WEARING | Black Friday

Thursday, November 27, 2014

how to style a black midi skirt via Kristina j blog
Dollar Tree skirt (for real) | Target plaid top |  LOFT sweatshirt
Land's End Jacket |  GAP jacket |  Claire's head-wrap

how to style a black maxi skirt for winter via Kristina J blog
how to style a black maxi skirt for winter via Kristina J blog
how to style a black maxi for winter via Kristina J blog

On Thanskgiving...

"Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. 
I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. 
But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.

I hunger for filling in a world that is starved.
I want to see beauty. In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep. And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.

And Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle."

Favorite quotes from One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp

Wearing | Black + Brown

Friday, November 21, 2014

cute midi outfit
Gap sweater similar | Banana Republic skirt | Nine West pumps | Handbag Heaven bag | AE watch

cute midi skirt outfit via Kristina J blog
what she wore

7 Things I've Learned About Self Confidence Since I Graduated High School

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

drifting by dress
midi dress cute modest outfit via Kristina j blog
Anthropologie Drifting By dress and belt |  J.Crew cardi |  Steve Madden flats |  DIY watch tutorial

1.  My Self-Worth is Not Determined by Other's Opinions 
Worrying about the opinion of others gave me panic attacks. I'd start analyzing what people thought of me, and then began to base my self-worth on those emotions rather than the truth. I lived in fear that if people really knew me, they wouldn't like me. 
The ironic thing is, it's actually a form of pride to think people are thinking about me at all, let alone bad things. Humanity is, in general, pretty selfish. Most of the time, others will be thinking about themselves and what I'm thinking about them. When I woke up this morning, I could have focused on the bags under my eyes, my frizzy hair or what you might thing of this post and naturally, I could have felt awful, but I chose instead to believe God's Truth that I am handcrafted by Him regardless of what I see or feel or what others think of me. (Eph.2:10)

2.  I'm NOT the Only Girl in the World Who Struggles with Self-Confidence
During my freshman year of college, I was sitting in class and the professor asked everyone to pull out a piece of paper and list ten things they liked about themselves...skills, physical features--anything. After a few minutes, she asked for discussion on what we'd listed. I sat in that class surrounded by the most beautiful, wildly talented people I'd ever known and discovered that not one of them had been able to list even two things they liked about themselves. Shocker! 
All my friends are likely as insecure as I am, but it's really easy to let the knowledge of my insecurities cripple me. Self-condemnation destroys healthy self esteem. When we focus on lies instead of the truth, eventually, the truth ceases to matter. It doesn't matter that we are beautiful women with the pages of our books waiting to be written. It doesn't matter that we aren't really unlovable...that we aren't really inadequate. What matters is that we believe we are. 
We are what we think. If we feed our mind with the noise of fear, we will be anxious all the time. If we feed our hearts with self-loathing, we will never dare to use our skills to do something extraordinary for God. If we feed our minds with lies, we will live ugly, defeated lives.

3.   Pretending to be Unaffected by Pain Weakens Confidence
When I was nineteen, my eighteen year old brother died in a drowning accident and in the weeks that followed I begged God to help me quit crying. I felt weak and pathetic. It's almost 15 years later and I'm still crying, but I no longer feel weak and pathetic. I feel strong. In 2011, I felt compelled to be real and true and chronicle that experience in my book, After NathanielAt the time, I wondered Why? Why must I lay the worst of myself open on pages that live on coffee tables and bookstore shelves and pillows and smartphones? Must I really let strangers into the deep sacred parts of my heart and how can I ever rise above after being this broken?
There is no such thing as a life without pain, though we may not particularly want it. A person with no tears or flesh or feeling is simply a robot. Choosing to be tender and broken releases me to embrace a stronger self and my tears are like tiny messengers...secret-bearers that deliver a most important message--Your heart beats strong. Listening to the message of loss and heartbreak wakes me up to who I am, where I come from, and what matters most (but only if I don't close myself off from the things that break my heart).

how to style a midi dress modestly via Kristina j blog

4.   Running from Your Dream Is Hard Work and Depressing
I'm not particularly comfortable with the criticism that can come from trying to offer a piece of myself through my personality or my art. It's tempting at times to think Living the dream is too much work. Why should I do anything more than lie on the couch and read a book? But really, informing my life with fear is even more difficult than getting into the studio and getting at it. 

In those moments, I remind myself of Steven Pressfield's advice in his bestselling book, The War of Art,  "Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself...'Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?' Chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death." 
I can't let self-doubt silence me. I must force it to work for me. 

5.   Celebrating the Success of Others is a Back Door to Confidence
Egos are a waste of time and being intimidated by others is a waste of friendship and inspiration. Glory hogs are always afraid...trying to measure their impact, comparing themselves, fearing the success of others. I know because I was one. Denying the inspiration others can provide is a death clamp on creativity and confidence. We ALL have been asked to show up, to walk out onto the grand stage of our lives and make art. How do I know? Because we were born. There is nothing more inspiring to my own creativity than the life art of the musicians, the teachers, the illustrators, the waiters, the obstetricians, the mothers and even the back-ground singers. All our hands make different kinds of art and we are most influenced by individuals who are in touch with what makes them come alive.

6.   Confidence Doesn't Automatically Show Up When You Turn 20 or 30 or 40
This is a life-long journey that extends far beyond high school. No matter the stage of our lives, we continue to long to be chosen, to be looked at and noticed as a treasure. During the in-between moments when I feel like a cosmic boo-boo, I recite my warrior heart-cry.

I don't want my life to be ruled by the fear of failure, the fear of your opinion or the fear of my own inadequacies. I want to live a costly, fulfilled wealthy treasure of a life. I want the junk out of my heart. I want to be purified. I want God to fill the parts of my mind that are running dry. I want His power without barriers and His favor on my business, my home, my days. I want my life to be a gift back to God--a beautiful picture that ends up on His fridge. 

how to style anthropologie drifting by dress via Kristina J blog

7.   Self Confidence isn't the Ultimate Goal 
Happiness is not more self confidence but rather, God confidence....
Life is not about becoming important or famous or promoted but about me allowing God to release his art into the world through me. While pursuing the things I'm passionate about isn't the goal, it can be a signpost, like a straight arrow pointing to my center, saying This is the path to the deepest part of who you are, how your are made and the poetry of your soul. 
We were made to soar...to break free from the confines of a small life. We don't have to be more beautiful than we are right now. We don't have to be more talented than we are right now. God has set eternity in our hearts (Ecc. 3:11). His sacrifice bridged our ordinary life to the extraordinary. It doesn't get more epic or beautiful than that! 

2014 MINTED Holiday Round-up

Sunday, November 16, 2014

minted holiday roundup
I can't remember when I discovered MINTED. Honestly, it's like the store I've always gone to first to find the best of anything custom, whether it's wall art, party decorations, holiday cards or whimsical home decor. And their choices just keep getting better and better. Since I'm totally getting into the holiday spirit, I've curated this list of amazing holiday products currently featured on the MINTED website. 

1.  Up first are these adorable Holiday Booklette™ cards. So much happens in a year and it's hard to communicate in a letter exactly what happened. With a Booklette card, you can include pictures from the entire year along with the story behind the images, giving your friends and family a beautiful update of your year.

2.  How perfect would this Ever After Address Book be for the couple getting married this Christmas season?  An image of them with their wedding date on the front of their very first joint address book is personalized gift giving at it's best. Think of all the warm fuzzy's the couple will get every time they pull out their address book and see an image of that perfect day? You could even go ahead and add any addresses of mutual acquaintances to get them started. This option also includes Day Planners and Journals. Right on.

3.  I think these ornaments speak for themselves, but just in case...HOW AMAZING ARE THESE Gold Dipped Paper Ornaments??!! Super artisan and luxe, these puppies are right down my alley.

4.  Come on. This is awesome. Seriously. What better gift for the person who L-O-V-E-S where they live or where they got married or the state where their children were born than the LOVE LOCATION photo art at MINTED? Or why not one for every state you've ever lived in to visually chronicle the journey of your life?

 Or check out all of MINTED's personalized foil-pressed photo art. Hello, Holiday Wreath. I swoon...

5.  I'm really loving the Personalized Bunting Banners that MINTED offers right now. You can customize the message as well as insert personal photos into the bunting. These are perfect for events and even room decor. I'm currently planning my daughter's 7th birthday party and can't wait to get my banner to create the perfect photo op. The banners featured are: Botanical Wreath,  Krafted Winter, Holiday Bling and A Season for Stripes.

6.  You know that person who's just impossible to buy for? Introducing the New Personalized Wrapping Paper you cover their gift with...paper photo art that can be framed and hung on the wall to enjoy long after the other wrapping paper has been incinerated. It's the sort of gift that keeps on giving, like a gift beyond the gift.

minted collage

7.  If you could walk through my house, you'd see a sampling of Minted's Limited Edition Art Prints. If you need a specific something for a wall in your house or are looking for a gift for a friend, you can search art by shape, color or style. Makes it so easy, plus, a lot of the prints come in several color options. Some of my favorite artists, like Yao Cheng and Kiana Mosley havea huge presence on MINTED and I'd recommend their artwork to anyone. Featured art prints are (left to right by row):  Better With Age, Flora in Peach II, Up and Away, Forest SnowJust Let GoLight Pink Cherry BlossomsMorning Song, and Cherry Blossom in SpringMeander


8.  I saved this one for last, 'cuz it's my absolute favorite! Custom Printed Address Envelopes that coordinate with your choice of holiday cards. So, I'll wait until you finish squealing to continue...  This is the most amazing service ever offered. How fabulously classy would it be to send Christmas cards with the address professionally printed on the front along with a cute little drawing? And for a limited time, when you order your holiday cards from MINTED, you can get the option of printed envelopes for FREE! These just some of the beautiful envelope options available right now.

AND THE VERY BEST PART IS...I have teamed up with MINTED to offer one reader $150 toward MINTED products this holiday. To enter this giveaway you should:

1.  Follow @Minted on Instagram
2.  Follow @thekristinajblog on Instagram
3.  Like KRISTINA J. on Facebook.

Leave a comment with your contact info for the drawing.

KRISTINA J. is an affiliate of Minted and will receive 
financial compensation for clicks on Minted links. 

To Line a Skirt or Not Line a Skirt...That is the Question

Thursday, November 13, 2014

KRISTINA J. Menzies plaid skirt | Gap shirt similar | Target Fair Isle sweater
FOSSIL Monica pumps | Old Navy bag similar

kristina j skirt kristina j midi skirt
kristina j design via Kristina J blog

Let's clear the air about skirt design.
I feel the best skirt designs include a lining. In fact, this plaid midi skirt has a lining, and I would personally pay more money for a lined skirt as opposed to an unlined one. I love being able to wear my skirts with tights in the winter and not have the fabric pull up and cling to my tights. It's also extremely liberating to eliminate the worry of having your slip hang awkwardly below the hem of your skirt (men have no idea what a bother that is, do they?). 

However, when it comes to the skirts I'll be designing for the KRISTINA J. Etsy store, COST OF GOODS is a huge concern. A lining is essentially a second skirt under the featured fabric and most lining fabrics can run as much as, if not more than the cost of the skirt fabric itself. To line a product skirt will double the price point of the skirt in COST OF GOODS, not to mention the extra labor time to stitch a lining.  
This is what it looks like when you evaluate COG's (cost of goods).


Lining a skirt increases both cost of goods and time in labor. This leaves little wiggle room for each skirt to also cover Etsy store fees and shipping, and eats into potential discounts offered to customers, which we'll cover in a later post. The same problem arises when I consider adding pockets (which I adore) to dresses and skirts. Extra fabric, extra labor time and the potential for more mistakes, which would translate into loss of profit.

Here's what I've decided for the products featured in the KRISTINA J. store. If I can get by without lining a skirt or dress, I will; but I will have deliberate qualifications for an unlined product.

To forgo a lining the product must:
1.   be constructed of a heavy enough fabric to hang properly and drape while wearing tights (this is especially important for fall/winter skirts.
2.  not be see-through.
3.  feel as pulled together and finished as a skirt with a lining would. 

With these qualification, it will be easier for me as I source fabrics to decide if a flannel fabric (like the skirt sample in this post) is worth offering in my Etsy store. I can ask myself, "Is a skirt in this adorably cozy fabric worth offering at a higher price point and is there a demand for such a product?"

I haven't decided yet whether the Menzies plaid skirt will be included in the first round of Etsy products. But should this flannel skirt appear in the store, you'll understand why it might be at a higher price point than other unlined products. Got me?

If you have an opinion concerning linings, feel free to share in the comments.

How To Make A DIY Stained Plywood Wall Clock

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

how to make a stained plywood clock tutorial via Kristina J blog

I've had a serious and weird obsession with birch plywood recently. Seriously, I have to commend the patience of the hardware store staff for standing by patiently while I examine the plywood panels searching for the perfect one. I've covered walls with plywood panels, made side tables, hacked my IKEA dressers with it and now, a plywood clock. Actually, this project is a guest post by my son, Konrad. This clock is a project he did for a competition this month, but he gave me permission to share the tutorial with you. It's now hanging proudly on the wall of my design studio. 

how to make a stained plywood clock via Kristina J blog

what you need pink

--1/4 inch thick plywood cut into 10 - 12 inch circle
--drill gun with 1/4 inch bit
--painter's tape
--clock kit (this one is from Hobby Lobby)
--clock sweep handles (used these long ones and spray painted them gold)
--wood die-cut numbers (Konrad used these die-cuts from Hobby Lobby)
--wood stain (Konrad used Minwax in Early American shade)
--Minwax Paste Finishing wax
--Modge Podge

how to make stained plywood clock via Kristina J blog

what you do pink

1.  Cut the plywood in a circle or have a hardware store do it for you. You can also buy round plywood sections at most hardware and craft stores. Lightly sand the edges.
2.  Using painter's tape, mark the clock in half. 
3.  Stain one half once or twice depending on how deep you want the color making sure to get the edge as well. Konrad stained twice. Remove tape and let set. 
4.  Drill a hole in the center of plywood to allow for clock mechanism.

how to make a stained plywood wall clock via Kristina J blog
5.   Stain the die-cut numbers with the same color stain as clock. Konrad decided he wanted the numbers to contrast the stain on the clock so he covered half of the 3 and 9 with painter's tape and stained the remaining halves. The 12 was left unstained.
6.   With a q-tip, apply Modge Podge to back of numbers and attach to clock face.
7.   Let dry for a couple hours.
8.   With a soft cloth, apply the wax to clock face and wood numbers. Use a q-tip to clean away the wax from around the numbers.
9.   Follow clock kit directions to attach kit to clock.
9.   DONE.

how to make a stained plywood clock via Kristina J blog



Sunday, November 9, 2014

love that
I want to incorporate some pom poms into my studio space to add a playful twist. I barely got over Tory Burch's pom pom bags, when BLAM--in comes all kinds of pom pom products into Anthropologie's store space. All of the products below have given me some crazy fun ideas on how to add this element into my space. Of course, I hesitate to mention some of these for fear you'll buy them all up. Just leave me some pom pom product, okay? You can see more of my design studio inspiration on my Studio Space Pinboard.

(Clockwise from top)
Tory Burch Resort

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