Spring Line-up

Ahhh…spring is finally here is Northeast Ohio.  I was getting worried that it would never get here.  It has been so rainy and chilly these past few weeks.  Ick.  I am happy to report that the trees are in full bloom, the mama ducks and ducklings are back on our pond, the birds are enjoying their feeder, and the little chipmunk who lives under my front sidewalk is stuffing his cheeks with the treats we have left out for him (or her, not sure.)  I love simple things that make you smile. 

Spring brings such beautiful colors to the world.  So to celebrate this lovely season, I have been stocking up on pretty tees in pretty colors.  Yellow, pink, blue, green, purple, and my new fave, coral.  I still have the basics – brown, black, navy and white – but am in love with these new colors.  And what better way to dress up these pretty tees than patterned tanks.  These are still in the works, but I am working on listing at least one new one each day.  Complete the look with a matching headband and denim shorts.  Too cute!

I hope you will stop by the shop and take a peek at all the new items.  Lots of new stuff coming daily.  Don’t see what you are looking for, please e-mail me at katiejdesigns@ymail.com for a custom item.

Thanks and Happy (Belated) Spring everyone!

Katie  :)

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A Year Without My Dad

Today is the one-year anniversary of my father’s death.   Not a day that should be celebrated I’m sure, but a milestone nonetheless.   We have tearfully made it through the first Easter, Father’s Day, Birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas without him.  The first ones are always the most difficult. 

My father died from cancer.  He fought the battle for many years, but it just wouldn’t be beaten. Since I live about eight hours away, I was not able to spend as much time with him as I would have liked.  I thank God I was able to be there when he took his last breath.  And I am grateful that he is no longer suffering.  But I am also sad and sometimes angry that his grandkids won’t have him around as they grow up, that he’ll never walk my sister down the aisle, that my mom won’t have him to grow old with, and that, well, I just wasn’t done with him yet.  It’s just not fair. 

My Dad at nineteen or so. My favorite Beach Boy.

Dad was a fun guy.  I loved to spend time with him even if it was just a quick trip to the store or watching a football game.  He loved riding roller coasters, playing baseball, and  playing drums.  He was a big fan of the Redskins, the Orioles, the Beach Boys, and the Beatles.  Oh, and he loved ice cream!  And he could make us laugh until we cried, usually at the dinner table.  A tradition I have happily continued with my family. 

Dad was the world’s biggest procrastinator!  A trait my daughter and I have inherited, much to my husband’s chagrin.  Yet he still became a successful small business owner and provided well for his family, even working a second job to put me through college.   He never complained.   I try to remember that when I get into a slump.  He always had faith in me.  This inspires me to carry on and keep trying even when it seems hopeless.

Dad was also a big kid.  He would join in our dodgeball and kickball games, pelt us with snowballs, and drown us (not literally) with the garden hose.  He taught me how to throw a football, ride my bike, and find the best hiding spots for hide and go seek.  For me this is the hardest part to deal with.  Paw Paw, as his grandbabies called him,  adored his grandkids.  He won’t be there to teach them the best hiding spots.  My son, Doug,  was blessed to have him for seventeen years, but my daughter only got ten.  She may not remember him the way Doug will.  And my nephews are even younger.  What if anything will they be able to recall about their grandfather? His sweet grandkids have lost more than they will ever know.  And that absolutely breaks my heart. 

Dad as a kid

I miss him every day.  Rarely a day goes by that I am not wiping away tears. A Beach Boys song on the radio, or a photo of him that I had forgotten about will make me weepy.  Or I realize a milestone he will miss like my son’s high school graduation this June and my daughter’s new braces.  Sometimes a thought of him comes to me for no reason.  Still takes my breath away. 

This post feels a bit choppy. There is so much about him I want to share that it was difficult to try to keep this short and simple. Today I really just wanted to mark this milestone and share a little bit of him with all of you.  There will be more stories down the road.

I miss you, Dad. 

Dad taking grandkids for a ride on John Deere.

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Katie Jones – a brief biography

As shy as I am about talking about myself, I think it’s something any new blogger should do.  I know I always like to read the bio’s of other bloggers.  I almost always go there first. Helps make them real to me.  Like we are both human and I am not alone on this crafting, writing journey.  So here we go…

I was born in Washington, DC in the 1970s.  Lived in Morningside, Md. (where Andrews AFB is located) until I was five.  Actually my grandparents lived there, too, so even though we moved, I spent a good part of my childhood there.  Think Mayberry or the Cleavers and that is what Morningside was to me.  Perfect place to grow up.  Parents moved us to Fredericksburg, Va. the summer before first grade.  Another wonderful and historic town located 50 miles south of DC.  Fast forward to college.  I graduated from James Madison University (Go Dukes!) with a BA in English.  Thought I wanted to be a teacher, but soon realized that kids were just scary.  Younger grades seemed like babysitting and older grades just frustrating.  God bless those who can teach!  So I did not pursue it and landed a job with a non-profit in McLean, Va. Loved it.  Got to work on planning large conferences all over the U.S. and doing research for members.   And I could walk to Tysons Corner Galleria for lunch and a bit of shopping.  Awesome!  I had met my hubby, Tom, a few months before and we were married in May 1998.  Lived in Northern Virginia initially, but moved to Fredericksburg after our daughter, Lauren Elizabeth, was born. I needed my family nearby.  Lack of sleep and a colicky baby was too hard to handle without them.  My husband’s son from his previous marriage, Douglas, came to live with us in 2000.  He is six years older than our daughter.  Our family was complete. 

We loved our time with family in the “Burg” and met the most amazing group of friends.  But the commute to DC was unbearable for my hubby.  Three to four hours a day on the road just wasn’t acceptable any longer.  Fridays in summer and holiday weekends made the traffic twice as bad. We made the difficult decision to move the family to the Cleveland, Ohio area.  This is where my husband’s family lives and we liked the area.   This move was incredibly difficult on all of us.  I missed my friends and family tremendously.  We did eventually settle in and are happy here.  We still miss our family and friends, but really do love it here in Ohio.  And the commute is only ten minutes now.  More on this in another post, though.

That’s my life in a nutshell.  I will expand on things as I go along.  As I am writing this I am thinking up new posts and trying to keep this simple. Here are a few “fun” facts, fun for me, anyway.  :) 

  • I am an amusement park junkie.  I spent a lot of time at Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens growing up, but now spend my time at the amazing Cedar Point.  Favorite ride ever is a toss up between Alpengeist at Busch Gardens and MaxxAir at Cedar Point.
  • I am scared of moths, heights, and enclosed spaces.  I will not ride water slides that are fully enclosed.  Airplanes make me nauseated.  And moths send me screaming like a little girl.  It’s the fluttering I don’t like. 
  • For being a big scaredy cat, I am surprisingly fascinated by the paranormal shows of Syfy.  I have to tape them and watch them during the daytime, though.  Otherwise I would have bad dreams.  Ghost Hunters is my favorite.
  • England, Australia, and New Zealand top my list of international places I want to visit. 
  • I love broccoli and bacon.  Sometimes together.  And tiramisu makes me weak in the knees.  So good!
  • I am a proud mama to three cats and two golden retrievers. 
  • I spent the year after college living in Buffalo, NY.  I am still in love with that town.  Always will be.  Niagara Falls and proximity to Toronto are the icing on the cake.
  • And I love Twitter!

Thanks everyone.  That was kind of fun.  :)

Katie

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Make Minnie Ears For Your Doll

Who doesn’t love that sweet Minnie Mouse? I was asked by a friend to make a Disney themed outfit for her little girl’s American Girl doll.  She and her family were going to Disney World in a few months so naturally they had to have the proper attire. Initially I was just thinking a cute Minnie silhouette tee and jeans.  But you can’t go to the Happiest Place on Earth (it truly is, trust me on this) without your Mouse ears!  So I quickly replied to her that she had to have Minnie ears for her doll, too.  Then I realized that I don’t know how to make those.  Uh oh, what was I thinking?!? I do that all too often unfortunately, however it does get the creative juices flowing and I usually end up with a pretty good product.  Not always, but I’ll save that for another post – Katie J. Disasters.  tee hee.

So without further adieu, here is the how-to to make your own set of Minnie ears.  If you make them, I’d love to see your pics, so feel free to post them to my facebook page – http://facebook.com/ShopKatieJDesigns or email them to katiejdesigns@ymail.com.  Thanks!

What You’ll Need

  • Soft black felt cut into two strips measuring 10″ x  .75″
  • Stiff black felt (Check the craft aisle, not fabric aisle) cut into two strips – 2.5″ x  .5″ and four circles with a diameter of  1.75″  Note: I used my Cricut to cut the circles.  To get the 1.75″ diameter I cut at 2.75″ using the multi-cut function.
  • Thread in black and to match your bow
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Fabric scraps for your bow  – 3.5″ x   2.75″ and 1″ x 2″
  • 1/4″ elastic in white or black – one 3″ piece

Instructions

  1. Fold one strip of soft black felt in half lengthwise.  Mark the center with a pin.  Open strip up and with small scissors carefully cut a .5″ slit in felt 1.25″ from the center point. Do this on each side of center point.  This is where the ears will sit on the headband.
  2. Split the stiffened felt strips halfway to center lengthwise.
  3. Cut circles to make flat bottoms.
Split strips, level ears, and find center.

4. Insert stiff felt strips into the slits cut in the soft felt.  Fold the split pieces, one to the front, one to the back. 

5. Pin the second soft strip to the first, catching the split pieces in between the layers. Stitch along both sides of strips to create headband.  Trim pieces.

Catch split pieces between the layers and sew.

Trim pieces

6. Fold larger fabric scrap in half, right sides together.  Stitch as seen in the picture below. Trim corners and turn right side out.  Iron flat, tucking under the open edges.  Stitch smaller scrap along long edge, right sides together and turn right side out to create a tube for the middle of bow.   Iron flat and topstitch (optional)

Fold and stitch bow.

 7.  Carefully using hot glue gun, pinch center of bow slightly and glue center strip around the middle.  I adhered the glue to the back of the bow and pressed the center strip down one at a time, glueing between both.  I applied No Fray liquid to the ends to prevent fraying.  Hot glue would do the same thing, I think.

Glue center strip to bow

Pinch center slightly

 8. Slip elastic ends into the headband about .25″ and sew to create a headband. Sew across the elastic two or three times to give added strength.

Insert elastic and sew

9. Time to glue the ears to the headband.  Carefully glue two ear pieces together over the strip on the headband.  Make sure to put glue on the strip and along ear bottom to adhere it to headband.  Hold the headband and ears in place for about a minute to be sure they are on good.  No worries if glue gets on soft felt, it can be gently cut away without damage.  Try to avoid it  if you can, though.

Attach the ears

10. Apply glue top the bottom of bow center and a little bit beyond.  Attach bow to headband centering between the ears. Hold in place until set.  

Attach bow (not while on doll's head, though. :)

Congratulations!  You have Minnie ears.  I hope this was easy to follow.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Katie 

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Hello Out There!

I have been procrastinating creating this first post.  My goal was to have it up the first week of 2011. *sigh*  I think I finally have the theme and colors right, so it’s time to jump in and learn to navigate this blogging world.  I think I have some great ideas to share.  I guess you will be the judge of that, though.  :) 

What should you expect from this blog? Well, I hope a good experience that will make you smile and get your creativity flowing.  And make you want to visit me again. My goal will be at least one post per week and one tutorial per month.  Wish me luck!  I get side tracked very easily.

First tutorial – making Minnie ears for your doll.  Easier than you might think.  Stay tuned!

Phew! Glad that’s done.  Now I can move on to the really fun stuff!!  :)

Katie

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