recent happenings + fun friday links

I've been making very slow progress on my knitting and other projects lately. Going out of town every other weekend for 2 months will do that to you, though!

I spent a weekend in Estes Park in mid-April. It snowed, but that was pretty much the norm in Denver every week from April through mid-May.

I celebrated my 30th birthday with some friends in NYC. It was really fun to go back to the city where I used to live. We had amazing spring weather, shopped and ate and drank a lot. I stopped by Purl Soho, the shop that inspired me to learn to knit 8 years ago where I bought some fun fabric and thread for a summer sewing project. The photo below is our hotel room at the W Downtown

Last weekend I went on an epic road trip with some friends to Zion National Park and Bryce National Park. It was a 10ish hour drive from Denver so we spent a lot of time driving for a 3 day weekend. The parks were absolutely amazing, though.

Zion National Park
Bryce National Park

I'm headed to San Diego next weekend to visit my brother and sister-in-law. And then I'm staying put for a little while!

Since it's Friday, here are some fun links for you:

Spring rolls in a bowl look like a perfect summery meal

I made these grilled carrots with dill last night. They're super easy and delicious!

I've been taking some fun classes on Skillshare lately. They're cheap, super useful and you can go through them at your own pace. Currently, I'm learning more techniques for digital illustration using Adobe Illustrator. I'm working on a redesigned logo and design for the site here!

My latest obsession is green smoothies. I make one every day for breakfast. My coworkers make fun of me, but these are seriously tasty and healthy!

Have a great weekend!

pinterest finds

Is anyone else loving Pinterest as much as I am? Maybe you're loving it a little too much? (If you still need an invite, email me and I'll send you one.)

Here are my favorite finds this week (Make sure you scroll to the end of this post for the funniest one.)

Print this

state printouts

Show off your state love by downloading your favorite state print out from The Vintage Lemon. You can find most states and place the heart where you want it. These 11x14 prints would make great gifts, too! I want to print out a picture of each state I've lived in over the past 10 years (Colorado, Massachusetts, Washington, New York and Pennsylvania) and frame them for a wall in my house. After all, you leave a piece of your heart in each of the cities you've lived.

Color this

pinterest finds

When was the last time you colored something? I can't remember the last time I colored, but when I saw this free print out it made me want to dig up some crayons or colored pencils and have some fun coloring. It sounds really therapeutic, right? Maybe I'll color while re-watching Downton Abbey and drinking wine. That sounds like a great way to spend a snowy and cold winter night. You can find more coloring print outs from Dover Publications.

Eat this

Pancake

I love the color in this photograph. Doesn't this fruity pancake look delicious, too? Find the recipe on Things We Make.

Don't do this

Crochet Pants

I saved the best for last...please, please, please do not do this. Don't make these. Don't wear these. Just...don't. But do laugh. Because it's hilarious. And do click on this link to The Ugly Sweater to see another funny thing you shouldn't crochet. Undergarments made from granny squares? Definitely a bad idea...

a redesign, a giveaway, and a very happy blog birthday

Happy Birthday

UPDATE:

Thanks to everyone who entered the birthday giveaway! I'm excited for the next year ahead of blogging with all of you.

The winners of the free pattern are: Jennifer, Marie, Diane Baldwin, Lynn and Diane.

The winner of the KnitPicks certificate is: Alice

The winner of the book is: Camilla

(Winners have been notified via email)

Two years ago, on September 1, 2009, Painting Lilies was born. Today is my blog's 2 year anniversary!

As a birthday present, I gave the site a make-over and new design. What do you think? I had been wanting to change the design for some time and its 2 year birthday was a perfect reason for me to finally stop procrastinating and write some HTML. (In case you're curious, I use the amazing Headway Theme)

Since I gave my blog a present, it's only fair that I also give my loyal readers a present. So today (and for the next week) you can enter to win a variety of prizes. But I'm going to make you read the rest of the post before I tell you how to enter! (It's my birthday...indulge me for a minute.)

I first created the blog's concept in April 2009 and took my time learning to create Wordpress sites, HTML and all the other fun aspects of blogging. The name Painting Lilies comes from Shakespeare's King Lear (Didn't you know I was a nerd? Well, you do now...) On September 1, 2009 I finally bit the bullet and published my first post, a crocheted blanket for Quirk.

Some notable statistics:

  • This is my 80th post
  • I have at least 1 post in each month, except December 2009
  • The posts have been published from 3 countries (United States, the Dominican Republic and Japan)
  • During the life of this blog, I have lived in 4 cities (Seattle, Santo Domingo, Denver and Boston)
  • Readership has grown steadily over time with the most unique visitors coming in August 2011. Thank you to all 13,895 readers out there who stopped by in August!

Enough with the statistics...what are the prizes and how do I qualify?

I'm glad you asked.

The prizes are....drum roll....

  • 5 copies of my yet-to-be-released baby blanket pattern. This pattern is still on the needles, but will be finished soon (I promise) and the PDF pattern will be yours for free as soon as the PDF is created. The pattern is called the Sand Cable Baby Blanket. And I think you'll like it!
  • $25 gift certificate to Knit Picks
  • A copy of one of my favorite cooking books. Your choice of: Supper of the Lamb or Garlic and Sapphires

To enter:

Leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite Painting Lilies post has been over the last 2 years. If you've been with me from the beginning, you have 80 posts to choose from. If you're a new reader, then maybe this is your favorite post! (Be sure to include your email so I know how to contact you.)

Bonus points:

You can receive additional entries into the contest by sharing about it on:

Twitter

Make sure when you Tweet to include my handle @paintthelily, so I see your Tweet!

Facebook

Add me as a friend and tag me when you share the link!

Google+

Are you on the newest social media network? If so, mention me and share this post with your circles!

Next Thursday, September 8th, I'll put all the entries (maximum of 4 per person) into a spreadsheet and use a Random Number Generator to select the winners.

Thanks everyone for reading! When I started this blog 2 years ago, the 75 visitors I had in my first month were probably all my close friends and family. Two years later, I had over 13,000 people visit. Thanks for reading, for returning, for sharing and for being a part of the blogging community here with me!

 (awesome picture by Omer Wazir)

monday inspiration

Prarie Sky{Image from Cre8}

I spent 14 hours driving through the plains and prairie this weekend. In the past, I never saw much beauty in the trips from Denver to Nebraska. This time I appreciated the blue skies and green crops and small towns. I didn't take any pictures quite as lovely as the one above, but when I saw it on craftgawker, I had to share.

Here are a few other links to inspire your creativity on this hot, summer Monday...

Earring embroidery ring

I need one of these! But I'm not sure I have the skills to make it myself.

Paper flower tutorial

Learn to make these lovely paper flowers (easy!) to add some color to your next project.

Paper flower tutorial

Bandana Print Cookies

I'm really impressed by these bandana print cookies! Very creative!

Bandana print cookies

bike art

Did you know May is National Bike Month? In honor of National Bike Month, Gertrude (my road bike) and because...

  • Gas prices are high
  • I don't own a car
  • I'm training to bike 100 miles in June
  • The weather is getting warm
  • Biking is good exercise

...here are a few links dedicated to bikes and my love of cycling.

bike art bike art

I love the bike beer pints (in all different colors) from Vital. They have all sorts of other bike items like the hoodie pictured above. And they happen to live in Denver, which obviously makes them even cooler ;-)

bike art bike art

One Gear Clothing sells this "Ride Me" shirt in a variety of different colors. I'm not sure I would wear it, but I like it.

bike art

Dynamoworks makes letterpress posters and cards. I really like the message and style of the one pictured above.

bike art

And I'm not looking to replace Gertrude, but don't you think she'd be happy with one of these Creme Cycles as a friend? (found via Design*Sponge)

etsy links: may 2, 2011

etsy links I love the handmade journals at LinenLaidFelt.  Check out the artist's blog for more beautiful creations.

etsy links

I'm not sure what I would do with the baker's twine from CocoaBeans, but I'm sure I could find a use for it...

etsy links

The greens and teals in this lovely embroidery piece are totally my style. Love it. Check out the whatnomints Etsy store for more creations. I also like the geeks have more fun hoop (obviously!).

etsy links

I'm a sucker for stationary and letter press.  I would be happy to send or receive these hand printed wood block cards by hrsmithjones. Check out Heather Smith Jones' website for her other art pieces.

happy 2011!

2010 was a whirlwind of a year.  I lived in the Dominican Republic, Colorado and Boston.  Besides traveling all around the DR, I went to Japan, Philadelphia (twice), San Diego, Seattle (twice), Nashville, Chattanooga, Austin (twice) and drove from Denver to Boston. I cooked, knitted, and took pictures.  A year ago, my new year's goals were:

  • To not let a full month go by without posting on the blog.  Accomplished! (though I'm still not quite as regular as I would like to be)
  • To read lots of books. Accomplished!  I read 42 books this year.
  • To knit a pair of socks that fit.  Accomplished!  (Although I didn't use the two circular needle technique, I made a pair and gave them to my mom for Christmas)
  • To take a picture every day. Accomplished!  This was a huge undertaking, but I love going back and reviewing my year in pictures. It challenged me to look at my days in a new way.  I love how it captures my travels, the mundane, the exciting, the little things and the big things.  I'm planning to print the photos and put them together in a scrapbook.  I'm still on the fence about whether I'm going to do this again in 2011.  I loved the project, but I might be a little burned out on it.  In July, I posted my favorite photos from the first six months.  My full 365 days of photos are on Flickr. Below are my favorite pics from July - December.

July

August

September

October

November

December