28 December 2011

A Redheaded Stepchild Year in Review

If I remember correctly, I rang in the new year in 2011 with a paintbrush in my hand. I was painting our guest room, on my way to painting every room in the house. And I thought then, if what I’m doing now sets the tone for the rest of the year? Then this will be a pretty good year.

It was.

I daresay this was one of the most creative years I’ve ever had, and by that I mean I literally created more this year than any other. I have more to show from this year than ever before. And I showed most of it to you.

This was the year that our home got a complete overhaul. Though we started the previous fall with our new hardwood floors in the kitchen, it was 2011 that brought about most of the redecoration. Not only did every room get painted, but I created a thesis-writing room, a totally new feel for our dining room, revamped kitchen cabinets (and also new counters, for which I’ve yet to tell the tale), and a beautiful place to do our laundry.

Other areas of our house got more subtle attention, like new curtains (both store-bought and homemade), an updated heirloom clock, and a cleaned-out closet-turned-dressing-room.

We also tackled a few home improvement projects – the fun, like refinishing a vanity (again, part of a larger bathroom remodel that needs to be discussed) and installing a dimmer switch; the okay, like caulking our shower, and the AWFULEST PROJECT EVER I DON’T EVEN CARE IF AWFULEST IS NOT A WORD, a.k.a. yardwork.

This was the year I really got my craft on, too. I’d never met a can of spraypaint I didn’t like, so I spraypainted silk flowers, vanity hardware, light fixtures, shoes, and even more that I didn’t bother to tell you about...yet.

Thanks to inspiration from Pinterest, I also made the all-time most-viewed post on this blog, a trellis-stenciled canvas. Welcome, all of you who arrived at this blog by googling for “DIY canvas art”! Guess what, I do other stuff too! There was also a stenciled bird stepstool, an address-number wreath, a perpetual calendar, an aquarium stand skirt, some printable art, and a new photo tradition. And I even got in a Christmas project or two, like creating a twiggy Christmas tree and handmade gift tags.

I started getting our home a bit more organized this year, by sorting most of my family photos, finding clever storage for my DIY supplies, and corralling what could only be called a wrapping paper situation. Unfortunately there’s a LOT more organization to do as we pack up our home over the next few months, but it’s a start.

It’s possible that I cooked this year more than ever before. At the very least, I definitely tried more recipes than ever! Believe it or not, of all the projects I cook up (PUN ALERT) for this blog, Eats is by far the easiest section for which to create content. I will never be a real food blogger, but I do have a backlog of recipes prepared and photographed to share with you in 2012. But for now, you can see all of the things I made – at least one per week – by sorting with the “Eats” label.

I also worked hard this year to improve my photography so I can create beautiful images. I do try, with varying success, to take nice photos for every single post, but Photo Friday has a few of my favorites. Already I’m seeing improvement, thanks to some new equipment, although my skills have a way to go still.

Even after all that, there’s still so much more happened this year, more than I can even bother to list here. But in 2011, this year of creativity, this year of projects, there are three things that I am most proud of above all. They are this publication:

This degree:

And this blog. That’s right. This meta-project-about-projects is something I’ve poured my creativity into every weekday since May. May, you guys! There are weeks – I’m looking at you, dissertation-writing-funk – that getting a post out regularly was really, really hard. But it was worth it, because this was also my space to talk about the other challenges this year as they happened. Both the lowest of lows, like when my mom broke her ankle (though she’s better now) and the devastation of losing my grandpa...

But also the highs, like the week of posts commemorating our first wedding anniversary as well as celebrating a new family member.

While my reasons for continuing to write each week are personal, it’s having you lovely readers for an audience that make it extra special. For instance, over Christmas, I had the hilarious and wonderful experience of meeting a family friend who introduced herself by saying, “I love your blog; I read it regularly. Hey, this must be Mr. P!” So thanks to you, ALL of you, for letting me share our life with you. I appreciate every single one of you dear readers, from the usual commenters to those who prefer not to speak up, from my close friends who know all the stories before I write about them here to those who barely know me in real life. You guys are the best!

So what’s next? Well...that’s what resolutions are for, right? And that’s what I’ll tell you about tomorrow!