Enjoy this refreshing sweet treat all summer long.
Step aside, ubiquitous vanilla ice cream – there’s a more sophisticated player on deck this summer.
Layered, luscious and bowl-licking good, this delectable chilled confection is just right for hot days when you want a little wow in your culinary repertoire.
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.
Organizing: Around-the-bed shelving unit
That dead space around your bed is perfect for hanging artwork, yes, but when storage is at a premium, don't be afraid to look up and to the sides -- that bare wall can also work as a much-needed cache. Here, the small alcove that houses the bed was the ideal place to add in a surrounding built-in-look shelving unit.
Hints for hiding your bedroom belongings:
1 Provide opportunities for both display and hideaway with big box store buys like these IKEA Bestå units, with their combination of closed and open shelving.
2 Choose decorative storage containers that match the room's colour scheme and provide a place for stashing bits and bobs.
3 Keep reading lights unobtrusive by attaching them to the insides of the shelving units.
4 Use any empty space to hang artwork for a personal touch.
5 Include easy-to-reach drawers for tucking away electronic essentials like TV remotes and chargers.
Tip: Most small homes don't have the luxury of a separate linen closet. Keep extra sheets, blankets and pillows in the overhead compartments of your shelving unit, along with a natural air freshener, such as dried lavender or a eucalyptus sachet.
Tour this stylish open-concept condo.
Starring a diverse cast, tension and drama, this pared-back open-concept condo is anything but prosaic.
A great designer is a matchmaker, a trendsetter and, above all else, a storyteller. With the decor of this new-build condo’s main living area, Yanic Simard, founder and lead designer of Toronto Interior Design Group, proves he is among the greats. The scene in this 540-square-foot open-concept space was already set. Floor-to-ceiling windows spanning two entire sides of the condo flood it with sunshine and overlook the tree-lined streets of Toronto’s posh Yorkville neighbourhood and the city’s downtown skyline beyond. With such a lively setting, a restrained decorating approach was best, so neutral finishes were chosen in the form of sophisticated greyish-white wall paint, warm-toned wide-plank hardwood floors and cream-coloured kitchen cabinetry.
With a relatively blank slate established, the cooking/dining/living space was ready for some personality, so Yanic set about casting his characters, starting with the hero: “That custom blue sectional is the piece,” he says, adding that he had fabric samples sent from as far away as Europe and South America to find that “delicious” velvet. To fill the supporting roles, he animated the room with a small yet eclectic group, including a retro brass and glass coffee table, an Art Deco-inspired mirror, Mid-Century Modern-style dining furniture and traditional-meets-modern clear plastic kitchen stools. The vastly varied furnishings lend the space quiet tension, but it’s their shared low-slung silhouettes that create drama. “We wanted to make the ceiling – already impressive at 10 feet – appear even higher,” says Yanic, citing European apartments as inspiration. Dramatic, too, are the light fixtures. In the kitchen, a futuristic long-armed Serge Mouille-influenced piece is the antithesis of the classic Shaker-style cabinetry, but the fixture’s white finish humbles it. Meanwhile, the matching pendants over the living and dining areas hark back to the opulence of the Hollywood Regency period, but their size is modest and their shape simple. After all, much like the best narratives, the chicest rooms show off a skillful interplay of striking and soothing moments, so it’s no wonder this fanciful yet pared-back space earned a five-star review from the homeowners.
The living area plays host to all walks of (decor) life, amounting to a timeless look. though disparate, all the pieces abide by one rule: Nothing distracts from the million-dollar view of downtown Toronto.
“Don’t fight what the space is offering you,” says designer Yanic Simard, who selected floating furniture arrangements for the living and dining areas in order to respect the walls of windows behind them.
Yanic punctuated the space with a small selection of thoughtful accessories, such as the blue glassware, which reinforces the colour theme introduced by the sectional.
Like a pair of old hollywood starlets, the brass-framed crystal chandeliers in the dining and living areas are all sparkle, glitz and glam, yet these dames’ diminutive proportions and simple geometric shape keep them from stealing the show.
Visible behind the vintage wood-panelled herringbone-upholstered armchair, sheer drapery, used throughout the space, almost blends into the walls. the white fabric’s grey wavy pattern is interesting up close but unassuming from afar.
The Art Deco-style mirror takes advantage of the 10-foot-high ceiling. Beneath it, the super-long glossy black sideboard connects the dining area to the living zone and houses everything from napkins to DVDs.
The bold veined grey marble countertops and backsplash energize the traditional cream-toned kitchen cabinetry. The classic finishes get a dose of modernity from the contemporary light fixture and clear plastic stools.