my one year blog anniversary, bloomsday, and a giveaway!

Photo of Joyce getting his celebration on here.

You guys! My blog is one year old today!

I can't believe it's been a year. I can't believe I've stuck to it faithfully.. the blog as well as my shop. I'm happy with what's past and really excited for what's to come.

Looking back, I wonder if I would have guessed where I'd be at this time. I've definitely gotten into sewing more than expected.. I always thought I wasn't patient or dedicated enough to really put effort into something as time consuming as sewing, but as it turns out, I love it. My style has changed since last year. I've changed. Living our second married year together and our first year in a new city has brought a lot of appreciation for what we have. And growth. We've gotten to know so many great people and places, and we've really gotten to know ourselves better in the process. We're learning things - good and bad - that we couldn't have learned sitting behind a desk or a diary. You dream of your life as a kid, you plan who you'll be and how you'll react to things, but no matter how much mental preparation you set yourself up for, none of it is anything compared to the lessons of really living. You won't be exactly how you expect, you won't say the things you plan, and that's what makes life so awesome. It's unpredictable. Skimming through my blog from last year til now, I definitely couldn't have predicted the direction it's taken.

It's good to get retrospective on birthdays, right?

As my blog anniversary also happens to be Bloomsday, I thought it right to share a little background with you all on Blooming Leopold.

For those of you who don't know the meaning behind the name, Blooming Leopold is a reference to Leopold Bloom, the main character of James Joyce's Ulysses (our little dog Bloom also gets her namesake from Joyce). And as a fun coincidence, it just so happened that the day I began this blog last year was June 16th.. Bloomsday! Bloomsday is the day when all of the events in Ulysses take place - Leopold Bloom's fated walk through Dublin and beyond. Now, the day has become a sort of celebration for Joyce fans, complete with Edwardian dress up, bow ties, and blue cheese sandwiches. And Guinness.

If you haven't read Ulysses, you should definitely give it a shot. If you're new to Joyce, I'd start with Dubliners. It's a series of short stories that are really wonderful and give you a great idea of who Joyce is in just a few pages. The stories were my first introduction to Joyce in college during an Irish Renaissance class. Usually, I stay away from assigned reading (it takes the fun out of it when teachers tell you to do something) but Dubliners, I read.

When we were in Paris last year, one of my favorite stops was Shakespeare and Company, a bookstore on the left bank across from Notre Dame. Originally, Shakespeare and Co. had a different location and a different owner - Sylvia Beach, a woman who was instrumental in getting Joyce's work published. Not only that, but Shakespeare and Co. was a hangout for artsy expatriates in the 1920's.. the Lost Generation. Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott and Gertrude Stein, to name a few. I can't imagine a better time to live in Paris than when all of those literary giants were there. Not to mention, we might have actually been able to afford Paris life then, although we'd probably still water down our wine like Ernest.

Now, Shakespeare and Company is a small crowded bookstore filled with English speakers (a welcome break when your French sucks), loads of new and old books (I bought a book on American hieroglyphics, Neil bought George Orwell's 1984), and specializing in supporting traveling authors. You work downstairs, you get free room and board upstairs. I honestly can't imagine a better life.

I could write a lot more about Joyce and Paris and the Lost Generation... but in keeping with the day, I need to move onto birthday news.


To celebrate this blogging anniversary, I've decided to throw a birthday giveaway! Because of the love of sewing I recently discovered and in honor of all of the people that have started sewing (or are about to) along with me, I've put together a special sewing package for the giveaway winner!

What's included - two yards of vintage pink dotted swiss fabric, one yard of yellow liberty print fabric, three sewing patterns (one 1950's blouse pattern, one 1960's dress pattern, one 1970's Gunne Sax blouse and skirt pattern), assorted seersucker and polka dot fabric remnants for small projects, vintage buttons, seam binding, and lace trim. I also included an unopened needlepoint project from the 70's featuring Raggedy Ann.

I'm posting this giveaway to thank you guys for following my blog - whether you've been reading it for a year or a week. It's also for the girls (and any guys) who have recently picked up crafting or sewing, and any of you who have enjoyed my Sewing Saturday posts. Every one of you is a blessing to me, and it makes my day when I hear that I've inspired you in any way, big or small, to create. So.. thank you!

The giveaway is open to everyone. In order to enter the giveaway, simply comment on this post and tell me anything - a suggestion for a future blog post, a sewing project idea, what you'd do with these sewing materials. I'd love to hear from you!

If you want to better your chances, you can write about this giveaway on Twitter, your blog, or Facebook. Comment again with the link, one comment for each giveaway reference (that's as much as four entries per person!). The winner will be chosen via a week from today.

You guys, I have to thank you again for your support this past year. Your words, whether in a comment or an email or if you're one of the lovely girls I've met, have really made this experience worthwhile. I appreciate you all!