Monday, May 30, 2011

9 by 9 for 29

In a bit more than 9 months, I hit the start of another decade of life. I'll become a thirtysomething. While I'm not entirely sure what happened to my twenties and I'm not afraid of thirty, I do look back at various to-do lists and wish lists and long-term goals and think "hmm…maybe not." A PhD I do not have (and currently don't really have the desire to seek). I'm not married (but I have found the most amazing man who I am lucky to share my life with). And I'm not a mother (a goal/plan long-since off the oft-revised list {but not the life list}).

So now, with 9ish months to go, I thought I'd set out 9 goals for myself. Some I can achieve on my own. Some aren't all up to me. But I'm going to try to make the most of this list.

1. Get back on the full-time career bandwagon
I've fallen off. London shoved me off. Schools here love Aussies and Kiwis and Canucks and can't say no (quite literally/legally) to EU folks. But Americans are persona non grata for permanent teaching positions as far as most schools are concerned. I'd like to try to do whatever I can to change that. I miss having my own class and not just feeling like a fill-in person (even if for a few months at a time). I am a teacher. And I have been told and experienced that I'm a pretty good teacher. So I hope I can find the school I'm meant to be with.

2 - Have a cross-country American adventure
This is planned for August, but not yet fully fleshed out or booked. Trains, planes and automobiles. Dairyland, the Big Easy, and maybe some Windy City too! I want to make it happen. The Scot needs to see Wisconsin not covered in snow, and I want to take a 19 hour train trip!

3 - Make 2 new friends
A silly goal for some, but I'm rather crap at meeting new people in the real world. I'd like to make some new girlfriends here in London for hanging out with and doing friend-y things. (This is hard when all your besties live in other countries).

4 - Visit a new country
Not a super hard one, but I want to fit it in!

5 - Make BlytheCon UK 2011 a success!
Most of you know that I'm heading up the organization for BlytheCon UK 2011. It's just over 4 months away. Final registrations are happening in the next weeks. I have big plans, some public, some secret. I really want it to be epic. (Are you going to be there?)

6 - Decorate the bedroom
Seriously. It's been a year and other than some photos in frames, the room is boring. And pretty disorganized. I'd like it to mesh up with the beauty of the living room and the bright airiness of the "winter garden"/sunroom.

7 - Etsy success!
This has been something I've been hoping for/working toward for a bit over 3 years. Lots of "hearts" for my shop and my items, but sales are slow. I'm hoping to come up with some ways to publicize better/more and add some new designs.

8 - Grow {she's crafty}
I'm loving this blog more and more as a creative and social outlet. I want to share it with more people and get more people involved with it as well. (Pssst - I'd LOVE if you followed me via Bloglovin'.)

9 - Stay in the UK
This one's not entirely in my hands, but I'm hoping that various combinations of the above 8 goals and some other things in life will help me to have a renewed or new visa by my birthday time. Tough as it can be, and stressful as it often is, I enjoy London and the home I've got here.

I haven't decided yet if I'll check back in on these goals occasionally or maybe just around my birthday. But there they are: 9 goals for 9 months of 29. Is anyone else working on goals right now? Short- or long-term?

Pinterest Pretties

This weekend I was away in Somerset seeing gorgeous countryside, meeting some cows, and joining my boyfriend and his family as he became a godfather to his cousin's son. So, tonight, a quick little post of prettiness that I've found and/or shared on Pinterest.

If you're not yet using Pinterest, it's such fun! Try it out. If you're anything like me, you'll love it! Here are some lovelies for a late late Sunday night.

I hope those brought a little smile to your face or maybe even some inspiration! (Click through for sources, more details, etc). Have a super Memorial Day (US folks), Bank Holiday (English folks), or just a great Monday!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hello (again)

With a re-vamp of the look and feel of {she's crafty}, I thought it would be a great chance to share a bit more about me with you. While this blog never gets super personal, it's still a place where I get to share some bits of my life with those of you who choose to read. And connecting is always a good thing!

I come from the great, grand expanse of the United States. And within those 50bits, from the (in my opinion) finest one of the lot: Wisconsin.
Land of cheese, beer, Friday night fish fries,

marvelous summer concert seasons, and good schools.

My formative years were spent in SouthCentral Wisconsin and summers largely spent on Washington Island (a marvelous oasis of forests and quiet living surrounded by Lake Michigan) where my family have a holiday cabin. My college years were then spent in Missouri (I attended Stephens College and loved every minute).

After college, it was back to Wisconsin, then Switzerland, then Wisconsin, then Armenia and now...London! I arrived in London in the summer of 2009 and have really loved living here.

While most of my time is spent here in The Big Smoke, I also really love to get up to Scotland to visit the family of my beau (aka The Scot) and see the gorgeous country. We've been living together for a year now and setting up our little home, decorating it, having my own kitchen, etc. are all things I really enjoy. (If only I had room in our mini kitchen for a KitchenAid mixer!)

Things I love:

Popcorn. Nom nom nom nom. With BUTTER! (Seriously, get with the program Europe. It's best with BUTTER).

Bubble baths. Or any lovely smelling, preferrably sparkly, bath product. (Especially from Lush. Ah, Lush....).

Knitting! I don't knit as often as a should. It comes and goes in a little bi-polar wave of crafty goodness. I love Noro yarn best of all. And KA Switch interchangeable needles. Most of my knitting is either for little people belonging to friends/family or dolls.

Speaking of dolls - my Blythes! Here's my current collection of dollies. I love them. And I love the great community of people I've met through collecting them. Such a great group of gals (and a few guys too!).

Movies. I try to get to see a movie a week, but sometimes that doesn't happen. Last year I hopped on board to the unlimited movies scheme at the nearby cinema. (These are some favorites).

So that's a bit about me. And a bit of what I hope {she's crafty} will be featuring in the future: crafts, dolls, travels, and a bit of food and fun!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Night With Pete

You may already know of my love for Pete Yorn. It started many years ago in college. I heard his music and liked it. I saw him play in a radio station tent at an art fair in Madison, WI in July 2001 and thought he was fab. I bought his first album. Then I saw him again in Columbia, MO in April 2002, spent a few years getting more into his stuff (the live double disc is awesome) and saw him in Madison again in March 2007 and Milwaukee in August of 2007. Then I moved abroad in 2008 and Pete's stayed stateside.

Until now. 2 lovely weeks in Europe. And I got my little taste of New Jersey rocker awesomeness on Thursday at the King's College London Student Union - the tiniest venue I've even seen his Peteness in. AND I used the night (and dead camera battery) to try out my new phone's camera. I hope you enjoy!

It was a great night. Not so many people on this side of the pond seem to be keyed in to Pete's particular brand of rock. I love it. Here's a little playlist of the night's setlist (encores included) for your listening pleasure. Have a listen. Maybe you'll like it :)

At the end of the night I snagged myself a new t-shirt (one that I'll actually wear as it's more a neat print than emblazoned with large words on my chest). And an autograph. I'm a happy monkey. It was a happy early start to what looks to be a lovely weekend (as the world clearly has not ended). Enjoy yours too!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's Live!

Hello friends and welcome to a whole new look for {she's crafty}. I've been scheming since the winter and spent a good part of April and May learning a lot more web design and loving that the The Scot is a developer (he was super helpful).

Links to the left! Things I love to the right! And all the other stuff in between!
**If I read your blog a lot and you don't yet have a share widget, do get one and I'll add it :). Please grab one of my new buttons if you like - I'd love to get the word out about {she's crafty}.

Do tell me what you think. It's been a lot of nail-biting fun to create!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Behind the Scenes

It is a rather well-known fact that I like to take dolly photos. They're fun! They're cute! And they make far more interesting shots than regular old tourist photos when I'm out in the world having adventures.

The Scot finds my love of dolly photos amusing. And he has developed a little side-project to my own: behind-the-scenes/making of photos. Photos like this:

Doll in a Castle

It's actually pretty fun. I like seeing how a gorgeous shot like this:
bridge over not-too-troubled waters
came about by my heart pounding in fear and my hand pulling away as fast as possible a la:
"The Making Of" #1

Some others in the series:
Doll in a Tree 2

Doll Across Loch Ness

"The Making Of" #5

Doll on a Funky Fence

Doll Pose

"The Making Of" #3

Do check out his flickr stream. It's full of pretties (as well as some rather ridiculous shots of me!).

Processes. Making. It's ongoing. I'm sure we've all got some fun behind-the-scenes views in our lives. What are yours?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Before and After: Photowall the second

Some of you may recall that a few months after The Scot and I moved into our present home, we embarked on the creation of a photowall. I wrote a little bit about it back in August and it's probably one of the favorite features in our home for each of us. (And my photo of that wall is a fave decorating shot of mine as well).

A little while back we decided to expand the concept. We decided to remove the 2 "people" photos we had and add them to the collection that we plan to create in our entry hallway (which is a bit sad and unloved-looking) and focus our living room walls on photos of our adventures. Because, for The Scot and I, our relationship enjoys many adventures both near and far. And we like taking photos of them all! So, in keeping with our aesthetic, off we went to Ikea to purchase some more Ribba frames to add a 2nd, smaller, wall to the collection. I think they're really great frames for a photowall since there are a lot of shapes, sizes, and colors in the line, but they all have the same overall look. On our walls, we've chosen to go with a mix of the wood effects (birch, oak, and walnut). I like how they're a bit different from, but also complement, our black-brown furniture.

A few days after we got our new frames - including a goooorgeous 20x20in number (to hold a 12x12in print) - I managed to trip and fall on the "safe" place we'd set them. So our plans for a new wall were halted for about 6 weeks til the next opportunity for an Ikea adventure! Being underemployed of late, I had the chance to go on Tuesday and we picked out our photos and ordered them straight away (I use Photobox, for what it's worth - not the best interface, but excellent print options and quality). Thursday afternoon I had prints in hand. And a wall to create!

I like using a mix of sizes. For this wall I had 5 frames: 2 4x6, 1 5x7, 1 double 4x6, 1 12x12. For me, it's about similar margins, but not straight lines. Creating a sense of movement across the wall makes the room feel a bit more alive. So that's what I went with.

In the end, our little home is looking more and more like "us." Soon: couch pillow facelifts, a "people" photo wall (with a very different look) for the entryway, and maybe even a little something special for the bedroom. For now, we've got 2 walls of loveliness in our living room.

Welcome home.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Treasuring loveliness

Lately, I've become a big fan of Etsy treasuries. I've always loved them, but since they made them readily available to create (rather than a mystical, magical, be-online-at-the-right-time-for-the-privelige-of-a-spot), I think they're an even better tool for Etsy love and sharing. I've made a handful in the last week. So I thought I'd share under the oft-neglected occasional series of Things and Stuff! (Click through the photos to see the full treasuries on Etsy).

The first I titled "Ascot Gavotte" (some of you might get the theatre reference, but I also thought it was just a fun title for a collection of larger-than-life hats)

I do wonder if Princess Beatrice ever does her millinery shopping on Etsy...

The second treasury I'd like to share is Where the Wild Things Are-inspired. Sadly, between the time I created it and 12 hours later, one of the items seems to have disappeared and Etsy wouldn't let me re-add it. Very odd. Oh, well. "And now," Max cried, "let the wild rumpus start!"

Lastly, a little collection of sweet stuff - Honey, be good:

I have, thus far, created one treasury for Blythe, but for regular readers here that's a bit more of the usual. And I wanted to share some new things. Enjoy!

Do you use Etsy to create treasuries? Do share!