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Holiday Handmade {2010} January 24, 2011

Filed under: crafty — ravennagirls @ 11:02 pm
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Oh man. Here it is almost February (!!), and we still haven’t had a chance to share with you some of the fun handmade gifts we gave for Christmas this year. We’ve been doing so much looking forward, which has been very productive for us so far in 2011, but lets take an evening to look back.

We always try to make and give a variety of handmade gifts that we hop the recipients will find useful, fun, and beautiful. 2010 was no exception. Both of us made lists throughout the fall trying to brainstorm what people would really love. So without further adieu, we’ll share a few of these with you.

Vintage Fabric Sailor’s Knot Bracelet

I followed this etsy tutorial, but before winding the cord I sewed vintage plaid fabric around 1/3 of the length to give a little bit of whimsy and interest.

Painted Enamel Fountain Glasses

By using a baked-on hard enamel paint on top of whimsical glasses found at TJ Maxx, D was able to create a set for a family of 4 to enjoy next summer.

Waterproof Beach Bags

I found and modified this pattern, using waterproof vinyl outdoor fabric both inside and out, to make waterproof beach storage bags. One for brother, one for sister. Heavy duty zippers for the kiddos.

Sparkly beach wreath

Perfect for the front door of a beach cottage to give it that holiday glitz (although it could really be for any season). Shells were collected on Washington beaches throughout the year, then glittered with a combination of fine Martha glitters.

Holiday Headbands

D made a batch of these wool felt holly headbands for her youth group girls so they could all be as festive as her, the Christmas Captain. The holly berries were made easier with this fun Clover Needle felting template we found at our local fabric store.

Tea Towel Apron

An easy pattern, I modified a pre-sewn turquoise tea towel with some Amy Butler fabric and chocolate grosgrain ribbon. Then, I embroidered the initials of some very special twinsies in the pockets to keep them near to mom’s heart while she’s baking cookies.

Holiday Yarn Wreath

Last but not least, a very festive version of our yarn wreaths, this one with jingle bells and a big felt Christmas bow. Wrapped up like a present!

There were more that we didn’t get photos of (yeah, we go overboard). But hopefully we can get some shots and share those throughout the year.

Hope everyone is recovering from the holiday crafting binge nicely. Anyone have any fun projects to share? We can’t WAIT to get started on next year where we have goals to make even more gifts by hand!


tags January 10, 2011

Filed under: crafty — ravennagirls @ 5:33 pm
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What do you do with your Christmas cards after the holiday is over?
Around here, unless there is some cutey kid [like this one I took at a twinsie photoshoot…] on the card…we really don’t save them after the season.

But let’s be serious, we don’t recycle them straight away either.
instead, we make gift tags for the next season out of them…

Get out your scissors, punches, and your circle cutters and go to town…

It’s creative and green and easy! 

If you do this now…they will be all ready to get packaged away with your wrapping paper, and ready in December. 

These tags were ones we used this year on some of our gifts…

 Perfect post-Christmas crafting activity….



Christmas from coast to coast January 6, 2011

Filed under: christmas — ravennagirls @ 5:47 pm
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Since we took the holidays off from blogland (mostly), and D has shared her experiences from the North Pole, I’m going to take a day to savor and share with you Christmas here in Washington.


Out the window Christmas Morning

My family celebrates both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, bookended with cozy family meals on both ends. In between, we open gifts, watch movies, play games, and enjoy the scenery. A festive time for sure.

This year for Christmas Eve feasting we wanted to keep things simple: tomato soup and grilled cheese, done up fancy for the holiday. I made this panini and it was delicious, although I was too liberal with the artichoke spread, I’d suggest keeping it light.  Also, i swapped out radicchio for arugula, and that was just fine. I also made a brussels sprouts salad as a side, with apple and a lemon vinagrette.


Prosciutto, Arugula, Artichoke Panini

Fresh brussel sprout salad

For Christmas morning breakfast, my mom whipped up a smoked salmon, dungeness crab, and dill frittata, similar to this recipe. DEEEEELISH!

Simple satisfying frittata

Every year my aunt decorates the house with a theme of decorations. Since she and my grandmother live on a beach, this year’s theme was undersea with holiday sparkle. From glittered clam shells, to felt fishies, to ribbon jellyfish, the decorations were amazing, beautiful, and cohesive. The house was a-glitter with turquoise, copper, and white.

Hand sewn and beaded felt fish

Coppery Jellyfish


Seascape mantle

Glassy tablescape

So many wonderful detals!

And to make it even more impressive, she hand-made all the the ornaments! To fill out the scheme, she found a wicker clamshell at the thrift store, spray painted copper, and added a pearl for extra whimsy!

Christmas Pearl!

Underwater holidays

We finished the holiday by meeting up with the rest of the family, and I’m sad I didn’t get any good pictures of Christmas Day itself 😦 You’ll have to imagine the festivities!


Peace on Christmas morning

Hope all had a very wonderful holiday and a happy happy new year. Any fun holiday 2010 stories to share?

If you want a trip down memory lane, photos of Christmas 2009 here and here.


d’s holiday in the land of ….

Filed under: christmas — ravennagirls @ 1:30 pm
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milk and honey.

rice balls and snow.

What a trip.  It’s no secret I went to Jersey for Christmas {see Christmas 09 here with striking similarities}. 

It always seems that Christmas for me comes twice.  Once at home in Seattle, and then again in NJ.   While my early December weeks were filled to the brim with friends, late night crafting with B, lots of advent church services, twinkling lights, wearing my Christmas outfits, etc… My Christmas week brought something very very different.  Yes, family, obviously! Oh, and obviously rice balls and stuffed shells and a very stuffed me. {insert, resolution one for 2011, lose December I-ate-everything-in-sight weight!}….

But it also brought a whole lot of snow!  A true Nor’easter blizzard! 

So… first presents and Santa from 2010….I gave some pretty fun things this year.  At least, I hope my recipients felt that way.  I had a good time making them at least… and watching people open their presents {my favorite!} …

and church…

ok, i lie, this picture is from an advent benefit concert B and I attended at this amazing church in downtown Seattle right before I left town.  But it’s crazy pretty, right?

and then friends and family and enough rice balls consumed to feed many many more.

and then snow snow snow snow.

The blizzard was perfect for a warm fire, more Christmas movies, playing this new board game my sister got me, chatting with an old friend who is luckily my parents neighbor and could walk down the block to see me, and plowing.

Yes — plowing.

The snow had been coming down most of Sunday afternoon.  By darkness, we took the first pass down the cul-de-sac.  Then I passengered along in the truck as my dad plowed some businesses all around town. 

{full speed action shot!}

{out the truck window as we plow by my parents' house}

Its so quiet in the dark, thick snow.  Nothing to be heard, but my dad’s sirius radio stations, that is….

{snow fallin'}

{garden santa, buried!}

After that first night, the next day was full of shoveling and more plowing.  Oh and snowball fights.

It was an insane amount of snow, 25 ” at the house, to be exact.  That plus the fierce wind made for some deep drifts to shovel.  I should have brought my snow pants!

{view from my side of the truck}

This is my dad, plow master.  This is him in  his element of pure glory, as trapped residents in my parents’ beach-town neighborhood are chanting his name and pretty much throwing a block party in his honor. 


The coastal towns, Ocean Grove included, got about 3 feet of the white-and-fluffy stuff.  And, due to some bureaucratic nightmare, no plows came to their rescue.  {all I kept thinking was  – my street in Seattle will never see a plow according to the City’s snow maps of plow-worthy streets!}

So after three days of ant-like pathways being the only way out of the house… residents banded together and shoveled out to a main road, getting their cars off the street and a small path for my dad to come in.

 Hence the chanting for Mr. Plow Master.  Cabin fever had overcome the neighborhood….

{the doggie neighbor says, "where did the grass go??"}

After we were done and my dad was crowned King, we headed for the beach.

I had never seen a beach all covered in snow.  I usually go there in the summer, after all!   The snow fell, then the wind blew, which resulted in sand covering the snow in some places.  You would never know it was there unless you stepped in it, like I did… and sank. 

{d’s footsteps}

Too pretty for words…



mmm cookies! December 21, 2010

Filed under: christmas — ravennagirls @ 4:42 pm
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Are you into the Christmas baking mode yet?

I have been in the Christmas eating mode since Thanksgiving… but this weekend cookies were pretty much my focus.

To begin, you can see and get recipes for some delicious Christmas cookies B and I made last year in this post.

This year, we were intrigued by the Martha Stewart December issue.  It featured one basic dough and then all kinds of cookies you could make from that simple dough!  It certainly has been handy to have around this season… you just whip up a new type of cookie for different events.

To start:

Make this Basic Vanilla Dough

{Slight dough variations include spice, chocolate, and citrus.}

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder (omit if making thumbprints, ball cookies, or spritz cookies)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

    Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and beat until combined.
    Then wrap the dough and place in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
    On Sunday, I organized my small group’s Christmas party around cookies.  Decorating them mostly…. but eating too.  I wanted to bring a little sugar to get us going…. {we had a whole lotta cookies to decorate!}
    So I rolled balls of this basic vanilla dough that were about 1 1/4″ in diameter.  I then baked them at 350 degrees for 11 minutes.  After baking, let the cookies completely cool.
    Then, with B’s excellent skills at chocolate melting… we dunked each cookie in a pot of melted chocolate.  I crushed up some candies to put on the top.  Once finished, place the cookies in the fridge so the chocolate can harden.
    and … eat cookies!
    My small group, for the record, is full of the most creative, sweet, funny, amazing 13 year olds you could ever meet.  They took cookie decorating to a whole new level.  For example, who says you just should have the basic frosting colors?  No way!  They mixed up some coral, turquoise, and lime green.  And, who says you should just decorate one cookie at a time?  Instead, you could make a cookie sculpture complete with a four inch pile of cookie that you carve away at.
    All this while sticking firm to our beliefs that there is no such thing as too many sprinkles.

    glittered December 18, 2010

    Filed under: christmas,crafty,Uncategorized — ravennagirls @ 11:28 pm
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    I’ve had a christmas craft on my mind for awhile now. I think it came from Martha originally, but I’m not 100% sure. In any case, I finally got around to these sparkly pillars for my Womens’ Christmas Dessert Table, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results!

    To start, I’ve been hoarding away various sized vintage fluted tart tins like these ones from sugarpush.

    I ended up with two sizes, approx 4″ and 2.5″ which were a nice size. Much larger than this and you start sucking up a lot of glitter, and they fit a votive or tealight nicely.

    Then, matching in pairs, I used Elmer’s Ultimate Glue to turn these into fluted pillars. This glue takes about 4 hours to cure, and you need to use in small quantities since it expands as it cures,  but its really great. Once it hard cured, its rock solid.

    Glued solid and ready for glitter!

    Two sizes side by side

    So then, pull out your Martha glitter and go to town! I used Tacky Glue as the glitter adhesive after trying plain Elmer’s and having it run right off the metal surface. Using a foam brush, I spread the glue evenly, and worked from one side to the other of the holder with the glitter. Apply glue, pour on glitter evenly, tap off onto a clean sheet of paper, return glitter to resevoir, repeat.

    I started with the dish on one side, then moved to the outside flutes, letting dry, and the flip for the final coat

    My original intention was to have an ombre effect of glitter colors, but this would require mixing up 4-5 custom colors to create a smooth fade. Instead, I decided to take 3 colors from the Martha glitter pack and make 2 rich colors for the top and the bottom. I use Florentine Gold for the tops, Bronze for the bottoms, and mixed in the darker color Brownstone to create more depth. The Bronze was just a bit too coppery for me without it.

    I made a total of four of these (two of each size) and used about an ounce of glitter in the process. After they dried, just popped in a white candle and observe the twinkle of light.


    Two of my favorite words: Christmas and Dessert December 16, 2010

    Filed under: christmas — ravennagirls @ 12:46 am
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    Its an annual tradition at our church and for our friends…  2009 here…

    And hands down what makes my holiday.

    This year we had the extra special privilege of going on a Wednesday night, when our church’s senior girls choir performs.  Several of my small group girls are in Bel Canto, and they were SO excited we were coming to see them at their first Bel Canto Christmas dessert performance!

    B and I both decorated tables this year.  I took a few pictures, but I would like to make a public shout out to our friend Jo who did a great job photo-documenting this for us.  Sometimes its just hard to talk to all the different friends we have invited, introduce people, see all the other tables, make sure all our candles are lit, AND take pictures of our tables.  So thank you : )

    B’s table was a mixture of crisp greens, metallic neutrals, with a vintage tin container full of home grown paperwhites as the centerpiece. Around the flowers were laser cut felt placemats, christmas jars (inspired by Tortoise and the Hare), filled with sugar “snow” and glittered creatures, along with recycled glass votives, and glittered fluted pillars. Simple and clean, but still with the element of nature and whimsy.


    B's table from above


    Winter Creature Vignettes

    Sparkly candle pillars


    D’s table was inspired by some Scandinavian collector plates we found at an estate sale in the summer.  Each was different, but all were white and shades of dark blues.    Some had snowy scenes on them and others had images of biblical characters in the Christmas story.  Another woman came up to me at the dessert and asked me where I had ever found them… she has them too, but told me they were all limited edition in the 70s when she got them…  Her and I then bonded over Scandinavian dishware.  🙂

    place setting....

    The tablecloth was navy, but then I put hand cut snowflakes all over the top in white.  Just plain paper, three different shapes and many sizes.  In the center ran an old Ikea runner, white with red snowflakes.  I used my white candelabra B got me for my birthday a few years ago and loaded it with red candles.  I also made a pedestal/stand out of platter and a candlestick from the Goodwill that I then glittered.  On the pedestal was a glass bowl of ornaments with a branch stuck in it.  The branch featured a few vintage blue and red ornaments on it (a few were my grandma’s and the rest we have found to match..) . 

    from above


    my tabletop tree

    warm candle glow

    I then used some candleholders we already had for large and small light throughout.  It is amazing how darling a small candle in a jar can be!  That mixed with my fav Dept 56 birch trees, a few ornaments around from target, and two new additions to my Christmas collection 2010.  Winter birds!  I got a larger one over the summer (he and I may have similar hats…) and B got me a little one for advent at World Market.

    sparkly reindeer and winter birds!

    Wintery sparkly snowy wonderland!

    Thanks all who attended, we certainly love it!

    Now off to scheme for 2011!!