I cannot believe I just typed that! Has it been two years already? Yes, it was two years ago today that I started this blog. In fact you can see my first ever post here. It didn't look like that when I first posted it. I had no photography skills to speak of back then. Time sure has flown by fast.
Last year on my one year Blogoversary I talked to you all about my life and how I came to be a blogger.
Today I'd like to review the past year and talk about what I have done and also share my favorite posts which by the way are not always the most popular. But more importantly I'd like to discuss what is important in blogging. I always manage to go overboard with these milestones, so grab a cup of coffee or tea and let's talk.
Blogging is much more than just a job. It is a passion. At least the part where I get to do the projects. That is pure joy. You've already seen my most popular projects of the year. Now I'm going to share my favorites.
The year started off with a Spring project that really surprised me. It was a spring wreath. I have made wreaths before but this was the first time I incorporated many different elements, from nature and from the house. Those branches you see below came from my almond tree.
April was a very busy month. Along with my friends, we started the Sweet Inspiration Link Party! It's been going strong ever since. And we have met so many wonderful bloggers and become good friends with them. In fact one of them, Michelle from A Crafty Mix, joined us as hostess later on in the year.
This was also the month that I tackled my ugly fireplace. I had been inspired by another blog post, but it was the gentle nudge of my friend Kim that helped me to finish it. I met her on Facebook and she is not a blogger but an artist This is another happy byproduct of blogging - connecting with amazing people who inspire. I painted the fireplace in two stages and below is the final result. I am so proud of this project. When I walk into the house this is the first thing I see and it is something that will be here for years. Had I not been blogging, I would not have attempted such a big project.
May came around and I made my favorite wreath ever... at least till the next one. This May Day wreath was absolutely free, just flowers and branches picked at the farm. I still go back and look at this one and worry that I will never be able to replicate it. Once it dried, it took on a nostalgic beauty that stayed for months.
May was also the month the International Bloggers Club attempted their first furniture makeover. We started this group at the beginning of the year and have learned so much about each other's countries and cultures. In the end, we are all fruit, as the wise old man from "My big fat Greek wedding" says. These projects and the club have only served to bring us closer together as a tribe.
Another favorite was the photo displayer made from barbecue grill parts. I gave this as a gift to my husband for Father's Day but of course it can be used for much more than just photos. And the grill parts were used in a few more projects. I believe I got much more mileage out of that grill than anyone has a right to.
Over the summer I slaved away at this vintage suitcase makeover, which proved to be much harder than I anticipated. I first painted the outside and then decoupaged the inside with maps, as you can see below. It was also the beginning of my participation in the ArtDeco blogger outreach program. They have so many different types of paints.
I use this suitcase now to keep all of my sewing notions and ribbons. It's nice to have everything in one place. And it's even better to know that my basement has one less occupant.
I guess the summer is when I do my organizing because I also tackled this easy project which I gifted to myself. A framed jewelry organizer. This was part of the yearlong blog hop I participated in where we made gifts each month for Christmas 2016. How did that go, you ask? Well, I kept most of them for my family. But that is perfectly fine with me.
And we come to October where ... well I really don't know how to explain this one. A pumpkin took over the blog and took on a life of its own.
Mr. Paranoid Man Pumpkin became so popular that he appeared in five of my posts. He has won all of our hearts and he is sitting on my living room table as I write this. There have even been requests for a Facebook fan page. Oh and let's not forget that he even has a portrait of himself painted by the lovely Michelle, of A Crafty Mix.
In November the International Bloggers Club held a gift swap. Each one of us chose something to make over and then gifted it to ourselves. The catch was that the other members had to choose which project we would work on. The ladies picked this antique cauldron for me and I was able to spruce it up for Christmas. But you can bet I've been using it a lot since then.
And what a special gift this was, from friends that are spread out all over the world. Had it not been for them, this old beauty would still be in my basement hiding in a corner.
It's no secret that I love photography, I even have a gallery just for photos. And I work hard to improve even if I have a simple camera. What matters is what you do and not so much what type of equipment you have.
In June I began a series to share my most popular Facebook "photos of the day" with all of you who do not live on Facebook - like I do - and to say thank you. The whole series is in the gallery.
My personal favorite has to be the Top of the World photo essay. My husband and I drove up the mountains as it was raining and when we reached the top we saw a sunset. To this day I thank him for that magical drive.
And my second favorite, the boat ride into the sunset. Whereby we set out in the opposite direction from the previous year's Magic in the Morning sunset trip.
And let's not forget the sorts blogoversary where I showed you my door collection.
I was very lucky to participate in the blog series "Between the Lines" hosted by Katherine of Kathrine's Corner where I talked about what it means to be a blogger "of a certain age". Much of what I wrote still applies today. I was also astonished by how many bloggers there are out there that are like me.
I even learned how to semi-handle slippery Facebook and I wrote a guest post about it on Nikki Frank-Hamilton's blog. That was a first for me, since I'm more comfortable writing about DIY projects.
And sadly because of my ever increasing obligations I had to eliminate the Greek translating that I was doing. I made the decision to concentrate on the projects and good quality photos, but I did write a tutorial on how to translate.
As you can see it has been a very busy year. Blogging is time consuming, and hard work. Like I said before, the projects and photography are just the tip of the iceberg.
It is all the rest that we need to learn, Codes, and Social Media, Algorithms and pixels. The list goes on and on. I was finally able to tackle the beast that is known as SEO. Yes, I went back to the beginning of my blog life and redid everything. That was a major goal for me this past year. It turns out I was so clueless at the start that Google did not even know I existed! And where would I be without Google?
I was also able to monetize my blog. Getting paid, even if it is a little is rewarding when you think that I put 60 plus hours into this blog every week. No one wants to work for free even if they love their job. And I appreciate everyone who has ordered through Amazon by way of my blog.
This is the hard part and I am so grateful to my tribe, Pili, Katrin, Keri and Michelle for their continued support. I also want to give a great big shout out to my favorite blogging guru and friend Nikki. And to my WAYWOW tribe. And my Blogging Fifty group. I can go on and on, but it would not be fair, I'd end up leaving someone out.
Have you noticed a pattern here? What has made me stronger and helped me to improve my blog in these two years has been my blogging community. This is the same community that I did not know existed in the beginning. And now I am in daily contact with them as if they are my neighbors and we share daily cups of coffee together (hi Lisa)! Yes we may all complain about Facebook but for me it has become the great unifier. And no, I do not have shares at the stock market.
And what does this coming year hold for me?
Since I am a big believer in the power of paint, I look forward to getting to know the Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co.s products much better now that I've become a Brand Blogger for them. It will be a learning curve, but we'll enjoy the ride together.
And I want to continue to share my surroundings with you in photos. And of course to keep on improving those photography skills.
Improving the look and navigation of the blog is also very important. Your experience here should be user friendly. So if you have any problems or suggestions, please feel free to let me know in the Contact me section above. I am learning new things every day and the old brain cells are doing the twist now!!
But mostly, I look forward to continuing with my repurposing and upcycling projects and I want to stress here that I always make things that a regular person can tackle. I don't have any special training or skills. And I certainly don't have any fancy machinery. The never ending economic crisis here in Greece has limited my budget but not my imagination. So with a bit of elbow grease and a lot of inspiration I will continue to share my sometimes wacky ideas with you. And I hope that you will try some of them too. Not only do they make your home more pleasant, but they are also good for our environment.
Thanks to all of you for putting up with this ridiculously long Two year Blogoversary post. I only get a few times a year when I pour my heart out. Let me know which of my favorite projects were yours too. And if you have anything at all you wish to say reach out to me.
Some more about me:
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I'm Mary and I live in beautiful Greece where I like to repurpose and upcycle anything that is old or looks like junk. Join me as we use our creativity to spark some life into old things. And do it frugally! You will also see lots of photography of my Greece.