Archive | September, 2012

I went with my daughter to the ballet

  Last Saturday was a special day for me and my baby girl {who is really not a baby anymore}.

In our neighborhood of friends, there is a little group of girls all about the same age. It is the most darling thing to watch these girls become friends and do girly things together. Each of them has a brother {or two} and we do plenty of non-girly things as families {camping, crabbing, sledding, etc} so just spending the day with the girls is a special treat.

This past weekend, we celebrated one of the girl’s birthdays by going to the ballet. The moms and daughters dressed up, drove in to the city and prayed that our babes would sit quietly through the show.

I’m sure this is a special moment for any mom-daughter duo. But particularly so for me as this is the stage on which I lived out my little girl ballerina dreams.

I adore ballet and still wish I had the dedication, the grace and the feet to be a real ballerina.

All of the girls did amazing well. They sat through the show in awe of the pretty, sparkly costumes and ballerinas. Audrey was adorable. I could not believe she understood the story even though it was new to her. She teared up when I told her Cinderella couldn’t go to the party because she didn’t have a pretty dress to wear.  She was mesmerized by the carriage {not sure why, but she was very into it}, and at each intermission she didn’t want it to end. I really didn’t know what to expect taking a 2 1/2 year old to the ballet. And I’m trying to be careful about putting my own dreams on her so I didn’t want to talk it up too much. If ballet isn’t her thing, I want to be okay with that. But she loved it. She can’t stop talking about it. She wants to go again.

It truly was a magical day for me as a mommy of a daughter.

Please don’t get me wrong: I love my boys. I’m so glad to have three of them to learn from, play with, enjoy. I even took them to the ballet last Christmas. I grew up with two sisters, have only one boy cousin and nannied for a family with three girls. I understand girls. I like pretty things and fake eyelashes and am not a fan of rodents or insects of any kind. I’m girly. So to have a daughter that I can identify with in these ways is a blessing. This in no way diminishes my love of being a mom of boys, I’m just thankful that I also get to explore my feminine side by being a mom of a girl.

A girly girl who also likes the ballet.

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pleasantly surprised {a new dining room display shelf}

Sometimes you buy furniture from inexpensive sources and you end up with a flimsy particle board table that never quite stands level.

Other times, you order a bookshelf and hope that it will turn out to be more like the online photos than what past experience tells you it will be.

Hip Hip Hooray … this one is just like the photos online, or maybe even better.

Our new Emerson Shelf {purchased from World Market} is real wood and real metal. Surprise! It’s substantial and industrial and was such a great price for what it offers in style and utility.

It now lives in this awkward little cutout in our dining room.  Changing displays is one of my favorites so I look forward to switching things up ever so often.

Glittery pumpkins {from Target}, white serving platters, a little bit of faux greener and my favorite bookpage decoupaged pumpkin take center stage.

Linens are stored in the vintage locker baskets.

If you are looking for a large shelf for a fairly inexpensive price, this handsome shelf may be the one.

{don’t forget to sign up for World Market’s mailing list to get a 10% off coupon!}

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I bribed my son with candy

One of the best parts of my job {if you can even call it that!} is creating a new collection of printable paper goods for JDC | Monthly.  Every month has something unique to celebrate and finding a way to make that stylish rather than obvious is a fun challenge for me.

This October, the collection is clearly fall-inspired, but with a twist.

Pumpkins – the obvious choice – but in unexpected patterns and colors.

Treat bags and stickers for Halloween – because that’s what October is known for – but without the spiders and witches and spooky stuff {I don’t know, I just can’t get into all of that}.

And this time around, I bribed my cutie 4-year-old with Halloween candy to help me do the project tutorial. Want to see? He may or may not pick his nose about a minute into it.

Isn’t he the cutest? Even if he did try to take off my arm – that’s his frisky style.

To download and print the items shown, you can join JDC | Monthly {your first month is free!} and you will also get all kinds of other goodies.

weekly calendar . note cards . daily menu planner . grocery lists . chore charts . scripture cards . dinner menu . monthly calendar . art print . gift tags and bags

Members simply download each pdf, print on your favorite paper {see mine here} and fill in the details to keep your organized.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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a pumpkin painting

A few weeks ago, that creative itch crept up on me and I decided to do a painting. On a large canvas. Of a white pumpkin.

I was as shocked as could be at the finished product.

Truthfully, I had no idea I could do this. I’m not a painter and hadn’t a clue what I was doing.

I just started brushing on layers of color {latex paint leftover from various walls in our house} using my kids’ artist brushes. For accents I grabbed a couple of those little tubes of craft paint and mixed colors on a paper plate. There was nothing fancy about the process and like I said, I was amazed when I stepped back and took in what these untrained hands created.

The pumpkin painting now hangs proudly on the dining room wall – which you see from the entry through the large hanging window.

I took it in to our local frame shop and promptly walked out after I learned it would cost $275 for the frame I wanted. No thank you. But I do think it needs something to anchor it against this light wall, so we’re thinking about making our own.

So here’s my encouragement for this weekend:

even if you don’t have formal training

even if you doubt your skills

give something new a try.

Do a craft. Make a new recipe. Pull out your sewing machine. Dig in the dirt. Paint a pumpkin.

You never know what creativity lies within you unless you give yourself a chance to try.

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learning calligraphy – for real this time

I’m pretty good at fake calligraphy {learn how here}. I even made my own font with my faux-script {get it free  here}.

But I’ve always wanted to learn how to write all fancy with a real calligraphy pen.

And so I am taking a real class.

It’s perfect and it’s called I Still Love Calligraphy by the darling Melissa at the blog I Still Love You.

Melissa is an expert modern-calligrapher and does a great job teaching the basics {I didn’t even know how to hold the pen! Top part of the nib faces up, FYI}.

The class is online and easy to understand.

My favorite part are the printable worksheets. With a piece of tracing paper over top, it makes for great practice {of which I need a lot}.

I’m hoping that learning the basics and lots of practice will someday equal me addressing envelopes and creating artwork with pretty calligraphy.

If you have always wanted to learn calligraphy, or maybe you need a refresher course, I Still Love Calligraphy is a great option.

Click on the image below to learn more.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress …

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a latte a day …

While looking through my most recent instagram photos, I noticed a theme.

warming up with a latte at an outdoor concert at the winery

praying this latte will turn into liquid patience on a particularly grumpy-mommy day

mixing up my own iced latte for an afternoon pick-me-up

coffee date with our little girl

latte sipping while working earlier this week

Now I know I’m from Seattle, but this latte habit is actually a fairly new one for me. I’ve always enjoyed an occasional creamy coffee treat, but lately I’ve actually craved it. Is it the taste? The warmth? The experience? Maybe all of the above.

I’m not terribly picky about my coffee – except I like it decaf, nonfat and extra hot. And only half the amount of syrup as usual, but definitely not the sugar-free kind. Hold the whip.

Okay, maybe I am a bit high-maintenance.

Grabbing coffee while out and about can get a bit spendy and so I’m thinking about following my best friend K.C.’s lead and purchasing one of these:

It steams the milk to your desired temperature, then just pour over strongly brewed coffee, add syrup of choice and you’ve got your own homemade latte.

 

My kids will like that you can add chocolate chunks to it and make hot cocoa.

And maybe while I’m at it, I should purchase this cute print from madebygirl like Holly has on her desk.

I do love blogs and coffee.

How about you? What’s the most high-maintenance coffee drink you’ve ever ordered?

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it’s the little things {diy mousepad}

To all you office/computer/desk workers … this one’s for you.

My computer mouse doesn’t really require a mouse pad, but after not using one for a few months, it was starting to scratch the painted surface of my desk. Option 1: sand and repaint the desk every few months. Option 2: get a mouse pad.  I decided to go with option two. Maybe there is such a thing as a cute mouse pad at some darling boutique somewhere, but at my local office store, my selection was: hawaiian sunset, corporate logo or plain black.  Which got me thinking … perhaps I could figure out a way to embellish a mouse pad to make it more ‘me’ … after all, I do use it daily and sort of like my desk to look pretty while I work. It helps me want to hang out here and get things done. Unnecessary? Completely. But sometimes it’s the little things that make me smile.

Does your mouse pad need a makeover? Continue on and I’ll show you how to do it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

:: mouse pad {this one was $5 at the office store, but you could use any old one. Company promotion gifts with obnoxious logos are perfect}

:: a favorite fabric {smooth is best}

:: spray adhesive

:: glass or other round template

:: pencil & scissors

STEP ONE: use a glass to outline a corner cut-out

Invert a small drinking glass and trace with a pencil to create a template.

{You certainly don’t need to notch the corners, but it makes the mouse pad unique.  You can get more ornate with your shape, or keep it a rectangle – it’s up to you.}

STEP TWO: cut out shape

STEP THREE: use the cut piece as a pattern for the remaining sides

STEP FOUR: cut all sides

STEP FIVE: cut 1/2 inch from two sides to create a square

Again, totally optional. I just liked the look of a square more than a rectangle.

STEP SIX: cut fabric slightly larger than mouse pad

STEP SEVEN: take your project outside and coat top of mouse pad with spray adhesive

STEP EIGHT: press fabric smoothly over mouse pad to adhere and let dry

STEP NINE: cut fabric to shape

 STEP TEN: stitch a border using a sewing machine set to a regular straight stitch

Again, totally optional and unnecessary, but after a few days of using my mouse pad I felt like it was missing something. So I stitched a border and now I love it.

And here it is looking all lovely on my desk:

So if you sit at a desk in front of a computer, try giving your mouse pad a face life. I hope it will make you smile.

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displaying books in the playroom

One year in college my best friend {and roommate} made fun of me because I brought with me a few of my favorite children’s picture books.  Not only did I travel with them from Seattle to LA, but I proudly displayed them on our coffee table.  And I’m not talking about sentimental books that I had as a child. Oh, no. These were ones I had purchased myself, probably that summer, just because I loved them so.  I don’t know … there has always just been something charming and wonderful about illustrated children’s stories. I remain unashamed.

Now, a few years later, I have an appropriate excuse to collect children’s books and believe me, our house is full of them. So rather than tuck them away spine-side-out on a bookshelf, we proudly display them on the wall.

We just moved pretty much every room in the house around, so what you’re seeing here is a sneak peek of the new playroom {recognize those stripes? This used to be the boy’s bunk room}. I’ll share the rest of the room soon, but wanted to show you a super simple way to display books.  Perhaps you’ve seen this elsewhere – this is not necessarily a new idea, but it’s a good one.

These picture ledges are from IKEA and are made to display art, but they work just as well holding books. They are narrow and just right for layering – you can really pack a bunch onto each shelf.

One of the best things about it is that kids can see the covers when choosing a bedtime story and they can easily put them back. Big bonus.

Favorite picture books hang out on the shelves, while paperbacks, bibles & devotionals, star wars books and Dr. Seuss go in baskets below. Surprisingly, they actually do stay categorized like that.

Functionality is great, but my favorite part is seeing all of those darling illustrations.

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simple fall projects from JDC

Feeling crafty and in the mood for bringing autumn into your home? Here are a few of our favorite fall projects:

{click on the image to be directed to the tutorial}

I have a few new fall projects in the works, but I’d love to know if there is something in particular you’d like to see me do a tutorial for. Any suggestions?

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feeling anxious

Our No.1 is starting at a new school today. It is in our same district and he’ll have a few familiar faces in class, his teacher seems nice and we hear great things about the program, but none of that matters … he’s still anxious.

And to tell you the truth, so am I.  Maybe even more than him.

I’ve cried the first day of school my entire life, so I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that I’m feeling this way.  The tears and worries are not that he won’t love his new school, or new teacher, or the education. It’s just that its all new. Will he know where his classroom is? Will he have anyone to sit with at lunch? Who will play with him at recess? What if he needs me and I’m not there to hold his hand?

I suppose these are fears and questions every mama asks when her baby starts something new.

As I sat alone for a few minutes thinking and praying about the turmoil in my heart, I was reminded of this well-loved scripture:

And so, I pray. And I give thanks. And sure enough, this worrisome mom isn’t so anxious anymore.

Although I do hope he finds someone to eat lunch with.

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I’m not quite there, but these could sway me

As I mentioned in that horribly lit video not too long ago, I am an Autumn girl.

I like the weather, I like the scents, I like football season.

And yet, I’m still holding on to the last bits of summer.  School starts tomorrow and the air is changing. I pulled out my brown transfer-ware dishes and fluffed the kitchen. I’m half-way there.

These images might coax me go all the way into fall mode …

red flowers

via inspired room

via 6th street design school

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front-door

parlor

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annesage!

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Okay, that about does it for me. Now I’m ready for fall.

Are you?

{Sorry for the lack of image sources on this post. These photos came from a file saved on my computer – before there was pinterest. A few look familiar from Cottage Living, Southern Living and BH & G. If you know the source, I’m happy to post it!}

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