Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pink Wedding. Does it get any better than this?

While I continue to work on my little *surprise* project, I thought I would share some eye candy with you. From a pink girl's perspective, this wedding photographed by Our Labor of Love is just devine!

Monday, October 26, 2009

New and exciting things to come!

I am truly sorry for my lack of blogging as of late. Rest assured, I am being extremely productive with my non-blogging time. Hello Bella is headed in new and exciting directions and I can't wait to introduce you to what I have in store. There's nothing better than that feeling when things just click... and I can honestly say that this is one BIG click for me and the company. I feel, and I hope, that I've found my niche; my little place in the world. Stay tuned over the next week and I'll fill you in!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Homemade Biscotti Treats for Fall Favours

For our (Canadian) Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to have a go at making homemade biscotti favours that would also double aa place cards. I found the EASIEST recipe, and I was so excited to try it out. Anyone with a coffee/latte/cappucino addiction like myself should understand the yumminess that is biscotti dipped in some piping hot java.

Something about the crunchy texture of this italian twice baked cookie, that turns to a soft moist cake when emersed in coffee, makes this treat an absolute favourite of mine. Whilst the recipe looks incredibly fool proof, I found a way to mess them up a bit (when I turned the timer off for the first batch, I inadvertently turned off the oven, so the next 2 batches were just hanging out in the oven for about 10 minutes with no heat). To compensate for the oven mistake, I left them in a bit longer than I should have and they were a tad bit on the overcooked side. I was able to salvage most of them except for the chocolate ones (which were eaten despite their burnt aftertaste by my hubby's best friend).

Although Thanksgiving up north has come and gone, there's still US Thanksgiving, Halloween, and of course any random dinner party, that you can use these for. I packaged mine in clear cello bags with orange ribbon, then put each package into a small kraft bag. I grabbed some leaves from outside and wrote the names of each guest in gold pen, and secured it to the bag with green ribbon. If you'd like some fun, free halloween templates like the one above, head on over here.

Now how to make easy peezy biscotti:

1 Box Betty Crocker Cake Mix (any flavour but Super Moist White is great for regular biscotti)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 eggs
Your choice of flavour/topping ( I toasted pumpkin seeds and almonds, used some in the mix and some for sprinkling on top)

1.Heat oven to 350, or 325 for dark/non-stick pans

2. In a medium bowl, mix cake mix, eggs and oil until a dry dough forms (there may be some extra cake mix left in the bowl). Stir in your flavourings ( pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pie spice/ gingerbread spice/ almonds/ m&ms).

3. On an ungreased cookie sheet, shape dough into a 15 by 4 inch rectangle using greased hands (crisco!). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 15 minutes.

(If you want to do 2 different flavours in one batch, separate into different bowls to flavour and then shape on your cookie sheet. Here I've done almond on the left and pumpkin spice on the right.)

4. Cut rectangle crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are a deep golden brown. Cool for 5 mins, remove from cookie sheet, and cool for another 30.

5. Melt some chocolate chips in a double boiler, dip your biscotti in and place on parchment paper. You can also drizzle melted chocolate over top if you like in different colours. Sprinkle with crushed nuts or other topping and let stand until set!

There you go... It doesn't get much easier than that! It is fairly time consuming, however, so next time I might just head over to Costco ;) At least I can tell my husband's italian family that I made biscotti!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

etsy love: Stationery picks for October

Letterpress Above: Smallprinter

Destination STD: Lanodesignstudio

Damask above: ellaspaper

Above: the CRAZY talented rubyandwillow

Program Fan and Wood Veneer Suite: baumbirdy

Above: inkylivie

Above: baumbirdy

It's that time of the week again...and, well, this week I actually remembered it was Tuesday, so yay for etsy finds!

I've got quite an assortment of pretty printed papers for you to feast your eyes on, as I decided to forgo any sort of themed set and just went all out for everything that I love. You may wonder how I choose my stationery picks (or maybe you don't, but I will tell you anyways).

First, I obviously look for an overall pleasing aesthetic that grabs me the moment I lay eyes on it. Just because there may be certain elements that are gorgeous (graphic, font, colour) doesn't mean that it all blends together to make one cohesive "pretty".

Second, and unfortunate for many designers out there, is that I immediately toss away any designs that use specific fonts. I have a quite impressive collection of fonts that I use when I do any sort of design, and to see a designer work with a completely over-used, stock font is alway disappointing to me, especially when I like the rest of the design. Of course, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with these certain fonts, and many others may absolutely love them (or not even notice at all) but working, even a small amount, in design has definitely turned me off of few.

My third criteria is originality. I like a fun, bold, unique design that truly shows off the personality of the couple. What better way to do that than to set the tone with the first part of your wedding that your guests will see? It should tie into the theme of your wedding, but really speak volumes about who you are as a couple. When I look at each of the stationery sets above, I feel like I've gotten to know a little bit about each bride and groom (well, the ones who may order them I guess) and I can envision their perfect day tied into their lovely invitations.

Side note: For all you spelling police out there, I only just recently learned the correct spelling of stationery (with an E). Please excuse my inconsistencies from previous posts, where I have used the common mistake of spelling it "stationary" (which is used when something is still, e.g. stationary bike, and not for the printed materials I so oft speak of). I always thought of myself as somewhat of a spelling bee, but I guess this one just passed me by until the ripe age of 25!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Cookie Buffet

Are you starting to get the feeling that I have a bit of a sweet tooth? Well, I must admit, I have a MAJOR one... as evidenced by posts like this, this, this and this.

While everyone is pleasantly enjoying their October in 2009, us wedding junkies are living in 2010 seeking out inspiration and insight into wedding and event trends. One that I see making a huge mark on the wedding industry is the Cookie Buffet. Really, who doesn't love cookies? I'll take a cookie over, well, pretty much anything. There is something about cookies that just makes them so... satisfying. Yes, they're delicious and full of butter and sugar and tastiness, but there's also a feeling that cookies come with- that homemade goodness, those childhood memories of baking with mom in the kitchen and getting our hands a little messy (and then licking the spoon afterwards!).

Cookie buffets are, of course, a spin off of the uber popular candy buffet, but in many ways more economical and practical. I've done many a candy buffet, and can say they are, to say the least, a pain in the behind. Attractive, tasty, colour co-ordinated candy is difficult to find, and the cost adds up quickly (average about $2-$5 per guest). You will probably go to dozens of stores to find just the right selection, and you'll end up with a much larger hole in your pocket than you anticipated. A cookie buffet, however, is friendly on the budget, and best of all you can utilize your wedding party in the kitchen. Have each member, or family member at that, make a batch of their favourite cookie recipe. This way you'll have plenty of selection, and you'll have spread out your wedding work load a bit.

Want ways to really make your "Cookie Buffet" your own?:
~Attach favourite recipe cards to the treat bags for a unique guest favour
~Name your cookies after your favourite things (movies, books, vacation spots etc) and use creative and pretty labels that match your wedding theme. What would I name my cookies? Well, "Gone with the Mint", and "Titanic Chunks of Chocolate"...and (don't laugh) but I'd probably throw a "Legally Blonde Brownie" in there ;)
~Artistic? Paint something fun on brown paper bags (or have a little one finger paint as seen at Buzz Bishop's wedding in the last picture)
~Have the grandmas, aunts or other important figures in your life do the baking. Chances are they are more than happy to help out, and baking for your wedding is the perfect (and not too tedious) task to give them
~Display your cookies in fabulous fashion: build multi-tiered, paper covered boxes like the first picture, use a lovely display of glass jars and pedestals, display them in tin flower troughs, or even antique vases and dishes borrowed from family members. Whatever you decide to use, be original and personalize, personalize, personalize!
~Mix your displays of homemade cookies in with some expert custom designed cookies like the ones from the Steveston Cookie Company. You will still get the visual impact of these gorgeous designer treats without having to buy one for each and every guest.

Lastly, remember this trend isn't just for weddings! Cookie buffets can easily be incorporated into your next cocktail party, shower, or birthday. I think I'm going to go have a cookie now...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Guest Blog: Gift Registries

I am excited to introduce my first guest blogger ever. My friend and new Hello Bella partner, Jen Berry, will be contributing her wisdom from time to time, and I'm very excited to see what she has in store. Jen has a passion for weddings, and a history in corporate event planning so we compliment each other very well.

A note from Miss Berry: So as a romantic at heart, I too have always had an interest in creating the perfect wedding. As I got older this tilted to not only the perfect wedding but also the most budget friendly one. I have made it my mission to find the best things at the best prices.


Here in Canada we have a limited number of registries, most commonly: The Bay(Home Outfitters) and Sears. I myself find that these stores offer minimal selection and poor prices.

So I searched for a solution and I found it.!

This registry allows you to place any item from any store that has a website and locate it all in one registry. Guests can even give cash donations under titles such as "Our House Fund," and "Our Honeymoon Fund," via secure paypal. You can comparison shop online and find the best prices so that $500 Kitchenaid you saw at the Bay your guests can buy online for $250 at This is ideal for those who can cross the border to pick the gifts up as many great offers give free shipping within the US.

I suggest using Hagens of Blaine as your shipping address. or in Point Roberts www.themailcarrier.comboth are reputable and offer very cheap recieving services.
~Miss Berry

(And a side note from Bella Blogs: traditional etiquette dictates that it is not decorous to put any registry information on or in your invitations... Have your family and friends spread the word around and put the links on your wedding website instead!)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pretty Pillows... Perfect Repurposing

I love handmade, and I love pretty. But sometimes pretty handmade things come with a price tag. When you buy an original, a one of a kind, or anything that someone has toiled over for hours, you're going to pay for it. So what to do when you fall in love with something that you might not be able to justify in your budget? Repurpose! Repurposing your wedding things after your big day achieves two ends: the investment you made on your wedding accessories aren't just one-day throw aways, AND you can fill your home and life with things from your wedding that are filled with memories and emotion.

This is why I am IN LOVE with these stunning ring pillows from MaiharDesign. The designs are absolutely incredible, and by going for a more unique, bespoke pillow over a tradional ring pillow, you can actually USE it for something other than a ring pillow. Where, you may ask? Well, how about for your baby's nursery?

I personally used my table number frames to house my wedding pictures around my home, and I use my bouquet bling for pretty much anything that needs a little sparkle. Almost everything you buy for your wedding can find a home in your home afterwards (much to many husbands dismay!), and anything extra (multiple vases, frames etc) make great momentos to give to your close family or friends. What special event items have YOU (or will you) repurpose after your wedding or event (grad, birthday, party)? Leave a little blog love with your ideas!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Etsy Love: Stunning Devine Deco Necklace

I am just LOVING this gorgeous Devine Deco Edwina necklace from EMBridal. The perfect accessory to add a little glam to a simple bridal gown.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gorgeous Green, Black and White Wedding

I came across this gorgeous wedding on Modern Day Floral, photographed by the very talented Jessica Johnston. The images are breathtaking and the romantic modern feel of the reception is just to die for. And the fact that the team flipped the ceremony over to the reception in 45 minutes flat is beyond impressive!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cute and fuzzy crafts for fall

I'm a sucker for a great diy project, and an even bigger sucker for free templates. This post satisfies my craving for both! Domestic Fluff has an easy-to-follow tutorial for making pom pom flowers, a creative take on the infamous tissue poms (just on a smaller scale and suitable for everything from wedding and party crafts to home decor). In addition to these delightfully adorable yarn blooms are the matching paper templates that would be perfect for a shower or birthday! Enjoy, and if you do happen to ever try your hand at one of these crafts, send me a picture! I'd love to see ;)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Les Petits Desserts

Mini Cherry Pies

Petit Fours

Mini Pumpkin Pies!

Mini chocolate chip Pancake bites

This is something completely unrelated to weddings, but it's so adorable I just had to share! Plus, as mini-everything is all the rage, these adorable bite sized baked goods from bakerella could be tweaked to your wedding or event theme and used on your Amy Atlas style dessert table!

I don't know why I am so fascinated with them, but I just can't get over how cute and convenient miniatures are. Yesterday when baking some delicious mint fudge brownies, I decided to spoon the batter into my mini cupcake sheet instead of a brownie pan. The result was delicious bite sized brownies, and saved me the arduous task of trying to cut gooey brownies into squares, which quite frankly I suck at!

I think the bite-sized pancake idea has got to be one of the most innovative of them all. I mean, really, making pancakes isn't always fun, and inevitably half the batch ends up being much cooler than the other. This way everyone eats at the same time and they're perfect for dipping into syrup. I think I may try making a mini version of french toast the same way (cut out circles of bread to place in mini cupcake pan, cover with milky egg mixture).

Anyone else have some ideas for "minis"? Leave your comments please!!