Project of the Week: Personalized Gingerbread Family Ornaments

Several weeks ago, I mentioned that I already had an order for Gingerbread Family Ornaments that were personalized with the family’s names. I’m just now getting around to editing the photos of those ornaments, so I thought it was high time I share.

I struggled long and hard figuring out where to put the names. The brown of the gingerbread people’s bodies is too dark for the text to show well, and while I could use the girls’ skirts as a text location, the boys’ vests aren’t big enough. After much sketching, erasing, and resketching, I finally settled on adding a small white badge under each figure and putting the name there. I must say I’m pleased with how they turned out.

Click here to view the Gingerbread Family Ornaments in my Etsy shop.

The Christmas orders are starting to roll in – super exciting! I have many more new items to make available online, and those will be showing up in my shop over the next week or so. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

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Thankful Thursday

This week has been a relatively busy week, which makes taking the time to be thankful even that much more important. Here is this week’s list:

  • Our friends, Rory and Suze – I’ve already mentioned a few times (here and here) the wonderful time Arturo and I had with Rory and Suze this past weekend, but it still bears repeating. They are wonderful friends, and we are so blessed to know them!

Suze and I on my wedding day – the serious photo

Suze and I on my wedding day – the silly photo

  • Bread Makers – Arturo and I own two bread makers, and we run them constantly. We haven’t bought bread (except for the farmers market kind) since before we got married because we make our own loaves of bread several times each week. The bread makers make this possible! I can toss the ingredients in the machine, put it on the dough setting, and let it do all the hard work of kneading for me. Then I toss it in a bread pan and put it in the oven. After rising and baking, we have an amazing loaf of bread that fills the house with incredible scents and which is yummy-in-our-tummies! Right now I’m listening to the bread maker spin and am super thankful that it’s kneading the dough so I don’t have to.
     
  • My super-smart husband – In addition to being an amazing cellist, Arturo is also a skilled computer programmer and developer. Right now, he’s working to completely revamp the JennJill Designs website. While a finished product is still months away, it’s so exciting to work with him on the project and to be able to request the custom features I’ve only dreamed about. It just blows my mind that, rather than having to pay a stranger in India to code a site for me, I can ask my husband to take on the project and, not only will he do it, he’ll get super excited about it and throw himself into the project. I am both lucky and blessed.

Arturo and I in 2006, just after he played one of his recitals at CCM

  • Running – I must say I never in a million years thought running would make it onto a thankful list. This past summer, Arturo and I decided we need to get in better shape, so we began a running regimen. And I hated it. With a passion. Oh, I went on runs, but it was with a total lack of enthusiasm and complete dislike for the task. I was really only doing it because I knew it was good for me and because Arturo wanted to. I liked the facts that we were outside, we were exercising, and we were together, but I hated the act of running itself. After a summer of somewhat regular running workouts, we took a few week break in September to provide more practice time for some important performances we had at the end of that month. I was dreading going back to it, enough that I was able to delay the re-start of our workouts to just last week. But, last Friday, the inevitable occurred, and Arturo talked me into going on a run … during which I had an epiphany. We were running at Arturo’s pace, not mine, and that’s why I felt like I was going to die after every run all summer. His legs are just enough longer (and we’re both enough out of shape) that his pace was too fast for me. Granted, my pace is granny slow, but at least it’s running. We slowed down our run on Friday, and afterward, I felt energized and excited and ready to tackle life, which is how I’d hope to feel after our runs all along. It was great. 🙂 We’ve since gone on 3 more runs (including one in the rain!), and I can now say I am definitely thankful for running.
     
  • Working from home – The past two days have been icky ucky gross: rainy and cold and generally unpleasant outdoors. However, because I work from home, I’ve not had to go out in it at all! (Except, that is, for our run last night after work, and we chose to do that – running in the rain wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected.) Working from home is such a luxury, and I am daily thankful that I’m able to do it.

What about you? What are you thankful for this week? I’d love to hear your list of little things that bring you joy.

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Fall Bunting

Last Thursday, I read the “Felt Leaves Garland” post on Red Hen Home and fell in love. Her garland is both beautiful and festive. I’d been thinking about since Thursday morning but hadn’t had the time (or initiative) to actually make my own, until, that is, the arrival of Saturday evening and the UGA football game. While our hubbies watched the game and coded on their laptops, Suze and I headed to Michaels for the supplies we’d need to make our own fall-themed garland.

Our garlands didn’t turn out anything like Korrie’s, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to make autumn garland that matched our own personalities. Suze created a simple but beautiful “Fall” bunting. It’s hard to tell in the low light, but each triangular flag is cut with pinking shears for a fun rustic feel, and the letters are covered in lace that was leftover from the construction of her wedding veil.

My garland incorporates a few leaves in addition to bunting triangles. I had a blast free-hand sketching various leaf patterns, and I then outlined the leaf veins with several different colors of embroidery thread.

I’ve been doing so much crafting for others and crafting for sale recently that I hadn’t taken much time out to craft for myself. This project was one that was all for me, and I love the result. The whole experience helped renew my love of design and crafting by reminding me why I enjoy what I do.

I love this garland so much that I’m actually making it available in my shop. If you’re interested, click here.

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Best Weekend Ever

I can, almost without hesitation, say that this past weekend was one of the best weekends ever. I crafted, I got orders shipped, I had a wonderful time with friends, I spent some quality time with Arturo, and I worked out not once but twice. It was amazing.

Friday evening, Arturo and I went to Sitwells, one of our favorite Cincinnati coffee shops (they have the most AMAZING brie appetizer), where we spent a few hours discussing plans and ideas for the growth of JennJill Designs. I’m not quite ready to share any of our goals just yet, but they’ll be coming over the next few weeks and months. Very exciting!

Saturday, we spent the entire day with Suze and her husband, Rory. Suze and I have been best friends for years, and spending time with the two of them is just about Arturo’s and my favorite thing to do. We first went to a wonderful antique mall near Ross, OH, just a bit northwest of Cinci. I picked up some awesome finds that will certainly be making project appearances before long. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

Next we journeyed to the nearby Burwinkel Farms, which was the real goal of our trip. Our day had been set aside for one thing: pumpkin carving! None of us had carved pumpkins for years, and we were super excited.

Burwinkel Farms also had delicious apples, of which we got two bags. (Apple pie, anyone?)

We saw a haybale maze, an adorable little pig, a few lamas,

a tractor made from corn husks,

lots of gourds,

and piles of pumpkins.

After choosing our perfect carving pumpkins, we loaded them into Suze’s car to head home.

Upon arrival at the lovely abode of Suze and Rory, the carving began in earnest.

Suze and I took a decidedly sentimental spin, carving “love” and “hope,”

and the boys were a bit more earthly. Arturo created a most excellent jack-o-lantern, and Rory, a devoted UGA fan, carved a Georgia G.

Once night fell, we set them out with candles and took a moment to admire our handiwork.

After carving, Suze roasted pumpkin seeds for the rest of us. Except for Suze, who called roasted pumpkin seeds the taste of her childhood, none of us had ever had them before. As for how they turned out, let me just say that I’m snacking on them while writing this blog post and definitely enjoying them. Yum!

Suze also made us chicken noodle soup for dinner, a perfect fall-like contribution to a perfect day.

While the boys watched the UGA-Vanderbuilt game (go dawgs!), Suze and I ran out to Michaels to pick up a few items needed for an evening project. I’ll have photos and details of our crafty work in tomorrow’s post.

I hope you and your family had a wonderful weekend as well. I haven’t enjoyed a weekend as much as this one in quite a while, and it was so nice to spend it with such great friends.

Happy Monday, all! I’ll be back tomorrow with my normal craft-related posts. 🙂

P.S. You should head over to Suze’s blog to see her post and accompanying photos from the weekend. So much fun!

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Project of the Week: Listing New Items in My Etsy Store

As predicted, this week included precious little crafting (although I did very much enjoy the crafting I was able to squeeze in) and instead involved LOTS of face time with my computer. While at first thought listing new items in an Etsy shop might not seem like much work, don’t be fooled. It is ridiculously tiring. And monotonous. Especially when you have 54 new items to list. At one time. Which I did. Ick.

(Sad part is that, because most of my summer was spent preparing for or attending one of many craft and art fairs, I have just as many new but non-Christmas items still waiting to be listed in my shop. I designed and made them all for the fairs over the summer and never got around to actually putting them online. Next week’s project of the week, perhaps?)

However, the good news is that all of my new Christmas ornaments are now available in my Etsy shop! Yes, it’s not yet November, but Christmas is definitely coming, and I know I like to start shopping and gift-planning early.

So, in the spirit of all things Christmasy, here are some of my favorite new ornaments for 2011, with appropriate links to the online listings. I’d love to hear from you which ornaments are your favorite. See the whole big list here, and let me know which ones you like best. I can’t wait to hear your feedback.

Textured Dove Ornament

Baby’s First Christmas Ornament – Silhouette

Christmas Star Ornament

The Holly & the Ivy Ornament

Christmas Bird Ornament

Happy Friday, all! Enjoy your weekend. 🙂

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Great News!

I woke up this morning to some wonderful news – Suze over at Suze Wears Clothes has nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger Award! I’m super excited. 🙂 Thank you so much, Suze! And if you’re visiting from Suze Wears Clothes, welcome. Suze has been one of my best friends for years, and I’m honored that she nominated me as one of her favorite “kreativ” bloggers.

Now it’s my turn to nominate my favorite “kreativ” bloggers. It’s so hard to pick just 7 …!

Steps for the Kreativ Blogger Award:

  1. Copy the award to your site.
  2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
  3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
  4. Leave a message on the blogs you nominate.

And now my nominees:

  • Heather from DIY kinda girl – Heather is into absolutely every sort of craft, and it’s so much fun to read about her crafting ideas and fun finds. One of my favorite tutorials is her fabric button earrings tutorial – be sure to check it out!
  • Marlene from It’s All About Creating – Marlene is a fellow polymer clay artist, and I love her work. She has some beautiful millefiori pieces on her site, and recently she’s been posting lots of fun Halloween-themed items. But I must say that her “mold” posts – about using unusual items as polymer clay molds – are my absolute favorite. So inspiring! She’s got me looking at all the mundane items around our house in a whole new light.
  • Sarah from This Crazy, Blessed Life – Sarah’s blog about her crafts and her family is one of my favorite daily blog stops. Her quilt from August completely blew me away, and I actually linked to her from one of my posts just a few weeks ago.
  • Korrie from Red Hen Home – I excitedly await every new post from Red Hen Home. Her furniture projects are A-MAAAAAAAAZ-ING! I’ve never been much of a furniture refinisher myself, but she’s inspired me enough that Arturo and I now have 1 old loveseat, 3 old bookcases, and 4 old chairs in our garage awaiting makeovers. I’m planning to redo one of the bookcases in the style of Korrie’s gradient dresser, just with gradient shelves instead of gradient drawers, and her incredible coffee tables are making me re-think our decision to not have a coffee table in our living room.
  • Em from Today’s Letters – Today’s Letters is one of the first blogs I started to follow regularly about a year ago (thanks to Suze for suggesting the blog to me!). I love the way that Em shares daily tidbits from her life. Her article {10 things} That Have Made All the Difference is a wonderful post about making a Godly marriage work on a daily basis.
  • Staci from Crafty Staci – Staci has a fabulous Etsy shop you might want to check out, but she also shares tutorials and craft ideas on her blog. Her Fleece Pumpkins (just posted yesterday) are adorable, and I love her Pencil and Paper Drink Sleeve and Mat – too cute!
  • Alisa at Alisa Burke – While I’m not a painter, Alisa makes me wish I were, and as a result of reading her blog, I look at my constant sketching in a whole new light. I love that she shares her sources of inspiration and that she posts pages from her sketchbook (which are always beautiful). My favorites from her recent projects are her painted wood floor – incredible! – and her puff paint onesies – adorable!

I hope you’ll take a moment to visit each of these wonderful bloggers. They daily inspire me, and I’m sure they’ll inspire you too! Thanks again to Suze for the award. 🙂

Sidenote: I also link to some of my favorite bloggers, artists, authors, and instruction books on my Reading List. If you’re interested in finding out more about what inspires me, that’s a good place to start.

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New Ornaments Online (a few at least)

Yesterday was full of photo editing, item description writing, and item posting in my Etsy shop. Feel free to visit my Etsy shop to peruse the changes. I’m not finished posting new items by a long shot, but it feels great to have made a start.

Blog posts will be a bit sparse this week due to my massive task list – orders to fill, new items to post, etc etc – but in the meantime, here are links to the new items I listed yesterday. All of these are items I’ve previously featured on my blog, but never fear – lots of new items are coming and should show up in my store throughout the day.

Gingerbread Family Ornaments:

Children’s Ornaments:

Musical Ornaments:

  • Large Christmas Tree
  • Small Christmas Tree
  • (The other musical ornaments haven’t quite made it up yet – it was after 10 last night before I called it quits, and I just didn’t have the energy to post any more listings. But they’ll be up soon. 🙂 )

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