Tag Archives: resolutions

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!!!

2013: obligatory planning post

24 Jan

Yeah, I know, it’s way past the New Year. I did draft this back in early January, the same day I drafted my last two posts. But I couldn’t post a New Year’s post until after I’d posted my Christmas tree and I couldn’t post that until I’d sorted out photos and since then I’ve been busy…

Excuses excuses. Moving along.

So although we’re more than three weeks into the year, I’m still going to post about my 2013 plans. As before, if you’re all over New Year’s planning posts, especially overly wordy and thinky ones, please skip this and we will return to your regularly scheduled finished objects posts soon. Well, as regularly scheduled as they get down in this paddock.

Every New Years period I enjoy taking some time over the holidays to reflect and consider, looking forwards and backwards. It all seems quite appropriate, given that January was named for Janus, the Roman god of transitions and new beginnings, who had two faces – one for looking forward and one for looking back. I guess there is just something about being on holiday, lazing in the sun, that makes me introspective. What can I say, I’m the thinky type at the best of times. You’ll get used to it.

Janus, borrowed blissfully from Wikipedia

Janus, borrowed blissfully from Wikipedia

As I introspected, I thought about 2012 and what was good and bad about it. 2012 was a bit of an odd year for me creatively. I had lots of ideas and dreams but was quite focused on home renovations/rearrangements, and getting our business in better shape. Although I didn’t quite get everything done I wanted to in 2012, I feel really pleased to be going back into a new state of being better organised, more established, and ready for this year. On the creative front however, while I did make a few things there really isn’t enough material to warrant a review so I decided not to do a “reflections of 2012” post.

Basically, what I figured out is that my creative output for 2012 was very low, and I don’t want to repeat that this year.

So I thought about what I DO want for 2013. And there are all sorts of plans that I could make. And almost all of them have been made by someone, somewhere! So many inspirational New Year’s posts that I’ve read! I could sew to a plan, I could stashbust, I could focus on fitting or separates or cake or frosting or palettes or challenges, blog more often, take better photos, etc. And I do want to do all of these!

But what I really want to do is just make stuff. I have so much pent up desire to Just Make Stuff.

The simplest way to get what you want. From Google Images.

The simplest way to get what you want.
From Google Images.

My fantastic friends tease me that I spend so much time talking about making things and reading about making things and planning to make the perfect things and analysing the things and tidying my sewing room that I don’t actually make anything. And that I can justify my non-productivity at a drop of the hat. And I’ll, grudgingly, admit there is a whole heap of merit in this observation. They are my friends. They know me well.

So for 2013 my focus is on feeding my creative beast. On trying things and making things and enjoying the sense of fulfilment that comes with it – and learning from the inevitable moments of frustration that are likely to also come. On focusing on moving away from theory and dreams and cataloguing, to creating and making and fulfilment, even if it means some losses along the way. Not let my perfectionism, my frustrations, and my fear-of-getting-it-wrong hold me back.

THIS. This is pinned to my wall as the single biggest thing inspiring me make stuff today. Quote by Ira Glass. Image from Google Images.

THIS. This is the story of my entire life. This is pinned to my wall as the single biggest thing inspiring me to Just Make Stuff.
Quote by Ira Glass. Image from Google Images.

You’ve all heard of the cure for writer’s block? Just start writing, even if it’s crap? Well, this is treatment for creative block. Just start making, even if it’s crap. It’s time to “fight my way through”.

So, goal in mind, how does this translate into plans for 2013?

I plan to make/complete 52 items this year.

Holy moly that’s a big one.

I am calling it 52 moments of satisfaction. Or maybe 52 moments of smugness. At the end of the year I want to be able to look back and go “wow, I made 52 things this year! I feel great about that!”

It’s a big jump from the small output of 2012. But it’s my challenge and I set the rules so here is how I’m making it achievable for myself.

  • It’s not a thing a week. If I’ve worked on knitting a cardigan for a month and have produced nothing else that is ok. But I might need to offset that by finishing off a bunch of hems one weekend or settling myself down to make a dozen pairs of earrings.
  • It’s not all garments. It could include sewn accessories, beaded jewellery, embroidery, homewares, or even a really awesome cake or batch of biscuits if I feel so inclined. I’m going to decide what counts.
  • Finishing a UFO that has been languishing for ages counts, even if the UFO has hardly any work left on it. So does refashioning or remaking. Anything that makes me feel fulfilled at the end of it.

Even with me setting my own rules, this is a huge undertaking for me. So that brings me to my second plan for 2013.

I plan to spend at least 15 minutes every day on creating.

Yep, even if it’s only one seam or one row or one piece cut out I want to do something creative every day. Dancing (lessons or socially) counts. So does baking. So does blogging.

Again, it’s my challenge and I can make my own rules so I will allow some exceptions. Those are the days when I go to work and I have no lunch break and then I go straight to a dinner date then to a show then stagger in at 1am. Or the Saturday when I leave the house at 9am and come home at 11pm. These days are not frequent but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t manage anything on those days.

Progress to date!

The advantage of posting this so late in January is that I already have a sense of how I’m progressing. So far I’ve start and finished a cardigan, a seat cushion, and have almost finished three printed tees and a dress! And I’ve had only one day where I’ve just failed to create, because, you know, forgot.

The frustration is that the number of days that fall into the “exemption” category is high. In 24 days I’ve had five days that have just not been craft compatible. Still, 19 days of creativity for me is a milestone!

I’m feeling very excited about these plans. Wish me luck!