Archive | August, 2012

the love-hate relationship continues

My best friend K.C. and I {and our seven children} took a shopping trip to IKEA yesterday.

I love that it is close enough to just pop in on a random thursday morning.

I hate that even on a random thursday morning the play area was full. Only two of seven children made it in.

I love how inexpensive daily-use items like paper napkins and juice cups are.

I abhor those terribly wonky roll-all-over-the-place shopping carts.

I love the textile department. Curtains are long and affordable {these are my absolute favorites}, you can buy striped fabric by the yard, and down pillow inserts are super cheap.

I hate that long trek through the warehouse once you make it out of the showroom to checkout. Especially when the pager is going off because your hour is up and its time to pick up the kiddos from Smaland. It seems to take forever.

I love self checkout. I’m serious. It’s like playing ‘store’ for grownups.

I really don’t love how sweaty I am by the time we make it back to the car. The whole experience is exhausting.

But I sure do love unloading all my goodies and seeing what was thrown into the cart this time.

1. simple picture frame {ribba}

2. non-slip carpet mat {stopp}

3. plaid throw blanket {hermine}

4. cocktail paper napkins {fantastisk}

5. striped throw blanket {eivor}. I’ve had my eye on this for a while. Not sure where it will go, but stripes are always a welcomed addition to my home.

6. clay pot {mandel}

7. juice cups {reko}. $1.49 for six. This is what my kids use as drinking cups. They chip eventually, but replacing is so inexpensive, I don’t mind.

8. fabric by the yard {sofia}. Nice canvas weight. I’m thinking about cutting some on the bias for diagonal stripe curtain trim.

9. faux greenery {fejka}. Pretty cheap looking, but from a distance, it adds a nice pop of color.


The items I come home will always make the trip worthwhile, but you probably won’t see me and IKEA together for quite a while. We need to take a break from each other so we can fall back in love.

I posted to the JDC facebook page yesterday and I’ll ask you again here … how do you feel about IKEA?  Are you a lover or a hater?


{p.s. I don’t usually use the word hate. I sort of cringe at it because it is so strong. I don’t actually hate anything about IKEA. Well, except for maybe the sweaty, exhausted part.}


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a problem spot

I have a problem.

It is not particularly big or of great importance, but it has bothered me for, oh, six years now.

Here it is:

What were our builders thinking putting all of these switches, thermostats, outlets on one wall with such random placement?

From the front door, this is what you see going into the living room. Not really enough space to put a piece of furniture on the wall.

And from the living room looking toward the dining/entry. The wall sits at the foot of the stairs.

What in the world do you do with a wall like this?  I’d love any suggestions!

And while we’re at it, please share any problem spots that you have in your own home. Maybe we can brainstorm together to find a simple solution.

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feeling chatty {a video} and the september collection

For your viewing pleasure … I made a video. It’s very random. I made it late last night while feeling chatty. The end is terrible. Just fyi.

I’m such a dork. Remind me to never make those faces again.

But as I mentioned, here are the details for the September JDC | Monthly collection.

Included this month are:

dinner time calendar, apple art print, monthly calendar, gift tags, scripture cards, weekly calendar, recipe cards, thank you note cards, daily menu, grocery lists, chore chart, blank note card, pear art print and house duties chart.

As a member, you can download each pdf, print on your favorite paper {see mine here} and fill in the details to keep your organized.

One of my favorite parts of the monthly collections are the art prints. I don’t know about you, but I love switching things up regularly. Popping in a new print to an old frame keeps things fresh and seasonal.

The apple print is currently on display in our kitchen.

Each month, we also do a quick project using a template from the collection. This month, we are making gift tags. I figure fall is the perfect time to bake an extra loaf of bread, package it up sweetly and deliver to a neighbor.

This all makes me very excited for fall.


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 September link was emailed to you on Wednesday. If you need any help please let me know!

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why do you blog?

A few months ago, we opened up registration for our latest project – The Blog Class. Ryan and I developed the class for those who dreamed of writing their own blog, but didn’t know where to start or how to do it. We wanted to use the knowledge and tools we’ve learned over the past several years to enable others to use their voice, their experience, their life and share it publicly on a blogging platform.

We are two months into this and by far my favorite part of helping others learn to blog is seeing the blogs they create and reading their stories.

Today, I am pleased to introduce you to Keri of kp spaces.  This is her new pretty blog:

kp spaces is a design blog, with great decorating ideas, resources and interior design advice, among other things.

A few days ago, I was taking a look at her site answering some technical questions and was so touched by her post that day.  She has graciously allowed me to repost for you to read:

This is my son Gideon. He is my 6 month old son. He has never been to my house. I’ve never pushed him in a stroller. I’ve never fed him a bottle. He has been in the hospital every single day since he was born. And every day he has fought for his life.

Last summer I found out I was pregnant with what I thought was my second child. My first ultrasound revealed that there were two babies growing inside me. Doctors knew from the beginning that there was something terribly wrong with” Twin A”. He had a large cyst growing on back of his head and bi-lateral clubbed feet. We tested for down syndrome, trisomy 13 and trisomy 18. All of these tests were negative. Doctors’ also discovered that my cervix was extremely short, and that I was at high risk for going into preterm labor. At 21 weeks pregnant, I was admitted to the hospital to try to save my pregnancy. I was put on hospital bed rest, but given no guarantees by the medical staff that my pregnancy would last much longer. I laid there for two months hoping and praying that my babies would be ok. And at 29 weeks and 4 days I went into labor. The doctors tried their best to stop it, but it was Gideon who was ready to come and nothing was going to get in his way. I had an emergency C-section and Gideon Robert and Jude Calvin made their grand entrance. Jude just thrived in the NICU. He turned from a scrawny 3 and half pound peanut, to a chubby, happy tank of a baby. But Mr. Gideon struggled from the get go. Along with his lungs being severely premature, we found out he had heart condition, and water on his brain. For months we have watched him grow and overcome so many of his challenges. This past week doctors placed a shunt in his head to drain any excess fluid from his brain into his belly where it can be absorbed. This surgery was necessary for him to survive, but putting someone as sick and tiny as he is under anesthesia is extremely risky. Although the surgery went well, he is struggling to recover.

I am so in awe of this little man. I am humbled by his willingness to fight every day for survival. His strength gives me strength. I don’t know if Gideon is going to live 5 days, 5 years, or 50 years. But his mama is going to be there with him every step of the way.

So why am I writing a design blog when I am going through ALL OF THIS?? I totally get it that lamps, rugs and paint colors are pretty much bottom of the barrel as far as what is really important in life. But what is important to me is finding an identity for myself through this difficult time; an identity that has nothing to do with hospitals, or MRI’s, or bad news, or uncertainty. It’s my way of telling myself, “You are more than your current circumstances”. To you all it’s just design, but for me it’s survival.

As I share my passion for interior design, I promise to keep you updated on Gideon. He’s not giving up, so neither am I. Give your kids an extra snuggle today. Man, they are all such little miracles.



I am so touched by Keri’s perspective during this time in her life.  Lamps and rugs are meaningless in comparison to her baby’s sweet life, and yet, sometimes lamps and rugs are just what we need to talk about to make it through another rough day. Something pretty to lift our spirits. A simple DIY project to remind us we can accomplish a tangible goal today. I’m not sure what it is about our desire to admire and create beauty, but it sure is healing, isn’t it?

We all blog for different reasons. Some because it is our job, others because it is our hobby, and still others who do it to find our identity in the midst of chaos.

That is what I love about blogging. If we allow, it opens doors to help us become a better version of ourselves. To share our lives, however imperfect; to share our accomplishments, however insignificant; to share our passions and find others who share them as well.

We all blog for different reasons.

What is yours?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

To learn more about how to start your own blog, please visit

If you like this post, please feel free to share using the links below.

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classic hymns collection

Every once in a while, a classic hymn will pop into my head and linger there for a bit. The churches I grew up in did more praise & worship music {think Lord I Lift Your Name on High and Shout To The Lord} but somehow, hymns were still part of my upbringing so they are meaningful and the words are there in my heart.

This new collection of art prints celebrates some of the most dearly loved classic hymns. Just a snippet of each one. Sometimes the chorus, sometimes just a line that is holds so much truth. Those hymn writers were profound fellows.

Create a collage with all of hymn prints or display just one.  Tape one to your bathroom mirror as a reminder or frame them in your child’s room.  These are versatile, make great gifts and have a modern yet simple aesthetic. I’ve hung a few up in our house already.

The prints are now available in the shop. Are you humming a hymn to yourself now?

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our wedding

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.


IMG_2929 IMG_2931IMG_2935 IMG_2937IMG_2938 IMG_2939IMG_2941





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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peek … aren’t you curious?

I happened into this children’s store the other day. So cute. I’ve blogged about the sweet clothes before {right here} but it was fun to be in a store entirely devoted to the brand.

The clothes are nicely made and have a fun, southern california style. Makes me want to live at the beach.

The best part? They have a table with paper and crayons to keep the kiddos entertained while mom shops AND they have jars of bouncy balls, lollypops and dinosaurs that they give out to good little boys and girls. You’ve gotta love that.

There are a few locations around the country {mostly on the west coast} but you can shop online as well. Curious? Take a Peek

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simple diy chalkboard

Large chalkboard for just $25? Yes, please.

That’s what we just added to our kitchen.

I used a frame from Ikea {this one} and rather than having a piece of wood cut for the chalkboard, I simply used the flat side of the backer board. So easy.

1. use the flat side of the board. remove the sticker.

2. make sure the residue is removed from the back.

3. brush on a coat of chalkboard paint. let dry. brush on a coat or two more until covered.

4. season your chalkboard. Here’s why.

Pop it into your frame {I layered the plexiglass, mat and paper too, just to keep the pieces all together} and add the wire to hang. Plain wire would have been fine, but I wrapped mine with jute rope and secured with hot glue. It just makes it a little more special.

It’s the perfect spot to doodle, jot done notes and practice my fake calligraphy.

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shopping to make a difference

Do you ever feel like you want to make a difference, but you just don’t know how? Like anything you do feels somehow insignificant to a world in need of so much more than you can offer?

Me too.

It’s like we’re plugging a hole in a raft with one hundred more.

But I’ve heard story after story of little acts making a huge impact in one person’s life. A boy who had food to eat that day. A surprise latte that encouraged a hopeless neighbor. A pair of shoes for a child without. These don’t seem like a big deal to most of us – we eat and have jobs and wear clothes like its normal – but to those who need it most, it is a miracle.

I like being part of miracles.

Which is why I love Noonday Collection.

Noonday Collection sells jewelry, items for the home and accessories – all made by artisans working their way out of poverty.  They also advocate for orphans, offering care and prevention, and support adoption as well.   All items are fair-trade and locally made, which means with each purchase, you are truly making a difference.

To help spread the word and to give you an easy way to make an impact {through shopping, no less!}, my friend Paige sent me a bracelet to give away.

I have this same one {in coral} and love it. It’s chunky and smooth and how cool is it that it was made by an artisan in Ecuador! Out of seeds!

If you would like to win this tagua seed bracelet, please leave a comment below. You can say anything. Just one entry, please.

For more about Noonday and to do a little make-a-difference-shopping, click here.

*** The giveaway is now closed ***

Congratulations to the winner, Sara Field!

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diy gift tags {free template} and printable paper

This tutorial will show you how to make your own gift tags with a free template and printable paper.

You’d think since I design stationery, I’d be great at including cards with gifts. Not so much.

I much prefer gift tags. They are petite, decorative and oh, so easy to make.

Want to learn how?

Here’s what you’ll need:

:: scrapbook paper {I used the watercolor printable paper collection – see below}

:: tag template {see below}

:: scissors & hole punch

:: reinforcement labels {like these}

:: ribbon, stickers or stamps for embellishment

STEP ONE: place tag template over patterned paper and secure with paper clips

STEP TWO: cut out tag

Another way to create your tag is to print the template directly on the patterned paper. Then simply cut around the lines.

STEP THREE: hole punch

STEP FOUR: add reinforcement label to front and back

STEP FIVE: tie on a ribbon

STEP SIX: embellish with sticker letters, rubber stamps, etc.

A sticker number is fun for a birthday.

Or spell out a name or phrase using alphabet stamps {like these}.

The greatest thing about a gift tag is that you can personalize it to fit the recipient.

To create your own tags, feel free to download the tag template below.

make your own gift tags


I created these tags using our new watercolor printable paper.

There are five patterns {vines, dots, chevron, solid & trellis} in eight colors {blue, gold, green, gray, red, pink, purple and teal}.

You can download the files, keep them for as long as you like and print as often as you need. Perfect to use for these gift tags, but also for scrapbooking, paper crafts and wrapping small gifts.

Print onto 8.5 x 11 paper.

The sale ends friday, so be sure to grab your digital goodies today!

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do you play with your kids?

It’s summertime and the kids are home from school. The days are an interesting mix of lazy and full, long and quick. We make an effort to plan outings, camps, lessons, vacations and still make room for stay-home days. This can be a sweet time of connecting with our kids and we certainly don’t want to take these moments for granted. After-all, we only have 18 summers to spend with them, right?

What has surprised me most this summer, whether lazying around at home or at the swimming pool on vacation, is this frequent question from all four of our kids:

Can you play with me?

No. 1 wants me to swim with him in the deep end.

No. 2 wants me to jump with him on the trampoline.

No. 3 wants me to battle him with light sabers.

No. 4 wants me to play cousin memory with her. Again.

And what do I want to do?

Sit on the lounge chair next to the pool.

Water the plants while the kids bounce.

Clean up the toys that are already strewn about the house.

Not play another round of cousin memory.

Now don’t get me wrong; I like kids, especially my own. I also like swimming and bouncing and playing games with them. My mom was always that mom who would give us under-dogs at the park and get her hair wet at the pool. I always liked that about her. She played with us.  And I want to follow her lead and be that mom to my kids as well.

But every single day this summer I’ve had this internal struggle when I hear the request can you play with me? It goes like this:

I know my kids won’t be little much longer. They won’t ask me to play with them. I will probably look back and wish I had played with them more. So, yes, even though I just took them to swim lessons and played tag at the park and bought them ice cream, and — , of course I will play with them.

but …

I am not my children’s playmate. I have responsibilities and tasks and my own desires that also need to be addressed today. So, no, they can play on their own for a bit.

but …

if I choose responding to email over playing with them, what does that say to them? That email is more important than they are? I never want them to feel that way. I should just play with them.

but …

they need to know that while they are very important, my life does not revolve around them. There is more to me than ‘mommy’ and they must learn to respect that. This time, they can manage a game without me.

but …

is that just an excuse? Am I the most incredibly selfish mother alive? Maybe I just need to suck it up and realize that parenting is one gigantic act of sacrifice. Go play with your kids, Emily.

… and round and round I go.

It’s a balance; of course it is.

Sometimes a mommy puts down what she’s doing to read a book to her daughter. Sometimes she asks her children to play in their room so she can make a phone call in peace. And sometimes she just doesn’t feel like playing legos and sits on the chair reading a new magazine instead.

It’s a balance that I haven’t figured out.

That elusive balance between saying yes and saying no. Wanting the best for our kids, but retaining our identities apart from them. Worrying that somehow if we get it wrong we’ll mess up our children for life.

Am I alone in this? I’m guessing and hoping not.

And so, please share, how does that balance work in your family?

Do you play with your kids?

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5 things learned while on a mini-getaway

Our family took a mini vacation earlier this week on a whim. We planned on staying one night, but once we arrived, we instantly changed our minds and decided to stay two. Funny how a getaway will do that to you.

Here’s what I learned on our little trip:

1. Sunshine is good for your mental state

Western Washington has had a very gray summer and we needed some sun. Just a few hours east lies Lake Chelan with its bright blue sky, fluffly clouds and warm, dry air. We needed that.

2. Spending the few extra dollars on a hotel room with an adjoining bedroom is totally worth it.  It was so nice to put the kids to bed in one room so Ryan and I could cheer on the US women’s gymnastics team {okay, maybe it was just me} while sipping a glass of wine {see #4} late into the evening.  Have you ever sat in the pitch black trying to be silent while your children fell asleep on the next bed over? It’s not that fun. Small conveniences like the door in between rooms make all the difference. At least when you are traveling with children.

3. Days of lounging at the pool while our kids swim in the pool are almost here.

My little ones are still a bit too little to take my eyes off them, but I did spend a few minutes laying on a lounge chair {about 12 inches from the edge of the pool!} while they played on the steps.  A-ma-zing.

4. Not all wine tastes like nail polish remover.

I think it was these teensy grapes growing on the vine at the winery we dined at that convinced me to give wine another try. I’m glad I did. Especially since we were in the middle of wine country and ate at wineries each night.

While dining at the winery, we sat next to a nice family who we eventually struck up a conversation with and realized we had many things in common.  A little later, we ran into dear friends who also happened to also be vacationing at Lake Chelan.  It is people that make life interesting and enjoyable and so it was fun to meet some new friends {hi, Ben & Abby!} and connect with old ones {love you, Scott & Erica!}.

5. Even though it is a lot of work to pack up a family of six, drive four hours to a so-so hotel, eat out for each meal and share beds, these family moments are worth every ounce of energy and each penny spent.  We don’t getaway as a family often and so when we do, we try to make the most of it. I am thankful for a three-day getaway to just take a step away from the normal routine and enjoy each other.

And now I will catch up on housework and emails and half-finished projects that I’ve fallen behind on.  I guess that’s what happens when you take a vacation on a whim.

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