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These eight amazing women took on year-long projects that changed their outlooks forever. Get inspired by their journeys and plan your own!Finding Extraordinary Moments in the Everyday
Meredith Winn, a photographer and contributing editor to the group photo blog, Shutter Sisters, documented a whole year of her life in photos. She took her camera with her everywhere she went and tried to stay mindful of finding a single moment in her day that she wanted to remember, whether it was moving houses, dropping her son off at kindergarten, or caring for her terminally ill mother. "Even on bad days you can find at least one beautiful thing to capture," says Winn. "It's easy to get lost in the rush of daily life, but this project gave me a new way to look at my life. The photos became my memories of the year and also helped me find peace and healing while facing some big life issues." Knowing that she completed such a daunting goal was the biggest reward, though. "I now know that I can accomplish anything if I just take it one day at a time -- literally." See Winn's photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/camerashymomma/sets/72157622978472543/Getting Personal With Poetry
Amy Turn Sharp wrote a poem every single day in 2012 and shared them all with readers of her blog at amyturnsharp.com.Watching Her Little Ones Grow`
Caroline Turloey has been taking daily snapshots of her three kids for more than two years with daily photo journal service blipfoto. See Turloey's photos at http://www.blipfoto.com/nojojo.Creating With Her Hands
Natalie LeGuerrier has always been a knitter and, while searching for new patterns, she decided to challenge herself to knit something every day. Reusable cup cozies seemed like the perfect item to choose they're small enough to be doable, but there's plenty of room for variation. She started a simple blog to keep track of them, and One Cup Cozy a Day was born. "The truth is I don't always feel like knitting, but I keep going," says LeGuerrier. "Some days I'm not inspired at all, but I knit some of my best cozies because I had to." If she knows she won't have Internet access or will be super-busy with her day job as a customer service rep, LeGuerrier will knit a few in advance and post them, but generally she really does knit a cozy every day. (It takes her up to two hours, depending on the complexity of the stitch pattern.) She sells the cozies in her Etsy shop and has also donated some of them to a local group. "I've learned some big lessons," she says. "It's so true that showing up every day to do the work is what matters in the end. I'm also getting better every day!" See all LeGuerrier's cozies at http://onecupcozyaday.blogspot.com/.Drawing a Laugh a Day
Natalie Dee has drawn and posted one of her quirky LOL-worthy comics for fans every day since 2005 on her site, nataliedee.com.
Patti Simmons was inspired to create her 365-day project when her son Tate, who was born missing his right hand, started elementary school. She was searching for a way to let his classmates, teachers, and friends know that Tate is able to do everything a "normal" kid can, and the idea for her project was born: She'd take a photo of Tate doing kid stuff in his daily life, like scoring a soccer goal or climbing a tree, and then post one online every day on her new blog, Tate Can Too. "It takes a little bit of the burden off us, and especially off Tate, to educate everyone he meets. They see daily proof that missing a hand doesn't hold him back at all," says Simmons. "People are really surprised to see all the things Tate can do that they thought would be impossible. Are some things harder? Sure. But for the most part, kids like Tate live completely normal, happy lives." See Simmons' inspiring images at http://www.tatecantoo.com/.Turning Pet Pics Into Art
Anja Zaharanski didn't realize that her habit of illustrating dogs would turn into an Internet sensation. When she posted the art on her site, dogscanbark.com, readers quickly asked if she could illustrate their pets. So when she announced that they could send snaps and she'd draw their dogs for free, the requests poured in. At first she thought it would be easy (she had plenty of material, after all). But she underestimated the time and energy it would take. Small, fluffy dogs proved particularly challenging. Still, she says it's been worth the effort. "It makes me so happy to send someone the illustration and then hear that I perfectly captured their dog's personality," says Zaharanski. "It makes my day -- I can't stop smiling."Writing Notes to the Future
Erin Loechner has been writing her successful blog, Design for Mankind, and sharing amazing finds since 2006. But becoming a mother inspired a whole new project last summer. People kept telling her to soak it all in, because each stage of her daughter Bee's growth would move so quickly. "So to capture those moments, I write about my favorite little things that Bee does every day on a stack of sticky notes," says Loechner. "Then I compile them into a letter that I share each Friday on my blog, along with a photo of her from that week. It's amazing to see how fast she's growing, and I'm growing along with her." Starting out with sticky notes made the project feel more doable. And Loechner never imagined how rewarding it would be to turn mundane moments into something more lasting. "To be honest, I thought I was writing these letters for my daughter. But looking back at the entries so far, I see that they're also for me," she says. Loechner is looking forward to sharing them with her daughter one day as well. "It's a daily project," she says, "but it's also a future heirloom." Read Loechner's letters to Bee at http://designforminikind.com/tag/dear-bee/.