Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 Goals

Time for the obligatory "2011 goals" post! Here goes...



Business Goals

  • Take a business class
  • Improve my photography. Seriously.
  • Launch my new site in February
  • Get a business license
  • Make an Etsy Treasury
  • Join an Etsy Team
  • Do all of the things in this list of Etsy New Year's Resolutions

Crafty Goals

  • Learn to read and write knitting patterns
  • Learn to embroider
  • Make my own soap and soy candles
  • Teach a knitting class. I got a contract to do this - I start January 6th!
  • Start sewing my own clothes again

Blog Goals

  • Make-over my blog - It's in the works!
  • Start a "Knitting 101" vlog series
  • Do a lot more upcycling projects
  • Do some outfit posts
  • Be more interactive, and comment a lot more. I have a bad habit of reading a lot and then forgetting to comment :-/
  • Take more photos of my everyday life so I can document it here
  • Teach a blogging/seo class
  • Get more outside blogging gigs
  • Guest post more, and have more guest posters
  • Meet a lot more blog friends!

Personal Goals
  • Get my passport (finally)
  • Be less materialistic. I'm not all that materialistic, but I just want to be LESS.
  • Buy a new car. I know, this totally contradicts my last goal, but I need to go places sometimes and my current car, while a total trooper, is almost as old as I am. Also, by "new" I mean, well, not actually new, just one that works.
  • Pay off my credit card debt - I'm almost there!!!!
  • Go on a semi-spontaneous road trip
  • Go to Disney World
  • Turn off the Netflix once in awhile and listen to music, or just enjoy being unplugged.
  • Pray more
  • Complete at least 5 items on my bucket list (and add more to it - there are way more things I want to do that aren't on that list!)



Also, I was very inspired by Erin at Design for Mankind who wrote a list of non-goals, things to keep doing exactly the same. I think it's important to make goals, but just as important to recognize the things you've done well. So here's my list of things to keep doing well in 2011:

  • Work ethic. No matter what the job, I've really worked hard this year. I put a lot of time into things I cared about (and sometimes the things I didn't care so much about, but had to do anyway).
  • Weight. Sure, I could stand to be more active and eat a few more veggies, but not for cosmetic reasons. I'm completely happy with my appearance and I don't need to lose a pound.
  • Amount of coffee consumed. This is a popular resolution for some people. I sure do drink a lot of it, but it doesn't cause me any problems, it helps me be more productive throughout the day, and it makes me happy. So I'm going to keep drinking just as much as I do now, and you can't stop me. :-P
  • Following my passions. This year ended very differently from what I had envisioned in my head last December, but I'm so much happier now. I thought about what I really WANTED to do, instead of just what I thought I should do.
  • Improving. I've grown a lot this year. If I keep going at this pace, 2011 will be a breeze.
  • NOT getting married or preggo. It's cool for those of you who are, but I spent my 2010 enjoying my 22nd year of life, and I plan to enjoy my 23rd year of life ring&baby-free as well. Being young is fun.
So that's it! What are some of your goals? And more importantly, what did you do well this year??

2010: The year in Review

I've seen and heard a lot of complaining about how 2010 was a terrible year for a lot of people. I'm sorry to hear that, but it was actually pretty good for me, though it had some rough spots. So I thought I should write down some of the high and low points so that I can remember what made this year so good (and so bad) when I look back at this toward the end of 2011.



At the very beginning of 2010, I was a brand new college graduate who had just moved from Chicago to Detroit. I had a BA in Journalism and Marketing, a new "big girl" job and so much to look forward to. After I started my job, I immediately realized that it was not the job I was promised, and that I was wasting 2 hours of my day on a commute and 8 hours of my day on a job that I could not do and where I was making hardly any money. I began freelancing to support myself while I looked for a new job.

This job hunt took a looooong time. I held an internship at a Congressional office, a job "enumerating" for the Census, and a campaign job for the U.S. Congressman for whom I interned. Though all of these jobs were temporary, I learned a lot through the process. I had saved up some money and decided that I wanted to freelance/start my own business full-time.

I now have a few regular freelance gigs that give me steady income while I search for new ones and work on my real passion: making things. I started selling on Etsy at the end of 2009, but had to take a few breaks throughout the year for work reasons. I also started this blog in 2010 and it's played a huge role in my self-realization and all that crap. I have done a whole lot of business planning since I decided to make this leap a couple of months ago. And when I launch my new site in February 2011, I believe it will all be worth it.

Some random things I did in 2010 that were cool: went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, launched Words and Tricks, got a job teaching knitting at a local middle school (though I haven't started yet), FINALLY finished reading Lord of the Rings, organized my craft supplies (this doesn't seem very exciting but it was a HUGE undertaking), made really cool costumes for the premieres of Toy Story 3 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, made it into Craftzine, the Storque, and a bunch of other awesome blogs!

So yeah, there were hard parts of this year, but I honestly believe that when I'm really old and wrinkly and I look back on my life, this will be one of those "defining" years that helped to shape my life. Well, that was my 2010 in a nutshell. How was your year? Do anything exciting?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Christmas Gift for Myself

I got lots of fun gifts for Christmas this year, but one of my favorites is one I bought for myself - some film from The Impossible Project.




I've had custody of my parents' old Polaroid for a few years now, but never got around to buying film for it. I just recently bought some, and had lots of fun shooting pictures of my friends and other random things. It's a little pricey for me to purchase regularly, but every once in awhile I'll get some to add to my Polaroid photo collection! :)

Did you buy yourself anything fun for Christmas?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday Festivities

Well, Christmas is over. It was very fun but very hectic. I didn't really have time to post about any of the fun things I did over the last week, so I decided that one big round-up post would do the trick.

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On Wednesday, I went to "Holiday Nights" at Greenfield Village. If you're unfamiliar with "America's Greatest History Attraction," it's a small village of historical homes, landmarks, reenactors, and more. It was built by Henry Ford and is located in Dearborn, Michigan. During December, the village turns into an old-time Christmas wonderland, with horse and buggy rides, model T's, carolers, roasts, silent Christmas films projected onto the side of a building, and Santa himself.




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On Thursday, the women in my family gathered for our annual tea party. Not exactly a traditional Christmas festivity, the tea party is something that we do just to have a little girl talk, sweets, and of course: tea. We put on vintage hats, take pictures, and stuff our faces.





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Also on Thursday, my friend Whitney had a holiday party for some of our friends. We drank Michigan wine, seasonal beers, and played fun games. It was great to see lots of my friends all in the same place. 




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And last week I went with my family to my town's Museum for its annual Holiday Open House. It was decorated in traditional turn-of-the-century style (the museum is a house built in 1896, I believe). They had tour guides and wonderful decorations. It was gorgeous!




So those are the high points. What did fun things did you do over Christmas week??

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year's Eve Fashion with A Hasty Life


Hello Wattlebird Readers!



My name is Ashley, Annie and I are switching blogs for the day, you can find her at my blog: A Hasty Life. I’m so happy to be posting here. Guest posting is such a wonderful way to meet new bloggers and share new ideas! I’m excited to see what new relationships blossom through this guest post (for both Annie and myself!)

New Year’s Eve is coming up, and although I generally try to do something low-key I thought I would create a Practical and Glamorous outfit for all of you who are going out to parties on New Year’s Eve!

Why is it that when we girls dress up to go out on the town, we dress in silly outfits that either don’t suit the weather or the massive amounts of dancing we plan to do? We wear the highest heels (and sure they make our calves look great) but by the end of the night our feet hurt so much we either kick them off and dance barefoot (GROSS) or sit on the sidelines. Well, not this year! We are wearing flats…and not only are we wearing flats…we are wearing a LONG-SLEEVE dress. Want to know why? Because it is JANUARY and it is COLD in January! Why are we always going out in our skimpiest dresses on New Year’s Eve? Not only are we wearing a long-sleeve dress, we are wearing a jacket, too! Because it is probably a winter blizzard outside (just our luck) and we need some extra warmth hopping between parties.

Yes, of course, we got multiple invitations to New Year’s Eve parties this year. And we must make an appearance at all of the best ones, to be polite!

Without further ado…your PRACTICAL + GLAMOROUS New Year’s Eve Outfit:



1.     Slate Lake Dress from Mod Cloth
2.     Deck the Toes Flats from Mod Cloth
3.     Silver and Black Flapper Headband from Baroque And Roll
4.     Melange Wood Block Print Jacket from eShakti

Thanks Wattlebird Readers! It’s been a pleasure posting for you! I hope you all have a fabulous New Year’s Eve and I look forward to seeing you around blog world again!

Ashley
(And if you feel so inclined…bop on over to my blog and become my newest follower!)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Kitschy Ornament Wreath

Through the past few weeks I've saved so many amazing tutorials for beautiful handmade Christmas decor. Everyone is so TALENTED (yes, you) I can't even believe it. So next year, I'm going to spend lots of time making pretty things for my home, but this year I'm going to have fun!

My Christmas decorations are mostly handmade or vintage (or handmade AND vintage) because lots of it was passed down from other family members and we never throw anything away. So of course, a lot of it has sentimental value, and it's cute in a kitschy sort of way. BUT over the years we've accumulated so much of it that the sheer amount of kitsch can be overwhelming.

So this year I decided to condense some of the awesome handmade/vintage ornaments into a wreath. It was so simple and it honestly looks cute.


I started with a standard wreath frame and began gluing some of my bigger vintage bulb ornaments to it. Then I started to fill it in with slightly smaller ornaments, and then even smaller plain bulbs. I chose to go with a pink/blue/white color pallet, but that part of it is up to you.


Then I started to fill in all of the gaps with the garland. I looped the garland between each of the ornaments, then around the outside and inside of the wreath, gluing it in place as I went. I then let it dry, tied a ribbon to the top, and used a dangling ornament for some embellishment at the bottom.


Voila!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Vintage Finds: Coat Shopping

It's getting really, really cold out there. So for many of us, that means it's time to start coat shopping! This is, in my opinion, one of the only advantages to cold weather. Right now, I really love 1940's style coats made of wool or other soft materials, buttons, and unique collars.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Olsenboye Review

If you haven't heard of Olsenboye, it's a new line of clothing designed by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen available at JC Penney. When I was approached about doing a product review, I was a little bit hesitant at first, but then I took a look at some of the items and decided that I had to give it a try.


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This one is a red, hooded half-cardigan. This is my favorite clothing item. It's so festive and perfect for some upcoming Christmas parties! It's also really soft and fits so well.

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Then there is a black and gray plaid dress. It is definitely eye catching and unique. The top half of it isn't really my style but I think it looks pretty good with this top, and the tiered skirt is adorable!

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This hooded jacket has gotten a whole lot of use so far (and I've only had it for about a week)! It's really comfortable and colorful, and I really love the faux fur in the hood.

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Now this is my absolute favorite item. Yes, it's just a plain black bag, but I've actually gotten a whole lot of compliments on it since I've used it. It works well as a purse, a laptop carrier, and a yarn bag (I always have an extra bag for yarn)! So perfect.


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Well, that was fun! Maybe I'll do this again one day. If you have a product you'd like me to review, please send me an email at anne.pilon@gmail.com and we'll chat.

**disclaimer: the items reviewed in this post were given to me, though the review is completely impartial.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

4 Silly Questions with Music City Vintage

Since I came up with the idea for my 4 silly questions feature a couple of weeks ago, I've gotten a really great response! I've had lots of fun sending out weird questions to fellow bloggers and shop owners (and I'm still getting to some of you, don't worry!)

So today's featured silly person is Angela, who sells wonderful vintage coats, clothing, accessories, and ugly Christmas sweaters (with some priceless photos, I might add), in her shop: Music City Vintage.



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If you could be any sea creature for one day, which would you choose and why?
A whale shark, they are gentle, but definitely big enough to own the place :)


Would you rather have a time machine or the ability to read people's minds?
Time machine, hands down. Who wants to know what other people are thinking? I'd rather go back in time and visit the people and places that enchant me!


What is your favorite guilty pleasure from the 90's?
Cocaine, am I allowed to say that? You can edit. (Note: WAY more entertaining to leave that in :) ) I am an 80's-90's child and I have to say the Smiths, the Cure, and REM are my favorite guilty pleasures of the 90's.


If you had a pet emu what would you name it and why?
Tiny, for obvious reasons!


I told you the pictures were great! Thanks, Angela, for participating. I hope you had as much fun as I did!

If you want to be the next participant in my fun, pointless, little game, email me at anne.pilon@gmail.com or comment on this post (though I'll probably get back to you sooner if you just email me). 

Stay silly!

Ugly Christmas Sweater

The other day, my brother told me he needed to buy an ugly Christmas sweater for a school presentation. I love ugly Christmas sweaters, so I obviously jumped at the chance to flex my creative muscles.


I didn't have enough time to stitch on all the details, but fabric glue works fine for an item like this. I'm not sure what made me choose the design I did, but it's definitely festive and hideous.


I used felt for the large talk bubble and the donkey (yes, that's a donkey). Why a donkey? Why not! Then I used a patterned Santa Claus fabric for the letters.


It only took about 40 minutes to uglify this plain red sweater, and he got lots of "compliments" on it. So if you're going to any ugly sweater parties this year, or even if you just want to be festively ironic, this is a very good way to go!


P.S. I shared a not-so-ugly Christmas sweater tutorial over on Sandy A La Mode's blog this week AS WELL AS a giveaway! So make sure to check out those posts too!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ridiculously Simple Christmas Sugar Cookies

I like baking cookies, I really do. BUT I am also a very busy girl. So, sometimes I like to take shortcuts, and that's what I did with these cookies.



Yes, they came from a box - all I had to do was throw them in the oven, mix some frosting with food coloring, and let them cool. And let me tell you... they are DELICIOUS. Probably better than the ones I make from scratch.




So, if you're looking for some delicious Christmas cookies that look cute, can pass for homemade, and taste wonderful, don't be too ashamed to take some shortcuts.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

DIY Advent Wreath

Advent wreaths can be a great tradition for families around Christmas time. My family has never really had one in our home before, but this year I decided to give it a try.


If you're unfamiliar with advent wreaths (or need a quick refresher), there are four candles around the wreath. You are supposed to light one per week for the four weeks leading up to Christmas. There are three purple candles and one pink.


I just bought a small box of simple, white, tea light candles and wrapped colored ribbon around them to make them colorful. I wrapped on piece of colored ribbon around the top and the bottom of each candle, then used a shiny, silver and white, floral ribbon to cover the middle part of each candle. I used glue to secure the ribbon in place.


I then also used glue (lots of it, and some strategically placed wreath branches) to secure the candles to the wreath. Once the candles are in place, you can start securing the small ornaments to the wreath, also with hot glue. You could also use pine cones, flowers, or any other kinds of holiday-themed embellishments. I just found a box of really small pinkish purple ornaments that went perfectly with my colored ribbon.


Now you're ready to light your candles in preparation for Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Confession Time

I have a confession to make... I don't know how to read knitting patterns.

Yes, I have been knitting since middle school. Yes, I do it all the time. Yes, I can make lots of different things with yarn. But no, I have absolutely no idea how to read a pattern. I always just taught myself how to make things through trial and error. Every time I tried to read a pattern, I just gave up because it didn't make sense to me and I thought it would be easier to just teach myself how to make it.


But that is all about to change. Starting January 1 I am committing myself to learning how to read (and write) knitting patterns. It is my New Year's Resolution. So that's why I'm writing this here - so I will stick to it.

I joined Ravelry so I can browse projects and patterns with other knitters. Add me as a friend, if you'd like. And if anyone has any suggestions of cool pattern books, websites, or tips about knitting/crocheting patterns, I'd love to hear them!
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