goodbye 2011, a review of you

Jan 2, 2012 | Yearly Recaps

My studio table, photo by Andrea Scher

I just re-read my 2010 recap and made the recognition (realization) that this year, 2011, was about all about recovering from last year, 2010. Sort of hilarious, but so true… it took an entire year to recover, to process, to recalibrate one insanely packed and full year (2010) and recreate a new normal for myself this year. That is what 2011 was for me. It was about stepping away for a bit. About recalibration. About rebirth. About belonging to myself and to my family before belonging to anything/one else.  It was about figuring out how to spend as much possible time with baby True while navigating the demands of a growing business. In essence, 2011 was about redefining everything from self to family to home to business. That’s what parenthood and motherhood gifted me in 2011: a complete redefining period and an opportunity to create a whole new life around family. It was rocky, wonderful, stressful, gorgeous, and completely awesome.

It was also an insanely fast year as evidenced at how quickly True grew from a 3 month old baby at the beginning of the year to a full on toddler by the end. But yet it was insanely slooow, too. It’s so true what they say about that first year of life as a baby and new parenthood: it’s the longest shortest time. 2011, you were most definitely the longest shortest time.

There was so much to celebrate during that long, short time. Here are your highlights, dear 2011 (and a few lowlights):

– Learning to celebrate the remarkable experience of motherhood. while also trying to craft a whole new way of living and seeing the world (important soul work).
– Giving into those really hard new moments of learning how to be a mom, and loving those aha moments full of love and understanding.

– It was a big year for my gift line with Demdaco. I traveled to the Atlanta market where many  new gift items were debuted. It was a quick trip, but super exciting. I took my mom so that she could get a glimpse into the madness of it all.
– Hosted Demdaco Appreciation Week here on the blog with the intention to give readers an insider view of how products are made. There were huge giveaways, skype interviews with the company’s owner, my product developer, and more.
– Did a ton of decorating and general play around the house. 2011 was most definitely a year for nesting. Gave several room tours on the blog, including the kitchen, and dining room, and living room, and master bedroom, and the nursery, and guestroom, and small office nook.
– Decorated for the holidays!
– Had a fun little photo shoot at our home with True when he was 3 months old (in Jan)
– Shared photos and celebrated True all year long (3 mos, 4 mos, 5 mos, 6 mos,7 mos, 8 mos, 9mos, 10 mos, 11 mos, and finally the big 12 mos). Resisted the urge to post photo after photo of True on this blog every single day 🙂
– Got extremely excited and surprised by Oprah tickets.
– More reasons for the Oprah craze.
– And finally, the full scoop on the show and why the kindness of being given the tickets meant the world to me.

– After 13 years of living with a packer fan, I finally gave in and started watching the games, celebrating the wins, and getting some team pride.
– Completed a couple of DIY projects, including this one, this one, and this one. and this one.
– Opened up a brand new online shop and celebrated all the peeps who help make my biz life possible. The new online shop was a great giant improvement from the old shop and it was updated with brand new gift and home products all year long.

Feeling blessed

– surrendered to what matters the most and decided to pull back a little bit and put my energy and heart where it deserved (and wanted) to be.
– Began to really miss my beginnings as an artist.

– Total dream come true, was featured in a 10 page article in Somerset Studio magazine. Also featured in Apprentice mag – so grateful!
– I traveled to China to see exactly where some of my products are made. Amazing trip of a lifetime.

– Remembered to shine and made it through the other side of through.
Announced a huge and exciting new venture: partnering with Creative Co-op for a home decor line!
– Traveled to Dallas for the home decor line debut. Cried when I saw it all in person.

– Got inspired by Country Living and put my office in a closet 
– My first ever card line launched (super thrilling!)
Made more mistakes than ever before.

– Started really leaning into the chaos of parenthood, mining for all the truth and beauty.
– Launched a brand new updated version of this website and blog – big updates!

– made a big decision and moved my biz out of my house, + hired a 2nd employee. yikes!


– Took a family vacation to Hawaii when True was 7 months old. Laughed our booties off at his above expression from NOT liking the sand or ocean one bit.
– Celebrated the freedom that traveling gave me as a new mom.

true boots

– fell in love with a pair of cowgirl boots
– celebrated friendship, power, and truth, and who we are as a collective
Traveled to the Creative Connection Event – met a ton of amazing people doing work similar to me. Totally awesome.

– Discovered instagram and haven’t looked back.
– Shared my thoughts on parenthood after almost 1 full year in it.
– Ran the Flying Lessons e-course for the 2nd time. It was amazing.

Piece of new painting. So true!

– Wrote a love letter to you.
Launched a new business called Hello Soul, Hello Business which had me more creatively excited than I’ve been in a long, long time.
– Got crafty with my lovebomb girlfriends.

Celebrated 10 years of marriage. Good stuff.
Celebrated five years of running a creative business.
– Celebrated transformation that babies gift us.

– Got inspired by kindness

– Had a aha moment that let me savor instead of dream.
– Decided to take a big leap of faith and made a huge decision to scale back my online shop in big, big ways.


2011, you were full, full, full. You were our first full year with our baby and let me just say, everyday joy exploded in our home, in our lives, and in our hearts because of baby True. Everything else felt like icing on the cake. Before I let you go, 2011, I want to answer a couple of questions, introduced to me by my good friend Andrea Scher:

1. What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in regard to 2010? (What did you create? What challenges did you face with courage and strength? What promises did you keep to yourself? What brave choices did you make? What are you proud of?)

I am proud of sticking as closely to my chosen word for 2011 which was gentle. I gave myself a ton of space to fall into motherhood, to gently allow myself to feel it all, including all the overwhelm and the joy. I faced big challenges of merging creative biz with motherhood, and self-care, but again worked hard to give myself permission to gift myself this period of figuring it all out gently and without the crazy amounts of self imposed pressure to do anything else, create anything else, accomplish anything else except to simply and gently be with my family. Looking back, I’m really proud of that decision.
When it comes to work like, I’m really proud of making the big decision to scale back the scope of my online shop from big big big to small small small. Although this was a big financial decision, it was completely aligned with following my heart so that I could spend more time doing what I love during my work hours (creating, writing).

I’m also proud of the togetherness that John and I continue to create. I’m proud of how we’ve traveled together this year, how we’ve supported each others journeys into parenthood, how we’ve loved one another through the good and the hard. I’m proud of the decisions we made together, always with the goal to squeeze out as much juice of life as possible. I’m immensely proud of our family, of the new life that we created (and continue to create) around family in 2011.

2. What is there to grieve about 2010? (What was disappointing? What was scary? What was hard? What can you forgive yourself for?)

I forgive myself for not taking good care of myself with good exercise and good food. I forgive myself for the many many mistakes I made when it came to overestimating what I could get done and how those mistakes affected the people in my life. The hardest part of 2011 was coping with how full life feels now that I’m a parent – however awesome being a parent is, it still brings major adjustment. There were most definitely things to grieve – the feelings of loneliness that parenthood can sometimes bring,  the changing tides of friendships , availability for social activities when life feels too full. I forgive myself for all the tumbles and stumbles through all of that.

i choose joyful gratitude

3. What else do you need to say about the year to declare it complete? The next step is to say out loud, “I declare 2010 complete!” How do you feel? If you don’t feel quite right, there might be one more thing to say…

Before I declare you complete, 2011, I must tell you how grateful I am. Thank you for being a year where we were healthy, for keeping us safe. Thank you for being the year when my parents moved from FL to OR to be near us. Thank you for all the big ideas and creative dreams that you birthed. Thank you for all the ways in which you allowed me to be brave in sadness, brave in love. You’ve shown me, perhaps more than any other year, how practicing being still against all urges to do, do, do, leads to quiet strength, and quiet but profound joy.

2011, I declare you complete!

More small steps from 2011:

* Made a huge decision to scale back the online shop in a major way. I wanted to follow my heart, big risks and all. More details here.
* Held a last minute cyber Monday sale which was a huge success (over 300 orders, over 500 products sold). Read more about it on my blog (a thank you note) here.
* Attended  The Creative Connection Event as a panelist and pitch slam expert. Read/See more details on my blog.
* My article on how to paint a painting without one single paintbrush was published in the Sept issue of Somerset Apprentice. Read/see more details on my blog.
* Launched Hello Soul. Hello Business with award winning entrepreneur Beth Nicholls and opened up registration for our upcoming e-course called The Business Soul Sessions: Where Passion Meets Profit. Read/see more details here.
* Happily celebrated five years of running my creative biz!
* Moved online shop out of my house.
* Many brand new products were added to the online shop from my home decor line, including clocks, photo frames, mirrors, and so much more.
* My article on “Pricing Tips for Your Creative Business” was published on The Etsy Blog.
* Redesigned the blog to match the new and improved website and added a much requested “Search” feature.
* Explored savoring vs. dreaming.
* I ran my e-course, Flying Lessons: Tip + Tricks To Help Your Creative Business Soar a second time – super successful and so fun to help so many creatives chase their business dreams!.
* My brand new exclusive home decor line launched with Creative Co-op. It was a dream come true partnership and products included furniture, pillows, and many other creative home decor items. Read/see more here.
* New products debuted via my gift line with DEMDACO, including many many creative space products (think magnet boards, organizers, new wall art formats, and soooooo much more). Read/see more here.
* I have a several page feature inside Jenny Doh’s highly anticipated new book, Art Saves. I am so honored to be a part of this book and its message. It speaks to my heart, big time.
* I traveled to China to see where my products are made.
* My greeting card line launched with Calypso Cards at the NYC Stationery Show – super exciting for me. See/read more here.
* Launched a brand new online shop with improved features functionality. Love the update. Read/see more here.
* Was the featured artist in the March issue of Somerset Studio. This was a dream come true – a 10 page spread that features an article about my creative journey plus many of my latest paintings.  Huge thanks to Christian Olivarez (and Rice Freeman-Zachery for writing the article) for this amazing opportunity!
* Announced big plans to partner with Creative Co-op for a home decor product line!
* Lots of exciting new products debuted at the Atlanta Gift Show including tons of new wall art, artist sketchbooks, whimsical everyday ornaments, a holiday line, and highly anticipated girlie figures! See/read more here on my blog.
* I missed my beginner artist self.
* The Kelly Rae Roberts Collection (my line with DEMDACO) ranked #1 alongside Willow Tree in the inspirational gifts category in the Jan issue of GiftBeat -. This is awesome news – thank you, retailers and buyers! See/read more here on my blog.
* Checks! Kelly Rae checks debuted (so fun). Read + see more here.

Sending much love,

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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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