2013 Top 5: Goals for 2014

2014 1Happy New Year and Hi, 2014!  You’re going to be a good year!

Whatever you got up to, I hope you enjoyed welcoming in the new year.  We’re so rock’n’roll that we watched Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides (err, not a great film IMO) and then went to bed.  I did wake up and watch the London fireworks on the TV at midnight though.

The last couple of posts, on Hits and Misses and Reflections and Inspiration, has really helped me come up with a plan for this shiny New Year.  I’ve got 364.5 and a bit of blank pages to fill and I really really want this to be a good year.  So, I have plans, but like all things they’re subject to change – you never know what life might bring.  The last two years have taught me that in spades!

There’s two sets of plans; one sewing and one life in general.  Both come down to this though:

Improved Health and More Happiness

Sewing is a big part of my happiness and this year I want to tackle my stash management.  Actually, I want to have some form of stash management as acquisition has outpaced use some what!  So the intention is a 2:1 ratio – 2 stash fabrics used for each new piece acquired.  This gives me some flexibility as I’ll inevitably get a fixed idea about a pattern and the fabric it should be made with.  This ratio idea stops that ‘forced project’ feeling and keeps my sewing fun.  I’ve also started to begin to feel overwhelmed when looking through my fabric which is insane as each piece was bought with a plan in mind or because I loved it.  This year is the year it gets a chance to shine!

I’m also going to perform a pattern cull.  I have way more than I can sew and some just aren’t ‘me’.  They need to be used and that isn’t going to happen sitting in a box on the shelf!  I’ll also feel happier as I won’t have this enormous stack of envelopes staring at me.  I’m a realist though, I know I’m going to see a new pattern release (probably by By Hand London) and get the want it now syndrome, but if I’ve got space then that’s OK.  And I’m more likely to use their pattern than some Big 4 one that came with a magazine (not that I’m knocking free patterns or the Big 4, my beloved S2588 was a freebie with a mag!).  I’d like to find a few more patterns I use more than once (currently Elisalex and Cami are my go-to bodice patterns), S2444 has been on the list to make for ages so that’s a plan for 2014!

I’d love to go to another meet-up this year too.  I loved meeting so many people in Goldhawk Road in the Summer of 2013 and would love to meet people in real life again.  Maybe on a less grand scale though so that I can actually talk to people properly.  It would be something fun to look forward to as well!

My ‘life in general’ goals are mainly health related.  I want to clean up what I eat and today is day 1 of a Whole 30 reset.  It’s going to be tough but I hope it’s the jump-start I need into a year of better eating and better health.  I dabbled with altering my diet in the latter part of 2013 and it did make a difference to how I felt, so I’m going to pursue that path more thoroughly this year.  I’m also going to make sure I move more as I sit on my bum at a desk all day when at work which isn’t great; cycling and yoga is the plan!

On reflection, I eat the worst things at work so I’m going to take a packed lunch with me each day and I spent some Amazon vouchers I was given over Christmas on a new insulated lunch bag and box.

My final ‘thing’ for this year is to take a little more pride in myself and value myself more.  I’m going to make more of an effort with my appearance and will do something with my hair and face each day; even if it’s only a bun and a bit of mascara!  I think the Yoga will help me be a little calmer too.

None of these are lofty or far reaching goals, I just want to improve the way I sew, spend a little less and live more healthily and happily.  Here’s to 2014…

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2013 Top 5: Reflection and Inspiration

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Lizzy put it very succinctly when she quoted Malcom Forbes:

“Too many people undervalue what they are and overvalue what they aren’t”

She was writing in response to Rochelle’s post about yearly reviews and the unfavourable comparisons that some of us draw when comparing ourselves to any one else.  This is something I’ve been guilty of; I look at the productivity of others and think that I should be achieving similar numbers of garments.  I need to remember that I have a lot going on ‘behind the scenes’ as well as my sewing and blogging.  I’ve got Boy and Husband, a job, Husband’s business, and a house that somehow needs to be vaguely tidy, clean and stocked with food.  Everyone’s life is different and I’m just setting myself up to feel like a failure if I compare myself to others, and I’m not a failure.  I’m liked and loved the way I am.

And, quite honestly, sometimes I’m tired and I don’t want to sew or blog.  I want to sit on the sofa and watch a movie or another episode or two of Arrow or Elementary.  That’s OK too.  I’m not superwoman and quite frankly, don’t want to be.  I am going to be more realistic in my expectations though.  I’m going to try not to put so much pressure on myself.

I’ve surprised myself by making 26 garments this year plus a few other bits and bobs (PJ monsters and a veil to name them).  I didn’t think I’d been that productive as at the beginning of the year I’d planned a quite frankly ridiculous number of garments.  I’ve actually achieved a finished item every couple of weeks and that isn’t bad at all when I consider how cray-cray things get around here.

I sew for fun.  I sew for the creativity and the mental stillness it brings and the continual learning.  I have a wardrobe like no one else’s and its personalised to me, my tastes and my body.  That’s pretty damn awesome.  I also value and take care of all our clothes far better as a result as I know and understand the effort that goes into making them.  I’ve also become aware of how easily distracted I can be.  Shiny pattern!  Pretty fabric!  I purchase far more than I sew and that has got to stop!  I’m not going to be unrealistic and put a ban on new fabric – tried that, epic fail.  I’m going into 2014 with a better idea of what will work and what is completely unrealistic.

I also need to keep front and centre that the reason I blog is because I enjoy it!  I love being part of our online sewing community, it’s not a method to pay bills.  I’m not dependent on stats or followers or referrals to earn money.  I’ve lost sight of the reason I started to write this thing during 2013.  I hope to correct that in 2014.  Through this blog and Twitter I have met some amazing people, some of whom have become friends I trust implicitly, some I’ve met and some I hope to meet.  Every single one of them has enriched my life though.  All because I write about thread, fabric and pretty dresses when I get a chance.

My two main things to remember, looking back on 2013, is not to beat myself up and remember why I blog and sew.  I enjoy reading your adventures and simply want to share mine and occasionally yell “This dress is amazeballs!”  (Hah, that’s going to be a blog post at some point…)

As for inspiration – that’s everyone who shares what they do.  Blogs, twitter, instagram.  Anyone who sticks their head above the parapet and shares what they do.  I love your passion, your excitement, your willingness to share.

See you later 2013; 2014 is going to be a good year…

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2013 Top 5: Hits & Misses

Ah, the top 5 series.   Man, I love love love reading other bloggers posts and am so glad that I’m able to join in properly this year!  Thank you Gillian for being the impetuous behind this series of review posts.  It’s amazing what I would have missed if I hadn’t sat down and reviewed my year.

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So, Successes.  There are some garments that are out and out superheroes that I’ve made this year.  The ones that get worn weekly, that get skipped to the front of the washing que and don’t actually make it back into the wardrobe before I’m wearing them again!

2013 Hits

5: The work version of Simplicity 2588

4: Sewaholic Tofinos

3: Grainline Archer (erm, still to be blogged!)

2: Vogue 1247 (Two tops and a Skirt – never blogged?!)

1: By Hand London Elisa-ish

I’ve also gone back over the year and reviewed what I’ve made; 26 garments!  26!  That’s one every two weeks on average!  I really didn’t think I’d been that productive (and I sure as heck haven’t recorded them all here)!  There has also been 3 pyjama eaters (although Heather’s are much more badly behaved than mine) and a wedding veil!

There’s also been some other successes; I went to my first ever blogger meet up in London and had a brilliant day; got to get to another one in 2014!  I took the plunge and dipped my toe in the By Hand London pattern pool and it’s safe to say that I’m gleefully swimming up and down that pool now.  I was also lucky enough to be approached by Simplicity to try out a couple of their patterns (here and here) and even given some extra copies to give to you lovely lot.  Finally I am now drawing like a fiend in my Fashionary; I find actually getting the outfit onto paper rather than drifting around in my head has been really good for my sew-jo.

So, some really great additions to the wardrobe and I’m already learning about what I want to focus on in 2014…  Which neatly leads me into my misses of the year!

2013 Fails

In all honesty, there hasn’t been that many sewing hiccups; there was the fit error on my Ava which I still adore and will wear one day and I finally killed a couple of dresses that had been hanging around since 2012 to be finished as I realised that they were either beyond help or I just didn’t love them enough to save.

I have to admit that my main misses of 2013 have been this here blog.  I haven’t photographed the things I’ve made, I haven’t blogged them and then I’ve felt stressed out and bad because I haven’t blogged!  Which is all kinda crazy as I love blogging and I love sewing!  This blog has brought so many amazing people into my life, some I’ve yet to meet and some I have.  I’ve been able to trust them with all kinds of crazy, draining, emotional things and they’ve propped me up and helped me on my way.  Seriously, who’d have thought that something as simple as writing about sewing and putting it out into cyber space would have brought so much into my life.  I worry that I’m taking more than I’m giving.

But back to this here blog!  What I seriously suck at is time management and setting myself up to fail by expecting too much of myself (there are only 24 hours in the day and I need to sleep for some of them!!).  So, I’m going to try and be a little less harsh on myself but I’m also going to try and plan a bit better too.  I’m also going to make taking photos easier.  So that the stuff I make actually gets shared – particularly as 99.9% of it is inspired by you lot and your amazing blogs and the inspiring things you do.

So, only three fails, which considering that this year has been just as turbulent as last year is actually pretty darn good!  I have plans for 2014 and we’re nearly there.  Can’t wait to share them with you!

PS
To my Secret Santa
You are the amazing bestest gift giver in the whole world ever.  I love the fabric and the bias binding and they will become an Anna.  I adore the little fox you so kindly made me; you picked up on my fox obsession some how.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart xxx