Archive | November, 2012

four gifts for christmas

We’re doing gift-giving a little bit differently this year.

Usually, we call Christmas an excuse to buy our kids a whole load of things they want and things we want them to have. We don’t go completely overboard, but with four kids and a handful of gifts each, our tree is usually overflowing with festively-wrapped presents. Christmas morning is a whirl of torn paper and squeals of delight and new clothes tossed to the side – because, who am I kidding – no six year old boy cares about a new tshirt.

We have really great kids who are {mostly} kind and thoughtful.

But they are not always grateful.

I don’t blame them; it’s hard to be grateful when you have no idea what it means to do without.

Jami wrote about it so beautifully and convicting-ly last year after Christmas. I remember laying in bed reading her post and just crying because even though she was writing about her family, she was writing about mine, too.

We are spoiled beyond measure and yet we still want more.

So, we are changing things up this year with the hope that by reducing the number of gifts, we’ll be more grateful for ones we receive.

I saw this idea on Britt’s blog and love it. Each of the kids will be receiving four gifts:

It’s going to be different.

It’s going to be really hard {how many times have I wanted to buy a little something for one of the kids and then realize that if I buy it, it has to be one of the four items they receive.  It’s creating restrain in me, and hopefully will make our gifts more meaningful}.

But I think it’s going to be great.

Most importantly, I hope it will move our hearts a little closer towards gratitude during this season of overindulgence.

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it’s christmas card time

Don’t you just love receiving holiday cards in the mail? I know we’re in an age of digital delivery, but I sure hope this tradition of sending actual cards in actual envelopes that you pull out of an actual mailbox never stops.

In case you have not ordered your cards yet {like me!}, Minted is one of my favorite sources for amazing designs, quick turn-around and affordable prices.

And they really have something for everyone.






{new home}

{new marriage}

{new baby}


See what I mean? So many amazing designs.

You can order your cards now

// OR //

enter to win $200 in minted wonderfulness!

Click here to enter.

Giveaway ends Friday November 30.

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a handmade doll for harper

College friends of ours are adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia. Her name is Harper.

You may remember we did a really fun crafting fundraiser a year and a half ago so it feels special to have walked a teensy bit of the adoption journey with this family.

Last month, Audrey and I took down her crib and delivered it to Harper’s mommy in preparation for her fast-approaching {and long-awaited} arrival. Since then, Audrey has named all of her babies Harper and talks about her often.  It’s pretty cute.

For the baby shower, I made a Harper doll. She and the Audrey doll were fast friends.

The real Audrey loved her as well.

Our friends are in Ethiopia as we speak picking up their precious daughter.  I get teary just thinking about what a special time this is for both Harper and her new family.

She is one very loved baby who has this baby waiting for her at her new home.

To make the Harper doll, I used this doll pattern. Her body is made of menswear plaid with a ruffled jersey body. I wanted her hair to resemble the darling curls the real Harper has, so I modified this felt flower to use as pony tails.

I’ve made a few other babies {see here and here} and they turn out so cute every time. Time consuming, yes.  But so worth it. If you are looking for a special gift this christmas, a handmade doll could be a great one.

Many blessings to sweet Harper and her family. I can’t wait to hold that little one soon!

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be organized in style this holiday season {jdc|monthly}

Red is not typically my color {sorry, natural hair color}.  But each year, at about this time, my eye is so drawn to red.  Red pillows, red throws, red wrapping paper and ribbon.

And now, lots of cheerfully striped paper goods to use around the house, to adorn gifts and keep organized.

The JDC | Monthly collection this time around is just plain fun.  There are calendars, lists, menus to help simplify this crazy-busy time of year.  A JOY art print {cute, right?} to put up in your home or give away.  Gift tags in three sizes to help with packaging. And one of my favorites in the collection are these scripture cards:

Scatter these around {bathroom mirrors, kitchen cabinets, in your car} to memorize and remember why we celebrate Christmas.

Need a simple {and inexpensive – think $5!} gift idea for teachers, neighbors or as hostess gifts?

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in everything …

It’s my life verse and deepest desire.

It’s not something I’m always good at, but what I aspire to be characterized by.


Thankfully we have a day devoted to giving thanks.

May we take today –  whether its a day full of joy or one filled with troubling circumstances – to find gratitude in our hearts and express it to those we love.

Many blessings to you on this Thanksgiving holiday!

Now go eat another slice of pie.

{image by Brook Boling via Style Me Pretty}

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o holy night prints are now available {yay!}

Back by popular demand – and just in time for the holidays – the gorgeous O Holy Night print.

The perfect gift for a special teacher, friend, neighbor or a lovely addition to your holiday decor.

{P.S. They are $5 off for a limited time!}

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christmas freebies just for you

Over the past three years, there have been quite a few Christmas freebies available for download.  I love creating and {thankfully} you like what I come up with, so this works out pretty well for all of us.

To give you a head start on your holiday planning/decorating/crafting {and to make things super easy} I have combined all of the items together to be downloaded from one page.

No need to scroll through old posts to find the downloads {although I’m flattered if you do}.

In this assortment of printable goodies is:

* the Christmas Tutorial Collection – which boasts 30 pages of simple DIY projects and three {beautifully} themed trees to help get your ideas flowing this holiday season

* gift tags galore {5 festive styles in 5 colors + 5 more neutral designs}

* christmas wish list, gift-buying list and holiday party invitations

* an art print with lyrics from my favorite Amy Grant song {or Isaiah 9:6}

. . . . . . . . . .

For instant access to all of these printables & projects, enter your email below.


Merry {very early} Christmas!

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a pinterest fail

Have you ever found something on pinterest and thought, “oh, I could make that! It looks so easy!” And then you actually try it and it is not at all easy?

Yeah, me too.

Usually this happens when I am looking for a fun craft to do with the kids.

Like this one, for instance:

The kids and I wanted to make a little something to give to their friends on the first day of school and what better than a bunch of rollos + a hershey kiss all bundled up to look like a pencil. Cute, right? And looks simple?

Um, it was not.

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let your walls shine

I touched on it last week … and many of you agreed … we should all take a few more risks with our home-decorating and truly live where we live.

We should hang photos and not care about nail holes. We should be crazy and paint a room in a unexpected color just because we love it.  We should find meaningful ways to add meaningful pieces and let our homes be an extension of our lives, our families, our personalities.  It’s risky and sometimes costly {in time and money}, but don’t you think you function better in a visually inspiring space?

It’s fairly unimportant in the whole scheme of things – all this decorating and re-decorating our homes. But to those living in it and to those visiting, it can do so much to welcome, inspire and comfort.

One girl who has this figured out is the darling Ashley from The Handmade Home.

Well, I should say Ashley and her husband Jamin. They’re one talented team who have taken their perfectly-nice-but-very-average builder-grade home and turned it into a colorfully charming home with so much personality.

Here are a few before & after shots:

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details of the giant hanging window in our entry/dining room

It’s one of the most unique {and coolest, if you ask me} things in our house: this oversize salvaged window hanging from a barn door track that separates the entry from the dining room.

I’ve never really blogged about it. What?! Sorry for the oversight.

Adding the window to the opening between the rooms accomplished exactly what we wanted … it created a definition of spaces, but also keeps things bright and open. Plus it adds personality to our ordinary home. That’s our favorite part.

From the front door, you can still see through into the dining room and beyond.

We found the perfect window at our favorite local salvage yard {Second Use – for you local Seattle-ites} for about $80.

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the wall of l’s moved across the street

Remember when I asked for help with this problem wall?

You all came through. Great suggestions. My talented friend Darlene even did a little mock-up of her suggestion:

Isn’t it lovely?

I sat on the ideas for a bit – none of them feeling just right.

Until one day, I started moving furniture around and – what do you know – the L wall moved across the hall to its new home.

Hidden in there are the thermostat and light switch that before stuck out so obviously.

A good before and after is always fun, so here you go:

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thankful tree {with free printable tags}

this post is a repeat from last year, but certainly worth sharing again

. . . . .

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.

thankful tags in silver

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

thankful for eggnog lattes

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 kids comes 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 us all.

More photos and a free printable pdf after the read more link…

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two big winners

Let’s announce the winners of the october giveaway & the starbucks card giveaway, shall we?

Again, the winners are:

October Giveaway // jen epperson

Starbucks // brettney bradley

Congratulations! Please send me your mailing info and I’ll ship out your packages.

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a tool worth adding to your craft arsenal

For as much crafting that is done around here, you’d be surprised at the lack of fancy craft supplies hanging around in my office. I have my loyal go-to’s {tape gun, paper cutter, corner rounder}, and a few regular embellishments {baker’s twine, alphabet stamps, glitter glue} and I’m typically pretty satisfied with these.  But I just bought myself a present that is proving to be a use-it-on-everything tool.

It’s an inverted corner punch 2-in-1 obnoxiously large crafting tool. And I love it.

Just open up the top flaps, align your paper and punch.

The two options are great, but I mostly love the stub punch. It was just what I was looking for.

Now I want to punch everything.

Christmas cards:

Gift tags:

My business cards:

And this scripture card {from the November JDC | monthly collection}

Just to name a few.

Sometimes it’s the little things …

To add one of these punches to your craft arsenal, click here.

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