Archive | September, 2010

our entry

Well, hello. Welcome to our home.

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This is what you see when you walk in the front door:

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A jute rug from IKEA, an old cane back chair that desperately needs to be reupholstered and a large hanging window.

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The curtains are from IKEA {of course – I think ALL of my curtains are from there} and hung from clips. We love having so many windows at the entry, but in the evenings it is nice to close the curtains for privacy {and it keeps 8pm solicitors from knocking on the door!}.

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I like having a dresser right inside the front door. Our hats, gloves, scarves are stored in the drawers. It is an old piece with authentically chippy paint and I just don’t think I’ll ever be able to paint over it.  The mirror was a funky oak piece {probably from the 70’s} found at Goodwill and then painted Rushing River by Sherwin Williams {the same color as Audrey’s bed}.  It is kind of ugly, in a pretty way.

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Looking through the window that separates the entry from the dining room.

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The lamp is from Walmart and then I recovered the lampshade using this Waverly fabric.

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I made a new print for the entry in honor of the season.

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Can you tell I like monograms? I really do.

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And these vintage word cards make me happy.

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Looking from the entry into my office {and a little sneak peek at the changes in there – I know, I just finished the office and I’ve already rearranged it : welcome to my life}.

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Ryan bought me this photo carousel {from Potterybarn} a few years ago and it works perfectly for holding stationery. Kind of random that we have a display of notecards in our entryway.

Some updates I’d like to do someday:

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burp cloths

I’m not sure what it is, but all four of my darlings have been ridiculous spitter-uppers {yuck}.
Which means I’ve gone through a lot of burp cloths.
With No.4 I finally realized that if I was going to be wearing a burp cloth on my shoulder for the better part of the day, I might as well make it cute as well as functional.
So here is my simple way to make:
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Here is what you’ll need:
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:: fabric {I used linen}
:: terry cloth
:: tape measure
:: scissors
:: pins
:: thread & sewing machine
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little girls

Our little girl was invited to a birthday party this weekend.

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I know she is only 7 months old, but it is the sweetest thing that she already has friends and goes to birthday parties.

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{the birthday girl}

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I can’t wait to see these girls playing together in a few years!

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The party was a sort of fairy tale, woodland theme and was so thoughtfully done.

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Yum : first donut for this baby girl!

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Little girls are awfully sweet.

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getting to know you {3}

getting to know you

It’s that time again : you girls are fun to get to know and I can’t wait for your answers to this week’s question:

pregnancy

Now I realize that not all of you have been pregnant, and I don’t mean to be exclusive, so if you haven’t experienced pregnancy cravings, you are free to make something up {or share a weird craving that you’ve heard of or just tell us about what you had for dinner. I don’t care : I just think this game is fun!}

My answer:

With all four of my babies I craved ICE like it was dessert. I would go through the Starbucks drive-through and just ask for a cup of ice. Yum, it was delicious.

With Audrey, I experienced the WEIRDEST craving to eat Lemon scented Soft Scrub, lick the chalkboard and drink lotion. Crazy. I seriously had to remind myself that I would be insane to actually take a bite of chalk.  I asked my doctor about it and apparently this medical condition {called Pica} occurs when your body is lacking minerals such as iron.  Some women crave dirt or clay or metal. I just wanted to eat toxic cleaning supplies.

Anyway, I did find out that my iron was very low and took some supplements to bring it back into the normal range – and my infatuation with soft scrub greatly diminished. Weird. And kind of funny.

Okay, now it is your turn : can’t wait for the off-the-wall answers.  Have a great weekend!

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giveaway { m o n t h l y } october

COLLAGE

The new giveaway bundle has been compiled and I think you will like its Autumn coziness!

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1. leaf print & frame  2. velvet ruffle pillow  3. twig wreath  4. silver creamer

5. vintage word cards  6. thank you note cards {set of 8}  7. fabric flower

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For a chance {or two} to win, head over to the giveaway page {by clicking the image below}

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UPDATE: to enter visit the giveaway page to make a comment.

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birthday party

We {finally} threw together a little birthday party for our No.2 yesterday. It happened to be a sunny day and so we gathered all of his buddies from the neighborhood at our park for an after-school party.

It was super simple and easy to put together, with snacks:

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some juice:

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and a rice krispie treat ‘cake':

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The birthday boy and his sister:

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The dads coordinated some games:

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and we had lots of sidewalk chalk to color with:

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and opened gifts in record time:

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Our big 5 year old had the best time –

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Honestly, it was a little hard for me to do a ‘thrown together’ party without a theme or invitations or great party favors.  I like a coordinated event with all the details well thought out. But I realized that my boy really didn’t care about any of that. He just wanted to hang out with his friends, open some gifts and have a special time to honor him.

Now I’m not saying that I won’t go all out on future birthday parties, but I think this one was a good reminder that a party is for my child, not me!

With all of the amazing blogs dedicated to extravagant parties, my hope is that we won’t loose focus on our little ones when celebrating them.  The parties are for them, after all!

But just in case you want a bit of inspiration for a party, here are some very fun places to visit:

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the kitchen {Autumn}

It was time to reorganize the kitchen shelves and pull out some Autumn accents. I feel like I’m a little behind fluffing my house for the season {I usually do this September 1st due to my absolute love of fall} but it is nice to at least have the kitchen reflect the current season.

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I’m loving the added contrast of the brown and am happy to see those Spode dishes again!

***UPDATE***

Just to answer some questions:

The paint color for the top of the walls is Texas Leather by Benjamin Moore.

The little jack-o-lantern plate was a gift from my mom – probably from a store like TJ Maxx because she always finds the cutest things there {and I never do}. It says M Studios on the back in case you wanted to know.

The glass jars are an assortment from IKEA and Cash & Carry. They are what we organize our pantry with. Someday when I straighten it up, I’ll take some photos. It makes me happy.

The shelves are from IKEA. We sanded and painted them the color of the lower cabinets so that they would match. Love them. They are sturdy and simple and slightly industrial looking.

I really like having open shelves. Sure the things get dusty, but it isn’t so bad. Our everyday dishes and glassware are on the lower shelves which we use so often that they don’t have a chance to collect dust. The stuff on the top just needs to be wiped down before use. If you like the look of shelves and have dishware you like to see, I say go for open shelves!

Melissa at The Inspired Room shared about her open shelves here.

And I really love how this gal styles her’s:

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ruffle wreath {a tutorial}

I spent yesterday with my friend Rae while our husbands were doing important things like putting out fires and rescuing kittens from trees {by the way, do you know that fire fighters don’t really do that? Ryan gets slightly annoyed at the mention of it}. Anyway, we let the seven children of ours run wild while we did a little bit of Autumn crafting.  She needed a new fall wreath for her front door and so we created this little beauty:

ruffle wreath

How about a tutorial?

Here’s what you’ll need:

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:: styrofoam wreath

:: burlap

:: scissors

:: needle & thread

:: straight pins {not shown – oops}

:: hot glue gun {also not shown, but definitely necessary}

STEP ONE: cut three long strips of burlap {4” x 70”}

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STEP TWO: wrap the wreath with one burlap strip

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secure the start and end with straight pins

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STEP THREE: gather the burlap strips into ruffles

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Because of the loose weave, tie your thread to the fabric to hold in place. Then start stitching.

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Now pull your thread to gather the burlap

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STEP FOUR: attach the ruffle to the wreath

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attach the first ruffle to the back of the wreath, pinning in to hold with straight pins.

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then add hot glue to secure.

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Flip over and this is your first layer.

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STEP FIVE: attach second ruffle

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Starting from the inside of the wreath, pin down the second layer.

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And you’ll have this:

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We added some seasonal embellishments {a bunched up fabric flower, a satin flower, some feathers, a glitter bird and tag}

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Love it!

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Here is her front door before {wearing a spring wreath}:

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And now:

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Perfectly Autumn-ish.

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getting to know you {2}

The question this weekend is:

{I’m pretty sure that is not a grammatically correct way to ask that question, but I couldn’t think of another way. Forgive me.}

My answer: I’m a mascara girl. Without it I look 12.

Leave a comment if you’d like to play along. I love reading through your responses!

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y’all

I have a slight infatuation with southern accents. I wish I had one. I wish I could say y’all and darlin’ and cute things like that.

I’ve never actually been to the south {well, actually I have been to San Antonio, but I don’t recall a lot of y’alls on that trip} so I don’t know for certain that it’s even what y’all say. But Beth Moore talks that way and she’s from the south so that is my frame of reference. She also does cute things with her hands and she makes me want to have acrylic nails with a french manicure and know more about God.  I think she’s amazing.

anyway …

What I really want to say is that y’all are the best.

You make blogging very fun for me with your sweet comments.

So thank you.

You’re real darlin’s.

One little way I can say thank you is through my monthly giveaway.

And – what do you know – it is giveaway announcement day.

The winner of all of these goodies is:

{isn’t that the cutest name?}

So, miss Lollie, send me a note and I’ll send you your little gift!

The October giveaway will be posted soon {as soon as I decide what will be in it! Any suggestions?}

And, later today I’ll post the getting to know you question.

Hope you have a beautiful friday, y’all!

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things i like: autumn baby clothes

I came across this shop the other day. Perhaps I’ve been living under a rock, but I had never heard of Zara before.

{To my benefit, they don’t have any actual storefronts in Washington state, so I’m really not that out of touch}.

oh MY goodness.

I think I’d like one of everything for my Audrey.

clothes Are those not the most adorable baby clothes? They look like clothes I want to wear!

Unfortunately for me {and fortunately for my husband} they don’t offer online shopping.  And the closest store is in southern California.

So it doesn’t look like Audrey will be wearing any of these items anytime soon.

But if you have a Zara near you … shop away and think of me when you see that darling ruffle trench coat.

………….

Did you notice the banner at the top of the page? Yep. The Workshop is now in session.  Click here to visit our brand new Be Inspired Workshop page.

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birthdays

Today we’re celebrating a couple of birthdays.

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First this little guy:

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I know every mommy says it on all of her children’s birthdays, but really, I just can’t believe that our little boy is five years old today. He is sweet and spunky, mischievous, sensitive, has the prettiest eyes and the most annoying cry, loves to draw, play legos, bake and collect bugs. He gets lost sometimes being our middle child, but I love watching his personality emerge and his individuality recognized.

Poor kid :we had a great birthday party for him last year {seen here} but this time around he has to wait a week or two as we weren’t thinking when we scheduled the workshop to begin on his birthday. But he’s easy like that. He goes with the flow, and gets excited about the littlest things – even if they aren’t perfect. I love this boy.

And now, a birthday surprise for:

betsy

We are so pleased to award Betsy with the Be Inspired {small business} Workshop Scholarship!

Here’s a little bit of her story:

“Oh, wow:this could be a dream come true! I had a brick & mortar stationery and gift shop in my little hometown, but had to close it due to the demands of my three precious babies!!! So, I am loaded with a ton of inventory that I would like to sell and take a load off of me. I want so much to use all my creative outlets into doing something to add to our family’s income and provide some much needed adult time for myself. I am home 24(!!!) hours of each day and would LOVE to find something to do with my time while using all I have learned from my past business experience. I love all things paper and I love decorating. My birthday is this month and I have already asked for only one thing – a sewing machine! (-: Surely, there is a way to combine all my passions to help others and help myself along the way! All the best to everyone in the workshop. Hope I can join you! What an amazing Birthday gift this would be! My birthday just happens to be 9/16 !!! (-: Perfect timing, I must say!”

Yes, dear Betsy, it is great timing!

And one more ‘gift’ of sorts.

Someone will receive this great gift on Friday. Have you signed up for the giveaway?

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so … i have an idea

I married a man who comes from a long line of creative thinkers. His mom. His grandparents. Even his uncle – a bona fide inventor and patent holder of a really cool hammer.

So when he calls me into the office and starts the conversation with “so:I have an idea:” I’m really never surprised.

He always has a new one.

And usually, they are really good.

Like hanging the window in the dining room from barn door tracks. Or using a huge rope to suspend a chandelier in the living room.

Or dreaming up businesses.

We’ve always collaborated on Jones Design Company – he has been my pricing guy, my design consultant as well as my grunt worker when I needed help with card production. He’s been so supportive of my creative endeavors and without him there is no way I would be able to do what I do.

But in the past few months we’ve taken it a step further and become true business partners.

When I mentioned to him the idea of having a little ‘craft fair’ this summer, he took my idea and ran with it : and the Summer Boutique was born.

He turned my basic blogger blog into this totally custom one.

More recently he has taught me about marketing and advertising – areas I had no knowledge of, and areas that he has a degree in.

It’s been a very natural fit – us joining forces in business – but has also been one of the most wonderful times in our relationship. To see both of our strengths strengthened by collaborating with each other has been rewarding, to say the least.

I know I mention him on the blog from time to time, but he doesn’t get nearly the credit {or page space} he deserves. That’s how he likes it – this husband of mine would much rather be in the background than the center of attention.

But today, I feel I must formally introduce you to my partner in life and in business.

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This is my husband {and me – at our Summer Boutique}.

If you’ve been over to the Be Inspired {small business} Workshop page, you’ve surely noticed that it is written using the words ‘we’ and ‘us’. I assure you that I do not have multiple personalities. It is written this way because the workshop is not hosted by me alone, but rather by us.

So much of the success of my business has been due to his entrepreneurial spirit and knowledge of business principles. There is no way I could present a complete course on taking you through the steps to create your own business without his participation. What he has added to the Workshop is invaluable – to me, for sure – but I think most of all to the workshop participants. His understanding of technology {webhosting, css, javascript, servers and other concepts that are too lofty for me to grasp} as well as his background {and love, really} in marketing play large parts in the course. He has a way of simplifying the most confusing steps and making the information usable.

He has once again taken my little idea of hosting a class to inspire women to pursue their dreams and made it into an incredibly complete, interactive and professional Workshop. I am beyond appreciate to have him as my partner.

I think you will be very thankful to have him around to help you as well.

We hope you will join us!

whowhat

For more information, visit the W O R K S H O P page or send me a note.

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getting to know you

I typically take the weekends off from blogging. But I’ve been thinking lately that I’d like to have something fun up on my blog over the weekends, so I’m starting a new feature.  It’s called

getting to know you

My ‘in real life’ friends know that few things make me happier than asking silly ‘getting to know you’ type of questions. The more awkward the better!  Maybe its annoying, but I think it is fun.

So each Friday, I’ll post a new question or fill in the blank statement in an attempt to get to know each other better. Just leave your answer in the comments if you want to play along.

Let’s start with something a bit light-hearted:

reality

My answer: hands down, Survivor. I’m sure I would not win and I think the bug bites alone would drive me to insanity, but there is something so adventurous about it that appeals to me.  Plus, Elisabeth Hasselbeck was on it and I think she is cute.

Can’t wait to hear your answers!

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time

Now that school is back in session, vacations have been taken and we’ve transitioned from flexible days to scheduled ones, it seems appropriate to share it with you all.  Enjoy!

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T  I  M  E

Perhaps the question I receive the most here on the blog is “how do you do it?”

I’m completely flattered by the question and hope to give you some very practical and inspiring tips, but first I must make a little disclaimer:

I am not super-woman.

Women put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do it all and do it all well.   We want to be attractive wives and doting mothers and wise mentors and savvy shoppers and loyal friends : all the while keeping our houses immaculate, whipping up gourmet meals, growing our own vegetables, getting that recommended 30 minutes of cardio a day,  volunteering in our kids’ classrooms, decorating our homes and fitting in some good quality alone time.

And then when we can’t quite master these things, we get down on ourselves, compare our failures against the abundance of other women who seem to be successful and fall into a pit of insecurity – a debilitating feeling of not measuring up.

High expectations are good. Unrealistic expectations are from the devil.

And so, I must first say that I am in the same boat. I have so many things I want to be/do and so many that I think I should be/do and if I don’t get a handle on the truth, then I get into that same ugly tangle of insecurity.

What I’m discovering is that I must first admit that I CAN NOT DO IT ALL.

There, I’ve said it. Now say it with me :

I CAN NOT DO IT ALL.

Doesn’t that feel good? Freeing even?

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The truth is, we must make sacrifices in one area to be able to achieve in another.

For instance, sometimes our family eats out so that I don’t have to do dishes.  Sometimes my boys are upstairs for hours playing legos by themselves while I am working.  Sometimes the laundry mounds up well beyond what my grandmother would deem acceptable.  Sometimes I don’t shower for four days.

You get the point and I’m sure you can relate.

So, to answer the question of how I do all that I do, I have to admit that I make plenty of sacrifices.

Okay, now that that is out of the way, let’s dive into the practical ways to carve out time for YOU.

It may sound backwards, but making time for yourself is one of the least selfish things you can do for your family, your friends and you.  You know that old saying “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? It’s really just making the point that the mother is often the one who sets the tone for the entire family.  If you are frazzled and unhappy and unfulfilled, most likely your family has picked up on it and are not functioning at their highest level either.

We decided several months ago to home school our children.  Many aspects of home school are appealing to us and we felt like this was the right direction for our family.  But as time went on and I began pouring more of myself into my blog and business, I started to have second thoughts.  I was talking with my sisters about it and they both shared their concerns with me.  One said, “I just worry that you will give so much to your kids that you will lose yourself – your own passions and interests outside of them.”  This was a big struggle for me.  While I felt like home school was the best thing for our kids educationally, the added responsibility on me to spend a large portion of my time, energy and creativity focused on schooling them would mean I would not have the time, energy and creativity to focus on my hobbies – namely my business.  If I chose not to home school because it would require too much of a sacrifice of my own interests would that make me the most selfish woman alive?  Or would our family function better if I was fulfilling my passions?  The fact that this Workshop exists and that our first-grader is at school down the street today tells you what decision we made!

{For the record, I’m a big fan of home school and I’m not saying that if you home school, you will not have time for yourself. This was just a conclusion that we came to for our family at this point in time.}

The point is, reflect on your life and make sure that you realize the importance of taking time to focus on you. Whether that means joining a book club or taking a bath, you need to take care of you. Ultimately, the goal here is to free up time for you to pursue your creative passions and turn them into a business – a nearly impossible task if this habit of taking time for you is not incorporated into your daily life.

So how exactly do you make time for yourself when you have so many other responsibilities?

Here is my list of time management lessons:

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