Friday, 30 December 2016

Reflections on 2016 we are again - end of another year and the New Year looming!.  And if you're like me you may well ask yourself just what you achieved this year.  When I checked my diary it turned out to be very quiet on the designing front - something which I intend to work on in 2017.  But I won't be too hard on myself because I achieved a lot in other areas.  

At the beginning of the year I was privileged to be accepted as a tutor with the Queensland Embroiderers' Guild for their children's holiday classes.  It was a most enjoyable experience as the two young girls in my charge were well mannered young ladies who were focussed and worked diligently enough to finish their project in the 2 day workshop and felt justifiably proud of themselves.  

Soon after, our neighbours were having a massive clean-out in preparation for a downsizing move and when lengths of fabrics, threads or craft of any type were found I was fortunate enough to be the lucky recipient.  But it was the plastic bag containing cut-out shapes for a large stuffed teddy bear that had already begun to be embellished with lace, ribbons and embroidery that caught my eye and I decided to surprise my lovely neighbour by creating a keepsake for her out of those pieces.  A crazy patchwork cushion came to mind and so I set about painstakingly sewing the fabrics together and then using the embellishments and varying stitches and techniques to create a proud masterpiece.  I can't begin to tell you how happy and amazed my neighbour was when I presented her with the cushion and the tears that sprang to her eyes were definitely appreciative ones .  I can tell you though that this cushion has it's own special place in her new home - that's reward enough for me.

For a while I had been entertaining the idea of updating my cross stitch software (cost was a major factor here) to enable the ability to provide symbol on colour charts with my kits and charts that I sell.  I finally took the plunge and set about the massive task of re-configuring instruction sheets for all designs.  I had under-estimated the time involved for the graphic and administrative work required and I am pretty sure that as a result of constantly using the computer mouse that I gave myself RSI in my forearm and elbow.  All is fine now but it took a little while to heal. Despite the time-consuming effort and injury sustained I am now so very happy with what I can offer my customers.

A new design - the West Australian Seahorse - was released and I set about stitching needlebooks for my Etsy shop.  Six in total have been stitched and proven to be quite popular with all needlebooks receiving good reviews.  

Early in the year my web designer wisely suggested the advantages of setting up an Instagram account to highlight my work which was met with a lukewarm response on my behalf (more technology to get my head around!!!).  But with the encouragement of my Gen Y daughter, I made the plunge and am now a total and utter convert.  I simply love seeing the work of other like-minded crafters and have followers from all around the world making for a wonderfully interesting network of stitchers and lovers of flora and fauna.  Instagram has also helped with my photography skills and of course, you can still follow me on Facebook.

Arguably one of the biggest decisions I made this year was to exhibit and sell my work by manning a table at the Brisbane Hustlin' Women's market.  In August I set myself a target and schedule of products to sell and stitched like a 'mad woman' to meet my self-imposed deadlines.  The products not only included what was already listed in my Etsy shop, but new ideas of framed stitched work and spectacle cases which required the tweaking of some of the original designs.  I am pleased to report that I was able to not only complete all of my targeted stitched projects but on market day covered stallholder costs and managed to make a worthwhile profit.  Woohoo!  The experience also gave me a good insight into customer interest of certain products which I can now use when planning for the next market which, at this stage, will be in April.  Spending the day with like-minded crafters just made the day so much more enjoyable too.

I've also been attending monthly stitching afternoons with the Guild and oddly enough tending to administrative work for Etsy and the website is something I don't mind.  It's where my articulate secretarial background comes into play, but I must admit though that if don't keep on top of it, problems can certainly arise.

Next year, I plan to make opportunities to pursue the designing of many more subjects as I feel I've set some very good foundations this year on which to continue.  Already I've looked into other avenues of community craft teaching or at the very least mentoring and sharing the gift of stitching and crafting.

For now my best wishes to everyone for a safe and Happy New Year.  

'There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind' - C.S. Lewis

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