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Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

taking some time to reflect - a personal story

· Inside BBD

I'm going to get “personal” for just a minute… okay, maybe five or ten minutes, depends on how fast you read!

In between my MANY “squirrel” moments and my regular day-to-day happenings, I have spent the last month (as I do every January) reflecting… and analyzing… and planning… and WOW!... how time flies!!!

I was beginning to write my NEXT blog post - “This Year’s Design Trends” (a task I've been meaning to tackle for the last 2 years!) when I had a realization. (AKA - I got squirreled!)

I realized that SO MUCH had happened for me in the last year… and now it’s done and gone, and I never really took the time to truly acknowledge or accept any of it! I almost felt like I had “lost” the entire year of 2023!

I mean, it’s already February 2024! Yet I feel like it was just yesterday that I was wrapping Christmas gifts! but I guess that's what they say, right? “Time flies when you're having fun.”

 And because I really do LOVE the life I’m living! …and 2023 was a TON of FUN, I wondered...


“What if I could seemingly “slow down” the clock... and have time fly - NOT so fast - by simply taking some time to reflect on it while writing about it?"


… Probably seems silly to you, but please, bear with me as this is my ATTEMPT to slow time down… and “find” my 2023.

- a glimpse “behind the scenes” of my personal life along with my business life, while I review all of the “fun” things that happened in my “perfect chaos” during 2023 -

So here it goes… Hope you’re able to follow along!

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The year started with a wonderful family trip to Prairie Du Chien, WI to visit some of my husband Aaron’s family. It was a trip that I will forever cherish as it was my last visit with Grandma Lois, who is by far, the most amazing woman I have ever met! (she passed away in May at the age of 98.)

January wrapped up as we sent Kennedy (our daughter - now age 22) back to Boston to finish their third year at BU.

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Throughout February, March, and April (on the business side) my days were filled with custom orders, new products, a couple of craft shows, a featured photo of my booth at the Rome Farmers Market in the “Visit Rome” visitors guide, a number of wood slice workshops, and a new store with my products on consignment.

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At the same time, Aaron and I were busy on the personal side of things with the start of a new job (working from home!) for Aaron, weekends together with Shay (our son - now age 18) at our “Harwood Happy Place” on Lake Sherwood, nights out with old friends, planning and preparations for our big move and for our upcoming renovations and construction at the lake, as well as a craft beer tasting event, The Rare Barrel Affair in Wisconsin Dells! (If you enjoy craft beer, I highly recommend!)

Physical therapy appointments for Shay’s shoulder, followed by doctor visits for his broken pinkie finger, and a new tattoo for me kept us occupied until our next family trip.

Our trip to Boston, MA!

We walked over 22 miles in two days as Kennedy took us on tours of the BU campus, Boston Harbor, one of their favorite art museums, and ALL around the historic and beautiful city of Boston… while also proving that Aaron and I are really out of shape! lol

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May was filled with more wood slice workshops, more custom orders, more new products, opening day at the Rome Farmers Market, and weekends ON the lake!

Kennedy finished their 3rd year at BU (still maintaining a 4.0!) and went on to complete a 6-week residency at Yale - Norfolk School of Art!

June began with a beautiful service and Celebration of Life as we said "Goodbye" to Grandma Lois and visited with friends, family, and ALL of the people who had been “touched” by this amazing woman’s incredible soul.

The month continued as we proudly watched Shay walk across the stage at his High School Graduation Ceremony (an event we had never experienced with Kennedy, due to COVID) followed by his graduation party, later that same day! It was an absolute blast of a celebration with games and friends and family!

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As Summer went on, we added a golf cart to our collection of “toys,” and our fun-filled weekends on (and around) the lake continued… including our favorite - the 4th of July celebration - complete with a bags tournament, ski show, and fireworks on the lake!

Our social life continued as our close friends and family got together and hosted a “going away party” for us. We laughed, we drank, and we reminisced about all the fun times that we had shared together over the 20+ years in New Berlin and the Milwaukee area.

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Throughout the month of July, we made the big move - to Rome, WI - and our “Harwood Happy Place” became our HOME! This had been our plan, our DREAM since July 9, 2015 - when we bought it!

And before the month was over, construction of the new Beyond Basics Design workshop/studio space was under way!

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August brought on a lot of change!

For starters, Aaron and I had to re-define our time spent at our “Happy Place” as it was no longer just for weekends… We gained about 5 hours/week (time that had been spent driving) not to mention, gas money! We started taking after-work sunset cruises - almost nightly! I absolutely LOVE a beautiful sunset, but lake sunsets are my FAVORITE!! And Aaron is always kind enough to stop the boat so I can take a pic…or 10 - you’ll be seeing this in my work in 2024!

(Sorry! - squirrel moment! Still following? We’re almost done!)

More change came in August with the start of the renovations in our home - some contracted, some DIY. New floors. New countertops. New bathroom vanity. Some new lighting (still waiting to be installed). And I even built our new kitchen island and changed out all the kitchen hardware! The construction of our garage addition was also moving along nicely which was a fantastic thing as it proved to be very difficult to work while under construction!!

I made it back to New Berlin for a weekend with friends, as well as another wood slice workshop.

And then we moved Shay into his house in La Crosse, WI where he’s rooming with 3 UWL juniors (all girls!) and attending Western Tech for a degree in Building Construction and Cabinetmaking.

My 14th and final setup for the season at the Rome Farmers Market, followed by a much-loved, week-long visit with Kennedy, their roommate Sam, and Shay made for a perfect “ending” to our busy Summer!

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September and October weren”t host to any “big” events, but were still jam-packed with new products, craft shows, custom orders, and wood slice workshops as I began to get ready for the holiday season.

And on the homefront, we enjoyed our final weekends on the lake for the year, the start of Packers football season, and the completion of our garage addition - just in time to store the boat for winter!

The first half of November (my birthday month!) was almost entirely spent designing, creating, traveling, and selling Christmas products, and LOTS of them!!

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After that, I tried my hand at pouring epoxy resin - to finish the custom pub table that I made from reclaimed wood and a wine barrel for our dining area… a trial and error experience that turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself!

And the month finished up with family and good friends (old and new) as we hosted Thanksgiving!

Last, but not least… December!

The year rounded out perfectly with one more craft show, two more wood slice workshops, finishing touches (setting up, organizing, and decorating) in my new Workshop and Studio, decorating for our FIRST Christmas at the Happy Place, one more family trip back to New Berlin for several Christmas celebrations, and a whole lot of time spent with friends and family!

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So there it is friends, my 2023 in a nutshell! (or a rather lengthy blog post)

Now that I've taken the time to do this recap, and acknowledge the last year, I'll be able to focus (as much as I can - with all the squirrels) on the year ahead!!

Spoiler alert: 2024 is going to be an AWESOME year!

Thanks for taking the time to go "behind the scenes" with me. I'm so excited to continue sharing MORE about Beyond Basics Design with you all! Follow along to see inside the business, behind the scenes, and the all-around chaos and creativity that is... beyond the basics!

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