Monday 11 January 2016

2015 In Review: A Year of Craftiness (part one)

Last year I set myself a de-stashing challenge but otherwise didn't give myself any specific goals for the year. Instead I wrote that I'd "just be focusing on working hard to grow my business and doing my best to fill my year with designing, making, writing, cuppas and catch ups with friends, decluttering, good books, tasty cake, happy post, Nice Days Out... and lots of other good stuff."

2015 was a little quiet but it was filled with all those things, so I am counting it as a success :)

I might not be a huge fan of New Year's Resolutions but I am a big fan of using this time of year to look back at the previous 12 months and take stock of the ups and downs, ready to re-focus and move forwards into the new year. 

I'll be blogging about my Nice Days Out in a separate post (it was a busy year of travels!) but first, here's what I got up to on the crafty, bloggy side of things... 


... I made a start on my "Use It or Lose It" destashing challenge: "to either get on and actually make stuff with the supplies in my stash, or admit to myself that I'm never going to use them for anything and just get rid of them."

I'd envisioned a year of making things inspired by random supplies in my crafty stash, with lots of blogging about the projects, but I didn't use up as many of my supplies as I'd hoped. I did clear out a lot of stuff though and my studio is looking all the better for it! The disconnect between my visions of all the projects I'd like to make and the reality of the amount of time I have available to actually make things is, of course, why I had all these unused craft supplies sitting around in the first place.

In January I made lavender sachets (completing 29 in total!), worked on my patchwork mini squares blanket and shared the felt bird mobile I made for Creativity magazine. 

I celebrated whole years of blogging (almost nine years now, eek!), vented some printer rage after doing my accounts, blogged about things I need to stop buying and some very tempting fabric, reviewed Knitting Smitten, and featured Crafty Ladies Kate from Made by Mrs M and Nicole from Follow the White Bunny.

I also finally blogged about my trip to the Thread festival of textiles, way back in September of 2014! I might have been blogging for 8+ years but I am still a bad, slow blogger, haha.


... I blogged about a colourful floral belt and headband I'd stitched for Creativity magazine, started an old/new floral embroidery project, shared some of the wonderful sky blankets inspired by mine, and organized lots of magazine clippings (for what I pretentiously refer to as "my archive", which makes me feel much more important than I actually am!).

I also featured Crafty Ladies Laura from Made Peachy and Wendi from Shiny Happy World, reviewed Studio Life, and got excited about some awesome sewing-themed clothing and a visiting trio of goldfinches (I love goldfinches).


... I worked on a floral cross stitch, a scrappy cross stitch and my floral embroidery project, then finished the embroidered flower but wasn't 100% happy with it so decided to stitch another version... and I confessed to abandoning my sky pompoms project (so many feeeeeeeeelings).

My work popped up in a new issue of Made in Felt (which also included a kind, surprise mention of my blog!) and in Love Sewing Australia. I was also delighted to announce German and Italian editions of my books (so thrilling).

I also resolved to try and read more books (this was semi- but not super-successful!) reviewed Crafty Dolls and featured Crafty Ladies Gretel Parker and Laura from Laurafallulah.


... I finished the second version of my embroidered flower and shared the pattern. I blogged about the biscuit-themed mug mat I'd stitched for Creativity magazine and shared a tutorial for making a box of sunshine, celebrating the release of Annie on DVD (this was a sponsored post which I know some people aren't huge fans of but this was actually one of my fave projects of the year - it was a huge amount of fun to make and I was so pleased with how it turned out!)

I also reviewed Ladies of Letterpress, got excited about the upcoming London Craft Week and lined up all my finished sky pompoms so I could share some photos of them in all their fluffy glory along with tips on making your own sky pompoms should you decide to record the weather in pompom form.

In MAY...

... I blogged about my childhood eraser collection! I wanted to keep a few special pieces with particular sentimental meaning and to record the whole collection before finding a new home for some or all of it. I ended up selling all but my few favourite pieces to someone with an eraser collection of their own (they were thrilled) and donating the money to a charity of my mum's choice (she'd bought most of the erasers for me when I was a kid, after all!). The money ended up going to a children's charity, so something once-beloved-but-no-longer-wanted from my childhood has ended up helping kids enjoy theirs. Perfect.

There was more nostalgia as I found She-Ra books and a trio of Keypers in my parents attic, and my eraser collection made an appearance in Mollie Makes.

I also blogged about two projects I'd designed for Creativity magazine - a button cushion and a village of felt houses (the felt houses tutorial can now be found online, here). I shared tutorials for two projects I'd made for Creativity the year before - a cute cat pincushion and a folk flower brooch - and finally bought the missing yarn needed to re-start a neglected woodland-themed project ("I'm resolving to get this finished by Christmas 2015 at the very latest", I wrote, but it's still very much a work in progress. I will eventually finish this project! I will! I swear!)

In JUNE...

... I shared a tutorial for making felt swan brooches or collar clips, got hold of a copy of the Italian edition of Super-Cute Felt (my first book), and admitted to myself that I was never going to finish a couple of long neglected "in-progress" knitting projects and unravelled them to make mini squares for my patchwork blanket.

I also did more destashing, explored the different names and animal noises in the German edition of Super-Cute Felt Animals (my second book) and blogged about the start of London Craft Week (so awesome!).

In JULY...

... things were a little quiet on my blog as I suffered an attack of blogger's block (ugh). Luckily the kitties were on hand to cheer me up and keep me company as I took some time off.

I blogged about a couple of recent projects for Creativity magazine - a festival-inspired bag and an embroidered heart which the Creativity team turned into a lovely card (the tutorial is now available online, here) - and my decision to turn my in-progress brightly coloured "happy" blanket into a happy rainbow blanket (mmm... rainbows...).

I also wrote about turning 33, and a wonderfully busy afternoon at London Craft Week (I have realised writing this that my final London Craft Week recap is still sitting in my drafts folder! Oh dear!).


... I realised I'd knitted a bunch of squares the wrong size and had to unravel them all and begin the slow process of re-knitting them. Ugh.

In happier crafty news, I got to blog about two projects I designed for a new kids craft book, Craft Camp, and some felt ice lollies and felt fruit I made for Creativity magazine (the felt fruit tutorial is now available online, here).

I also designed a heart for a Mollie Makes feature about the Craftivist Collective's latest campaign, took part in a summer postcard swap, shared lots of awesome things people have been making from my patterns and supplies bought from me and blogged about my childhood shell collection.

My shells found a new home with Polly, who is practically a mermaid so was the perfect person to take charge of these! She's already used some of the shells for a crafty project, which was awesome to see after so many years of them sitting forgotten and neglected in a box.

My look back at my crafty 2015 will continue in part two, later this week...


Aly the Brit said...

So good to see your review as I didn't realise I'd missed out on so much! Plenty of reading and sidetracking to catch up with :))

The Housekeeper said...

A year dose of inspiration in a single post :) I so miss the days with plenty of free time for crafting. Now with kids and a whole house to maintain I find it harder but your blog always gives me little ideas to try out

Bugs and Fishes said...

Aly - I hope you'll enjoy catching up on some of the things you've missed!

The Housekeeper - squeezing in a bit of craftiness can be tricky if you're busy, but a little bit of creativity goes a long way :)