Archive | July, 2012

raspberry jam + printable labels {oldie but goodie}

{originally posted 07.11.11 but a good one to revisit}

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 {join the archive below}.

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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to London we go

I can hardly contain my excitement for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.


First of all, the events are exciting and captivating and so much fun to watch. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve never heard of the sport – if its an olympic game, its amazing.

Second, I adore hearing the in-depth stories of the athletes. I cry at them all.

This time around, I am most excited that my oldest boys are old enough to ‘get it’. To watch these incredible athletes, root for our favorites and be part of the magic that is The Olympics will be so fresh and exciting while sitting next to my boys.

In honor of the London games, here are a few Union Jack inspired images.







Lovely, right?

So, here we go. On to London.

Will you be watching?

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loving: fresh cut hydrangeas from our yard. Especially these on my desk.

reading: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. Intriguing story, good pace, a little crass. Just finished The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom which is now my new favorite book. I could not put that one down.

waiting for: a big shipment of paper! Remember the 50% off sale on art prints? Yeah, that was crazy. Still getting the last orders out and just waiting on that paper so we can print a bunch more. If you haven’t received your prints yet, thank you for your patience. They are coming soon!

excited about: my cousin’s wedding this weekend. Not sure yet what to wear. Thinking something like this:

missing: our most amazing hawaiian getaway. I want to go back.

trying to:  eat less sugar. I’m failing miserably.

working on: reviewing several new blogs created by students in The Blog Class. I can’t wait to share them with you!

enjoying: time with the family this summer.

using: my iphone a lot. Probably too much.

wearing: boring clothes. Jeans. Blouse. Hair in a pony. I wish I was wearing this instead:

planning: is not really my strong suit. I should do more of it. Especially meal planning.

singing: something by katy perry, probably. Or anything on Pandora today’s hits.

needing: a hair cut, mani/pedi and new eyelashes. Okay, need is not the right word. But want, yes.

learning: to stop and take a deep breath and not always have to be accomplishing a task in order to feel like I’m being productive.

listening: to a silent house. The kids are off with our favorite sitter, Ryan is out running errands. The house is momentarily silent. It is glorious.

wishing: my baby would please go back to calling me mommy. I’m just not ready for her to say things like, “for real, mom“. Seriously? She’s only 2 1/2.

doing: lots and lots of sandy laundry from spending the weekend at the beach. 

praying for: less of me, more of Him. I’m growing more aware of my selfishness and it’s not pretty.

dreaming of: a cool vacation house in eastern washington where it is sunny all summer and snows in the winter. In our dream world, it would look much like this:

This is actually a guest house over a garage, but that would work just fine for me!

So this is me.

Want to play along? What are you currently up to?

{this currently post idea is borrowed from my friend Sasha at Lemonade Makin’ Mama. She is talented, thoughtful and takes pretty pictures. You should read her blog.}

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jdc | monthly {august}

Staying organized for the last month of summer/first month of school just got prettier.

Meet the August collection of JDC | Monthly:

Rainbow-bright colors, graphic patterns, playful designs. I like this one and hope you do too.

be kind

{art print reads: be kind to each other}

And the project this month are these patterned note books. Great for back to school, teacher gifts, party favors or to keep on your nightstand for jotting down late night deep thoughts.


As a JDC | Monthly member you will receive a seasonal assortment of calendars, chore charts, note cards and art prints to keep organized all month long {and look cute doing so}. We also do a monthly project with printable templates included – always something simple and season-appropriate that can be used during the month or saved for another occasion.

So, if you would like to be part of JDC | Monthly, of course we’d love to have you!

The subscription is $9.99 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 . daily menu . grocery & shopping lists . note cards . mailing labels . scripture cards . an original art print {exclusively for JDC | monthly members} . tutorial with templates for the project shown

You will be sent a link to 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

When you sign up you will be directed to the current month’s link immediately. 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 project tutorial.

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


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

P.S. If you are already a member, your August link was emailed to you yesterday. If you need any help, please let me know!

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we’re making crepes

Saturday morning breakfasts are a tradition in our household and our most favorite of all breakfast treats are crepes {or swedish pancakes}. Thin, buttery and easy to make.

FYI: I just looked up the difference between crepes and swedish pancakes and it turns out there is a difference.  Crepes are thinner and can be sweet or savory; swedish pancakes are only sweet. So apparently, what we’re actually making are:

Start by melting the butter in a large pyrex measuring cup and whisk in the milk, eggs and vanilla.

Next, slowly add the dry ingredients, whisking to combine and smoothing any lumps. You may notice flecks of melted butter – that’s okay.

While mixing the batter, melt butter in saute pan over medium heat {I use two pans to make the pancake making faster}.

Pour a small amount of batter into hot pan

and swirl to thin and spread around the pan.

After a minute or so, gently flip and cook another 30 seconds.

Stack them up and keep heated in a warmed oven. Or just eat them as you cook them.

Top them with maple syrup, jam, fresh fruit, whipped cream, lemon juice & powdered sugar, or a combination of all.

Guess what day we ate these?

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new curtains for the entry

Like many new construction homes, our front entry has a nice tall door and sidelight windows on either side. These are great for letting in natural light during the day, but not so great for privacy in the evenings.

It was Ryan’s idea to hang curtains – brilliant!

We originally hung white IKEA panels, but I decided to play musical curtains and move pretty much all of the window coverings from one room in our house to another.  With all the moving around, our front door was left bare.

And then I remembered this gorgeous fabric I had ordered months ago:

It’s called Westminster in Aqua from Calico Corners {and happens to be on sale right now!}

Because the fabric was fancier than I usually go for with long drapery panels {I’m an IKEA girl} I really wanted them to be sewn correctly – and lined. So I followed these instructions and surprisingly, they turned out beautifully.

Curtain tiebacks are not usually my favorites, but they work great in this instance – keeps the curtains out of the way when pulled back during the day.

Here’s how they look when pulled.

They add a nice dose of pattern and color to an otherwise neutral area in our home.

Want to see more of our house? Click below for the tour.

And for the winners of the art print giveaway:

Each will receive one of every art print in the shop!

Thanks again for all of you who purchased a print this weekend. Your support for my artwork and business is encouraging, humbling and a great blessing.

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BIG sale on all art prints

How about celebrating summer with a sale?

Take 50% off all art prints in the shop from now until Sunday, July 15th.

Finally get that print you’ve been eying, do some early Christmas shopping or stock a few for last minute gifts {great for hostess gifts!}.

… AND …

everyone who purchases an art print this weekend will automatically be entered to

Now that’s fun!

Don’t forget to tell your friends about the sale … share the code using the buttons below

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things I like: ferns

I have a slight love affair with ferns.  Their bright, fresh color, delicate texture, slightly wild arms going every which way … they add just the right feel to my otherwise neutral rooms.

{in my office}

{on the front porch}

{in the kitchen}

{in my favorite little nook of the house}

{and on the coffee table}

In a home dressed with mostly gray, white and taupe, mixing in natural greenery adds interest, texture and life.

Plus, they only cost a few dollars at the hardware store. And that’s a bonus if you’re anything like me and have a difficult time keeping houseplants healthy.

Keeping my love of ferns in mind, I now have a pinterest board dedicated to the lovely foliage.

Click here to see more fern inspiration.

Please tell me, do you have a plant-crush?

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the new tutorials page is so much better

I spent some time last week making some much needed updates to the blog … especially on the tutorials page.

There are now over 75 projects all categorized for easy searching.

Just click on a category to see the tutorials.

Then when you click on the project you’d like to try out, you’ll be taken to the actual tutorial.

Just trying to make things easy for you.

Go take a peek at the new layout right here.

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the last few weeks in instagram {and june giveaway winner}

These past couple of weeks have gone by in a blur. Thankfully, I’m addicted to Instagram and now have my life documented in daily snapshots.  Take a photo a day and it makes it much easier for a forgetful girl like me to remember the details of everyday life.

To recap a few highlights {from left to right}:

I …

dressed up fancy for my cousin’s wedding shower

played at the beach {in the rain}

cheered on the Mariners {they lost, go figure}

made eye contact with a grizzly bear {on a field trip to NW Trek}

grew some peonies

slowly recovered from having my wisdom teeth out. Thank you for the well-wishes the other day. Who knew it would be this unpleasant?!

discovered far too many empty gum wrappers on the pantry floor {oh, Audrey}

held my newborn nephew for the first time {he was worth the wait}

painted a lampshade {tutorial here}

saw this bountiful peony display at Whole Foods {which I affectionately call whole paycheck}

had a bbq at my mom’s house with all the cousins

set up a temporary office in front of the big tv {I couldn’t bear to miss SYTYCD!}

found a bird’s nest

captured a rare shot of all four smiling at the camera at the same time

bought a new bistro table on clearance {here}

indulged on the tastiest summer treat

took a brief break from working to say hi to my little sweetness

folded, folded and folded some more

celebrated freedom

made a big mess doing paper mache {sometimes messy projects are the best}

While recovering from those nasty wisdom teeth, I read all the magazines and catalogs that have been piling up on my coffee table.

Look what I found in the June publication of Better Homes & Gardens:

If learning how to design a website {or how to blog, in general} is on your summer to-do list, The Blog Class was created just for you. Registration is open, so come check it out and join us today!

Since June is now over, let’s announce the winner of the big $250 gift card giveaway.

I sort of wish I was Oprah and could give everyone the gift cards. There were so many great answers to what you would do with them! Give them as gifts, share them with friends, spend them on yourself {well-deserved!} or save them. Even though gift cards are sort of boring, they feel like free money and that can be pretty exciting.

The random winner who gets to do a whole lot of shopping/saving/giving is Heidi Porterfield.

Congratulations! Please email me at emily{at} and I’ll send your package right out.

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yellow shoes {and a discount to joyfolie}

After eying the gorgeous new women’s shoes at Joyfolie for the past few months, I finally decided to add a pair to my wardrobe.

They are beautiful. They add a pop of color and feminine detail to any outfit, and they are comfortable, too. Most of all, they make me feel fancy and stylish, even when I’m not.

Since my Audrey-girl and I match unintentionally most days anyway, I decided to just go with it and she now has a pair of matching yellow maryjanes. I am unashamed of the dorky-ness that is mommy-and-me dressing. With shoes this beautiful, you just have to embrace it.

Have you ever visited Joyfolie? Not only are the shoes and accessories the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen, but the styling and photography is as good as it gets. I love just looking around at all the pretty images.

You can take a look around here.

Be sure to use the discount code for 30% off {ends July 6th}

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5 books worth reading

Summer reading is in full swing, but sometimes its hard to find a good one. Here are five of my most recent reads, all of them a different genre and all excellent in their own way.

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Perhaps the most captivating book I’ve ever read, this is a true story about an troubled Olympic athlete who joins the fight in WWII as a bombardier. I don’t want to ruin the story for you, but I will say that if you like a bit of history, a true survival story and a surprise ending, this is the perfect read. Your husband will probably love it, too.

2. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

It all started when the author, her husband and 18-month old daughter were out to eat at a cafe in France.  She took a peek around and realized that even though the restaurant was filled with other families like hers, her daughter was the only one throwing food, needing constant attention and making the meal unenjoyable for her parents. Which got Ms. Druckerman thinking: what do French parents do to raise such polite, calm children?

I loved this book.  The writing is clever and journalistic, learning about the different parenting styles and social norms in France was fascinating, inspiring and made me double-think how we do things here in America. If you are a parent, want an entertaining, educational book, this is a good one.

3. Redemption by Bryan Clay

Reigning Olympic gold medalist in the decathalon {and the World’s Greatest Athlete} Bryan Clay wrote this memoir about his difficult childhood, his entrance into the world of track & field, how the sport changed his direction and his faith journey through it all.

Bryan and his wife, Sarah, went to college with me and Ryan {Azusa Pacific University}, so of course we’ve been big fans of our fellow APU alumni. It has been so exciting to watch this unlikely champion achieve such great success.  This is the perfect book to get you in the Olympic spirit {plus you learn a ton about the decathalon, which makes watching it much more enjoyable}. Another great book for the men in your life.

4. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

Need a life-changing book? This could be it.

7 is the true story of how Jen {along with her husband and her children to varying degrees} took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence. {from amazon book description}

If you read nothing else this summer, please pick up this one. It is written in a very conversational, humorous, blog-style and so you’ll be entertained. But more importantly, you’ll be challenged to take a look at how our feasting {consuming} has become so out-of-balance with fasting {giving}.  I was challenged and motivated to change because of this book.  It is SO good.

5. The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

The story of a rich American {Cora Cash} in the late 1800’s who travels to England and ends up marrying into a royal family. It is a novel that explores an opulent time in history, touching on the social issues of the time and the romance between Cora and her withdrawn husband.

Do you ever read a book and feel like you become friends with the main character? That is how it was for this one. I missed Cora when the story was over! I’ve heard this is right up the Downton Abbey feel, so if you’re a fan of the pbs show, you’ll love this book. Its just a fun read with lots of story twists. A great beach read.

So there they are, five books worth reading according to me.

Have you read any of these? Any other great summer book suggestions?

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