Archive | August, 2011

my cousin’s wedding invitations

My second littlest cousin is getting married this fall. We adore her fiance and can’t wait for their special wedding day.

jen + brett

{aren’t they the most darling couple?! Photos by the talented Stacy Jacobsen}

Jen asked me to create her invitations and I was so pleased to do them for her. She wanted something vintage-y, fun, a little bit formal and the groom wanted to somehow incorporate a ‘tree with roots’ {love you, brett!}. Here is what we came up with:

wedding invitation suite

The package came in a navy envelope with cute wraparound labels.

envelope front

envelope back

All of the invitation pieces were bundled with a striped wrap and tied with twine.

invitation all tied up with twine

invitation close up

The tree with roots turned out really cute with their initials subtly added.

rsvp card

rsvp envelope

We used envelopes in curry from Paper Source for the rsvp card. I love the pop of color.

driving directions ferry schedule

The wedding is at a gorgeous farm across the sound from Seattle, so we included a ferry schedule for local travelers.

registry card

And a dainty registry card.

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I started jones design company 10 years ago doing custom invitations for brides, new babies, parties and holiday cards.  As our family has grown and I’ve entered this blogging world, my business has changed and custom design work has taken a back seat.

I get questions every once in a while asking about design projects and it makes me sad to say no. Especially when I don’t have a list of great referrals to offer. I always suggest my friends Rae {www.armommy.com} and Lindsay {www.lindsayletters.com}, but with one just having a baby and another expecting her first, I know they are both limited with how much work they can take on too.

So I thought this might be a good chance to open up the comments to those of you who are stationery designers. If you have a business doing invitations, announcements, or other graphic design please leave a link to your website in the comments. Feel free to leave a little snippet about what you do or services you offer.

If you are looking for custom design work, please check through the comments to see if someone fits your aesthetic. I hope it becomes a great resource.

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swim suits & giveaway winner

swim

That was the question for the giveaway this month. And you all had some pretty cute answers.

Lots of bikini wearers, lots of one piece wearers, and many many tankini wearers.

but one of my favorite answers is the GIVEAWAY WINNER

melanie

I love it.

So, Melanie, please send me a note with your address and I’ll send you your polka-dot goodies!

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Now let’s talk about swim suits for a minute. I sort of hate them. But I love swimming. And so I endure. My biggest issue {besides the terrible gift God gave women of cellulite – ugh} is my very pale skin.  So for me, showing lots of skin is just too much. Maybe someday I’ll brave a bikini again, but for now, I’m a one piece / tankini girl.

Because it is the end of the season, may swim suits are now on sale. Here are a few of my faves:

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{j.crew $49}

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{shabby apple $82}

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{shabby apple $88}

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{mod cloth $89}

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{downeast basics tank $16.99 + skirt $12.99}

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{athleta $69}

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{Land’s End top $15.99 + skirt $19.99}

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{Rey Swimwear $80}

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{Rey Swimwear top $49 + bottoms $21}

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The September giveaway will be announced soon {once I put it together!}.  I do have one piece for it already {from Olive Jewels} and it is gorgeous! Stay tuned :

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popping in on this saturday morning

Happy Saturday! I’m not regularly a poster on weekends, but the kids are busy watching saturday morning cartoons {which are no where near as wonderful as I remember them being when I was a kid. Whatever happened to the Jetsons, Dennis the Menace, Strawberry Shortcake? Those were way better than weird shows like Horseland and Trollz} and I have a second to say hi.

So, Hi. Hope you are having a nice weekend so far.

I also wanted to clarify that when you sign up for JDC | monthly, you gain automatic access to the current month’s collection. I release the new designs on the 22nd of the month, but they remain available all month until the next collection is released. In other words, if you sign up on August 22 – September 21, you will receive September’s collection. If you sign up on September 22nd – October 21, you will receive October’s collection {and I may or may not also give you the link to the previous month. Wink, wink}.

Hope that makes sense. If you would like to sign up, click the button below.

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And now let’s talk about a few gorgeous rooms.

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I’m loving the striped walls and that ceiling. Our mudroom is half-way there with bead board paneling and hooks, but I have been trying to decide what to do with the walls. This might push me over the edge for painting stripes.

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I know this is a christmas image and I am not ready for christmas, but I do love the fancy frame on the chalkboard {and the pretty writing}. I feel the need for a big chalkboard in our kitchen {where the Mt. Rainier map currently hangs} for things like a weekly bible verse, schedules, places to doodle and I’d love to create something like this with molding pieces. Or, rather, I’d love Ryan to create something like this with molding pieces.

And then there is this:

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I pinned this a few days ago with the statement “a painted piano … cool or destructive? I’m thinking cool and I’d like to do it to ours.”.

What do you think? Paint our perfectly fine, but boring piano, or leave it alone?

This is what it looks like:

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I have fallen out of love with the crazy bird collage wall {posted here} and so I’m in need of a new look for the piano nook.

Okay, time to sign off. Audrey is currently sitting on my desk pulling apart everything. Ah, children. They have such boundless energy.

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time for another coffee chat

It’s been a few weeks since our last chat.

Today if we were sitting together, I would be drinking this:

starbucks

I am so high maintenance when I order drinks at Starbucks. In the winter I add extra-hot. If I were to add an extra shot, I would check all the boxes on the cup. High-maintenance, I tell ya.

And here are a few things we could talk about:

* My new planter box. It makes me happy to look out my office window and see these beauties.

window box

* We just returned from a family vacation. Vacations are the best. The kids {8 cousins all together} played so well, the weather was warm and summery and the shaved ice stand was just around the corner from our beach house.  For the record, coconut shaved ice is really good.

the kiddos

* While on vacation, we did some diving, cannonballing and belly-flopping.  My sisters and I taught ourselves to back dive when we were young and it is a skill we like to pull out every once in a while to impress the onlookers. I’m not sure how impressive my back dive is since I am about 6 inches above the water, but it feels daring and exhilarating to throw yourself backwards into the pool.

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* We listened to a lot of Justin Bieber on the trip. I actually really like JB. I may have even dreamt about him a few weeks ago.

* These sweatshirts are pretty fabulous. Have you tried one? Are they worth the money?

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* Salad-spinner turned spin-art. The boys and I need to give this craft a try.

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* I took the Strengths Finder 2.0 test this week. Ryan and my sisters urged me and it was pretty cool. You can purchase the kindle version on Amazon and if you don’t have a kindle, you can download the kindle app to your computer for free.  The whole premise of the test is to show you what your top five strengths are and focus on those {rather than focusing on your weaknesses}. My results were a little bit surprising, but after reading through the explanations of each one, they make perfect sense to me. In case you are curious, my strengths are:

Empathy . Adaptability . Intellection . Developer . Achiever

* Okay, enough randomness for this delightful Friday. I hope you are able to do something fun or relaxing or productive or meaningful this weekend.  Me? I’m going to finish unpacking from our vacation.

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If you haven’t signed up for the August POLKA-DOT giveaway, you can enter by clicking the image below. The winner will be announced on Monday.

august giveaway

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editing photos {sort of} like a pro

If I could, I would have our family photos taken every few months. I absolutely adore having professional photos done. But, alas, photographers can be spendy and so I have to be realistic about the frequency of scheduling shoots.

My sweet girl turning 18 months did not quite merit a photo shoot. At least not by a professional.  Instead, I thought I’d pretend and do a photo session myself. So last week I grabbed a torn up chair {that I will someday recover}, headed out to the empty lots in our development and snapped away at my baby who is really not a baby anymore.

Once the photos were taken, I realized that good photos are great but what I really love about a professional photographer is his/her ability to edit. And so, I thought I’d give that a shot as well.  The gorgeous photos on Jennifer’s blog {dear lillie} and her helpful photoshop tutorial gave me the encouragement I needed.

What I learned was that ACTIONS make all the difference {at least for us photoshop beginners}. An action, in case you are new to the whole photoshop editing world, is a set of pre-designed  functions that automatically adjust your photo. All you have to do is press play. Seriously, it is super easy. From there, you can adjust the settings to make it just right for your liking.

I found a few great resources for actions – both free and paid – and have enjoyed playing around with the photos of Audrey. Here are my results:

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{straight out of the camera – or SOOC, as the pros say}

side clean edit

{using Paint the Moon’s essentials and miracle makeover actions}

side sweet vintage copy

{adding Florabella’s sweet vintage action}

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{sooc}

on the grass clean edit on the grass vintage summer II

{on the left: Paint the Moon’s essentials & miracle makeover actions and Pioneer Woman’s boost

on the right: added Florabella’s summer vintage II action}

The next photo was a little tricky for me because I think it was too washed out to begin with. I still have quite a bit of learning to do as far as basic camera operation goes!

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{sooc}

 standing in chair boost standing in chair vintage summer

{on the left: a mix of Pioneer Woman’s actions and Paint the Moon’s essentials

on the right: added Florabella’s summer vintage}

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{sooc}

vintage laying

{Florabella’s vintage action}

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{sooc}

vintage hug

{Florabella’s vintage action}

And one more:

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{sooc}

in yellow

{Paint the Moon’s essentials and miracle makeover actions}

bw beauty

{adding Pioneer Woman’s b&w beauty}

I know I have much more practicing to do, but I am really excited about the results.

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Here are some very helpful resources if you would like to give photo-editing a try.

The first is Paint the Moon – an amazingly helpful site where you can purchase actions, watch how-to videos and view lots of before & afters.

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There are also a handful of freebies on Paint The Moon’s facebook page.

Paint the Moon Free Action Samplers {here}

 Paint the Moon Free Facebook Exclusive {here}

Next is the Flora Bella Collection. I love the dreamy, vintagy feel you get when you use these actions. There are many different sets to choose from {I bought vintage, but hope to add more over time} and they are very easy to use.

The lovely Shana has even offered a discount to JDC readers : just enter JONES10 to receive 10% off your order.

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The Pioneer Woman has created a bunch of free actions which are also great {I especially like boost and bring on the eyes}

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{download here}

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I know very little about photography, but I love taking pictures. I have a Canon Rebel XTi {similar to this one on amazon}. We bought ours a few years ago at Costco and have been very happy with the camera and lenses that came in the bundle.

Someday soon I am hoping to take Ashley Ann’s SnapShop course to learn how to shoot manually.  If you are a beginner photographer and want to improve, I’m pretty sure this online class would be amazing.

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I know that was a very long-winded post, but I hope it inspires you to take a few extra photos and edit them like a pro. Sort of.

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september JDC | monthly

JDC | monthly is the newest addition to jones design company : a fun monthly membership where you receive a coordinated collection of printables each month to help you stay organized, give as gifts and make you smile.

This time around I made a video to show you what is included for September. Try not to laugh at me and my out-of-control hand movements {I never knew I used my hands so much while talking}.

september monthly goodies

Fun stuff, right? To help you see what you’re getting a little bit better, here they are in close-up view:

sept jdc monthly

The subscription is $7.99 per month {first month is free!} and is super easy to sign up for : just click the button below:

the details

Included each month:

monthly calendar . weekly calendar . chore chart . dinnertime chart . note cards . mailing labels . an original art print {exclusively for JDC | monthly members} . a video tutorial with templates for the project shown

You will be sent a link to watch the video and access all of the pdf files. Download and print, or save them to your computer for a rainy day.

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

fine print

Billing is done on a 30 day cycle {so if you join on the 15th, you will be billed the following month on the 15th}. 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 decide JDC | monthly is not for you, you are free to cancel at any time.

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So, what do you say : want to try it out? Click below to sign up.

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And don’t forget to leave any suggestions you have for future JDC | monthly offerings, art print ideas or printables you’d like to see : I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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the long-awaited list that took way too long to compile

blogs i love 2

here they are : my favorite blogs : in no particular order : and categorized for ease of searching : click away, my friends. click away.

friends

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sweet-savannah LL-Logo  image

want to be friends with

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image image big mama

inspired

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decorating

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image max rooms forever-cottage
image home-&-harmony abode
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That should give you some reading material for the weekend!

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kevin’s salsa

My uncle Kevin was a chef for much of his adulthood. He specialized in things like gran marnier injected chocolate-dipped strawberries {pure heaven} and the best parmesan chicken you’ve ever tasted.

But his most beloved recipe of all {at least in our family} is his salsa.

Uncle Kevin was diagnosed with ALS {also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease} my freshman year of college. The disease progressed quickly and it resulted in the loss of muscle control, speech and ultimately his life just a few years later.  It was a very hard time in my close-knit family’s life, but probably one of the most amazing as well. The ways Kevin used his illness to impact others in life-changing ways was so encouraging to watch.  He made a difference while he was here and we miss him terribly, but rejoice in knowing we will meet up again someday soon.

One way I like to remember him is to make his delicious salsa. I love it on fish tacos, but it also is a great dish to take to a party or a summer-day snack with tortilla chips.

kevins salsa

salsa ingredients

INGREDIENTS:

1 small head of cabbage

1 bunch of cilantro

3-4 roma tomatoes

1 small onion

1 lime

lawry’s or johnny’s seasoning salt

STEPS:

finely chop cabbage, onion, and tomatoes and add to large bowl. Strip cilantro leaves from stems and finely chop, then add to bowl. Add the juice of one lime and generously season with seasoning salt.

How easy is that.  {I sound like Ina Garten – another fave}

You could also chop it all in a food processor, but it does create a less chunky salsa. 

finished salsa

salsa on a chip

Yum.

I am by no means a food expert or even a good chef, but I can make this one every time without fail : I hope you try it!

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I am a big fan of blogs

I write a blog. And I do love it.

But before I was a blogger, I was a reader of blogs. Lots of them.  And I still am.

My intention with this post was to share a list of the blogs that I love : and that will come : but I feel this need to share something else instead. Something not quite as fluffy as blogs I love, but probably important to say since it’s been on my heart for quite some time.

Comparison. Insecurity. Self-righteousness.

Ugh.

My best friend says that blogs are like pornography for women. Now don’t be offended. I know that it’s a pretty raunchy comparison, but bear with me. The thing about pornography that traps so many is the lure of something almost reality.  The women are gorgeous and tight, they’ll say what you want to hear and do what your wildest dreams could only imagine. They give you promise of something so good, but always leave you feeling inadequate, let down, and unsatisfied with your true reality.  And yet that promise is so tantalizing, you keep coming back for more.

The same can be true of blog-reading. It all looks so good and attractive, is inspiring and encouraging {even addicting}, but you often walk away feeling inadequate, let down and unsatisfied with your true reality.

We get so absorbed in and enchanted by the life of whosever blog we’re reading that when we step back from the computer and look around at the beautiful mess that is our real life, we feel like we don’t measure up.

How many times have I had these thoughts :

I wish I was as creative as Ashley Ann.

If only my house looked like Erika’s.

I will never be as full of wisdom as Angie.

Or as chic as Seleta.

Or as clever as Kasey.

Or as good a mom as Meg.

and on and on and on.

I don’t know these ladies, but in my few interactions with them I can say that none of them intend to make others feel this way.  They are beautiful women who are simply sharing their lives.

But this is the problem with blogs. We present what we want to {typically only the best of life} and put on a front that we have it all together. Of course that is what I want to write about. Who wants to read about my bad hair day and the bad attitude that followed? Or the frustration I feel when I just want to eat my own breakfast and wish my children would leave me alone for five minutes!? Sometimes posts like that happen, but the majority of them are happy, clean and pretty.

What breaks my heart, sweet reader, is that in my attempt to share the best of my life with you, perhaps I have left you feeling somehow inadequate.

That your home doesn’t measure up. Or your talents. Or your children {or lack thereof}.

And that is truly not my intention.

My maiden name is Jones and I find it quite ironic that my biggest struggle of all is comparison.

You know, the whole keeping up with the Joneses thing?

Oh, how I am completely aware of it in my own life.

It is a constant struggle for me to be able to look at other’s successes and be genuinely happy for them without that little nudge of insecurity to creep in.  And on the other side, it is a challenge for me to look at my own successes and not feel like I am somehow better than another.

To be in that place where I am fully confident in who God made me to be and have no need to compare myself is where I am headed, but I am not yet there.

I read this devotion to my children months ago and it has stuck with me:

“Stop comparing yourself to other people. When you compare yourself to others, you end up either feeling that you’re better than they are, or feeling bad about yourself. Neither of those things is what I want for you.

I created each of My children with unique talents. And I have given each of you your own road to follow. So it is useless to compare yourself to someone else – that person has a completely different path to follow.

When you want to feel good about yourself, remember how much I love you. Remember that I made you just the way I want you to be. And remember that I died so you could have My salvation. You are a jewel in My crown.”

Isn’t that good? Written for little ones, but pierces my soul with its truth.

So this is what I am trying to say :

I love reading blogs. There are so many ridiculously creative, talented, wise women who I am daily inspired by.  And I want so much to be able to leave their little corner of the web feeling encouraged rather than defeated. That is a decision that is completely up to me. It is all about confidence : knowing who I am and whose I am.

At the same time, I want my little corner that is Jones Design Company to be a place where you can also come to be encouraged and inspired.  I try my best to be my genuine self and I hope you know that while I try to be as honest as possible, this is not the perfect representation of me and my life.  I am terrible at making meals. My closet is a wreck. I like crass jokes and am very goofy in real life.  I cry at stupid things {like the beluga whales doing tricks at the zoo} and I haven’t opened my bible in a week.

I love reading blogs. And I will share with you a list of some of my favorites. But I just wanted to get it out on the table that sometimes I struggle mightily with feeling insecure when I read these blogs.  I’m not sure if you feel the same way, but I’m guessing that since women can be very insecure creatures, perhaps you can identify.

But just remember {and I say this to myself as well} that you were made to be you. Not Ashley Ann or Meg or Seleta {who are all delightful, I am sure}, but just you.

You are a jewel in His crown.

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wedded bliss

our wedding

Ryan and I were married on a gorgeous August evening at a friend’s beach house property here in the Pacific Northwest.

It was before the time of photographers shooting digitally and so creatively, before unconventional vintage decorations and whimsical details {which I just adore now} and before I realized that spray-on tan does not, in fact, look good on me.   Despite these things, our wedding day was so special, intimate and personal and even if I did plan it again, much would remain the same.

In honor of our anniversary, I thought I’d share some of our wedding photos {photos of photos, actually} with you.

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IMG_2929 IMG_2931IMG_2935 IMG_2937IMG_2938 IMG_2939IMG_2941

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IMG_2947 IMG_2948IMG_2949

That last one is my very fave.

Ryan and I reminisce from time to time about our wedding and we are so happy with our day. The only things I would change would be {ironically} our invitations and I would wear my hair down. And Ryan’s only wish would be that our tent was draped {a detail we completely overlooked}.

If you could plan your wedding over, would you change things? If so, what would you do differently?

{happy anniversary, my love}.

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striped rug {how I love thee}

A few years ago I bought this black and white striped rug from IKEA for $12.

striped rug at the boutique

It has moved from room to room throughout our house.

striped rug in the kitchen

striped rug in nursery

striped rug in the bathroom

And currently resides in the master bath {and now you know why ‘paint the bathroom cabinets’ is on my summer to-do list}.

I’m not sure if it is terribly tacky to have the same rug in multiple rooms in your home, but I’ve gone to IKEA many a time to grab a few more : only to discover that they are out of stock. And now, they are discontinued.

But just wait until you see what I spotted in the new Crate & Barrel catalog :

crate & barrel striped rug

It looks like the exact same rug. Only it comes in a variety of sizes. AND it isn’t crazy expensive {as far as rugs go}.

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The 2′ x 3′ is $19.99

crate & barrel rug

The 8′ x 10′ is $299.00

Now don’t you all go and buy them all : I need to get approval from my husband so that I can grab one before they are out of stock.  You know how I love a black and white striped rug.

{click on the rug images to shop Crate & Barrel}

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summer is dwindling down, but there are things to do

no 2

This handsome dude is starting kindergarten in just a few weeks.

He keeps having bad dreams about having to ‘sit on the wall’ or go to the principal’s office and he worries that his teacher will ask him to do things he can’t yet do. To say he is nervous about starting school is a huge understatement. Bless his sweet little heart.  He will do so well in school, but I’m still feeling emotional about my baby leaving home.  I don’t even want to think about the tears that will fall on the first day of school :

Until then, we are focusing on enjoying the last weeks of summer.  I had high hopes of finishing a bunch of projects around the house and here we are with little time left and not one of those projects even started.  So I figured I could at least put a list together and see if making it public can keep me motivated. So here it is:

summer to do

Need a to do list too? You can download the template, print and fill in your list.

summer-to-do-list

{click image to download}

Here’s to making the most of the rest of the summer :

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dots

Polka dots are fun. And hopefully a little bit sophisticated since I have dot draperies hanging in our dining room.

dot curtains

These playful curtains are from {where else?} IKEA.  They are called Henny Cirkel – but I can’t seem to find them online. You may need to shop in-store to purchase.

dot drapery

I also have a pair hanging in the boys room. What can I say : I like dots.

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Speaking of my love of dots, there are a whole bunch of them in the newest giveaway collection.

august giveaway

august giveaway collage

1. gift wrap 2. petite painting by me 3. set of 8 hello note cards 4. 1 1/2 yards of dotty garland 5. ipad case by Angela Kay Designs 6. cupcake liners 7. pink dot umbrella 8. set of 4 bowls 9. pink & yellow starched flower pins

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Let’s talk for a second about this ipad case {which also fits a kindle dx, tablet pc or motorola Xoom}. It is seriously the cutest little clutch I’ve ever seen. I love the oversize ball clasp and that orange polka dot fabric? So fun.

ipad case

{ipad not included : I enjoy late night rounds of Angry Birds too much to let go of this gadget!}

The inside is a cute floral print and it is lined with thick fleece to protect from scratches.  Visit Angela Kay Designs to see more darling clutches.

angela kay designs

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To enter the giveaway, please click the button below.

monthly giveaway button 2

Comments are closed on this post to avoid confusion. Click here to enter the giveaway!

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starched flower {tutorial}

I never grow tired of making new flowers – as you can tell by the crazy amount of tutorials I have done on flower-making.  I saw instructions for a starched flower a few years ago in the Life:Beautiful magazine {a really lovely christian publication} which looked a bit like my very favorite flowers by EmersonMade. I’m not crazy about doing a complete copy of someone else’s signature flower, so this is my version, with a few of my own little tweaks.

starched flower

Here’s what you’ll need:

supplies for starched flower

:: fabric {linen works beautifully, as does a heavier cotton}

:: starch {if you can find heavy starch, go for it}

:: petal patterns {download mine below, or create your own}

:: felt circle

:: pin back

:: scissors, hot glue gun, iron

STEP ONE: starch fabric to desired stiffness

starch and iron fabric

STEP TWO: use petal tempate {or create your own} as a pattern to cut out petals.

pattern for starched flower

You will need 8 large and 10 small, but of course you can add more if you would like a fuller flower {or adjust the petal sizes to change the finished flower size}.

flower petals cut

STEP THREE: cut a slit in the bottom of each petal, about 1/2”. Continue Reading →

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I always have loved oreos

I was reading a story to No. 2 & No. 3 last night when I noticed the stark difference in the color of our legs. I just had to document.

our legs

I know I’m completely vain for thinking this, but I love that my children inherited their daddy’s skin and not mine.

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