It's pretty well documented on this blog that Fall is my favorite season, but that doesn't mean I don't like Summer. I love the long days, summer thunderstorms, bike rides, sunscreen, pool time, fresh fruit and veggies, hikes and BBQs.Read More
Yes, Easter was over 2 months ago. I'm sure it's the last thing anyone is thinking about now, but I'm way behind on posting and wanted to share a few pictures of my pysanky eggs from this year.
Some years I struggle to make any eggs worth keeping. Last year was one of those years. I tried several designs that didn't turn out looking as I had hoped. In desperation, I ended up keeping my last egg so I had something to show for my efforts. Each year I like to keep at least one egg. I have 5-6 at any given time displayed on my bookshelf. I replace them if I make one I like better in another year.Read More
Is it just me, or does the month of December seem to fly by at warp speed? I wish I had more time to enjoy the weeks leading up to Christmas, but it always seems so frenzied with holiday parties, year end reviews at work, gift giving, cookie baking, holiday movie watching, skiing, etc.
Good thing I started listening to Christmas music after Halloween.
This year seems especially crazy because I'm getting ready to leave the office for 3 (gasp) weeks! I'm spending Christmas at home with my family and will probably spend quite a few days on the slopes with my brother and sister-in-law, who will be in town. Then, I'm leaving for Patagonia on New Year's Eve. I've been planning the trip for months and can't believe it's finally here...but I still need to buy a few items for the trip and pack. So it will be a busy few weeks, but "good" busy.
All that to say that 2014 will be here before I know it. I designed a little calendar for 2014 using Illustrator this year to print and give as gifts to friends and family. It's far from perfect, but I like it and enjoyed picking out the colors and playing around with the design. The other fun thing is that I created the font used in the calendar with my own handwriting. I used the app iFontMaker on my iPad. It's really fun to play around with different styles and the one I ended up using for the calendar is pretty close to my actual handwriting.
The designs are 5"x8"s and I had them printed on card stock. I have a calendar like this that I bought on Etsy last year and it adds some nice color to my cubicle wall. I like having 3 months up at a time so I can see the month prior and the upcoming month. It's always fun when a month ends and I pull out a new month to hang on the wall.
The images in this post are some of my favorite designs. If you want to see all them, click on the link below to download the free PDFs for all the months. Feel free to print one out for you or print a lot for friends.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
(Download is a zip file. Save it to your desktop and unzip it to access PDFs for each month.)
Can you believe it's almost August? I can't believe how quickly the summer is passing by. Last weekend, I finally made it to the pool for the first time and the summer is more than half over.
I haven't spent much time cooking or knitting lately. I've mostly been retreating from Denver to the mountains whenever possible for cooler temperatures. On July 15th, I finished the Triple Bypass. I had been training for about 6 months to ride from Avon to Evergreen (123 miles and 10,180 feet of elevation gain). The ride was challenging, but fun. The card pictured above is a little thank you note I sent to friends for letting me stay in their house the night before the ride.
A few days ago, I hiked up Crestone Peak (elevation 14,294 ft) with some friends. Perhaps it's more accurate to say that I crawled up Crestone Peak. It was the hardest 14er I've climbed and required lots of scrambling up and down rocks. At one point, I almost slid off Crestone Peak. While scrambling up a smooth and steep rock face, I accidentally put one of my feet in a stream of water. It caused me to lose my grip on the mountain and I slid down the rock for about 15 - 20 feet before finally being able to stop. It was scary and gave me some bumps, bruises and scrapes. Thankfully, nothing worse happened and I continued the climb without injury.
I've been limping around for the last few days with very sore legs.
So, this weekend I'm staying inside. I'm planning to bake a blueberry pie. I'm going to knit and catch up on my reading. It will be a glorious weekend with no activity.
How's your summer going?
PS. I'm going to be launching a little contest in the next few days through my email list for those of you who are subscribed. Keep an eye out for the email or subscribe if you haven't already!
Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet? I'm not...in fact, I'm headed out to buy a few last minute items today so I can watch football tomorrow (Go Broncos!)
If you still need some last minute gifts, here are a few ideas for the foodies and bloggers in your life.
Instead of heading to the mall, why not stop by the grocery store and make some holiday sweets for your friends and family.
Melt in the Mouth Cookies are a Christmas favorite in my family. The best part about these is that they're so easy to make and you probably already have all the ingredients you need in your pantry.
Cranberry Lemon Sconeswould be the perfect treat with some coffee on Christmas morning. These scones have the perfect blend of tangy and sweet.
If you're in the mood for something fancier and festive, make some Christmas Sugar Cookies
Blogging / Online Tools
Do you have someone in your life that loves to blog? Are they still using a wordpress.com or blogspot blog? Why not buy them their own personal URL and hosting so they can own their own space on the web?
Bluehost(affiliate link) makes hosting and domain purchasing easy. It’s especially easy for those of you who want to create WordPress websites. The installation couldn’t be easier. They also have amazing support and live chat for questions you have.
Once you buy them a domain name, they'll need an easy Wordpress theme to customize the look and feel of their blog. My favorite premium theme is Headway Themes (affiliate link). I have tried many premium themes and Headway surpasses them all. I use it on this site and a few others that I own.
If you want to design your own theme with minimal coding, this is the theme for you. It takes a little bit of time to become familiar with the interface, but once you do the possibilities for website design are endless.
Good luck to everyone as you finish up last minute details for the holidays! I'm off to tackle my to-do list!
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
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.)
You can receive additional entries into the contest by sharing about it on:
Make sure when you Tweet to include my handle @paintthelily, so I see your Tweet!
Add me as a friend and tag me when you share the link!
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)
1. Made Strawberry Leek Quesadillas (with goat cheese) They are delicious and a great summer meal. You should make them.
2. Had the staples removed from my foot! And my burns are healing nicely...finally!
3. Learned that glass must be heated slowly or it explodes. Apparently thick glass is worse than thin glass since it heats unevenly, causing it to break. Pyrex is specifically designed not to break. Glass can withstand high temperatures when heated slowly and evenly.
4. Was reminded that visits to the ER are not only painful, but also expensive.
5. Dog sat the most adorable little dog in the world. Meet Rascal. I miss him already...reminded me so much of the little Bichon I had growing up named Peaches.
6. Went to Dillon, Colorado
7. And read by the lake...
Yesterday was my golden birthday. I turned 28 years old on April 28th. Leading up to my birthday, I had all sorts of ideas about having a big celebration or party or taking a trip to mark the Golden Birthday. But all of the work and life transitions I've been dealing with lately made me forget about the Golden Birthday plans. All of a sudden, the day was upon me with no grand celebrations, so I decided to celebrate in a slightly different way.
Some people have a bucket list or a 30 before 30 list. I decided to do 28 things on my 28th birthday. I started at 12AM on 4/28 and finished the last item at 12:05AM on 4/29. Below are the 28 ways I celebrated my Golden Birthday...
28 on the 28th
- Do 28 pushups (done @12:04AM)
- Read Psalm 28 (done @12:08AM) I thought verses 8-9 were especially birthday appropriate, "The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed; Oh save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever."
- Add 28 movies to my Netflix queue (done @12:38AM) This was hard since I already had over 200 movies in my queue that I want to watch. I added the following: Rabbit Hole, Love and Other Drugs, Hereafter, , 30 for 30 the Two Escobars, Note by Note: The Making of Steinway, Pressure Cooker, The Way Back, Catfish, Conviction,Extraordinary Measures, Get Low, Death at a Funeral, Wild Target,Pirate Radio,Shrek Forever After ,Adam, The Brothers Bloom, Election, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Crazy Heart, Shooter, Public Enemies, Eagle Eye, The Cove,Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, My Flesh and Blood, Paradise Now
- Close my eyes and take 28 deep breaths (done @8:52AM) I should start off every morning with these deep breaths.
- Donate $28 to my alma matter (done @10:34AM) I think this is one of my favorites from the list. The school is always calling me for donations. I'm pretty sure it's towards the smaller end of gifts on the giving spectrum.
- Follow 28 new people on Twitter (done @10:28AM) I followed @TwoHourBlogger, @BlogTyrant, @43Folders, @TylerTervooren, @ChartPornOrg, @digitalPS, @fakescience, @freelancefolder, @freelancesw, @joythebaker, @jenny_blake, @macheesmo, @notmartha, @theantiresume, @oatmeal, @tommeitner, @designsponge, @jdbentley, @chriscducker, @livecollarfree, @askgerber, @TanyaGeisler, @womanzworld, @thepioneerwoman, @dannymasterson, @freelancewhales, @someecards, @photography
- Spend $28 on Amazon (done @11:27AM) This was harder than you might think. I didn't want to buy things I didn't want, just so they totaled $28. I also needed to make sure I qualified for the free shipping. I bought two books ( The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind and The Christian Mind: How should a Christian think?) and a $0.69 MP3 (Dog Days Are Over) for a total of $28.15
- Watch 28 YouTube videos (done @12:40PM) These were somewhat random...I just clicked around 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 910, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
- Drink 28 ounces of liquid (done @2:33PM) I thought I would drink 28 ounces of my favorite liquid, but it didn't seem realistic to drink that much wine or coffee. I drank gatorade, instead. It isn't one of my favorite liquids, but it's pretty amazing when biking.
- Bike 28 miles (done @3:15PM) The weather was perfect for biking--70 degrees and sunny with no wind. After biking 50 miles last week into 50 mph winds, this ride felt easy. I may have swallowed 28 bugs along the way (picked a few out of my teeth), but that's unconfirmed.
- Eat 28 raisins (done @3:20PM) I originally planned to eat jellybeans, but I didn't have any and raisins sounded better after my bike ride.
- Play the piano for 28 minutes (done @4:01PM)
- Take a 28 minute shower ( done @4:38PM) 28 minutes in the shower is a LONG time. The water wasn't cold at the end, but it wasn't hot anymore, either.
- Take a 28 minute nap (done @5:07PM)
- Bookmark 28 recipes to try (done @6:05PM) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
- Like 28 websites found from StumbleUpon (done @6:29PM) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
- Take 28 photographs (done @9:25PM) See them on Flickr
- Do 28 situps (done @9:28PM) Originally, this item was "drink a $28 bottle of wine". I intended to buy a bottle or drink one at dinner, but we ended up buying a more expensive bottle and who am I to refuse a better bottle of wine?
- Read 28 blog posts (done @9:53PM, but done throughout the day) Bicycle Wine Rack, Typographic Maps, Beautiful Business Cards, 6 Blog Errors, Distressed Wood Photo Backdrop, Say Hi To Dishie, Make Dessert Healthier, Cornmeal Honey Bread, Toaster: The Next Generation, Personal Projects, 2 Blogging Pitfalls, Is your online business healthy?, Beat the Summer Slump, Creating a Dream Team to Guide Your Business, 9 Surprising Uses for Beer, Location Independent Lifestyle, 7 Secrets to Making Your Email Inbox Your New Best Friend, The Starving Artist Solves the Problem, Profiles of Risk, 10 Tips on How to Use Evernote, Tests Who Think They Know Me, How Do You Form a Nonprofit, Facebook hires infographic ninjas, 65 Small Business Mobile Applications, School and Cookies , Indie Rockers Before They Were Famous, 12 May Albums Worth Checking Out, Watch Meatloaf and Jimmy Fallow Sing About Bagel Bites
- Write 28 comments on Flickr photographs that I like (done @10:14PM) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
- Write 28 goals and hopes I have for the 28th year of my life (done @10:23PM)
- List 28 things I'm thankful for (done @10:31PM)
- Brainstorm 28 new blog topics (done @10:37PM)
- Listen to the top 28 songs by # of times played in iTunes (done @10:38PM, but worked on throughout the day) Table for Two by Caedmon's Call, I Will Show You Love by Kendall Payne, Thy Mercy, My God by Sandra McCracken, Jesus What A Friend for Sinners by Matthew Smith, Ten Thousand Angels by Caedmon's Call, Here's To Hindsight by Tara Leigh Cobble, Gabriel and the Vagabond by Foy Vance, Breakable by Ingrid Michaelson, Amazing Grace by Sufjan Stevens, Exodus by Bethany Dillon, What Can I Say by Brandi Carlisle, Watch Your Mouth by Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken, The Great Escape by Patrick Watson, Life in Disguise by The Slip, Die Die Die by The Avett Brothers, Pretty Girl from San Diego by The Avett Brothers, The World Spins Madly On by the Weepies, In Christ Alone by the Newsboys, It Don't Matter To The Sun by Rosie Thomas, Will You Return by The Avett Brothers, Paranoa in B Major by The Avett Brothers, Living of Love by The Avett Brothers, Throw it All Away by Brandi Carlisle, Love Song for A Savior by Jars of Clay, Falling Awake by Gary Jules, They by Jem, A Cold Wind Will Blow Through You by Bill Ricchini, Crashing Down by Mat Kearney
- Knit 28 minutes of my latest knitting project (done @11:28PM) Initially, I planned to knit 28 rows. However, I neglected to remember that one row of my current project takes about 10 minutes to knit. I just didn't have time for that many rows.
- Watch at least 28 minutes of TV (done @11:36PM) I watched last night's episode of Bones.
- Read 28 pages of my latest book club read (done @11:58PM)
- Listen to Mozart's 28th Symphony (done @12:05AM on 4/29) I listened to all 4 movements via YouTube while completing #27 above
Thanks to my friends and family who indulged me in my quest to celebrate 28! Sarah, who emailed me 28 things she appreciates about me. Carmel, who g-chatted me HAPPY BIRTHDAY 28 times. Marla and Ruth who texted and called to see how my quest was going during the day. Liz, who sent a cute card all the way from Romania. My brother, who called to wish me a happy birthday from his ship where he is deployed. My mom, who gave me a necklace with diamonds (my birth stone) and gold (for my golden birthday). My parents, who took me out to a nice dinner. Carmel and Sheree, who helped me come up with all the items on my list.
One final request? If you're reading this, help me by commenting on the post and maybe if I'm lucky, I'll have (at least) 28 comments!
1. In March, it seemed like a good idea to knit a baby blanket with size 5 needles and sport-weight wool. Nearly two months later, I'm wondering if I'll ever finish it. The pattern is coming out nicely (I designed it myself!), but maybe I should have picked a thicker yarn and bigger needles. Oh well. I'll keep plugging away at it and will share the pattern here when I finish.
2. I tried making t-shirt yarn last week, but was unimpressed. My strips of t-shirt didn't want to curl up. And the things I tried to crochet looked kitschy. Also, stains on white t-shirts will not disappear when you cut the shirts up and make them into yarn. Obvious? You would think so...
3. Instead of making t-shirt yarn, maybe next time I 'll try to make one of these cool looking t-shirt bags. Most of these t-shirt crafts tell you to use old t-shirts. The problem is that all my old t-shirts are really gross and have stains. (see above) And I don't want to cut up a t-shirt I like and use. Does it still count as recycling if I buy t-shirts for these crafts at the thrift store?
4. Speaking of t-shirts, I really want this Atlas Shrugged shirt. It's one of my favorite books. I haven't seen the movie yet, but how cool would I be if I showed up to the movie wearing this shirt? Ok, I would be totally nerdy.
5. Easter is so late this year, but it has still managed to sneak up on me. I'll be posting some pictures of my Psyanky later in the week. My unsteady hand needs to get used to the feel of the kitska and the flow of hot wax. Does it sound like I'm speaking a foreign language? I am. Psyanky are Ukrainian style Easter eggs.
6. I also plan to bake paska this weekend. Paska is a Ukrainian bread that is made with LOTS and LOTS of eggs. It's delicious and sweet and I'm getting hungry typing this as I think of it.
7. I'm 25% Ukrainian. These Ukrainian Easter traditions were passed along from my great grandmother (who immigrated to New York from the Ukraine) to my mom to me. They are traditions for women only, which explains why my brother never had the patience to create eggs as a kid.
8. Do you have a few hours to kill? If so, head over to Craft Gawker. If not, go there anyway. It's a great place to find artistic inspiration, tutorials and new blogs to read. You can view my submissions, too!
9. Do you use Evernote? I can't say enough good things about it. I don't know how I organized my life before I started using this a few months ago. I use the desktop software on my personal computer, the web-based interface on my work computer and the Droid App when I'm on the go. Best of all? It's free!
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.