Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 - It's a Wrap!

2013 - It's about to be a wrap.  The urban dictionary defines "it's a wrap" as a successful task or something that's over.  For me, the best way to recount the year is to do it in my accounting speak - by the numbers - and it feels really good to check these items off.  So here we go, Panoply's year in review:

January 6th was my very first blog post (this recap is my 75th).  Serendipity would have the first one be on the feast of the Epiphany.  Here's a link to that post:  Into the Land of the Blogosphere.  I simply cannot go without acknowledging all the help I have received, as well as new friendships struck, while blogging in this first year.  Five different bloggers even featured different posts of mine, and three magazines (Romantic Homes, Cottages & Bungalows, and Flea Market Style) noted various submittals of mine, with relatively little invested energy on my part, merely comment and email interaction.  The power of social media is incredibly rewarding - it just depends on the amount of energy one chooses to invest.  To date, my blog is ad free - it is my avocation (hobby), not vocation.

Throughout the year, I managed ten major projects (see link for post beneath each photo below, where applicable):
My chaise lounge finally got a neutral slipcover and readers met the amazing, 88-year old Doris Dilly in the process. Apparently, folks are still learning some great tips, as this post still gets continuous viewership.
The Masters - Taking a Lesson (No, Not Golf!)
I planned and hosted both a wedding shower (August) and a casual, homemade wedding (October) for my younger daughter, with the help of my older daughter and one of my two antiquing sisters, M.
The Wedding Planners
An Affair to Remember - a Homemade Wedding
 Several projects around home and garden were completed, including a plumbing upgrade in the guest bath...
Post-Plumbing Project Reveal
....our brick porch, landscape walkways and walls were professionally powerwashed....
Before and After Brick Maintenance - a Transformation!
....and our landscape trees were all pruned....
That Never-Ending Autumn List
....and our sunroom was re-caulked (it's all glass, and was beginning to leak).....

and the landscape was treated to new, coated steel edging after being cleaned up in Fall.

Once the wedding was over and the outdoor projects were completed, I then planned and hosted another wedding shower (mid-November), this time a virtual one via Skype for my niece in Texas.
Hosting a Virtual Shower - Via Skype!
And from that point, I shifted right into Christmas planning, which is a huge project for me.  I decorated the entire house and some in the garden, planned and hosted a buffet dinner party for all family who were in town. This year was a smaller than usual crowd of twenty-one (!!)  Shopping and wrapping pale in comparison to my prep work in decorating for and hosting Christmas Eve.
Christmas Present - a Home and Garden Tour
But wait!  There's more!  

In 2013, I completed eight Federal tax returns, nine State returns, and two FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) applications.  Blah.  Let's not even count all the paper and Panoply inventory organization that goes along with the finished products of submitted forms.

I logged more than 250 hours with Panoply in 2013, styling and/or overhauling and fluffing our booth spaces at the antique mall with my sister, M.  That total doesn't include the hours spent on our buying trips: five out of town destinations, thirteen estate sales (two of which were private), eight additional private purchases, and two public auctions (all styling/buying excludes curbside pickups and other freebies, which usually demand time spent in cleaning up and/or refurbishing).  In addition, my two antiquing sisters and I also each prepared (individually) our own items for a local yard sale, purging both Panoply items as well as household things.  My Panoply hours does not include my hours spent blogging, which I would conservatively estimate at least 100 hours in this first year, which involved a bit of a learning curve.

Other activities in 2013 included attending my oldest daughter's graduation from Florida State University in Tallahassee May 4th....
Celebrate in Achieving Goals
....and the entire family (two daughters and their husband & fiance, as well as Mr. P.) immediately flew out to our paradise destination the next day (Grand Cayman), for a week of much needed rest, relaxation and scuba diving.....
Paradise Found and Treasured
Upon my return from paradise, I jumped right into gardening mode (after an earlier jump start in April and a very bad case poison ivy). Still, my garden holds a very special place in my heart, and I always look forward to the birds and blooms the entire year, but especially in late Spring, early Summer.  I plant several annual containers, stake two very large groups of  hibiscus perennials, and prune and deadhead blooms throughout the summer months.  Watering was a lesser task this year with all the rain we had (but proved to be more work for Mr. P., who cuts the lawn), but it was still a necessary chore from early June through September - for my containers and annual beds.  
Here's What's Blooming in My Garden
I love piddling in my garden after all the work of the May-June growth spurt is complete. This year, I had a bumper crop of lavender, and I even crafted with it, providing a tutorial for a lavender wand.  I have help in putting the garden to bed in Fall, which took three men three full days of work.
Crafts & Recipes Using Harvested Lavender
From Easter through Labor Day, I have traditionally always planned and hosted buffet-style dinners/cookouts for my husband's family, and this year I hosted three:  Easter, July 4th and Labor Day.  I always like to have some tried-and-true foods, and will typically do my experimenting with desserts.  There were several good ones this year, and I posted some of my winning recipes.
5-Star Collected Recipes for a Crowd (Or Not!)

5-Star Collected Recipes for a Crowd (Or Not!)

5-Star Collected Recipes for a Crowd (Or Not!)
Cajun Chicken Pasta Feeds a Crowd!
It's been a great year for me, and with no health issues to have to deal with, I feel very blessed.  And very accomplished.  I challenged myself with learning how to create a blog, and in doing so have added yet another dimension to my adventures in antiquing, gardening and making a home.  I also created several photo books through Shutterfly, learning the ins and outs of design layout.  I'd like to overhaul my blog design, and need to assess whether I'll tackle that on my own or enlist help to accomplish it.  

I plan to keep pushing myself in 2014, but I don't engage in setting resolutions.  I just want to remain active - physically, mentally and spiritually.  Mr. P. and I estimate that we logged nearly 1,000 miles walking in 2013, and we hope to continue that - it's a great time to talk and decompress - together.  In the past, we've ballroom danced, kayaked, bicycled, and worked out at our local gym, but I've been fortunate my entire life in my ability to maintain my weight, so walking has proven to be enough, even if I don't do more than that. There's no doubt in my mind that moving furniture and gardening really do have exercise benefits, too.  And I honestly think my mental energy must burn a lot of calories also, because sometimes I feel like I'm racing - with myself - and cannot turn it off.  Nonetheless, my first project at the start of each year is always to get organized - clean up loose ends from the prior year in order to have a clean slate for what's to come.  That starts with paperwork, but  I'd really like to purge more personal effects, as well as more slow-moving Panoply items. So, another yard sale or two may be in the cards.  Gardening will be a definite activity, as will antique booth space buying and styling.  

Looking back on 2013, I have to sigh a big sense of relief in the fact that I am mostly retired - I can't imagine getting all these projects done while working full-time.  I still work part-time with Mr. P. in his consulting business, but I still have plenty of time to do all these activities I enjoy.  All in all, Life is Good!  And that's a wrap!

Happy New Year to all of my readers!  That's me, the little one at the end with eyes closed, and this is my family in 1960. 
And here we are now (sans parents)....
My, how we've changed!  But change is good.  May 2014 be all the change you hope for!

I'll be sharing with:

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