It's time to say goodbye to 2016! I've compiled my favorite project from each month to create a little "Best of" retrospective. Thanks for crafting along with me this year!
I've also included a sentence or two about the family happenings and my ongoing health adventures--hope you don't mind the personal bits! I feel like you're all darling friends. I hope someday we get to squeal and hug in PERSON. : )
My favorite project in January 2016 (and yours too, judging by the number of tutorial views!) had to be the Drapery Fold. Recreated to save paper and fit on a full-size card, this version took the crafting world by storm! After the fam went back to school (Mike in his 21st year of teaching, Dan in 8th grade and Natalie in 6th), my fantastic assistant and BFF Penni and I flew to Florida to celebrate her fifth anniversary (actually almost the sixth by the time we managed to schedule a getaway and get gone!) Super thankful for her!
My favorite project in February 2016 was this diagonal "Sash Card" from Cheat Sheets Collection #13. February was super busy as I ran a 30-Day business bootcamp for Stampin' Up demonstrators, in addition to Sale-A-Bration, our biggest and busiest sale of the year. My Etsy store really took off as well. I also turned 39 on the 15th. Eeep!! It's hard to pretend to yourself you're "in the mid-thirties" when the actual number ends with nine!!
The Easy Butterfly Swash card was my favorite from March 2016. The Dripping Pearls technique was a super close second, though! March continued to be super busy both on the Stampin' Up side (Sale A Bration) and the family side (school competitions, play practices, spring break). The schedule has grown along with the kids' shoe sizes!
My favorite project in April 2016 has to be this Mini Gift Bag graduation money card/gift card holder. April was FULL of family stuff as the kids trucked towards the end of the year. Natalie was in a play (I painted the set), and Daniel interviewed for placement in the Academy (high school). My darling BFF and fellow demo Kristine John arrived for a weekend visit from Arizona. On April 23rd I officially earned the Stampin Up trip to Thailand, in the midst of all this crazy!
In May 2016, my favorite project was this Ombre Floral Mother's Day card. I made a ton of different versions. The most amazing thing that happened in May (and the whole year!) was the Stampin' Up incentive trip to the Mediterranean. Mike and I piggy-backed on that week-long cruise to Spain, Italy and France, to spend another week in Italy on our own, and had the time of our lives. The two sets of grandparents each took the kids for a week, and they had so much fun they didn't even miss us! You can see pics from the trip on my Instagram.
This Flourishing Phrases card was my favorite of many variations I shared in June 2016. It just looked fantastic no matter what colors you used. After we got a little recovered from our jet lag, Mike participated in a bike tour, I held my local Rubber Rummage sale, and then we packed up the minivan and left for our annual trek to Wyoming to see my family out in the glorious Mountain West.
This simple Wrapped Mat Technique, a brand new layout I developed for Cheat Sheets Collection #15, was my favorite card for July 2016. While we were still in Wyoming I was having a hard time physically, so I went to my favorite naturopathic doctor (hi, Mom!) and was diagnosed with stage three Adrenal Fatigue. I have struggled with this before, so we all expected me to improve in a couple of months with rest and supplements. We came back home and made plans to clear my schedule as soon as it was possible.
I can't talk about August 2016 without talking about 31 Pages in 31 Days! What a fantastic month of scrapping and sharing. I didn't feel I could cancel this annual event and the online and local Scrapbooking Summer School that I run in conjunction with it every year. The Lord was gracious and allowed me to get through the month without missing a single day and only having to cancel one event. It was very clear that I needed to take a total break and get a grip on my health, however.
This Mason Jar card was my favorite from September 2016. The kids and Mike went back to school. My sensory-avoider, Dan, started high school with a good deal of apprehension, but absolutely loved it. We are so proud of him! One really BIG bright spot in my health issues was the carpal tunnel that had plagued me for the past three or four years, limiting my stamp time to just minutes per day, cleared completely up with the B-Complex vitamins I was taking. NO surgery needed! So my month "off" was spent joyfully creating for hours each week as I rested and rearranged my schedule to focus mostly online for the immediate future.
It's really hard to pick just ONE favorite project from October 2016! Penni and I did a fun collaborative week-long blog series for Halloween (the Valentine version begins January 23rd!) Having more time at home left time to learn new techniques and make some more advanced projects (as well as get ready for craft fair season!) But this Four-Fold Card really did steal the show. A new Stampin' Up year started on the 1st, and I knew it was going to be a very different year for me. My fatigue and cortisol surges continued to cause major disruptions to our lives. I am so thankful for an understanding and supportive family and church family, as so many had to pick up the slack.
November 2016 always finds me knee-deep in Christmas cards, and this year was no exception! I think this Classic Monochromatic Reindeer one was my single favorite this season. November was really busy for us with the kids' birthdays (they are both teenagers now!), my biggest craft show of the year, and the Stampin' Up conference I was able to attend partially. It was so good to see all my demo friends and have a huge number of team members attend. Mike spoke at a conference in North Carolina, and he and his parents took the kids to spend Thanksgiving week in Branson, Missouri, adding three new states to their travel list.
My favorite project in December 2016 was this lace thank-you note for the charter members of my new online offering, Stamp Set of the Month Club. It has been a joy to see my dear customer friends graciously respond to my empty class schedule right now. As of this moment, I am awaiting results from some tests that might give us some new directions to work in. In the meantime, God has been teaching me amazing things in the "valley" that I know I would have been too stubborn and impatient and just plain too busy to learn any other way. We had a very low-key Christmas and plan to just take 2017 a week at a time.
Thanks so much for taking the time to scroll through a look back at the crafting year with me! Here's hoping 2017 will produce many more pretty projects and the ability to return to a (modified) schedule of events once more. I'm sending you best wishes and blessings for a healthy and happy New Year! Happy stampin' to us all.