Saturday, December 31, 2011

Why thank you, 2011

2011 came and left, and like the winds of summer, brought with it adventures unexpected, moments unforgettable, dreams fulfilled and trials overcome. Last year for me was a time of growth and expansion of borders and boundaries, both physically, spiritually and emotionally. It was a time of black, white and many colorful seasons and has been the best and toughest year of my life. From uncertainties and leaps of faith to seeing promises fulfilled and dreams realized. Of all the things I've learnt in 2011, amidst the laughter and tears shared with family and friends old and new, it's that God is good, and all his plans have my best interests at their core. I learnt over the year that His voice, whether it be loud and resounding everywhere and in everything or still, small and seemingly silent, can always be trusted. I'd bet my bottom dollar on His guiding hand because it always leads me to spacious places and calm waters. Throughout the year, His presence was my consciousness, His face my pursuit and His arms my embrace. 2011, thanks to you for shaping, defining and refining me in a way no other year ever has. Here's to you.

My 2011 experience in a nutshell:
- Pockets full of adventures. Both planned and sporadic.
- Learning how to keep peace amidst a storm
- Filling up the pages of my passport with stamps from foreign lands
- Caution thrown into the wind
- Feeling at home in the big wide world
- Enjoying the feeling of my pen gliding across a page giving substance to my thoughts
- Planning parties
- Burning holes in the dance floor
- Jumping for my dreams
- Leaving and cleaving
- Mastering the art of doing my own laundry
- Seeking Him and finding more of myself along the way
- Wandering down unchartered avenues of creativity
- Building friendship foundations
- Learning the ways of transparency
- Being on the receiving end of ridiculous generosity
- Becoming a regular face in the crowd at local gigs
- My first proper job accompanied with a swivel chair
- Paradigm shifts
- Appreciating the gift of hindsight
- Enjoying moments whilst they're busy unfolding
- Learning what it means to rest
- Enlarged borders. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.
- Spending endless hours lost in Photoshop
- Exploring the extravagant dimensions of grace
- Belly laughing with best friends
- Seeing snow fall for the first time
- Waking up each morning with a grateful heart and a smiling face

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thought for the day

Just in case you happened to forget:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Diary of a Daydreamer gets a magazine feature

A few weeks ago I got an email from an employee at a South African lifestyle Magazine called "Get It."  She wanted to know if she could do a feature on my blog for the January issue, so being highly thrilled with the offer, I sent over all my details, and lo and behold, we have ourselves a magazine feature. I am very excited and very honored to have been given this opportunity, and I think the article turned out lovely. As you can see, my blog was featured along with 3 others. Here are their links if you'd like to have a little peek at what some other Saffa bloggers have been getting up to:
Tom Basson - tombasson.wordpress.com
Olivia Villet - www.oliviavillet.com
Ask Ashe - askashe.wordpress.com

I "did it myself" this Christmas

A shoestring budget and a crafty mood saw this Christmas being a very D.I.Y one. 
I spent endless hours at the dining room table, cutting, sticking, painting, glueing, and these were the Christmas gifts that became of all my efforts:
- An old book convert into a jewelry box by cutting out the inside of all the pages (Tedious and time consuming but oh so rewarding)
- Mason jar candles
- Jar of words of encouragement, scriptures and prophecies
- Framed cutouts of map pages. (My friend Hannah was born in Kentucky but is now in Redding, so I cut out the map of Kentucky and the map of Redding and framed them both. Just a little sentimental something for her to hang on her wall)
- Framed water-colour paintings done on doilies.

Materials Used:
- Thrift store frames
- Old Fairytale book from thrift store
- Doilies
- Water-colour paints
- Old maps of the USA (Thrift store)
- Mason jars
- Various colored ribbons
- Stamps (from cutetape.com and Cavallini & Co.)
- Scissors
- Box cutter
- Glue
- Modge
- Paintbrushes
- Old book pages
- Cath Kidston craft tape

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas baking and cookie decorating

If there's one thing these Americans know how to do, and do well, it's celebrate the holidays. Here are some shots from a memorable afternoon baking and frosting Christmas cookies with beautiful friends from around the world.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oh, to be a kid on Christmas day again.

 5 sleeps until Christmas. I was oblivious to this until just a few minutes ago when I looked at the date on the calendar and got a little fright when I saw the number "20" next to the word "December". Funny how it goes. 
Just a few years ago, you could have woken me up in the middle of the night on any day in December, asked me how many sleeps until the big day and without hesitating I would have blurted out the correct number. Funny how it goes. 
Sometimes nostalgic moments come knocking at the door disguised in insignificant occurrences, and just like that, you are are sent walking down memory lane with no choice in the matter. 

I remember bouncing out of bed with high-octane exuberance just so I could open a window revealing a chocolatey surprise. Then there was the too-much-to-handle excitement as we dusted off the old decorations and put up the tree, of course there was much sibling rivalry surrounding who's turn it was to get upon dad's shoulders and put the porcelain angel at it's summit. Then there were fits of hysterical giggles as we watched dad get into a foul mood with the tangled Christmas tree lights, eventually ending in mom having to unknot those cheeky chords. 
Drafting letters to 'Ol Santa Claus was always a very detailed procedure executed with much precision, God forbid I should forget to leave a very important and necessary toy off the list. Christmas day was the only topic of conversation on the playground and guessing who would be the kids to get coal in their stockings that year was the height of school-time entertainment. 
Christmas eve was always the longest night of the year. Every hand on that clock seemed to tick in slow motion. After staring up at the night sky for hours and after yet another consecutive year failing to see the sleigh and the reindeer weaving between the stars, the milk, cookies and carrots (for the reindeer) would be nicely set out out somewhere easily accessible for the big man in red. I would dash off to bed, knowing that the sooner I was asleep, the sooner I would be awake. Oh, but Christmas eve was always the height of insomnia for my excited little self. If I managed to sleep at all, I'd awake at one hour intervals throughout the night, spring to my feet, and then drag my heels back into bed as that darn clock told me I wasn't supposed to be awake. When 6am finally made it's appearance, I would sprint to my parents bed, yelling "it's christmas," and then we'd run down the tinsel cladded staircase and stare speechless with awe as we beheld the mountain of presents in all it's glory. "Santa has been, Santa has been," we would chant until everyone found their name scribbled on the tags, and began the unwrapping frenzy.
Comparing gifts with all the cousins at the annual Christmas lunch was both fun and competitive as we measured who had been best behaved that year according to the volume of presents they were given. Oh, to be a child again!

It brings a little lump to my throat to think that those days are no longer. I miss being a bouncy pre-schooler most during this time of year. Being an almost-adult is not even half as fun as a kid on Christmas day. This will also be my first Christmas away from family, friends, home comforts and tradition. While I am embracing an all-American Christmas with arms wide open, I wouldn't mind reliving just one of my childhood Christmases so that I could properly savor the moment before it's gone forever. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Craftin'

1. Old picture frame with lace used as a jewelry hanger
2. Deck of cards converted into "52 things I love about you" cards
3. Mason jar candles covered with old maps and book pages
4. Mason jar candles
5. Memory jar
6. Sewing kit
7. Water colour art (can be framed)
8. Handmade year planner

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas cards sent to faraway lands

I am spending my first ever Christmas in a foreign country away from family, friends and all forms of familiarity, so to spread some Christmas cheer their way, I sent a bunch of cards overseas to all my loved ones that span the globe. These cards will be traveling as far and wide as Australia and South Africa, and I sort of wish I could slip into an envelope and arrive at my family's door as easily as these cards can. Oh well, I guess words on paper will have to suffice this year. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Holiday Gift Mail

I am convinced that my love language is receiving letters and packages in the mail, so when this parcel arrived at my door from my family all the way over in South Africa, my love tank was spilling over. 
I ripped it open and inside were tones of individually wrapped Christmas presents as well as a Christmas stocking full of wrapped gifts. I have been told I am only allowed to open everything on Christmas day, so there will be no peeking until then. 
Seeing as though I'm going to be away from my family over Christmas time, being able to open gifts from them all will be such a treat, and probably a highly emotional moment too. I cannot wait, but until then, I'll be setting the presents under the tree where they'll await me until the 25th. 
I also sent my family a little package full of American goodies such as Hershey's chocolates, Starbucks Christmas blend coffee, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Peppermint Cocoa, and Gingerbread. I can't bear the thought of me getting to eat/drink all of these delights knowing my family back home can't taste them too. So now we can all enjoy the same treats whilst we spend Christmas on opposite ends of the globe. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas music for the indie heart

This Christmas I would be nowhere without "A Very She & Him Christmas," an album by the M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel duo. The only thing better than Zooey Deschanel, is Zooey Deschanel singing Christmas songs. It melts my heart. If you haven't already, buy this album by clicking here
{All images from the She & Him website}

I Heart Winter

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'd rather be thrifting

Yesterday I went with some of my best friends from ministry school to one of Redding's best thrift stores on North Market street. Our mission was to find the most hideous sweater ever knitted for our Christmas party, and we really stumbled upon a goldmine at the store 'Second Time Around.' They had a section of the store dedicated to the most pant-wettingly funny sweaters I have ever laid eyes on, and we had many laughs as we browsed around. Thrifting enhanced by good company is my idea of an ideal Saturday.

Christmas Cards on Etsy

I have been scavenging the web as of late in search of cute Christmas cards to buy and send to all the special people in my life that live in all four corners of the globe. Etsy never disappoints, and are a few of the cutest Christmas cards I've found...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I Love It - December

Festive season. Snow. Winter woolies. Sitting by the fire place. HunCal Peppermint Mocha. Cosy Starbucks. Christmas. Holidays. Houses that glisten with green and red lights. Decorating trees. My first wintertime Christmas. Sending cards in the mail. Ben Howard. She & Him Christmas album. Turkey dinners. Gingerbread. Ugly sweaters. Knitted scarves. Snowboarding season. 2011 draws to a close. Red and white stripes. Leg warmers. Plaid shirts. Chunky boots. Baking from scratch. Belly-laughing. Hot springs. Ecstatic encounters. Winter wonderland. Warm drinks. Wooly gloves. Chick flick marathons. Decking the halls. Gift exchanges. Words of affirmation. Supernatural Ways of Royalty. Skype dates with South Africans. Communion. Leadership. New levels of responsibility. Falling into the arms of Grace. The mirror translation. Enjoying the present. The Biebernator's Christmas songs. Receiving parcels in the post. Game nights. Chrismukkah. Sugar-frosted cookies. Spending days in my pajamas. Urban Outfitters. RAC New Year's Eve party in San Francisco. Vivid dreams. Vintage photo effects. The Christmas spirit. My family all around the world. Cherry pie. Sigur Ros. Divine Romance. Life-long friendships. Communication. Giving thanks. 

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