Summertime (& Beyond!) Goals

bitmoji-20170602125601I often wish I had a job where I was off for the Summer! As a former preschool teacher, I appreciated those few months that I had to just have some really good downtime. While I miss that, I do not miss the pay. I remember driving around Austin and seeing the marquee signs of fast food restaurants, advertising starting pays of more than I was making as a preschool teacher! But anyway – Summer is coming! As I think through the Summer and what I would like to have accomplished by its end, I think of sewing, reading, and health.

Last Wednesday night, I was chatting with two close friends about reading. We were discussing books we’d read lately and how they are becoming better readers. Because being a better reader is something I want to grow in, I made a small list of books I would like to read this Summer. I am a frequent visitor at my local library branch and have these books on my virtual bookshelf. I have “Rise” in my possession and have started it already. “Brave New World“, “The Explicit Gospel” , & “Fahrenheit 451” are on the way, being transferred from other branches.

My list for the Summer consists of:

“Rise” – Trip Lee
“Brave New World” – Aldous Huxley
“Fahrenheit 451” – Ray Bradbury
“The Explicit Gospel” – Matt Chandler
“1984” – George Orwell
“Amusing Ourselves to Death” – Neil Postman
“The Screwtape Letters” – C.S. Lewis
“Til We Have Faces” – C.S. Lewis
“The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce” – John Piper

What do you have on your Summer reading list?

Another thing I want to get done this summer? I’d like to continue to grow in my sewing skills & sew at least 10 garments. At least! Sometimes I wish I could have dedicated days to sew, but I have to sew when I get a moment. In one of the sewing books that I have read recently, the author suggests sewing everyday, even if it’s just 15 minutes here and there, and eventually you’ll be done with that new garment. Right now, I am in the process of dropping 20 – 30 pounds so I am focusing on outer garments like this Simplicity 1318 pattern & items that will adjust along with me like a nice maxi dress. I dread making a dress for my current measurements & doing necessary adjustments just to not have it fit me in a few months! So – that is the plan for now. Hopefully, by the end of August, I will be sewing some dresses. I have my eye on completing several patterns, especially some from “Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book” (soooo many that I want to make!)

Do you keep a sewing to-do list?

That leads me to my health & fitness goals. A couple of years ago, I was running & exercising pretty regularly, losing weight & feeling pretty awesome in the process. I had surgery in May of 2015 which sidelined me for some time, then a series of events happened – injuries (patellar tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, hip pain) allergies, moving, and the list somewhat goes on! I have had a hard time being able to exercise consistently which bothers me. I felt so much better when I weighed less. With the injuries & such, the weight came back on and it’s been hard to get it to go away again. My husband and I have goal weights we want to reach and have come up with an ultimate reward, so in addition to the reward of having good health, I have a monetary reward in view. I often look at it like this – the next few months are going to pass whether I am active or not. Either I will weigh the same, weigh more, or weigh less. I’d much rather weigh less & be healthier! I want to be a much better steward of the health & body that God has given me. And so that is my goal for the Summer as well – consistent exercise, weight loss (& maintenance of that weight loss this time!)

Do you have any Summer goals? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!


All (Back) on Deck!

We’re back on one blog!

I decided to put everything back on one blog for several reasons:

  1. Keeping up with 2 blogs is something I cannot juggle at the time.
  2. I learned that there are companies called “JGR Creative” and didn’t want to deal with the potential headache down the line!
  3. My life is varied & so it makes sense that my blog would be. I am a Christian, I like to make things, I am a wife, and I am learning in life all around. Why can’t this all be on 1 blog? :-)

With that said, you will find some new content! There is a new page called “Why I Create” as well as some posts imported from my other blog. Also, feel free to check out my Instagram – jgrcreates.

Upcoming Sewing Projects

Image from Elle Apparel

It has been a while since I have sewn something, and with Spring on the horizon (March 20th to be exact!), I am feeling the need to sew! Dresses are my favorite – so comfortable, breezy, and feminine! I have wanted to make dresses for a while, so I figured that there is no time like the present. Due to temporary downsizing, I am unable to craft, but I definitely have enough space to sew!

Here are the next 5 projects I plan to complete! Once done, I’ll definitely post pictures and write about my experience with each tutorial & pattern.

1) Elle Apparel – Side Slit Maxi Dress
No one can go wrong with a maxi dress. With the various styles out there, there is sure to be a style for every woman on the planet. I am excited to choose my fabric for this one!

2) It’s Always Autumn – The Play All Day Dress
I have a 5 year old niece and she is cute as can be. She’s the girliest girl that I know and she loves wearing dresses! These look really easy and quick to make so I will probably make her a few of these.

3) Sewing Rabbit – Easy Maxi Dress
This maxi dress looks super comfortable! Ah! Cannot WAIT to make this.

4) Sewing Rabbit – Elastic Waist Maxi Skirt
Skirts are so fun to wear and dress up or down. This looks fairly simple and easy (I hope!)

5) Inspiration Made Simple – Adjustable Bow Tie
I have tons of sweet little boys in my life that would look absolutely precious in a bow tie! These are a pretty quick, simple project so I can see myself making several!

I have made bags and other non-wearables and have never made a piece of clothing. Hopefully, it goes well. I am excited!

Latest Project: A Tiny Toddler Purse

Today, my sweet niece turned 3! I remember when she was first born, holding her when she was just a few months old, and now she’s an intelligent, sweet, caring, beautiful little girl!

I made her a couple of simple skirts last October, including a Minnie Mouse one. Since that has been several months, she’s outgrown them. When she was told that they needed to be put away since they no longer fit well, she was upset – “But aunt Jenn made those for me!” I knew what I had to do – I wanted to make her something new, something she wouldn’t outgrow as quickly.

I searched Pinterest for a tutorial or pattern for a child’s purse and I found the perfect one on Make It, Love It. I’d had experience making bags previously (see here) so I knew this would be pretty simple for me. I went to Joann Fabrics & purchased a couple of fat quarters. I’d stocked up on different types of interfacing several months ago when it was on sale so I didn’t need to purchase that.

It was a fairly simple project and easily completed in a few hours with a couple of breaks in between. The tutorial says it takes just an hour, but it definitely took me 3 times that (at least!). When I finished, I was surprised at just how tiny it is! It is the perfect size for a little girl. The tutorial was well written and SO easy to follow. There were a couple of instances where I was confused, but it was a ‘user error’!



I can totally see myself making more of these in the future for the little girls in my life. As I do more of these, it will go a lot faster!

I can’t wait to give this to my niece as a gift from her uncle and aunt. I am sure she will fill it with all of the little girly things she can think of! :-)

My Latest Sewing Project: A Messenger Bag!

In my quest to continue to grow in my sewing skills & knowledge, I decided to attempt this messenger bag tutorial by Amber at Crazy Little Projects. My husband graciously accompanied me to Joann’s on Saturday and helped me pick out my fabric. After I picked the main fabric, I was a little stuck while looking for a good coordinating fabric. David was so helpful that I proclaimed him as my “fabric advisor” and vowed to ask him to come with me every time I need to pick out fabrics!

This was my first time working with fusible fleece, and my first time attempting a project of this magnitude. I am so glad I did! There is nothing like wearing or using something that you made yourself!

Let's get ready to rumble!
Let’s get ready to rumble!

I cut my pieces on Monday and finished assembling my bag this morning. I got stuck on a few parts here and there while I was working on it, but Amber was quick to respond to my questions. After I’d stepped away and come back to it, the things that had me stuck ended up making perfect sense! This morning, when I finished my bag, I was so excited! I danced, jumped up & down, & squealed with joy! I couldn’t wait to show my husband!

For those that are interested in the cost for this project, here is the breakdown:
1 yard of fusible fleece$5.09 (normally $8.49, but it was 40% off)
1 yard of flourish flower print$6.99 (normally $9.99, but it was 30% off)
1 yard of baroque damask plum print$5.59 (normally $7.99, but it was 30% off)
Total = $17.67

Coupons and sales definitely help to keep costs down! Having these amounts in my mind will definitely prepare me for future bags that I may want to make (and I do plan to make many more!) I do plan to make other messenger bags, but I will make them smaller! This bag is a little large compared to what I normally prefer, but I still am absolutely fond of it! It is super versatile and can be used as a book bag, diaper bag, a fancy gym bag, & so much more!

Alas! On to the pictures!

My newly finished messenger bag
My newly finished messenger bag!
The inside coordinating fabric
The inside coordinating fabric!
Inside pocket!
Inside pocket for my phone, pens, and pocket change!

A Sweet Skirt for a Sweet Girl

When David and I first started dating, I visited Austin in December of 2010 to spend time with him. It was during that time that I met his friends, Josh & Christina. They had been in Austin for a few months at that point, having moved here due to Josh being brought on staff at the church as an Assistant Pastor. I was still living in Dallas at that time, so arrangements were made for me to stay with Josh & Christina during my visit. When I met her, Christina & we immediately hit it off and she fast became my closest sister over the next few months. She has been, and is, a sweet & dear friend to me. She & Josh have three beautiful children – 2 boys (3 year old & 5 months old) and 1 girl (2 years old). They refer to my husband as “Uncle Dae-Dae” and to me as “Aunt Jenn”! We love our nephews and niece!

A few weeks ago, while on Pinterest, I found a sewing tutorial for a sweet skirt with lace trim and immediately thought of my niece. I’d received several boxes of fabric (more on the gifts of the fabric AND my sewing machine in an upcoming post!) which included a fabric reminiscent of Minnie Mouse! My sweet niece absolutely loves Minnie so I thought, what a great fabric to use to make a gift for her! I purchased some spools of lace from Joann’s along with some red thread and decided to tackle this project yesterday!

Getting ready to sew!

Lace sewn on!

All done!

All done!



For a little bit of flair, I mainly used white thread for the project but used red thread on the bobbin. At a few times during sewing, I switched the thread and bobbin colors.

As far as my niece? She LOVED the skirt! She was so excited to see it when I walked in the door. She kept saying “my skirt!” after I put it on her. What a sweet girl, and now she has a sweet skirt! I’m so glad she liked it and I am looking forward to doing some more in the future for other sweet little girls!