Monday, December 24, 2012

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve! How did it get here so quickly!? Well, today is a day to spend with family, so I will keep it short and sweet and just wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! I hope that you get to spend these days with the people who mean the most to you.

So here's a little wish, from our little family to all of you...

MerryChristmas
Photography by Kim James Photography

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fancy Friday Love

I know it's been pretty quiet on my end this past week. I've spent a lot of time just enjoying being with Halle. Cherishing every single second we have together, especially after the horrible tragedy that took place last Friday. I've also had quiet a bit of last minute prep, running around making sure we have everything we need for Christmas - especially groceries. I did, however, have quiet a bit of time to try and catch up on some blogs, and here's what I found...

As usual, Stefanie's Christmas mail was sweet, unique and fantastic! I always look forward to what she'll come up, and this year did not disappoint!


8279570770_9aba701de9

Looking for some last minute Christmas decorating ideas? Loved this pretty tablescape, featured on Daily Dream Decor!

christmas tablescape (2)

A fun AND pretty play space, shared on Nursery Notations this past week. Love everything about it. I hope we can make a beautiful play space for Halle one day!

via nursery notations

So this is it! The final weekend and when Monday arrives, Christmas Eve will be here! I cannot believe how quickly 2012 has seemed to pass by us! You won't hear much from me until we get into 2013 - maybe a quick recap of what 2012 was like for us, but other than that - I'll pretty much sign off now and wish all of you a wonderful Christmas & all of the best in 2013!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tackling the Storage Issue

The other week I shared some plans for our messy dining room. At the time I was being a little coy... and possibly lazy, and never shared a proper picture of our disaster area. So, if you want the ugly truth, here it is...

December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012

Yup... stuff... EVERYWHERE. And yes... I am extremely embarrassed showing this to all of you, but nothing like showing off a mess like this to get you motivated. It was not overly Christmas-y feeling and definitely not very organized or practical for a dining room / home office space - am I right? The worst part was this room was NOT hidden from view and is visible from the front hall, kitchen/living room AND the front door. Yup - this mess was on FULL display to everyone who came near our house, so it was time to take care of it. 

We're starting with baby steps and I'm being very budget conscious since right now we're focusing funds on our upcoming wedding. So, last Thursday we acquired a new piece for this space to help me to start getting things in order. Thankfully it was right in line with our minimal to no budget that we are working with to spruce up our space.

Last Tuesday I decided to take a browse through Craigslist to see what I could scrounge up as far as inexpensive furniture for our rather lacking home. I found a free 7 drawer dresser that looked like a perfect solution for our dining room storage nightmare. I shot off an email right away, telling myself it was probably gone as it had been posted the day before (and we all know how quickly free stuff goes on Craigslist). About an hour later my cell phone rang with the sweet, sweet news that the dresser was still available! JOY! After a little bit of back and forth, B headed over to pick up the dresser on Thursday night and I started cleaning up and organizing the room.

The above photos were taken on Thursday before we moved in the dresser. I've been working away since then, slowly getting rid of things we no longer needed, organizing and reorganizing and finding a proper home for all of the bits and pieces in there. There is still some work to be done, and our bins for Christmas decorations still need to be relocated back to the basement, but there is already a drastic improvement in the space. Check it out:

December 18, 2012
{Yes - first on my list once I have the space all ready to go is to hem those curtains. Drives me nuts!}

December 18, 2012

December 18, 2012

So what are my plans? Well first of all, we plan on repositioning the mirror so that it hangs horizontally instead, B just needs to change the wire on the back. As far as the dresser goes, it definitely needs some love. It has some scratches and paint splatters and other mysterious marks all over it.

I'm thinking I'd like to keep the top and the base of it this dark colour and then paint the whole middle section of it white. Maybe spray the handles black and get some new knobs for the doors on the bottom left. I won't be diving head first into anything over the holiday's, but I am pleased to see this little progress.

Do you have a room that is just a storage nightmare? Maybe you've started organizing a space yourself, or have added your own budget piece of furniture to your home? Or maybe, you aren't crazy like me and you are just focusing on your family and this wonderful season? Whatever it is you are up to, I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fancy Friday Love

I really, really miss doing these Fancy Friday posts. I know, I know. It's not my own original content and for some of you it's a repeat of things you've already seen during the week. Well, for me, Fancy Friday Love means that I've had a chance to get some time to myself and sit down and catch up on some of my favourite blogs. So, guess what... this week I had a chance to do just that! Here's what I found and loved...

I loved this post on Centsational Girl highlighting all of her gorgeous colour coordinated Christmas vignettes. One day, when we have more beautiful collected ornaments... and more furniture, I'd love to have more pretty vignettes at this time of year to fill the house with that festive feeling...


family-room-bookshelves

I'm always looking for new pretty ideas that can inspire me for Halle's big girl room (one day she'll have one). This room on House of Turquoise this past week definitely provided some inspiration. I've always loved a kid's room with two twin beds (perfect for sleepovers), and the hanging pendants in this room make it even better! I'm also a huge fan of the fact that this space is very feminine without being pink or purple.

via House of Turquoise

I always find some pretty great spaces on desire to inspire. This week was no exception. Loved this home that Jo stalked on Tuesday. So lovely, especially the room and entry below. It's so neutral, but all of the textures cozy up the spaces. What do you think?

image4 Finlayson Street Malvern

This simple DIY for Striped Baker's Twine, shared on Prudent Baby this week seems like a no brainer... but I never thought of it! Give it a try for wrapping up your gift's this holiday season!

mave-make-bakers-twine

Layla (from The Lettered Cottage) shared their Christmas tree on the blog this past Wednesday. The tree is lovely, but what really caught my eye was her outstanding and beautiful gifts under the tree. Seriously, wish I had the time these days to wrap like that! :)

Lettered_Cottage_Christmas_Presents_1


We have another wonderful festive weekend ahead. Tomorrow I have a hair appointment in the morning which I am so looking forward to, and in the evening B and I are off to the city for his company Christmas party. I hope we can squeeze in other ways to enjoy this season with Halle as well.

What do you have planned for lovely December weekend?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Asking the Important Question

I'm finally ready to share my very first wedding related project! We're working with a rather small budget, so we'll be doing as much as we can ourselves so that we are able to spend the money in the areas that really matter - like food and venue. 

After B asked me to marry him, I spent some time really thinking about my big day and how I wanted it to happen. The more I thought about it, the more I knew I would need a solid, trustworthy group of girls to help me plan, prep and get ready for my big day. Choosing your bridal party is so much more important than I ever imagined, and since these girls are so important to me and my big day, I wanted to make sure that I asked them in a special way.

I started my research for different ideas immediately, and as I am sure you all know, Pinterest is just FULL of all kinds of really fantastic and creative ways to ask your bridesmaids to stand beside you...


PicMonkey Collage



{1. Rifle Paper Co. - Will You be My Bridesmaid?} {2. No proper source for these paper dolls - Please help me give credit where credit is due!} {3. Paper Nest by Lesa - Will You Be my Bridesmaid?} {4. Hey Gorgeous - The Blog - DIY Project: Will You be My Bridesmaid?}


Though each of the above ideas are beautiful and unique, I decided to take a little inspiration from each of them to create my own way of asking my girls to be a part of my big day.

I could've gone and done something big and elaborate like some of those awesome "care package" mailings some brides do, but as I mentioned, I'm on a budget, so I was working with what I had... and making something easy to slip in the mail. So, out came the paper, pencils, markers and paints and away I went, creating a little notecard by hand...


Bridesmaid Cards

As I always do when creating hand lettering, I started out putting in all on paper with pencil. This way I can erase and re-do anything I don't like. I start with my original lines and when I am happy with the way everything looks, I add in the bolding.


Bridesmaid Cards
Bridesmaid Cards

I had so much fun doing that hand lettering, and then adding in the little flowers. I think my flowers could use a bit more work, but I was pleased with these ones. What really made these cards special though, were the notes I wrote inside.


Bridesmaid Cards


Each girl had a special note written to them that included special memories I had of them, and the reasons why I could not imagine getting married without them standing right there alongside me. 

These four ladies are so important to me, and all for different reasons. I'm so thrilled to have each of them stand up with me on the day that I marry my best friend and the love of my life!

How did you ask your bridesmaids to be a part of your big day? Did you do something fun and creative or did you just get straight to the point and ask the question?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

To Market, To Market

This post is a tad late, as it's about what we got up to last weekend... but better late than never, right? Well, last Friday I packed up Halle and we headed into Richmond to meet B at his head office. We shared a little bit of Christmas cheer with B's coworkers and then off we headed to the Vancouver Christmas Market. We had picked up 2 passes and 2 carousel rides for a great deal on Groupon and decided that since it was clear and mild evening, it was the perfect time to make use of them.


December 7, 2012

We arrived early enough that we were able to score a parking spot directly across the street from the entrance, had pretty much no wait in line and enjoyed some strolling around the Market before it got really crowded.


December 7, 2012

December 7, 2012

Food was a highlight for all of us. Some yummy hot potato soup, a sausage and hot apple cider to cap it all off (for me anyway). Our passes got us free entrance on another night, so we plan on going back for some of the German pasta and other tasty sounding treats (like the Apple Strudel).


December 7, 2012

December 7, 2012


As much as Halle enjoyed the food, hands down her favourite part was the carousel. She was so excited watching it go around and around while we waited in line...


December 7, 2012

Her excitement quickly turned to uncertainty when we got on and B sat her on one of the horses...


December 7, 2012December 7, 2012

By the end, she was loving it though. It was pretty obvious that she did not want to get off when the ride was over. Something tells me we'll be buying tickets to ride it again when we make our return visit.


December 7, 2012

December 7, 2012

It seemed like we were there a long time, but by the time the crowds started to swell, and we were ready to leave, we'd only been there just over an hour. In that short time though, I'd say we soaked up a whole lot of quality family time and really enjoyed ourselves...

December 7, 2012


What type of fun Holiday outings have you been up to? Christmas Markets? Parades? Tree cutting? I'd love to hear about your traditions and other fun things you've been up to.

Feeling Festive

For some reason whenever Christmas rolled around at our home in Toronto, it never felt a whole lot like Christmas to me. Maybe it was the cramped space and our constant reno's that made it hard for me to see a home decked out for Christmas. Regardless, now that we have a lot more space and our rental isn't full up of renovation bits and pieces, I'd say this place is really putting me in the festive mood. I thought today would be a good day to start sharing some of our holiday decor with you. I'll start off with our mantel...


Fireplace1

Halle's canvas has stayed front and center up there and I love it. We've received so many compliments on it which only reinforces how I feel about it. The pre lit garland we bought at Canadian Tire (along with two others that are strung on our railing), and it is perfect since it hangs just the right amount off either end of the mantel. The tapers are placed in some simple glass holders that B's Mom gave me, and we have two beautiful silver animals. The reindeer we've had for quite a few years now and purchased him from HomeSense. He was originally brown when we bought him, but I sprayed him silver and I still love him. Our newest addition, is this adorable penguin that arrived to us in a lovely Christmas package sent from our wonderful friends at The Home Depot.

Mantel1

This little guy is part of the Martha Stewart Living Collection and is only $9.86. We both really, really love him, as we have a little joke about penguins, so we have a few that we put out each year at Christmas. He's super sweet, and I love him looking all regal up on our mantel. I'm sure Halle will adore him just as much as we do as the year's go by.

We hung our stockings using 3M hooks that I placed on the top edge of the mantel. Yes, we have four stockings hanging and no, that doesn't mean a thing. I had B's Mom make them for us when we were visiting last Thanksgiving, and we did four so we'd have a fourth whenever we needed one. I figured since we have it, we may as well hang it...

Mantel2

You may have noticed a sweet little wooden deer living on the hearth. He was gifted to us by my cousin and her husband last Christmas. Their neighbour makes them and I had commented on how much I loved the one they have. He's one of my favourite decorations and Halle is always calling to him. Yes, both him and the fire are kept behind a baby fence to keep our little girl safe and sound.

Mantel3

I kept it pretty simple on the mantel this year, and I really love it. Every night when B gets home from work he turns on the fireplace and we let it roar away as we enjoy dinner, play with Halle and then usually unwind with some sort of Christmas special or movie. We also kept it simple because we have a little more than usual going on this year... like TWO trees! Yup! TWO! We used our same old faux tree that we purchased at The Home Depot the first Christmas that we lived in our house, and we also bought a real tree this year... also from Home Depot, and boy does our house smell beautiful! 

Our faux tree is pretty similar to year's gone by. All white lights with blue, silver and white ornaments. We've put it in the dining room this year so that it's visible from the street, and also so that we can keep the doors closed and keep little hands from touching all of the delicate ornaments that grace it's boughs.

Tree1

Tree2

Up on top of our tree lives our brand new topper, which also came from The Home Depot. It's a pretty silver star that has replaced our old snowflake topper. Our old topper never sat properly and was too heavy for this tree, so we were thrilled to have a beautiful new star to grace our tree! Thanks Home Depot! 

Tree Topper

Right now, any and all wrapped gifts are also safely tucked away under this tree to keep them safe from tiny hands as well. On Christmas Eve, after the little Miss has been tucked away in bed, we'll move them all out to the living room where our second, more colourful tree lives.

Tree3

Tree4

This tree is full of the more colourful ornaments we've collected over the years - including B's extensive collection of sports ornaments. Mainly Boston sports team related - Red Sox, Patriots,  Bruins and Celtics. It's a really fun tree to have in our main living area and Halle can touch most of the ornaments. Her favourite are the little green jingle bells - she could shake them all day.

We have a few other smaller items scattered throughout the house... but I'll have to save sharing those for another day. I still have a few things to finish up with decorating - so keep an eye out for another Christmas decorating post next week. 

How is your decorating coming along? Are you all done or do you still have more to finish up?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Good Tidings We Send...

By now it should be safe to share our Christmas Cards on here, since they were mailed out early last week. I love our cards this year. I ordered them from VistaPrint, after getting a great deal on Groupon for 100 custom cards. I used photos from our session with Kim James, and I think they turned out absolutely lovely...


Screen Shot 2012-10-25 at 12.36.24 PM

So from our little family to yours - we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & all the best in the coming year!

There's a ton more "Christmas Cheer" coming this week on the blog. From our own home decor, a little weekend trip we took for a festive good time, and even a wedding project that I'm excited to share. Make sure you come back all week for the fun! In the meantime... what did you get up to this past weekend?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Plan on Shopping?

I wanted to just give a heads up to all of my friends who may be interested in shopping on my Stella & Dot site, or Halle Handmade for this Christmas. 

If you wanted to pick up something great from Stella & Dot for someone in your life this holiday season, I would suggest ordering no later than next Wednesday December 12th, to ensure that all of your orders make it to you before December 24th.


FB_Cover_holiday_stones

If you are looking to purchase some of my tags from Halle Handmade, please make sure to place your order no later than December 9th (for shipping to Canada & the US), to ensure that your tags will arrive before the holidays.

HalleHandmade

If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to shoot me an email! I'm always happy to help.

So while I'm on the topic - how is your Christmas shopping coming along? Anyone finished? Anyone not started yet?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Making Space

Now that we've been back in BC for over a week we're finally settling back into our routine and really preparing for the holidays. Part of my new routine, of course, is working on pieces for my Etsy shop, Halle Handmade. Since I began working on items back in late September, our kitchen table has been my workshop, which means it's been an absolute disaster most days. With things picking up, I need a new space to work with lots of room to organize all of my supplies. For this, I feel our dining room would be the best space. It's still on the main floor close to everything, but I am able to close the doors and keep Halle out. Unfortunately, with everything piled in there at the moment, and boxes of Christmas decorations scattered across the floor, it is anything but neat and organized.

1) A work table: The one we have in there now is very small, so it just won't do. I want something large and functional. Ideally, I want something that will work as both a work space, but also a dining table for the times we do have guests over. In an ideal world, we'd build something like this table from Ana White. It's gorgeous, big and we should be able to take it with us when we move...


via ana white

2) Seating: If we're going to have a table, we're going to need seating as well. Both for me to work at, and also something for people to sit at to dine. I want the seats to be comfortable, but not too precious and easy to clean. Between me working, little hands and too big dogs, I'm sure these seats will meet many messes. I would love 2 BYHOLMA/MARIEBERG Armchairs from IKEA for either end of the table, and some nicely slipcovered options on either side... or maybe benches. I'm still slightly torn between the two. I guess it will come down to what is more budget friendly.


Screen Shot 2012-11-22 at 1.34.40 AM

3) Organization: I will need somewhere to keep everything neat and tidy. I want everything to have a place while I'm working, but also when it needs to go away. I don't want things laying out in the open all of the time, so I need to figure it all out. Definitely a sideboard, where I can close the doors and keep everything out of sight. Something like this Dining Room Office, from Martha Stewart via this blog post, is what I have in mind...

diningstorage


4) Lighting: I'm going to want more than just that boob light on the ceiling (whoever thought that was a good idea in a dining room needs to sit down and have a chat with me). However, since neither of us really want to be paying to switch out this lighting in our rental, we'll make do with it and just layer in some task lighting for me. Maybe some lamps on our sideboard, and a floor lamp or a small desk lamp that I can move to the dining table while I work. We'll see what we can come up with.

Whatever we do in this space, will have to be inexpensive (as we are currently saving for a wedding) and easy for us to take with us when we leave. Of course, I wish I could turn this space into my dream office/dining room, but for now, I'm just looking for a pretty and functional space.

What are your best tips for making a neat and organized office on the cheap?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas in November

I know I haven't been around much recently. My mind has been clouded with wedding planning, and I've even started a few projects that I will share soon. I've also been getting ready for Christmas around here, sending Christmas cards, shopping, wrapping and decorating. Really, a lot of stuff I will be able to share... soon. For now, I'll share some of our Christmas that we celebrated in Massachusetts on November 25th. We decided to do this since we were all together, and B, Halle and I will be staying in BC this Christmas season. 

Sunday morning was full of wrapped gifts everywhere, and a bunch of my Halle Handmade gift tags in action...


November 25, 2012

November 25, 2012November 25, 2012

Halle got into the festive spirit and wore her brand new Christmas jammies from her Auntie Beth for the occasion...

November 25, 2012

B's Mom also had a little tiny Charlie Brown tree to decorate and Halle got involved in the fun too...

November 25, 2012

There were lots of gifts opened and we just had a great day relaxing around the house with both sets of parents. It was especially fun that Halle was really getting the hand of opening her presents. I know we'll have a ton of fun with her when Christmas Day finally rolls around.

That evening we continues a fun little tradition that we started, when B and I brought Halle to La Salette (this is where he popped the question). We made sure Halle was bundled up nice and warm (I honestly forgot how cold it gets back east in the winter... brrrrr), grabbed some hot chocolate and then soaked up all of the gorgeous lights...


November 25, 2012

November 25, 2012

November 25, 2012

November 25, 2012

November 25, 2012

November 25, 2012

That last photo was taken right after B asked me to marry him - notice me flashing my bling. We grabbed a young couple walking past and got the girl to snap this little family photo. I love it, and I'll probably have to display it at our wedding... whenever that may be!

So there you have it, just a small glimpse into how we celebrated Christmas a month early. It was just a really great time, and I'm so happy I got to see my folks before the holidays, and share the news of our engagement with them in person. We have a busy month ahead, but I'll pop in whenever I can, whenever I have something worth sharing!

What have you been up to getting ready for Christmas / The Holidays?
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