2013: bloom

Last January I chose "bloom" as my word for the year. 

It was the first year that I was able to decide, without hesitation, on a single word as my focus for the year. I think it was a good choice. 2013 was a year of blooming.

Blooming in my garden,

including my biggest lavender harvest ever.

I revamped many of our garden beds and Matthias and I added another raised bed for vegetables and herbs,

which means that we ate very, very well (there was also ice cream making, bread baking, cheese making and beer brewing. And don't forget last week's fish filleting).

There was blooming in my home as I finished one furniture project after another.

And blooming in my art with drawings and painting and sewing.

The business of my art bloomed, too. I hosted a second Handmade Joy Exchange,

sold my first painting,

taught a jewelry-making class at my local library, participated in three craft fairs (and was even in the newspaper after the 3rd one!)

and finally created a calendar with my artwork (which also meant I learned a little Photoshop).

And then there was our massive, cross-country road trip,

the wedding of my dear friend (including months of planning and plenty of celebrating),

and the somewhat last-minute decision to leap for our dreams and move from Ohio to Wisconsin

It was a big, beautiful year. Looking back at it I am filled with gratitude. Gratitude to the universe. Gratitude to my family and friends. Gratitude to myself for being stubborn and determined. Gratitude to each and every person who has encouraged me along the way, whether here on this blog, on other social media sites, on Etsy, over email or in person -- every bit of encouragement helped me not to give up.

Of course, there were low spots and disappointments. My broken toe and cut wrist. The blizzard at the tail end of our cross-country road trip (in a car with a non-functioning heater). The fact that at the first craft fair I didn't sell one single thing. My failed cucumber crop. Unsuccessful paintings. Unfinished projects. They, and other negatives were part of the year, too. That is natural. But when I look back at the year, I do not see negatives. I see a big, beautiful, blooming year. Why? Because I choose Joy. As I wrote last November, Joy is my focus. The negatives exist. I accept them, learn from them and move on. I choose to cherish and celebrate the fragrant roses, not lament the shriveled cucumber vines.

As 2013 draws to a close I am filled with excitement and hope for the coming year. I love the way the new year stretches ahead unmarred and full of possibilities. And I love the fact that this time of year encourages contemplation and a rededication of intention and focus. It gives us a chance to pause and think. To slow down and then to dive back in to all those things we wish to tackle, not with frantic energy or pressing deadlines, but with a slow and steady determination. We can move ahead step by step, a little bit each day. Really, that is the only way to get where we want to go. One step at a time.

I am wishing you a beautiful, Joy and peace filled close of 2013 and a glorious beginning of 2014. May the new year be your best yet.


  1. What a beautiful post, Anne! Gorgeous photos, beautiful sentiments and such a sense of joy throughout!! Wishing you a beautiful, JOYFUL 2014!! xo

  2. A wonderful post Anne. My word for 2014 is perseverance and it seems you did a lot of perservering in 2013! 'Cherish and celebrate the fragrant roses, not lament the shriveled cucumber vines' - how I love that sentence! I think I will choose to live by those words Anne over the coming months. Wishing you many magical moments in 2014.

    1. Thanks so much, Simone. Wishing you many magical moments, too!

  3. Oh Anne, what an amazing post and year! So inspiring! Wishing you magical, happy and creative 2014!!!

  4. What a beautiful post, Anne! Your choice of word for last year was perfect--you certainly did a lot of blooming! Those roses are stunning. Do you mind telling me which ones they are?

    1. Thanks so much, Laurie!

      The first rose photo is Sharifa Asma. The second is A Shropshire Lad. Looking closely at the third photo, I think it is also A Shropshire Lad... I thought it was another one at first, but I don't think so now.

  5. Sooooooo much beauty! Wishing you the best for 2014. Lots of love your way. :)

    1. Hugs to you, Paula! Thank you and sending best wishes to you, too!


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