This year started on a very sad note for me. Last year at this time I was morning the loss of my sister's husband Charlie as he had just passed away after suffering through an eleven month ordeal battling stage 4 lung cancer. He lost his battle on November 17th 2010 at the oh so young age of 54 years. The aftermath of Charlie's death left me empty inside and my sister Kim completely devastated. It was truly the saddest time of our lives and we had absolutely no idea of how we were going to get through this unbearable grief. But 2011 was just around the corner and it acted as a reminder to us that life does go on and hopefully, in time, we would feel the pain of loosing Charlie lessen, at least a tiny bit, on our already heavy hearts.
At this point activity on my by was, at best, very scant. I think I may have posted only once from January until the end of May, and my stats were possibly 200-300 page views per month of which I am sure they were all from folks who had accidentally stumbled upon my blog. I was seriously uninspired to say the least, and incredibly sad to say the most. But then in May my remarkable sister Kim, who had managed to work her way through some of the sadness of her recent loss, called me about a vanity she had come across at a yard sale, and it was only $5. I had been searching for a dressing table for my daughter Grace's room but was having no luck in finding one, so when she called I thought what do I have to loose...if I don't like it or it doesn't fit I can easily sell it or just give it away.
Little did I know that Kim's call about the vanity had just set the wheels in motion for the birth of 21 Rosemary Lane. You see when I started this blog I didn't do much in the way of thinking things out and maybe doing a little research, so I casually named it "Decorating with Barbara", this is why my blog address is www.decoratingwithbarbara.blogspot.com. It wasn't until June of this year that I renamed my blog "21 Rosemary Lane" and this was the turning point for me and this particular blog. I refinished the vanity Kim had bought and much to my surprise it came out gorgeous. Something inside me had awakened, and I was suddenly invigorated and anxious to start the next project.
So I continued to work through June and July completing a few more furniture porjects and doing room redesigns in my sister's home. Then in August during the trip home from our family vacation in Tennessee, I was reading one of my decorating magazines and learned about a giant flea and antique fair up in Brimfield Massachusetts which was slated to begin the week after Labor Day weekend. Perfect I thought...I would love to blog about the flea market and who else would I rather spend a few days with at a huge event like this than my sister Kim. Once home from vacation I called her and within a few short hours we booked a B&B in nearby Springfield and in early September we made our way up to Brimfield and had a blast. I came home totally inspired!
It was at about this time that I discovered the wonderful world of "Linky" parties which were being held each week at various decorating, crafting, homemaking blogs, and I decided to link up one or two of my projects. Now again my stats were still typically in the range of 400-500 page views per month, but on the morning of September 28th after I finished checking my emails, I clicked over to take a quick peek at my blog and what I saw astounded me. My daily stats revealed that I had already reached the 200 page view mark and was quickly climbing. I didn't know what was going on, had my computer run amok? Did something get stuck and falsely start running my numbers up? Then I noticed that I had some comments waiting to be modified. In past history I have only had 2 comments and they were actually spam comments which somehow slipped by my blog's spam guard. But no...these were real comments from real people. What the heck I thought, but then after reading a few of the comments I realized that my vanity had been featured that day at a blog where I linked it to a linky party...that blog was the very popular Savvy Southern Style. I clicked over to Savvy Southern Style and much to my surprise there was my watermelon pink vanity, yes the one Kim had bought and I refinished for Grace's room, as one of the featured projects from the previous week! I was simply beside myself. I couldn't believe it! Never in a million years did I ever think I could be so tickled pink, make that watermelon pink, about something like this. feature, but it got me so excited that I found myself calling my mother, husband, sister, close friends and so on to tell them about my vanity feature. Although I know they probably had absolutely no idea of what I was blabbing about, they were all nice enough to offer a few kind words of congratulations. My numbers that day soared to a record 728 page views.
As I was having fun linking up my projects to various parties week after week, in a very short while I began to meet some of the most woderfully talented people. This was fun, a lot of fun. And many of the posts I linked were projects Kim and I collaberated on. A few more of my projects were featured at other fabulous blog parties like Motivate me Monday at Be Colorful, Nifty Thrify Tuesday at Coastal Charm, Twice Owned Tuesday at House of Grace, and the Newbie party at Debbiedoos. And as I linked up and started leaving comments for other bloggers about their wonderful work, I noticed my own following began to grow. Since the beginning of this December I've seen the most growth in both following and readership than ever before.
I am so very grateful for all of my followers and to every person who has ever taken the time to click on 21 Rosemary Lane and take a look around. This has become an incredible journey for me and just recently for my sister Kim. She is one of the most amazing women I have ever met and boy can this gal work a yard sale. Kim went through so much last year loosing the love of her life husband of 20 years, and for me it was unbelievably painful to see these two people I love so much suffer through the agony of battling cancer and ultimately loosing the fight. But somehow, through this media and working so hard together on the many project we've done, it has given the both of us something very special to enjoy, look foward to, and the opportunity to spend time together.
Kim and I are very excited about 2012, and we both are a far cry from where we were last year at this time. And we have actually started tossing around the idea of writing a eBook. So goodbye 2011, you were a tough start, a very transitional year in many ways, but you are going out on a good note, leaving both my sister and myself looking forwad to the new year of 2012!
Grace's watermelon pink dressing table