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!

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)