 cup of the cooking water from the pasta, stirring until combined.
6 Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes to heat the sauce through. Add the pasta to the sauce, stirring to coat (add more pasta water if needed). Add the peas, cilantro and mint and cook for 1 minute – the peas should stay green and crunchy. Divide the pasta among four plates and top with grated Parmesan.
7 Garnish with the bresaola, roasted squash and walnuts and drizzle with the pumpkin seed oil; serve immediately.
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Excerpted from My French Family Table by Béatrice Peltre. Recipes Copyright © 2016 Béatrice Peltre, Photography copyright © 2016 Béatrice Peltre. Excerpted by permission of Roost Books. All rights reserved.