Archive | July, 2011

because I am fickle

Right now I am loving yellow.

But come next month, I will surely be over it.

Are you like that, too? {please say yes, please say yes}.

I also like paper goods : you know, paper calendars, to-do lists, note cards, etc. Some people say paper is dead. And while I readily admit that google calendar and email make my life a little easier, I still enjoy the act of writing directly on paper – whether it’s my grocery list or a thank you note to a friend.

And so I have decided to combine the two {my fickleness and love of paper} into a new product. I’m calling it

Each month, I will create a group of paper goods that fit with the season {or current trends. Or what I’m loving at the moment}. I’m offering it in two versions: printable pdf files or pdf files + real-life paper prints. Once you receive the files you can print as many as you need, share them with friends, or save them for later.

Included every month will be:

monthly calendar . weekly calendar . chore charts . dinnertime chart . note cards . mailing labels and a new and original art print.

Additionally, I’m getting a little crazy and I will be doing a video tutorial showing you how to do a simple project using templates that will be included in your package. For example, this month I’ll show you how to make your own envelopes with cute liners. Next month I’ll do bookmarks & bookplates and in October we’ll make goodie bag tags.  I feel a bit dorky filming myself making crafts, but hopefully it will be mildly entertaining and a bit informative.

JDC | monthly members will also receive 50% off all printables in the shop.

Want to see what I’ve created for August?

Would you like to join? The cost is $7.99 per month for the digital version. Click the button to join {first month is free}:

And $29.99 for the pdf + printed paper version {first month is $14.99}:

the fine print:

You will be billed on a 30 day cycle {so if you join on the 28th, you will be billed the following month on the 28th}. On the 22nd of each month, you will receive an email with the link to download the collection of pdfs, as well as the video tutorial. Please feel free to share the link with your friends : the more the merrier!

If you have opted to receive your monthly collection in digital + paper form, you will receive a link to the video and pdf files on the 22nd of each month and your package will be sent via USPS on the 20th of each month {so you will be ready to start the new month out in style!}.

For the month of August, you will receive: 1 monthly calendar, 4 weekly calendars, 1 dinnertime, 4 house duties, 4 house duties for kids, 1 art print, 2 sheets of note cards, 1 sheet of mailing labels, 1 envelope template, 1 liner template, 2 sheets orange/yellow liners, 2 sheets pink liners.

If you decide JDC | monthly is not for you, you are free to cancel at any time.

And don’t worry if you don’t have a great printer : your local print shop {kinkos, office max, staples} can easily and inexpensively print the pdfs for you.


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we still think we’re young

This past weekend our family {along with 8 other families – that’s 17 adults and 29 kids – oh my} spent 5 amazing days camping at our friends’ beach house property. It is an annual trip and the highlight of my kids’ summer.

We crab.


brady and the crab ethan and the crab

We kayak.


We fly.


We pour sand on our friend’s head.

audrey pouring sand

We play games and with the help of our talented speller {for the spelling bee competition}, compulsive sweet tooth {pie eating competition} and a slightly cheating momma {three-legged race}, our family was the big winners. Lucky us, we get to proudly display the trophy for an entire year.

whidbey cup

But the best part of the trip by far was the addition of the innertube. The boys, of course, loved it.

the boys on the tube

But us moms : we were in heaven.

mom trip 1

mom trip 2

girls on the tube

I haven’t been on a tube in way too long. It was SO . MUCH . FUN.

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july giveaway winner


When responding to the question : pool or beach : this was Micah’s response:

“beach: I’m a FL girl living in Houston. So, I’ve had my fill of the pool”

I think the vast majority of us prefer the beach {what’s not to love with the sand, water, seashells and peaceful sound} but I don’t think anyone would turn down a dip in the pool either.  So glad to have both as options when the days heat up in the summertime.

So congratulations Micah : send over your address to and I’ll mail you your goodies!

I liked the July giveaway and am still planning a few tutorials to share with you from it.

Like the stuffed whale.


And the flower pin.

ticking flower pin

Stay tuned :

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summer soiree printables

A few months ago, these cute invitations were featured in House of Fifty. I was honored to be part of the first publication of Janell’s {of Isabella & Max Rooms} great e-zine and look forward to her next issue {due out in just a few weeks, I believe}. You can sign up to receive the next issue right here.

If you didn’t see the first issue, I thought I’d share the printable invitations & note cards with you in time for you to throw a little summer soiree.

summer flag soiree

Just print them out, cut on the dotted lines and fill in the details. No need to be fancy about your summer soiree : just an afternoon with friends, lemonade and popsicles would be something to celebrate.

summer flag note cards

You can use these note cards as party favors, or to write a quick ‘thanks for coming’ note to your friends.


zig zag

One more thing : if you have not yet entered the July giveaway, please enter soon! The winner will be announced on Tuesday July 26th.


Click here to enter!

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using gathering tape for curtains

A few months ago I posted photos of our living room. I received a few questions about the gathered curtains, so I thought I’d {finally!} show you how I made them.

living room

When I visited a friend in Texas, she had just had her living room curtains using gathering tape and I fell in love. She is starting a new blog very soon and I can’t wait for her to share her house with everyone : it is amazing. So thanks, Christi, for letting me steal your idea!

gathering tape

So this is gathering tape. You should be able to find it by the yard at your local fabric store.  It is basically a mesh ribbon with two strings woven through it. When you sew it to fabric and pull the strings, it creates a nice gather. It comes in many different widths {mine is 1 inch}.


I used my favorite IKEA curtains {they are long, cheap and a nice weight}, cut off the top tabs and then made a deep hem {approximately 4 inches with another 1 inch turned under}. Depending on how high you want your fabric to stand-up above the gather, you can adjust the hem.

Then you will stitch the gathering tape to the fabric along the top edge of the tape.

stitch to hold

Now add a small stitch {back and forth a few times on the sewing machine} to tack the bottom of the tape down.

drapery pin

Hook drapery pins through the tape in equal places where it will be hung on rings {in my case, I used seven rings, so I took the width of the curtains and divided into 7}. You can get drapery pins at your fabric store, or online here.

pull strings

Now pull the top string until you have your desired ruffliness to the curtains, then make a knot to hold in place.


Hook the drapery pins to your curtain rings {I used these rings}.

gathered curtains

And you are finished!

gatherd curtains in living room

I was hanging these velvet curtains in my office {beware : it’s being rearranged again}

ikea velvet curtains

and noticed that they also use gathering tape. Why I have never noticed this, I am not sure.

ikea gathering tape

So I put them up to see the difference between using it and not. On the left, I pulled the strings to gather:

gathered using tape

and on the right, I did not.

not gathered

It does make a difference in holding the gathers tight. I am not crazy about the rod going through the middle of the gathers, so I will probably do the same method in here as with the living room curtains.

I searched and searched for other tutorials on how to make gathered curtains and came up pretty empty-handed. I did find these three images from drapery-making companies in the UK. Apparently this style is more common in England.

gathered heading with stand up frill






I also learned that the technical name is not gathered curtains, but rather gathered heading with stand-up frill. Fancy, schmancy.

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before there was pinterest

I will admit : I was leery about pinterest. It seemed like just another one of those social networking tools that took too much time for too little good. 

But now that I’m a pinterest user, I completely change my mind.  While I can’t promise that it is a totally valuable way to spend your time, it is a really great resource for finding and storing ideas.

Before there was pinterest {or, more accurately, before I used pinterest}, I had a file on my computer called ‘things I like’. If I came across a project I wanted to do or a room that I thought was too amazing to forget, I would save it there. The only problem was that I rarely named the source and now I have long forgotten where each image was found {which is a nice feature with pinterest}.

Anyway, I was looking through that ‘things I like’ folder and there are some good images in there! So today is a photo-dump of sorts. I’m really sorry that so few of these have sources – if you know where they are from, feel free to leave the info in the comments.

beware : lots of photos ahead :
arch drive
bedroom-dresser chairs octopus pring blue navy white brown_Max and Company-Phoebe Howard  bhg roombicycles via oh, hello friend
casual chic shelter 3
Country living white familyrm
dot walls
living room
playroom via birch and bird
studio 30
style at home kitchen white nailhead trim barstools cararra marble subway tile backsplash hick pendant lights blue gold crown molding top cabinets dark wood floors
the inglenook decor blog

Be inspired today!

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my best friend

emily & kc

Let me introduce you to my best friend. Her name is K.C. {the initials of her real name, but she’s gone by k.c. for forever}.  She is really, really pretty, has amazing arms, brings out the wittiness in me, loves her three children more than any mom I know, can have a conversation with absolutely anyone and make them feel special, and serves the Lord wholeheartedly. 

If you’d like a bit of the history of our friendship, this post tells all about it. But, in short, we’ve been friends since our freshman year of college and have made it through some rough patches {like the time when I tried to date her ex-boyfriend or when we had a minor blow-up while our families were living together}.  What I love the most about our friendship is that we’ve made it through those hard times, growing closer rather than further apart.  That proves to me that what we have is not based on convenience or circumstance, but on the Lord knitting our hearts together for a purpose.

K.C. has a gift of speaking and a heart for encouraging and challenging women in very relatable ways.  She started a blog {} a few months ago and uses it to share stories about everyday life, motherhood, faith and how they all intersect.

I was planning on doing a formal introduction at some point {because I think you all will really like her too} but had not yet figured out when and how I would do it.

When I read her post from yesterday, I knew it was the day.


If you are feeling weary, like life is crashing too hard, please read my best friend’s post : you will be encouraged.

Click here to read and say hi to K.C. for me!

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let’s chat

When I read a blog for an extended period of time, I start to feel like I know the writer.

Oh, doesn’t Ashley Ann just come up with the best projects?

That, Meg. She always makes me smile.

I was reading Angie the other day :

I don’t want to be presumptuous in thinking you feel that way about me, but I kind of hope so. When I’m writing on here, I’m usually writing as if to a friend, so I’d like to think that if we met in real life, we would hit it off beautifully.

So today, let’s pretend we are out to coffee {or sitting around a pool sipping lemonade} just chatting.

These are a few of the things I might talk about:

* I have a small infatuation with fonts lately. It could become a problem. I bought two new ones that I love {this one and this one}.  I also recently downloaded about a million free ones from here and here.

* Even though I know the bachelor/bachelorette is the most smutty thing to watch, I’m always enamored. I’m not in love with this season, but I watch it anyway.  I usually fold laundry at the same time to make it feel like its not a total waste of time.

* The kids and I spent two weekends ago with my uncle, aunt, cousins, boyfriend and fiancé and it was so great. They live on Bainbridge Island and this is the view from their back deck:


kind of amazing, right?

While we were there, we spent an afternoon at an elementary school gym where my uncle is famous. He even has his own poster:

mr jones

He is the p.e. teacher and all the kids l.o.v.e. him : especially mine.

at the gym

I had forgotten how fun elementary school p.e. is with all the equipment and games. I even pulled out a jump rope and successfully did a few double-unders. Exhilarating, I tell you.

* The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale starts Friday.  Are you going? Each year we would get our new school shoes at the sale and maybe a few items for back to school. I am so not in the fall shopping mood {we’re hardly even into summer!} so I don’t think you’ll find me there this time around.  You can view the catalog here.

* I am reading Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle to the boys. I am not sure how I missed it as a kid, but it is my first time and it is such a cute story.  My kids could use a few of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s cures.

* Have you read any novels lately that are worth reading? I’m looking for a good one. Any suggestions would be appreciated.  My most recent faves have been Water for Elephants, The Help and Peace Like A River.

* No. 1 painted a picture the other day:

angry bird

can you guess what game he likes playing?

* We have a new baby boy in our lives : my sweet little nephew Hudson. Can’t wait to meet him.

* I saw this recipe for soft pretzels on this blog and we tried them today. YUM. If you are a pretzel kind of girl, you should make them.

* I don’t have an iphone. I know, gasp.  Truth be told, I am about the worst phone answerer in the world and so a fancy phone seems mildly unnecessary. But the more I think about it, the more I think it would be oh so handy.  Email on the run, entertain kiddos in a pinch, and this post may have tipped me over the edge with the realization that I would have a pretty good camera with me most of the time and I wouldn’t have to lug around my big one. Are you an iphone fan? Any thoughts?

Am I boring you yet? Don’t worry, if we were chatting in real life I would let you talk too.

One more thing :

I have the itch for a new project. A master bath makeover? Something clever to cover the walls in the mudroom? Sprucing up the boy’s room? Paint the floors in the kitchen? Do you ever get the way : just itching to do something creative with your house?  I’ve got the bug. Good thing we have a busy next couple of weeks or else this house would be turned upside down. I’ll let you know where this energy gets focused and what room gets the makeover.

Thanks a bunch for hanging out with me! It was fun :

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raspberry jam {tutorial + printable labels}

I’ve been wanting to make homemade jam for a few years, but was intimidated by the intense process of preparing the jars, boiling the liquid, timing everything just right.

But last weekend my Aunt Laura eased my fears and clued me in to the quick and easy way to make berry jam : freezer jam. Since raspberries are perfectly in season, I decided to give it a try.  If you have never made jam before, let me encourage you : it is super easy.

freezer jam

Here’s what you’ll need:

freezer jam ingredients

:: 6 cups of fresh raspberries {about 5 6oz baskets}

:: 5 1/4 cups sugar

:: 3/4 cup water

:: 1 box of Sure Jell Fruit Pectin

::8 half pint mason jars

The actual recipe I used is right here, but I’ll walk you though the steps below.

STEP ONE: rinse jars in boiling water and dry thoroughly

rinse jars

STEP TWO: measure 6 cups of ripe raspberries and mash

mash raspberries

raspberries are mushed

STEP THREE: strain seeds

strain the seeds

I didn’t have much patience for the straining process, so I gave up after a few sieve-fulls, but you can remove as many seeds as you wish.

STEP FOUR: add sugar to berries

add sugar

stir in sugar

It is a lot of sugar, but from what I read, the sugar acts as a preservative for the berries so you can’t skimp. If you’d like a sugar free version, Sure Jell sells a no-sugar-needed pectin.

While the sugar is dissolving in the berries :

STEP FIVE: add the fruit pectin to water and bring to a boil

sure jell

Stir constantly and allow to boil for one minute.


STEP SIX: Add pectin to berry mixture and stir for three minutes

add pectin to raspberries

STEP SEVEN: pour jam into prepared jars and seal tightly

pour into jars

Allow the jam to sit out for 24 hours, then it is ready to eat. You can store an opened container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks and in the freezer for one year.

jars of raspberry jam

I had a fun time decorating my jars of jam using scraps of fabric, bakers twine {from here}, flax colored yarn, houndstooth & dotted papers from my printable paper collection, and a faux raspberry from the craft store.

What special gifts these will make {maybe with some fisher scone mix? Yum}.

jam collage

I created two different labels that you are welcome to download and print:

raspberry jam full label raspberry-jam-round

And just in case you are making strawberry jam, here are labels for that:

strawberry jam full label strawberry jam round


Just to show you behind the scenes while I’m doing craft projects, here is what my office looked like while I was embellishing my jam jars. What a mess!

what a mess

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our backyard

We moved into our current home five years ago. We had just sold our darling, but major fixer-upper {or perhaps tear-down} 1920’s bungalow and were beyond thrilled to have a new home {read: without rodents and a sagging foundation}.  At that time our eyes were so engaged by the large rooms, functional kitchen {with a dishwasher!}, multiple bathrooms and charming neighborhood that we didn’t think too much about the teensy tiny backyard.  And we definitely didn’t pay much attention to the towering houses surrounding us on all sides.   If we could do it again, we would have bought a home situated on the edge of the neighborhood, but those are the things you learn once you move in.

So over the past five years, we’ve done our best to transform our little piece of land into something usable and pretty. Let me share with you our backyard.

backyard before

backyard after

We decided that since the lawn was not big enough to really enjoy, we pulled it all out and created a large patio for entertaining, a fire pit/patio for our table and a place for the kids to play.


Last summer, Ryan built a trellis {it is our attempt to distract the eye from the ginormous house behind it : you don’t even see it, do you? Wink, wink}.  I love how it turned out {my best friend calls it a totem-pole-trellis} and will really love it when it is covered in flowering clematis vines.


The patio furniture is a new addition awaiting some new pillows.

from the right

The area on the left on the yard is my favorite. The plants have had a chance to grow and the stone path is a look I love. We built in a patio for a fire pit, but currently have our table & chairs there.


stone walk

patio table

table towards house

On the right side of the yard {which you can see beyond the patio below} is a play set for the kiddos with swings {their fave}.  While it is not a big yard, I do like that the kids have a spot to dig, swing and play pirates.

patio towards playset

It is the work-in-progress part of the yard. We’re not exactly sure what to do in that back section where the wheelbarrow is {a mini garden? shrubs?} and I am hoping to finish the path this summer and plant ground cover to add some green to the mix.


There is always work to be done and I’m sure things will change and grow with each new season, but we are happy with what we’ve created so far. Even if we are surrounded by houses on all sides.

Just for fun, I thought I’d share some close ups of favorite plants in our yard.

Do you have a favorite backyard plant? Please share :

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a summer wreath {tutorial}

Changing out the wreath on our front door is one of the easiest ways to celebrate each season. I’ve done a fall wreath {burlap ruffles}, a winter wreath {the nonna wreath} and a spring wreath {linen ruffles} and so it seemed about time to try a summer wreath.

summer wreath

I’ve been in the beachy mood and jute twine feels rather nautical, so it became the inspiration for this project. Once your wreath is covered with twine, feel free to embellish however you like.

Here’s what you’ll need:


:: styrofoam wreath form

:: jute rope {purchased from the craft or hardware store}

:: hot glue gun, glue stick, scissors

STEP ONE: glue end of rope and begin wrapping


keep wrapping twine

STEP TWO: as you wrap, add dots of glue to hold rope into place


STEP THREE: glue end of rope to finish


As you wrap, try to keep the rope tight and close together. You may have some spaces at the end {as I did}, so you can just cut a small piece of rope and fill in with glue, tucking the ends in to hide.

spaces left over

fill in

And it is finished.


Now you can play around with embellishing.

flower on the wreath

A simple silk flower looks cheerful

pinwheels on wreath

And a whimsical bouquet of pinwheels is playful {see the pinwheel tutorial here}

I added a striped bunched flower, some dotty garland and the starfish to the wreath in the july giveaway.


A large monogram would be great, or an assortment of sea shells. Really, just have fun with it and you can create your own version of the summer wreath.

And just for a little more inspiration, look at these great projects using jute rope:

ampersand jute bracelet

jute pears vases

drawer pulls jute chandelier

{click on image for source}

So fun {and cheap!} to recreate.

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I know, I know … another 4th of july post

fourth of july collage

I’m sure blogs all across America will be posting their photos of one of the happiest holidays we celebrate. And I’m no exception. It’s just too colorful, festive and full of great memories to skip it!

So there you go : our 4th of July.

Hope yours was delightful as well.

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