A White & Gold Christmas in Cloverdale

Decorating is one of my favourite- and I mean FAVOURITE- things about the holidays. Whether you’re all about the sentimental or are OCD about your tree (or are a combination of both), how you deck the halls is a reflection of you and your family. I had the chance to style the tree and decor at De Dutch Cloverdale this year and had a lot of fun doing it. Working with some of the existing ornaments and decorations I went with a gold and white theme with red accents and lots of DIY and handmade ornaments. You don’t have to have a large budget to make an impact or have fun decorating and I hope this shows that. Plus the DIY ornaments I made are all made with easy to find, kid- friendly items that would make for a fun holiday project. See below for sources.

On Tree:
Hand painted white & gold ornaments- KAIT Creative
Ribbon & faux flowers- Michaels
{DIY ornaments- all materials from Michaels}
Straw & twine snowflakes
Gift tag ornaments
Chalkboard clip- ons
Glitter- filled glass ornaments
Santa sack (used as tree skirt/ stand wrap)- Homesense
On Mantle:
‘Be Merry’ bunting- Allybeth Design Co
White snowy loops- Michaels
Burlap bags- Homesense 
I hope you like how it turned out and will try making some of the simple DIY ornaments for your own tree (added bonus: most of them are non- breakable!)
Special thanks to KAIT Creative & Allybeth Design Co for helping me add some local touches!

At Home: Christmas 2014

Deck the Halls!
Before I wind down posting for the holidays I wanted to share some photos of our house in all it’s Christmas glory! We only get to enjoy the tree, lights, stockings, and decorations for such a short time so I wanted to make sure I take it all in before it all comes back down again in January. I tend to stock up on decor on boxing day and pick items that go with an existing theme or catch my eye (penguins have a special meaning in our house and come out year after year, no matter what). So a penguin or two tend to get added each year for the next.
I stock up on basics at favourite stores like Homesense, Superstore, etc and will buy more delicate and fancy items after the holidays from stores such as Restoration Hardware and Hudson’s Bay. I also am lucky to have access to a floral wholesaler for fresh flowers, greens, and budget- friendly vases and filler.
This year I went with a traditional red & green colour scheme and chose specific elements to carry throughout the house: tartan accents, fresh Christmas greens, & clear glass vases with white ‘snowy’ filler. See the end of this post for Where to Buy.
The ‘fancy tree’ (aka Mom’s tree): We’ve only put a few presents out to see how Ari would resist them. So far so good!

Quick & simple decor idea: 
Glass vases with filler of your choice & a branch of Christmas greens

 In addition to the ‘fancy tree’, we also do a family tree that’s decorated with all of our sentimental ornaments- no theme here but love & memories!

For a fun DIY project make personalized stockings! Click here for the tutorial.

Some of our penguins…

…And a few more!

Favourite sentimental ornaments include some from my childhood & our family’s old restaurant, DIY projects, and those commemorating life events

Sometimes simple is better: An unadorned wreath makes a statement among other festive items

My Dad is Scottish, so tartan tends to be a common trend in our house during the holidays (plus it’s everywhere this year!).

Place settings don’t have to be expensive & complicated to look good…

This year I used cookie cutters found at Homesense & wrapped the cutlery in doilies tied with a gift tag (Tip: use gift tags as fun alternatives to place cards)

I kept the centrepiece simple to balance all of the tartan and other accents in the room: seeded eucalyptus in a glass vase.

Where to Buy
Christmas tree 
Canadian Tire
Tree decorations: Hudson’s Bay, Superstore, Costco
Garland & wreath: Superstore
Glass vases & filler: Floral supply wholesaler
Mantle (L to R)
Penguin accents: Homesense
Wreath: Superstore
Snowglobe: indigo/ Chapters
Vase & Filler: Floral supply wholesaler, Homesense
Gold metal reindeer: Gift
Penguin accent & snowglobes: Homesense, Costco
Love you more pillow: TPB Pop Up Shop
Dinning Room
Painting: DIY project
Wreath: Home Depot
Flowers: DIY project; flowers & vases purchased from wholesaler
Globe light strand: Restoration Hardware
Tartan placemats (used as table runner): Superstore
Silver chargers: Target
Plates & bowls: Denby, purchased at Homesense
Tartan napkins: Superstore
Centerpiece: Seeded eucalyptus purchased from wholesaler
Cutlery wrap: dollarstore (doilies), Target (tags)
Cookie cutters: Homesense
Garland (on chandelier): Superstore

December posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

DIY Salt Dough Ornaments

This week I thought I would deviate from my usual edible suggestions and offer up a classic recipe that’s a perfect addition to your Holiday traditions. I don’t think salt dough needs any special introduction, but for those who are unfamiliar with it, it’s a fun & easy dough that you can use for lots of fun projects- in this case, ornaments!
There are only 3 ingredients- salt, flour & water. You can add food colouring if you like or paint & decorate your baked dough once it’s cooked & cooled.
Because this is our first family Christmas, I wanted to make some ornaments that we’ll put on our tree every year and enjoy with fond memories. They’re great to make & give as gifts (think: handprint ornaments for the grandparents!) and they’ll always have a special place on the tree. Plus there’s an added bonus: they’re pretty shatterproof. 😉
Salt Dough:
1/2 cup table salt
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup all purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
2. In a bowl, mix salt & warm water 
3. Add flour & mix until well combined; form into a ball
4. Lightly flour a surface and knead dough for approx. 5 minutes
5. Re- sprinkle surface with flour & roll dough to 1/4″ thick
6. Use cookie cutters to make desired shapes; using a skewer, poke to make holes so you can string through some ribbon or twine to hang the ornaments
7. Bake on a parchment- covered baking sheet for 5- 6 hours
8. Allow to cool overnight & decorate to your heart’s content (I used clear glitter for ours)

Baby’s 1st Christmas: Gift Ideas

Since we’re going into the Holidays and loved ones will soon be asking for gift ideas (if they haven’t started already!) I thought I’d put together some suggestions, since it can be hard to know (or decide!) what to get the lil one for their first Christmas. Many people recommend getting them gifts that feature you, such as custom bobbleheads like your face, as it helps them to start piecing together the art of recognition and association. There are number of early skills that you can help them to develop using gifts, or you can stick to the usual motivations such as something sentimental, like memory quilts and personalised items, practical gifts like clothes and shoes, or just plain fun gifts, there’s something on this list for even the most pampered baby! (sorry, I couldn’t help myself!)
Prices in CAD.

For sentimental gift ideas, think of keepsakes that can be enjoyed each year: ornaments, hand and foot print kits, photo frames,etc. Below are two of my favourites for this year.

Customizable Baby’s First Christmas Ornament- $10 (m4keshiftmichelle)
A rustic take on the classic 1st Christmas!
Clay Hanging Keepsake Kit (makes 2)- $13 (Amazon)
Make your own, or have one made! (click here)
Keep one for your tree or perfect for the Grandparents!

For practical gifts, think of items that you’ve heard other parents swear by… This can include classic choices, ‘survival kit’ tools such as teethers, or financial contributions towards savings accounts (a favourite for Grandparents).

Sophie the Giraffe- $24 (Babies R Us)
(Remember my post on Teething? Enough said) 😉

Munchkin Figure 8 Teether- $4 (Amazon & pretty much everywhere you find Munchkin products)
I know a Mom who swears by this!

Giant Piggy Bank- $49.50 (Chapters/ Indigo)
Practical and fun! Start saving for college in style!
Fun gifts can run the gamut for fun for baby or fun for Mom & Dad. Whether you want some toys to entertain the lil one or a novelty item that tickles your fancy (we have to enjoy dressing them while they let us choose their wardrobe!) some of the best gifts are the ones that are just for fun!

Keyboard Kylie- $44 (Discovery Toys)
Fun AND educational??? Perfect!

Baby Toms- $39.50 (Chapters/ Indigo)
Remember my Retail Therapy post with these?
All I can say is OMG! I want these!!!
Taggie Toy- prices vary (Blink Kids)
Fun textures for little hands!

I hope these ideas give you some inspiration to kickstart your Christmas wish list! We’ve not even gone over more of the personalised options like custom face socks for the hilarious memories of your child’s first grumpy face, or the happy ones of their stellar beaming smile, but these should give you some solid foundations to put your own lists together. What was the best gift you’ve been given for your lil one? I’d love to hear!
Image Sources:

Amazing Mom Feature: Katrina Bergen

     This week’s Amazing Mom is Katrina Bergen. Since 2006 Katrina has helped capture precious moments in the lives of families and their new additions with her business, Wee Piggies & Paws. Katrina takes the impressions of hands, feet, & paws and creates plaster casts that serve as a 3D souvenir & keepsake; clients can choose from a variety of options including ornaments and shadowboxes which incorporate photos. She also creates beautiful & unique jewellery cast out of silver using fingerprints & hand writing- the result is a personal piece that the receiver will cherish. 
      Katrina bought the franchise in order to stay home to raise her daughter and has since developed it into a successful enterprise that has grown with her family. What an amazing way to earn an income: help capture precious moments in time so parents can remember them long after their bumpkins are grown. I love that Katrina’s work is so personal and how she puts her heart into her work. I hope this Amazing Mom makes you smile & helps remind you to cherish these precious (if not totally crazy!) days while they’re here. 

What kind of products and/or services do you offer? 
     One of a kind custom keepsakes of your childs
precious hand and foot prints. Shadowboxes, statues, fingerprint necklaces and
shoe bronzing.
What is the price point? 
      Starting as low as $25 but the average customer spends $300
How long have you been operating and how did you start? 
      I had heard about franchises from some friends of ours who opened up a
Pita Pit franchise. They said “come and learn about Our qsr franchise opportunity
so we did and I really bought into the idea of a franchise. I started my business in
2006 after my daughter was born and I fell in love with my shadowbox so much
that I bought the franchise!
What is your favourite part of what you do? What is the biggest challenge? 
      I adore being invited into a
persons life to capture such a precious moment in time. It is a true honour to
be among family members at the hospital taking impressions of tiny hands and feet,
that is the best part of my job. There are 2 things very challenging to me. The
first is balancing family and work time and the second is doing bereavement
castings. It is very difficult when a parent loses a child and I’m called to
take castings. I’m so happy to be able to provide something a parent can
remember their child by, but it is very hard on my heart.
5.   Any advice to other ladies/moms looking to start their own business? 
      Don’t expect the moon. We are only
human, do what you can but remember your priorities. The reason we want to
start our own business is to stay at home and be with our kids, don’t ever
forget that!
Katrina has generously offered a discount to The Pampered Baby readers! Mention this blog post with the purchase of a shadow box and receive your choice of a free ornament or $20 off! 
If you live in Delta or Richmond and are trying to find a job you can do from home, contact Katrina about her upcoming franchise purchase opportunity: delta@weepiggies.com

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