Interlude in IDK

This’ll be a quick post, but I wanted to make a point to post and let you know my thoughts on life at the moment.

I’ve been getting emails. Well, I always get emails, but I’ve been getting more emails (and comments) lately wondering where I am, what I’m doing, when my next tutorial will be, why I haven’t been posting all the time and more. I wanted to assure you that, yes, I still own my own blog and, yes, I will still be writing on it. But I Don’t Know the answers to any of those other questions. If you had a chance to read my last post, you may have realized that I’m in (as always, but different) a new chapter of life consumed with a new job + new business, volunteer work and new other adult responsibilities that I’m still learning how to handle with more grace and fewer naps.

This blog is more a diary of my life and inspiration than anything else. Would I love to be able to write a blog post every day? Absolutely. But that’s just not in the cards right now. I hope you understand and can see that although my blog isn’t the forefront of my life right now, that doesn’t mean that it won’t be my constant companion for years to come.

If you have been getting frustrated checking my blog for new material, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to my blog with a service that emails you when I post. I have a feedburner feed set up, and that’s how I make sure to keep track of blogs that I try to read on a regular basis.

I can’t leave without sharing a few things from the past couple weeks, though! Here are some pictures from my holidays. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from my happy little family to yours. :)

I've been knitting a lot lately, including with this budget variegated yarn, because I'm running a knitting club for elementary schoolers in January. It's exciting, and it's going to be crazy. Leia is an especially big fan of the additional yarn in the picture.

I’ve been knitting a lot lately, including with this budget variegated yarn, because I’m running a knitting club for elementary schoolers in January. It’s exciting, and it’s going to be crazy. Leia is an especially big fan of the additional yarn in the picture.

I shipped off a large set of orders for ThingsCrafted - the second big batch! That makes me happy. You can order your own custom stamp at thingscrafted.com. ;)

I shipped off a large set of orders for ThingsCrafted – the second big batch! That makes me happy. You can order your own custom stamp at thingscrafted.com. ;)

Leia adores her Christmas gift - a seat that suction cups to the sliding glass door. She sits/sleeps on it about half the day!

Leia adores her Christmas gift – a shelf that suction cups to the sliding glass door. She sits/sleeps on it about half the day!

This is a present I designed for several of my friends. It's a woodgrain design with cursive inside jokes. It goes in the back of this shadowbox to collect beer bottle caps. :) The gift was a hit! (Drawn with my favorite marker and colored with copics.)

This is a present I designed for several of my friends. It’s a woodgrain design with cursive inside jokes. It goes in the back of this shadowbox to collect beer bottle caps. :) The gift was a hit! (Drawn with my favorite marker and colored with copics.)

The local brewery that first introduced me to craft beer, Surly, opened at its grand, new location. Man, it's so amazing. I highly recommend a visit if you're ever in the Twin Cities!

The local brewery that first introduced me to craft beer, Surly, opened at its grand, new location. Man, it’s so amazing. I highly recommend a visit if you’re ever in the Twin Cities!

I got sick with the flu. Really, really sick. Like 102 degree fever for four days sick. I don't have to guess where I got it from... it came from school and one of the 20 little gremlins that had it last week. Or all of them. At least I had audiobooks, my kitty and some Christmas gifts (here, I'm making soy candles for the first time - would you like to see a post about this?) to keep my mind off the terror that was my Christmas Flu.

I got sick with the flu. Really, really sick. Like 102 degree fever for four days sick. I don’t have to guess where I got it from… it came from school and one of the 20 little gremlins that had it last week. Or all of them. At least I had audiobooks, my kitty and some Christmas gifts (here, I’m making soy candles for the first time – would you like to see a post about this?) to keep my mind off the terror that was my Christmas Flu.

Friends Christmas, Year Two. 14 of us spending the day together at a brewery, a bar, our apartment and eventually falling asleep to several of the guys backseat driver-watching Star Wars Episode 4.

Friends Christmas, Year Two. 14 of us spending the day together at a brewery, a bar, our apartment and eventually falling asleep to several of the guys backseat driver-watching Star Wars Episode 4.

Another year with our 6-foot Christmas tree (this year with a gold and red color scheme). I love it and I can't wait to have at least three Christmas trees to decorate every year. Maybe two Christmases from now we'll have a house. :)

Another year with our 6-foot Christmas tree (this year with a gold and red color scheme). I love it and I can’t wait to have at least three Christmas trees to decorate every year. Maybe two Christmases from now we’ll have a house. :)

I felt well enough to travel home (a day late) on Christmas Eve. Jake and I spent our first Christmas together in the am and pm, and it was wonderful. All in all, we had 6 Christmases together. That's a WHOLE lot of Christmas.

I felt well enough to travel home (a day late) on Christmas Eve. Jake and I spent our first Christmas together in the am and pm, and it was wonderful. All in all, we had 6 Christmases together. That’s a WHOLE lot of Christmas.

My mom's decorating was amazing and as colorful as always.

My mom’s decorating was as amazing and as colorful as always. My mom said Jake will get a stocking as soon as we get married (we’re not engaged… yet), but he has to let her know a year in advance because it takes her so long to knit them. Lol!

I had the pleasure of spending lots of time with Jake's sister, Melissa. We love it so much that she likes good beer now. We get to go to the coolest Milwaukee bars!

I had the pleasure of spending lots of time with Jake’s sister, Melissa. We love it so much that she likes good beer now. We get to go to the coolest Milwaukee bars!

Jake's mom's Santa cookies were as delicious as ever. I know her recipe is awesome as it is, but the Santa shape just adds that extra bit of magic that makes the cookies incredible.

Jake’s mom’s Santa cookies were as delicious as ever. I know her recipe is awesome as it is, but the Santa shape just adds that extra bit of magic that makes the cookies incredible.

We spend some time with Melissa's ferret, Link, too. He's absolutely hilarious, and Melissa thinks it's awesome that I'm not afraid to pick him up. My argument: why would I be? He's like a short, long cat with racoon markings. Ha!

We spend some time with Melissa’s ferret, Link, too. He’s absolutely hilarious, and Melissa thinks it’s awesome that I’m not afraid to pick him up. My argument: why would I be? He’s like a short, lanky cat with raccoon markings. Ha!

But really when it all comes down to it, it feels amazing to be back home with kitty and my own bed. Leia's also a big fan of the promo fleece blanket that I picked up at the gift basket portion of Jake's extended family Christmas (it's crazy and the best tradition ever). She wasn't super excited about being wrapped up like a burrito but then slept like this for three hours. Hmmm... haha.

But really when it all comes down to it, it feels amazing to be back home with kitty and my own bed. Leia’s also a big fan of the promo fleece blanket that I picked up at the gift basket portion of Jake’s extended family Christmas (it’s crazy and the best tradition ever). She wasn’t super excited about being wrapped up like a burrito but then slept like this for three hours. Hmmm… haha.

Now I’m off to go continue resting. Thankfully, all of my flu symptoms are gone except a horrendous cough that comes every time I try to talk. Needless to say, I’m drinking ALL of the water and hoping I don’t have to do too much loud talking at work tomorrow. Yeah, right. ;) Thanks for all the love and support!

Love,
Britta

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Things That Happened When I Was 24 in Photos

My 25th birthday was last Friday (November 28th), so I wanted to make a list to commemorate some of the things that happened while I was 24.

1. My birthday was on Thanksgiving. I made the entire meal for the first time by myself, and I decided once and for all that Birthday Pie is the best kind of pie.

1. My birthday was on Thanksgiving. I made the entire meal for the first time by myself, and I decided once and for all that Birthday Pie is the best kind of pie.

2. Radiant Orchard was picked as the color of the year by Pantone. I was a fan. I feel like purple doesn't get enough credit in the color world. 

2. Radiant Orchard was picked as the color of the year by Pantone. I was a fan. I feel like purple doesn’t get enough credit in the world of color.

3. We learned (okay, confirmed) that Leia Batman does NOT like to wear costumes.

3. We learned (okay, confirmed) that Leia Batman does NOT like to wear costumes.

4. I might have went a little overboard on holiday and winter decorating. Just kidding... that's not possible. ;)

4. I might have went a little overboard on holiday and winter decorating. Just kidding… that’s not possible. ;)

5. I worked seasonally at Sephora and absolutely loved it. I also worked at an art store and absolutely hated it.

5. I worked seasonally at Sephora and absolutely loved it. I also worked at an art store and absolutely hated it.

6. The inaugural Friends Christmas happened, and it was both adult and awesomely kid-like all at the same time.

6. The inaugural Friends Christmas happened, and it was both adult and awesomely kid-like all at the same time.

7. I went home for Christmas for almost exactly 24 hours and drove 5 hours both ways to get there. Retail - ugh.

7. I went home for Christmas for almost exactly 24 hours and drove 5 hours both ways to get there. Retail – ugh.

8. I had my very first trip ever to the Emergency Room. It was a complication of IBS and my stomach hurt excruciatingly bad, but the amazing part was that three of my friends showed up to take me and stay with me in the ER while Jake was out of town. I can never thank them enough for being there for me. <3

8. I had my very first trip ever to the Emergency Room. It was a complication of IBS and my stomach hurt excruciatingly bad, but the amazing part was that three of my friends showed up to take me and stay with me in the ER while Jake was out of town. I can never thank them enough for being there for me. <3

9. I chose EXPLORE as my word for 2014, and that was the driving notion for a lot of things I did throughout the year.

9. I chose EXPLORE as my word for 2014, and that was the driving notion for a lot of things I did throughout this year.

10. I had long, brunette hair.

10. I had long, brunette hair.

11. I jump-started a car for the first time. And a second. And a third... Also, I learned that battery corrosion is very not-good thing.

11. I jump-started a car for the first time. And a second. And a third… Also, I learned that battery corrosion is very not-good thing.

12-03-14 About Being 24 by Britta Swiderski-9

12. I went to DisneyLand for the first time, and it was just as amazing as I’d dreamed. Also, I think Thor digs me.

13. I went to CHA Winter and got to see so many of my very best friends in the entire world.

13. I went to CHA Winter and got to see so many of my very best friends in the entire world.

14. I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time.

14. I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time.

15. Melissa (Jake's sister) and I became really, really close friends. I don't hesitate to call her my sister now. We're both so weird in all the right ways.

15. Melissa (Jake’s sister) and I became really, really close friends. I don’t hesitate to call her my sister now. We’re both so weird in all the right ways.

16. I had good days and I had bad days. I learned more coping mechanisms to have in my tool box so that I can deal with my anxiety and depression more effectively. Art journaling helps me when I feel frustrated and down.

16. I had good days and I had bad days. I learned more coping mechanisms to have in my tool box so that I can deal with my anxiety and depression more effectively. Art journaling helps me when I feel frustrated and down.

17. I tried Wood Burning for the first time to make an invitation to the second annual Feast of Thrones. Everyone brought a dish and beer to share, and we had a huge feast before the season preimere of Game of Thrones.

17. I tried Wood Burning for the first time to make an invitation to the second annual Feast of Thrones. Everyone brought a dish and beer to share, and we had a huge feast before the season preimere of Game of Thrones.

18. I lost two very important people in my life. My first deaths of close loved ones. My grandma passed away after a long battle with a rare form of Parkinson's Disease. But I knew everything would be okay because she's at peace now.

18. I lost two very important people in my life. My first deaths of close loved ones. My grandma passed away after a long battle with a rare form of Parkinson’s Disease, but I knew everything would be okay because she’s at peace now.

19. The second loss was gut-wrenching. One of my best friends, Tim, lost his fight to depression. He took is own life in June, and I will never be the same. (You can read more about losing Tim here.)

19. The second loss was gut-wrenching. One of my best friends, Tim, lost his fight to depression. He took is own life in June, and I will never be the same. (You can read more about losing Tim here.)

20. I became an all-in, absolute advocate for Mental Health awareness and suicide prevention. My friends banded together to mourn, help and transforming our pain and loss into effort to help others.

20. I became an all-in, absolute advocate for Mental Health awareness and suicide prevention. My friends banded together to mourn, help and transforming our pain and loss into effort to help others.

21. In the summer, I ate more Greek and caprese salad than I knew was physically possible for one human to consume.

21. In the summer, I ate more Greek and caprese salad than I knew was physically possible for one human to consume.

22. I officially became A Person Who Buys Chairs At Garage Sales.

22. I officially became A Person Who Buys Chairs At Garage Sales.

23. I went to 4 MLB games, 1 Saint Paul Saints game, 2 Gopher Basketball games, 1 Gopher Hockey game (outdoors!) and 1 Gopher football game.

23. I went to 4 MLB games, 1 Saint Paul Saints game, 2 Gopher Basketball games, 1 Gopher Hockey game (outdoors!) and 1 Gopher football game.

24. I lost 40 pounds by moving more (walking to hit my fitbit step goal and exercise bike) and focusing on eating more healthy than I already did. I also gave up soda (except on vacation, because vacation doesn't count). I don't have a fitbit anymore since the recall, but I highly recommend getting a pedometer to keep track of those numbers. Steps are so much more forgiving than pounds.

24. I lost 40 pounds by moving more (walking to hit my fitbit step goal and using an exercise bike) and focusing on eating more healthy than I already did. I also gave up soda (except on vacation, because vacation doesn’t count). I don’t have a fitbit anymore since the recall, but I highly recommend getting a pedometer to keep track of those numbers. Steps are so much more forgiving than pounds.

25. I went with five friends on a crazy adventure to Seattle, Vancouver and Portland. We called it #FriendFestNW and it was worth absolutely every cent I spent to get there.

25. I went with five friends on a crazy adventure to Seattle, Vancouver and Portland. We called it #FriendFestNW and it was worth absolutely every cent I spent to get there.

26. I started playing bass. I love my bass. We're working on a band name, but someday we'll write a song, and it will be magical.

26. I started playing bass. My friend Steven and I formed a band. Still working on a band name, but someday we’ll write a song and it will be magical. We’ll be doing our first open mic soon!

27. Jake and I celebrated our 3-year anniversary and tried to go on as many day dates as possible when he had off work. I love him more every day.

27. Jake and I celebrated our three year anniversary and tried to go on as many day dates as possible when he had off work. I love him more every day.

28. We dressed up as heroes and went to a beer fest at Midway Stadium before it was torn down. We ended up getting featured in CityPages twice - once in photos from the event and once from the September Highlights.

28. We dressed up as heroes and went to a beer fest at Midway Stadium before it was torn down. We ended up getting featured in CityPages twice – once in photos from the event and once from the September Highlights.

29. Leia continued to be my ever-loving furry companion, and our apartment is still undoubtably Leia's Castle.

29. Leia continued to be my ever-loving furry companion, and our apartment is still undoubtably Leia’s Castle.

30. I went back to short, blonde hair (my natural color).

30. I went back to short, blonde hair (my natural color). (And I like it. I also like silly faces.)

31. Jake's cousin, Chris, married Taylor, and it was the most beautiful wedding I've ever attended. I cried. A lot. I'm so grateful to be considered part of their family.

31. Jake’s cousin, Chris, married Taylor, and it was the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever attended. I cried. A lot. I’m so grateful to be considered part of their extended family.

32. We, as a friend group, drank ALL the craft beer. This included too many brewery taproom visits to count, a tandem bike brewery tour in Portland, attending four beer festivals, attending the grand opening of a taproom practically in our neighborhood and, of course, excessive use of my favorite-ever

32. We, as a friend group, drank ALL the craft beer. This included many brewery taproom visits, a tandem bike brewery tour in Portland, attending four beer festivals, attending the grand opening of a taproom practically in our neighborhood and, of course, extensive use of my favorite app, Untappd.

33. I participated in VEDA (vlog everyday in april) and #Inktober (draw everyday in october).

33. I participated in VEDA (vlog everyday in april) and #Inktober (draw everyday in october).

34. I had this not-so-crazy idea for a business, so I made it. ThingsCrafted launched November 13th, and it was terrifying. I have so many more plans and dreams and can't wait to see where that road takes me.

34. I had this not-so-crazy idea for a business, so I made it. ThingsCrafted launched November 13th, and it was terrifying. I have so many more plans and dreams and can’t wait to see where that road takes me.

35. I got a real, adult job working with kids at a local elementary school with before- and after-school care. I work early in the morning, come home for 6 hours to work on design business stuff and then go back to work in the afternoon. It's difficult and exhilarating and exhausting and wonderful all at the same time, every day. I get paid to talk to kids, teach them things and do craft projects. It's a perfect fit.

35. I got a real, adult job working with kids at a local elementary school with before- and after-school care. I work early in the morning, come home for 6 hours to work on design business stuff and then go back to work in the afternoon. It’s difficult and exhilarating and exhausting and wonderful all at the same time, every day. I get paid to talk to kids, teach them things and do craft projects. It’s a perfect fit.

36. I saw one of my favorite musicians ever, Watsky, preform live for the second time. It was just as amazing as the first time I saw him and also 100x better and I can't explain why. His music inspires me every day.

36. I saw one of my favorite musicians ever, Watsky, preform live for the second time. It was just as amazing as the first time I saw him and also 100x better and I can’t explain why. His music inspires me every day.

37. I celebrated my birthday in two places - at The Farm (Jake's cabin) with Jake's family and in Neenah with mine. It was Black Friday. We had steak and green bean casserole for dinner, and I wrapped ribbon around my head. It was wonderful.

37. I celebrated my birthday in two places – at The Farm (Jake’s cabin) with Jake’s family and in Neenah with mine. It was Black Friday. We had steak and green bean casserole for dinner, and I wrapped ribbon around my head. It was wonderful.

This last year was so many things. In a lot of ways, it was the hardest year I’ve ever faced… but with the lows come the gratefulness and joy for everything I have and love. I’m so thankful for everything, and every day is a new learning experience. I’m also thankful for you for sticking around and reading my blog. I know I haven’t been a consistent blogger this year, but this blog isn’t about just crafts – it’s also about my life. Thanks for being part of it. :)

Love,
Britta

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ThingsCrafted Grand Opening Blog Hop!

Hey there! You should be arriving here from Mary Dawn’s blog. If you’re just joining us on the blog hop, you can head over here to the ThingsCrafted blog to start from the beginning!

ThingsCrafted-Grand-Opening-Blog-Hop

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve disappeared to over the past six weeks or so, I hope this helps to clarify things. ;) Not only have I started a new mostly full-time job (and I love it – but more on that later), but I’ve also launched ThingsCrafted, a new business that allows me to do what I love – designing for this awesome community that I’m already so lucky to be a part of. Here’s a little bit more information about ThingsCrafted: 

ThingsCrafted is a place where handmade design and customization come together to create a wonderful company who creates and encourages color, personality and community. ThingsCrafted was founded by Britta Swiderski, a designer with a background in the world of papercrafting and a history of working with awesome graphic design clients. ThingsCrafted provides custom products – starting with stamps – to suit your lifestyle all starting with handwritten designs. They all go from pencil to computer to your doorstep! We love to create stamps and designs for addresses, “made by”s for the projects you send to others, favorite phrases or shapes for project life and planner organization and so much more. 

Today we’re celebrating this new beginning with a blog hop. I’m so excited to introduce this concept to you, and I hope you’ve enjoyed what everyone else put together for this hop. I have some truly amazing friends, and I can’t wait to get even more of them involved as ThingsCrafted grows!

On my blog today, I wanted to show off one of my very favorite hand-designed stamps that is available for purchase in the ThingsCrafted store, Happy Birthday To You. I really wanted the bubble letters of Mille text to shine, so I stuck close to one of my favorite techniques – watercolor pencils and white embossing.

Happy Birthday watercolor by Britta Swiderski - ThingsCrafted Grand Opening Blog Hop

I focused most of the color on the inside of the letters, but I wanted to have a painterly effect with the watercolor, so I scribbled a little outside the lines as well. I then went over everything with a waterbrush, adding more color directly from pencil to brush as needed within the letters. To hold up to this amount of water, I was happy to have my favorite watercolor cardstock as a base. It stands up to a lot of watercolor.

To keep it simple, I embellished it only with some white sequins from Lawn Fawn’s Peace Love Joy sequins assortment and added some small gemstones on top to finish them off.

Happy Birthday watercolor by Britta Swiderski - ThingsCrafted Grand Opening Blog Hop

Here’s a closer look at the embossing and watercolor. Man, I love those bright, vibrant colors!

Supplies used on this project: Click below to see where you can buy the products used on this project. Click on “SS” for the product at Simon Says Stamp and “EH” for the product at Ellen Hutson. I also will link to products from my own store, ThingsCrafted. I only link to products and shops that I know and love. Thank you for your support!

ThingsCrafted-Grand-Opening-Giveaway

Thank you for stopping by today. Before you go – make sure to leave a comment on this post and each one along the hop to enter to win a custom stamp! One will be given away at each stop along the hop. We’ll be getting in touch with you via email, so make sure you add your email to your comment! We’ll be drawing winners at the end of Tuesday, the 25th of November, so be sure to leave a comment by then.

There’s also a special treat for everyone in the blog hop – 15% off your order until the end of the day Tuesday, November 25th using the code GRAND15OFF as part of the Grand Opening event! This is the last stop on the blog hop, so please hop back to the beginning at the ThingsCrafted blog if you’d like to see more projects or start the hop over again. Thanks for hopping with us!

See you soon with more love and more craftiness,
Britta

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