Happy New Year, readers!
2010 was a roller coaster of a year, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2011. Although I am making some resolutions, I hate to start out by thinking about what didn’t get done the last time around. So, a little recap of what made 2010 great:
In January, Brendan and I hopped on a plane to Salt Lake City to attend Altitude Design Summit. It was amazing to meet so many blogging super-stars, and to walk away feeling like we were all “in it together.” You can read my recap here. Although I did learn a thing or two about blogging, it was meeting so many like-minded people that made a big impression on me. This year, I felt like I had to pick and choose my trips, and so I won’t be going to Alt.
‘Til Alt 2012!
In February, inspired by the tips I picked up at Alt and overwhelmed by being a design freelancer, invitation designer, and blogger all at once, I put out a call for a Mint intern. Although the program didn’t last very long, I think I learned a lot about what to look for in an intern (or future employee), and what I want Mint to be. The interns who were here for a bit were great; it was my planning that wasn’t so hot. Maybe I’ll try this again down the road… but for now, Mint’s a solo venture, and that’s OK.
Also in February, I started a vintage shop on Etsy called West + Plum. I had a blast with the shop and it did a good job of getting me out of the house (one of the toughest parts of being a freelancer). It satisfied my constant desire to curate. I promised myself that the moment W+P started to feel like “work,” I’d let it go. Later in the year, things got hectic and I decided to temporarily close the shop. I’m looking forward to starting it up again this Spring/Summer, but maybe with occasional “collections” available for sale for short periods. I’m getting excited just thinking about that.
Someone gave me a stack of old HOW magazines when I was in high school, and I think I still have them lying around somewhere. I was blown away by them… I had never seen anything like the beautiful projects featured inside. And I made it a secret goal that one day my work would be featured in HOW. So, you can imagine how ecstatic I was to find out that one of my wedding invitations would be featured in the April 2010 issue.
In May I traveled to New York to see the National Stationery Show (and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, which was happening at the same time). I visited partly to cover it on Mint, and partly to scope it out in case I ever decide to have a Hello Tenfold booth. I left feeling so impressed by the work I saw, but wondering if the wholesale market is really for me. I took lots of pictures and found some new favorite stationers/designers, which you can see by following the links above.
My husband and I had both of our business cards featured in the book Nice to Meet You Too in June. (!)
In the Spring Brendan and I began the search for our first home. I still can’t believe how much work it was… we visited many houses, fell in love with a few, wondered if we wanted an older house with lots of potential in an up-and-coming neighborhood, or if we wanted fewer projects and more stability. The loan process was nuts, there’s no other way to put it, and I was thisclose to losing my temper with our bank and blowing our down payment on a trip around the world. But we were patient. And in October we closed on a cute house with just the right combination of projects/character/affordability/move-in-readiness. Ideas for 2011: lots of painting, a new kitchen, a sunny reading room, and more settling in.
In September I celebrated my one-year anniversary of getting laid off. That kind of celebration may sound a little odd, but the challenges and rewards of being self-employed exceed my expectations. I’m still pinching myself. My husband was laid off two weeks after I was (from the same company) and his new job is, as we like to call it, a “real” job, with bigger clients and more ambitious projects. As for me, I made the hard decision this year to lose a couple of my oldest and most regular clients to be able to focus on my favorite clients — brides! I’ve begun doing more screen printed invitations, which combines my college-found-love of printmaking with today’s love of design. Perfect. It takes a little time to appreciate the doors that open after that kind of rude awakening, but… they do open. Every time.
Last fall, I got an email that was so terrifying that it took me a couple days to even formulate a response. AIGA Charlotte wanted me (me!) to come speak to them about blogging. For 60-90 minutes. I said I would. And then wondered what the heck I had to say. It took a lot of practice and thought, but I was shocked to find out in November that I actually enjoyed public speaking! Don’t get me wrong… I was still a nervous wreck. But when I opened up these photos last week for the first time since my talk, I realized that I even LOOK like I’m having fun! I’ve promised some readers a write-up on my talk, and I haven’t forgotten.
So I think I can say 2010 was pretty focused on work. And for 2011, I want to turn the focus a little bit, maybe restore some calm and good health. I want to take more walks, use my gym membership, learn how to take care of plants, and make at least one painting. I want to get better at saying “no” to projects that aren’t a good fit, to focus on the good things, and to schedule in a vacation, preferably the overseas type. And I’m going to pat myself on the back for the goals I met in 2010, and forget about the ones I didn’t. ;)
So what about you, what are your 2011 goals, and what made 2010 good? I wanna know.