2014 Savings Challenge


Some years I’m very into New Year’s resolutions. Some years, not so much. 2014 started in chaos, so I was less thinking of ways to improve myself and more figuring out a way to move 800 miles to start a new job with no car and no apartment.

But at the tail-end of 2013, two links popped up on my Facebook feed on the same day. The first was New Yeezy Resolutions, which randomly generates a Kanye West quote that could be taken as a resolution. I don’t imagine too many people have actually resolved to accomplish their result, but mine seemed pretty spot-on: I will get my money up to Jay Z level.

The second link was a year-old graphic from Saving a Buck, which encouraged people to commit to saving a small amount of money every week for a year; one dollar the first week, two the next, and so on. One of my Facebook friends pointed out that it made more sense to do the project in reverse, and I added that pairing this goal with a high yield savings account would be a great way to earn more interest on the balance.

So in 2014, while I don’t think I’ll manage to accumulate 42 million dollars, I will (and have) put aside money every Friday into my Ally account. It’s not the only saving plan I’m following this year, but it’s a fun supplement to a more serious, big picture goal.

I’ve made a reference sheet that has every Friday of the year with the corresponding amount I need to put aside, and I’ve shared it via Google Drive. Click here for a downloadable PDF that you can print out for yourself—it’s not too late to join in!

The Sketchbook Project: 2013 Summer Tour

sketchbookproject07I originally wrote about the Sketchbook Project almost a year ago. Since then, I finished my own sketchbook, sent it off, and have enjoyed the e-mail updates I get every time it, along with 4,500 other sketchbooks, reaches a new city. (And the text messages every time someone checks it out!) On Tuesday, I finally had my chance to see the collection in person at the Watkins College of Art & Design in Nashville.

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Charity Water Update


I got an e-mail from charity: water today notifying me that the money everyone so graciously donated to my birthday campaign has been sent to the field. Even better news? Charity: water exceeded their $1 million fundraising goal for the holidays by half a million dollars, meaning Ethiopia will soon have over a hundred new wells. Stay tuned for updates within the next eighteen months to find out exactly what our money accomplished. Thank you again for all of your donations!

Family Registry Cross-Stitch


In 2012, I spent approximately two weeks worth of hours stitching a family tree for my grandmother’s ninetieth birthday. I started in April and didn’t finish until the morning of her party on September 14th. I alluded to this project several times on my blog throughout 2012, but I never quite felt up to posting about it.

It was, hands down, the biggest thing I accomplished last year. (And only my third cross-stich project!) There were many ripped stitches, many tears, and many times that Ian got up for work at five in the morning to discover me still sitting at the dining room table, needle in hand with crazy eyes. I spent months of my life worrying about spills, the oil on my hands, and not being able to finish it in time.

Presenting it to my grandmother on my birthday was a freeing experience. The second she saw it at the restaurant, I let out a huge sigh of relief that I’d been holding in for months. Honestly, had someone spilled a glass of red wine on it after dessert, I would have been okay. Presumably it’s hanging up in her house now. I’m just glad I’m not responsible for it anymore!

As crazy as the whole project made me, I’d do it all again. Not only did my grandmother have a fit over it, but I’m sure it will become a family heirloom. Here are some photos that I took while I was stitching to mark my progress:

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Hand Painted Sake Cups

I made Ian a set of sake cups for Christmas. Margaret and I went to All Fired Up in Atlanta, one of those paint your own pottery places, and we painted for a good two hours. We got to have a laid-back friend date, and we both ended up with Christmas gifts for our husbands. It was a lot of fun. (She had the brilliant idea to look at Pinterest for some inspiration. I got the polka-dot confetti idea from the Anthropologie copycat tumblers over at Radical Possibility.)

Why sake cups? Well, Ian and I usually go out for sushi for my birthday, so they seemed festive and like something he’d enjoy. Also, I could make a cup for each of us for $20 total. Not bad! Once they were fired, Margaret shipped them to me, carefully taped with bubble wrap, and I gift wrapped them with a good bottle of sake and put them under the tree. I think it was Ian’s favorite gift this year, and it’s definitely my favorite (well, second favorite) craft project of 2012.

From All Fired Up in Atlanta…




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