I remember last year's Blogiversary...my first...and how I was so shocked at how fast a year flew by. I felt like I had just started blogging and the next thing I knew...I was 1 year old! In order to convince myself that a year had passed I had to go back and dig through my own archives! Only after seeing the visual proof... month after month of stuff...swaps I took part in or organized...seasons and holidays celebrated...new shop discoveries...amazing art I received in the mail...the growth of my friendship circle...all the give-away contests (which I haven't done in a while and that's lame...there will be more give-aways in the year to come!!)...Only after seeing all of this irrefutable evidence was I truly convinced that a full year of my blogging life had passed!
Well...what a difference a year makes. On this Blogiversary...my 2nd...I had to convince myself that it wasn't really my third!! I actually rummaged through my vintage cake decorating supplies and pulled out a number three birthday cake topper. And when Aaron told me that it should be a number two on top of the cake, it took a minute or two for him to really convince me. My sister even thought it was my third...and the reason she was in on the conversation was because she was waiting on Aaron to bring over her half of the cake (she's my next door neighbor) ...but I couldn't cut the cake until I knew that I had an acceptable photo of it. When I emailed my sister the pic of the 2nd Blogiversary cake that she'd soon be eating, she said..."But isn't it your 3rd?" And for a second I thought she might be right!
But alas, it is my 2nd Blogiversary and it's now so utterly obvious as to why I'd think three years have passed instead of two. Blogging, and everything that goes along with it...from the immediate to the periphery, have become so completely enmeshed in my day to day life. Even though my posts have become less frequent (I'm sincerely sorry for that...I wish I could get on the ball!)...even though there have been less give-aways (so sorry again) and sometimes big chunks of weeks passing without a single word outta me...my life still does completely revolve around blogging. And I say that in the most positive voice. I know the implications and the cliches: "get out and live a little...you spend your life in front of the computer...etc" But of course I live a little (very little ; ) .... and of course I don't spend my whole life in front of the PC (otherwise I'd post more, right? ; )....But...so many of the worthwhile additions to my life...so much of the growth I've undergone...the opened doors...the glimpses into the lives and worlds of people so very much like myself...the REAL stuff, REAL friends, that are usually paradoxical when speaking of online relationships....All of this is tied in with blogging. And there is just SO MUCH more in my life now! More than a mere 365 days worth! So if you told me I'd been blogging for five or maybe ten years, I'd believe you. I'd look around my apartment at the wonderful things I've collected from all the fabulous artists I've met through this medium...I'd look at my overflowing email inbox...I'd scan my Flickr favorites...I'd go up to my nav bar and check out the last 300 pages I've visited....and I'd say "yup, that looks like ten years worth of GREAT STUFF!"
So if last year's Blogiversary focused on my evolution and personal growth...from introvert to extrovert...from incommunicado to up close and personal; Then let this year's focus fall on you guys! I want to celebrate the creativity, sweetness, honesty, openness, humor, and graciousness that has been so generously passed from you to me! I've always said that art and life have so much to do with give and take. You need equal parts of those in order to make it. Maybe there are times in your life when you feel like you're constantly on the take. Maybe you feel like you have not contributed enough lately. But don't worry, because if that thought even creeps into your mind then that means that you're on the verge...you're on your way...you're just about to give back. I received so much inthe past year. So much encouragement...support...inspiration. And I can only hope that in the coming months, the coming year, I've got a lot more to give back.
So right now I want to do a give-away and I want showcase at least a tiny bit of the people and places and things that have made this single year feel like five or ten.
First: Flickr ! It is just soooo important! Not only does it help me tremendously as a host for my photos that I post on my blog but it's a daily inspiration that I cannot live without. I check in on my friends...their latest flea market finds, home improvements, decor problems and solutions, foods, dinners, lunches for kids, desserts, Cupcakes they baked, new artwork....
And then there are the Flickr groups...which are a fabulous editing tool...you and others find exactly what you want to find. For instance...the awesome Cupcakes take the Cake group then links to the Cupcakes take the Cake blog and it ends up being this whole cyclical relationship. Meet ups are posted on there...friendships are made. And in many ways, for a lot of people Flickr is their blog!
I've got so many new loves...and not necessarily new in the general sense, but new to me. There really are way too many names and I'd really fear that I'd leave out a fave and kick myself for it! So now I'll list a few top of the tops that represent a pretty fair cross section of my heart...each place is like a little piece of what I think makes me...me!
As always, Alicia Paulson... She only gets better and better. She doesn't let her increasingly busy life detract one smidge of magic or care from her incomparable blog: Posie Gets Cozy. From the minute I found her blog...my first foray and favorite...I always said that she's a book deal waiting to happen. And of course, it did happen! Alicia never ever disappoints...In blogland she is the Paradigm.
And I'm never not in awe of the non-stop flow of creativity that emanates from Inside a Black Apple. Really, if you want to see an artist set new and unbelievable standards for herself at a rate that isn't natural then look no further than Emily!
Can you get sweeter and more inspiring than Artsymama?!! ....Nope! Kari's passion for art, people, life, family, is not only unmatched but it's infectious! She's a sharer through and through. She doesn't let anybody just sit on their hands and watch. She is a non-stop swap hostess of the highest caliber and is just constantly on the move creatively. But somehow she manages to take you along with her. She's one of the few online inspirations I got to meet in person and she just has an effortless way about her...a niceness...she's got her picture in the dictionary next to the entry for REAL. Love her!
Now... Kimberlee Edgar. She doesn't march to the beat of a different drum...actually, she got rid of the drummer and replaced him with an antique xylophone and a chorus line of ravens wearing top hats! I go to Kimberlee for that inspiration that lives beyond your normal line of sight. I love her for her truly unique vision and passion.
Another big time fave is Free People Blog. It somehow manages to be big but feel small. It's so inspiring and inviting. Aaron described it as feeling like you went to one of Gatsby's parties and Gatsby walked up to you and actually knew your name. It's got national magazine clout and style yet they host swaps that you can be a part of! They are a clothing company but never ever do you get the feeling that you are being sold a single thing. And their actual brick & mortar locations are just so crafty and have that DIY feel!
Also, I'm so grateful for the local gals I've found and who have found me. We've yet to "hang out" but I'm really hoping to change that! I love to know that there are like-minded people right near me. We've got some local haunts in common...we know the geography...we know the roads...we speak the language.
And Silver Bella! I was there last year and will be there again! And even if it was a total repeat...same people, same faces as last year, it would still be the ultimate highlight of my year. But it won't be...I've watched word spread and I just know that I'm going to be completely overwhelmed by all the new people I'm going to get to actually meet in person and spend quality time with in the great city of Omaha! Me and Aar had some travel nightmares last year and missed out on a lot of the downtime experience...this year we're dead set on wringing all the fun we can out of Nebraska!
And lastly I want to talk sorta generally about this magical medium called blogging. Well, our kind of blogging...the artful kind. It all goes back to the give and take. It's a medium that manages to bring out the artist...the crafter...the photographer...sometimes the writer, in everyone. And there's this phenomenon that occurs. This full circle effect. Go to your local craft store...pick up your favorite magazine...shop for clothes...go to Target. You'll notice some changes. You'll notice that things are available that weren't available before. Us bloggers have corporations watching our ever step...Magazine editors poring over our posts for trends...TV producers from Martha Stewart looking for guests...you can find better supplies at your local A.C. Moore's and Michael's because their buyers have been reading the same blogs you've been reading or writing. You'll see someone's amazing one of a kind craft turn into a product licensed worldwide because a creative director found their artwork right here! And that's awesome...but it's not why we're here. We'd be here anyway...even if no one was watching. We're here for all the reasons listed above. But you gotta admit that it's pretty cool when your hobby...your craft...your passion...directly effects the big world out there. And it all goes round and round. This big circle of inspiration!
*And now for the give-away!! It will be the usual method except that this year, to mark the 2nd Blogiversary...Me and Aar will pick 2 winners at random from comments left on this post. Now, there may be a lot of you that have never posted a comment here...and I must apologize and warn you that for some reason it's not a simple task to leave a comment on an AOL blog. It's not dangerous or scary...it just takes more steps than usual and involves creating a username and password etc...But please do it and take part in this give-away. And oh yeah, the give-away prize will be a Surprise Package full of sweet, vintagey, crafty, happy, lovely, things from me and Aaron! So in your comment please list your preferred color palette so we can try to tailor the prizes better to your tastes. Also, make sure to include within the body of your comment your blog address and/or your email address so that we can more easily contact you and so other readers can find you! And because I really don't want to leave anyone out...if you simply have too much trouble signing in to the blog then you can also email me a comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. And one more thing...if you have the time...just for added fun...I'd love for you to give the date and title of you favorite post of mine from the last year or two...and maybe your thoughts on why....but that's not necessary for you to win...just thought I'd ask! And you've got time to post...
I'm gonna pick the winners on Friday the 19th.
Anyway, I couldn't be more grateful for all the magic you've brought my way! Thanks so very very much!!!!!!!!!!! xoxo, Jenny
Thank you all!! I LOVE you guys so much!!!!