The year of 2012 is coming to a close, and my-my-my, what an amazing and unpredictable year it has been for us! It truly taught us to have faith, and hold on for the ride! We are way excited for the coming new year of 2013, because we have some big (huge!) and exciting projects that we will be doing, documenting, and sharing, with you! In fact, many. But before we get to all of that, we thought it would be fun to just reflect on this past year, for which we are so grateful for. Both in regards to the blog, and ‘The Big Picture’ of our day to day family life. And THEN, have a little countdown of our most popular projects of the past year. Won’t that be fun? We think so. : )
But you are quite free to skip right down to Top 10 Countdown if it’s what you are most interested in!
Bloggin’-So what a year it has been, for our little (teeny-tiny) corner of the internet world, here! With my putting my photography business on hiatus, to focus more on my kiddos and their schooling, and having just that bit more of time to put into the blog with a bit more business approach too, it has grown more than ever. My goal this year has really been to just make any bit of income I could, to help out Michael, while putting what comes first in our life, first. While blogging hasn’t exactly raked in the piles of cash that my photography business did, it hasn’t been too bad. And it also hasn’t taken the huge amount of time away from my kids, their schooling. and our family as a whole either, the way my photography business really did. It was just very time-consuming, and took more people-skills than I truly had some days. I just wanted to keep doing what we do anyway, and blog a little more of it, and then put a little more into the marketing end of it, and see what happens. We’re happy with what has happened, and God-willing, it’ll keep growing. But we wouldn’t have gotten to this point this year, without you all. Your visits, interest, comments, sharing, and general support of our projects, have made it a joyful journey. It’s meant a whole lot to us. Yes, every once in awhile I do start talking about throwing in the blogging towel. There are just some difficult personal aspects of it that can be hard on the heart, at times. But whenever I start talking such smack about quitting, my husband and oldest daughter throw a little fit, and demand I keep it going. Not only is it our family blog, but inside, they know how much I enjoy the whole creative process of not only the projects that we do, but the photography and blogging of it all. And the connections we have built, with you. So, it’s been wonderful in that way.
Family-Life- Our year has really transformed over the course from beginning to end! In really wonderful ways. Michael has made the biggest changes, professionally, that has ultimately been the best thing for our whole family. It’s given us stability that we haven’t known, for many years. In all of our married years, Michael has pretty much soley focused on his truck lettering and sign-making business, as our main source of income. It’s a work field he has loved, and as a second-generation track letterer/sign-maker, it has meant a lot to him, to follow in his father’s footsteps. More than ever, since losing his father a couple of years ago. He wanted to be sure to keep his father’s trade alive. But the economy and the struggling businesses of many companies, really effected the business enough, that we were very much financially struggling. He toughed it out as long as he could. I never wanted to take that away from him. But it came to a point where he needed to put his dream to the side, and do something else, to best provide for our family. To skip the details and make a long story short, he took a full-time job working for his brother-in-law’s roofing company, which is well established and has a great company reputation. This, thus far, has turned out to be one of the best decisions we have ever made. To start, it has provided us with a stable income. (Hello new world, to us struggling artists!). But also, he is extremely happy, for many reasons. For one, he doesn’t mind the work he is doing, at all. (He’s not on roofs. He picks up/delivers supplies and takes care of the dumpster containers of roofing waste.) But also, he has realized he is still working a family business. Not his own business, but his own (extended) family. People he loves and cares about too. (Well, we all do of course.) He has always gotten along great with his brother-in-law; his now boss. He’s a really, really great guy, with a huge heart. And a straight-shooter if I ever knew one, which I have always appreciated in a person. But Michael has felt really good about helping that family business thrive. And honestly, it’s a good thing for the whole (extended) family. In time, I think the blessings of it will only grow. Because I do think it is God’s plan for us all. WHAT’S MORE . . . Michael’s own business is still there! His clients, have remained loyal to him, and patient. They understand he has another full-time job now, and are willing to wait the few extra days, to get their trucks lettered and what-not. So all-around, Michael is very content. The financial stress is gone (because are needs are not that great, anyway), and the pride of working now TWO family businesses, and both work he enjoys, keeps him going. He is working more than ever, but to see him so relieved of the financial stress and worry, makes me feel a whole lot better, and gives him the drive of feeling so good about what he is doing.
Our children have really thrived this year. too. They have had some beautiful and amazing accomplishments, and it has been a true blessing and joy to watch them grow.
BUT, this post is long enough, with too much more to go. I know I never shut-up when it comes to my kiddos, so we’ll save some of that for another time. Shall we?
Let’s just get down to the projects that all of YOU, our readers and visitors, loved most! This countdown is based on the most page views. Not the most comments, or anything like that. Just sheer traffic that the project drew, from out there on the net. We’ll start with the 10th most popular, and count down to #1 project that drew the most hits this year!
Y’all ready for this?
(And if y’all have a song playin’ in your head now, you’re a lot like me! ; )
Here we go!
(*TIP- To see full posts, click on highlighted titles; not photos.)
My Custom Built Farmer’s Table Home Office Desk
For sure, this is THE project I was most excited to share with you all, this year. Personally. It was nothing short of a little dream for me. And to be blessed with a husband who is so talented to whip out my greatest desires, is something I am thankful for every day. I think the fact that so many like me love anything farmish, and maybe some envy, is what made this such a popular project to be drawn to. But it’s the details, and the story behind all of it’s parts, that makes it so meaningful to me. Come to think of it, I still need to take a photo of it ‘in use’ now, for you all. *Note to Self: Do that.
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Pinwheel Wreath / Tutorial and Decor
This was flat-out fun to create, and proved to be fun & cheery home decor in our sun room, through the spring and summer months.
You can make this too, with my easy to follow instructions, photos and tips.
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Recipe for Apple Pie Pops
As I said in the post, this wasn’t even my recipe! I just needed to make them. I think it’s their cuteness that made this a popular visit.
But I did pretty much show you how to make them and give you the recipe.
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A Snowman Christmas Tree Ornament Tutorial
Now this is a fairly new project on the blog. And yet it’s #7! Again, cuteness is a powerful thing.
I had way too much fun making this. Like a kid, building a snowman! Minus the miserable cold.
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Well this wasn’t even a project, or anything we did! But as it turns out, old school desks are pretty heavily researched! Still, one of the desks we discussed was one of Michael’s when he was little, and it got pretty hilarious. One visit to the post and a quick scroll through the photos, will show you why. ; ) Goodness. It still makes me laugh.
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Decorating with Autumn Leaves / Door Garland and Candle Jars
Not much to say, except that people loved it.
And that I’m beginning to feel like Casey Kasem.
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Heart String’s / A Valentine’s Craft
I can tell you right now, how this one made the list. And it probably just made it the other day! It seemed to be shared by someone on some popular Slovakian Facebook Page, and that was it! It was fun reading the translations of the comments. But anyhoo, it was a whole lot of fun to make with the kiddos. Anything with melting crayons, is going to be fun. Taking photos of crayon shavings was also fun. We’ve saved this craft project and hung it up 2 years in a row, too! Hoping it’s still in good enough shape to give a 3rd.
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Boys’ Hardware Accessories
This project was just playing around, and seeing what I could make for accessories, for my boys’. (Who do love accessories.) It seems I’m always making their little sister something, so it was their turn. I just brainstormed what might be boyish, and came up with hardware. I made them both jewelry and belts. Half the fun was photographing my little men, wearing what I made. Like a magazine shoot. Planning and setting up photo-shoots, and photographing such a wide range of things, is huge part of the thrill of blogging for me. Throw my kids in, and I’m a Mama having more than her share of fun! (You really need to visit the post, and see how handsome and boyish they were. ; )
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Glass Tile Handmade Gifts / Necklace Pendants and Magnet Sets
I’ve gotten great traffic on this one, ever since I blogged it. Such a fun project. The key really is working with high quality white glass tiles. I have a great supplier, who I’m about to use again. I tried another, only because she had some kits I wanted to try. It was a huge mistake. The quality of the materials I was working with, didn’t come close. So if you do this, use my supplier, mentioned in the post. Check out the gorgeous pendants and magnet sets I made.
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and FINALLY…..OUR TOP MOST POPULAR PROJECT POST OF 2012 IS . . . . . .
. . . . . . just the craziest thing . . . . . . I mean, I loved the project and had a great time doing it but . . .
. . . . . .I don’t know that it’s the best thing we’ve done this whole year! Actually . . . . . .
this is a project I did all by myself. I DID put a whole lot of love into it. The funniest thing about it being #1 is . . . . .
the idea to blog it was not even a plan at first! It was just a special gift I wanted to make, and taking photos to blog it was an after-thought.
And POOF!! It’s a HOT ONE!!
The top-traffic project of the year IS . . .
A Doodle Journal; Made with Love
This was a personal and customized gift, that I made for my God-Daughter. I happened to submit the blog post project to a (very popular) craft site, and the photo apparently intrigued people TO NO END. I still get traffic every day, from this baby. Who knew? I think deep inside, everyone loves doodling. Even if they say they don’t know how, WHICH is impossible. I promise you, everyone can doodle. Just pick up a pencil or pen, and let your tool of choice go crazy on paper. Frankly, it’s therapeutic. My mother was a chronic doodler. She even doodled on the cards and school projects us kids made for her. She truly couldn’t help herself. I find it great fun, and it really exercises the artist in us all. That’s why I wanted my God-Daughter to have this journal, to get her own DOODLE ON! And to express the beautiful little chickadee that she is. I hope she’s using it.
And THAT my friends, concludes this year’s countdown. Join us again next year, for another, if we’re still here. (Just going to roll with God’s plan, as always.) And if I do this countdown again. This was my first time ever. HOLY….that was a lot of work! I sure hope you enjoyed it! It took me just about all day! I think I’ll take the rest of the year off. ; )
Incidentally, I wanted to mention that the actual #2 spot, was our home page! That means just plain old visits to our blog, to check in if you know us, or see who we are if they don’t, and see what nonsense we’re all about. That’s good to know!
Thank you all so much! For being there for us, and digging what we do.
Now….who’s up for another year of this?
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