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.

gift tags on packages

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

{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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