The JennJill Designs Blog Has Moved!

Hello dear readers! As of today, the JennJill Designs Blog has moved. I’m now hosting the blog on my own domain, rather than using WordPress’s servers and url. This will help me with search engine optimization and gives me lots more control over my content. In other words, it’s good all the way around. 🙂 So, hop on over to to continue following all of my crafty endeavors.

For those of you following my blog with Google Reader or with a similar blog service, you’ll need to cancel your current subscription to JennJill Designs and create a new subscription with my new web address:

If you’re following me using an RSS feed service, here’s my new RSS feed address:

Please email me if you have any questions or comments about my new blog, and I hope to see you there!

Wishing you all the best,

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Mini Hope Garland

Ever since Suze and I made our fall garlands, I’ve been on a garland kick. My sketchbook is full of garland and bunting ideas! This weekend, I finally sat down and worked some of them out using felt, embroidery thread, and jute rope, rather than simply sketching my samples. Here’s the first completed project:

I am absolutely in love with this darling little garland! It would look great on a front door in place of a wreath during the holiday season, and I think I’m going to make one for us this season that says “Peace.”

Suze also suggested that this little garland would look great over a doorway or to spice up a bookshelf with a holiday flair. While it’s designed to be hung from two small nails, it’s light enough that it could easily be hung with two tiny pieces of tape instead (which is exactly what I did in these photos). Or, it could slip over two branches of a Christmas tree and add to the Christmas ornaments.

This special little decoration is already available in my Etsy shop, here.

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Business Lesson from Sunday School

If you haven’t read last week’s post about the JennJill Designs “Supporting Jim” Fundraiser, please take a moment to read it now.

Along with Rory and Suze, Arturo and I teach the junior high Sunday School class at our church. We only started at the beginning of September, so it’s definitely still something we’re getting used to, but so far we’re having a wonderful time. The kids have a knack for saying the most insightful things.

Yesterday’s lesson was particularly meaningful for me. The topic was about competition and how to handle competition in a God-focused way. One of the scriptures referenced was Ecclesiastes 3:1: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

As a business owner, this verse is sometimes hard for me, for it requests patience and perseverance. I want JennJill Designs to be a booming business right now, but instead I should seek to find contentment in the steadily growing list of orders that are rolling in. I have all sorts of hopes and dreams and plans for the future, and while what I want is to know the answers now and to have those dreams fulfilled now, I have to instead trust that God has a time for everything and that my time will come. After all, God is in the business of shaping me into the woman He wants me to be, not in the business of immediate wish fulfillment.

In the Sunday School lesson yesterday, we came up with “Rules for the Christian Game of Life” based on the selected scripture passages. The rule for Ecclesiastes 3:1 was to “be patient – your turn of winning will come.” I think that’s the perfect sentiment with which to start this busy week. Be patient. Take one task at a time. There is a time for everything, and God is in control.

JennJill Designs Invisible Orchard Wall Plaque

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Thankful Thursday

If you haven’t read yesterday’s post about the JennJill Designs “Supporting Jim” Fundraiser, please take a moment to read it now.

It is so important to me that I take time out each week to be thankful. The process helps center me on what’s truly important and keeps the inspirational juices flowing. Here’s this week’s list:

  • Quiet mornings – My morning so far has consisted of delicious cheese bread for breakfast and quiet blog browsing while the birds sleep in their cages and while the sun slowly rises through our back windows. My mornings usually start at a frenetic, gotta-get-stuff-done pace, and right now I’m thankful for a calm and quiet start to my day.
  • Bargain hats – Last Saturday, Arturo and I stopped at Goodwill for an impromptu thrifting trip. As luck would have it, it was a 50% off everything Saturday, so we stocked up. The best of my finds was an adorable hat (with the tag still attached!) for only $1.50. I wore it last night for an evening out with friends, and I am very thankful for its cute style and even cuter price.
  • Music that makes me dance – On our evening out with friends (see above), we went to Sitwells and heard the Faux Frenchmen. Sitwells is one of our favorite local coffee shops, and the Faux Frenchmen are one of our favorite local groups. They are simply amazing! Their music makes my feet start tapping and my shoulders start moving. Arturo and I have both of their CDs. We listen to them on road trips and can’t help but dance along. (I’ve often thought that passing drivers must think we’re crazy!) If you’ve never heard their music, you should definitely visit their website and take a listen (and do a little dance 🙂 ).
  • YouTube’s selection of classical music videos – I have several big performances and auditions coming up, and YouTube has been helping me prepare. If I have a question about the “standard” interpretation for a specific passage – how much rallentando is acceptable in a particular spot, for instance – all I need to do is visit YouTube and listen to several different artists performing the same piece. I can then compare and contrast the various interpretations and incorporate the best elements of each into my own performance. It’s like having a library of recordings at my fingertips. Incredible! My favorite recording from this week’s practicing would have to be Rita Streich’s Kommt ein schlanker bursch gegangen. Her voice is crystal clear, and her diction is amazing.
  • Volume pricing – Yesterday, I placed several large supply orders – lots of clay, new jewelry wires, beads, etc. While the order totals were quite large, I spent nearly $100 less than I would have paid without volume pricing. Fire Mountain Gems and Create for Less both have some amazing volume discounts, if you’re prepared to buy in large quantities. Fire Mountain Gems’ policy is particularly helpful. They provide volume pricing based on your total number of items, rather than the quantity purchased of a single item, so the discounts add up quickly. The volume pricing from these two online retailers helped me get the supplies I need at a reasonable cost – definitely something to be thankful for.

I hope you are having a wonderful Thursday, and I hope you take time out today to be thankful.

JennJill Designs Country Church Christmas Ornament

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Fundraiser for a wonderful man & his family

I know you’ve all heard it before, but cancer stinks. Really really stinks. And it somehow always seems to strike those with the best soul, those with the most faith in the power of life and love to overcome every hardship.

That’s exactly the case with Jim, a high school teacher in the Cincinnati area and fellow member of Cheviot United Methodist Church (CUMC), where Arturo & I have attended church for the past 6 years. Jim teaches the high school Sunday school class each week at CUMC, and his heart for reaching youth is absolutely incredible. He’s the epitome of a “people person” – he always has a smile on his face and a kind word on his lips to cheer those around him. Just a few minutes with Jim are all that’s needed to know that he is full of the light and love of Christ.

Unfortunately, Jim is fighting for his life. In 2001, Jim had a heart transplant, and he has survived two occurrences of cancer since his transplant. Recently, the cancer came back. Jim is going to have a bone marrow transplant soon, and his cancer is responding favorably to the chemotherapy, so things are looking up. However, his illness means that he’s currently not able to work as a high school teacher, and the bills, medical and otherwise, for Jim and his family (Jim and his wife have two young boys) are beginning to mount.

The entire CUMC family has come together to raise money to help Jim and his family pay the bills, and JennJill Designs is joining the fundraising efforts. All purchases from my Etsy shop made between now and Christmas using the coupon code CANCERHELP will receive free shipping within the United States, and 30% of the purchase price will go directly to help Jim and his family.

JennJill Designs “Supporting Jim” Fundraiser
Coupon Code: cancerhelp
Receive Free Shipping on US Orders
30% of Purchase Price will go to Jim & his family

Additionally, if you live in the Cincinnati area, CUMC is having a fundraising lunch and dinner on Nov. 5. All proceeds from the meals will help support Jim’s family. (And let me tell you, the food will be amazing. We’ve got some GOOOOOOOD chefs in our church!) Click here for details about the dinner fundraiser.

Please spread the word about the JennJill Designs “Supporting Jim” Fundraiser and, for those in and around Cinci, about the CUMC fundraiser. Jim is busy fighting cancer, and the last thing he should have to worry about right now is fighting for his family’s financial well-being.

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Special Plaque for a Special Baby

Arturo and I are active members of our church, Cheviot United Methodist Church (CUMC) in Cincinnati. We love our church family, and we are loved by them. One aspect I particularly enjoy about our church is that it is full of multi-generational families. Several great-grandmothers attend our church, along with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, giving CUMC a particularly nurturing quality. When I enter our church and meet with the people, I truly feel that I am experiencing the love of Christ.

One of the largest families in CUMC is currently celebrating a new addition: a darling little boy named John Charles. His arrival is made all the more momentous due to the fact that John is adopted. The adoption opportunity unexpectedly fell in the lap of his parents, who cannot have children, and he is an amazing blessing.

When John’s aunt spoke to me several weeks ago about making a special baptism gift for John and his parents, I couldn’t have been more honored. She chose my Roots & Wings Wall Plaque, which is my most popular plaque.

It was a joy making this plaque for such a wonderful family and for such a darling little boy.

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Things That Make Me Happy

Today started out with three things that make me very happy:

  1. A beautiful sunrise (as seen from our upstairs back windows)
  2. A freshly baked loaf of bread
  3. An AMAZING blog post/review about my Tablet Cover/Stand, written by one of my recent customers. Click here to read the London Mabel’s blog post, and click here to read my post about making her cover/stand and matching keyboard cover. It was a fun project to make, and it was even more fun to read my customer’s post about how much she’s enjoying using it!

If today is any indication, it’s going to be a wonderful week. 🙂

Happy Monday, all! What did you wake up to this morning? Did anything wonderful happen as you started your day?

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