Archive | December, 2012

a stylish way to organize your new year

Have you begun your resolution-making?

Perhaps you’d like to be more intentional with your time. Maybe you’d like to simplify life by letting the little things go. Or possibly {like me} you really want 2013 to be the year you finally tackle meal planning.

One way to start the year fresh is with JDC | Monthly – a subscription created to help simplify and organize life in a stylish way.

This January, the collection includes:

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Because the designs are pretty to look at, you won’t mind hanging your weekly schedule front and center. You’ll be much more likely to see it everyday and, in turn, much more likely to stick to your plan.

Every month I also show how to create a simple project using printable templates. This month, we’ll make notepads:

as well as a yearly at-a-glance calendar:

Both are great for gifts!

Plus, keep track of your 2013 resolutions on this note card:

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And to top it off, you will also receive a limited edition printable art print.

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JDC | Monthly brings you all original designs that are easy to use and never overly complicated.

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JDC | Monthly is an incredible value at $9.99 per month and your first month is free.

You are welcome to give it a try. If it’s not the right fit, you can cancel at any time.

Plus, all JDC | Monthly members receive 50% off all printables in the shop.

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Start your year off in organized style and become a JDC | Monthly member!

Click the button below to sign up:

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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.

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P.S. If you are already a member, your January link was emailed to you on the 22nd. If you need any help please let us know.

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tips for decorating your christmas table

Last weekend Ryan & I hosted our annual Christmas party.  Ryan’s parents are talented in many ways and also generous and agreed to make our night extra special by cooking and serving our meal. A kid-free night without having to cook and hanging out with our favorite friends? Yes, please!

As an extra bonus, Ryan’s mom {Nonna to the kids} brought her decorating genius with her and made our table fabulous.

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We started with a roll of sparkly polka dot wrapping paper, taping it to the table to hold in place. Then she started her magic, using a trailing potted ivy as the base and adding all sorts of silver, green and white vases, candles and flowers to fill.

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It really was quite beautiful.

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A few tips for decorating your Christmas table:

* wrapping paper, burlap or a long piece of favorite fabric makes a great table runner

* inexpensive chargers {mine are from Target for $1.99 each} make the table look a bit fancier

* sticking to a simple color scheme {green, white, gold & silver here} keeps things cohesive and makes a visual impact

* everyday white china and white cloth napkins work with any table theme –  these are great basics to have available

* use unconventional items – jars of apples, a vintage wire basket, a moss covered reindeer – all are unexpected and memorable

* clip from your yard {or christmas tree} for natural greenery {sticks are great, too}

* take apart a mixed bouquet from the market and group like flowers together – or, better yet, cut a bunch of roses or carnations short and pack tightly together for a modern floral arrangement

* vary the height of your containers and group in odd numbers

* add candles and if you have a dimmer on your chandelier, turn down the lights

* and in the words of the Nester, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful

Wishing you a very, very Merry Christmas!

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four gifts {tags}

Are you doing the four gifts thing this year?

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Still wrapping? If so, here are some freebie tags for you to use.

 

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Enjoy!

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letting some things go

It never fails … every year around this time I have a long list of ‘want to dos’ and very little time left to actually do them.

The list is usually filled with good things: create meaningful gifts for teachers and neighbors, bake favorite christmas treats, wrap presents beautifully, set up the elf in clever ways each night.

You get the idea.

I’m guessing you have a similar list because ’tis the season to go get overwhelmed by our lists of good things.

The truth of it is, as great as the ideas/activities are, some times we just have to let go.

Take, for instance, our family christmas cards.

It was so hard for me to finally come to terms with the fact that in addition to everything else on the list, getting family photos, selecting a design, ordering the cards and then addressing was just not going to happen this year. It actually took me a few days to make the decision to let the cards go. I love having the keepsake each year, I love receiving friends’ cards, for goodness sake JDC started as a custom card company! But allowing myself to let the idea go has really changed my attitude about this holiday season.

Sometimes, no matter how good it may be, you just have to let it go.

My best friend is passionate about healthy eating and gets up early to make a wholesome breakfast for her family. It is something she enjoys and believes in, but sometimes, she says, her life ends up feeling a bit like Groundhog’s day – wake, fix breakfast, do dishes, kids to school, make dinner, do dishes, sleep. Repeat.

Anyone?

She didn’t ask for my opinion but in light of my recent christmas card decision, I gave it anyway: sometimes you just have to let it go. Even though you value healthy eating, it’s okay every now and then to stay in bed and let them grab a bowl of cereal {this coming from the mom who regularly stays in bed while her children make a disaster of the kitchen. What can i say? I value sleep more than a crumb-free floor}.

It may look different for each of us, but I’m guessing we all have a few things to let go.

Holiday cards. Eggs & bacon. Perfectly piped sugar cookies. That last homemade gift on your list.

With only a few days left before Christmas, I’ve made the decision to let go of some things and grab hold of moments with our family that ultimately mean more than darling christmas cards {oh, it still pains me!} and elaborately wrapped gifts.

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May you be filled with peace as we move through this most wonderful time of the year.

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snow globes

Last week, the kids and I attempted to make snow globes.

We followed this tutorial and they sort of turned out.

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But not as good as I hoped.

I couldn’t get the right proportion of glycerine/water/glitter and then the trees kept coming unglued from the bases.

So, actually, the diy was sort of a flop.

If I were to do it again, I would forgo the water, and do something simple like Melissa did:

Faux snow + faux tree + giant mason jar. So simple and so pretty.

Or I would just line up a bunch of bleached bottle brush trees like Bonnie did:

She even shows you how to bleach your own trees if your craft store only sells the green ones.

Or maybe I would spring for a real snow globe since I could literally shake and stare for a good 30 minutes. They’re mesmerizing, I tell ya.

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{anthropologie}

{west elm – no longer available}

{sundance catalog}

{potterybarn kids – they’re on sale!}

Sometimes its just worth it to buy the real thing, I suppose.

And that is the story of how I tried and failed at one of the easiest diy projects floating around the web. You win some, you lose some.

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fancy sequin pillow {tutorial}

This season is filled with shiny sequins. Have you noticed? They’re on sweaters, bags, curtains and pillows.  It’s a trend I’m really liking and have been wanting to add a little bit of sparkle in the form of sequins in our home.

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My aunt was wearing a sequin tank top on Thanksgiving and she gave me the brilliant idea to cut apart a tank and use it to make pillows. Smart, right? So I took her advice and here’s how I did it:

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supplies

:: sequin tank top {like this one from Old Navy in size XXL for maximum fabric}

:: fabric for back {I used an oatmeal colored linen}

:: pillow form or two {mine are 12×18}

:: scissors, pins, thread, sewing machine

STEP ONE: cut apart the tank at the seams

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STEP TWO: fold remaining fabric in half and cut for two equal pieces

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STEP THREE: cut out back material and pin right sides together

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Because the tank is made of stretchy jersey, I pulled slightly to the edges while pinning and sewing

STEP FOUR: straight stitch pillow making sure to leave an opening in the bottom

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Backstitch several times at each opening to help hold the seams when stuffing with the pillow insert

STEP FIVE: turn right side out

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The pillow is a little wonky looking on its own, but all straightened out when the pillow form was added.

STEP SIX: hand stitch close

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The sparkle is so fun!

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If you are new to sewing, making pillows is one of the easiest projects to begin with. Just four straight stitches and you’re done! Plus, if you use inexpensive fabric {like a cut apart tank top} little harm is done if it’s a total flop. But, of course, it won’t be.

So here’s to fancy sequins and beginner sewing skills.

Will you be pillow-making this weekend?

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the perfect in-between meal for holiday guests

Between a fancy brunch spread one day and a traditional Christmas dinner the next, sometimes you just need a light {but tasty} go-to recipe for those in-between meals.

This one is my very favorite.

We make this all year long for both lunch and dinner and it is always a crowd pleaser.

What’s not to love about grilled bread, fresh mozzarella, toasted pine nuts and kalamata olives?!

This recipe is from Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen and served at one of his famous Seattle restaurants, Dahlia Lounge.

Tuscan Bread Salad {serves 6}

for the mustard vinaigrette:
2 T. red wine vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. minced shallots
1/2 t. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 t. minced garlic
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

for the salad:
1 loaf rustic bread, sliced 1 inch thick
extra virgin olive oil
24 oil-cured black olives, pits removed
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced or cubed
4 cups loosely packed flavorful salad greens, such as mache, radicchio, arugula, spinach, romaine, endive, washed and dried, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Freshly ground black pepper

optional: shredded rotisserie chicken

Make the vinaigrette {I use a mason jar and shake to combine}. It will store in the fridge up to a week.

Liberally oil the slices of bread then grill on the grill or under the broiler until golden. Use a serrated knife to cut the bread into bite size cubes.

In a large serving bowl, put the bread in with the olives, tomatoes, mozzarella, parmesan, pine nuts, chicken, basil and greens.  Pour vinaigrette over the salad and mix well.

Enjoy!

 

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the star

This is a repost from last year, but probably one of my favorite posts on the blog. I just love this story and the scripture that goes along with it. Enjoy!

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We have a small nativity set that my aunt gave to our family several years ago. I put it out with our christmas decorations each year, but it is usually placed up high out of the reach of our children as it is breakable and they are, well, kids.

But I decided this year to put the nativity lower. Within reach. Surrounded by teensy flakes of snow. I fully expected that the boys would take interest in it and that there would probably be snowflakes all over the place, but I didn’t really anticipate what my no. 2 did yesterday afternoon.

First, he rearranged all of the figurines so that they were in a tight circle around baby Jesus. He fixed the snow so it was just right and stood staring at it for a short time.

Next, he went to the table and started a little craft. I thought nothing of it. He has a short attention span and moves from activity to activity like a whirlwind.

Only later did I realize that my sweet boy’s craft time consisted of taping a star to the amaryllis plant.

Because every nativity scene needs a star.

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

“the magi went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2

It is hard to find ways to keep our focus on the reason we celebrate Christmas. I love the carols, the lights, the shopping and decorating, the baking and parties. I even love santa. But most of all, I love Jesus. And I want so badly for my children to love him too.

My son making a star for the manger scene tells me he gets it. In his own six-year-old way, he cared enough about the story to make it right.

When I saw that star, I was overjoyed.

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on the hunt for snowberries

Each day when I take our No. 3 to school, I drive this pretty country road.

{you can’t tell here, but Mt.Rainier stands right about in the middle of the photo. It’s a pretty amazing view}.

On the other side of the road, I’ve been noticing these little white specks that I hoped were white berries.

This week, I finally remembered to bring my clippers and pulled over to take a peek.

Sure enough, they are wild berries. I called them winterberries until I did a bit of research and discovered that they are actually snowberries.

So I cut a bunch {feeling rather crazy as cars whizzed by} stuck them in a vase and they proudly sit on the coffee table.

Snowberries make for a festive and organic and slightly unruly arrangement.

I kind of love them.

The best things in life are free.

Well, not always.  But if you’re talking about wild snowberries growing along the side of the country road, then yes.

Have yourself a merry little weekend.

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gift card winner + my picks at amazon

As a special bonus, everyone who purchased from the shop on Cyber Monday was entered to win this:

A $300 gift card from Amazon.

Congratulations to REBEKAH FOX. You are the big winner!

Please send me a note and we’ll get your gift card out to you ASAP.

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Are you an Amazon shopper? Our family is. It seems like every time I find something in a store I think to myself, I bet you could get that on amazon. Most of the times, it’s true … for an even better price.  You have to love that.  And with Amazon Prime, we don’t even pay for shipping. It’s like I’m a walking Amazon saleswoman – which I’m not – but I really do like Amazon and order all kinds of things online.

Anyway, just for fun I thought I’d show you some of my faves that I would buy {and a few I already have} if I were the winner of the gift card

1. pencil sharpener {we have worn ours out and it’s time for a new one}

2. think thin protein bars {the only bars that don’t taste like chalk to me}

3. Q & A journal {I profess my love for this little book on this post}

4. le pen assortment {just plain happy}

5. milk steamer {I wanted it then, and I still want it now}

6. tocca candle in florence {a light, fresh scent}

7. pure barre workout dvd {to tone at home and an excuse to wear my ballet shoes}

8. good bones, great pieces {coffee table book that’s extra pretty}

9. silpat baking mat {why do I not own this yet?}

10. thoughts to make your heart sing {beautiful children’s devotional}

11. rotary paper trimmer {what I use nearly every day}

12. taylor swift cd {what I listen to nearly every day}

That is my list.

What’s on yours?

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free christmas countdown tags & 25 ways to embellish them

This has been a project I’ve wanted to do for forever. It has no purpose other than to look festive, but I’m pretty sure it is my new favorite thing I’ve ever made.

I suppose you could use the countdown tags to actually count down to Christmas {maybe tie a ribbon to the pin and move it over each new day?}. Or you can just display it and call it good.

I have seen these done with a petite ornament hung from each number {which I love}, but I didn’t have 25 ornaments nor did I want to shop for them, so I scavenged my craft supplies and found everything I needed. Only a few items were purchased specifically for the project – and all from either the craft store or Target.

It sounded daunting to come up with 25 different ways to embellish the tags, but once I got going, it all came together. Just in case you need a little inspiration, here are my 25 ways to embellish the countdown tags:

jingle bell + twine . deer ornament . velvet ribbon . paper banner . fabric swatch + plastic pine cones

curled edge flower . glitter stickers . ruffled fabric + ribbon . brooch . faux holly leaf

glitter paper star . mini christmas tree . leafy branch . bottle of sequins . muslin flower

napkin ring . rolled paper flower . tiny paper chain . berry sprig . scrapbook paper flag

moss . candy cane . fluffy feather . glass ornament filled with faux snow . glittery star

A few extra tips:

>> look at your craft store in the floral section. There are usually bins of little branches, berries, pinecones, etc. These make great gift toppers as well as tag-decorations

>> the scrapbook section is a great place to find stickers, sequins, ribbons, & paper

>> vase fillers can be great. Potterybarn has a pretty selection {the glass star on No. 25 is from a package of PB vase fillers}

>> diy all you can – flowers, paper chain, paper star and banner

>> hot glue your items directly to the tags, or hang from the t-pins

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If you would like to make your own countdown board, feel free to use my templates

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Enjoy!

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