Sunday, December 5, 2010

Georgia On My Mind + Cute Advent Calendar

Nothing is worse than feeling like you're missing out on something.  I feel like that a lot when I think about my nieces and nephews. Speaking of which....

My youngest sister just had a baby.  Boy, is he the cutest thing ever.  Sweet, Hudson.  I have a video of him sleeping and making the sweetest faces.  My heart melts every time.

My other sis is having a baby in the spring.  I got to be the at doctors office with her when she found out that she's having a boy!  What an incredible place to be.  The gender doesn't matter to me, what matters is that my sister is bringing to life a little human.  Humility and grace, wrapped up in a moment of glimpsing the ultrasound and realizing that what is moving around on the screen is a real person. Wow.

P.S. everyone I know is pregnant right now, it seems.

My brother's wife, is pregnant with a child.  Gender is a mystery still.  Can't wait to know though. He's go two boys already.  A third would be great, but a girl would be so special too.  

Also, my husband's cousin is pregnant.  Due in the early spring I think.  Her and her husband aren't going to find out what the baby is until it's born.  How fun!  I love surprises, but I also loving finding out the surprise before hand... I was the child who didn't want to ruin her Christmas surprises pre-Christmas day.  However, I couldn't help peeking at what my brothers and sisters where getting!  

I am super excited about all these new babies.  Sometimes I get pretty down when I think about how fast they will grow up and how I will be missing out on a lot of their lives and experiences.  

All I can do is learn to make the most of it when I do get to spend time with them.  For them, they will always have an aunt who will spoil them!

Check out these sweet faces that I got to see this past week:

Hudson the cutest reindeer!
Miles...Chocolate Chapstick...the gift that says it all.
Miles, Dustin, Me, and Ethan...What a funny picture!

Okay, so Georgia was great.  I saw my parents, grandparents, and I got to spend some QT with my sibs and their kids.  Most importantly I got to see the new baby.  He was so precious. I love him!

Last thing I want to share with you is my latest craft.  I made an Advent Calendar over the course of a week.  I spent HOURS hand sewing 24 ornaments, felt pockets, and the numbers.  I really would have loved to have kept this, but really it was intended for my sweet nephews (see pic above) and their parents.  I always loved getting to countdown the days until Christmas with our calendar when I was young.  I hope they'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Here you go!  Let me know what you think!  I followed a sew along on a blog I follow Homemade by Jill.  She has some great tutorials if you're into that.  I definitely am.

Ethan made one of the ornaments...see if you can find it!  It's a dinosaur.  What could be more perfect than a handmade dinosaur on a Christmas tree?  He drew it, I cut it out, I threaded the needle, He sewed it by himself.  It's perfect!

Keep Posted!

the rave

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Start Your Holiday With A Smile

When I was a child, I never really understood the reason for Christmas Cards.  I would see them covering the fireplace mantle of my grandparents home and my parents even had a special basket or hanger-thing to display them with.  Now that I am more grown up (sort of), I have my own collection of past Christmas cards from friends and family.  They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and styles, with photo or without. They are an excellent way to let someone simply know that they have been thought of. No fancy note necessary; no gift required.  

For those who have grandkids, a photo of those angelic (or not-so-angelic) faces is more than enough to put you on cloud nine.  If the parents happen to be in the photo, that's nice too, maybe.  For those whose children happen to be of the furry kind; many are hard pressed to resist a smile when seeing a pouty puppy face that has somehow been forced to wear jingle bell reindeer antlers....too cute, but definitely animal cruelty!

This year, since it will be the first year of Dustin and I ever sending out Christmas cards, you may be receiving a photo of our first child...Sasquatch.

Isn't he cute?

Now, it's up to you to help me find a suitable card for such a sweet face.  I'll help you get started.

First of all, for those who haven't experienced the genius of Shutterfly...please give your self 5 minutes in the time-out corner for such rebellious behavior, when you get back I will forgive you and begin to explain to you everything you've been missing out on.

You back yet?

Good.  Let's get started.

Let me just say that it has never been easier to get my personal pictures ordered and developed.  Shutterfly makes things so stinkin' easy.  Upload all of your pictures.  Even the ones you don't need printed right now, they will store them for you. For. Free. When you need a copy, login and have them sent to your nearest Target, CVS, or Walgreens. So easy.  If you decide you want to snazz it up a bit, have them make you a photo book.  Save yourself the hassle of sorting through piles of photos trying to find the right photo album and the right pictures.  Let them do that for you.  So simple.  Did I mention they have beautiful photo cards for every occasion, but especially for the holiday season? Did I mention they are 20% off right now?  Minimum quantity order is 12.  They have some as low as 32 cents per card.  Not Bad, my friends, not bad at all.

Here are a few of my favs.  Though I loved so, so many, I have narrowed it down to thirteen! Ha, thirteen, that doesn't seem too narrow right?  But I narrowed it down from 800 to 13.  Yeah, big difference. Well good luck, I hope you're up for the challenge.

First, I noticed that I was definitely drawn to certain themes.  Mostly trees & peace & snowflakes.  Great themes thought, right?

Let's start with trees.

1 - Simply Cute.

2 - I love the tree in this one.

3 - I love this tree too!

Peace & Joy Time

4 - What a beautiful font and this one!

5 - This is classic.

6 - I love the font on this one...but it reminds me of a pic of the hubby and his male family would look great on here....Old school, but so cool!

7 - LOVE the fonts...and the little birdie on the top! (and the sisters pic too!)


8 - The snowflakes are too cute! 

9 - There are many things about this one that I like...the red and white contrast, the snowflakes, and the Polaroid photo! Retro!
10 -  I am sure you can guess why I choose this one.  The font. The snowflakes. Love it.

11 - This is my style too.  Modern, geometric background pattern, the square shape, and the inner dotted border.

12 - This is beautiful.  Not only is the picture sweet, but the fonts, the wreath, the colors. Sigh.

13 -  I love this song...It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.  Great fonts, nice borders.

That wraps it up for me.  Don't be afraid to comment.  I need your help.  I am desperately indecisive.  Too many choices, too overwhelming.  I've narrowed it down to 13, help me narrow it down some more.   Oh, and while you at it, check out some cards for yourself here.  You'll have a hard time narrowing it down for yourself!

Start your holiday with a smile, then let Shutterfly help you share it with someone else!

P.S. For those of you who blog too and would like a chance to earn free cards from Shutterfly, go here.

Keep posted,

the rave

Friday, November 19, 2010

Always Inspired

For those of you out there who have fathers, and even those who don't, I just want to share a bit of gloating joy with you this morning.

My Dad Rocks!

Yes, I am bragging, boasting, being prideful, whatever.  My peacock tail-feathers are in full display for all to see today; and boy, they are beautiful!

If you haven't seen my status on facebook, then you may not understand that I am not boasting about myself; maybe i am a little since I have the coolest dad ever!

CLICK HERE to read the full story

So my dad makes pens.  Kind of lame-o right?  WRONG! (If anyone agreed with pen-making being lame-o, shame on you!)  His pens are probably the coolest out there.  They are made of various materials ranging from exotic woods to beautifully colored, psychedelic  acrylics.  Some of the materials are even made from natural materials like deer antlers or snake skin or even coffee beans!  Yes, it even smells like the coffee!  The perfect way to start any morning, sniffing a hand made coffee bean writing instrument.  I'll take 3 of those please, with extra whip!

He's been showcasing his fine talent at the Chattanooga Market and a couple other venues in that area.  While visiting Georgia this summer I was lucky enough to tag along for a couple of hours and help him out.  Don't worry I didn't get my hands near that lathe, I am sure that would have been hell-fire and brimstones for anyone within a 10 feet radius.  However I did lend a hand in drawing in the eager customers.  A little bias never hurt anyone right?  I mean, who wouldn't want to buy a hand crafted, exquisite writing tool made by the greatest artisan in the Tri-state area?  I would. Wouldn't you? No pressure, but if you walk away empty handed sir, I will cry on the spot.  Oh? You'll buy two?  How kind of you!

Catch my drift?  I think he sold a lot of pens that day.  Due solely to his marvelous craftsmanship, I'm sure.

Oh yes, my father is awesome and incredibly talented, though he would never admit it due to his extremely humble nature.

Because he is so lowly in spirit and unknowing of his own talents, I feel it is my duty as his eldest daughter to bring to light what has so long been kept in the dark.  I am honored (and slightly embarrassed) to show you my father's debut into the world of acting.  Yes, he is a dramatist at heart, though he would never say it's true.  For your viewing pleasure.... :)

If that's not impressive enough, here's a second take....

Yes, my friends, I am always inspired.

Keep Posted,

the rave

Monday, November 8, 2010

You May Shed A Tear

I don't cry.  Ever. Mostly ever.

Hear me out.  I do have emotions and I do show them daily.  I just don't cry.

Though there have been few times.  (a+b) When my Papaw and dog Frannie passed I squalled like a baby (see pic below for demonstration). And (c) on occasion, when I watch a ultra cheesy movie/tv show/home video I might tear up or battle the quintessential "lump in the throat".

Case in point: Yesterday, I watched this elopement video on my go-to blog (Design*Sponge) and was taken back into time for a brief moment to my own wedding day.  No, I didn't elope. Rather, it was a large wedding.  Yes, I would love to marry Dustin over and over again.

If you cry easily, I am sure you will cry over this.  If you don't cry much, you will probably develop circumstantial allergies and shed a "watery eye" tear or maybe two. I did.  I am not ashamed.  I wish I cried more, I think it's healthy.

**Side Note:  If I don't cry at your wedding, the birth of your children or you funeral please don't be offended.  My heart feels deeply in all moments of life; just not with tears...usually (see above for exceptions).  I may dance, smile very big and goofily, or develop a very deep wrinkle between my eyebrows from all of the muscle tension it takes me to hold back my tears.  Of this I am convinced.  I love you and care for you all the same, tears or sans tears. :)

Now for the video....this is great...I wish I had a video like this of my wedding day.

we said vows. from Jeremy on Vimeo.

Aw, now wasn't that sweet?  Any tears?

After watching this video I become kind of  obsessed with wedding videos.  Since I couldn't track down my own, I decided to make my own video from some clips I had taken over the course of this last year.  Since I have a new iMac :) I have the iMovie program and therefore the capability to create my own video montages.  Which I did and am about to show you.

This is my first ever experience with this program.  I think it turned out pretty well and am kind of eager to dig up some other videos of mine and play around some more.

Second, these video pieces are of my Philly Family/Community during the Summer and insane Winter from 2009.  It's no sentimental wedding experience, but sentimental to me just the same.  I love these guys a whole lot.  I think you'll understand why after watching this video. is pretty grainy.  I shot all of this on my camera.  It's just not a good quality resolution.  I think you will still get the point! (Also you can click on the video and watch it on YouTube for the full screen. For some reason it's not fitting in my blog space).


Keep Posted!

the rave

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Avett Daddy

For those of you who love the Avett Brothers (that should be everyone!)  I am hear to say that the apples don't fall far from the tree.

Watch this video : Murder in the City

Dustin and I have been very privileged to get to know some extremely musically talented people since living in PA.  This is no joke.

At our church, there is a man who is a complete genius on the harmonica.  That's right, he plays the harmonica at our church.  At our 120 year old gigantic stone church that also houses a very huge organ and is played every Sunday too.  Yes, our church is eclectic.  We love it. Period.

Check out this Harp Jam at Bob's house: INSANE!

Back to music.  So Bob Beach is that man's name.  He's played with many different artists (including the Avett Brothers) and hosts monthly concerts at his home for traveling artists.  Which brings me to my point of writing this blog.

Last night Dustin and I walked the two blocks to the Beach House to satisfy our curiosity about these monthly house concerts and to listen to some good southern music by Jim Avett.  Yes the Avett Brothers daddy.  Like I said, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

It's true that the Avett Brothers are a genre of their own, bluegrass punk, if you will.  Their patriarch is more of a Hank Williams, Bob Dylan feel, a great sound that takes you back in time and back home, no matter where you're from.

His newer album, Tribes, is great from what I've heard of it, and he also has another album, Jim Avett and Family, that is packed full of old southern gospel hymns with tracks including his sons and daughter.  Definitely a blast from the past reminding me of Sunday morning church in Chickamauga, Georgia. One of my favorites is Down by the Riverside (Ain't Gonna Study War No More)...check it out on iTunes.

P.S. The next house concert is after Thanksgiving featuring Hoots and Hellmouth.  Don't let their name scare you.  They are incredible: Philadelphia-based they play a new style of American music for those old souls that resonate with the acoustic guitar, bass, and mandolin (like me!).

P.S.S.  I will be posting about them very soon.  I can't take all of this excitement!  If you are in the Philly area after Turkey Day, let me know we can experience great music together!

Keep Posted!

the rave

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Meet Sasquatch

For all of you Sasquatch lovers out there....don't be too disappointed.

I haven't caught a sneaky glimpse at the beastly wonder (yet!).

Dustin and I have just taken our appreciation of the animal, no, man,! to a new level.

We have christened the newest addition to our family....


Yes, we have joined the dark side. 

We still own Toshi, he just has a new and improved (prettier, faster, smarter, etc) sibling.  Don't be jealous Tosh, we still love you too.

However, Sasquatch is everything we imagined he would be, though nothing that his name might suggest.

Do you see any similarities?

I think not.

We're so proud of our brain-child...tear, sniffle, sniffle.....

They do grow up so fast.

Keep Posted,

the rave

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Falling for Fall

Gourds Galore
I do not take Fall lightly.

There is something about Autumn that tends to take all of my stresses and frustrations and, moment by moment, relieve me of them.  A whiff of cool, fresh air followed by a tingling chill thats runs up the spine from the warmth of the sun relieves, even for a few moments, the weights of the world I let myself carry.  If I were forced to oscillate between intense summer heat and frigid winter cold I would be an emotional, bi-polar wreckage;  bouncing between the go-go-go stress of summer activities and the depressing "I'm ready for it to not be cold" stress of the winter.  I am so thankful for the season of life that allows me to sleep well at night with no heating or cooling, maybe just a cracked window letting Mother Nature lull me to rested-ness with her gentle whispers and perfect lullabies; to snuggle up underneath the perfect amount of sheets and quilts and be totally and utterly at rest.  Sigh.

My heart rejoices when the leaves of trees begin ever-so-slightly to resemble the dancing flames of campfires that have been and foreshadow those that are sure to come.  A repressed spirit emerges from within me that cries out to those I dare not forget....Apple Cider. Peanut Brittle. Pumpkin Pie. Peanut Butter Fudge.  My long time friends gather unfathomable strength upon the changing of the seasons and force themselves into fruition through the means of my feeble hands.  I am but a lowly vessel; sacrificing alloted grocery dollars to bring about the reign of the all things festive.  Maple Pumpkin Cheescake, you are queen.
Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake...Great Success!

Linvilla...a small portion of 300 acres
Aside from my complete servitude to all things dessert, I had the most incredible weekend.  For those of you who are not from the Philly-Metro area, I am going to indulge you in a not-so-secret place that produces many a variety of fruits, flowers and veggies.  For me, this is home-away-from-home.  A farm, an orchard to be exact.  Linvilla Orchards.  This is what city folk do to get their country kicks.  Throughout the year Linvilla capitalizes on the ever growing market of people who want fresh, wholesome, organic food and who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty to get it.  Literally.  Many people in this northern area don't have the means to farm or space to raise their own produce, so Linvilla allows people to come and "pick-your-own" or purchase from their Farm Market.  Their Market is well stocked with every kind of jam and preserve, honey and syrup, chow-chow and salsa, pie and pastry....everything you could imagine. During the spring/summer months they boast of a well stocked lake that people are allowed to spend the entire day fishing for free....if you catch and keep it's 3.99/lb.  No license required.  Come December, you can chop down and drag home your very own Christmas Tree!

Man of Many Talents
This time of the year their festival is centered guessed it...pumpkins!  Dustin and myself along with some friends, Erin, Kelly, Stephen, Josh, and Andy, embarked on an adventure to pick our own apples and find the perfect carving pumpkin.  After sifting through trees brimming with Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Red Delicious, Fuji, Gala, Staymen Winesap, Honey Crisp, Granny Smith and Pink Ladies, we made our way to Pumpkin Land.  With gourds in sight, we neared the prize only to suddenly be distracted by an entrancing aroma wafting over from the other side of the Farm Market.  Whatever could it be?  I must admit I do tear up at the remembrance of this day.  JalapeƱo Poppers.  Potato Chip Rings.  Apple Fritters. FUNNEL CAKES!  Deep Fried Heaven!  I can't describe how hungry I instantly became.  Oh the joys of Fall.  We indulged and topped our Potato Chip Ring with Ooey-Gooey Cheese Sauce.  We devoured every last crumb. And then felt sick.  It was inevitable.
Behold....the Potato Chip Ring
Chomping down on a few juicy Golden Delicious apples :)
Night fell and we found the pumpkin(s) of our dreams and headed home; heads held high, eye lids barely held open.  It was only 7:30 PM.  Granted, I go to bed early, but not that early.  So we made a pit stop at Pinocchio's and selected a few fine, festive ales and headed home.  This Sunday was mine and Dustin's turn to host our Family Festival of Foods (where we get together, eat, share our hearts, seek God, and eat again...another blog for another day!) so we needed our rest in order to prepare and were dropped off at our doorstep.  Remaining in the front yard, backs to the earth, faces to the sky, we tried to take in the glory of a beautiful Fall evening alongside one another, hot mug of apple cider in hand.

Take me seriously when I say I love Fall.

Keep Posted!

the rave

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Baby Hud + Big Boy Miles

My youngest sister is having a baby soon and I definitely wanted to make her sweet baby boy something. Boys are so much harder to make things for than girls.  They are tons of girl-y things to make but no so much for the boys.  I bought a cute book of baby things by Lotta Jansdotter...very cool girl...and it has so many cute boy/girl things to make.  I chose this giraffe rattle a) because it's NOT clothing (baby's get so much of that) and b) it's fairly simple to make.  I picked out a grey fabric from Ikea...also neutral and fairly modern...and when I cut out the two pieces the one side (first picture) came out with the pattern and the back side was totally solid grey.  For me, that wouldn't do.  Fortunately it gave me the chance to get ultra crafty and test out my hand embroidery skills...i love doing that.  I definitely like the embroidery side the best.

Embroidered Side of Rattle

Upclose View of Stitching : Hudson (his name)

Another fun thing that I love to do....t-shirt transfers!  It's a great way to make plain ol' onesie's really fun!

What could be funnier than this?...

Quote: "I pity the foo...who changes this diaper"

Also, one of my sweet nephews, Miles had his 2nd birthday in August.  What do you get a two year old? Toys? Clothes? No! A hand made Monster Buddy of course!  

Again, this is from the same book as the Giraffe Rattle.  Props to Lotta.  This is so easy to make, really.  It's so funny to look at that mischievous face.  
Bottom line...Miles hated him.  So typical.  His older brother, Ethan, loves Monster Buddy.  He always comes through for his Aunt Raven.  He makes my heart smile.  Every. Time.

P.S. His arms and feet velcro! What's not to love?
P.S.S.  I made him out of a bed sheet I bought at a goodwill for $1 (i did wash it first!)

Here are all of my precious nephews:

Baby Hudson....Due November

Miles....cute, cute, cute!

Ethan.....the coolest 2nd grader I know

Byron....aka Baby B....ruff & tumble!  He knows no pain!

Brennan....hilarious! He's so smart and so clever.  His age is deceiving of his ability to understand the world around him.

Jackson.... Two words. Heart. Breaker.

Keep Posted!

the rave