... and a happy new year!

We wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year!

So I'm a little late on the christmas part, but I just had to pop in and spread some Christmas love! Hope y'all are enjoying some merriment this week or spending the day on the couch like I am today.

Happy Christmas and Happy 2013!!


Amazing christmas card above made by my pal, Justine, isn't it pretty!?


Christmas Decor!

So, I think it's safe to say I'm in Christmas crunch time. No matter what I do it always seems to sneak up on me. I'm not going to lie, I had been feeling a bit overwhelmed with my to-do list but, needless to say, things are starting to look a lot like Christmas around here and I am so ready to hang out and relax with my family.

Bring on Christmas!

Christmas Mantel

Just like last year's mantel, I decided to keep it pretty simple reusing stuff I already had and throwing in a few cheap, crafty bits. I had purchased a huge pack of glitter ribbon from home sense a while back and decided it was going to be a very sparkly christmas!

I love how the glitter/kraft paper garland turned out, I had good intentions to create more for the tree but didn't get around to it, so there's just a teeny, tiny section. You can imagine it woulda looked great, right??

Christmas Decor

Happy almost Christmas to you!


That Scary Guy Named Santa

This year's trip to Santa wasn't quite so well received as last year...

This was the best we could get after Alice screamed bloody murder and wouldn't even consider sitting on this guy's lap. I love the unimpressed/terrified look on her face and how she's leaning as far away as possible. Poor girl.


Happy almost Christmas to you!! You ready?


Want, Need, Wear, Read: For Her

As I mentioned in this post, we are attempting to simplify Christmas this year by implementing the 'four gift rule' - something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.

Last up are some gifts for the ladies, all of which look pretty similar to things you might find on my wish list (shocking, I know). I'm not sure the last time I ever bought socks for myself... that's always been Santa's job. It just isn't Christmas without a brand new pair of socks, they are definitely a need in my books.


So that wraps up the four gift guides, be sure to check out the ones for girls, boys and the guys. Also, you can find the whole list of goodies on pinterest here.

Are you all ready for Christmas? I think I need to stop virtual shopping and get myself to a mall, STAT.

Happy Shopping!


Want, Need, Wear, Read: For Him

As I mentioned in this post, we are attempting to simplify Christmas this year by implementing the 'four gift rule' - something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.

I don't know about you guys, but Christmas means board game season for this family. We were introduced to Cards Against Humanity last time my sis-in-law was in town and it is FUN. Described as "a party game for horrible people", this game is sure to spice up your family gathering. If you've ever played Apples to Apples, it's sorta like that only for adults.

Check it out along with my other four gift picks for the guys...

Want, Need, Wear, Read: For Him
WANT: Cards Against Humanity* NEED: Daily Planner WEAR: Patterned Socks READ: Winter of the World* by Ken Follett (I secretly want this for me, loved the first book in the series)

Be sure to check out the four gift guides for girls and one for boys.


*amazon affiliate links

Around Here...

christmas crafting, someone is NOT a fan of the snow, favourite ornaments from Mike's baba, budding artist, my poor sickie, dining room office, it's going to be a sparkly christmas!, at work before the sun, back-to-work essentials.

Super crazy real life means slightly less documented photo life lately, things always looks so much calmer in those nine frames ;)


find me on instagram. username: justbellablog

Want, Need, Wear, Read: For Boys

As I mentioned in this post, we are attempting to simplify Christmas this year by implementing the 'four gift rule' - something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.

First up were the girls and today is some inspiration for the little man in your life...

WANT: Plan Toys Build a Robot* NEED: Dwell Studio Galaxy Dust Duvet
WEAR: Stars Shirt & Bowtie READ: This is Not My Hat
 by Jon Klassen

And some people say boys are no fun to shop for? pfft.

Check out the four gift guide for girls here.


*amazon affiliate link

Want, Need, Wear, Read: For Girls

Don't tell Alice, but we didn't get her anything for Christmas last year. I mean she was just over a month old, already spoiled with gifts, and pretty much just happy lying on the floor staring at the tree lights. Things are so much different this year, she's so fun, interactive and really into ripping paper, I knew things could get out of hand...

So, in an attempt to simplify gift giving I'm implementing the 'four gift rule' - something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. I wish I could give credit to this genius idea, it's been floating all over pinterest and I can't really pin down an original source. I'll just thank the internet for the great idea - thanks, internet.

And if you're anything like me and just looked at the calendar wondering where on earth November went (so much for getting all my shopping done) here is some simplified gift giving inspiration to help you out. First up, the little girls...

Want, Need, Wear, Read: For Girls
WANT: Plan Toys Tea Set NEED: Aden & Anais Sleep Sack (on sale!) WEAR: Glitter Lace Shoes (on sale!) 
READ: The Heart and The Bottle*, by Oliver Jeffers

Super easy, right?

What's your plan of attack for Christmas shopping?


*amazon affiliate link.

Back to Work & Proud Mommy Moment

So, last Wednesday was my first official day back to work... definitely a bittersweet moment. That and a sick little babe, it's safe to say it was a crazy week. It was so weird (and kinda nice) to sit in one place, uninterrupted, all. day. long. Definitely a huge change of pace. I'm back to work part time and hoping we strike some sort of balance, with the whirlwind of last week it's too early to tell. How on earth do you full time working moms ever get anything done??

I'm so thankful we are blessed here in Canada with a year long maternity leave, I treasured (and still do) every day I get to spend with my girl*, especially moments like this...

Walking is still not her #1 mode of transportation but she's almost there. Go, Alice, go!


* I'm realizing, after today's full day of whining, that I might also come to appreciate the peace and quiet of my office every now and then ;) I still love you, honey.

DIY Polka Dot Cards

I've been looking for some thank you cards for Alice's birthday - something pink, something polka-dotty (obviously). I wasn't having any luck until I came across this blank box of shimmer cards. I've always been a big fan of blank cards. It's nice to have them on hand when an occasion arises so that you don't have to run out and spend $5 on a card. I found the cards at Wal-Mart for a whopping $8, not bad for 40 cards. I then strolled on over to the next aisle and right into these neon label stickers.

Blank cards + bright circles = insta polka dot cards. Done and done.

DIY Polka Dot Cards, just bella

Now follow along with me, this is pretty tricky...
Step 1: buy blank cards and circle labels.
Step 2: stick labels to card.

That's it, you're done!!

DIY Polka Dot Cards, just bella

I love the contrast between the neon and neutral colours. It's a bit hard to tell in the photos but the cards have a really nice subtle shimmer to them. They'd look nice and pretty even on their own.

I can't take full credit for this project, I was inspired by a gift wrapping project I saw on Project Wedding here. So many options with these stickers, my wheels are turning!!

So that was quite possibly the easiest, fastest DIY ever, just the way I like it.


Around Here...

someone is taking after her mom in the kitchen, a wonderfully sugary breakfast, look who is almost walking!!, celebrating our first american thanksgiving, shopping at lowes, after two straight sick days on the couch, I finally got dressed, library date, chillin', not so little girl/big bed.


find me on instagram. username: justbellablog

Pink Polka Dot Party, Alice's First Birthday

We all know once you have kids it's no longer about you, right? Alice was definitely the star of the party but I feel like there is something about the first birthday that is for parents too. It's a celebration of a crazy new life, a thriving kid, and of survival. We made it. Now pass me a drink!

We celebrated Alice's first birthday last weekend with a few close friends and family. It was an exhausting week of crafting, shopping and prepping, but I wouldn't have it any other way (okay, maybe I wouldn't have procrastinated sooo much). Prepare yourself for some pink polka dot photo overload...


I have to give props to my card-crafting mom who had an invaluable supply of circle punches and to Hey Gorgeous Events whose DIY paint chip chandelier inspired Alice's fancy high chair garland. Thank you!!


Alice was actually quite dainty with her birthday cake. She poked and prodded the thing but gobbled it down like any other food we put in front of her. The girl loves food and of course cake was no exception.


We are so lucky to have such great family and friends who have supported and helped us through this crazy year. Thank you so much, peeps, we love you!


It seems like just yesterday we brought this itty bitty baby home, stared at her in her nursery and wondered how we got so lucky.

Happy first birthday, baby girl. We love you so :)

Party Sources: birthday invites: designed by me36" polka dot balloon: Sweet Social, polka dot garland: diy, circle chalkboard: Michael's, party hat: diy using this template from jones design company, pink polka dot straws: Sweet Social, plastic milk glasses: Confetti & Sparkle Party Shop, 36" pink balloons: Confetti & Sparkle Party Shop


Reading Nook & A Few Faves

This is Alice's new favourite place to play. It makes me so happy to see her using this little reading nook in her nursery and that she is finally enjoying books for something other than a chew toy :)

Reading nook - 2

Here are a few books we are currently loving:

1) Mortimer 2) Dwell Studio Touch and Feel Farm (or any touch and feel book really) 3) Grumpy Bird 4) The Game of Finger Worms 5) The Gruffalo 6) Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? **

I also have this, this and this one on order for Christmas. Yep, I've officially started my shopping, I have some lofty goals to get it done before December this year, though I say that every year and it never happens ;)

We're always looking for new books, any good ones to share?

Happy Friday!

** disclosure: amazon affiliate links.

Around Here...

random fact: apparently helium thrives in the cold, new play kitchen, birthday girl!, hanging with my pal Dajana at our husbands' work party, that's TWO days of snow right there, party crafting, sunday dinner, party supplies, edmonton got a j.crew factory store!!

super baby, date night, rocking her sweater onesie (as only a baby could), first trip to the salon, freshly trimmed bangs, family dinner date, I made a table!, butternut squash soup, play dates with good friends.

Alice and I have been hit with a bit of stomach bug this week. We're on the mend and so, so thankful Mike took yesterday off work to take care of us. I have a ton of photos from Alice's birthday party to share, but for now my immediate goals are mustering up the energy to get dressed and look after a one year old. It might just be another jammie day today....


find me on instagram. username: justbellablog

Reminscing... One Year Ago

As Alice's first birthday approaches, I can't help but reminsce about where I was just a short year ago and how drastically life has changed. A year ago today, I was pregnant, 8 days overdue and an emotional wreck. It wouldn't be for two more days that our darling daughter would grace us with her presence. So many people told me the baby would come, "when it was good and ready" but man, oh man, was I ready. I get emotional now just thinking about that last week, sore, tired, anxious, desperately excited to meet our little baby. It was hard but so, so worth the wait.

Here I am at 40 weeks smiling on the outside...


And a look at the journey... good lord, it's crazy how much our bodies can stretch!


Becoming a parent has got to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It's definitely challenging and tiring (what's free time again??), but incredibly rewarding. I can't imagine our life without her.

What a crazy year!


First Birthday Invite

So, it's here. Alice is turning one this week! It's a crazy rollercoaster of mixed emotions for this mama - it's gone so fast, I can't believe she's one, where did my baby go?? I'm not sure if it was due to busyness or just denial, but I sorta procrastinated with the party. I mean I've had a whole year to plan, yet here I am days before the party scrambling to craft, shop, and decorate. Good thing I work well under pressure and, who am I kidding, I totally love doing it.

After much struggle we decided to keep the guest list small. Part of me wanted to run around the whole town screaming, "we made it! come celebrate!!", but after sitting down and realizing that we have giant extended families we decided a 70 person party just wasn't in the cards. It'll be a quiet afternoon with immediate family, a few close friends and lots and lots of pink!!

Here's a look at the invitations I designed for the occasion:


As you can see a pink polka dot party is in the works! I'm hoping there won't be toooo many late nights getting stuff done this week, wish me luck!!


A First Halloween

I've never been a huge halloween fan. It's not that I dislike it, I just never got excited to dress up or do anything every year. But with that said, I think this day has taken on whole new meaning now that I can celebrate with a little one.

I made my first ever costume this year. Yes, I sewed something more than a pillow, it's sort of a miracle. It was a labour of love and it was worth all the time and energy to see how adorable my little Alice in Wonderland looked.


Our Halloween started off with a party with some friends. You have to pop on over to pinksugarland to see all the party details and her kids' awesome costumes. That girl has talent. Thanks so much for having us, Andrea!

Thank goodness we had that indoor party to go to this year because poor Alice in Wonderland would have been lost under layers and layers of clothing. The obligatory "outdoor costume" was definitely needed this year. It was a cold one. We made it to about three family members houses before calling it a night.


I think I might just like this Halloween thing now, hope you all had a great night too!!


Happy Halloween!

I had high hopes for halloween decorating this year. Andrea and I even made a crafternoon of it, but alas, my plans to "finish up when I got home" kinda didn't go much further. I did get some googly eyed mummy jars made which, I have to say, are one of the easiest (therefore, best) crafts ever.

Here's a look at the halloween decor happening over here... simple and easy, just the way I like it.


There's nothing scarier than full fledged winter in October. Welcome to Alberta, folks.


It's Alice's first halloween tonight and I'm super excited to take her out for some trick or treating! What will we do with all that candy she's too young too eat???

Happy Halloween!!


Around Here...

raiding my mom's craft room for a certain someone's first birthday (!!), hop on pop with opa, bath head, fabric shopping, candy for "the trick or treaters", tunnel vision, "food", picked up a few cuties from IKEA, cotton candy sunsets.

just being cute, epic bedhead, being cute again, mistaken for twin boys at the grocery store, birthday dinner for Mike, helping aunty shop, a spooky crafternoon with my favourite craft buddy, yep - snow, floral elbow patches - I want to steal this from Alice's wardrobe.

Happy Friday!! I've got some serious costume work to try and get done this weekend. Can you say procrastinator? ugh. Hope you have a good one!


find me on instagram. username: justbellablog

Instagram Blurb Photo Book

I'm a huge photo junkie, always have been, but I just don't have my good camera handy at all times. It's too heavy, too big and well, sometimes I'm lazy. I love having my phone at my fingertips ready to capture all those everyday moments and I literally have thousands of photos to show for it.

That's a whole lot of memories just hanging out on my phone, so when I found out Blurb had easy to make instagram books I jumped on the chance to create one. Blurb links up to your instagram account so it was easy peasy to make. I have a lot of photos (it's a bit ridiculous) so I'm dividing this year up into two. Here's a look at part one:


I'm super happy with how my book turned out. It's just an itty bitty 7x7 book, perfect for quick easy flipping. I opted for the soft cover version but you can also order hardcover. I'm really impressed with the quality of the book and the instagram images actually look pretty good.


I was thinking I might add some hand written captions for a personal touch, but for now I love flipping through checking out that cute baby, some delicious food, token feet shots (haha) and some really awesome memories. I think this might be an annual thing.


p.s. Blurb is offering a 15% off coupon code right now - FALL15OFFBOOK, click here to check it out.

disclosure: after receiving my instagram book, devouring it, loving it, I signed up to be a blurb affiliate which means if you click through my link I may make a commission off your purchase. I think it's important to keep things fully transparent, so consider yourself fully disclosed. I only support products I think are awesome and that I think you might think are awesome too :) 

the little things: A Pretty Notebook

I don't know what it is, but since becoming a mom I find my mind is always going a mile a minute. Do this, clean that, don't forget this! Sometimes I feel like I'm running around doing a million things and yet nothing gets done. Scattered might be a way to describe my brain lately (mom brain I think they call it?? arg).

One of the things that helps me feel focused is to write things down. I'm a visual person so seeing things on paper really helps and is it just me or is there no better feeling than crossing something off your list? I may or may not write something down after I've done it just so I can cross it off ;)

I've been such a sucker for cute notebooks lately. Having something pretty to look at somehow makes things seem that much easier (the coffee might help too ;)

Rifle Paper Co Notebook from Anthropologie (gifted to me by a sweet friend)
How do you manage your never ending lists??


Around Here... Vancouver Edition

so long prairies, hello ocean and mountains, beautiful day for shopping, hitting up the new west elm store, gorgeous white rock, birthday colouring, a day full of pretty white dresses, happy birthday Karlene - love ya!, reunited with my girl.

And that concludes my Vancouver adventures! Such a great trip but it's nice to be home with my loves :)


find me on instagram. username: justbellablog

Vancouver Part Two: Blend 2012 Event

As excited as I was to check out the interior design show during my Vancouver getaway (blogged here), I was thrilled to hang out and mingle with some amazing, creative and inspiring bloggers that night. Sponsored by IKEA Canada, Blend 2012 was such a fantastic party. So many beautiful, friendly faces and even some surprise guests showed up - the wonderful Tommy Smythe and Suzanne Dimma and Mark Challen from Canadian House & Home Magazine.

I was too busy having fun and chatting away to take many photos (bad blogger). Please excuse the poorly lit iPhone photos and quite possible the most unflattering lighting ever.


Great food, great people and some pretty awesome swag and door prizes. I think I had horseshoes up my butt that night (I swear I hardly ever win anything!), that's me up there with the swanky Delta Touch Faucet and I also won the most beautiful painting by Michelle Morelan. I can't wait to hang it in my home, I'll be sure to update you with where it ends up!

Thank you also to my pal, Karlene for shipping these not-so-suitcase-friendly pieces home to me! I think there were a few takers had it not worked out ;)


The party was held at the St. Regis hotel where I envisioned myself enjoying my solo room with late night snacks in bed and a long, luxurious sleep in... but of course I was up at the insane hour of 7:30am wide awake. Why does that always happen??

A huge thank you to IKEA and to Victoria, Barbara, Karla, Nancy and Danielle for organizing such a great event - you gals did such a great job.

Thank you also to all of the super sweet bloggers I met for being such a friendly and welcoming bunch of people and for making my "first blogger meetup" not so scary. I had so much fun and hope I can make the trip again next year!