Monday, January 13, 2014

Eight Things.

I saw this fun post from my Okie friend, Shayla over at Moons & Junes and decided I would play along.

Let's see what I can come up with!

Eight Things You May Not Know About Me:

1.  I refuse to pay full price for anything in retail.  If it's not on sale, I don't buy it.  If it IS on sale, I'll buy two.  You can see how this doesn't actually save me any money.

2.  I had names for my children chosen when I was in elementary school.  Graham Dakota  and Tatum Brooke.    I mean, really.  Thank heavens I had another 20 years before I actually had to name a child.   A note to Nora, I really- sincerely - hope that I don't feel the same way about your name in 20 years.

3. I am a secret sweets eater. [ie. I hide them in my jewelry box and eat them in my closet] We eat a fairly healthy, low fat, low carb diet in this house.  I prepare most of our meals and do most of the grocery shopping.  But I have a real weakness for sugary candies and junk food.  I love peeps, sugar cake candy decorations, skittles, cool ranch doritos, and dr. pepper.  I allow myself to buy a snack size bag of doritos and a dr. pepper from the cooler when I visit the base commissary every two weeks.  Its the only way I can keep it in check!!

4.  I met Jeremy when I was 19.  I had no idea we were getting serious.  Even after we had been dating for a while and exchanged " I love yous" and apartment keys, it never dawned on me that we were going to get married.  I guess you could say I was blinded by love!  I still look around some days and wonder how I ended up with this little gem of a life.  Loving husband, precious child, roof over my head, shoes on my feet, food in my belly.  I sometimes forget how it all happened and then at once it hits me how magical it all is.

5. I grew up in the Church of Christ and even attended a christian university.  I had many great enriching and enlightening experiences within the church.  I also experienced heavy prejudices and hypocrisies within the same community, many of which I perpetuated.  As an adult, I am still a christian though I no longer belong to a particular church body.  I feel more at home with my faith now than I ever have.  I believe that I am a far better person now than I was when I belonged to a church group.  I recognize this is in large part due to age and the life lessons I have had along the way.  Jeremy was raised Catholic and Nora was baptized into the Catholic church, though we do not practice within the Catholic church as a family.  Through our discussions on religion, faith, and family we have landed on the same page when it comes to the big picture of faith for our family.  Of course we plan to teach Nora, along with any future children, the stories of the bible.  We also plan to focus more on teaching her to be a good and truthful person to love and support others.

6.   I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  In high school I wanted to be an FBI field agent and then I wanted to study International Trade Law.  what??  In college I planned to work in marketing, then I moved to corporate dispute resolution, Nutrition/Dietician, social worker, and briefly explored a career as a children's book author.  Again, I say, what??

I have held a wide variety of jobs since the age of 16:  waitress, sales, front desk, business marketing (pretty sure this was a pyramid scheme), art dealer/gallery curator, plastic surgery technician (awesome/gross), program manager, physical therapy tech.... just to name a few.  I am baffled by people that find a career doing what they love and wonder if they knew that it was the right career before it happened.  Or did it only become the perfect fit in retrospect?  Either way, I guess it's time to buckle down and make a life choice.  Choose something and hope make it sticks!

7.  I have an addictive nature yet I lack follow-through.  This means I get all wrapped up and focus on one great idea at a time.  I mean, I go all-in.  And then I get burnt out and move along to something else.  Pinterest is the worst.  It is the fuel to my burnouts.  Not great for home improvement projects or really for life in general [see career choices above].  But in those few days of focus things are great!

8.  I had some seriously questionable style phases growing up.  For starters, I wanted to be a boy so badly as a young child (probably around 7-10). They had it so easy, no bows, no dresses, heck- they didn't even have to wear shirts in the summer.  So, I didn't either.  I had a hair cut that resembled Blanche from the Golden Girls when I was in 8th grade.  I loved Mary Kay purple iridescent eye shadows and pale pink shimmer lipgloss. I had orange hair (not on purpose) and then red hair (on purpose). I tried out a new smile in the 10th grade, it was the worst.

Well, that was cathartic.  I might sleep well tonight, but I'll probably dream that I have Blanche's haircut again.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Embracing less

It took me some time to come up with a New Years resolution of sorts.  I toyed with the idea of choosing one word to work toward throughout 2014, you know things like "courage" "simple" "focus".  All of those ideas seemed to lead to more and more words to focus on, and suddenly I found myself with a Thesaurus of words on my list.  It just didn't seem quite right for me.  Most felt too cliche.  All felt too broad.

I came across this image on  Pinterest and it seemed to stick right in the center of what I felt I needed for 2014.  I appreciate it's simplicity.  It doesn't hurt that it plays off of one of my favorite songs.  [[I know it's wrong but I love the version done in Moulin Rouge... Don't hate me.]]

In the aftermath of the holiday madness I have been feeling a little gluttonous.  I allowed indulgence in all of the things.  Tasty treats, sure, I'll have two!  Kate Spade sale, sure, I'll buy more to get free shipping-  such a steal!  And there was plenty of the phrase "Nora needs [this]"...

Yes, we work hard to have things.  But I don't want to need the things.  I hate feeling like I need stuff.  It's just stuff!

I am going to focus on wanting less.  

I want my 'more' to be playing with Nora.  Laughing with Jeremy.  Exploring our city.  Being a better friend.

Nora is napping and I am off to clean out my closet of all of the things.

Embrace the less.

xo, Jansen

Monday, December 30, 2013

I'll Be Home For Christmas

We had such a wonderful December.  We had friends visit and ate so much food all month long.  I don't know that my cup could hold any more love for my little family.  With Jeremy's absence last holiday season and Nora being so young this definitely felt like our first family Christmas.  Jeremy and I kept having little moments where we were caught in thought, almost amazed that this is our life, our family.  I am so thankful we got to share such a quiet and lovely day together this year.

Nora had a blast opening presents.  She kept sneaking food from the table and ate way too much candy.  She had some tasty hot cocoa (chocolate milk) and we discovered she shares my love of marshmallows.  I think she would have eaten the entire bag.  Also, she hated meeting Santa.  Poor baby.

Here are a few photos of our day mixed in with a few others from the season.

my new favorite cookie - vanilla bean shortbread
This cookie is so light and delicious.  I have made at least five batches in the past three weeks.  I did manage to give some away.  You can grab the recipe from the Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe here.
taste test

she was a rock star at opening presents. 
 Nora even gave a few 'ooohs' and 'ahhs' and we even got a few 'wows' as she opened presents.  I teared up with happiness every single time.

Mr. Claus brought a mini trampoline for Nora.  Best. Present. Ever.  

the aftermath.  // please note // Nora is playing with one of Sam's new dog toys in this picture.  That would have saved us a lot of money.....

Jeremy made Nora these extra special Rudolph pancakes.  Rock. Star. Dad.

Jeremy's custom shoes. 

Just so no one thinks it was all rainbows and unicorns over here on Christmas.  We dealt with this face quite a bit.  Of all of the things she received, she wanted my new necklace.  And this was her disappointed face.

And this is her five seconds later when I caved in and let her wear my new Kate Spade necklace.  I'm a sucker.  Now she thinks its hers.

// fun fact // Kate Spade is David Spade's (the David Spade's) sister in law.  What??  Mind blown.  

These are a few throwbacks to last year's Christmas in Oklahoma.  Look at my toothless, chunky monkey!

She was able to wear the same Christmas pjs from last year for this year.  I love seeing how much she has grown but I cling to the idea that she really isn't that  much bigger.

She LOVED Santa last year!

This year was another story...

It was a lovely Christmas.

I am off to address and mail out my Christmas  New Years cards.  Wishing you all a very blessed 2014!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Binder Re-Cover Tutorial- as promised!

I can't even believe I have a moment to sit here and write this down- and so soon after last nights post!

I made this little recipe binder as part of a wedding gift for my brother and my new sister-in-law.  I sent out a request to all family members to send me some of their favorite recipes to add to this collection.  My goal was to give a gift that would allow them to add to the book as they went.

Added bonus:  I have yet to finish their big wedding gift (quilt guilt!) so it was nice to have something to gift on the day of their wedding.

This project was surprisingly simple and it delivered a great finished product, in my opinion.


 // Binder of choice to re-cover // I chose a mini 9x11 two-ring binder that I found at Marshall's for    $6.99
         Bonus:  this one included 5x7 recipe card pockets and page dividers as well.

// two sheets of craft paper large enough to cover the opened dimensions of the binder - in this case 22"
 I purchased wrapping sheets from Paper Source - Floral paper by Rifle Paper Co // Gold Lattice

// Elmer's spray adhesive

// ModPodge Matte

// ruler, exacto knife, scissors, sponge application brush for ModPodge, Gold Sharpie Paint Pen

[measure and cut]

measure your open binder on a flat surface.
add one inch on each side and cut your exterior paper as shown below.  this will be all one piece for the outside of the binder.

[spray adhesive & miter corners]

// spray //

lay your measured & cut exterior paper on a large piece of cardboard or an old towel and lightly spray the inside (white side on this particular paper) with the spray adhesive.

*be sure to use something underneath the paper for the overspray of glue or spray outside. 

take the newly sprayed paper and lay glue side UP on your work surface.  place the binder centered on the paper-  leaving a 1" border to fold over along the edges.  

gently press the front of the binder using your fingers to smooth any bubbles or wrinkles.  I found that the Elmer's glue was forgiving enough for me to adjust my placement more than once.  

// miter //

using your exacto-knife cut a small square from each corner.  take your cut close to the corner of the binder but leaving a tiny lip - this way you wont see any of the ugly paper you are trying to cover once you fold over your edges.

repeat square cut on all four corners.

fold over the side edge on the front and back as shown below. press to smooth on both edges.

with the binder still lying open and flat on your work surface,  press the top edge over the binder.  use scissors cut an angle- creating a nice mitered finish.  repeat for bottom edge.

// note // on this particular binder it was necessary for me to cut a wedge out of the top & bottom folds to go around the hardware.  I did this freehand using my exacto-knife.  I later covered the gaps by piecing in some of the inside paper with spray adhesive.


[cut inside paper to size and glue]

// cut // 

measure your interior paper to fit your binder.  i made mine about 1/3 of an inch smaller than the size of my binder, this way the nice edge from the front paper would still show.

I ended up with two matching squares- one for each side.  leaving a gap in the center for the hardware.

// spray // 

spray both sheets with adhesive-  working one side at a time.  lay the paper centered on the binder and press flat.  this time I used a ruler to help get rid of bubbles.  

look at those lovely edges!!

Now- for the majority of us- this project is complete!!  

But alas, I was giving this binder as a gift and as a recipe book it would likely be around spills and splatters in the kitchen.  I decided to make this a little moisture resistant and there were still a few touch-ups to finish.

[filling in the gaps]

I took some leftover paper from my interior piece and cut small wedges to fill in the spaces above and below the hardware.  I didn't want any of the ugly green showing through.  I simply eyeballed some squares, did a dry-run test fit, and then added some spray adhesive to the back of the paper.  This ended up being a super simple fix.

 Can you even tell??


I was very hesitant to take this next step- for fear of ruining my hard work.  However, I knew I needed to make this book a little more durable for its intended purpose in the kitchen.  Using a small craft sponge brush I applied a thin coat of Modpodge Matte to the entire binder-  inside and out.  I had some slight disappointment after the first coat created some bubbles under my nice, smooth paper.  But- when the glue dried, the bubbles were no more

I applied a second coat and sighed at the reappearing bubbles once more.

After a few hours the book was dry and the bubbles were gone.  And I was in LOVE!

For the final steps I took a gold sharpie paint pen and wrote on the cover & back binder of the book.

on the back binder I just wrote "recipes".

I filled the cards with family recipes passed along by family members from all over.  She definitely ended up with more cards than I had spaces for.  Lots of love for yummy foods in this family!

I loved giving something that was handmade and also had some sentiment behind it.  

I hope she has as much fun making the recipes as I did making this binder!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Holidays are exhausting, but totally worth it, right?!

This whole blogging thing was meant to help me keep up with little Nora's milestones and track my fun projects. Turns out- all of the keeping up with Nora and creating the projects has taken up ALL of my time.  Which is totally fine.  I mean I definitely wish I had the energy- and lets face it- discipline- to sit down and write every few days about the happenings over here.  But, I really, really like to sleep.

I keep hearing little quips on the interwebs that if you don't (blog/instagram/pin/tweet) it, then it is like it never really happened.  Wait, what?  By that standard I think it is safe to say that my freshman year of college is gone with the wind, never to be heard from again.  Let's take a moment to thank the good Lord, shall we?  ahem.

Moving right along.

We have had some fun times over here.  I even have some photographic evidence to prove it.

trunk or treat-  Nora caught on really fast to the free candy aspect

The kids are over it.  Happy Halloween yall.

despite a bad fall and bloody knees, this gal pushed through- it was for the candy.

she totally got it.  no please. no thank you.  just grab and run.

visiting our dear friends in Dallas (future home some day-- fingers crossed!) @ Thanksgiving

Friendsgiving Turkey day 2013 in Dallas

the biggest turkey of them all

our little family @ by big brother's wedding 11/30/2013

I'm a lucky gal-  these guys, yeah, they're by brothers.  For the WIN.
-- Jacob, Me, Josh (the Groom), and Turner man - wearing the tie I made him!)
Tie pattern available here:

I shortened it a bit to make it the right length for a ten year old.  He loved it.   I have also made this tie for my brother Josh.  He even wore it in his engagement pics. Talk about love.

the sweetest flower girl there ever was. // this is the only picture we got!

You guys.  I am telling you I cried like a baby.  I was so sure she wasn't going to walk down the aisle.  In fact, I didn't even get her a basket or flowers to walk with I was so sure it wasn't going to happen.  The time came for us to give it a shot.  Jeremy kept Nora in the back with the bridal party while I waited, super nervously, up front. If I am being totally honest, I cried from the very beginning of the wedding procession.  But then it happened.  It was Nora's turn and I walked to the edge of the aisle at the front to coax her down the aisle.  Jeremy told her to "Take the flower to mommy."  and I literally had to choke back a sob.  And she did it.  She looked up and saw me and walked straight down, stopping only briefly to poke at the flower.  Afterword I found out that Jeremy was determined not to let the flower girl walk down the aisle without at least one flower.  He pulled it from an arrangement in the back.  He melts me. 

It was by brother's wedding and it was beautiful.

 In the coming days weeks I hope to share a little tutorial on this custom covered family recipe book I made for my brother and his wife.  I seriously love her.  Back on track-  this project was super easy and fun to fill with recipes from my family.  So- tutorial to come!

This tie- which you saw above was another fun project.  I want to come up with a way to lessen the bulk.  So perhaps another project is going up on my creative board...

This table is one of the five hundred reasons I haven't blogged in months.  I did two craft fairs and they were awesome.  Well, one was awesome, the other was meh.  They were such fun experiences and I think I want to do more in the spring.  No promises.  

And this guy.  Oh man. This guy.  I love this quilt and I will hate to send it to live with his new family (my brother and my new sister-in-law).  I was so naive in counting the amount of hours this baby would take.  I told Jeremy, "Maybe 20-30 hours".  Try 90+....  A lot of that was trial and error and probably inefficient use of my time.  ahem.  getting caught up in the grey's anatomy story line...ahem.
Also, Nora does not love the sewing machine.  I can only sew during nap and night time.  

But, he is almost complete and I hope to ship him by January.

Speaking of January-  Stash Bee 2014 starts in January.  I am so excited.  And nervous.  I can't wait to learn all sorts of new things.  Check out Stash Bee 2014 here!  


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wait, WHAT?!

Holy cow.  Time has flown by.  We have been busy little bees over here.  I can't even process that it has been over a month since I last posted on here.  Nora looks like a completely different kid now!  That seems crazy awesome, but also makes me a little sad.  It really was just about a month ago...

We have done so many fun fall activities.  We picked pumpkins.  Nora had her first hot apple cider.  We trick-or-treated for candy (which has since been hidden from the little sweet tooth kid).  We had two Halloween costumes and have fallen in love with dress-up.  Nora learned to swing in the big girl swing and how to slide all by herself. She gets her own frozen yogurt these days. She even got a few new teeth!  BIG things are happening over here, I tell you!

She has become pretty obsessed with reading.  It was endearing in the beginning, now it's a little exhausting.  She does not care if I am in the middle of cooking, she needs to know what happens to that Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Lord help me if she finds Good Night Moon.  I had to hide it.  I had to.

Our schedule has opened up now that she is taking one nap instead of two.  We have tried to get outside every day that the temperature is above 55.  Today it was 40--- it was a long day.  I hope this doesn't mean its also going to be a long winter...

I am knee deep in craftiness over here.  Working on quilting my wedding gift-- due in just three weeks.  Yikes!  I have about eleventy-billion bows 1/3 of the way completed for my very first Craft Show, comping up in just two weeks.  Even bigger yikes.  No exclamation point necessary, just implied.  I also half-heartedly agreed to make neck ties for a few friends as well as some skirts (that I seriously LOVE to make) for little gals in the play group.  All in all, loads of fun.  But I could really just use a load of time to get them all done.

There are exciting times headed our way at Casa de Roxas.  We are just a few weeks away from Holiday season.  Travel to Dallas to visit friends and then to my brother's wedding where Nora will attempt to be an angelic flower girl.  And then straight home to Christmas decorations, I can hardly contain myself.  Yes, I have already started to sneak a few Christmas items on to our bookshelves.  I can't resist.  Christmas music is steadily playing throughout the day.  We watched the Polar Express today....  I can't help myself.  Jeremy was away last year so this really does feel like our first family Christmas.  I am so very excited.  I am also proud embarrassed to admit I have already finished all, yes all  of my Christmas shopping.  I made a list and checked it twice, in August.... 

Now, if you'll excuse me--

Mr. Crosby is singing about a fire and I am off to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa in my reindeer mug.

xo- J

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Diving right in to FALL y'all!

I really couldn't even wait another day without posting about fall.  

We visited a cute little pumpkin patch while we were up in New York this past week.  We had the whole place to our selves. Nora thought it was great for about seven minutes.  Then she was over it. We were able to grab a few fun family photos and she picked out some cute tiny pumpkins.
Jeremy was a good sport about having to be the witch.


picking her pumpkin

pointing at the airplanes

with Lolo + Lola -  had to wear matching Yankees hats
Plus, I was able to sneak Jeremy away for a quiet little beach date.  Extra super bonus.

In related news I am struggling to come up with a cute and creative costume for Nora this year.  The days are counting down and I've got nothin'!  Fingers crossed I get struck by a creative lightning bolt ASAP.

For a little bit of nostalgic fun, here are some fall pictures from last year.  I can hardly believe how much she has changed. 
Nora last year at the pumpkin patch at Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville, VA

seriously, those legs!!

80's jazz aerobics instructor - Halloween 2012
"and step, and step, and lift, and lift!"
Man.  How am I ever going to top the cuteness factor of that costume??

Now I am off to decorate the house with gourds and festive garlands!