31 December 2013

The Redheaded Stepchild 2013 Year in Review

And here we are. It’s almost time for 2013 to draw to a close!

I had a conversation a while back with an old college acquaintance that I hadn’t seen in many years. She hadn’t gone to graduate school, and had therefore been out of school for almost an entire decade. I asked her what she’d been up to all these years, and she said, “Oh, you know... work, family, relationships. Some hobbies and travel. You know, it all sort of blurs together when you’re out of school and don’t have any major milestones to mark!”

I understood what she meant then, but I really feel it now. This year was the first in many years without some sort of life-changing event tied to it. In 2009 I got engaged to Mr. P, in 2010 we married, in 2011 I defended my dissertation, and in 2012 we started our new lives in St. Louis. That string of big life events means that in the grand scheme of things, 2013 seems like sort of a blah year. Work. Family. Relationships. Some hobbies and travel.

But I know better because that, dear readers, is exactly why I keep this blog. This wasn’t a blah year! Maybe I didn’t get a new last name or title or address, but I did do a lot of things in 2013. There was a lot of work, a lot of family, a lot of hobbies and travel... in a good way. And I’ve got this blog to prove it!

For whatever reason, 2013 was the year that I decided to get into art, both creating it and buying it. Not fancy expensive art – just lots and lots of meaningful art.

Making our mark with wedding photos
Hanging our Nashville art
Decorating the bathroom walls
DIY poster mounting on canvas
City art from calendars – plus part two and DIY faux metal corners
DIY anniversary date art
Thrifted honeymoon art
DIY door knocker art
DIY owl canvas art – plus downloadable stencil
DIY faux wood-mounted map art
DIY stitchable state art

The other big homemaking theme for 2013 was window treatments. Once I got the nerve to put holes in our plaster walls, I went to town making and hanging curtains for our windows!

Hanging RITVA curtains in our bedroom
Comparing RITVAs to VIVANs
DIY faux roman shade
DIY pelmet box construction, upholstering, and hanging
DIY no-sew curtains

Fortunately, I did DIY a few things besides art and curtains. A few.

DIY cloth napkin pillow covers
DIY Ballard mirrors painting, stenciling, and hanging
DIY RAST dresser makeover and reveal
DIY linen bulletin board with nailhead trim

One thing I realize that I didn’t do this year was much painting large items like furniture (with the exception of the RAST dresser). I have a few big projects involving paint that have been on my mind for a while, so maybe 2014 will be the year I cross them off my list!

Still, I spent quite a bit of time working towards my perpetual goal of making this apartment feel like a home, whether by redecorating entire rooms or simply adding or swapping a few pieces of furniture.

Buying and building Hayden chairs for our living room
A new floor lamp from Mr. P
Determining that we have a foyer
Planning and actually redecorating our guest room
Celebrating our first apartmentiversary
Bringing in new living room coffee tables
Sprucing the butler’s pantry, part one and part two

Now that we’ve been in our new apartment for over a year, we’ve fully settled into new routines – which means I’ve re-assessed to make sure our home works efficiently for those routines. That means a lot of organization...

Minimizing my makeup bag
Paring down my purse contents
Cleaning out my closet
Organizing my jewelry
Sorting my sock drawer
DIY drawer dividers in the office

... and a lot of improving functionality in areas that weren’t working so well for us.

Sprucing the coat closet, part one and part two
Installing lighting in Mr. P’s closet
Creating a wall-mounted landing strip in our foyer
Clearing and re-working our office desk

And let’s not forget that in 2013, I finally got the guts to make a home tour video so you could see the apartment as a whole. You guys really seemed to like it (apparently I wasn’t really clear on the layout before)! But it’s now a bit old and behind... actually, we’ve now been in the apartment twice as long as when I made that video! Maybe I’ll make a new one in the new year?

Although our wedding was a few years ago, I decided to go back this year and spend a week telling you a bit more about some of my DIY projects from our wedding. And good grief are those popular posts! Newly engaged brides, no worries. I’m already planning for which wedding projects I can tell you about in 2014!

DIY calligraphy for wedding invitations
DIY custom table linens
DIY lace veil and hair flower
DIY dance party for a super fun reception

When I wasn’t doing (and writing about) projects, Mr. P and I spent quite a lot of time traveling. We were all over North America this year! And fortunately I learned a few lessons on how to efficiently pack a suitcase along the way.

Birmingham, Alabama
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Buffalo, New York
Cancún, Mexico
Nashville, Tennessee
Phoenix, Arizona
The Grand Canyon
Summer suitcase packing
Winter suitcase packing

I actually still have to add our Christmas travels to the list, which will make it even longer! And for the record, 2014 seems to be shaping up as a year of traveling as well. Bring it on!

Of course, we spent some time exploring our own not-so-new-ish city this year, as well.

The Fabulous Fox Theatre
The City Museum
Shakespeare in the Park
Autumn in the CWE
Metric at the Fox
Snow in the CWE, indoors and on foot
IKEA comes to St. Louis!

But in between – no, throughout all the doing, there were people, there were relationships. There were birthdays to celebrate, including my own thirtieth birthday that marked the end of my 30 by 30 list! And similarly, there were the ends of lives to acknowledge with the love and respect they deserved.

The Redheaded Stepchild turns thirty
The 30 by 30 list, final tally
Mr. P turns another year of old
Mom Wisdom
Piano and life lessons
For Greg

So, yeah. Once you’re out of college and in the workforce, once you’re married and relatively settled, the years are mostly work, and family, and hobbies, and travel. And if I wasn’t writing about it, I might lose sight of just how fantastic those things are.

Farewell, 2013. Here’s to you, and more normal, boring, busy, wonderful years just like you.


Tina said...

It was a very good year!
Blogging is something I will probably never do, but I just may start journaling again. Today's post makes me want to gather together my teenage and travel diaries, and your baby journals and display them all together on one dedicated shelf... and then begin writing again re:life now.Recording retirement years won't be gripping reading but it will make me accountable for the privilege of living this long. Yes. Yet again, you have inspired me to DO something. :-)

Janice said...

Been married a loooong time and yet I still have those "milestones" to structure my days. lol Takes me several weeks of break from teaching before I actually know what DAY it is! You see, if it's MWF I teach at a certain times of the day. If it's T/Th I teach at other times. When I have free reign, it's a "devil may care' attitude and who really cares WHAT day of the week it is ;) Sundays usually 'ground me' as it's a church day lol. So yeah, some years have major milestones, other have incredible adventures. May all your adventures be positive and exciting! :)