Top 5 for 2013 – hits, misses and reflections


Since it’s New Year’s Day, it seems like a good time to throw a quick glance to the year that was and look ahead to the next 364 days. I’ve been enjoying Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow’s year-end posts, so I decided to join in (albeit with my own adapted version).

Top 5 List

Misses – Learning to sew

This was top goal for 2013. And an epic fail. Despite taking sewing lessons, I never got further than making a muslin (actually 3).  I loved the pattern – Colette’s Crepe dress, but it was just not to be.

The pattern is well-used (more likely abused), but the fabric itself remains untouched by scissors.  Although the instructor suggested that the pattern was too complicated to complete over 3 classes, I expect that it was probably beyond my sewing abilities. I did finish re-fashioning a dress into a tunic (started in summer 2012) and made a funky vintage apron for a friend for her birthday (love the birds!).


June 3, 2013 009

Hits – Bead blog challenges

This year, I pushed myself to participate in a number of bead challenges/blog hops. This was a bit intimidating for me since many of the people who participate in these types of challenges are professional jewelry designers.  Each one was different and I created a number of new pieces of jewelry and experimented with a number of techniques. I was particularly happy with the bracelet and necklace I put together for Bead Soup, using beads and components I received from a beader in Serbia.

April 26. 2013 073-002

April 26. 2013 052April 17, 2013 027-001


The jury’s still out on sewing. I think I may actually like the “idea” of sewing more than actually doing it. However, I’m not willing to give up on it quite yet. I think I need to focus on smaller projects and develop my skills before tackling another pattern. I bought a new computer early in the fall and I need a case/sleeve. I’ve been hunting around the web for options, but haven’t found the “one” yet.

Vintage towel sleeve from Vintage Chica

Quilted button-up laptop case from Amy a la mode

Laptop Sleeve Tutorial 12

Or this funky laptop sleeve made from fabric scraps (Ars Technica). This one might be the front runner, since I have a pair of old corduroy pants of my husband’s that would make a sturdy outer layer for a laptop case. Plus, the pattern seems simple (famous last words).

I know that I’m happiest when I’m doing something creative – the specific project doesn’t really matter. While I certainly accomplished more in 2013 than I had in the previous year, there were periods during the year where my crafting supplies sat gathering dust. Deadlines are always a good motivator – hence the bead blog challenges and making gifts for family and friends. I’d like to find a bit more balance and use my evenings a bit more creatively, rather than watching mindless TV. I often come home and read for a couple of hours after supper and it may be difficult to resist curling up with a book, especially after a long day at work.
Inspiration and goals

I’m constantly inspired by the many amazing bloggers and artisans who share their work. A few of my favourites in 2013:

  • Andrea from Stitch Parade, who sews and knits beautifully. Last year, she tried her hand a making jewelry, with impressive results;
  • Rebecca Anderson, a Scottish jewelry designer, who has a blog and two Etsy shops. I was lucky enough to receive some waxed cotton thread from her just as I was figuring out my design for my Bead Soup necklace;
  • Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing – I will never sew like Gretchen but being a fan of vintage clothing, I love her outfits. Her blog posts are very informative and she has a knack for explaining complicated sewing techniques in uncomplicated terms. Plus she has pink hair!

In terms of my goals for 2013, as I noted above, I’m still going to work on my sewing. I’d also like to get back into knitting. I used to be an active knitter and fell out of the habit a number of years ago. I have a new bright red winter coat and I haven’t been able to find a hat in a complementary style/colour. Since I live in Eastern Canada and winter tends to be long (last year we had snow until early April), I figure I’ve still got time to find a pattern and yarn and make a hat before the snow melts.

I don’t have any specific goals in terms of making jewelry, but I’d like to continue to try new techniques and designs. My beading supplies are a total mess and it’s hard to find anything, so the first step is bringing some order to the chaos. Organizing is not my favourite activity, so I need to figure out a way to break the job down into manageable steps. I did manage to bring some order to my scrapbook supplies, so I know it can be done.

My biggest goal for 2014 is to enjoy what I’m doing. While I often work better when I’m under pressure, rushing to get a project done by a specific date can be stressful and often takes the fun out of it. So for 2014, I’m going to practice mindful crafting. Plan a bit more and focus on what I’m doing.

Whatever your plans are for 2014, I wish you all the best for a happy and healthy new year.


3 responses »

  1. But you did learn to sew so that’s not a fail at all! Your refashion and the apron look adorable. Don’t beat yourself up over the Crepe dress. I think I mentioned that I’ve read on various blogs that fitting that dress is difficult and that’s why I’ve never tried it. Also, sewing is not that complicated (if you can make an apron, you can make a computer sleeve, and a bunch of other fun things) it’s that elusive perfect fit that is a problem. I took a two day fitting class in early December and I still have trouble with it. I’ve been sewing for five years and for the first two and a half,every single item of clothing I made ended up at Goodwill so I stuck to bags and quilts. I slowly re-introduced clothes, but made sure I chose very easy projects. Let me know if you want some easy pattern suggestions to hone your skills – I’m happy to help. I’ll even meet up with you on Skype (or if you’re back in Toronto, let’s meet in real life) if you think that would help. In any case, all that to say that I don’t think you should give up on sewing. Unless, of course, you’re not enjoying it which would defeat your number one goal for 2014.

    And I do love your work with beads, especially when combined with wire wrapped fabric – such a unique look and interesting mix of textures.

    P.S. Have you tried Ravelry for a hat pattern? Lots of great ideas on that site.

    P.P.S. I’m honoured that my crafty endeavours are a source of inspiration.

    • Hi Andrea – Happy New Year. Thanks for your encouraging words. I’ll be in Toronto about 1x a month for the next few months and would love to get together in person. I have a couple of hat patterns in mind, including one on Ravelry – need to find the right yarn. A bit harder when I can’t wear wool (although I could line it).

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