the ravenna girls

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Danger November 24, 2010

Filed under: crafty,design,diy — ravennagirls @ 11:36 pm
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Today I discovered a wonderful but very, very dangerous blog.

Its called Prudent Baby and it contains a ton of free craft tutorials, most all of which are VERY cute. You can sort by type of craft, and so far I’ve really only been through sewing and my holiday to-do list is overflowing (especially for those bambinas on the block!).

Some of my faves (don’t worry, I’m not giving anything away!):

Girls' Capelet

Embroidered Clock

Watercolor silhouettes

Sleep Shorts

Bow headband

Check it out, you won’t be disappointed. If anything, you’ll be like me and add a trillion new fun gift ideas to your list.

(psst: for those of you with infants, she has a whole section on things to do with leftover baby food jars)


a little diy patio table September 13, 2010

Filed under: diy — ravennagirls @ 1:11 pm
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There is nothing better then enjoying your new patio and dahlias in full bloom.

Sitting outside and grilling.

We knew after the big patio installation we would want a table to sit and eat at outside. I mean, what is a patio without a table??

We searched for things that were a-nice looking (and found a few things…) and b-were in out budget (where the nice looking things were not located).

Back in the winter, Smith and Hawken was going out of business.  They were having massive sales and selling everything in their stores.  We picked up a few wooden store shelves for 5 bucks.  They were pretty, but could have used a good sanding.  We figured they would be good for something down the road….

Then, in the late spring, we pilgrimaged to IKEA.  For what I don’t remember.   I think I might have had a flight to NJ ..and since IKEA is so close to the airport….

Anyway, while there we stumbled across something in the as-is section.  It was a metal table bottom.  Perfect!  It had 8 holes on the top for your tabletop to screw into…. exactly like this one (retailing OVER $100 bucks)…


Best of all, it was only 25 bucks!

And then the patio table was born.


Here are the two sections as we were sanding them.  We sanded and then applied 3 coats of a polyurethane to seal the wood…


Then  we screwed two 2 x 4s to the bottom of the sections so that they would become one long tabletop.  Then we screwed the 2 x 4s through the holes in the IKEA base.

This is what we got….

For only 30 bucks …

+ a few screws + two pieces of a 2×4 (which we already had)…

And now, dining al fresco.


Wedding Wreath August 30, 2010

Filed under: celebrations,crafty,diy,friends and family,Uncategorized — ravennagirls @ 12:37 pm
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Last weekend there was a big celebration. Our great friends Jackie and Dave got married, and it was a beautiful day, ceremony, and party.

Mr. and Mrs. Dave and Jackie Wilson!

Their wedding was at a farm in Snohomish, WA, and was full of wonderful DIY touches. Vintage fabric napkin rings (seen below), recipe cards at the table, and upcycled tree ring cake stands made the day truly picturesque. We hope that even though the wedding is over, our crafting nights can continue!

Isn't the barn pretty??

For the front door of the barn, Jackie asked me to reprise last winter’s felt ruffle wreath in a summer version. We used upcycled fabric (bed sheets) acquired at thrift shops. I left the edges unfinished to give a softer, frayed look. I tried a couple different attachment methods (i previously used straight pins into foam for the felt wreaths), but because of the flimsiness of the fabric, i settled on hand sewing each petal in place.  Long story short, I loved making this wreath but I won’t be selling them on etsy 😉

 It looked terrific on the door next to the other warm tones, and i was so glad to be able to contribute to their special day.

Bonus Pic! The twinsies at the wedding.


Bring a Bottle August 29, 2010

Filed under: celebrations,crafty,diy — ravennagirls @ 4:48 pm
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Since I bought a sewing machine this year and have taken up some basic sewing projects, its been great for me that Design*Sponge has been featuring some simple sewing tutorials this spring and summer. One of the projects I spotted over there right before Mothers Day was great, because it gave me the opportunity to make some simple little gifts for the wonderful women in my life.

I also made a few wraps for a Bridal Shower I attended in June. It was a holiday themed shower, and I drew New Years Eve, so i made a couple of festive wraps for Champagne bottles that the couple can use on New Years and other holidays special to them. For this one, I attached a strip of velcro (fuzzy) side, and made some fabric numbers that can be interchanged for years or birthdays. I used iron-on velcro to make the little numbers.

If you have time to whip up a few of these to keep in storage, you can spruce up bottles of wine or juice for housewarming parties, showers, picnics, etc. They’re easy, customizable, and stop drips from hitting your table cloth.



Backyard Part Four: Laying Pavers July 14, 2010

Filed under: diy,house before and afters — ravennagirls @ 8:47 pm
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Finally for the installment to show it all come together! We left off here  with our filled, compacted, and prepped patio base. The purpose of the compacted gravel is to give a nice, solid base so that (hopefully) we won’t see any settling or sinking in the near future. The layer of sand on top is thinner and its real purpose is to give a softer surface for each individual paver to “set”, and to level out on a more local level. So, we spread the sand evenly with the knowledge that we might be moving it around a little as we went.

We chose simple 8″x16″x2″ rectangular poured concrete pavers from Home Depot. Mainly, and I’ll be honest, because this was outright the cheapest option we could find. We’re coming to the end of our “Year 1” budget and looking to do this simply. If you can’t afford to do something REALLY nicely (stamped concrete, flagstone, etc), you might as well go the opposite end of the spectrum and save up for when you can do it. Back in our backyard design post we showed that we were imagining a basketweave pattern, and thats what we ended up sticking with. It gives a nice pattern, but not too crazy. Plus, the best bonus is no cutting of pavers!

Throughout the weekend we  stocked up on pavers a few car-loads at a time (80-90 is about how many fit in the back of either of our cars); we needed 272 total. Then, the best most grueling part of the whole weekend was carrying these from the driveway, up a level of uneven concrete stairs, to the backyard.

And then: began laying. We did the first long row, and the first short row, in order to make sure we had a nice square edge, and worked inward from there.

The three most crucial tools for us during this project were a short level (this we could level each individual paver but also across seams), leather gloves for handling pavers, and a rubber mallet to gently tap each piece to level. Installing the pavers actually went relatively quickly, it took about 6 hours total, but on a sunny summer day it was nice to be out in the back yard about that long.

One suggestion that came from D’s dad was to avoid the plastic and aluminum edgers that hardware stores sell to DIY Patio Installers such as ourselves. These cost about $8 for each 6′ length, which would have ending up costing us about $75. Plus, these have to go in first which is restricting and they don’t last forever. Instead, he suggested we buy a cheap back of quikrete and pour into a trench on all sides. This creates a concrete curb of sorts, but you can leave it low enough so that you can put soil and grass over top. Its a little hard to see in the photo below (the dark gray is concrete and light gray beyond is excess sand), but it was super easy and quick (we left it a little dry and just placed in with our hands instead of truly doing a concrete “pour”. And I have to say, so far its pretty terrific. The edges of the patio are locked in place, nothing is moving, and it cost. . . $3. SWEET DEAL.


Here are all the pavers in place for the first time! While the level of soil is at or actually above the level of pavers on two sides, you can see here that the grade drops away from the pavers on the west side of the patio. We left the board in as a sort of form work while the concrete cured, and then swept soil overtop and planted grass seed so now it looks like its inset all around.

The last step is to sweep playground sand in the cracks to keep everything more or less locked in place. We are thinking that eventually we will install some polymer modified sand, which creates a rubbery sandy seal that won’t wash out, but its a meticulous process and we just haven’t had time. So, for now, just plain sand which does have a tendency to wash out in the drizzle so thats a little bit of a drag.

Woohoo! A completed patio. Its obviously not 100% perfect, but for the price and level of effort we are pretty – darn – thrilled with the result. There is some level difference between individual pavers, but it is overall level and sturdy and thats what we want!

Before we show you the dramatic before and after, this is the point where we need to pause a moment to give a HUGE cyber THANK YOU to everyone who has helped us out with ALL of our house projects in the form of labor, Home Depot/Lowe’s/Ace gift cards, and moral support.


– we really can’t thank you enough. All of your gifts have been so thoughtful and generous, its beyond words.

But now, we can just grill and drink and relax. Come on over any time!

So now for a fun game we like to call Before and After (ha! creative name, right?) From Jungle to Oasis. . .

. . . and hopefully NEVER back again! Now we can concentrate on the final bits of landscaping and finishing some projects on the house itself.


a secret trip, filled with crafty goodies to share.. April 14, 2010

Filed under: adventures,diy — ravennagirls @ 10:10 pm
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A few weekends ago now {seriously where does the time go???}  I took a little trip to New Jersey.   (remember my trips in Christmas and during beach going season?)

An awesome, longtime friend is getting married soon and has so kindly asked me to be a bridesmaid!   The weekend was the necessary pre-wedding festivities all rolled into one jam-packed celebratory time.  While I look back and think gosh, that was exhausting, it was also just really great.  It’s been far too long.. holidays, work, and obligations just always seems to get in the way when we both migrate back to NJ during the year.  We often squeeze in lunch, but it always leaves me wanting  just a bit more time to really catch up… more then just the basics of life.  So, while I totally am excited for Angie to marry someone great like Chris, I am also excited that this gives us more time to see each other this year!  It makes me miss the days of high school lunch and getting ice cream late at night and high school football games and summer days down the shore.

So now where was I.  ..  Oh, yeah, I went to NJ and there was a secret bachelorette and a secret bridal shower.  Now, before Angie thinks that I am using this post to publish pictures of her bachelorette….. let me just tell you, I’m not!  {sheesh, i mean my MOM reads this blog, people!}  … A big sigh of relief just was felt on the east coast…


{ps, do you ever laugh at your own jokes or is that just me?}

What I want to show you are some projects I worked on for the bride-to-be.  I secretly was crafting in the evenings and said gosh I cannot wait to blog about this!

First things first.. invitations.  I admit, I am pretty in love with making invitations these days.  All the inDesign I know and love, mixed with ample cutting and gluing.

Most of these invites came from an early idea amongst the bridesmaids to incorporate recipe cards into the shower.  We wanted the bride to have access to favorite dishes from family and friends… all handwritten out just for her.

That combined with my sketch of a dinner party and a trip to Paper Zone….

The recipe cards pull out from the inside flap.

Once at the shower, all the cards were placed in a recipe box made especially for  the bride – to – be by BullFrog Laserworks on etsy.

I am pretty in love with them.

And then, speaking of in love with and etsy shopping….

I had a pretty talented co-worker/friend/etsy shop owner/baby mama make this apron… (as modeled by the bride-to-be)

Oh, Amy Butler fabric, I love thee.  And the ruffles are pretty much my absolute favorite.  Thanks Jen!

And last, but certainly not least… I got my roving and needle.  Needlefelted birdies have become some of my favorite things to make lately.  These ones are bride and groom style. {kudos to b, the master veil sewer after i had a few failed attempts!} 

And critters that are guaranteed not to attack.

ha.  gosh, I am so funny lately!

Seriously, though, huge thanks goes out to the bride-to-be for including me in her very special-est of days!


add washing wool in hot water to my ever-growing hobbies… March 31, 2010

Filed under: crafty,diy — ravennagirls @ 3:33 pm
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It is true.

Ever since my slippers… and then when Feltique was given from Santa over the holidays….

I am obsessed with finding wool to wash.  Sometimes its wool yarn, but lately it’s 100% wool sweaters.

The possibilities are endless with all that felt.

One is this cutey flower brooch I just made as a lil Easter present…

The three layers on blue felt (former sweater) are sandwiched between a pin on the back and some wool roving I needle-felted into the center.

Mmm spring!