another chance: thoughts on breastfeeding a second baby

My thoughts and plans on how I'm going to approach breastfeeding our second baby when nursing didn't work with our first.

If you guys have been reading this blog for a while, you'll remember that I struggled to make breastfeeding work with our daughter Maya. Long story short: it didn't end up working for a variety of reasons, and I pumped for 7 months - doing a mixture of breastmilk and formula feeding through bottles. I had a lot of guilt, a lot of disappointment, and definitely some major baby blues and anxiety following her birth. Now that I'm pregnant with number two, I have a whole bunch of mixed feelings about breastfeeding. Of course I am going to try breastfeeding our second baby, really give it a good shot like last time and try to troubleshoot any issues that are going on, but I also feel like I have ... CONTINUE READING

DIY wood slice ornaments: chalkboard style

How to make DIY chalkboard wood slice christmas ornaments. Super easy and a great handmade gift idea!!

Are you guys getting into the season, yet? I know it's still November... but I can't help but let the holiday cheer start to creep in. I'm working on an advent calendar for Maya, and am thinking about getting our faux tree out pretty soon. Bring it on, Christmas! One thing I HAVE already done is to make up a new batch of DIY wood slice ornaments that have a chalkboard style look. Here is what you need to get started: // blank wood slices (I have personally bought from this Etsy seller was pleased with the quality and look of the wood slices) // chalkboard paint // white permanent paint pen // baker's twine (I like black and white, but there are lots of colour options!) Step ... CONTINUE READING

Top 5 winter pregnancy wardrobe essentials

Top 5 essentials to build a winter maternity wardrobe on a budget!!

I feel like this pregnancy is whizzing by! Weekly bump shots? Hmm, it's been more like a pic every 3 weeks if I'm lucky enough to remember. Designing and decorating the nursery? I have a design plan in my head, but NOTHING has happened in that room yet. Writing in my weekly pregnancy journal? Whoopsies. It's not that I'm any less excited about this pregnancy than I was with Maya, but man there just is not enough time in the day, particularly when there is a spunky toddler running around! One thing I have thought about, though? How to dress for this pregnancy without breaking the bank. Maya was an August baby, which meant I was heavily pregnant in the warmer months and could get by just a ... CONTINUE READING

20 one of a kind gift ideas (+ $100 giveaway!!)

20 one of a kind handmade gifts from Canadian makers!!

I don't know about you guys, but I am definitely starting to think about the holidays. I am itching to get out our decorations, make new ones, get baking, and have a running list on my phone of gift ideas. Anytime I hear Dan or anyone say something like "Oh, I need a new ___" , I quietly take out my phone and make a note. Or if I'm inspired by a handmade gift idea, I'll jot that down. Doing that for a few months before the season starts up means that I have this great list of ideas to pull from. Y'all know I adore supporting the maker community and buying beautiful, one of a kind items. If you have ever been to the Toronto One of a Kind (OOAK) Show, you'll know that it's jammed with all ... CONTINUE READING

DIY clay jewelry bowls

Make these super cute DIY painted ceramic jewelry dishes - all you need is clay, a cookie cutter, and paint! Beautiful handmade gift idea for under $5.

This is a seriously cute DIY, you guys. I had seen tutorials out there for these little clay ring dishes - from stamped to marbled to painted, and so decided to give it a try. And they turned out so sweetly, I HAD to share them with you. What you need: 1 // air dry clay (or use oven bake clay - either will work) - Sculpey is a reputable brand name of clay: air dry & oven bake 2 // a cookie or shape cutter of some kind (a small bowl edge would work for this) - here is a scalloped set 3 // a rolling pin 4 // some acrylic paint - I have a set like this one so I have tons of colors available 5 // gold foil paint - I use the Plaid Liquid Leaf 6 // modge podge (the tried and true ... CONTINUE READING

6 days in Helsinki: things to do & see

Helsinki travel guide: Our trip recap and favourite things to see and do!

If you follow me on instagram, you'll know that I just got back last week from a little babymoon in Finland. Dan had to travel to Helsinki for a conference anyway, so we decided to take some time off before it started and head over together for what will probably be our last adults-only vacay in a long while, with baby #2 on the way in a few short months. Maya stayed home with my parents, who treat her like a total queen which she LOVES (thanks Mum & Dad!). We are so lucky to have such great grandparents! Helsinki is a really cool city. Beautiful architecture, great restaurants, has a cool design sensibility that I loved, and just a great vibe. My favourite thing to do when ... CONTINUE READING

10 best DIY and design books of 2015

The 10 Best DIY and Design Books that should be on your 2015 Christmas Gift List!

This post could also be called "Gemma's Christmas wish list". Ha. I adore coffee table books. Full of beautiful photography, amazing inspiration, and the story-telling. I can flip through my design books a million times and never get tired of them. Plus, they make great props when you're styling your pad. The usual routine for Saturday and Sunday mornings in our house is to have breakfast and then sit around for about an hour with our coffee's in hand, reading books and magazines, as Maya plays with her toys (or comes and sits on the couch to read her own books). Unless I have a new magazine, those are usually the moments when I crack into my design books and feel super inspired. Here are ... CONTINUE READING

living with allergies: 5 tips to a dust-free house

5 Tips for keeping your house dust-free - Great advice for people living with allergies. sq

I never knew much about allergies as I have been so lucky not to have experienced them - food, environmental, nothing. Never even really had swelling with a bug bite. Daniel, on the other hand, has had allergy issues ever since he was a kiddo. He and his siblings all dealt with food and/or environmental allergies from a young age, and at one point his brother was down to only about 5 foods that he could tolerate. Luckily Dan only has environmental allergies as an adult - he grew out of any food ones he used to have. It does mean, however, that he pops allergy meds pretty regularly during spring and fall, can't handle being in houses with too many pets, and we generally need to keep our house ... CONTINUE READING

life lately: travel, toddlerhood + games night


Life has been a bit of a whirlwind lately and I feel like I haven't caught you guys up, so this is a bit of a "dump everything in one update post" kind of day. Shortly after we got back from our trip to Vancouver, I headed off for a 3-day trip to Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood for a blogger conference (Blissdom). For any of you in Ontario, or visiting Ontario anytime soon, Blue Mountain is a gorgeous spot. Very typical ski village type of atmosphere with boutiques, restaurants, etc all at the bottom of the hill, with charming buildings. I was sponsored to go to the conference by Bravado (more on that another time), and it was great to connect with so many bloggers I didn't know ... CONTINUE READING

DIY watercolor painted napkins

make these DIY watercolour painted napkins - a great handmade gift idea!

I'm a sucker for a beautifully set table, and nice napkins are part and parcel of that setup. My girlfriend Caroline and I had a crafting day a while back and experimented with some painted napkins. We wanted to create ones with an abstract, watercolor look to them... and it totally worked! Keep reading for the full DIY watercolor painted napkins - they are crazy easy, you guys. Materials list:   >> Cloth napkins. I used the Gullmaj ones from IKEA that are a cotton/linen blend. They cost $5.99 for a pack of 2. >> Fabric paint in whatever color(s) you prefer. I use these from the Tulip brand, which work well and are really reasonable at about $10 for a 5-pack of ... CONTINUE READING

DIY fall leaf wreath (for only $5!)

diy fall wreath - square

Now that we have a front door that doesn't have a screen door in front of it, I'm becoming a little wreath-obsessed. Don't be surprised if you see a new tutorial on here for the start of each season. Ha. I'm not sure I can help myself. Up first? A Fall inspired wreath, perfect for the season of reds and oranges and thanksgiving. Plus, this DIY Fall leaf wreath only cost $5 and is one of the easiest DIYs ever. Promise. The supply list? ONE item. That's it. It's a vine of faux Fall leaves from the Dollar store (I got mine at the Dollarama here in Ottawa). It was labelled as "thanksgiving garland", but I think most dollar or craft stores would have something similar. Look in the faux flower ... CONTINUE READING

travel guide: top 5 things to do in vancouver with a toddler

top 5 things to do in vancouver when travelling with kids

You guys! Sorry I have been MIA on the blog lately. Life has been a little nuts! Between a family trip to Vancouver, some medical stuff with Maya, craft fair season ramping up, a new contract, a few blogger conferences, and the whole being pregnant thing (I'm 6 months - how did that happen?!), I am just trying to squeeze in everything into what feel like incredibly short days. The good thing is that this ultra busy stuff is from now until Christmas, and I know that after the holidays life will be able to slow down. And then, you know, get turned upside down again come February when this little fella makes his appearance. Man oh man, I am getting so excited to meet him and get to have a tiny ... CONTINUE READING