Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Favorites from 2014

I hope to tell you the story of these roses next week.  They marked a happy occasion for me this past year and are one of 2014's photos and stories that didn't make the blog.  Next week, I hope. 
The year ends with the wing chair re-do still in-progress.  I'm still looking for fabric for the seat cover and back. 
I mentioned in February that my older brother's "fortieth birthday fudge" arrived broken into pieces and that I was disappointed but was not going to beat myself up about it, but alas, I couldn't resist making a new batch for him later that month.  I left it at my parents' house for him during a visit home along with another gift and a hand-painted deer ornament.  Forty is a big deal; it was worth a second batch of Grandma's fudge. 
My new camera brought immeasurable joy to my days this year.  The Neil Gaiman quote I opened a January post with--"I hope that in the year to come, you make mistakes.  Because if you are making mistakes, you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world"--has come to mind so many times this year, the quote itself has felt like a gift.  I remember my grandfather telling me that, "People who don't make mistakes don't make anything" at a time when I needed to hear exactly that, and to hear this echo of his words in the Gaiman quote has been a blessing to me.  That I now have a real camera to take with me on my walks is just wonderfully fun for me.  The Mourning Dove below was perched on a fence-post as I returned from a walk this summer--
--and I never could have taken a picture with detail like that with the camera on my old flip-phone.  You understand my joy.  :)
I mentioned at the end of 2013 that one of my goals for 2014 was to be more organized and thoughtful with my gift-wrapping like my dear aunt Laurie always is.  I put more thought into my gift-wrapping, but I didn't end the year any more organized with it.  Mom had predicted that it would be harder for us to be as  organized as Aunt Laurie is with these types of things since Aunt Laurie's entire attic serves as her space for craft supplies and gift wrap supplies and gifts-yet-to-be-given.  In a one-bedroom apartment, I don't have the same set-up, and after multiple organizational attempts this year, I've come to accept that I'll just have to do the best I can with what I have when it comes to this.  Maybe someday, I too will have a space I can devote to all things gift-giving-related.  Aunt Laurie didn't have her attic until she was in her forties, after all, so I still have time.  Dare to dream.  ;) 
Our Easter table this year was sweet--turquoise and peach with rabbits--but I never got a post up about it.  One of the local grocery stores had these adorable bunny truffles in its store-made candy department, so I bought two for our place-settings.  If I'm remembering right, the ears were nuts--probably almond slices.  Anyway, I want to make these sometime--maybe for Easter 2015.  They "made" the table. 
 The girl-holding-her-cat figurine above was my favorite birthday gift this year.  This was how it looked after I painted it to resemble me and Stuffed.  I'm not a kick-knack person, but this little figure's so special to me. 
One of the highlights of this past year--that also somehow didn't make it onto the blog--was a Color Run 5k race my friend Marylou and I ran/walked/laughed our way through this summer.  I told Marylou if she'd come up from West Virginia for it and drive us to the race city, I'd pay for the motel stay and race fees.  We made it work, and especially since it was the first time we'd seen each other since 2008, we had a blast.  
That I was still finding purple and green powder from the run in my hair two showers later was a small price to pay.  It was my first race of any length since 2011.  So fun! 
In June, I got home in time to see my favorite rose, Louise Odier, in-bloom. 
I also got to see all three of my mom's sisters.  The above picture of Mom and Aunt Laurie is my all-time favorite of them together.  This is the one I framed as part of Aunt Laurie's birthday gift last week.   
During that June visit home, my aunt Heidi showed me this old picture of me and my mom, and it has become one of my most-treasured possessions.  I'd never seen it before.  Love, love, love. 
I took photos I loved too. 
And wrote at least one post this year that made me proud.  I'd wanted to write about Papa and Grandma's crayon can for years, and I finally found the words.  
A double rainbow appeared behind our apartment this summer. 
 Stuffed was as dear as ever.    Each year--each day--with this sweet soul is a gift.  
I walked many miles in 2014. 
And lost pounds that I have regained and lost and regained since then, the story of my life, it seems, but the glory is in the attempt, etc. 
In 2014, I began donating books and book character toys/dolls to my former elementary school's library.  The new year's first donations will be delivered when the kids return to school after holiday break next week.  :)
Home continues to be cozy and colorful.  
Mr. V wrote back!  A long letter arrived in the mail just a few days after I'd mailed out his in October.    He is now in-touch with my younger brother via Facebook, which also delights me.  I got in touch with my kindergarten teacher and second grade teacher this year too, and they and I have emailed back and forth a few times, as well.  My heart glows just thinking about it. 
More walks.  A glorious autumn, the most colorful one I remember ever seeing. 
And a year that ends with memories of more gifts happily created and given--Emmet!  --
--and happily received
2014 was challenging and beautiful and colorful and full of love.  May 2015 shine just as brightly, and may I be a better and braver person by its end.    I'm working on it, and the work continues.   Ah!  Happy new year to you all! 


Balisha said...

Loved going through your year in pictures. Happy New Year to you and yours.

Blondie's Journal said...

Oh, Val! You had a fantastically happy year! I enjoyed each and every pic! You ran a marathon...that's my dream. Good for you and you give me some hope! :)

Hoping and praying 2015 is wonderful for you and yours! :)

Jane xx

Pamela white said...

I have been quite sick this year and absent from the blog world, my own blog has suffered terribly! I am so glad the first one I chose to read today was YOURS Val! Always brings a smile! I LOVE that Emmett doll! I loved that story and movie as a kid and for the first time my six year old watched it this year and he loved it too! I may have to get you to make one for us! You are so talented and so wonderfully open with us all! Happy New Years to you and your hubby, and kitty!

La Table De Nana said...

Even your yellow zucchini is smiling.
I am glad I got to share this year with you..
My daughters did a similar run/walk and came home in technicolor too!
What type of fabric are you looking for for the chair?

Your mom and her sis look great..
I am're sure you're not even a teeny bit a knick knack person?:) A smidge?:)

Your photos are just getting better and better..that morning dove is awesome.
Bonne Année!

Val said...

Thank you all. :)

Balisha, thank you. Happy new year!

Jane, only 5k races and a couple sloooooowly-traveled half marathons so far. But someday, I hope to do a full properly. :)

Pam, welcome back. I'm sorry you've been so sick. Love to you and your family too. ♥

Monique, I've found a material that looks like handwriting that I'm leaning toward for the back of the chair, and I'm thinking about just creating my own via the Spoonflower fabric design website when I decide on a design. 'Something writing and/or reading-themed, I'm thinking. Thank you for everything--racing off to work right now--Happy new year! ♥

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a great year you had dear Val. Filled with love, joy, giving and receiving and lots of color.

Have a wonderful 2015 ~ FlowerLady

Val said...

Thank you, Lorraine. ♥ May 2015 be sweet for you too.

La Table De Nana said...

I think spoonflower is the way to go..even more YOU.

Val said...

Yes, I think so too. :)