November 30, 2010

Gratis, For this I am So Thankful XXX

Here we are on this last day of November, and when the sun rises next, we enter the very last month of this year. A cusp of change on so many fronts in our little family, with birthday's and parties, and Holiday preparations. How can we be closing out another year already? The Craunlets are growing and learning at astounding paces, and I am every day amazed by the overwhelming details of their personalities and preferences. The magic of Christmas is full upon us, and we are all dreaming, and laughing, and reading...and starting to count down the days with hot cocoa and holiday tunes. 

This week--one filled with equal parts rest and fun--in this laughter-filled house, I am so so thankful for:

281. wishes, and winning. And for taking risks, never quitting, laughing, and a love that I hope lasts forever.
282. our restful indulgent Thanksgiving Holiday with a full house of family.
283. a hearty big meal, including the best Turkey ever, roasted brilliantly by the Dave.
284. a quiver that continues to offer up fun, and for the silliness of teaching the Craunlets how to throw arrows in the first place.
285. loving Cleveland relentlessly. And little treasures compiled for friends that have moved away, and are so dearly missed; a small and lovely pile of pieces of Cleveland.
286. a new lamp, and a house that is slowly but surely starting to look like it is ours.
287. increased and productive studio time. Having my work at-the-ready and all the time at my fingertips with my new ground floor studio space is a dream come true. Unbelievable, nearly.
288. planning Nate's birthday party, because you all know the crazy that we call celebrating around here. How can the babe be turning four?
289. the beginning of Advent. Tomorrow. And for the 24 little boxes, each of them housing a pair of chocolates, all ready and waiting in cue.
290. Christmas wish-lists and the wonderings and wantings of the Craunlets. So sweet. And all of the late-night present-planning while the Craunlets are sleeping.

November 25, 2010

On Shooting Arrows, and Celebrating Thanksgiving

Avoiding all of our practical and more necessary Thanksgiving preparations, the Craunlets and myself pilfered away many of yesterday's hours crafting up a quiver full of painted wooden arrows. Full and fabulously lovely tutorial, right here.
So, to properly ring in our Thanksgiving morning, we are having an arrow-throwing contest. As the rubber-tipped arrows would insist upon, naturally.
Happiest of Thanksgivings to you and yours.
May it be safe, and full of joy.

November 24, 2010

Gratis, For this I am So Thankful XXIX

Thanksgiving week. I am sort of stunned at how quickly it has arrived, and it has seemingly swallowed me up whole this year. Yet, I am very much looking forward to the next handful of days. Thanksgiving has always been one of my most treasured Holidays. I just love how it is focused on rest, on family, friends, and a terrific yummy feast. And most certainly, on giving thanks.

Rounding out another ten for the gratis list, this week as I reflect, I am ever thankful for:

271. Team Craun, and our current season as a family. It is so lively and full.  And rich with laughter, and learning, and all sorts of adventure.

272. The uttered request "let's rearrange" that has led to the upheaval of most of our rooms, and the chaos of clutter explosion. Moments before our family arrives for the Holiday. Nice timing, as ever.

273. A grown-up bed. A headboard, and two night stands actually. This seems so monumental. A sort of getting-old milestone, I guess. But, keeping it real -- it's understated and functional, and already adorned with Craunlet art. Because everything with them right now is "rainbows and unicorns".
274. Saying adios to the box springs. And the uber-good citizen and planet-friend that Dave naturally is. Can I just give a loud shout out to the awesomer half of us?! He salvaged all the fabric, and wood--meticulously--and then set the metal out for a scrapper truck -- perfectly cleaned. This guy just rocks with responsibility like that.
275. Crazy Autumn colors in our front yard. Like this stunning display by our fiercely wild barberry bush. Its glowing afire right now.
276. Sweets. The yummy baked ones, and the fabulous little Craunlet sweets too. And sweets with my sweets -- the very best start to a day, and holiday break.
277. For the generic and simple. And getting everything in order around the house. I love things all simple and clean. Like this morning's cup from our local coffee shop splurge. Bare white paperboard, so lovely soft on the hand and eyes.
278.  Family. Near and far, and well beyond the walls of our household. I am so thankful for my Sister, and Brothers, my Parents, Aunties, and Uncles, the legacies of my Grandparents. I am so thankful for these relationships, and also all of the grafted in family--our good friends that come alongside us in this journey.

279. Nate's big decision this week. He has been begging to have Jesus in his heart. And so we all sat down, read the Word, and then prayed together. It is so sweet. Both babes, now. I love our little family to pieces. And I couldn't imagine my life better differently.
280.  Provision. That there is always enough; that our needs are generously met, and that every day has new grace.

November 18, 2010

A Little Extra Quiet

Perfectly paired with today's chilly cloudy day, and a 30-minute earlier afternoon nap, I am enjoying a warm and frothy homemade chai tea latte, with a crunchy crispy gingersnap cookie.
So glad the little guy doesn't tell time just yet.

Enjoying the extra quiet, and practicing my surprised! look that will be necessary later to respond to the ever inquisitive where did all the gingersnaps go? questioning from the Craunlets.

November 17, 2010

Gratis, For this I am So Thankful XXVIII

I find myself this sunny quiet afternoon embraced by all the overwhelming good this week has afforded. I invite reflection, some sadness even, and am accompanied by a few fallen tears, bittersweet. Its a normal week, but with a more nuanced noticing.  So I purposefully made today, this hour, a place to pause and savor.  This week, on the heels of many exhausting battles, bears the fruit of much victory. 

Celebrating big and small, today I am ever thankful for:

261. Report cards, and very first parent-teacher conferences.
262. A full day of letterpress printing, and a subsequent army of snowmen for a friend's holiday cards.
263. Luxurious knitted new scarf for Nate. Thanks to the mad skills of Grandma C, and the endless repetition of a lovely pattern.
264. Because patterns are Belle's very favorite things right now. One can find them in every single crevice of our living space.
265. First Christmas presents bought. Again this year, for a little girl and a little boy we will likely never know or meet, beyond our hearts and prayers. Operation Christmas Child is such a treasure of a thing to kick off Christmas with the Craunlets.
266. New arrangements, including even the foyer.
267. And the studio. Which, despite the mounds of mess and clutter [as we are still very much in transition] that I love, love, love.
268. Leafy garland colored by Belle and Nate, hung in the wide entry to the dining room to remind us that Thanksgiving does indeed come before Christmas. Arranged, I might also add, in a pattern of course; Nate, Belle, Nate, Belle... I should further add, that this garland was made with the help of our fabulous current Craunlet-watcher, whom we love and appreciate beyond measure. Even if she might be looking--at this very moment--for a full time job, one with benefits. Which we do want for her also, but we will miss her incredibly when she goes.
269. The ever constant task of Craunlet letter-writing and card-making. I hope it never ceases.
270. Fast shoes. Everyone should have a pair, and along with them, the magical real belief that they do indeed make you super hero fast.

November 13, 2010

This New Day

The sun wakes up the day, and new promises unfold. The frost warms, and fades -- and the brilliant colors strewn across the front lawn command pause. Yesterday, forever put to rest. And all the new graces are ready and waiting; every new day an invitation to start again. After a week of repeat, repeat, repeat...Saturday arrives at last, and with a wide arm welcome.

November 12, 2010

Ready for a Week[END]

I am closing out the weekdays with a day in the studio. Printing! I cannot think of a sweeter close to the week. Me, and the letterpress; rocking out the day time hours together.

And then its a weekend full of house-dreaming, and the continued rearranging and remodel of our life spaces. Dreamy.
Hope your weekend is sunny, and restful. May it be restorative and life-giving.

November 11, 2010

Rearanged, the Constant Shifting

We are in the process of an all-over every room re-think and swap out here. Moving around the furniture in the living room this last weekend is what ignited the whole ordeal. The diagonally placed small couch now cozies up the space, and the wooden truck commands the entrance. It sort of indicates arrival to me.  Made it. Journey over for now. Destination. Inviting us to come rest and play here a bit.
I threw all the former master bedroom's redness into the space to temporarily test out our switch from browns and blues, to shades of reds, warm ivories and deep grays.  Now I just need to track down all the fabrics in the new color scheme to sew up a slew of new covers for all many pillows we enjoy in that space.
Aside from all the crazy of chaos, its nice to keep things changing. Constantly in flux and shifting to  better align to our needs as we move through seasons.

November 10, 2010


There is such a magical embrace in picking up an intriguing gorgeous picture book from a low shelf in a local discount store teeming with an unusually large children's book selection--all of them in the couple dollar price range. A little mystery just waiting for discovery. A gem, and a visual feast. To my grand delight recently, I treasured upon and was lulled in by this one; Wonder Bear.
Magical whimsicle illustrations. Full spreads, entirely devoid of text. 
Curious and playful.  
A charming book about growing, and dreaming, it features two siblings living it out together. A book about hoping, believing. And a magical--almost silly--bear that grows from a packet of seeds.
One of my very favorite things about absolutely wordless books, are the fantastic stories that the Craunlets cook up when they read them to me. And that, I hope to never tire of.

November 9, 2010

Gratis, For this I am So Thankful XXVII

It's a words week. I have all but kept my camera on the dresser most of the last seven days. And the few moments it has been stashed away in my bag, it has stayed there. Still sheathed in its case. It's been a  week of thoughts, and conversations. And an awful sore throat, paired with a  multitude of other terrible symptoms, that paved the way for more rest than I would have ever permitted myself to enjoy otherwise. 
We Deserve No More Remedies, prints by Terry Schwarz

Feeling like the worst is behind me, at long last, and for all the other promises that this sunny week affords, today I find myself so so thankful for:

251. a friend's legacy of generosity in our lives, continuing even now beyond his passing. A delightful --though small--surprise that has us dreaming again, as he would wish.

252. the changed perspective that the life and giving of the man described above in #251 that radically changed the way we pour into the lives of our friends. The joy of sharing this kind of blessing with friends is immeasurable. It is intoxicating to invest into hearts and dreams, and to stoke them, keeping them from slipping into hibernation. It is such an extravagant love.

253. muffler repairs that were estimated at $1700 [seriously?!] that we had completed for only $45 this morning by Affordable Muffler. Local readers, I HIGHLY recommend this shop. They are quality skilled creative problem-solvers -- very much gone in the car repair industry these days -- not to mention, fair, honest, and generous with the customer. I could continue to gush for pages, but let me just further say Amen to the again-quiet car.

254. rearranging on a whim, and getting the queen-sized box springs stuck in our narrow historic stairway. Even the most rigid can bend, it seems.

255. a husband that entertains all of this silliness. I feel explosive sometimes; I have no idea how he handles it, and further how he can love it--but I am ever glad that he does.

256. kindergarten schoolwork. The crazy cool glimpses into Bella's brilliant brain has been both fascinating and astounding. The sheer exhaustion of so much learning that takes hold of her in the evening is also unbelievable.

257. speaking of unbelievable; recent conversations with Nate. Exact replicas of conversations I had with the Dave 6-or-more years ago, well before we were even dreaming of little Belle's or Nate's. It's a bizarre combination of Déjà Vu and actual time travel.

258. telling. Especially toxic secrets within families. The silence that holds us by its power and fear and guilt, could never out-weigh the freedoms of truth, and the reality of relationships played out in vulnerability and love. 

259. having friends over for dinner, and sharing stories and laughter. We all really have so much in common, if we are willing to get right down to it.

260. thank you's. I never tire of them--in any format of delivery. Most especially, one's that are entirely unexpected, and speak right to my heart at just the right time. A sort of keep going nudge.

November 6, 2010

Saturday Mornings

Yep. It is just as our play clock reads. And we are still in our pajamas,  about to enjoy a second breakfast and put on a pot of drip coffee. 
Nice to have a lazy Saturday on slate.
Happy Weekend, all!

November 4, 2010

The Very Longest Hour of the Day

It is 5 o'clock, and the hands of time slow. The minutes of this hour are the longest of my every day, and the very thinnest of my sanity. To combat this, we often launch ourselves into the outdoors. And yesterday afforded us a crisply cool afternoon, with a blanket of golden leaves awaiting our rakes. Our merriment breathed fresh and real life into the phrase seize the day. And surely the entire neighborhood heard our shrills of absolute joy.

I love time and time again how the cacophonous laughs of the Craunlets in this hour can redeem the entire day.

November 3, 2010

Asleep and Awake

I fell in love with this babushka more than a year ago, when I first spotted her at a local Holiday Arts Sale. It had Isabella's name written all over it, and I knew it would be just the very piece for her bed to complete the look of her new atlas bedding and mixed pillows and softies. And this babushka doll now holds her resserved spot on the bed daily. She alternates between asleep and awake, as does Miss Bella, the two of them sharing a bed. And there is something enchanting about that rhythm to me. Asleep. Awake. Asleep again. And awake. So simple. Yet Lovely, and real. In a pretend way too. I wonder, does she dream also?

She is beautifully and wonderfully crafted. I think the maker's many terrific fabric combinations are spot on and stunning. Each of the little ladies are vibrant, cheery, and so alive.
We recently welcomed a family friend's second sweet baby girl into the world, and I knew for sure that I wanted her to have her very own babushka baby. It seems to encapsulate the very essence of a newborn to me. Asleep. Awake. Big blue eyes of wonder. Asleep. Awake. Rosy Cheeks, and smiles. Asleep. Awake. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
The maker, Jane King, has a super lovely Etsy shop right here. And a long long time ago, when I featured a pair of her babushka clippers that Bella dons in her hair on occasion, she  wonderfully offered up a little discount to Chatter family and friends. [See the full details of her gesture, here]
All of the pictures in this post are of sweet baby Mara's custom-made babushka doll. I worked with Jane picking out all the pieces and parts, and she wonderfully and patiently offered more and more samples, until we arrived at the just-right combination.  And I received her beautifully and quickly well made. I am just ecstatic over how lovely all the colors and prints and textures came together, and the sweet details of the fine embroidery, and applique--the charming curl of hair. The pockets on either side that now await wishes, and prayers, trinkets, or perhaps even teeth for the tooth fairy.
I also want to disclose, that this is not a sponsored review. I gain nothing in posting this, or sharing this discount that Jane has offered in her shop through the Holidays to the end of this year. I only want to share something that we love and treasure in our household, and feature some local art talent.


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