Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Baby Shower Guide

Right now I have a couple of projects in limbo, so I was looking for some other ideas to post about. I started thinking and realized, that over the past couple of years I have been surrounded by women who have been blessed with pregnancy. I've watched so many ladies go through the wonder of bringing a life into this world, and I know sometimes we all struggle for a really great baby shower gift. How do you pick something really memorable? Something that Mommy, and maybe even baby, will appreciate for a long time to come? What can you give to stand out from all of the little outfits, blankets and toys that will be gifted? Here are a few things that I think were seriously fabulous gifts...

Baby Gifts1

1) Mom's One Line a Day Journal: This is such a great gift. I received one last Christmas from my cousin, and it's been a great way to keep track of each day of our family, and specifically special moments and milestones with Halle. Baby girl will turn 5 by the time this book is done, so who knows, it may even include the pregnancy and birth of a second  baby. What a great thing it will be to share with Halle and any future babies we have! I highly recommend this as a memorable gift for a Mama-to-be!

2) Teethease Teething Jewelry: The one is a two-for! Not only is a great pretty piece of jewellery for Mama to wear, but it's super functional. What a great way to help out a Mama on the go with a teething baby. No more searching for tethers lost in those big ol' diaper bags, it will always be on hand. You can read the full review I wrote up here, but I have to say, I own one and I swear by it. I highly recommend this as a great gift!

3) Baby's First Year Calendar: I honestly think this is one of the best gifts I received! There are so many options out there, so you can find one that suits the Mama to be. Our's was gifted to us by B's Mom, and it was Winnie the Pooh. It was undated, so we filled in the month and dates for each month which is perfect, you can literally use one calendar for baby's entire first year, and it comes with cute little stickers that you can place for big milestones. I loved filling our's out, and it will be a great thing to share with Halle when she's all grown.

4) Jolly Jumper's Pashmama: I bought this for myself after Halle was born and I'm so glad I did. I had a very small bib for nursing her originally, but the Pashmama is large and makes nursing while your out and about so much easier. You can wear it as a stylish scarf, and when needed it completely covers up you and baby. It offers so much privacy, and it made me feel a lot more comfortable when Halle needed to feed right away. This is such a great gift for a Mama on the go!

PicMonkey Collage

5) Baby Sling: We didn't have a sling when Halle was tiny, only a carrier which she wasn't a huge fan of. Looking back now though, I do wish we had, had one. Halle wanted to be held at all times, which made it extremely difficult for me to accomplish anything around the house. I honestly think if we had, had a sling it would've made life so much easier. The one pictured above is a Serena & Lily sling, from Nordstrom, but there are so many options out there, so maybe find out if Mommy-to-be has a certain sling she's been eyeing. 

6) Sleep Sheep: We received the sleep sheep at our shower, and let me say it is still one of my favourite things! We use it every night for Halle, and she loves the soft sound of the waves crashing. Even B and I don't mind the sound of it coming through her baby monitor at night - the sounds are so soothing and relaxing and really help a drowsy Halle doze off to sleep. It comes in full size, and travel size, so whatever you think would work best for Baby and Mama, I am sure would be appreciated!

7) Baby Photos!: Halle's baby photo's (pictured above and taken by Nicole of Bittersweet Photography), are still some of my favourites. I honestly cherish them, and have a few displayed throughout the house. I think that newborn photos are so great to have, and if your Mama to be isn't considering getting some done, why not get some family and friends to pool some money together and purchase them a gift certificate for a nice session, and maybe even some prints afterwards. I can't think of any Mom that wouldn't love the gift of memories!

So there you have it, a quick round-up of some of my favourite gifts for new Mom's. What are some of the best gifts you received when you were pregnant/ a new Mom? What are some of the well received gifts that you, yourself have given?

This post was not sponsored and all opinions and thoughts are my own. All recommendations are based on my own experience and I was not compensated in any way for including this products in my round up. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Weekend on the Island

Happy Monday friends! I'm a little late with today's post, we had a busy, but enjoyable long weekend. From the moment that we stepped onto the ferry on Thursday evening, until we rolled into the driveway last night, we enjoyed every single second of it. Here's a quick glimpse at what we got up to...

July 26, 2012
{A family photo on the ferry on Thursday to kick off the weekend}

PicMonkey Collage

PicMonkey Collage 2
{On Saturday we went out for a boat ride to chase one of the water bombers...}

July 27, 2012

The rest of the day was spent relaxing down by the water...

PicMonkey Collage 3

The rest of the weekend pretty much followed the same pattern. It was incredibly gorgeous...

July 28, 2012

PicMonkey Collage 4

Yesterday, on our way back to catch our ferry we also made a quick stop at Cathedral Grove to stretch our legs and look around. Those big, huge trees were incredible! What a sight...

July 29, 2012

July 29, 2012

July 29, 2012

I could've stayed there forever, enjoying the sights and sounds of the lake, but it was time to come home and today I'm playing a little bit of catch up around the house. What did you get up to this weekend?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fancy Friday Love

Another Friday is finally here. We've had a busy week working on things around here, and I always look forward to my Friday posts. It's so great to kick back for a little bit each day and explore the inspiring things that other blogs are sharing. So here's your bit of fancy for this Friday...

Did you see the guest bedroom / office reveal over on The Lettered Cottage last Friday? I'd definitely stay there. Makes me feel like we have a bit of work to do on our guest room before our parade of visitors arrive in September...

Guest_Bedroom via The Lettered Cottage

These letterpress state prints, from One Canoe Two are so charming and witty. I really think B would appreciate the Massachusetts print. (found via Oh So Beautiful Paper).


For the first time in quite a while, I had the opportunity to start getting caught up on blog reading (a little bit anyway). So when I go to The Lovely Cupboard's post from last week, sharing the recipe for Orzo with Lemon Cream, I pinned it immediately. I wonder if I can get B to eat this?...

orzo full via the lovely cupboard

Love this little DIY tote bag, spotted on Eat.Live.Shop, from V and Co. Would be great for bridesmaids, out of town wedding guests, or even loot bags at a party. Isn't it sweet, plus it's pretty easy for those who aren't overly creative! 

heart bag via v and co

A gorgeous living room, designed by Cynthia Walker, featured on House of Turquoise this past Tuesday.

Cynthia Walker via House of Turquoise

Did you catch Ameila's nursery reveal this past week? It looks so sweet - go take a look for yourself!

shelves_window via House Pretty

No post made me smile more than this one over on 79 ideas. Love those chairs, adore that table cloth and those curtains, totally inspired by that table setting. I mean - could it be any more lovely? I want to wake up tomorrow and have breakfast in that space, don't you?


Well, after such a busy week I think we deserve this relaxing family weekend. We are currently living the life over on Vancouver Island with some new friends. Enjoy all that the West Coast summer has to offer, at a beautiful cottage. I'll be back with some photos on Monday of our new adventure and Halle's first cottage trip. What are you up to this weekend? Visiting any cottages? Spending some time on the water? Whatever you do, stay safe and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Mission Dress the Walls" - Project 1 Update

So, we've made some great progress on part 1 of "Mission Dress the Walls". Last week I shared with you the ampersand that my father created for us to use in our Master Bedroom. My original thought had been to paint it one of the colours found in our West Elm duvet cover. I even went so far as to pull out all of my paint swatch books, and colour match it to one of the colours in the Para Paints deck.

July 20, 2012

After a bit of consideration, I realized maybe going neutral would be a better idea. This would mean that we would be able to move it freely around this home, and any future home, and not have to worry about whether it would match, or if we would need to repaint it. Plus, with white paint already on hand, my project would remain free, and who doesn't love a project like that right?

So, last Friday while Halle was napping, I pulled out my paints and got to work on it. 

July 20, 2012

I let my first coat dry very well, and just as I suspected, the wood really soaked up the paint and a second coat was very necessary (and a third). In the end, B and I stepped back and agreed that white was the way to go. 

July 20, 2012

While that dried, we got to work in the bedroom. First, I used the templates that came with the frames, as well as our stencil for the ampersand, to lay out where we wanted everything on the wall. I started by eyeballing it, and it really looked good at first glance...

July 20, 2012

When I was all done, B came in and started measuring and discovered I was pretty much bang on. I gave myself a little pat on the back for that one. He did have to make a few adjustments and spent some time realigning and levelling everything. 

July 20, 2012

July 20, 2012

Even though they were still empty, I wanted to get the frames up on the wall on Friday night. I knew that having them up there like that would force me to get the photos printed as soon as possible. The stencil also stayed right where it was, as we still needed to figure out how we wanted to hang the ampersand.

Yesterday, Halle and I made a trip to Home Depot and I did some searching for different options to hang the ampersand. In the end I opted for some 3M picture hanging strips. Now, everything may be up on the wall (still without photographs), but I can't reveal anything more to you yet. I know that seems like a big tease, but we actually have another project underway in our bedroom that I'm not prepared to reveal to you yet either... so you'll have to be patient and I will reveal both soon. 

I'll just say the bedroom is starting to look more and more like an appropriate master bedroom retreat. 

What have you done in your master bedroom to make it feel like your own space? 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

12 Months of Halle

I'm a day late posting Halle's one year photo, but we spent all day yesterday playing (inside because of the rain), cuddling and then going out to dinner, shopping at Toys R' Us and getting her, her very first personal cone of chocolate gelato. I think that baby girl had a good first birthday. Anyway... One year - it's gone by so quickly. More quickly than I ever imagined...

August 23, 2011 - One Month OldTwo Months3 Months

Four MonthsDecember 23, 2011Six Months - January 23, 2012

February 23, 20128 Months - March 21, 20129 Months - April 23, 2012

10 Months Halle - 11 Months

And now, here she is...

July 23, 2012

Does this seem like a funny choice for her one year photo? I don't know, I just thought it really accurately captured what's happening these days. I had a tough time getting a photo of her, and then realized that's okay. We have plenty of other photos of her during this stage, and these monthly photos I intended for photos of her development. I mean, her face hasn't changed all that much in the past month or two... but her ability to motor around on her own sure had blossomed. Here's what she is up too...

- Clearly, she is walking. She motors around here pretty good, walking halfway across a room before she'll go to her bum or her hands and knees. Her confidence is growing and I know it won't be long now before she prefers walking over crawling.
- She has four teeth, and it looks pretty cute! The gummy smiles were cute... but I'm enjoying these teeth smiles just as much! 
- Her hair is incredibly long now! Yesterday I even managed to get her hair into two tiny pigtails (if you follow me on Instagram at firsttimefancyblog, you may have seen them!)
- As far as food goes, the days are hit and miss. Somedays she will want to try whatever we have, other days not so much. We're still not getting too many veggies into her, but she loves her fruit, grains, meat and dairy - so the majority of the major food groups are getting into her every day. 
- She is very vocal. Blabbering a lot, and I'm pretty sure we're getting "dat!" and pointing... asking us what "that" is. So we do our best to tell her what everything is that she looks at and points at, and sometimes we are rewarded with her attempt at repeating us.

What an incredible (and sometimes trying) year it has been! I know that this next year will bring even more challenges in taking her photo, but she is such an inquisitive little girl, that I am okay with that. I can't wait to explore more and see the world through her eyes!

A Little Lettering

While I was still visiting back home, I worked with my Mom to get a bunch of stuff ready for Halle's party next month. Though it may seem a little early, I figured that the more that I accomplished during that visit home, the less I would have to do back in BC (and then transport back), or try to finish up when I return next month.

Many of the projects were small and tedious, and I will wait until I share the whole party with you to show those. However, one project I tackled, was a ton of fun, and I just couldn't wait to get it up on here.

While I was sitting around one Saturday morning, trying to decide what I needed to do for the party while I was there, I decided I wanted to make a sign welcoming our guests. I had an idea of what I wanted to do and began to search around Pinterest for inspiration. I finally stumbled across one pin, that brought me to this great blog post and I was instantly inspired by these images...



So, I headed to the Dollar Store and found some orange poster board for 59 cents. When I got home, I pulled out a pencil and straight edge ruler and began planning out my sign. The first thing I did was measure out the area that I wanted my first words to be in. I decided the "W" of Welcome would be the largest so I measured an 8 inch space for the "W" and the remainder of welcome would be half the size, at 4 inches. Then I freehanded my letters, using the first image from above as inspiration...

July 15, 2012

Next, I decided that I loved the banners on that first image as well so "To Halle's" would be the next words I would add, inside of the banner, using a different font. Again, I freehanded everything before I went over this whole section of the banner in a fine tip black marker. Everything then got filled in using black. I decided to do this now since I was happy with this part of the sign. I figured that way if I made any major mistakes below, I wouldn't have to worry about erasing any of the things I really liked. 

July 15, 2012

Then, I began to measure for my next section which would read "Birthday", again in a different font and at 5 inches high...

July 14, 2012

Again, each letter was free handed, using pencil, onto the poster board. I would often find myself drawing a letter and erasing the whole thing, or parts of it, numerous times, before I finally had it looking proper. Especially for "Birthday", which I found I erased the entire word many times before I had it right. It took quite a while but finally I had it just right and was able to do all of the outlining. I also added a small strip below it, with freehanded stars and circles...

July 17, 2012

For "party", I decided to use another script and spent a great deal of time browsing around online for just the right inspiration...

July 17, 2012

I was able to finish up most of the sign before we had to leave to head back here to B.C.

July 17, 2012

I still need to shade in the "shadows" behind the letters in "Birthday" and I plan on drawing something next to the word "party" - I still have to decide what to put there though. Probably something puppy related, as that will be the theme of her second party.

This was really my first attempt at trying out fancy lettering like this. I could use some improvement, but I'd say for a first try it turned out pretty good. What'd really like to do is try out some fancy chalkboard lettering like those in my inspiration. Have you ever done it - on paper or chalkboard? I'd love to know, and if you have them, I'd love to see some photos as well!

Monday, July 23, 2012

How Do You Measure A Year?

A year ago today, my life changed for ever with the arrival of the most important person in my world...

Second Old

At 5:41am on Saturday July 23rd, 2011 my sweet little girl was born. I was so lucky to have a wonderful and easy pregnancy, and we were absolutely blessed with a completely healthy baby girl. I always thought that "The Miracle of Life" was some cliched sort of thing that people said to new parents - but when I first laid my eyes on our precious girl, and thought of the 10 months that preceded her arrival, I realized that life truly IS a miracle...

Bittersweet Photography
{photography by Bittersweet Photography}

Motherhood has changed me in ways I had never expected. It has taught me a lot about being patient and observant and a lot about being present. This past year has brought me so many new experiences - like love and joy that I never even imagined being able to feel. 

Being a mother also brought new meaning to the phrase, "The days are long, but the years are short"... because it's so true. Some day seem to drag on forever, but now that we have made it to the one year mark, I find myself wondering where time has gone. How did she become such a little woman?

March 1, 2012
{photography by Bittersweet Photography}

So, this post has been written well in advance so that I can take today to focus on my baby girl, celebrating her life and just enjoying some time with her. 

The days are so fleeting and I want to make today all about her, and do everything with her that she enjoys - like swinging on the swings, playing with the puppies, going for a walk... and we'll probably squeeze eating some ice cream in there too (along with lots of other fun things). 

{Halle at 7 days, 7 Months & 1 Year - care of Bittersweet Photography}

Happy Birthday to my sweet Munchkin, the light of my life and my whole heart. I love you with every ounce of my being - Mama

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fancy Friday Love

Happy Friday! Another lovely July weekend is here... for us, it's Halle's final weekend being under the age of 1! Yup - this Monday baby girl will be a full year old and it's blowing me away. For now, I'll try not too think about it, and just enjoy looking back on some of the fancy things I stumbled across over the past week...

Did you see the gorgeous table that Elizabeth painted? Stunning - especially those gold "dipped" legs! I love great transformations like this!

tableafteryes via little black door

Last Friday, I was really excited to discover This Paper Ship, over on Oh So Beautiful Paper, especially since I'm looking for pieces and inspiration to help dress our walls. Such fun, pretty prints, my favourite being the one below. 


Some beautiful tablescape inspiration from D├ęcor de Provence this past week. The one below really jumped out to me - why not mix and match when you are entertaining?

tablescape via decor de provence

Thinking of hosting a party next Friday to kick off the Olympic games? How cute are these Olympic Gold Medal Cookies from One Charming Party! So Fun!


A beautiful post this past Wednesday on desire to inspire, sharing the lovely portfolio of photographer Quentin Bacon. The rooms are beautiful, but Quentin has captured them in the perfect way. The first photo is my favourite - couldn't you spend an entire summer afternoon curled up here with a cold drink and a good book?...

quentinbacon via desire to inspire

Did you see the stunning Villa Cecilia over on A Diary of Lovely. Such a beautiful building - anyone else want to rent it out? 

exteriorcecilia via a diary of lovely

Well, as you may imagine this weekend will be all about getting settled again. As much as I enjoyed my time back in Boston and Toronto, I'm happy that we are all together again as a family of three... just in time for Halle's birthday weekend too! We'll be having a small gathering of people around on Sunday to celebrate Halle, other than that - nothing huge in the works. Probably working on dressing these walls, and if you've been following me on Facebook, we're hoping to be picking up a craigslist headboard for our bed. What are you up to this weekend?
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