Free Printable Gratitude Journal: Happy Thanksgiving

The Abundance Project - Free Printable Gratitude Journal - Happy Thanksgiving!

If there’s any foreign holiday I would like to kidnap and adopt as my own, it would be the American Thanksgiving holiday. I’m not one to be a history buff, so don’t ask me about that, but all I do know is that gratitude abounds online during this time of year and I think it’s a fabulous idea to set aside a WHOLE day of the year for the purpose of giving thanks. This is certainly a tradition that needs importing to Australia, which is rather condescendingly known as the Lucky Country, but where the majority of folks actually cultivate a culture of complaining. Yup – on the whole, Aussies can be bloody whingers, despite having one of the strongest economies in the Western world, beautiful beaches, sunny weather, a safe and comfortable political climate, and opportunities wherever you turn. After living in Indonesia and seeing how people can be happy living with less than one tenth of what most Australian’s have, it puts life into perspective and makes the whinging and whining rather tiresome.

Anyway, I’ve had this idea brewing since last Thanksgiving. I wanted to make y’all something special. Something that’s needed right now. And… (insert drumroll)… I’m finally so excited to present The Abundance Project, a free printable gratitude journal ebook – it’s a Thanksgiving gift from me to you. Complete with 65 pages full of the best collection of gratitude quotes, inspiration for creating abundance, and lots of space to write – its the only gratitude journal you need to get started with giving thanks! Simply click on the picture above to download the printable PDF file – or you can download it here:

The Abundance Project free printable ebook gratitude journal workbook via A Designer Life

So, to all my American friends – Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s a present I made just for you!

To everyone else in the world – Happy day! Have a free gift anyway, just because!

Jess - A Designer Life

Awesome DIY Inspiration: Sew a whale toy from denim jeans

Create this amazing DIY whale soft toy by sewing old denim jeans fabric!

Images by Mevrouw Walvis via

Yes – I have just fallen in love with a stuffed toy whale made from old denim jeans!

You can do amazing things with a creative mind and the ability to see potential in discarded materials – like this whale toy sewn from upcycled denim jeans material. So cute, and so clever! I love how he turned out. This would make a perfect gift just in time for Christmas, requiring little more than a sewing machine, some thread, some pins, an iron and an afternoon (or a few). I am also really impressed how using both the front and the back of the same denim material gives two tones to work with, creating the upper and the lower part of the whale’s body.

This picture has gone viral over the DIY internet sphere and across Pinterest so I think it’s really important to give credit where credit is due. The creative mama behind this wonderful idea is Mevrouw Walvis and she wrote a whole tutorial on how you can make you very own denim whale! The original tutorial is in Finnish here, but she has since made a tutorial in English here too, so make sure you check it out!

Jess - A Designer Life

Get Shit Done. The best and only goal planner you need in 2015

Get Shit Done - the only planner you'll need in 2015

This, my friends, is what I have been waiting for.

The best and only planner you’ll need in 2015. Get Shit Done!*

Fill it with your hopes, goals and dreams. And achieve them this year.

*No, it’s not actually called that, but yes, this is what you’ll do with it. Promise.

Links are affiliate because I love this planner so much I just can’t stand it! I have pre-ordered mine – the hard copy version and it ships on Dec 1, 2014. I used the ebook version last year and this year decided to upgrade, it’s that good! Getting a head start – YAY!

Jess - A Designer Life

Awesome Products: A tropical beach swing over the sea

An ocean swing!

I want to be right here, right now. Anyone else with me on this? Ok, so it was 37 degrees in Sydney today, and yes, I did go to the beach this afternoon for a luscious saltwater dip. But… it certainly didn’t have a swing over the sea!

Do you know where this amazing place is so I can add it to my bucket list? I think an ocean swing is a marvelously awesome invention!

Jess - A Designer Life

PS. Is this your picture? Please let me know and I’ll credit it!

How to find out what font a website is using

How to find out what font any website is using | Typography | Fount | Blogging Design Tools

Have you ever seen a beautiful design (for a website, poster or otherwise) and just WISH you knew what font they used, so that you could also have sexy, on-trend typography and create great graphic designs too? I was that person.

Until yesterday – when I finally looked up “How to find out what font a website is using” on Google! The tool I found has literally blown my mind and it’s called Fount.

Fount is a simple bookmarklet that identifies any font on any website you see! It tells you the font name, the weight and the size! You simply drag the bookmarklet onto your bookmarks bar, and visit the website where you want to know what typography they are using. All you have to do is click on the bookmarket, then click on the text you want to know about – and VIOLA! – the information appears. Get it here.

I can’t believe I hadn’t found out about this handy tool sooner. I think my knowledge of popular fonts and typography trends will increase exponentially.

You’re welcome.

Jess - A Designer Life

Awesome Products: Holiday Gift Guide – 37 Christmas Gifts You Didn’t Know You Wanted Until Now

*This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I genuinely love the products I’m about to show you in this post – and I’m sure you will too! All words and opinions are my own.

37 AWESOME Christmas Gifts you didn't know you wanted 'til now! #product_design

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Girl, interrupted* : Learn to say NO so you can say YES to the things that matter

Learn to say NO to the non essential so you can say YES to the things that matter | inspirational quote

*Absolutely nothing to do with the movie and book of the same name.

Does anyone else feel constantly interrupted?

My name should not be Jessica Lea Dunn… because at the moment it feels like I can never get anything… Dunn, I mean, done! My name should be Jessica Lea Doing… because I’m always trying to push through some project or another but have so much trouble finishing. And all I want to do is tick things off my list! My dilemma is as follows: I have no problem starting a project (the amount of fantastic new ideas that flood me daily is phenomenal which is both incredibly inspiring and somewhat overwhelming). I have no problem inventing new things, getting fired up for the start up. But then – another interruption. Life. An appointment. Mama duties (this is a big one, and while I love being a mama, there is simply no “off” button). Housework to do. The constant gear-switching, on/off… losing my place, finding it again… losing my muse, and then having it flood back at the most inconvenient of moments, such as when I’m playing with Alira, supposed to be cooking dinner, or trying to get ready for bed. I’ll start juggling the ball and bouncing another… but then I eventually end up dropping both.

But still – I try to squeeze as much out of every day as possible… just half an hour more, an hour more, three, four, five hours later I’m stumbling into bed in the wee hours – and I’m STILL NOT FINISHED. Does anyone else feel like this?

Admittedly, I’ve a lot on my plate this past and coming month, but the irony is that it is entirely self-inflicted. I’m learning to drive with my test on 28th Nov – eek! I’m trying to build this blog into a little virtual home for myself and find my online tribe. I’m doing more cooking as Chief Nutritional Officer in my house (those who know me, know that this doesn’t come as naturally to me as some of my other talents). I had to process my tax return before 31st Oct so I’m still recovering from the backlog of putting everything else on hold for that. And, of course I’m still trying to do everything that I was before (getting out to see friends, play time in the park with Alira, managing my modest portfolio of shares, making sure the bills are paid on time, hanging out with my Pinterest community, keeping the house, um, sort of in order – if a tornado path could be considered orderly – ha!) I could say no to some of this, but the truth is that everything is important in different ways, some of it urgent, some of it essential, some of it necessary down-time, some of it an attempt to plant seeds for the future.

I’ve come to the realization that the only secret to doing it all is – NOT, at least not all at the same time. The activities will ebb and flow, as our focus shifts from one thing to another. We humans KNOW in our bones that we can’t do it all… and yet we still keep trying. Stop. Just stop. Breathe. Learn to say NO to anything that is not essential… so you can say YES to the things that matter.

Much, much, easier said then done.

Especially when there is money to earn, bills to pay, laundry to do, mouths to feed, souls to nurture, creativity to express, and worlds to conquer.

Women (and men) who seem to do it all – please tell me all your secrets!

Jess - Find me on Pinterest

Food Design: 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas

5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas - Boo-nanas, Mandarin Pumpkins, Ghost Eggs, Mini Cupcake Spiders, Tim Tam Tombstones | A Designer Life

Today, I’m sharing 5 easy Halloween food ideas that I made especially for the HelloSociety Halloween Potluck Pinterest Party! I’m so excited to participate in this, especially since I had so much fun making dishes for the Easter and July 4th Potluck challenges earlier this year. It’s a really great way for me to get out of my cooking rut, and get my hands (and kitchen bench) dirty in a really creative way. Not to mention, I get to share lots of awesome yummy treats with whoever happens to be nearby!

1. Boo-nanas!

Inspired by seeing Sharpie drawn on just about everything these days, I made some screaming bananas. It’s such a simple and easy idea for when you can’t possibly face another handful of candy, piece of cake, or pumpkin-flavored whatever. And of course, bananas are a great gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, soy-free, everything-free snack. Except if you are allergic to bananas. Sorry.

Boo-nanas! | 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas

2. Cute Halloween Ghost Eggs

So, this is not strictly something you can serve at your next Halloween party, but it is a cute little idea to surprise your loved ones when they go to make some eggs in the morning. I was inspired to use my Sharpie to create little haunted egg faces after seeing this idea on Pinterest. The only trouble is… Our eggs aren’t exactly white in Australia. So they don’t quite look like ghosts. But you get the general impression!

Halloween Ghost Eggs | 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas

3. Mandarin Pumpkins

I was inspired to create these mandarin pumpkins after seeing this idea on Pinterest. Anybody would think that this post is sponsored by Sharpie, the way these ideas are stacking up (it’s not). However… I’m a big fan of simple, quick, healthy, and fun, and these little guys tick all four boxes! And not to mention, it’s naturally gluten-free and dairy-free. A good tip: Draw the outline of the pumpkin face shape you want with thin Sharpie, then fill it in with a thicker Sharpie. You’ll save so much time!

Mandarin Pumpkins | 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas

4. Mini Cupcake Spiders with Pretzel Legs

So I cheated a bit with this idea, as I used store-bought mini cupcakes. But, paired with Smarties for eyes and Pretzel legs, with a dash of chocolate icing to stick the eyes on – you wouldn’t know the difference! These little spiders are bright, colorful, and combine an unexpected savory touch to an otherwise sweet dish. The original recipe uses donuts instead, but you can see how much I was inspired to make something very similar and just as visually effective.

Mini Cupcake Spiders with Pretzel Legs | 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas

5. Tim Tam Tombstones

This one is an original! I don’t know whether folks over in the States can obtain Arnott’s TimTam biscuits over there, but they are a cult classic quintessential food here in Australia. So, my dad came home with a packet the other day and I was busy thinking up ideas for the Halloween Potluck Party. Anyway, as he was munching, I said “your TimTam kinda looks like a tombstone!” and he promptly bit the biscuit he had right in half, pulled out a fresh one, laid that flat on the bench, and stacked the bitten half-TimTam on top to make a proper tomb-like shape! Horrifically morbid, but also pretty funny at the same time. Thanks Dad!

Two days later… I prettied the idea up a little bit by using a knife to cut the TimTams, with some white-chocolate writing icing to create the RIP detail. I also used a smear of caramel icing and a couple of toothpicks to join the two biscuit pieces together. You can see something similar here.

(Oh, and by the way, did you know that TimTams only come with 11 biscuits in the packet now?! Talk about the opposite of a baker’s dozen. I felt slightly ripped off by that number, its very cheeky, since I’m sure their used to be 12 in a packet.)

Tim Tam Tombstones | 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed these 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas, as much as I enjoyed making them! Now, please excuse me while I go and eat one of those cupcakes… I mean… mandarins.

Jess - Find me on Pinterest

Awesome Products: Every KitchenAid Mixer Attachment and What They Do

Every KitchenAid Mixer Attachment  & What They Do #product_design

Image via

This product infographic that explains every KitchenAid Mixer attachment and what they do is one of the best I have ever seen. I had no idea this fantastic kitchen product was so versatile! After seeing this, I am definitely tempted to get myself a KitchenAid – the problem will be deciding which colour!

UPDATE: I found the source of the original infographic! You can find it here.

x Jess

Links may be affiliate.