This has been one of the most incredible years for me. So many opportunities and life events that I would have never even imagined. I think the most exciting moments in life are those that you don't seek out, and that take you by surprise.
I was never looking for my husband when we met in 2003 - in fact I was already dating someone else - but I can't imagine my life without him. Our second daughter was a complete surprise, but she's just pure joy in our life that makes every day so much sweeter. I was never seeking out the chance to have my work published in a book, but the opportunity presented itself to me, and I took it. This year was all about surprises, and the fruit that comes from grabbing a chance and just going with it.
Stemming from a little comment I made on her blog, I started posting drink recipes on Going Home to Roost. That 6-week guest series has morphed into a weekly DIY series that I absolutely love doing. Bonnie is such as pleasure to write for, and the material on her blog always has me striving to be a better citizen of this world. I love being part of her blog.
A well-known author in the creative world asked to feature some of my paper cut post cards in her upcoming book about stationery design. This was one of those things that just came out of nowhere, but turns your life upside down. The book isn't published yet, and so I haven't seen an increase in traffic from the opportunity, but the whole idea has pushed me to work harder and raise my standards for my own work. I'll likely be writing more about this experience as it unfolds in 2012.
In 2008 we moved to Chicago, and then to the surrounding suburbs in 2009. In February, 2011, my husband came home from work and indicated that he was ready to move back to Michigan and buy a house. We were originally planning on moving back into the city once our lease was up in September, with our little family of 4. My husband's job was a killer though - 60+ hours, work to do once he got home, a long commute, working the weekends in almost every month of the year. He was ready to move back to Michigan, our home state, and get some stability in our lives. In March we decided at what was essentially the drop of a hat to start looking for homes to buy.
Okay, I was born the year that the original 5 members of Duran Duran broke up in 1985, but they're my favorite band, and though most other girls my age think that makes me incredibly lame and/or old-fashioned, I don't believe that they understand the level of talent, creativity, authenticity, and fashion that is the aesthetic band, Duran Duran.
I had seen them live in concert in 2005 at the Palace of Auburn Hills, which is this HUGE stadium that the Detroit Pistons play in, and we were in the nose bleed section. In April, Duran Duran was playing at the House of Blues in Chicago, and my husband got us tickets as an anniversary present. The House of Blues has no assigned seating - it's standing room only - so I was able to wedge my way up close and experience the entire concert from 20 away. Those guys are still producing amazingly original music, and it was one of the best nights of my life. They still look damn good, too.
I made homemade ice cream - without an ice cream maker - for the first time. It seems silly to be a highlight, but I had always wanted to make my own ice cream. The best part was that it was so incredibly delicious, a real success.
I started to go house-crazy in June. We were planning our house hunt for the first weekend of July, so I had been spending most of my free time on Zillow and Trulia. I thought I had found our dream home - perfect price, perfect size, perfect location, so I had also been collecting decor ideas and inspiration with that home in mind. We got in touch with our Realtor, and the idea of buying a house became a reality.
The house became ours on August 15th, and we moved 5 days later. My husband still had 3 weeks left at his job, so he was commuting back and forth on the weekends - it was terrible. The house was amazing though - I finally got my own work and creative space that was NOT designated to the dining room table or living room coffee table. No more creative clutter around the house!
I started remodeling the house. I had never even painted a room myself before, so it was a big challenge, but so worth it. In the next week I will be sharing the final results of my dining room makeover, although I am sure I will tweak it from time-to-time. We also enjoyed some off-time with my husband, who had a couple of weeks off between his old job and new job. We got to do fun things like go to the zoo, throw a party, and refinish the deck.
October was a busy time - my first baby turned three years old, and I opened a second stationery shop: Nature Party. I was also prepping for the holidays like crazy, and we took some time to re-discover our old/new town by visiting a local pumpkin patch, going on walks downtown, and visiting the MSU campus.
November was all about planning for Christmas. I was stocking up ideas for homemade treats and handmade gifts. I had so much fun driving the relatively short distance to my hometown to see my sister's band perform, or to have family game nights again. Thanksgiving weekend was a bit of a blur - there is always so much family to see and multiple Thanksgiving meals to eat.
Like always, December is insane. I started the month off with an entire weekend visit from my sister. We baked, cooked, knitted, made candles, and did all sorts of crafty holiday projects. It was like being kids again, living in the same house. That same weekend we had a small birthday celebration for my second daughter who turned two years old. The rest of the month was filled with traveling, holiday parties, family, baking, and making holiday orders for my shop. We just got back into town on Wednesday and are getting ready for New Year's Eve.
So what is your best memory from 2011? Did you experience any major life events, or was it just smooth sailing for you? When you look back on 2011 say, 30 years from now, what will you remember? I know for me it will be our first home and the dreams of what it might be that go with it.