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Blow out the candle: The Learner Observer is 1!


One year old{Image source for the candle plus a hilarious list of 10 Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday}

Oh.  My.  Gee.  Can you believe it?  It’s been a whole year!  It’s crazy that I have been “The Learner Observer” for an entire year now because time flew by, but also crazy how it feels like it’s been so much longer sometimes.  I guess that’s just how it is with all of the good things in life – you lose track of the time!

So what has happened in a year?  Let’s take a stroll, shall we?  Yes, folks, we’re going to Memory Lane! {All images are linked to the posts if you’d like to read them.  Pardon the terrible pictures and lack of any sort of flow.}

{Note: This post is L.O.N.G., but if you read to the end you get to enter my very first giveaway EVER!!!!!}


The first month looked like this: one post on August 17th, and the next to follow on September 26th!  Now, before you start to think I got off on the wrong foot, keep in mind I got married in mid-September, so I was a little distracted.  The Twitter Rant is still one of my favourite posts.  It’s incredibly true to who I am – an opinionated loud mouth!  I managed to get one more post out on September 30th, and it was in reference to the crazy overwhelming gratitude I was feeling after just getting hitched.


I started the 31 Day Challenge on my third month of blogging.  It was nuts, and I only made it through 24 days.  Its ok… this will be my year, and I WILL get all 31 posts done!  I’m already planning some… Oy!  These are 3 of my favourite posts from that month.  I love those tulips and they have help up so well over the last year.  The Big Green Monster remains untouched and unpainted – miraculously! And the terrarium is basically dead.  One tiny plant has survived… It’s sad, but I used soil that was just too rich for these sandy-soil-loving little plants!  Dusting it off and willing to try again!  I also loved October because I made my first ever bloggy friend – Gillian from Growing up Gillian!  She is a sweet and SUPER TALENTED writer who will have you roped in with her wit as soon as you start reading.  She is awesome and we bonded over our love of thrifting right away!



In November I started to get Christmas-y and my favourite project was the succulent in a mug.  It’s so cute.  Oh, but that plant died too… darn that good soil!  December is when I painted my thrifted cigar box, which I love, love, love!  It is still one of those projects I’d love to repeat some time.  I went self-hosted in January and boy, am I ever glad I made that decision! was good, but the possibilities were now pretty close to endless with .org.  Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Just know this: I made the right decision for my blog.  This is also when I started reading Two Purple Couches and knew I liked Emily right away because she’s totally down to earth and cool!  Seriously, go check out her blog because she always has great things to share and she’s just a totally lovable gal!  Coincidentally, I also reached out to Lauren at The Thinking Closet around this time because she was undergoing some blog changes as part of her goals for 2013, and being that I was perpetually confused, but now had a little experience with WordPress, I emailed her.  I swear it was like instant BFFs were made via Gmail!  Truthfully – Lauren taught teaches me WAY more about blogging than I ever could have taught her, and she continues to be a daily inspiration to me as a person and blogger because she’s just that girl who knows how to love people in a way that makes them feel good and special and important.  Wow.  That needed to be said!


February was a month that sort of got me kick-started on some bigger projects.  After a 6-week hiatus trying to sort out all of the self-hosted, new blog design drama, I finally did it!  The Learner Observer got a new look and I got started on working on something other than learning what the heck HTML is and what plugins to use (still learning…).  I made the now infamous sharpie bowl and updated my “About” page thanks to Lauren‘s influence.  She’s a smartie, that one!


March: I got my first Liebster Award (if you want to know a little more about me, read this).  I turned an old window into a chalkboard (part 1 and part 2) and it’s one of our favourite items in the house now.  I also DIY’ed some cameos and spray painted the mats which has started a dangerous trend in my house (thrift stores beware: I’m coming for all of your frames!).  The Weekend Winners was born, I wrote about my move over to Bloglovin and have not yet regtretted a moment of it, and I started a series which I am in LOVE with: The High/Low Decor series.  You KNOW how I love a bargain, so getting expensive looks for less is something I want to share with the world! Phew!  March was busy!


April was sloooooow.  I wrapped my iPhone’s charging cable.  Yawn.  June had a bit more action with the Rub ‘n Buff-ed thrift shop finds, I dyed a pillowcase and got blue on EH-VUH-REE-THING!!!  There was also the completion of my gallery wall, a chalkboard wall, and I even tried to “bake” – ok so there was literally no baking involved, but I made something sweet, which is rare and unusual for me.


July inspired me to get all summery and make some flavoured water, it marks the birth of The Friday Five with none other than Lauren, and I had a little heart-to-heart with you all. August is only halfway over, but I managed to finish (and post about) our scary basement washroom makeover, got featured by Amy on Love on Sunday and started to tell you all about my kitchen revamp (one year later)!

And that’s my year!!!  Looking at it all clumped together like this makes it so real and amazing, and reminds me that although I often wish I had more time for blogging and that I was better at it, I’m doing alright.  I’m doing alright.


Ok now let’s get to what you’re really here for.  In the spirit of turning one I decided that since I already have the best gift of all, readers who actually care about my ramblings, I should give back to you.  I wanted and needed to say thank you for actually reading, commenting, sharing, and making me feel oh so darn great all of the time!  I never knew blogging could be so wonderful and rewarding and I am incredibly thankful so I wanted to show it with a small token of appreciation.  Believe me, I WANT to have that Oprah moment when I shout out “You get a car, and you get a car, and YOU get a car.  Everybody gets a CaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAArrr!!!”  Maybe someday… So let’s get to what you can actually win this week…

You have seen links to Stephanie’s work at least once or twice in past posts, like this one which appeared in the last High/Low:

ohlalaprintI recently ordered one of her prints as a birthday gift to a friend and I knew you’d love her work as much as I do.  Stephanie Sterjovski is totally talented and totally Canadian and those are the two reasons I picked her work to share with you!  Now, I’m about to show you the HUGE selection of prints you can choose from (get ready to scroll), and I strongly encourage you to click here and check them all out up close.

You will notice there is a greater selection on her site.  Since this is not a sponsored post and (as I outlined above) I am not Oprah but would really like to have her car-giving-away abilities, I decided that rather than giving away one of the $35-$40 prints I would give away two $15 prints, FRAME THEM FOR YOU and include a few other goodies.  Sound good?  So there will be TWO lucky winners!  YAY!  Winners will be announced in one week and you have until Friday night to enter!  Here are the print choices:

Steph S giveway 4 Steph S giveway 1 Steph S giveway 2 Steph S giveway 3

Here’s what you need to do:  enter below by leaving a comment telling me what keeps you coming back to this little blog, what you’d like to see more or less of,  and (of course) which print you would choose if you were the lucky one.  Optional entries are also included for more chances to win (you can get more entries by sharing on Twitter throughout the week!).  This is open worldwide!  Ok, GO!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for being the bestest readers ever in the history of readers.


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  • Reply Raven Corwin, aka Meggie

    Yay, Thalita! Happy #1! You know, it was because of your Terrarium #1 post that I found your blog. And I have enjoyed following you since. Funny, too, because I am making another terrarium for my fiance’s desk at work this weekend. How fitting that I be doing so on your first WordPress Anniversary :) Looking forward to many more posts from you!

    August 17, 2013 at 2:46 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      That is so awesome!!! I remember when you first commented on that post, too! Did your terrarium live, though? I hope it did…I really hope it did. And thank you so much for being such a kind reader and leaving such lovely comments! :)

      August 17, 2013 at 5:52 pm
      • Reply Raven Corwin, aka Meggie

        It did! Thanks for asking :) I actually made it in a decorative metal bird cage I got on good sale at a department store, and it’s doing great. I will have to post pictures on my blog, come to think of it!

        August 17, 2013 at 9:45 pm
        • Reply Thalita

          Yes, yes, yes!!! Post it!! I’d love to see it since it sounds so fabulous being in a bird cage and all! What a creative idea!!!

          August 17, 2013 at 9:50 pm
  • Reply Hanna Caldwell

    I’m so happy I came across your blog! I admire all you’ve been able to do in just the short year of having your blog! Good work! I love the upbeat and fun posts as well! If I won the giveaway I would probably get the “Happy Girls are the Prettiest” for my little girl’s room or “forever and a day” to possibly put your gallery wall post to the test and do one of my own :)

    August 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Hanna, I am just as happy as you are!!! Thank you so much for such kind words! And it sounds like the print would be perfection in either option!!! A gallery wall is always a fun challenge :)

      August 17, 2013 at 5:58 pm
  • Reply Deli

    Parabens filha pelo seu blog. Nunca deixei de ler e apreciar suas novidades. Sou sua fazona #1.

    August 17, 2013 at 6:36 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Obrigada mama!!! Sei que voce e a #1 fan. Quem mais seria, ne?

      August 17, 2013 at 7:43 pm
  • Reply hodgepodgecraft

    Many happy returns! :D
    I love your writing style – you always make me giggle. I’ve bookmarked this post to come back, as I’m a relatively new fan… ;)

    If I was lucky enough to win in your giveaway, I’d choose the Ciao Bella and give it to my heavily pregnant (Italian) best friend to make her smile x

    August 17, 2013 at 6:49 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks so much!!! And that sounds like the perfect print for the perfect person! How sweet of you to think of someone else, too!

      August 17, 2013 at 7:46 pm
  • Reply Katie Wyckoff

    I love your projects!! Found you via your infamous bowls. Haven’t made one yet but eventually!! I absolutely love the prints! I’m on a gold kick so I’d probably get a pink and print for my office! Love! Thanks again!

    August 17, 2013 at 11:55 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Katie, that is so awesome!!! And there’s always time to try out the bowl project in the winter when there isn’t so much fun stuff to do outside with the kids, right? I hear you on the gold kick. I want to paint everything gold!!! But that might be weird… One of these prints in the office though… now that sounds lovely!!!

      August 18, 2013 at 7:14 am
  • Reply Anonymous

    This blog is so amazing. I think I loved this entry most of all because it included reflection!!!! :) seriously, this entry allowed us to see all the behind the scenes from the last year and witness just how this little blog has had so many amazing successes with you as it’s captain. Even though I don’t always get to respond, your blog inspires me with creativity everyday and I realize more and more how amazingly talented you are!!! Congratulations on your first year, and here is to many more!!!!!

    If I were to win, I would choose the “I heart today” print. Just such a good message to live by.
    Sending you lots of love and a virtual cupcake on your one year anniversary!!!! Xoxo

    August 18, 2013 at 3:06 am
    • Reply Thalita

      Awwwww Lish you are the bestest!!!!! Thanks for being one of the first people to read and support this little blog!! It’s good to know that our reflective capabilities have stuck over the years!

      The “I heart today” sounds like it’s right up your alley – always positive! Oh and I just took a bite of that cupcake and… oh my… is that red velvet? YUM!!!

      August 18, 2013 at 7:25 am
  • Reply twopurplecouches

    Thalita, you are just the sweetest, coolest chic :) Thank you so much for the shout out!! I remember chatting via comments back in January about how we should keep each accountable for all the projects on our to-do list :)
    I love your diys, crafty projects, and Friday 5. I can’t wait to see Part 2 of your kitchen redo, and I’ll keep on comin’ back for more! I think all of these prints are fabulous, but my top two (because I can’t pick one) are: “For Ever & a Day” or the “Oh Deer”. HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY! AND MANY MORE :D

    August 18, 2013 at 9:44 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Haha I remember that! Oh my goodness… to think of all the things on my to-do list still unfinished! Thanks for being such a loyal reader and a friend! Thanks for the well wishes and keeping me accountable!! :)

      Also, I do love that deer print too! It’s just too cute!

      August 19, 2013 at 11:25 am
  • Reply Sandy

    Congrats on your first anniversary, Thalita!! Great blog and great idea to have a giveaway! I love Stephanie’s prints. I would have a hard time choosing, but I think I would like the one “I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend”….because it’s true :) I liked this post because, as a new reader it gave me an “at a glance” look at all you have been up to over the year. I like the recap! All the best for a successful 2nd year!!

    August 19, 2013 at 7:28 am
    • Reply Thalita

      So glad Alex’s tweet brought me to finding your blog today!! Thanks for coming to check out my little corner of the internet. :)

      Oh and “awwwwww!” That is a great print, and a great song too! I think I played it at my wedding… but the whole thing was such a blur, who can even remember, right?

      August 19, 2013 at 11:27 am
      • Reply Sandy

        Yes, I LOVE Twitter for that very reason – so happy to have found you and your blog :) Twitter opens up a whole new world of people and websites you likely would never find otherwise. Song? What song has those words? I need to know! You’re right about one’s wedding night being a blur…I would totally agree!

        August 19, 2013 at 11:36 am
        • Reply Thalita

          Oh you have to listen to it! It’s called “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. Here is a link to the video :)

          August 19, 2013 at 11:39 am
          • Sandy

            Oh thanks so much! I love some of his songs. I will check that out :)

            August 19, 2013 at 11:44 am
  • Reply jonathan manafo

    Hi Thalita. Happy Anniversary. I enjoy lots of things about your blog, but what keeps me coming back is your writing. I enjoy how you put words together. Keep it up. Clever, Creative & Cool is what describes you. I don’t think I can suggest any changes. Perhaps a post on a current event once in a while to change things up, but that’s not too necessary.

    My favourite pics are: ‘Work It’ & ‘It is well with my soul’

    August 19, 2013 at 8:00 am
    • Reply Thalita

      Jon, thanks so much!!! It is a HUGE compliment to have someone who both reads and writes so much tell me my writing is what keeps you coming back! That’s totally insane to me because I have never considered myself much of a writer, so thank you! I like the idea of current events being showcased here, though… like the Junction Flea, style?

      August 19, 2013 at 11:30 am
  • Reply Steph

    Happy blogiversary! What keeps me coming back is just the natural way you write and your fun projects! I love seeing what you get up to and your posts are fun to read :) I can’t really think of anything that I think you should add, I say just keep up what you’ve been doing!
    If I won it would be so hard to choose which print I’d want, but the ones that stood out to me were the love print, the joie print or the happy girls are the prettiest print.

    August 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Hi Steph! Thank you!!! The fact that you said “fun” is just the best thing ever! I have so much fun writing the posts and having my little “conversations” with anyone who is reading, that sometimes I wonder if it actually comes through…

      Thanks for the words of encouragement!

      That ‘joie’ print is pretty darn adorable, huh?

      August 21, 2013 at 9:19 am
  • Reply Anonymous

    Hi Thalita! Happy 1st Blogging Anniversary! I love your blogs ’cause they’re almost like going to your house for a visit!! (which is a lovely experience also!)

    If I was to win, I would choose “Say Grace”.

    Keep up the great work Thalita and never stop writing like you talk!

    August 21, 2013 at 6:38 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Oh that is just so nice!!! I love that analogy! And hey, at least it’s a more civilized visit since there’s no crazy dog trying to eat your food or steal your stuff!

      “Say Grace” is also one of my favourites. I do want it hanging in my kitchen somewhere… too bad I can’t win! haha

      Thanks so much for the lovely words!!!

      August 22, 2013 at 9:41 am
  • Reply Rachel

    I love how your blog is YOU in website form! ;)
    And I also love how when I’m having days where I get hit by blogging blues, reading your posts makes me remember why blogging is amazing– you get to make cool stuff and talk to wonderful people, and it doesn’t get much better than that!
    And also, that “Put a bow on it” print is adorable. Just saying. :)


    August 21, 2013 at 7:23 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thank you Rachel! It totally is me in website form – usually a little late, has too much to say, a little bit messy and sometimes throws in a dash of humour. Sounds right? haha
      Ok now to have you say that I make you remember why blogging is amazing? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!! Rachel, that is awesome. And totally flattering to the point that I gasped a little when I read that. You are right – making cool things (or trying to) and talking to wonderful people (like you) is just the BEST!
      Thank you so so so so so so much for being such a sweet and cool and real follower of The L.O.!

      August 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm
  • Reply Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    Thalita, first of all, HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY! I think it’s a big deal to not only make it through your first year of blogging with a smile on your face, but to do so with as much gusto and success as you have!

    I so enjoyed reading through your “year in review” and I’m definitely going to return to this post when I have some time to really pore over the posts from the early days that I missed out on. You’ve brought so much to blogland, and namely, so much to my life since you first sent me that awesome email in early January. You’re so right–our BFF-ship was instantaneous! And such a gift from God.

    One of the ways I receive love best is through “words of affirmation,” so you can only imagine how loved I feel after reading this post! Thank you for your generous words, Thalita. I feel as blessed and encouraged by you on a regular basis, my friend! And I’m so excited for all that year 2 holds for you and The Learner Observer.

    And what an awesome giveaway! Thanks for introducing us to Stephanie’s amazing prints! I’m torn between “the salt of the earth” and “say grace….”

    Huge congratulatory hug coming your way from the northwoods of Wisconsin! (Hey, I realized this is probably the closest we’ve ever been geographically…at least, since knowing each other. I’m seriously considering an impromptu road trip to give you that hug in person.)


    August 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm
  • Reply CelebrateTheGoodness (@CtheGoodness)

    I’m new here. Congrats on 1 year! I wish I would have found you sooner. I love all of your projects! Right up my alley! I’m looking forward to following along for year 2!

    August 22, 2013 at 2:19 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Hi!! Thanks so much for following along! I’m so happy there’s someone else out there who likes imperfect projects faking their way to looking good! Haha I’m looking forward to having you along for the ride! I hope you entered the giveaway – new follower or not, everyone gets a chance at this!

      August 23, 2013 at 8:42 am
  • Reply Johanna

    So I have been hopping over each Friday from Lauren over at The Thinking Closet, but just reading and not commenting (shame on me), but I wanted to say HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY!!
    I just made it three months, and it is always encouraging to see people who have held on even longer, and still love it!
    And also, I need to get in on this friendship mix – if Lauren likes you, I’m pretty sure I will, too, because let’s face it, she is one of the really, really good ones! So be prepared for lots of comments and randomness heading your way! ;) I am putting you at the top of my blog exploring list! Excited to see what I find :)
    xx Johanna

    August 22, 2013 at 3:52 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Johanna! That is the best news!!! First of all, thank you for clicking over to The Friday 5 weekly AND for leaving a comment this time! And no shame – we all do it sometimes, you know, the quietly reading until something begs to be commented on! Way to go on 3 months!!! That is awesome. Now I also have one more blog to check out and I can’t wait!!!

      Oh and yes, do get in on this because you are right, Lauren is one of the greats and I am super lucky to have “met” her in blog-land. I love comments, and equally love randomness so I’m ready!!!

      Thanks so much for following along! And excuse the terrible early posts with weirdly placed photos! HAHA I had a rough start with this blogging thing!!!

      August 23, 2013 at 10:58 am
  • Reply Guest Posting at The Thinking Closet Today!

    […] fix that.  See this.  And this (scroll down to the 3rd […]

    August 23, 2013 at 8:25 am
  • Reply Ann Dunn

    I think I like the arrows with ‘be you’ with the turquoise arrow

    August 23, 2013 at 5:48 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      That is a goodie!!! Lovely reminder, too!

      August 24, 2013 at 11:13 pm
  • Reply The Friday Five: Good to Know

    […] tomorrow to enter to win a framed 8×10 print and some other surprise goodies!  You can go here and scroll to the bottom of the post to enter (don’t forget to actually click the +1 boxes) or […]

    August 25, 2013 at 12:56 pm
  • Reply Amy

    I can’t believe I missed this post. I’m just catching up now. I know I missed the giveaway but Happy 1 year to you! Time flies :)

    August 30, 2013 at 9:46 am
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