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Popsicle Stick Christmas Ornaments

It's November, which to many over-enthusiastic holiday lovers means CHRISTMAS! Yes, I love Thanksgiving as well—it's just one big holiday celebration for me from now to the end of the year. So far, I've refrained from putting up my Christmas tree, but that doesn't mean I can't prepare, right? This past weekend, I spent some time making some ornaments. I love to create handmade ornaments to add to my little tree each year. 
Lately I've been interested in popsicle stick crafts. I found some super cute ideas on Pinterest (see the links to my Holiday Crafts and Food board and specific posts below). I like that such a simple material can have so many possibilities. Just add paint and glue!
I was able to get my kids involved for part of my craft day. They are ages 2 and 3, so they didn't do much beyond just paint a few popsicle sticks. I turned these painted sticks into little Santa Claus ornaments—two for each daughter as they're bound to ruin some of them …

Welcome 2017

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday break. I had a great time celebrating my baby’s first Christmas and birthday this past week.

 

Well, now the holidays are over, and it's time to not only look back on the past year, but also to look forward to what new opportunities and possibilities 2017 has in store. I had a lot of great things happen to me in 2016, and I have a feeling this coming year will be just as eventful. Life is sure keeping me on my toes!

Looking Back

First, a reflection on 2016. I, for one, had quite a year. There were many changes that took place, both personally and professionally, and all positive for the most part. I started out the year by becoming a mother when my daughter Adelaide was born right at the end of 2015, on December 30th. Then this past summer, my family and I moved across the country from New Hampshire to Utah for my husband’s schooling. The new baby and relocation pushed me to take a new direction professionally since I had to leave my office job in book publishing and all my family (aka, babysitters) behind in New England. It was hard at first, and we had a few months there without much for income, but I am now happily working from home and growing a freelance business for myself. It has allowed me not only to spend more time with my daughter, but also to expand into other areas of work more suitable to my creative side, such as illustration and graphic design, as well as devote some time to personal projects. While it may be a little more stressful and difficult working this way, I am loving the newfound independence and flexibility it has brought to my life.

Looking Forward

Similar to last year, I am looking forward to a big life change right at the start of the year… another baby! We are expecting our second little girl towards the end of January, and I am feeling both excited for the added blessing to our lives and apprehensive of the new challenges it will bring. But mostly excited. I can’t wait to meet her.

Work-wise, I am optimistic for what is to come. It was really scary to abandon a long-time, steady office job and jump blindly into the role of working stay-at-home mom, but now that I have a few months of routine and steady jobs under my belt, my confidence is increasing, and I am excited to keep growing.

My Goals for the Coming Year

I like to start out the year with a few resolutions. I’m not always good at keeping them, but it gives me a good starting point for the brand new year.



Growing My Business
I’ve gotten to work on some great projects and create relationships with wonderful clients just in the past few months. I want to continue to build upon that by adding to my portfolio and actively seeking clients and jobs that I want to be a part of so I can continue doing what I love while helping to support my family.

Self-publishing
I love books and magazines (especially those that are DIY themed, of course!) and have always wanted to create my own. Actually coming up with a legit proposal to send to publishers may be something I would do in the future, but for now, I like the idea of self-publishing. I’ve worked in publishing for over a decade designing and laying out books, so I have the technical know-how. It’s finding the time to create the content that’s the hard part. Or even just coming up with an idea. I experimented with creating my own adult coloring book and self-publishing it via Createspace on Amazon. I would like to continue to expand on that with at least one more book this year.




Blogging 
I always feel like I could do better with this blog, so as always, that is one of my resolutions for this year. In addition to just posting more regularly and frequently, I would also like to experiment with adding other types of content, like videos and better tutorials.

And Just For Fun...

Journaling
I am always wanting to keep a sketchbook, write down lists and ideas, be more organized, make a photo scrapbook, write down thoughts, and record personal history. Well, I’ve decided that I could probably combine all of that into one task—journaling. My initial idea is not to have one dedicated notebook, but rather to take random bits from different sources and compile them as digital pages that I can then print later if I decide to do so. I can scan drawings and hand-written notes, or make use of digital text files and photos. While I do like the idea of a physical journal, I figure this way will give me the freedom to do whatever (doodle, hand-write, type, paint, photograph) with any materials (paper and pen, computer, phone, camera, paint) without restricting me to one set medium, size, or method. Plus, bonus, I lay out books for a living and I enjoy doing it, so it will be fun to put the pages together like a digital scrapbook. I will feature some of my pages as I finish them here.

Photography
I got an awesome new Canon camera this year, and I have been having a lot of fun taking pictures (mostly of Adelaide). I would love to learn more about how to use it and improve my photography.



So those are my resolutions for this year. I can’t wait to get started!

Happy New Year!
Niki



MY FAVORITE POSTS OF 2016






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**UPDATE - 2015** The miniature sweater knitting pattern has been revised.  View/Download the new pattern here:
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