Archive | November, 2011

advent calendars

This is what I wanted to do for my kids for our advent calendar this year:

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I was going to make bags like I did for Audrey’s birthday favors using my chevron printable paper, then create cute number stickers and hang them as a banner in the kitchen.  I would fill them with trinkets and treats and they would open them with delight each morning.

Instead, they are getting these:

store bought advent calendar

Store-bought $2.99 calendars with a crazy looking Santa on them and cheap chocolates hiding in each cut out.

To tell you the truth, they will probably adore the chocolates and won’t know the difference between a handcrafted advent calendar and one that I picked up at the craft store. The point is, it’s a countdown to the best holiday of the year and gives them something to be excited about each day. 

This blog post was not supposed to be about my deep thoughts around crafting advent calendars. I was going to show all kinds of great advent calendar ideas in case you wanted to put one together before tomorrow. But sometimes you just have to go with it when your heart takes you elsewhere.

Here’s the thing: I know my kids appreciate when I put extra effort into creating things for them. But most of the time, they could not care less if their gifts are wrapped beautifully or their birthday treats for school have hand-painted fondant flowers on them {okay, clearly I have not made these for my boys, but you get the point}.  The over-the-top parties and themed bedroom remodels are amazing, but I’m not convinced that’s how children receive love. I’m pretty sure they just want us to hang out with them.

How often do I do something for the kids that really is just for me? 

There is a balance to be found because I am all for creating and making life more beautiful through handmade details.  But was my advent calendar idea really for my babes? Or was it because I thought it would look cute hanging in my kitchen? {it was the latter, in case you didn’t guess}. 

I have abandoned the advent bag idea mostly because I just couldn’t get it put together in time. But now that I think about it, I am realizing that the whole point of an advent is to spend time  together anticipating the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  We don’t need a fancy calendar to do this.

Nope, we’ll happily be eating cheap chocolates from the crazy Santa calendars this year.

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grab a cup of coffee

Let’s just sit down and have a coffee chat today.  It’s been a few weeks and I’m a little all-over-the-place right now, so get ready for randomness.

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So, did you brave the crowds and go shopping this weekend?

I did not. I went a few years ago with my mother-in-law and let’s just say it was not my very best shopping experience.

I did buy a two coats online to take advantage of the good deals. The blue one is for me and I’m hoping it is not crazy shiny in real life. The gray one is for Audrey. They were super on-sale and hopefully will be cozy warm for us this winter {both from Old Navy}

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This is really pretty.

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Paper Flower by Rebecca Thuss via pinterest

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Did you know that the cord to the GPS is the perfect hair clip holder? Apparently this is true for our car.

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Audrey LOVES her pacifier and the second she pops it in her mouth in the car she pulls out her clip and twirls her hair. I have no idea how she learned to twirl her hair, but I find it rather darling.

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Have you tried these yummy chocolates? They are my favorite at Christmastime.

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I buy these dilettante ones from Costco, but they are the exact same as the Frango brand that you can get at Macys.

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Have you entered the November giveaway yet? I will announce the winner on wednesday.

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You can enter by clicking here.

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Many of you have asked what kind of paper I use to print my printables.

I buy this paper from www.neenahpaper.com

{100 lb cover, 8.5 x 11}

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This past weekend my sister & brother-in-law and their two little girls came to help with christmas card production. Their help is invaluable and the kids have a great time playing together.

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Since the grown-ups were rather occupied with taping and cutting and addressing, the kids spent the weekend entertaining themselves. Which, for the most part, went amazingly well {thanks to the bounce house we borrowed from my best friend and a few movies here and there}.  But it also meant that our house was torn apart.  In the photo above, they are making fruit salad. It was a juicy, messy, sticky project but they felt very proud of their concoction. Especially when they sprinkled croutons on top. And then actually ate it. 

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This time of year can be rather exhausting for me, but I’m happy to say that my custom orders will be finished up this week and I will be able to breath again. And maybe fold laundry and go to the grocery store.

And then I have lots and lots of fun Christmas projects I’m excited to do {and then share here, of course}.

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jdc | monthly {december}

JDC | monthly is a super fun membership where you receive a coordinated collection of printables each month to help you stay organized, give as gifts and make you smile.

Let me share with you a little bit more about what I have created for you for December:

Fun stuff, right?

Here are just a few of my favorites from the December collection:

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This month I am most excited about the christmas card templates. It is just one more way to help create inexpensive yet stylish paper goods and I hope you love them!

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 charts . dinnertime chart . grocery & shopping lists . note cards .  an original art print {exclusively for JDC | monthly members} . a video tutorial with templates for the project shown . any extras to surprise you

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.

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When you sign up you will be directed to the current month’s link immediately {be sure to bookmark the link location!}. 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.

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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family photos {before & after}

One of the things I love best about christmastime {other than the pretty decorations, the family memories, the holiday treats} is receiving christmas cards from our friends and family.  The card designs are fun to enjoy, but the best part is always the family photos.  We put them up on our fridge for the season and we all enjoy seeing the faces of our favorite people each day.

And so, of course, I wanted to have a new family photo taken for our christmas card this year.  My new dad is a great photographer, so he agreed to take ours. Let me just break to say that I don’t really like the term new dad. But I like step dad and my mom’s husband even less. My personal favorite is sugar daddy – which is what I call the wonderful and amazing Walt in real life, but I don’t know how appropriate it would to say “my sugar daddy took our family photos”. Do you see my dilema?!

Anyway … moving on … my mom and Walt met up with us after church at the University of Washington on a surprisingly beautiful fall day and we did a whirlwind of photo taking. The kids did as well as can be expected {although it was still quite challenging to get them all looking at the camera at the same time, let alone smiling}.

The photos in their raw state are pretty good, but don’t you know I love an artistically edited photo! I did this post on using actions to edit your photos with a few helpful resources and I have another for you today.

Maria from Bloom & Grow photography has developed a set of actions for editing photos beautifully and simply using photoshop or photoshop elements.

Using the Bloom & Grow Basics set, here are a few before and afters from our family photo shoot.

Kind of amazing difference, right?

The next photo cracks me up. It was such a great concept, but look at poor Audrey-girl. She wanted nothing to do with this.

And this next one is okay – but has way too many shadows. It reminds me of just a regular snapshot you can get of your family. Without editing, it is fine, but with some editing, it turned out great.

I love how easy it is to turn your own photo into a much better photo with just a few clicks in photoshop.

If you would like to win a free set of Bloom & Grow actions, please leave a comment below.

I will select a random winner and will post it on the JDC Facebook page on tuesday. Good luck!

*** THE CONTEST IS NOW OVER. TO FIND OUT WHO WON, CLICK HERE ***

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christmas goodies week: gift tags

So now you have a wish list, a gift list, a party invitation, and an art print. I hope you love them!

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Today’s final Christmas goodies are the perfect embellishment for your gifts. I posted these gift tags last year, but wanted to make them available again for this holiday season.

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merry christmas free tag dot tag

jdc gift tags

These come in black, taupe, green and festive designs.

I have added two new colors to the collection this year:

red & blue tags

christmas red and icy blue.

To recieve the pdf files of the gift tags, please enter your email address below


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{please confirm your email address in order to receive the pdf}

Thanks so much for joining me in a great week of holiday printables.

Enjoy your weekend!

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christmas goodies week: art print

Today’s Christmas goodie is my favorite of the bunch : a special holiday art print.

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I was inspired by one of my all time favorite christmas songs by Amy Grant – I know, that’s sort of embarrassing to admit, but when you grow up with Amy, you can’t help but still love her year after year.

This one comes in red/green {above} or blue/green {below}.

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You can be as creative as you wish with framing these prints. For the red one, I layered it with a piece of green card stock from paper source, then on top of a piece of sparkly gift wrap I bought last week at Target. Just pop it in a frame and it is ready to decorate your home.

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The blue one fit perfectly in a glassless frame {cheap!} from the craft store. I like this informal look too.

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Please enter your email address below to receive the printable art prints


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{don’t forget to confirm your email address to receive the files}

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christmas goodies week: party invitations

I hope you are enjoying the printables so far! It seems so early to be talking Christmas, but I wanted to get these to you sooner than later so that you can use the cute designs.

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Are you hosting a holiday party this year? Even if it is just a small event with a few of your close friends, invitations make any party feel more festive.

holiday party printable invite

This invite comes with fill in the blanks so you can customize however you need.

holiday party printable invite free

Just handwrite in the details and send them off to your guest list.

I have also included note cards for you to use as you wish {perhaps to identify different dishes, attach to a party favor, or send as thank you notes afterward}.

holiday party note card

Click on the images below to download the files.

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be-merry-notecards

Let the festivities begin.


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I interrupt this goodies week for a quick announcement

okay : real quick: because this is a quick request and {mostly} because it is time for me to go to bed : JDC has been nominated as a top blog of 2011 by the Blog Guidebook : well, actually, by a JDC reader {thanks!} : will you vote for me?

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Go here to cast your vote {it ends on friday}.

Thanks dears : and goodnight.

{p.s. the blog guidebook is a great resource and they have really cute graphics – I like cute graphics.}

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christmas goodies week: gift list

Did you start your wish lists? I do hope they come in handy.

Receiving gifts can be fun, but don’t you think it is even better to give something wonderful and to see the delight on the recipient’s face?  I love it. And so today I have shopping lists for you.

gift list printable

Holiday gift shopping can be overwhelming so I hope these lists will help keep things a little more organized.

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tis the season gift list

Included is a spot for a name, gift ideas, a budget and {my favorite part} a place to check it off when completed.

gift list

Click the image to download the lists.

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Please feel free to send these printables on to your friends & family. You can use the share buttons below to make it super easy.

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christmas goodies week: wish list

Welcome to Christmas Goodies Week!

christmas goodies week

I have been spending some time listening to Christmas music {against my not-til-thanksgiving rule} and putting together an assortment of printables that will help you organize, decorate and make your holiday packages pretty.  Each day I’ll have something new, so be sure to come back {or you can subscribe via email and get the posts directly to your inbox. Just enter your email address over there on the left}.

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For this first printable, I created two wish lists.

christmas wishlist printable

These are great to jot down gift ideas for yourself {add an item as it pops into your head to avoid coming up with things you’d like on the spot}.

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Or, if you have kids, I have an even better use.

Do your kids have the ‘I wants’? Mine do. Especially while watching Saturday morning cartoons or walking through the aisles of Target.

A wise mom once suggested that the best way to deal with this is to have a list ready. When one of my munchkins falls in love with a new toy and just has to have it, we write it down on their list. It allows me to not have to say no so much and lets them compile their wishes – however unrealistic they may be.

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I have printed a list for each of my kids and we keep them on the refrigerator.

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Works like a charm.

Download your lists by clicking on the image below.

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Enjoy!


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christmas cards galore

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’tis the season for eggnog and holiday cards. Love it.

As I mentioned last week, I am not doing Christmas cards this year. Well, that is not entirely true. I am doing a few custom jobs for my regular clients, but with blogging, designing for JDC | monthly and filling orders from the shop, I had to let something go.  Plus, have you seen how many amazing holiday card designs available this year? So many really great choices. There are some talented designers out there.

So here are a few of my favorites as well as the shops they come from. Click around {the images will take you to the source}, get inspired and I hope you’ll find a style and price point that is just perfect for your holiday cards this year.

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{toast & laurel}

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{hen & co}

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{hen & co}

Minted is quite impressive with their selection of beautifully designed cards. Use code SNOW20SHIP to receive $20 off and free shipping until November 14th.

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{minted}

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Paper Source has a 25% off sale on all of their holiday cards through Nov. 15th. They have great options to choose from and I love their colored envelopes.

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{paper source}

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{paper source}

I get lost at Tiny Prints for hours. It was hard showing only a few of their fabulous designs.

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{tiny prints}

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{tiny prints}

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{tiny prints}

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{tiny prints}

And my friend Rae is now offering her darling designs as photoshop templates. Just drop your photo into the template and you can print the cards on your own. Enter JONESING to receive 20% off!

I hope this helps get you started.  We successfully had our family photos taken last weekend and I’m going to have such a hard time deciding which card to choose this year! Have fun perusing:

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he calls me mom

My oldest son is 7 1/2.

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He is in second grade, is into lego building, video game playing and bike riding. He loves to snack. He is terrified of germs. He {still} adores his tattered blankie. 

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He is really smart, creative, witty and has the cutest freckles on his nose.

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And he calls me mom.

I’m not ready to be a mom.  Now, a mommy : I’m all over that one. I was born to be a mommy.

I can do the late night feedings, the diaper changing, the snuggling with a baby.  I can play peek-a-boo and sing silly songs to an infant.  I can read books like tumble bumble and sheep in a jeep and play play-do with a preschooler.  I respond to mommy. It is probably my favorite of all words.

But, mom?

I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t know how to do it.

To know when to hold on and when to let go.

To know how to teach my baby without hindering him from learning on his own.

To know how to relate when he doesn’t want to snuggle in my lap and tell me all about his day.

We aren’t quite there, but it is coming and I’m afraid. And a little sad.

I love this boy and I love that I get to watch him grow into such a wonderful kid. He makes me so proud every single day with the things he says, the questions he asks, the kindness and thoughtfulness he shows.  But I kind of miss the baby #1.  My sweet firstborn whom I adore with all of my heart.  I want him to grow, I do. But I sort of want him to stop growing too. 

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He calls me mom, but I hope he knows that I will forever be his mommy.

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thankfulness

This season leading up to Thanksgiving is one of my favorites.  If there is anything I’d like to be, it is thankful, and so I love the idea of expressing our gratitude both in spoken and written word.

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I have created a set of cards to help encourage this attitude of thankfulness.

thankful card place setting

You could put one at each place setting at the the Thanksgiving table, have your family and friends fill them out and share with each other.  My sister does this each night leading up to Thanksgiving with her family and then saves the cards to read the following year.

thankful card

Another great way to use the cards is to turn them into tags

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and hang them on a thankful tree.

thankful tree 2011

The boys and I tromped out into the woods, cut down a few branches, put them into a heavy urn and filled the bottom with stones to hold the branches in place.

thankful tree in urn

Every day, we each write one thing we are thankful for. And the rule is that nothing can be duplicated.  This is our first year doing a thankful tree and I’m looking forward to seeing what the boy’s come up with. I hope it is a great way to instill in them the importance of having a thankful heart.  I know it will be good practice for me and Ryan, too.

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{at least we’ve instilled some self-esteem in this silly child}.

If you would like to do a thankful tree in your home, or if you’d like to use these cards at your dinner table, please download the pdf below.

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There are ten subtle fall colors and each card is 2 x 3.5.

To create the tags, I cut out the card, punched a hole, added hole reinforcement stickers, and cut the edges at an angle.

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I hope you find great ways to use these cards.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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things I like: meeting other bloggers

One of the very best things about being in this world of blogging is the people you meet. Of course you don’t actually meet most of them, but you sure do feel like you know a person after reading  their blog for a while.

Darlene is one of these ladies whom I never would have met if not for blogging.  Her talent is astounding and her sweet spirit makes you want to be her friend.   Someday I hope to meet her in real life.

You can hang out with Darlene at her blog Fieldstonehill Hill Design.

Because I think her design work is so beautiful, I wanted to share a few of her design boards.

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This was for Edie’s house {did you see her house tour video yesterday? GORGEOUS}.  I’m so taken with the navy and aqua color scheme.  And all the interesting patterns and textures.

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Another for Edie’s daughters’ room. 

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Pretty, pretty, pretty.

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We are trying to have our holiday family photos taken this weekend and I’m just praying the rain stays away {or at least breaks for an hour or so}. Wish us luck : getting six people to look normal all in one photo is quite the challenge. Especially when one thinks bunny ears are super funny, two can’t stand still for more than 30 seconds and one is a baby who has a minimal tolerance for posing for a camera.  I’ll let you know how it goes :

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I have a few things in store in the coming weeks:

::  on Monday, a great FREE giving thanks printable collection will be available along with a project to use them with.  I think you’ll like them!

:: I promise I will update you on which dress I chose {oh, how I appreciated your advice}. We did not take a single photo at the wedding, but the photographer was amazing and I can’t wait to share with you her photos.  Coming soon :

:: we’ve done some more rearranging and the boys have relocated to a new room. I have a bit of finishing still to do, but I’m excited to share their new room with you.

:: tis the season for Christmas cards : I am not taking orders this year, but I have lots of great referrals for you.  There are so many darling designs it is hard to choose just a few to show.

:: speaking of Christmas, I am working on a collection of printables to keep you organized, help you wrap and send pretty invites.  Look for them in the next week or two.

:: this has nothing to do with anything, but I had my first eggnog latte of the season and it was everything I ever hoped it would be. I may go backwards in my efforts to reduce the flab but I’m thinking it’s worth it.  Just remind me of this come April when I have to put on a swim suit again.

Okay, enough of that. Now go have yourself a delightful weekend.

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