Archive | April, 2013

stay organized + learn how to make felt roses {jdc monthly}

Because we all need a little motivation to keep organized, each month I create a stylish collection of printable papergoods for JDC | monthly members.


The month of May is feminine and sweet with painterly flowers and boughs of spring leaves.


Having a cohesive suite of calendars/lists/note cards helps keep life organized in a stylish way.

As always, here’s what’s included:

* monthly calendar
* weekly calendar
* menu calendars
* chore charts
* shopping list
* grocery lists
* note cards
* scripture memory cards
* art print
* a project tutorial with printable templates

You simply download the pdf, print on your favorite paper and fill in the details.

Here’s a sneak peek at how they are used in our house:


I like to use our refrigerator display favorite photographs, kids’ drawings, special awards, my workout reminders. Some people are refrigerator purists … I am not.


Because the calendars and lists are cute, I don’t mind having them front and center in our kitchen. I am {often} a bit scatter-brained, so it helps to have a grocery list available to write on when I use up the last of the peanut butter or a weekly calendar with a spot to jot down little notes like “call the dentist”.

We have a large monthly calendar {our crazy family could not fit our events on just one small calendar} but I always use the monthly calendars to plan out my blog posts.


Writing in pencil is key because I hardly ever stick to the planned posts, but it helps to have ideas in one place and a good visual for when to do certain types of posts, when I need to have projects completed, when to have photos done, etc.

Each month, a simple project tutorial is included.


These sweet little felt roses are great for embellishing a gift, adding to a hair clip or pin, or adorning a wreath. I’m thinking I’ll make a bunch and give them to teachers and staff at the end of the school year.

And, as with every month, I design a special art print to fit the theme.

I am smitten with the May print.


It reads: fill you mind with beauty and truth.

I have decided that when it all comes down to it, this is what I most want for myself: to be filled with beauty and truth. It is what I want most for my daughter as well and this print now hangs happily as a reminder in her room.


We are using this art print for our ladies bible study retreat this weekend and I’ll give it for Mother’s day gifts, too.

I would love for you to be part of JDC | Monthly and enjoy all of these goodies!  The cost is $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.


Make your month organized and become a JDC | Monthly member!


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.


start your month of in style and sign up today!

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if you want to keep up with the joneses

Our last name is not actually Jones.

It is my maiden name and when I started my business I was, in fact, a Jones. Now it is just the name we go by {even Ryan has adopted the name for business-y things}. Our real last name starts with an L {hence the wall of l’s} and we’ve decided to keep it mostly private.

So when I say ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ that really doesn’t mean anything because we are not actually Joneses. But you get the point.

Since starting this blog in 2010, the whole social media network has grown like crazy. Instagram, twitter, pinterest, vine, google+ . . .  none of these existed {or at least they were not main stream} three years ago. To tell you the truth, I don’t even use/understand half of the networking tools out there.

I read a blog post the other day with bullet points about how many photos are best to post to instagram and how to hide affiliate links in pinterest pins and why pre-scheduling posts to facebook is awesome and optimal times for tweets to go out.

The whole thing stressed me out.

I’m sure there are very valuable reasons to follow all of the social media ‘rules’. I’m sure it helps grow traffic and builds community and makes you money but, good grief, I can barely keep my head above water with the things I’ve got going right now, I can’t even imagine adding 7 twitter updates to my daily must-dos and worrying if I’ve met my photo-posting limit on instagram.

I mean no harm if these are rules you follow or love or have built your business on.

Social media is certainly a powerful tool and there are ways that it has benefited our business that we are beyond grateful for. Maybe I’m behind the times, maybe I’m ignorant, but I’ve decided I’m not really a rule-follower when it comes to social media.

. . .

 JDC has a facebook page. You can like it here.

But I’ll just let you know that it’s not something I post to regularly. I do reply to messages, so if you want to contact me or have a question, facebook is a fine way to do that. Unlike most of the world’s population, I am not a daily facebook user.

. . .

JDC has a pinterest account. You can see my pins here.

But know that I’m a very inconsistent pinner {I go for a few days without pinning a thing and then go overboard in one sitting}. I pin things that are either pretty or inspiring. That’s it.

. . .

JDC has a instagram feed. You can follow here.

But keep in mind that you’ll see lots of photos of my kids and little moments throughout the day that either make me laugh or make me thankful. Of all the social media tools, instagram is my fave. But I still don’t follow the rules. I just post a photo when I feel like it and rarely talk about bloggy things on there.

. . .

JDC has a twitter account. It’s right here.

But I don’t know how to use it. My ig photos automatically post there, but that’s about all you’ll get. At least until I figure out how to sign on.

. . .

JDC has an email list. You can sign up at the top of the blog on the sidebar or below this post.

Our email list is the best way we’ve found to stay connected. It’s where posts are emailed and special promotions are offered.

. . .

So even though I may not abide by all of the complex social media rules, these are the ways you can keep up with us {non} Joneses.

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5 favorite cursive fonts with glyphs {and how to use them}


Each of these are fonts I use regularly – they are all lovely on their own, but the added swashes and fancy letters {aka: glyphs} add so much uniqueness to each one. It is fun to play around with the different characters to get your lettering looking just as you like it. Click on the font names below for sources.







Just in case you have never used these fonts with extra characters, I created a video showing how to use the glyph panel in Adobe Illustrator.

 Pretty simple, right?

If you do not have illustrator, you can access many symbols in Microsoft Word {I did a quick tutorial using a pc at the end of this post and one on a mac right here}.

Hopefully this is helpful. I’d love to know if these types of posts are something you are interested in – please leave a comment if so!

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banish the belly

Five weeks from today marks the unofficial beginning of summer.

I have got some work to do.

Growing and birthing children does a piece of work on your body {can I get an AMEN from you mamas with saggy-skinned tummies?!!}. I’m resigned to the fact that my stomach will never be perfectly flat – at least not without some serious commitment – but I am super motivated to do a few minutes each day to tighten things up a bit.

A fast approaching swimsuit season will do that to you.

So here’s my plan:


Thanks to pinterest, I initially noticed this sequence because of it’s great graphic appeal. Then I really looked at the workout and realized that it was doable. Last week my 7 year old did the whole routine with me and it was actually really fun. It took us about 12 minutes.

The plan is to do this everyday {maybe minus weekends} for the next five weeks. I may not look like the model by Memorial Day {or ever}, but hopefully I’ll feel a little more confident in a swimsuit and a whole lot stronger.

Want to do it with me?

Operation BANISH THE BELLY is officially underway.

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thoughts on balancing it all

Remember the Q & A post two weeks back? You all asked some great questions.

starbucks and computer

I sat in Starbucks for hours typing away my responses and I wished that we could all sit around drinking our lattes and talking in person.  In fact, I think a live web chat would be fun sometime. Maybe that would be weird? I don’t know.

Anyway …

There were a few questions that were frequently asked and I’ll address them over the next few weeks. Today I’m attempting to answer the most asked question that day:

how do you balance it all?

I’m honestly not sure where this post is going to go … I have not fully thought through my answer … so we’ll see what happens …

First of all, let me just confess that I’m tired. Exhausted, actually.

The best way to describe life right now is to say that it is full. I’m not a fan of the word busy – it sounds like an excuse most of the time {I’m just so busy!}, but the truth is, there is a lot going on. This is a very full time in our lives and while it is all wonderful and exciting and inspiring and a dream-come-true, it is also very, very tiring.

This isn’t the kind of exhausted that screams, ‘make a change, already!’ but more of a norm with this phase of life with kids and a dog and dinner to make and homework to help with and blog posts to write and groceries to shop for.  Someday I’ll look back sentimentally and miss the chaos. But right now, in the midst of it, it’s pretty tiring.

Let me also confess that when I take an inventory of my life, I feel like I’m missing the mark in almost every area. Or if not missing the mark completely, certainly falling short. I have an image in mind of the kind of wife/mom/friend/blogger/home decorator/christ-follower I think I should be and I just can’t quite do EVERYTHING that all of those imaginary ladies do.  I’m thinking my expectations are probably a bit too high, but I’m still trying to figure out what is important to me, where the expectations come from and how to reconcile them with my everyday life.

So those are my disclaimers: 1. I’m tired and 2. I’m far from perfect

I will admit that with everything going on, I am able to accomplish a lot each day. How I do it, I’m not exactly sure. A combination of things, certainly. Here are the most obvious:

1. I’m a hard worker. My name actually means ‘diligent worker’ which I find interesting. Don’t be fooled: I can also be completely lazy. But for the most part, I have a running to-do list in my head {or on paper} and I love the feeling of checking things off.

2. My kids are no longer babies. The older two are in school full time. No. 3 goes three full days per week and Audrey-girl is pretty content hanging out with me. Someone asked how I do house projects with the kids around and my answer is that I only have Audrey most of the time and for some reason {probably the fact that it’s all she knows} she doesn’t mind when I paint or wallpaper or sew or craft as long as she is nearby.

3. Ryan works 24 hour shifts about two-three times per week which means he is home during waking hours more than the average full-time worker. It also means he is tired when he comes home after being up all night, but we’ve figured out how to support each other with this strange/amazing fire fighter schedule. Because of his schedule, we spend a lot of time together during the day either talking or working or taking turns watching the kids.

4. We have a nanny who comes every tuesday from 10-3. This is my dedicated work day. It’s only five hours and I probably work at least 25 per week, but it’s five distraction-less hours where I lock myself in my office and literally work the whole time. I skip lunch, ignore my phone, turn on pandora and crank out whatever it is on my to-do list for that day.  Next year Audrey will be in school three full days with No. 3 and I’m a little giddy about having 18 hours of work time per week. My goal is to get everything done on school days so that I can just be a mom on the off days.  If you have the resources, I think having some help with the kids is one of the best things you can do for your sanity. I am so rarely alone that those five hours feel like a chance to breathe and accomplish and check things off my list without feeling like I am neglecting my babes. Totally worth it.

5. I let a lot of things go. Someone asked in the Q & A for a list of things I don’t do.  I actually laughed out loud at the question because my list is long.

Here is just a small sampling: I don’t shower regularly, I don’t work out everyday, I don’t always eat breakfast, I don’t meal plan {although every single time I do, dinnertime is so much easier}, I don’t make lunches the night before, I don’t get up before my kids, I don’t hang out with just my girlfriends {at least not enough}, I don’t have a cleaned-out email inbox {ugh}, I don’t have clean bathrooms, I don’t watch much tv {except project runway and survivor}, I don’t often play with my kids, I don’t volunteer in their classrooms {except once/month to teach art in my first grader’s class}, I don’t publish a blog post everyday, I don’t tweet, I don’t answer my phone.

See? All kinds of things I don’t do. Many of them are good healthy things that I think I should be doing. It’s hard to let them go and not feel like I’m somehow failing.

At the root of our striving for balance is the desire to have peace.  To truly live and enjoy and breathe and not feel like you are being pulled in a million different directions. While there are certainly tips that can help with managing your time {say no more often, hire a babysitter/housecleaner/landscaper, limit tv watching, etc} none of them actually get you to the point of a perfectly balanced life. If they do, I’m guessing it doesn’t last long.  And what’s even more frustrating is that what works for one person might not work for another. We all have our own set of expectations, dreams, desires, jobs, responsibilities, passions, talents, chores, relationships and make daily choices based on those circumstances.

Which is precisely why this type of post is both dangerous and really not that helpful.

I wonder if this whole balance thing is really all about comparison.  I wonder if you read this blog and see four kids and a pretty house, a constant stream of projects, a business being run and then look at your own life and feel like you are not measuring up? Maybe you have little ones who if you left them on their own to occupy themselves so you could wallpaper your laundry room, you would be risking not only their safety, but total destruction of every other room.  Maybe by the time you get home from your day job you haven’t the energy to make a real dinner, let alone sew a pillow or fold a pleat.

Believe me, I get it.

I wish it weren’t so, but I struggle often with comparing myself to women who seem to be doing a much better job of {fill-in-the-blank} than I am. The problem is, I only have a small snapshot to base that judgement on. I don’t really know what things they sacrifice in order to do {fill-in-the-blank}. When I say to myself, “my goodness, how does she do it?!” what I’m really saying is, “Well, great. If she can do all of that, why can’t I even manage this? What is wrong with me?”

Please hear me: the last thing I want you to click away from my blog feeling is inadequate. This place is meant to encourage and inspire you and so I hope beyond hope that instead of looking at this snapshot of my life and wondering how I do it, you’ll also see that I sacrifice a lot of good things in order to make it happen.

reading instead of making dinner

I’m a regular mom with a full life. I lose my patience, I stay in my pajamas all day, I forget to reply to texts and sometimes my family eats cereal for dinner when I am too lazy to get up from reading my book.

That really did happen. This week, in fact.

My friend Jami wrote a really good post on balance. Seriously, you should read it. She reminds us that balance is not the thing we should be aspiring to, but rather obedience. Obedience to what is important in this moment at this time in our lives.

Rather than going after the illusive balancing-it-all thing, and rather than comparing ourselves to other women who appear to have that balance perfected, we really just have to make daily right choices for our own lives. We need an awareness of when to let go and when to push through. What things to give up and what are most important.  It’s a constantly evolving routine.

So I guess in answer to the most common question of how do you balance it all, my answer is:

I don’t.


{I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you have tips that help you manage your time and responsibilities? Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you compare yourself to others?  Please share …}

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