Author Archives: jani

About jani

Hi, I'm Jani: a portrait photographer, momma to four beautiful girls and an angel baby boy, and married for almost 12 years to her sweetheart. I suffers from severe home-project-related OCD--if I dream it up, it must be done, now!--and I share the results here at Impressions by Jani. Follow along as I update my builder-basic home one space at a time.

where did the summer go? {simple back-to-school teacher gift}

My three oldest girls started back to school last week (yes, August 14, crazy, right? No year-round school, either, just the wacky local schedule.), and all three seemed to have a great day. The night before, I was a ball of nerves as I lay in bed trying to sleep.

back to school at impressions by jani

Would they have good teachers? Would they reconnect with old friends? Make new ones? Would I be able to handle sending my third daughter off to kindergarten? Would we get everything done in the morning and be able to take pictures and get to school early enough to find a parking spot and not have to park three blocks away? (And considering that we live just over three blocks away, if not, what’s the point???) Would their teachers like them? Why didn’t I put in a little effort and do a teacher gift this year?

back to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by jani

See, I’m kinda hit and miss on the whole teacher-gift thing. One year I went all out and made elaborate “back to school teacher survival kit” things complete with cute school supplies and chocolate. One year I sent a bottle of sanitizer for the classroom with a cutesy note about being willing to lend a hand. When my oldest started kindergarten, I wasn’t clued in enough to know about teacher gifts but I did thoughtfully send my five year old into a classroom full of other amped-up five year olds with two boxes of store-bought cupcakes. It was her birthday, after all, but I’m not sure her teacher really appreciated that “gift.” A few years I sent nothing, so what would be the big deal if I sent nothing again this year??? At this point I’m really hoping the teachers at their school don’t compare notes, cuz I can’t go back and do retroactive teacher gifts.

back to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by janiback to school at impressions by jani

But as I tossed and turned and tossed some more (and silently wished yet again that I could fall asleep as easily as my husband, who is snoozing within seconds of his head hitting the pillow), I decided that at least I could do something about the teacher gift.

back to school at impressions by jani

Three jars of jam I purchased from a friend, a little washi tape, some patterned paper scraps, and a pack of pre-made tags from the dollar bin at Tar-jay later, and I have literally the easiest teacher gift ever. And ok, yes, it is a cheesy, way-too-cutesy little note I wrote to go with them, but it (hopefully) gets my point across to my girls’ teachers that I’m willing and ready to help out wherever I can. Bailey, as a fifth grader with her firstĀ male teacher, insisted that we should have gotten him a baseball or something instead, but he seemed appreciative of the homemade jam (even if I didn’t make it, ha!).

back to school at impressions by janiDo you do teacher gifts on the first day of school? What are teachers really wanting these days, anyway???


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Where did the week go?

Goodness, it’s Friday again! I had plans to get a whole bunch of posts prepped and ready over last weekend to publish this week while we were away enjoying our spring break, but with games and church and dyeing Easter eggs and packing, it all came to nothing. And next week we have family coming into town, so we shall see if I can get the projects posted I’ve been working on lately.


Baby girls has been crawling and getting into everything lately…I had to laugh this morning when she somehow got herself stuck on the corner of the coffee table! I shared it on Instagram (I’m janimouse over there if you want to follow along!) with the #meanmom then got caught up scrolling through all the other mean mom pics. Some are pretty hilarious if you need a laugh!

Enjoy your Easter weekend! We have an egg hunt with cousins tomorrow then church to celebrate our Savior’s resurrection. This is my favorite season.

it’s Friday!


How’s your week been? We’ve had our ups and downs, with a few sick days thrown in, but it’s the last school day before spring break and we.can’t.wait! We have some fun family things planned for next week that we are all looking forward to.

Our sick days gave us a little time off from our crazy five-days-a-week softball schedule we’re currently in, so we’ve had a bit more time at home enjoying the beautiful springtime, like the blackberry bush that is a riot if blossoms in the photo above. It’s completely taken over one of our raised beds in the garden, but the blackberry jam and pies I’m dreaming of will make up for that lost garden space. We’re really more of a fruit than vegetable family anyway.

I’m off to do a little last minute Easter shopping while the kids are at school and I can keep some secrets, then I’m looking forward to helping out with the second grade class Easter egg hunt! With a nursing baby at home this year, I haven’t been able to be in my girls’ classrooms like I would want to, and I’ve missed it. So this will be the perfect way to ease into our break.

I’ll be back next week with a few quick and easy projects, plus it seems I’m sewing new pillows for virtually every space in the house. Have a great weekend!

shopping for inspiration {5 ways to bring Anthropologie into your home today}

Who doesn’t love a good stroll through Anthropologie, am I right? Ok, that’s an easy question, my husband immediately sprigs to mind as someone who would pay to not have to walk through an Anthro store, but if you love reading home blogs, you probably love the store as much as me. Every time I walk in, I am inspired by different items and ideas, so after a recent trip to Anthro where I took about 50 photos (creeper!), I thought I’d share five inspiring ideas to bring into your home today.

1. Have a statement piece

Every space needs that one it item that immediately draws your attention and announces the feel for the room. It doesn’t have to be an expensive piece or even something you’ve purchased as-is–DIY is good! It just needs that wow factor to set the tone for the space.

2. Aged=beauty

I think in interiors, aged pieces are so lovely and add such warmth and soul to a room. These items can be big or small. Is distressed painted furniture not your thing? No problem, worn woods, slouchy leather, metal patina or assorted found objects can all provide that feeling of age that is so inviting.


I’m not saying your home should be a museum of old stuff–I love crisp modern colors and sleek pieces as well. But a few well-worn items help complete any room.

3. Use unexpected materials

This idea is pretty much a hallmark of Anthropologie, and it plays so nicely in homes. Wood and pipe shelving units are super popular right now, I love this little twist of using just the pipes to hang linens from. Now I’m dreaming of a pipe towel bar in my kids’ bathroom!

Or how about simply using a beautiful branch as a curtain rod? Using unexpected items in your home invites your visitors to look a little closer at the details and expresses so much personality. Love it.

4. Mix and match


Mix leathers, mix wood tones, mix textile patterns, and mix metals. As long is there is a cohesive thread running through your space, like a complementary color scheme or furniture style, you really can play a little bit with your finishes.


Not sure how to mix things up effectively? Use the gallon, quart, drop method to successfully mix and match metallics without taking your home to crazy-town. In a bedroom with oil-rubbed bronze light fixtures and door hardware (gallon), use chrome drawer pulls and nailhead trim (quart), and a brass or gold desktop accessory (drop).

5. Add life

I am a firm believer that every room looks better with live plants or flowers. They provide such a nice visual resting place for the eye after they’ve feasted on all the other personality in a space.

Plus, living plants are so pretty!

I didn’t spend a dime on my recent Anthro-stroll, but I’ve got tree separate steal-able ideas of projects to do, plus tons of inspiration for personalizing my home. I’m off to re-evaluate my spaces to see if I’ve got the wow! item in each of them I want. (Spoiler alert! I don’t). Then I’m going to start dreaming of ways to amp up the personality.

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