November 28, 2010



A time to be thankful. And I'm incredibly blessed & thankful for those blessings.

I love Thanksgiving because it's mainly about being with family. People will jump through hoops (or this year, endure excessive pat downs at the airport) to make it home for the holiday. Christmas is about being with loved ones too, but there's so much more stress & activity at Christmas.

This year, I drove home on Wednesday morning & went straight to my grandma's house to help get everything ready for the big dinner.

I then went to my sis's house to help her prepare food. And since I've never seen Harry Potter (and my sister is obsessed with it) we watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Thanksgiving day was spent with the Lehman family eating dinner, napping in front of the tv, going through the Black Friday ads, and playing games.

That night, back at my sister's, we watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. And since we were up, my brother-in-law, sister & I went to check out the stores that were opening at midnight. We found a couple of good deals & were home by 1:00 a.m.

Black Friday was spent shopping. More good deals found. Also found: crabby & rude people, long lines, messy stores, & crazy drivers. Nothing like enjoying the holidays!

Saturday, I went with my dad at 6:00 a.m. so he could buy a flat screen tv at Walmart. Amazingly, there was hardly anyone out. We also stopped at Kohls to grab some things I had seen on Friday, but didn't want to wait in line for. Again, no one in the store. That's the way to shop! Later that morning I spent a couple of hours in Hobby Lobby. I've decided I could live in that store. Seriously love it. I got some adorable stuff I can't wait to play with. Maybe you'll see some new things in my Etsy shop soon :)

And those gifts I bought this weekend were wrapped & ready to go under the tree.

Saturday was pizza & movie night at my parent's.

My drive back to Chicago today was thankfully uneventful.

Now I need to figure out how to rearrange my apartment to fit my Christmas tree!

November 22, 2010


It looks like we're going to experience 3 seasons this week: 69 degrees & rainy today {spring}, sunny & crisp tomorrow {fall}, and 30 degrees on Friday {winter}.

After today, I'm pretty sure it's safe to say fall is over. But it's been a great run!

So here's my pictorial ode to autumn



How silently they tumble down

And come to rest upon the ground

To lay a carpet, rich & rare

Beneath the trees without a care

Content to sleep, their work well done

Colors gleaming in the sun

At other times, they wildly fly

Until they nearly reach the sky

Twisting, turning through the air

Till all the trees stand stark and bare

Exhausted, drop to earth below

To wait, like children, for the snow

Poem by Elsie N. Brady

November 17, 2010

It's Been 6 Months

It's been 6 months since my last day of working in an office. How is that possible, because May 17th seems like it was just yesterday!

If you read this blog (all of 8 people, I'm sure!), you've seen some of the things I've done during the past 6 months. And all that has been fine and good.

But my intention when I started this blog was to document this journey. I have to admit, it hasn't really felt like a journey, just more like an extended vacation. I keep waiting to be called back into the office any day now!

And as fun as it is to share pictures of my summer & the beautiful colors of fall, I also want this blog to be something for me to go back to years from now; to see how I got from point A to point B. What stood in my way? What fears did I have? What successes did I see? How did I change?

So I'm going to use this entry to reflect on these things.

What have I been doing?
I'm not exactly sure! Ok, that's not quite true, but seriously, there are days I go to bed & ask myself that same question. And I don't always have an answer!

But here are some things I know I have done:
1. enjoyed this great city I live in
Summer in Chicago is amazing & we've had some pretty spectacular weather! I've enjoyed doing my morning devotions with a cup of coffee sitting in Millennium Park; going to a couple of movies in the park; taking some amazing pictures of Chicago; walking around my neighborhood - including to the new Target that opened 4 blocks from my house! Fall hasn't been too shabby either. Being able to enjoy the changing colors has been a gift.
2. crafted
I've added to my Etsy shop sets of note cards, photos with Scripture on them, a wedding shower kit, pennant banners, fabric blossoms, felt corsages, fine art photographs, personalized photos, a mini album made from a coffee sleeve, gift tags & most recently holiday cards
And there's more that I've made, I just haven't posted them for sale.
My Etsy shop size has increased over 600%, from 10 items to over 60!
3. time with friends & family
In 8 days in June, I helped my brother & sister-in-law move into their first house, prepared for my sister's wedding, was her maid of honor, & helped celebrate my Grandma's 80th birthday. Whew! That was a busy week. The rest of the summer, I enjoyed Wednesday evenings with my small group girls. I had frequent lunches with a dear friend (and former co-worker). Vacationed in Michigan. Spent 3 days in Washington DC with some of my cousins.
4. working a part-time job
This may come as a surprise to some of you since I haven't publicly announced it. I started at the end of October & it's only for the holiday season. I'm working at Paper Source in one of their retails stores. I fell in love with this store the first time I walked in 6 years ago. And when I quit my job, in the back of my mind, it's been my dream place to work. I'm not sure where this will lead, but it's been fun to do something different!

What things have surprised me?
1. My Etsy sales - and by sales, I mean the lack of.
I thought that by increasing the number of items for sale would draw people in, but it hasn't quite worked out that way! I've discovered that as great as the Etsy site is, it's easy to get lost in the mix of it all. It's hard to stand out.
2. How easy it was to adjust to unemployment.
I had no problems going from working 40 hours a week to not working at all. Early on, I had a few moments of "what am I going to do next", but not bad enough to drove me back to the workforce.
3. I miss being around people all day.
I may have not enjoyed my previous job, but I did like most of the people I worked with. When I decided to quit, it didn't even occur to me how important the socialization aspect of a job is. I kinda understand how stay-at-home moms feel - adult conversation is important!

4. After about 4 months, I was ready to get back to work.
At least part time. But not back to what I was doing before. I've been there, done that. Feeling ready for a new job happened much quicker than I thought it would.
5. I am addicted to daytime television!
I can't even turn the tv on in the morning, or it's all downhill. Sad, but true.

What goals have I set?
I didn't really have any goals when I set out on this journey. And perhaps that wasn't too smart. But I didn't really know what to expect & knew that financially I was covered for a year. So I was kinda winging it. But now I need some goals.
1. Find a local crafting community to get involved in
2. Figure out a marketing scheme for my products (and with no marketing experience, that is much easier said than done!)
3. Be accepted into at least one craft and/or art show
4. Find a part-time position to get me out of the house, but also at a company that inspires me creatively (when I originally started typing this post a couple of months ago, this was one of my goals. I guess I can check this one as accomplished!)
5. Create a schedule that allows me to be productive

What have I enjoyed the most?
1. Freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want
2. Being able to be creative whenever the inspiration hit

What do I worry about?
1. Not using my time wisely (I seem to get distracted pretty easily)
2. When I'm ready to go back to work full time, I won't be able to find the right job

What am I thankful for?
1. That I could take a dream I've had for a while & be able to actually live it.
2. The amazing support of my friends & family

How blessed I am!

November 12, 2010

Christmas Cards

I know it's early November, but it is that time of year again.

If you haven't thought about your holiday cards yet, you should, because...

...these are available for purchase in my Etsy shop!

Just go to www.hazelstreetdesigns.etsy.com & make your purchase.

November 10, 2010


Not sure if you've noticed, but we've had a spectacular fall!

I don't remember the trees ever being this vibrant. And I'm pretty confident the weather has never been so kind to us as it has the past 6 weeks.

And oh, the fun I've had photographing it, enjoying it in a whole new way.

But it seems there was something missing.

We've had trees aplenty of golden yellow & vibrant oranges.

But where is the red?

Today, I think I found it...

Red tree reflection in the "Bean"