Friday, January 3, 2014

{valentine's day card line 2014!}

Whew! This week has been crazy. I'm still knee-deep in boxes and learning the joys of having every one of my possessions in some random corner of the house. It makes getting ready for work a new kind of challenge. (Where the hell did I pack my toothbrush?)
It also tests the limits of my OCD, because EVERYTHING IS MESSY. I hate packing and unpacking because there is STUFF. EVERYWHERE. As much as I enjoy the act of organizing things, if everything is a wreck it messes with my chi. Once my world is clean and organized again I will be a much happier individual.

Somewhere in the midst of all this chaos, I managed to whip up a brand new line of cards for the Valentine season! I love this time of year, because making goofy I love you cards is my favorite thing. And this year I came up with some particularly goofy ones. For some reason I was feeling really "punny," so you'll get a kick out of how cheesy some of these are. (Seriously. Like, groan-inducing.) And of course, it wouldn't be Darkroom and Dearly without a touch of geekiness. Harry Potter, Star Trek, Doctor Who and Indiana Jones all made the cut this year! :) Woo-hoo!

The cards are up and available in the shop, so get 'em while they're hot! You can see the whole Valentines Day lineup {here!!}
(And shhhh... I still have a few secrets up my sleeve... I have some new products which should be hitting the shop sometime soon! I'll keep you updated!)

Valentine's Day 2014 - Friday, February 14

First the punny...





Then the geeky...








Oh, and can't forget this one I posted a month back... an oldie but a goodie. :)


Friday, December 27, 2013

{getting ready for 2014!}

Hi readers! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Can you believe it's almost 2014? It seems like only yesterday it was April and I was walking north on the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico.

I was hoping for a relaxing holiday season, but life has taken a turn for the crazy lately. Here's what my last week has looked like: I started a new job. Tanner interviewed for his dream job and was offered the position! He is being sent overseas for training next week. Our apartment lease ends at the end of January, but since Tanner is leaving, we now have to move.... now. We've been scrambling to look for an apartment. Once we found one, we had a few unexpected hiccups that stressed us out for a few days. Now that housing is secure, we need to find a way to move before next week. The only car that's decent for moving stuff is Tanner's, which is currently broken. So we need to get it to the shop. While we're working full time. While I'm going into my busiest card season...

So, yeah. Crazy. And since we have 4857579 things to do in a very short amount of time, I've had to prioritize or go insane. So unfortunately I'm going to take a little break from blogging for a bit. I'm hoping life will straighten out in a few weeks, but with my free time I definitely need to focus on getting the rest of my Valentine's Day cards ready and in the shop next month! I'm pretty excited about them. I'll let you know the roll-out date and preview them on the blog! Keep checking my Facebook page for updates. :)

Until then... Happy New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

{diy: christmas instagram gift tags}

I love having fun with instagram photos (do you follow me already @darkroomdearly?) and coming up with brilliant new ways to get crafty with them, like my Polaroid coasters. So of course I was super excited to see fellow blogger Bonnie of {going home to roost} post a really awesome instagram Christmas craft on her blog!

{instagram gift tags via going home to roost}

By utilizing your own instagram photos (or hers, which she also provided for you!) you can create gift tags for your Christmas gifts that look classy and festive all at the same time!

{photo via going home to roost}

How cute are these??
I had fun making my own with some of the PCT photos I took this summer. (Not very Christmassy, I know, but they still make for great pictures and tags!)


You can print them to sticker paper and attach them directly to your gift, or print to cardstock and use fancy ribbon or twine to tie them to your wrapped present. These cute tags will give any gift some definite Christmas flair!

Bonnie has graciously put several different file formats of these gift tags for upload so you can choose which suits you best. Visit her page to download them for free! Enjoy! (And get tagging quick... Christmas is almost here!!)

I hope everyone has a merry holiday. I will see you again on Friday!

Friday, December 20, 2013

{a frozen gorge}

Last weekend was the last of my free time before work kicks in full swing (and I say goodbye to vacations for the foreseeable future). I utilized it by heading into the Columbia Gorge with a new group of friends I met on an outdoor Meetup site. My knees are finally starting to feel a little stronger after hobbling around on them for two months, so I decided to put them to the test with a small four mile hike. It was also the first time I would get to see the gorge in the middle of winter - a real treat!

The hike was one I've done before - Horsetail, Ponytail, and Triple Falls (seen previously here and here) - but with a fresh layer of snow and ice it was a different experience entirely. I've never seen waterfalls so large with so much ice, and the result was beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take my nice camera along (since I already had hundreds of photos of this hike... why would I want more?... Right?) but upon seeing the snow (and killer icicles!!) I wished I had brought it. Instead, I snapped some shots with my phone and enjoyed a lovely afternoon on the trail with some new friends.






After two miles the trail became too icy to traverse and we had to turn back prematurely. Instead of going home, we stopped by the incomparable Multnomah Falls, and I got to see her in all her winter glory. Stunning.



Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

{etsy finds: christmas cheer}

Hello friends! After my (not so) fun bout with a cold, I'm finally on the mend and feeling less like a zombie drugged with NyQuil. And not a moment too soon, because I started a new job this week!! This is big news for me, because as you know, I have been out of work since March. (Although I've been keeping myself busy... walking the country from end to end and all that.... but you know the story.)

Once my walking adventure was over, I was getting very antsy sitting at home every day. And though I loooooooved all that extra time to pay loving attention to my card shop and to spend time outside with a new group of hiking friends, it wasn't enough to keep me from getting bored in between. I'm the kind of person who needs to be constantly doing something, striving for something, and working for someone, so being without purpose wasn't my thing. Now that I'm gainfully employed again, I can feel my competitive "I'm gonna kick ass!" streak rising to the surface. I'm having fun making new friends, trying to be the best in the class (old habits die hard), and just letting life take me along for the ride. This job is my latest "adventure", and I will have fun with it until my next adventure calls me away.

Having a purpose every day also gives me the incentive to get moving and enjoy the city again. I was spending too much time cooped up in my house with my bum hiker knees and my PJs, and the downside of that (besides bed head) was that it didn't really feel like the holidays. I love going out and playing in the cold weather, bundling up, listening to Christmas music on the radio, and seeing holiday decor in store windows. Staying at home just made it feel like Christmas had already come and gone.

But now that I'm out and about, feeling the nip of winter and the start of something new, I'm in a festive mood. And though I haven't really been Christmas shopping (that whole "need a paycheck first" thing...) I can't help but browse Etsy for all its beautiful handmade gifts. I went to Portland's local "Crafty Wonderland" craft show last weekend (my favorite event of the year) and, as usual, it inspired me to keep creating for my own shop! So look for new products and designs hitting the shop early next year. :) In the meantime, drool over this lovely treasury I put together.... now it feels like Christmas, yes?


Monday, December 16, 2013

{unplanned sick day}

Dear readers,

I'm sorry to say there won't be a post today - I got unexpectedly sick this weekend, and thus have been wrapped up in blankets with chicken soup, orange juice, and a red nose, rather than finding something fascinating to write about. So sorry :(

Hopefully I will feel better by Wednesday, so check back. In the meantime, get your creative Christmas spirit on by re-visiting these DIY Christmas crafts and recipes! (I plan to make the sugar cookies again when I'm feeling better!)

Take care,
Brittany

Friday, December 13, 2013

{old friends revisited}

Upon returning home from the PCT, I quickly found myself in a rut. The days were passing by without anything interesting happening; I was waking up, drifting aimlessly through the day, and going to sleep. My sense of purpose had been taken from me, and instead I was left trying to piece together the bits of my life and make something new with them. But change in a familiar place is hard, and the monotony was beginning to wear on me. While Tanner was at work, I sat at home and missed the trail and my friends.

And one day, after a few weeks had passed, I got a message from my trail friends Dance Party and Focus, whom I hadn't seen since the Sierras. They had finished their hike to Canada by road walking 100 miles to the border and were now traveling around Oregon trying to figure out their new lives. Dance Party's aunt owned a beach house on the Oregon coast, and she and Focus decided to spend a few days there. She sent out a note to her Oregonian trail friends, inviting us to the beach house to reconnect with the trail life we were all missing.




I was only too happy to accept. As it turned out, Dance Party and Focus were the only two of the group that I knew really well. Hikers by the name of T-Rex, Kitten and Chik-Chak were also making the trip, but they were friends I had met only briefly on trail. I knew Chik-Chak because she and Focus's Aussie friend Starfox had gotten together on trail, and T-Rex had been part of their group, hiking with her boyfriend Rocky. I hadn't formally met Kitten yet, though he and I had mutual acquaintances through a great number of other hikers.

I planned to ride to the beach house with Chik-Chak, T-Rex and Kitten, all of whom were leaving from downtown Portland one Tuesday afternoon. I was a little nervous about riding two hours in a car with a group of people I had spent very little time with, but I soon learned I had nothing to worry about. Thru-hikers, after all, are one big family, whether you've met them or not. Two minutes into our car ride we were already laughing and joking as though we had known each other for years. There was something deeply bonding about sharing a 2,650 mile journey with someone, even if you didn't hike beside them. We shared the same joys and hardships, and we were connected by something stronger than social ties.

I quickly discovered, too, that this was exactly the trip I needed. It was cathartic. At last, I could talk about the trail with people who understood. I had been wandering through my weeks feeling lost and alone, deprived of anyone who knew what I had been through. And here, suddenly, I was among my own people again, and everything we said was wholly and completely accepted. We cited our culture shock moments, our struggles with re-entering society, our disappointment in how much we had changed yet how little the world around us had. There were many exclamations of, "YES!" and "Exactly!" and "I've been going through the same thing!" It was wonderful to hear my trail name so casually on the lips of these friends; it revived my other life, my trail life, and it refused to be forgotten.
As we talked, I felt myself healing from the inside out, relieved in so many ways to hear all my frustrations about "real life" reiterated by fellow hikers. It was our own brand of group therapy.

Hello, my name is Bramble, and it has been three weeks since my last day on trail.
Hello, Bramble.

We laughed, we talked, we shared stories and reminisced about the trail.

Remember that time...? 

Do you guys get carsick? Like, all the time??

Are you still incurably hungry? Does that ever go away?

My coworkers keep asking me about the trail. They all say, 'how was your vacation? Was it relaxing? You must be so well rested!' I didn't even know what to say. Vacation? Relaxing? Well rested? How do I even start that conversation?!

I want to talk about the trail all the time, but no one wants to hear it. And that's the only thing I have anymore; it was my whole summer. People go on and on about their horrible days at work and all I want to say is, 'when I was in the desert...'

We told story after story after story, until the Trail felt alive again. We brought it back with our memories of it, and brought ourselves back to life in the process. We were piecing together our shattered existence with the only thing we knew: the Trail.

When we reached the beach house, Focus and Dance Party were waiting for us with huge pots of chili. There were hugs, and more laughter, and time spent beside the large windows, looking out at the ocean. We played games, told stories, and became our own version of a trail family, far from the trail.

The next day we spent our time out on the beach, climbing the shifting dunes, twirling on rope swings, splashing through the ocean surf and wading through tide pools looking for sea life. We stopped in a small pub beside the water for drinks and climbed again over the hills, looking out over the ocean and contemplating how tiny we were in the universe.







We cooked up another huge dinner, relishing the delights of fresh kale, smoked salmon, and freshly picked mushroom risotto. We played games before bed and tried to assemble the next bits of our lives into some sort of path. Chik-Chak was already back at work, T-Rex was in the search, Kitten was traveling the US for another month before returning home to the midwest, and Focus and Dance Party had their sights set on South America for a few months. I was job hunting, too, but I no longer had the desire for it. I needed the challenge, the stimulation, of having something to do every day, but I knew that challenge no longer came from a 9-5 office job. It was out there in the wild somewhere, begging me to explore it. But I no longer knew how to get there.

After a few short days on the beach, swimming in old memories with good friends, we returned home to Portland feeling a little more whole. I returned to my job hunt with a stronger sense of purpose, and yet still feeling like a lost little girl looking for the footpath she used to walk upon, wondering which way it was leading her.

----------

The journey continues...
forward to {PCT overview} - you can read more about the logistics and gear of my journey in the links listed under "learn about my hike"
back to {FAQs about my hike}
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