Category Archives: 52 weeks

Week 52 :: A Christmas Project

In case you couldn’t tell, I cheated a little with the last couple posts. Clearly, it hasn’t been a week since the last 52 Weeks post, but there’s something to be said about starting a new year fresh, so I’m skipping ahead (it’s my blog and I can if I want to).

I wanted to end this blogging challenge with a little project I did that I’m so proud of – a Christmas wreath and tree decorations I did for my sister (tree photos above, wreath photos below). This was such an eleventh hour project (I literally whipped it together two days before Christmas because of the renovations), and it turned out so much better than I could have hoped for.

With the rush to get it done, I didn’t stop to take any prep photos, but it was pretty simple to do and it should be pretty easy to see what I did in case you’d like to do it yourself next year (or, should I say, later this year). I started with store-bought fruit garlands (I found it at Michael’s for those interested), a pre-lit fake tree, and a real wreath. I grabbed pine cones, a can of spray glitter in gold, some floral wire, and wire cutters. I used one and a half garlands on the wreath, and about five on the tree. I had more garlands, and if I do this again, I’d use more, but time was a factor.

Upon closer inspection, I realized that each garland contained individual bunches wrapped to a longer strand; so, I simply unwrapped them, then re-wrapped them where I wanted on the wreath and the tree branches. I then sprayed the pine cones with the spray glitter, let them dry, then wrapped them in place with floral wire. If you’ve never used spray glitter before, it’s just like spray paint, but the paint is clear and has glitter. You’ll need a well-ventilated area and a box to spray in. I got about three coats per pine cone out of one little can, and I used about 50 or so pine cones of various sizes. I will say it’s probably best to give every one a first coat before doing a second coat; I didn’t, and my last batch came out not so sparkly (so I just put them up top or in the back where no one would notice).

I went this route because the regular ornaments were packed away in storage. The benefit of this was that everything was wired into place and secured, so we could move them around without breaking anything. I should also say that while I’ve decorated trees before, this was my first year doing a wreath all by myself. It’s such a simple thing, but I’m so proud of this little project. It turned out better than I hoped (sometimes, I’m not so good with three dimensions or anything of a sculptural nature), and was very subtle and earthy. Take a look:

Not bad for a first timer, huh?

I haven’t yet decided if I want to pursue another year-long blogging challenge, but I can say that this one was great; I would highly recommend 52 Weeks to Blogging Your Passion to anyone out there that needs a little extra push. It got me thinking and blogging again, which I wasn’t sure I had in me a year ago. So, many thanks for following along for the ride! I appreciate every single comment and email, especially since it’s not always easy to put your thoughts out there for consumption (it’s a little nerve-wracking, so the kind words mean a lot to me).

This post is part of a series for my 52 Weeks challenge, inspired by the 52 Weeks to Blogging Your Passion ebook by Tara Gentile. Grab a copy and join me!

Week 51 :: A New Year and a New Goal

If you could pick one word for 2011, what word would it be? I’ve seen others do this, like Ali Edwards and Kim and Erin and Kristi, and I thought I’d try it, too.

I didn’t pick a word for 2010, but as I opened this gorgeous print from Stephey yesterday, that word came right to me – expand. Looking back, I realized instantly it was perfect for 2010, and how appropriate was it that it came on the last day of the year?

I did expand in 2010, mostly my own boundaries. My world grew, my skills grew, and I tested myself on what I could accomplish. I’ve read that 2010 was a difficult year for a lot of people, and I’m sorry for it. 2010 was challenging for me, but in the best way. I grew as a person, as a business owner, as a blogger, and as an artist. But I will also admit that 2010 felt a little like I was playing catch up with other people, trying to keep up with the Jones’ rather than setting my own pace. That’s what I’d like to be different in 2011.

You know I’m not really one for New Year resolutions. And I’ve already set some creative goals for 2011. So, allow me to jump around a little with my last two 52 Weeks posts and say that instead of a goal for the new year, I’d like to set a one-word intention: Savor.

I want to savor more this year. I want to be in the moment more, laugh more, relax more. I want to give myself a break more, and go easy on myself more. I want to experience new things, and rediscover old ones. I want to keep creating and experimenting till I feel that click that tells me I’m doing exactly what I should be doing at the exact moment I should be doing it.

2010 wasn’t rough for me in the same way 2009 was, but I’m definitely looking forward to 2011. New things are coming, I can feel it.

Happy New Year to you!

Week 50 :: Celebrate a success


There’s something really magical about being surrounded by fellow artists. That energy that everyone feeds off of and gives to, that sense of community and belonging. That’s what I missed the absolute most when I graduated college – suddenly, my community was gone. I didn’t know how much I respected it and flourished in it till I didn’t have it anymore. It shouldn’t have come as a shock; I knew I was graduating. But what I didn’t realize is how bittersweet graduating was; beyond having a degree, it meant leaving a community (or getting abruptly thrown out in a cap and gown, whichever).

Friends and family are great supporters, but there’s something a little extra special about connecting with another artist, don’t you think? They just get it. Luckily, thankfully, I’ve connected with fellow artists over the last three and a half years. This year especially has been amazing as far as community goes. 
I know this is just a blog sitting out in the interwebs, not a forum or a site, and it’s not a “community” in the traditional sense. But I’m definitely feeling blessed to have found a missing piece of my own art experience here. That’s maybe, probably, the thing I feel is my biggest success this year – connecting you guys.

Keeping that in mind, I posed this question on Twitter: What’s one success you’ve had this year? Here’s a few awesome responses:

Candy from @CandiedFabrics: 3 magazine articles! Those led to TV apperances and more articles in the pipeline!

Amanda from @PrimandPropah: Getting a blog up and running!

Jescalyn from @PeachHoneyLove: Cut back my hours at work, feeling more inspired than ever, & started video blogging and have increased my presence on the web.

Michelle from @Michabella: I’ve had my busiest holiday season to date. 🙂

Aren’t those awesome? So, your turn: what’s one success you’ve had this year?

This post is part of a series for my 52 Weeks challenge, inspired by the 52 Weeks to Blogging Your Passion ebook by Tara Gentile. Grab a copy and join me!

Week 49 :: Did you achieve your goal?

I’ve talked about my goals a couple times before (here, here, and here). And now with my 52 Weeks challenge slowly coming to a close, it’s time to check-in one more time.

The question is simple: Did I meet my goals? The answer is also simple: Nope.

But that’s okay.

I have to tell you, putting my goals out there publicly is nerve-wracking. If I say it, and I fail, then what? But, I have to remind myself that, really, I didn’t fail; I just haven’t finished them yet. That helps, but still – being publicly accountable is tricky. I’m never comfortable with attention on me, even if it’s only perceived in my head. I like being the photographer or the stage hand, not the photographed or actor. You’d think blogging would be safe, and it kind of is; but it’s still intensely personal, don’t you think?

It’s been a good year, and I’m happy with the progress I’ve made. It feels good to say that, to know that. How about you? Did you achieve any goals this year, big or small?

Since it’s the week of Christmas, and I am the designated gift-wrapper for the whole family, and the sous chef for my sister, posts will be a little sporadic for the next week or two. You know how it goes!

This post is part of a series for my 52 Weeks challenge, inspired by the 52 Weeks to Blogging Your Passion ebook by Tara Gentile. Grab a copy and join me!

Week 48 :: Did you fulfill your mission?

Back when I first restarted my blog, my trusty copy of 52 Weeks to Blogging Your Passion ebook in hand (figuratively speaking, of course), I was all geared up and ready to blog again. But it was scary. I had never done such a long challenge before. I’ve often admired people who took on the 365 photo challenges I see on Flickr, but it felt too much for me for me to handle; instead of excited, that idea made me feel overwhelmed, and I just knew I wouldn’t finish it.

So, I opted for something that felt somewhat familiar, but with a different approach. I wanted to be held accountable with my blogging, and I wanted it to be obvious what I was doing (hence all the “Week” titles). I’ve taken several classes this year to make a blog that was focused and that I felt proud of (instead of the last one, which, at best, was a mixed bag). I didn’t want to cop out when it got hard, and I’ve had to change the way I think about writing and blogging and creating content to share.

Week 1’s blog prompt was to create a mission statement. Here’s what I wrote back then:

brandi girl is a blog devoted to sharing inspiration, whether it is my own thoughts for pieces in my jewelry shop, Catie’s Blue; colors that inspire me; or things that bring me joy. Through brandi girl, I want to connect with other artists and art lovers, support the handmade community, and share my own handmade pieces with you. Welcome to my blog.

It’s still pretty much the same, though I tweaked it a little a couple months ago. And I think for the most part, yeah, I did fulfill my mission. I accomplished pretty much what I set out to do, which was simply to start blogging again. In addition to that, I found a voice, found topics I feel pretty passionate about, and it feels pretty good to be nearing the end of my own personal blogging challenge.

Call me crazy, but I’m already looking for another one. I think I’ve got it, but I’m going to wait till the new year starts before I share it (in case I change my mind).

I know most of you aren’t following the 52 Weeks prompts on your own blogs, and may have only heard of it through these posts. But I’d honestly like to know: Did you fulfill your mission this year, be it a blog mission or a personal one?

This post is part of a series for my 52 Weeks challenge, inspired by the 52 Weeks to Blogging Your Passion ebook by Tara Gentile. Grab a copy and join me!