Looking back, looking forward

10 Mar

I drafted most of this about two months ago, so it was late then. Now it just seems ridiculous. But I’m going to go ahead and post it anyway, because I want to be able to read this next year and remember my thinking. Feel free to come back later when there are exciting sewing, knitting, and other craft projects to look at!

I’ve been enjoying everyone’s wrap up posts over January (edit: and a few in February!) but… I’m not doing one. Not like those anyway. I haven’t made enough to pick a top 5 of anything, and it’s getting on a bit (edit: a lot!)  in the year anyway! But I have been reflecting, as I always do this time of year, about last year, my goals and successes, and what I want to do this year and thought I’d capture it so I could refer back to it later. You’re welcome to have a read too if you’re curious.

Looking back!

Last year I had two major goals to help me make more room for creating in my life, and so I’ve been thinking about how well I achieved these.

Goal 1: Spend 15 minutes a day, at least, on creative endeavours.

This was to try and carve out a bit more time doing the things I truly love, and a bit less time surfing the net or snoozing my alarm or channel surfing. Was I successful?

Yes and no.

I used a calendar for the first few months to track my success. There were more days then I hoped when I simply dithered my way through the day and missed out. But also, when I took into account ALL of my hobbies – rock and roll classes, social dancing, burlesque classes and performing, and writing this blog, as well as sewing, knitting, and embroidery – I did cover a lot of ground. This was reassuring that my life was much more full of delight than I gave it credit for. It’s a reminder that confirmation bias creeps in and turns subjectivity into negativity, where confirmation bias is that I NEVER do ANYTHING FUN and my WHOLE LIFE is just BORING STUFF. My lesson is that I should take more delight in all the fun things I do do, and remember them when I am feeling down.

Yoda on confirmation bias

I also learned that if  I go more than a couple of days without doing something creative I get grouchy, and conversely that if I am grouchy or stressed that picking up a project or going dancing is the best relief. I know, right? Who’d’ve thought that doing what you love would have a causal relationship with mood. Yeah, you can all shut up now. For me, it was a revelation and something to remember when I need a mood altering experience.

Two great lessons! But the true goal –  of getting into the habit of squeezing creativity in here and there, of making it second nature to pick my sewing table over the computer table, to (quoting from last year) “feed the creative beast, just make stuff” made less progress. It was far more like binging. I’d pour hours into a project over a few days then go a few days without. So, this year I’m going to continue to work on this philosophy, to try to keep creativity active, alive, and constant in my life.

Goal 2: 52 moments of satisfaction.

I wanted, over the course of the year, 52 moments where I sat back and thought “hell yeah. That rocked. That was awesome. That was worth it. I DID THAT”.

You know that feeling. Yeah you do. I wanted more of it. But did I get to 52? In a word, no. But I’m not in tears about it. Because some of these moments were HUGE.

I made 36 cushion covers for one moment. Embellished three tees for another. I made (with help) an entire burlesque costume for another. All of my baking moments were days where I made three or four cakes and treats. I fixed six necklaces one day. And I fixed, or altered a bunch of things in my fix it box without even bothering to count them. So, if I count individual objects, I well overshot the 52 mark. And in terms of hours, some of those moments represent dozens of them. And there was some impressive progress made on some WIPs that didn’t quite make it onto the list. So it represents a solid year of work. (And I do have plans to blog several more items, once I get photos! I really need a camera…)

What was the final list?

1. Red knitted Peggy Sue cardigan
2. Banana seat cushion
3. Purple frankenCambie for best friend’s wedding
4. Three vinyl printed tees
5. Three red velvet cushion covers
6. Red necklace for Miss La Belle
7. Peggy-Sue leftover beanie (to be blogged!)
8. Corazones heart skirt (to be blogged!)
9. Yellow dragonfly skirt
10. Aviatrix hat (to be blogged!)
11. All of the cushions (36 to be exact)
12. Dr Who burlesque outfit
13. Dr Who burlesque performance
14. Turquoise pencil skirt (alteration)
15. Flocked denim skirt (alteration)
16. Bananarama baking day
17. Mama’s jewellery overhaul
18. Bead donation (to be blogged!)
19. Pink leopard rock and roll dress (to be blogged!)
20. White petticoat (to be blogged!)
21. Pink leopard capelet (to be blogged!)
22. Pumpkin booties (to be blogged!)
23. Green maxi dress
24. Lemon cordial, lemon krummeltorte, chocolate cake (not going to blog, you can figure it out)
25. Ohm sweet ohm cross stitch (to be blogged!)
26. Christmas banana baking (not going to blog, you can figure it out)
27. Christmas cordial (not going to blog, you can figure it out)
28. Grace’s pin-up cushions (to be blogged!)
29. Rockabilly aprons (to be blogged!)
30. All the repairs. So many repairs. (not going to blog, you can figure it out)
31. Passed gold medal rock and roll dance exam (do you want to know about this?)
32. Pink hummingbird top

Let’s break this down a bit. Cos pie charts are fun and a picture seems like a nice idea.

2013's moments of satisfaction. There's always an "other" category...

2013’s moments of satisfaction. There’s always an “other” category…

I’ll be honest, I really wanted to have a list of 52, just cos I said I would, so it’s not without a tinge of disappointment that I acknowledge that I didn’t make it. There are things that exist in my head that I wanted to exist in real life. And I really hope they exist in real life one day. 

But there is real pleasure from looking at this list and realising all the things that I did manage to do. For this reason, I’m going to continue to keep an annual list of satisfaction, to remind myself of what I manage to fit into a very full and busy life.

Looking forwards!

So, what about 2014? Anything new? You betcha!

While I’m going to take what I’ve learned from 2013 and work it into my daily life, I have a new focus for 2014. I’m not the first to come up with it, and I won’t be the last. But this year, I want to sew with a plan, known by some as SWAPing.

I have a stash full of beautiful fabric, a mountain of patterns, and a computer full of inspiration pictures. But I’m not able to dress myself from my wardrobe every day in an outfit that makes my heart sing. It’s not entirely a lost cause! Occasionally I’ve worn ensembles that made me walk with a swagger as I collected compliments and checked out my reflection in passing shiny surfaces (and got busted doing that once by a colleague. Whoops). But often I just feel, well, meh. I’m not naked or cold so I’m dressed functionally, but otherwise, well, meh. I want to change that. I want to get distracted by my reflection every day (although I’ll have to learn to be more subtle to avoid embarassing converstaions). I want to walk with a spring in my step because I know I look good. I want my clothes to reflect my personality and my lifestyle. It may seem vain or shallow to some but to me it is about bringing joy and fun and self and confidence into what I wear, which I think translates into everything else. My plans for SWAPing are formulating in my head, but I’m going to give them a post all of their own. And then, you know, eventually start posting about sewing and knitting and stuff. Stay tuned, your patience will be rewarded!

And as this is a very text heavy post with no exciting photos, here is Minerva being adorable.

How can you not want to rub this? But it's ok, because you can!!!

How can you not want to rub this? But it’s ok, because you can!!!

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13 Responses to “Looking back, looking forward”

  1. tworandomwords March 11, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    “I want to walk with a spring in my step because I know I look good.”

    I made a conscious to make sure all of my clothes made me feel good like that. I used to have days where I would be SUPER grumpy at lunch time, and eventually I traced most of them back to my clothing. Sounds stupid, I know, but when I know I look good in my clothes, I feel good; am more confident, and happier. I now have almost no clothes in my wardrobe that make me feel frumpy!

    • missjoiedevivre March 11, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

      It doesn’t sound stupid at all! Clothing serves so much more than just protection from the elements, it’s a key part of how we form our identity and express it to others, which in turn is part of hope we form interactions and relationships with others. Feeling good in your second skin is vital!

  2. prttynpnk March 12, 2014 at 4:08 am #

    I am so onboard with you! Lets make 2014 our feel good catwalk!!

    • missjoiedevivre March 12, 2014 at 7:59 am #

      Ha! I love that idea of life as catwalk. Thanks for the thought and the support 🙂

  3. Holly March 13, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    I love your idea of SWAPing.
    Clothing is so important to how we feel as we go through our day. So making, and wearing, clothing that makes you want to check yourself out seems a fantastic idea to me. I know I feel so much more confident when I think I look good. So go for it!

  4. thecuriouskiwi March 25, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    “I want to get distracted by my reflection every day…I want to walk with a spring in my step” Spring away girlie, you can do it xx

    I have to remember confirmation bias too, and to not go too long between fun things – all the little bits of delight do add up 🙂

  5. Calico Stretch April 4, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

    There’s absolutely nothing vain about wanting to enjoy wearing your clothes. There’s something extra amazing about enjoying wearing great looking clothes that you have made yourself! Girl never apologise for that 🙂 ….. I had a day like that today wearing a top and trou that I made and I know look good on. Such a good feeling.

    So, rock on your SWAPing for 2014 and for wearing threads you love to wear.

  6. Jo April 10, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    Looking at the list of stuff you did I’m really impressed! And Damn I love a good pie chart. I am amazed at all the great stuff you cram in, like the burlesque and rock and roll. Even though those don’t create tangible things, they are still highly creative pursuits! So you are more creative than you give yourself credit for I think! I love the idea of sewing with a plan. I try to do it but get distracted. Of course if I had some sort of twin to keep me inspired and on track…;)
    Also, I too, have a problem dressing joyfully every day. I need to find the gaps and plug them with fabulousness! So good luck to both of us. And let’s try to set the confirmation bias to seeing all the awesome stuff we did 🙂

    • missjoiedevivre April 14, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

      Aww, thanks so much! I’m looking forward to fun co-creativity with you. Next year’s (almost cetainly late) write-up will hoepfully be very biased the way we want!

  7. Kiwimel April 27, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

    hey dude, I’ve just nominated you for the Leibster Blog Award!

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